After buying the Playstation, I concentrated on games for the next 3 years. I decided to really delve into the Resident Evil series, as I bought Resident Evil: Directors Cut and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. These games enhanced my love for the series with the captivating story, plot holes or not. I bought a lot of games for my Playstation and my Nintendo 64 through out this time period. There were some games, like Mortal Kombat 4, and Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero; that I rented on both systems before I made my purchase. Even though I own both iterations of these games now, but at the time, I wanted the one that played the best. I ended up getting MK 4 on N64, and Mythologies on PSX; mainly because these versions played the best in my opinion. During this time, I expanded my collection by at least 150 games, largely in part to the fact that I started slowly buying classic stuff that I missed out on in yesteryear. I played a lot of fighting games during this time, like the newer Street Fighters and Capcom Vs. games. I also played a lot of racing games on the N64 and put many hours into Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, probably the best Star Wars flight game for consoles at the time.
One of my favorite things I did during this period was an experiment involving video games for a science class. I chose to do an experiment called “Human Intelligence While Playing Video Games”. The game that I chose to use in the experiment was Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire. I chose this game because it is relatively long, about 2 hours, and there were hidden Challenge points in all of the levels, as well as extra lives, and weapons. To do this correctly, I played through the game a total of 10 times to get an average time for my test subjects to go through the game. I also made sure I got all extra lives and Challenge points in each level. My goal was to see how many people of varying age groups could get through the game, getting as much of the hidden stuff in 2 hours. I had each person go through 2 test runs which allowed me to track how much they remembered and how far they got with each test run. Because of this project, I can blow through Shadows of the Empire in less than 2 hours, getting all Challenge points in all levels.
In 2000, I had just graduated high school and I was kind of bored with the games that I currently owned, and I was kind of disappointed in the games that were being released at the time. The Dreamcast had just been released and by that time, a new Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil game on the Dreamcast. I was shopping in Wal-Mart one day, trying to find a game that I wanted, and we looked at the Dreamcast section, and I said, “I want to play Code Veronica, I should buy a Dreamcast.” My friend was like, “Dude, that’s $200, and we are getting ready to go to Indiana, so you need the money.” Then I remembered the pawn shop where I bought my Playstation. We bolted to the pawn shop, and they had 3 different Dreamcast systems. The one I bought came with 2 controllers for $130 which was cheaper than marked. I then went to Toys R Us and bought an RF switch (because my TV did not have AV at the time), Mortal Kombat Gold, and Resident Evil: Code Veronica. My friend was like, “I can’t believe you JUST spent that money on a Dreamcast on a whim, that’s crazy.” I really liked my Dreamcast at the time, and I still do. I bought awesome games like Marvel Vs. Capcom and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Soul Calibur, and a game that I thought was excellent, Sword of the Berserk: Gut’s Rage.
A few months later, the Playstation 2 released, and at the time, I refused to pay $300 for it since I had a Dreamcast, N64, and Playstation; plus all of my classic systems. A friend got one on launch day, and he loved it, but I wasn’t impressed with the game line up. January rolled around and the amount of systems available was still scarce. The same friend that was with me when I bought the Dreamcast was with me when we went into K-Mart. They had a big sign on the door that said “We have Playstation 2’s.” I was like “so”, but we went to electronics anyway, and asked the clerk about it. They told me that they got 120 in on Wednesday, had 60 left on Thursday, and had 30 left on Friday. So they had 30, but I decided against it. We were walking to the front of the store when I pulled my check book out of my pocket and looked at the balance. I had more than enough my account for the system, but no games or DVD’s at the time. I turned around, went back to electronics, and bought it. I didn’t buy a game for another week when I bought TimeSplitters, the only thing that really caught my attention until Onimusha came out. I loved Onimusha, probably because it was so similar to Resident Evil, except for the fact that it was swords and demons, and in feudal Japan. I also enjoyed Grand Theft Auto 3, all of the Mortal Kombat games, and Contra: Shattered Soldier.
Also in 2001, I bought a Gamecube, the one system of this current generation that I was really excited about since I have always been a Nintendo fan. I reserved the Gamecube at Sam Goody, putting $50 down, $48 for the system and a dollar each on 2 games. I arrived at Sam Goody on November 18th at 12:40 p.m., 10 minutes after they opened, and bought my system with Luigi’s Mansion and Star Wars: Rogue Leader. I ended up getting Pikmin the following Christmas, and I have to say that it is one of the best, most innovative games that I have ever played. There are so many games on my Cube that I like, I was really excited about all the Zelda titles, and the Resident Evil remake. In my opinion, that is the best looking game of the generation; it was absolutely amazing what Capcom did with this game on the Gamecube. I also really like Spider-Man 2 on the Cube more than any other system. I’m not sure why, I just felt that it played better on the Cube.
As time went by, the more I saw about the Xbox, the more I wanted it. Halo looked good, they had announced Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Doom 3, they had a Buffy The Vampire Slayer game that wasn’t available elsewhere, and they had Genma Onimusha, a longer, harder version of Onimusha Warlords. I bought an Xbox and picked up Halo with it. I thought Halo was really good, but I didn’t get into it as much as I did Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I picked up that game and didn’t put it down until I finished it. It was a basic beat’em up, but I am a huge Buffy fan and thought that this game was excellent. I also spent loads of time with Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis and Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Wolfenstein was attractive because the original Wolfenstein 3-D was unlockable.
Later in the year, I bought a Game Boy Advance, mainly so I could play The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the go. The main reason I got an Advance was because of all the classic games that they were releasing, I really wanted to play these games on the go since they were so much fun. I traded my regular Advance for an SP when it came out, and then I traded that SP for my NES Classic GBA SP in June of 2004. Again, I thought that was an awesome collector’s item, and the release of the Legend of Zelda from the NES days got me really excited. Another highlight on the Advance was Mario Vs. Donkey Kong. This was one of the most solid platformers that I had played in a long time. If you look at most of my collection, you will see that most of them are re-releases of classic titles instead of newer games.
During this same time period, I was buying a lot of retro systems. The first thing that I bought was a Sega Saturn from eBay. Actually, a majority of my older systems came from eBay, and I never paid over $120 for any system, most of the coming with at least 10 games. I then got a Panasonic 3DO with 7 games, then an Atari Jaguar with CD attachment and 14 games, then I got another Genesis, with a 32X and Sega CD with 65 games. This was the gem because I only payed $110 for everything, including shipping. Later on, I bought an Atari 2600 and a Nintendo Virtual Boy, both with games. Around the time that I bought my Gamecube, I bought a Genesis from Gamestop, and a bunch of games from a friend. My girlfriend at the time got mad at me for spending money on video games, and said that I was addicted to video games. She was a very selfish person and wanted me to spend all of my time and money with her, so I looked at her and told her that if she thought I was addicted to video games, she could ******* leave and not come back. Just because I’m a gamer and collector of all things gaming doesn’t mean that I am addicted to them; I do other things and am interested in other things besides video games.
I bought a Nintendo DS at launch in November of 2004, and was so excited about it coming out. At first I was excited about Mario 64 on the go, and then as I read more on the features of the DS, the touch screen sounded awesome, and the online play sounded even better. I have been enjoying all of my DS games because even though the franchise might be familiar, the new play mechanics give it a new feeling. Even Tetris DS feels a little different, and the new play modes surrounding the Touch Screen are really nice. I think that Trauma Center: Under the Knife is one of the best titles that use all of the features of the DS, but my favorite DS game has to be Mario 64, even though it is essentially the same as the N64 version, the extra features and play options make it an even better game than it already is.
My standard rule for buying systems is there needs to 5 announced games that I am interested in before I buy it. For a long time, there were not 5 games that I wanted, the one I was really interested in was Infected. Then they announced Mortal Kombat Deception: Unchained, then Midway Arcade with Mortal Kombat 1 thru 3 (I cheated here and counted this as 2 since I am such an MK nut) and then they announced Capcom Classics which included the original Street Fighter, something that I have never played. So when I had some extra money, I bought a PSP and Burnout Legends. I bought Burnout Legends because that was the only thing out at the time that I was interested in playing. I must say I am kind of disappointed in the PSP. Most of the games that I wanted have turned out bad (Midway Arcade has terrible load time, glitches, and control problems), and Infected isn’t as good as I was hoping. However, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max is another game that I would like to have. After playing it, it is really good, something that I fully intend on owning once the price drops a little bit.
I also have an X-box 360. I had decided no on this system as well because of the price and the lack of games that I wanted. But just like the PS 2, opportunity knocked, and I bought a 360 the day after Christmas. I was working at Gamestop that day, and somebody came in and said that he got a 360 for Xmas, but he already had one, so he returned it Toys R Us. I decided that if I wait for a price drop, the Revolution would be out and I would have to wait longer, so I jumped in the car and bought the system. It took me 2 weeks to finally buy a game. After playing 3 different games, I decided on Call of Duty 2. That game absolutely blew me away with its realism and playability.
Looking back, I must say that I am proud of my collection, and would not do anything different. One of the coolest things about being a game collector is that you get to see how technology changes from generation to generation. It was also interesting to see how the games themselves change. Watching games go from sprites and pixels to fully 3D models, watching control schemes change is something, that when trying to tell verbally, doesn’t have the same impact as being apart of it. Also watching the controversy surrounding games grow is unsettling for us serious gamers. Every entertainment medium has gone through these growing pains, but it feels like games are getting it worse since they are interactive.
Given everything that we have seen in the past, I can’t wait to see what the future brings.