Thursday, 1 February 2018

Better late than never: Christmas roundup 2017

Here we are, the closing minutes of January 2018 and look at me, sitting around with an open tab containing a WIP post describing my Christmas video games haul. It's already kind of pathetically late, but on the other side of this imaginary dividing line of time it will be even more so. Should I even post it or give up on it? Well, I did go to the effort of staging the goods and taking the photos, so I wouldn't want to have wasted my time that way... unless I get to waste your time along for the ride! So please, join me for a whirlwind tour through some curios I received a month and a bit ago! [Edit: making it even more pathetic, the post as completed in the final few minutes of the month failed to successfully post, so here it is bashfully sneaking out in early February.]

There it is, the big haul.  Typically there will be a prime batch that makes up the lion's share, orbited by odds and ends, and this motley bunch of gaming paraphernalia lives up to that tradition.  Let's take a closer look at some of these curios:

A bootleg NES controller from 2009?  Why not!  I don't know precisely what the market for such a product looked like then, but I'm glad to find that someone was carrying the torch.

One of these products is genuine and one is a bootleg.  You be the judge!  Presumably for legal reasons, the shell used on the knockoff doesn't read "GAME BOY" on the plastic, just "BOY", just as the sticker proclaims the game "only for COLOR" rather than "only for GAME BOY COLOR". I have to level with you, I didn't even know that Super Mario Bros. Deluxe was a thang -- given that art and that logo in this context, I expected a Hong Kong Special bearing some only very loose relationship to the license depicted on the sticker.

Plus Pokemon, not bad!

Of the whole initial Genesis generation of Sonic games, I've got to confess that this is one of my favorites for the way it fearlessly eschews convention, mashing-up genres and delivering you a very different kind of game from what you might have expected from the license (making it among my kids' least favorite Sonic games.  I guess you need to have grown overfamiliar with the genre tropes before you can delight in their detournement!)

A hefty lot: a shady Atari 2600 of unknown provenance, with no cables... does it even work?  Isn't that kind of even beside the point, who wants to play Atari 2600 games?  (I understand that there are some of these people out there.  That generation of games I see like Johnson's famous dog walking on its hind legs, remarkable because of what it's doing at all, not necessarily because it's being done well.)  A couple of solid, classic titles (see me contradict my previous statement almost immediately!) accompany the station wagon - I appreciate the tradition of treating a gifted console like a wallet, which is considered unlucky when given "empty" (without games).  Always give a console with at least one game!  One non-terrible game.  

I didn't even know that the Wii came in black!  I've only ever seen them in cute and cuddly white before, like Eve from Wall-E.  Whoever owned this black unit must have been a badass.  I gather that we're enough generations along now that old Wiis are becoming a dime a dozen, but I was surprised to see that the seller included the Gamecube controllers -- I figure that whatever my mother-in-law paid for the machine was probably worth it for the GC controllers alone, like they threw in the console and other parts for free.

???! What is this I don't even.  In what world do I want to incorporate storage of Nintendo DS cards into my Lego constructions?  Get out of my stocking and stay out.  Granny, there's a good reason someone had bequeathed these to the thrift store unopened.

That's a nice array of really random Wii games!  Something for everyone.  Again, when I saw these, I figured that whatever "Granny" paid for all of them was probably worth it for the relatively hip games in the middle row (Smash Bros, Kart, DK) alone, with the rest thrown in with a kind of "promise not to bring them back" caveat.  Underwhelming as many of these discs are, I can report that my 5 and 2 year old daughters were OVER THE MOON about the Dora the Explorer game.  Look at that cover.  Look at it!

At my twice-annual vintage gaming party, bryface wanted to play a modern Russian Roulette NES cart which required an NES zapper.  I was sure I had one, but couldn't find it.  Then I got one for Christmas.  Now, I have found the other one.  But I do not have the cart!  Well, I suppose that next time we do the party we can host two rounds of Russian Roulette simultaneously.  There's a dystopian situation if taken out of context!

I don't know if I've ever before seen socks with a copyright message.  Do they have the Nintendo Seal of Quality?

More of the same -- not just Mario socks, but Luigi and Boo ones also.  PS, these are for my kids' feet, sadly I doubt they make Nintendo socks in a men's size 15.  I had a pair of Mario boxer shorts but they disintegrated in the wash.  Where can you get quality video game underwear for larger men?

Pardon the blurry photo, but here my eldest is wearing a shirt emblazoned with the alphabet, spelled out in tiles from Super Mario Bros.  It's awesome.  I received a couple of good shirts also...

Spot the plumber!  This design is actually a bit of a headache to piece apart, so busy with uncoloured pixelated outlines of Super Mario sprites, but nearly everything important is crammed in there somewhere.  The flash of spot colour isn't just ink, it's embroidered on!

Different T-shirt, same license, different gimmick.  The pipe is the breast pocket on the T-shirt; flat against your chest just the two heads peep out, but if you open the pocket you see their little bodies within.

A comic book history of video games?  I gave comics myself to my wife last Christmas -- as the parents of small children, we need literature that is good for short bouts of reading, because those are often all we get.  (Hers were more on the Kate Beaton side of things, but this proves to be a compelling read in an accessible medium!)

And there you have it -- the most penetrating insights about the specific items populating this pile of gifts I was able to come up with in the final sliver of my next-month window to report back on it.  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  See you all in February, hopefully with some more posts on textmode art.  Cheers!

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