Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Turbo Grafx 16: The Higher Engergy Video Game System

This past weekend I had a drain back up in the downstairs shower and flood the first floor of my house. 40 or so gallons of water give or take, rushing over my tile into my wife's office, the den, the entryway, and the everywhere basically. It isn't great...So what does this have to do with games, let alone the TG16? If it wasn't for plumbing problems I wouldn't have these gems.

It's a long story but I will give you the Cliff Notes (Who am I kidding? It will probably be overlong and in need of an edit). 

Approx 3 years ago my wife and I had another  bathroom problem. In our guest bathroom, the toilet broke, not a big deal it happens.  Trying to be a handyman, I removed the old toilet and vowed to install a new one. In the meantime, instead of a toilet we had a gaping hole in the floor, where the sewage line attached. Now I don't know if you have ever smelled a sewage line, but it's not great. To stop this smell from wafting through the house I grabbed a hand towel and shoved it in the hole. This was an action not entirely appreciated by my wife. She removed the towel, and that's when the magic happens.

At around 1:30 AM our dog decides he needs his ball to be thrown to him. My wife is a good sport, and throws him the ball.  She does this three or four times. On her final throw the ball goes into the hall hits the bathroom door jam, bounces into the bathroom and disappears. Let me give you some details real quick.  The bathroom is L shaped. The toilet, or rather hole where a toilet once was, is at the very end of the bathroom, in a nook, or at the bottom of the L if you prefer.  Please click here for a drawing. Bones, our dog, comes back without a ball and he is frustrated. My wife tells him to go get the ball, but he just paces. My wife assumes the ball is just stuck, or bounced into the bathtub, or just out of reach. She get up and begins searching for the ball. After about 10 minutes she yells to me. "Dear did you see where the ball went?", I say " I thought it went in the bathroom". She comes out of the bathroom and says " what do you think the odds are that it went down the  hole?", My response "Well pretty good, if you didn't plug the hole with something else when you pulled that hand towel out.". Of course the ball did go down the hole, and now it's nearly 2 am and we have a big problem.

If the ball is in the main sewage line, it is big enough to go into the pipe but possibly too big to make it around the debris and build up (we have problems with roots growing into the sewer line), or the L bends when the main line dips into central line.  From everything I read online, and mind you I am not a plumber, it seems that if we run water or flush the other toilet then the suction could carry the ball into one of these traps and cause a major back up, like what occurred in my house this weekend.  This is the point at which my OCD kicks in and I start to think about every possible bad outcome. I am just convinced I will have to use the bathroom or I will flush the toilet for a stupid reason or by accident. Nothing at this point will change my mind.

The question now is what to do? It doesn't matter that it's 2 AM, or that I am not actually very handy. or  that I don't have the proper tools. I decide I must act. Our old house was raised and has a 2 1/2 foot crawl space that  runs the length and width of the house, which gives me the ability to see the plumbing. I go outside access the crawl space and begin army crawling to the other side of the house where the bathroom is. I am starting to feel like Indiana Jones because  the space I am in is small, narrow, dark, damp, cold, covered in spider webs, and full of bugs. I find the pipes attached to the hole and I can follow them without to much trouble to a point where they flatten out. I believe this is a likely point for the ball to be stuck at or at least near to. Finding the pipe was just step one, now how to cut it open? I don't own any saws,  I don't own a PVC cutter that will get through 4 inch PVC. I don't think I can break it as I am in a totally cramped space, I also don't want to break it and I can't go to a store to buy these things.

My solution, and feel free to laugh, was a large bread knife we had. I figured it was serrated and might be able to do the job if I was willing to put in the elbow grease. I crawl back out, get the knife and go back in. laying on my back, unable to extend my arms much I being the process of sawing 4 inch PVC with a stupid bread knife. Not my best moment and clearly not the best decision.  After about an hour of doing this I eventually do saw through the pipe, sawing from all sides until I made it through. Now what happens next is a horrible and I will spare you some of the gross details. The smell that comes out of that pipe is just knock you on your back terrible. This pipe has been under the house since 1972 collecting gunk, and, human waste, and hair, and every horrible thing that people put into toilets. The sludge that lined the pipe was so foul and disgusting, I am trapped in this tiny space gagging with nowhere to go. I compose myself grab the flashlight and look into the pipe both directions.  About 2 feet from my end is the ball, but to get it I have to shove my arm through the human sludge.  Well I did it, I was grossed out and didn't feel like my arm came clean for days but I did it. The next day I went to home depot  bought a junction to weld the two halves back together and the job was done.

So what does this have to do with my very modest TG16 collection? Well my wife felt so bad that I did this she worked an extra shift  so I could go buy a Turbo Duo that I had been eyeing and Beyond Shadow Gate. If not for this effort I wouldn't have a TG 16 collection.  It's funny that I was just looking into more serious TG16 collecting when another plumbing catastrophe stuck.

 Please enjoy the awesome Turbo Duo Commercial that I found on Youtube

Thanks For Reading

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Complete Nintendo Virtual Boy Set (Video Included)

I recently completed my first Nintendo Set, and also recently I saw this article  Oculus Rift on Kotaku.com.  It feels like fate...or coincidence, or irony, and migraines. All of these feelings can only
mean one thing.


If you love hot red on black, or black on red action, the Virtual Boy is your ticket to heaven. The Virtual Boy used vector graphics and the parallax effect to simulate 3D, poorly. The system only released 14 games in the US, in what I will kindly call a limited run. What's not to love about a system that couldn't even survive one year in the US or Japan? Think about that for a second, even the Wonder Swan, which you have never heard of, lasted longer. The Apple Bandai Pippin sold less units but had a similar run.To put this in perspective the iPhone 5 sold more units in 1 hour then either of these systems managed in their lifetimes.

 Sow how did Nintendo drop such a deuce? It wasn't one thing, it was the culmination of many failures creating one big fail. To look at just the surface, they called it a portable system. This statement isn't actually true. I'd love to see people trying to take this out of their home and play. Another reason is the games, while not terrible the library leaves much to be desired, like a proper Mario or Zelda.  Need more?  Battery Life. Fake 3D. You can't be comfortable and play it. Red on Black graphics are a terrible idea. This system has the distinction of making Double D's a bad thing.  The DD's I am referring to is of course on the controller. No games really utilized this, and  to be fair they had under a year, which isn't enough time.   

If this write up really wets your whistle for the Virtual Boy get out there and start hunting. Prices on VB stuff has been going up, but it is a fairly easy and accessible system to collect for. If you want a bigger challenge go for the the JP set, the entry fee is much higher. 

US Game List 
3D Tetris
Galactic Pinball
Jack Brothers
Mario Clahs
Mario Tennis
Nester's Funky Bowling (really puts the FU in Funky)
Panic Bomber
Red Alarm
Vertical Force
Virtual League Baseball
Wario Land

 Thank You For Reading

Thursday, April 4, 2013

She Has to Catch'em All: The Great Pokemon Hunt of 2013

If you have read other posts on this blog you may realize I am married, you might also realize that video game collecting is fairly dry, it just isn't a spectator hobby. Now to collectors who love to find old games, new info, and insight it is very exciting. To me sharing info and the process of discovery is fun and interesting, to my wife well she is just happy that I'm happy and that I have something I enjoy.

Having appreciation and a deep love for video games comes  naturally to me, it was ingrained in me during my childhood, teenage years, and now adulthood. This is not true for everyone, often I read posts from other collectors that ask  things like "How do you deal with your wife / girlfriend who hate your collecting, or hate games or just don't get it?". The answer isn't easy, and often time this seeming small question can balloon in to a real problem in relationships.  So my advice on this subject, and while corny is fairly sound. Share the love, yup that's it. How you share games and make memories for those around you will cement the foundation of  their outlook. This is my example of sharing the love and making fond memories, it happened Easter morning.

She Has to Catch'em All: The Great Pokemon Hunt of 2013

My wife enjoys Pokemon, and Nintendo just happened to release a limited edition 3DS XL with Pikachu's likeness.
So given the timing of the release, a week before Easter, and the fact that my wife loves  Pokemon I hatched a plan (Egg Pun) that would have my wife seeking Pokemon this Easter.

Part 1: The Plan
First things first, acquire the 3DS. Well after checking Amazon, Best Buy, Target and a few other stores I was forced to order online. One big box store, which I don't love, had it. Objections be damned this was for my wife so I ordered it while cringing the whole time. The delivery date was set for March 28th- 30th, making me all in on this plan without a plan B. So of course it came on the 30th, the day before Easter.   

Part 2: Logistics
With the 3DS on it's way, I needed to figure out the best way to give it to her. I could  just put it in a basket and hide it, but that seemed to easy.  So what I came up with was a pseudo Easter Egg hunt, but instead of hidden eggs  it would be Pokemon. I went back to Amazon recalling I had seen small PVC Pokemon before. Without much effort I found a variety pack and with my prime membership it arrived in 2 days. You will notice in the picture 13 Pokemon, I actually bought a pack of 15, one was a dupe which I used later and one was Pikachu, which I used as part of the setup, you will see that part later.

Part 3: The Pokedex
After thinking about how and where to hide them, I knew I hadn't gone far enough and that simply replacing eggs with Pokemon wasn't going to cut it. Thinking about how my wife plays Pokemon it dawned on me that she always had a Pokedex near by, and that the Pokedex was an essential part of the Pokemon experience. The Pokedex was perfect because it would stand as visual guide and also a hint book to help my wife find the Pokemon.  The next challenge was to identify the Pokemon and get names, luckily they were numbered and that part went pretty fast. Next I began the best I could to stumble around through Word 2010 and create a book fold file that I could compose the Pokedex in by pasting pictures and writing clues. I am sure some of you are reading this and face palming but let me say I have little experience with graphic design or layout arrangement. Word and Excel are my bread and butter so I went with what I know. Overall it turned out all right, though my cover could have been a bit better.  (To see the Pokedex and all the Clues click here)

While creating the Pokedex, I tried to take the name and type of the Pokemon into account while thinking of places to hide them and how to phrase my clues. For Example Dewott I hid on top of our Harry Potter BluRays. The Clue saying Harry pOtter because Dewott is an Otter. For RoggenRolla I hid him on our iPad speaker stand because he looks like a speaker with the clue being music is the key. Pignite I hid on the fireplace, on not in, with the clue stating "I'm on Fire".  All of the clues went something like that with a few being letter puzzles.

I was very please with how the came out but now that I essentially had given her a clue book I felt like maybe the hunt was getting too easy. So thinking back to video games I decided to employ the collectors tactic I most enjoy, The Easter Egg, the fact that was Easter was an added bonus (also I love puns). So in the spirit of Easter I filled 6 eggs with candy and hid them around the house in addition to the Pokemon. The plan felt good and whole, 6 eggs and 13 Pokemon to find.

 Part 4: Easter Morning
At about 2 AM my wife finally went to bed, and I made my way downstairs to set everything up. Fast forward to 8:30 AM, the dogs are begging for breakfast so it's time to get up. I follow my wife and dogs down stairs and wait for the moment when she sees this  (To See the Letter Click Here)
Carlie is very surprised to see what I have done. I'm relieved she never caught wind of my plan.  She reads her instructions, takes her Pokedex and is very excited to begin catching them all.

 Part 5: The End
The hunt took Carlie just over 2.5 hours from start to finish. My wife really enjoyed it, but more than that it was another positive experience I gave her that involved games and collecting. Early on when we first started dating and I first starting collecting I made a few mistakes, like spending all my money on games, which meant I couldn't afford to take her out somewhere nice. I realized making those kinds of  mistakes could ruin two things I love. As with most things in life inclusive > exclusive.

As always thank you for reading.


It puts the Pokemon in the basket!