Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moving into the Wild World!

Back in March 2012 I found out I had been gone from my game of Animal Crossing for over 77 months. Sadly since then not much has changed, I've often found myself shutting the game off and forgetting about Mr. Resetti, oops! But I haven't really made much progress in the game and I've watched villagers come and villagers go.

With my, somewhat, recent acquisition of a working Nintendo DS Lite I wondered if they had any sequels for this system, in fact they do! Animal Crossing Wild World its called, but as with everything I want to own it was overpriced almost everywhere I went, so I sat the desire to buy this game on the sidelines and just kept on about my way. Until one day I was digging through a media bin at the outlet store, when lo and behold there it was, sitting under an NES game (Kung Fu).

I can see how the cartridge alone could easily be discarded with CDs and the lone NES game. Needless to say I snatched it up and got to stepping toward the registers to make my purchase. However much a Nintendo DS cartridge weighs, times .79 cents, so I got it super cheap.

A few weeks later I happened across the case, empty short of the outside insert but it was more than I had before, so I picked it up. Now all I'll need is to find the stupid warning stuffers they put in every DS game and a copy of the manual and I'll have a complete copy for around $1-2. But now that I've spent so much time explaining how it came into my collection, let me tell you how I feel about the game and how it differs from the Gamecube version.

With all sequels there will obviously be changes, some for the better and some for the worse, all depending on your selective point of view. What I originally thought were bad moves in Wild World, after time, turned into things I could live with. But there were still a few things I just simply couldn't grasp.

Firstly, and most frustratingly to myself, is the almost completely impossible to find digging spots. Now given there is a massive difference in screen size between the Gamecube and the DS, I still believe they could have done something to make digging spots a tad more easy to spot. After a while I can find them easier, yet I still find them unnecessarily hard to find.

Secondly is the weird way the world is as if it were a tiny Earth, an orb in space, as you freely walk from one end to the next as the horizon ever changes. Its a minor complaint, but its not as bad as fishing seems to be in this version, these fish have ADHD and couldn't care less than to starve to death, apparently. Again, over time I've learned where to cast and wait for the fish to, painfully, eventually turn around and chase down my baited hook.

But my biggest, and I would dare say almost game ruining, complaint comes with the main mechanic of the game, socialization. In the Gamecube version of Animal Crossing I felt as if I were building relationships with fellow villagers moving in and out of my town (named Hell). But in this version I simply can't make those connections feel genuine; I've had villagers move away and I had totally forgotten they even lived in my Wild World town (also named Hell).

In the Gamecube version I often went on tasks to return something borrowed or borrow something, etc. As where in Wild World, no matter how much I bore another villager with my constant desire to talk, the best I can get is a few lines of dialog before scuttling off because they seem irritated by me being around them. Isn't the whole idea to be social and help other villagers?

Regardless of my personal opinions I'm glad to have it, although I rarely play it just the same as the Gamecube version. I got it so damn cheap that it really isn't a bad piece to just add to the collection, but sadly it isn't nearly half as fun as I thought it would be. One thing that may save this game for me is the Wi-fi connectivity and visiting people throughout the (real) World, so here is my friend code: (3998-7521-3061)!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Outlet Pick ups!

Today I give you a quick overview of the things I've found at the outlet store this week. I went 3 days and this was an average visit where I didn't find anything mind blowing, yet I didn't walk away empty handed. Let us begin!

First up is a 1988 Nintendo Power backpack featuring both LINK and Mario depicted in a very cartoony way. Even as poorly it may look in this photo, it is much worse in the real world. Sure its in rough shape, but I'm glad I own it and that it even exists!

Next up is a 3rd party Sega Dreamcast controller. Nothing special, but since I was paying by the pound I couldn't let this thing get recycled. It is what it is.

I had been looking for a Nintendo E-Reader for years! I even asked friends in different states to check their local Gamestops to see if they could get one when they were still .99 cent, prior to them discontinuing carrying anything GBA. Nothing ever materialized, until this week!

About 2 weeks ago I picked up a pair of Sega Saturn games that were in a junk PS game case. Turns out I picked up a good copy of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and a scratched copy of Daytona USA that wouldn't play at all. Fast forward to this week, I now have a copy that works perfectly as well as 2 more games, to give my Sega Saturn a good old fashion workout!

Now we reach the items that aren't exactly great, but earn themselves an honorable mention. First are 3 hard cases; 2 of these cases are NES hard cases and the middle one is a multipurpose rental case, without the clear cover. Lastly there is a Famiclone gun that looks entirely too much like the real thing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bunch of Savages: a sequel to the first article of the same name.

I love vintage game themed plug n play systems, I really do! Even if I know they're homebrews, such as the DreamGear 50 in 1 I picked up the other day. But this one needed new AV cables installed, much like the Activision plug n play, but unlike that one the cables were complete, it was the tips that had been damaged!

Since I was already at the outlet store, where AV cables are plentiful, I decided to grab a few sets and check over them to see which would be the best to use for this repair. After sorting through a handful of them I decided on this digital camera AV set, they looked the most robust and therefore I figured they would be the best option. I pondered over doing an AV out mod, because there was a small Jazz DV camera in one of the bins, but I quickly decided that keeping this project to a minimum was going to be key.

Running merely on the assumption that this board would already be diagrammed and labeled for me, I pulled out everything and set to taking the system apart. Once apart I found out that it wasn't going to be as easy as I first though, although when I turned the board over I found it wasn't as complicated as I thought either. My soldering skills are nowhere near A1, but I can easily pass for a C average.

A simple desolder of the old wires, a quick setup for the new wires, some wire spinning and setting and resolder everything right back the way it is suppose to be. Again, I'm not a professional so it did take a little while to get everything to fit back together. After I get everything soldered in place and put back together I plugged it into my TV.

It works, and its packed with 50 homebrews, some of them are fun while others aren't, obviously. Anytime I have the chance to quickly fix something I'll gladly pay the 25-50 cents for it at the outlet store. Its building my soldering skills, my critical planning skills and I just find it fun to repair shit!

Monday, May 6, 2013

It bears repeating..

Today I will start off by saying I am not a genius, no matter how much I truly wish I were. But when it comes to the Goodwill outlet store and finding the things I want to find, I seem to rank highest. Anything that has to do with video games or guitar, it seems, I know far more than anyone else there.

I repeat myself on this blog in what may seem to be a boasting, overconfident tone, which couldn't be further from reality. I simply enjoy writing here and showcasing the finds that somehow slip the grasps of the casual and hardcore outlet shoppers alike and make their way into my bedroom. I've honestly never expected to ever see half the things I've found at the outlet store, but somehow I always end up finding something that blows my mind and causes me to dig deeper, stay longer and go more often, such as what I am about to show you.

Again, my ability to identify things much quicker than others is restricted solely to items I'm interested in, I couldn't tell you what a good Hi-Fi system or stuffed animal was if it slapped me in the face. But when it comes to obscure video game items, while everyone is scrambling about for anything with a brand on it, I can almost certainly tell what an item is by its shape or whether I've seen it before online or not. Same with the very rare occasions when a guitar or amp shows up in the bins, which happened just the other day, the outcome was greatly in my favor.

What I saw appeared to be a small practice combo from the 70's, but someone had already pulled it from the bin and placed it in their cart. Carrying on about my hunting I circled back to check some other bins and noticed it sitting alone in a clothes bin, so I gave it a little closer inspection. Right on the face I saw Kalamazoo and Model 1, the name Kalamazoo made me think of Gibson as I knew they were affiliated with Gibson at one point, but my knowledge on the name brand and this amp in particular is extremely weak.

I flipped the amp over and checked the speaker paper, if the speaker was damaged it really wouldn't even be worth buying, but not only did the speaker look to be in great shape, the little Kalamazoo Model 1 is a TUBE amp! Being a solid state person I've never had the chance to try out a tube amp, let alone own one. Given the fact that this was being sold by weight there was a good chance I would be taking it home.

What limited resources there are online about this amp indicate it was built in either 1965, 66 or 67, exciting! Its a fairly simple amp with a decent tube amp tone, really exciting! But the decades of technological changes have really made this amp kind of dangerous to play and costly to repair, bummer!

With a little bit of elbow grease this amp could look great in no time, as I assume from the looks it came straight from someone's attic to the outlet store. I only paid a little over $8 for the amp and a handful of other stuff from the outlet store, so it was super cheap. Sadly for now this thing has to sit beside its big brother -Line 6 Flextone HD and Mesa 4x12- and await the day I can safely test it to see what all repairs it needs.

About 75% of the images I've found of the Kalamazoo Model 1 amps are blackface models, and only a handful of them are the wood grain. I'm really wondering if I've stumbled on to a nice pile of gold, or a stinky pile of shit. If this thing works well as-is, or with minimal upgrades, and sounds as good as the demos I've watched on youtube, this thing is surely a slice of fried gold!