By Daavpuke 2 Comments
I have a confession to make: I fucked up. Last time, I mentioned buying old PSP copies to explore the plethora of crappy video games that are out there. As it often happens, my disease for collecting ill-conceived boxes makes me tend to linger on used market websites. I'm a lingerer; I linger. To really illustrate my bad taste, my main goal at the moment is trying to acquire an affordable Nintendo Wii U. For all the talk of people not wanting to own a Wii U anymore, there sure is a complete opposite of people putting a premium price on theirs, also. Alternatively, I've noticed that both my Gameboy Advance and GameCube collection need some serious expansion. All reasons to just see what people are selling these days and at what price.
So, days after my aforementioned acquisition of a random selection of very specific crud, including Tony Hawk's Motion on Nintendo DS, a certain listing caught my attention. The post mentioned "45 PS3 games, including 3D Dot Game Heroes." Normally, I don't really go for lot auctions anymore, because I end up with so many duplicates of games that resell poorly and I always take on releases that aren't interesting, even for me. And I assure you, my standards are really low. However, copies of 3D Dot Game Heroes are impossible to come by around here and I had recently explored the wide library of games that developer FromSoftware made that aren't Dark Souls. It's hard to imagine that they've ever done anything else. So, at the very least, this listing deserved a look.
By some cosmic coincidence, I only owned about four games in the list and it contained a few copies I needed for reference. The lot was pricey, though; rather, too pricey for me in the ongoing pandemic. Yet, if I subtracted the cost of 3D Dot Game Heroes, which can go for almost fifty bones, the others would cost like one or two bucks a pop. Now this lot sounds more like a steal!
You see, this is the sort of twisted thinking my head comes up with to justify my bad habits. I am sick.
Knowing the verminous resellers who crawl used sites, I had to make a snap decision. The auction would sell quickly, as marking up the few notable games makes up for the price, while the rest would be added to the endless inventory any of these dragons sit upon. I decided to approach the seller directly: I agree to the price, can pay immediately and we'll work out the best delivery method. My plan worked, since people enjoy the sound of immediate money, I assume, but now I was on the hook for real. Eating was going to be challenging for the next few weeks. The games would personally get dropped off at my house in a few days. This person was, in fact, extremely accommodating. They really didn't want these PlayStation 3 games anymore. Looking at my full shelves, I can't say they were the ones making poor decisions in this exchange.
The day came and two flimsy bags appeared on my doorstep. One awkward conversation later, I started unloading. My first realization was that I badly want to play 3D Dot Game Heroes, but due diligence would require me to first test several dozen lesser discs. My second realization was much worse in nature. For a brief moment, I lived in a world where I could pop in a disc and start playing. Surely, testing would take an hour, tops, before I could dig in. I didn't exist in our actual hell future, where every disc requires an additional data install of several gigabytes that downloads through a bottlenecked console, with limited hard drive space. In that hour, I tested three games. This run-through was going to be my life for a significant time. This was going to be work.
Did you know that there's no enforced standard to the data install screen? Some will boot after the main menu, some before, some get their own splash screen. Even the general black void with white text is different every time. "Please wait" is an optional request, as they know you're forced to sit there, if you'd like to play video games, ever. The same random dice roll goes for preorder and limited edition bonuses. It's all chaos, but at least I got a PlayStation Home shirt out of it.
One of the first discs I inserted was something that tried my patience the most. With the upcoming remaster of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time incoming, I had taken a spin with the original, only to find that it had aged poorly, quite like publisher Ubisoft in general. I had, however, forgotten that the company already re-released the game in one of the many HD collections of the PS3. After a painstakingly long install, I tried to launch the trilogy, but to no avail. A quick search later revealed that Ubisoft pretty much sold people a broken game. The third iteration, The Two Thrones, just does not work, while the other two titles have way too many bugs and framerate issues to justify the moniker of a remaster. I put in over an hour of effort and I had a shiny coaster to show for it. Let that be a warning for that remake, other Ubisoft issues aside.
Another collection included in my bundle was God of War, which aged equally badly. It's kind of amazing that something as pivotal as God of War, the progenitor for spectacle action games, looks antiquated only a few years later, even when updated. Not only that, but Sony had the audacity to sell these in multiple purchases; one for the main titles and another for the PSP releases. The portable games never looked good, but now it's plain laughable to return to these grainy, angular monstrosities, whose very allure was supposed to be visual splendor. Sony really struck that iron while it was hot, to death. I thought my disdain for the cash grab of HD collections had subsided, but firsthand experience rekindled that once more. Do it right; otherwise, why even do it at all? Here's looking at Super Mario 3D All-Stars.
Speaking of rehashed content, I tested Brutal Legend as well. The intro is some of the weirdest setups in modern games. The camera follows Jack Black walking into a record store, yapping as they do, to pull out a record that goes into the game menu. The rest of the intro, which complains about the fact that there's no good music anymore and the old days were better, I could do without. There's still plenty of great metal being produced. May I recommend Brand of Sacrifice, a Berserk-themed deathcore band? In Brutal Legend's defense, current streaming services and algorithms have made it easier than ever to have good recommendations come to you, for those who keep their mind open to it. Maybe current day Eddie Riggs would only grind their physical axe.
On another note, one of my favorite things to do when acquiring bundles is getting a read on the previous owner. This one in particular was prone to fandom. When they went in on a game, they were down for life. As such, most of the lot consisted of games and their respective sequels. Resistance was a pretty standard trilogy, truly of its time, but I personally never looked into Motorstorm. It's not that I don't enjoy racing games, but they just end up on the lower end of priorities. Therefore, I did manage to discover that the jump from the first to the second release was immense, but the third game was virtually identical to the second. I guess once you nail down the formula, there's much less room for growth. The same rings true for the Uncharted games that were included. Diminishing returns, as a popular saying on the site states.
A franchise that this person also went hard on was Ninja Gaiden. Now, the first modern iteration of Ryu Hayabusa's trials is a seminal experience. Some could say that the real Dark Souls starts here, actually. That third game though... Man, the quality of that series suddenly falls off a cliff. Now I have a better reference for why Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, which I'm also going through, is quite as embarrassing as it is. Team Ninja was well on their way already. I would love to find out why the games suddenly shifted in style.
The last bundle I received was Mass Effect 2 and 3. I first tried to run the final game in the trilogy. I tried very hard, cleaned both my lens and the disc, but nothing worked. I pulled out the game and took a closer look. Somehow, I had missed that the disc was in shambles. This person hated Mass Effect 3 more than probably any game I've ever owned. In all my 800 games, I've never seen someone put several dents in a copy, along with end-to-end scratches; even tearing both the outer and the inner ring. It's surprising that the disc didn't accidentally shatter in my hands. Nothing could save this poor thing. This is why testing games before storing them is important. Yet, Mass Effect 2 was pristine and ran without a hitch. I couldn't help but laugh. These are my favorite moments of collecting random games. The environmental storytelling that those two copies revealed is more than worth a bum disc. I've seen all I've needed to see out of that franchise from Mass Alex anyway.
Coincidentally, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was amidst the lot. Given my previous post mentioned I played the PlayStation 2 version, this was the perfect opportunity to compare, as one of the developers told me that the two versions were nothing alike. They were right. The PS2 era of ports is rough on many fronts. I'm going through a whole mess of titles for the upcoming 20th anniversary of the PS2, so the addition of the Silent Hill collection was another blessing in disguise. While the mix of Silent Hill 2 and 3 got panned for launching in a terrible state, it allowed me to fill a gap in my playbook. You can't take a look back at PS2 without Silent Hill 2. Two for two; that's just common sense. After playing it for a while, I can safely say that survival horror is a hard genre to get right, but I respect it for trying to be as eccentric and unique as it is. Just like its direct competition, Resident Evil, that first movie is alright. There's always that.
Other tidbits in the gauntlet included Alice: Madness Returns, a peculiar redo of Goldeneye, as well as Midway Arcade Origins, which has Rampart on it, one of my favorite Sega Master System games. It took over ten hours to test every game, much more than anticipated. I completely ran out of shelf space, so all of these boxes are just towering on my desk. After all that, still, I was finally ready to start diving into a new wave. The day after, Genshin Impact released and I haven't played anything else since. I never even touched 3D Dot Game Heroes, the one game I actually wanted out of all of this. I bought 45 games to play one thing and I didn't even do that. If I learned anything out of this, it's that I needed to close the tab of that second hand site, to prevent more damage to my dignity. Don't live like I do. Luckily, Genshin Impact is very good at distracting from any other vices.
With the recent announcement that Sony is discontinuing their webstore for PSP and PS3, this escapade also puts a bookend on my collection, as that's how I kept track of potential additions. Having recently tried to use the PlayStation Store on PS3, to download PSP games, I can attest that no one would ever want to use this method. That is a story in itself. At least, I'll never fall into this trap again, hopefully. Ideally, I need that money for food, since my country seems to have taken the breaks off this whole pandemic thing. Otherwise, bury me with my four copies of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Now there's a quality video game.