Friday, February 22, 2008


A Sega Nomad became a dear part of my life over the holidays. Yah, the battery life is as short as you've heard - abt 5 hrs w/ (six) alkalines, and although a disappointing 2 or so hours w/ NiMH rechargeables, well, at least they're rechargeable.1

Phantasy Star II's been getting the lion's share of play on the Nomad. This is contrary to what I've read in some places: that RPGs don't look great on the Nomad and are hard to read. I think it looks fantastic, and if you're having trouble reading it the screen on yr Nomad is either dying or something, or you need glasses.2 'Sides PSII, Sonic Spinball's gotten some semi-serious time, the big No. 2 is the recently acquired Shining Force[: Legacy of Great Intention].

Shining Force is a vintage tactical RPG, which I adore. Menu and item management are pretty minimal, but the story advances quickly and battles don't take more than the occasional 2nd try (so far). Beloved by me features also include:
(A) When Max, yr main character, dies in battle, the battle's over, which kinda sucks (the battle continues if other characters are slain), but the party doesn't lose any acquired experience (or gold, I think) from the failed attempt. This is why a 2nd attempt will mostly likely always succeed.
(B) All the members of the Shining Force are recruited in the town maps. This is not an entirely unique feature (you can do it 108 times in Suikoden, for example), but I must confess it is charming. Most refuse to join up at first, of course, then change their minds after an event or some such.
Anyways, I've been on the warpath in PSII, getting off that god-forsaken rock called Mota and finally reaching the alien world of Dezo, an experience which fills me with strange feelings. Wonder? Glee? Holy shit! Am I having FUN?!?

Having been hitting the Genesis collection so hard lately, my mind wandered to the old conundrum of my lack of Genesis games which come in cases. Great sites exist on the 'nets for downloading covers for yr Genesis (or SNES or NES) cartridges, but I was perpetually held up my the lack of the cases themselves. You can mail-order some, but they're kinda stupid expensive: like a buck per case, but plus 2 bucks S+H. Eff that. So the last time I'm at CDGameXchange, I look at the Genesis section and note 3 sports games, each w/ their case, for a buck each. "I just need the cases," I explain to the clerk as I throw down my ones and scurry out the door.

About 3-4 hours on the GIMP later, I can't stop looking at, or picking up and holding, these 2 beauties...

Phantasy Star 2 + Shining Force 1 custom cases - front

Of course, I had to make hybrid covers w/ the Japanese art on the front and the North American art on the spine and back.

From the angle that matters the most: the view when on the shelf...

Phantasy Star 2 + Shining Force 1 custom cases - side

I really can't emphasize enough the smug satisfaction that comes w/ clicking yr copy of Shining Force into a colorful case designated as the case which holds Shining Force. Also, display as a concept and a reality, including the elements of design and set-up (what kind of shelf? what order? etc), is a critical distinction which sets any sort of hobbyist collection apart from mere archiving (a mere matter of semi-accessible storage).


1 However, I really need a different charger. Mine only holds 4 AAs at a time, and supposedly takes "overnight" to recharge. Which is true, if "overnight" is 24 hours. I need one of those 8-battery 45-60 minute powerhouses.
2 Besides, don't 16-bit graphics always look just a bit sharper when viewed on a tiny screen?

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2 Comments + Unabashed Criticism:

Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Damn. I LOVE those cases, my friend. DS cases, as I think I showed you one time, have a GBA-game slot, so I bought a half-dozen of them a while back, to help organiztore the used GBA titles I've accumulated.

The cases have that standard transparent plastic sleeve, open at one end so's you can slip stuff in, right. My display mode was to write the name of the game on a cut-to-size scrap of paper, then shove it into the plastic pocket. Came out pretty good, though not quite to the standard of your hybrids.

Funny, though: by yr standards, I don't seem to have a "hobbyist collection", since all my games are merely stored in semi-accessible fashion. I've a minor display, I suppose, but that's an unintended consequence of a layout designed to facilitate easyish access without disturbation of the organization of the stored. That is, everything's shoved into milk crates, or milk crate analogues. These can easily be stacked, but more often are positioned horizontally for easier access to each crate ('s contents).

It's just a modular hack towards approximating bookcase display, my fundamental model for organization.

I'm intrigued by the GBA Shining Soul games, apparently related to Shining Force, but sometimes involving my main men Suda 51 and Akira Ueda. This means heavy item management, and far the best item descriptions I've yet encountered. You know you're loving a game when you browse equipment screens just because the text will make you smile. I mean, I remember equipping a character in Contact with an aluminum baseball bat--over and over again!--because the description was "this bat is totally metal".

I am a giant dork.

(Contact, BTW, might at this point be my favorite game ever.)


4:06 AM  
Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

BTW, "Legacy of Great Intention" is tits. What a wonderful, clunky, nigh-Engrish subtitle. Exactly the feel I like in/from my JRPSGs.

10:23 AM  

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