Friday, December 14, 2007

I love my dead grey console: Part 3

psone print

Readers of the alert persuasion may remember the acquisition of a PSOne (the micro, slim, white one) from the Goodwill by myself (along w/ other things) way back.1 More recently, you would maybe also remember my dusting off of the ol' big gray box PlayStation, aka PSX to fire up the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics and Grandia. The space between those 2 events is filled by, in addition to the acquisition of Dreamcasts + Genesis cartridges, the fact the acquired PSOne had a effed up motor. It would power up, but it could not read game discs. Sadness.

Until the other day!

A trip to the bank & the hardware store provided ample circumnavigation to hit up the Goodwill, where I found jack of all shits except a fuggin' cherry PSone, bagged w/ all necessary cables & a controller, for an easy TWENTY wingwangs!

Now, clearly, I had no true NEED for a PSOne, being possession of a PSX, but at the same time I had a terrible, terrible NEED for a PSOne. So the PSX, the good ol' gal, is now safe once again in her plastic storage tub in the attic3 & tis' the PSOne which resides beneath the telly.

Not satisfied (clearly not satisfied!) w/ merely swapping out identical consoles,4 I get back to some of those Atlus PSX games I researched but never purchased, along w/ some other stuff I'd sniffed out. In short order, games, via the post, were promised onto me.

ATLUS strategic JRPG, Hoshigami? Secured!

A strategic JRPG w/ a Pokemon monster-collecting element? Eternal Eyes, come to poppa!5

Do I have the spare time to play not one but 2 new tactical RPGs, on top of a host of incomplete games?6

No sir, I do not. I do not.7

I have a problem.


1 I love my dead grey console: part 2, October 5, 2006.
2 Grandia, October 1 2007.
3 Along w/ the Intellivision, the back-up Dreamcast, the back-up's back-up Dreamcast, and the SNES I still need to get a functioning controller for.
4 I really can't express the lack of room the PSOne take up. As other "retro" console types know well, the battle for space and organization when maintaining multiple platforms is hard fought. Suddenly having a given console possess a mere half the footprint it used to is a godsend.
5 While I was well aware that the original PlayStation was host to a bevy of RPGs essentially unmatched before or since, I was (vastly) unaware of just how many of them were of tactical nature.
6 Ah geez: Grandia, Final Fantasy Tactics, Phantasy Star II, Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Maken X, Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation 2. And those are just the ones I'm truly vested in...
7 Let us not forget mention Dragon Warrior I & II for my Gameboy Color (or GBA, I s'pose) that's in the mail. Or that I've been eyeballing the numerous versions of Harvest Moon lately. Funny story abt the 1st Dragon Warrior: my 1st console was the 1st Sega Genesis, but prior to that I got my kicks off renting a NES for the weekend. Somehow, I got a hold of a copy of Nintendo Power that had the map or the walkthrough or something for DW1 (prolly kifed it from someone). When a NES was rented, I selected DW as my rental title of choice, then, being clever, but having no concept of 'leveling', I attempted to go to some ruined city and get the +30 sword or whatever. I failed spectacularly at this task, 'course, cause yr s'posed to go the easier dungeon or castle or whatever first. Sadly I didn't figure this out and played mario instead or something. So, I will extract a certain, shall we say, REVENGE against DW when it arrives: who's the clever one, now, eh?!?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Down the bar tonight, I bought a red/black DS Lite + 5 games off a kid needs to make rent. Told him I'd sell it back to him for the same dough when he's flush again; we'll see.

Sos anyways, couple months ago, Kathy Contradiction's favorite son rolled up north to hit up Pax. DDT loaned me his digimal cam'ron, but failed to print up the radtastic Reviewiera stickers we'd discussed. Thus did I take a half-dozen snaps over three days, and network not at all.

Well, maybe I networked a little bit. In this vasty line, I began a series of 'bservations that'd continue th'ought the 'vent.

Pax Line to Nowhere

Foist, I noticed DS'. How many? Somewhere 'round infinity. Anything you trained yr eyes on that wasn't a DS sorta stood out. Punchline: I didn't see 8 PSPs that weekend. Standing in that 'posterous line, I began idly to finger my micro--not like that!!--simply to remind myself that things other than the DS existed. The kid behind me (looked like the singer dufus from Dagger of the Mind) had his DS in this nerf armor thing: I asked him can I fondle that, caress, and he surrendered the item. After cataloging it digitally, I pumped out the cart, just to see: he blanched as I eyeballed his Harvest Moon cart.

When I returned his lil' brick and 'parently 'barassing cart, he turned to his escort and thoroughly ignored the ol' Fat Man. I started reobserving the line: the shot above does no justice to this congregation. Lotta pasty, doughy flesh, and the novelty tshirt concession at this event would pay off a purchase of Mars.

I began to worry that the DS' would somehow cross-connect (using their built-in WiFi!!) and comprise a wholly new class of entity, along the lines of City Come A-Walkin'. Some new god, glinting dull silver and looming...

Eventually I broke free from the line, and hit the showroom floor. Obviously, my first stop was at the outpost of the greatest retail experience in my three odd decades on your homeworld: Pink Godzilla.

PAX Pink Godzilla PAX Pink Godzilla 2
PAX Pink Godzilla 3 PAX Pink Godzilla 4

Clockwise from top left:
That's. A. Lot. Of. Games.

That's. A. Lot. Of. Games. From a farther angle, with humans for scale.

Look very closely. The two--of all possible options!!--games on display 'pon monitors: the Japanese version of River City Ransom and a Dreamcast import shmup. (Trizeal or Trigger Heart Excelica; I forget which and am too plowed to research. I love you all.) River City Ransom and a late-era Dreamcast shmup. Pink Godzilla receives the first-ever Reviewiera Gets It award! Henceforth this award shall be known as the Pinkla!!

That fourth shot is a mix of the second and third.

I bought Electroplankton. Made my way 'round the corner, and was smitten by Alien Hominid. So I bebought it.

After all this Gross Consumption, I needed time to wander. I did. I wandered past the Nintendo fiefdom many times. Each time, I watched somebody play Metroid Prime: Corruption. Each time, I was disappointed in the look of the game, and the feel I could feel from 2.5 meters away. Each time I was disappointed for the 10 or so minutes I couldn't stop watching somebody play Metroid Prime: Corruption.


Off in a dusty corner, I saw a kid wearing a bag marked "Bag of Holding".

PAX Bag of Holding

Every ounce of nondouche I possess went into not knocking him over and turning his bag inside out.

Looky! Coswork!

PAX Halo

I couldn't bring myself to take pictures of actual booth babes. So I took a picture of this statue instead. The best booth babe, for the record, was the one for the Conan game.

PAX World of Warcraft

Oh, this was 'some. Saw her lounging 'round 'pon the 'mazing beanbags established for handheld gaming. Asked JGR's my favorite game can I take yr picture, she says Yah but lemme put back on my boots. Totally above and beyond! Nicely done, Gum!


Right near her were two dudes duded up in Phoenix Wright 'umes, but (a) PW drools and (ii) they weren't cute.

Two of my favorite things on your Earth are Metroid and cute.

PAX Metroid Hat

PAX Metroid Shirt

At the time, I wasn't aware of the assy 'nets trope "I has one ____"/"Oh noes! I lost my ____!" Thus was I substantially more charmed by this gal's homebrew shirt than perhaps I ought've been. But NO-ONE can front on her Metroid hat!!

I would seriously wear that hat.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Last and First Men

Marbury Garnett

Fat shot me a txt a while ago that Stephon Marbury was talking w/ Kareem on Steph's FSN show. I hit pause on Grandia & caught the last 20 minutes or so.

I know its been documented elsewhere that Steph is no Mike Wallace, but Steph positing questions to Kareem made me squeamish. This is not a knock against Steph - I find his show endearing & strangely comforting1 - but Steph is about my age, so his personal experience of Kareem's career is probably similar to mine. This is limited to the following:
1. A very, very, very vague memory of Kareem playing in the '88 Finals.
2. That commercial w/ the towel.
3. Game of Death
4. Airplane!
The peculiar element of this interview was the way Steph would ask, shall we say, stilted questions to Kareem, & then Kareem would just field the question like a guy who'd been dealing w/ the press since the Mariner 4 probe. Especially interesting was Kareem speaking of the importantance of planning ahead for the inevitable end of yr playing career. Kareem then mentioned something about Steph doing just this, what w/ his shoe company & "this show." That's what really caught my attention. Marybury is executive producer of his own show, which I guess isn't a surprise, but, as Fat pointed out, its suprising for an active player, especially one of Marbury's, uh, [contractural] stature, to be laying post-playing career paving stones.

Combine this w/ the reaction I get when I tell people about the $15 Starburys (overwhelmingly positive for a shoe sponsored by a player that most people don't recognize by name) & I'm left w/ an extremely ambigious & confused attitude about Marbury. I mean, the guy has a reputation (admittedly deserved) as a loser, but he is, after all, 27th all-time in career assists. For comparison, draft-mate Allen Iverson is 72nd, & MJ is 32nd.

I know Maravich is a player that gets trotted out wayyy too much for the cross-purposes of historical comparison, but I can't help but think about a certain Halberstam quote:
Now, in his tenth year of the professional game, one of the two or three highest-paid players in the league, he had a reputation in some quarters of being a loser. Even those sympathetic to him did not really know if he could play team basketball. His career was almost over and no one really knew how good he was.2
I guess this is where I'll wear the Marbury apologist hat for a few sentences.3

On 2nd thought, I won't want to go down that road.

But, in short, for the sake of making a point about the inescapable black hole that is historical circumstance, yeah, sure, the Wolves were 1st round exits w/Marbury 2 years in a row, but that kept happening for YEARS after.4 And the Nets? Did Kidd lift them to eastern conf. ascendency or did the East just finally get that effing bad after Steph left? PHX? Coach Frank Johnson? NY? Is it Marbury's fault he was brought to distract from the fact the Knicks were rebuilding-on-the-fly?

I don't know if I actually believe any of these defenses of Marbury. I guess its hard to simply say an NBA player is a victim of circumstance when basketball is highly praised as a sort of ziggaraut of individual & collection-of-individuals accomplishment. This is, after all, the game where Great Men of Stapledonian Proportions make history, & are not shaped by it.5


1 At long as his guest is someone from the NBA. I saw one where an NFL player was on & I had no idea what they were talking about.
2 Covenant of Hype, Covenant of Game January 3, 2007.
3 The Marbury critic need only point at the Wolves, Nets, & Suns all getting markedly better after his departure, usally instantly.
4 Although, in the wake of KG's departure from Minnesota, it appears there were other wheels within wheels at work in that sitch. 20/20.
5 This piece was drafted back in May. I wasn't happy w/ it so it rotted forgotten in my drafts collection. Looking at it now w/ what has transpired at MSG since, Marbury has transcended standard narratives into pure enigma. How does one describe the career of Coney Island's finest? And once you begin assigning motifs, where do you start? Or stop, for that matter? Are his on-court performanaces (or lack thereof) worth more than a footnote at this point? He's like a Rodman w/o the crazy. Or the hardware.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

that's rock in my pocket (I'm NOT glad to see you)

Our reader may remember a projekt I embarked upon 'round a year.5 back. Idea was to create some awesometastic playlists for my then-working iPod shuffle. The projekt fizzled on the launchpad when I managed to linux the little white lozenge into total non-workityness.

And that's the story of how for the past year and a half, I've essentially listened to music in exactly two situations. The first, when at work. The second, however much of a tape I can get through as I lay my head down 'pon my wadded hoody, waiting for the sweet embrace of a vodkasoda and pair of antihistimines. (Fat=Bad At Sleep.) And maybe half a peppy song or two as I struggle toward pants and shoes of a morning.

How did my relationship to music change? And why?

I don't know.

Saturday I betook myself to the Record Shop, where I did shop. Then I betook myself to the Fred's, where I did browse lengthily, with dissatisfaction, and attendant frustration. I contacted Canada, my technical advisor, several times; after onesuch contact, I espied a 'ticularly attractive little deck.

Whyfore so appealing? Lemme back it on up a sec. While back, I scored a Wii. (Thoughts on same: pending.) While after that, I scored an SD card for't. Turns out that SD card ain't worth much in my Wii at the mo'. (Fat's forsworn porn for a while, so what need has he for capacious storage?) Back at Fred's, I do see a walkman...internally but a single gig. But with SD card 'spansion!!

For fifty wing-wangs, irresistable. Anyways, I didn't resist.

Being who I am, I turned the music-filling process into a PROJEKT. The natural dividing line is between the onboard gig, and the pair of gigs of SD card seated so snugly within its characteristic compartment. Still I do crave avoision of the utterly familiar: thus...a rule:
Rule One:
Onboard storage shall allow one (1) album per artist only.

(I made an immediate exception for Neurosis, as Pain of Mind and Given to the Rising--the two records I put on there first--are utterly distinct. More or less two different bands there.)

And so-ly have I spent most of the past three days glaring at my intrepid, plucky laptop, screaming "why must you rip things so slowly!? Why aren't you faster!?" In the comments, I shall limn the current contents, with occasional annotations, on account of it's fun to have music in my life again.