Tagged "GameGear"

Jan 29
By Matt Gander In We've Got Issues 4 Comments

If you spent a lot of pocket money on videogame magazines back in the ‘90s, then the story of how Mean Machines magazine was divided to become Mean Machines Sega and Nintendo Magazine System should be familiar. It’s not quite so common knowledge however that Impact’s Sega Force Magazine also eventually split into two different magazines – Sega Mega Force and Sega Master Force.

It was a brave thing to do seeing that the Master System was massively outsold by the NES and as such never had the same level of support. A scant handful of European publishers and Sega themselves kept the system afloat for most of its nine year lifespan, but even then Sega would only release a big new game on it once every three or four months. With the magazine making a debut in August 1993, the Master System was hardly a spring chicken at the time either. It’s not hard to imagine that those who did own at Master System at the time already had their hopes set on “upgrading” to a Mega Drive in the not too distant future.

GForce

Nestled inside the £1.50 magazine – which rose in price to £1.75 as soon as issue 4 – was a pull out section dedicated to the Game Gear, entitled G Force. This is the closest the battery-guzzling handheld ever got to having it’s own dedicated magazine. In theory it was a nice idea to give the Game Gear its own section, but in reality the writers just ended up having to preview and review games near identical to their Master System counterparts either in the same issue or an issue later. A few games were released on Game Gear first, such as Fantastic Dizzy, but it was a rare occurrence.

The old saying “you get what you pay for” very much rang true with Sega Master Force. The quality of writing was no better or worse than other magazines of the era, but each issue only had 60-odd pages. News led the way in a ‘stop press!’ section, followed by previews and reviews. The last half of the mag then featured guides, letters, classified ads and a letters section presented by fictional character Gutter Snipe. We assume this was meant to be their version of Mega Machine’s Mean Yob. We don’t ever seem to recall Yob using the phrase “Oh my good golliwog!” though.

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Apr 27
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic, Retro No Comments

The humble GameGear has gained more than a little attention on these hallowed pages this month. First we covered the fact that Sega are re-releasing their 8-bit hits on the 3DS’s virtual console, and then we chose the uber obscure Kuni-Chan’s Game Paradise for our monthly retro feature. I see no harm in continuing the theme to kick off this month’s eBay trawl. It’s not as if the GameGear is a popular topic for discussion, is it?

For collectors of the GameGear there are quite a few games to look out for, many of which were never released outside of Japan. A seller listed more than a few of these elusive titles on eBay this month which created something of a bidding frenzy.

Sublime shoot ’em up GG Aleste went for £82 (31 bids), late release Godzilla for £50 (4 bids), scrolling Anime-shooter Fray for £78.79 (11 bids) and the little known Panzer Dragoon Mini for £33.23 (7 bids). Despite both being pretty terrible, a copy of Tails Sky Patrol sold for £30.99 while G Sonic (aka Sonic Blast) blasted £62.00 out of somebody’s wallet, after 9 bids. Zool and In the Wake of the Vampire (aka Masters of Darkeness – a nice little Castlevania clone) were both released in Europe but the Japanese versions are quite rare as their ending prices show: Zool went for £51.99 (5 bids) while In the Wake of the Vampire ended at £30.99 (9 bids). Anything else? How about this copy of Operation Star5ish – the third and final part of the James Pond series – that sold for £24.54 (10 bids), and this very dubious boxed bootleg cart which went for £93.23.

From Sega, over to Sony. Xperia Play phones have been selling for between £350 and £450. This one even managed to get 31 bids. Perhaps there’s a bigger demand for them than anybody would believe? Or maybe people just really, really, really want to play Crash Bandicoot while on the move? Another PlayStation-related item shifting for a high amount was this Japanese copy of Zanac X Zanac which sold for £149.99 on a Buy It Now auction. An auction containing Suidoken I and II went for £150 on Buy It Now too, and just to prove their worth here’s a copy of Suidoken II which went for £102 on its lonesome, attracting 18 bids. The Suidoken games have always fetched a lot of cash, so these high amounts shouldn’t surprise that much. So here’s something that will: a copy of TinTin: Objective Adventure went ended at £68 after 10 bids.

Although Namco’s lovely RPG Tales of Vesperia is now available to download on the Xbox Live Games on Demand service it’s still selling for astronomically high amounts – this sealed copy sold for £90 while this one went for £59 with 21 bids. Maybe the bidders have no access to an internet connection whatsoever? That said, it is always nice to have a box and manual to look at.

Fans of boxes and boxart will like this Nintendo 64DD package which contained all the games released for it including Doshin the Giant and Sim City 64. It went for an impressive £557 after 29 bids. Also of note is this Nintendo 64 development system which fetched £170. “I had to put the other keywords in like Bung and Doctor as searching on eBay for just CD64 bought up some photos of a “curvy” woman in her underwear as the first result (seriously!),” said the seller. Oh really? A sealed copy of Chameleon Twist 2 on N64 also sold for £122 after 5 bids.

Not wanting to forget the retro formats that aren’t from Sega or Nintendo, this rare Atari STBook laptop went for an eyebrow-raising £989 attracting 18 bidders. The seller says that less than a hundred now exist, although I personally always take things like that with a pinch of salt. I mean, has he actually phoned everybody in the world to ask if they have one? Almost as impressive is this Commodore 64 Game System (C64GS) which went for £304.99. Can you believe that Commodore thought they could take on Sega and Nintendo with this? It was rather generous of Commodore to include a cart containing four rather good games with it, though.

Apr 05
By Matt Gander In Blog 7 Comments

Sega recently announced the first batch of GameGear games that’ll be appearing on the 3DS’s Virtual Console. If you missed the announcement, the line-up comprises Sonic & Tails 2, Sonic Drift 2, The GG Shinobi, Dragon Crystal: Shirai’s Maze and Columns.

Why they chose to use the Japanese names of each is beyond me – Sonic & Tails 2 was known as Sonic Triple Trouble outside of Japan, while Sonic Drift 2 became Sonic Drift Racing. Still, it’s not a bad little line-up.

Sonic Triple Trouble is one of the best 2D Sonic games; not just on the GameGear, but in general. Dragon Crystal is very Rouge-like with a nice soundtrack. It’s bound to be panned by the press for being basic by today’s standards, but back in 1990 it was ace. Don’t be fooled by Sonic Drift 2 – Mario Kart it isn’t. The GG Shinobi has stood the test of time, and if Columns only costs a couple of quid – which is likely – then it should be an essential download if you’re looking for something to play during lunch breaks.

It’s hard to see anybody but Sega re-releasing GameGear games on Virtual Console. Nonetheless, I’ve knocked up a list of ten titles I’d like to see.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
A straight conversion of the Sega Master System version, but no less brilliant with some memorable bosses – including a giant chocolate bar – and the chance to go swimming in a giant cup of tea. The sequel – Land of Illusion – makes my head hurt due to the way the screen scrolls, but thankfully the rare and largely unknown Legend of Illusion corrected this. Legend of Illusion would be more than welcome on VC too.

Coca-Cola Kid
A Japanese-only platformer from Aspect – the developers behind most of the 8-bit Sonic games. It bears great resemblance to Sonic Chaos, in fact, with similar presentation and some recycled sound effects. The titular kid is rather acrobatic in nature and can also jump onto a skateboard to zoom through the levels quicker. A nice little game.

Tails Adventure
Miles better (pun intended) than Tails’ Sky Patrol – in which you can lose a life by crashing into trees, walls and other obstacles – this platformer is slower paced than the Sonic games and rather lovingly made. Visually it showed what the GameGear could do when tickled in the right places. Once Sega gets the Sonic games onto VC then chances are this’ll appear at some stage.

Gunstar Heroes
One of the most impressive GameGear games to be released; only the 3D FPS Faceball 2000 looks more impressive. It’s missing a few levels from the Mega Drive version and the sprites flicker badly but the charm still remains. As with Coca-Cola Kid, this was also a Japan-only release.

Mortal Kombat II
Potentially this could make it out if Warner Bros. could ever be arsed to do a deal with Sega. There are only two backdrops but it plays smoothly and it’s better than Rage’s GameGear version of Mortal Kombat 3, which is so bad it’s almost unplayable.

Pac Attack
Combine Tetris with Pac-Man and you get Pac Attack. As well as forming lines you also have to line up ghosts for Pac-Man to eat whenever he appears. Even though it was available as part of a Pac-Man compilation on Game Boy Advance it’s something of a forgotten gem.

Marko’s Magic Football
If you ever saw this in action you’d think that it’s a Mega Drive game. The sprites are large and well animated and Marko has dozens of football-related tricks up his sleeves. And Marko is way cooler than Soccer Kid – who had a face only a mother could love.

Power Strike II (aka GG Aleste 2)
An awesome and impressive 2D shooter that’s uncommon on eBay and moves like greased lightening. With no R-Type games on GameGear this is the best example of the genre, with busy backgrounds, varied levels and a bonus stage viewed from a third person perspective.

Prince of Persia
Much like Mortal Kombat, this could appear too if Ubisoft had a chat with Sega. They’re probably too busy kissing Nintendo though. Prince of Persia, much like the early Sonic and Mario games, plays just as well now as it did when it was first released. The animation was jaw-dropping back in the day.

Ristar
An underrated platformer which plays a lot like the original Rayman. The Japanese version has an extra level which was removed from the US and European versions on the grounds that it was deemed too tough. It’s still present on these versions but you have to play it on a Japanese system to get it to appear.

I’ve left Wonderboy off the list as I’m willing to bet my last Wagon Wheel that it’ll be included in the second batch of games. Other likely candidates? Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter Animation, Ax Battler and no doubt Sonic 2, a game which I can’t really stand. At all.

Feb 23
By Matt Gander In Cache in the Attic No Comments

Every month we trawl eBay’s completed listings to find stuff of interest that has sold for vast sums. Why? Because the voices told us to.

What would you do with 192 copies of This is Football on PlayStation 1? Apart from using them to play a giant game of Jenga, I can’t think of any ideas. The game buying public must have also struggled to think of a use – this auction for 449 PlayStation 1 games, including 192 copies of aforementioned soccer sim – failed to find a buyer. Somebody did think they’d be able to find a use for 65 boxed Smackdown 2 PS1 memory cards though, as a bulk bundle of these ended at £79.77 with 7 bids. In the PlayStation 2 auctions meanwhile a sealed copy of Metal Gear Solid 2 gained a lot of attention and ended up selling for £81.18. They could have brought 81 used copies for that price.

I would seem that Namco’s Tales of Vesperia on Xbox 360 is worth keeping an eye out for – copies have been selling for over £50 recently, including this one that went for £52 with 13 bids. And how about a swanky limited edition Xbox 360 to play it on? This limited edition South Park Xbox 360 Elite went for £720 with 2 bids. Apparently only 5 were made. Slightly less rare but still desirable was this Gorillaz Xbox 360 faceplate from the UK Xbox 360 launch which sold for £40 with 5 bids.

Over in the world of Nintendo, Conker’s BFD continues to be a steady seller. I don’t think it has dropped in value since it was released with copies continuing to sell for around £50-£60. Also selling for a similar figure is Konami’s Hyperboy accessory for the original Game Boy, which turns it into a table top console complete with a mini joystick. Just to show that it wasn’t a one off, another one sold for £46.22 recently as well attracting 3 bidders. Somebody else thought it was better to have a Game Boy on their wrist rather than their table – this new Watch Boy LCD wrist watch sold for £34.99 on a Buy It Now. Looks like the seller has a few of these up for grabs. Lastly, a copy of Resident Evil Gaiden on Game Boy Color went for £36 after 15 bids.

Time now for Sega stuff. Even though the seller got the name ever so slightly incorrect, this auction for ‘Shining Force 111’ ended at a nice £75.11 after 26 bids. Also fetching a tidy sum on Saturn this month were Keio Flying Squadron 2 for £55 with 2 bids, and Dragon Force for the same amount with 24 bids. The price of boxed Sega Saturns appears to be on the rise – a few PAL models approached £100 this month.

A couple of GameGear games sold for eyebrow raising amounts recently too. A copy of rare but rubbish Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle sold for an incredible £311 while the Japan-only 3D shooter Faceball 2000 sold for £56. I bet that made the seller happier than the smiley face on the boxart.

Feb 15
By Matt Gander In Retro 3 Comments

A Greek gamer has blogged about his joy of finding five brand new Sega Mega Drive II consoles and six new GameGear handhelds thrown away in a skip next to a Greek toy store.

Although the boxes were dusty, their contents were completely intact. Just imagine how much these consoles would have been worth back in the day – over £1,000, easily. Shame to think they could have potentially ended up in a landfill.

I once saw a boxed copy of Ballz on the Mega Drive in a skip but didn’t touch it. The builders were hanging around the skip at the time having a fag so I would have looked like a right skank.

Feb 15
By Matt Gander In Retro 3 Comments

Being the mere human that I am, curiosity runs through my veins. Bootleg multi-game carts just so happen to be something that gets my curiosity glands flowing – there’s joy to be had from coming across one of these mystical beasts, plugging it in, and seeing what treasures it contains. If you’re currently scratching your head, allow me to fill in the blanks – multi-game carts are cartridges often manufactured in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cornwall and contain copious amounts of pirated software.

When it comes to making a purchase you never know what you’re going to get. Some promise 50-odd games but only actually contain a few games cheekily repeated with different names. My worst offender is a Mega Drive cartridge promising 500 titles but the genuine amount is just 5. This means that some poor soul had to think up of 495 alternative names for the 5 games it included – Rambo III, Tiny Toons, The Flintstones, Sunset Riders and World Cup 92, if you’re wondering.

Others live up to their promise of featuring whatever number is printed on the label, albeit the bootleggers have chosen older games that are small in memory size so they can be crammed into the innards of a cheaply manufactured cartridge. The artwork on the cartridge label can never be taken as gospel either – some mention or feature artwork from games that are nowhere to be found. One Game Boy Advance cartridge I own has boxart from Yoshi’s Island, Gladius and Power Rangers but doesn’t contain any of them.

Game Boy Advance multi-carts in particular are brilliant finds for retro fanatics – they usually contain a couple of Game Boy Advance games and a lengthy list of NES and Famicom titles. This amuses me greatly – when Nintendo released the NES Classics range they charged £15 for a single NES game on a Game Boy Advance cartridge.

Sega GameGear multi-carts are interesting too – most have a handful of GameGear games plus Japanese SG-1000/Sega Mark III (aka Master System) games such as Transbot, Teddy Boy and My Hero. One of my GameGear carts has a reset switch on the cartridge itself which helps battery consumption as you don’t have to keep power cycling the handheld to choose games. Another GameGear multi-cart features shoddy versions of Super Mario Bros. and Dr. Mario – known as Super Boy 2 and Dr. Hello.

For collectors multi-carts are highly desirable, especially those that come with boxes. And with new variants always being discovered – it’s impossible to tell how many of these things were made – there’s always something to keep your eye out for on the likes of eBay.

NB: Games Asylum does not condone piracy of any kind. We didn’t even like the fact that there’s going to be a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

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