Archive for the Crash Bandicoot Category

Nerdy Monday 24: 2nd and Charles

Posted in 1980's, 1990's, Cinemassacre/James Rolfe, Crash Bandicoot, N64, Nerdy Monday, NES, Playstation, PS2, PS3, Retro, T.V. shows, Video Game, XBox, XBox 360 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2014 by Divide By Zero

I am finally going to be writing more regularly.  I had a lot of stuff gonig on these past few months (years, really), and I thank you to everyone who has visited my site during the hiatus.

I wanted to come back on a Nerdy Monday, because that (in all honesty) was my favorite post to write each week.  Since the last time I posted a Nerdy Monday article, I’ve moved.  Therefore the locality of the blog articles to be written are going to pertain mostly to Northern Virginia/Washington D.C.  For some articles, like the top 10 lists, locality won’t matter.  However, for this re-introduction special to Nerdy Monday XXIV, I’m going to be talking about Heaven on Earth.  Or simply by its name: 2nd & Charles.  Particularly the one in my home town of Woodbridge, VA.  How can you not love a place that puts this up on its facebook page:

It might be photoshopped, but this is ALWAYS what I see pulling into the parking lot.

It might be photoshopped, but this is ALWAYS what I see pulling into the parking lot.

For those of you who have never heard of a “2NC”, allow me to explain;  It’s a sort of 2nd hand bookstore, music store, game stop (more like a now defunked Funcoland), toy store, and comic book store all rolled into one.  Personally, I go there for the video games.  Like a moth to a flame.  Because they buy back older books, vinyls, comic books, and everything else, they have a lot of old video games.  I’m talking about original Gameboy, all the original Nintendo, Sega Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Cube, etcetera, all the way up through the X-BONE & the PS4.  What’s not to love?!  I’ve told my fiancee that I could spend hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars there, and it’s true.  I have to give myself a limit on how much I am going to spend before we even leave to go there, and I almost never stay below budget.

If you haven’t liked them on facebook yet, do it!  If you haven’t subscribed to their e-mail list, you’re missing out.  On facebook, they put up all sorts of pictures of new items they bought back, or deals they have on clearance items, it’s wonderful.  When I have nothing to do, while I’m out running errands with my family (that don’t directly involve me or require my help) I get dropped off there and 3 hours goes by in the blink of an eye.  Also on facebook, you’ll receive special promotions they have at the buyback counter (another one of my favorite departments).  The most recent one I participated in was:

LAST DAY to receive DOUBLE CREDIT when you trade in your used#videogame #consoles, #games, and #accessories! Drop by before 7pm and SCORE BIG with buyback today!
#retro #pikachu #snes #nes #n64 #nintendo #gamecube #xbox #xboxone#xbox360 #playstation #PS4 #PS3 #ps2 #sony #atari #ds #dsi#smashbrothers #destiny #nostalgia #woodbridge #virginia #nova
Photo: LAST DAY to receive DOUBLE CREDIT when you trade in your used #videogame #consoles, #games, and #accessories! Drop by before 7pm and SCORE BIG with buyback today!
#retro #pikachu #snes #nes #n64 #nintendo #gamecube #xbox #xboxone #xbox360 #playstation #PS4 #PS3 #ps2 #sony #atari #ds #dsi #smashbrothers #destiny #nostalgia #woodbridge #virginia #nova
 [Author: excerpt from 2NC’s facebook page]
Yes, DOUBLE credit for any old video games and consoles.
If you know me personally, AT ALL, you know that I’ve amassed quite a vintage video game collection.  Nothing crazy, or youtube worthy, but nobody needs 6 Sega Genesis consoles, all of the same model.  Even worse, I felt I didn’t need more than 2 PS1’s seeing as how my PS2’s and PS3 play PS1 games.  Also, all the duplicate copies of games I have had to go.  Opportunities like this don’t happen very often, so for most people, it’s a way to streamline your ’80’s & ’90’s arcade, as well as build up some store credit at a great place like 2NC.  What I want to do with my collection (and your plan for yours may be different) is to get rid of all of my cheaper games, and focus on getting the good games that everyone remembers.  OddWorld: Abe’s Exodus, Contra, Commando, Final Fantasy VII, Anything Crash Bandicoot.  I know I’ll never have a collection like my mentor, The Angry Video Game Nerd’s, but I’d like my collection to make people a LITTLE envious!
This place seriously has something for everyone.  Autographed & classic books, vinyl records and CDs out the ying-yang, every Wednesday is New Comic Book Day, movies and TV shows on DVD, toys, collectibles, video games, and a ton more.  I spent close to 100 dollars one time on stuff I didn’t even know I needed!  A tetris Ice cube tray, space invaders alarm clock, video game cases, DVDs I wanted in my library for $2.50 a piece, a poster that went perfectly in my living room (before my fiancee told me to move it).  Batman stuff, comic books, t-shirts, and a joker thumb drive are on my “To Get” list as well.  I know they don’t need any advertising from me, and I’m not getting paid by anyone to write this article, I just genuinely love 2nd & Charles.  So, like I said, if you haven’t checked it out, check it out, like them on facebook and join their mailing list.  When they buy back things, you can get cash too (though not as much as if you got store credit), so it’d be nice for someone who wants to find a good home for the junk they don’t use.
I’m probably going to be writing about 2nd & Charles for a couple of more Nerdy Monday spots, so I’ll keep you up to date on what’s going on there.  It’s not lazy using the same topic or subject, there’s just way too much at that store to put in one blog article.  Until then!
Say whaaaaat?

Say whaaaaat?

 

Holla!

Holla!

Nerdgasm.

Nerdgasm.

Whoa!

Whoa!

See you at 2ND & Charles!

 

*All images obtained using “2NC Woodbridge” Facebook Page.  Link to Cinemassacre used without permission*

A Fallen Hero: The Playstation 1.

Posted in 1990's, Crash Bandicoot, Nerdy Monday, Playstation, Retro, Sony, Sophistication, Video Game on November 22, 2010 by Divide By Zero

How many of you out there had a Playstation 1?  Well, back then it was just called “The Playstation”.  I had one for a little while.  I had gotten one as a back-up Christmas present.  My father had gotten me a Dreamcast, brand new, when they were all the rage.  The only problem was, the box had a small tear in it, and some jackass had stolen the AV cable out of it, so I had no way of playing it.  I had to wait until the stores got more in, a few days after Christmas to go exchange the Dreamcast.  A few days, of not being able to play a new game system?  For a 13 year old, that was Hell.

My mom, seeing the box had a rip in it, came up with a back up plan.  She bought a Playstation from a neighbor kid for $50 or something like that.  It had 3 or 4 controllers, about 30 games, and all kinds of extras.  She figured if there was nothing wrong with the Dreamcast, she’d give the Playstation to me AND my brother to share.  Instead, I got it to keep me satisfied until the stores had more of what I wanted.

It was no Dreamcast, but I consider that a good thing… now.  A lot of people, myself included, like going back and playing on systems they liked growing up.  The most popular right now are the SNES, N64, and the Genesis.  Sometimes people get a Dreamcast because you can download and burn games for free, and it’s legal.  It’s legal because no one, not even Sega is making money off of the Dreamcast anymore.  I do it all the time.

But what about the playstation?  What was special about it?

I remember the very first time I picked up a Playstation controller.  I was used to having A, B, start, select, and maybe a C button.  Where did these shapes come from?  I mean, I know the SNES had A, B, X, Y, and R/L buttons.  THAT was too many in my mind.  TO confuse me even more this controller’s right hand button selections were *circle*, *square*, *triangle*, and an ‘X’.  Then it had, not one, but TWO ‘R’ buttons, AND TWO ‘L’ buttons!  I was in a store in Potomac Mills Mall.  I was probably 12?  I’m not sure, but I remember being in an electronics store (this was before game stop and other video game specialty stores had boomed) trying to figure that controller out.  I vividly remember thinking “This will never catch on, or last”.

That was about half my lifetime ago, and now I believe the Playstation 1 is the most underrated retro system out there right now.  No one wants it, you can buy them for like five dollars.  No lie.  I bought 30 of them for $40.  That’s a dollar and 33 cents each.  Games usually run between $1 and $5.  At prices like that, why wouldn’t you have a few of them lying around?

The design…

Arguably the PS3, especially the “Slim” version is the sexiest console out right now.  The original XBox, not that good looking.  It was built more to showcase what Microsoft could do. It was built for utility, and for function.  Going back a little further, the PS2 was pretty cool, I liked the vertical stand that was blue against the black ninja-esque look it had, it was sleek.  The Playstation 1 was simple.  Two controller ports on the front, the other hook ups in the back, an ‘Open’ button, a ‘Reset’ button, and a ‘Power’ button.  Why do you think the Ps1 is different looking than the PS2 & PS3?  If the same company made all 3 systems they’d have to be similar, right?

That’s absolutely right, if the PS 1, 2, and 3 were all made by Sony, they would all be kind of similar looking.  Too bad Nintendo and Phillips were commissioned by Sony to come up with a video game console exclusively for Sony.  That’s right, Nintendo, a rival video game company, and Phillips, a pioneer in CD/DVD player technology teamed up to come up with a CD based console for Sony.  Gosh, I miss the 90’s.  The 90’s was when crap like this would fly:

None of that stuff would make sense today!  But in the 90’s, nothing else made any sense.

Was it the first top loading system?  No.  The Atari 2600 I guess could be classified as a top-loader, and it was released in 1977.

The Crazy Old Uncle of the video game family. You know of him, but don't spend too much time with him.

Shortly after that, in “Modern Times” I guess you could say, Nintendo had the first top-loading system when they released the Nintendo Entertainment System Model 2.  You probably haven’t seen this one around too much either…

Officially: "NES-101 Model", Unofficially: "The Top Loader"

No one really had this one, and some consider it a flop, because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.  I think it’s cool.  I couldn’t find a specific release date, but I’m pretty sure this one had at least 3 to 4 years on the Playstation 1.

Was it the first CD based system?  Of course not, the Sega CD was!  Remember that pile of puke?

Pictured: The Genesis' deformed, conjoined brother.

To be fair though, the Sega CD, along with the 32x were designed to prolong the lifespan of the Genesis, so the Sega CD was not a stand-alone system.

So the Playstation 1 was the first stand-alone CD based, top loading system, right?

GTFO, the Sega Saturn claims that title.  I can’t even believe I’m bringing this up, this was a horrible system, and the 2nd mistake (out of the 3 big ones) that turned Sega into a main competitor in the video game industry, into Nintendo’s little errand boy/lap dog.

The cartridge slot isn't for games, it's for expansion cartridges that allow you to play Japanese games.

Where is this system now?  Collectors don’t even really want it.  The only reason I have one is because I stumbled across it on eBay for 99 cents with a minute left, AND it had free shipping.  That’s right, I got a Sega Saturn, a game, a controller, and hook ups, for less than a dollar, and it was shipped to my front door.  This system defines the word “flop”.

The only thing we can say with absolute certainty is that the Playstation 1 is the first successful, top-loading, CD based, stand-alone system.  It’s a mouthful, but it is what it is.  Whether you love it, hate it, or have just fooled around with it a few times and never called it again, I’m sure you have fond memories.  I will always know it as The Playstation, there will only be one in my mind.

Simple, and badass in its own right.

Another thing to mention about the development of the Playstation 1 is that Phillips actually ended up creating its own CD based gaming console to try and get in the game with the big dogs.  It was called the Phillips CD-i, and it was a god-awful abomination to video gaming.  I know you’ve never even heard about it.  You can find out more about that in The AVGN’s 3 part episode:

James Rolfe is the man, and is able to explain it way better than I can.

All of this brings me to the question: Just how underrated is the Playstation 1?

Pretty underrated.  There are so many good games on this system.  007 Racing has got to be in my top 10 favorite games of all time.  The Need for Speed franchise was born on the Playstation 1 for crying out loud.  Hot Pursuit, High Stakes, Carbon, Underground/Underground 2?  They wouldn’t be around and rocking your face off today without the Playstation 1.  And I don’t think you can talk about the Playstation 1 without talking about Crash Bandicoot.  I did a whole write up about him, that’s how much those games rocked.  As I said in that articel, Crash Bandicoot was designed by Sony to become the face of the Playstation.  Much like Mario was and is for Nintendo, and Sonic was for Sega.  And I can’t think of the original Playstation without thinking about Crash Bandicoot.

Sony did much of its own work after it got the console and rights from Nintendo and Phillips.  It was innovative, it was on the edge, and it helped shape the video game market.  Remember the multi-tap?  It made 4 players on one console possible.  Only a few games supported it sure, but it was a step in the right direction.. soon after the Playstation, the Dreamcast was released with 4 player capability right on the console.  Microsoft followed in those footsteps with the first XBox.  Four controller ports?!  Now, if I only had 3 friends who were willing to come over and play something with me 😦 .  Microsoft then took it a step further when people started becoming addicted to the internet, and cornered the market with XBox live.  Playing your favorite game with millions of people across the globe?  In my mind, the Playstation made it possible.

Also, the Playstation 1 was the first console to come out with Dual Analog controllers.  Remember back in the day when they didn’t have them?

Old School.

Yeah!  Most people, and definitely most of the kids younger than 20 wouldn’t recognize this controller.  When the Playstation was in its hay day, they introduced something new in controller design.

Gives "Back to the Sticks" a whole different meaning.

So simple.  So comfortable.  So easy, why did no one else think of this?  Nintendo didn’t come out with something close to this until 2 years after the Playstation came out, with the N64.  And even then, it was just a joystick, not an analog stick.  And the 64 only had one, not TWO!!!  Question!  When the Game Cube came out, guess which design they adopted for their controller?

Answer: Dual Analog Style.

This was so badass, when it was brand new.  A whole different way to control your video game characters with sleek precision.  It took a little getting used to, but the payoff was well worth the effort.  Who else had that at the time?  Nobody.  Who else made them popular?  Let’s check out my little evolution of the Dual Analog Controllers…

I have a controller timeline. Your point is invalid.

XBox 360, original XBox, Game Cube, PS2 (obviously) and the PS1… the originator… all with Dual Analog.  Everyone who likes playing call of duty, or the halo fans out there like myself who got used to the 2-stick controls, better give a big Thank You to Sony for making it so easy and comfortable to play.  If the XBox controllers were anymore blatantly copied from the Playstation controllers, we’d have ourselves…

Only it would say "Microsoft".

The only thing I didn’t get about the Playstation is that the games had black data sides.  What was that all about?  Looking back on it now, the 1990’s birthed the popularity of the internet, when all information became easier to obtain.  Piracy was a big problem, remember Napster?  I’m sure people were trying to burn Platstation 1 games, so Sony said “Screw it, make the CD’s next to impossible to find!”

FYI ... We still found them.

Everything else being equal, greater than, or less than/equal to, the Playstation still has a place in my heart for being one of the best consoles of the 1990’s.  I don’t get around to playing it too often, because I don’t have a library of games that makes me want to play it.  Not that any of the games are hard to find.  I bought 3 Playstation 1 games from a church yard sale for a quarter.  All 3.  For a quarter.

So if you’re a retro gamer like me, you need to have a Playstation in your collection.  It was the father of many other concepts that we have come to expect when we buy games brand new.  It was on the frontier of gaming.  I think the reason people take it for granted, or it takes a back seat to other consoles, or whatever you want to say, is that it came a little too early for all that it had to offer.  Pick one up, test it out, and enjoy.

Happy Gaming,

The Jester.

*All images are the property of their respective owners and may be under copy write protection.  Most images obtained through Google Image Search*

I know it’s kind of short, but I’m planning to have “Nerdy Mondays” from now on.

Posted in Crash Bandicoot, Nerdy Monday on August 30, 2010 by Divide By Zero

Just to mix it up a little bit, every once in a while I am going to showcase how much of a nerd I truly am.  I want to turn this into a corner spot of my blog and name it something cool like “More Nerdy-ness Mondays” or something a little more clever.  I collect obscure, vintage/retro video games and their systems, I love Batman and the Transformers, and overall am a huge dork.  It’s okay though, without my geekified personality you wouldn’t get to enjoy such masterpieces as this…

An Ode to Crash Bandicoot

I have a soft spot in my heart for this little guy.  Say what you want about him, he speaks mostly in gibberish, he’ll never be as popular as Nintendo’s Mario, and no one really even remembers him since Crash Team Racing in 1999.  Crash Bandicoot was originally supposed to be “Willy the Wombat” and was created to compete with Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic.  The creators eventually landed on the name “Crash” because of how the rascally marsupial could body slam into crates, causing them to smash.  Personally this is one of my favorite things about the entire Crash Bandicoot series.

While Nintendo had Mario, and all of his levels and suits and everything, he still had limited maneuvers when it came to in game play.  Running or jumping is what he had.  Or best case scenario, he had running AND jumping at the same time.  The suits and everything had different functions, but in the end, all you were using to play it was the D-pad and the A/B buttons.

It’s the same thing with Sonic The Hedgehog.  Spin, then go fast.  Oh, and collect rings.  Can’t forget those rings.  In a way I applaud Sonic, he seems to be a lot more well off than Mario.  That’s why he doesn’t make videogames anymore, he’s collected so many gold rings and chaos emeralds he never has to work again.  Mario on the other hand is an Italian Plumber from New York and he runs around similar looking levels picking up pennies off the pavement.  Or he has to bang his head against what we all can only assume is brick.  Nintendo makes poor Mario scrounge around for pocket change while they went behind his back and turned his first name into a multi-billion dollar market niche.

Crash is a genetically advanced Eastern-Barred Bandicoot.  He lives on a 3 island chain southeast of Australia.  All he does is relax.  Most of the time in the introduction of any Crash Bandicoot videogame, Crash is found on a hammock sipping some kind of tropical drink with sunglasses on; the epitome of relaxation.  It isn’t until Dr. Neo Cortex, Crash’s creator and nemesis comes along, when Crash has to go out of his way to defeat the evil doctor.  Crash is more for gamers who liked to think and solve problems.  He had moves and maneuvers that didn’t require suits, and he didn’t collect any form of currency.  He collected apples.  One hundred of which would earn you an extra life.  You had to make it through the levels perfectly, because in most games with only a few exceptions Crash was a one hit kill.  He could not only jump and run, he could also slide, double jump, tornado spin, hover tornado spin, body slam, double jump into a body slam, and the list goes on.  Timing had to be spot on as the player would reach more advanced levels.  Also, upon completion of each level Crash earned a purple gem.  Levels could be repeated and different rewards were given out for a time trials run, bonus level runs, “smashing-all-crates” run, and other red/green/blue gems that are almost impossible to achieve.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Mario games, and I love Sonic the Hedgehog.  Everyone has their favorite, and I would have to say mine is Crash Bandicoot.  I don’t know why he didn’t get the fame and acclaim that Mario did.  I don’t know why he never became recognizable as the Sony Playstation mascot.  He never even became as popular as Sonic.  He followed the same format, tried different kinds of games, like the kart racing spin-offs.  He’s been in our videogame culture since his debut in 1996.  I for one hope Crash gets bored on his hammock on his island and decides to get into some more trouble with Dr. Cortex.  Even after I beat all the Crash Bandicoot games growing up, I loved erasing it from my memory card and going at it again.  There hasn’t been another release of a Crash Bandicoot game, since 2000.  Ten whole years since a REAL Crash game has hit the market.  I’m not counting anything released as a mobile or iphone game.  I don’t even count Nintendo DS or Game Boy Advance games.  I love the real platform games I have to sit on the couch to play.

Please Naughty Dog, develop some more Crash Bandicoot for us Die-Hards out here.  I’ve seen retro games redone and modernized and most of them turn out pretty good, even though nobody wanted to play the games when they were brand new.  Surely the makers of Crash Bandicoot have some more ideas for the old school fans.  And with the Playstation 3 being as extraordinary of a machine as it is, and the next platform from Sony well on its way, I can’t see why we should have to wait any longer to see what Naughty Dog has been working on for the past 10 years.