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Fall Pick Ups

One of the things my husband and I love to do on weekends is shop for games. We’re both really into collecting, albeit for different systems, so whenever we get an opportunity to go hunting we definitely take it. The mission this weekend was to get a Jungle Green Nintendo 64. I can happily say, mission accomplished 🙂 I also picked up some major wants I’ve had for quite some time. It was definitely a successful weekend for collecting. Keep reading for the details!
I mentioned that my husband and I collect for different systems. His main focus is Nintendo 64 and GameCube while mine is Sega Dreamcast. I’ll start with the Sega goodies, since there are less of them.

Mickey’s Castle of Illusion (Sega Genesis, 1990, cart only)

I have been looking for a Castle of Illusion for about a year now. After we got our Retron 5, my cousin kept talking about a Mickey Mouse game we used to play and I had completely forgotten about it. Once she mentioned it, I sought it out. I could have gotten it on eBay, but it was one of those things where I never made the effort to find a good deal online. When I saw it at our favorite Mom and Pop this weekend, I had to pick it up. I can’t wait to play it! Believe it or not, Disney used to make some really great games. 

Resident Evil: Code Veronica (Sega Dreamcast, 2000, CIB)

I believe RE:CV was the second or third Resident Evil game I played. It was definitey the first I played alone, but to be honest I never finished it. I rented it s couple of times from the local Blockbuster, but I’m very happy to have it in my collection now. 

Illbleed (Sega Dreamcast, 2001, CIB)

I have wanted this game for a very long time. I have watched several videos on it, but never found it out in the wild. The premise intrigued me so much and it is such a weird, unique game that I knew I had to have it. I’m also a huge fan of horror and being that this is a Dreamcast exclusive horror survival game I had to have it, although it was definitely a bit pricey. I have already started playing this game and it’s the perfect mix of cheesy and interesting to hit the nostalgia sweet spot for me. I would definitely recommend at least watching some gameplay of Illbleed if you’ve never seen or heard of it, especially if you’re a big Dreamcast fan. 

Red Virtual Memory Unit (Sega Dreamcast, 1999)

When I had my original Dreamcast (which unfortunately broke when I was a kid) I also had a red VMU and I have been looking for one for longer than I expected to, but I finally found one and am very happy to have it. So many memories came flooding back to me when I saw it. 

Now, on to Nintendo!

Mario Party 2 (Nintendo 64, 1999, CIB)

This is a game my husband has been wanting for a while. So much so, that he shelled out the extra cash for the CIB version, when they did have a cart only available. The Mario Party games are a staple in any good Nintendo collection. 
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64, 2000, CIB)

Ocarina of Time is a Nintendo 64 classic. It was one of the most loved games on the system for one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises. OoT needs no introduction or elaboration. My husband was missing this game in his life and we are both so glad to have it again. 
Nintendo 64 Controller (Grape Purple, 2000)

Nintendo 64 Console (Jungle Green, 1999)

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Five Games That Would Make Great Movies

Five Games That Would Make Great Movies

Five Video Games That Would Make Great Movies

As a whole, I think the film industry is struggling to produce new content.  It’s no surprise that the four out of the five top grossing films of 2016 are all new installments in already established franchises.  One area that Hollywood has dabbled in, but has never gotten quite right, is video game adaptations.  Here are five games that I think could translate well into film, given the right direction and writing, of course.  Bonus: I even cast my own main characters!

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5.      BioShock

With its wonderfully inventive story and amazing environments, BioShock seems like the perfect candidate for a game-to-film adaptation. I, for one, would love to see a live action Big Daddy and Little Sister on the big screen. However, I think the writing and direction could make or break a BioShock film adaptation. Many things would likely be changed to account for budget and screen time, but I believe with the right people in place BioShock would make a great flick. BioShock was actually slated to become a movie until the director dropped out.

Main Character: Ryan Gosling as Jack

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4.      Left 4 Dead

The Left 4 Dead games are ideal for film adaptations because there is much left unaccounted for in the games. The characters do not have deep back-stories, nor do the various campaign levels throughout game, making it a perfect opportunity to add to the game’s appeal while not causing intense backlash from purist gamers. Plus, how awesome would it be to see a CGI tank on the big screen?

Main Character:  Jeff Bridges as Bill

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3.      Red Dead Redemption

The historical setting of Red Dead Redemption makes it a good candidate for a film adaptation. Many people enjoy westerns, and I am willing to bet that gamers and grandparents alike would anticipate the film. The characters of Red Dead are extremely interesting and would translate well from game to movie. There are quite a few pitfalls that could make a Red Dead movie an absolute disaster, but just imagine the possibilities of cinematic deadeye animation.

Main Character: Timothy Olyphant as John Marston

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2.      Alan Wake

As pretty much my favorite game of all time I had to include Alan Wake in this list. While the game is quite cinematic in and of itself, I think Alan Wake could bring something new to the horror genre, which has gotten somewhat stale and repetitive in recent years. Wake’s story is scary, dynamic, and interesting enough to provide a strong plotline and fairly easy to write screenplay. While I would prefer a very true-to-original adaption, I think the film could work in a variety of different ways.

Main Character: Jared Leto as Alan Wake OR IIka Villi as Alan Wake (the actor who has already played Wake in various cinematic scenes)

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1.      Tomb Raider

I understand that Tomb Raider has already been made into a film, but I am suggesting a reboot of the entire franchise that takes a page out of the newest game reboot’s book. A Tomb Raider movie that delves deep into the psychology of Lara Croft and her origin, if written and directed well, could be a wonderful thing. If Lara is cast correctly and the movie stays more true to the game than its predecessor, Hollywood could make some serious bank on a rebooted Tomb Raider franchise.

Main Character: Gina Carano as Lara Croft

Horror in Video Games

I’m a huge fan of horror in any capacity, whether it is novels, comic books, or films. There’s something innately fascinating about voluntarily experiencing an emotion we generally try to avoid in real life – fear.   Why would someone elect to experience fear and anxiety through entertainment? It’s a question that has always plagued my mind, because I’m drawn to the horror genre myself.

One thing that separates the horror experience in game versus in film is the element of physicality. That probably sounds strange, since video games are not generally associated with physicality, but hear me out. While watching a horror movie, you’re sitting fairly stationary. Of course, you could be tense or twitchy, or maybe even covering your eyes, but the horror film experience is a very passive one. That is how it’s supposed to be. It’s part of the reason why horror films have some of the most iconic scores. The music is also key to the completely passive experience. You have no choice.

In a horror game, however, you are actively choosing where your character looks, runs, shoots, etc. You’re in the nightmare. You choose to check the room in which you heard strange noises. You’re not watching Jamie Lee Curtis do it. Of course, you may be forced to do certain things to make the story progress, but it’s a conscious decision on your part. Watching a film is also a conscious decision, I mean no one is holding you down and making you watch Saw, but a different kind of conscious decision than taking action in a game. When you watch a film, you resign your mind and attention for a few hours of viewing. When you play a game, you resign your mind and attention for multiple hours of active decision-making and problem solving. That decision making and problem solving is all the more apparent in horror games.

Filmmakers can alter your perception of the nightmare you’re watching unfold by using certain camera angles or character point of views. Game creators can’t necessarily utilize the same tactics, which makes a truly scary game all the more impressive. Modern games typically have free moving cameras, which allow players to view any part of the environment that they choose, unless of course they’re viewing a cut scene. As such, the entire environment needs to be scary.

Sometimes, it’s hard to pin down exactly what qualifies as a horror game. If the game is primarily about shooting scary creatures, then the horror seems secondary. You could be shooting aliens instead, would that make it a science fiction game? What about games that involve zombies, but are not necessarily scary? Zombies are classic examples of horror movie monsters, but lately they’ve been so overused they’ve become a lot less scary. And where do we draw the line? Are the extreme survival horror games, like Asylum, too much? To literally have no weapons in a horror game seems like an exaggeration, but that’s what the game is all about.

Whatever your stance is on the horror genre in video games, I think we can all agree that it could definitely use revitalization. I’m talking about something like A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Game. Ok, not really. We all saw how that turned out on Nintendo….

Dreamcast Memories

Recently, I have been immersing myself in retro games. It may be due to the fact that no current generation titles have excited me lately, or it may be the recent rise of nostalgia I have felt over the last few months, but whatever the reason, retro gaming has been my focus as of late. Typically, when someone says “retro gaming” you immediately think of Atari, NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. I’m 25 now, so I did not play Atari at all as child, and I played very little NES. SNES and Genesis definitely have a bigger role in my gaming history, but the two systems that make me most nostalgic are the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo 64. In this post, I’d like to share my Sega Dreamcast memories with you. 

To fully understand the gravity of my Dreamcast love, first you need a little background on me. Gaming is a huge part of my life, and it has been since I can remember. My brother is the one who introduced me to gaming at a very early age. After school at our grandmother’s house we would rush through homework to get to the SNES. Well, he would get to the SNES. If I was lucky enough, it would be a co-op game and I’d be allowed to play, but forget anything even slightly challenging, because that would occupy him for hours and he was not willing to give up that controller. If my cousin was there I lost my player 2 spot pretty quickly. I think that’s why I suck at Super Mario Bros. 3 to this day. Naturally, I was tired of always playing second fiddle to my brother. I wanted my own system to enjoy. Somehow, we had managed to get both an SNES and a Sega Genesis from our parents. My brother gravitated toward the Nintendo titles, so I was often left alone with the Genesis. When I heard about the Sega Dreamcast, I knew that was what I wanted.

 

I got my Dreamcast for Christmas in 1999 when I was 9 years old. I can remember being told, “Ok, Andrea. Open this up with your cousin.” My cousin and I both got Dreamcasts from our incredibly generous grandparents. They gave me a box containing the Dreamcast, a red VMU, an extra controller, Sonic Adventure, and 102 Dalmatians (I know, I was a 9 year old girl, ok). I couldn’t believe this would be mine! It was going to go in my bedroom for me to play when I wanted. No more waiting for “one more continue,” “one more level,” or “if you beat me, you can play.” If my brother wanted to play, he would have to ask me! Luckily, my tastes even at that age were pretty good, so I went for Sonic Adventure first. I remember that game completely blowing my mind. We were all amazed by the graphics, the music, even the sort of “autoplay” feature that exists in the game. It was unlike anything I had seen or played at the time, and I credit the Dreamcast for giving me my most treasured hobby. I even finished that 102 Dalmatians game. In fact, that game holds a lot of nostalgia for me, because it’s one of the first games I taught my little sister how to play. As soon as I see that red squiggle, all the hours spent cross-legged on my childhood bedroom floor come back to me in a wave, and it’s a great feeling.

 

There were several titles on Dreamcast that were very good, but if I’m honest I didn’t own many titles. I rented a ton from Blockbuster video, but at that time I wasn’t hungry for new titles. I enjoyed mastering the few titles I did have. In an age where there was no Twitch or walkthrough tutorials, you had to invest more of your own time into figuring out the Easter eggs and most efficient ways to conquer a level. That was part of the fun. In retrospect (pun intended) maybe one of the reasons I’ve gone back to my roots is the simplicity of it all. Sometimes I don’t want to be traversing a huge map with an unreal arsenal of weapons, abilities, and tech. It could be argued that part of the rise of popularity in mobile games is due, not only to the convenience, but also to the general simplicity of the games. In today’s world where we use every minute of every day, it can be a challenge for people to set aside time to play a game that requires strategy and concentration. We can’t all make a living streaming, so for those of us who need to work a 9-5, it can be refreshing to return to simpler time in gaming.

 

The last point I want to make about the Dreamcast is that the hardware was subpar. The Nintendo 64 that my family got in 1997 has never had one hardware problem. My beloved Sega Dreamcast? It broke three years after I got it. In my research, I have found that it had something to do with overheating and pins needing to be bent back. It would also randomly reset to the main screen during gameplay. These failures made me reluctant to ever go back to Dreamcast, even though it has a special place in my heart. For my birthday last year, I was gifted a Dreamcast by my fiancé. When I saw it, the emotions I felt were ridiculous. I know how cheesy that sounds, but it’s the truth. I love it for its good points, and I love it for faults. I love the fact that I had a terrible “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” game that I actually played for months that I now own again. I can remember being extremely frustrated with it as a 10 year old trying to  hone my skill. My Dreamcast sits right next to my Sunset Overdrive White Edition Xbox One and it does not pale in comparison. Now all I need to find is another red VMU.

 

What are your memories of the Dreamcast? Let me know if you share my feelings below.