In 1996 Japanese video game fanaticist and developer Satoshi Tajiri realized his dream of turning his childhood hobby of bug collecting into a machine that automatically prints money in denominations that make the coveted $500 from Monopoly look like petty cash. I don’t know how bug collecting became such a cultural staple of Japanese childhood but my best guess is children became fascinated with discovering if the fallout from Truman’s rude awakenings in the forties gave rise to any strange mutations. Pretty sure they did, and because of it we now have hentai like Inyouchuu. If my logic is correct then 2011’s Fukushima power plant disaster will not just ensure a new generation of mutated bug hunters but what future snarky bloggers will refer to as a “pornography nightmare”.

And that insensitive joke, folks, is my segue into talking about the world of Pokemon, Tajiri’s ticket to an early retirement and masturbation fodder for thousands upon thousands of pasty permavirgin furries. Originally billed as Red & Green in its initial Japanese release the North American markets wouldn’t see this cultural phenomenon until 1998, two and a half years later (as Red & Blue). The series caught fire in the States and its popularity exploded; exploded like a poorly maintained nuclear reactor supervised by delinquents distracted with lolicon tentacle porn. Now that I’ve had my fill of completely tasteless humor at the expense of an absolute tragedy I can move forward with the centerpiece of this feature: the graphics from the first generation of Pokemon titles for the Game Boy were total ass. Mutated, radioactive, ass.

Some of you may not be privy to the following trivia but the original Game Boy lineup features three distinct sets of Pokemon art. The first of which is of course the original from the Japanese “Red & Green” release. These graphics were then retooled (read: completely fucking ruined) for the international “Red & Blue” release that you and I are likely most familiar with. Finally, the graphics were revisited once more for the worldwide “Yellow” edition. Across all of these releases each Pokemon was drawn a total of three times, usually by different graphic artists at Nintendo. Because of this none of the images look the same and in many cases are substantially different from the other two corresponding samples. In this feature article I’ll be covering what I consider to be the eight absolute worst examples of graphic design in a Generation I Pokemon title.

 

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I have yet to figure out what the hell Nidoran is supposed to be since its species, “Poison Pin”, explains exactly nothing. I actually know less about these abortions after having “learned” that factoid. I’m assuming by their official art of the era that Nidorans (Nidoren?) are meant to be rodents though in Red & Blue I get the implication that the male of the species is a crackhead and the female is one half of a pair of novelty animal slippers.

 

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Golbat is a creature that has never looked flattering in any Pokemon game, ever. Period. As I write this feature there is exactly zero porn of this Pokemon in existence (and yes I checked, you’re welcome). Nobody likes Golbat which is probably because its first evolutionary stage is a Pokemon whose cry is synonymous with Tumblr-diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. The international version of Golbat is pretty terrifying, but the gold star of failure here has to go to the original Japanese version that looks like some kind of cyclopic cock ring. With teeth.

 

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Fuck everything about Rattata. It’s an entirely worthless Pokemon and its evolved form Raticate is equally as trite. The only time anything from the Ratt lineage has ever been useful was when the original Raticate TCG card showcased the Hyper Fang attack that instantly halved your opponent’s health. Other than that? Worthless. Red & Blue’s incarnation of Rattata is exceptionally bad in that not only does it resemble a dressed up vacuum cleaner with a blowup doll’s mouth but its pose implies the mouse is letting someone have a running start at its mouseflower.

 

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Ditto is an animated mass of primordial ooze that can theoretically become any other Pokemon, I think that’s something we can all deduce just from learning its only move is Transform. Not only is this cop-out a blatant act of what I call “out of ideas syndrome” due to its simplistic nature you’d think it wouldn’t be hard to draw. Despite the fact that the sprite artists at Nintendo drew Charizard – a dragon – three times it seems nobody could master the art of drawing a squiggle. When not acting as a stunt double for Earthbound’s “Master Barf” Ditto enjoys a career of resembling a cross between a spitwad, a load of spooge, and the Nickelodeon logo.

 

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With the worldwide success that was the Pokemon phenomenon Nintendo kept a close eye on the art featured in the third issue of Generation I. A Game Boy Color-enabled game, Yellow featured separate palettes for each Pokemon graphic enabling designers to give each Pokemon their actual color instead of a standard four color mess of crap. The QA department must have let Tangela slip through the cracks, however, because there is something seriously wrong with this dancing head of tentacle lettuce that emanates a sense of sheer terror. I’m pretty sure it’s the eyes and their ability to invoke bad memories of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

 

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Our resident “reptile inside of a rock egg”-ish friend Geodude looked like a total disaster until it received a much needed facelift (literally) in Yellow. I almost gave the title of worst sprite to Red & Blue’s familiar thumbs up toting snarky rock but the Red & Green version instead secured itself a place in this list for the sole reason being WHERE IS ITS FUCKING FACE? Dear god, it’s like a diseased basketball with flailing arms that’s just been checked to you. The original Geodude looks like a floating tumor with arms.

 

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Arguably the jolt of life that rejuvenated the Pokemon franchise and sent it into overdrive, Mew was at one point the most elusive and secret of all known Pokemon. Thanks to MissingNo people began searching for other “PokeGods” but Mew was the first ever “newcomer” confirmed in the game. Normally I’d rag on the shoddy artwork in the international release of the game but believe it or not in my opinion the first revision of Mew is better than the Japanese original! Mew truly is a miracle. In the international release of the game Mew looks quite elusive, but in Japan’s it resembles a Pez dispenser with feet and a seashell face.

 

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The original set of Japanese graphics were redrawn for international release and the entire roster was subsequently redrawn again for Yellow but did you know that throughout the entirety of Generation I the catalog of Pokemon “back sprites” never changed? Not once. Absolutely no revisions to this set of art whatsoever and every single one of them look like absolute shit. Part of the reason they look so trashy is because each graphic is a 16×16 tile blown up to the standard resolution of 32×32 instead of four separate tiles put together meaning that every individual pixel instead becomes a chunky block of four pixels.

Virtually none of the back sprites match the pose of its corresponding front sprite unless you’re playing the original Japanese version and for all the mostly decent work seen in the front sprites of the Red & Green release the back sprites were a total mess. Mew, for example, still has its grotesque brainiac-sized skull. Zapdos is probably a logo for a shitty telecommunications company. Ekans is Charlie-fucking-Brown and Mankey looks like the three-legged bedside table your grandmother had except flipped upside down. Poliwag has managed to lose its tail and I have no idea what the hell is wrong with Horsea and Porygon. Also, Kabuto resembles a haunted saddle.

You can’t blame it on the limitations of the cartridge because Nintendo found a way to improve and replace every single front sprite by the time Yellow rolled around. Perhaps it was a mere production oversight? Whatever the reason may be you have to admit the backs of every Pokemon left something to be desired. Like, I don’t know, bodily features.

But it could be worse. At least Generation I didn’t have Pokemon based after retarded shit like ice cream cones. (inb4 “Voltorb argument”)

– Dracophile

As we prepare to enter the eighth generation of gaming consoles with a waning economy and a previous generation built almost entirely around motion controls and shitty gimmicks it’s arguable, depending on how you see a half-glass of water, that the video game market is doomed to crash again. In 1983 the market for video games became inundated with loads of worthless crap and consumers literally gave up on caring. After letdown after letdown from Atari due to the likes of E.T. and their Pac-Man port alongside the dubious quality and massive quantities of competitor consoles  and shady third-party software consumers just said “to hell with it” and Atari ended up burying their trash in a New Mexico landfill.

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Not pictured: Kinect, PS Move, 95% of the games for the Wii.

Having to cower away and bury your trash in the ground is about as ultimately defeated as you can get. Nobody even does that anymore these days but they should (on principle, we can be less environmentally destructive than that today). What’s so different about Americans from the 80’s compared to today that prevents them from saying “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore“? Why is it that something as deceptively simple as a small handful of trashy games from a leading video game company can cause a market crash in the eighties yet in today’s world Nintendo has free rein to greenlight more trashy shovelware than we have trucks to carry it all to an unsuspecting landfill? WHY?

The Wii may be the gold standard in ninth-rate garbage “video games” but their portfolio of shame is nothing compared to these five current business practices that are destroying the market and in some abstract form have got to be some kind of illegal.

 

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“DLC” is industry shorthand for “downloadable content” (e.g. bonus characters/players, extra missions, MMO expansions). Obviously, “download” is the keyword here. This is some kind of add-on that does not come on the game disc and is something you have to purchase separately and store on your console’s local hard drive before you can play it. Again, I’m stressing the fact that this is a game expansion that doesn’t come on the disc. Developers, however, are still selling “DLC” that amounts to nothing more than a suspiciously small file (around 180KB on most Xbox 360 games) that couldn’t possibly contain the data for additional characters or missions. Hell, one high-res JPEG picture can surpass 180KB by leaps and bounds, so what exactly does this “DLC” do?

It unlocks something already on the disc.

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It’s basically backwards DRM.

That’s not “downloadable content”, that’s “I’ve already paid for this so why are you making me pay for it again content”, and it’s presently completely permissible in the industry even though it’s shadier than Guy Fieri wearing two pairs of sunglasses while standing under an umbrella that’s under a pop-tent under a tree when it’s overcast outside. The counterargument to this bogus DLC is simple: when you paid $60 for that game you paid for that disc and everything on it. It’s yours to do whatever you please. What developers are doing with these DLC “unlock codes” amounts to your favorite band selling their new album but charging you extra fees to unlock the second half of the CD.

The good news is not all developers are fond of the idea of these predatory nickel-and-diming practices. That still doesn’t change the fact, however, that developers such as 2K Games and Capcom have been busted using on-disc “DLC” and hawking unlock codes online. Not even Street Fighter is exempt from dealing under the table, but honestly if you paid the $15 required to unlock character outfits you probably deserved to have been duped as such.

 

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Quickly, what’s the best way to beat your competition in a market? That’s right, make a better and more available product. Or you can do what Electronic Arts has done with their football games and score an exclusivity contract with the NFL effectively shutting out any and all competition in the market. EA originally signed this deal in 2004 for the duration of five years, but they have routinely extended their agreement enough times that it is currently set to expire in 2013 which I only assume will be met with another extension when its expiration rolls around again.

It is no secret that I hate sports games more than I hate myself but for the first time in my life I’m siding with the people who buy these games rather than calling them mean names.

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Not pictured: A quality assurance department.

It’s pretty obvious why this isn’t right. Competition is what drives companies to make better products, to take chances and risks in an effort to outperform their competitors. When you nix all competition from the equation you also remove the necessity to execute a quality product especially when we’re dealing with a game franchise that is essentially the same thing every single year. Football is football but when it comes to expanding upon what amounts to running a ball back and forth the real deciding factors of what football game you’ll buy revolve around the presentation of the game. What kinds of neat “little things” did the developers include? Is it a massive replay/camera system? Impeccable voice-overs and fluid commentating? Maybe they focused on in-depth player/roster interactivity? Topless cheerleader mode?

You can throw all that out the window when there’s only one company working with such an open-ended idea. You’ll get their regurgitated shit and you have to like it because there’s no other competition and there won’t ever be so long as Electronic Arts maintains their contract with the NFL. For once I honestly feel badly for people who follow sports as a lifestyle as no other genre of games gets shafted as hard as sports titles has, but this isn’t Electronic Arts’ only shameful action, oh… no.

 

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Remember what I said earlier about buying a game and being entitled to everything the game has to offer? Not only is “unlock code DLC” an example of shady dealings but our friends at EA again decided to take things a step further. Their latest dick move is called an “online pass”, a “product” featured on many of their games such as Battlefield 3Need For Speed, and every single game on this list at Wikipedia. But just what is this “online pass”? Well, if you can’t be bothered to read the literature I’ve provided I’ll spell it out plain and simple:

If you bought a game used, then you can’t play it online without spending another $10 to unlock Multiplayer mode.

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I’m just going to use this picture again.

The reasoning behind EA’s wonderful idea is they believe they’re losing money on used game sales and providing a service to people who aren’t paying for it. This is complete bullshit. When the Original Owner of a game buys it at $60 he’s paying for the game and all associated fees for servers, online play, and whatever additional content is provided to him by the developers. When he is tired of using these services and transfers the product to the Secondhand Owner he is no longer making use of them, it is now the Secondhand Owner using the services. They are still paid for by the original purchase. Customers aren’t exponentially multiplying and people aren’t mass producing copies of games without paying for them. It’s not happening.

This kind of bullshit DRM should not be working in the market but the terrifying thing is that it clearly is. Electronic Arts has made at least $15 million dollars of free money at your expense and offering absolutely nothing in return other than online functionality that should have been yours for free to begin with. Stop buying into their shit; call them up and demand a complimentary online pass, and if they refuse to give it to you then inform them where they can shove their should-be-illegal scheme and also tell them that football sucks while you’re at it. Additionally, you can also inform EA that the last good game they ever released was Road Rash 3 on the Sega Genesis.

This is simply unacceptable. Games that feature a one-time key for unlocking online play are the equivalent of a self-destructing message from Inspector fucking Gadget. The number of markets this scam intrudes on is staggering to say the least. I’ve already established how it ruins the used games market by effectively adding a $10 tax to a product and discussed how it also destroys lending to friends, but in a similar vein what about video game rentals? You can’t rent a game like Battlefield 3 to give a test run to see if you like it; you won’t get the full experience. Any kind of business model built upon secondhand merchandise is effectively screwed with EA’s worthless online pass.

 

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Some of our website traffic isn’t domestic so here’s a description of GameStop to our foreign friends who mercifully may not have to put up with their horrendous business practices in their countries. GameStop is an American retailer of used and new video games and assorted gaming merchandise. They presently possess a slice of the “secondhand video game goods” market somewhere close to monopoly proportions. They have done this by purchasing all of their competition. Software Etc? Bought it. FuncoLand? Bought it (and received the hilariously biased in-house publication Game Informer with it). Electronics Botique? Bought it. Rhino Video Games? Bought it. The only retailer they didn’t buy was Game Crazy, a subsidiary of Hollywood Video, that went bankrupt in 2010 with its parent company.

The point I’m trying to make is there’s little competition when it comes to GameStop and just how massive they are. They have thousands of stores in multiple countries; their “competition” such as Play N Trade has under 200 stores in the US and Canada. Clearly there’s a rift between the operating income of these two companies. Other corporations such as Best Buy and Toys R’ Us attempt to compete with GameStop in some wacky imitation of the obstacle course from American Gladiators but these big-box retailers aren’t dedicated video game stores. They just happen to also sell video games.

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Also GameStop apparently has very poor trade-in rates or something.

Companies like Play N Trade can’t compete with GameStop because GameStop has so much money and so many assets in different markets that they can afford to operate in the red with “loss leader” products and incentives and simply make that money back. Play N Trade doesn’t own a shitty magazine that fellates every big-name game that’s coming out and only mocks the ones everyone else are mocking (read: Duke Nukem Forever) and they don’t own an online gaming website full of sellouts either (read: Kongregate). They can’t afford to be stupid with their money and they sure as hell can’t match the offers and incentives that GameStop has intertwined into the market: pre-order bonuses.

Sometimes when you pre-order a game you get a shirt or a goofy little figurine and most outlets who accept(ed) reservations would have one to give to you while supplies last. GameStop goes beyond the standard incentives and has managed to procure deals with various developers to net them exclusive bonus content codes that you can only get if you do business with their company. Sure, these incentives are arguably stupid and worthless — the awful Goldeneye re-remake included the cheat for Paintball Mode — but the fact remains that you’re getting free DLC, sometimes of the suspicious “unlock code” variety, for giving your business to one giant corporation that holds the reins on the market and can now continue to do so all because you wanted to shoot pretty colors in Goldeneye (which is something you could have unlocked yourself on the original Nintendo 64 release if you didn’t suck at it).

 

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Through all of the following practices I’ve covered in this feature all of them in some way or another can be chocked up as “suitably annoying”. You’re getting shafted on DLC purchases, you’re getting reamed on football games, you’re getting cheated on used multiplayer games, and you’re getting robbed by GameStop’s pricing schemes for all of the above. At least you can still play games in some basic form, right? At the end of the day you can still go to GameStop, get the EA-only version of the latest NFL game, and spend an extra $10 because you bought it used, right?

Not when the new Xbox rolls around, apparently. Rumors are circulating like wildfire on the Internet right now stating the newest Microsoft console will simply not play used games at all.

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They call it a “720” because when you see it you do a 720 and walk away.

Imagine, if you will, any other decade of gaming out there. With rampant international piracy on the Atari 2600, developers of unlicensed NES games reverse engineering the console’s lockout chip, and import game dealers offering regional keys for a variety of systems, a single feature that would effectively end it all. Everything. One game. One system. One player. Want to loan that game to a friend? Fuck you. Want to save yourself $20 and buy it from a GameStop? Fuck you. Want to do anything other than pay full price for a game and fly blind into a title that may or may not turn out to be a total let down?

Fuck. You.

“Life finds a way” is a nice sentiment from Jurassic Park and it explains the situation of generations of consoles gone by. Nintendo didn’t want unauthorized third-parties on the NES, but they showed up anyways. Sony wanted to split the Japanese and North American PS1 markets, but they were eventually bridged. Surely there will also be a way to “jailbreak” your Xbox 720 and get it to play used games but since the console doesn’t come pre-modded the release of such a monumental piece of trash as this would effectively destroy the “white market” for Xbox games (as if Kinect didn’t already open that can of worms).

As it stands right now, the Xbox 720 is the worst thing Microsoft has ever created. Windows ME was crap but at least it didn’t punch you square in the dick and bang your mother like the 720 does.

 

Get mad. Get really mad. Go out and tell your friends just how stupid the average video game consumer has become to let the market slowly trickle down into this. The American economy is circling the toilet right now but one thing is absolutely certain: we need another video game market crash. This has to end, and the only way to stomp it out for good is to make it end in the most spectacularly destructive way imaginable. Tell EA exactly how much you enjoy their “online pass” by coercing free ones from customer support. Don’t buy “DLC” that comes pre-loaded on the disc; don’t give the developers the “okay” to keep doing this. Stop supporting companies who practice such ridiculous highway robbery and criminal dealings.

And then maybe, just maybe, the market will explode and everyone will lose money and the market will return with a few less assholes. Companies like Electronic Arts deserve to die; the lowly employees don’t deserve to be unemployed, but it’s time for the company to go away now.

– Dracophile

[Editor’s Note: This article was published by VentureBeat in 2012 under the above title however the content of the article was subject to heavy editing by the publisher for length and content; the original list of ten items was brought down to six and many of the less politically correct jokes were removed or replaced. The article’s republication on TwilightFoundry.com includes the original content.]

In the years I’ve partook in video games as a hobby and source for journalistic inspiration I too have experienced the phenomenon known as “Buyer’s Remorse.” In most instances the effect wasn’t immediate – otherwise I’d have returned the item unless I inadvertently broke it while trying to use it (e.g. the Tiger R-Zone) – but for one reason or another I regret purchasing, fawning over, or being excited about all of the following:

 

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It’s not very often that you can get burned by the same console’s add-ons twice, not unless you bought both the HD-DVD player and Kinect for the Xbox 360. When the Mega CD was released for the Sega Genesis I happily nabbed myself one of the devices and then the moment I took it home and tried it out I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Let me just spell it out this way: one of this platform’s launch titles was Make My Video: Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch. Whether or not you subscribe to the belief that “console launch titles have an excuse to be bad” let me remind you that this is a game where your entire directive is to make a music video…

…for a Mark Wahlberg rap song.

When the 32X showed up I was hesitant to adopt the technology seeing as how the last Genesis “upgrade” was akin to installing Windows 3.1 on an Alienware computer but I took the bait (and edgy 90’s advertising) anyways and took home a device that made my ailing Genesis look like it had some kind of cancerous growth both on its head and coming out the side of its ass. Plus there were wires. Oh god, the wires. There were so many criss-crossing cords and three AC power cables that I couldn’t even play the damn thing without either unplugging one of the add-ons or getting one of those 6-way power strips. And for what? A version of Doom that was missing almost a dozen levels in exchange for two extra tracks in Virtua Racing DX? Sounds like a completely legitimate deal. My dead grandparents have aged better than these things.

Revisited in 2012: One of the handful of important cables to my 32X has been lost to the sands of time and thus I cannot actually use it anymore. I do, however, possess a JVC XEye – a Sega Genesis and built-in Mega CD combo console – because apparently being so dissatisfied with the console the first time around led me to eventually buy a second one. Must have been a drunken impulse buy.

I decided to confront an old nemesis in the form of Marky Mark himself and booted up his sole venture into the gaming world. Guess what? You’d be surprised to learn that not a whole lot has changed in the two decades it’s been since this thing’s release. I honestly forgot how poorly the Mega CD handled video compression; it’s like I’m staring at an over-compressed GIF of a shirtless Wahlberg rapping about Sunkist. I have a giant TV now, something I only dreamed of in the nineties, and good lord does this thing look atrocious on my television. It looks like someone added bacon bits to a lentil soup and dumped it on top of a Powerpoint presentation.

And honestly? I think that’s the first time anybody’s ever used that phrase to describe Make My Video. I feel like I’ve accomplished something here.

 

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I’ll just be out with it, voice commands and video games do not work. At all. I can appreciate the novelty of Hey You, Pikachu but that’s all this game is: a novelty. And a shitty one at that. I don’t know what the deal was with Pokemon and the Nintendo 64 but for some unknown reason pretty much every Pokemon title except for Stadium was terrible and Pikachu’s solo venture into the world of 64 bits stands as a testament to that notion.

There is only one game in the North American market for the N64 that uses the VRU (“Voice Recognition Unit”, because “microphone” isn’t cool enough). This is it. I can’t even tell you what the microphone quality is like because there simply isn’t a way for me to figure that out. I don’t know if Pikachu can’t understand me because the mic is terrible, the recognition software is terrible, Pikachu is retarded, or all three. The first time I played this game “let down” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Honestly, I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of my younger years remembering this game because I’m about 99% sure I was anticipating something terrible to begin with. As a kid, one of my neighbors had one of those stupid “laser helmet” things for the NES where you could yell “FIRE” and it would shoot the screen. It was a glorified Zapper and it sucked because the aiming reticule didn’t line up with the lens that fired.

To be honest I should have just made this entry in honor of that goofy-ass helmet. Maybe I compared Hey You, Pikachu to the glorified Zapper because that’s exactly what this piece of trash is, a glorified Zapper.

Revisited in 2012: I’ve been making fun of video games for too long. I don’t have the patience for this shit. There is nothing redeemable about this game or its peripheral. You can’t even get anything funny to happen by tilting the cartridge. What a waste of time.

 

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Before I begin I want to clarify that there is a difference between a special edition console and a “console skin”. A “faceplate” is something I am dropping into the limbo between the two because depending on what it is it may very well be a total piece of shit. Allow me to elaborate. Plain Nintendo DS? Okay. Limited edition Pokemon Nintendo DS? Pretty neat. Nintendo DS with a shitty Nerf faceplate snapped onto it? Eeehh. Nintendo DS with a fucking sticker on it? What in the hell is the matter with you?

A video game console is extremely difficult to “jazz up”. Not that all of them look beautiful to begin with (yes I’m looking at you original Xbox) but it’s pretty easy to immediately and permanently make your console look like utter ass. I personally have never put a skin on any console I’ve ever owned, and I say that with immense pride. Even if I were to have purchased a skin with beautiful artwork that complimented the shape and color of the console it’s applied to it’s still a sticker and as such it must abide by all the rules of stickers including the one where you can never and will never apply it straight. You can whip out a ruler, protractor, and a compass and make reference points all over the console but the moment you peel the skin from its backing to ready it for application it will fly out of your hands and fasten itself to the system sideways.

I’ve never personally applied a skin but I’ve inherited a console that had one already applied to it when I got it. It was a Nintendo DS and when it was given to me it appeared as though the previous owner loved Pokemon but didn’t love it enough to A) put the fucking lid sticker on facing the right way and B) resist the urge to attach all of the surrounding chaff to the inside of the DS when all was said and done. I don’t know who formerly owned this handheld but to this day I wish nothing but harm to come upon them mostly because the skin was a cheap paper one from eBay that did not come off at all.

Revisited in 2012: To this day I attest that there is not a single console skin that is acceptable for use. There are only limited edition consoles, faceplates, and professional console mods. If you have vinyl stickers custom cut to your shapes and specifications maybe I’ll give you credit, but if you’re the type to slap a promotional GameStop skin on your console then I don’t want to know you.

 

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I am notoriously spiteful and hateful toward Pokémon Snap, the North American market’s debut Pokémon franchise title on the Nintendo 64; when Snap was released in the United States there was already a Pokémon Stadium available in Japan and that simply didn’t sit well with me. When Stadium was finally announced for release in the States I was ecstatic to say the least.

When they said you could use this device called a “Transfer Pak” to trade your Pokémon Red and Blue teams into the Nintendo 64 I just about shit myself. This may or may not be hyperbole.

For the first few weeks of having the Transfer Pak I relentlessly used it to upload every single Pokémon I had ever captured into Pokémon Stadium and meticulously stormed through the quest to unlock the fabled Surfing Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow. Non-stop Pokémania 24/7 all day erry day. Then, as quickly as it started, support for the Transfer Pak dropped completely. Outside of Japan the only other games that supported the Transfer Pak were Perfect Dark with its atrocious Game Boy Color port, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and fucking Mickey’s Speedway USA.

Your options were essentially “Pokémon or that shitty Mickey Mouse rip-off of Mario Kart 64” while over in Japan the Transfer Pak was boasting connectivity between Mario Paint and the Game Boy Camera. No thank you, Nintendo.

Revisited in 2012: Every single accessory released for the Nintendo 64 was a load of crap, and I can say that with a clear conscience because there was technically only two of them: the Transfer Pak and the Voice Recognition Unit for Hey You, Pikachu!

The Transfer Pak still works fine for the purpose it’s intended to serve. I can still use it to trade my decade-old Pokémon into Pokémon Stadium and I can still use it as an awkward middleman to play Pokémon Blue on my television, you know, in case I manage to misplace my Super Game Boy. With the exception of being able to transfer my battle hardened pocket monsters into another game the Transfer Pak is wholly and entirely worthless. Do I look like the kind of jackass that not only owns Mickey’s Speedway USA for N64 but also GBC and am dying to do whatever it is that game could do with the Transfer Pak? I’ve never played that game, and I never intend to, because I don’t fit the criteria to be in that game’s demographic: I am not a socially challenged 10-year-old nor am I a child predator.

 

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Believe it or not when I’m not livid about what a rip-off Kinect was or busy sperging it up about Pokémon glitches I enjoy funneling my creative energy into drawings and sketches. Right here at my work desk I have several hundred dollars of Prismacolor pencils and art supplies sitting on a shelf dedicated to just that. I’ve always been hesitant to own a tablet for my computer because I’m old fashioned and I prefer traditional handmade-on-real-paper artwork. No fill buckets, no color palettes for easy shading, no undo button; just pure talent and self-discipline.

However GameStop.com was selling uDraws for $20 in December so I figured I might as well bite and get a tablet for twenty bucks because in all honesty that seemed like a good deal and it actually was. The problem with the uDraw on the other hand is that it’s intended for kids. I realized this when I bought it but I had no idea just how dumbed-down this thing was going to be.

The tablet is nice. uDraw: Instant Artist, the “software” for the device, is not. The minigames are an enjoyable timewaster but that isn’t why I bought the tablet; I bought it to draw and that’s where the issues are. First, you can draw faster than the tablet can keep track of. I don’t know if this is a problem present on PC tablets as well but I’m so used to sketching with pencils and the like that my hand movements are very rapid and in quick succession. The uDraw doesn’t like this and lags behind me. Secondly, there is no “layer” function meaning that I cannot draw guidelines on a sub-layer and then add finalized lineart and coloring on additional ones. Finally, there’s this thing called a “Paint Meter”. It’s a limitation on the amount of lines and color you can have on the screen at one time. For all the perceived RAM and storage space of the Xbox 360 there’s a fucking limit on the amount of creativity you can execute with this thing. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “oh I can use the eraser tool and it’ll refill the Paint Meter”, but you’d be wrong.

Somehow, in some bizarre catch-22 universe-shattering paradox, using the eraser also uses up paint.

I feel like an ass because honestly the uDraw is a really nice peripheral for the Xbox; the software is just utter trash and because of it the enjoyability of the tablet ceases to exist.

Revisited in 2012: Considering the fact that I only bought the thing a month ago and used it recently, I’m fairly certain not much has changed regarding my feelings toward it in 2012. Let me check. Nope, still dissatisfied.

 

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Words cannot express the joy I felt when I first got this device. Actually, that’s kind of a problem now that I look at it. I probably should find some words to allocate to that joy otherwise this’ll be a short entry on the list. I loved this thing. I loved it more than life itself back when it was new. When I purchased my Game Boy Camera the printer actually came bundled with it and I promptly burned up an entire roll of paper on all of the pictures of mundane crap I took those first few days.

Then I realized you could make stickers out of these things.

Everything became a sticker. When I bought Super Mario Bros. DX (the best re-release of the game, for the record) and discovered the entire sticker menu locked away inside of it my excitement attained prompt critical proportions and the rest of my paper went down the drain. On my wooden VCR shelf, which has now been repurposed as a place to hold my Xbox 360, I still have the “Nintendo Entertainment System” banner sticker I printed out with Super Mario Bros. DX all those years ago. Somewhere in a storage unit in south Texas sits an entire shoebox full of Pokédex printouts from Pokémon Yellow. That’s how fond my memories of the Game Boy Printer are.

Revisited in 2012: It’s been a long while since I’ve played with this. For the longest time it sat on a small shelf with my other Game Boy games and handhelds just because I liked the way it looks. When I started writing this article I had forgotten how needlessly intricate this was which is why I mouthed the words “are you shitting me” when I took the battery door off of the Game Boy Printer and rediscovered that it takes about $5 worth of AA batteries (6) to operate. Six. That’s three Game Boys. I could have a Pokémon link battle with myself and pay someone else to take pictures of the occasion with my archaic digital camera with that many batteries.

Six batteries later I powered on the printer and it buzzed to life. I smiled. Then I connected my Game Boy (with camera) to the printer and decided to print the first picture I ever took with the device (yes I’ve saved it all these years): a photo of me making a goofy grin with my name improperly centered below it. The printer began buzzing and humming and the paper began emerging from under the jagged metal paper-ripper-strip-thing. When the picture was halfway through its printing job I knew there was a problem. The paper was all blotchy and messed up; the picture looked terrible.

As it turns out the printer paper apparently has a shelf life. It’s thermal paper, e.g. the stuff that every fast food and grocery store receipt is printed on, and when it’s opened it can somehow “go bad”. The entire remainder of the roll that was loaded into the printer had expired like it was a gallon of milk. Guess what? That was also my last roll, and they kind of don’t sell that paper anymore. As it turns out you can use any thermal paper roll in the printer as a replacement, but none of those are sticker rolls.

So screw it.

 

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Third-party accessory companies will create a fix for anything. From ridiculous magnifying lenses for Game Boys to automatic firing mechanisms for the Atari 2600 and even to the aforementioned NES Zapper that you wear on your damn head if there’s an idea someone will pursue it no matter how stupid it is. The Xbox 360 cooling station is one of those creations. The moment news started spreading that the death of first-gen 360’s was more of a “when” than an “if” companies like Pelican (pictured in the header graphic) stepped up to create a myriad of goofy-ass “cooling” devices for the starcrossed system in a shoddy effort to let gamers futilely prolong the life of their system.

They weren’t selling you a panacea for your shitty launch console, they were selling you a hunk of junk that actually drew power from the USB ports of the Xbox 360 and in most cases did the complete opposite of what they were intended to do because of it. Slapping a micro PC fan or two into a hunk of plastic is not going to cool the system down; that’s what the Xbox 360 had to begin with and it clearly wasn’t working the first time around.

Revisited in 2012: These devices simply aren’t needed anymore. Like a tapeworm without a host to infect every Xbox 360 cooling stand is now even more of a waste than it was five years ago not because Microsoft fixed the problem or anything like that, but because there is no more population to infect and leech power from. The cooling stands killed them all. Mission completed, or mission failure?

My cooling stand serves no purpose now other than a grim reminder that I was not only floozed out of money but that the quality of gaming consoles has left a lot to be questioned in recent years; my Xbox 360 ascended to that big anti-warranty in the sky long ago. I don’t remember needing a fan for my Sega Genesis and I certainly don’t remember my Atari 2600’s chips melting off. Pardon me while I continue to wax nostalgically about classic gaming in a very biased manner.

 

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Save for maybe a Dance Dance Revolution pad never in my life have I seen a peripheral so fucking obtuse as the drum set from Rock Band. This god damn thing takes up so much space they may as well have advertised it as a piece of furniture because believe it or not Amazon will sell you an ottoman that this stupid thing will fit inside of to make it less of an eye sore than it already is. Look, this is really unprecedented but I’ve never heard of a piece of dedicated furniture where you can hide a shitty gaming peripheral. I just want to point that out. I can’t think of a single device in the history of gaming where someone had the bright idea of just hiding it in a damn ottoman to get rid of it.

Nobody I know knows how to play the drums on Rock Band. No one. They either have a golden voice or they suck at singing and just play the guitar instead. Maybe it’s because my friends and I are all white and thus none of us have a sense of rhythm but whatever the case the drums from this game are absolutely worthless. The pedal breaks, the drum heads make that horrible pat-pat-pat sound, and the entire rig is flimsier than your average dating relationship between two furries.

Revisited in 2012: Rock Band is dead. Sure there’s Rock Band 3 with a keyboard but this niche of the music genre is completely and utterly dead. There was a massive gold rush once Guitar Hero sold a few copies and now nobody gives two shits about the genre. I don’t even know why Harmonix bothers with DLC, they’re pandering to a dwindling market.

GameStop won’t accept musical equipment as trade because thanks to the guitars and drums being cheap as all hell they break all the time and there’s no way to test it in the store. Because of this Goodwill stores end up having more Rock Band crap than they know what to do with and the keystones of these piles of e-waste are none other than these stupid fucking drums.

 

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There has never been a more star-crossed console than the Dreamcast, or rather, The Legend of The Dreamcast. Its downfall is a mystery to us all but it’s likely because the console was released too far ahead of its time. Legend has it that the Dreamcast was actually created in 2004 but a Sega representative traveled backwards in time to deliver the schematics to 1998 thinking that releasing the console six years before its intended release would equal massive profits. Unfortunately, that plan failed and the time rift left in 2004 resulted in Ashlee Simpson releasing a debut album.

I came into possession of my Dreamcast as a Christmas gift in 1999 and a couple years later, just before the Dreamcast gave its last breath in the United States, I picked up a copy of Typing of the Dead and a Dreamcast keyboard. I’m getting ahead of myself here, though.

One thing I loved about the Dreamcast was the fact that it came with a built-in modem, what seemed like an entire spool of telephone cord stolen from an AT&T truck, and a CD curiously titled “Web Browser”. See, I was always a big fan of being able to have the World Wide Web on a screen bigger than the crappy CRT that came with my Windows 98 brick but I was never too fond of WebTV (which I am surprised to learn is still around today). The Dreamcast was the perfect bridge between having a proper computer with Internet access but not being forced to use the clunky quasi-broadband crap that was WebTV.

Except I could never get the Web Browser to work. So I ended up playing Sega Swirl until I became very, very, good at it.

Revisited in 2012: SegaNet has been dead for a whole decade. Typing of the Dead is still a riot, though.

 

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There’s nothing nice I can say about this company, now a subsidiary of Hasbro. Sega might have fooled me with the Mega CD and 32X but I feel like a real goon for being duped countless times by Tiger and their shitty LCD gimmicks. I honestly have no idea how a company whose entire portfolio of products consist of the kinds of tat that should be (and has been) made fun of by Stuart Ashens can become some multi-million dollar corporation. It makes no sense to me.

Let’s take a look at the Tiger R-Zone, the thing I mentioned in the article opener. This piece of shit was nothing more than a glorified handheld LCD game that you wore on your head. This was meant to compete with the Virtual Boy. Reread that last sentence once more so that sinks in. Tiger Electronics took one look at the Virtual Boy, a.k.a. That Red Thing That Makes Peoples’ Eyes Hurt, and said “well shit we can do better than that”. The end result of their labor was a hellspawn of a device that somehow manages to make the Virtual Boy look good in comparison. They made the Virtual Boy look good; not even Nintendo Power could do that.

You want another example of Tiger’s genius in action? Anybody remember the Game.com? That was a brick of a handheld system created to compete with the likes of the Game Boy Pocket despite the fact that their handheld was easily four times the size of the Pocket. The Game.com was “portable” in the same sense that a large piece of furniture is also portable. The Game.com boasted a ton of licensed titles and franchises, all of which were hilariously butchered by Tiger Electronics in increasingly bizarre ways. The best game available for that thing was Solitaire, and that came preinstalled on the handheld.

Revisited in 2012: I still hate LCD games. Maybe that’s the Bias of Time emerging forth in my psyche but I seriously cannot play with these things without wanting to commit a hate crime. The Game.com was an amalgamation of a bunch of flashy things the world wasn’t ready for but unlike the Dreamcast there was no acceptable or appropriate presentation of these things; it’s almost like the Game.com was born from the hastily scribbled meeting notes of a Tiger board meeting discussing what “futuristic” meant in a handheld game. The Game.com had Internet access (14.4K modem, BLAZING SPEED), dual cartridge ports, and even a touch screen. This was supposed to be the future of gaming.

Instead it was a crappy black & white handheld “gaming” system with a screen refresh rate in the negatives. They had the balls to release a Sonic the Hedgehog game for this piece of trash, if you can believe that. Not only is the Game.com’s version of Sonic Jam completely dissimilar to the Sega Saturn compilation of the same name, it’s literally unplayable. You can’t see the screen when you move around.

I have an almost complete library of Game.com games because apparently I really hate myself; none of the games are decent. They’re all flawed in some way or another ranging from Sonic Jam’s blurriness, to Resident Evil 2 being unclear about how to use its save function, to Fighters Megamix having broken characters, even down to Scrabble not having a dictionary challenge so you cannot dispute the CPU when it plays “ZXJBQ” across a triple word score tile.

The greatest thing Tiger Electronics has and ever will produce is the original handheld Lights Out, and yes I have one of those.

– Dracophile

When “Pocket Monsters” was created by Japanese game designer Satoshi Tajiri in 1996 it was nothing more than a way for the designer to relive his childhood pastime of insect collecting and share it with the residents of his homeland. For all the options available in the original games it was still quite a linear adventure, and a simplistic one at that. Neophyte game developer Game Freak (directed by Tajiri) set out to produce the original two installments Red and Green, which became such a hit that Blue was also released. Never before had Game Freak produced a game so intricate and detailed and mistakes were made to say the least. Programming oversights, data omissions, and lack of a proper error handling system eventually led to trainers getting lost in places that looked like this:

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WHERE WE’RE GOING WE DON’T NEED EYES TO SEE.

Due to a lack of attention to finite details in their programming work, which is forgivable considering the sheer magnitude of their creation and this being their first time taking on such a venture, both the Japanese and North American releases of the original Pokemon games were riddled with glitches ranging from mildly amusing to downright terrifying. Here’s seven demons Game Freak unintentionally brought upon the world with their magnum opus.

 

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MissingNo (literally “Missing Number”, #000 in the Pokedex) needs no introduction. MissingNo is the gold standard in Pokemon glitches and is quite possibly one of the most well known and celebrated glitches in the history of video games; MissingNo’s legendary status is on par with that of the Minus World from Super Mario Bros. Glitches in future generation Pokemon games are called “MissingNo” even though they are completely different entities, it’s a glitch that became the name for every other Pokemon glitch because that’s just what happens when you’re #1.

MissingNo’s familiar L-shaped appearance, non-threatening battle cry, amusing duplicate moveset, and item duplication properties are quite vanilla today but how would you have like to have been the first person to stumble across this beast? Can you imagine minding your own business when suddenly a random encounter begins and the screen freezes black for just a few seconds and…

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“Ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuck.” – You

Your butthole would have tensed up at this sight, and don’t you deny that.

Any self-respecting Pokemaniac in the 1990’s knew the entire Pokedex (and the PokeRap) like the back of their hand. You knew #’s 1 through 151 better than your own family so what in God’s name is this abortion?! It has a terrifyingly alarming name (“MISSING” appears in it), its graphic looks like the bowels of technological hell, and while it cries and fights like a regular Pokemon you have never seen anything like this before in your life. Confronted with the unknown you then do what any starry-eyed trainer would do in this situation: you catch the damn thing.

Sometime later you decide to show your friend your awesome trophy of a glitch and accidentally skip to the Pokemon League’s computer and bring up your Hall of Fame. The music crashes and turns to a single sound channel while the screams of tortured souls come through as pure static in another. Your screen flashes with the garbled mess of a computer virus and attached is a note from MissingNo reading “thank you for liberating me from my prison, this is only my first step to world domination.”

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“PS: Check your 6th item.”

 

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Remember that old man in Viridian City who won’t let you pass because he’s a grumpy old fart who hasn’t yet had his fill of coffee? He’s just an arbitrary barrier in the game so that you won’t proceed further without delivering Oak’s Parcel from the PokeMart and once you obtain your Pokedex he changes his attitude and shows you how to catch Pokemon. Unknown to him, the old man also holds the keys to unlocking MissingNo… which come to think of it might be the reason he seems so disturbed and angry at the world. Could you imagine having to harbor that thing? I mean, sure, all the free coffee you could ever want but still I don’t think MissingNo would be suitable company at all, ever.

You can fool with the poor old man all you want if you have a GameShark and play with the cheat codes to alter wild Pokemon encounters. You can have the old man show you how to catch one of the Pokemon not present in your version of the game, you can have him catch a Mewtwo, you can enjoy a spot of meta humor and have him catch a MissingNo, or… you can force him to fight a trainer, and the game just doesn’t know what the fuck to do.

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This will end well.

The old man is programmed to do one thing and one thing only: throw a Poke Ball. He still does this after the trainer sends out their glitch Pokemon and as you might expect the trainer blocks it. The old man never sends out any Pokemon (even though he appears to have 1 fainted and 5 normal Pokemon) so right now you’re on the edge of your seat because the trainer’s glitch box of the apocalypse is about to rock this grandpa’s world…

…and out of nowhere the PA system from the Safari Zone chimes in and says “TIME’S UP!!”

The battle ends immediately and the old man acts like nothing happened. He reminds you that you must first weaken the target Pokemon and on the surface it appears no lasting effects have happened… until you check your stats.

Your name has changed to “OLD MAN”. Due to the way the game handles the old man encounter it stores your actual name in the place where wild Pokemon data is stored (because this data is empty in Viridian City) and temporarily changes your player name to OLD MAN. When the battle terminates improperly the game doesn’t have the chance to reset the data and your name becomes OLD MAN. Any Pokemon you have cannot be nicknamed because you are no longer their original trainer, they do not recognize you anymore.

Every single instance where your name would be displayed now says “OLD MAN”. If you access your PC from a Pokemon Center it’s called “OLD MAN’s PC”. If you speak to a character who addresses you by your name, like Professor Oak for example, he will (hilariously) call you “OLD MAN”. If you check the sign outside of your home it will read “OLD MAN’s house”. You have become OLD MAN. He has stolen your identity and pulled off the greatest psychic cleansing ever documented. Everybody you have ever known starts calling you by the incorrect name like nothing happened. Even your own mother doesn’t know you anymore.

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MAMA NO

 

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This can’t possibly be scary, can it? I mean the name almost looks like the word “pizzazz” which is kind of gay but at the worst would end up being a Shiny Pokemon, right? Shiny things have pizzazz?

Wrong. The “ZZAZZ” glitch is named as such because of a very specific string of data it injects directly into your save file. Unless you’re tempted enough to fool with the game by using sequence breaks or a GameShark you won’t come across this glitch but God help you if you choose to peek into oblivion and play with things you shouldn’t. Like the saying goes, “when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back” except in this case the “abyss” is a glitched up zombie trainer who rapes you in the mindgina. Glitches are like drugs and after a while freebasing MissingNo just isn’t enough to get you high; that’s when you OD and this happens:

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Oh shit a vuvuzela!! BZZZZZZZZ

Let’s take a look at what the christ is going on here. First thing’s first, your opponent. It’s you as if you were staring into a mirror and there was an interdimensional time rift that sucked you into the cursed mirror world and unleashed the fury of Hell itself into the unsuspecting Kanto. Impostor Red has a full stock of Pokemon, though the first one appears to be poisoned. When he sends this Pokemon out it’s at level 153 and its health bar wraps around the fucking screen. This is what it looks like when you attempt to use a digital Ouija board to channel spirits.

By this point it’s already too late; you are completely and utterly screwed. The game is operating by itself and is pulling code and instructions from the 7th dimension and the only thing you can do is get your ass kicked by Pokemon of the netherworld while the mirror image of yourself laughs in a mocking tone. There is one escape, though: throw a Poke Ball. No, seriously. Bizarro Red will block it, the game will buzz for a second, and the battle will suddenly end.

But that’s not the end of it. Merely looking at the source of the ZZAZZ infection is enough to let its mnemonic properties propagate throughout your entire game. Earlier I mentioned the game injects a certain string of data into your game save. Check your trainer name. It’s a bunch of Z’s. The hex value for the letter “Z” is “99”. In base-10 “99” is “153“, you know, the level of the Pokemon that the Mirror World Red sent out. Check your Pokemon roster. They are all now level 153. Not only that, they are all Bulbasuars. Bulbasaur occupies hex value “99”, which of course translates to 153. Check Bulbasaur’s moveset. Every attack will be Explosion. Can you guess the hex value of this move? I’m sure you can by now; it’s like a bad Jim Carrey movie.

Any trainer you fight, no matter who they are, will now be ZZAZZ. And now you are, too.

Try to watch this video without shitting your pants:

 

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Do you have an inexplicable fear of the unknown? Do you worry that one day you’ll open the door to your house and on the other side instead of seeing your living room it’ll be some unknown place in space and time? Are you afraid of being in an elevator because you don’t know what will be on the other side of those cold steel doors when they open? Holy shit, you are going to love this next glitch!

“Dokokashira” is Japanese for “Where is it”, as in “where is the door”. This isn’t “where” as in “it’s right around the corner”, it’s “where” as in “where does the other side of that door lead?” Yes, that’s right, this whole glitch is about the phenomena of walking into what you think is the Pokemon Center and ending up in the middle of the burned out Cinnabar Island laboratory, with or without a sore B-hole. The “Dokokashira Door” glitch is the roofie of the Pokemon world.

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This has “good idea” written ALL OVER IT.

This glitch is only accessible in Pokemon Red and Green, the original two Japanese titles from 1996. It was patched up by the time the Japanese Blue was released, and is not present in the North American release of the game. The reason given is that this glitch was “extremely hazardous” unlike, you know, the ZZAZZ glitch or anything like that.

Starting the glitch requires a fresh game because you need to have Oak’s Parcel in your inventory. You then must press Select and act like you want to change its place in your item list except rather than swap an item you attempt to exchange it with the first Pokemon in your party (which also requires use of the Select button). From this point the glitch is active and every “cycle” of the game (every 4 steps taken) will cause the warp point of every door to change to another location. By forcing the game to swap one set of data with another it turns your only Pokemon into the anomaly stored at hex value “FF” and also shuffles around other data in the game, namely the door location data.

Oh, and that bastard Oak won’t ever get his package because you just decided to open it and found out he ordered the key from The Lost Room.

Of course, with such a rigid set of operations with the glitch (every 4 steps) there’s no doubt a table that has been created by someone with way too much time on their hands. With careful planning you can use the Dokokashira door glitch to walk straight into the Hall of Fame room, access the computer, and beat the game with zero Pokemon in your party.

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Hall of Fame. Post-tsunami.

 

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In basic terms the Pokemon game stores its Pokemon data in a single location occupying 256 slots of data (256 converted to hex is “FF”, the maximum). 151 of these slots are legitimate Pokemon, about 40 of them are MissingNo, and a few dozen are trainer data. Attempting to use a GameShark to “force” a specific encounter with a trainer ID will cause you to fight a glitchy trainer, not a Pokemon. Through creative circumnavigation however, you can force the game to read these slots of data as “Pokemon”. If it sounds like a bad idea you’re absolutely correct but people do it anyways and that’s how “EC” was discovered.

“EC” is the hex location where this glitch is stored. Most glitches have a name that people can use to describe it even if it’s a garbled mess of letters and symbols (e.g. “LM4”). EC has no discernible name. The safety net, then, would be to name it based upon what its sprite looks like. EC also has no sprite, not even a garbled “L” shaped mess like MissingNo. At the very least people could use its type, species, or other identifying data to name it, but it simply does not exist. EC is literally an invisible specter whose data normally corresponds to Lt. Surge.

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He looks like an angry grandmother.

Entering “01ECD8CF” into a GameShark and playing the game results in battling Lt. Surge in the middle of nowhere. Most of these glitchy trainer fights possess the same roster of garbage data, but Surge is different. The Lieutenant will actually attempt to send out EC, which is frankly unheard of. EC almost always freezes the game but if the ROM remains stable enough the Pokemon you send out to battle it emerges from its ball with a “frozen” status effect, its HP bar wraps the screen, the location where its name belongs fills up with 9’s, and the screen eventually crashes and turns into a mess of HP bars and numbers.

“EC” is the only hex location in the game where data actually does not exist. There is nothing there, which cannot be correct because Lt. Surge is there. EC is the equivalent of Schrodinger’s cat. It exists and does not exist simultaneously.

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Sweet dreams.

 

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Most people who are familiar with MissingNo are familiar with its close cousin M. The two glitches are almost identical at first: they share the same attacks, they both look the same, they both duplicate items, they both crash the Hall of Fame, and their names both start with (or consist of) the letter “M”. M is entirely different, however, and that should be realized the moment you first encounter it and hear it scream like a Zapdos hyped up on crack.

M occupies hex slot “00” in the ROM; it is not known why M is the odd-man out when it comes to the other 40-something MissingNo but M is “the one”. M is also the only MissingNo to feature evolutions, and has three of them. At level 138 M will evolve into Clefairy, M can spontaneously turn into a Rhydon unprovoked if you already have an M in your party, and at any level other than 138 M will evolve into Kangaskhan. To Pokemon theorists everywhere M is the “missing link” in the whole Kangaskhan, Cubone, and Marowak trifecta of mommy-issues bullshit even though it’s a block of pixels that also has two other unrelated evolutions.

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Pokemon creepypasta is the worst kind.

But none of this is the reason why M has made this list. If you initiate battle with M and decide to capture it, after the game tells you M’s been caught…

ENEMY M USED WATER GUN!

What the fuck? It’s still there?! When fighting M if you capture it, the battle doesn’t terminate properly even though M’s sprite has vanished. Either that, or M can replicate itself endlessly and you can never win. If his surprise post-capture attack doesn’t scare the living hell out of you and you throw another Poke Ball at it… you’ll catch a Ditto. A perfectly harmless and completely 100% legitimate Ditto staring at you with his goofy expression of being completely stoned and complacent.

And nobody knows why this happens.

Dozens of basement dwellers have disassembled and reassembled the Pokemon ROM and studied it in and out, bit by bit, and there is no explanation for the “phantom” Ditto. It’s just “there”… and nobody has a reason why. None. Not even a theory.

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“I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL *cough* i mean… oh hai there!!~~”

 

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For something as benign and goofy as MissingNo the creature can evolve into some pretty scary shit rather fast, and this isn’t “evolve” in a Pokemon sense. First there was the original MissingNo that started this list off. Then there was M, a distant cousin with a bunch of branch evolutions to rival that of Eevee’s. Finally, we’ve come to Charizard M, the embodiment of Hell itself in a Game Boy game.

Charizard M is not a Pokemon. It certainly looks like one (guess who) but it’s  not. It should not exist, it is not from this world and is comprised of a programming language forged in the very core of the Earth. Charizard M is beyond what can be described as a “programming anomaly” and mythology states that Game Freak didn’t even put it in the game; the master copy of Pokemon was blasted by a bolt of lightning and this happened. Do not treat Charizard M as a Pokemon for you will be sorely indebted to the Beast in the worst way possible for a Pokemon trainer: without warning or provocation it will eat and transform your Pokemon. Permanently.

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If you see this on a Game Boy screen, it is too late.

Charizard M occupies slot “FF” on the cartridge. “FF” is as far as you can go in hex data; Charizard M is the end of the road. The couple dozen or so glitches before it are all boxy glitchy messes that don’t do much until you reach “FF” and discover the final boss of Pokemon. “FF” doesn’t even correspond to a Pokemon, it’s where the game stores the data for the “cancel” menu option. If you dare try to force an encounter with the Cancel button then you’re a goddamn retard and deserve the full fury that this demon can unleash upon you. It’s cry is a mess of static that ruins the audio of the game and by the time you hear it you cannot run. You are in his domain now.

If you’re stupid enough to capture Charizard M and add it to your party you won’t even see it in your roster; it will appear as a blank space. If you move it to the top of your list guess what happens? You will lose your other 5 Pokemon; they will be masked in nothingness by Charizard M because the game reads this creature as a “stop” order. You will no longer be able to heal these Pokemon at a Pokemon Center nor can you interact with them in any way. You just shoved them into a portal to oblivion where they are being violated (by furries) as we speak.

Think it’s a good idea to store Charizard M in a Pokemon Box? Uh, are you stupid? If you put this thing into a box the same will happen to everything in that box; it will vanish. Poof. If you’re not careful with how you handle Charizard M you will end up with more Charizard M’s. No, you didn’t misread that; these things multiply if left to their own devices. Not only that Charizard M has the ability to turn your other Pokemon into copies of itself. If you play with Charizard M everything you have ever caught in your game will become Charizard M.

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Don’t look now BUT HE’S RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

 

Dracophile Charizard M

Last week we covered 11 craftable items Mojang should incorporate into Minecraft. Since then, Mojang has proceeded to stuff their sandbox game with a bunch of pointless shit and Markus “Notch” Persson has adopted a bizarre affinity for watching animals have sex with each other. I guess we’ll call it even. In between us doing the initial work for the first article and completing the content for today’s article the indie game developer has produced an official 1.8 release as well as a 1.9 pre-release rife with things like snowmen wearing pumpkins on their heads. It’s safe to assume these people have collectively lost their shit and that their next grand idea is going to be a tower that spits out infinite cookies.

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Too late.

Regardless, here’s part two of our “wouldn’t it be cool if…” Minecraft series with 11 more awesome crafting recipes Mojang should use in their game!

 

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minecraft_indianheadwearWhat it is/does: The Indian Headwear is a special kind of helmet that allows the wearer to get some extra distance, power, and critical hit chance behind their arrows, just like a trained Indian archer! While wearing the Indian Headwear it only takes you half as long to charge up a powered shot.

Why you need it: With the addition of new mobs like Endermen, plus the achievement “Sniper Duel”, the bow is becoming a more useful and needed weapon in the Minecraft game. Whereas you could normally get by with just a sword and some guts with the changing climate of the game you can’t just take a lot of damage and eat food anymore, you have to wait for that health to regenerate. This headwear would let you safely attack from a distance, but attack stronger!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Since the headwear itself is just a leather strap with some dangly feathers it wouldn’t offer the standard protection that a normal helmet would, this of course is balanced by the boost it gives to ranged attacks. Also because it boosts attacks, to keep things fair each improved shot would wear down a normal bow 1.5x times as fast.

 

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minecraft_submarineWhat it is/does: The Submarine is a submersible version of the standard Minecraft boat that allows the driver to pilot it above the surface of the water just like a regular boat, but much like the flying ability granted in Creative play the Submarine can also rise and dive in the water to let players explore chasms or to traverse underground water tunnels.

Why you need it: With the new biome updates there’s a lot more water in Minecraft than there used to be, let’s just get that factoid out of the way right now. If you’re unlucky you might get a bad spawn that’ll put you right in the middle of a crappy Kevin Costner movie (with or without the Virtual Boy game that was made after it). The Submarine is a handy took that acts like a boat but comes with the added bonus of letting you dive underwater to explore or even get to your safehouse if you built an undersea mad science lab.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: All in all, the Submarine isn’t that different from the standard boat, it’s even based off of it. The exception here is that the Submarine wouldn’t immediately crumble into wood and sticks upon hitting something, this is to protect the pilot from drowning deep underwater. It’s a basic vehicle built with basic parts, thus it’s non-stackable like the other vehicles and relatively cheap/easy to make.

 

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minecraft_spikedcollarWhat it is/does: Aside from the player there are passive mobs that you can tame to bring onto your side in your journeys. The wolf is one of these mobs, however they have absolutely no mob-specific items to help them out. The Spiked Collar is a piece of armor for your wolf companion that reduces the damage he takes by 50%.

Why you need it: Wolfy (or Yiff’n Buddy if you’re a weirdo) might be a great companion to take with you on journeys, but the unfortunate truth is that they die way too fast. You can effectively double the life of your furry friend and save him from a stray Creeper if you give him this collar, which you could equip by simply right-clicking on your wolf. Now he’s a more formidable companion and won’t be so quick to explode!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Wolves are relatively common, this collar is made of common materials; the two balance one another out. Furthermore with all the different kinds of hostile mobs out there, most of which can do more damage to the wolf than he can dish out, this collar helps balance the game by evening the playing field.

 

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minecraft_defoliantWhat it is/does: Defoliant is the opposite of bone meal. Where bone meal causes plants to grow instantly, Defoliant will kill all plant life within a radius of where it’s placed.

Why you need it: Say you found the perfect place to build something but the land is covered in trees. Sure, you could craft a bunch of axes and chop them all down but what if you don’t need the wood and just want to get rid of everything? Throw a little of this around and your problems are solved. Defoliant could even cause plants like sugar cane and wheat to drop their loot, so this could be a fast way to harvest crops and re-plant them.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Bones for bone meal are common loot dropped from skeletons, and bone meal causes anything to grow instantly. Therefore there should be an equal opposite for it. Defoliant takes more items to create but the items used are easy to obtain from The Nether. Much like bone meal you can stack Defoliant in groups of 64 and one crafting of the powder will net you 4 instances each.

 

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minecraft_mngfyglass-journalWhat it is/does: The Magnifying Glass is an item that, if it’s in your inventory, will show the health and stats of any mob or player your sights are focused on. If the Journal is in your inventory then any enemy or mob you kill will have a chance to drop additional experience orbs.

Why you need it: Minecraft‘s Adventure Update is going to give the game a more “RPG” feel to it by means of introducing experience points, stats, enchanted/titled items, and even boss mobs. There’s going to be more to the game than simply mining for pretty rocks to build giant space dongs out of, and these two items are examples of helpful crafts that can help you ascertain threats and even level-up faster if you’re holding onto them.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: These are simple items to craft and require almost nothing of rarity (except for ink sacs which might be difficult to obtain), and thus their effects are relatively moderate. The Magnifying Glass lets you see enemy health and stats, which is basic information, and the Journal only gives a slight increase to the chance that an enemy might drop additional experience orbs. Both are passive abilities and are only active if you are letting either item occupy a spot in your inventory.

 

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minecraft_decoytargetWhat it is/does: The Decoy Target is a block of flesh that vaguely resembles a human when placed on the ground. The smell of meat and the sight of a humanoid figure will cause hostile mobs to attack the decoy until it breaks, letting you get away from a dangerous situation.

Why you need it: How often have you run out of arrows or broken a sword and have almost been trapped by zombies or spiders? If you’re on the verge of death and without anything that you can use to heal or attack with you might lose your precious diamonds or other rare finds. Throwing down a decoy will give you the extra time to get away and heal or to simply escape with your loot in hand so you can fight another day. Plus if you’re playing on the planned “Hardcore” mode where the map is deleted upon death… the decoy might be a godsend!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Presently there is no use for rotten meat dropped from zombies except for using it to heal wolves. If you eat it you get poisoned which makes it only useful if you’re starving and this is the only thing you have. There are no crafting recipes for the meat at this time. A decoy sounds cheap, but it will crumble after a few hits and due to their perceived size, they cannot be stack in your inventory. Given the nature of death in “Hardcore” mode a decoy would be a valuable item to have with you.

 

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minecraft_ghilliesuitWhat it is/does: A Ghillie Suit in Minecraft would function just like one in real life. This is a suit made of foliage that camouflages the wearer under a thick matting of leaves and plant life to let them sneak around undetected around hostile enemies.

Why you need it: If you travel lightly or you’re only looking to scout to place sights on your map you might not want to attract the attention of hostile mobs around you. Right now if you stand behind vines mobs have to be closer to you to see you, so there’s already some form of camouflage present in the game; this is a piece of armor that would bestow that same perk to you at all times so long as it’s being worn because vines don’t grow everywhere in Minecraft.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: A Ghillie Suit doesn’t exactly offer much protection from anything seeing as how it’s made of plants, it’s mostly used for sneaking around. This would translate into the game by offering only half the protection as a regular piece of chest armor but make up for it by having a camo perk on at all times. It doesn’t require anything special to craft, but it would require you to travel to a swamp biome to get the vines, which could prove tricky if you don’t spawn anywhere near one.

 

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minecraft_dungeonradarWhat it is/does: This radar is a tool that when kept in your inventory will emit periodic blips that will increase in frequency when you get closer to a “monster spawner” block (since these are normally associated with dungeons). It doesn’t point to anything (like the compass might suggest), it merely emits a tone when you are honing in on one.

Why you need it: Let’s face it, searching for loot in Minecraft is FUN. There’s lots of enjoyment to be had in building giant castles and fountains and such but it’s also really fun to go out and find some rare items like music discs, cocoa beans, saddles, and other stuff you can use to trade with on multiplayer servers (except for saddles I guess, because nobody wants those stupid things). This loot radar isn’t a cheat like an X-ray vision texture pack but it is a tool that’s fair and balanced to make loot quests more fun.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: The loot radar requires a lot of stuff to create: wood (8), sticks (3), iron (4), and Redstone dust (4). Even though it requires a compass to craft the compass does nothing and is just for show, holding the Dungeon Loot Radar just shows the compass needle to spin around as if you were in The Nether. All it does it make sounds and offers no clues as to the direction of the dungeon, that’s for your ears to find out. It doesn’t directly give you the location of the dungeon, you still have to find it, but it can help give clues.

 

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minecraft_longfusetntWhat it is/does: Long Fuse TNT functions exactly like regular TNT in every way except it takes three times as long to detonate when lit or activated by a lever, button, or other apparatus.

Why you need it: According to the Minecraft Wiki, activated TNT takes four seconds to detonate. This is fine if you’re in an open environment or just using one block of TNT in a mine, but for many other instances four seconds isn’t enough time to get away from the blast, especially if you’re setting up a chain reaction or attempting to build a TNT cannon to shoot an activated block of the explosive somewhere. Long Fuse TNT is a safer alternative that can allow you to quickly get away, set up safe chain reactions, or dig deeper by “sounding” depths with activated explosives.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: There’s virtually no difference between long fuse and regular TNT save for detonation time. Long Fuse TNT requires the same amount of materials to craft, plus two pieces of string (which is relatively easy to obtain from spider mobs and abandoned mine shaft dungeons). Gunpowder is a primary ingredient in crafting TNT, and since it’s required for both versions of the explosive, the long fuse version is equally balanced.

 

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minecraft_grapplinghookWhat it is/does: If you hit a cavern or fall into a ravine and don’t have enough blocks to stack up and  climb out with you can toss a Grappling Hook to latch onto a ledge and climb up the wall to safety. Be like Batman and scale canyons in seconds!

Why you need it: If you’re out of materials to build a makeshift “cheat elevator” with to get out of a deep crevice or ravine you might seem stuck, especially if you don’t have the tools to dig your way out. If you’re at the bottom of a canyon and need a way out you can cast the Grappling Hook just like you could a fishing pole and climb up out of a deep cut in the land. The grappling hook will only grab onto a ledge, and once you reach the hook you’re transported atop the block the hook was attached to, less the hook.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: This is a simple item to craft with basic components, making it easy to mass-produce. Because it can be used to quickly scale landforms in an abusable fashion the Grappling Hook is only good for one use before it breaks and a new one must be used. Since it’s classified as a tool these items cannot stack.

 

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minecraft_backpackWhat it is/does: Wearing a Backpack as chest armor won’t offer any protection, but it will double your inventory space to match the capacity of a double-chest!

Why you need it: C’mon, do I really need to explain why you need this? It will double your inventory space! That’s the only reason I have to give!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Carrying twice the normal inventory capacity seems kind of cheap, so to make up for it while wearing a Backpack you aren’t granted any of the protection bonuses as you would wearing any type of chest armor. Wearing this item also prevents your character from dashing, and if it takes too much damage (it is armor after all) it’ll break and you’ll drop the items in the top three rows of your inventory… which you could easily combat by packing an extra Backpack just in case (yo dawg we heard u leik backpacks…).

 

And that brings us to the end of our journey, 11 (12 if you count the double entry) more awesome ideas for useful tools and items for the world of Minecraft! If you read this article and you agree with the ideas, pass it along! Or, if you’re a savvy modder for the game and see something you would like to borrow by all means take what you like and make it work! If you do, send us some screenshots of the items in action and we’ll feature you, your mod, and your site (if you have one) in a shoutout update!

– Dracophile

For the uninitiated or those of you who have lives outside of doing stupid shit on a computer, Minecraft (by Mojang) is one of those games being hailed as “one of the best indie games ever released”. Minecraft is simple, painfully so, which might be the reason why it’s so popular. In a market saturated with needlessly complex bullshit here’s a game where you can just stack a bunch of blocks together that look like a house and let it get blasted by lightning or filled with lava by online griefers wearing giant dongs as a custom player skin. Minecraft is successful because it’s a basic game and you can do whatever you want like Grand Theft Auto minus all the hookers and blow. The creativity is almost endless and lets you combine items and raw materials into dozens of useful tools and decorations.

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Better put that block back where you got it.

We say “almost” though, because although the game is basically a “play by your own rules” open-ended adventure experience, there are a ton of things you can’t make with the raw materials provided. An entire fan-mod community exists to fill this gap, however these modifications are never part of the actual lineup of the game until Mojang picks up the idea(s) and releases them as official items. Below are 11 items conceived by the creative community at GatorCraft, their intended uses, and why they’d be kickass to have in Minecraft.

 

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minecraft_watergunWhat it is/does: The Water Gun is an item that shoots a powerful stream of water which you can use to extinguish fires, push items or mobs around, or attack mobs that are weak against water. The Water Gun’s discharge would simply be an abbreviated form of the game’s own water and would not actually deposit water-spawning blocks.

Why you need it: You never know when you may suddenly become the next recipient of the Minecraft Darwin Awards. Accidents with fire can happen, if you have a Water Gun on your person you’ll be better prepared to deal with it should the need arise. Furthermore Endermen are weak against water, it damages them. This tool could be used as a weapon against those block-stealing asshats.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Because the Water Gun is a tool/weapon you cannot stack them as an item. In terms of durability and considering how much material is consumed by the creation of one (9 iron ingots, a lever, and a dispenser) you could carry yourself with a single Water Gun for a while before you would have to craft a new one.

 

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minecraft_landmineWhat it is/does: It’s a land mine, you hide it somewhere and when an unsuspecting player or mob steps on it… BLAM! Land Mines placed by the user can only be seen by that user and can only be placed on “soft” blocks such as dirt, sand, or snow. Stepping on the pressure plate connected to one causes it to detonate immediately with the force of a regular box of TNT.

Why you need it: A Land Mine can be an effective trap to use against hostile mobs or to indirectly attack neutral mobs by getting them to step on one. Land Mines can be used in PvP maps as a battle tactic or in regular SMP maps to deter other players from approaching private containers. Furthermore you could probably grief the hell out of someone’s server if they haven’t banned TNT by placing a bunch of these all over the place.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Land Mines are similar in composition to standard TNT and because of it are just as powerful and require about the same amount of resources. They can be stackable up to 64 per unit and banned in multiplayer maps with anti-fire and anti-explosive plugins.

 

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What it is/does: A Tent is a safe haven from the threat of mobs spawning when the sun goes down in Minecraft Land. You can pack up a Tent and take it with you anywhere, but like a bed you can only use it at night. Using a Tent causes the night cycle to skip and the Tent is discarded after you awaken.

Why you need it: Ever been stuck in the middle of nowhere while scouting for sights and caverns? When it becomes night time that’s when all the hostile mobs come out to play and if you aren’t prepared for it you can find yourself dead in no time. You can either pack with you a bunch of extraneous crap to assemble a rudimentary safehouse where you currently stand (requires a bed, some kind of building material, and torches) or you can pack a single item and get the whole thing rolled up into one.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: The Tent restores no health, but it is a powerful item that lets you skip time just as if you were safe and sound in your home. For that reason you couldn’t stack these in your inventory (can’t stack beds either) and they are discarded after each use.

 

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minecraft_powerarmorWhat it is/does: Power Armor is a special kind of chest armor that you can wear to boost your attack strength and power! While wearing Power Armor all melee damage done with swords, axes, picks, shovels, and hoes will do twice as much damage, plus improve your chances of getting a critical hit! Other than that, the armor provides the same amount of damage resistance and protection as a normal chestplate.

Why you need it: Let’s face it, you’re going to be fighting other creatures in Minecraft. Whether you’re dealing with plundering dungeons or trying to efficiently get leather items to drop from cows you’re going to be using melee attacks nonstop and Power Armor boosts the amount of damage you can do!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Power Armor takes one less piece of material to craft, however in place of that it requires a single piece of Diamond Block (9 diamonds compressed into one). The boost in attack is largely governed by having to find 9 diamonds, which is more than it takes to make a single piece of diamond chest armor in the first place.

 

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minecraft_regenerator[NOTE: The snowballs in the picture to the left represent Ender Pearls.]

What it is/does: A Teleport Block is an efficient way to let you travel around places of interest on your map. It requires at least two blocks placed somewhere on the map to function, but when activated the blocks act like portals between each other transporting you and your inventory to wherever the other block is located. Having more than 2 blocks in play causes you to transport to them in order of their original placement.

Why you need it: Navigating around your world can be pretty easy when you are only getting started but what about when you branch out to search for caverns, mines, and sites of interest? There’s gotta be a better way of keeping track of all of these places besides pressing F3 and writing down the X and Z coordinates, that’s kinda cheating! Using Teleport Blocks is one solution to getting from place to place quickly so you can survey a mine, mark it, and return at a later time!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Making a Teleport Block that functions requires at least two blocks (which are stackable). Before you can even use a Teleport Block you need to have 10 pieces of obsidian and 8 Ender Pearls, not an easy task considering obsidian requires a diamond pickaxe to mine and Endermen are notoriously dangerous and hard to battle. To minimize the amount of abuse used by these blocks, once they are placed they cannot be re-mined to be placed again elsewhere, they do not drop anything when broken.

 

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minecraft_ninjastarsWhat it is/does: Throwing Stars are sharp metal objects that can be thrown an honorable distance by right clicking (using your viewing cross as an aiming reticle). They’re similar to arrows but do not require a bow to be used.

Why you need it: Because ninjas are cool. No, really though, not everyone fancies themselves an archer in Minecraft. Archery takes at least two spots of your inventory up: one for the bow, and another for the arrows. Throwing Stars take up one space and are a quick solution to do some long-distance damage if the need arises. They’re a practical form of self defense that can easily be fashioned on-the-go if you’re in the middle of a mine.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Throwing Stars are pretty inexpensive to make. One round of crafting is good for 4 stars which do comparable damage to an arrow fired from a bow. Throwing Stars cannot be charged, however, so they only do a baseline damage. This is made up for by not requiring extra equipment to use, you just equip a stack and you’re good to go; they are a quick and efficient item at the expense of doing less damage. Thrown stars are not retrievable, however another idea could be to craft a bigger star out of five ingots (placed in an X pattern) that can be retrieved when thrown.

 

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minecraft_portableritualWhat it is/does: The Portable Ritual is just what its name implies, a portable device that can be used in a pinch. The problem it aims to correct is the possibility of being killed or stranded in The Nether. Using a Portable Ritual is a way to be transported back to the main portal you used to enter The Nether so you may safely restock your items or leave if necessary.

Why you need it: The Nether is a pretty goddamn dangerous place what with its lava ocean and flying squid monsters that shoot explosive cannonballs at you. It’s a pretty scary place and it’s very easy to inadvertently get yourself killed since traversing the lava ocean is treacherous in its own right and building a Netherrack ladder to harvest Glowstone makes you an easy target for projectile weapons. Basically anything you do in The Nether leaves you wide open for a good raping. This is your out; if you are on the verge of death and you have a Portable Ritual you may be able to save your ass and get out alive or at least die close to the portal so you can recover your stuff.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Cheating death is pretty… cheap. Because of this the Portable Ritual takes 8 pieces of obsidian, that’s only two less than the “economy” version of a standard portal. Also like its bigger brother the Portable Ritual requires a flint & iron to function. Due to its implied size you can’t stack these items, and they are a one-time use kinda thing. They cannot be placed anywhere as they are a “tool” item.

 

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minecraft_spikearmorWhat it is/does: Spike Armor is armor made from the tanned and dried hide of the robust cactus. It functions similarly to a leather tunic except while wearing Spike Armor any physical/melee damage you receive will deal a fraction of it back to the attacker thanks to cacti being covered with what seems like a trillion tiny thorns.

Why you need it: Having a variety of armors at your disposal allows you to build a better character, especially with the looming gaze of experience points right at the verge of being used in the game. Spike Armor is a lightweight and easy to fashion piece of protection that is weak overall but functions well for the “scouter” type of miner. Other than making dyes there is no present use for cacti in Minecraft so using it to make a special type of armor gives the resource some additional use.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Spike Armor functions just like leather armor in the scope of protection and durability and it requires just as many pieces to create. It is just as “weak” as leather armor because cacti can be found everywhere and because they are a plant and can be easily farmed the resource is not too time consuming or labor intensive to find.

 

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minecraft_glowarmorWhat it is/does: Glow Armor is a chestplate made from Glowstone that emits a steady aura of light around the player wearing it. The effect of Glow Armor is akin to carrying a lit torch with you wherever you go as a passive effect. Glow Armor offers the same protection as iron armor.

Why you need it: Sometimes throwing down torches when you’re just exploring can be tedious. Additionally if you’re only scoping out small portions of a bigger mine sometimes you don’t need to go through and light the whole place up, having a passive effect can help save on time, time that is better spent exploring!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: One piece of Glow Armor takes 8 pieces of Glowstone to create (or 32 Glowstone dusts) which is only available in The Nether, and usually in very precarious places to boot. Mining enough dust to create 8 full blocks of Glowstone requires much effort making this armor a very valuable commodity with a nice perk to boot.

 

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minecraft_repellantWhat it is/does: Repellent is a form of orange powder that can be sprinkled around on the ground similar to Redstone dust. Hostile mobs won’t go near the dust and will try to find a way around it if they are making an attempt to attack you. If there is no other way to reach you, and if the mob is incapable of jumping, Repellent functions just like an invisible wall.

Why you need it: If you’re digging through a mine and want to make sure nothing is going to surprise you from the back all you have to do is sprinkle a bit of Repellent on the ground and mobs will be kept at bay. Additionally if you’re searching for dungeons and want to crack one open, but don’t want to deal with a flood of hostile mobs, you can salt the floor with Repellent before breaking open the wall so you can safely retreat and attack mobs from a distance.

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Each crafting of Repellent gives you 4 instances of it, with a maximum of 64 per stack. Repellent is a half and half mixture of common stock (Redstone dust) and rare Nether-only material (Glowstone dust), because of this each crafting only gives you 4, but you have the ability to stack them. Much like Redstone dust you can retrieve Repellent and place it elsewhere.

 

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minecraft_ropeladderWhat it is/does: It’s just like a regular ladder… except rope. You can use a Rope Ladder to climb up to places without requiring a wall to be there to place a ladder on. Rope Ladders function like vines in that they can hang from a solid block except with these items you can climb up them.

Why you need it: Not only can the requirement to have a wall behind a ladder can be unsightly for floating structures but traversing the new ravine landmass can be made easier with a Rope Ladder, simply get the ladder started and continue to place more as you climb down to safely reach the bottom of the crevice to further explore!

Value/rarity to usefulness ratio: Similar to the original ladder item crafting a Rope Ladder will yield 2 items. The ability to quickly traverse landmasses without having to use the back of a wall seems exploitable, but this is countered with the fact that string, the required component of Rope Ladders, is only dropped as loot from spider mobs and 2 Rope Ladders require 7 pieces of string to make causing the Rope Ladder to be a difficult item to produce without the use of a mob farm.

 

So there you have it, 11 ideas for craftable items that Mojang or other industrious programmers are welcome to take to use as their own in Minecraft! (But give us a shout-out if you decide to use one!)

– Dracophile

Ever come across one of those thrift store finds that just screams out “BUY ME”? Maybe it’s a Hot Wheels car that seems a little pricey but you have a good feeling it’s worth a fortune or it’s the complete X-Files TV series on VHS but either way there’s a good chance you’ve seen something in a shop once before and immediately knew it was a good deal. I had one of those moments myself recently; I bought a Sega Saturn game console for $20.

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Pictured above: One J-Note well spent?

Yeah, I totally just referred to a twenty as a “J-Note” in that picture caption. Speaking of J-Notes, I probably should have just kept it in my pants. Long story short, this $20 Saturn was a nightmare. Now that I’ve spoiled the bulk of the story you don’t have to read this article, but you can if you want to I guess.

Half Price Books is a secondhand store I visit pretty frequently and yes I found the Sega Saturn there… in a bookstore of all places. As big of a fan as I am of classic video games I have never owned a Saturn; I’ve owned copies of rare and/or popular games for the system (Panzer Dragoon, NiGHTS, etc.) but getting my hands on the console complete with its cords and the like was always just a little bit out of my reach. That’s why when I saw the console on sale in the store for $40 I decided to take a look just for the hell of it.

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Books, Records, Magazines, and tons of other unrelated crap.

$40 is about what I’d pay for the console if it were complete with its cables and a controller but the console sitting behind the locked glass case came without a controller, a stark violation of the chain’s policy on accepting used game consoles. I inquired about the exception and was told it’s because they hardly ever get any Saturns in stock. This, of course, coming from a guy who works in a store whose predominant sales come from books. I’m fairly certain they don’t get very many anythings when it comes to stuff that isn’t bound and paperback.

Clearly the second question here was “why does this console smell like utter ass”, then. No, actually it wasn’t; that was my third question, and I only asked it mentally. My real second question was “did you test this” and their answer was a hilariously inappropriate “yes and no”. “And no?” How is there an “and no” with this? You either plugged this thing in or you didn’t, there’s hardly any in between, except of course this console didn’t have any controllers. I was told the console was “plugged in and turned on” but wasn’t fully tested because there were no games to test it with. I guess this guy didn’t get the memo that any given Half Price Books store also has an inventory of about 6,000 CDs from various indie bands and every CD-based console in the history of time has been able to read a music CD but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, he looked like his favorite time of day was 4:20.

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Honestly? This just looks like some retarded sciency device from Portal. Or a Sony Discman. Same difference.

I put on my poker face and offered them $20 for the console seeing as how it wasn’t fully tested and missing a controller. The employee wore the same look as he contemplated the offer, then agreed with it and brought the Saturn to the register.

This is all fine and dandy and I’m sure you’re just absolutely fascinated with my trip report from the time I visited Book Land and I’m sure you’re probably wondering where this is all going. Well, remember when I said I mentally asked the question of “why does this console smell like fetid ass”? Yeah, that’s where this comes into play.

See, when I bought this thing I knew full well from its outward appearance — and it’s smell — that this console would need restoration work before it would be fully functional. Yes it was tested but a console in this state could probably go with a good scrubbing to get it in full working order especially since the status of the CD reader was still a big unknown. I knew this when I bought it however what I didn’t know is what was actually inside of the console that I’d been touching and hanging onto and carrying around with me for about an hour and a half. When I took the console home to open it up, the discovery hit me like a swarm of cockroaches.

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Mostly because it was full of DEAD ONES.

The Saturn smelled terrible; it smelled so much like smoke that if I didn’t know any better, and if he wasn’t dead, I’d have assumed this was something coughed up by Morton Downey Jr. At the same time the system also smelled like stale air and public bathrooms but I know from experience that mostly-sealed containers tend to hold scents and they can be cleaned with a little bit of work. The smell wasn’t a dealbreaker and I still paid for the system and took it with me (obviously) but the second I cracked open the case and discovered its special bonus I immediately put the lid back on and concluded that to fix and clean this thing I’d need a hell of a lot more than what I had laying around at the time.

This was bad but if you can believe it, and I know you will because if I led with “full of dead bugs” anything I say past this point will sound plausible, it got worse from there. As I proceeded to dismantle the system piece by piece (outside in the garage so I wouldn’t get roach fragments embedded in my carpet) each layer of electronics I removed uncovered more and more filth. It was like a trip through the layers of Hell except there was only four of them and one of those layers was hypothetically capable of reading disc media. I can’t even explain what this shit was that coated the system and I want to say it looked like dried Coca-Cola but I know better than to assume it was something as innocent as that; for all I know I was scraping and cleaning liquefied insects off of the motherboard of this thing. You know what would help my point here? Another picture:

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The scatological humor writes itself, folks.

Clearly by this point the solution for anybody mentally sound would have been to throw the pieces into a plastic bag and bring it back to Half Price Books and say “here’s the console you sold me, it’s full of dead bugs and AIDS, I want my money back and PS you cockbags should stick to selling books” but I don’t necessarily consider “mentally sound” to be a descriptor that suits my persona. My username is “Dracophile”, you do the math. I was determined to polish this turd mostly out of spite and also to entertain the thought of whether or not this thing would really work once it was all cobbled back together. There was enough filth inside of this console to make a barrio Goodwill store look like Tiffany’s; this console was literally Oscar the Grouch’s jizz rag and I’d imagine using a video game console for that purpose would be bizarrely obtrusive.

Normally when you spot clean or give a tune up to a video game console you can do so with some Q-tips and rubbing alcohol. Despite what Nintendo would lead you to believe, yes, you can safely clean a game with the solvent; Nintendo only told you the liquid melted all games within five miles of an open bottle of it because they didn’t want you to know that a 79 cent bottle of rubbing alcohol from Walgreens can outperform their proprietary $20 NES Cleaning Kit ten thousand times over. Rubbing alcohol is the magical flammable elixir that can solve every single ailment that can befall a piece of gaming equipment except whatever this damn thing was caked with. I’m just going to name it The Invincible Filth and state that it’s a substance deserving of being issued an SCP number.

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Above: The world’s most disgusting game of Operation.

Look at all that crap. Not only does that photograph feature at least eight pieces of a Sega Saturn covered in Event Horizon-scale filth it also has three containers with flammable contents: compressed air duster, rubbing alcohol, and a Sobe bottle filled with Red Bull. This is a containment breach of a Class-XK biohazard surrounded by things that would explode if you did so much as looked at them funny and I sat right in front of it for two hours meticulously cleaning and reassembling this console to put it in working condition. Among the things that needed to be repaired, aside from the millimeter-thick dried brown sludge, included: resetting the springs of the CD tray, replacing the backup battery for the built-in memory, and installing that fancy modchip I got off the Internet.

No, wait. Not that last one.

“Tested” my ass. Who can possibly press the “open” button on a game console, end up opening the lid by hand, NOT put a CD in there, and then say it works? Yeah, it turns on. That’s about all it does. When I opened this thing up it looked like a roach motel crossed with the Holocaust. Opening this console unleashed pestilence of such a scale that it caused the Texas Hill Country to burst into flames. There wasn’t a ghost responsible for making the baby in Paranormal Activity 2 “Michael Jackson” out of his crib, it was the fact that this very console was sitting in the living room of the house.

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That movie had a lot of inconsistencies. Also, this article has now jumped the shark.

I don’t even know where I was going with that Paranormal Activity reference. The fact of the matter is this was more or less a task of reassembling and reanimating a corpse than it was about simply opening and cleaning a video game console. I cleaned each and every piece by hand and stuck it all back together and then I popped in a legitimate copy of Panzer Dragoon. After a journey through metaphorical hell the console sprang to life and the CD tray began buzzing as the laser slid back and forth to read the disc. The console worked.

Yep, you heard me right, the shit-caked Sega Saturn worked.

Since I had established the system was in working condition the next step was to open it back up and ready it for the modchip that I said I didn’t buy. I opened the console to get ready to install the chip and-

Wait, this is a model 1 console. In my haste to get a Saturn for such a cheap price I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that I had purchased the wrong fucking system. Sure, this modchip will work with this system but do you want to see the soldering and modification schematics required?

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This is STEP ONE. Step two involves the phrase “go fuck yourself”.

See, with a second model console the chip is pretty easy to install: bridge a connection, attach a wire to the power supply, plug the chip into an available expansion bay. Simple. With the first run of consoles the chip requires you to have the technical ingenuity of MacGuyver on crack; all of those green lines are new wires that must be run between connections that otherwise need to be bridged. The purple lines are existing connections that need to be severed and the inset shown in the bottom corner is a connection that requires you to connect something from the front of the chip onto the back. You think I can do that? I write unfunny jokes for a living. Screw that. This entire ordeal now only begs one question:

Does anybody want a newly refurbished Sega Saturn for $20?

– Dracophile

[Editor’s Note: This article was published on BitMob.com in August 2011 where it received the accolade of being the most-read and commented on article of that month.]

Back in 2009 Microsoft released an incredibly well received promotional buzz trailer for the then-titled “Project Natal” which would later become the Kinect motion detection system. The trailer debuted in E3 ’09 to incredible interest and applause at the amazing feats depicted in the video (and no that’s not sarcasm, people assumed this would be the next level of gaming and were thrilled to see it taken a step higher). Project Natal, as it was called, boasted an honorable assortment of features and functionality compared to its predecessor the Xbox Live Vision Camera which featured picture quality on par with the Game Boy Camera for the most part. Seriously, Daguerreotypes had better clarity than that thing.

Project Natal’s trailer caught the attention of the masses with its promises and when it was finally unveiled as “Kinect” the following year we all simultaneously wondered “what the hell just happened here?” We just saw a kid transmute his skateboard into a video game object and now a year later we’re in some kind of fucking circus act? And when they finally unveil Kinect all we get to see is a white guy dancing like a white guy and a young Asian girl giving a handjob to a tiger? What the fuck went wrong?!

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Under U.S. Law I’m not even supposed to be showing you this.

One year (give or take a few months) after the official release of the Kinect we are nowhere near coming to the grand stuff displayed and showcased in the Project Natal trailer. Here’s what the original preview trailer promised us, and exactly what they failed to deliver on. (You can view the original trailer here to refresh your memory.)

 

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What you see in the Natal trailer: Ian, a scene kid with a hair helmet, approaches a nondescript martial arts fighting game wherein a generic kung fu guru taunts “you’ve come back for more?” Ian responds “let’s do this” and the game laughs at him and responds with a mocking tone. Ian then kicks Master Wong straight in the dick.

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I’LL BREAK YOUR FUCKING HIP, OLD MAN.

Upon first glance this just seems like some generic transaction of comments assuming you’re speaking to somebody in real life but Ian is speaking directly to a character in a video game who can apparently acknowledge and respond to answers more complex than a simple “yes” or “no”… and we’ve been screaming “no” at shitty games for decades now. The game scoffs at Ian’s rebuttal to its challenge and therefore actually shows some level of “thought” depending on the answer given. The pseudo-Japanese game shown in the trailer is also exactly one Hot Coffee mod away from being an ESRB nightmare.

No Xbox game presently available offers this level of linguistics understanding. Yoostar 2, a game where you re-enact scenes from popular movies, comes closest by giving you a script for you to read that the game judges your performance on but the quality of judgment is so poor it’s hilarious especially if you’re playing this in a party setting and you’re surrounded by ambient noise from other guests. You could hire the original actors themselves to repeat their lines and the game will still tell you that you have the acting talent of Howie Mandel.

 

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What you see in the Natal trailer: A family is sitting down to play a formula one racing game where the daughter mimics the motions of driving and her family follows suit by leaning side to side with the turns the car makes (because ololol women can’t drive nur hur). Her father stands up and replaces a tire on the car during a pit stop. In a second hypothetical game a kid is seen playing a Godzilla-type city destruction game and swings his arms around to wreck buildings; he then makes a roaring sound and assumes a pose while the monster breathes fire.

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Fact: 3 of the 4 people in this picture are contemplating suicide.

Kinect can detect motion. I’m not going to say it can’t because that’s the entire focus of the peripheral but I will say that while it does indeed detect movement it definitely doesn’t do it at the caliber required to sense rapid “Z-axis” movement akin to replacing lug nuts on a tire or to see when you’re making a retarded roaring face to tell Not Godzilla to give macrophiles a shameful and awkward erection.

If you want the Kinect to see you do something you have to move in very pronounced motions so large movements can be seen by the stereoscopic cameras on the sensor. This works great for exercise games where you have to run in place or otherwise be “full body active” but when all you’re doing is making a pushing motion the Kinect can’t see this and doesn’t do anything and if it does actually do something then its detection is on par with the Nintendo Wii in terms of the likelihood that you’ll suffer first-world country ragequit and kick your plasma screen TV in.

Additionally, the Kinect doesn’t “like” when there’s a bunch of movement taking place all at once. The entire family moving side to side while the daughter drives? Doing that will cause your Kinect to overheat and explode. No, seriously, it’s just too much input and it will simply not detect your hands or the steering motion. It’ll be like driving a Toyota.

 

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What you see in the Natal trailer: After kicking the sclerosis right out of Master Wong, Ian returns with a skateboard and instructs the Xbox to scan his deck into what I can only assume is the highly anticipated game Tony Hawk: TONY TONY TONY TONY TONY TONY. The Xbox takes two pictures of his skateboard and transmits them into a usable custom skin in his game.

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This skateboard is one of only three pieces of furniture in this house.

The Kinect sensor can take pictures of things but as far as I’m aware there is absolutely nothing that features something of this fashion in any game, it’s simply too intricate of a concept for it to work properly with the Kinect. There are too many variables that would screw with the results such as lighting and whether or not you happen to own a skateboard. If there was a game out there that could properly translate mindless jumping and goofy stances into a skateboarding game then we wouldn’t have any use for the retarded miniature kayak that came with both Tony Hawk: Ride and Tony Hawk: Shred.

Upon watching this trailer the first thing I thought of was “what happened to the kid’s fingers?” No, really. Where did they go? His hands are obstructing a ridiculous portion of the skateboard but yet the game still somehow magically removes them from the complicated and intricate design shown on the bottom of the board. The second thought that entered my mind was “what’s stopping you from scanning your dong into the game and using that as a skateboard?”

 

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What you see in the Natal trailer: A girl calls her obligatory black friend Sarah to talk about a party they are both going to. Sarah asks if her friend has a dress, she says no and proceeds to vomit profusely. Sarah offers her condolences and then says she has a solution because she found a dress for her friend. Sarah then waves like an idiot at her Xbox to cycle through a bunch of outfits in an unnamed dress-up type of menu and picks out a black dress that Unnamed Girl of Dubious Ethnicity “picks up” and puts onto a picture of her, which then turns out to be a 3D model of her body that can rotate depending on her stance in front of the television.

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“Hey wait a second this isn’t Kinect Boxing.”

Seriously? This is just stupid. The amount of attention to detail it would take to set up something like this is ridiculous not to mention the sheer un-feasibility of it all. If anything this demonstration poses more questions than answers. Where did all of those outfits come from? Are they downloaded from some kind of JC Penny catalog? How’d they get that perfect model of the unnamed chick in the sassy pose? What if someone grotesquely fat tries to use this feature, does this program support XXXXL T-shirts with Internet memes on them?

 

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What you see in the Natal trailer: Ian returns again with his adoptive family to play a quiz show game where he attempts to play Rock, Paper, Scissors with the host before blurting out the name of a random American president to the question “what is the capital of France”. Upon giving his answer he and his father have a quick contest to see who can make the best bewildered expression followed by the game show host confirming a correct answer. Of importance in this scene is the fact that the game addresses Ian by his first and last name (Dixon). The host then sets comedy back a decade by making a Chuck Norris joke.

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“His wiener was THIS BIG, Trebek.”

Again, I’m not really going to harp on the whole “you have to do more than pretend you’re fisting a horse to get the Kinect to see you” thing but I do want to point out that it’s simply not possible for a game to seamlessly incorporate something as complicated as a first and last name into a sentence without sounding roboticized* and choppy. There are games out there (such as Grid) that have some prerecorded names that you can choose from that the VO will announce throughout the game but generally these things only cover the rudimentary bases. If your name is Joe then the host will call you by your name, but if it’s something more exotic then I hope you like being referred to as “Contestant”.

Also the fact that they’re dominating the black family by a 900 point margin is pretty goddamn racist.

*Fun Fact: I have not used this word at all since I wrote awful Sonic the Hedgehog fanfiction in elementary school.

 

I understand that this trailer is just a conceptualization of what Microsoft wants wanted to do. I get that. They even say it on-screen for the first five seconds of video but part of the bargain when you’re making an announcement — an E3 announcement at that — is at least coming close to what you’re showcasing in your trailers and previews. Out of all of the shit demonstrated in the video by Project Natal do you know which things the Kinect can actually do?

Video chat.

You could do that with the Xbox Live Vision Camera.

– Dracophile

SGR_SGR_boxSushi Go Round
Developer:
Asylum Entertainment, Miniclip Ltd
Platform: Nintendo DS
Released: 2010

I love sushi. I can, do, and will eat me the hell out of some spicy tuna rolls if given the chance. When I say “I’m thinking sushi” I literally mean “I’m thinking sushi”, not “I’m thinking mediocre shitty games” like what describes this title. Sushi Go Round is literally almost enough of a reason to convince me never to eat my delicious raw fish ever again solely because of what a monotonous and tiresome ordeal this game really is. Five minutes is about all it took for me to grow to hate this game but for the sake of this article I forced myself to sit through much more of it and honestly I regret doing so; if I could rewind time I’d go spend my hour doing something more productive like watching Regular Show and writing love letters to Mordecai in my secret diary… but I digress.

At least I have an M3i Zero for my DS and I didn’t pay for my copy of this game so somehow I feel strangely vindicated for my suffering and that the joke isn’t on me but on the developers instead. Sushi Go Round was created by Miniclip, a company whose main products are animation programs and layoffs.

Sushi Go Round is one of those games where you have all the thrills of running a restaurant without any of the pay. I don’t really understand what the appeal is for shit like this and games like Papa’s Pizzeria but why the fuck would anybody want to have all of the pressure of a depressing wage slave job in a video game? I mean seriously, the only kinds of people who could possibly enjoy this trash are stuck-up white collar douchebags who were born rich and want to experience blue collar life without having to touch a greasy McDonald’s job application. Fuck this game, its genre, and everything it stands for. Games based solely upon taking food orders from a bunch of idiot customers are a retarded idea and the only thing that could save any game in this genre is the ability to scream obscenities into the DS microphone or an option to piss into the tub of special sauce; half the “fun” of living out real life in a video game is being able to break the law without getting caught. This is why people love Grand Theft Auto.

In Grand Theft Auto if you find yourself upset at the moron in the golf cart guess what? You can light that dickhead’s car on fire with a Molotov cocktail and shoot him in the crotch. Can you do that in Sushi Go Round? No. You can’t even spit in his riceball. There’s no way to “lose” at this game by getting fired for bringing guns into the restaurant and shooting everyone in the face. The best thing you can do is make a bunch of trash sushi and throw your DS at the wall. Alternatively you can just not play this piece of shit.

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Seriously these guys are just asking to be shot in the goddamn face.

Look at that screenshot. There’s fucking three of the same retard sitting at the table. If there weren’t two different female characters sitting there you’d think that your customers were divided solely between genders with only one character for each set of genitals. There’s no variety in this game, the same guy will show up multiple times with both his twin brother and his clone and his twin brother’s clone to order the same exact shit from you time and time again. There are Atari 2600 games that have more character variety than this game. There are more people in a bag of fucking Scrabble tiles than there are customers in this game.

For some ridiculous reason Miniclip decided to ground their sushi simulator in some sort of plot. Normally you might assume you’re playing as an authentic sushi chef training hard to become a sushi master whose restaurant is suspiciously full of clueless white people but if you’re thinking that’s the objective then you’re gravely wrong. The entire story of this game is summarized in about six comic panels: your non-descript generic protagonist falls in love with a random stranger and decides to try and impress the girl of his immediate dreams. How does he hope to do this? He decides right then and there to open a sushi restaurant to woo her and then randomly bumps into a real “sushi master” who offers to teach him the art of raw fish. Men can do some pretty stupid things when they think with their cocks like standing outside of a window with a boom box or writing a sappy love song. Things you can do when you have a boner, basically. “Opening a sushi restaurant” isn’t one of those things; in fact the mere thought of tallying up overhead and operating costs for a real restaurant is enough to kill my erection for at least two days. Submitting your credit card information to a shady porn site is an “oh shit” moment that you can weasel your way out of but the second you use your dick to sign your name on a property lease you’re totally boned.

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More like “I am deus ex machina.”

I hate this game. Seriously.

Okay fine, I’ve made fun of the plot and wrote a paragraph-long boner joke but what’s the gameplay like? It’s sub-par at best. A customer will come to your table and you hand him a menu (his clone will show up immediately thereafter just to screw with you). He then makes an order and a goofy ass smile appears on his face while you drag a bunch of sushi ingredients onto a bamboo rolling mat. If you don’t fuck it up then the sushi will be dispensed via the sushi-go-round and his face will start morphing and pulsing. I think that means he’s eating it but I’m more inclined to believe that an alien is about to rip out of his throat and start impregnating everybody and fertilize all the fish eggs on the preparation table. It certainly would make for a more interesting gaming experience than what this schlock offers; I’ve gotten more kicks out of lighting cat turd snake “fireworks” than I did from playing this game.

That’s all you do when it comes to Sushi Go Round. People show up, you put a bunch of crap on a bamboo roller, lather rinse repeat. All you have to do is drag your stylus about three centimeters on your touchscreen to create sushi but somehow the programmers fucked up the “tap” detection of the bamboo roller. Once you place your ingredients on the roller you tap it to make sushi. Thanks to the “drag” function required to place things on the mat the game constantly reads your stylus leaving the screen as a tap and ends up rolling a bunch of trash sushi resembling feces on a plate that idly coast around your sushi-go-round while your hungry customers start making weird and off-putting groaning sounds. There literally is nothing required of you to play this game, people with one hand can play this, but the controls are still somehow screwed up. It’s like they seriously just did not give a fuck when they created this game.

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I hate this game but holy hell I’m hungry now.

Sushi Go Round lacks a lot of features. The original version of the game (on Miniclip.com) is just a Flash-based timewaster since that’s basically what their entire online gaming market is all about. These kinds of games normally don’t fare too well when you port them to consoles because gamers have expectations when a game involves more than just an Internet connection but then again I’m sitting here talking about quality control for games on the Nintendo DS so anything I’m saying right now is just a load of shit since most of the good DS games are all first-party titles and everything else is Ubisoft’s Imagine series or Sushi Go Round.

There are a few different game modes to choose from but they’re all painfully predictable things like Endless Mode which is about as self-explanatory as you can get. Sushi Go Round makes no effort to be creative at all, it’s just a poorly repackaged recreation of an equally as boring Flash game and honestly the entire production just feels like something that was released so the publisher could pad its portfolio with another client’s license. There’s not even a continue option for when you get fed up and quit the game; if you lose you get your ass kicked all the way back to the first level where all you do is make riceballs for 15 minutes until the timer runs out.

If you have a DSi you can get around some of the game’s hideous visuals by using a feature that lets you take pictures of your friends and family, action figures, fursuits, or silicone animal toys and replace the game’s downsy customers with your own creations since there’s nothing quite as charming as serving fish of dubious quality to people you love and care about (or posters of anime characters that you touch yourself to when your mom and dad aren’t home).

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Fruits, pets, and girl-with-no-teeth are a better cast of characters.

The Japanese have a name for games like this. It’s called kuso.

 

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The game doesn’t ask much of you. All you have to do is drag a bunch of icons around or tap on something when it appears. There’s no platforming, no strategy, no adventure. The game only requires you to sit there and make sushi and yet this was still somehow screwed up with botched controls. All you have to do is drag something — not even in a straight line — and place it on a mat, but thanks to the game’s shitty touchscreen detection the game ends up wasting all of your ingredients by constantly misinterpreting your input as the command to roll sushi. This isn’t fucking rocket science here, this is a matter of testing your fucking game of which only one person was responsible for in the “quality assurance department”, what a goddamn joke.

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I didn’t say much about the audio for this game mostly because there’s not much to say. Sushi Go Round has three audio tracks: a menu track, a restaurant track, and a little jingle that plays when you beat a level. There’s hardly any sound effects in the game and the music just loops endlessly while you play. Needless to say it’s about as uninspired as the rest of the game and has the execution and quality of someone learning how to play the piano with a keyboard from the 1980’s with just a hint of Japanese flair. I feel like I can’t make any jokes about the music because there’s nothing to joke about. It’s just a big hole in the video game experience, a hole that the developers could have filled with something — anything — that didn’t suck as bad as this game as a whole.

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Despite the fact that every single customer looks like he has a few extra chromosomes the rest of the game’s visuals, mostly just the sushi, look fairly decent. The food looks alright, the fonts are Japanese-y enough to be passable, but really the bonus points for this category come directly from the DSi support that lets you circumvent the staggering amount of “not giving a damn”-quality work packed into the game’s customer characters. It seriously looks like they took a bunch of renders from a 3D modeling sample pack and threw them into their game; they look that out of place. The game’s premise is already stupid enough but when you throw in a bunch of characters that look about as retarded as Atari Jaguar launch titles you’re entering into a whole new realm of horseshit previously unexplored.

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Opening a sushi restaurant just to impress some stupid bimbo is about the most offensive thing you can do to insult a traditional and cultural staple of Japanese art and cuisine. Sushi Go Round is about as Japanese as a white kid dressing up as Inuyasha and trying to climb trees by jumping straight up in the air. It’s about as Japanese as an ethnic Asian restaurant in the middle of Mexico. It’s about as Japanese as that song “Turning Japanese”. There’s more culture represented in a twelve cent bag of Ramen noodles than there is in this shitty game. I’ve played pirated Venezuelan Famicom games that are better symbols of Asian culture than Sushi Go Round.

It’s a load of shit, that’s basically what I am trying to get at here. There are people out there who have no idea of what Japan is who can do a better job of explaining Japanese culture to you than what this game represents.

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This game is the steamiest turd you can imagine covered in rice and rolled in seaweed paper. I’m not even going to justify its existence with an elaboration of that opinion.

– Dracophile

In last week’s article I took a look at some of the most ridiculous Xbox achievements out there and in the article I detailed just how much I hate sports titles. Of course, I used the platform of “worst online achievements ever” to levy my complaints but from an honest and critical standpoint…?

I fucking hate sports games.

Do we really need a new sports game every single year? Do we really need an annual football game when EA, the developers, hold exclusivity rights with the NFL to ensure there is no competition within the market? The obvious answer here is no. No, we don’t need any more goddamn sports games now or ever. How about instead of an annual release EA and 2K Games actually try putting some effort into their turds and make a sports title that can stand on its own for the life of a console with roster updates and other functionality provided as DLC? Or is that idea too obvious for “AAA” developers like EA to figure out? It must be, because I almost failed college-level business classes but even I know a retarded idea when I see one. Sports titles are a worthless waste of money and after only a matter of months aren’t even worth the plastic they are printed on so how do they hold up against the rarest and most valuable games of all time?

As you might imagine, releasing a sports title each year significantly decreases the value of the preceding years. Sports titles are worthless to collectors and they’re literally the only other games other than pack-in titles that collectors avoid like the plague. Even in that case, however, the games that came included with classic consoles (Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc) are still sought after by nostalgic gamers, there is still a market for them. Collectors don’t want pack-in titles and nostalgia buffs don’t want a one-of-a-kind prototype of some obscure game but both types of people can agree on one thing: fuck sports games. You can sell a copy of Final Fantasy and you can sell a copy of Intelligent Qube but if you’re left with a copy of Barkley Shut Up & Jam then you better have a wobbly table that needs fixing because you have better odds of winning the lotto by picking the same number six times than you do of ever selling that game.

To put this into perspective, sports titles are so worthless that the only conceivable usage one collector found for them was making a fucking urinal out of them.

Just for the hell of it I decided to analyze the values of various titles in an assortment of sports game franchises (Madden, NBA Live, etc) using a number of different video game pricing guides, none of which unfortunately go below $0.50 in terms of the lowest values given. This means that almost every copy of these games displayed as 50 cents in value. Regardless, I settled on NBA Live for this experiment just because out of all of the franchises I looked at this one ran the longest (1995 – 2010) with the least amount of “collector’s edition” and special releases to mess up the average value of each installment. I took an average of each annual release that combined all of the values for each console it was released on and decided to make a graph to track the nosediving worth of each game.

samplegraph

Math just called. They said “blow it out your ass”.

The numbers don’t lie. After the first year of release the value of each game goes down in value with the first drop being the steepest (the new worth only 25% of the most recent game’s value). I was upset that the graph stopped at $0.50 so I decided to find out just how worthless the original NBA Live 1995 really is. Warning: Math content follows. After omitting the first giant drop in value I decided to calculate each subsequent drop in price since they seem to be strangely uniform. On average each time the value of these games goes down the new worth is approximately 73.4% of the total value of the game before it. With this in mind I started with NBA Live 2009, worth $2.43, and began multiplying it by .734 for each year until I got down to 1995. The result?

NBA Live ’95 is worth two fucking cents.

nbalive95_NBA_live_box

It probably costs more than two cents in electrical bills to turn your SNES on.

For an investment that cost about $50 brand new the return on it is mere pennies and just barely pennies plural. Not every game is able to break its original price tag with its collectors’ value but none of them sink as low as sports titles in terms of how disproportionate their worth is to their original price. All, not just some, of the worst games of all time are worth more than NBA Live ’95. All of them. Any game you can possibly think of that doesn’t involve putting an inflated ball through a hoop or into a net is worth more than this game. Every. Single. One.

See why I hate sports games now?

But how does that match up to the rarest and most valuable games ever? Just how many copies of this crappy basketball game would it take to equal the value of just one copy (and in many cases the only copy) of the most sought after games out there? Let’s find out.

 

nbalive95_header_Magicard

The first game in our list isn’t actually a game at all but a programming tool for the Atari 2600. Magicard is one of the few titles produced by the company CommaVid, an Atari 2600 developer that specialized in making their games needlessly difficult to obtain. Magicard, for example, was only available through a special mail order form direct from CommaVid and another one of their games (Video Life) was available only to people who purchased Magicard. Marketing was not their strong point. Technically, then, Video Life is more rare than Magicard but the value of this particular cartridge reaches “Jesus Christ” proportions when you have it complete with its 100+ page manual and keyboard controller overlays. Magicard lets you create simple programs using your Atari (since Atari’s in-house game Basic Programming was a load of crock) via an assembly language. Needless to say with its incredibly boring and hard to understand premise plus a manual that’s about the length of a short novel Magicard is one of those titles whose playability caters only to the incredibly technologically savvy among us; to everybody else Magicard is just an inconveniently-sized blank check waiting  for someone to cash it in at the National Bank of Game Collectors. Even if you find a copy loose (that is, without its manual, overlays, and sample programs) the game will still fetch enough to help extinguish the credit card debt incurred from buying this thing.

Magicard is worth 338,334 copies of NBA Live ’95. This many copies of NBA Live ’95 is equivalent to the weight of seven fully grown African elephants.

 

nbalive95_header_Blockbuster

Before the death of VHS and the advent of Netflix, Redbox, and rampant DVD piracy there was actually a point in time when Blockbuster Video was sitting pretty and raking in the super big bucks. At one point in time they were acquired by Viacom… but ultimately when profits began to falter Viacom had the smarts to throw Blockbuster out into the deep end and let them struggle for a while presumably while the Viacom CEO relaxed in a hot tub of liquid money and watched. This game is a relic of Blockbuter’s better times.

Blockbuster World Championships II is a special promotional cartridge that was utilized in various Blockbuster stores during a contest they held to see who could get the most points in their two challenge games. The games included on the cartridge are truncated versions of NBA Jam and Judge Dredd. Judge Dredd was such an awful movie that if you stare at the theatrical poster and say “Sylvester Stallone” three times it will come to life and kill you in your sleep. Despite what I previously said about basketball and sports games, however, NBA Jam is one of those few sports titles that are genuinely fun to play. Why? Because it’s full of wacky twists, flaming slam dunks, the phrase “BOOMSHAKALAKA”, and a huge assortment of hidden characters ranging from The Beastie Boys to President Bill Clinton. I hate sports games but I love NBA Jam. Everybody does.

Unlike Blockbuster’s previous “championship” games (such as Donkey Kong Competition Cartridge and StarFox Super Weekend, which sounds more like a furry porn marathon than a contest game) BBWC2 has a minimalist and ugly label; it’s just boilerplate copyright text about the cartridge contents. This label, ugly as it is, actually helps determine the value of each copy of this game. Remember those silver “VOID IF REMOVED” stickers that Blockbuster used to place on their games? Sometimes when new games came in you’d have an incompetent bastard behind the counter who would place the void sticker directly over the front of the label making it so if you tried to remove the sticker it would destroy the label of the game. If your copy of BBWC2 is one of these then sadly your game won’t fetch the mythical 8G’s but it’s still a valuable game; however if you have a pristine copy (with its original box) cash that sucker in and pay off that junker of a used car you’re driving around.

Blockbuster World Championships II is worth 400,000 copies of NBA Live ’95. This is enough copies to give one to every US soldier wounded or killed in the Vietnam War.

 

nbalive95_header_Gammaattack

Gammation is one of those independent Atari developers who came and went relatively fast in the marketplace, the kind who don’t stick around long enough to produce a full library of games or products. Gammation’s only real claim to vintage gaming fame was a device called the Fire Power 100 which can arguably be hailed as the first controller mod ever offered in the gaming market. The FP-100 required you to plug your joystick into a device that would then let you customize a rapid fire option to a speed that suited your preferences. Gammation was also rumored to have at least one game in development, Gamma-Attack, that never saw the light of day for almost thirty years. Until now.

“Phantom”, as he likes to be called, is a member of the Atari Age community who enjoys the sport of hunting for rare games in the wild at flea markets and garage sales. On a whim one day he purchased a large box of Atari 2600 stuff which he almost didn’t buy because he thought he was overpaying (according to an interview). What he didn’t know, though, is that he just made a purchase that would forever alter the history of classic video games. Amidst a bunch of crap sat a solitary black cartridge stamped only with a “Gammation” label and no other means to identify the game as the famed Gamma-Attack. Phantom seriously took one look at the game and almost wrote it off as a worthless homebrew. I’d like to imagine that he shit his pants the second he punched “Gammation” into Bing and was greeted with the prospect of having found what is now considered to be the rarest Atari 2600 game in existence. Phantom had, in his possession, the only known copy of this game to ever exist.

So he listed it on eBay for $500,000. It didn’t sell. A man can dream, though, right?

The eBay listing, according to Phantom, was just a gag because he literally had no other way to get the news out there that he had found this game. Where do you go to release this kind of news? Sure, channels like Fox News air stories on bears stuck in trees when it’s a slow news day but not even they would care about the impact this find would have on the gaming community. Using eBay as his platform Phantom was also able to get some feedback and serious offers from other serious collectors inquiring about his copy of Gamma-Attack. The end result is a value estimated to be around $9,000.00 for this one-of-a-kind game, the release of which led to a series of faithful reproductions offered to the collecting community.

Gamma-Attack is worth approximately 450,000 copies of NBA Live ’95. This is enough copies that when stacked on top of each other (standing up like it was in the system) the tower of games will be as tall as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 2,717 feet… if the building was stacked on top of itself forty-eight times.

 

nbalive95_header_Powerfest

Yes, that’s an actual game in the picture there even though it looks like the aftermath of someone disassembling their console and thinking they could put some sw33t haxOr modz in it. Nintendo Powerfest 1994 is the rarest of all competition cartridges for the Super NES outranking the likes of the previously mentioned Donkey Kong Competition Cartridge and StarFox Super Weekend. Blockbuster Video was pretty careless about how they handled their contest merchandise but the ones coming straight from Nintendo were watched by the company a little more closely; 33 copies of this “cartridge” were created and all but one were returned to Nintendo to be “recycled”. The lone competition board, the last of its kind, has been valued at approximately $10,000.00.

The reason why the cartridge looks like a busted up piece of crap is because the board itself appears to have sockets for EPROMs that can be switched out to change the order of the games included or the actual games themselves. If there was ever a decorative top for it the piece has long since been lost or destroyed; the only pictures available of Nintendo Powerfest 1994 show it without a top. The entire array itself sits on top of the Super NES console like a serving tray for robot overlords or a piece of decorative nerd art. The games included in this competition cartridge are Super Mario: Lost Levels (from Super Mario All Stars), Super Mario Kart, and Ken Griffey Jr Basebell. Why they shoved Griffey in there and not another Mario game is beyond me but I guess having a shitty sports game on a competition cartridge is the only way to really separate the casual “good at Mario” gamers and those who really do master every single game out there.

Nintendo Powerfest 1994 is worth 500,000 copies of NBA Live ’95. If each cartridge were a brick this is enough of them to build almost twenty-eight average American homes.

 

nbalive95_header_Tetris

Something I’ve realized while doing my research for this article is that the rarest games in the world really don’t have much in the way of labels. Those that do have labels either have a cheap typewriter sticker or just have something that identifies the company who produced it. Tetris for the Sega MegaDrive (the name of the Genesis in international markets) is the only game in this list that has a proper label, box, and manual. If you manage to have all three of them you’re well on your way to an estimated $16,000.00.

Tetris is a game that is more common than anything else on the planet. It has been released for every single console ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and never once has the formula for the tetrominos changed. If the game is so painfully common, then, what makes this the Holy Grail of Russian block stacking? Take a look at the header graphic; this game was never released. Sega was producing this game along with Tengen, a company notorious for causing all sorts of legal shitstorms with the developers of the platforms they released their games on. It seems that every time Tengen touches the Tetris franchise there is money to be had. The officially licensed version of the game for the NES is common and mostly worthless but Tengen’s unlicensed version of the same exact game is worth boatloads more (maybe because it has two player simultaneous Tetris, who knows). In the midst of creating their games Tengen lost the publishing rights to Tetris likely because when they weren’t creating unlicensed titles Tengen was busy falsifying documents to receive patent details on Nintendo’s “NES10” lockout technology so they could reverse engineer it. They were basically expert trolls.

When Sega lost the publishing rights to the Russian puzzle game they were ordered to destroy their stock of it which they sadly did. Somewhere along the line, however, a single box of cartridges made it through the destruction. Inside this box were the last ten copies of this game in existence. Whether or not these games were intentionally saved by an employee we may never know but one thing is for certain: Tengen are a bunch of dicks.

Tetris is worth 800,000 copies of NBA Live ’95. This is enough cartridges to create 15,120,000 square inches of real estate, either the equivalent of 2.4 acres of land or enough room to play 105,000 simultaneous games of chess on an average-sized board.

 

nbalive95_header_Campus

This is it, the most valuable game of all time, and yes it’s another competition cartridge. Not only is this the most valuable game in the world, having a recorded sale price of over twenty thousand dollars, but its origin story is one for everybody who dreams of someday coming across that big haul in the simplest of places: NES Campus Challenge ’91 was found at a garage sale in New York.

Rob Walters is a video game collector just like you and me but when he stumbled upon a seller asking $40 for an assortment of sealed and rare Nintendo products, a seller who also said “I have more stuff that I’m not selling”, Walters found the strange occurrence far too surreal to pass up. He bought the $40 lot, netting him five copies of StarFox Super Weekend in the process (because fuck you everybody who gets hyped about finding one “in the wild”), and later paid the man a visit to find out more about this “more stuff”. The man showed him all sorts of one-of-a-kind rare items ranging from other competition cartridges to this very game. The seller was an ex-employee of Nintendo who had personally saved these relics from destruction; he said “I’m not allowed to sell them”. Walters offered the man $1,000 cash.

A transaction was made.

NES Campus Challenge ’91 is worth over one million copies of NBA Live ’95. If you lined these games end to end they would stretch for 85.6 miles (137.7km). If you took this road of games and pointed it straight up it would extend into the Thermosphere and there’s a chance you might knock the goddamn International Space Station out of orbit.

 

One thing I’ve learned from writing this article is that the rarest games out there look like utter garbage. Some of them look like broken and dismantled products inadvertently created from the accidents of people tinkering with things they know nothing about but that appearance is just a fallacy, they are worth thousands of dollars. NES Campus Challenge ’91 looks like a busted up jury-rigged cartridge that wouldn’t work in a million years. It’s so big that to play it you have to remove the top half of the NES and its loading deck. It’s such a bizarrely sized and shaped cartridge that it doesn’t even work like the rest of the NES games out there but that’s to be expected considering that Nintendo Powerfest 1994 was a giant tray that sat on top of the Super NES. Rob Walters’ story is truly one of the greatest finds in collecting history and the sheer fact that this game was obtained because of a visit to a mere garage sale is enough to spark the inspiration and dreams of everyone around the world. This wasn’t a game recovered from an inner-company filing cabinet, this was one collector meeting an ex-employee who had the smarts to hold on to these important relics of history.

– Dracophile