Saturday, December 18, 2010

Atari 2600 Arcade Sticks

Just because we don't have it listed on the site, doesn't mean we don't accept it as a trade-in. Case in point? These Atari 2600 'arcade sticks.' Around 30 years ago, some gamer with his state-of-the-art cartridge based Atari 2600 decided that he wanted to feel like he was at the arcade. This gamer, having at least a working knowledge of carpentry and other crafts, set out to create what can only be described as the first home arcade stick. 10 or 15 years afterwards, he dropped it off at our store and a few days ago, we unearthed them to be enjoyed once more.



Gorgeous, isn't it? While nothing more than a standard Atari 2600 Joystick set into a piece of wood with a bit of metal trimming, it serves the function of an arcade stick. The bottom half of the joystick juts out about half an inch, but the length of the piece of wood is balanced so it gently leans forward in perfect arcade orientation, providing a place to rest your hands when you hold the joystick.



The second one of these is much less impressive and much less comfortable to use, just because it's far too narrow. Perhaps it was intended to be balanced on the knees of the player as he sat on the couch, or maybe it was built for a child. However, you can't deny the ingenuity of the person who crafted these prototypes.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Best Pokémon Games

Yesterday, we gave away a pack of Pokémon Cards--and not the trading cards. No, this was a pack of 52 cards featuring pictures of various Pokémon. In order to generate a few responses, we asked people what their favorite Pokémon games were. (Here is the Facebook post if you want to chip in your two cents)

As expected, the results were enormously skewed towards the original Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue on the Game Boy, both of which were released in 1998 here in the US. There was also a fair amount of love for Pokémon Yellow which allowed Pikachu to follow you around, and the numerous updated versions like Pokémon Ruby, Pokémon Emerald, Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver, and their recent enhanced remakes, Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver.



Surprisingly enough, there was also some love shown for the Pokémon Trading Card Game on the Game Boy, Pokémon Stadium on the Nintendo 64 (which had the awesome feature of letting you use the Pokémon you'd captured on your Red/Blue cartridge), Pokémon Puzzle League, even Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team on the Game Boy Advance.

But one that stood out for us was the mention of Pokémon Snap and Hey You! Pikachu. The former was a revolutionary "photography" game with gameplay that would later be revisited in the PS3 exclusive, 'Afrika' and, to a lesser extent, the photography elements in the 360 exclusive, 'Dead Rising.'

Was Pokémon Snap a particularly good game? Yes, if you had a marginal interest in photography and Pokémon. As for Hey You! Pikachu, it used a microphone peripheral similar to the Seaman game on the Sega Dreamcast, though it was not implemented as well and we have to say we preferred our quirky man/fish on the Dreamcast to Pikachu on the Nintendo 64.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PlayStation 3 Wireless GT Ferrari 430 Scuderia Cockpit

That product title is a mouthful, but the product itself is worthy of that distinction. We've never seen anything like this new racing wheel and pedal set from ThrustMaster. When you think of racing wheels for video games, what comes to mind? A disembodied wheel and a set of pedals, right? Combine that with a table of reasonable height and you have a relatively close approximation to real driving.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

November Anime Preview

This month, we're ordering a nice variety of anime and video game merchandise, including some gorgeous Marvel and DC Bishoujo Statues, some Play Arts ~Kai~ action figures, and some Nintendo merchandise.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Famicom to NES Converter

by Thomas Mellott

As you may be aware, Japanese Famicom games use a 60-pin interface while American Nintendo Entertainment System games use a 72-pin interface. While these differing interfaces obviously make it impossible to use a Japanese game on an American console there is not actually any region coding on the cartridges themselves.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Sega DreamEye

As any Sega fanboy will tell you, Sega has usually been ahead of the pack when it comes to technological advances. The Sega Saturn was leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in terms of hardware, and the Sega Dreamcast was on the cutting edge of technology when it first came out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Are your NES games worth more than you think?

by Thomas Mellott

I’m sure many know about the more common Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge variations such as the original Metroid being available with two different labels or The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link both being available in gold or grey plastic, but are you aware of the more sought after variations that collectors will sometimes pay more for?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October Anime Preview

eStarland has long been a supplier of anime merchandise, and now that we have this blog up and running, we figured that we'd make a post each month about what we've ordered and what new action figures, statues, and artbooks have just been made available for preorder.

11/03/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Gran Turismo 5: The X1 Prototype

OK. It's almost here. It was supposed to be here at eStarland this weekend, shipping out already for a November 2nd release date. But, in their endless pursuit of perfection, Polyphony Digital pushed back Gran Turismo 5 for what will, hopefully, be the last time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

10/27/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Friday, October 15, 2010

10/20/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/13/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Contra Retrospective


In 1987, Konami released an arcade game that would help spawn one of the longest-running franchises in videogame history. It would help the evolvution of the run 'n gun genre, lead to many imitators, and it would later take the console gaming world by storm with its simultaneous two-player action...That game, of course, is Contra.

Friday, October 1, 2010

10/06/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September Anime Preview

eStarland has long been a supplier of anime merchandise, and now that we have this blog up and running, we figured that we'd make a post each month about what we've ordered and what new action figures, statues, and artbooks have just been made available for preorder.

Friday, September 24, 2010

09/29/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Friday, September 17, 2010

09/22/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Friday, September 10, 2010

09/15/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

09/08/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

09/01/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 2010 Anime Preview

eStarland has long been a supplier of anime merchandise, and now that we have this blog up and running, we figured that we'd make a post each month about what we've ordered and what new action figures, statues, and artbooks have just been made available for preorder.

Friday, August 20, 2010

08/25/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Friday, August 13, 2010

8/18/2010 Anime Products

Next week, we'll be receiving the following anime products/merchandise. Quantities may be limited, so preorder now to ensure that you get what you want!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 2010 Anime Preview

eStarland has long been a supplier of anime merchandise, and now that we have this blog up and running, we figured that we'd make a post each month about what we've ordered and what new action figures, statues, and artbooks have just been made available for preorder.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Anatomy of a Bootleg


As a business that accepts trade-ins, it's understandable that we occasionally receive some bootlegs. We've accumulated a large box of them, which we keep for training purposes, and we decided that it'd be interesting to write a little something about how to recognize these forgeries. Click the images to get a closer look at what we're talking about.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Super Mario Bros Deluxe Start Up Screen

eStarland.com just got a trade-in of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the Game Boy Color with an...interesting start-up screen. Yes, it's a legitimate cartridge. Those who played the game enough will know how to change the start-up message, but it was a bit of a surprise for one of our younger employees who never played it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Top 10 Sega Saturn Shoot 'em Ups


When the Sega Saturn was released in the 1990s, it quickly established itself as the premier household arcade gaming platform. Not only was the system bursting at the seams with excellent renditions of popular fighting, racing and light gun arcade titles, there was also no shortage of shoot 'em ups available (shmups for short).

While the US only officially received two of these, that did not stop gamers from importing the dozens of other quality shooters available in Japan. With that in mind, let's take a few moments to reminisce about some of the best shmups the system has to offer:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Toy Story Video Games


In the Holidays of 1995, Disney and Pixar released Toy Story and the world bathed in the glory of the cutting edge 3D computer-generated animation that brought Andy's toys to life. Riding the seemingly unstoppable hype train, Disney Interactive released video game adaptations of the film on the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Nintendo Game Boy, and Windows 95 on April 25th, 1996.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

E3 2010: Sony Conference Wrap-Up


Sony was the third of the 'Big Three' to give their E3 press conference, and it didn't fail to disappoint. Starting out with an examination and discussion of 3D gaming, Sony launched into it with an extended gameplay demo of the new Killzone 3, which is slated for a February 2011 release date.

E3 2010: Nintendo Conference Wrap-Up


Wow. Nintendo just kicked all sorts of ass. They started off with a trailer for Super Scribblenauts, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Scribblenauts on the Nintendo DS. The main new feature of the game is the integration of adjectives, which will allow players to create thousands of objects in the game world.

This was followed by the debut trailer and some gameplay footage of the all new Zelda title for the Nintendo Wii. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will be out next year and be 100% MotionPlus compatible, promising unparalleled precision and depth.

Monday, June 14, 2010

E3 2010: Microsoft Conference Wrap-Up


E3 began today, with Microsoft starting off the series of keynote press conferences that would go on to include presentations by EA, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo, and a special conference dedicated to Microsoft Kinect (formerly known as Microsoft Natal).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sony's Greatest Hits

The Greatest Hits label has long been an integral part of the game library for Sony's consoles. It was started to give elite status to best selling games on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable, and since the program began in 1997, there have been over 580 Greatest Hits titles across all four platforms.

When a game became Greatest Hits, two things would happen; the game would drop in price (usually between $19.99 and $29.99), and the collector's value of the original "Black Label" version would begin to rise. While it's not applicable to all games, RPG's in particular like Final Fantasy VII enjoy a noticeable difference in price when comparing the "Green Label" and "Black Label" versions.


Consider the Final Fantasy Anthology for PS1. The original printing had a black label, the old-style white ESRB rating, and listed Squaresoft as the publisher. The new print, which is still in production brand new, has a green label, the new-style black ESRB rating, and lists Square-Enix as the publisher.

Friday, May 21, 2010

3D Dot Game Heroes & Legend of Zelda

The PlayStation 3 (PS3) exclusive, 3D Dot Game Heroes is, as publisher Atlus calls it, “the ultimate love letter to retro gamers.” This is 100% true, and particularly for anyone who has played the original 1987 The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or the 1991 smash hit, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

The developers at From Software are the ones responsible for 3D Dot Game Heroes. Their past works include the Armored Core series, some of the later Tenchu games, the King’s Field series, and, most recently, the fiendishly difficult and critically acclaimed Demon’s Souls.

The company, being founded in November 1986 in Japan, has been around for a long time—and it shows. There will never be a more faithful homage to the Zelda franchise than 3D Dot Game Heroes, which pays tribute and emulates almost every single facet of the blockbuster Nintendo series.

Seeing as pictures are worth a thousand words, I think it’d be best for me to just show you some comparison images of 3D Dot Game Heroes and some of the Zelda games. The similarities are undeniable.



While it is true that you can custom build your hero in 3D Dot Game Heroes, it's obvious that the protagonist was modeled after Link and that the fairies in the game were based on Navi from the Zelda series. The similarities between the characters is a lot more than purely visual--it extends far into the gameplay, as you can see from this trailer for 3D Dot Game Heroes:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top 10 Current Gen Fighting Games

It's a good time to be into fighters. Seriously. While the 90's are considered the heydey of the genre with the Neo Geo and the prevalence of arcades, there's been a recent surge of quality fighters this generation. Both 3D and 2D and ranging from new franchises to entries in those long standing, here is our list of the Top 10 Current Generation Fighting Games.