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.