May 2021
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The One(s) That Got Away

My newfound focus on retro gaming lately has left me pining for some of the games and consoles I once owned but decided to let go of at some point.  Some of those I don’t really miss that much – let’s face it, the Saturn didn’t exactly have a stellar library – but others I for the life of me can’t imagine what I was thinking at the time.  Today’s post is going to be about a few of those.

Steel Battalion

Not a game, an experience

Steel Battalion – the original, not the hot mess that was released earlier this year for the Kinect – was a game spoken of only in hushed whispers.  It was more commonly known as “the game with the giant controller.”  It was a mech simulator, and it sold that experience 100%.  The controller was, in fact, massive.  We’re not talking sit-it-in-your-lap big, we’re talking it-needs-it’s-own-table big.  Two sticks, a TON of buttons and a set of foot pedals – and all of that was required, not optional.  What that added up to was an experience unlike any other.  You felt like you were in the mech – you had to perform the startup sequence to start the mech, the tv served as your viewport in the mech, and if you saw you were about to explode you had better hit the flashing eject button or it was Game Over for good – the game would erase your save.  It was intense, and it was a ton of fun.  It was also super expensive, with a retail price of $200 for the set.  I managed to scrape together credit to purchase this beast, then traded it back in later, then actually bought it AGAIN only to later sell that one online.  Now I’m kicking myself.

SMT:Nocturne Guide

When playing the game, this is required reading

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne was one of my favorite RPGs on the PS2.  I’ve spoken about it here before, but it was a very dark & difficult JRPG with a fantastic story.  I got rid of it, for reasons I can’t remember, but I did manage to pick it back up later when it was reprinted.  That’s not the real story here.  The REAL story is that I also had the strategy guide for it, which is almost required in some of the later maze-like dungeons.  And I sold it.  Now that is the difficult part to come by, as a good-condition copy regularly sells for far more than the game itself these days.

Quite a few other rarities that speak for themselves have passed through my hands over the years as well:  a boxed copy of Chrono Trigger for the SNES.  I’m fairly certain I also had a boxed copy of Final Fantasy III (better known as VI these days) for the SNES.  Complete & near mint copies of many PS1 RPGs such as Valkyrie Profile, Xenogears, Persona 1&2 and both Lunar games.  An original Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (black label, not the Greatest Hits) has come and gone as well – and this is in my top-5 list for favorite games of all time.  Most of these have been ported to other systems, but I can’t help but wonder if whatever I got with the money I made from these has stood the test of time nearly as well as these have.

Metroid Prime Trilogy

Finally, I win one! …sorta

More recently, I traded in a mint & complete copy of the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii because I noticed it had a high value, not realizing at the time that it was out of print & becoming rare.  About six months later when I did figure that out, I started trying to rebuy it before it disappeared completely.  I found a copy in pristine condition at my local Gamestop, but it was missing the transparent slip cover.  Figuring that that was as good as I was probably going to get, I bought it and brought it home.  Once I was at home I started thinking that I might have actually kept the slipcover when I traded mine in – sometimes I hang onto those extras just in case, since Gamestop doesn’t care either way.  I went to the back room and sure enough, there it was sitting on the shelf.  Suddenly a strange thought occurred to me – I went back into the den and took another look at the game.  Immaculate, like-new condition…just like every game in my collection that I’ve bought new.  Sliding the slip cover on the case, I knew what I had done – I had rebought the same game I traded in six months earlier.

That game is still in my collection today, not going anywhere.


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