Tag Archives: Belgium

What do games mean to me? – Why do I collect games?

Arpegi BackFamily members, friends or people around me sometimes ask me: “Why do you play so much games?” or “Aren’t games for young(er) kids?”. This is a question I find really difficult to answer. I don’t really like the question because you don’t always know what the opinion on games is of the other person. Some people even judge me because I collect games and not play them all. I do play the games I collect but the games I finished are the ones I’m interested in. I admit that I have played some games just to learn more about a certain genre or why are a certain series is so popular. But hey, now I’m already answering the question I asked myself in the title. Time to start explaining! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your story in the comment section down below. (This is going to be a multi-part series of articles. So, in this article I will explain why I collect games)

Why did I start collecting games? 

Why do I collect games? It’s actually an end result of somethings that happened in my past. The first reason I started collecting video games is because of the fun trips I always took to garage sales as a child. I enjoyed seeing people selling the things they didn’t need anymore and with that money buy other stuff they could use. What was even more fun was selling the games I didn’t play anymore or wasn’t interested in anymore in order to buy some new and interesting games.

When I hear similar stories from people in other countries like America, I always hear stories of people reading Nintendo Power or any other form of media. But here in Belgium, the gaming market wasn’t that big back then. From what I can recall, there was a PC Gaming magazine that started in 1994, I would be one year old then. There was no magazine like Nintendo Power, there was [N]Gamer, that I had to wait for since it came from our neighbors, the Netherlands. My point is, that video games weren’t that big in Belgium compared to other parts of the world.

Talking about other people’s their stories, their first games are always something among the lines of Pokemon, DooM, Tetris or any similar big title. (Keep in mind, talking about my age group here. Early 20’s.) Yet, my first game wasn’t Pokémon. The earliest game I can remember is Pac-Man for the Gameboy. Where I couldn’t beat the first five levels. Yet, I adored playing it. Just seeing those little animations were adorable in my eyes.

How do I collect?

11878952_858379824210100_8307692500885735205_oIn the spring and summer time, I go to the nearest garage sale. I wake up pretty early to avoid that other collectors get to the interesting stuff before me. I save up some money to go snooping around. Most of the time, I go with my mother. It’s really fun to do since my mom collects certain plates that her grandmother had.

When she spots something, she always notifies me. She also learned me some tricks how to some games even cheaper. Since mostly last year, when a friend or a family member is on a garage sale, they call me to check if I’m interested in the games they find.

I think that most of my games come from garage sales. Here in Belgium, we don’t have a lot of stores that sell second hand games for old consoles. Game Mania, our video game store, sells games from previous generations but rarely older. Which is a shame really.

Another way that my collection grows are gifts from friends and family. When people clean up their attic, my family stops them from throwing away the games and the merchandise. This is something that makes me very happy. Receiving a bundle of games from somebody who didn’t need them anymore, it’s something that makes me happy. On Facebook, there is a group where people give away stuff for free. On occasion, there are games on there. My collection got bigger from that too.

Something that doesn’t happen a lot, but I do here and there is buying stuff for real cheap from stores. When something is on sale or when I find a big title for real cheap. I bought the BioShock trilogy for 20€. And I’m not regretting it at all. Oh, something I tend to do in game stores is looking for game bundles. When some games are sold together.

Something that really disappoints me in the current gaming market is that everything is going digital. When I don’t have a game box, cd, cartridge… I feel that I don’t really own the game in the first place.

Closing off

Back in 2012, I made a YouTube video showing off my collection. I’m not going to link it here since it’s really out dated. My room has changed quite a lot since then and my collection has even grown. When I find the time, I might make an update video… But that won’t be for the near future.

Collecting and researching games is something I really enjoy. Going to garage sales with family and friends is something that you could wake me up for any day. The big reason why I collect is because I just enjoy playing games. Getting lost in fantasy worlds or getting a relaxing experience. Games were a big part of my childhood. Now-a-days, I play games to relax, to enjoy my free time.

But games have an even bigger influence on me. I listen to gaming music when I’m at work. I read books based on games. Most of the sites, channels, Twitter accounts… I follow are mostly always game related.

In any case, I would love to hear the stories of my fellow collectors around the world. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below. I reply to them all. So, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this look into my personal life. In the future I will write more parts to this series so, if you have suggestions … Feel free to contact me. In any case, have a great rest of your day.

First Impression: Nicktoons – Spongebob and Friends – Battle For Volcano Island (PS2) ~ Thou Are Summoned

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(Little blog news: Sorry for not writing a lot. I’m extremely busy. Follow me on my Twitter for updates.)

Wikipedia entry

Back when the gameboy advance SP was the latest of the latest gameboy’s from Nintendo, I could rent out games from a local game store. The same one I buy most of my games at today. I love those guys. They are extremely friendly, talk with you about games, have an amazing helpdesk… Lot of advantages. For those who are interested in some Belgium culture while learning about my opinion of the games I play, here is the site of my game store. But be warned, it’s in Dutch. Game Mania is just awesome. I rented the latest Zelda game, which was the Minish Cap, and a few other games. The GBA version of this game was among them. Bummed out that I had to return the GBA version because it was so awesome I looked all over for this game. Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to find a copy for myself. Until one day I passed by and saw this in the 2nd hand PS2 games shelf. I was thrilled. Finally a copy of this game for myself. Not the one I wanted but hey, it’s a start. My expectations where high. I tried to set them really low to avoid a major disappointment but I was happily surprised. This game is pretty great. Why, I’ll explain in this article. But don’t let you get fooled by the fact it’s a kid’s game. Don’t judge a book on it’s cover, or a game on it’s box-art. Who knows, there might be a great gem inside. Anyways, let me know in the comments how I did in this article and your views on this game. Even when you didn’t play it. So, here we go. 

Open yet closed?

blaup2006Expect it, I’ll make a lot of references and comparisions to the GBA version of this game. Something I really liked in the GBA version is the fact you could walk around and pick the order of the levels yourself. Of course, parts where locked away until you reached a certain point of the game, but you didn’t had to finish all the levels in one section before you could advance to the next section.

If this game works with the same idea, I can’t tell just yet. From what I see now, it’s a tad bit more linear. But there is a central hub. And here is the neat thing, you are free to explore the whole thing. The restrictions from the GBA version aren’t there.

But what I really like in this version of the game is how the story is presented to you. It’s a big improvement above the GBA version where the story was somewhat absent. Your goal in this game was a bit unclear, since it was only explained at the start and the end of the game. The cut-scenes in this game really aids to bring character to the story and really makes the game more fun.

Damage?

hqdefaultThis game got a lot of marks from me. But one thing makes me doubt if this game is actually worth all my praise. The absence of a proper health display is worrying. You have to guess how many hits you can still take before you die. And the only thing that happens after a lot of hits is that your green behind the still image of the character changes into orange and then into red. In the GBA version you had a limit amount of hearts. And that provided a bit more challenge. With the actual amount of health you have in this game, it gets a whole lot easier.

Another thing where this game loses points is that the music is forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s does it’s job but it’s actually not good enough to want to download the OST or get it stuck in your head. On the other hand, the voice work get a big thumbs up. I really like the sound effects and I think they add more then the music to the game. The voices really makes the funny story come to live. I also like the nods to previous games and to the series of the characters who are in the game.

Graphically this game is colorful and pretty. This helps a lot when you want to explore the world since it’s a blast to do. And here is where it gets even more interesting. Thanks to a whole ton of collect-ables and unlock-ables, this game’s replay value skyrockets. And then the possibility to take multiple paths helps a lot too. Exploring this colorful world is really fun to do. And this is backed up by a lovely short loading screen where great animations are displayed.

Speaking of which, the animation in this game is good. I really like the attention to detail in some parts. Patrick’s health display also changes the more hits you receive. I didn’t see it happening with the other characters though. I really like how this game all comes together.

Finish?

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I think I might finish this game in order to review this one. I actually think they deserve it for this game.

The level design is extremely well done. They added in spawners that pop out more enemies for you to fight until you destroy the source. The combat works great for a kids game but isn’t more then mashing the attack button.

The control scheme is alright. To my knowledge, there are two different settings. But I didn’t had any complaints about it while playing this game.

I also found out that this game might be short. After finishing two levels, the save file said I completed 20% of the game. Hopefully this is a mistake since if the game is extremely short, the marks will fall in the review.

Thankfully, the game is multiplayer too. You can play this game with two players. Or that’s what I can gather with the empty not used space and the mention of “player 1”. So, I have to check on that.

Anyways, that’s all for this game. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you at a next read. But I’m now going to continue playing games to make new articles for you guys. Cheers!