Is that Pacman’s Liver You’re Wearing?

thepinmans.jpgLondon, United Kingdom: The Games Collector, a UK-based producer of both modern and retro gaming-related products is running a crowdfunding campaign to bring the music of Mel Croucher to the masses.

Who is Mel Croucher? Only the father of the British gaming industry. At a time when most computers were being used to calculate the compound interest on the revenue from a year’s worth of potato sales, Mel was selling his eclectic range of games for the ZX Spectrum through eye-catching adverts on the back pages of the popular computing magazines of the day.

What made Mel’s games particularly memorable (for those who do actually remember them) was that they often included audio tracks on the reverse side of the game cassette. From original compositions to hilarious parodies, there was something for everyone. Leider of the Pac told the tragic tale of Pacman’s lover, who wears the yellow character’s internal organs as a memento after witnessing his death in a car crash (yes, really). Put Cat Out Mother, It’s on Fire Again surprised no-one with its mention of a cat on fire, and Three Point One Four Two sounds vaguely familiar but none of us actually remember it.

Now The Games Collector has decided to inflict these sonic gems on anyone willing to part with a reasonable amount of their hard-earned wages, making the collection available on vinyl, CD and even a cassette tape for real fans of the era. In total there are five albums (two are in fact doubles) that make up Insπred: The Collective Works of Mel Croucher.

The sequel to Mel’s most famous game – Deus Ex Machina – featured a cast including Christopher Lee and Joaquim de Almeida, and one of the highlights of the collection is a real life ‘Evil Laugh Off’ between the two of them – almost but not quite justifying the asking price by itself.

Interested parties can reserve their collection through the campaigns crowdfunding page at https://igg.me/at/pimania A preview of Mel’s music is available on Soundcloud at http://bit.ly/2oHZlae

About The Games Collector

The Games Collector Ltd is the result of decades of playing and creating games and the obsessive collecting of memorabilia by its founders. With a product line-up featuring exclusive, exquisite and highly desirable collectibles, the company aims to bring fans the items they long for, and maybe even a few they didn’t know they wanted!

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.

Game Nostalgia: My past with casual games

Arpegi BackWhen I was younger, I used to try and recreate popular games. I made a Pac-Man clone and a BreakOut-clone is a sort of drag-and-drop engine. It was rather easy and required almost no programming knowledge. I was inspired by the various games I played from Popcap, GameHouse or Reflexive Entertainment. Yeah, I played casual games and enjoyed them a lot. Being a gamer doesn’t mean you need to play hardcore games all day. Today, I almost spent the whole day watching my favorite TV-series and playing casual games. So, let’s dig up a few games off my past and let’s talk about them. Are they any good or are they just games for the gamers who take gaming not that seriously? Let’s dive in! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion about the games and/or content of the article. 

Casual games aren’t real games.

Let me be clear on one thing. The games I played in the past where games from the developers of Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, Dinner Dash, Cubis 2, Luxor and others. The issue with these games are that they can be produced rather quickly. I’m not saying that they can be created without a lot of effort, but when I saw how quick some publishers could publish the games… It was kinda scary. Once I saw a game becoming really popular in the summer and the sequel dropped around the holidays at the end of the year.

I think the crowd for these games is a different crowd then the games I play now-a-days. But there is one thing that these games do that other studios should take a lesson from. They created a version of the game that you could play for 60 minutes. When your 60 minutes where over, you got a screen where you had to purchase the game. The big thing here was, you were allowed to play the full game without any major restrictions. This is how you should create a demo for these kind of games.

In my eyes, they are real games that we can play when we feel like playing a game but don’t feel like playing a big budget game. Or in-between releases. I’m even happy to see that some games hit mainstream and got accepted by the hardcore community. As a personal sidenote, I feel I float somewhere in that middle zone. I play a lot of different kind of games. The main thing I care about is to have fun with my games. They deliver on that without any doubts. In any case, I think I made my point. Now, let’s take a look at 2 of these games I played in the past and I’ll tell you why I think they are worth playing.

Games, games and more games.

Dream Chronicles

Dream_Chronicles_1_LogoBack when I still made YouTube videos I played this gem of an adventure game called Dream Chronicles. When I discovered this game, I was highly into dreams and their meanings. I believe that a dream can try to tell you a story. It can also be a tool to help you process an argument or something else (un)pleasant that happened on that day.

The story in this game is what took me off guard. It started out like a “already heard, already done” story at first, but nearing the middle of the first game and certainly in the sequel, that completely changed.

This game series is one of my favorite games in the casual adventure games genre. I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play a relaxing adventure game with interesting puzzles and a thrilling story.

One negative, one huge flaw in this game is that KatStudio’s and PlayFirst (the developers and publishers of this game) … well, it went a bit bad. It’s not exactly clear why but the ending of the 5th game became rushed and awkward. It opens up so many doors to a 6th game but it got cancelled.

Puzzle Inlay

puzzleinlay_lrg3

This game is created by a few people. It was created in a puzzle lab. In this game you have to fill a figure with certain blocks. You get them at the bottom. The fuller the that bottom becomes, the worse it is for you. You get a few powerups like a hammer or a wand that changes all/several blocks to usable blocks.

I got hooked on this game a lot, so I played the sequels and spin-offs. The two I played the post were Adventure Inlay and Magic Inlay. These games offered a bit more then the original. Puzzle Lab did a really good job with those.

In Magic Inlay, you have final bosses. Most of them mess with your tray or with your already placed blocks which made for some quick thinking moments.

In Adventure Inlay, the game offers a bunch of different game modes that change up the gameplay quite a lot.

Honestly, I recommend Puzzle Inlay to the big puzzle fans. If you love puzzle games, this is one you should really check out, it’s a relaxing puzzle game that will entertain you when you are waiting for that next big puzzle game to play.

Conclusion

Well, I have a bunch of games I still want to talk about. But because I haven’t played them in such a long time, I didn’t include them in this article. So, I’m not planning to write a sequel on this article but rather take a look at the games I still want to talk about in a game quicky. I want to take a more in-depth look to Magic Inlay and Adventure Inlay even.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this look in my past. I would love to hear from you guys which casual games you tried. Did you enjoy your experience? Did you compare them to the big budget games? Actually, that’s an idea for another article. How “good” are casual games compared to the big budget games.

In any case, I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, have an amazing day!

Gaming History #1: Did Nintendo made the only handheld?

Smartphones-tablets-handheld-gaming-consoles-and-hybrids-400x318Alright, this article is a part of the GB(C) month. In this very first article of “Gaming History”, I’ll take a look at the history of a game, company, console or a series. I can also take a look at certain events or beta’s. Anyways, for the theme of this month, I thought it would be interesting to look at the competition of the Gameboy and Gameboy Color and why Nintendo ultimately won the battle for handhelds. I tried have the most correct information as I could, but if I do made a mistake, feel free to tell me in the comments. Anyways, let’s dive right into the competition of the gameboy and gameboy color. I’m quite excited to talk about this myself. 

 2nd generation

Game_&_Watch

Let’s be clear for a moment. When I talk about handhelds in this article, most of the time I mean gaming handhelds. PDA’s and such, I take out of the picture for this article. Anyways, the first handhelds we see in the second generation. While some sources told me that the Game & Watch was first, I didn’t believe it.

I looked further until I found the first handheld ever made. Mattel was a few years before Nintendo. The Game & Watch was released in 1980, while Mattel released their handhelds in 1976. The first handheld I found was Mattel Auto Race.

But why did the Game & Watch win over Mattel? The Game & Watch had something that I don’t see at the early Mattel handhelds. All the graphics of the G&W are pre-printed on the screen. This makes the device, according to me, last longer. Not only that, it was cheaper to produce, so it was a cheaper product… I think you can easily fill in the rest.

Atari Lynx

Atari-Lynx-I-Handheld

While it’s quite possible to talk hours upon hours about the history of handhelds, for sake of having a bite-sized article, let’s talk about a competitor that were also on the market when the Gameboy or Gameboy Color was.

this handheld was released in the same year that the gameboy was released. The year was 1989. Now, why did this handheld failed against the Gameboy? According to me, it’s the design. Just look at the device. It doesn’t look like it would be great to play on. The placement of the speaker is the issue.

According to some research, the gameboy won from the Lynx because of the price and battery life. Who knew that a green-ish and black display would do wonders like that?

Tetris?

Tetris_Boxshot

When Tetris was developed, Russia was still known as Soviet Russia. So, the original creator of the puzzle game needed to give the intellectual rights to Mother Russia. A few companies fought over the rights. Nintendo was one. Temco as well. Both released a version on the NES. Because Temco couldn’t release it officially, they released it on a black reproduction cartridge.

How does that relate to history of the gameboy? Believe it or not, this game outsold Pokémon. It’s the most sold game on the system. It sold around 40 million units. It was even a launch title.

The documentaries I watched about the gameboy actually told a lot about this. If you want to know more about the history of Tetris, I highly recommend reading up on it.

The wrap-up

I know that this article is extremely short. But since this is an experiment I want to know if you guys like these sort of articles. If that’s the case, I might write more articles like this.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about the history of the gameboy. I enjoyed writing it for you guys. Take care, have a nice holiday period and until the next article!

Arpegi Exclusive: Happy 2nd birthday to Arpegi.

Arpegi 2 Years

Today it’s a big day for Mizari and myself. In fact, this article is written whilst he is in my room. Yeah. Two years ago, we founded the Arpegi community. So, in this exclusive article for this blog we talk about the history and such of our community. We honestly don’t see it as a “forum”. It’s more to us, it’s our family. So, let’s give something back to our awesome community. 

History

Two years ago, Mizari and I were in the same college. We both studied Applied Computer Science. Since we were both new, we didn’t have any friends. I quickly made some “friends”, you know, those people you talk with in the break and such. People you just met. One day, Mizari was sitting next to me in class. I found it a bit sad that he sat there alone. He was watching an episode of One Piece. I started talking to him since we both had an anime interest. And that, was the start of a friendship that changed my life.

I was a very active member on a forum. On this forum I invited Mizari to join. I also invited another friend, shredc0re (yes, yes Shreddy. No caps.). Everything went alright or so we thought. After a half year, there were some disagreements between the staff. Back then, I was a part of the staff. The disagreements became so bad; Mizari, shred & I had no choice but to leave.

We wanted to create another forum where the staff and the members were equals. A forum based on respect for each other, like Mizari says: “DEMOCRACY”! We first started on a friend’s server. After a year, we decided to move to our own server. We still have the same host and we don’t have major complaints about them. 

First we were a private forum. We had an admin approval system to block the thrash. And also bots. Mostly bots. It didn’t take long for our forum to gain members which weren’t a part of the forum we left.

To this day, Arpegi stands for a community. A family. We branched out to other places to talk with each other like Twitter, Facebook, Steam, Skype … And the favorite game of the community is Minecraft. (Yeah, mostly likely.) Oh, and in one of the more recent updates Mizari and I decided to stop the admin approval system.

This is the community’s history in a nutshell. A big nutshell. But we don’t look to our history. We want to look to our future. So, let’s do that.

Future

Mizari and I talk a lot about the future of our community. We try to organize events and giveaways. It often happens that members give each other steam presents. Mizari and I have gotten several games in our library from our community. Mizari got Half-Life 2 and I got Electronic Super Joy. (For example).

For the near future, we have a ton of updates planned. Mostly tweaks to the profile and the lay-out of the forum. And some major behind the scenes updates to the working of our Battle mini-game.

We hope to grow and if we get the chance to promote our community, we rarely think twice. We recently started accepting donations. And we have some plans with that. From perks to giveaways. The future is still a mystery.

Loyal Members

 It’s time to write the “thank you for your continued support” part of the article. And this is going to be the longest part. So, let’s get started.

Let’s thank the biggest members first (in a random sequence.):

  • nhi_po: hi. (Mizari-) <- He is your boyfriend. He can say a better “thank you” then I can. M’kay? Bug him about it. Romance has been found through Arpegi. (Jonez)
  • Fist: Keep on fisting. Even when it sounds wrong. And do it daily. … You know what we mean. Thanks mate. (And thanks for posting so much. We really appreciate that.)
  • Toffee: And, do you still know nothing about the matrix? Regardless your answer, thanks man. And for all those memories in the RP meant a lot to me.
  • Msg: Move your awesomeness to Belgium for once so we can thank you with a beer and in person. Agreed? Belgian beer > beer anyways.
  • Light-kun: Sorry that your awesome artwork isn’t at the top of this article. It’s an amazing drawing of nhi instead. But seriously, thanks man. You’re the best global mod a forum can wish for! 🙂
  • Joel: Keep on coding those awesome PSP homebrews man. And thanks for sharing them with us. You are a great member of our community.
  • NekoBot: Thanking you means writing a whole separate article. Sadly enough, we don’t have the time for that now. So, yeah. Thanks. And you know how thankful Mizari and myself are. M’kay?
  • Austin: Thank you for being the tallest guy. … No let’s be real here for a moment. You’re always ready to be a part of game sessions and giveaways. Thanks man. And I’ll never forget the touching words of my birthday thread.
  • Priomblazer: French Kittens. That’s all. (For real: Thanks man. You know why. You blaze through our forum. Man, we are funny.)
  • Melfy: So, what can we say? I’m sorry, it’s PG-13 here. So yeah. Thanks mate.
  • Muddy: You might not realize it but you are always able to make everybody laugh and your presence is appreciated by everyone.
  • Smashy: You are my Neko brother. So, I thanked you enough already. You know how thankful Mizari and I are. And you’re the earliest member. 😀
  • Cubed: Our hero on the TF2 front! :3

And Mizari and I could go on for a while here. There are just too many people we want to thank. Here are a bunch of people we want to thank as well. We are sorry if we forgot a name. We triple checked our list. Those people are:

Lpgardian, Fuyu, BloodCat, Arikado, Devon, Inunah, Gamblorez, Fishy, Maccaman, (shredc0re, he is a myth), Seraph, Colin, Kura, Murasaki, Princess and Tarik.

Thanks all of you. Instead of writing a long wall of text, which we already kinda have, let’s keep it short. THANK YOU!

Member input

So, to close this article, we gave the chance to our community to give some input to this article. Priom stated that Arpegi are pancakes on steroids. How nice.

Inunah asked a section of personal achievements and such. While this a great idea, we didn’t prepare for this pancake. Sorry. Maybe a next time.

And the best suggestion comes from Austin. He asks what we learned from the community. Tricky question. We learned that this forum is closer than we ever thought possible.

So, let’s wrap up this article. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed. Until the next time and let’s go for even more years! And now Mizari and I are going to enjoy our day with a movie (or 2) and some games. :3