Thursday, 19 January 2012

Where do you play with yours?

Gameboy DMG-01 in the Toilet

Tetris it is, this time around
You're probably wondering why I have taken a picture of the Gameboy in the toilet?  The answer to that is an easy one for me.  We all have our strange game fetishes, I particularly enjoy playing games in the toilet. Some enjoy reading, I play, simple!!  I remember on one occasion spending nearly an hour in the toilet playing through to level '9' on Tetris, and as a consequence I suffered from pins and needles in my legs and arse.  Sometimes a become so involved that I forget to take a..... 

Still a hit with me today
I am very fond of my original Gameboy and I still thoroughly enjoy playing Tetris and Super Mario Land on the DMG-01.  I've owned my old DMG-01 since 1990 and it still works fine, sometimes the speaker tends to makes a strange static noise but it doesn't bother me.  

A perfect game for the toilet
I have all the other Gameboy versions and own a fairly large collection.  But I have to play these particular aforementioned games on the good ol' spinach screen.  I become very nostalgic when I'm in full swing of Mario Land or when I reach level '9' in Tetris, ahh... the memories.  

Portable Power!!
I leave you with this classic UK Gameboy advert, it truly sums up the purpose of the Gameboy:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Retro Stores

Bangkok Retro Gaming Stores

I visited Bangkok back in February 2008 and decided to hunt for Retro game stores in the City.  After spending days with my Girl Friend shopping and being dragged around in search of bargain handbags, shoes and clothes was now my turn!!

The hunt commenced, we started our search initially by asking locals in game shops and they pointed us in the right direction which was China Town. Once we arrived at China Town we discovered a labyrinth of Market dedicated to Consoles, Gadgets and R/C Cars. After about an hour of searching through the Market, my Girl Friend decided to go down this quite alley , she then noticed a bright coloured shop, she had found it!!!! 

The Owner & I

The shop is small but cute and is a dream for any retro gamer, the shop is called "Love Game Shop." It is owned by a friendly guy who sorted me out a good deal, I forgot his name though. We talked about the good 'old days' of gaming, we became very nostalgic so we had a session on the Famicom. He was surprised to know how big retro gaming is in the west.  I told him it was huge overseas, he explained to me that some locals discard their old systems or trade them in.  As a matter of fact, during our time in the store a guy came in and sold his old games. 

A shelf of goodness

Game & Watch Heaven, Diskun needs a home

Famicom Session on the Disk System

His prices are reasonable depending on what you want. All the games/systems are selifane wrapped and stored with care and are price labeled. The shop has everything from rare sort after items to game guides, and faulty consoles that are in need of repair.  Next door to him is an electronic repair store and he takes his faulty systems for repair, subject to availability of parts.  Otherwise he sells them as 'junk.'

Junk section, repairs

LCD Game Flyers

He has small selection of Gameboy titles.

The layout is neat, I easily identified and found what I wanted. It was a real pleasure shopping there, so relaxing, it seemed like we were in his house as he was very hospitable towards us. I got the impression that he was very pleased to have tourists in his shop, so it made us feel very comfortable. 

Let me see, I found it!!

Bargain Games

Behind the Counter

Lots of titles

The second shop is based in the shopping district of Bangkok on the 6th floor of a mall called 'MBK.' The shop is owned by Luol and is called "O-Corner." He owns a Retro shop in Tokyo and two other new gen shops in Bangkok but his passion is retro gaming. 

I love that sign!!


That must be the biggest ever 'Plush' Mario?
Nice entrance
Anime Models on the top shelf
Luol is a nice guy, he sorted me out a great discount. He told me that recently he had a TV crew arrive from Canada to review and do a feature on his shop. We had a good long chat about the old days, I couldn't resist.

The best display cabinet there
I wanted that Mario Crane but it wasn't for sale :(
Famicom Love
Father & Son
Mint Game & Watch Panorama Screens
Luol has so much gaming goodness available and rare items that I have never seen before.  All his items are neatly presented, price labeled and selifane wrapped.  Luol has everything in his shop, he even has more stock at his house.  He told me he has a considerable amount of games and systems as stock and uses any available space in his house for storage, including his own personal collection.

That top shelf is too high!
Digging away
I found 'Image Fight'
I became poor after the visit
Luol is used to dealing with tourists so it was not a surprise for him to have us there however, we still felt comfortable and welcomed at his shop. I love digging for games, especially when you find an unexpected gem.  I bought many things, in fact, I would say I over indulged!!

This game's got a hefty price tag!
Plenty of systems to choose from, and all mint
All  brand new items and systems
Luol helping me look through a pile of titles
Luol was a great help, he went out of his way to help me.  He is very passionate about his gaming past.  All his items are neatly stacked and presented well on shelves, it's not a chore to search and I.D items.   

It's very rare seeing a new Robot, Stack-up and Gyro together
Luol also sells mint copies of game guides
A parent teaching his kid on how to play KOF '97 :)

Ratings for both shops: 

Selection of items 10 
Quality of items 10 
Shop Deals 9 
Shopping experience 10 
Shop Owners 10 
Stock Layout 10 
Shop Locations 8 
Atmosphere 10 

Final Thoughts: 

Both shops I visited are fantastic, it is common for shop owners in Bangkok to "BUG" tourists and then attempt to rip-them off. These guys would not even think of doing that. For them it's not just a business but an opportunity to meet new people and do the best honest deals for them.

Both owners offered me a mail order service

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Gaming Memories

Daniel Department Store; The introduction of Nintendo (Part 1)

For my first post, I thought I 'd share a short story of my first experience with the Games Industry....

In 1988, I was so enthralled with Tamiya RC Buggies and Video Games, especially with the Nes, PC Engine and Megadrive.  My young life pretty much involved the aforementioned interests and Hip Hop, but something happened that year that opened my eyes to an exciting aspect of gaming; The 1988 Nintendo Summer Tour.

Friends and I used to socialise after school at my local Department Store (Radio Control section).  One afternoon, I was conversing with one of the sales assistant's there; (Jo) and she mentioned to me that a representative from Nintendo had visited the RC Department.  She also told me that her Manager negotiated a deal for the store to become an official Nintendo retail supplier.  The delight of hearing this news was very exciting, furthermore she informed me that they would be stocking the entire range of Nintendo products.  Well, I went back home that afternoon with a huge smile on my face knowing that very soon I could choose from an array of games and accessories for my Nes. In my experience, Department Stores as opposed to normal retail shops always stocked a vast range of specific products, so I thought it was inevitable they would have 'Game Kiosks' for demo plays, similar to what I had seen at stores in New York.

With eager anticipation and some patients, Nintendo had finally arrived at the store, just after a few weeks of the announcement.  It was a Saturday morning and I was in the store drooling over a fantastic display of the Zelda series and testing out new peripherals (Nes Advantage/Nes Max) etc, when suddenly I noticed something large in 'red' walking in my peripheral vision.  When I turned around I saw MARIO!!  Well a guy in a costume of Mario.  It was a surprise I must admit.  

My friend Paul with Mario
Just after Mario had arrived, a fleet of people came in wearing Nintendo caps and sweaters, they were handing out flyers, brochures and other goodies.  I was given a goodie bag which contained, posters, badges, Nintendo T-Shirt and a product brochure.  Amongst (what seemed) the hundreds of kids that suddenly appeared from nowhere trying to get to Mario, I noticed white units being carted outside.  I then realised from the side of these unites that they were actually Gaming Rigs, I went outside as curiosity got the better of me and saw a Demo area being set-up.

One of the Game Rigs
Rik AKA "Mr Nintendo" with Mario
I then spent most of the day outside with the guys from Nintendo, and managed to hone my skills playing Salamander and Super Mario Brothers 2.  I had such a great time with everybody, and totally enjoyed the experience as well as the social element.  These type of events are really great for interacting with people and making new friends.  
Jo and that Guy!
The day ended on a high for me, as well as having a fantastic day.  I made new friends but most importantly got to know one of the Managers from the store.  He knew I was a regular customer because Jo and Paul had mentioned my name to him in the past, as I previously inquired about doing work experience on the Department during my final year of my GCSEs. 

Rik and Jo with that Guy in the suit 

Well, I got my work experience placement and then got offered a Part-Time job In 1990 when I turned 16, I naturally accepted and spent 6 years working there during my academic studies-happy days!!

Cheers Mario!!

Part 2 coming soon; The arrival of the NES Game Kiosks and M82 Game Unit