Thursday, August 28, 2008

Top 25 PlayStation 2 Games

Although in my book it's not really old enough to qualify as a "classic" system (major companies are still making games for it), the PlayStation 2 was featured in the Classic GI section of this month's Game Informer. The best 25 games or series of games were listed in order, with the usual suspects making the list (Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, etc.).

(click on the images for a closer look at the pages)

Notably absent was Maximo: Ghosts to Glory, a killer hack-and-slash/platforming game that is probably the most underrated title in the PS2 library. Sure, the save system is a pain (you have to spend coins), and there's some tricky platforming involved (NES-era gamers will welcome this aspect), but the hard hitting, creature killing action is every bit as good as Resident Evil 4, God of War, or any other modern game. The sequel, Maximo and the Army of Zin, is also a great, undervalued title. You can pick up either disc at most any used game shop for $10 or less.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Now playing...

The Weakest Link!

My kids have been watching The Weakest Link recently, prompting my son to pick up the PS1 version of the game. I've never seen an episode of the show, so my kids had to show me how to play (they thought it was funny that it took a while for me to grasp the "bank the money" strategy). I like trivia, so I enjoyed the game, and my kids found particular delight in voting me out (meaning I lived up to the title of the game).

Players can select from 24 different characters and three difficulty levels, and there are 100,000 different questions, meaning repeats are relatively few and far between (compare this to the paltry 600 questions in Who Wants to be a Millionaire: 2nd Edition for the PS1). The obnoxious (yet popular) Anne Robinson is on hand to moderate the action, which can be enjoyed by up to 7 players. Categories include Arts & Entertainment, History & Politics, People & Places, Science & Nature, and Sports & Leisure.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

OVGE 2008 Report!

Got back late last night from OVGE 2008, where I sold some books, made some new friends, met some folks I had only "talked" to via the Internet, and bought some really cool stuff. I'm weary from the road and from sleep deprivation, but I had a great time and am already looking forward to next year.

I'm terrible with names, but I rarely forget a face. I met this guy (hence the "bad with names" designation) at the Texas Pinball Festival in Grapevine back in March. This time around we got into an in-depth conversation about electromechanical machines of the early 1970s. One of the best things about doing autographings and attending conventions is meeting friendly, knowledgeable people.

Rick Kelsey, my friend who went with me to the show, was nice enough to watch my table periodically so I could eat lunch and do some browsing.

There was a steady crowd at the convention most of the day.
Here's Rob "Flack" O'hara, selling copies of his books, which I couldn't pass up. I've already read the introduction to Invading Spaces and am about 1/3 of the way or so through Commodork. Based on what I've read so far, I recommend both without reservation. Initially, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's obvious that Flack is a writer and a gamer, not just a gamer who happens to write. His style is clear and unpretentious, and the hilarious anecdotes alone are worth the price of admission. For more info, check out

The admissions table and classic gaming tournament area.

The requisite Rockband/Guitar Hero tournaments/exhibitions.

The guys at Tradengames had the special of the day...

Factory sealed copies of The Quest for the Rings (pictured above), The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt, and Conquest of the World. These rare video/board games for the Odyssey2 are hard to find complete, much less brand new.

More unopened Odyssey2 games.

In addition to the aforementioned Odyssey2 stuff, I picked up Captain America and the Avengers for the NES and Flash Gordon for the Atari 2600, both complete in the box. I bought the Captain America game for research material for my next book, which will cover the NES/Sega Master System era of video games. Classic Home Video Games Vol. 2 will be published sometime in late 2009.

I met this nice married couple selling Retro Gamer Shirts. Naturally, I now have one of my own (a shirt, not a married couple).

Pac-Man Fever on display.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now reading...

Video Game Trader #8!

Read it for free here.

OVGE 2008!

This weekend, Saturday August, 9th to be precise, I'll be attending Oklahoma Video Game Expo, where my friend and I, Rick Kelsey (a fellow writer and game collector), will be set up at a table, selling video games. Of course, I'll have copies of Classic Home Video Games 1972-1984 on hand to sell and autograph, and I plan on taking a few breaks to check out the dealer's room and maybe even play a few games.

Another writer, Rob "Flack" O'Hara, will also be there, debuting his new book, Invading Spaces: A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Arcade Games. You can check out Rob's blog and read more about his book here.