In Search Of... Feed

In Search Of... Bad Video Game Books

GoombellaDo you know of any poorly written or otherwise terrible books about video games?  My girlfriend Nicole runs Books Without Pity at which she eviscerates badly dated or just plain bad books with snark, cynicism, and sarcasm.  She's covered genres such as cookbooks of questionable taste, books for children that set bad examples, and trashy mainstream literature such as Fifty Shades of Grey, but she wants to turn her attention to published garbage pertaining to gaming.  Can you recommend anything poorly written about the world of video games that deserves some biting analysis?  The more out of touch and out of date the book, the better.  Show us books about how video games run on computers so large that only the richest kings of Europe can play them.  Tell us about volumes of questionable revelations about the secret evil teachings behind The Legend of Zelda.  Anything about gaming that deserves to be taken down a few pegs will be much appreciated.

Let's Visit A Secret Arcade Featuring F-Zero AX

The Game Station

While the Nintendo/Sega co-production of F-Zero GX for the Nintendo GameCube is well known and beloved for its intense difficulty and flashy sense of speed, few fans of Captain Falcon's last racing adventure have played the game's arcade counterpart, F-Zero AX, and experienced its unique tracks and cars.  Most intriguingly, AX machines feature a slot for GameCube memory cards that can write AX data for use with the home GX version.  Given enough time, skill, and money, it's possible to unlock the entire set of AX elements for play in GX.  Here's how the official F-Zero AX website describes the functionality:

 By inserting your Nintendo GameCube Memory Card into the appropriate slot in the F-Zero AX arcade unit, you can take any of the F-Zero GX machines stored in your garage (including your custom machines, complete with emblems) for a spin on the AX courses.  
With your Memory Card in the
F-Zero AX arcade unit, you'll receive 20 tickets (to use in F-Zero GX) every time you play. The AX vehicle that you're using will also be downloadable automatically to your Memory Card so you can use it in your GX game. If you're racing a custom machine built with an F-Zero License Card, theparts that make up the machine will be downloaded to your Memory Card instead.

It's understandable why I've been searching for F-Zero AX for so long: there's another F-Zero game locked up inside my copy of GX and I have to set it free!  For the past nine years I've chased the ghost of F-Zero AX around my home state of Florida in a desperate attempt to locate one of the few working AX machines in North America (online apocrypha pegs the exact number at somewhere between twenty and six depending on the age of the source).  Rumors and aged forum postings led me to the alleged homes of arcades that featured AX, but I was always too late.  Running down AX rumors has led me to the site of a new highway that was built atop a former arcade, to a vacant building full of dust and debris, and to, seriously, an actual crater crammed with the remains of a demolished building.  Just when it seemed that playing F-Zero AX was one of those gaming goals I'd never achieve, I learned about a small arcade tucked away where I'd never expected.  Last week I decided to investigate and see if the stories were true, so I hit the highway and made the drive down the long stretches of expressways, local roads, and finally little unmarked service drives.  Friends, I'm happy to say that I finally found F-Zero AX.

Continue reading "Let's Visit A Secret Arcade Featuring F-Zero AX" »

In Search Of... Fun PS1 Classics On PSP

Sony PlayStation Somehow I didn't get around to transfering my classic Sony PlayStation [One] games purchased from the PlayStation Network to my PlayStation Portable until recently and I'm impressed at how well they play on the small screen, so now I'm more interested in what the vintage part of the PSN Store has to offer (especially since as a Nintendo 64 booster at the time, I missed the original PS1 library entirely).  Would you care to suggest any fun games that play well on the PSP?  To avoid repetition, here's my current PS1 → PSP library:

  • Castlevania Chronicles
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (via Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles)
  • Spyro the Dragon
  • Street Fighter Alpha

What say you, gang?  Any suggestions?  What must-play adventure am I missing?  Platformers preferred, naturally.

Weekly Poll / In Search Of...: Storage Solutions

Weekly Poll for 6-22-2009It would seem that warmer weather doesn't impact the playing time of the majority of you out there.  As for me, living in the grand humid heat as I do, I try to avoid being outside at all.  I fall apart quickly in the presence of the afternoon sun, so I turn my weakness into a strength and spend more time in front of the air conditioner vent.  I can't wait until cooler weather comes and I can open a window at home without choking on the incoming moisture.

Moving on, exactly one month ago today* I moved out of the one-bedroom apartment I'd lived in for the last ten years and into a comparatively larger two-bedroom townhouse in a nicer part of town.  This gives me some extra space for my toys home entertainment equipment, particularly for storage.  I now have an entire walk-in closet to keep my video games, movies, and other forms of media that come on cartridges or discs.  Unfortunately, this means I need a new storage solution for my beloved game cartridges.  My first thought was to simply pick up a trendy game pak rack from the golden age of 16-bit gaming on eBay or Amazon's marketplace, but I cannot find any that are in good condition for a fair price.  I'm not going to pay $60 for someone's cracked plastic rack that has MARCUS written all over it in permanent marker.  This led me to wondering how all of you out there store your games.  Are they in a random pile?  Stacked on a shelf?  Arranged carefully in alphabetical order in a professionally lit custom storage case?  Let's hear about how you keep your games in good condition, and if you know where I can find a snappy-looking storage rack for my beloved Nintendo games, please let me know.  I cannot tolerate the random pile method for much longer (even if it is a neatly arranged random pile).

* Yes, I moved two days before leaving for Los Angeles to attend E3.  That was a very busy week.

In Search Of... This Dog

NintendogsCan you identify this breed of dog?  A PTB writes:

My girlfriend came across the image from your article about Nintendogs and absolutely must have a puppy like that.  Unfortunately, we don't know what breed of dog it is. Do you happen to know the breed of the white puppy on your article or the source of the photograph so we can figure it out?

I know nothing about dog breeds, so I'm turning this one over to you all out there.  The image is one of the promotional photos released to the press by Nintendo for the 2005's Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS.  Do you recognize this breed?  Leave a helpful comment if you do.

In Search Of... F-Zero AX In Japan

F-Zero AX It's time once again to harness the awesome power of PTB's readers.  I recently received an e-mail from Christopher who is in need of some information.  Chris will be spending some time in Japan in March and he wants to squeeze some arcade action into his schedule.  Specifically, he wants to play F-Zero AX.  The problem is that these arcade machines can be difficult to find.  A while back I linked to a listing of known AX machines in North America, Europe, and Australia, but finding information on Japanese locations doesn't seem to be so easy.  Then again, I may have stumbled upon such a list several times while searching and didn't know it because I can't read Japanese text.  So, with that said, do you know where to find a F-Zero AX machine in Japan?  Help Chris by pointing him in the right direction.

In Search Of... A Wireless Router

UPDATE: I've made my choice.  Thanks for the advice!Linksys WRT54G router

Now that I have a PC running Windows Vista instead of XP (Vista being the one that doesn't support Nintendo's Wi-Fi dongle), it's time for me to be dragged kicking and screaming into setting up a wireless router in my home.  Before I just jump blindly into buying the first piece of hardware that looks good, I thought I'd ask all of you out there for some advice.  Can you recommend a solid wireless router that supports Windows Vista and plays nice with the Nintendo Wii, DS, & Sony PlayStation Portable?  At the moment I'm eyeing a Linksys WRT54G router based on recommendations from both Nintendo and Sony, but if you know of something better, please speak up.

In Search Of... An Old Commodore 64 Game

Question BlockHelp a guy out, won't you?  I'm trying to track down an old Commodore 64 game from my youth.  Players control a little blue camel-like guy as he moves back and forth on a seesaw.  Up above on a castle the evil overlord tosses multicolored bricks down on the seesaw.  The object of the game is to use the seesaw to propel bricks back up at the castle until eventually the camel-like guy can launch himself up in order to free his captured friends.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  Can anyone tell me the name of this old game?  Better yet, can anyone tell me where I can find it today, either as the original version or a modern update?

In Search Of... Model Arwing

StarfoxUPDATE: Since the file has vanished again since it was originally made available, you can now download it direct from PTB.

PTB reader Josh writes:

After reading your post on searching for the Mario illustration, I'd like to add something that I've been looking for, that you might have - the StarFox Arwing paper model from Nintendo Power.

I remember it coming on some pages that you have to cut out of the magazine, and I built it, but being 9-10 years old, I did a terrible job.  I've been looking for a scan of that to try and build it again, but have had no luck.  Think you could put a call out to your readers to see if anyone out there has a scan of that available?

I remember that model and, like Josh, I built it at a young age and did a horrible job.  Gummed the whole thing up with tape.  The model in question comes from the Super Power Club bonus pages in the January 1993 issue of Nintendo PowerIf you know the online whereabouts of these pages that are suitable for printing and building, please post the URL in the comments below.  PTB reader bretto scanned the pages and posted the URL in the comments below.  Thanks bretto! 

In Search Of... Promotional Box Art

JumpmanOnce upon a time in late 1989 and early 1990 there was a promotional piece of art for Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. 3.  It was an temporary box art that was displayed in stores before the game's release in North America and looked a lot like the final box art except that Mario was depicted as a poorly-drawn evolution of his early Jumpman persona from the old CBS Saturday Supercade cartoon instead of the more familiar plumber we all know and love.  Quite frankly, this box art was downright ugly.

And I'm looking for it.

Numerous online searches have turned up nothing.  If you have a picture or scan of this artwork, I would appreciate it if you e-mailed it to me or posted its URL in the comments.  Thank you.