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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hoarders: Stories of Extreme Collectors: Phillip O'Riley

Phillip O'Riley resides in sunny San Diego California, where he has been gaming ever since he can remember, since the late 1980's. Phillip started collecting games once he started earning income in 2002. His favorite video game series has always been the Mario series. Phillip figures he started collecting because he didn't have a significant amount of games growing up, but enjoyed playing many varieties of games and systems in stores, and at friends houses. His collection consists of over 100 different game systems (including variants), and over 1,400 games. His favorite system to collect for is the NES. Phillip once met David Crane, the creator of Pitfall, and hopes to create his own video games someday.

Q: What can you tell us about your collection?
A: I currently have over 1,400 games and growing. I collect for almost every system, even for systems I do not own yet. Before I started my shopping spree, I had an Atari 5200, NES, SNES, N64, and a Dreamcast I have been gaming ever since I can remember, however, I didn't really start collecting video games with the intention of becoming a collector. Once I got my first job in 2002, my first purchase was an Xbox in June, a Gamecube in August once Super Mario Sunshine came out, a PS2 and Game Boy Advance in October. Around this time I visited a thrift store, and saw a Commodore 64 and had to have it. That is when it all began!

Q: What are your favorite genres?
A:My favorite genre is platformers. Mario being my all time favorite series. Side scrolling beat 'em ups are my second favorite, giving me the most nostalgic feelings of being a early 90's arcade rat. Run 'n gun shooters like Metal Slug almost hold the same spot for me as well. Horizontal shooters such as Gradius and Salamader (partial horizontal) keep me on my feet.

I don't know why, but I love seeing Japanese games
peppered into domestic libraries.
Q: Has your collection taken over your home, or just a room in your home.
A:I have somehow managed to fit everything in my bedroom. Or should I say, game-room with a bed. Finding room to place my new finds and purchases is always a challenge, sometimes involving rearranging entire sections of my room. I have managed to invade my bathroom with gaming merchandise. I have converted a Playstation into a tissue paper dispenser, and I have Space Invader soap bars.

I don't think that entertainment center
 can take much more.
Q: What can you tell us about the rig in your game room?
A:I have one standard definition 19" Panasonic flat screen CRT television which I have most of my systems connected to by two A/V switches and an RF switch. All ready to play on. I simply switch out the A/V cable to play the other systems . I have one television that's part of my Gamecube kiosk, and 2 computer monitors.

Q: What is the largest set in your collection?
A:I don't aim to own complete sets for any system, as I mainly collect games I'm interested in. The system I have the most games for is the NES, approaching 300 games. (Including Japanese Famicom games)

Q: Out of the 100+ consoles you own, what sticks out amongst them?
A:The one system I always receive questions about is my JVC X'Eye. People think it's a knockoff Genesis or something. The other system that perplexes people is a modern system, my Limited Edition red Wii, I'm glad I waited until now to purchase a Wii.

Remember when instruments existed in video games
that actually TAUGHT music? 
Q: Roughly how many peripherals do you have?
A:Wow, at least 5 or 6 drawers and boxes worth. I have a Miracle Teaching Piano, NES Power Pad, 2 ROB the robots, DK Bongos, Sega Genesis Menacer...

Q: What are some of the craziest things in your collection?
A:My giant Spyro plush, TOKIMEKI 2 Collector's Edition Japanese Playstation dating simulator with Pocketstation device, Konami Laserscope (looks ridiculous if placed on).

Q: Do you have any arcade cabinets or retail fixtures?
A:I have a Gamecube kiosk. I used to have a Phoenix arcade cabinet, but due to space limitations I had to let it go. It was a fun Galaga style game. I have some retail store posters and advertisements to be put on shelves.

Q: What's the crown jewel of your collection?
A:I don't have one particular item that I would say is my crown jewel, but I would have to same my boxed game systems give me the most satisfaction, mainly the Gameboy and Microvision. Oh, and I do have a prototype cart for Alien Vs. Predator for the Atari Lynx.

A great, big thank you to Phil, who has packed an ass-load of games into a relatively small space and was goodly enough to tell us about it. Truly a man who has earned the label of Hoarder. One of my favorite pictures below is of a young Phil holding onto his very first NES that he received for Christmas. This is a man who like many of us (myself included), got started in the wonderful world of video games at a very young age. If you want to catch up with Phil on the Digital Press Forums, his handle is buzz_n64. Here are some more pictures he sent us of his collection.

Somewhere there is a photograph like this of all of us.
Mine is of a confused kid looking at an orange TurboGrafx-16 box.

Extra credit for original boxes!

I'm always really impressed to see retail fixtures in the home.
Just because they don't belong there and make for an impressive centerpiece.

WhenI viewed the thumbnail for this I initially thought that wooden box
was an actual NES. Nice paint job!

Probably the tidiest part of the whole room.

It's like the 3DO was designed to be a base for the N64.

What started as a humble media center has turned into a twisted game
of Where's Waldo.

ROB has been making quite a few appearances of as of late.
I'm not complaining, it's just curious is all.

Ok, so what if I only added this image because of the Showgirls poster?
That IS an impressive stack of Genesis games.

I don't think I could bring myself to gut a GameCube to house snot rags.
But a Playstation...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Retro Road Trip (part 1 of 4)

Game ZoneGame Zone
270 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Salem, Massachusetts

A lucky find! One second we were touring the hallowed streets of Salem Massachusetts and learning about the prosecution of alleged witches. Then, BAM! We find what is probably the best retro video games store in the United States (or at least it's in the top 3). The serendipitous encounter would become the first retro gaming shopping trip on our travels.

A small, unassuming brick facade houses the culmination of decades worth of video game history. Just name it. Commodore 64? Of course it's here! Neo Geo AES? You want the box with that? If I had to pick out one fatal flaw (besides not being within walking distance of my house), it would be that they do not appear to have any sort of website. I can't complain too much though. The harder it is for me to buy from there the less likely I am to drive myself broke. Sadly, I did not buy anything here. Not because they didn't have anything I wanted, just because money was a little tight this trip, and there was plenty more to see on this trip without blowing my wad here.

If you've been looking for it, chance are these guys have it.
A Boxed Neo Geo
No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is in fact a boxed Neo Geo. $600 and she could be yours.
Speaking of boxed stuff... This is one unit I coveted in my youth above most others.
The box was as big as I was, and promised a whole new world of mind-blowing entertainment.
I finally got one of these a few years back but no original box sadly.
I don't actually recognize that grey sucker in the center. You learn so much traveling to these places.
I feel Robbed... Get it?
BAM! You've been Robbed!
The unusual suspects. Speaking of unusual...
Fuck! Just when I thought you guys were on the ball...

There are a few more pictures (including the one I teased this series with), on my flickr photostream if you want to see some more of this amazing store. If I ever find myself in Salem again, you'd better believe I'm going back there.

Do check in next week when we visit Digital Press!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Retro Gaming Road Trip

Back in July, some friends of my wife and I were married and the two of us stood in their wedding. On the way there, we came up with a meticulous site-seeing tour that covered Salem Massachusetts, Intercourse (heh heh heh), Pennsylvania, the oldest hamburger joint in the country and other interesting stuff. Beyond the typical site seeing fare however, we also marked some incredible retro gaming locales down in our travel itinerary.

These stores and attractions are so massive that cramming them all into one post would not do them justice. Therefore, over the next few weeks I'll be detailing such exotic retro games paradises as:

Game Zone: Salem Massachusetts
Game Zone
Humble outside,
incredible inside.

This stop was not on my list originally. In fact, I had never heard of this shop until I found myself walking in and seeing piles of old games in mint and near-mint condition. Along with the only boxed Neo Geo AES I've ever seen in person. Sadly, they don't have a website where you can purchase from them directly, but if you find yourself in the area you owe it to yourself to go in and have a look.

Digital Press: Clifton New Jersey
Digital Press Video Games
If it's good enough for James Rolfe...

The infamous homebase of the retro gaming forums and the "North Atlantic Videogame Aficionados" monthly gathering. Not only do they have a working SuperGrafx on display under glass, butJames Rolfe (The Angry Video Game Nerd), has been known to drop in from time to time. 

Fun Spot Arcade: Laconia New Hampshire
Fun Spot Arcade
Think arcades are dead?
Say that to its face!

Gamer or not, Fun Spot is one place you need to go before you die. Not only is it the largest arcade in the world, it's also a functioning retro-arcade museum! They have a working Space Harrier machine that actually throws you around like a rag doll! Why the hell aren't I there now?

I also visited an assload of Goodwill's between here and New Hampshire. While none of these really stand out, I will detail some of the sweet shit I managed to score while there.

Starting at the end of this week I'll talk about my trip to Game Zone with a huge photo gallery and information about the joint. Next I'll go into Digital Press and explain why it's so important to the retro gaming community (if for no other reason than their incredible forums). And finally we'll take a ride through the largest arcade in the world. It's going to be a fun trip through memory lane.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

M2 Spotted in the Wild

Even if you've heard its name, chances are good you've never actually seen one.

In brief, the M2 was to be the successor to the failing 3DO. Boasting more hardware capabilities than any other console at the time (to include the Nintendo 64), it looked like the hardware race was about to heat up, and the 3DO name would be salvaged. 

When 3DO found itself with both feet in the grave however, they sold the console to the Japanese company Matsushita, known globally as Panasonic. After 2 years of further developing the device, Panasonic decided it couldn't compete with the likes of Sony's Playstation, and pulled the plug on their consumer games market strategy. The M2 eventually WAS released, but only as a commercial multi-media device to fuel public presentations, ATMs, and vending machines. A somewhat brisk end to what was a hyped and eagerly anticipated console, but not the end of the story completely...

Just last month, a member of the Digital Press Forums answering to the alias, "Bitrate," managed to find a consumer-model M2 used in trade shows and conventions to promote the console. Even better, he also managed to snag a few demos AND the final control pad! All in the wild! It's seldom you hear about a retro-gaming haul of this magnitude or historical significance. This lot goes beyond rare. An excellent find, but don't take my word for it. Check out these pictures from Bitrate's thread on Digital Press.

Did you ever think you'd see a running M2 in 2011?
One that wasn't reminding you to retrieve your card or take your cash that is.

The steering wheel on the left is an interesting touch, but this sucker
looks like either an amputee-N64 pad, or a Saturn pad with a boner.
To see the rest of his pics and to learn more about this white elephant (and no, I don't mean that controller), then head over to Bitrate's thread on the Digital Press Forums. If you remember ANYTHING about the M2 you'll find it interesting.