Xeno merchandise 2017

As promised, finally time to add some new Xeno items to the site/ collection,
most of them are off-the-chart-rare and they have arrived to me over
quite a few months, there is no way I would find all of this at once.

First up is a SEALED copy of the japanese budget version of Xenogears
which also means that I now own every version of the game sealed:

Ï really wanted to share this picture, the top is my sealed copy,
the bottom my old opened, it is such an odd version that comes in two
slim cases and is then just held together with a paper and plastic bag,
let me know if you know about any other PS1 games like this!

More Xenogears:

Two sheets of memory card stickers! There is a lot of other games on there
as well and they weren’t really on my “to buy list” but oh well,
some really rare and nice items to have in this untouched condition.

On to some Saga:

This shouldn’t be to rare but for some reason I have had some trouble getting it, a Playstation.com mousepad.

Another item that was not on the list, I didn’t really know it existed
until I saw it, a Xenosaga Promo VHS! Used in stores to promote the game,
I have a lot of DVDs like that but never knew there was a VHS too.
I don’t own a japanese VHS player so I can’t confirm which trailer or
material it has or how the quality of the tape is holding up but I
suspect it to be one of the first trailers on there and at least
the cosmetic condition is fantastic, what a collector item!

Last and also least (in size) is this amazing pendant:

I forgot to take a picture of the back (will do later) but the back says “kokoro”
and anyone who have played Xenosaga should know what that means!
I’m still not sure what you had to do to get this pendant, if it was a
lottery, store exclusive or just for pre-ordering, in any case it was
given out along with the release of the Kokoro single CD to very few
lucky persons. This is the second copy I have ever seen, I lost a bid war
some years ago and never thought it would pop up again, so glad to have it!


LEGO relapse

I don’t know if anyone actually read it but one of my first posts was about
LEGO and with a few years between I usually get the urge to take out the
old pieces, build something and then move on.

This time however the relapse was worse than that and I even bought a few
larger lots which of course needed cleaning and once again I found myself
spending hours and hours cleaning stuff, my lot in life it seems…

One of the mixed lots I bought.

The same lot roughly sorted.

After cleaning and sorting all of this “new” LEGO and seeing how nice and
clean it all became I finally decided to go trough all of my own
childhood pieces as well… Some of it have never been cleaned and I
have been wanting a better storage system since… well since always,
and that led me to the next project, I didn’t expect to squeeze
another one into this year:

Step one, the cheapest TV-bench Ikea have.

Step two, put the shelves at customized height.

Step three, build four of them!

Step four, put wheels on one of them
(the more expensive ones in rubber, not plastic)

Step five, glue them all together with a glue gun or
some other really strong glue.

Step six, …repeat the above steps and put some test boxes in!

Step seven, keep on cleaning…

Step eight, question your mental sanity.
Then buy out every good storage box in your city…
and the neighbour city…

Step nine, finally sort everything into the boxes and
place them in the shelves!

In the end you have a mobile LEGO storage system with 100 sorted boxes.
Sadly not even this craziness was enough to store it all, I still had
to hide the odd parts that you don’t use often, base plates, wheels
and some other larger pieces in a wardrobe but at least everything
is clean, I have replaced all the old storage boxes and everything is
easy to access. I have built a few sets from the parts I found in the
mixed lots but even after all this work (not to mention money)
I still have no end goal to actually build something at the moment.

Oh well, now you know what I have been up to, don’t worry, this will
not turn into a LEGO blog, next time I will be back with a Xeno update
and I will have quite some games to play and write about now!

My new console setup

I planned on posting this ages ago, I’m falling behind!

In short this was my first summer project, I have been a bit unhappy with my
computer setup for a while and after contemplating a bit I realised that
the games I will play in the near to half distant future will be either
Steam games on PC, emulated fan translations on PC or PS4 games.
I have always had all my consoles hooked up but for the first time I
decided to take them and the CRT screen down, replace two of my old shelves
with a larger desk and rebuild one of the shelves to hold just a few modern
consoles, I am really happy with the new setup and it finally feels like I
have some space in here! Sadly everything is so dark that my camera can’t
pick it up correctly but enjoy the new look:

Here it is!

Woo, you can actually see the Xenoblade posters now (and also a small
glimpse of the PS4 games in the corner).

A lot of free space left on the desk if you want to place a console
or something else there temporarily or just move the keyboard and
work on the big screen.

Plenty of room to twirl around between the desk and sofa.
I planned to rebuild the shelf in the corner to hold the computer
but this turned out even better with a “suspended” solution.
I still haven’t decided what to do with the free space!

A nice overview.

Love the small side table with removable top! You can almost
see the PS3, PS4, Wii, WiiU and receiver in the darkness

But wait! It didn’t take long before I started to miss my old consoles and
used the spare parts from the old shelves for this:

That’s right, most of them just moved into the collection.

Well, at least half of them, I could remove the PS1 and get a region free
SNES but for now I like the setup.

I lowered the back shelf to make a “cool two layer effect” with the Tales of
items but I lowered it a bit much, now it only works if you are taller than me
or stand on something… this is how I wanted it to look at least.

For now this is a standard composite setup, all controlled from here.

Not much to see but adding a simple “hook” at the back of the new
construction was all it took to keep the cables at bay, in fact this
turned out to be one of the better setups I have seen or setup myself,
almost no cables at the floor, easy to switch between consoles etc.

And finally an overview sitting in the sofa.

Like always I wish I took more pictures during construction and
explain it better but everything is just so dark here, the camera
can’t handle it. Oh well, that’s how I wanted it after all,
the dark shelves keeps the focus on the games, notice the heartless,
that’s how dark it is, hehe.

The power to all consoles are controlled with remote control
to easily turn them all on/off when I don’t plan on using them for a while.
Overall very happy with this too, maybe I will raise that one shelf a
bit again and also try to find some nice lightning.

Even if it was a lot of work the best part was being able to recycle
the old shelves and build this, about $10 in new materials!

A big Xenogears step forward

I planned on writing this last week but I got sidetracked by Kingdom Hearts,
I finally played trough both II: Final Mix for the first time since the
PS2 release (12 years ago!) and also Birth by Sleep for the first time,
long overdue! More about them another time, today I will be happy to add
some of the most sought after Xenogears items:

The amazing Key chain set is finally complete!!
This has probably been my biggest hole in the collection and a bit
embarrassing not to have in a collection of this size. I was never worried
not to find them all but it is not easy (or cheap) these days.
It will remain a mystery why they choose Sigurd instead of one of the other
playable characters but I don’t mind, hehe.

I dance in joy to finally have a complete set of these!
MUCH harder to find than the key chains and well, most things.
I don’t know if very few were produced, if fans are hogging them or if
people don’t think they are worth selling. Either way here they are and
again a mystery how they choose among the characters.

With these items crossed off from the list, the missing Xenogears items
are very few although rumors says that we will actually get some new ones
next year thanks to the 20th anniversary! I still don’t dare to be to
excited since we know so little about the items but it seems to be
at least two action figures of Weltall and Vierge, interesting times.

Another item I am not as excited for as I “should” be is this:

The japanese Xenosaga I KOS-MOS Standee!!

I knew this would find its way here one day even though it probably is
one of the hardest items of all to find. The things holding back my joy
for this is the size and storage of this, now that I have all three
Standees they together cover half the collection and they are a pain to
move around for cleaning etc. Secondly it did get quite damaged on the
way here, it doesn’t look to bad in the picture and I have managed to
bend back some of the damage but still upsetting.
(The tape was not part of the damage, I knew about that from the start).

Just a comparison with the US Episode II standee. About the same height
for both but EPI KOS-MOS is a lot larger, almost 1:1 scale.

Summer time! (cleaning time…)

Woah, it has been a while since the last post, since then I continued with a few
more SNES games until the Steam summer sale gave me about 10 other
games to play… more about those another time.

After that the summer hit and as always that means a thousand projects
for some reason, I have taken care of two bigger ones but I will only write
about one today, expect the next one soon, I also have a Xeno update but that
will also get its own post.

I haven’t mentioned it yet but a while ago there was a fire in the basement
where I store all my broken consoles etc. and since they had to decontaminate
the entire basement I haven’t had access to those for a while.
In the end the fire only spread to a few electric cables and none of the actual
items were damaged, only a thin layer of soot on the boxes etc.
Either way it was quite scary to see your house getting surrounded by
firetrucks not knowing where the fire is, especially scary when a
smoke diver knocks on your door…
luckily I live on the 6th floor and none of the smoke actually
got in to the apartment.

Anyway, now that I finally have access to the items again me and my mother
filled up her car two times over and drove away with old items I don’t need
and thanks to that I could sort trough it all once and for all and get an
overview of what actually is hiding down there. For the last week I have
spent more or less the entire days cleaning, sorting and testing,
I managed to take a few picture, easy to forget when you are in the
middle of things:

First up some xboxes, that was my only real goal, to fix at least one xbox.

Once you know the construction it was easy to take apart and really easy
to put together, I thought it would be harder than PS2 but that remains the
worst console. Also it turned out that two of three consoles were modded,
really easy console to mod apparently, if I had known that back then…

A LOT of controllers drying after a good old clean up.

Assembly time! By far the worst part, thanks to xbox controllers, just like
with PS2 controllers there are SEVERAL different version of the controllers
and the parts don’t fit each other which makes it into a terrible puzzle
just to find the right shells.

Testing time! You might think testing is the best part but it really
is a hassle, having to bring out all different consoles to test controllers
and cables! Also, before testing you can at least pretend that everything
works, hehe. Oh well, this was one of my biggest cleaning sections ever
and luckily it paid of, about 80% of the cleaned items actually works:

In total 24 working controllers and two modded xboxes! I am especially
glad about the PS3 controllers, some are in better condition than my own!

Hard to tell but there is 100+ cables of all kinds in there,
the highlight must be four gamecube extension cables.

This has been a pain but the amount of working things was worth it,
besides all this I now also have a lot of cleaned spare parts for
future repairs, a full box of mixed AC adaptors and some mixed items
not worth taking photos of.

I need a vacation from this vacation activity… I was lucky to have the
ESA stream, European Speedster Assembly as my friend through this,
just like SGDQ it is a speedrun marathon that goes on 24/7 for a week
during the summer, a lot of good runs and since it is held in Sweden
my brother is there watching it all live, a long week for both of us.

Beaten games 25-29 Sfc x5

I’m on a roll!

It has been a while since I actually played something from the SFC shelf,
it was time to fix that with five short ones!

-25 Monstania-

This has been on my to play list for ages ever since I tested the fan translation,
it turned out to be really short and my old save was actually half way trough…
anyway, a nice little Action/strategy/RPG. Very easy thanks to the dumb AI and
the fact that you can revive yourself with items. Interesting game overall,
you only have two party members that you switch between,
while one is attacking, the other can build up AP to use special moves.
Not a fantastic game but nice, I especially like that a few of the stages
are puzzles instead of combat, a rare sight in these games.

-26 Neugier-

Wolfteam! I have tested this before but now with a fan translation
it was time to beat it. I was quite surprised to see this was one of
the VERY few 2D games to try to simulate height and objects you can both
be under and over! Alundra is probably the only one to succeed at this but I
should have known that Wolfteam at least made an attempt. A really short
Action/RPG probably best to compare with Lagoon, this is a bit less confusing
but the majority takes place in a labyrinth castle.

-27 Madou Monogatari-

Yay, finally got this and the translation working on emulator.
I suppose the best comparison would be to link to the past thanks to the
graphics and the fact that it has a semi open world. You get the map and
objective to find 8 stones immediately and can get some of them in which
order you like.

The tempo is very low and I did use the turbo button for this,
every time you get a random encounter you have to see a small conversation
with every enemy, it is fun the first time but not if you meet the same
enemy 30 times in a row… It is cute and you really learn to navigate
the world but the environments are far too empty and there is a lot of
minor issues, I would say that it is halfway to a great game and
I am thankful that translations for these old games keep popping up!


-28 The Twisted Tales of Spike McFang-

This actually got released in english, Another Action/RPG. It somehow
reminds me more of games like Goof Troop than a RPG but oh well.
You have a spin attack, you can throw your hat and use items,
that is more or less everything, luckily another short game otherwise it
would have gotten dull fast. It is of out most importance to keep up your
levels or a single enemy will take ages, we are talking 50-100 hits (!)
otherwise simple enough. For some reason the main character also reminds
me a bit of Laharl from Disgaea, haha.

-29 Hiouden-

Oh yes, another one from Wolfteam, this time with Motoi Sakuraba
and Yoshiharu Gotanda, I knew this would be good after seeing
their names in the intro.

Apparently a port from NEC’s PC98, and it shows, once again Wolfteam
shows their skills by managing to get this running on the SNES,
the only SNES game I have ever beaten with a mouse!
There is a lot of icons, sub menus and things in general to click on
and it is a pain with the SNES controller. A lot of jumping between
different views of the map and scrolling back and forth.
The mouse is a must!

This should probably be called an RTS since you can control all of
your troops in real-time etc. RTS is a genre that I have spent very
little time with but most of them seem to be relatives to RPGs anyway,
it will keep its place in the shelf!

I would probably not have made it to the end without save states
(almost didn’t with them either) and it is a hard game, it starts of easy
but as soon as you get a full party of 24 characters it’s hard to keep
them all alive and there is just not enough revive items…
half of the team were dead for the second half of the game.

Despite the troubles I really did enjoy the game, the story was quite
nice too even though I have lost count on how many times a prince need
to reclaim his kingdom etc.

Now with pictures!

I just couldn’t move on until I got this done, sooo this post will just
be new pictures of ALL PS2 games.
I also went ahead and made a category/ page with the same pictures,
a bit unnecessary maybe but I want them to be easy to find
in the future too. Seems like the total number is 153 games, hehe.

Every english PS2 RPG !

I am both happy and a bit annoyed at the moment, happy because the final
game needed to complete the PS2 collection arrived yesterday,
annoyed because I spent all day taking photos of the games, arranging
them and moving things around only to find out that my camera for some
reason decided not to save most of the pictures…
Now that the collection is complete I might invest in a new one, bah.

This was supposed to be a large post with pictures of them all but I
don’t have the time and energy to redo it all at the moment, I will do
it in the future but enjoy the few pictures that remains for now:

This is how I wanted to show all the games, sorted by region and series.

The second and final overview remaining…

The limited/ special boxes, a bit hard to see Wild Arms 5.

More limited/ special boxes, the FFXI and Dragon Quest boxes have some
damage and will probably be replaced.

Ah the big ones, I forgot the Mana Khemia one but we can just
recycle the old picture of that.

There it is!

Wo, all of them together! NTSC on the upper row, PAL and a few NTSC
on the lower. How glorious, all in alphabetic order.
Well the Xeno and Tales of games is placed on other shelves but
the rest of them are here!

Another angle of them all.

A bit tight but I am happy I could fit them all on two shelves, well,
Xenosaga 2 is with the rest of the Xeno, Mana khemia on the Gust shelf
and FFXI on the FF shelf.

The entire Playstation shelf can’t fit in one picture but this is how it looks
right now, I had to move the Final Fantasy related PSP boxes to the FF shelf
but I think this solution is good, two shelves for PS2 boxes and two for PSP.
I will be in serious space-trouble if (when) I go for the
japanese PS2 games, hehe.

So happy to finally have them all! As you might see if you zoom in I went
ahead and added all of the “maybe games” that others have called RPGs or
added to their RPG collections, feel free to tell me if you see anything
I lack or something that I should remove but I do believe this really is
a complete set of every RPG released in english on the console.

I know people might complain that 1/3 of the games are PAL versions but
a lot of them was easier to find since I live in the PAL region and since I
don’t want duplicates and refuse to sell the ones I bought on release
part of the games just have to be PAL.
On that note I know you could have finished this set much cheaper if you
lived in the NTSC zone and like I said I bought a lot of the games on release,
probably 1/4 at least… Oh well, as a result most of the game are in
extremely good condition, a few need new boxes (the plastic case),
one manual is missing thanks to an error on my part and about 2-3
discs could use upgrades, otherwise it is all good.

This has been a really fun collection and dream to fulfill, it started 15 years
ago but the active collecting lasted about 1,5 years I think?
Thanks to everyone who have sold me any of the games or bought anything
from me to help finance it all!

I really hope that I will be able to take a break from the collecting
and buy a few other things that I need but if I know myself correctly
I will probably be back soon and reveal my next goal, hehe. Either way I
still have other things to write about and a heap of games to show!

More PS2 goodies

The start of 2017 is off the charts, I thought that 2016 had a crazy start but
this might even surpass that when it comes to added items in the collection.

Just a quick update, mostly games from the “maybe list”,
some call them RPGs at least:

Glad to finally own an english copy of La Pucelle Tactics again and I always wanted to test Puzzle Quest.

And also, finally this bastard, not that rare but I have had some real trouble getting it:

Very few games left, next time I mention the PS2 games should be the last before that collection is complete!

As a bonus this arrived today:

I have only had the time to skip to the favorite song but it just sounds
magnificent! I did not know about the bonus disc when I preordered but
it includes “8 bit” versions of some of the tracks, Drakengard and Nier
also got a disc like this in the Drag-on Nier box.

Beaten games 21-24

Here we go, these four games have kept me quite busy, each being released on
Fridays one week apart. I always say that this is the short version and
never come back to the long ones but hopefully I will this time since
all of these deserve it:

-21 Alwa’s Awakening-

Finally, this is a NES inspired game done right!
Another “metroidvania” this time the focus is more on exploring than
fighting which is fine by me, I only wish the bosses were a bit
harder though. Like a NES game you only use two main buttons and
start/ select. One button for the classic, slow “NES jump” and one to
use the selected ability. You get three in total, one to make a block
appear to help solve puzzles and guard against projectiles, one that makes
bubbles that float and are used as platforms and one that just shoots to
damage enemies and open special doors. together these abilities work really
well and makes an interesting game that really feels like something from the
NES era, in a good way of course.
Nice music and the option to play the game in Swedish since the developers
are from here is just a great bonus!

-22 Hollow Knight-

This game would really need more attention but it will probably get it since
it is coming to Switch later this year. Probably the most massive game in
the metroidvania family, it is just so big. How they managed to draw all
the beautiful backgrounds to this game is a mystery.
A really unique atmosphere where every enemy is some kind of insect or bug
and almost the whole game takes place underground. The NPCs are also
top-notch and really unique. I can’t say much negative at all about this game!
It is not an easy game so be prepared, bosses and enemies all have quite
advanced patterns that you need to learn and there is a total of 150
different ones. Just an amazing game, far better than I expected!

-23 Zelda Breath of the Wild-

I really can’t be fair to this game since I had to stop playing right in
the middle when Nier was released and that messed me up and made
everything else seem a bit pointless. I will probably return to the
game since I missed a lot, in the end I only solved 1/3 of the shrines,
filled out the map, beat the divine beasts etc, in total I spent around
35 hours in the world and I feel that there is still more to discover.
I have not visited too many open worlds but I feel that this is at
least one of the best and I am glad that they made at least one
Zelda game in this style.

The stamina meter was driving me crazy for at least the first hours,
I learned to live with it but still hate it, the worst part about Skyward Sword
and they use it again… next up is the durability which also ruins it a bit,
I hate to constantly pick up worthless weapons and going in and out of the
menu to throw them away, I realise now that you can just thrown them
manually with R but still annoying. Taking back the sailcloth was at least
the best thing they did, it is just such a nice way of traveling and while
speaking of the good parts, I can’t believe that a Nintendo game let’s you
turn of the HUD and the fact that you can beat the game in less than an
hour without glitches is just amazing, I really hoped that
would be the case. Oh well, a lot of good a lot of bad but overall
I am happy with the game!

-24 Nier Automata-

This WILL get its own post. My expectations for this was trough the roof and probably the most anticipated game since Valkyrie Profile 2. It’s always dangerous to have that kind of expectations and after witnessing the first ending I felt quite disappointed and for a weak moment doubted the game and Yoko Taro, I should have known better considering how much my opinion on the first game changed over time and how he usually tells stories! By the time I reached the second ending it was clear that I have to change my top 10 list for the first time since I played Xenosaga…! I am so happy that I got to see the day when a game finally hit so hard that I have to do that.

I won’t go into details or spoilers today but this game really makes you question a lot of things and even though the theme(s) is nothing new the game has so many layers of it that it blows your mind,
without spoiling, again, the final ending has so many metaphors and ways to view it that everyone actually seems to get at least one aspect of it unlike Yoko Taro’s other endings that usually makes people more angry than anything, hehe. I don’t like metaphors in general but this time it is used in such a crazy way and really ties up everything in a way no other game or media has done yet.

Of course the game shows signs of the usual low budget etc as all his games do but I am happy to see that this seem to sell well and somehow also being understood by more than just the old Nier fans, maybe we one day will get a triple A Yoko Taro title, or maybe we don’t want that. Either way this is a masterpiece.