Scaling Down the Collection, Again

Genesis games and floating shelves
Just because the shelves hold that many games doesn't mean it has to be full
A couple of years ago I decided to weed out some of the games that I just didn't want anymore. A lot of these were duplicates of games that I had several ports of, across several systems. I had too many versions of Mortal Kombats, Street Fighters, Sonic Collections, and so on. After doing so, the numbers crept back up eventually over the years. Hidden gems videos and posts were dangerous, as they would be the impetus for seeking out more games. After playing a lot of these "hidden gems", most of the time I didn't have the same shiny opinion of the game as various Youtubers. I'd say one out of five hidden gems were worth seeking out.

I am really starting to favor quality over quantity recently. I have decided to take a hard look at all of my collection, and finally play all the games that I own to make sure they are what I want to keep. I'm not playing through the entire game, but just enough to sense if I would come back to it, if there is some redeeming characteristic, or if its total trash. I discovered that there was a significant percentage of the games that I haven't played until now, that I don't need to have. For example, I just can't get into Decap Attack. It is generally heralded as a fun, kooky game, but it didn't do anything for me. Likewise with Kid Chameleon. Comix Zone is also well regarded for its graphical style and unique presentation, but I found it so-so. These are games that I didn't play growing up, and picked them up as an adult based on popular opinion, but I guess my taste goes against the grain. I am finding examples of these across all platforms.

Then there are the games that have lots of nostalgic value, but are terrible. Take Super Thunder Blade for instance. As a child of the 80's, I remember the Blue Thunder TV show and movie. This game was a directly inspired from those, so much so that the opening title screen is stolen straight from the movie! I wanted this game so much when I saw it in stores. When I actually got it, I was underwhelmed. The gameplay is unforgiving and simplistic. Its utter garbage, and I would have gotten rid of it sooner had it not been for nostalgia. I'm not going to play it again, so there's no need to hang on to it.

My plan is to put these up for sale. This is a huge undertaking, as it is effectively up to a third of my total collection. It's possible I may regret this decision, but I'm still keeping my favorites, so I don't think it will sting too much. I feel that if a game is just going to sit on my shelf, it should be owned by someone who wants to play it.

I have flash carts for all of my cartridge-based systems, and that allows me to play the games that I'm curious enough to try, but not serious enough to own. This allows me to thin the collection, and keep the games that I truly love or need to have for sentimental reasons. Any of my top ten games in the Shoot'em Up or Beat'em Up genres are locks to keep.

Optical Drive Emulators for disc-based consoles are just as effective and helpful as flash carts, although these don't quite exist for every disc-based system yet. For Sega Saturn, the Rhea is the best possible accessory to own, especially given the ludicrous game prices these days. The Playstation has the PSIO, which is equally as awesome. The Dreamcast has GDEMU. The Playstation 2 has FreeMcBoot in tandem with a hard disc drive adapter, although I find that not all PS2 games are able to be installed (mine won't read PS2 games that are in CD format, as opposed to DVD format).

I never had any intention of collecting entire sets for a system. I think that's foolhardy and unpractical for several reasons. I did have sub-collection goals, like all of the Shoot'em Ups for Saturn, Genesis, Super Nintendo, original Playstation, Playstation 2, Dreamcast, and PC-Engine. I actually came decently close to completing a lot of those. Eventually I got the the point where the last couple of games that I was missing were outrageously expensive because of low print runs (they were released near the end of the console's life, or they were not good enough to warrant reprints). So I decided what I had was the best there was.

Years ago I moved my dad into a retirement home, and I had to deal with clearing out his house. My dad was a librarian, and he was a bookworm. He literally had THOUSANDS of books. He was not capable of telling me which were his favorites, or which had value, or anything that would have been helpful. So my family and I sorted through everything, guessing about value and using eBay listings as a reference. We took loads to the nearby Half Price Books, and I'm sure we took a bath on the value, but we had no other choice. We had to clear out the house to be rented to help pay for caregiver bills. That experience has made me reevaluate physical possessions, and question the need to have so much. When I go, no one is going to know the good games from the bad games. It's a huge burden to put on your dependents.

So, this has led me to where I am now. When I have time to play, there's a shorter list of games that I WANT to play compared to the list of games I own. It's time to slim down, and concentrate the collection into the essentials. If I want to play Goof Troop or Grind Stormer ever again, I can do so using the Everdrive.

What do you all think? Would you ever thin out your collection? What would make you do it?

8Bitdo Bluetooth Controllers

8Bitdo Bluetooth Controllers

Bluetooth controllers have been a staple since the seventh generation of video game consoles. The PS3, XBox 360, and Wii all embraced bluetooth functionality as the industry standard. We may now take this technology for granted, but prior to this, wireless controllers were hit or miss. The Nintendo Gamecube had the excellent Wavebird controller, which is considered one of the best pre-bluetooth controllers. That was the exception, not the rule. Most wireless controllers were line-of-sight infrared, so you had to have the controller pointed at the receiver constantly, or the signal would not transmit. Sega had produced some wireless controllers for the Genesis and Saturn, which are fairly rare.

OEM Sega infrared controllers. Photo credit:
Fast forward to today, and there are all kinds of new accessories produced for retro consoles. Enter 8Bitdo, a company that makes bluetooth controllers for a variety of systems. Obviously the older systems did not have onboard bluetooth capabilities, which is why they also produce bluetooth receivers, which you can plug into the controller ports.

Bluetooth receivers for original hardware

I have a couple of these controllers and receivers, and I am impressed with the overall product. The build quality is solid, the controllers feel nearly indistinguishable from originals. Third party controllers often feel too light and flimsy. One test that I use to judge the build of a controller is if you can twist it even a little bit. If so, that's not up to par. I am happy to say that these pass the twist test.
The directional pad can make or break a clone controller. It is the part of the controller that is most essential to the control. The resistance, texture, and wobble are all spot on. The button presses are nearly as similar, yet maybe with a little more "click" than the originals. Simply put, these are the best recreations of the tactility and feel that I have ever come across.

Their bluetooth controllers can also be used for modern devices, like Android, PC, Raspberry Pi, and in some cases, Nintendo Switch. This versatility is a strong selling point.

Now that TV screens are larger than they ever have been, people are sitting and gaming on their couches, instead of kneeling on the floor, tethered by a controller cord. Sitting on the floor for extended periods of time may conjure memories of being ten playing Super Mario Bros., but my body doesn't cope as well as it used to. The cords are not long enough to reach the couch, so Bluetooth is a welcome addition.

Some games are good standards to test for how impactful the lag is

Hardcore gamers may notice a tiny amount of input lag, only noticeable on games that require twitch reflexes, like some shoot'em ups or precision platformers, or Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! I am fairly sensitive to input lag, and I will say that it is pretty negligible. This issue can be confused with lag caused by TVs. To mitigate this, make sure that the TV input that the console in plugged into is set to "game" mode, so that not picture processing is occurring. I had a hard time fighting Mike Tyson, but then again, I'm not sure if I'm as good as I remember.

Different models have different features. The earlier models were fairly basic, with the button configurations to match a SNES controller. The SN30 Pro has dual analog sticks,  L2 and R2 triggers, star and home buttons for the Nintendo Switch. Analogue sticks on a SNES controller feels odd to me, but I can see how it has its appeal for use with emulation.

8Bitdo has even released modification kits that allow you to convert original controllers into bluetooth controllers. The internal guts can be easily replaced with this reversible process. It even ships with an anti-static bag for storage of the original pcb. I suppose this is for those who absolutely must have original buttons, dpad, etc. They work exactly like all of the other controllers in their lineup.
Original controllers turned bluetooth
They continue to release new models like the M30 for the Sega Genesis, yet also compatible with . Every model seems to have a selection of colors available. I'm hoping for Sega Saturn iterations and, this is a long shot, PC-Engine versions. The company has been gaining a deserving reputation, and hopefully they will be able to address all legacy consoles. Time will tell.