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Daily Gaming Experience 05/06

Today I was snooping around my Xbox 360 hard drive for something I hadn’t played in awhile and came across an old favorite:  Root Beer Tapper. I guess I shouldn’t call it an “old” favorite because that implies I played it a lot in the ’80s when the arcade cabinet was released.  That’s not really the case.  The game is “old” and it’s a favorite of mine when it comes to games that are from that era, so I guess that’s where I came up with “old favorite.”

In truth I first played it on the Midway Arcade Classics disc which I believe was an original Xbox release.  The great thing about these collections is that they pretty much never go out of style if you’re into that sort of thing so you’re almost better off finding out about them well after they’re released and getting them for a cheap price.  This one in particular was pretty good, including other games like Gauntlet, Joust, Paperboy, Marble Madness, Rampage, Spy Hunter, and Smash TV. Come to think of it, why did I ever get rid of this disc???  I probably got a measly $2 for it in trade at GameStop.  I’ve even contemplated purchasing Smash TV on Xbox Live a number of times but never pulled the trigger.  Pretty dumb looking back on it, especially considering the $5 I would have spent on Smash TV alone (and the $5 I DID spend on Root Beer Tapper) would have probably just about paid for the entire collection.  I think at the time of purchasing Root Beer Tapper I figured the lack of online co-op on the disc meant that it was really the only game I needed.  Hmm, not sure now.

At any rate these games are an incredible value and if you can find a few that have been out for awhile you can probably walk out of the store with a few discs and 50-100 games to play for $30-50.  That’s a hell of a deal especially when you consider Microsoft wants you to pay $3 just to play Lunar Lander, but I digress.  If you ever have the itch to go retro or just want a great bang for your buck, here are some other classic collections you can pick up in addition to the Midway series (there are 3 total by Midway, so if you’re a fan jump on board):

Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection: In my opinion this is probably the best of the best.  If you’re really into retro gaming or even a little interested but worried certain games might be too old for you, this is the place to start regardless of which category you fall into.  Games include:  Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Shinobi III, Streets of Rage 1, 2, 3, Golden Axe 1, 2, 3, Phantasy Star II, III, IV, Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and Vectorman. There’s many more too including unlockable Sega Master System games like Shinobi, Alien Syndrome, Phantasy Star, and Space Harrier. This is basically the Genesis era bottled up on one disc minus a few games like Toe Jam & Earl, Revenge of Shinobi, and Rocket Knight Adventures. Words can’t describe how much I crave a possible second release.

Pinball Hall of Fame (The Williams Collection): There’s also a Gottlieb collection disc as well, so if you’re really into pinball and you like one or both companies they’ve got you covered.  I chose to highlight this one because it contains Funhouse. That’s my all time favorite table and while I don’t enjoy pinball as often as I would like, it has a special place in my past.  After hockey practice every Saturday morning the rink had it and my dad would always give me money to play while he BS’ed with the other coaches for awhile.  After I got the hang of how points were scored I was hooked.  It’s pretty much the sole reason I’m into pinball at all.  I’ve always dreamt of having a pinball machine in my apartment, however I’ve noticed this one is pretty desired and not too cheap, so I was thrilled when I heard this game came out.  For the record this disc includes 13 tables in total including Taxi, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and Black Knight. The Gottlied collection contains Tee’d Off, as well as others that I’m not familiar with but does have about the same number of tables.  For some reason I’ve had a somewhat difficult time tracking these down, although I don’t think they’re valued by collectors so the price should still be cheap.

Data East Arcade Classics: It enrages me to no end that this one is only on the Nintendo Wii, but it’s worth mentioning for a handful of great but hard to find games:  Burger Time and Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja. I can’t believe this is a Wii exclusive.  Maybe I haven’t done my research thoroughly enough, but I can’t find these games in any other collection.  Also included are Caveman Ninja, Side Pocket, and Magical Drop III. In my opinion it’s more quality over quantity than anything else in this 15 game collection, but it’s the only place outside of internet piracy you’re going to find these games to my knowledge.

Konami Classics series: You’re not going to get as much value out of these Konami collections in comparison to others, but what you will get is a handful of games you’ll most certainly spend enough time with.  Volume 1 includes Super Contra, Frogger, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Of course Frogger is the weak link here but look at it this way:  You’ll pay $15 on Xbox Live for SOTN, $5 for the arcade version of Contra (which only features about 5 minutes of gameplay), and $5 for Frogger. In other words the value matches up at least, and the game was released back in 2007 so you’re sure to get it for a value.  Volume 2 contains the original Contra, Rush’n Attack, and Track & Field and should be priced about the same as Volume 1.

There are many more of these classic/retro collections floating around so it shouldn’t be hard to find a roster of games that fit your taste or developer preference.  Even if you stumble upon one without seeking out anything specific, check out the list of games on the back of the box.  Chances are you’ll find at least a few things you’ll like and the price will be very reasonable most of the time too.

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