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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW LOCATION!

See the map and address below to find our new spot.

We buy and sell new and classic games and consoles as well as video gaming and geek culture memorabilia and merchandise. Come by and check out Sevier County’s finest video game Store!

2430 Teaster Lane, Suite 101
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865)-428-6582

Mon – Thurs : 11am – 9pm
Fri-Sat : 11am – 10pm
Sunday : 11am – 8pm


 

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Velocity 2X: Space Shooter Meets Super Metroid

Space shooters are essentially the great grandfather of video game genres.  Old school classics like Asteroids and Space Invaders started it all and gave birth to titles like Space Harrier.  Not long after came the R-Type series which led to Einhander, and then Sine Mora and now Resogun.  I‘ve always loved a good space shooter and clearly there has never been a shortage of them available.  Still, in order to stand out among the masses, the game needs to bring something fresh and innovative.  Then along comes Velocity.

I never got to play Velocity Ultra on the PS3/Vita or as a Mini, but after speed racing through the levels in the sequel, I am going to have to invest in it.  Velocity X2 is all about frantic fast-paced action.  It starts as a top down shooter that appears simple at first, until the Quarp teleport drive gets introduced to your ship and turns up the adrenaline to ten.  Not only do you have to shoot all enemies and collect as many goodies as possible, but now you’ve got to teleport in, out and around barriers to avoid the dreaded screen crush.  This adds just the right amount of panic to the gameplay that keeps me coming right back for more like an addict.

VerticalBlast

If I were reviewing the first Velocity, this would pretty much cover it all.  Instead, Futurlab studio went over and beyond to bring a sequel that is worth a full retail release.  During flight levels, you will now be able dock your ship and take the fight on foot.  These side scrolling platform levels are immensely entertaining and also include teleport function.  Reminiscent to Super Metroid, you have an arm cannon with full 360 degree aim, which you’ll use to open blast doors and eliminate enemies.  Heck, the main protagonist, Kai, even wears what appears to be her own version of Samus’s Zero suit.  The speed in which you warp through the flight levels, jump out and burst through the platforming levels, and then jump back to escape in your ship is exhilarating.

Bombs

The story follows Lt. Kai Tana as she awakes in a foreign planet to find her body modified with cybernetic enhancements.  Soon after she meets Ralan, a slave who seems directly responsible for her cybernetics, and after saving him…….. Well, let’s be real, it’s not the story that makes this game great, it’s the gameplay.  Available now on PS4 for $19.99 and you can’t beat the value. Unless, of course, you have PS Plus, which means you can get it for free this month.  So there is really no excuse.

Arnaldo M

Console Wars! What are they good for?!

Console wars have been raging for what would seem like an eternity.  Whether it’s the game companies’ taking shots at each other or their rabid fans taking the shots in an attempt to champion their choice, the fact is that there has always been hostility.  I can remember all the way back to the early 80’s (yes I’m that old) when it was Atari vs Intellivision.  Admittedly, these consoles did lead to the crash in 1983, so most probably don’t care to remember them.  After this, probably the most famous console matchup, the Nintendo vs Sega era.  I’ve asked many gamers I know which system they owned and most conceded to being a devoted fan of one or the other. Very few of them said they owned both.  From there Sony entered the arena and quickly gained popularity which eventually led to Sega bowing out of the console market altogether.  Right around that time, Microsoft joined the fray and this brings us to the current market.  Game companies will continue to stoke the fire of console wars by making exclusive content to win over consumers and there isn’t anything we can do about that.  However the fight within the fans, that is within our control.

An amazing looking game.  Perhaps even a system seller.

Quantum Break is an amazing looking game. Perhaps even a system seller.

While I will support and defend my allegiance to a specific console, I would never insult anyone for not agreeing with my choice.  Still it has become more and more popular to troll and attack loyal fans of a specific console on social media sites.  A trend I believe needs to come to an end.  So what can we do to correct this? My idea is to suggest a reason why it’s OK to only WANT to play within one ecosystem.

Gametrailers.com recently posted their list of the top games/moments for Sony and Microsoft coming out of Gamescom and it was more enlightening than even they probably foresaw.   Here they are.

Playstation:

  1. The Tomorrow Children
  2. Bloodborn
  3. WiLD
  4. Rime
  5. Silent Hill

Microsoft:

  1. Halo: Master Chief Collection
  2. Assassin’s Creed: Unity
  3. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare
  4. Quantum Break
  5. Rise of the Tomb Raider
The cell shaded Rime.

The cell shaded Rime.

What stands out immediately is the clear difference between them.  Over in the Microsoft camp, they have three sequels, a remastered collection, and an exclusive new I.P.  Over in Sony’s, they have one sequel and four new I.P.’s.  I think it’s important to say first that neither of these differences is a bad thing and it doesn’t make one console line up better than the other.

A gamer that looks forward to annual sequels from Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed will more likely enjoy being an Xbox owner.  If he or she hasn’t already played it, they can also enjoy the Halo collection.  While they may not have as many new I.P.’s as Sony, they do have several new titles and none look more promising than Quantum Break.  Then there is the highly controversial, possibly timed, exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider.  As you read this you can almost hear the rock music and fireworks going off in the background because big games is what being a fan of Xbox is about, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The Tomorrow People appears very odd, but that is also its most attractive feature.

The Tomorrow People appears very odd, but that is also its most attractive feature.

On the other hand, a gamer that is looking for different, and maybe even unusual, experiences will more likely enjoy being a PS4 owner.  You’re not going to find a more odd game than The Tomorrow people appears to be.  Coupled with Rime, Sony’s support for the indie market has never been more clear.  Then there’s Bloodborne and WiLD which also look to being something original to the PS4.  The games many Sony fans are excited about appear to be night and day, compared to Microsoft.

Even if you've played them all, this massive collection is worth the double dip for any fan

Even if you’ve played them all, this massive collection is worth the double dip for any fan

What I see in these differences is what we have already seen from Nintendo.  Nintendo has always danced to its own tune and they have millions of fans dancing along with them.  Whether their approach works for them or not, gamers that support the Wii U are always happy with their games and will continue supporting Nintendo through its ups and downs.

All this being said, Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed are still coming to PS4, and there will be other original I.P’s and indie games coming to the Xbox One.  What it simply comes down to is which gaming culture you feel stronger about and when you figure that out, embrace it an enjoy.  Whichever you decide though, it doesn’t make it the only right option.  It simply means that you know who you are as a gamer and what it is you want from your gaming console.  And that’s all that should really matter.

Arnaldo M.

CF Saturdays Free Tournament (August 30th, 2014): CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II U!

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This Saturday, we’re playing one of our most popular tournament games in a brand new way, with CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II on the NINTENDO WII U!

Prepare to fire your shooting gun with even more real than any of the reals before it. Featuring even more accurate Realistic Shooting Mechanics than the average Duty, CODBO2U promises to provide an all-out experience in arcade shooting simulation immersion. It’s as simple as pointing and shooting! FOR REAL.

Ruleset:
-Single elimination
-Best of 1 match
-4-player free for all deathmatch
-30 sec. pre-game timer, 5 minute matches
-Wiimote+Nunchuk combos
-Top 2 move on until finals, where the top dog will walk away with the grand prize: $10 in store credit

The first firefights begin at 8PM, but BE SURE TO ARRIVE EARLY for signups! We recommend around 7-7:30PM. See you here!

Challenge Accepted: My Top 5 Hard games

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I recently revisited one of my favorite classic games, Ghosts n Goblins, and it only took a few minutes to remember just how hard it was to play.  After several hours of getting hammered into putty, I realized that even though it was not getting any easier, this game is still awesome!  Challenging games have become all the rage again with titles like Dark Souls and Rogue Legacy bringing the pain. If you have ever played these games you would agree that while there are tough, they are also fair.  The public seems to agree since there are several upcoming hard games looking to raise the bar further.  One particular game I am looking forward to is Bloodborne.  Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team over at From Software are looking to bring more delicious torment to the PS4.  I have been pouring over all the news and videos coming out of Gamescom for Bloodborne and it has made it one of my most anticipated games of 2015. Check out the the gameplay video here.

While I would love to speak further about this game, not much else is known at this time. So I’ve decided to list my personal top 5 favorite hard games.

Ninja Gaiden (USA) 2

5. Ninja Gaiden (NES)

Sure, Ninja Gaiden Black or Sigma were great challenges, as well as great games for that matter.  Still, its the original NES version that holds my richest memories.  Leading Ryu Hayabusa to battle against Jaquio and his legion of warriors wasn’t easy, though.  Many afternoons, after school, weekends, and holidays were spent trying to defeat the game.  The final victory was worth all the screaming and rage quits.

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4.  Jak II (PS2)

I am convince that swearing, sweating, tears ,and throwing things were all a part and parcel to this game’s experience.  If you were in my house while I played Jak II, you would swear I hated it.  Driving was very difficult, timed missions were horrible, and don’t get me started on the insane checkpoints.  It’s a miracle I finished it without destroying my PS2…….. Again.

HDVnE

3. Ghost N Goblins (NES)

It is perhaps the very early precursor to Demon/Dark Souls, only way more difficult.  Sir Arthur can only get hit twice before losing a life and you didn’t have many to begin with. Meanwhile you are facing demons and monsters who just don’t die!  By the time you get to the end, you will have forgotten that the point of all this was to rescue Princess Prin Prin.  Then only to realize it was all a trap and you had to do it all over again with a harder difficulty level. Oh the agony.

NES-Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-3

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

If you thought being a turtle would make exploring water levels easy, you could not be more wrong.  This Ultra games classic is well known for being a brutal.  Biggest among the complaints were the random placement and re-spawning of enemies.  Add to that some floaty movement and scarce health power ups and you got yourself a difficult mission ahead.  All that said, this was one of the best looking NES games, which made all the “shell shocks” worth it.

DarkSouls5

1. Dark Souls (PS3)

We come to what i consider the creme dela creme of hard games.  As I mentioned earlier, there are more difficult games, but this was one that fell in the “hard but fair” camp.  You fight many difficult enemies and bosses in the game that tower over you like Goliath to your David.  “You will die” is all over the game case and its not lying.  The beauty of the gameplay here was there were few cheap deaths.  You quickly come to realize the reason you died is because of your own error in judgement.  I lost myself in this game and it was glorious.

Games that don’t hold your hand have always held a special place in my heart.  Recently I’ve completed Max Payne 3 and while there were moments that angered me to the point my controller feared for its life, the sense of completion I felt when I beat the game was all I needed to bring the smile back.  So chime in on the comments and tell me, what are you favorite hard games?

Arnaldo M

CF Saturdays Free Tournament (August 23rd, 2014): BLUR!

blur-2

This Saturday, prepare both your Need For Speed AND your Mario Kart skills! You’ll need them both to take on and take out the competition in BLUR for the PS3!

Real cars, real damage, real quick. Race on intense race tracks in gorgeous cars. Grab power-ups to blast your opponents away, speed past them, or simply defend yourself from harm. A racing experience like no other.

Ruleset is as follows: Single elimination, best of 1 race, 4-player free-for-all. Top two move on until the final round, where first place takes home the grand prize, $10 in store credit!

The first races begin at 8PM, but be sure to arrive early (7:00-7:30) to ensure a place on the line! Action so intense and so fast, it’s all a blur. See you at the races this Saturday!

Will Nintendo go the way of Sega?

mario-fainted

It’s a question that’s been asked many times before and, in truth, it’s a fair question.  Sega struggled for years in the console market before finally dropping it and going software only.  A move that many say was one of their smartest.  Since then they have been able to focus on more important things in the gaming industry like…. well, games.  (I, for one, still think they peaked with their very last console, The Dreamcast.)  Recently, Nintendo reported losses of $92.7 million on their quarterly report and since then some gamers have again started to fit them with a toe tag.  Google “What’s wrong with Nintendo?” and you’ll find many articles giving their reasons as to why their console will fail.  You’ll also find a few who believe the best is yet to come for Wii U.  I will mostly fall into the latter group but have some points that will support the former.

Let me get this out of the way, I truly love Nintendo.  I have been playing video games since way back to the Atari 2600.  Therefore, I have a good history with gaming.  I still remember when I received my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) for Christmas.  The Action Set that included the Zapper and the Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt combo.  That was the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship with them. Through the years I went on to get the Super Nintendo, then the Nintendo 64.  The whole time never once questioning my decision to remain within their ecosystem. That is until recently.  I made it as far as the Wii and haven’t been able to justify getting the Wii U.  Still, when I write this, please understand that it comes from a place of affection and respect.  I don’t want to see them fail and believe that with some time and a few adjustments in their mission they can come back really strong.

That being said, the Wii U was released during the 2012 holiday season and after a mediocre launch has struggled to gain momentum.  It was said at that time that when the Nintendo’s “big dogs” were released, this would adjust the console’s course and help to increase sales of the Wii U to the company’s projected $9 million units.  With the release of Mario Kart 8 they did see a small spike in sales but ultimately sold only 2.7 million units in the last financial year.  Given all this, it is easy to see why many say the decline started with the Wii U.  Still, there is evidence of this decline happening many years before this last generation.  Going back as far as the NES, you can see it in just the lifetime units sold.

NES – 61.91 million units

SNES – 49.10 million units

Nintendo 64 – 32.93 million units

GameCube – 21.74 million units

The anomaly happens here with the Wii and its 101.15 million units.  All the casual gamers that bought in on the Wii really helped to hide the road before it.  Now, we come to the Wii U which as of July 30th this year is at 6.68 million units sold.  Yeah, I agree it’s not looking good  for them so far.  However, as they say the night is always darkest right before the dawn and I believe the dawn is coming for Nintendo.

Splatoon

A fun first person shooter with a diving twist.

So what changes do they need to get that bright morning?  First, their upcoming lineup is pretty solid.  It is undeniable that Super Smash Bros is a major player in Nintendo’s camp and the excitement for it coming out of E3 was evident.  Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker are all high on the buzz meter as well.  YES!  I said Captain Toad and I mean it.  These are all slated for release throughout the remainder of 2014.  For early 2015, there are games like Splatoon, Xenoblade Chronicles and, of course, Zelda.  Lets not forget Mario Maker!  This is my own bold prediction, but I believe that the sleeper hit that will move units will be Mario Maker.  Oh, how that game gets me excited!

I can't express how much I am ready to dive into this game

I can’t express how much I am ready to dive into this game.

Mixed within these major “tent pole” titles are several indie ports that can serve to fill in the gaps.  While it’s probably a timed exclusive, Shovel Knight has already brought “old school” and “hardcore” back to the Wii U.  This is a big step in the right direction for them.  1001 Spikes and Oddworld are also on their way.  Having a steady stream of games is key to staying alive in the console market and indie gaming is a great place to invest in.

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Next, Nintendo needs to secure some third party love again.  Major third party developers have all but abandoned Nintendo after their console exclusives fail to sell.  Even EA and its infamous “unprecedented partnership” speech only have FIFA 2015 scheduled for this year.  Nintendo is going to have to swallow some pride and build back those bridges that were burnt.  It is a well-known fact that they have some serious cash reserves after selling the Wii consoles like hotcakes.  Open up that coin purse a bit and get someone to take the time to develop something original and exclusive for their console.

Finally, Nintendo has to avoid allowing so much shovelware to be released and bring back that Seal of Quality that made us believe tthat heir games were great.  With all the substandard party games flooding their library and outselling better quality games, the Wii console’s lifecycle was almost a re-enactment of the video game crash back in 1983.  Admittedly, Nintendo did make lots of money during that time, but loss the hardcore gamers in the process.  Gamers who  now own Sony’s PS4 which has sold more than 10 million units or the XBOX One which is not far behind Sony in sales.

Ultimately, these are just my little opinions and I know more about fixing my car’s engine than I know about running a major game company, which is to say I know nothing.  Nintendo has been around for more than 100 years and will most likely be here for the next 100.  Who knows, perhaps the upcoming lineup will be enough to resurrect it.  Perhaps third party publishers were just holding them back.  All I know for sure is that somewhere along the way, Nintendo and I grew apart and since then they haven’t been doing too well.  After this years E3 Nintendo Direct, I felt that familiar excitement I’ve felt before and I’m cautiously looking forward to their next 18 months.

Arnaldo M

Changing a Game Save Battery

Game_Save_Battery

From left to right – Gameboy Advance, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Super Nintendo

Some retro games employing a game save feature use a battery to provide a small amount of voltage to the memory on the circuit board to “remember” your save game. I’m going to show you where they are and how to change them. Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Color, and Gameboy Games Typically use the CR1616 size batteries, though in some Gameboy games they can also use the CR2025 size batteries. SNES, N64, and NES games use the CR2032 size batteries. CR2025 batteries will also work, only being a tad thinner and about 1/4 less capacity than a CR2032.

What you will need-

  • 4.5mm Nintendo Game bit or Tri-Wing screwdriver (depending on what game you are working with)
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Solder vacuum or braid (not required, but makes things easier)

In this example, we are going to change a defective battery in a Super Nintendo game, Super Mario World. We will be using a CR2025 battery.

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Gamesave_Batteries

From left to right – CR2025 and CR1616 batteries

SNES_Gamesave_Battery

A gamesave battery on a game’s circuit board

SNES_Gamesave_Battery

The back side of the game circuit board where the battery is soldered

Desoldering is simple, just hold the tip of the iron on the solder spots until it melts and pull the leg out the front. I suggest using eye protection when doing this, as occasionally a leg can spring out and fling hot solder.

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SNES_Gamesave_Battery

The old SNES battery nest to the new battery.

The batteries we use are somewhat universal, but the legs are angled to be soldered into a Gameboy cart. You can simply bend these legs to match the SNES battery. On Gameboy games, the circuit boards are labeled to show where the positive and negative legs go. The SNES boards aren’t labeled, but have two different sized holes which you can identify on the old battery which is positive (+) and which is negative (-).

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Once in place, simply add solder where the legs come through the back side of the circuit board. Allow it solidify and cool, re-assemble, then go have fun!

 

 

Yama Con adds J-Rock Band Kazha To Their Guest Lineup

Yama_Con_Kazha

Yama-Con, an animation and pop culture convention held here in Pigeon Forge has announced a new addition to their guest list this year, and it’s the J-Rock band Kazha.

“Yama-Con is pleased to announce our newest guest addition. The J-Rock band Kazha. If you were at Akai Con [recently] then you had the pleasure of seeing them live and they are amazing. They will be joining us in concert alongside Eyeshine at Yama-Con 2014.

Bio: Kazha is a rock band from Japan. Lead singer Kazuha Oda started the band after her successful solo career working on over 20 records in Japan. She has worked with a wide variety of different performers including the Grammy winning pianist Bob James.

Kazha debut in Japan with the release of the first EP “Breathe Through Your Dreams” from Victor Entertainment in September 2009. With the release of the first album “Overture” in April 2010, Kazha made their first National tour in North America and South America. They recently made their European debut performing at Abunai Convention in August 2012.

Kazha represents the new future of the world music with a fusion of cultures and musical viewpoints which create their sound. Their music combines the softness of a falling feather with the heaviness of a hurricane.”

If you would like more information on Yama-Con, you can find their site HERE as well as Kazha’s official website HERE

CF Saturdays Free Tournament (August 16th, 2014): ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV!

USFIV

North America. Control Freak Video Games. FISTS WILL FLY AT THIS LOCATION! This week’s free Saturday tournament is none other than the latest and greatest installment of the Street Fighter IV series, ULTRA STREET FIGHTER IV!

With all new combatants and all new locations, USFIV is nothing less than a crazy ride! Take people out from near and far with Hadoukens, Flash Kicks, and Atomic Busters! Who will be the best fighter on the streets?!

Played on PS3. Fights will be one match, best out of three rounds, single elimination. The person who makes it to the top of the mountain will achieve victory and the grand prize, $10 in store credit!

The first punches will be thrown beginning at 8PM, but arrive early (7:00-7:30) to ensure you get signed up! See you in the ring!

The Last Of Us: Should The Remastered Be Revisited?

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I am pretty sure Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic masterpiece, The Last of Us, has no need for introduction.  Almost everyone pegged it as their best game of 2013.  The game won so many awards that I’m positive some were made up with the sole purpose to give it one more. My wife who never plays video games, except for the original Galaga, knows TLOU pretty well.  That is mostly thanks to me playing for hours on end and then telling her about it.  Now, only a year later, Sony brings their gem to the PS4 and there is some questions as to whether or not you should buy it again.  I own the PS3 version and have played it to completion 4 times.  I enjoyed it each time like it was the first.  If for whatever reason it’s not obvious, I LOVE THIS GAME.  Therefore, I’m writing this for you AND me to kind of convince myself it’s worth the double dip.

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The post apocalypse never looked better, graphically speaking.

First off, why is Naughty Dog releasing a remastered version so soon after the first one?  This is only my theory so take this with a grain of salt.  According to reports, development of the PS4 version began shortly after the release of the original on June 14th 2013. The game already had a huge buzz before its release thanks to early reviews giving it somewhere around the perfect 10 rating.  E3 2013 happened days earlier on June 11th through June 13th and early pre-order reports for the PS4 were coming in at 3 to 1 versus the Xbox One. By July, it was reported through several game sites that many Xbox 360 owners were jumping ship to Sony’s PS4 due to early Microsoft messaging.  My thought here is that Sony realized that there is potentially a large portion of future PS4 owners who would not have been able to play what is arguably the best of Sony’s offering.  Therefore, let’s give it to them.  If this is true, then that’s admirable on Sony’s part.  However, they’ll never admit to this so we’ll never know.

Easily the most memorable intro to game.

Easily the most memorable intro to a game ever.

Obviously, if you’ve never played the game on the PS3 and you now own a PS4, then you owe it to yourself to buy this game.  It’s not often that a game company takes the time to port a last generation game to new generation consoles and, even though it hasn’t been long, this game is worth it.  Still, Naughty Dog didn’t simply  port the original game as it was just to make a quick profit.  It not only includes improved graphics and audio, but also includes a slew of DLC for the single and multiplayer.  The increased visuals may not mean much to some since the original was already a gorgeous game.  On the other hand, playing one of the best games ever at 60 FPS and 1080p resolution is something you shouldn’t pass up on.  The additional DLC is where you will get your money’s worth.  Included in the $49.99 price for the remastered version, you get all the maps and modes for the multiplayer that were originally available for purchase on PSN for the PS3. For single player, you get one of most talked about DLC in Left Behind which originally cost $14.99, where you learn more about Ellie’s past before the main game’s story.

Happier times

You have to truly love a game to purchase multiple copies.  I, myself, have purchased 3 copies of Final Fantasy VII through the years and have never regretted it.  I have all the Super Mario Bros downloaded on my Wii and replay them all the time.  If you are on the fence about purchasing the remastered version, and also own the original, I hoped this helps you decide.  In the end, I will most likely buy The Last of Us and play it another 3 or 4 times.  Who am I kidding???  I already have the game in my cart on Amazon. You have to love free shipping.

Arnaldo Martin