January 11, 2016

Acquisition Log: Counterfeit Xbox Gear

I already found an original Xbox cast off in a recycle pile about 4 years ago. However, that one sits in a state of disassembly for some optical drive hacking experiments I was conducting awhile back. So when I found another unit at my favorite thrift shop for only $6, I snatched it up immediately in case I feel inspired to actually play an Xbox disc.

When I got home and plugged it in to verify that the thing works, I received this surprise:

Xbox with Rise of the Imperfects
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A copy of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.

Meanwhile, on a separate visit to the same thrift shop, I saw one of these:

High Quality Xbox 360 Controller
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Oops, did I say “one of these”? I meant I saw about 50 of them. They were scattered all about store. I’d find 10 here, 5 there, 2 in another part of the store. Looks reputable, right? They couldn’t label it as “High Quality” if it weren’t true, right? I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. The color scheme reminds me of the Xbox 360 brand. The price was right (i.e. low enough), so I picked one up. When I got it home, I realized that there were numerous stickers on the box and started peeling them back:

Counterfeit Xbox 360 controller -- peeling sticker
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Ah, so it is supposed to be an Xbox 360 controller. Here’s what the box looks like without the stickers:

Counterfeit Xbox 360
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What are the stickers for? It seems clear that this is some manner of counterfeit. Were the sellers legally required to cover up Xbox 360 markings? Perhaps they were barred from selling these and decided to just drop them off at this thrift shop.

So it’s a good bet that it’s a counterfeit controller. But what’s the difference between this and the real deal? I don’t have an Xbox 360 so I don’t have much experience with how this differs from an authentic controller. It looks legit to me and would have fooled me were it not for the weird box stickers. I recently procured a Steam Link device and this controller appears to work perfectly.

However, I dug up this Gaming.StackExchange thread in which someone procured the same counterfeit item. They determined that the analog controller actually acts as a digital gamepad. I.e, it only has 9 discrete positions rather than offering a continuous range of coordinates.

Other recent acquisitions that are not yet represented in the MobyGames database:

Elroy's Costume Closet; Pop Drop and Stack; Lost & Found; Harvest Mania
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  • Elroy’s Costume Contest, from Headbone Interactive (1996): This is interesting. I have previously acquired 2 other Elroy games and covered them in a previous entry. In checking to see if anyone else had heard of these games and if there were any other games in the series, I found that someone had cared enough about this series to set up a dedicated Wikia space for it which only mentioned the 2 games. I assumed that was the last word on the matter. Evidently not.
  • Pop! Drop! + Stack! XP Championship, from SelectSoft games (2006): What a curiously punctuated title. The box claims to have “Over 100 Games”. I have encountered this SelectSoft stuff before, in the form of dubious 100,000 Games and 333,000 Games packages.
  • Lost & Found Volume 1, from Interactive Toys (1994): An ambitious title promising future volumes that I will need to watch out for.
  • Harvest Mania To Go, from Pogo.com (2005): MobyGames has a record of this being a browser game from 2005. This copy also has a copyright date of 2005, so perhaps it was published concurrently. Seems to be a cross between color matching and Farmville.

NHRA Drag Racing 2; Fetch!; Go Fish!; Madagascar DVD Game
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  • Looney Tunes: Back In Action, from Warner Bros. (2003)
  • NHRA Drag Racing 2: Limited Edition (2000): The regular version is already in the database; the Limited Edition probably warrants a separate entry.
  • Fetch! from Gamebryo, Virtual Playground, and ValuSoft (2006): You can pretend to care for a dog.
  • Go Fish! from Knowledge Adventure (1998): probably not a card game
  • Madagascar Animal Trivia DVD Game (Demo Edition), from b Equal: Appropriate for “ages 6-106”

Kar Racing; Horse Lovers Ultimate Compendium
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  • KAR Racing, Twin Pak with Mini Golf, from Cosmi (2003): turns out I already acquired a copy of this but without the box or the Mini Golf game
  • The Horse Lovers Ultimate Compendium, a DVD-ROM collection from Viva Media (2012, 2014): The box copy claims “Over 50 complete games included”. However, it only seems to include 6 games according to the rest of the copy (front, back, and disc):
    • My Riding Stables
    • Championship Riding Star
    • Blue Ribbon Show Jumper
    • Horse Camp
    • Riding Academy 1
    • Riding Academy 2

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September 13, 2015

Acquisition Log: Ohio Distinctive Software

Awhile ago, I covered 2 educational titles from an outfit called Ohio Distinctive Software (ODS): GeoRunner and Superheroes Math Challenge. I recently found an eBay lot consisting of more than a dozen ODS titles, including GeoRunner and a duplicate of one game; 14 discs in total. Most of them aren’t in the database yet.

Many of them appear to be bilingual (English/Spanish). Here is the first half dozen:

ODS Software Set 1
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The inventory:

  • ODS Amazing Art Corner– I’m guessing this is either art history or activities
  • Master Gecko’s Home Row– presumably a typing game
  • The Daily FUNdaMentals– perhaps a trivia game
  • Twins’ Challenge / El roto de los mellizos– no idea on this one
  • Mongro’s Monstrous Money Math / Las Monstruosas Matematicas– probably basic financial management
  • Robob’s Cubetronic Quizimajig

And the other half:

ODS Software Set 2
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  • Intergalactic Rocket Factory / Fabrica de cohetes intergalacticos– don’t know what this is, but it sounds like fun! Then again, it’s supposed to be educational, so maybe not
  • The Mammoth Food Dig / La Gran Aventura de los Alimentos– likely an exercise in proper nutrition
  • The Groovin’ Gourmet– cooking?
  • Edgar’s Language Exploration / Exploracion de Idiomas de Edgar
  • Quadrinarian Qword Find: The Search For Meaning– maybe this is a simple grid word search puzzle dressed up with a weird title
  • Painter Bear’s Language Bridge / Puente de Idiomas Del Oso Pintor

Some other recent pickups:

Africa Trail; Hot Shots: Tarzan; Dance With ABC
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  • Big box copy of The Africa Trail, cousin to the venerable Oregon Trial series; even comes with a copy of The Oregon Trail on CD-ROM, alleged to be a $50 value; humorously, when I got around to opening the box, the Africa Trail CD-ROM was missing, though the Oregon Trail CD-ROM was still present, as were several other Africa Trail artifacts
  • Really Wild Animals: Swinging Safari Explore and Print, by National Geographic Interactive– MindScape is also mentioned; copyright 1997; not sure if this is a game or not
  • Disney’s Hot Shots: Tarzan Jungle Tumble— I have a certain fondness for this series of late 1990’s Disney casual games
  • Dance With ABC– companies mentioned include Softworks and GT Interactive; it’s really hard to find information about this game since Googling for the name only returns results for Dancing With The Stars which happens to air on ABC

Care Bears; Gus Goes To Cyberopolis; I Spy Fantasy; Extreme Arcade Games
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  • Care Bears: Care-A-Lot Jamboree– MobyGames has a nice collection of Care Bears titles but this one has slipped through the cracks
  • Gus Goes To Cyberopolis– full name is “Modern Media Ventures Presents A Gus & The Cyberbuds Learning Adventure: Gus Goes To Cyberopolis”; MobyGames has a record of Gus Goes To Cybertown, which is apparently a separate title
  • I Spy Fantasy
  • Nickolodeon Rocket Power: Extreme Arcade Games

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August 9, 2015

Acquisition Log: Centennial Edition

I’m not usually a big collector of the Limited Special Collector’s Ultimate Edition, but this item caught my eye: “Lionel Trains Presents: Trans-Con! Centennial Edition.” It helps that neither MobyGames nor much of the internet at large seem to know much about it (which always makes me want to snatch it up for preservation purposes).

Trans-Con Centennial Edition; Jets game; Tuneland; Qwirks
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Other items in this batch:

  • Jets, copyright 1994 by Medio Multimedia; impossibly generic in its naming (while the company name is construed by search engines as an obvious typo), so it’s hard to find any other data on the internet about the title. It features the MPC2 and “CD Laser Station” badges.
  • Tuneland starring Howie Mandel, by 7th Level, Inc., a company I have encountered a few times on this blog; this features the Packard Bell logo, so perhaps it was a pack-in.
  • Qwirks— this is already in the database, but my curiosity was piqued because it was designed by famed Tetris developer Alexey Pajitnov (plus, some cover scans are missing from the database).

So, about this Trans-Con special edition package– the game is apparently an educational title, probably primarily marketed towards classrooms. Here’s an old review from an educational software review site. Here are all of the items I procured in the used version of the limited edition package:

Lionel Trains Presents: Trans-Con! Centennial Edition
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The game, a handsome map, and an awkward tin. It’s entirely possible not all of the items included in the original package made it to the thrift shop where I procured this.

Some other recently procured items:

Rambler; Operation Krabby Patty; Casper; Type to Learn 3; Big Science Comics
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May 11, 2015

Acquisition Log: 2015-05-11

My Acquisition Log entries have slowed considerably. A lot of my usual acquisition sources seemed to dry up in the last year or so, including my favorite local thrift shop. However, I visited said thrift shop recently and found a treasure trove of games, a bounty the likes of which I had not encountered in quite some time.

In all my years of collecting games, this trip was unusual in that it was the first time I did so with an internet-connected mobile device by my side. It may surprise you to learn that I’m not much of a gadget freak and so I haven’t placed much value on smartphones yet. But I acquired a hand-me-down iPhone a few months ago. So this was the first time I was actually able to check potential purchases to see if they were already in the MobyGames database. This is a good thing or I might have walked about with 2-3 times as many games. The following games largely represent items which have little to no representation in the database as of yet.

Next TODO item is to make sure that my master games spreadsheet is easily accessible via my iPhone so that I don’t end up with any more copies of Barbie Sparkling Ice Show. Oops.

SeaWorld Tycoon; Wild Varmint Bounty Hunter; Cyberswine; Gravitar
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This lot includes:

  • SeaWorld Adventure Parks Tycoon, from Activition Value Publishing
  • Wild Varmint Bounty Hunter, published by ValueWorks; hunt for prairie dogs, squirrels, coyotes, and rabbits (didn’t realize that a coyote is classified as a ‘varmint’)
  • Cyberswine by Brilliant Digital Entertainment– this is already in the database, but these Multipath Movies fascinate me on a technical level; one such title — Gravity Angels Part 1: Alien Discovery — was one of the first games I covered on this blog
  • Gravitar– companies mentioned on the jewel case include Topics Entertainment, Digital Eclipse, and none other than Atari; it seems that there is an old Atari game named Gravitar and I’m curious to see if this is a straight port or an upgraded remake of the original

Math Blaster; Mystery of the Tiki; Best Math Program Ever; Galactic Brain Benders
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Here’s a grouping of educational (possibly) titles:

  • Math Blaster: Cross Terrain Adventure
  • Hawaii High: The Mystery of the Tiki– the colon-ated title makes it sound as though this is one of many games; published by Sanctuary Woods (I still have a soft spot for their Radio Active title)
  • Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Best Math Program Ever, published by Simon and Schuster Interactive– a lofty title if I’ve ever read one
  • Thinkin’ Things: Galactic Brain Benders, by Edmark

Jungle Rangers; Drop! Deluxe Suite
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A few more, in bigger packaging:

  • Jungle Rangers: Into the Canopy, by iFocus
  • Drop! Deluxe Suite, from eGames; this boasts of coming as a 2-CD set, though it doesn’t look like it would be a very complex or graphically intensive game, requiring lots of assets. Then again, it’s eGames and you can usually count on them to package various bits of software that are, umm… at best, tangentially related to the game in question. Some games in the series are already on record, but not this collection or remix or whatever: Drop! and Drop! 2

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April 2, 2014

Acquisition Log: 2014-04-02

MobyGames saw some rough times last year when, after years of stagnation, its new corporate master launched a much-maligned design overhaul. Then, at the very end of the year, a new benefactor swept in, took control, returned the design to its former glory, and has been carefully evolving the design and working to grow the community.

Through it all, I have continued to collect games, mostly due to force of habit, I suppose. But now I feel a bit more eager to get back to collecting and entering data (even if it’s just for cover art at this point).

Here are my latest acquisitions that are not yet represented in the database. Here’s a random grab bag:

Robot Club, Otter's Adventure, Galactic Bowling, Secrets of the Dark
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  • The Robot Club by Southpeak Interactive
  • The Otter’s Adventure (Softkey release), developed by Digital Impact in 1995
  • Galactic Bowling: The Ultimate Extreme Sport; PerpetualFX/Cosmi
  • Secrets of the Dark 2 Game Pack: Temple of Night & Eclipse Mountain, published by Big Fish

Here’s a smattering of educational games:

Pong Pong, Brain Quest, Word Krispies, Grammar Rock, Spell Adventure
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  • Pong Pong’s Learning Adventure: Animals, published by Hong Kong Datasun Group– this seems to be half in Chinese; I’m not looking forward to figuring out the original release region for this title
  • How Do You Spell Adventure? by Sanctuary Woods, whom I recognize thanks to their Radio Active title
  • Brain Quest: 2nd Grade, published by IBM in 1999; several entries in the Brain Quest series are already in the database, but not 2nd grade
  • Mighty Math 2-pack: Number Heroes and Calculating Crew, published by Edmark
  • Word Krispies (looks like this is already in the database), published by Liquid Dragon Studios and published by Encore
  • School House Rock: Grammar Rock (Smart Saver release)– “Kids email program included free!”

Here’s a stash of biblical-themed games, most of which were published by Left Behind Games:

Jesus Wants All Of Me, Charlie Church Mouse, King Solomon's Trivia Challenge, Left Behind 3
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  • Jesus Wants All of Me
  • Charlie Church Mouse: Preschool
  • King Solomon’s Trivia Challenge: Volume I: Quizmaster Edition
  • Left Behind 3: Rise of the Antichrist

The next group is commercial licensees:

Apprentice, Scooby-Doo, Powerpuff Girls
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  • The Apprentice, based on the Donald Trump reality show; published by Legacy Interactive, whom I recognize thanks to their Law & Order adaptations, which makes me wonder if this is also Java-based
  • Scooby-Doo! Ancient Adventures– this is a VTech V.Flash console game. I have one of these V.Flash systems, still new in the box. One day, I’ll need to open it and play the 3 V.Flash games that I have acquired and perhaps lobby for the system’s inclusion into MobyGames, since they’re adding a lot more systems these days.
  • The Powerpuff Girls Learning Challenge #1: Mojo Jojo’s Clone Zone, from The Learning Company; I guess I should appreciate that some of these game titles are so ridiculously long as it makes it easier to determine that the game is not in the database.

Some software items that come in big, classic boxes:

Redshift 3, 20 Wargame Classics
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The first is Redshift 3. I’m not sure if this technically qualifies as a game. It might just be an educational space exploration software title. I wonder if it holds up to web-based space education tools.

The second box is Twenty Wargame Classics from Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI).

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July 2, 2013

Acquisition Log: RPG All-Stars

Today’s trip to my favorite thrift shop yielded a crop of well-known and beloved (I’m told) computer role playing games. Ordinarily, I don’t collect more common material unless it’s cheap enough and no one else seems to want it. But it seems like every time I collect something “common”, I discover something unique about my copy that reveals that it’s different than anything currently in the database, or at least that I still have plenty of scanning to do.

Neverwinter Nights Gold; Icewind Dale; 2 Might and Magic titles

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The curious thing in this batch is Icewind Dale: Notice that it has an “RP” ESRB badge, indicating that a final rating is still pending. It this is a release, then why does it have no final rating? If could be a review copy, but I suspect such a copy would have REVIEW COPY: NOT FOR RESALE plastered all over the media and manual. Also odd is the print in the manual. For example:

Icewind Dale Manual excerpt

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It’s extremely difficult to read and almost looks like a bad photocopy job. Perhaps someone with a proper T-rated copy of Icewind Dale can inform me whether this is what the final manual looked like.

Next batch:

Septerra Core; Settlers II; Civilization III

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  • Septerra Core: Legacy of the Creator— companies mentioned include Interplay, TopWare Interactive, Valkyrie Studios, and Monolith
  • The Settlers II: Veni, Vidi, Vici by Blue Byte; if MobyGames’ scans are anything to go by, the series is big in Europe; this will be this title’s first scan on record for a U.S. release
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization III: Bonus CD by Infogrames– this is a bit puzzling as I can’t figure out which version of Civ3 this CD (or its jewel case backing) goes with

Ever try to photograph a holographic picture?

Space Colony; MayaQuest; Bob the Builder

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  • Space Colony by Firefly with a pretty/frustrating holographic box
  • MayaQuest: The Mystery Trail by MECC (the Trail people)– I learned I already have a copy of this; however, this copy is v1.0 while my other copy is v1.12; let’s hear it for completeness!
  • Bob the Builder: Can We Fix it? by THQ– I’m a little surprised that the credits in the manual don’t list any programmers; plenty of testers, producers, VPs and marketers; but no one slinging code

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