Sunday, 6 February 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

The Port of Felixstowe, in the county of Suffolk, is the UK's largest container port, and the 6th busiest in Europe. I've been there, it's huge. Thousands of containers stacked on top of each other, forming monstrous metallic towers and mountains. For those living in the UK, you've seen it too. That Channel 4 programme intro, the one with the shipping containers forming a big four? That's the Port of Felixstowe.

The Port of Felixstowe: It's seriously huge.

But what on Earth has this to do with retro gaming?

The town from which the port's name is given is Felixstowe; a tiny little place that has existed since England's occupation by the Romans. Felixstowe's “high street” happens to be pretty much the only road in the whole town with a large proportion of shops. In it's old-timely way it features massive second hand book shops, scaled down versions of high street shops, the odd coffee shop and loads of charity shops. And of course, charity shops are a retro gamer's best friend.

I live in the next town along from Felixstowe, about 10 miles away, and every now and again take a short train journey to have a good lookie round. As well as the charity shops, there's actually a brilliant little second hand game shop in the train station's shopping centre (if it can be called that; it's absolutely tiny) called Play N Exchange. I find a bargain each and every time I go in there and always make sure to have a chat with the dear old shop keep.

Basically, I'm not a fan of blogs and blog posts that simply give lists of things people have bought. I personally find it a little boring, therefore I'd added my own flair to the whole thing by providing you with a little history lesson and a lovely short story to go with it. But now... Now it's time for the games.

A got a mixed bag on this trip, starting with the two Playstation games Reloaded (£1.40) and Fade to Black (£2), which are both in good condition including the manual. I couldn't say no to Fade to Black, the not-so-good sequel to the classic and personal favourite Flashback, which I own on the Mega drive. I remember this game coming out and playing the demo at my uncle's house, who had a Playstation when they were still new. The fact that it was one of my first 3D gaming experiences has made it a lasting memory, although I remember it being difficult to control and actually rather scary and atmospheric.

Unfortunately I mistook “Reloaded” for “Loaded”; another game I used to play with my uncle. It was essentially a 2D, top-down shooter with snazzy 3D effects and was a very early PS1 release. It was very gory for it's time and allowed you to play as some interesting characters, including my favourite, a spooky space-aged “Joker”-like character who threw teddy bears filled with toxic gas. The game I bought is it's sequel. After about an hour of playing I decided it simply wasn't as good as the original I played. My opinion, however, is biased due to the fact that the favourite character I mentioned isn't in the game, while others did return. Boo! Bring back space-aged paedo-Joker!

Next are the two unboxed Master system games I got from Play N Exchange for a mere 50p each. While I already own the Mega Drive version of Ecco the Dolphin, I thought that perhaps this version may have a more forgiveable difficulty level than it's 16-bit counterpart; I got so controller throwingly frustrated on the Mega drive version's Atlantis level that I simply had to put the game away and never play it again. As for Taito Chase H.Q., I know little about it, but for 50p it's worth adding to my small Master system collection. Sonic 2 I got elsewhere for £1.40, boxed with manual, which I'm excited about due to it being an entirely different game to it's Mega drive counterpart, with different levels and bosses. A great addition to my growing and much loved Sonic collection.

Ristar was another unboxed gem found at Play N Exchange for 2 quid. Unfortunately, my most beloved Mega Drive version was lent to a friend many years ago who never gave it back. I didn't know a Game Gear version existed until I saw it and had to have it to boost my game Gear collection, which is at the grand old count of one game.

The bargains didn't end there, with Taz-Mania, Quackshot and Dragon's Fury for the Mega Drive for £1.40 each. I'd been looking for Dragon's Fury for a while, what with it being the "Best 3D Pinball Game in the World", or so the box tells me. The same with Quackshot, a difficult game, but one I remember playing at a friends years ago. Taz-Mania, well, I haven't gotten very far. The game is retarded to say the least.

The final item, and the one I am most excited about, is the PS2, Limited Edition version of Resident Evil 4. £2 from one of the charity shops whose name I cannot remember, RE4 is my favourite Resident Evil game. I'll admit that I don't have many, just RE1 on Gamecube and DS, both of which are just too hard for me to do, with the Gamecube version being unbearably scary. RE4 is neither hard, nor is it very scary, so it's perfect for wimps like myself and I thoroughly enjoyed playing the GC version my friend lent me years ago. I'm pretty sure grotty, sticker-covered GC copies are still over £15 in shabby places like CEX, so this was a real steal.

So there you have it, an incredibly wordy list of "stuff-what-I-bought-recently". For those who made their way to the bottom, well done. I hope you enjoyed the pictures either way. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to defeat the many hoards of hell in an attempt to de-throne the prince of darkness himself with nothing but a pin-ball ball. 


  1. Haha, learn a few new things everyday it seems! I wish my charity shops were more like yours; I always pick up cool records but I very very rarely run into old games. Likewise, I don't know any local second-hand game stores that sell games pre Playstation 2, which really sucks.

    Fade to Black was actually one of the first Playstation games I ever played, and definitely the first console-based FPS. I didn't realise it was a sequel, so now you've said that I'd definitely like to try out the original! Need to buy: Mega Drive and Flashback.

    Will you be selling Reloaded, if so for how much? I got Loaded with my Sega Saturn the other day; the frame-rate is pretty terrible but it's such a cool game. I'd love to get the sequel.

    "£15 in shabby places like CEX" don't appreciate that bit haha!

    Good blog, enjoyed. Wish my life was this exciting heh :)

  2. Exciting? If you call visiting tiny towns and buying second-hand retro-tat exciting, then fair beans. I'd personally much rather be an astronaut.

    As for Reloaded, I wasn't intending to sell it via eBay; I believe it unwise and unfair to post on this blog where I buy my items and for how much, only to charge more on my eBay site.

    However, as described in this blog post, it isn't the game I thought it was and I would be willing to let it go. Perhaps instead of a straight sale, you'd be interested in a trade? I'm always up for trading. Either way, I think it best for you to contact me via e-mail. Thanks for the interest.

    And I don't know about your CEX branch, but ours isn't the most customer friendly place around. It was much better say, three or four years ago and I used to be a frequent shopper. But the overly loud and bassey pop music mixed with ten minute plus waiting lines has put me well off.


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