Ouya's officially on the way

I should have an Ouya console in the mail, and as soon as I have it on hand, I’ll have more information for you!

In an email sent out to Kickstarter backups last night, the retail launch in June is still their goal. But it’s exciting to be part of the Kickstarter preview. This is the first time we’ve started to feel like this is a preview release. Kickstarter supporters always knew they’d get a console, and some kind of service, but it sounds like we might be expecting a bit of a bumpy road, but we may also see so impressive overhauls in the months leading up to the retail release of Ouya. They’re talking about small system updates that are already available on first boot, and reminding gamers of four controller support. They made sure to mention that Final Fantasy III would be among their launch titles, which no doubt thrills those few gamers who’ve shelled out $99 or more on eBay just to own a copy of the SNES title!

“As of 7:59 p.m. PT, there are already 104 published games on OUYA (all still free to try), like Final Fantasy III and some new surprises we think you’ll love: Beast Boxing Turbo, Stalagflight, Knightmare Tower, and even one called Save the Puppies. There are already a few entertainment apps, too. You can watch the TV shows and movies you already own with XBMC and Flixster, or watch games streamed through TwitchTV.

I have no doubt that support for things like Netflix and Vudu will be coming down the pike, and I’m genuinely getting anxious to check my mail and find a console waiting for me. I’ll be giving it a great deal of coverage when it arrives, because it’s not every day something so important arrives in the hands of thousands, before it could potentially sell to millions. I wonder if the NPD is ready to start tracking Ouya sales?

Are you a completionist?

For as long as people have kept track of things, completionists have existed. I find that many people are completionists, but it’s only a question of to what degree? Today, I’m curious about gaming completionists, of course.

The first game that I knew of that really kept track of your progress was Super Mario World. There were secret methods, like the color of the level’s “dot” on the map, to find out if there was more than one exit. To top it off, the game actually let you earn up to ★96. I thought I was on a quest to achieve 100%, but we only needed to find enough secrets to earn a score of 96. Then came Donkey Kong Country. I thought I had 100%, but you could earn 101%! Keeping with tradition, Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3 allowed you to earn 102 and 103%, respectively. In my life, Nintendo carried on the tradition, by having a completely unpredictable number of stars in Super Mario 64. I had thought I beat the game when I was younger, then a friend told me that you could actually get 120 stars, I was on the hunt to find what I was missing, and eventually found them all, without the help of guides or the still “GameFAQs-less” internet.

These days people are more obsessed with Gamerscore on their Xbox 360 – the guys at Achievement Hunter hate when they don’t have every Gamerscore Point out of every game. If there isn’t a game with a perfect score on their list, they obsess over it, and will go back and play it until they can get a perfect 1,000 out of 1,000, or 1,250/1,250. On the Xbox 360, I was just about having a high gamerscsore number, how I obtained it and whether or not I “100%’d” a game didn’t matter to me, I just liked earning achievements. I lived for the achievement unlocked sound!

Perhaps it’s a form of OCD, but now that I’m conscious of these possible scores, I find myself going directly for them when I play classic games. For example, recently popped in Super Mario 64 and started playing from a brand new game file, from the beginning. I wouldn’t move on from a level until I had achieved every star in that level. When I wanted to finish playing, I had a hard time turning off the system until I at least cleared the level I was on. I’m playing to remember the good ol’ days, but also to challenge myself. I remind myself that I did this when I was 12 years old, without any cheats, or guidebooks. I can do it again. I can find the secrets, and can move swiftly throughout the game. In one my first sitting back I had already unlocked 42 of the 120 stars, and I’m excited to give the game another go soon.

So what games do you remember obsessing over? Anything in particular that you had to play without putting down? What’s the first game you remember coming to the realization that it was keeping track, and you had to prove yourself to it? Feel free to leave a comment.

Overdue for a Half Life 2 run

I own Half Life 2 on Steam. And during last week’s Ultimate Game Sale, I bought the Orange Box on Xbox 360 (I used own the disc based game, sold it off years ago). I have missed Portal… although I also own that on Steam. I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go back through Portal with a controller, and re-live Half Life 2 with a mouse and keyboard.

I’m not looking forward to driving through barren wastelands in a noisy car assembled out of someone’s plumbing. Nor the subsequent roaming around in sewer pipes near a canal. What a pain that part is. But I have a feeling that I’m going to be flashing back a little bit and playing me some Orange Box on the my Xbox 360 this weekend! Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure it’s too late for any level 1 newbies to start playing Team Fortress 2.

It's worth HOW MUCH?

Growing up, I was hooked on clay-mation. Even at a young age, I appreciated the hard work that went in to sculpting your sets and models, then stop-motion filming every tiny movement of your characters. It’s what made me love The Nightmare Before Christmas, and what fascinated me about the Clayfighter games. I had a Nintendo 64 from early on, but by the time ClayFighter 63 1/3rd was released, I was getting more and more into PC games. I played it once or twice, but had pretty much moved on.

More recently, I thought I would maybe give the game another shot. Add it to my collection. All of my friends thought the ClayFighter games were lame and boring when we were young. I figured I’d get the games on the cheap. So shopping around, I could get the SuperNES games (ClayFighter, ClayFighter Tournament Edition, and C2: Judgment Clay) for pretty good deals each. Even ClayFighter 63 1/3rd wasn’t too high of a price. But I always heard there was an updated release that I had never played… much like how ClayFighter later saw ClayFighter T.E. – not quite a sequel, but an “upgrade.” This so called ClayFighter 63 1/3rd “Sculptor’s Cut” should be pretty easy to track down, right?

Boy was I wrong. Prices for this rare Nintendo 64 collectible are $100 and up, just for the cartridge. Have a manual? Or a box? Some buy it now prices on eBay are listed at over $1,000.

Now, I like to think I know my rare games pretty well. The SD Gundam Dimension War game for Virtual Boy, for instance. This title fetches from $1,500 to nearly $4,000 in some cases. But this is to be expected, the Virtual Boy was a short lived console with a limited number of games, and one of the games that didn’t cross international line’s was the Gundam game from Japan, released near the end of the Virtual Boy’s release. Fine, that makes sense. But I never knew what made this specific ClayFighter release so rare.

Evidently, it turns out, that ClayFighter 63 1/3rd Sculptor’s Cut was somehow released as a Blockbuster Exclusive. I had no idea such a thing existed. It only made its way out to rental chains – one of which never existed in my home town. We only had local and regional video rentals… no nationwide company like Blockbuster ever came to my home town. So I had no idea what I was missing out on. The fact that this game was so narrowly released, and later only found into the hands of gamers when stores were going out of business, is what makes it such a hot collector’s item. Don’t doubt for a second: I want it. My addictive personality makes me want it, my love of the ClayFighter games makes me want it, my love for all things Nintendo makes me want it… but holy crap, that’s a lot of money. I won’t be getting it any time soon.

I have a couple of sealed copies of Metroid Prime Trilogy Collector’s Edition for the Wii if anybody wants to trade? I hear that’s already going for hundreds of dollars. When I heard they were going to stop making it for the Wii, I figured it would be re-released as an even bigger collector’s pack, which might include the original trilogy for play on the same disc… but no such release ever showed up. Nintendo just stopped producing the Metroid Prime Trilogy discs. So when I stumbled across the last 3 in my local target a few years ago, I snagged them up and have been holding on to them.

Sometimes you need to invest in rare collectables. Sometimes you collect for collecting’s sake. Like the $75 price tag on a boxed Super Metroid game… it’s not the most valuable or rare game, but there’s just something about having it on your shelf that’s rewarding. Or take Custer’s Revenge, an Atari 2600 game that often goes for over $100 on eBay. The game is practically unplayable and there isn’t much to it, but it’s extremely controversial and historic past make it one of the items I’m quite happy to have in my collection (boxed and sealed, no less). It’s always interesting to see the values attached to things I remember from my childhood. Something that you could buy for $50 brand new, or for $1 at a yard sale… might now be worth a small fortune. Keep your eyes peeled, a yard sale find could be a treasure chest waiting to be sold on eBay!