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Amazing Photographer Loads Up On Saturn Crap

by Jeff Cork on Sep 30, 2009 at 08:17 AM

Japan and video games? What will they think of next?!

While we were overseas for Tokyo Game Show last week, I had a little time to do some shopping. If you're a big nerd, that means one of a few things: manga, anime or video games. Since manga and anime are for disgusting Japanophiles and/or lonesome perverts, I headed to Akihibara, which is a mecca for classic games. It used to be better years ago blah blah sold out tourist trap blah blah whatever. Even though a lot of the crazy-good deals might be scarce, it's still a fun place to score stuff that's tough to find in the U.S.

I grabbed the Japanese Saturn, analog controller and Virtua Gun from Super Potato. That's also where I picked up some of the games, including Pocket Fighter, Panzer Dragoons I & II, Vampire Savior and BioHazard. Everything was in great condition; everything I bought was boxed and had manuals, and the majority of the games still had their spine cards. The most expensive game I picked up the whole trip was Vampire Savior (about $15), and it included the 4MB card. (Long story short, the people on eBay who sell import Saturn stuff are likely ripping you off.)

Here are some of the highlights, including "Tomb Raiders." The Cyberbots limited edition came with a nicely designed art book. Magical Hoppers is worse than my flash.

I filled out the collection at a variety of bookstores and game shops. A large portion of the games were only 100 Yen each, which is a little over a buck. That included the Virtua Fighter series, Sega Rally and some other heavy hitters in the Saturn's library. And these weren't scuffed or scratched up, either.

The used-game market is huge in Japan, since renting games wasn't a big part of their gaming culture. People would simply buy a new game and sell it to a store when they were done, often using the proceeds to continue the cycle. Since a lot of players knew that they'd be selling games when they were done with them, they kept them in great shape. (The Virtua Gun still had the registration card in the box)

That "Marriage" thing is terrible, but it was only 30 Yen. Snatcher would be more fun if I were Japanese.

For a few nights, Bryan, Nick and I sat in my room and checked out the stack. Capcom's 2D fighters held up incredibly well, and they alone were worth the price. The 3D stuff was pretty rough to look at, but games like Panzer Dragoon were still a lot of fun. And even though it's pretty gross to look at now, Fighters Megamix kept us up for hours. (Mostly because we wanted to unlock all the bizarre characters. You haven't lived until you've beaten up an old man as a Daytona stock car.)

This is the best photo I've ever taken.

In addition to the Saturn haul, I grabbed a couple of PlayStation 2 games. I was a big fan of Seaman for the Dreamcast (back in my lonesome pervert days), but I'd never bothered picking up the Japan-only sequel. That was easy enough to fix. Ta dah!


The Dreamcast version shipped with a goofy little microphone thing that popped into the system's controller. That obviously wouldn't work with the PS2, so what's the solution?

Captions are fun to write.

This controller has a built-in mic, and it's also compatible with the PS2 port of the game. I haven't tested it out yet, but I'm sure it will serve as a fantastic reminder that 1) Seaman is an undeniably awesome and strange concept and 2) I still do not speak Japanese. For $15, I'm happy to have it, even if it's only going to sit on a shelf.

So there you go. I went to Japan and bought some stuff. And then I took some pictures.