Something a Bit Different – Playstation 2 Linux Kit

Occasionally, you come across gear of the more unique variety while in Japan, and although this isn’t the weirdest bit of gear I have picked up in my time here, it’s definitely one of the cooler things I’ve picked up – specially as I’m an avid Linux user. The Sony Playstation 2 Linux Kit. 🙂

ps2-linux-kit-box

This particular Linux kit is unused, but the person who had it before me decided that they wanted to keep the VGA cable. This was a downer, but as the rest of it is all sealed up (and considering the bargain price I paid), I can’t complain too much. According to the web, the VGA cable isn’t exactly the greatest anyway, but it still would’ve been nice to have it included though….

So what’s in the box? A full set should include a USB keyboard and mouse, a HDD unit, a PC card network adapter that connects to the PS2’s PCMCIA, a VGA cable, and a DVD-ROM containing the dev libraries.

ps2-linux-kit-whats-in-the-box

The card that connects via the PCMCIA slot has inputs for both Ethernet and HDD connections. The 40GB HDD is one heavy little unit actually. At first I wasn’t expecting the weight of this thing!

ps2-linux-kit-hard-disk

ps2-linux-kit-hd ps2-linux-kit-hd2

Unfortunately, for us that are used to English keyboards, the keyboard is just your standard Japanese format keyboard. It does proudly have the Playstation logo on it though which is pretty cool. As this unit is sealed I can’t give you any impressions of how the keyboard feels, but through the plastic it doesn’t seem too bad. Both the keyboard and mouse are standard USB, so I assume that using your other keyboards and mice is an option – anyone chime in that may know more about that though.

ps2-linux-kit-keyboard

Although there isn’t a great deal of information online anymore (since the removal of playstation2-linux.com/), you can still find the repositories for the forum posts and content from here bellow:
http://psx-scene.com/forums/f167/links-www-playstation2-linux-com-archives-repository-89005/

Personally as this unit is still sealed, and there is the chance that it might be sold on depending on my energy levels, I am not going to be opening it up to test it out. There are just too many people out there that see it as a really interesting piece of gaming history to open it up at this time.

ps2-linux-kit-beta-software

Well, this may be the last mainstream console to actually give users the tools to really tinker – at least in a legal unhacked kind of way. I doubt very much you’ll see anything similar for the next gen Xbox or Playstations. 😉

Hard-Off Road Trip – City to City Retro hunting!

As most of us retro gamers know – mainly due to the plethora of videos on the web these days – shopping for retro gear in Japan can be amazing. Hard-Off (and of course Comp-Off, Book-Off, and House-Off) are some of the best resources for us retro hoarders – that are easily accessible that is.

As the family and I were doing a road trip, I thought why not stop in at every Hard-Off (and it’s related stores) on the way. Who wouldn’t right? 😀

*******************************************************************

Hard-Off Number 1

hard-off-number-1

A bit on the small side this haul, but a few nice items never the less. Be warned, you might see a few doubles in these piles, but when I see NeoGeo CDs I pretty much grab them all – so many people always request me to grab them for their own piles of plastic.

ho1-saturn-dreamcast-nintendo

*******************************************************************

Hard-Off Number 2

hard-off-number-2

It has to be said that Book-Offs are really hit and miss, but it’s always worth stopping in and taking a look – specially if it’s not close to a Hard-Off. Occasionally I find great stuff in them, but it (‘it’ being retro game gear) is rapidly being phased out. If you do find a good one though (as I did here) you can be very lucky.

ho2-saturn-neogeo

ho2-gameboy-light-megadrive-saturn

*******************************************************************

Hard-Off Number 3

hard-off-number-3

This one wasn’t bad at all! The prices were very reasonable for the stuff I bought. For example that JogCon controller pictured bellow was a very cheap 200yen, and the Virtual Boy adapter was 300yen.

Console sets on the other hand were crazy in terms of price, and this was a common theme the closer I got to the bigger cities. In Osaka the cheapest SuperFamicom I could find was about 2,000yen unboxed, and although that doesn’t seem overly expensive, it’s definitely not as cheap as they once were…. 🙁

ho3-saturn-virtua-cop-dreamcast

ho3-namco-controller-gamecube-dreamcast

*******************************************************************

Hard-Off Number 4

hard-off-number-4

This one was pretty good actually. There was a lot of stuff I would have bought if I had more space in the car – mainly Dreamcast special sets of the more Otaku variety. Prices weren’t too bad as well, although I did notice an increase in prices towards the bigger cities. Wrapped I manange to score myself a Wonderswan Crystal though!

ho4-wonderswan-crystal-game-watch-pce-saturn

ho4-famicom-nintendo

*******************************************************************

Hard-Off Number 5

hard-off-number-5

This was the last one I bought something from. I did actually visit one more in central Osaka, but there was nothing worth grabbing – at the prices they were asking anyway. This one however was well worth going into. I was quite surprised to see the amount of stuff they had, but even so I was expecting more from Osaka. Maybe all the gear has migrated it’s way to Nipponbashi? I didn’t get a chance to head into Nipponbashi by the way, but next time it will be on my list.

ho5-game-watch

ho5-saturn-stick-neogeo-aes

*******************************************************************

Although I did manage to grab quite a lot of gear, I have to say that I was slightly disappointed. I thought that I would be grabbing far more stuff than what I did in all honesty. It is becoming painfully clear that game related gear falling into the retro category is starting to dry up across the board. Having said that though, I did grab some nice stuff – I may just be spoiled. 😉

I am already planning another road trip in the opposite direction, which will head through smaller towns and cities. I think the best deals to be found (at least in Hard-Offs) are in the smaller cities with fewer gaming geeks. As long as real life doesn’t take too much of a hold, this trip should take place in the next few months. 😀

Jusco 30th Anniversary N64 – When Luck Prevails

Sometimes luck just seems to be on my side – actually it’s quite often now that I think about it. But in this case, even I have to say that my luck was extraordinarily good. 😀

I was doing my once a fortnight manic/obsessive search through the used places, and not much was coming up, until…. I head into CompOff (HardOff, but mainly focused on computers) and I see this Nintendo 64. Not knowing too much about N64s, I think to myself that the colour of this one seems a little different, and also that Jusco 30th anniversary symbol must mean it’s not overly common – yes, I was that naive!

clear-grey-jusco-anniversary-n64

So, I decide to ask the shop attendant to have a closer look (it was in a cabinet). Yes, the controller felt good, and yes, the condition was great (including the manual), but I was still undecided – sad to say that is no joke either. Did I want to pay the $25 (Yes, $25 measly dollars!!)? I seriously had no idea what I was looking at, and as I already own a pile of N64s I just wasn’t sure if I should bother. 😮

nintendo-64-jusco-clear-grey

Finally, I thought why not spend the $25 and I buy it – how much could I loose right? The guy asks if I want a bag, and I say “na it’ll be fine”. I carry it out wondering if the Jusco 30th anniversary mark actually means anything, and throw it into the back of the car – not on the back seat of the car mind you, in the hatch! For those of you that don’t know $25 is an insanely good deal for one of these rare N64s, but stupid me had no idea…

*Bellow you can see the Jusco 30th markings on the box:
n64-jusco-version jusco-clear-grey-n64

Completely oblivious to what was sitting in the back of the car, my family and I do some shopping. Everything we buy gets put on top of it in the back. I am sure some of you Nintendo 64 collectors out there are thinking that Hollo does not deserve this rare piece of gaming history – can’t say that I’d disagree with you honestly. Luckily I didn’t do any damage to the box or the console itself you’ll be happy to know – I’d hate to have the N64 police at my door!

*Bellow is the Jusco (in katakana) stamp on the instructions – definitely look for this if you’re in the market for one of these:
jusco-n64-how-to-tell

So, it seems that I am now the owner of one of the rarest N64s made. Of course, I didn’t know this until I also posted on Aussie Arcade to ask the guys if they knew any info about it. My mouth hung open like a total fool when Frank (AA member) gave me an approx value of the thing – had to slap myself pretty damn hard.

For those of you (like me earlier) who have no idea what this is, why $25 is an amazing deal, and why CompOff obviously didn’t know what they had, I guess now is the time I should fill you in. Basically the Jusco 30th Anniversary edition Nintendo 64 is a Japanese exclusive console that was released only for Jusco stores in Japan. They are very scarce, and there are many (maybe an understatement there) searching for this particular version.

jusco-30th-nintendo-64

jusco-30th-anniversary-n64

The value of these things has jumped in recent years, but loose ones can sell for approximately $400 at the time of writing. Boxed and complete sets can sell for $650 plus! Now you might have an idea how stupid I was with this thing. I had no idea about what this was, and as the HardOff group usually knows what they have, I kind of just trusted the pricing – even though it was slightly cheaper than you might find clean boxed N64s.

*While I was taking pictures of this one I decided to snap a pic of the other boxed N64s I have in my collection. Amazingly this Jusco one is by far in the best condition!

japanese-n64

I am not just lucky to find this particular machine, but also to actually buy it when I didn’t have any stinking idea what it was! Seriously, I am ashamed I didn’t know what it was. To quote Frank “Hollo, I don’t even collect for the N64 and even I knew that was a Jusco 30th Anniversary LE!”. That pretty much sums it up – dumb luck strikes again. 😀

Nintendo Famicom Watch – Timeless?

First off, sorry about the ‘timeless’ bit in the title. The older I get the lamer I get. 😀

****************************************************************

So…. A Famicom watch? No it doesn’t play games, no it doesn’t attract women in droves due to it’s super styling, but yes, it will raise your geekiness by at least a factor of 2!

I hadn’t seen one of these before, and I haven’t done a heap of research about it yet, but what I do know is that this is an official Nintendo product produced by BanPresto, and also that it was part of a collection of many. Anything else is pretty much a mystery at the moment.

This particular one is unused (as you might be able to tell due to the protective strip still being present), and based off images I found on-line it is unfortunately missing an outer box.

nintendo-nes-watch

I can kind of tell why this particular one was never used… It’s one ugly little machine! Still, there must have been some cool otaku (oxymoron? I think not!) somewhere with one of these, roaming around wearing it with a huge amount of pride.

I got this for about the equivalent of $20, and I’m not sure if I got a good deal or not, but it’s different and that’s good enough for me. 😀

famicom-watch

If any one can point me in the direction to gain some more information about it, I’d love to hear from you. *Click on the thumbnails bellow to enlarge*

famicom-watch-nib nintendo-famicom-watch

Tomy Retro Handhelds – LCD, What LCD?

The 70s were great weren’t they? The movies, the hair cuts, the clothes, the music…. Ahh those were the days. Games may have required huge amounts of imagination to suspend disbelief, but once suspended, games were nothing short of amazing (may have gone too far with the ‘amazing’ bit, but you get the picture).

So what do we have here then? Just the closest thing to real sports that Tomy had to offer, that’s what! Tomy Black Racer, and Tomy Basketball. 😀

tomy-retro-handhelds

***********************************************************

The Tomy Black Racer (cool name hey?) was released in 1978 to critical acclaim (not sure if there really was critical acclaim by the way), and even though it says “Digital” on the front of it, I don’t think there is much in way of digital internals….

Basically, there are just multiple tapes inside that simulate the road whizzing by, and by changing the gears you make the tapes move either quickly or slowly, thus giving the effect of breakneck speeds (breakneck speeds might be going to far, but it makes for good reading right?).

Although the forward movement of the car is simulated, the track doesn’t exactly have many corners simulated, but you need to steer left and right to avoid the other cars.

tomy-black-racer

tomy-black-racer-2

*pictured bellow*
I believe that this game may have been the first handheld game to break censorship rules by the simulating enormous amounts of blood when you crash (this could be my supreme 70s child imagination kicking in though). 😀

tomy-black-racer-crash

You will see on the bottom left of the machine there is a lap counter (bit strange considering that you drive in a straight line, but what can you do hey?). The aim is to complete the largest distance in the time allocated. Crashing merely takes up precious time.

And no (before anyone asks), there isn’t force feedback on this bad boy.

tomy-black-racer-controls

Bellow are the instructions. Gotta love the early Japanese manuals. 🙂

tomy-black-racer-instrcutions

***********************************************************

Next up we have a Basketball sim that paved the way to classics like NBA Jam (don’t take my word on that one though) – Tomy Basketball. 😀

The interesting thing about this one is that the players do not actually run around, which in many ways gives this game more similarity to Netball instead of Basketball (imagination was/is useful). You basically just pass, defend, and shoot.

tomy-basketball

The LEDs represent the ball, and you score just like you would in real life (by pressing a button). The crowd screams during tight points, the cheer leaders are blistering hot during the half-time show, and the ref isn’t always fair (imagination working overtime once again), making this the ultimate in handheld basketball!

tomy-basketball-2

tomy-basketball-controls

I’m not actually sure when this one was released, but it definitely sports superior technology than that of the Black Racer. If any of you guys know when this came out, please fill me in so I can add it to the post.

tomy-basketball-scoreboard

***********************************************************

Although it may look like I am poking fun at these two machines, they really are quite fun to play. I would say my pick of the two would be Black Racer, but that’s purely because I’m not a huge basketball fan. Definitely recommended picking them up if you’re into collecting handhelds.

1 2 3 4 5 13