About a month ago I stumbled across something called “My Retro Game Box” on my friend’s Facebook feed. It was another one of those box-a-month subscription programs where they fill a box with random goodies and send it to you, except this one was specifically retro video games. Obviously I was immediately interested. I did some research and found out that it’s a relatively new, small mom & pop operation run out of Scotland. Now my collection has gotten to the point where the games that I am missing are very specific, so I was a little skeptical about signing up for a subscription where I would be sent random games. But I was curious enough to see how it all worked out, so I signed up for 1 month just to check it out.
They’re very friendly and right off the bat they send you a questionnaire asking you to list all the games you have for NES, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, N64, Sega Master System, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance and then even asked what game preferences you had and said they would strive their best not to send you things outside of your personal tastes. One of the things I found most intriguing, is that they give you the option to get PAL or NTSC games. Doubtful it would ever reach me, but I’d love to see Probotector, the PAL version of Contra where everything is a robot, arrive in one of my boxes. They give you the option to do subscriptions by 1 month for £23, 3 months for £65, 6 months £125, and a year for £230. All those prices are in British pounds sterling btw, for those who didn’t understand what they funny symbol was. I was glad they single month purchases for those who wish to remain noncommittal and it allowed me to take just a taste of what they had to offer.
A few days ago, in my mailbox was a unassuming, nondescript, small, rectangular, brown box. And I never would have known it was from a subscription service if it didn’t have a little round sticker on it from, “My Retro Game Box.” To add to the mystery of what games you are randomly sent, they place them in these delightful little striped paper bags. I ended up getting Wrath of the Black Manta and Defender of the crown, both for the NES and both rather ho-hum games. But I also got Dr. Mario for the Game Boy and it was the PAL version, so I was happy about that. I’d actually rather get PAL games. Feels more exotic.
Overall, I’m pleased with this service. I decided to go for another month more out of curiosity than anything else. There’s something exciting about random video games. With ebay, Craig’s List, Amazon, etc, the thrill of the hunt is gone. I don’t expect to ever get Earthbound, or Chrono Trigger or anything of course, but there’s almost 800 games for the NES alone and I don’t even have half of them. My only complaint with My Retro Game Box would have to be their website. It’s rather bland and unintuitive. I understand that they are just starting out and it’s only like 2 people working on it, so I can look past it.
Why on earth did I not list this as part of my top picks from E3? Now I know what you’re thinking, “Sonic? Really?” Yes, really. For those of you who didn’t grow up with the Sega Genesis, I feel bad that you’ve, for the most part, had only crappy Sonic games to deal with. Sonic Adventures was all right though, but there was too much stuff you had to do that really bogged down the game… like Big the Cat.
There has been a demo available to download for a few weeks now, check it out. Unfortunately it only has 1 level of the classic Sonic mode. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it would be nice if they showed you both styles of play. Classic is fun, it plays exactly like the Genesis version, but with a few tweaks here and there and a major graphical overhaul. It would be cool if they added a feature that allowed you to play it in 16 bit mode. Modern Sonic mode plays more like Sonic Colors. Which, if you haven’t played it, is actually a decent game. Modern Sonic is more about blazing speed; you almost never stop running. It’s awesome that they put both types into one game. I guess it could really expand the appeal of who’s going to buy it. I mean the handheld Sonic games have been somewhat like classic ones, but for the most part kids buy those. Putting both types into one game and on a console really opens up the age boundaries. And if you own a 3D TV, the visuals in the modern Sonic mode look amazing. The sense of speed you get running right behind a 3D Sonic feels even more intense.
I haven’t been this excited about a Sonic game in nearly 15 years. Too bad it comes out holiday 2011 when the wallet’s gonna be tight with all the other big new releases coming out. Is it wrong that I’m more excited about Sonic Generations than Call of Duty? This might even be the game that causes me to upgrade to a 3D TV.
And for those of you who are too lazy to look this up on youtube yourself, I did the favor for you and put it right here. You can’t imagine the overwhelming impatience I get when I watch this video, knowing I still have 4 more months to wait. Enjoy.