I've been dying to play Chrono Trigger for quite some time now, and Sabriena had mentioned that Neil had suggested she play it on an emulator, as it's basically his favourite game of all time. I'll probably never find a legitimate copy for a price I'm willing to pay, but I'd rather not play it on an emulator either... so what to do?
Let's check out what the "reproduction" cart craze is all about! I loathe the term "reproduction" - a reproduction is a subsequent production run by the original manufacturer (or a licensee thereof) in my humble opinion, and these most certainly are not... they're bootlegs. Still though, when I checked AliExpress, I found some that seemed quite reasonable - approximately $10AUD (about 8USD) including shipping.
So I ordered Chrono Trigger, in an NTSC configuration, and TMNT IV: Turtles in Time (another fantastic game I will likely never own a legitimate copy of) as well. That was weeks ago, but they're coming surface mail from China so that's to be expected.
They finally arrived yesterday, but we were too busy cleaning to give them a proper shakedown. Tested them out, and TMNT works flawlessly, however Chrono Trigger won't save. Balls! A speed run of CT is only about four hours long in most cases, but still. Time to pop it apart and see what's going on.
Turns out, one of the downsides to such a low price was it didn't include the CR2032 battery. Put that in, and it saved, but lost it again. Possibly there is a dry solder joint, but I've played it for a few hours and it hasn't lost my save yet. Tried contacting the seller to see if there's anything they can do, but so far they've not answered.
Interestingly enough, rather than using one of several methods for defeating copy protection/licensing (of which I'm told there are plenty), these carts have a legitimate Nintendo CIC soldered into them, which looks like it's pilfered from another cart (not New Old Stock). I wonder if they're buying up bulk lots of sports titles to take apart? And if so, why not use the boards and cart shells to give a bit more legitimate look? Perhaps there's more money to be made selling the boards and shells separate from the bootleg games?
There's absolutely no mistaking these for legitimate carts: I boasted on Reddit that I'm pretty sure I could tell these bootleg carts apart from the real thing just by picking them up, because the plastic is different. The label on TMNT is awful, like it's printed from thumbnail resolution, but CT's isn't too shabby at all. Really though, I didn't buy these to sit on the shelf, I bought them to play. I'm thinking I will hit them with a hammer, or take them apart and hack them somehow, if I get legitimate copies ever.
In to sook at the property manager again this afternoon.
We complained before we left to the USA about the broken window (it looks like the foundation has shifted and caused the window frame to not be a rectangle anymore) and the security door on the kitchen falling off the hinges, and neither has been fixed yet. More pressingly, the sunshade on the front of the house has come loose again and I was concerned about the wind ripping it off, so I didn't want to wait until our inspection to complain about these things, so I thought I'd complain about everything at once.
After thinking for a while though, I started to wonder if maybe the reason the window was never fixed was because we told them it wasn't super important - it was summer after all when we reported it, and it's not like it's an eyesore or anything. I was definitely hoping they'd have fixed the security door by now though.
My other concerns were:
- That the tyres left at the back fence were ammended on to the condition report - I shouldn't have to pay to dispose of a bunch of tyres just because they weren't visible during the report, and I shouldn't have had to check under each and every plant for contraband.
- The window
- The security door
- The sun shade
- The heater is making a terrible noise again
I also asked if the electrician whom I'd spoken to a while back about running an ethernet cable to the back of the house could give me a quote on doing it now, as this wifi bridge is suboptimal.
Update: After contacting Kerry, and them not having any record of the conversation about the tyres, I decided to write a letter spelling out everything. I mentioned the above, as well as:
- The shed wall coming apart from the frame
- The TV antenna stopped working
- Nails along the fence loosening
- The block of cement the plumber left next to the fence
- The dining room ceiling drooping
Fortunately, prior to me handing the letter to her on the day of inspection, they'd had a handyman come by and fix the security door and the blind, and a plumber came by to service the heater, so at least our primary complaints got fixed. Now I have a written record of notifying them of things too, which I'll have to do from now on.
We've been heading out to yard sales for quite some time now, mainly because ever since I got bitten by the retro gaming bug, I've been hoping to score something amazing. I've found very little so far, but that makes it a rather cheap hobby. I like to tell folks that I try not to get beaten down by what I am finding, but by what I could find... it's about the thrill of the hunt, and the endless possibilities (a cheap NeoGeo AES would be awesome!).
Today, we set out on the usual route of miserable wintertime yard sales, and the first one we hit is absolutely hopping. Cars illegally parked for several hundred meters down the street, on both sides... we parked quite a ways away, where it was legal, and walked back. As we sauntered towards it I checked the ad - it was mostly camping, fishing, and motorcycle gear, with a ton of tools. But we're here now, so why not, and immediately I noticed a great big box of PS1 games. I like to buy PS1 games if they're cheap enough, because it's quite nostalgic to me... this was the system Sabriena and I both had very early on in our relationship, and there's a lot of great memories there. None in any of the games we have right now mind, but they're out there.
So the whole box is labelled $15, and on the surface it looks like a pretty good deal. I start peeking under the top of the box, and I spy a Namco GunCon... that tears it, I'm buying it. I brought it home and went through everything.
One of the unrealized benefits at the time of purchase was I found the last game I needed to complete my collection of the main Gran Turismo games - Gran Turismo II. It was complete, once I dug up all the parts (discs in the wrong cases and such), and considering that that's $15AUD at the moment on it's own, everything else was gravy.
The GunCon is complete, and comes with a copy of Point Blank, which I already had, and the multi-out adaptor so you don't have to have the console right near the TV. It appears to work, but I can't test it right now because we don't have a CRT. If it works, it's worth substantially more than I paid. But it wasn't the last thing in the box.
There was a PSOne console, complete and functioning, with two controllers and a handful of games. I cleaned all the dust off it, confirmed it works, and then put it up. I don't much care for the PSOnes, after all.
Along side that, there was also an original PlayStation, the SCH-7002 model (so not the coveted RCA-out model). I plugged it in and checked it out, and it functions too though the lens needs cleaning. Digging through all the games though, there's a burnt copy of "Tomorrow Never Dies", which meant a non-zero chance that one of these consoles was modded. Turns out the PSOne isn't, but the 7002 is! That means I can take my US one and put it on the shelf, and use the one PSX console for everything. Neat!
Finally, there was a Team Mad Catz steering wheel. It works, but it's fucking awful. I already have a Logitech wheel for the PS2, so I don't think I'll keep this. I'll probably sell the PSOne as well, though I don't think they're worth much. All in all, really happy with today's haul, and it more than makes up for the drought I've had going out to yard sales every week and coming home empty handed. Now to find an N64, a GCN, and a NeoGeo!
One of the benefits to the Nvidia card I bought (considering that in retrospect, I probably should have bought an RX480 instead if they were more available) was that it came with a free game. Neither of the games were something I was super interested in, so I didn't put a whole heap of effort into immediately redeeming it, but later on Sabriena mentioned she might like to play "For Honor", and it was free, so let's do it.
I dug out all the information necessary, put it all together, filled in the form and...
This card isn’t sold during this campaign period. Please check the
redemption rule again. If you encounter any redemption problem, please
provide your product serial number, PPID, a valid receipt and send to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also clearly state the game title in the
title of mail. (Please provide a valid receipt with clear show of
date of purchase and upload it to any cloud space, for example
Dropbox, WeTransfer, ASUS Webstorage and provide a download URL.)
So the first thing I do is double-check the rules: the promotion starts on the 23rd of March, and I bought my card the 27th. Maybe they were having problems with the dates being in Australian format? Could happen I suppose. Elsewhere in the rules, it mentioned sending a PM via the ROG forums, so I went to try that, and it won't accept a referer from their own website for some hilarious reason.
So I fired off an email to the abovementioned address and thought nothing of it. 9 days later I get this:
Thank you for your mail.
Sorry that the date of purchase is not in the promotion period. The GTX1060 can redeem the game only if it was bought after 3/28
Please check the redemption rule again.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Maybe I need glasses. Off to check things out and nope, they're mistaken. So I responded thusly, providing a screenshot and an archive link of their very own website to show, where I heard nothing back for well over 9 days. Nearly two weeks later, I started bugging them on their Facebook page, only to be ignored as well. I also tweeted at them, to no response whatsoever.
Finally, this morning, I get an email stating that yes I'm eligible, and a code to redeem the game via GeForce Experience. Shortly thereafter, the Facebook page messaged me as well, and had earlier blamed the tardy responses on Computex. I'm not sure I believe that the entire social media team was too busy to so much as give a "hey we're working on this" for three weeks prior to Computex, but whatever. I'm just glad I didn't have to contact them for an actual problem or I'd be thoroughly enraged.