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EA Play

New month, new post shilling for Game Pass.

This time, I wanted to direct your attention towards the fact that EA Play is now an included part of the Game Pass subscription. It was supposed to have been added in December, but better late than never, I guess. While there is still a premium tier (EA Play Pro) that holds some newer games out of reach, a very large and very old selection of EA titles are available.

Seeing this one brought be waaaaaaay back, for example:

I cropped the name out, but it’s Populous, released 1989. It was one of the few SNES games in my library growing up – especially when cartridges could cost $80 in mid-90s money – so I ended up spending a lot of time with the game and its many scenarios. I also ended up playing SimCity and Civilization 2 on the SNES, and have many a fond memory of that.

I’m glad I took the screenshot because it appears EA has already taken down Populous and replaced it with its sequels.

Not the same.

Incidentally, there is a big ole “BETA” written across the top of the EA Desktop app they make you download, so perhaps they are testing things as they go. I already ran into one issue downloading a game, wherein the download crashed midway and now the game will neither open nor download nor delete. When I tried booting up Dungeon Keeper 2 for giggles – and to see what the fuss was all about when I played the supposedly bastardized mobile app back in 2014 – it was an unplayable slide-show. I’m assuming that last bit has more to do with the game expecting drivers that haven’t existed for 20 years, but it’s still a poor show to have games available to download (or purchase!) in a unplayable state. At least GOG (supposedly) updates their versions to be playable on Win10 PCs.

In any case, my actual download list looks like this:

Looks like random pishposh because it is. As it turns out, I already played through a lot of EA’s catalog over the years or otherwise own the games elsewhere. For example, many of the Battlefield games, Mass Effect series, Dead Space series, and so on. Not pictured but to be downloaded later includes: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Vampyr, Star Wars Battlefront 2 (maybe), and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

There is even Anthem available, which I almost want to check out of morbid curiosity. Then again, I don’t want to develop a taste for toad right as the game gets canned. Well, Anthem will still exist for some indeterminate amount of time, but ending future updates on a Live Service game kills the game.

Anyway, if you don’t already have Game Pass then the addition of the EA library probably won’t move the needle much for you. But if you do have it and didn’t pay attention to the pop-ups… well, you’re welcome. I’ll post some impressions of these new (to me) games as I play them.

Or I won’t, because I’m too busy playing them. The eternal blogging dilemma.

Smart Move, Nintendo

Have you seen this adorable thing?

NES_Mini.jpg

Of course you have.

Whoever walked into that Nintendo exec meeting with that in their pocket better have gotten a raise.

I’m not going to go over the details of what games it includes and all that – once again, there are a million different blog posts about it – but I did want to briefly comment on my reaction to it. Namely, it’s brilliant. And what is especially brilliant about it is the fact that it costs $60.

See, you can get a Raspberry Pi 3 for $30-$35 and potentially create your own emulator that plays all the games. But between the Pi 3 itself, some kind of enclosure for it, the microSD card, the controller, and all the steps necessary for piracy… well, let’s just say there is a point at which it’s better to just go legit. And, shit, how much would people pay for a tiny nonfunctional NES on their shelf in the first place? The fact that it plays actual games is probably a bonus.

We’ll see this holiday season whether or not the internet hype over the device translates into actual dollars. I hope it does… because I’m hoping for a SNES version later. Can you imagine? Super Metroid, FF6, Chrono Trigger, A Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, Mario Kart, and so on.

Then it will be on like Donkey Kong (Country).

Alpha Centauri 2

News out of PAX: Firaxis is working on a new Civilization game… in space.

Honestly, Alpha Centauri is basically one of those infinite-nostalgia games for me. My prior exposure to the Civilization games was actually Civ 2 for the SNES (yes, really), so you can imagine how blown away I was after installing those Alpha Centauri discs back in high school. Hell, I haven’t even played a Civ game since then – I have Civ 5 in my Steam library, but I was always a bit leery of getting sucked back in.

The thing that impressed me the most in Alpha Centauri though were the quotes that came with every technological advancement. You can read the big list of them if you’d like, but here are a few of my favorites:

Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill.

  • CEO Nwabudike Morgan “The Ethics of Greed”

This was one of the first times I encountered a thought turned on its ear.

We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

  • Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED)

I laughed. And still do at the meta-humor.

Man’s unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.

  • Academician Prokhor Zakharov

(Heard after researching Intellectual Integrity)

This was likely my first formal introduction to the Just-world hypothesis/fallacy. From a videogame! And beyond the above quotes, Alpha Centauri fielded a lot of more classical, real-world quotes from Plato and Aristotle which, combined with the coolness of the game itself, instilled a sense of wonder and wanting to know more. I definitely doubt I would have read The Republic without having played Alpha Centauri.

I don’t have any great expectations that Civ: BE will be better than my crystallized childhood memories of AC, but I remained cautiously optimistic nonetheless.

So far, it looks like the tentative release date is Fall 2014.

The List

Just for fun, the following is the list of old games/systems/etc that I’m selling to that website:

NES

  • Nintendo console w/ cords
  • Nintendo console without cords (may not work)
  • Two Original controllers
  • Nintendo Advantage controller (arcade-style gamepad)
  • Blaster Master
  • Metal Gear
  • Battle Chess
  • Super Mario Bros
  • Super Mario Bros 2
  • Super Mario Bros 3 (two copies)
  • Dr Mario
  • Metroid (+instructions)
  • Mega Man 3
  • Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse
  • Top Gun
  • Duck Tales

SNES

  • Super Nintendo console w/ cords
  • Original controller
  • 3rd party controller (unknown brand, has turbo and slow buttons)
  • Mouse and Mouse pad (two mouse pads) for Mario Paint
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors (+box plus instructions)
  • Chrono Trigger (+box plus instructions)
  • Illusion of Gaia (+box plus instructions)
  • Populous (+box plus instructions)
  • The Chessmaster
  • Secret of Mana
  • Sim City (+box plus instructions)
  • Super Metroid (+box plus instructions)
  • TMNT Tournament Fighters (+instructions)
  • Star Fox (+instructions)
  • Mario Paint (+instructions)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (+instructions)
  • Super Mario All-Stars
  • Final Fantasy 3

Sega Genesis

  • Beavis & Butthead (+box plus instructions)
  • Jurassic Park (+box plus instructions)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (+box)
  • Streets of Rage 2 (+box)
  • Madden ’94 (+box)

N64

  • Nintendo 64 console w/ cords and box
  • Two Original controllers

Special Note

I seem to have misplaced all my N64 games, but I still have boxes/instructions for:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time Collector’s edition box + instructions
  • Perfect Dark box + instructions
  • Conker’s Bad Fur Day box + instructions
  • Turok 2: Seeds of Evil box + instructions
  • Golden Eye: 007 box + instructions
  • Star Fox 64 box + instructions

Instruction Manuals

Similar to the N64 situation, I have loose sets of instructional manuals for the following games:

  • Battletoads (NES)
  • Super Mario 64 (N64)
  • Wave Race 64 (N64)

Gamecube

  • Gamecube console w/ cords
  • Four Original controllers (silver, purple, black x2)
  • Resident Evil Zero (+case and instructions)
  • Super Smash Bros Melee (+case and instructions)
  • Tales of Symphonia (+case and instructions)

___________________

The whole collection above is being bought for $375. I did do some research beforehand, and realize that a lot of those SNES games could fetch ~$50 by themselves. Indeed, Conker’s Bad Fur Day for N64 could have sold for $45 to the same website – it is supposedly a very Rare game (get it, get it… oh nevermind). Regardless, I feel pretty comfortable with $375 if only because it saves me the trouble of having to micromanage dozens of individual eBay auctions.

Finally, for the record, I had more games for these systems than listed above; I just had a tendency to sell them back to the used game place for store credit.

I am not entirely sure I will ever sell my Playstation collection though. Final Fantasy Tactics, FF7, Xenogears, Tenchu 1 & 2, Chrono Cross, Silent Hill… sigh. Soon it will be 15 years since any of these cases were opened, but I suppose there are lines even I won’t yet cross. Then again, none of those games are backwards compatible with the PS3, so once my PS2 shuts down for good… damn.