Tag Archive | Awesome stuff

2015/2016 New Year wrap-up

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As 2016 is soon to be upon us, I’d like to just have a quick glance back at this years happenings.

All the way back in March I hinted this with a quick post, but I moved out of my parents house and into an apartment for the first time in my life.
I knew some friends and family my age and younger that already had moved out but it took me until this year to do so.

I actually did start looking at apartments back in summer 2014, not seriously at first, but just as last years christmas descended upon us, I had managed to secure a place of my own, which I would get access to early this year. It took a few things coming together successfully, much like a delicate puzzle under a time limit, and quite some help from my parents to make this happen.

It took me longer than anticipated to actually move in but that was pretty much because of me, the apartment itself was actually in good nick and had received a somewhat recent make-over. Not having moved anywhere in my life before, packing things down effectively went so-so and it was only then I realized the full extent of my hoarder personality which had thrived quite well thanks an actual salary.

Also I wanted to wait until the last moment to move my computer, as I didn’t want it sitting in a box more than necessary.
So then when some of the other stuff, like temporary furniture and such was in place, we moved my bed and computer in one sitting. And the moment the bed moved, was when I officially moved out. I also got a few wooden chairs (surprisingly comfortable) and a (not so stable) folding table from a pair that was just cleaning out another apartment. Free stuff!

I remember it quite well. I moved during the weekend so that I would have grown a bit accustomed to things and not spend my entire morning getting ready for work with looking through the wrong cupboards.
The feeling was actually that of staying in a hotel. It was an odd but not all unpleasant feeling.

After a week it did feel like home though. And it really does now.

So yeah, moving out was the really big thing in 2015.

And if words bore you, here are some photos for your amusement:
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I also hope you realize I moved most boxes and crap outta the way when taking pictures. It’s quite much more of a mess IRL 😀

Bonus f00d pr0n:

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Also got me a temporary oldschool gaming setup going now:

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It’ll probably be the way it is for way too long to be called “temporary” but it’s a start. Here in December I actually sat down and played through Snatcher on the PC Engine, which was nice. Otherwise I’ve spent most of my time gaming on PC thanks since I upgraded my PC a little bit and there were indeed some good games out this year. I spent a lot of time with Metal Gear Solid V when that came out, for example.

Audio-related Imgur link

I also dabbled more with speakers and hifi-stuff this year. During the late summer I attempted to switch from my Mission 752 tower speakers to something more modern. I first ran the standmount-route and after some comparison made the rash decision to get a pair of Dali Zensor 3s. I demoed the Wharfedale 10.2 and Boston Acoustics A26 before deciding, but looking back those two were probably more in line of my preferences. But I wanted something a bit different sounding and got carried away.

After not really getting along with the sound signature (personal opinion, speakers were quite impressive technically) I went the floorstanding route again and ended up with a pair of Audio Pro Avanto 5.0s. These have been rather good. Chesty if run in full-range or crossed low but as one might expect a bit much in my small living room. So I am once again thinking of maybe getting another pair of bookshelf speakers…we’ll just have to see what I end up doing in 2016.

I also ended up getting a new portable music player, the Sony NWZ-A17. This one (64gb ver) I had to get from Massdrop as the Sony was 1) quite expensive here in Sweden and 2) not available with the larger memory (bit priced almost as high).
It’s been really good. The back/option buttons are slightly mushy though but other than that works well. I’ve been using Sony DAPs since my Creative Zen Micro died and I got a Sony NWZ-A818 instead, which I wrote about long ago.

As for drawing, I’ve been hanging out on /r/animesketch way more than my DA account this year. Fun place, go have a look!

And now I really don’t have time to sit here and write away anymore!
Again, see you 2016! /o/

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Oh hey, kickstarted things…

Back in 2013, before I took a brief lengthy hiatus writing things here, I mentioned two very interesting Kickstarter campaigns. One was for the western release of the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA on Blu-ray and the other was for SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works, a fancy book dedicated to well, the Sega Mega Drive.

As you might know, not only did those successfully finish their fundraising, but also the actual products as well. Neato!
As I don’t have too much experience with crowd funding, and while I can see the same problem as everyone else, it does feel like a fresh way of doing things, and also a way to vote with your money to get what you want. When that works….that is.

If we tackle the book first, it’s a really cool book. It’s big, chunky and absolute eye candy if you have…feelings for Sega’s 16-bit system.
I regret to say I haven’t read the whole book yet, as in with the words, but I’ve looked through it multiple times and it’s just a matter of me finding time to properly wind down with this sleek read.

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With that, we’ll move on to the BGC Blu-ray which, unsurprisingly, is just delicious. I never owned the DVD release or had a high quality rip on my PC, so this was a real step up. No matter how much I love to have the show on LaserDisc, this is just better. Not the biggest fan of the multi colored subs, as they are rather too saturated, but there’s also non-colored subs available so it’s a non-problem really. Video and audio is, as expected, stellar. There are also some interesting extras, such as the Knight Sabers Holiday in Bali, which I can’t watch without cringing uncontrollably – but that might just be me.

Also getting access to a high quality scanned PDF version of BGC manga Grand Mal, among a few other things, is definitively a nice touch.

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Wrapping it up, I’m looking forward to whatever future projects might be next from the creators of both. Robert from AnimEigo seemed quite interested in maybe doing another kickstarter…
Here’s to hoping! /o/

The Classy Loot of March 2014

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Welcome to this late March decidedly CLASSY loot extra post.
It’s the kind of post where we’re just all about staying classy.

And, you might ask, what exactly is this glorious little pile of stuff? I’m glad you asked!
The headphones are the Sony MDR-1R – which are just so, soo very comfortable. Although gets a tad warm after a while.
Still, for a closed can they feel really airy and I’m impressed by both the soundstage and instrument separation.
On the other hand, I don’t have that much in terms of headphone experience. Could do with just a bit more thumpy bass, though.

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Then we have the just released Ranma ½ TV Season 1 Blu-ray collection. It’s a new HD master, apparently. Viz posted comparisons on their youtube page, which did look a bit over-saturated but with nice details. I’m planning to check it out after finishing writing this, so we’ll see how the quality is.*
This box is nice anyhow, and I’ve always wanted to check out the TV-series.

*Update: Quality is actually really nice. Colors doesn’t seem overly saturated to me and there’s no horrible filtering going on. Maybe a bit on the grainy side on the other hand, but that’s really preferable instead of having it forcefully removed.

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Lastly there’s another Agent AIKa DVD.
…What? D:< RightStuf had a sale so I jumped on that. Picture quality is all right with good colors and decent details but it seems to be suffering a bit from compression. Oh, well. Still nice to have it on DVD as well….now to complete that LD collection… >_>

 

Stayclassy

The (still) early 2014 loot post

Err. Yeah.

A bit late as usual but here we are. Literary TONS of stuff to go through! Important to note is that, all this isn’t bought at the same time but rather, all the collected loot since last time I posted (and maybe even before that, in case of pre-orders and the like).
Where to start? Maybe with this PC-FX that finally made it’s way to me late november last year?

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A bit yellowed but seems to work well 🙂 That is my complete, measly library of games for the thing on the left there. Team Innocent has seen the most action among those games (completed it).
Next up is what arrived after I went a bit nuts after the holidays:

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Decided to expand my meagre collection of import manga. I’m really liking Mikiyo Tsuda’s work so I picked up Day of the Revolution and the first volume of Princess Princess. I really want to get my hands on the english language release as well. Great stuff!
Also picked up another volume of the excellent Family Compo. And some other stuff, including an interesting assortment of music CDs & soundtracks. T-Square is always nice (fab Jazz Fusion) and I discovered Frankie Goes to Hollywood thanks to youtube.

Also got me the soundtrack for Under Siege which is simple, but atmospheric, another entry in the ever growing pile of all things Bubblegum Crisis, the soundtrack to the first Idol Defense Force Hummingbird OVA and some delightfully cheesy dance tracks with the MAKAI*STARs album. Also found a nice 1981-1987 collection CD from Japanese artist Toshiki Kadomatsu, whose stuff I’ve really gotten into as of late. It’s basically more delightful cheese.
THE GOOD STUFF!

Lastly I bought a copy of Manga Studio 5 – however I was stupid and imported it (and got hit by extra charges) when I could’ve saved money and bought it -with free shipping- from Amazon UK instead. >_<;
Aaaanyway, some welcome additions to the LD library also showed up. Good stuff too, maybe especially Gundam 0083.

Then began my latest collection craze – physical anime releases. It’s a bit embarrassing this but, I’ve always been more of a fansub guy. I did buy some anime DVDs but those were so crappy I grew very, very wary of official releases however stupid that may sound. But recently I’ve seen so many things I want to own on DVD/Blu-ray pop up for very decent prices so I basically just caved in.

I’ve actually always wanted to support the industry by buying physical anime releases but the box-sets I’ve seen have been a bit pricey and I’ve always been strapped for cash – not to mention me not really trusting the companies to do a decent job. But that’s a topic for another day!

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Pre-ordering that Hidamari Sketch blu-ray literary blew open the floodgates. More cool deals showed up, such as the sweet Doujin Work DVD/Manga combo by RightStuf (which is probably just the right amount of Hiroyuki) and being the self-declared fan of the original AIKa I am, how could I pass up AIKa R-16 for a super low price? I can hear your facepalm from where I sit but I don’t hate AIKa R-16. Now, AIKa Zero on the other hand….*shakes fist*

Keeping in line with the fan service, I also picked up Highschool DxD and it’s been surprisingly decent. Also picked up Summer Wars as well as the ever excellent Cowboy Bebop. I forgot to mention I had to secure two blu-ray players (region A & B) in order to enjoy all this, by the way. A great book store in Stockholm also had a sale where I picked up some neat things.
Thankfully, all this craziness is coming to an end. The last pile of things to look at is this:

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Last but not least, as they say. With this, another milestone has been achieved as my Bubblegum Crisis LaserDisc collection is now complete.
Then some cheap bishoujo-games for the Saturn showed up, along with Asuka 120½ Burning Fest. Limited and Langrisser for PC Engine. Also thrown in there is ToHeart 2 DX Plus for the PS3 which is, as far as I can tell, pretty much the perfect version of this game to own. Sure, the extra scenes from the X-rated PC release will most likely not be included, but those aren’t really important anyway.

And that’s it. Geeez, talk about hoarding.

New MiniDisc additions

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My little MiniDisc family has grown with another two members. Joining the collection is two popular Sony recorders.

Presenting the MZ-R50 and the MZ-R900:

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The R900 was, at the time, the player of choice for a friend of mine and the R50, in orange, was one of the very first units that really caught my eye when going to the list in the minidisc.org link he provided.

The MZ-R900 is pretty nice – I like the way I can set the bass. The menu also works well and I prefer the design of this remote to the newer one that came with my MZ-N10. It sounds great, but I haven’t done any serious comparisons with my other units. It came with a battery, but it lacks the charger so I’m running it with the battery cradle attached.

The R50 was bought untested but turned out to be working fine. Also came with a bunch of extras like a dozens of minidiscs and a bag, which alone would be worth the (great) price I paid. My only regret is that it’s the silver version and not the orange one. Nothing wrong with silver, but all my MD portables just happen to be silver units and a bit of color would look great there. And the R50 just looks so stunning in orange. Oh well.

The build quality feels pretty amazing, by the way. People have said it’s built like tank and I can only nod in agreement. Sure, for a portable, it’s a bit heavy (and large) but it sure feels good to touch.

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Speaking of robust MD recorders, sadly, the old MT832 I picked up in April last year just stopped reading the Table of Contents on discs the other day, giving an error message. Strange, as it felt just as sturdily built as the R50.

Luckily, the Sharp MD-DR77 I picked up from Yahoo Japan back in March is still working.
I’d say with this, my thirst for new MD units have been pretty much quenched. Although there are a couple of units out there I still want to play around with.

Oh, and as you can see I also picked up the classic KOSS PortaPro…cheap (well, sort of) and for the price well sounding.

Let’s end this post with just a bit more eye candy : )

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The Late Summer Video l00t Special

Here it is! The long awaited, much anticipate-…..err, look…if you can watch these with a straight face, good for you.

I can’t.
Even though I’m decidedly handsome.

I had lots of cool stuff piling up and I lucked out on some pretty fantastic artbooks. I thought that using my camera to film the stuff would be a fun idea, after all, I’ve been really wanting to try out this youtube channel-thing on my own after watching some really cool cats do their thing. Then comes that moment when reality sets in and you realize that, yes, that muffled, lisping banter is actually your own voice.

On 4 different occasions I’ve tried to film this only to end up disappointed with the result so this last time, I just said “f*ck it!” and threw it all into Adobe Premier for some basic editing.
However, Faginrs500’s video about stammering is still pretty encouraging, so hopefully things can improve if I just keep on doing it. We’ll see. I still want to get some proper game capture hardware, as well as a tripod.

Anyway, I shall not delay it any further, ta-da~~!

(I can totally see why people complain about youtube’s compression)
So, like I said, now that I have a channel I would really like to add some more proper content at some point. If I get ’round doing that, I’ll update here as well 🙂

See you, people!

Recent pickups 15/6 2013

Just shoving my face in here for a quick loot post.

Picked up more video processing hardware from a user on the System11 SHMUPS forums: a Vigatec Dune-F.

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In terms of 240p performance, it seems to be essentially the same as my Vigatec FX2+, but I have yet to see it act up like the FX2+ could do when games change resolution mid-game. It looses sync and the image starts jumping. A quick reset fixes that but it’s hardly ideal. So if this works out well, I’ll be mighty pleased just by that. It also seems like it’s quite competent in other areas as well, but I’ve yet to try any new systems with it since I haven’t got the adapter I need yet (and I picked up this thing just yesterday).

Also, some games have made their way into my post box.

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All nice ones. I may already have Ridge Racer 7 but it really feels more right playing RR6 using the 360 controller. Those triggers are great for racing games. The music’s also pretty great, well, some tracks are. Happy to own Gyakuten Saiban on DS, or as we know it, Ace Attorney. I have played most of the games in the series, but through less legal means (sadly) so to get a proper version feels great. I have made it through the Japanese version once before, it shall be interesting to see if I can do it again.

Speaking of JP versions, getting Rockman EXE 3/Mega Man Battle Network 3 has got me absolutely stoked. I have a bit of history with the first three MMBN games and anime series it spawned, so this was a very nice thing to pick up and I’ll be sure to give it a whirl. I actually picked up the second game last year, and I beat it (well, the story mode anyway) so hopefully I’ll be able to repeat that feat. I’m only used to play these games using an emulator, after all.

Snatcher for the PC Engine is another one that I look forward to getting into. I already own the Saturn version, but after comparing the two, I really wanted to play the PCE version instead. Stoked about that one as well, even though the case has got a few blemishes.
Wing Arms for the Saturn I haven’t tried yet but I’ve watched a bit of gameplay and it seemed like fun. Borderlands 2 I picked up to play through with a friend.

And that’s all I got for now. I am waiting for a big package to arrive but it’s going surface post so maybe just not yet.

Got me a new display: AOC i2757Fm

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Whoozah! Going bigger is the trend, aye? Actually, I have been eyeing this particular monitor for a couple of months now while I’ve been saving up. It’s a (relatively) low cost 27″ LED IPS monitor, based on one of LG’s offerings. Cutting quickly to the chase, is it any good? Yes. Yes, it is. It doesn’t feel overly plasticy (only slightly – but I’ve had worse), got a fair amount of connections (however no DVI, sadly) and I really like the aesthetics. Stand maybe is a bit wobbly, but it works. You can place it right on the table without the stand if you wish.

If I had to nitpick, which I will do, it’s that I can’t seem to get the colors to look as good….or rather, as “deep” as they look on my Eizo Foris F2332, which also is a LED IPS display, although smaller with “only” 23 inches. I’ve been using that as my main display since probably last summer and I’ve really been rather fond of it, so naturally, I can’t help but to compare the two.

Especially when gaming or watching movies have I seen the Eizo come out slightly on top with a more detailed image, and with a white balance that somehow feels more white, more neutral, while the AOC, with my current settings at least, have this ever so slightly warm tint. Now, if I didn’t have the Eizo to compare to I would be perfectly satisfied. But I’m no expert, and I don’t have any of that fancy calibration equipment, so I don’t know if my Eizo displays the most “correct” colors, only that I slightly prefer it. It’s also worth mentioning that it lacks VESA mounting features, which may be a deal breaker to some.

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Also please note that this is a 1080p display, and does not, like some of the other 27″ offerings out there, go up to WQHD resolutions (2560 x 1440). This can be both a blessing and a curse. Since I have my Xbox 360 and PS3 living in the PC corner, having a 1080p monitor is perfect. And I think 1080p is totally a-OK for computing as well. For now, at least.

Now that both my PC monitors works in 1080p, I can game on whichever one I want and doing something else on the other – thanks to a cheap HDMI switcher and HDMI splitter solution like this:

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Enjoying some blue skies in Just Cause 2

Oh and please ignore the mess which is my cabling. I’ll get to it…

…eventually.

TokiMemo hidden musings

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Hello there, long time no see!

I was going to some loot posts but I didn’t, because of 100% pure lazyness and procrastination. In the end, all purchases sort of blurred together and I couldn’t be bothered, considering the amont of loot posts lately I felt like another one wasn’t really necessary right now…perhaps?

Anyway, today I want to talk games. Hidden gems, in fact, with hidden being the operative word here.
You see, sometime in late December last year I picked up Tokimeki Memorial for PC Engine – yup, the original. I really prefer the later Saturn version of this one but:
1) it is cheap.
2) it contains a PCE only unlockable.

Actually, to be fair, all different versions of TokiMemo seems to have some unlockables that aren’t available elsewhere, but I digress.

After putting it off for some months I sat down and gave it a spin. And, whelp, it feels decidedly more spartan than the Saturn version, or what I remember from it. Character sprites, while good and sharp, have some odd colors here and there (might be caused by the composite signal). Backdrops have certain digitized photo look to them which I’m not very fond off, and the “painted on detail” is…actually not detailed enough. 😛
And music? Music is…okay. I like the PCE sound but the game’s soundtrack isn’t all that to be honest. It’s fun hearing familiar tunes played back as they once were intended but really, later versions does it much better.
Lastly, I just can’t help but feel I’m having no real way of planning out the weeks in the game. It was a while since I last touched the Saturn version but I want to remember it being much better at visually indicating if a test was coming up or if I had a date on one day…or just showing anything really.

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But don’t get me wrong – the PCE version is still very much playable. And it’s still fun. In the beginning anyway, as TokiMemo can get pretty dreary after a while when you do the same thing all over again. But it mixes things up enough for it to keep it interesting. And it’s easy to forget just how much content there is in TokiMemo.

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My mission was simple. Unlock a specific mini game by being active in the computer club and playing close to three full years.
Okay…well…simple maybe isn’t the right word but it doesn’t sound that hard either. You just have to man up and play the game (almost) to completion.

However, I was off to a bad start as I wasn’t entirely sure about what I needed to do at first. Maybe it didn’t help I opted to continue from where I left off after my little test run instead of starting a new game either.

Anyway, after doing a double check in the instructions I quickly joined the computer club and began to slowly but surely raise those stats.
Speaking of which, this is a good time to try and win the heart of Yuina Himoo, the mad scentist girl, since you’ll be in the same club and all.

And, maybe you’re wondering, what is this PC Engine only little secret? It’s a mini game – “Force Gear“, a caravan styled horizontal shooter with some heavy vibes from other Konami titles. It’s not very long, the controls are a bit clunky, the end boss is hard but it’s quite fun and the music is nice. It’s quite charming actually, and it’s obvious that more work has gone into this game than you’d expect. HG101 wrote a little piece about it here.

So is it worth picking up TokiMemo just in order to play Force Gear? I’d say that depends on how much you like Tokimeki Memorial. There are alternative options for those not wanting
to do a full run through an old dating sim presented in moon runes – these options are either finding an ISO with Force Gear already unlocked or unlocking it with some kind of cheat device.

Well in the game, on the first culture festival I demonstrated some kind of love compatibility computer software. Compatibility with our blue haired genius is deemed to be “normal”.
MISSION STATUS: Could go better.

I spend the year trying to get her on a few dates, as well as raising more stats…and taking care of (read: dating) the girls that approached me because of said raised stats.
Christmas was spent alone as I wasn’t allowed entry to pretty boy Ijuin’s mansion. Appearance stats probably too low. How sad.

Second culture festival: Twinbee Returns unlocked. Shame it’s not a very great looking game. Also, I’m terrible at it. But it’s something at least. Situation with Himoo is good. She secretly has the hots for me. I think. Though she called the game I made stupid.
MISSION STATUS: Making progress.

Even after raising the good look-stats a bit, christmas was alone. Again. Ouch.

And then finally, the third culture festival! Will this be it? Will I unlock what I’ve been seeking?
No. Himoo performed a live hacking demonstration and took over a military satellite instead. I guess that’s something. Oh and she totally has the hots for me now.
Sometime here, the me in the game also said something about sending a game in for a competition. Huh. Oh well.
MISSION STATUS: Failed?

Decided to keep playing, with this being the last year and all.
And then, after the new years eve – the results for that earlier mentioned game competition is in. 3rd place? Can’t remember but surprise, surprise – screen goes black and Force Gear starts!
MISSION STATUS: COMPLETE. Almost.

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As you can see, it’s a bit of work to unlock this “hidden” feature. The only thing that remains at this point is to finish the game so that Force Gear will be playable straight from the omake menu in options.

And I did – even if a “bomb” did go off and lowered the relation level with the girls. BUT HOW DID IT EEENNNND?

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YEAH.

This felt quite good actually. Regardless how much I suck at Force Gear, I have been wanting to at least try it for quite some time. And, I mean, it’s a transforming mech sidescrolling shooting game with Gradius vibes in an overly fluffy pretty girl game…does it get any cooler than that? 😀

The early “2013 belated loot & pickup” post

Hi everyone.

Haven’t been much activity around, for which I apologize but…I bet all three of you are used to that by now.
I have been picking things up left to right this past month(s) but maybe one of the most important things I just got must be this:

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The Sony NEX-C3, which will be replacing my ageing Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 as preferred camera of choice from here on out. The NEX-C3 can also film in 720p so maybe, just maybe, we will get some use out of that for youtube or something. I would very much like to, but I have the refined speech capabilities of a submerged otter.

Now for the rest of the loot.

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There’s a lot of fun stuff in here, but since I’m short on time, let me just highlight the really cool things. First off, new Minidisc player/recorder. It’s one that I’ve been wanting for quite some time. It’s very cool. It would be even cooler if I had some proper 4-pole headphones to make full use of the good sound tho’.
The other, for me, big pickup in there is Bulk Slash for the Saturn. Been wanting this game almost as long as I’ve had the system itself. Properly hyped to give that a spin later.
Moving on, Patlabor OVA LD box. MMmm….what can I say. Patlabor is a really cool show, you ought to check that out if you haven’t. I actually bought another version of this (called the Early Days box) on eBay in summer but it never turned up, sadly. So I was able to pick up another one through Yahoo Auctions. Very classy stuff.

While on the subject of anime, you maybe also noticed the Aika artbook to the left there…yes. Hrm…I still think AIKa is pretty bloody good, for a fanservice show. 99% of the known internet WILL disagree with me but to be honest, there is tons of fanservice shows that are so, so, so much worse. AIKa actually sports some really decent animation values not to mention good character & mechanical design – which is why it’s fun to have the artbooks. This is the second artbook, as I picked up the first one in what might be one of my first posts on this very blog.

Before I have to run, I’d just also like to mention the Dexule ARIEL soundtrack which, not only have the music on a disc, but also comes with a mini novel of sorts and a mini artbook. Very nice stuff. I got the LDs a while back and the soundstrack’s really nice and…not very common on eBay, so another Yahoo find then.

And now I own 3 PC-FX games without owning a console to play them on. Hmm.

And that’s it!
Actually it isn’t. But that’s most of it. There’s a few other bits & bobs that I maybe will make a separate post for, but this will be all for now.