In lieu of the usual Yearly Roundup, where I recount every game added to the collection over the past year, this year I’ve decided to do something different. As with every year here on SlickGaming there are many excellent finds and surprising deals on video games each and ever month, and I’ve always had a blast sharing them all with you. But now it’s time to look at the best of the best from 2014. I purchase a lot of games that are, for better or worse, padding to the collection. Now it’s time to look past those and determine the best, most exciting, and generally awesome finds of the last year. The following games (or groups of games) were the most impressive additions to the catalog in 2014. They’re not necessarily the rarest or most hard to find, but rather the most memorable pickups and greatest deals.
10. Club House Games
After a big of a fiasco where my original copy of the game didn’t work, I was able to track down another used copy for an even cheaper price! Club House Games has an interesting story as to why it’s a collectible game: There are different versions released in each region (North America, Europe, and Japan) each with different games, the US version saw a re-release which actually drove the collector’s value down a bit (bummer), and for a game that’s a collection of simple card games and whatnot, it got insanely positive reviews! For me, it’s been a game I’ve been looking at grabbing for years now, but I was never able to find for a cheap enough price. 2014 was the year, and I’m more than happy to have it in the collection!
9. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes
GameStop was good to me this year, particularly in the Wii department. Across many stores I was able to track down a great variety of titles, including this Capcom action game. The first in the series released in North America, Sengoku Barara: Samurai Heroes actually uses real-life Japaneses Samurai and daimyo or feudal lords as the characters you can play, including Ieyasu Tokugawa. If you understand Japanese (which I do!) then you’ll know the term Sengoku describes a period of Japanese history where there were plenty of Samurai and lords claiming all kinds of land as their domain, including Tokugawa, who would go on to unify them all under his rule. Anyway, I didn’t even know this game came out on the Wii, let alone it was the first to come to the States. I wouldn’t have even noticed it on the rack if I wasn’t looking closely because the title on the spine s written in the most generic text you’d think it was some kind of replacement case or shovelware game.
8. Killer is Dead: Limited Edition
One of the rare “New” games I bought this year, Killer is Dead is a game by developer Suda51, best known for his work on the No More Heroes series. This game’s on the list because of the price and condition: at just $10 I was elated to purchase, considering it contains the game along with special art book and music CD. It’s not particularly hard to find, with online sites like Amazon having it readily available, but for the low entry point I had to bite. On top of that, this is a game I actually want to play. The action packed gameplay and over the top nature of Suda51 makes the game even more appealing.
7. Tony Hawk games
Someone must have decided they were done playing games, because on this trip to Goodwill I happened across four Tony Hawk games (Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X, 3, 4, and American Wasteland) for two dollars each! I’m not a big original Xbox collector, but for that price and with each game in near perfect condition I had to pick them up. The best part of the deal though has to be the inclusion of the spinoff title Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer. Instead of skateboarding you’re surfing the waves and doing largely the same stuff from a gameplay standpoint as you would with Tony Hawk. This game is the much harder to find one, and another great find at Goodwill!
6. Back to the Future: The Game
Tell Tale Games have become one of the premier video game developers after the success of their Walking Dead series of interactive novels, but before all the zombies and crying they made some games that didn’t quite fare as well. Enter Back to the Future: The Game. Presented in episodic format, Back to the Future: The Game is an entirely new adventure for Marty and Doc, taking place after the entire film trilogy. The game even uses the likenesses of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd to represent series protagonists Marty McFly and Emmett Brown. And like Tell Tale Games’ other games it’s a point-and-click adventure masked in a 3D world. For just over ten bucks at GameStop this one was a no brainer: I hadn’t even seen the game in the wild before, and online it sells for up to $20. More deals like this, please!
5. Endless Ocean: Blue World
Another solid find at GameStop! Earlier in the year I picked up the original Endless Ocean for about five dollars, but the real gem in the series is the sequel, Blue World. Usually selling for about $20, Endless Ocean: Blue World lets you explore the depths of the ocean, interacting with marine life, and collecting pictures and information in a serene environment. I remember when the games first came out they were praised for being something different as well as something beautiful. For as odd a title as the original Endless Ocean was, I was really surprised when a sequel came out, but that’s what sometimes makes a game rare or hard to find!
4. Sam & Max: Season One
Whenever I can round out a series on a console, I’m usually on board. Whenever that means spending less than $5 I’m super on board. And when that means getting a classic like Sam & Max then just take my money. Or, in this case, just two dollars, as the game was selling for just a couple bucks at this GameStop back in Indiana. Sam & Max: Season One is a great representation of a hard to find game but not an expensive game. If you’ve been trying to seek it out in the wild you likely haven’t found it, but you can get a copy relatively cheap online (sometimes under $10). These are games that could be rare in the future once the resell market has dwindled and the demand for the title rekindled. I put this on my list because of my shock at seeing the game at all, and the wonderful price!
3. God Hand
The last game released by Clover Studio (the same group behind Viewtiful Joe and Okami), God Hand was a gift given to me on my birthday from my brother. The best and worst thing about this gift though is that it’s still sealed. One part of me wants to keep it sealed to keep the collector’s value up, as it’s a relatively sought after game, but the other part of me wants to tear it open to start playing it because I’ve heard great things about it. Regardless of my willpower, one thing is for sure: It looks great sitting on the PS2 collection shelf! God Hand has garnered some infamy online for a rather unfortunate/comical situation: The IGN review of the game was incredibly low considering the game received otherwise favorable reviews from other sites. That didn’t stop the internet from ripping the review apart and calling it one of the worst video game reviews ever written. To add insult to the review and IGN in general, an image began circulating showing a side-by-side IGN review comparison of God Hand and the Wii title Imagine: Party Babyz, which happened to score a 7.5 out of 10 on the site. Huh…
2. Okami, Shadow Hearts, We Love Katamari, and Ico
Speaking of Okami, another incredibly successful trip to Goodwill happened in December of 2014. Much like the Xbox games before it, these particular PS2 games were in perfect condition, although they carried a slightly high price tag. But that didn’t stop me from swooping in a week before Christmas and claiming them as my own! At six bucks each, these PS2 classics were absolute steals: Okami, Ico, and We Love Katamari are all $15-$20 games each, and Shadow Hearts comes in around the $25 mark. Financially they were a wonderful investment, but they are also some of the greatest games to grace the console. Okami in particular has such a huge following and reputation that any collection would be incomplete without it. And Ico along with Shadow of the Colossus (which I have, yay!) are paired together as two of the greatest games for the entire generation. Truly a great find and one that will go down in my book as another legendary Goodwill haul.
Oh man, what a find! Electroplankton had such a weird release it caused the game, which would likely have been a harder to find title thank to being such a niche genre, to become incredibly hard to find. Originally released in Japan, the game came to North America a year later but only saw release in the Nintendo World store in New York City and as an online exclusive title. Any game that comes out in such fashion will scream to a collector due to likely low quantity and high demand. Regularly selling for $20 – $25, Electroplankton is a standout game for any Nintendo DS collection and has found a very happy home in mine! If every year can be as fruitful to my collection as 2014 was, I’ll have a collection to be truly jealous of in no time!
There you have it, the ten best pick ups of 2014! As far as collecting goes, 2014 wasn’t the greatest year in terms of quantity, but definitely a great year for quality. I have a resolution, if you will, of hitting up more garage sales and thrift stores to find some of these deals, so hopefully 2015 will be an even better year!