Welcome back to Rare Loot where I quiz the ancient beings that rule over videolamer land about the treasured gaming stuff they’d sell their own children and or body parts for. The inaugural Rare Loot was with videolamer’s own Captain Picard, so it made sense to pick on a bearded womaniser next. Say hello to Pat who has beamed in from a planet made purely of pocket lint to tell us about one of his treasures.
Cunzy: Before we start proper, how would you identify your collecting habits? We know from Jay’s rare loot you co-own the Library(tm) but does this extend into trading cards, full body pillows, and giant Pokemon plushies?
Pat: The vast majority of my collecting energy and money are dedicated to games themselves. I am passionate about a few series and developers and might pick up a Special Launch Edition of a game with all the crap that comes along with it. I have a handful of artbooks I have bought over the years, but it would be more accurate to say I like owning certain Souls or Shenmue paraphernalia than to say I collect gaming art or artbooks. I considered offering my Japanese copy of Demon’s Souls or the What’s Shenmue demo disc for this interview, but maybe I will have a chance to talk about those in future installments.
My excitement has led me to dramatically overpay for several Kickstarter projects from my favorite developers, including Shenmue III, Dreamfall Chapters, and Eiyuden Chronicle. When I do that, I often end up with art prints, figurines, and soundtracks that are more a byproduct of my enthusiasm for the game than something I specifically sought to own.
My body pillow collection is a private matter between me and my holographic wife.
Cunzy: So what loot have you brought to us today in this imaginary not-so-Antiques Roadshow?
Pat: The Shining Force Premium Disc. This is a special giveaway that was sent to anyone who purchased all three scenarios of Shining Force III, the second two of which were only released in Japan.
Cunzy: Where and when did you get it? What condition was it in?
Pat: I purchased it at the world famous Super Potato in Akihabara. I can’t remember the exact year, but my best guess is it was 2012 when I was on a trip to Japan with my now-wife. I made several trips to Tokyo on business in the following few years so I may have picked it up on one of those, but in any event it would have been the mid-2010s. Each time I went the store was more and more picked over so it would track that it was on the earliest trip that I found this. The Premium Disc was distributed in a cardboard sleeve, not a case, and my copy has that and some shrink wrap I assume the store applied, so pretty good condition overall.
Cunzy: Ah, that rarity of rarities, a limited edition physical giveaway. Why did you “need” it?
Pat: As we can all tell from the topics covered on the site, Jay is a Sega fanboy and convinced me to get into the Shining Force series when we were in college. I played some of the early games myself and then we started playing Shining Force III almost 20 years ago. Shining Force III is the story of a grand war, told from the perspectives of three different protagonists across three “Scenarios,” each of which is a complete SRPG. Scenario I was released for the Saturn in all major territories, so it was easy for us to play through that together [It still cost me $95 in 2000 dollars – Editor]. Scenarios II and III were only released in Japan and are only in Japanese.
We completed Scenario II with one of us playing and the other reading a printed out copy of a fan translation Jay found on the Shining Force Central site. We started to play Scenario III together this way, but the translation was much rougher at the time and we never made it through the whole game. Since then I think there are better solutions for playing the non-US releases involving ROMs and translation patches, so perhaps we should get back to it. Anyway, this is one of the nerdiest things I have ever done, but it was also a great experience, and as owners of all three scenarios I figured we were rightful owners of the Premium Disc as well.
Cunzy: Is it any good?
Pat: It isn’t really a game as much as a bonus for fans of the series. There are options to view character models, game artwork, and movies or listen to sound tests. The disc has a save backup utility so you can see the impact of making different dialogue choices in the games. The only real gameplay is a special battle mode where you can use your Shining Force III party to battle bosses from the Shining Force series. Kind of a cool package overall but more of a curiosity than a game.
Cunzy: When was the last time you played it/used it?
Pat: Shortly after I brought it home Jay and I messed around with it a bit but there isn’t that much to play.
Cunzy: Do you regret wasting your money on it?
Pat: It wasn’t that expensive, and I convinced my wife to think of the gaming stuff I bought as my souvenirs from our trip to Japan. I also like owning it for a couple of reasons. It was one of Jay and my white whales for a while since it was difficult to decide to spend the money on something that wasn’t really a game when we could buy actual games. And not to get too sentimental, but I have very fond memories of sitting on Jay’s couches as he moved apartments in the years after college, playing Shining Force III over months and years.
Cunzy: Don’t apologise for getting sentimental. There’s a power in games that can take us back to a time and place as much as a song, a movie or a smell can. Lastly, do you have a gaming item on your list to acquire or one that you regret not picking up at the time?
Pat: There are a handful of games I wish I had picked up while in Japan, but that is easy to say now since I have more money than I did on that initial trip. We were sort of into Sandlot games for a stretch and I held a copy of Tetsujin 28-go in my hands for some very reasonable price but passed; that one isn’t too expensive so would be easy to remedy. I passed on buying Disaster Report 3 when I realized it was handheld only, but now would like to own that whole series. Over the years we have picked up a lot of the games we always discussed buying like Radiant Silvergun, Love de Lic’s output, and Panzer Dragoon Saga, but there is always more to buy. None of these are gaps that can’t be filled, but the fact of the library is that we always want to add to it and it will never be complete.