Last month I finally took the plunge and dove deep into the Japanese market. I had found a remailing service (tenso.com) to provide me with what I needed, namely collecting and remailing parcels from Amazon.jp, so I went all-out and started shopping. In my first post I wasn't so sure about the Japanese market for used games, but it turns out most of the Xbox 360 releases are still readily available, although the prices can be rather unreasonable. In the end, I spent about €700 for a 250 GB Slim console and 35 games - that's way beyond my budget, but then again it's Japan we're talking about. There's just no cheap option.
One thing that's nice about used games from Japan is that many of them are far better cared for than they would be here in Europe. All of them were complete with manuals and all other materials, and the discs were often pristine. Many of them had been carefully wrapped in cellophane like they would be some kind of expensive collector's item, even NBA 2k8, by far the cheapest game at €0,80.
Unfortunately, what good can be said about the games can't be repeated about Amazon.jp as I had three shipments containing wrong games. Duke Nukem Forever turned out to be the NTSC-U version, Alone in the Dark was replaced by Need for Speed Underground and 10eyes: Cross Over got mixed up with King of Fighters Collection for the PS2. Since replacing them wouldn't have been easy and certainly not cheap, I just cut my losses and moved on.
So that's what has been going on lately. In other news, I'll likely need to get another shelf since the first one is now full :(
Today my collection has reached a new milestone when it grew to (more than) 700 games. I managed to snipe a lot consisting of an Xbox 360 Slim, two controllers and 20 games for €110, which is a steal at this time of the year. The console is still under (extended) warranty and the array of games included was quite decent as well. Unfortunately, I already owned 15 of them so there wasn't much to add to the shelf, but since I was able to immediately flip the console for the same price I paid - just with 5 games less included - I'm happy. Added to the collection were ...
So my Florida vacation came and went and what can I say, there wasn't much to bring home with me in terms of collection fodder. It's crazy: Decent Xbox One titles already tend to be much cheaper than terrible Xbox 360 games. Since I only need rather old and/or obscure titles, they tend to be either unavailable in stores like Gamestop or expensive as hell (NCAA Football 14 for $45? No thanks!). I tried to get some from garage sales and flea markets but with the exception of NCAA Football 07 and Army of Two (both of which are available at Gamestop but certainly not in the same quality, not to mention the price) I found nothing. Florida must be bad turf for collecting Xbox games, New York was better in that regard.
In the end, I packed 26 games into my suitcase (27 actually; I accidentally bought Family Game Night 4 twice because I am stupid) and gave up. Instead, I bought a Xbox One S which included Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare plus Shadows of Mordor for a measly $299 - quite a steal really considering CoD was released the same day I bought the bundle. Since physical Xbox One games aren't region locked I really don't care which country they are from. Today I lucked out even more and grabbed Assassin's Creed: Syndicate and Batman: Arkham Knight for Xbox One for $8 and $9,95 respectively - a total steal since Amazon somehow manages to ship games cheaper from the US to Germany than from the UK. Both games cost three times as much in Germany! Looks like I'll do most of my gaming on the One now - if I ever get to play, that is, somehow things manage to get in the way recently.
Just in case you're wondering why the collection doesn't seem to grow all that much recently - it's all for good reason! I'm going to Florida later in the year so I'm saving up to acquire many of the US-only releases. Until then, the only new addition
s will be FIFA 17 and Skylanders Imaginators because I pre-ordered it both. Of course, should I get a really great deal on other games I won't just pass on it, but right now, my focus is on the US games. That bar has to grow too!
I'll also not play that much Xbox since World of Warcraft: Legion is releasing soon which will likely eat up more time than I care to admit. I'll get bored of it sooner than later, I assume, so that's that.
I'm not really interested in football. Sure, I watch some of the Euro and World Cup games and the occasional Champions League match if it involves German teams, but apart from that, football is probably the last thing I'd care about.
I had obtained an almost new copy of FIFA 16 for the meager price of € 1,00 including shipping from eBay - clearly a wrong listing but to my surprise, the seller still honored the sale. I didn't think I'd ever bother playing it. However, after reading on Reddit about the Ultimate Team "scandal" (something about better cards performing worse due to a bug), I suddenly felt the urge to give it a try. To be honest, Ultimate Team always kinda intrigued me anyway - I love trading cards and collecting stuff, and maybe I'd be able to learn the controls if I really tried.
Over the next few days, all I could play was FIFA 16. Ultimate Team had me hooked right from the start and for good reasons: it's a deep, engaging experience, and since FIFA 16 has decent controls even I could pick up quickly, learning the ropes was far less painful than I expected it to be. In fact, I found the game to have a proper learning curve - easy enough at first, but more and more demanding in later matches. But it never felt like I was treated unfairly by the game - sure, on Professional I still struggle even with my 81 rated 100% chemistry team, but after a while, I was able to at least end a game with a draw and the occasional 1:0 win.
I actually managed to unlock most of the achievements in FIFA 16, something I had never expected to do. While I was at it, I also tried out FIFA 14 and 15 and enjoyed them all the same. FIFA 14 is a bit archaic now but 15 looks and feels basically identical to 16 - the only difference is that the Ultimate Team transfer market is woefully underpopulated the older the game gets, so buying good players at a price that's not a total ripoff isn't going to happen.
So yeah, sometimes I should just throw all caution to the wind and actually play the damn games I collect. Who knows, I might actually enjoy them!
So I finally made the effort to transition from ye olde Excel spreadsheet to this excellent web-based solution, well done, me! I've long wanted a collection tracker that actually knows all the games ever released for the Xbox 360, so in lack of other options, I've just made one (for) myself. Granted, the collection having it's own domain and all looks a bit like overkill even to me, but then again it's one of the few hobbies I have, so why not go all out with it?
This is already my second attempt at completing a full set of Xbox 360 games. The first one started back in 2006 although I didn't really think of going all the way back then. It only lasted until around 2011 or so when I, in a moment of weakness, sold off almost everything for a pitiful amount. I don't even know why I did that - I'm just glad I didn't part with all the games I owned back then. The regrets kicked in almost immediately so I restarted collecting almost right after, making the sale an even dumber move than it was in the first place.
This time, however, I am in good spirits that I can at least get most of the games. Completing the set will be difficult as there are quite a lot of games from Japan with a low print run and even considering the Xbox 360 isn't exactly a huge success over there, I doubt the pre-owned market for them is great. But it's not only Japanese releases I am worried about; some European games aren't all that common and some of them almost never seem to hit eBay. And let's not even talk about Australia - only three games from there, but they are all rather expensive considering their age. Since I have imposed a price limit of €5 per game on average for the time being, let's not go there right now. I'll have to increase (or even entirely remove) that limitation soon enough.
But I'm not even there yet, not by a long shot. At merely 35% overall completion, there's still plenty of common stuff to fill my shelf with, although every time I browse eBay, there's less I'm interested in. One really does own a lot of games when most of the lots you can find contain 95% duplicates ...
There's still a lot of adventure left in this collection. Let's get started!
Created with by Richard Kämmerer. Made in Germany.