Thursday, November 9, 2017

Toronto Retro Video Game Stores

A few years ago I made a list of Toronto toy stores, which I hope some people found helpful.  I am now making a list of Toronto retro video game stores (in no particular order).  This list should be helpful for anyone visiting the city, or who lives here and would like to know where other stores are located. This is a working project so the list should be updated from time to time. If you would like a store to be included please do not hesitate to pm me.

Please note:  I didn’t want to publish this list because I like to hunt games and would hate to lose a game because I made public the locations I go to.  However I’d rather have these stores flourish with customers, than have then shutdown because of lack of business.  And as for prices, please remember that it’s part of any collecting culture; so you can either negotiate on a good price or be patient looking elsewhere.

Friday, November 3, 2017

How to Remove a Sticker or Label from a Video Game Box

Unfortunately one of my burdens as a collector is that I like my collectables to be in pristine condition.  So when I first started collecting complete in box video games I noticed that finding near mint games was very expensive and difficult to find.  And so I had to settle for whatever I could find in my price range, which usually meant games in fair condition that required only a little cleaning to be considered satisfactory.  While most games and boxes could be cleaned with a wet cloth and a magic eraser, I found removing stickers or labels from a box was difficult.
Thankfully after doing a little research I found a solution that worked for me.  The method I use requires some lighter fluid and a Q-tip or cotton swab or cotton ball.  All you do is wet the Q-tip with the lighter fluid liquid and moisten the label; then gently peel back the label.  I do caution anyone from doing this especially children because the lighter fluid can irritate your skin and dry it as well.  I would also advise you to practice this method on a label/box that you don’t care about first before you do it on an important box.  If done correctly you should be able to remove an old sticker/label without much residue left over.
YouTube:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lucky Charms Super Mario Edition Cereal

How kick-ass would it be if one day Lucky Charms worked with Nintendo to release a special edition version of Super Mario Lucky Charms; where all the marshmallows were Super Mario items and characters. Saturday morning gaming would never be the same!

Lucky Charms:
www.luckycharms.com

My Nintendo Wallpaper: Super Mario Odyssey

White:

Red:

Pixel Mario:

Sunday, October 22, 2017

AJ Styles vs Finn Balor WWE TLC

What an amazing… no, what a phenomenal match between AJ Styles and Finn Balor at WWE TLC 2017.  You could clearly see the talent that both these wrestlers had tonight.  They’re the reason why I love wrestling.  This WWE viral infection was a blessing in disguise because there would have been no other way to have gotten this match (and avoided Sister Abigail).  Thank you AJ Styles, Thank you Finn Balor.  That match was Too Sweet!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Vans Nintendo Zelda Classic Slip-On

Part of the excitement of being a modern day Nintendo/Zelda collector is that you never know what’s next as far as new merchandise is concerned.  It can also be a headache when you have to follow websites every day to keep up to date with what’s releasing on certain days.  Of course I decided many years ago to limit myself to just collectables that I really wanted and not just hoard merchandise.  My latest collectable is the Nintendo with Vans collaboration shoe line.
While many shoe models were released, I decided to get the Zelda Vans Classic Slip-On.  This model features canvas uppers with retro 8-bit characters from the original NES video game The Legend of Zelda.  It comes in a faded navy blue colorway with what I like to call southwestern Native American print.  At the bottom of the sole “GAME OVER” is printed in white.
One of my favorite parts of this collaboration is the shoe box packaging; it’s exactly like the NES console.  This attention to detail is what really gets me excited as a collector when companies go the extra mile in releasing a new product.  As a bonus for buying this pair on release day I also received a very cool pin set.  Hopefully this isn’t that last time we see a Nintendo Vans collaboration because just like the NES Classic, a follow up version of the SNES would be awesome.  Can you imagine SNES box packaging, and shoes that feature A Link to the Past, Super Mario World, and Super Metroid.
Vans Nintendo Collection:
YouTube:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Casio G-Shock DW-6900-1VCT

I bought this watch at Wal-Mart last year when it went on sale.  I had been eyeing it for a while because of how nice it looked.  I just couldn’t believe that such a nice looking watch would be sold in Wal-Mart of all places.  In my opinion this budget friendly no frills watch looks better than most limited and expensive watches that are released.
The only visible features that make this watch different from other G Shock’s is the plastic buckle and the “shock resistant” etched on the steel back (it normally says “shock resist”).  And I guess you can include the packaging as well because this Wal-Mart version comes in a standard Casio box.  Other than that, this watch is perfect and good to go, especially for the price ($59.96 Canadian retail).
Casio G-Shock:
YouTube:

Friday, August 25, 2017

Batman Year One Part 1 Issue #404

Released in February 1987 Batman Year One Part 1 issue #404 tells the story of Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman.  The story also simultaneously follows James Gordon’s return to Gotham City.  It’s such a great story that follows the beginning of the friendship between Jim Gordon and Batman as these men battle a corrupt city.  I just love how their battle is not easy and how they make mistakes along the way; learn from them and overcome obstacles that eventually molds them into the heroic men they become.
I bought this particular issue a few years ago.  At the time a lot of magazines were going out of print.  This had me worried that eventually all print magazines including comics would either go digital or end production.  That’s when I decided to start buying popular comics as collector pieces (relics of the past).  Thankfully the prices were still affordable so I definitely had to get this issue of Batman and others.  While I do love the story and can read it in digital format, there’s definitely something special about holding the physical copy in my hands. The smell of the pages, the ink that runs off my fingers, and the vibrancy of the colors is something special that makes collecting older comics nostalgic and worthwhile.
Batman Year One Wiki:
YouTube:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Advice for getting the SNES Classic Edition in Canada

The SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) mini will release on September 29th for $99.99.  Nintendo has stated that it will be a limited release and will stop production by the end of the year.  While it might seem ridiculous to most that Nintendo is making the SNES mini limited, you have to remember that Nintendo has always made certain items limited since 1985.  As a life-long Nintendo fan this has been frustrating, but I understand it.  Hype Sells.  Also, all these retro games will eventually be sold on the Virtual Console (a service that lets you download retro games onto modern consoles).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

New Era MLB Retro Classic Collection

New Era’s MLB Classic Collection is a throwback to their 90’s Pro Model fitteds.  These retro hats feature 100% wool material, a New Era tag, grey underbrim, white sweatband, flat embroidery, and are made in the USA.  This release has revitalized my interest in New Era fitteds after years of poorly made polyester hats.  I knew it was time to quit collecting on-field fitteds as soon as the MLB batter man was missing his hat, and occasionally the ball on the logo.  Thankfully New Era has corrected all their quality control issues and has made an immaculate product.  Every stitch is perfect, the crown is true the original, and the sizing is correct (past hats could be off by 3 sizes).
Please note that unlike their Heritage Wool series from a few years back the MLB Classic Collection doesn’t have 3D embroidery, the New Era logo on the side of the hat, or a black sweatband.  Admittedly these are more subjective preferences on a fitted that I’m personally indifferent about.  Although I do love seeing the return of the white sweatband, a feature that I used to hate but I have now grown to love.  Just seeing a brand new pristine white sweatband just makes it look so much better.  For now I have only purchased the Away blue, Blue Jays fitted but I do plan on getting the whole Jays collection eventually.
New Era:
YouTube:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura

You’re telling me this will be on SmackDown LIVE for free?  Vince McMahon has lost his mind.

Friday, July 21, 2017

World of Nintendo: The Wind Waker Toon Link (Wind Waker version)

When I first started collecting World of Nintendo figures from Jakks Pacific I never imagined the toy line would go so deep as to include various versions of Link.  Especially considering Nintendo having such strident restriction on licensing Nintendo figures other than Super Mario in the past.  Thankfully the prosperous toy line has been allowed to blossom and we’re now getting Toon Link from The Wind Waker game.  Actually to be correct, we’re getting two versions of Toon Link; one with the Wind Waker accessory and another one with just his shield as an accessory.
This version of Toon Link with the Wind Waker was the only version I could find in my city.  Unfortunately World of Nintendo figures are unpredictable and difficult to find when a new wave is released.  Sometimes certain figures that are abundant in the US, aren’t even released in Canada.  Regardless of that, I’m just so happy to finally add Toon Link to my collection.  The quality of this toy is astonishing because the only way you can get toys like this now is through importing them from Japan.  So it’s amazing that Jakks Pacific is delivering this high quality for a reasonable price of $12-$17 in Canada.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nintendo Disappoints me Again

Tomorrow is the release day of the next installment of the 30th anniversary Zelda amiibo which features 3 different versions of Link which are from Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Majora's Mask.  For some unknown reason Nintendo decided to release each amiibo as a store exclusive to EB Games (Twilight Princess), Best Buy (Majora's Mask) and Amazon (Skyward Sword) here in Canada.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to reserve any of these amiibo, and most likely won’t be able to buy them.  While I was aware of the pre-order dates, I decided to not pre-order because as a collector I prefer the experience of entering a store and selecting the best version I want.  It’s something I have been doing ever since the first amiibo released.  I never imagined that Nintendo Canada would make these so limited that they would sell out on pre-orders.  Online they sold out within minutes, and in-store some stores received between 8-10 figures while other locations didn’t receive any at all.

I’m now left angry and disappointed by Nintendo for using these evil marketing strategies to garner hype for its brand.  And I do mean hype because it’s not about the money.  If it were about the money, the NES Classic Edition would have been released in large quantities and made Nintendo millions.  While I’m sure Nintendo must have some reasoning behind its marketing strategy, I feel like there are times when intentionally depriving the market of some popular item can have negative consequences.  Beyond disappointing loyal fans, and leaving profits on the table I feel like it consequently creates a need for piracy.


As a disappointed Nintendo fan I now feel justified in looking for NFC enabled amiibo cards.  NFC (Near Field Communications) cards are unofficial Nintendo cards that contain all the data from one particular amiibo figure.  You then basically scan the tag on the card and it works as if it were the original amiibo figure.  If you can’t even buy the original figure in a store, then this is the best option for people who want to enjoy the full amiibo experience from their Nintendo games.  So this is my only option now, especially because the resell market is too expensive and profits don’t support Nintendo either.  I can imagine this is how people who weren’t able to get the NES Classic Edition must feel when they resort to getting a NES Raspberry Pi in order to play those games.

By the way, how can Nintendo consider itself a kid’s company when in order to get Skyward Sword Link amiibo you need to have an Amazon account, linked to a credit card, with a shipping address?

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Tim Hortons Nanaimo Bar Donut

With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year (1867 confederation), Tim Hortons has decided to partake in the celebration by releasing Canadian food favourites.  Of course I was most interested in the nanaimo bar donut; a delicious brownie-like treat that was invented in Nanaimo, B.C.  The Tim Hortons version is also delicious and manages to capture the right balance of chocolate and custard.
Nanaimo Bar Wiki:

Friday, June 16, 2017

World of Nintendo The Legend of Zelda Skull Kid Toy

Skull Kid was first seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  I remember the first time I came across him; it was a spooky moment.  I say this because he was a young boy dancing alone in the woods.  His dancing movement was so life-like, I almost felt sad that I wasn’t able to approach him and help him (assuming he was lost in the woods).  Ocarina of Time was really one of the first video games I felt emotional towards the characters; characters that I cared about and wanted to befriend (Zelda, Malon, Saria, Epona, etc…), this is why Ocarina of Time is one of my most beloved games.
Officially though, Skull Kid didn’t become an official Zelda franchise character until Majora’s Mask.  This is the version that Jakks Pacific released for their World of Nintendo toy line; which includes Majora’s Mask as an accessory.   This toy is part of series 2-2 from the line, and was released in 2016.  I am utterly impressed by the quality of this figure because it has numerous articulation, is made of distinctive colourful plastic pieces, and the paint job is very clean.  I’d go so far as to say this is the best figure Jakks Pacific has released from their World of Nintendo toy line.
While I wasn’t planning on collecting this toy line (outside of a couple Link figures) the quality of this Skull Kid has ignited in me the desire to collect more figures.  While I have read other complaints about loose joints, my view is that their figures are for adult collectors (not going to play with them); and as such these figures are excellent for displaying along with the original games in a nice display.
Skull Kid Wiki:
Jakks Pacific:
YouTube: