Friday, April 22, 2011

Vintage Gakken LCD Games

 So a few friends that know I like old (vintage) LCD games sent me this site that emulates old LCD games in Flash (for FREE!), which ironically led me to like one of the as-yet-undiscovered-by-me games so much that I hunted it down on ebay and bought the real deal. I got 'Runaway' because I liked the artwork, as well as the fact that it was the reverse of the usual game. By that, I mean that usually LCD games use the liquid crystal to make a character, item or what have you, and most of the screen is the background or blank or whatever. This one is mostly covered by the black LCD, and a searchlight goes around, leaving holes in the LCD where you'd normally have it inverted with an image. Same goes for the guards around the outside of the prison, their cutouts show through as they move around. This is fairly unique amongst these titles, as I've never seen this method of display employed before.

I was well aware of the existence of Gakken's games before, and their cute, quintessentially-80s design, but much like Nintendo's Game & Watch series, once I got one in my hands, I was impressed with the form factor and size. They're neat little conversation pieces, so I decided to track down more of em. I bought Fishing Boy & it arrived on Tuesday from Japan, and I'm expecting one more from a prominent collector in "ASIA" (says their ebay location, they've been around forever & I've sold them stuff before, so I know they're legit & passionate about handhelds, otherwise I wouldn't be buying from them) in the next week or two.

Strapya Loot ⑤ of 5 今月のストラップヤ荷物第⑤

Not a big last order, the other Kutsushita Nyanko Musical Instrument plush, playing a violin, came into stock after I made all of the other orders, so I figured, "What the heck."

Strapya Loot ④ of 5 今月のストラップヤ荷物第④

The other large, or semi-large order of the lot. Got a sepia-toned Snoopy mini-plush as well as a bunch of Kitty straps. Three are Kitty as zodiac animals, and two are paper lantern-looking keychains with tassels. The big part of this shipment was the Kiki's Delivery Service "Ayatsuri Orgel", which is a music box that, when wound up, plays music as well as moves the figures in the jar like mechanical puppets ('ayatsuru' means to control something). This combines my love of cats and small mechanical toys/items. It plays the ending song to the movie when wound, which you can hear in the video in this post. ^^

Strapya Loot ③ of 5 今月のストラップヤ荷物第③

Here's the first "large" haul of the set. I put large in quotes, because, it's only large in number of items. If it wasn't for the Chou Chou Electromechanical Butterfly, this package would have actually been smaller than the rest, as the straps themselves were physically smaller, despite getting more than the other shipments.

Okay, obviously the biggie here is the Chou Chou Electromechanical Butterfly-in-a-Jar. Very cool item, it looks like a normal mason jar with a butterfly inside. Pop in 3 AAA batteries (included!) and you'll see that, upon closer inspection, the butterfly is on a wire, and when you tap on the lid, the butterfly flies very realistically. It bounces off the sides, it stops, gently opens and closes its wings, it's almost creepy in its realism. Naturally, I've included a video.

The rest of the order is the typical mascot/cutesy stuff I usually wind up getting from Strapya. I got a cool, personalized Mahjong tile, with 色即是空 (look it up) carved into it. A "kigurumi" Rascal, the NHK mascot raccoon from Wisconsin(?), dressed as a Kappa from Iwate Prefecture (they're regional keychain/figures). His level of detail shocked me, as he had meticulously-detailed little pieces of fabric all over him, along with tiny decals, I only wish they would've had the Akabeko one in stock!

I also got a Kiki's Delivery Service Jiji stamp, which is molded like a figure itself. Two Ryoma-den keychains that are supposedly not made by Kotobukiya, but look suspiciously like their One Coin Grande line, so these were a given "GET". A tiny Gloomy Bear plush, just because I've had the black one on "backorder" or whatever, for so long, that I stopped hoping it'd come back into stock, and I just ordered the white one before that went out of stock. A Doraemon mini-plush from the new 2011 Doraemon movie, where he looks like he's wearing a Gundam on his head.

And of course, no wallet-draining trip to Strapya would be complete without finding something new that's been in stock since like 2008. I always manage to find something "new" that is old or backlogged there. Half the time these are sold out when I end up discovering them, but in this case, I found 2 really cute "Kuuman", bear plushes that were still in stock from 2009. I've never had a (shopping) site before that I can go back to again and again and always manage to find something new that was there all along.

Strapya Loot ② of 5 今月のストラップヤ荷物第②

Got parts 2 and 3 on the same day. Part 2 was small, consisting of only 3 items: a cat that, when you push his tummy he meows, a cute My Melody plush (yeah, I have a Sanrio problem, I know) and a San-X Kutsushita Nyanko plush, wearing a little bowtie & playing the piano. ^^