Matt Gemmell

TOLL is available now!

An action-thriller novel — book 2 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Day of games

gaming 5 min read

Today we had to submit a piece of coursework for Information Management, so we headed into the university around noon. 
We stopped off in the city centre first, though, since I wanted to pick up a Metroid Prime strategy guide. I was already 
most of the way through the game (got the Phazon suit, hunting down the remaining artifacts), but wanted the guide for 

And so our adventure began...

We first tried the Game (all the Electronics Boutiques are now branches of Game) in the Buchanan Galleries, but they had none 
(though the chap insisted he'd seen one recently; 
nevertheless, his search of the stock-room turned up nothing). They did, however, have an Eternal Darkness strategy guide 
on clearance for 99p, so I bought that for possible future use. We then went on to the Virgin just opposite the Royal 
Concert Hall. Whilst I browsed (again not finding the strategy guide), Fiona played with the Gameboy Advance SP they 
had set up (Metroid Fusion, since you ask). She took note of the with-a-game bundles they were offering, but all the games 
were mediocre (Crash Bandicoot 1 and Spyro were the only ones we saw with the appropriate sticker).

We then decided to continue our search at the Game halfway down Buchanan Street, and as we walked down we discussed the 
SP and how attractive it was, and particularly how great it would be to have a backlight (the regular Gameboy Advance has 
no backlight, which is criminal - everything shows up far too dark; it's impossible to get sufficient light without the 
screen being washed-out). Anyway, that Game didn't have my strategy guide either.

They did, however, have several GBA SP bundles, including one which included the platinum SP and Sonic Advance 2 for £115. 
Fiona was tempted. Very seriously tempted. I could see that she may well buy an SP in the near future. In the meantime, I 
still wanted that strategy guide, and also took note of the pre-owned and reduced 'cube games which were there, taking 
particular notice of Timesplitters 2, for £25.


We then proceeded to the Virgin and HMV megastores on Argle St. Again we stood and 
admired the SPs. HMV didn't have any SP bundles to speak of, and Virgin only had the same games as the other branch in the bundle offer. 
I did spend a few moments looking at Burnout 2 for the 'cube, and picked a copy of NGC off the rack to read the review of 
it. Sounds great! I also finally managed to find the Metroid Prime strategy guide, and bought it (last copy there). We 
returned to the Game on Buchanan St, talking about the SP all the way.

By the time we arrived, Fiona had decided to buy the SP. She confessed to feeling nervous as we walked back in (she's saving 
up for driving lessons at the moment, as <a href=";w=21#83683392">she says on her blog</a>). 
The beauty of the thing consumed her, though, and she picked up the box (and that of Sonic Advance 2), and went to the counter.

Disaster! No SPs left in stock - they all sold out at the weekend!


The very friendly girl offered to call around the other branches 
to see if she could find one, and we gratefully accepted. Alas, no SPs in the Buchanan Galleries branch either (which had been our 
first port of call for the strategy guide). The St. Enoch Centre branch had a couple, but only in black - we wanted the silver ('platinum') 
one. The girl then gave us a voucher which entitled us to &pound;5 off any game if we showed the receipt from buying an SP at any other retailer, 
which was nice of her. I realised that there must be quite a shortage of the things (this was an official, pre-printed glossy voucher).

As we debated where to try next, I decided to go over to the Game Station on Union St, to look through their games (it was there, 
after trying 10 other places, that I finally managed to get a copy of Sonic Mega Collection a few days ago). On the way, we noticed 
a games shop we'd never been in before; G-Force, further up Union St (not far from where it crosses Gordon St at Central Station). 
We went in, and were assaulted by a musty, sweaty smell! The place was a bit grotty, to be sure, but they had a wall plastered with 
imported 'cube games and peripherals (ASCII keyboard!), and also had such rarities as a Dreamcast, some original Megadrive games, 
Robocop for the original Gameboy, an N64 Transfer Pak, the NES Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cartridge, and lots more - a veritable Aladdin's 
Cave of gaming history!

Wasting no time, I asked the chap if he had any platinum GBA SPs left (noticing also that they had a copy of Sonic Mega Collection; 
life is funny sometimes), and he had exactly one left. We bought it, at &pound;89.99 (same price as everywhere else). We also bought Sonic 
Advance 2 at the same time, and he gave us it for &pound;20 (it retails there for &pound;30, and everywhere else for &pound;35). So, in total the cost was 
&pound;110, whereas in Game it would have been &pound;115. And, we still had our &pound;5 discount voucher to use in Game at a later time!


Happy at last, we did indeed go to Game Station for a quick browse (noting with much amusement that they'd obtained four new copies of 
Sonic Mega Collection since I was in a few days before), then finally returned to Game on Buchanan St, where I bought both Timesplitters 2 
and Waverace (&pound;30 and &pound;25 respectively). The girl asked if we'd managed to find an SP, and seemed genuinely pleased that we 
had. Lovely person; do say hello if you drop by that branch.

We went in to the university, submitted our assignments, and returned home to begin the game-fest. As I played throughout the evening, 
Burnout 2 again entered my mind. I took a break to read the reviews online, and finally decided at about 9:15pm that I wanted to buy it. 
I drove to the supermarket to get it, and they didn't have any copies. Curses! I then drove to Big W, and sure enough they had plenty. 
I bought a copy, returned home, inserted the disc, and started playing. I went blissfully through the "Aggressive Driving" tutorial, 
and was then confronted with a message that <strong>my memory-card was corrupt</strong>.


Panic ensued, and all manner of attempts to disprove this frightening suggestion. Alas, my copy of Burnout 2 seems to be a dud, and 
it had indeed buggered my memory card. I tried several experiments with the newly-formatted card, and sure enough Burnout 2 was the culprit; 
it would corrupt its own save-file every time. I'm not sure if it's just a third-party-card issue (my memory card is from Joytech, not Nintendo), 
or whether it's really a bad copy of the game. A Google search doesn't turn up any other reports of such a thing happening, so I assume it's just 
a bad copy. Anyway, back in the box with Burnout 2, but Big W was now closed. I'll return it tomorrow.

I'd only ever had one memory card since I bought my 'cube last year, and had never backed-up any of the data... until a few days ago when 
I bought Sonic Mega Collection, and a new memory card. The upshot is that Fiona lost about an hour's worth of StarFox (which she has since 
recreated, and I've further backed-up her progress), and I've lost about <strong>10-12 hours</strong> of Metroid Prime.


I'm glad I managed to get that strategy guide.