Video Game Collecting: Tips and advice

This is going to be a quick article. I am going to write up a list of each game console, retro to modern, with a summary of what is the best approach to take when it comes to collecting for or gaming on these different platforms. I will try to cover as many game systems as possible while mostly sticking to the stuff I am familiar with. Here goes. I am mostly going to focus on the systems I intend to collect and my path I wish to take to get there, or those consoles I already have and an update on my current collection.

First up the Atari

The most common Atari system is the original Atari 2600, also known as the VCS, or Video Computer System. It’s what man of us consider to be our first game console experience. My current interest is in eventually picking up an Atari system and getting games, money and space dictate that I simply focus on getting the right games for the right money. As such I have picked up a few retro compilations that I consider to be key elements to a good Atari collection. The first is the Atari Anthology for PS2. It features over 40 games, maybe more I don’t know the exact number. It includes most of the Atari produced 1st party games and a few arcade games from the period as well. My second compilation is the Activision Anthology. I happen to have both the PS2 and Windows PC versions. There aren’t many differences but I just have them both because I picked one up cheap and got the other also very cheap. I also have the PS1 version of both of these collections but they also don’t offer any thing new.

If you are just starting out and all you want is to relive some of your classic Atari memories then I do recommend checking out these collections. They are available on other systems but PS2 and PC are the two most common and are very cheap.

As far as collecting physical Atari systems, the classic 2600 can be had for a reasonable price and the games are super cheap, even the rarest games aren’t a ton of money. The problem is when you get into later systems. I won’t go into those here just suffice it to say the best solution for getting a good Atari fix right now, aside from emulators of course, is to grab those two compilations. If you want to take it a step further and grab some additional 3rd party games the Namco Museum and Midway Arcade Treasures both feature a lot of games that were ported to the Atari so in a way that almost counts. If you are fine with that as well then I certainly suggest doing that. I currently have Namco Museum for PS2 as well as Midways Arcade Treasures 1 and 2 for PS2. All in all I think this method offers a pretty good entry point for the retro Atari gamer to get their fix without spending too much money.


Currently I do not have any plans to pick up an original NES console. Mainly due to money, the games are just super expensive. But also because of space limitations, I don’t have room to store a ton of physical carts right now. For me, and I would think many collectors and gamers on a tight budget, I am mostly getting my NES games via the Virtual Console. I currently own a Wii, Wii U and Switch so I am able to get all of the Virtual Console games available on those systems. Switch only has Neo Geo at the moment but they are still some good games for a fair price all things considered. I don’t currently own a 3DS so  can’t comment on the Virtual Console on that system, but I can say that it does appear to be pretty robust.

The main reason why I think Virtual Console is the best route right now is because for the most part all the really good, playable games people want are on the service, aside from a few of the licensed games. Additionally they are very reasonably priced. For the most part prices are uniform with exceptions being for import titles. Other than that you can pick up all the best, most iconic NES games right there for just a few dollars each, some of these are significant savings over the physical games. As my budget increases I do eventually plan on getting back into NES gaming, but for now I suggest sticking to Virtual Console as much as possible due to the inflated prices of retro NES games.


For the most part SNES suffers from the same issues that the NES does, the best games being over priced for what you get. But also the system itself is outrageously over priced even considering all the different clones out there. But there is a little alternative to just Virtual Console that does also work slightly for the NES in some respects, that is the Game Boy line, especially the Game Boy Advance. With a GBA and even GB and Game Boy Color it is possible to pick up many of the same games, usually with just slight graphical downgrades or color compromises, and the best part is they are typically much cheaper than their SNES and NES counterparts with the added bonus of being playable on  the go. Right now I do happen to have a GBA and I am really putting most of the emphasis on my collecting on getting Game Boy games. I also pick up quite a few SNES games on the Virtual Console service and thanks to the Wii I also have Super Mario All Stars and Kirby’s Dream Collection that offers a decent assortment of Mario and Kirby games some from the SNES catalog.

Sega Genesis

Right now there are a ton of ways to get into Sega collecting. Fortunately the system is still fairly cheap compared to SNES. Also the games, even the really good ones, are still pretty decent priced as well. The downside is with many of them on Steam, PSN, and Virtual Console, not to mention the arcade compilations that make so many of the actual Genesis ports obsolete, it’s hard to justify buying a Sega Genesis at the moment. I suppose eventually I will have to get one due to nostalgia but for now I will stick to a handful of collections that I have and the Virtual Console, which really is a life saver when it comes to retro gaming. I currently have the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection on PS3, the Sega Classics Collection on Steam, and a couple dozen Sega Genesis games on Wii Virtual Console. Not to mention classics like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Samurai Shodown, and many other arcade favorites are on their respective compilations. I have the SNK Arcade classics collection, Mortal Kombat Kollection on PSN, Midways Arcade Treasures 1 and 2, all of the different Capcom arcade collections including the various Street Fighter ones, so to be honest that doesn’t really leave much exclusive content on the physical Genesis left. I might have to pick one up for the Sega CD content eventually who knows.


I don’t currently own a PS1 console but I do have two pieces of compatible hardware. The PS2 is compatible with PS1 games as is the PS3 which I have both. The good news about the PS3 is the PSN store also has a ton of the really rare classics for dirt cheap also. SO despite them being expensive as hell for physical copies, I have most of the really good rare titles on PS3 PS1 Classics including all the Final Fantasy stuff on the store. As I don’t need a physical PS1 system either I will pretty much be sticking to just games. Although I am focusing on getting Greatest Hits versions if I do get physical, I am mostly focused on the digital downloads as they are just so much cheaper.

Sega Saturn

Forget it. I will be blunt I had one of these things years ago, before the gaming collecting bubble took over and prices became inflated. Even back then it was next to impossible to even find Saturn stuff and if you did it was usually sports or if it wasn’t sports it was always over priced. Even my local game store that has MK Trilogy for PS1 for under $15 is asking for $99 for the same game on Saturn. No thank you!


I am not going to lie, I have never own a Sega Dreamcast. Currently I don’t really see a lot of reasons to either. Many of the good games were also on PS1/PS2 and some were also on the PC or Xbox and for the most part many have also been ported to Steam or even PSN store so seriously I am just not finding much of a reason to pick one up either.

I know this sounds a lot like all the stuff I don’t want to buy but it really will focus on the stuff I want, just keep reading.


This is a console I am torn on. I had one when they are current, not new but still sold in stores. I enjoyed many of the games but the reality is, most of the 3rd party games are also on PS1 and often times they are cheaper, and usually, but not always, better. So for the most part if a game is on N64 and PS1 I will just get it on PS1, that was how I did it back in the day anyways. But then there is the 1st party stuff, most of which is also, no surprise, on the Virtual Console. Not everything is but I have discovered, yet again, that here is another system that due to all of these factors that aside from just wanting to own one, I can’t justify the price for the handful of true exclusives left due to the price they fetch.

PS2-GameCube-Xbox era

I have all three, in one way or another. I have an actual PS2 and an actual Xbox plus I have a Wii which acts as my Game Cube device. The way I tend to collect these games is convoluted but I will try to address it. First priority is price. I look for whichever system version is cheapest. Sometimes the Game Cube one is cheaper, although this is rare it does happen, sometimes the Xbox one is the cheapest and in most cases the PS2 is the cheapest due largely to the massive sales and popularity of the console. Also fortunately many of the high profile PS2-era games have either been re-released on PSN as PS2 Classics, or for PS3 as HD-Remakes. I currently own all but two HD remakes, the two I don’t have are the ICO one and the Silent Hill one. I have all the others. So when it comes to third party multiplatform games I favor whichever one is cheapest, unless that particular game is console defining, for example Resident Evil 4 might be cheaper on PS2 its superior on Game Cube and a defining game for the system. But it doesn’t matter as I have the HD remake anyways so a better example would be Harvest Moon A Wonderful Life. The PS2 is superior in some ways but the Game Cube is the definitive versions, not just because it is the one I played, but also because of the sequel and the GBA connectivity, so I have that game on Game Cube.

As far as 1st party exclusives well duh I get those on their respective systems, except I do tend to favor either HD remakes or digital copies such as Virtual Console and eShop or PSN wherever possible. That means since I have Twilight Princess HD and Wind Waker HD on Wii U, there is no need for me to get either of those on Game Cube, or even Wii for that matter in the case of TP.


Speaking of Wii this is also complicated. Since I have a Wii and a Wii U I consider my Wii U my true Wii console and my real Wii console is just a Game Cube. For this reason I favor the digital releases on Wii U wherever possible with a few exceptions. Now as far as Wii goes my formula is simple but it can be tricky. A game has to tick all 3 boxes before I get it on Wii. First it has to be a game I am interested in, none of that shovelware crap or motion control stuff. Second, motion controls have to be optional in most cases, so for a game that is on both Wii and PS2 if its motion controls only on Wii and it is a game I want I will just get it on PS2. If it is traditional controls only or optional, motion controls optional in other words, and its in good shape then I pick whichever one is cheaper. If a game is on both Wii and PS3 however I don’t even consider the Wii version as existing so my Wii collecting focuses on these rare true Wii exclusives and a select PS2 ports that are not motion controls only.

Wii U

Needless to say I am what you call basically done with Wii U. My rules are true exclusives only or HD remakes on a few cases. So that means if a game was a 3rd party port to Wii U from PS3 or something else, I don’t bother with Wii U versions at all, period. Now a game like Super Mario Kart 8 which I do not currently own, is coming to Switch so I will likely get it on Switch and ignore the Wii U version. In most cases I favor digital over physical because pricing and because I got my Wii U when they still had that digital promotion going so every game I bought gave me points to trade in for more games so I got a lot of digital games and usually spent the points when games were on sale to get the most out of my money. This is kind of the simplest machine to collect for because it really doesn’t have a lot of true exclusives when it comes to physical games.


Right now I am not exactly collecting for the PS4. It is my second-most current console so I will pick up games as I go along but my focus is really just on getting the games that come out that interest me as I go along. This mostly is a lot of retro stuff as that is where my interest lies.

I don’t have an Xbox 360 or an Xbox 1. I don’t really see the need, I have a PS3, PS4, Wii U, Switch and Windows gaming PC with a Steam Account, that really doesn’t leave much to get on 360 o2 X1. Truth be told I am sort of tempted to get a 360 just to own one and grab a few games like Crackdown and some others, but I am not sure if that will be a priority for me.


TO be honest this is most likely going to be my next console purchase. I have been looking at the games for a while and I think there are enough to justify it. Also because I already own so many PS1, PS2 and PS3 digital games on the PSN Store I could get a PSP and already have almost a hundred different games to play on it without having to spend any money on games. Also it plays movies and music so there is that as well.

That is pretty much everything I am currently focused on. I am nearly caught up with compilations and I only have a couple dozen Virtual Console games left to buy so once I exhaust those options and build up the libraries on existing hardware then I will consider buying a new system. I also just got a Switch last month that I need to get a few more games for as soon as they come out. I am especially interested in Arms, Sonic Mania, Ultimate SF 2, and Super Mario Odyssey.

Confessions of a ‘Millennial’: What it means to be a part of the most hated generation of our time.

There is much confusion abounding about what it means to be a “Millennial,” I just wanted to clear a few things up. To some it’s a pejorative, an insult, to others it’s merely a misunderstood “generation” and to marketers in the media its nothing but a demographic that they think they understand. I can tell you one thing, weather you consider yourself to be a part of the so-called millennial generation or one of the generations that look down upon them, there is something you need to know, it’s all a figment of your imagination.

Before they were calling us millennials they called us the MTV generation. Demographers define the “millennial” generation as those who were coming of age during the year 2000, as in anyone who was either a teenager or a young adult. The typical, most widely accepted date line is anyone born between 1980 and 1995. I guess I fall smack in the middle of that generation. I knew I wasn’t Gen-X, that’s my mom’s generation and it’s kind of hard to be in the same generation as your parents, being the “next generation” of their DNA and all that.

What does it actually mean to be a “Millennial?” Well nothing really, it’s a made up word used by members of the so-called “main stream media” and marketers as a way to define those young people currently between the ages of 22 and 37 or somewhere in that age range. The stereotypical millennial is some super entitled hipster that has a smart phone permanently attached to their hand with their face planted firmly into the abstract cloud based world-wide-web of information. Often described as lazy, entitled, too into their technology and so many other negative’s I don’t have the energy to go after them all. But the name millennial itself, is so negative I know personally people in my generation, friends and family who are millennials, or at least are in the generation that is being talked about, who distance themselves from it, or use it themselves to talk down to the “kids coming up” I guess, without realizing the kids born in the year 2000, they can’t be millennials, they’re still in high school.

Here are my confessions as a so-called Millennial. Do I wear the name like a badge of honor, sure why not, the so-called mainstream media gets just about everything about us so far wrong that even other so-called millennials can’t agree on what it means to be one. Let me put it like this, many of the actual millennials I now who are in denial, that say things like we’re all narcissistic, or “they’re” all narcissistic, are usually posting pictures of their kids doing the most mundane thing as some accomplishment to social media while simultaneously knocking other so-called “millennials” for doing the exact same thing. Well sure hypocrisy is rampant among any generation, just look at the “greatest” generation and their baby-boomer children. Actually don’t look that closely because you might discover that the “greatest” generation, wasn’t actually that great, and you might be further shocked to learn that the MTV generation, as we used to be called before it was cool to define us by the Y2K bug that we supposedly caused. Oh right I guess I lost my train of thought, we tend to do that being that we’re all OCD with ADHD and whatnot. I guess I should point out that if you compare the accomplishments of the baby boomers to our generation, well the baby boomers end up looking like a bunch of bitter old farts barking at their computers trash talking those silly millennials and their stupid little gadgets.

Okay maybe that was a little harsh, I have some good friends that are baby boomers, but even they often have not only negative stereotypes of our generation, including false assumptions of me personally. Needless to say they aren’t all that bad, but you know what, neither are we.

So what does a so-called Millennial do with his or her day? The same thing the baby boomers did and the Generation X-ers that spawned us, we live our lives. We go to school. We start families. We build bridges and start businesses, invent new technologies, replace outdated systems with new and improved systems; you know the same thing every generation before us did. And like every generation before us, the one that came before always looks down on the one coming up. Hell we do it to the, what are we calling them now snowflakes, that are coming up behind us. Some people mix up the “snowflakes” with the millennials. In other words, nothing has changed every generation digs on the one coming up, it’s the same as those old timers who reminisce about the so-called “good old days” which is just a myth because the problems of the world have been the same since the beginning of recorded history, pick up a bible or any history book to learn about that.

Alright enough complaining so what are some things that the pollsters get wrong about millennials? I guess for starters that we’re all socialist, elitist hipsters that have OCD and are narcissistic to a fault.

I will tackle each one individually. I will start with the accusation we’re all socialists. False. Our generation has done more for capitalism than the Generation X ever did. When Gen X wanted to go to the moon they built a socialist program funded by tax payers that was used to bolster national TV ratings so capitalist advertisers could line their pockets. Okay a 50-50 split for socialism. What has our generation done? We said screw NASA and their tax payer funded military driven hidden agenda, let’s privatize space exploration with Google and Space X having REPLACED NASA’s outdated shuttle program and currently working on space tourism that is designed to be, eventually, affordable for the masses. Under the generation X/Baby boomers only a handful of government trained elitists would EVER get the “privilege” of flying into space. Under the direction of the millennial generation, our kids and our grandkids will be able to fly to a space hotel in low earth orbit thanks to capitalist investments in space. Point goes to the Millennials. I will give a point to NASA and the Boomers for at least secretly launching the internet as part of the very same socialist space program they developed to combat Russian socialism, I mean Communism.

What about we’re all elitist hipsters? Also false, about as false s you can get. The one most common complaint I hear by boomers and older gen-xers is the breakdown of country clubs, the declining membership of elitist members-only groups that require members to pay monthly dues to participate, alienating the lower-income folks, in order for the so-called elites to stick together to hold onto the way things are. Millennials as a whole tend to be less likely to join elitist members-only clubs, not because we’re not civic minded or even all anti-social, more on that later. The real reason is we tend to be more inclusive, we tend to be more welcoming to who we associate with and while racism, bigotry and other words of the like get thrown about, our generation certainly has its share of racists, on both sides, as a whole we tend to be more willing to associate with people of different backgrounds, including those of a lower economic status as ourselves, and we tend to be more willing to do our volunteer work not so much for show or through organized members-only clubs, but instead we just do it because we see a person in need and we help them out. Again that goes hand in hand with dismissing the false claim we’re all socialists, because you know we’d rather help our members of the community out ourselves than rely on government assistance. We prefer to cut out the middle man and give directly, that is why we created things like GoFundMe and Patreon, seriously proof our generation is MORE giving than the boomers and Gen-Xers.

How does GoFundMe or Patreon prove we’re more giving? Well it also proves we’re less selfish than we’re described. The Boomers especially when someone fell on hard times would give money to charities with large overhead costs that would barely do anything more than make people feel worthless for falling on hard times. With GoFundMe we cut out the middle man, if someone is struggling they create a GoFundMe and ask for a reasonable amount of money to get through their hardship, maybe it’s make a late mortgage payment to help a single mother out who lost her job, or maybe it’s to help someone who doesn’t have insurance pay for a medical bill that is insurmountable. So instead of telling that person go through the lengthy process of filling paper work applying for charities to raise the funds and waiting for bureaucrat to approve the funds, we can just give a few bucks here and there to any cause we feel worthy and the people get the money directly and use it for whatever they say they are using it for.

What about Patreon? Well another thing we Millennials did was we got tired of McDonald’s, Pepsi, Ford, AT&T, Big Tobacco, and beer companies deciding what we get to watch. We did away with the out-dated advertising driven model of TV, movies, books, video games, radio, etc., and developed what is known as social media. The very basic aspect of it is the Facebook and Twitter but it goes deeper. We have YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, and a host of other internet based content created BY regular people FOR the entertainment of ourselves. Some of the content, much of it in fact, is social or viral videos, normal people sharing the little moments in their lives with the wider internet. You know so whenever one of our babies or pets does something extra cute we video it and share it with the whole world, this partially explains where the accusations of narcissism comes from, however it’s really just our way of saying hey, here is a nice little distraction from the corporate advertisers telling you what you are supposed to enjoy. The way Patreon works is instead of an advertiser commissioning a director and a team of writers to develop a series, a small group of maybe two or three creative individuals goes to the internet and tells their plan for a show to those who might be interested. An example would be someone who has a vlog series (video log) where they talk about topics people are interested in. A very interesting one that I enjoy DAILY is called “Today I Found Out” where you get brief, usually less than 7 minute, video dedicated to a fun, interesting topic that gives you some basic information, usually insightful and often as much as you would get in a typical Discovery Channel program but without all the commercials and filler getting in the way of the entertainment. So Patreon is a way for a fan of the creator to donate any amount they wish, large or small, directly to the creator both as a thank you for the content and as a way of supporting their favorite programs, ensuring they stay “on the air” without having to resort to organize letter writing campaigns like the famous Star Trek deal from the 1960’s.

In addition to GoFundMe and Patreon we have a thing called crowd funding, another example would be Indie-GoGo where a film maker, author, or video game developer can announce their plans for a project and ask for donations directly from the same people who are likely to spend money on the finished project. There is another one called Kickstarter that is popular. The point is we don’t rely on the institutions of the old timers to get our entertainment or other projects; we give directly to inventors, authors, story-tellers, even musicians, instead of letting some big corporate entity take all the profit and control the message. I guess to some that makes us look socialists, but it really just makes us innovators. Another point goes to the millennials.

What about we’re all OCD, ADHD or have some other disorder like social anxiety or something else? This one can be a bit touchy but let me just keep it simple, we don’t have any greater frequency of mental health than any other generation based on any information I could find, we just live in a modern society where more information is known about things that in previous generations we didn’t know as much. I will say that yes we have all grown up with our computers and electronic devices, even more so than the Generation X-ers that basically started the computer revolution. But really all we did as take what they started and perfected it. They made the World Wide Web, we made it better. They created AOL, a corporate portal that kept the internet hidden behind a pay wall with advertisers determining what content was available, we created social media and open source platforms where the entire internet is basically free and anyone can access it openly, you know just taking their vision and making it an actual reality. Don’t get me wrong I have ancient memories of the dusty old dial up days of American Online and using Keywords to search for terms instead of using Facebook and YouTube to share web pages and videos. Memes wouldn’t even be possible without our intervention.

Sure you look at Pokémon Go and see the decline of civilization, or see something like Oculus Rift as one more way for us to stay at home and not get fresh air. But what I see is a world where we have information available to us that we can use to our advantage to not only make our own lives better, but the world a better place too. Also for those politically minded, Millennials vote in the same patterns as their parents, Baby Boomers that were conservative spawned liberal Gen X babies who rebelled against mommy and daddy, those Gen X-ers spawn conservatives who rebelled against their liberal parents, and vice versa, that’s how it works kids rebel against their parents ideals and discover their own way in life, it’s okay for them to do that this is why you kick us out of the house and tell us to get a job. Maybe we drag our feet in leaving the nest longer than previous generations but that’s because we’re often very busy using our electronic gadgets to make the world a little less scary for the next generation.  I give that point to our parents for raising us right. So maybe Generation X and Millennials are both pretty good after all. Maybe instead of spending so much time passing the blame around why don’t we just celebrate our accomplishments, enjoy the fact we live in a free society where we can say whatever we want, and just live our lives without worrying about what other people think. Am I a Millennial, you bet your ass I am, and I am not ashamed of being a part of the greatest nation on Earth, I am just glad I was born at a time when we can reach beyond our own weaknesses and connect with others that share our faults. If I didn’t have the connections I made on the internet, I might not be who I am today.


“You are all my children now.”

In the 1980’s there was a trifecta of different styles all blending together in a perfect storm of outrageous thematic elements that would soon dominate the entire fringe culture, and even cross into mainstream. Going a decade back the roots of this movement were beginning with the rise of the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop RPG game. The theme was medieval fantasy. It had firmly taken hold of video game culture by the middle of the decade with games such as Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Ghosts N Goblins, Gauntlet, and even Castlevania taking the horror/fantasy genre to mainstream status. On the music side bands like Alice Cooper, Dio, KISS, and many others, were using D&D, horror, fantasy, and medieval art mixed with Gothic imagery. While Hollywood itself was slow to jump on the bandwagon, indie filmmakers like George Lucas, Stephan Spielberg, Jim Henson, and John Carpenter were all making variations of this theme. And best of all they blended together perfectly. Horror movies would reference D&D usually with a gamer depicted or borrow heavily from medieval mythologies, while having a strong heavy-metal soundtrack, which in turn contained lyrics that referenced D&D either directly or indirectly often as the horror movies would. So if you were a fan of medieval fantasy, Gothic imagery and music that told stories set in these thematic worlds, then the mid-to-late 80’s was your decade.

During this time nothing blended these three elements together better than Wes Craven’s Gothic horror masterpiece “A Nightmare o Elm Street.” While the first film itself doesn’t really contain too much in the way of medieval fantasy, it does have a very strong fantasy component, the music is very fitting for the mood, plus it also contains some of that D&D-esque metal rock sprinkled in to ensure it hit all of the notes. In some ways the movie is a murder mystery, you know almost  detective noir-style with Nancy trying to solve the mystery of the masked villain killing her friends one-by-one. It also has a little bit of Gothic horror with Freddy acting as a zombie, a vampire, and a serial killer all while tormenting his victims not with his own dastardly schemes, but using their own fears against them. In some ways it is also a psychological thriller.

The film opens with an abstract scene in the basement of some factory or plant with an unseen man crafting a glove containing sharp razors as extensions of the fingers. Immediately the tone of the film is set, the killer is unseen, hiding in the shadows, nobody knows who, or what, he is or why he is killing these seemingly random teenagers. During the course of the film there are references to Shakespeare, including a quote from Julius Cesar about nightmares, fitting as in the play he dreamed of his demise before it happened, much like the victims in the film.

I won’t spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it. I am not under the impression that just because it is old everyone knows what takes place, I will say anyone that has any interest in mythology, fantasy, horror, vampires, zombies, the undead, D&D, or heavy metal music should check out the entire franchise. Each film has it’s own strengths and weaknesses.

The sequel, often criticized but still worth watching, goes in a different direction. Instead of a murder mystery where the kids are trying to survive by figuring out who the killer is and how to defeat him, part two, subtitled as “Freddy’s Revenge,” takes on a more haunted house, possession story line. Again it has some moments fans cringe at but it also has a few of the iconic moments that the franchise is well known for. There is even scene that takes place inside of a Gothic night club, further tying the franchise into this whole theme.

Of course if you really want proof the Nightmare films are really D&D-inspired look no further than the third entry. Regarded by many, myself included, as the best in the franchise second only to the original to some, it’s a masterpiece in many ways and proof that a sequel can outdo the original. But there are so many more D&D elements and fantasy themes in this movie. For starters the subtitle is now “The Dream Warriors.” It centers on the survivors of the previous two films, the “Last of the Elm Street teenagers.” something you just have to watch the movies to understand. It also features a kid who prominently plays D&D in the movie, even going so far as having an actual scene depicting, fairly accurately unlike most movies, a portion of game play. In the dream world however things get weirder, this character becomes a wizard with super powers and another character takes on a Gothic/Punk look even meeting Freddy face to face in an alley. There is an Alice in Wonderland feel to the third installment, a D&D type maze/dungeon at the end where they come together as a team, a cleric type, a sage type, a fighter type, and even the silent stealthy bard/thief type, who all have to face the final boss, Freddy, at the end to win the treasure, their right to live, and go back to living normal lives at the end of their mythic quest. It truly is the one film in the series the most similar to an actual game of Dungeons and Dragons, from the very opening scene to the very end credits. It even brings in a fleshed out back story and mythology to the character and his origins are explored in a very medieval Catholic mythology sort of way.

Part four sort of keeps the notion of dream powers, introduces new concepts like the Dream Master, the films subtitle, and ends in a final battle with a new powered up girl in a church where at the end she ends up well I won’t spoil it but it’s very much in line with the theme I been repeating.

Part 5 and 6 are where the franchise takes a turn for the worse. Number 5, the Dream Child, is more of a comic book movie, Freddy is even depicted as a comic book villain and his nemesis is his own mother, resurrected to take him back to hell or something I guess. The movie has a more action movie, comic book vibe and style to it. In some ways that is refreshing, in other ways it can be off putting. Part six is, to put it bluntly, a parody of the franchise. It’s basically a Warner Bros. cartoon making fun of the whole concept, and yes it even features Bugs Bunny and Wizard of Oz references and heavily relies on the 3-D gimmick. It does flesh out the mythology quite well, and features a really great cameo by the dark master himself, Alice Cooper, again really mixing the themes in a way that ensures fans will find something to enjoy. It’s the worst of the films by most accounts but still worth watching for a few things, those cameos and back story plus a surprise I won’t spoil.

Part 7, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, gets back to the Gothic horror theme by basically putting Freddy into the Hansel and Gretel story. There isn’t much else to say it’s almost a remake/reboot of the original film with a twist but it’s one of the scarier films in the series, still worth checking out. I won’t go into either Freddy Vs. Jason or the 2010 Remake as they both stray so far from the original their best left in their own world. I enjoyed them each, in their own way, but neither of them live up to the source material. Freddy vs. Jason is made for the Playstation crowd and the remake was too dark and had no ties to the fantasy mythology that the original had. Worse of all, it wasn’t even about a child murderer freed on a technicality, it was a sick perverted child molester that had no motive for murdering his victims in their dream world, which also had no fantasy elements at all, instead it was trying too hard to be dark an edgy where it really just ended up being creepy and uncomfortable.

What can I say, I enjoy Gothic music and themes, I play Dungeons and Dragons extensively and I thoroughly enjoy the fantasy-themed horror series of A Nightmare on Elm Street. Netflix recently added the original film to its streaming service, Part 2 and New Nightmare had been there before but they are not the actual best movies, the first and 3rd films are really the two to watch. Part 4 is pretty good, 5 and 6 are laughable but somewhat entertaining and the rest are different degrees of bad or too dark for my taste.

I also really enjoyed the documentary on Netflix “Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy” that really delved deep into the behind the scenes of the movies.

My personal ranking, with scores, best to worst:

  1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 5/5
  2. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors 5/5
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master 4.5/5
  4. Freddy vs. Jason 4/5
  5. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child 3.5/5
  6. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 3.5/5
  7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 6: Freddy’s Dead, The Final Nightmare 3.5/5
  8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) remake 3.5/5
  9. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare 3/5

Since I consider both New Nightmare and 2010 to be remakes, I prefer the full on reboot over the half-baked soft reboot. I know others will disagree but I just never cared for the breaking the fourth wall and taking Freddy into the “real” world making everything that came before just a movie, inside of a movie, too meta for my tastes.

There you have it, my general thoughts on the Freddy Krueger character and the films he appears in.

Delve into the mind of THE RAT… if you dare.

When I was in the first grade I started signing my school papers with my initials, R.A.T., partly because I had bad hand writing, that is a story for another day, so I was trying to save time but also partly because, well back then I was pretty lazy, and partly because once I discovered my initials spelled out a word I thought it was fun. It didn’t stay fun forever as time went on I became stuck with the name, The Rat, which I currently wish would die out. But who is The Rat? Read on to find out more.

It started in 1997. Up to that point  had pretty much stopped signing my name as such and forgot about that silly initial thing. At least until one day, when I was in the 9th grade, I turned in a paper with just my initials, just because I wrote it in a hurry and added my name last second. It was for my science class,  didn’t get long well with my science teacher anyways so I figured screw it. Well some of the jackals in my class thought it was funny, and being mostly Spanish speaking they began calling me “la rata” or “the rat” in Spanish.

But it goes just a little deeper than that. Not the name but the underlying “persona” that I would invent as a form of identity shield. When I was much younger I had gotten used to being picked up and bullied in school. As such I developed a dislike for, well, everyone. So I went out of my way to discourage other kids from associating with me because I just wanted to be left alone. During my early days I discovered I had a very strong fascination with the Nightmare on Elm Street movie franchise. I suppose much of this could be tied to my being a kid in the 80’s, which at that time Freddy Krueger pretty much dominated the media scene, from MTV to everything inbetween. In 1996 I heard a song on the radio by a fairly new band called Marylin Manson. At first I was drawn to the music, the song that played on the radio all the time was “The Beautiful People,” to this day one of my favorite’s in the heavy metal genre. Although I learned later Manson wasn’t exactly true heavy metal, I still liked his music. It was dark, thematic and reminded me a lot of those Freddy films I had become so obsessed with. During my high school years I day-dreamed of forming my own shock rock metal band, even going so far as wanting to mimic the long hair, make up and stylish clothing that went along with it. But well I didn’t have it in me to put on that public mask that bands like Manson, Kiss, Twisted Sister, and others, wore. Instead I took a different approach.

I had always been divided between my love of the dark, loud, and angry metal music, with the violent, aggressive, and severely more angry gangsta rap music. My attraction to both forms of music was still a part of that persona, if I was seen listening to loud, offensive, and very violent music I figured it would be a good buffer to keep people away. For the most part, it worked. Decent people noticed quickly that a guy listening to “Natural Born Killers” by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre from the Murder was the Case soundtrack as loud as my speakers could play it, well that was a guy to avoid. I also wore a very angry expression on my face and became used to wearing torn, dirty and very rugged clothing to further cement the persona of not just an out cast, but a dark soul to be feared and avoided. I started to take the persona, or the act, onto the internet off and on. Partly because I was still trying to remain tough and distant but also because I hated confrontation. The problem is, this doesn’t work online, in real life you get the whole picture, the image, the scruffiness and you understand what I was going for. But online I just came off as a jerk, a troll even by most definitions.

After many years of justifying this dual personality/persona, it wasn’t just inspired by rock bands like Manson, it was further justified by the poster child for the image I was going for, the infamous Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, aka, Slim Shady. His dual persona image in his music fit what I was trying to do perfectly. I wanted to be seen as clean cut and respectable by those who took the time to get to know me, but feared and seen as a pretty mean dude by those I wished to keep my distance from. I had trouble taking this online and I also, eventually, had trouble separating the two in real life as well. Eventually I decided to take it a step further.

The Rat wasn’t getting the point across. So I changed my music persona name to DJ Serial Killa, taken from a Snoop Dogg song from his debut album, Doggystyle. Now as a kid thanks to the graphic, almost pornographic cartoon in the album art, it didn’t take long for me to figure out what “doggystyle” was referring to. Needless to say I figured if the good guy, or rapper, was The Rat, then the DJ, or the mysterious one pulling the puppet strings, had to be worse, thus I took on the name DJ Serial Killa. Of course I also adopted the phrase, or motto, that as a DJ I justified the name as I “murdered the competition, and there was a whole lot of competition.

I will admit as a rapper, I suck. I can, when I put my mind to it, write good poems, and by extension song lyrics. However I never applied this to my rapping, partly because I honestly never took it that seriously, partly because I kind of was “too white” deep down and there was also the matter of my voice, I hated how it sounded so I never put my full honest attention into my rapping. That being said I will freely say, and I can back this up with examples, my DJ’ing ability was pretty good. I didn’t do much of the Jazzy Jeff/Beastie Boys spinning vinyl records, but I could DJ, or disc jockey a party like no body’s business. This I developed through my years of not just making endless supplies of mix tapes, yes literal cassette tapes, but also mix cd’s, and evnetually playlists. I became skilled at telling which songs fit together in a set, or mood, and which songs blended together smoothly. And I can also show examples of music I mixed myself, using a variety of methods ranging from playing samples and keyboards using my own instrumentals, to the famous hip-hop production technique of mixing loops and samples. Still my DJ or production ability was far better than my rapping thus the DJ name had to have a much strong pull to it.

So what is the point? Just sharing a little bit of why I used to let people call me “THE RAT” and why, especially in recent years, I have shifted away from using that name. I am not ashamed of who I am, look I produced 6 underground records, some I put in stores some I only shared with friends, show me your musical works and I will say okay you can talk to me about names, until then, I can say I did something with my life I wanted to do, not everyone can say that. Lately I have been contemplating making a new musical production, or starting up a new venture online. Whatever I end up doing it will always be for the same purpose, sharing my ideas with people who might be interested for one reason or another.

Will I ever go back to being “THE RAT”? No I don’t think so. I know one thing is for sure, I might never get my chance to play in a shock rock metal band, at least I did get a chance to record an almost gangsta rap but not really gangsta rap, hip-hop record. And there is something to be said of a person doing what they want in life and not being bothered by what other people think. I never got to be as “goth” as I wanted, but I did push the boundaries of what I could get away with as much as possible. Looking back, yes I did take some things to far, something I have to live with to this day. I guess that is part of life, we all have skeletons in our closet, I just think if you dig too deep you might not like what you find. And that is okay, because honestly Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, he made us into a new creation so while The Rat is no more and DJ Serial Killa was always just bad idea for a name, the reality is all the dark and not very Christian things I was either witness to or an accessory to, are all in the past. Going forward life has improved tremendously and I believe things will only ever get better.