Sunday, December 31, 2023

The Christmas Fallout: 2023!

Well, the curtain has fallen on another Christmas, and VERY soon, another year. I hope you were all able to spend the last week in relative peace and/or happiness, regardless of any formal celebrations. 

With that, it's time for the annual Fallout post, where I show off my gift haul for the year and you guys can also chime in with yours via the comment section. It's the last bit of Christmas fun we'll get to have this year, so let's relish it! Have a peek at my goods:

HP Laptop

This was definitely the biggest surprise of everything I received this year. I've had the same HP Laptop since 2015 and, needless to say, it's been showing its age something fierce. The disc drive died, the thing couldn't stay on unless you kept it plugged in, and to top it all off, it was slower than Christmas. It became frustrating to use, but I still put up with it because, hey, at least it still mostly functioned, right? Well, now that my family has blessed me with a brand-new model that runs like a dream, I no longer have to put up with said frustration. God, it'll be nice to not have to constantly worry about killing the thing by accidentally pulling the cord or wait like an hour for it to shut down.

Super Mario RPG 
Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Super Mario Bros. Wonder Walmart-Exclusive Trading Card Pack
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe 
Sonic Superstars (Switch)
Sonic Superstars Acrylic Stand 
Persona 5 Tactica (Switch)
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 Launch Edition 
Marvel's Midnight Suns Enhanced Edition (PS5)

2023's gaming crop might be one for the books. Alongside the hotly-anticipated sequel to Insomniac's Spider-Man with two Spideys and a load of Symbiote fun, the year also saw a wonderfully (ha!) bizarre new 2D Mario game all wrapped up in an adorable new art style, a new 2D Sonic game with five different playable characters (which includes a brand-new REPTILE from Sonic's co-creator), another addition to the Persona 5 world with a strategy-based twist, and, oh yeah, A FULL HD REMAKE OF MY FAVORITE FREAKING GAME EVER COMPLETE WITH BRAND NEW CONTENT!!!!! 

*phew* So yeah, I've mainly been spending the past week playing the latter. (Just beat it, in fact, including the new post-game battles. PHENOMENAL remake that had me grinning from ear-to-ear, especially from a lot of the new additions, such as added dialogue and the Monster List.) 

Rounding things out are another turn-based strategy game (this time with a Marvel flavor) and an enhanced remake of a Kirby title from the Wii days. I actually had to reorder the latter from Amazon because the shrink-wrapped copy that I received as a gift didn't actually have a game card inside. (Seriously.) In luckier news, I definitely scored with those Walmart pre-order Mario Wonder cards:

I ACTUALLY GOT the infamous "limited to 1000 copies" Elephant Mario card!!! If you're wondering why I'm so pumped over a trading card, just look up "Elephant Mario card" on eBay and watch your own jaw hit the floor at the prices. It's the luckiest I've ever been with a trading card pack pull, and I'm definitely not letting this little rarity go to waste. With a little luck, what this sucker pulls on eBay has the potential to fully cover the cost of that nice laptop gift from before.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Steelbook (4K Combo) (W/Walmart-Exclusive Mini-Poster)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (4K Combo)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (4K Combo)
Spider-Man Trilogy (Blu-ray)
The Amazing Spider-Man Collection (Blu-ray)

MOVIES! Across the Spider-Verse's release inspired me to finally finish off my collection of Spidey's cinematic starring roles (now I'm only missing Infinity War and Endgame) while the latest TMNT film starts off a whole new era for the franchise. (I was originally going to opt for the normal 4K release, but the Walmart-exclusive version of the Steelbook including that rad mini-poster made it irresistible. IT'S GOT FREAKING LEATHERHEAD ON IT!!)

Pokémon BW Adventures in Unova and Beyond: The Complete Season
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The Ultimate Collection 

More physical media fun! While the latest Pokémon set brings Unova to an end, the Turtles on the right are definitely the much bigger deal. After YEARS of being largely ignored by Nickelodeon (particularly in the realm of physical releases), they've finally, FINALLY released every episode of the 2003 TMNT series on DVD in a nice Complete Series collection. It's a legit miracle. Sure, the release isn't perfect, with particular attention given to both spotty video quality in places and the version of Turtles Forever included, but after NOTHING for SO LONG, I'm frankly just incredibly happy to finally be able have this show on my shelf next to the others. I never thought the day would come.

Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 13: Battle for the Empire
Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 14: Overpowered
Sonic the Hedgehog Volume 15: Urban Warfare
Sonic the Hedgehog: Scrapnik Island

Moving on to some books, my annual Sonic reading pile promises a showdown with Surge and Kit, the formation of the new Diamond Cutters, the return of Team Dark, and a creepy little adventure starring Mecha Sonic. Definitely a lot of Sonicy fun to look forward to!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Necessary Evil Part 2 Deluxe Edition 
Mighty Morphin/Power Rangers Book 1 Deluxe Edition 

Didn't get any PR comics last Christmas, so I decided to more than make up for that this year by finally catching up on the Deluxe Edition hardcovers. Now I'll be able to experience the saga of the new Green Ranger! Also thrown in is the somehow-even-more-bonkers sequel to MMPR/TMNT, featuring everyone from Slash to Dinosaur Mutant Rangers. That should be a fun one to bust out on a rainy day.

LEGO Sonic the Hedgehog Shadow's Escape Set
SpongeBob Comics Volume 1: Silly Sea Stories
Yu-Gi-Oh! Minifigure (Got Dark Magician!)

Also scored a couple rad things from my sister's family. The Shadow set gives me my first taste of the LEGO Sonic the Hedgehog line (unless you count the Dimensions set from 2016) while the first collection of SpongeBob Comics adds to the illustrated nautical nonsense on my shelf. Rounding things out is a tiny Dark Magician figure from a blind bag. 'Cuz why not?

$50 Amazon Gift Card
Bluetooth Earbuds

Finishing things off, some dear family friends who didn't have the opportunity to drop by for Christmas last year gifted me some Bluetooth Earbuds (always handy to have spare headphones) and 50 bucks of Amazon cash. (You'll see how I'm gonna spend it in the next post.)

That's all 2023 wrote! Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best in 2024!

Monday, December 11, 2023

Hauls: Pre-Holiday Clean-Up RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Merry almost Christmas! The big day's so close I can practically taste it, so I need to hurry up and get these undocumented hauls sorted away with! Enjoy the show!

Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales Ultimate Edition 

Actually got this a little before my Birthday, but it slipped my mind when I made the OMGcon post. It came with my PS5, but I didn't pay much mind to it at the time because I already had the PS4 version and its included next-gen upgrade. Turns out that I should've looked a little closer a little sooner, since it was actually the Ultimate Edition with a free code for the Remastered version of the original Marvel's Spider-Man! Glad I noticed before I spent the ten bucks on the upgrade like I was originally planning to!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Omnibus Volume 8 (Amazon)

Courtesy of the Amazon cash that my Sis got me for my Birthday, Volume 8 of the MLP Omnibuses completes the FIM ongoing series with the "Season 10" storyline. Enjoyed my time with it, particularly the stuff delving into Zecora's backstory and Pinkie and Cheese Sandwich's developing relationship. Ending was a bit sudden, though. Feels like the climax could've used one more issue since it was essentially the show's definitive ending pre-time-skip and all that. Don't know if I'll bother with the Generation 5-based comics, but I'm at least happy to complete this pony tale on my shelf.

Marvel Legends - Gamerverse Miles Morales (Big Bad Toy Store)
Digimon: Digital Monsters Season 1 (Blu-ray) (Rightstuf Anime)

Missed out on Gamerverse Miles when he originally came out, so when BBTS opened pre-orders for a reissue, I made sure to grab one. With excellent sculpted detail and great effect parts recreating his venom powers, he's a fine upgrade for my old Marvel Legends Miles from the Space Venom wave. Now if only we could get a Gamerverse Pete that's just as nice instead of a simple repaint. (Maybe when Hasbro gets around to making the Insomniac black suit.)

As for the Digimon set, Rightstuf had it on sale, so I jumped on it. I already own the show on DVD, but the much improved video quality as well as the restored content that was missing from said DVDs due to imperfect masters definitely made the upgrade worth it. (Discotek had also recently announced a certain other Digimon release that made me feel like giving them all the money.)

Yoshi's Story 
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage 
Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

A pile of old games from my Dad! Happy to have Yoshi's Story back in my N64 collection as well as to own both Spyro 2 and A Crack in Time physically after having the digital versions sitting on my PS3 for a while. (Need to find a case for Ratchet, though.)

Sonic and the Tales of Deception (ThriftBooks)

Got this Sonic book I've had my eye on for a while essentially for free by earning enough points through ThriftBooks' rewards program. (Had to pay shipping and tax, though.) The three stories included aren't anything too crazy since it's a kids book, but it's still a neat little thing to have in my collection and you definitely can't beat the less than two bucks I ended up spending on it. Now I just need to grab the other in the series.

Ralph Breaks the Internet (4K Combo) (Disney Movie Insiders)

Already had Ralph Breaks the Internet on Blu-ray (detailed it on this very blog back in 2019, in fact), but I couldn't pass up trading in some DMI points for a free 4K upgrade when that version finally hit their catalog. Now I have both Wreck-It Ralph movies in the highest possible quality without having to rebuy anything. Disney Movie Insiders is a lovely thing.

Pokémon Adventures XY Volume 6 (Amazon)

This was a fun one because I got it for the best price ever: FREE! Yep, Amazon had a promotion going where if you signed up for Prime during a certain period, they'd provide you with a complimentary $10 promotional code to use during their Prime Day event. Well, I did just that and used said code to pre-order the final book of the Pokémon Adventures XY arc. Since I had Prime and the promo code made the base cost $0, there wasn't even any shipping or tax. It was 100% free. Life's kinda cool sometimes.

Sgt. Frog: The Complete Third & Fourth Seasons (SD Blu-ray) (Rightstuf Anime)

THE FROGS ARE BACK! Since Discotek already finished off the dubbed episodes and any future seasons would be sub-only, they decided to kick their Sgt. Frog SDBDs into overdrive by packing TWO WHOLE SEASONS ONTO ONE SET. That's OVER 100 FROG EPISODES for the EXACT SAME PRICE AS PREVIOUS SEASONS. That is NUTS. Needless to say, it took a bit to work my way through every bit of content on both discs, but I enjoyed every minute of it. My faves from this batch include a Death Note parody with Tamama as Light and Kululu as Ryuk, an episode where everyone gets sucked into an RPG, and another about weaponized toilets that quickly turns into a Transformers parody (yes, really). Eagerly awaiting Discotek's releases of the three remaining seasons! (Especially the next one, since Kululu is pretty much guaranteed to be on the spine. I'VE BEEN WAITING SINCE THE FUNIMATION DAYS FOR THAT TO HAPPEN!)

Sonic the Hedgehog PowerA Nintendo Switch Game Card Holder (Amazon)

Grabbed this to add a little extra game storage to my Switch case. (Along with a Hedgehoggy flourish, of course.)

Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon (Amazon)

SotD was the only one of Boom's standalone show-based Power Rangers graphic novels that I hadn't picked up yet, so when I saw that Amazon had it down to like ten bucks, I figured it was finally time to bite. (Especially given JDF's unfortunate passing last year. RIP.)

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: The Complete Series (DVD) (Amazon)

Speaking of finally biting on something because of Amazon sales, they had Shout's Jimmy Neutron set down to just a little over $20, so I grabbed it. Not only does it include EVERY episode of the show (including the one or two missing from Paramount+), but also the original pilot AND the three Jimmy Timmy Power Hour crossovers! Always awesome when a DVD set throws in just about everything you'd want it to, especially since that means that my old single-disc releases of the pilot and crossovers can finally be retired.

Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Volume 21 (Amazon)
Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Volume 22 (Amazon)
Sonic Super Digest #12 (eBay)

Got addicted to an awesome multi-hour retrospective on the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series this year, so that put me in a mood to buy old Sonic comics.

I wasn't originally going to collect any more of the Archives trades since I own the remaining reprinted stories in single issue form. However, since Sonic Adventure is so dear to my heart, I was ALWAYS tempted by the two volumes collecting Archie's adaptation of the game. (Especially since my single issues from that particular era are probably the most weathered in my collection. Think I've had THOSE since middle school.) So, after a bit of price research, I finally ordered them both. Now I can read that whole arc without risking damage to my original copies!

As for the Digest, it contains the only Sonic Comic Origins story that I didn't already have in my collection. (For whatever reason, I had trouble finding this particular issue in-stock online back when it was new.) Now I officially own the entirety of the New 252! (Also known as the reboot era.)

Sega Dreamcast Console Hallmark Keepsake Ornament (Amazon)
Funko POP! Gamerverse Spider-Man 2099 (Amazon)

Speaking of Sonic Adventure, when this little Dreamcast ornament that plays music from the game complete with light-up VMU went up for pre-order, I KNEW that I HAD to have it. Now I can celebrate my future holidays with the sweet sounds of Emerald Coast!

As for the 2099 POP, it was on sale for like five bucks on Amazon and since I love Miggy's 2015 suit to death (actually kinda prefer it to the original, if you could believe it), I couldn't resist. Now Kaine has a buddy on the POP shelf!

Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Amazon)
Street Sharks: The Complete TV Series (SD Blu-ray) (Crunchyroll Store)
Sonic X: The Complete Series Japanese-Language Collection (SD Blu-ray) (Crunchyroll Store)

More deals! First off, the Justice League crossover was another title from Boom's Power Rangers library that I hadn't gotten around to yet, so I finally snagged it when Amazon had the hardcover version down to like ten bucks.

Moving on to the SD Blu-rays, Rightstuf was consumed by the Crunchyroll Store, who in turn had a one-day sale where everything in-stock was 25% off. Used that opportunity to grab Discotek's releases of Street Sharks and the original Japanese version of Sonic X. I already own the previous Mill Creek release for the former, but now I can binge the whole show from ONE DISC and not have to deal with obnoxious paper sleeve packaging. As for the latter, while I would normally just stick to the dub set that I already own as far as my collection goes, as a huge Sonic fan, I just couldn't pass up a version of the show with extra Chaotix scenes and Live and Learn actually scoring Sonic and Shadow's fight with the Biolizard like in the game. Plus, this sub set includes a couple exclusive extras, including the Japanese Pilot and the international version of the English opening, meaning that it should complement the dub set on the shelf quite nicely. I'll have the whole Sonic X package! Fun fact about Street Sharks and Sonic X to cap off this section: Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells is in the English versions of both! (He actually voice-directed the latter!)

Strutting Mickey Mouse Lapel Pin (Disney Movie Insiders)

This one's pretty simple. DMI added this teeny tiny Mickey pin to their catalog for just 100 points to celebrate the company's big 100th Anniversary. Much like the Ant-Man pin that I redeemed previously, I just figured, "why not?"

Digimon Card Game Tamer Party Pack -THE BEGINNING- ver 2.0 (Got Davis, Ken, Wormmon, and Lui!)

Went with my Sis to see the new Digimon movie and we got some free cards out of the deal! Normally, each promo pack includes three cards, but since I was able to pull T.K. (my Sis' favorite Digimon Adventure/Adventure 02 character), she traded me BOTH her Davis and Ken for it! She was also able to pull Patamon herself, meaning that between the two of us, we were able to complete two Tamer/Digimon pairs from Adventure 02! (T.K. and Patamon for her and Ken and Wormmon for me.) Really made the whole evening out to see the movie extra fun.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (Blu-ray) (Amazon)
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (Blu-ray) (Amazon)

Shout's Blu-ray releases of the original Power Rangers movies had been on my "to buy" list for a while, but when they recently announced that they'd be going out of print soon, I knew that I had to order them while I still could. Luckily, I was able to snag them before they went (permanently) out-of-stock on Amazon. Now I don't have to worry about missing out on the best home versions of the Rangers' original big screen adventures.

Detective Pikachu Returns (HSN)

THIS was quite a deal! Recently, HSN not only had all their electronics on sale, but also had a holiday deal going where new accounts could take a full $20 off their first purchase with a promo code. I was able to use both discounts to score the new Detective Pikachu game for less than thirty bucks! Super excited to get started on some more sleuthing adventures, especially since I was able to get it for such a nice price so soon after release.

Bugsnax (Nintendo Switch) (Best Buy)

ANOTHER cheapo Switch game! Bugsnax was a little game that I grew to adore when I first played through it during my brief Xbox Game Pass trial, but I had never actually formally bought and owned it for any console. I decided to finally change that when Best Buy recently had the physical Switch version down to just 20 bucks. (It's an awesome physical package, too! It even comes with an old school full-color manual!) Looking forward to giving it a portable replay one of these days.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis Promotional Tapestry

This one's a bit odd. The official Twitter account for the Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis mobile game was running a giveaway where you could win either a $10 Amazon card or a promotional tapestry for the game featuring art of Young Sephiroth. I entered trying to win the former, but I actually won the latter, despite it being the harder of the two prizes to win with fewer total winners. Yeah, my luck's kinda weird like that. So now I've got a tapestry with Young Sephiroth on it that I'll probably keep in the packaging in a drawer somewhere because I have no real interest in putting it up. Told ya it was an odd one.

Aladdin and the King of Thieves and the Return of Jafar 2-Movie Collection (Blu-ray Combo) (eBay)

THIS was a long time coming! Aladdin is probably my favorite of the Disney Renaissance films and I grew up loving it and everything that spawned from it, including the sequels and TV series. (The latter of which, infuriatingly, STILL isn't on Disney+.) I picked up the original film on Blu-ray back in 2015, but the sequels on that format were unfortunately stuck as Disney Movie Club exclusives, meaning that I'd either have to sign up for this whole program because I just wanted one particular release OR chance wading through a bunch of inflated prices on eBay and Amazon. I couldn't find a decent enough deal, so I quickly gave up on owning them for the time being and put my focus on other things. 

Fast forward to recently when I had downloaded the entire TV series for a future rewatch (I'm SICK of waiting on Disney+) and began wondering if the sequels were a little easier to get on Blu-ray now versus back in 2015. Well, after a little shopping around, I found a copy of the DMC exclusive release on eBay for just a little over $20 including shipping. I pulled the trigger on it and now I have the full Aladdin Trilogy on my shelf for the first time since the 90's. (Plus, as a bonus, since it included two separate digital copy redemption codes, one for each film, I ended up scoring twice as many DMI points from it!) Really excited to get started on an Aladdin franchise marathon next year. (Which, funnily enough, is also when both Return of Jafar and the series turn 30!)

Super Mario RPG Promotional Pamphlet (eBay)

IT BEGINS. Yep, since there's a Super Mario RPG remake out now, there's no way that a guy who runs a blog called THE LAZY SHELL could let it pass without grabbing as much merch for it as he possibly could. Kicking things off is this awesome little promotional pamphlet handed out exclusively in Japan. It's only a few pages, but it's full-color, shows off various details about the game, and is even made to resemble the Japanese manual for the SNES original. I'm planning on sticking it in the case when I get my copy of the game, so It'll make a great little companion piece.

Super Mario RPG Acrylic Stand and Poster (eBay)

More Super Mario RPG goodies! These items were actually European-exclusive pre-order bonuses for the game, but the second that I saw that acrylic stand featuring the whole party and the logo, I knew that I HAD to have it! After a week or two of searching, I was able to find a decent-enough deal on eBay that also threw in that wicked double-sided poster! Took a little bit to get here, and the stand's VERY small, but now I'll have the party from my favorite game EVER standing proud together in my room for years to come! (Plus said game's map on my wall!) It just makes me so, SO happy to own OFFICIAL SUPER MARIO RPG MERCHANDISE after all these years! OFFICIAL NINTENDO STUFF!!! WITH GENO AND MALLOW!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! *phew* Sorry, lost my composure there. I like Super Mario RPG a bit, if you didn't know.

LEGO DC Super-Villains (Nintendo Switch) (Best Buy)

Yet another great Switch deal! LEGO DC Super-Villains had been on my radar for a while (as I quite enjoyed the LEGO Marvel games on the PS4), but I was waiting until it was juuuuuuust the right price before I bit. Well, Best Buy had it on clearance this month for fifteen bucks, so I had at it. Excited to dive into one of these games on a handheld console!

Marvel Legends - Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (Amazon)
Marvel Legends - The Amazing Spider-Man (Amazon)
Marvel Legends - Spider-Man (Final Swing) (Amazon)

Finally, we end things with a triple threat of Spidey Marvel Legends. I don't typically go for movie-based Marvel figures, but the idea of having all three generations of cinematic Spider-Men on one shelf was just too good to pass up. (Me loving No Way Home to bits also contributed.) Hopefully Tom'll get a chance to rock that slick new suit in a Spider-Man 4 someday!

That wraps (heh) things up for the last few hauls before Christmas! I hope you all have an absolutely wonderful holiday regardless of however or whatever you celebrate. See you soon for the annual Fallout post! 🎄🎅