Samuel McConnell

Games commentator

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.

Though he spends a great deal of his time at his day job helping people with their computer troubles, he carves out as much time as he can to play video or board games, or to tinker with his home cinema.

Labels that apply to Samuel: Gamer, nerd, geek, techie, trekkie, whovian, cinephile.

Ways to Connect

A good friend of mine turned 25 years old last week. Sonic the Hedgehog debuted on June 23, 1991, propelling the Sega Genesis forward in the marketplace and making it a true competitor to Nintendo’s NES.

The first console I ever had was a Genesis, and packed with it were copies of the first two Sonic games. I eventually got other games for the Genesis, but none of them ever spent as much time in the cartridge slot as those two games did. They’re some of my favorite games of all time, and I still play through them a few times a year.

Right now we’re in the middle of this year’s E3 expo, the biggest video game trade show of the year. There’s always a lot of exciting news for someone like me who likes to follow what’s going on in the industry.

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Blizzard Entertainment is best known for the wildly popular World of Warcraft, but about a decade ago they started development on a shooter game codenamed Titan. It was a huge, ambitious project, not unlike Warcraft - which fit the Blizzard of ten years ago perfectly.

Since then, Blizzard and the larger gaming industry have changed, with the company finding success with much smaller-scale games like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. So it was no surprise to me when Blizzard announced Overwatch, a much more focused version of what Titan may have been.

You’ve heard the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda themes before. (If you haven't, listen to the audio above.) Both of these songs were composed by the same man, Koji Kondo, who is responsible for many of the most recognizable melodies in video games.

In theatres right now is a movie called Ratchet and Clank - it’s based on the video game series of the same name, and the movie is horrible. It has a generic story and stale, predictable characters. It’s a shame, because the games are so good. It got me thinking - has there EVER been a good movie based on a video game?

Ten years ago, Square Enix announced a game called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Originally set to come out on the Playstation 3, nobody from the company spoke any more about the game for years, and people started to doubt whether it would ever actually be released. Then, in 2013, Square re-announced the game, now calling it Final Fantasy XV and announcing it would be coming to the newest consoles. They released some gameplay footage and story details, and it finally looked like the game would be getting a release.

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Unlike most other game companies, Nintendo has long stayed out of making games for mobile phones, preferring to publish games for the 3DS. But last year they announced they would start putting out games for iPhones and Android, and the first of those was released last week.

Game music composers mostly work behind the scenes, and with very few exceptions, hardly get mentioned outside of the credits at the end of a game. One of my favorite of these composers is Yoko Shimomura.

 The ColecoVision console, Nintendo’s Game Boy, the Sega Genesis and several arcade games - Frogger, Galaga, and even Street Fighter 2 have one very important thing in common: They all use the Zilog Z80 processor.

The virtual reality headset Oculus Rift has been available since 2014, but all of the hardware available for it has been “Development Kits”, that is, not really for consumer use. This year, though, we’re going to see not only the release of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, but also its biggest competitor - the HTC Vive.

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