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

Jon Reynolds

This commentary originally aired on April 10, 2014.  

Many people are at least sort of familiar with what Dungeons & Dragons is - a role playing game that a group of friends play together using dice and books, rather than a TV and a controller. I love playing D&D, but the games are long, and finding people that aren’t so busy that they can’t play these long campaigns for hours at a time, weeks in a row... well, that’s difficult.

Once upon a time, the creators of Halo on the Xbox decided to create a new series - this one would have a rich world, and would be online all the time so you could stumble upon battles between a group of players and the enemy at any time while patrolling around. The first game in this ambitious first-person shooter series, Destiny, came out three years ago, and fulfilled most of its promises but felt rather empty. Its sequel, Destiny 2, continues the story and fixes many problems from the first.

It’s not uncommon for video games to have the player kill robots - it's practically a trope at this point. But what is uncommon is for you to have to get the robot’s permission to kill them first - and this is the premise of the new indie game LOCALHOST.

My first console video game was Sonic the Hedgehog in 1992, and from the first moment I played, I was hooked.

sega.com

For as long as I can remember, graphics in video games have astounded me, and have been a major driver in the industry. Particularly, I remember how everyone was amazed when machines like the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation started making 3D games possible. When Final Fantasy VII came out on the original PlayStation in 1997, the graphics amazed me - huge enemies and vast landscapes. Looking back, though, the graphics have not aged well. Bright, textureless polygons with some really weird proportions against mostly drab backdrops.

One year ago this month, Pokemon Go was released worldwide for smartphones. Since then, the game has been downloaded more than 750 million times. 

One of the least well-known games in the Final Fantasy series is Final Fantasy XII, released in 2006 on the PlayStation 2. It came out near the end of the PlayStation 2’s life, but is getting a new enhanced release on the PlayStation 4, which came out this week.

Not often can you call Microsoft an underdog, but 15 years ago when the original Xbox was released, they had an upward battle to fight. The Xbox’s competitors were Sony’s PlayStation 2, which remains the best selling video game console ever, and Nintendo’s GameCube.

The Xbox was an American console, inside and out. The processor in the machine was created by Intel, and it had an Intel graphics chip. The console itself was big and heavy, and the controller was huge - eclipsing the relatively tiny PlayStation and GameCube controllers.

Before the entire video game industry in the United States crashed in 1983, video game consoles were largely a United States product. Atari, Coleco, Magnavox, and Mattel were the big players - all US companies. However, with the industry’s crash, there was a vacuum. 

Many factors caused the Video Game Crash starting in 1983, but one of the most significant was Atari’s overconfidence. Atari was the leader in home video game consoles throughout the early ‘80s, and took their nearly indomitable lead and squandered it with a string of disappointing games coupled with over-optimistic sales projections.

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