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

thearcadewichita.com

Practically next door to KMUW’s studio is a little building that has something that Wichita has been missing for years - a real arcade, filled with games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, when arcades were at their peak. This arcade has a name that I think will be really easy to remember - it’s called The Arcade.

The NPD Group is a market research company that releases a report each month of every single video game that is sold. Usually these reports are fairly predictable: Lots of sales for the current consoles and PCs, fewer sales for the last generation systems, and that’s about it. But in last month’s report, there was something that nobody expected: one game was sold for the Sega Game Gear.

In 2007, I watched a documentary called “The King of Kong." If you aren’t familiar, it’s about Steve Wiebe, a laid-off engineer attempting to break the world record on the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. The ostensible villain in this film is Billy Mitchell, who has been a prominent figure in arcade game high scores since the ‘80s. The movie shows Wiebe playing the game in his garage and getting the world’s first recorded score over a million points.

Toys R Us was my go-to place to buy video games in the 1990’s. In fact, it’s where I got the first games I ever bought - a Game Boy and a copy of Kirby’s Dreamland. The mall had specialty stores like Electronics Boutique, but Toys R Us had the advantage in both accessibility and advertising.

Your Move: Osmos

Mar 22, 2018

Puzzle video games have come a long way since Tetris. The genre has particularly flourished on smartphones, and one of my favorites that I’ve been playing for years is called Osmos.

Something the internet is awash with is fan art - drawings or stories or songs written about another property that particularly resonated with the artist. It’s a sort of tribute to the original work.

Final Fantasy XV, more than a year after its launch, still gets a lot of my gaming time. Aside from the original release, Square Enix has also put out several story expansions, a multiplayer mode, and lots of free new features in the base game. The story and gameplay have kept me coming back, even after finishing the whole game twice over. Unfortunately, several people I think would enjoy the game haven’t been able to play it, because it’s only been available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

This commentary originally aired on February 23, 2017.  

Nintendo has been the leader in portable video gaming ever since they basically invented the market segment with the Game Boy in 1989. That doesn’t mean they’ve been the only player, though. 

Smartphones are the most prolific gaming platform out there - while most people don’t buy their phone to play games on, it’s always an option - and there are games of all types available. This wasn’t true before 2007 or so, where your game options on your phone were generally limited to Snake, and, if you were lucky, Tetris. The Game Boy and other portable gaming systems have been around for years, too, but there was definitely some demand for a convergence between the devices.

Speedrunning is a particular way of playing games where the object is to get through them as quickly as possible. Runners use extensive practice, meticulous planning, and often take advantage of glitches and other ways to manipulate the game, all in an effort to finish a game in the shortest time. I’m talking seriously fast - games like Super Mario Bros in less than five minutes, or The Legend of Zelda in 28 minutes.

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