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

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.

courtesy Fireshark

This commentary originally aired August 13, 2015.

Here in Wichita, we have access to what is, as far as I know, a completely unique gaming experience.

Fireshark Gaming is a gaming center where you can play a game that takes place all around you, and even underneath you. The game is played in a 33-by-20-foot room with up to 10 people. On the ceiling are a bunch of projectors, pointed both at the walls and the floor.

Growing up, my favorite video games were the Sonic the Hedgehog series. And one of my favorite parts of the series was the music. It was always catchy, but the series had its musical pinnacle with Sonic 3. The game had 6 credited composers, but it’s very likely that there was one high profile musician who went uncredited.

One of my favorite video games when I was younger was the Super Nintendo game Earthbound. It was a role-playing game like Final Fantasy, but instead of being set in a fantasy world with swords and magic wands, it was set in modern times with baseball bats and yo-yos. The game had quirky writing and endearing characters that set it apart from any other games of its time.

This year has been a fantastic year for gaming, but there have been a few games that have really captured my attention.

I’m excited about the new Star Wars movie coming out tonight. And, although Star Wars is primarily a movie series, there have been dozens of games set in the Star Wars universe.

 

Telltale Games

Minecraft is one of the most surprising hit games in recent memory. The game was developed initially by a single person, and had an incredibly simple design. When you started the game, you were dropped into a randomly generated world built out of 3D cubes, and you could remove and replace these cubes to build whatever you wanted. Later, crafting, enemies, villages, and multiplayer were introduced to the game, but the basic premise of gathering resources and building with them remained unchanged. The game has no narrative or characters to speak of.

bagogames / Flickr / Creative Commons

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, and with that, the biggest shopping season of the year. This is typically when all the biggest games are released.

The Xbox One has a few big exclusives this holiday. Halo 5, which I talked about a few weeks ago, and the sequel to 2013’s fantastic reboot of the Tomb Raider series. The new game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, is a cinematic adventure with a story that should be at turns tragic and uplifting, but with the tight, responsive gameplay the series is known for.

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