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

fitbit.com

I grew up with video games. Working to better my high score at a certain game is in my blood. At one point, I was obsessed with getting the absolute lowest time possible on the first level of Sonic 2. (For the record: I’ve done it in 20 seconds, the world record is 18.)

Product designers have caught on to this, and have started taking some of the design elements of video games to use in contexts that are definitely not video games. This is called gamification.

pokemon.com

I’ve been playing Pokemon games since the very first were released on the Game Boy in 1998. I put hundreds of hours in on that game on the school bus and elsewhere - and I’ve played every single game in the series since. Nearly all of them have followed the same basic formula. A professor gives you a Pokemon at the start of the game, and then you travel around through several cities, catching more Pokemon along the way, and defeating 8 powerful Gym Leaders, while also stopping some nefarious group or another from achieving their evil goals.

For nearly two decades, Nintendo was the King of mobile gaming. The Game Boy, then the Game Boy Advance, then the Nintendo DS, then the 3DS. But after the launch of the iPhone, smartphones started to take over as the dominant gaming platform. They weren’t best for gaming, but they were way more convenient.

I think at this point, we’re all tired of 2016, but there is a lot to look forward to in 2017, especially if you’re into video games.

Chapendra / Flickr / Creative Commons

This commentary originally aired on December 19, 2013.

With everyone home for the holidays, Christmas time is a great time to break out games to play with the whole family around.

I feel like there are a lot of games I’ve waited a long time to play. For example, Starcraft II was in and out of development for 7 years. But the first trailer for Final Fantasy XV was released over ten years ago - and despite numerous rumors over the years that it had been canceled, the game was finally released this week.

Ten years ago this week, I stood outside at the GameStop on West Street from noon to midnight, in chilly, 30-degree weather. I was second in a line that, by midnight, was two dozen people long. Once they let us in, I was finally able to buy a Nintendo Wii - they only had three to sell.

Nintendo has been teasing their next hardware project, which was code-named “NX”, for over a year now, but they were tight-lipped on what exactly it was until they were ready to reveal it to the world. And last week they did just that, announcing the successor to the Wii U, which they are calling the Nintendo Switch.

This month marked 19 years since a traffic accident claimed the life of one of the greatest innovators in Nintendo’s 127-year history. Gunpei Yokoi is still a well-known name among Nintendo fans, and more than anyone else, he may be responsible for the emergence of the Japanese company as one of the most successful video game companies in history.

tsunamicon.org

Back in 2013, a group of gamers noticed that there were local conventions for sci-fi, anime, steampunk, and comics - but none for gaming. So they launched a Kickstarter, raised the money, and put on the first Tsunamicon.

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