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

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.

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.

In the late 1980s and early 90s, when buying a video game console, it came down to one choice - Nintendo, or Sega? NES or Master System? Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis?

Aside from gaming, one of my biggest hobbies is 3D printing. I think 3D printers are pretty amazing - you can take a roll of plastic and turn it into virtually anything. You don’t even need to know how to do any 3D modeling yourself - there are websites that host thousands of models ready to be printed. And, sometimes, when I’m wondering what to print, I’ll download and print a whole board game.

Today, most new release video games for consoles cost around $60. They’ve been this price for a while, and back in the days of cartridge-based games, some could go for even more. In 1994, Super Street Fighter 2 was $70 new - which, adjusting for inflation, is about $114 today. So, as a kid, I relied on rental stores to fix me up with new games when Christmas was still months away. But, around that same time, Sega launched a service that had me playing more games than I ever could have with rentals.

Nintendo’s first video game system was so wildly popular in the ‘80s that, for a time, “Nintendo” was a synonym for video games. Since then, other companies have come and gone in the industry, but Nintendo is still around.

The soon-to-be released NES Classic Edition looks just like the original NES, but instead of being the size of a VCR, it’s now just a little bit bigger than a deck of cards. It has an HDMI port so it can connect easily to newer TVs, and comes with a brand new NES controller - manufactured for the first time in more than 20 years.