Your Move

Board games. Video games. Anything but mind games. KMUW commentator Sam McConnell explores the latest (and the time-tested) world of games.

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?

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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.

Sam McConnell

 

"Pokemon Go" is a smartphone game published by Nintendo, where you walk around the world and capture Pokemon - little creatures like Pikachu or Pidgey. And when I say you can walk around the world, I really do mean you. Instead of pushing a control stick to move your character, you actually have to get up and move. 

A good friend of mine turned 25 years old last week. Sonic the Hedgehog debuted on June 23, 1991, propelling the Sega Genesis forward in the marketplace and making it a true competitor to Nintendo’s NES.

The first console I ever had was a Genesis, and packed with it were copies of the first two Sonic games. I eventually got other games for the Genesis, but none of them ever spent as much time in the cartridge slot as those two games did. They’re some of my favorite games of all time, and I still play through them a few times a year.

Right now we’re in the middle of this year’s E3 expo, the biggest video game trade show of the year. There’s always a lot of exciting news for someone like me who likes to follow what’s going on in the industry.

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Blizzard Entertainment is best known for the wildly popular World of Warcraft, but about a decade ago they started development on a shooter game codenamed Titan. It was a huge, ambitious project, not unlike Warcraft - which fit the Blizzard of ten years ago perfectly.

Since then, Blizzard and the larger gaming industry have changed, with the company finding success with much smaller-scale games like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. So it was no surprise to me when Blizzard announced Overwatch, a much more focused version of what Titan may have been.

You’ve heard the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda themes before. (If you haven't, listen to the audio above.) Both of these songs were composed by the same man, Koji Kondo, who is responsible for many of the most recognizable melodies in video games.

In theatres right now is a movie called Ratchet and Clank - it’s based on the video game series of the same name, and the movie is horrible. It has a generic story and stale, predictable characters. It’s a shame, because the games are so good. It got me thinking - has there EVER been a good movie based on a video game?

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