Your Move

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

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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.

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.