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


  • Your Move: X-Wing Games

    Your Move: X-Wing Games

    17/06/2020 Duración: 01min

    Growing up, I was mostly a console gamer. There were some games, though, that pushed the boundaries of what games could do, and they were mostly on PCs. One such series focused on flying the X-Wing starfighters from the Star Wars movies.

  • Your Move: Working From Home Or Gaming, Ergonomics Is Important

    Your Move: Working From Home Or Gaming, Ergonomics Is Important

    03/06/2020 Duración: 01min

    I’m spending a lot more time at my computer desk lately, and I know I’m not the only one. Whether it’s for working from home, or for playing games, it’s important to have the right posture to avoid any repetitive stress injuries.

  • Your Move: The New TurboGrafx 16 Mini

    Your Move: The New TurboGrafx 16 Mini

    20/05/2020 Duración: 02min

    When I was in elementary school, you were either a Nintendo kid, or a Sega kid. Even though I was a bit of a weird hybrid because I had the Sega Genesis and a Nintendo Game Boy, in this particular culture war, I fell on the Sega side of the divide. And as far as I knew at the time, those were the only options. But there was a third pillar, one that was unknown to me until years later - the TurboGrafx 16.

  • Your Move: Final Fantasy VII Remake Is Out Now, And Its Wonderful

    Your Move: Final Fantasy VII Remake Is Out Now, And It's Wonderful

    22/04/2020 Duración: 02min

    In 1997, Final Fantasy VII brought the role-playing game series into 3D on Sony’s Playstation console. It was groundbreaking, but its early 3D graphics and poor language translation haven’t aged very well. Five years ago, they announced a remake of the game for the PlayStation 4. It’s out now, and it. Is. Wonderful. Final Fantasy VII Remake covers the first portion of the original game. This segment took about 6 hours in the original, but here it’s been expanded to 40 hours. Many parts are new or expanded, but although the story is far more faithful to the original than I anticipated, a few of the new segments overstay their welcome. That’s a small complaint, though, and most of the new content is integrated magnificently, and really makes the world in the game feel lived-in and real. Instead of the menu-based combat of classic Final Fantasy games, the combat here is generally more action-oriented. In some ways, the gameplay is more a refined version of Final Fantasy XIII’s system. The

  • Your Move: Digital License vs. Physical Release

    Your Move: Digital License vs. Physical Release

    08/04/2020 Duración: 01min

    I usually purchase physical copies of all my games. There are some distinct advantages to having the game on a disc or cartridge, instead of living as a digital license on some cloud server somewhere.

  • Your Move: A New Game At The Perfect Time

    Your Move: A New Game At The Perfect Time

    25/03/2020 Duración: 01min

    It’s been a long time since the last game in the Animal Crossing series came out - about seven years. I’ve had every game in the series since the original on Gamecube, where my sister and I would sit in front of our TV day after day to visit our village, harvest apples, and cultivate a happy populace.

  • Your Move: The Best-Selling Game Console Of All Time

    Your Move: The Best-Selling Game Console Of All Time

    05/03/2020 Duración: 01min

    PlayStation 2 is the best-selling game console of all time. First released in Japan 20 years ago this week, it sold over 158 million units over its lifetime. When the system was released in the U.S. in October of 2000, it sold half a million units on the first day, instantly making the PS2 the fastest-selling game console ever. Sony shipped 100,000 units a week for the rest of the year, and availability was still spotty for months thereafter. I asked for one for my birthday in January of 2001, and my Dad couldn’t find one until May. Back then, a reasonable DVD player would cost anywhere from $200 to $400, and most people didn’t have one yet. The PlayStation 2 launched at $300, and was one of the best DVD players you could get at the time, even ignoring the fact that it was also the most advanced video game console on the market. The value proposition was clear: if you wanted to watch DVDs, you could buy a standalone player, or spend roughly the same amount of money and get a DVD player

  • Your Move: Remember The Game Boy Camera?

    Your Move: Remember The Game Boy Camera?

    20/02/2020 Duración: 01min

    I’ve always been attracted to photography. My first camera was a little 110 film camera that added a Ninja Turtle to the corner of every photo. The problem with that was that, for a kid, film and developing were expensive and slow. In 1998, Nintendo released a digital camera I could afford - the Game Boy camera. It was a cartridge for Game Boy that had a little round camera pod attached to the top. This camera could turn around 180 degrees, so you could take photos of things in front of you, or take some of the world’s first digital selfies. The camera’s resolution is 128 by 128 pixels, a tiny fraction of a megapixel. And forget about color - the camera sees with the same palette as the Game Boy. That’s black, white, and two shades of gray. But the Game Boy camera was the most affordable entry into digital photography at the time, and at that point was the smallest digital camera in the world. There’s no easy way to hook the camera up to a computer to get the pictures - instead, you

  • Your Move: One Last Game Before Laser Quest Closes

    Your Move: One Last Game Before Laser Quest Closes

    06/02/2020 Duración: 01min

    As a guy with a January birthday, my options for a venue for my birthday parties as a child were limited by winter weather. In my mind, after I grew out of Chuck E. Cheese, there was only one cool option: Laser Quest.

  • Crunch Time Isnt A Good Thing | Your Move

    'Crunch' Time Isn't A Good Thing | Your Move

    23/01/2020 Duración: 01min

    There are several games coming out this year I’m excited to play. I’ve been anticipating Final Fantasy VII Remake since before it was ever announced, and I’m also very interested in seeing Cyberpunk 2077 . However, last week the developers of these respective games announced they would be delayed - Final Fantasy by a month, and Cyberpunk by five. After an initial pang of disappointment, I was content with the delays. I’d certainly rather wait a little longer to get a higher-quality product. There are plenty of games that are released whether they’re ready or not, just to meet a published release date, and then they need half a dozen patches after release just to make them playable, or to add features that were promised but not ready for the launch of the game. Better a complete package to begin with, I think. But delays can also add to the stress on the individual developers working on the game. To make initial published release dates, developers often “crunch” - that is, work long

  • Your Move: Nintendo PlayStation

    Your Move: Nintendo PlayStation

    09/01/2020 Duración: 01min

    In the late 1980s, when Nintendo was developing the Super Nintendo, they collaborated with Sony on a powerful sound chip for the console. This chip was a whole new way of synthesizing music and sound on a video game system, and it really helped the Super Nintendo stand out against its competition. The next step in this collaboration was adding CD capabilities to the Super Nintendo. This took two forms: an add-on drive that would plug into existing systems, and a combination device that could play both cartridges and the new CDs. Sony built a few hundred prototypes that they called the PlayStation. However, because the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement on shared license fees, the project fell apart and all the prototypes were recalled and destroyed, with Sony moving on to build another PlayStation that was a little more successful. In 2015, one of these “Nintendo PlayStation” prototypes was found - possibly the only one that still exists. It was purchased in a blind auction of

  • Your Move: Games Of The Decade

    Your Move: 'Games Of The Decade'

    26/12/2019 Duración: 01min

    A lot of gaming websites have come out with lists of their “games of the decade” over the last few weeks, and that’s got me thinking. There have been a lot of games in the last decade. Ten years ago, we were welcoming Mass Effect 2 , Red Dead Redemption, and Halo: Reach . Now we have new consoles, new handhelds, and even virtual reality starting to make an impact. I started thinking about what I would consider my game of the decade, and what that even means. Is it the game that had the biggest impact on me personally in the last decade? If that’s the case, my choice might be Undertale . The story was touching, the music was fantastic, and the worldbuilding it did was incredible for a game largely crafted by a single person, Toby Fox. I also thought about impact in a wider sense, and that made me think about Minecraft , which I never expected to be nearly as big as it is when I bought it in 2011. A fun, silly little indie game about digging and building with cubes became a game that has

  • PlayStation: Twenty-Five Years Later

    PlayStation: Twenty-Five Years Later

    12/12/2019 Duración: 02min

    For Christmas of 1996, I knew what I wanted - a Nintendo 64. I had been fed a steady diet of Nintendo Power magazines, which led me to believe that the 64 was the bright future of gaming, and anything else was just an imposter. And I got it! But soon, I had friends telling me about Final Fantasy VII , and Tomb Raider , and tons of other games that appealed to me a great deal. I needed to get a PlayStation. PlayStation wasn’t the first game console with a CD drive, but it might have been the first to use it as more than just a gimmick. Nintendo 64 cartridges had up to 64 megabytes of memory, and cost as much as $30 to manufacture. A PlayStation CD, on the other hand, held 10 times as much data, and cost pennies to make. This resulted in less expensive games, and I think allowed publishers to be able to afford to take on more weird games that might not sell as many copies. One of these weird games is one of my favorites on the system - PaRappa the Rapper . The game was designed by Masaya

  • Your Move: New Pokemon Pair For TV Play

    Your Move: New Pokemon Pair For TV Play

    28/11/2019 Duración: 02min

    Pokemon is Nintendo’s perennial handheld game series, releasing on practically all of Nintendo’s portable game systems. The games have mostly been withheld from the home console market, but with Nintendo merging their home and handheld systems with the Switch, it was just a matter of time before we finally got our first new main-series Pokemon title that can be played on a TV. The games are released as a pair, as is customary for the series: Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield . As anticipated as this game has been for Pokemon fans, it is probably also the most controversial. The biggest sticking point is what they’re calling Dexit. You see, the first game famously had 151 different monsters to catch. Its sequel added 100, and each subsequent game added dozens more. Today, there are 891 distinct Pokemon. Well, the developers of the game thought this was unsustainable, and so in Sword and Shield, only 400 Pokemon are available, cutting the roster by over half. This doesn’t bother me too

  • Your Move: Games For Halloween

    Your Move: Games For Halloween

    31/10/2019 Duración: 01min

    The scariest game I’ve ever played was Silent Hill on the PlayStation, back in 1999. It got its influence less from slasher and zombie films, like its competitor Resident Evil , but rather from the psychological horror genre. Your character visits an abandoned town to find his missing daughter, but ends up stumbling upon a cult trying to summon its evil god. The game is dark and moody, with your flashlight the only light source for a lot of the game. There was a lot of fog, making it scary and uncomfortable to move around. I learned later that the darkness and fog were just the developers obscuring the fact that the PlayStation didn’t have enough power to show what they wanted, but it worked out in the game’s favor. Another favorite spooky game of mine, if a little goofier, was 1993’s Zombies Ate My Neighbors . This was a top-down shooter that had you trying to save your neighbors from all kinds of monsters in a suburban hellscape. You encounter zombies, of course, along with vampires,

  • Your Move: Sega Genesis Mini

    Your Move: Sega Genesis Mini

    03/10/2019 Duración: 02min
  • Your Move: Links Awakening

    Your Move: Link's Awakening

    19/09/2019 Duración: 01min

    In 1993, I bought a Game Boy, which came bundled with a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening . I also bought a copy of Kirby’s Dream Land , because, as I told my mom, “Zelda games are boring.” I have no idea where I came up with that idea, but it stuck, and I didn’t give Link’s Awakening a chance until after I was done with Kirby. Once I finally started it though, I was entranced. The game starts with your character, Link, washing ashore from a shipwreck. A young girl rescues Link and nurses him back to health. Link finds his sword and shield, and begins an adventure to return home. Link’s Awakening was unlike any game I had played before. Despite the Game Boy’s sickly black-and-green color palette, the island the game takes place on felt colorful and alive. There was life in every corner of the game – it’s teeming with odd characters, sometimes vital to your progression through the quest, but just as often there to add to the curious nature of the island. Series mainstays

  • Your Move: Final Fantasy IV

    Your Move: Final Fantasy IV

    05/09/2019 Duración: 02min

    The original Final Fantasy was an absolute hit in Japan, but its sales were more modest in the U.S. While Japan got two sequels on the original Nintendo system, the U.S. would not get another Final Fantasy game until 1991’s Final Fantasy IV for Super Nintendo, which was renamed Final Fantasy II for the American release - an attempt to maintain continuity in naming, but really just confusing 10-year-old me when I was looking for information about the game on the fledgling internet. Final Fantasy IV was released in the first year of the Super Nintendo’s life, and it shows in the graphic design. The characters are similar to their NES counterparts, but with increased color depth and detail. The worlds are all far more detailed than was ever possible before the move to 16-bit, and the characters are far more expressive. The game opens up on a fleet of airships cruising across the world, with a military march that is both commanding and melancholic, immediately introducing the main

  • Your Move: The Not-So-Final Fantasy

    Your Move: The Not-So-Final Fantasy

    22/08/2019 Duración: 01min

    In the mid-‘80s, Square was a Japanese video game company with no real successes. One of its employees, Hironobu Sakaguchi, had been wanting to develop a role-playing game for a while, but the company had been mostly making money on shooting action games. However, with the huge success of Dragon Quest in Japan in 1986, the market for RPGs suddenly opened up, and Sakaguchi got his wish. The next year, Square moved to a new office and Sakaguchi officially started development on the company’s first RPG, Final Fantasy . Like many games back then, the team making Final Fantasy was tiny. Initially, there were only seven people developing it, although several others were brought in later. All the coding for the game was handled by one person, an Iranian-American man named Nasir Gebelli. The title, Final Fantasy , was meaningful. For Sakaguchi, this was to potentially be his final project--if this game didn’t succeed, he was going to go back to school to start a different career. For the rest