Why We Game

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From an early age, most of us are drawn to video games, almost inherently. Whether it’s because of the smorgasbord of colors, the cacophony of music and sounds, or purely the interactive nature of the medium, the fact remains; we love to game. And chances are, if you’re reading this, video games are more than just a passing interest for you.

So let’s dig a little deeper. Apart from the more obvious reasons, such as enjoyment and escapism, what are the distinct, individual reasons we choose to play video games? And what keeps us coming back? Everyone has their own ideas and explanations, but it’s likely we share similar conclusions. Continue reading

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Turtles Back in Time

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I don’t recall my first experience playing video games, but I do remember a mixed bag of encounters with games from at least the age of three. As an ’80s baby, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time in video arcades. By the time I was old enough to really, cognitively play a video game, arcades were dying, although you could find the occasional arcade cabinet in the movie theater or other random places.

One of those random places was a local Mexican restaurant near my house, called Tijuana Junction. As a three-to-four-year-old kid, I had some difficulty pronouncing that, so I just called it “The Train,” because of the toy train that would go around the restaurant on the tracks that were in place near the ceiling. My parents also took to calling it that because of me. The Train is no longer in existence, unfortunately. And while I fondly remember eating their yummy burritos as a child, what I miss most is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade cabinet. Continue reading

Walking with the Dead

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You think you’re a good person. You think you know yourself — until you’re confronted with self-preservation and having to make decisions whose outcomes mean life or death for someone else.

It’s in these moments you realize you aren’t afforded the luxury of principles and that your philosophical ideals mean nothing. And once you’ve made a decision, your conscience interrogates your heart and mind, questioning whether or not it was the right one. You have to do what takes to live, but can you live with what it takes to survive? You don’t always have time to weigh the pros and cons, and you just have to react. And when someone suffers because of the decision you were forced to make, some will hold it against you, even knowing they’d have done the same thing. Continue reading

A Simple Kind of Life

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When I started this blog, it was my intent to write about nothing but the retro gaming experience. After doing a lot of retro and contemporary gaming, I’ve decided my primary focus will still be on gaming in the ‘SD era’ — a term I coined in my previous post to categorize games made prior to the proliferation of high definition televisions — but I will write about certain contemporary games if I think there’s a story to tell, or a message to convey.

As of this past Sunday, June 9, 2013, I’ve been spending a lot of time developing my new town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s a game not unlike its predecessors. Each installment in the Animal Crossing series starts you off on a train bound for a town you’ve never been to. Another passenger — a talking cat named Rover — sees you sitting by yourself and decides to strike up a conversation. The friendly feline asks you a little about yourself, thus ascertaining your name, gender and destination (the town where you’ll eventually begin your new life). Continue reading

Welcome to Backtracking

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Before actually producing content for this brand-new blog of mine, I figured I’d preface everything with a bit of a mission statement — explain why I created it. My intent is to explore and rediscover the best video games of the past — to boldly go where many gamers have gone before! To elaborate, allow me to go back in time (we’ll be doing a lot of that here).

One of my earliest memories of gaming comes from when I was about five years old. My older brother, fresh out of the Army, had given me his Nintendo Entertainment System, as he’d moved on to the flashy new Super NES. The first game I remember playing was Super Mario Bros. And I played it relentlessly — to the point I actually got blisters on my thumbs. At first, I wasn’t very good, but I really didn’t care. I was having a blast, regardless of my lack of skill. Continue reading