Gone, But Certainly Not Forgotten

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I’ve mentioned Retroware TV in the past, and how the site and its contributors played a large role in reinvigorating my love of retro games.  It’s a tight-knit community dedicated to creating content by and for those of us who revere the games we grew up with. There is no pretentiousness among this group, just gamers who wish to celebrate, share and enjoy the history of our favorite hobby.

We got some bad news today. Justin Carmical, better known by his YouTube alias, “JewWario,” has passed away. According his wife, Jenny, it happened this past Thursday in their home. To make this tragedy even more heartbreaking, Jenny revealed that Justin took his own life. Continue reading

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — Reviewed

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Me: “I keep looking for the Pegasus Boots, but I can’t find them anywhere.”

Friend: “Oh, man, that took me forever to figure out!”

Me: “So you’ve got them? What’d you do?!”

Friend: “You know that guy that always runs away from you in Kakariko Village?”

Me: “Yeah, I thought you had to get the Pegasus Boots to catch him!”

Friend: “That’s what I thought, too! But you actually get them from him! I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out, but you just merge into the wall he’s standing in front of, and then pop out when you’re directly behind him. That will scare the crap out of him, and he’ll end up just giving you his boots.”

Me: “Ah! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!”

Continue reading

Word Blurb: Kids and Their Games

This won’t be a long, drawn-out piece today. I’m just documenting a few random thoughts that might be worth a couple minutes.

Yesterday, while having dinner with my sister and two nieces, Autumn and Lauren, we got on the topic of video games. My sister, who teaches elementary school kids, said that’s all kids ever talk about — specifically Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, which are both rated ‘M’ for Mature (meant for people 17 and older). That’s not surprising, though it is a little discouraging for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment. Continue reading

“It’s maybe str…

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“It’s maybe strange to say [this], but I miss the limitations of making games in those days,” Kitase acknowledges. “The cartridge capacity was so much smaller, of course, and therefore the challenges were that much greater. But nowadays you can do almost anything in a game. It’s a paradox, but this can be more creatively limiting than having hard technical limitations to work within. There is a certain freedom to be found in working within strict boundaries, one clearly evident in Final Fantasy VI.”

-Yoshinori Kitase, Director of Final Fantasy VI

Not to toot my own horn, but this is exactly what I postulated in my very first blog post.

Here’s what I said:

“I don’t like to speak in absolutes, but I almost get the impression that the best games are often made when developers are faced with reasonable limitations.”

It’s encouraging to hear my thoughts echoed by an industry veteran. Huzzah!

Here’s the article on the Edge website.

A Love Letter to Nintendo

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The most fundamental reason we play video games is because they bring us enjoyment. And no one knows pure joy like children. I believe that kids are likely some of the happiest people on Earth, partly because they’re not hung up on how they’re perceived by others. They’re able to wholly appreciate and revel in the things that bring them joy without fear of being judged. To a certain extent, kids aren’t worried about their self-image, and I think we’d be smart to take note. Continue reading

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

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