Short Post on the Early History of Console Cloning

I wanted to share a guest blog post I did for the Strong Museum of Play’s Play Stuff Blog during my summer fellowship there last year. The post entitled, Clones in the Archives: Console and Software Cloning Practices in the Early Years of Video Games, is a short look at how console cloning contributed to the global proliferation of video games in the 1970s and 1980s. It narrows in on cloning narratives around Pong Clones and Famicom clones (Famiclones) and seeks to understand if these narratives differ in meaningful ways. It also briefly reflects on doing archival research and the amazing opportunity I was given by the Strong Museum.

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This historical piece has increasingly become a tent pole of my understanding around cloning practices more broadly, as well as foundation for situating how video game history favors specific narratives over other. Hopefully I’ll have some more pieces of this project to share in the future, but the Play Stuff Blog post should give you an idea as to where my research is heading.

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Splatoon 2 Players Fight Hate with LGBT Pride

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There’s been an interesting development going on in the Splatoon 2 community. Players can interact with their fellow peers via shared in-game pictures and messages. For anyone familiar with Mii-verse, these messages are more or less mii-verse posts in game (sans the actual miiverse). This is something the Splatoon has featured even in the original game, and it’s long been a forum for memes and jokes, with content being heavily monitored by Nintendo’s moderators.

Anyone playing Splatoon 2 may have noticed that a different trend has arisen: fans of the game are using in-game messages to drown out hate against the LGBT community. Presumably this arose out of backlash against anti-LGBT sentiments being shared in the community, but the amount of pro-messages have outnumbered the negatives ones significantly.  Some gamers have been skeptical about this movement, citing that the movement follows the same trend as in-game jokes among the community and that this pro-LBGT trend may be the latest in-game joke. While I hope it’s more genuine than that, it’s interesting to see a game community like Splatoon 2 become a battle ground for social issues.

Even with the limited means of communication that Splatoon 2 give players, it has shown to be a powerful tool in expressing social beliefs and ideas. Each gaming community has its own culture, and Splatoon 2’s is increasingly becoming one to watch. I

 

Can the Nintendo Switch Create Physical Gaming Spaces?

I recently did a pilot study of physical gaming spaces and why individuals choose to attend gaming events. I’m currently looking to extend the pilot study to a fully realized research project, and will hopefully share it when it is complete, but an interesting phenomenon occurred during the course of my research: The Nintendo Switch was released.

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Released in early March, Nintendo’s new console handheld hybrid has been a hot topic in the gaming industry, but few are talking about what potential the console may hold for create physical gaming spaces. Simply put, physical gaming spaces are local gaming gathering, events, or meetings with the intent purpose of interacting together in a shared local environment. Examples of physical gaming spaces range anywhere from LAN Parties to competitive competitions.  Although handhelds have had wireless multiplayer for over a decade, those seeking a true console local multiplayer experience often had to go to great lengths to create physical gaming spaces around console gaming. With the Nintendo’s Switch’s ability to immediately transfer between Console and handheld, it has the unique ability to create authentic local multiplayer experiences anywhere, without the need to connect to a television or several handhelds.

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Anecdotally, we’ve seen new stories of  athletes turning to the Nintendo Switch to kill time during rain delays and long travels, pointing to the console early success in reaching new audiences with innovative ways to create physical gaming spaces anytime, anywhere. Such an occurrence is exciting for anyone who is passionate about local multiplayer, as a rise in people playing in physical gaming spaces may result in more developers designing games that take advantage of space and place.  Although games like the Jack Party Box and Towerfall Ascension have had success in the ever increasing niche local multiplayer market, the industry is progressive moving towards one that promotes online interaction in lieu of local multiplayer; the 2017 ESA Report on video game consumption and use  found that the amount of time gamers play online with others is significantly higher than the amount of time they play with others locally. The Switch is still freshly on the market, and console shortages have prevented many gamers from being able to dive into all that console has to offer, so we’ll have to see how the console develops in regards to physical gaming spaces once the console is more readily available. Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time for people who enjoy playing locally; the industry has seen its first big developer’s push since the launch of the Wii.

I hope to update the blog as my research continues, but I would love your opinion about the Switch and what it may offer to both local multiplayer and physical gaming spaces. Feel free to post a comment or message me with your opinions or questions.

 

Pokemon Go: A Bizarre Social Experiment

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I don’t need to tell you that Pokemon Go released this week for IOS and Android in the U.S, you already know this because of the numerous grown adults who have stopped right in front of you while walking.  The game made headline and incredible numbers within hours of being released and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Popularity alone isn’t enough to be deemed noteworthy here on the Sociology of Video Games (Take that Overwatch!), but Pokemon Go is proving to be much more than just a game; it’s becoming a social experiment.

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For those unaware, Pokemon Go has users going out into the world looking for Pokemon in their communities. Certain Pokemon appear is specific areas, and the abundance and availability of Pokemon change depending on your location.The game also features Pokestops and Gyms, which are specific landmarks that earn new tasks, abilities, and items, and these locations are scattered throughout various designated spots in each community. Players choose between 1 of 3 teams and each team must work together to claim the most gyms by battling it out with other players. How this translate to the real world is that users are venturing out of their homes to find new Pokemon and new locations that offer them rewards (I.E the baptist church down the street is seeing more people than it has in 20 years). What has developed since its release is a slew of very sociologically interesting events. To name a few:

Pokemon Go Pub Crawls are popping up in many major U.S Cities. Get wasted why you look at your phone and stumble into unknown territory with strangers. What could go wrong?

Pokemon Go is bringing a lot of new business to locations deemed Pokestops. You know that Barbershop down the street you never had the guts to try? Now you can, because a game developer has deemed them worthy of Mons.

Robbers are using Pokemon Go to lure potential victims. Sorry, no Jynxs here…Just The Jinx

Pokemon Go is showing positive benefits for people with metal illness and depression. Who needs a therapy dog when you can have 150 different Pokemon to tend to.

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And those are just a start. What we’re seeing is that Pokemon Go is changing up many normal gaming conventions and creating a new way of play. People are interacting, bonding, cooperating, and working together in new and dynamic ways.It’s really quite something to observe, as one probably wouldn’t imagine that it would take a video game for people to venture further into the community and be opened to new locations and places. The developer, Niantic, ingeniously went about how they crafted their Pokemon world; Art installations, unique community landmarks, and lesser known locations make up many of the Pokestops and Gyms, spurring many players to discover new things in their local community. Similarly, the gym mechanic is making for something interesting partnerships between strangers, as taking over  a gym pretty much requires you to work with others in your group or else your Pokemon will be trounced by the opposing team.

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Pokemon, even if its first incarnation, has always been a social game and Pokemon Go is proving to be a brilliantly crafted take on the franchise’s social elements. I personally think Pokemon Go is a really unique app. I say app, because it’s honestly a little light on the actual game side. It’s more the social phenomenon that the game has created that keeps bringing me back to the app, checking to see if any new Pokemon are near me. Niantic has the basis of something amazing; if they improve upon the game’s features and add more of a built in social element (the ability to trade, battle near by trainers, etc) then Pokemon Go might be a near perfect social mobile adaptation of the Nintendo franchise. The developer seems to have plans to expand the game, and with their record breaking numbers it’s likely we’ll be hearing about Pokemon Go for years to come. We’ll keep watching this bizarre social experiment of catching fictional beasts out in our community and report back with any more sociologically interesting findings.

 

This Day in Gaming History: A Wild Pokemon Appears

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Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise, with February 27th 1996 being the Japanese release date of Pocket Monsters Red and Green on the Nintendo Gameboy. To say the original  Pokemon games were a momentous  release is an understatement, as they ushered in a cultural and societal phenomenon in both the United States and Japan. The franchise has gone on to become the second highest selling video game franchise of all time, second only to Mario, and has become the most successful handheld franchise of all time. It all started in 96 with this amazing game:

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One cannot tell the story of Pokemon without first mentioning the history of the developer behind it, Game Freak. Led by Satoshi Tajiri, Game Freak started in the game industry as a video game magazine featuring hand drawn artwork and writing. It wasn’t until 1989 that the team developed their first game, Mendel Palace for the Nintendo Entertainment System. From there Game Freak worked mostly on licensed games for Nintendo, including the titles Mario & Wario and Yoshi. It was around this time that Tajiri began conceptualizing Pokemon, a title that would take 6 years to complete development.

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Pokemon started from simple inspirations. Satoshi Tajiri, who headed up development of the game, had been fascinated by collecting insects as a child. He wanted to design a game that gave the player the same thrill of chasing and trading unique creatures as insect collecting gave him a child. Taking inspiration from one of his favorite shows of his youth, Ultraman, he wanted to incorporate a battle system that utilized captured monsters as party allies. These inspirations, paired with an interest in the Gameboy Link Cable that was introduced early in the handheld’s lifespan, grew the idea of a monster collecting game in which players could train, battle, and trade monsters with friends. In 1990,  Tajiri brought the concept to Nintendo under the title “Capsule Monsters”, who  turned the idea down. After shortening the name to CapuMon and subsequently changing it to Pocket Monsters due to copyright issues, Tajiri once again brought it to Nintendo. With the help of Shigeru Miyamoto putting his support behind the idea, the game was finally green lighted for development. The 6 year development of Pokemon Red and Green was one of technical difficulties, financial woes, and many unpaid overtime hours. When the game finally released in 1996 as Pocket Monsters Red and Green Versions, Game Freak had lost many of its developers and was on the verge of bankruptcy.  Despite its almost immediate international success years later, the Japanese release of the original game wasn’t the overnight success one would expect. It wasn’t until buzz about the game’s hidden 151st Pokemon that sales starting to pick up for the game, thus creating the cultural phenomenon that we know it as today.

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The original games had some..ugly sprites

Outside of Japan,  the game released as Pokemon Red and Blue, a slightly updated version of the original game with reworked sprites and details. Each version of the game held specific Pokemon only obtainable in  that specific version of the game. With the addition of Pokemon only achievable at the cost of another Pokemon and Pokemon that only evolved through trade, to obtain every Pokemon in the game required trading with another version of the game. This is where Pokemon becomes a milestone game in the social sphere of gaming; it is a game that requires players to interact and trade with others to obtain the game’s goal. While it’s inevitable that a player could just buy both versions of the game and a second gameboy, the intent of Game Freak was to promote a sense of community among gamers that fostered real loss and exchange. The developers wanted trading away special Pokemon to mean something for each player, and for their decisions and actions to have consequence in-game and in the real world.

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Years ago I wrote a more humorous look at the Pokemon series as an entity of social agent, but many of the lessons the game teaches players are about community and comradeship still hold true. It’s one of the few games of the era that has cooperation built into its success, despite a big emphasis of the game being about battling other trainers. Even today, whether it be with the game or the immensely successful card game, fans are comparing and trading Pokemon just like in 1996. There are few games that have had the cultural impact that Pokemon has had and I think it’s pretty likely we’ll see Pokemon remain popular for years to come.

This Day in Gaming History: Nintendo’s Legend

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30 years ago on February 21st 1986, The Legend of Zelda released on the Nintendo Famicom Disk System in Japan. This original title in the long running Legend of Zelda franchise has had tremendous effect on shaping our modern day gaming culture and climate. Easily the most influential game in establishing conventions for subsequent adventure games, the franchise has revolutionized the gaming industry multiple times and it all started with this singular game.

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What made this game so special?

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The Legend Of Zelda wasn’t the first adventure game by any means, and the game even draws significant influence from its predecessors such as Adventure for the Atari 2600, but what makes the game stand out is that it’s an amalgamation of what came before it. When Shigeru Miyamoto and his team at Nintendo began developing this game in 1985, they drew inspiration for various popular genres at the time, including puzzle and RPG games, and also from Miyamoto’s own personal experience of exploring . The game combines all these elements in a way that hadn’t been done previously and even paved the way for games outside of its genre to gain popularity on home consoles. The result is an approachable game that allows the gamer to explore a digital world  with very little direction or hand holding along the way. This approach of giving the player very little hint as to where to go and how to progress the game was a new approach for Nintendo, one that many of Nintendo’s employees felt was a gamble. With resolve, Miyamoto and his team stuck by their decision to keep the game vague and free of clear direction, desiring a true exploratory experience and with a hope that the game would develop a community.

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Nintendo’s gambles paid off in ways they might not have expected. The Legend of Zelda became a word-of-mouth legend. Players would share hand drawn maps, secrets they discovered in the game, or notes on how to defeat a difficult enemy.  The game represented a true novelty in the gaming community: a game that bred discussion and sharing to discover everything it held. Beyond its sheer gameplay innovations, this aspect of the Legend of Zelda I believe is what makes it a true classic in gaming history and what make it the most relevant to the sociology of video games; it truly was one of the first games to promote social elements and cooperative sharing, elements that are now mainstays in the modern video game industry.

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I can’t hide my personal bias, I love the game and the franchise. Admittedly, I have never beat the original game; I’ve only ever tried to beat it without the usage of guides and each time I’ve become lost several dungeons in. Despite this, I believe it stands as being an amazing game in its design and layout. It marvels me as to how both this and the original Super Mario were released within a year of each other, both of which were miles ahead of anything else on a home console at the time. With this year marking the 30th anniversary of the franchise, one can only hope that Nintendo delivers on their promise to release another innovative, immersive experience with Zelda Wii U (If it actually comes out this year).

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This Day in Gaming History: Nintendo’s Revolution

This is a new feature on the blog in which we look back at some of the important landmarks of video game history and explore how they changed the video game landscape.

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Today we take you back to the futuristic past of the year 2005 with the unveiling of Nintendo’s little rectangular console that would be a revolution in gaming.

IT’S THE WII

As crazy as it sounds, it’s been over a decade since Nintendo first revealed the Wii (Then called the Nintendo Revolution). Marty… we gotta go back to May 17th, 2005.

E3 2005 is in full swing, gamers are enjoying the amazing games like Resident Evil 4 at home, and the final Star Wars film will be in theaters in only a few days (YOU’VE FOOLED US AGAIN LUCAS!). Sony and Microsoft have already announced their next generations consoles the day before and Nintendo is the only major conference left. 30 minutes into the conference Mr.Iwata takes the stage and proclaims “We gave you DS, a new Game Boy, and new games to play on them. And now, you say you want a Revolution? Well, we’ve got one”,  to which he pulls out the console. The next few months were filled with speculation over hardware and what to expect on the little console from Nintendo (Spoiler: Some good games, but a lot of waggle).

A snippet from Nintendo’s press release immediately after the conference:

NINTENDO’S COMPACT CONSOLE WILL TURN THE WORLD OF GAMING ON ITS SIDE

New System will be Forward-Thinking, Yet Backward Compatible

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2005 – Each generation of video game consoles builds on the past to set new standards for the future. As the company with the strongest heritage of innovation, Nintendo redefines expectations for all next-gen systems by employing a wide-ranging strategy to attract more kinds of gamers to more kinds of games. When Nintendo’s new console, code-named Revolution, arrives in 2006, everyone will discover the meaning of All-Access Gaming.

“We will show the world what a next-gen system can be. Revolution marries the strongest heritage of innovation to the future of gaming,” says Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “With backward compatibility and the ‘virtual console’ concept, the stylish, compact body provides maximum gaming power. It will not only take home entertainment into another dimension by expanding the definition of video games, but it also will give you access to the great history of gaming.”

“Our next console proves small in size but big on ideas,” says Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales & marketing. “We’re throwing open the doors of gaming to wider audiences, from casual players to hard-core gamers who live for the thrill of defeating an endless army of wireless opponents.”

One omission you’ll probably notice about the press release is the lack of comments talking about the Wii’s motion controls, which weren’t actually detailed until sometime after the console’s initial announcement. It wasn’t until The Toyko Gameshow 2005 that Nintendo announced the hallmark of the Wii, it’s unique motion controls via its sensor bar and remote like controller. At E3 2006, a year after the console’s announcement, Nintendo finally announced the change from Nintendo Revolution to Nintendo Wii, which disappointed some gamers in the end.

So why do we care? The Nintendo Wii was and is still Nintendo’s highest selling video game console to date (2nd only to Sony’s PS2) and is the first console to popularize motion controls. Today, many will brush off the Wii as passing fad or a phenomenon charged by popularity, but it really was a drastic change in the gaming landscape from one of the oldest and most prominent names in gaming. It radically changed how the company viewed gaming and what they prioritized in making their consoles. Sony and Microsoft’s secondary motion control efforts are proof of concept for Nintendo and proof that Nintendo really did create a spark.

Beyond that, the Wii introduced (or reintroduced) many to video games and expanded the community of gamer to be more inclusive than ever. Your mom was playing the Wii, your grandma was playing the Wii, your high school teacher could school your butt at Wii Golf. It was in every sense of the word a phenomenon.  Wii Sports, the console bundled in game, is the best selling console game of all time and many of the console’s titles went on to remarkable success. Nintendo showed that you didn’t have to be the most powerful console on the market to be the most successful; sometimes innovation trump hardware.

Did Nintendo follow through on a revolution? In some ways yes. The Wii was a momentous video game console that will go down in history as a game changer, but certainly it didn’t have the lasting effect Nintendo would have hoped for. Nintendo squandered some of the momentum they created by tacking on needless peripherals and control options, but many games at their core benefited from the added on motion controls; games like Super Mario Galaxy, Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Metroid Prime 3 are shinning examples of how beloved franchises can benefit from innovation.  Of course, their next move may have been their worst: the Wii U has suffered from some of the same pitfalls the Wii befell; lack of third party support, lack of a pleasing online structure, lack of new IPs, and a poor marketing presence are some of the console’s blemishes. Still, we can only look back on the Wii’s announcement as a door opening in the video game industry. Like it or not, the Wii was something special.

What do you think about the Wii? Was it just a waggle machine or was it really an innovation from Nintendo?

Nintendo Celebrates Women’s History Month

Nintendo’s been making some headlines this week with their announcement that they’ll soon be entering the smartphone app world, but they’ve also been hard at work highlighting some of their memorable female characters in honor of Women’s History month.

Here are the characters they highlighted:

In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Princess Zelda was actually a tough and spunky captain of a ragtag group of pirates. Tetra saves Link from Ganondorf’s clutches, and later helps Link defeat Ganondorf for good to save the world.


Toadette is a recurring Toad character in the Mario series. These days, she’s a plucky treasure-hunter in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, who puts on a brave face to find rare goodies and save Captain Toad from the monstrous and greedy bird, Wingo.


Bayonetta is a sassy and incredibly stylish witch with pistol-stilettos and a vendetta against the armies of angels and demons that hunt her. She’s a force to be reckoned with, an ally to her best friend and fellow witch Jeanne and doesn’t take flak from anybody.

Rosalina is an interstellar observer, protector of the Lumas and friend to Mario in Super Mario Galaxy. She is mother to the Lumas, who are little star-like creatures capable of becoming new galaxies!

Lucina is an unwavering warrior with a strong sense of justice and commitment to her family. Her power, determination and wisdom gained from watching the destruction of her world are priceless strengths as one of Fire Emblem Awakening’s many playable female protagonists.

Samus Aran shocked the video game world at the end of the original Metroid game by revealing her gender and changing the way we think about video game characters in the process. Video game protagonists need not be male in order to be strong. Samus is a space bounty hunter in an armored suit, outfitted with a powerful blaster on the arm and extreme heat resistance.

Bombette is a Bob-omb who joins Mario on his quest in the original Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64. As a member of Mario’s diverse team of fighters, she has an explosive fighting style and isn’t afraid to get physical with her body slam and powerful bomb attacks. – 

Let’s not lie about it: Nintendo hasn’t exactly been the most forward thinking developer in their history, but they have made some strides to being a more inclusive and representative developer in the last couple of years. That said, some odd choices on some of the characters they chose; Bayonetta isn’t a Nintendo character and Bombette hasn’t seen the light of day since the year 2000. But, something is better than nothing…Right?

Book Review: “Console Wars” by Blake J. Harris

We’re back in July with a new type of post! A book review! Wow! Due to my slovenly nature and general  disdain for sitting around and reading, I’ve never had the chance to share my thoughts and opinions on a relevant book here on the blog. THAT CHANGES TODAY, JACK!

Why am I doing this? Because I think my opinion matters? Nope. Because I am some sort of scholar? NOT BLOODY LIKELY. The reason I’m presenting this book review is because I think this type of historical narrative is interesting and worth reading for video game and sociology fans. Although Console Wars isn’t a straight historical account or, by any means, a history book, it tells the real life story of the momentous war between Sega and Nintendo. This company war was a pivotal moment in video game history that changed the industry quite a bit. Through understanding video game history perhaps we can better understand where we’re going.

TLDR: VIDEO GAME HISTORY IS IMPORTANT.

“Console Wars” is the latest book by acclaimed author Blake J. Harris, who is best know for the book and film “Moneyball”.  Here’s a small synopsis of the book for those who are unaware:

In 1990, Nintendo had a virtual monopoly on the video game industry. Sega, on the other hand, was just a faltering arcade company with big aspirations and even bigger personalities. But that would all change with the arrival of Tom Kalinske, a man who knew nothing about videogames and everything about fighting uphill battles. His unconventional tactics, combined with the blood, sweat and bold ideas of his renegade employees, transformed Sega and eventually led to a ruthless David-and-Goliath showdown with rival Nintendo.

 

My thoughts: . Essentially Harris is telling the story of two businesses competing for the video game market. Sounds boring, right? Fortunately, Harris has the exceptional ability of making the mundane palatable. By focusing on specific individuals (primarily Tom Kalinske) Harris makes the narrative less about the historic business tactics that occurred and more about the personal struggle to adjust to mounting demands of working in multinational companies and keeping ahead in a sky rocketing industry. In doing so, the history is broken down in such a way that it feels compelling and almost episodic; you feel for the characters in a way that a traditional historical account wouldn’t be able to convey. These are interesting characters to say the least; they’re trailblazers and huge figures in the video game history  whom many know little to nothing about. Like Moneyball, the book is more about the people than it is products. Likewise, the war between Sega and Nintendo is compelling enough to push the book forward

Half way through the book one would assume that Sega is the David of the story, going against the villain Nintendo. However, the book is never unfair to Nintendo or overly sympathetic to Sega. Obviously, Nintendo and Sega are no longer the same companies they were during the 90s, so it’s important to remember them for the companies they once were; Nintendo really did rule the industry with a power glove. Likewise, Sega is depicted as a company at war with itself, which in many led to its inevitable loss of power in the industry. These are interesting insights about these two companies that people may not know. By the end of the book, you may have a different perspective about these two companies.

Sociological Content wise it’s interesting, but shouldn’t be taken for more than a narrative. Console Wars is in no way a research worthy historical account, but it provides very interesting insight into the culture of the video game industry and the community. The story is an account of the 90s and it in many ways reflects the mindsets and beliefs held by the majority in those years. Video games were a different beast in those days and the book gives readers a unique look back that gamers today may have forgotten or not known about.. 

In all, I’d recommend the book to any gamer looking to learn a little more about the history of video games. I considered myself pretty knowledgeable, especially when it came to the console war between Sega and Nintendo, but the book really takes the reader behind the scenes of these two massive companies in a way that other account do not. It’s honestly a compelling book, even if you’re not directly interested in it for the video game knowledge. It is a lengthy read, but it’s quite worth the read.

“DA DUH DUN!”

Of course, you can also wait for the upcoming film adaptation produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. I’m sure it won’t completely translate to film, but if Moneyball is any indication of how Harris translates his books to film it should at least be worth the watch.  That’s it. Book review over. Please give me a passing grade, teach!  Maybe I’ll do more book reviews when I read more books.

Other resources!

Buy Console Wars on Amazon!

Back In My Play Podcast Interview with Blake J. Harris

 

Nintendo at E3: More Gender inclusion (Is that a female Link!?)

Nintendo’s digital event went live this morning, and they showed off an array of games including the first footage of the upcoming Zelda game, Smash Brothers, and Yoshi title.

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As we discussed during last year’s E3, Nintendo has really been upping the amount of female protagonists in their recent titles. They are continuing this trend this year by announcing several games with playable protagonists who are female.

-Hyrule Warriors currently features 3 of 4 female characters as protagonists, including Impa, Midna, and Zelda.

-More female characters in Smash brothers than ever before, including new entries such as Palutena, Wii-Fit Trainer, and a female villager.

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However, the biggest news seems to be coming out of one of Nintendo’s biggest franchise: The Legend of Zelda. While unconfirmed, it seems as though we may be a Link whose gender is up for customization. I…can’t tell. Link has a ponytail and is certainly looking a lot more feminine than in previous entries. It could honestly go either way: is Link becoming more androgynous, or can you change the character’s gender? With the news of the gaming being more open world, it’s not unlikely that Link will be more changeable than ever before. Guess we’ll find out as more details about the game come out.