Samuel McConnell

Volunteer Games Commentator

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.

Though he spends a great deal of his time at his day job helping people with their computer troubles, he carves out as much time as he can to play video or board games, or to tinker with his home cinema.

Labels that apply to Samuel: Gamer, nerd, geek, techie, trekkie, whovian, cinephile.

Ways to Connect

Bethesda Softworks

In 1983, George Lucas founded Lucasfilm Games, a video game development company to work alongside his Lucasfilm production studio. Although Lucasfilm is obviously known primarily for its Star Wars movies, the rights for making Star Wars games were in the hands of various other third parties.

2020 is nearly over - thank goodness for that. And despite everything, it’s been a pretty good year for video games. We got the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X... well, some of us got them. We got Cyberpunk 2027 after eight years of anticipation, and Final Fantasy VII Remake after five. 

 

But the biggest game of the year for me and my family was Animal Crossing New Horizons. Going back decades, Nintendo has had this knack for making games that people who don’t normally play video games still want to play. 

Cyberpunk 2077 is awesome. It’s a triumph of game engineering, features a huge, lively worlds, and is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. It will certainly land on many peoples’ Game of the Year lists.

That is, unless you’re playing on the original Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

The hottest Christmas gifts this season are the new round of game consoles from Sony and Microsoft - the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, respectively. At least, I assume they are, considering every time they go on sale, they’re snatched up instantly.

Last Sunday, the Nintendo Entertainment System celebrated its 35th anniversary. On October 18th, 1985, the system went on sale in New York City, with a nationwide launch in the fall of ‘86.

 

mario.nintendo.com

Super Mario is 35 years old this month, and Nintendo is releasing several Mario games in the next year to celebrate.

 

Consumer-grade Virtual Reality headsets have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. The first model of the popular Oculus Rift headset was released in 2013. It was relatively primitive compared to today’s headsets, but it was many times cheaper than other head-mounted displays at the time. There have been several other headsets released between then and now, including models by Valve and HP.

In 1999, Sega released their final home console, the Dreamcast. Among several features it had that were new to game consoles, there was a built-in modem. Few games used it, and even fewer used it well. But one used it phenomenally.

 

Phantasy Star Online wasn’t the first online multiplayer game on the Dreamcast, but it was absolutely the most ambitious. You could customize your own character, choose your abilities, and pick which weapons you enjoy using the most.

 

roll20.net

I’m still working from home, and as important as social distancing is these days, sometimes I just want to play games with other people! Lots of games have a multiplayer component, but if you want to play Overwatch or the latest Call of Duty with your friends, all of you need to have a copy of the game and be playing on the same platform. That’s an expensive prospect, and I don’t think I’d have much luck convincing people to drop hundreds of dollars to spend an evening playing Destiny with me.

 

If you played console games in the ‘80s or ‘90s, I’m betting you still have some of your old machines around. Maybe you have a Sega Genesis in a box in your attic, or a Super Nintendo in your childhood bedroom, at your mom’s house. The good news is, they probably still work! The bad news is, you probably don’t have the heavy, boxy TV that you played the games on anymore. Sure, you can plug an old system into your modern flat-panel TV with the cables it came with, but the picture you get is not going to be anything like what you remember.

 

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