Your Move

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

Your Move can also be found on iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

Final Fantasy VII is an all-time favorite game of mine. In the 22 years since it was released for the original PlayStation, it’s been released on several other platforms. Last week, it came out on the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, so I decided to go back and play it again.

Google announced this week that they’re getting into the blockbuster gaming market in a big way with their new service, which they’re calling Stadia.

Your Move: D-Pad

Mar 7, 2019

Game controllers, with some exceptions, have mostly standardized around a certain form-factor: two analog sticks, four face buttons in a diamond shape, four shoulder buttons, Start, Select, and a directional pad. But of course that hasn’t always been the case - analog sticks weren’t standard until the Playstation 2 came out in 2000, and shoulder buttons were introduced with the Super Nintendo in 1990, which also added more face buttons than systems had had before.

For years, people have been making single-handed game controllers to help people enjoy video games even if they have trouble using a standard controller. However, efforts like these have a definite DIY feel to them, having to open up the controller and solder additional components to the circuitry. And, as this is not easy work, the results tend to be very expensive, and not always very durable.

Back in 2002, Square and Disney released an ambitious game - a game that was a crossover between Final Fantasy characters and Disney worlds, while having its own independent story. The game was Kingdom Hearts for the PlayStation 2, and it was a huge hit.

I really enjoy flight simulator games, and even more when air-to-air combat is thrown in. Unfortunately, they don’t come out very often. Thankfully, a new entry in the Ace Combat series was just released - the first for the current generation of consoles.

Your Move: Osmos

Jan 10, 2019

This commentary originally aired March 22, 2018.

Puzzle video games have come a long way since Tetris. The genre has particularly flourished on smartphones, and one of my favorites that I’ve been playing for years is called Osmos.

As I was preparing to write this piece, I thought to myself, “where do I start?” Super Smash Bros Ultimate is such a huge game, both considered as a stand-alone game and as the climax of an unlikely 20-year franchise. 

The hot gift last holiday season was the Super Nintendo Mini, and this year Sony decided to get in the shrunken-down classic console game with the PlayStation Classic. The system comes with two controllers, and is loaded with 20 games from the PlayStation’s early years. It has some great titles like Final Fantasy VII, Twisted Metal, and Metal Gear Solid, but also has some less well remembered games, like Jumping Flash and Destruction Derby.

Music in video games these days is typically produced like any other music, but when games came on cartridges, there wasn’t room for music recordings, and video game consoles had to make the music themselves.