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.

You’ve heard the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda themes before. (If you haven't, listen to the audio above.) Both of these songs were composed by the same man, Koji Kondo, who is responsible for many of the most recognizable melodies in video games.

In theatres right now is a movie called Ratchet and Clank - it’s based on the video game series of the same name, and the movie is horrible. It has a generic story and stale, predictable characters. It’s a shame, because the games are so good. It got me thinking - has there EVER been a good movie based on a video game?

Ten years ago, Square Enix announced a game called Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Originally set to come out on the Playstation 3, nobody from the company spoke any more about the game for years, and people started to doubt whether it would ever actually be released. Then, in 2013, Square re-announced the game, now calling it Final Fantasy XV and announcing it would be coming to the newest consoles. They released some gameplay footage and story details, and it finally looked like the game would be getting a release.

Unlike most other game companies, Nintendo has long stayed out of making games for mobile phones, preferring to publish games for the 3DS. But last year they announced they would start putting out games for iPhones and Android, and the first of those was released last week.

Game music composers mostly work behind the scenes, and with very few exceptions, hardly get mentioned outside of the credits at the end of a game. One of my favorite of these composers is Yoko Shimomura.

 The ColecoVision console, Nintendo’s Game Boy, the Sega Genesis and several arcade games - Frogger, Galaga, and even Street Fighter 2 have one very important thing in common: They all use the Zilog Z80 processor.

The virtual reality headset Oculus Rift has been available since 2014, but all of the hardware available for it has been “Development Kits”, that is, not really for consumer use. This year, though, we’re going to see not only the release of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, but also its biggest competitor - the HTC Vive.

courtesy Fireshark

This commentary originally aired August 13, 2015.

Here in Wichita, we have access to what is, as far as I know, a completely unique gaming experience.

Fireshark Gaming is a gaming center where you can play a game that takes place all around you, and even underneath you. The game is played in a 33-by-20-foot room with up to 10 people. On the ceiling are a bunch of projectors, pointed both at the walls and the floor.

Growing up, my favorite video games were the Sonic the Hedgehog series. And one of my favorite parts of the series was the music. It was always catchy, but the series had its musical pinnacle with Sonic 3. The game had 6 credited composers, but it’s very likely that there was one high profile musician who went uncredited.

One of my favorite video games when I was younger was the Super Nintendo game Earthbound. It was a role-playing game like Final Fantasy, but instead of being set in a fantasy world with swords and magic wands, it was set in modern times with baseball bats and yo-yos. The game had quirky writing and endearing characters that set it apart from any other games of its time.