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Shooting Straight: Gamers Are Bad People (Again)

Shooting Straight: Gamers Are Bad People (Again)

There was a time that when being a “gamer” had negative connotations– especially in the 1980s and even the early 1990s.

Video games were for kids or for nerds/geeks back then, based on reactions I got in high school and beyond. Classmates thought less of me because I played video games instead of sports. My mom wasn’t at all a fan of my video gaming hobby and constantly pleaded with me to spend…

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Shooting Straight: We Are Community

Where 140-character tweets fail, a blog post does a better job of conveying some personal feelings:

There’s a whole lot of… stuff going on when it comes to the video game scene lately. It’s causing a lot of divisiveness, a lot of emotion, a lot of finger-pointing, and a lot of negativity.

I’m not writing this to discuss any of that stuff. I’m writing this for a different reason.

See, you and I, we probably have video games in common. Somehow. We may like different genres, or maybe we play on…

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Shooting Straight: Retro Unscripted Post-Mortem

My decision to terminate the Retro Unscripted project elicited a very personal explanation of what’s been happening:

Deleting the Twitter account for Retro Unscripted this morning was one of the most difficult things that I’ve done in a long time.

I went into the project excited; I thought that I had a pretty decent idea for a web series, and I thought that it would put me kind of on the same page as the other YouTube and video personalities that I admire so much. I had a fair amount of material to talk about…

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Shooting Straight: It’s Okay To Be Sorry

The latest community controversy compelled me to write about potentially offending people & being okay to apologize:

There’s been some (more?) unfortunate Internet controversy in the YouTube community.

A term was used by a prominent YouTube personality that offended some people. Upon hearing/reading the criticism, the personality decided to double down and assume a defensive position as opposed to acknowledging the concerns of those who were offended. He tried to redirect the offended persons to something else…

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Because Nobody Asked: So You Want To Write About Video Games For a Living?

So you’re thinking of writing about video games for a living? You might want to think twice about chasing that dream:

So there were some pretty serious layoffs at GameSpot this week. There are two members of the site’s editorial (written content) staff left. The rest– several of whom had 5+ years of experience there– were terminated.

This should be a wake-up call for those thinking about pursuing a career in gaming press. It’s not necessarily a call to stop dreaming and stop trying, but it is a call to be very…

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Shooting Straight: Commentoxicity

I wrote a bit about how the toxicity of comments on Internet content has finally pushed me away:

I enjoy writing.

I’ve done it for a good number of years now. It’s the method of communication that I’m most comfortable with… and, honestly, it’s the way that I express myself the best. When I speak, I sometimes stammer or let loose with a flurry of “ummm”s and “ahhhh”s. If you watched any of my Retro Unscriptedvideos, you probably noticed that. When I write, though, that all goes away. I let…

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Retro Game on the Brain: Rad Racer

After spending some time playing Rad Racer recently, I felt the urge to write a bit about it… and Lucas Barton.

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I didn’t really play Rad Racer too much until 2012, when I got my NES for my 40th birthday. In past years of owning an NES, during the 1990s, I had played the game sparingly. I never really got too far– maybe to the second stage, if I happened to run well– and I just cast it aside as an early NES game that really didn’t matter much. Instead, I played other racing games, such as R.C. Pro-Am or Su…

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First Time Friday: The Karate Kid (NES)

Here’s something new that I hope you’ll read & enjoy… First Time Friday: The Karate Kid (NES)

Today brings the first piece in what might be a new series of content. First Time Fridays will have me dipping into my retro library and picking out a game that I haven’t played before– or perhaps a game that I haven’t played for a very long time. 

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I had been warned about The Karate Kid for the NES. The Angry Video Game Nerd warned me. My friend Half-Bitwarned me. Other members of the retro…

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Last year, I wrote two Retail Reviews for Game Depot in Holyoke, MA. There were two separate locations at that time, and I had favorable experiences with both. Earlier this year, the decision was made to consolidate both locations into one main store, and the results are for the best with more inventory, more attention to customers, and a newly-dedicated retro section.

The unified store is located on 245 Main Street in Holyoke, MA. This is the first location that I reviewed back in May of 2013. Upon entering, the layout is still the same; games for the PlayStation 2, original Xbox, Gamecube, Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 3 are located along two aisles. The combination of inventory drastically increased the store’s PlayStation 2 game inventory, which is big enough now that game cases have to be “spined” instead of facing out. The other platforms are represented well, although the Gamecube selection is a bit lacking. (That can’t be helped, of course, if customers aren’t trading Gamecube games in.) Display cases at the front of the store have a nice array of Nintendo DS and 3DS games, along with some Sony PSP and Vita games. There’s even some new-generation games to look at, for those who have upgraded to the WiiU, PlayStation 4, and/or Xbox One. The pricing for all of these games ranges from below to at PriceCharting values; bargain hunters can and will often find a few games for less money than anticipated.

The main draw for me is the new retro section of the store. Consoles, games, and accessories from the first five console generations are located in this area.

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The supply of NES and Nintendo 64 games is perhaps Game Depot’s biggest strength. While there aren’t a lot of uncommon games, what there is for inventory here is priced at or below average and is perfect for those looking to start a collection or for those looking for affordable expansion to their libraries. There is also a decent number of original PlayStation games, and all of them are complete with case and manual. The Genesis and NES sections are a little bit smaller, but there is still some great stuff to find while looking. For handheld gaming fans, the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance platforms are well-represented by available games. There is also a small amount of Dreamcast and Saturn games available, along with some boxed Dreamcast VMUs.

The staff here– which consists of the two guys who ran each location before the consolidation– is fantastic. Both are well-versed in gaming-related knowledge, and that’s impressive when considering that the store also handles cell phone sales, other electronic sales, computer repair, and more. That kind of flexibility allows the store to do well, even during leaner gaming periods (such as the summer months). Both guys are very personable and genuine, which is important to keep customers coming back.

My updated Retail Review Grade for this store is an A.

There is a solid inventory of games to choose from here, which especially appeals to those just getting into retro collecting/library building or for those looking to add a few games to a growing library. While I’d like to see more games for Genesis and Gamecube, the store can’t be faulted for not carrying what hasn’t (yet) been traded in. The pricing is more than fair and consistently lies at or sometimes even below PriceCharting standards. Despite my tight cash flow and limited trade-ins, visiting this store has allowed me to gradually build my retro library for a reasonable amount of money. The staff is great, offering just the right amount of attention while being armed with sufficient knowledge to answer most questions. If you’re in the greater Hartford/Springfield area, Game Depot is worth at least a visit; don’t be surprised if you wind up spending at least a little bit of money while you’re there.

My latest #RetailReview revisits Game Depot in Holyoke, MA. Did consolidation help or hurt this store? Last year, I wrote two Retail Reviews for Game Depot in Holyoke, MA. There were two…

Exit Consoleation; Enter Retro Unscripted

Here’s the blog post I mentioned, where I end one project, start another, and lots of things are changing:

When I mentioned that I was retiring from writing last year, someone who I admire very much told me that I probably wasn’t leaving for good. I admit that, when I made the decision to step away, I was in a position of frustration and was generally…

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