I’ve got a new “Press A to Listen” feature article over on gamentrain.com today! Press A to Start is a monthly series providing a quick course in the history, music, and influence of classic games. This month, read up on the history of NES classic Kirby’s Adventure while enjoying the music of Jun Ishikawa (composer for Kirby games) and talented multi-instrumentalist Xoc!
I have recently become part of some great opportunities in both the fields of game writing as well as journalistic writing that I am so passionate about. Unfortunately I can’t reveal much yet, but by the end of this month I hope to be able to show off some of the work I have been up to.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m not open to more work. As always, feel free to contact me, and perhaps I can help on your upcoming project or website as well!
*Image from Capcom’s Streets of Rage for SNES, no reason why.
I learned about so much of the history of EGM through so many of their magazines circa 1997-2001.
The things I took away from Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine are numerous, and I could expound on them the way I do because I practically learned to write by reading issues of EGM. I didn’t know that when I was reading issues over and over when I didn’t have video games to play. EGM had a style of writing that invigorated me in a mysterious way that issues of GamePro from that same era just as mysteriously upset me.
What I want to focus on today is the history that EGM imparted on me, a fleeting idea in the constantly and quickly evolving world of video games.
Check the twitter, I like to consider myself a video game historian. That is because I am. I know books full of inane video game minutia. I know it is books full because I have read books full of that information. Some I read more than a couple times (shout out to Chris Kohler’s book, Power-Up, my copy is so ragged now). Now we are falling into, “could write a whole new article about this portion” territory, so I will keep it brief. Before the internet was ubiquitous (especially for poor people such as my childhood self), it was pretty tough to learn much of anything about games beyond whatever information video game magazines deemed important enough to dole out to you that month.
Of all the video game magazines I read, EGM was far and away the best at imparting the wisdom and history of gaming into solid and interesting articles. These articles could be simple and straightforward like a timeline of arcades, or completely inane like trying to decipher Toad’s gender. Just the same, short features and editorials could discuss heady topics of the day such as violence and sequel-itis (yes, gamers were talking about this stuff back then too.) to more gameplay-centric ideas like health meters and graphics.
All these types of articles were infused with all the history that the writers knew, and it showed in their writing. This probably solidified my passion for video game history. Electronic Gaming Monthly has many things to do with why I am here and why this is what I write about.
So there I am on an island no one knew about for centuries, in a place no man has set foot on in hundreds of years. I’m fighting a cunning group of thieves out to kill me and steal the treasure I came here to retrieve for probably more noble purposes I guess.
I am crafty enough to steal a Jet S- WaveRun- AHEM ‘personal water craft’ from the villains, and I set a course upriver. Unfortunately, the enemy knows I’m on the way. Suddenly they begin to toss dozens of barrels into the river. Oh no! They are full of oil, and explode violently!
This is the part where I pause the game and take a deep breath.
Hold on a minute now Uncharted.
Oil prices are in the range of a hundred bucks a barrel, and these henchmen are just tossing it into the river like it’s worthless. These guys wouldn’t need to steal such rare things if they were just more careful with how they use their money and supplies.
Did they really bring hundreds of drums of oil to just throw into a river when they got here? And if not, then what were they intended for? Because you sure as hell can’t use them for that when you are throwing them in the fucking ocean!
But before we can even worry about that, we have to ask the underlying question, how exactly did you get all that oil here? You can’t just pick up some oil drums from the local supply store, and fill them up at the uncharted gas station. These barrels had to be carried onto a boat, likely by the same henchmen that are chucking them out like expired food as we speak. If you factor in the cost, as well as the fact that a giant cargo ship docking anywhere and buying hundreds of barrels of oil and weapons, landing in any port anywhere not exactly being inconspicuous, I can only conclude that at the very least, these thieves need to hire an accountant.
Oh Uncharted, you had me going there for a moment, but you burst the reality of my experience like an exploding barrel blows up a personal watercraft.