A Washed Up Gamer Goes to E3

There were more than 68,000 total attendees at E3 this week, and I’m almost certain all of them have been gaming more than I have in the past five years. I’m retired. Too many consecutive days of realizing I’d played through the night until dawn had me putting the sticks down. Not to mention, I just can’t keep up with these kids. I’m washed.

Yet here I got the fortunate opportunity to cover E3 for NOC in the conference’s first year open to the public. I had to do this, for the culture, for the kid inside who never finished Mario 2, and for the same kid that reached the end of Streets of Rage and chose to kill my brother to take over the gang.

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Translation or Whitewash? The Problem with Yo-Kai Watch in America

The art of “translating” a media property from one cultural context to another requires more than simple language transliteration. Translating works of art has existed from the moment people from different cultures encountered one another. But at what point does translating something for an American audience necessitate whitewashing as well? Today, we’re going to look at two animated properties available on Netflix — Yo-Kai Watch from Japan and Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir from France — to determine at which point whiteness trumps cultural context when making a kids’ show more acceptable to American audiences.

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Double Dragon IV: Stumbling Down Memory Lane

The NES was my staple console for the majority of my childhood. While I did not have many games at my disposal, games like Double Dragon and Double Dragon II were titles that I played just about every day on my own and with friends. I still consider Double Dragon II to be one of my favorite NES games and it influenced my tastes in games I play today. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the series’ creation, Arc System Works recruited many of the original crew that made the original game to make a brand new sequel in the form of the 8-bit games I cherished as a child. When hearing about this news, I was excited and skeptical at the same time. The nostalgia side of me wanted it but would it be enough to maintain my interest in the current era of video games?

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Super Mario Memories

This week, a classic Nintendo video game celebrated a landmark anniversary. In September 1985, the first iteration of Super Mario Bros. was released for the Famicom system in Japan. Three decades later, the Italian plumber with the 40″ vertical and suspect accent has become a cultural phenomenon the world over.

To mark Nintendo’s crowning achievement in making all of us feel super old, the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to share some of their Super Mario memories.

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Remembering Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata

I had just finished teaching my fifth grade class in Japan when I heard the news that the President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, passed away due to bile duct cancer. The news was a slap to the face to me; I had just been talking about Splatoon to some of my students.  While I am not as close to Nintendo as I was when I was a child, I cannot deny to say that Mr. Iwata’s work in the company hadn’t influenced my life.

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Diggin’ In the Carts: A Sound Test for Your Childhood

I love video game music. Ever since I started playing them back in the NES/Famicom days, I have always appreciated the catchy tunes from various games. This never went away as games evolved; if anything, my love for them only expanded. I would say at least 50% of my iPod library contains music from video games ranging from the 80s to the present day.

Nowadays, accessing the music you wanted to hear is pretty easy; usually a search on YouTube will do it. But back in the day, you had to either go to that specific part of the game or record it yourself. Props to my dad who had the fantastic idea of using an audio recorder to record Magic Sword through the SNES by going through each song in the sound test for a couple of minutes and recording it onto a cassette for me to jam to while on the move.

But now? I can just type that on YouTube and voila!

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I Let My Pokémon Down

by Dave Lee | Originally posted at Gumship

Pokémon is the shit on many different levels.

First of all, I don’t consider myself a true gamer in the sense that I’m looking for more of an experience and less of a challenge. Also, I don’t have time to be consumed by a game for that long of a time. I’m trying to get that run-through action similar to when you set aside those weekends to binge-watch all of Breaking Bad. Yeah, there’s post-game content, online play, and it’s definitely heads out there on a serious quest for shiny pokémon (#veryrare). But the RPG format provides that one and done feeling.

Also, the game is marketed towards a younger audience. You know what that means to me? I’m not piling on more stress on top of the stress I already face as a dude in his late 20s, still trying to find his way in the world. Just some good ol’ fashioned fun that’s easily accessible, especially for dudes who haven’t been keeping up with the new generation consoles and getting their subscriptions of Gamepro, which doesn’t even exist anymore.

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GameCenter CX: Kachou On!

Video games have been part of my life ever since I was a little kid. Ever since I was five, I have had a console in my room or living room, waiting to be played every day. I have a lot of memories of playing the NES. While I had some games, I played the majority of them either by borrowing some from friends or renting them at the local video store. You basically had to judge what kind of game you were going to get by the cover and the back of the box. It really was a crapshoot, but that was half the fun of it. After that you would gather your friends and/or siblings to enjoy it for the weekend until you had to return it.

The majority of the games were very difficult to beat and required endless trial and error. You had to have a ton of patience if you wanted to get anywhere. However, once you cleared a level you weren’t able to or finished a game you had sunk hours in gave you the greatest feeling in the world. Or, you would run out of time and say “Screw it, I can’t do it for now,” and return the game. And then it was on to the next one. That was my childhood in a nutshell when it came to games. I miss those days. I miss those old retro games and just the feeling of trying to conquer the random titles I was given for the weekend. I wish more people could experience the feelings I had as a game-loving kid. But how?

Enter GameCenter CX.

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In Which I Seek My Father

The Lion King. Disney. Safe bet,” I hear my mom say in the other room. And with that, my family is off to the movies.

Movies seem safe. An escape, a way to forget about everything that has just happened.

The Lion King opened in June, but it’s now October. Only one small theater near us is still playing it, but tickets are only a couple of dollars. The theater is empty except for my mother, my brother, my sister, and me. My sister has just turned six. My brother is seven. I am thirteen.

The lights dim and the film begins. Everything is fine. This feels good; it’s a nice escape. The colors are bright, the music pleasant.

And then…

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