Wednesday, July 29, 2015


     Two nights ago, I had the pleasure of enjoying 'Mario Party 10' with my wife and a few friends. We LOLed, we talked smack, we shared time together and most importantly: we had fun. Before bed I played 20 minutes of 'Xenoblade Chronicles' on my 3DS. The next night I was scared shitless while playing 'Alien: Isolation' on my PC. Let's talk about what you and I will be playing 2-6 years from now and why.

     At E3 2004, Nintendo Boss, Satoru Iwata said this concerning the Nintendo Wii:

"I suppose I could give you a list of the technical specs. I believe you would like that, but I won't for a simple reason; they really don't matter. The time when horsepower alone made an important difference is over." 

Mr. Iwata's holistic claim roused cheers from the audience and the Nintendo Wii went on to outsell the legendary NES, but there are many gamers and even industry insiders who remain confused by the actions of Iwata and Nintendo. Why don't we take a look at the current situation? 

     The high-end gaming PC you're blowing your ramen money on will be obsolete faster than you can click "Wishlist." This November, you'll be able to waltz  into your local GameStop and purchase this Alienware/Steam gaming PC for a mere $450 bucks. This little guy is packing plenty of horsepower and will work with whichever standard controller you'd like to use including mouse & keyboard of course. Alienware/Steam/Valve are pulling a genius move. This machine and others like it will shine a blinding spotlight on the traditional home consoles (PS4/XB1) and reveal them for what they really are, a poor man's gaming PC.

You don't know how to scratch-build a gaming PC? They've got you covered. You'd rather download all your games on release at the stroke of midnight? They've got that covered too! Want to play the PlayStation 4 and XBOX exclusive titles? No? What few there are always come to PC anyway? That's what I thought. Speaking of Sony, as you're reading this, their PlayStation TV is streaming classic games from Japan to the USA and back a-la "Netflix". As for Microsoft, they've designed Windows 10 to allow you to stream your PC games onto your XBOX One.

     I remember the first time I played King's Quest on PC with CD quality sound. What about the opening audio dialogue in Super Metroid? How can anyone forget running around in a circle while playing Super Mario 64 for the first time? That was when horsepower made a difference. Playing Skyrim on "Ultra-High" settings as opposed to "High" seems insignificant when compared to those fond memories.

Horsepower alone is indeed becoming irrelevant.

     So, why dosen't Nintendo court blockbuster 3rd party developers like Rockstar, EA and Activision? It's because those developers' games do not support the Nintendo hardware and the Nintendo brand. These types of games become irrelevant when envisioning the future of Nintendo. Exclusive Nintendo franchises such as Pokemon, Mario, Zelda, Smash Bros., Mario Kart and Starfox are the reason that Nintendo can manufacture and sell the Wii U and 3DS. Nintendo designs their hardware solely to play Nintendo games the way they are intended to be played. Anyone who believes that Nintendo should stop making hardware and licence out their IPs assuredly faces difficulty when feeding themselves.

     What will we be playing in the future? Let's imagine that horsepower continues to evolve into less and less of a consideration. Let's go all the way and imagine that processing power in the land of future computing will be so great that you will stream your games from a super-computer based in another hemisphere over a WiFi network maintained by solar-powered, flying drones. Then, new and innovative software along with innovative ways to interact with the software will become the only things that make gaming a viable form of entertainment. This is what Mr. Iwata was speaking about: Nintendo is prepared for a gaming climate that will not be realized by the majority of the industry for several years. But as for now... how about a few rounds of Splatoon?

Thank you Mr. Iwata.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


     A cloudburst of confusion, annoyance and disgust began to form on my wife's face. We're next in line at Wal-Mart behind a grimy pair of customers checking out. "What are they doing?" asks my wife, as if directing the question not toward me, but instead toward the whole of human existence. The couple had loaded the belt to its maximum capacity with multiple boxes of frozen Texas Toast, pizzas, wrapped packs of ground chuck, cans upon cans of God-only-knows-what and groupings of soda bottles in varying sizes. This whole assortment was covered in newspaper ads and clippings from neighboring grocery stores. The clerk, steam-rolled by the pair, was quickly adjusting the price of each item based on claims that the said item was less expensive at another store: per Wal-Mart policy. 15-17 minutes later it was my turn at the register. Halfway through the transaction the clerk began, "I appreciate your patience." "Oh, no problem." I returned, as she slammed our items over the scanner. "No, you were about about to lose it. I could see it in your eyes."
     Months prior at another Wal-Mart, I was leaning on my cart in the check-out line with my wife and three of her friends behind me. "If you're just going to stand there, you can get the fuck out of the way." muttered a fellow customer as he worked his cart around my wife and her friends and headed towards another checkout line. "You'd better watch your mouth, boy." I spoke in a slightly raised voice. The man stopped and turned towards me. He was confused and surprised that not only had I heard what he had said but I was also speaking in defense of a group of Thais. "I'll knock your teeth down your fucking throat." he managed. I stood unchanged, motionless, tense with rage and hatred flowing through me in a wholly unnatural way. I glared into the man's eyes while fantasizing about beating him with his shopping cart as his body lay in a heap of blood, beer and broken bottles. After a pair of heartbeats the man turned and walked away.
     Now, if this clerk saw anything in my eyes, it could've only been regret. Regret for choosing Wal-Mart as a household supplier. Regret for expecting more out of people and being let down. Regret for funding the communist notion of "save more, live better." Regret surely mirrored by the clerk's own for suffering under a multibillion conglomeration who didn't trust her enough to purchase a $1.25 blue polo in order to separate her from the crusty, inbred hill-jack pieces of shit that permeated the shopping center every waking hour for the first three days of each month. We finished up without another word. While walking away from the register I told my wife: "We will never come to Wal-Mart again." "Never?" my wife questioned.

"No, never."    

Saturday, November 17, 2012


     I was six years old in 1986. After school one day my mom drove me two miles to my best friend Bruce's house, I was spending the night. The only memory I have of that night is a vivid one: playing 'Kung-Fu' on Bruce's Nintendo Entertainment System. This thing was light-years more advanced than the Atari 2600 that I had  grown accustomed to, and therefore far more entertaining. I begged my family to understand why we needed the NES in our lives. Later that year our family embarked on our one-and-only family vacation. My father gave my brother and I $100.00 each to spend as we chose while on vacation. I stowed the cash deep in the left front pocket of my jeans and there it would remain for the duration of our journey. Upon our return, I gently gifted my mother with the savings and requested a Nintendo Entertainment System of my own and from what I remember, I had the system on the following day. My brother and I jammed that fucker every day for hours on end. My parents divorced shortly afterward.
     I was ten years old in 1990. I stepped out onto the porch of my grandparent's home in Spangler, WV. It was late Summer and my father sat on the porch steps, smoking Doral Lights and drinking cola. "My friend is selling his Sega Genesis." I said. My father replied quickly, "Don't you want the Super Nintendo?" I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Could I actually graduate straight to the Super Nintendo!? It had just been released! "Well, yes, I do want the Super Nintendo." I mustered sheepishly. I reflect on this five year period of my life as some of the happiest years of my childhood. Junior High School was a breeze and the Super Nintendo was a power-packed system with a waterfall of AAA titles to indulge in.
     I was seventeen in 1997. Christmas of that year I got my Nintendo 64. I must've played 'STAR WARS: Shadows of the Empire' for at least two-hundred hours. I lost my father and grandfather during this time. However, I made some great friends over lengthy sessions of 'Goldeneye', 'WCW Revenge', 'Perfect Dark' and others. I debated the advancement of the games industry and I championed the innovations that Nintendo had brought to market. I pressed in all directions searching for a way towards success and found very little. I dropped off the grid for a bit, reclaimed my senses and took a personal inventory. I still had great friends, and the Nintendo Gamecube was right around the corner.
     I was twenty-one in 2001. I was working at a 7-11 on the swing shift covering for fuck-tards that didn't get the big picture. I was happy to pocket 180 bucks a week for dealing with thieves and abusers. I would usually catch a quick buzz behind my old elementary school on my walk back home when my shift ended at 7am. My mom would say: "You look so tired honey." I was stoned and hungry. A young man can only stomach so many written-off jalapeno dogs. I took it easy for the most part, saving for my first car and the Gamecube. 'Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem', 'Pikmin', 'Resident Evil', 'Metroid Prime', 'The Legend of Zelda - Wind Waker', 'Resident Evil 4', 'NBA Courtside', 'Super Smash Bros. Melee' ...Gamecube was a  fucking party machine. I quit the 7-11 and worked for U-Haul for couple of years. I ditched my position as GM for my U-Haul branch for a gig as an hourly GameStop employee. I wanted to see the industry from the inside. I made lifelong friends, talked games all day and even went to E3 in 2005.         
     I was twenty-six in 2006. My pals and I hung out at GameStop the day before the official release of the Nintendo Wii. When the clock on the register ticked over to 12:00AM, we rang each other up. I was thrilled to see the success of the Wii. I felt that history was repeating itself. I felt that my childhood friend had returned and I was on top of the world standing side by side with Nintendo. I was eventually betrayed by the dark side of the games industry and I found myself without direction for a short while. While pretending to know what I was doing in the kitchen of a large hotel, I met the woman of my dreams and married her. I left the hotel for work at a company closer to home and earned one promotion per year over the next four years. I lost a close friend to cancer this year and I've thanked God for the strength my Wife gives me. Life moves forward, we know it is unpreventable. We absolutely must love the small pleasures of life alongside the grand and obvious ones. The Wii U will be released tomorrow. I'm a 6 year old trapped in the body of a 32 year old.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012


     Justin was a childhood friend of mine. He had a squarish head, a brownish fade and a father who hit him every once and a while. Between the ages of nine and sixteen we occupied our free time with video games, bikes, and what we affectionately referred to as hell-raising. Any Summer afternoon we could be discovered behind a hedge, armed with eggs that we had specially modified for vandalism. If you carefully puncture both ends of an egg, you can blow out the yolk and fill the shell with something else. Our weapon of choice was toothpaste. Justin and I would bomb houses with these toothpaste-filled eggshells and cheer to ourselves as the sky-blue cream burst across brick facade. Brick was our target of choice. The toothpaste would harden in the sun and if on brick or stone it would never, ever come off.
     After Justin attained his learners permit, our hell-raising also hit the road. Of course, we threw things from the car, but now we could target pedestrians since we had a quick get-away. Neither of us ever threw anything at anyone, since we did not wish to injure anyone. However, we did scream. At first it was an unintelligible: "AAAAEEHHH!"  but later, naturally evolved into a word. We yelled "GAWWWWWLLL!" at anyone lucky enough to be using the sidewalk as we sped by. We found such joy in screaming at people from the car, that we decided to scream at people from our lockers and breezeways at school. Over time, the screamed word "gawl" changed into a title Justin and I would use for each other and for others within our circle who knew what hell-raising was.
     Without much thought, I began to use this title with my cousin. "Hey, Gaw." I would say when Vaughn answered the phone. As Vaughn and I referred to each other as "Gaw," the title gained more meaning. Every other weekend, Travis, Adam, Roger, Vaughn and I would go to the movies or the mall or to Travis' house and we would call ourselves Gaws. The title evolved into a term of endearment for us. We denoted each other as members of a particular group who only shared in activities that encompassed interests of every member.
     Time has added weight to the title of Gaw. Some may have close friends, but I have Gaws. Whenever there is a need, whether it be a need for someone to talk to, someone to party with, or someone to help me re-model my house in a single weekend, I can call my Gaws. Being a Gaw to me, means being a friend who will do anything to help, even if only to help pass time. We take pride in sacrificing a Saturday to help each other relocate. We fortify our weakened in a promise of forgiveness. We salute one-another with respect to our humanity. We will, always.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


     A small blonde boy named Logan walked confidently up to the counter and slid something into view. I paused, looked down, and realized that it wasn't a game; it was his report card. I studied it for a moment as the boy's mother beamed. "Good job!" I said loudly. "He wanted to show you," said the mother. I quickly stepped to the spinner-rack of game related trinkets and selected a few of the more expensive Nintendo related ones. I spread the prizes across the counter in front of the boy's bespectacled blue eyes. He wisely chose the wallet with a rubber image of a NES controller glued on the front. "Keep up the good work, Logan," I spoke more privately this time.
     I had done it! In this moment I had achieved my goal of becoming more than a reservation-pushing, subscription-cramming drone of a nerd. Logan touchingly admired me; giving me pride. I did not operate as the game store clerk of yesteryear who fingered his know-it-all thick framed glasses into his brow and explained in detail the purposelessness of owning a Macintosh while children nearby secretly wished to be treated as equals. Now I had proof of my ability to positively impact a child's life. My responsibility had reached a new height of validation.
     One day, a child I had never seen before entered our store. He was chunky and short with dark bowl-cut hair and skin that looked like dough baked via moonlight. His name was David. David was a selfish, narrow-minded, shallow, chauvinistic, presumptuous, napoleonic toad of a boy. David was also our new District Manager. David made his primary goal the elimination of all management members who he deemed as under-performers. One manager was terminated due to the fact that while she was on maternity leave, her assistant failed to make a deposit. Another was fired for leaving a drawer unlocked overnight.
     In midsummer 2008 David called me into the office in the back of our store. The same store I shopped at as a child. The same store at which my father bought me 'Super Metroid' as I sheepishly pretended not to notice. "Sit down, John." I squirmed as Boy David spoke my name. As the purpose of this meeting became clear I stood and walked to the front of the store. I clocked-out and cancelled the games I had reserved. I returned to the back office and gathered my things. Boy David was on the phone. I shot him a look as if he had just run my only son over with a dirt bike.
     I slung my things in the backseat of my car as the last few years of my life replayed in my head. I thought with anger about the late hours, deadlines and goals that were pressed upon me. I thought about all the morons I had ever worked with and for. I thought about the customers who stole and stank and fucked up my store and about how I had cleaned up after them time and time again. My customers... I thought about Logan. I slammed my car door and marched back towards the store. I strode in, my eyes fixated on the office door. I swung it open and saw Boy David still on the phone. His gray eyes met mine, shocked. I quickly walked towards him as I pulled my arm back and thrust an open hand into the space between us. He lowered the phone and placed his clammy hand inside mine. I squeezed his hand gently and looked down into his eyes. I could feel his hand relax as we stood there alone. "God bless you, David. It was a pleasure working with you."
He had no response. I had done it again.   

Sunday, June 5, 2011


     Minoru Arakawa and his team debuted the Nintendo Entertainment System at the Consumer Electronics Show in June of 1985. Going on sale the holiday season of that year, the NES went on to sell more than 61 million units. Four short years later, Nintendo introduced the Game Boy. Originally bundled with Tetris, Game Boy became a phenomenon selling over 150 million units. By 1991 Nintendo had dethroned Toyota as Japan's most successful company, earning about 1.5 million dollars per employee. Having generated a substantial profit, research and development teams at Nintendo had a clear vision concerning the successor of the NES.
     Nintendo launched the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on August 23rd, 1991. The SNES continued to build off the success of it's predecessors. With the name brand establishment of the NES and Game Boy,  Nintendo sold through more than 49 million units of the 16bit powerhouse well into 1996. As a need for the next generation console loomed, the vision of Nintendo's R&D teams was brought to fruition once again in the form of the Nintendo 64. Once again Nintendo built on the strength of it's name brand, and had also developed a game system fitted with more powerful componentry than the previous offering. However, although Nintendo sold nearly 33 million N64s the faith in their name brand was shaken both in Japan and the USA. The labyrinthine software structure of the N64 demanded vast teams of game development personnel and large monetary resources to be dedicated toward creation of a single game. The cartridge format utilized for the N64 was considered dated compared to the emerging CD-ROM as Sony's Playstation enticed developers and consumers alike. Development teams inside Nintendo began to germinate a new direction for their next console.
     In November of 2001 the Nintendo Gamecube found its way into the homes of gamers across the USA. It was designed as a safe step for Nintendo with few innovations and drastically lowered development costs. Nintendo also featured Gamecube games on a proprietary optical disk in order to avoid paying licensing fees to the DVD consortium while providing a medium with storage capacity enough to rival it's competitors. After all, the Gamecube sold under 22 million units worldwide. Nintendo needed to take a risk. With the realization of an imperative need for change Nintendo gambled big on an audience ignored by the gaming industry: non-gamers. They designed a game system anyone could play, with low manufacturing costs and very little resources needed for software development.
     Nintendo debuted the Wii for sale just in time for Christmas 2006. The Wii was an instant smash. Gamers bought them, casual gamers bought them, as well as non gamers. Nintendo had created its own consumer market similarly as they had done with the NES. People were talking about the Wii, asking their friends to play it with them, and buying them for their parents. UPS delivery men were being followed by mothers through malls all over the United States waiting to see if they could garner the opportunity to quiet the persistent requests of their children. Men who were long time video gamers were introducing their wives and girlfriends to their favorite pastime for the first time, and Nintendo began to generate a massive profit. The Nintendo Wii has sold over 86 million units to date and has created a new eager audience of gamers. Many long time gamers however, have felt abandoned by Nintendo as their desire for cutting edge hardware has gone largely ignored.
But not to worry, the research and development teams deep inside Nintendo have been burning the midnight oil for a few years now, and their vision will be revealed this Tuesday, June 7th.
     It's a time to be excited indeed. Nintendo finds themselves in a climate most like the era of the SNES. They have a large fan base and a large coffer from which to invest. They have taken large risks and have been met with both failure and grand success. For the first time since the development of the SNES they are at a pinnacle from which can be seen the past and the future. They have the resources to design and manufacture a machine composed of the latest hardware that gamers and developers are demanding. They have stowed a margin large enough to reward us with a gaming experience that is powerful and modern while at the same time innovative and fresh. They have reclaimed their brand faith and are in a most favorable station. As Nintendo fans we can only prepare so much for what Nintendo has in store for us. Now we wait. And the best place to wait may be

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Preface: I found this spiteful gem while casually perusing the 'Boo' archives... It stands here reprinted, untouched, and authored by yours truly. Enjoy!

 ----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: hmcardle@ 1Loud Street
To: Boo
Date: Apr 11, 2009 11:48 AM
Subject: dirty kid

Hey Boo,

My name is Heather McArdle and I am an A & R representative for Illumina Records and Promotions. I just came across your profile.  I’m listening to “dirty kid” right now, and I wanted to let you know about our “Launch Campaign”.

I think you would be a great fit for it.
Illumina is a Boston based full service marketing and publicity firm. We specialize in creating national PR campaigns for local and regional artists. Throughout this campaign, Illumina will NEVER ask for YOUR money or any rights to YOUR songs. Please reply to this email or, at your earliest convenience, call me at (516) 455-4579, so I can go over the details of the project with you. If you leave a message, be sure to give your name and number, your bands name, which state you are based in, and say that you are looking to speak with Heather about Launch.

Illumina’s Launch Campaign is a 90–Day project designed to put your music directly into the hands of hundreds of thousands of music fans. Launch will also provide your career with an immediate and easy way to generate the publicity and exposure essential in taking your music career to the next level.

Launch will provide you with the following benefits:

YOUR ACT will receive 50 CD’s featuring YOUR MUSIC to market to your fans
YOUR MUSIC will be delivered to 1800 music business insiders like Labels, Local Music Directors, College DJ’s, Music Writers and Editors, Talent Buyers…and much more
YOUR MUSIC will be marketed in both your Local Area as well as across the Nation!
YOU will appear on the COVER of a music magazine.
YOUR act will have the opportunity to appear in a CD release event featuring YOU as the headliner.
YOUR ACT will appear in a music guide that is marketed to hundreds of thousands of Music Fans Nationwide.
YOU will have the opportunity to make a difference with your Music by taking part in the GROUND CONTROL drunk driving prevention campaign.
Over 2200 acts and over 12,000 artists have benefited from our campaigns in 48 states.
Availability is limited on this project, so I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible.

Thank you

Heather McArdle
A & R Represenataive
Illumina Records
(516) 455-4579

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Boo
To: hmcardle@ 1Loud Street
Date: Apr 12, 2009 11:35 PM
Subject: RE: dirty kid

Looks like an email that you sent to a zillion bands. Did you just plug our band name and song into it?
-love boo.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: hmcardle@ 1Loud Street
To: Boo
Date: Apr 13, 2009 9:55 AM
Subject: RE: dirty kid

obviously. do you really think i have the time to write up a distinct and creative message to every single band or artist i work with? i did check out your page and i do want you to be a part of launch though so give me a call if your interested. if not, good luck in the future.


----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Boo

Date: Apr 13, 2009 11:01 PM
Subject: RE: RE: dirty kid

Heather, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write up a distinct and creative message to our band. We can tell you're genuinely interested in us and our sound. And sure, we would LOVE to be a part of lunch sometime.

Have your machine leave a message with our machine! Ciao!