Nintendo’s Former US President and Chief Operating Officer Heads Back to School

I’m late to the show on this, because I was taking some much need time off, but holy smokes, Reggie “Fucking” Reggie Fils-Aimé  is going back to school.

Fils-Aimé will be returning to his alma mater, Cornell University in New York City where he will conduct a lecture. According to the Cornell University website:

Reggie Fils-Aime ’83, retired president and COO of Nintendo America, will deliver a lecture and meet with the community. Attendees can visit with Reggie and enjoy light refreshments after the lecture.

Reggie Fils-Aime will share principles for you to master so you can cultivate your own leadership capability. Reggie developed these principles through 35+ years of experience across a range of international industries and businesses. The principles are applicable to any situation, including now while you area student or in your future endeavors.

Cornell University

Students are expected to behave themselves.

NYC is not too far from Spieler Dad headquarters. I just might make the trip.

[Source: Cornell University]

After 2 Shootings, Walmart Removes Violent Video Game Displays—Still Selling Firearms

I don’t want to open up a big fucking can of worms here, but seriously Walmart?

Let’s recap the senselessness.

  • July 30, two Walmart employees are shot and killed in Mississippi.
  • August 3, twenty-two people were tragically killed in a mass shooting in at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
  • August 8, some dumb motherfucker strolls into a Walmart in Springfield, Missouri armed with a rifle while donning body armor and military-style clothing.

Walmart has an problem here. So the dumb corporate fucks do the most sensible thing… Take down displays of violent video games, of course.

Many gun control advocates are rallying to get Walmart to at least temporarily stop sales of firearms. I mean what’s worse, a poster of firearms in the electronics section, or actual fucking firearms. Walmart, however, does not agree with this logic, as per spokesman Randy Hargrove:

“There’s been no change in policy,” adding that the retailer has been focused on caring for customers and employees in the El Paso community. “It’s horrible … what’s happened.’’

USA Today

Stopping sales of firearms, even temporarily, will obviously harm Walmart’s bottom line. It’s easier to just go back to the good ole standby that old, out-of-touch, limp dick politicians and corporations have been using for years. Blame the video games.

The Medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are Made From Garbage and That’s a Good Thing

The medals that will be awarded to 2020 Olympians in Tokyo will be made from garbage, and that is a cool thing.

I’m an unabashed lover of Japanese culture and people and some of my fondest memories are of Japanese video games. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will also lean into gaming. So allow me to gush a bit here for the fine people of Japan.

Most interestingly, there is a possibility the medals athletes are competing for may have a bit of gaming in them.

The gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games not only represent the greatest honour for the athletes but also an opportunity for Japan to showcase its culture and charm to the rest of the world.

To produce these valuable medals, The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) conducted the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” to collect small electronic devices such as used mobile phones from all over Japan. This project makes Tokyo 2020 the first in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to involve citizens and to manufacture the medals using recycled metals.

The approximately 5,000 medals in total have now been produced from the small electronic devices that were contributed from people all over Japan. We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

To produce medals that embody the emotions of all those who participated in the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, Tokyo 2020 launched a medal design competition to invite the public to submit design ideas for the medals. From the procurement of the metals to the development of the medal design, the entire country of Japan was involved in the production of the medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games – truly a project that was possible with the participation of everyone across Japan.

Tokyo 2020

Just think, there may be PlayStation, Nintendo DS, and I imagine a shit ton of Nintendo Wii consoles in Tokyo 2020 medals.

I reckon that this may be the most video game centric Olympics ever, which is pretty neat.

[Source: Tokyo 2020]

Apple Finally Brings Xbox One S and PS4 Controller Support to iOS, iPadOS

As an Apple fan, I can get pretty infuriated with the backwards shit that they pull. Yes, they make sexy hardware and they seem to take privacy seriously, but man does it take forever for them to do common sense stuff.

At WWDC 2019 today, Apple made a few gaming centric announcements. One that got some traction was that PS4 and Xbox One S controller support would be coming to Apple TV, which is okay, I guess.

However, more importantly is that PS4 and Xbox One S controller support is also coming to iOS 13 and iPadOS later this fall, which is about goddamn time.

Soon, you’ll be able to play games like Fortnite on your iPad or iPhone with a controller, and not touch controls, like a savage.

By the way, if you’re wondering why it’s specifically Xbox One S controllers, its because they have the necessary Bluetooth support.

Oh, and one more thing… if you have an iPhone 6 or older, you’re shit out of luck.

[Source: Apple]

I’m Still Waiting for a Truly Scary Video Game 

This time of year, posts about ghosts, the supernatural, and even scary video games are a dime a dozen. Even around the office, there have been lively discussions about ghosts and the supernatural. I don’t contribute much to these discussions, because I’m a bit of a skeptic. 

That doesn’t mean that I don’t like a good ghost story or haven’t experienced things that are unexplainable. Matter of fact, there are two instances which I experienced something sufficiently creepy. 

The first occurred years ago when my wife and I were shopping for our first home. The realtor was showing us houses in our budget in towns that that my wife and I liked, and she brought us to this pretty Victorian. It was an older home, quite large, and I was surprised that it was in our budget. Of course, we all made jokes that the house was probably so cheap because it was haunted.  

As we were doing our walk-through, I just couldn’t help feeling out of breath, and I wasn’t out of shape at the time, so stop calling me a fat ass under your breath. As we walked from room to room, I was filled by a feeling of lethargy and I just couldn’t fill my lungs with a satisfying breath of air. I was getting a real sense of dread in this place. The moment I walked out onto the porch, it was like a weight was lifted off my chest and I was able to breath normally again.  

I asked my wife if she felt like there was something off about the house and surprisingly she did not, which is odd, because she’s easily spooked by her own shadow. Suffice it to say, we didn’t pursue purchasing that house, because I prefer not be suffocated in my sleep by a vengeful spirit. 

The other spooky event happened a little less than a year ago. My wife and I were once again shopping for a house.  My daughter was growing up fast and we had another baby on the way and we needed to move into something bigger and in a town with better schools. Once again, the realtor brought us to a cute older house that was easily two hundred years old, but was beautifully restored.  

I have a theory that any house that is over a hundred years old has a very good chance that someone died in it. For every additional fifty years, those chances increase exponentially. The reason why, is that back in the good ole’ days, when people became sick, they usually became bed ridden at home.

In time, the local doctor came over and probably bled you or fed you mercury in order to remove all the bad humors from your body or some other crazy shit. Then you would die of mercury poisoning or from a lack of blood and or bad humors (WHO KNOWS?). If I died like that, I would be so pissed off that I would stick around and make other people’s lives miserable out of spite. This is all make perfect sense to me. 

Anyway, we were doing the walkthrough in this beautiful old house and we were standing in the dining room discussing the price and about ready to leave when I clearly heard a male voice say ‘hello.’ 

I was the only man in the group, so hearing another male voice was very surprising. The hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood on end and I got the chills. I definitively got the feeling like there was something there and it was certainly not natural. The realtor heard this disembodied voice as well and she became pale as eggshells. She looked terrified and went room to room asking if someone else was there. The house was empty of course, and she came back into the dining room where I told her that we would not be making an offer. ZIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!!! 

I look back at this and laugh now. It’s not like this “ghost” said anything scary and cliché like “GET OUT,” he just said “hello.” Maybe he was a nice ghost? According to my mother, who also believes in ghosts and has claimed to see some supernatural things herself during her childhood, the fact that the ghost made its presence known meant that he didn’t want us there. 

I drive by this house every morning on my way to work and notice that a nice family lives there now. They seem happy and not too dissimilar to my own. So now I feel insulted because the ghost doesn’t seem to be bothering them. What does the ghost have against me?  Fuck that ghost. If I bought that house I would have him exorcised him, because I’m Catholic and we do shit like that. I don’t play around. There would have been liberal use of holy water, the burning of incense, incantations (IN LATIN), and the hanging of crucifixes on every damn wall. I would have used the power of Christ on his ass until he left. YOU HEAR ME MOTHERFUCKER! WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST MY FAMILY!?! 

So, what am I getting at here? I’ve been creeped out by unexplained things in the real world, as well as scary movies and books. There is only one thing that has eluded giving me the frights, and that is my belvoed video games.  

I remember Friday the 13th on the NES as the first “horror” game I played that did not live up to expectations. As a child, the original Friday the 13th was a terrifying movie. Jason (and his mother) gave me endless nightmares. I clearly remember the apprehension that I had when a friend got the game and asked if I wanted to play it. All fears were quickly squashed by the stifling game play and a curiously purple and green Jason. Sadly, the scariest thing about this game was the box art. 

Years later, I remember getting a copy of Splatterhouse for the TurboGrafx-16. This game looked terrifying and the box even had a warning label, so it must be legit. However, upon playing this title, there was nothing truly scary about it. It was a serviceable action side-scroller that “borrowed” a lot of horror themes and had ample amounts of pixelated 16-bit gore, but I didn’t lose much sleep from this game either. 

Over the years, horror games got better. Resident Evil on PS1 had a fair amount of cheap jump scares, but I never found it scary. The early versions of the Silent Hill series were unsettling, and at times bizarre, but not all that frightening. Even the Alan Wake series, fell short in giving me a good scare. 

Even games link Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, which many celebrated as being truly scary, I found more gruesome and tense. Not necessarily bad things for sure, but I was not at all that scarred by it. I think that many game makers fall into this trap of thinking blood and guts automatically equals scary, but that is simply not the case.  

Case and point, the only game that came close to giving me a true scare was P.T. (yes technically part of the Silent Hill series), and it is a teaser for all intents and purposes. This game depends more on psychological fears and the supernatural rather than gore and it works. Unfortunately, we will never know how a full-length P.T. will pan out, because Konami is more interested in running health clubs and making pachinko machines than making games anymore.

So, what is it about horror games that makes them less scary than their movie counterparts? I think it’s a couple of things. 

First off, the fact that I’m in control of the character in a video game gives me some sort of comfort. This seems counter intuitive since you are controlling the character and whatever happens to him or her is vicariously happening to you, but you have the ability to fight back, or run, or hide. In movies and in books, you are a spectator and helpless to intervene in any way. It’s that feeling of helplessness that I find scary. 

Also, the gore in movies is much more unsettling than it is in games. Games are still in uncanny valley territory and seeing character in a game getting sliced up is nowhere near as unnerving as seeing a live person acting out the same. I find that even cheesy practical effects in movies from the 70’s and 80’s are more gruesome than anything in a modern game. I would even argue that CG in modern horror movies, like in video games, are lacking that visceral je ne sais quoi that can only be found when actors are liberally bukakied with a mixture of corn syrup and red dye. Also, bonus points if the victim is Kevin Bacon. 

Perhaps one day a game will be released that I find truly pants shitting scary. P.T. came close, and I would love to see Hideo Kojima give it another shot, perhaps in a new franchise. I really do think that a scary game is possible, but developers have to put in the effort and not depend on gore or easy jump scares.  

Hollywood is going through the same problem right now in my opinion. It’s far easier to throw up some CG blood and guts than to delve into the true foundations of horror. Foundations of Horror would also make a sweet name for a heavy metal band, so any musicians out there, feel free to steal it. 

Is there a game out there that you think will make me shit my pants with fear. Let me know in the comments. 

Happy Halloween folks… 

For a Time, I Was a Gamer that Didn’t Play Video Games 

Hi folks. Remember me? Wait, come back. Don’t be that way. I had a lot going on. All good things really, just been very busy. Don’t be upset, you’re still my number one. I won’t pretend that we can pick up right where we left off, but maybe you can give me the opportunity to win back your hearts. 

The past 6 months have been a whirlwind. A lot of life changing events occurred since my last post. I can’t say that none of the things that happened were unplanned. On the contrary, they were all planned, so there is no one I can blame, other than myself. As my wife is more than willing to remind me, time and time again, I am not an intelligent man. 

While I have been away, I left my previous employer, which apparently was a company that was a front for intergalactic Lizard People bent on world domination. In turn, I started at a new company. The transition has been a challenge, but worthwhile and rewarding.  

I have also sold my first home and purchased a new one. This was by far, one of the most stressful things I have ever done. Purchasing a home, when you’re a renter is easy, compared to selling a home, then trying to time things just right so that you can roll in funds from the sale into a new home purchase. Of course, once you get through all the paper work, mortgage applications, lawyers, realtors, you then must pack up and actual move, which used a form of torture in the less civilized world. 

Oh, and those aforementioned lawyers. Fuck these people. I hope the Lizard People pretending to be the humans that are my former coworkers enslave all the lawyers first. I despised the sellers’ attorney’s attitude and lack of intelligence and MY attorney an even lazier nickel and diming piece of shit. Does being a lawyer make people miserable or do miserable people become lawyers? I actually have a friend who is an attorney and he actively tells younger people who are considering a profession in law to consider something else. 

Perhaps the biggest change in my life is that I became a dad again. That’s right folks, my ding dong is still strong and my loins have spawned fruit again.  

Now this was a planned pregnancy, so that’s fancy talk for being treated like a piece of meat by the wife. Sounds great a first, but it really isn’t. She had iPhone apps, and timetables, and best practices that must be followed. No wining, dining, and romance this time around. This pregnancy was going to be cold, clinical, and efficient like German S&M. It was all worth it in the end, as it resulted in a healthy, happy, and perfect little girl. I’m actually typing this from the hospital right now, as my wife and newborn rest. 

So, to say that I have been busy is an understatement. One may ask when do I even have time to play games, and the answer to that is I really don’t. Matter of fact, I have had very little time to a lot of things that I enjoy lately, which has been taking quite a toll on me.  

Gaming, along with exercise, reading, and writing is what keeps me grounded. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and when I feel like I’m going down to a “bad place,” my pastimes keep me grounded and normalize me. As one can imagine, changing jobs, moving, and having another child, even though all good things, can really mess with a person’s psyche. 

Then one day, while I was lurking on some gaming related blogs and catching up on news, I had an existential crisis.  Am I even a gamer anymore, since I haven’t played an actual video game in months? Then some panic and anxiety began to set in. Will I even have the time to play games in any extended capacity anymore?  

I mentioned in the past that I have been on this quest to create my optimal gaming space. At the new house, I was able to get damn near close to my ideal. It was one of the first things I set up in my move, and then for weeks, I hardly spent any time there. My new job is demanding and time consuming, my older daughter is starting kindergarten, and there is now an infant in the house. Add all those things to my regular day to day tasks and I was starting to think that my gaming days are over. 

This is a painful thought. I have always considered myself to be a gamer and the idea of no longer being able to actually play video games, because of my career and family was terrifying. I was also feeling like I was being selfish. Should I even be worrying about my lack of time to play video games because I had so much more important things to do? 

The answer to that question is yes, I should be worried about it, because I enjoy playing video games, they are part of my identity, and they allow me to be centered. Sometimes you have to be selfish and make time for yourself. That sounds like something Sigmund Freud would say, right before snorting a huge line of cocaine. 

In all seriousness though, you can be a gamer that doesn’t play games. Being a fan or a follower of gaming makes you a gamer in my eyes. For those months where I wasn’t playing any games, I still considered myself a gamer and even if I don’t play as much as I used to. In much of the same way, I consider myself an auto enthusiast, who drives a hum drum boring ass SUV, I still can appreciate a Ferrari or a Lamborghini when I see one.  

I’ve written in the past on how getting older and having more responsibilities has a tendency of stripping away the free time available for casual pursuits. Well friends, it only gets worse. If you’re in school, classes will become more and more challenging and require more study. Buying a house? Well, houses will always need to be fixed and updated regardless of how new they are or in what condition they are in. Thinking about having kids or already have them? Well as kids get older they begin to have activities of their own, like swim classes, soccer practice, play dates, concerts, plays, and recitals. Lastly, you work hard and move up the corporate ladder getting paid a lot more, but then you find that you’re working 80 hours a week and so stressed out from the amount of responsibility you, hardly have the energy to do anything. 

However, even with all of the above, you need to make time to do what makes you happy. I’m going to continue playing, reading, and writing about gaming even if it’s just for minutes a night, because that is what gamers do and doing those things brings joy and balance in my life. I’m not going to let life get in the way of my favorite pastime. 

Maybe when the kids are in college I will have the opportunity to play more games. I reckon 13 years from now, which, in the grand scheme of things, is not that long off and just imagine how great the games will be by then. That’s something to look forward to. 

5 Creepy Video Game Clowns, Just in Time for Halloween

Have you heard that there’s a creepy clown epidemic going on? It’s true, the media is going crazy reporting scary looking clowns menacing small children and adults alike. As someone who has a fear of clowns, sometimes referred to as “coulrophobia,” this is not a good time for yours truly.

My fear of clowns is something very real. I don’t go around saying that I have a fear of clowns because I’m trying to be cool or different, and yes there are people out there that do that. Clowns are annoying and dumb to most people, but to me, they cause an irrational fight or flight response. Clowns exists to do one thing and that is to fuck with you.  That is their humor and raison d’être. They use you as a prop to make others laugh, and my fear is that I will be the one that is singled out in a crowd to be that prop.

My fear is well known amongst my family and friends. My sister once invited me to an off Broadway show in New York City. I asked what it was about and she said it was like Cirque du Soleil. I reminded her that if there was one thing that I hated more than clowns, it’s artsy, European clowns. She assured me that there would be no clowns. My sister, you should know is a liar. The ENTIRE show consisted of sad, artsy, European clowns.

In between each act, in which there were three, clowns would descend into the audience where they would proceed to fuck with the audience. I sat in my seat, frozen with anxiety, gripping the armrests, praying that they would not approach me. I had visions that one would sneak up on me and have me smell a flower on his lapel, only to get squirted in the face. He would then offer his handkerchief, which would have no end when trying to pull it out of his pocket. He would then drop something, asking me to pick it up for him, only to bend over so that he can kick me in the ass. The audience would laugh and I would have punched him the face. Children would cry and then I’d be the asshole. It’s a lose/lose situation.

Now I find myself in the middle of this creepy clown epidemic. There are clowns standing on street corners in the middle of the night as well as reports of them menacing children. It’s ridiculous and the people who are doing this obviously have nothing better to do. They’re just playing stupid pranks, which is, after all, what clowns do.

I was at the chiropractor for my regular treatment, as I’m old and my body is falling apart, and I was getting a massage, when my masseuse, who loves to talk, brought up the topic of the clown sightings. First off, I wish my masseuse would talk less and massage more. I’m here trying to relax and clowns make me tense. SHE SHOULD KNOW BETTER!

She then asks me when I think the clown sightings will stop and I said nonchalantly that it will end when someone like me severely hurts or worse case, kills one, and then it will stop. She then utters the dumbest thing I have ever heard. She says that she feels bad for the “professional” clowns who are probably seeing a decline in work due to the creepy clown sightings. I could not disagree more. I hope the entire clown industry crashes and never recovers.

ONTO THE LIST!

  1. Mall Clown – Heavy Rain 

This incarnation of a fever dream is encountered relatively early in Heavy Rain. Ethan, the main protagonist, is asked by his son to purchase a balloon from this mall clown. Jason disappears shortly after. COINCIDENCE? I think not.

  1. Fargus – Pandemonium 1 & 2

I never played these games. I would see the box art in stores and see Fargus’ cold, dead eyes and be instantly turned off.

  1. Sweet Tooth – Twisted Metal Series

I loved the Twisted Metal series and one of the reasons why is because I could dispatch Sweet Tooth and his hoard of clown minions with extreme prejudice. Blowing up his demented ice cream truck had a cathartic quality for me.

  1. Adam McIntyre, aka Adam the Clown – Dead Rising 2 

What is up with mall clowns in video games? Adam the clown is a boss in Dead Rising 2.  Apparently, he went insane when zombies ate his audience. I say he was insane to begin with. One has to be to consider going into clowning as a profession.

Again, I experienced extreme satisfaction after defeating this clown and having him fall on his revving chainsaws. Rest in pieces Bozo.

  1. Nights – Nights into Dreams Series

Nights, I suppose, is a harlequin rather than your typical clown. Harlequins, as you know, originated in Italy in the late 16th century. Therefore, Nights is an artsy European clown and is the worst of the bunch. He’d be right at home at a Cirque du Soleil performance.

I was a Sega devotee growing up and had a Saturn. I picked up this game, despite there being a clown on the cover and against my better judgement. I so wanted to enjoy this game, but could not get into it. To this day I have no idea why people look back fondly at this title and its abomination of a main character.

Also, Nights only comes out at night (GET IT?), and in your dreams, so he’s essentially Freddy Kruger.

I’m sure I neglected to include many of your favorites. If so, let me know in the comments. Also, if you’re a clown, I’m sorry if I offended you. This is all a joke. Please don’t come to my house.

The Nintendo Switch Reveal Has Opened Up a Lot of Questions

The Nintendo Switch reveal has stirred up a lot of excitement and rightfully so. The Switch is a bit of fresh air from a company that has been feeling a tad stale and listless for the past few years.

What surprised me most about the reveal was how much Nintendo actually showed. They didn’t just offer a brief glimpse, but rather a full proof of concept on how this new hybrid console actual works, albeit in a very stylized world inhabited by what appears to be independently wealthy millennials with a lot of free time on their hands.

It turns out however, with the all the questions that gamers had about the mysterious NX turned Switch that were answered in the trailer, even more questions have arisen.

How much is the console going to cost? Is the console a touch screen? Is there motion controls? Is there haptic feedback on the “joy-cons?” How long does the battery last? Is there backward compatibility and with what? What’s causing this rash? Etc, etc, etc…

Thanks to Famitsu (and Google translate) we have a few answers and many more non-answers.

According to Nintendo, “…since the Nintendo Switch is not a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS successor machine, you can not play with Wii U disk software and Nintendo 3DS card.” So this is a new era and generation. No backwards compatibility, but perhaps emulation through a digital store is in the works, as this was not ruled out.

There has also been rumors of a slim bundle and deluxe bundle. When pressed on what will ship in the box. The Nintendo rep was noncommittal at this time, but did state that, “concerning product mix (it) will be published again around before launch, but two Joy-Con, ie. Joy-Con (L) and Joy-Con (R) is a bundled.”

As for battery, price, touch screen, etc…? We will have to wait, as the Nintendo representative was not prepared to discuss anything else at the time. In fact, he probably already said too much and is being given his ribbons of shame as we speak.

Voice Actor Confirms New Wolfenstein in the Works

Wolfenstein: The New Order, was a more than competent game and quite enjoyable. It also sold well. Take all those things into account and a sequel is usually a given.

According to a Two Left Sticks interview with voice actor Brian Bloom, who voiced B.J. Blackowicz in Wolfenstein: The New Order in 2014, a sequel is definitely in the works.

According to Bloom, “If you look at Bethesda’s E3 2016 lineup there was a title hinted at in a cool way. It sparked a bit of wildfire.  That subtle, very simple DOS language, going through the titles. Perhaps we’re working on that as we speak.”

He’s referring to this:

People smarter than me took this image as proof that something was in the works back in June during at Bethesda’s E3 event. Well, it appears those people were right.

Also, video game voice actors are really bad at keeping things secret.