Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Archive for July 2018

We Are Changing and Here’s What You Can Expect

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Gaming History 101 was purchased by Fred in October of 2011 with the dream of a comprehensive blog that looked back at the history of gaming, but also remained cognoscente of the present and future gaming could provide.  He always knew that that as time went on the discussion would change, the context of history would be affected, and the longer we created content the more surgical these topics would have to be.  He didn’t count on a teenager squatting all of the social media accounts and YouTube, lesson learned, but overall that dream has remained consistent.

Fred had been podcasting since April of 2004 and although he was a regular co-host on The B-Team, eventually the decision was made to start podcasting on retro topics.  This was mostly stemmed  by the ending of Retronauts along with the entire 1UP empire.  As is often the case, less than a year after the establishment of the Gaming History 101 podcast, Retronauts returned albeit transformed.  After several discussions with then regular guests and co-hosts, Fred decided to keep the podcast going and run in tangent despite having no true press credentials and none of the access that Retronauts and other competitors had.  The audience grew and there was a ton of interest, amassing an amazing 50,000+ subscribers and download numbers that in some months neared half a million.  Things were looking up, the podcast was stronger than ever, and in March of 2014 – after several guest appearances – Jamalais (Jam) joined the podcast as a permanent co-host to the show.  That episode also happened to be a Gaming History X where we took a good long look at modern gaming with a retro perspective.

In the short four years since our highest point, things have changed drastically.  Retro video games became a mainstream topic, the niche became the cliche, and now there are literally hundreds of podcasts doing this same thing.  Granted, some offer great content, but for a lot of them it’s all nostalgia hits to attempt to cash in on the trend.  In addition Fred’s career and family life have begun to tap into his ability to create shows and Jam has gotten married, moved around, and is now on a completely different schedule than before.  Not only that, but after 375 episodes, the topics are thinning slightly and while there’s plenty to talk about, Fred and Jam are nearing the apex of their expertise on certain topics and/or games.  The community has also thinned, but from what we can tell from feedback this is more based on people growing up or having similar life changes and less on the podcast topics themselves.  With all of this change afoot, it’s finally time to switch gears and change what Gaming History 101 means.  Don’t fret, we aren’t going anywhere.

This web site was founded on the concept of a multimedia blog where endless topics could be discussed and the media of each post would be defined by the topic.  That meant that some topics are better suited for text, photos, videos, audio, livestreams, podcasts, etc.  It all depends on the topic at hand.  With the boom of the podcast, that direction changed and this web site became more of a haven for side projects and boost to the already thriving podcast.  We became a podcast first and a blog second.  After much discussion, it’s time to return to the beginning, it’s time to become a blog again. The slogan for this site is, “Know Your Roots” and it’s high time we took that seriously.  We know some of you may not like this change and others may very well be excited by it, but this is the new form of Gaming History 101 as decided by its staff.  Hopefully all of you will stay around, join our Discord for community engagement, and enjoy the content we provide.  As always you can send requests, comments, questions, and complaints to  Fred and Jam have prepared personal statements for everyone, which you can read below.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

Posted in Blog

Gaming Tech 101: Getting The Best Out Of Your Console

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Fred gives a run down of all of the cables, video signals, and ways to get the best signal out of each and every console in a roughly 90 minute podcast.

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Written by Fred Rojas

July 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

Unravel Two Review

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At E3 2015 a shy developer named Martin Sahlin walked onto the Electronic Arts (EA) stage and announced his passion project Unravel, developed by Coldwood Interactive. This would be the first game to be part of the “EA Originals” program, where EA helps fund small independent game projects and allows the developer to keep all the profits (after repaying the funding and also publishing/marketing budgets). Despite how you personally feel about EA as a company this is proof that sometimes there is heart even in a big corporation like EA. While the internet would take note of the developers nerves and fragile presentation for the time it felt real and it was clear Unravel meant a lot to Sahlin. In all honesty I would struggle to talk in front of a large audience even if it was about something you loved.

Unravel was a cute, puzzle-based platformer where you play a character made out of wire and yarn. The game had beautiful music that moved me in ways that I rarely experience in games. I guess it was made even more unique and special to me because the reception for Unravel wasn’t favourable across the board. My partner loved watching me play Unravel too. I loved Unravel so much that in preparation for my wedding in 2017, I decided to make 112 Yarny dolls myself in accordance with the number of guests attending (another game inspired decorations but that’s a tale for another day). We knew a sequel was on the way, EA had reported it had been successful, and the developers were already at work on it. My partner and I would theorize what the sequel would be like, with the biggest wish on the list being the inclusion of local co-op; this seemed to be the best evolution of the series. E3 2018 rolls around, Unravel Two gets announced, and both my wife and I leaped for joy. Then we leaped a second time because it was revealed the game was available on the day of announcement and includes co-op. I was so eager to purchase the game I refreshed the Xbox One store page six times as well as switching the console on and off again twice just so I could purchase and download it. I rarely get this excited for a game on launch.

Its taken me a while to get to the actual review of Unravel Two, but I felt the above paragraph was important as it discloses how much the original game meant to me and additionally how difficult it was to write the following review.

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Written by jamalais

July 5, 2018 at 11:00 am