Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots


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See what I did there?

It’s always important to give credit where credit is due and although these guys have never personally helped me with anything retro, their teachings definitely have.  Below are the quintessential web sites that should be in the arsenal of any retro gamer:

  • Jeremy Parish – One of my favorite writers at 1-up and not just because he loves old video games.  Jeremy adds a learned feel to games journalism and coverage, often making him the “too smart for his own good” guy in the room.  His personal writings/side work at GameSpite (formerly Toasty Frog) and of course his Retronauts work at 1-up definitely make him the leader in my retro brigade.  Just don’t ever call him “T-Frog”, that’s a Shane only thing.  Please Note: While Retronauts still lives on, the original episodes of the show have been taken down from the 1up archival page.  These eps can be found online with a simple search.  The link now is the new version of Retronauts with almost the same cast.
  • Frank Cifaldi – He’s worked with old video games for a long time and has a career that includes working at GameTap to re-release old titles and 1up, especially with Retronauts, to keep everyone talking about them.  His most impressive/controversial work was with his amazing web site Lost Levels, which exists for the sole purpose of finding, purchasing, and trading for unreleased games, demos, and footage on some of the most controversial of gaming’s holy grails.  If you’ve ever played the rom dump of Bioforce Ape or toyed around with Sonic X-Treme, you have Frank to thank for it.
  • Chris Kohler – A hardcore old school gaming aficionado, I became a big fan of Chris when I heard his harsh musings on Retronauts and began to follow him on Wired.  Aside from being a clear Nintendo fanboy, I appreciate Chris for covering things that most others skip over…and the fact that Wired has never been blocked by any work internet filters.
  • Ray Barnholt – One of the funniest and most knowledgeable journos when it comes to random developers/publishers and Japanese gaming, Ray’s short lived time at 1up will be missed.  Thankfully he’s started a new self-published magazine called SCROLL that keeps his legacy alive.  I would know nothing about Arino and Game Center CX if not for him (Game Center CX is a Japanese program about old video games with interviews, histories, and one super tough old school game to beat each ep.  Do a YouTube search, you’ll thank me).  Please Note: While the site still exists and you can buy back issues, Ray has decided to discontinue creating new issues of SCROLL.
  • – Alongside guests of our podcast Kole Ross and Gary Butterfield, the DuckFeed group is constantly making great content based on retro games, modern games, comedy, and oh so much more all at no cost.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should.
  • EZ Mode Unlocked – There’s  nothing better than community and these guys have a social network I’ve been calling home for years.  What’s even better are the retro gamers like forum member Strider, host Rob “TreesLounge” and several other gamers that provide retro reviews, features and plenty of wonderful videos for you to enjoy.  Head over there, check out the forums, listen to a few shows live and I’m sure you’ll be hooked!  Please Note: While the site remains and a community podcast is due any day, EZMU has discontinued making new episodes with the original crew.
  • Old School Game Blog – A site that seems focused on Amiga computers, but plenty of posts covering various topics.  I must admit that the biggest gap in my knowledge is European gaming and subsequently microcomputers.  Save for the Commodore 64, America didn’t really get on board with that fad, especially in the wake of the Crash of 1983.  Fortunately Japan and Europe took full advantage, making these “computer consoles” more valuable than ever.  There was some impressive stuff going on with them and it’s well worth checking up on this blog’s great posts.

Written by Fred Rojas

December 7, 2011 at 10:57 am

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