A Gamer Looks At 40

A Gamer Looks At 40

An exploration of the history of video games told through the stories of the every day people who lived it. Join me along with a rotating cast of friends, family, gaming journalists, and industry types as we share personal recollections from the last thirty years of gaming, one story at a time.

Episodes

April 15, 2024 105 mins

While we were stomping Goombas and hunting ducks, Japanese gamers were embarking on epic NES adventures. When the missing Final Fantasy 2 and 3 were finally released to the West, fans were excited. Finally, we could try those missing 8-bit epics without downloading sketchy emulators and learning Japanese. 

While the reality never lived up to the hype, the NES sequels earned the respect of the community, even if they didn&a...

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On Part 1 of our two part exploration of the original Final Fantasy, we talked intros and first impressions. For Part 2, we start by talking about the game's many inspirations and the amazing moments that blew our 10 year old minds. A mixed bag of topics that somehow ties into the overall theme of this series: Final Fantasy 1 is a classic for a reason, warts and all. Oh, and we talk about Warmech. Lots and lots of Warmech. 

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When Final Fantasy hit North American shores in 1990, it sparked an RPG revolution in the West. Gamers like myself and many of my friends fell in love with the interesting mechanics, player expression, and overarching story.

These days, Final Fantasy 1 feels like a relic of an era gone by. As a cultural artifact, it's significant but whether it's worth playing, even on the spiffy new re-masters, is under debate. ...

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Outside of The Legenda of Zelda, no videogame franchise is more closely tied to music than Final Fantasy. From emotional resonance to supporting gameplay to auditory storytelling, the themes of Final Fantasy are the stuff of legends. So much so, we've been listening to live orchestral versions of these pieces for decades. 

Enter Distant Worlds, a long running orchestra series that brings the music of Final Fantasy to ...

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LJN The name alone brings shockwaves of terror to retro gamers everywhere. But what was it like back in the day? Join podcaster Michael  Colby and I as we discuss three titles: The Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine, and Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six. 

And be sure to check out Michael's show Jack Billings Presents: Haunted Apartment Complex - https://open.spotify.com/show/1hi3mFv6Cezcf0WsmsTsxl?si=06eb950e96f94182
...

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Last week, we looked at the various nuts and bolts of the Final Fantasy franchise to see what it structurally needed to be a member of the family. On this week's episode, we explore personal stories, connections made, and communities built over this landmark series of games.

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Aiden Moher (@adribbleofink)
Carson Clark (@DesireeKorrupt)
Josh of Still Loading Podcast (@...

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From its humble beginnings as a "last gasp" for a fledgling game designer to the billion dollar monolith it is today, Final Fantasy's rise from niche to mainstream mirrors videogames as a whole. On this episode of A Gamer Looks at 40, we launch our multi-month deep dive into the world of this storied franchise, meet some of its super fans and try to answer the unanswerable: what makes Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy.

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When A Gamer Looks at 40 first launched in May of 2021, my intention was for it be a year long project. To date, I've been at it for over two and half. So, it's time for a break! On this episode, I announce a three month hiatus from producing new episodes for the show. Give this quickie a listen to learn why the break, what to expect during the pause in new work, and what to look forward to when AGLA40 makes a triumphant ...

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Another week, another chance to share even more videogame stories from the gaggle of lovely people I got to chat with over the last few months. Enjoy Side Quests Volume 8, Intros Part 2, etc, etc!

STARRING (all handles from Twitter X)

Brian aka @DayandKnightly
Cat Blackard (@NeonFeline) of the Mother, She Wrote Podcast (@EarthBoundPod)
Ian aka @teacherbloke85
Jodi aka @Bakuiel
Lucas White aka @Hoku...

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Whenever I get the opportunity to chat with people about games, the conversation rarely stays on topic. Invariably, my guest and I start jibber-jabbering about all sorts of gaming related topics. In this action packed addition to my Side Quests series, we learn the backstories of a few of my favorite guests from the last four months of podcast interviews. Volume 8 is coming next week!

STARRING (all handles from Twitter X)<...

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October 30, 2023 76 mins

Rather than swelter in the Austin sun listening to music or attending one of the many festivals in town, I decided to pony up a few bucks and fly to Oregon to attend the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I expected a giant convention where I'd spend too much money on retro goodies, check out a panel or two and see my pals at Gamer's Week host a competition. What happened was infinitely more impactful and special.  Join me as I ...

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While Madden was always a good time, EA's NHL Hockey was video game magic. As a starry eyed street hockey goalie in West Caldwell, New Jersey, NHL '94 was my escape. My opportunity to pretend I was Marty Brodeur, if only on the screen. A masterpiece of control, gameplay, and pure joy, the early NHL games set the gold standard for sports simulations, a mark that few games every reached. Join myself and executive producer R...

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With football season in full swing and hockey just getting started, my mind drifts to the games of yesteryear. And for my 11 year old money, there was no finer distraction than EA's Madden and NHL franchises. Join EA developers Troy Lyndon and Richard Hilleman as they discuss the birth of these classic games, the technological marvels that made them possible and their storied legacy.

NOTE: In this episode, we look at ...

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Take it from somebody who appreciates every single one, there's nothing better than passionate fans. Gaming communities can run the gambit from welcoming to toxic, engaging to gatekeeping. Whenever people are around people, people will do people things. 

The community surrounding Earthbound is unique in both its welcoming nature and wide variety of people involved. Over 30 years worth of fans populate sites like starm...

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Some say a game is only as good as its ending. While I think that's an inaccurate statement, if the adage is true, than Earthbound is a masterpiece. A culmination of theme, character arc, story and emotion, this game's final encounter and conclusion is among the best of the 16 bit era. Join myself and a joy filled crew of fellow adventurers as we discuss the final moments of Earthbound. 

STARRING (all handles fro...

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A passing glance at a mid-90's Game Pro magazine would likely reveal an ad or two for Earthbound. Not a mention of deep themes, relatable characters and a story that crosses the ages. Nope! Master Belch and "This Game Stinks". Luckily, this wonderful SNES experience is more than the claims of its marketing and my cast of nine are here to tell you exactly why. 

STARRING (all handles from Twitter)

Cat...

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Fuzzy Pickles! The first time a diminutive photographer stopped my game to take a snapshot of my team, I felt two things: joy and minor annoyance. Joy because it was a charming moment of connection for my crew and annoyance because I'm a modern gamer dad who has precious seconds to spare. But regardless of where I land, it was a big moment.

On Part 2 of our ongoing Earthbound saga, my friends and I discuss their favor...

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When Earthbound landed on American shores in 1995, nobody knew quite to make of it. In an RPG landscape where Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger ruled supreme, a silly game about farts and fuzzy pickles didn't garner much interest. At least according to the marketing. Fast forward nearly 30 years, and Earthbound has grown from 16 bit outcast to the stuff of legends. 

On this initial decent into the heart of Giygas, a ...

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Hear ye, hear ye! Come hither and hear the latest going on's with the show, the schedule of upcoming episodes, a neat announcement and a wonderful AMA starring my charming wife. All sorts of frivolity on this week's episode. Thanks, as always, for listening!

My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/SdaE4atGjC
My Twitter: @agamerlooksat40
My Facebook: facebook.com/agamerlooksat40
My Insta: @agamerlooksat...

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How much do you know about Dick Tracy. If you're a person of my vintage, it's the campy 90's movie starring Al Pacino and Madonna and James Rolfe screaming about the video game adaptation.  

On this episode of Tales From the Bargain Bin, Mike Albertin of Games My Mom Found fame talk about this strange, ill fated game, AVGN videos, the Sopranos, and the bizarre lengths Warren Beatty goes to maintain  ownershi...

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