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The History of Video Games: Press Start

This is a recurring, limited series where I discuss the history and evolution of video games. I will discuss general history as well as history of various genres and their ties to culture. Nintendo, a company synonymous with exploding the video game craze, began in 1889 as Nintendo Karuta—a playing card manufacturer. But they won’t come back into the game (pun mildly intended) for some time. The Bally Manufacturing Company was created in 1932 and created Pinball games and developed slot machines (the latter of which would push Bally’s toward… Read more The History of Video Games: Press Start

Surviving Japan; or, How I Almost Died for a Stick

When I was younger, I had been a fan of popular Japanese-related fandoms such as Power Rangers, Pokémon, Dragonball Z, Final Fantasy, and various anime. I grew more into the fandom—or otaku—nature of it all as I came into my teens and befriended others with the same likes. In fact, there are three franchises that I credit with basically changing and/or altering my life to make me who I am today. I’ve already talked extensively about Final Fantasy and Harry Potter.  But before those, at the start, was Pokémon. Prior to… Read more Surviving Japan; or, How I Almost Died for a Stick

The Rise & Fall (& Rise & Fall) of Hanson

Back around 1997 and ‘98, when all the girls were fawning over Zac Hanson, preteen me would never have guessed that one day, I would perform a magic trick for the Hanson brothers (at a Jamaican resort). All I knew about Hanson was that they were a boy band who sang MmmBop. And then they more or less disappeared from existence. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I found they did not, in fact, disappear from existence and are not, in fact, a boy band. They are more… Read more The Rise & Fall (& Rise & Fall) of Hanson

Cancel Culture: Censorship or Justice?

As a librarian, I am quite opposed to the idea of censorship. As an elementary librarian, I’m surrounded by it. The vast majority of censored books are for kids–because they’re for kids. Banned Books Week is incredibly important. The issue with banning things is that it’s almost always an extreme reaction to appease a small group of extremists without much consideration. And then there are the Social Justice Warriors, a negative term to indicate people who battle “the man” to bring down anyone, particularly celebrities, who say or do immoral… Read more Cancel Culture: Censorship or Justice?

J.K. Rowling & the Fandoms of Toxicity

As I’ve said in the past, Harry Potter has meant a lot to me. The Potter books helped make me a better reader and writer and set me on a path to being stronger in the English language. And like many modern writers, Rowling was an inspiration and someone to aspire to being. You couldn’t go a month without a new book coming out proclaiming to be the next Harry Potter, or the author the next J.K. Rowling (and you still see it, 13 years after the release of the… Read more J.K. Rowling & the Fandoms of Toxicity

Final Fantasy & Harry Potter: How Two Franchises Changed My Life

In 1999, when I was the grand ol’ age of 13, my mother and I were at Target. Remember when the electronics sections of stores would have the TV jutting out above you with the console controller right under it so you would have to give yourself a crick in your neck to play? Well, that’s where I was. I started playing a game demo. I had never seen anything like it. I played for a while, running down the streets as some soldiers attacked me. Then I chose a… Read more Final Fantasy & Harry Potter: How Two Franchises Changed My Life

Your Argument Sucks: Founding Fathers & Religion

Your Argument Sucks is a recurring column where I tackle major arguments about the modern US political system by detailing actual facts through the narrative of historical context. All I ask is this: Go into these posts with an open mind and the ability to change said mind, if necessary, no matter which side of the argument you fall. I did. And because no matter how much you want to be right, no matter how much being wrong would flip your world upside down, being able to accept the facts and… Read more Your Argument Sucks: Founding Fathers & Religion

Goliath: The Hamilton(?) Story

Since it graced people’s screens via Disney+ on July 3rd, a lot more people not able to make it to Broadway now have easy access to the smash hit play, Hamilton. For those not in-the-know (somehow), Lin-Manuel Miranda read “Alexander Hamilton,” a biography by Ron Chernow, fell in love with the story, and wrote (directed, and starred in) a rap-opera adaptation that race-swaps most of the cast. For as amazing and entertaining as it is (and it really is), it has not come without controversy. One of the biggest controversies… Read more Goliath: The Hamilton(?) Story