December 2005

"I distinctly remember having my best friend Mason over for the pre-fast dinner on Yom Kippur 1991 (I think that was the year, anyway). I had received a Super NES and Super Mario World for my birthday a few weeks earlier, and needless to say I was totally hooked. Mason and his family arrived a few hours early, so we got some quality time with the game before dinner was served. I remember reluctantly trudging upstairs when called, and barely touching my food in between excited chatter with Mason about the amazing, state-of-the-art experience waiting for us in the basement. We pleaded to be excused after about 10 minutes of picking at our plates – our baffled parents insisted that we couldn’t be full so quickly. They eventually relented, and we spent the rest of the night conquering Twin Bridges and the first part of the Forest of Illusion. I remember being extremely hungry during the next day’s fast. It was worth it, though."

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2005 saw increased interest in videogaming among the masses, and a corresponding increase in attention from the media, both mass market and specialist.

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The referee blows the whistle. The captain takes the ball and dribbles slowly up the sideline. He drops a pass back to his teammate, who sends a sailing lob up towards the center of the goal crease. An alert defender grabs the pass and boots it back up the field. His teammate at midfield cautiously protects the ball while waiting for offensive support.

Suddenly, a giant dinosaur comes crashing down on the field from the sky. He quickly incinerates one player from each team, while another player is frozen by a blue turtle shell surreptitiously thrown amidst the chaos. Two more defenders are knocked down by a shoulder-first tackle, leaving only a goalie between the remaining offensive players and the goal. The ball leaves a light green trail behind it as it soars in a perfectly centered pass, and everything seems to slow down as a dramatic upside-down bicycle kick plants the ball right in the corner of the posts.

Ah, the simple joys of soccer.

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Kyle Orland, a freelance writer for print and online publications, thinks most video game reviewers tend to favour cookie-cutter sequels with new an improved graphics.

"Innovation is not often encouraged through critical praise," Orland said. "A risky experiment that still has some rough edges will get a cursory review of 8 out of 10 review, while the latest First Person Shooter or fighting game sequel gets a 10 page preview and 9 out of 10 score."

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In my younger days, I remember selling my entire collection of NES games to a local consignment shop so I could buy some new SNES game. Recently, I bought back that entire NES collection piece by piece in a powerful fit of nostalgia. The experience made me re-examine the way the used game market affects how we gamers personally value our used games.

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