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There are people that influence your lives directly. You know the people that you see every day that help mold you into the person you become. You adopt their mannerisms and beliefs. They make you who you are. When they pass, they leave a whole sometimes that never is filled.

Then, there are others that influence your life indirectly. This can be for the good or the bad as with the previous mentioned, but these people you may never meet. However, that does not necessarily mean they were any less important to who you have become, and Hiroshi Yamauchi is one such person to me. If you are reading this article, chances are, he was the same thing to you.

I didn’t know who this man even was until well into adulthood, but I instantly felt a link to him. He took over for Nintendo of Japan in 1949. He served as the head of Nintendo of Japan until 2002. He severed on the Board of Directors until 2005. He passed away, yesterday at the age of 85.

There is no doubt that gaming has been a big part of my life. I liken it to the radio or television for my parents and grandparents’ era. It opened up a new world to me. It opened up a world of imagination to me. I could take control of a hero and save the day. I could bust through a line to score a touchdown. It was truly endless possibilities, and he was primarily responsible for it.

Obviously, I did not know him personally, but I am still grateful for the life he lived. He truly is one of the most influential people of gaming, and he will forever be remembered.

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Sometimes, you just get the longing to play old school games. After picking up the Wii U, I have been feeling nostalgic. The same thing happened with the Wii. Every time I open a new Nintendo system, it reminds me of some of the great games from the past.

These days I satisfy that urge with emulators. I don’t really keep the games. It’s basically play it once or twice, and then I just get rid of it. I only do this now because my Nintendo has bought the farm. I tried the Retro Duo, but I just never could keep it in running order. I digress.

One of the problems with an emulator is the feel of the controller. I know they make controllers now that look like the old NES or SNES controller, but there is just a decidedly different feel. Well, that has all changed thanks to the Mayflash Wii Classic Controller Adapter for the PC.

The Wii Classic Controller plays real close to the old controllers. It is also a Nintendo product so it could be psychological, but I love using it with the virtual console games. I know you can use the Wii Remote, but the buttons feel a little smaller to me and the start select configuration is all wrong.

The great thing about this adapter is that there are no drivers to load. It is plug, configure, and play. I have a Windows 8 HTPC, and it recognized the controller inside GameEx immediately. The only drawback as of writing is more of a quirk than anything else. There are two controller ports on the adapter, and they are reversed from what is normal in the west. Controller 1 plugs into the right port, and Controller 2 plugs into the left.

This adapter may die on me, tomorrow, but as of now, I am really enjoying it. Maybe at long last, I can finally beat the NES version of the Rocketeer.

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Sometimes games are not necessarily the best games, but they still find a way to be a perfect 10. It may be because the are rip roaringly hilarious. It may be because despite their faults they are just good old fashion fun. Other times though, they conjure up a feeling. They give you a special moment where you feel the magic of the world you are in, or you connect with someone or some thing. It’s kind of like that special song.

I have had the pleasure of having that moment this week. I picked up my Wii U just about three weeks ago. Honestly, I bought it because I wanted to play Disney Infinity on it, and I knew I would need one someday for the backwards compatibility. I thought that Infinity would be a great way to get the kids into gaming.

They enjoy video games. We have played through both Skylander games. They have enjoyed watching me play through other games like Epic Mickey or New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but in the end, the magic of gaming has not really caught on. That is until this past weekend.

Sonic Racing Transformed has always been on my to purchase list. I had to fight to keep from getting it for the PS3. I was holding out for the Wii U because I like the idea of no split screen. GameStop ran a Buy 2 Get 1 pre owned games for Power members this weekend so I thought, why not?

When I got home, we were on our way to church so we didn’t get a chance to crack the game open. My little girl was invited to spend the night at a friends house because of the holiday, afterwards. That left my five year old with no one to play with. I thought it would be okay if he stayed up a little longer so I thought I would show him the new racing game.

Two hours after his bed time, we finally had to turn the game off. He had a blast. He had gotten pretty good on easy level, and we were unlocking tracks left and right, but alas, mom was too worried it would throw him off of his sleep schedule for school. Long story short, as his mom was tucking him into bed I heard him say, “Mom, I had a lot of fun playing with daddy tonight!”

You know, then and there you automatically realize just how precious time is. You realize how great making memories are. Sonic Racing Transformed is a solid game. Is it the perfect racing game? No, but it will forever and always be a ten to me.

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All of you know that I am a sucker for Skylanders. What you may not know is I am also a sucker for all things Disney. So, you can imagine, I was extremely excited, and this game stayed at the top of my most wanted list from about the time of the announcement.

My dreams finally became a reality a couple of weeks ago. I just like to start by saying this is a real hard game to review. I’m not sure you can actually put a number on it. If I were to do this justice, I would most likely need to review each play set separately, but then, there is Toy Box mode.

I started out by playing the Pirates of the Caribbean play set. If you are not familiar with this game, each play set is open world. There is the main story line, and there are several smaller missions to complete along the way. As an extra bonus you pick up Toys for your Toy Box Collection. I have to admit I was always looking forward to seeing what I would get next. It was a lot like opening up a package of baseball or football cards.

The main story for Pirates is pretty linear, and if you aren’t into completing all of the missions, it does not take very long to get through, maybe two or three hours. The same can be said for each play set. If you do all of the missions, they say you get eight to ten hours. I really enjoyed Pirates. It had a nice variety of gameplay. I enjoyed the open sea battles.

I next played Monsters University. I really did not care very much for this playset. It felt like more of a grind for me to complete. The missions were short the story was not really that intriguing. However, I really liked the toys that you open. I actually liked the toys more in Monsters than I did Pirates.

The final playset was the Incredibles. I deliberately saved this one for last. I really enjoyed the movie, and I have always wondered why they never made a sequel. You can imagine the excitement when I had heard this was coming with the starter pack.

I know some have not enjoyed it, but I really liked it. It is a lot of big dumb fun, and I like big dumb fun. Is it hard? Not really, but I just love the characters, and this play set stays pretty true to them. Of course, I love the toys in this set to open as well. The glider, hover board, and car are all great to play with. I would say this was probably my favorite, but I am a bit biased.

This brings us to Toy Box mode. I can see many, many blog entries for the things the public comes up within Toy Box mode. They have built Infinity to be a platform across multiple platforms, and they are to be commended for it. There is literally so much you can do with this, and as the game matures and players get more familiar with it, I expect amazing creations.

Is this a perfect game? No. Is it worth the insane amount of money you might spend getting everything? For me, I am okay with everything except the blind pack power discs. There is just too many opportunities for multiples. Am I so hooked that I will be broke by the end of the year? Most likely!

Final Score…a Real Solid 8/10 (I guess you can put a number on this.)

There really is no excuse for my absence. I just thought I wasn’t getting anywhere with this, but I realized real quick that my SEO is all messed up, but some of you still found time to find me. I missed a lot of good stuff, and I plan on not making that mistake again.

E3 was dominated by Sony this year, but the surprise was the “crash and burn” that Microsoft had. Arrogance finally seemed to catch up with them, and they have been trying to make up for it ever since then. Nintendo decided not to even have a big conference and opted to just do a Direct. I thought it was a decent strategy.

The Wii U has struggled much in the same way the 3DS did. There will be some big titles coming out along with a price drop (announced just two weeks after I bought mine). Hopefully, that will give it the boost it needs.

All this to say, I plan on doing what it takes to make this thing work. I just love gaming. I’m 37, and if I am still playing a system a couple of hours a day or every other day, it is a safe bet I’m not going to stop. I might as well have fun writing about it. It helps me connect with others like me. For instance, I was never one to go to message boards. I started over a the Disney Infinity Fan board, and I have really enjoyed finding those of like mind.

So for better or for worse, I guess I am back and here to stay. I will most likely keep this primarily a family game oriented blog. One thing I have learned playing lately is that I just enjoy that style of game more. Well, have fun, and I look forward to hearing from everyone.

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All of the sudden, I feel like a Nintendo hater, but I am not. I just think they are continuing to make one wrong publicity move after another. E3 is arguably the biggest video game show that we see every year. Other than the Video Game Awards, E3 is the only time you se the industry come together to dazzle us with surprise announcements and larger than life shows.

It has always been a tradition that the big three give a huge presentation in the first two days. They show off what they have coming up. After the show, these games are made available in the form of demos and things such as that. Well, this year Nintendo has decided to be different.

In lieu of the big presentation, Nintendo is hosting Small Events. They are said to be more hands-on. I ask you with interest waning lately on the Wii U, does this sound like sound strategy? If you have the slate of first party games that Nintendo is telling us they have, why in the world would you not want to show that off? This is most likely their only opportunity to stay a step ahead of the competition, and for lack of a better term, they are pissing it away.

The Nintendo Direct’s have been great. It has been a great way to stay connected to the fans, but in my opinion, they are really dropping the ball on this one. I just do not think they can afford to do that.

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It seems like every time that I am writing an article about the Wii U, I have to start this with the following sentence. I am a Nintendo fan first and foremost. They have and always will have a place in my video game playing. However, I think that in the case of the first Virtual Console list they could have done something a little more dynamic than they did.

Before we get to the list, let’s talk about my gripe. The Wii gave us virtual console titles for NES, SNES, Genesis, NEO GEO, even the Commodore. They really did do a good job with that until they decided to abandon it for the most part after a couple of years. You really did not need the Gamecube on it because it was backwards compatible.

The Wii U is not backwards compatible to the Gamecube which is okay. As long as I can play Wii games on it, I am okay. However, there should have been a Gamecube game on this initial list. Most of if not all of the games on the list can be played on some other Nintendo device. Why in the world would I want to buy Punch-Out!! again?

As much as I am a fan of Nintendo, I am beginning to get frustrated with the current string of decisions they have made for the Wii U. The 3DS has been performing well, and their is some great support for it. I just do not understand why they can make it happen with the handheld, but the console seems to be lost. Below as promised is the list:

NES
Balloon Fight
Donkey Kong Jr.
Excitebike
Ice Climber
Kirby’s Adventure
Punch-Out!!

SNES
Super Mario World
F-Zero

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