Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 1993 Mega Zord Dino Zord Deluxe Set, IN BOX!

Okay so I suppose it would be fair to say I splurged. It would be more accurate to say I mortgaged my future for a toy. Either way you look at it I bought the single most expensive toy or collectible I have ever purchased recently, a complete, in BOX, Deluxe Mega Zord set from 1993. That’s right the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Dinozords are now safely sitting in my collection protecting my other toys from the forces of evil.

I’ve owned combiner sets before. Namely Devestator and most of the original G1 Scramble City combiners, or gestalts as they are known in the Transformers community. The largest single figure I have ever owned previously was Unicron from Transformers Armada. Behind him was Trypicon and Metroplex from Generation One.

This toy though, is massive. A lot more massive than I pictured. I haven’t yet stood it up next to a Unicron to compare size but I imagine the Mega Zord could give that toy a run for his money. Toy mind you, I’m not sure if the Dino Zords could defeat the chaos bringer on their own, at least not without the help of Ultrazord. Even then I’m not sure.

In 1993 I instantly fell in love with MMPR. I love the toys, the TV series, video games and yes, even the live action movie from 1995. It sure gets hated on my modern audiences but it was actually a ton of fun for me back then.

Over the years I have gone through cycle where I would pick up items that meant a lot to me because I had them as a kid and wanted to connect with my childhood. Then there have been pieces I picked up because they were just cool looking. My favorite pieces are the ones I obtain as a n adult that I never had as a kid, but always really wanted.

I had never even seen a Mega Zord in the wild back in the 90s. I had a friend who had the Thunder Mega Zord which I still thought was pretty cool itself. But even he didn’t have the original five dinozords. This was a terrific purchase for me because it gave me a rush of emotions ranging from the memories of desperately wanting one all this time to getting to explore a toy I never had as a kid but was familiar enough with due to its depiction in the TV series.

My favorite thing about it so far is how big and detailed it is. The individual zords aren’t that spectacular on their own that much is clear. Even so the combined form is so awesome it more than makes up for it. The toy looks amazing at a team of five robots as well as tank mode, too. I love this action figure set quite a bit. I do wish I could have owned one as a kid. But, knowing how my toys from them didn’t survive into adulthood maybe it’s better this way.

I didn’t commit the unforgiveable sin toy collectors fear of buying an unopened box and then opening it up. Not that I wouldn’t consider doing just that, it’s just this was already priced well above what I should have paid for any individual toy anyways. I did end up getting a complete in box set even if the box had already been previously opened and the stickers applied. It didn’t come with any instructions but the weapons were all intact, including all the parts people claim to be missing in so many other sets. If I can make one toy collector out there jealous I will consider that a bonus. Even if that isn’t the case I can finally sleep easy at night knowing the Mighty Megazord is keeping the forces of evil away from my ever growing toy collection.

What’s New to YouTube?- A Review Show!

Welcome back to another article here at The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides. This time I am happy to announce I am starting a new video series called “What’s New to YouTube” where I will talk about newer, smaller channels.

Each week I will shoot out a Tweet and Facebook post inviting YouTube Content Creators to recommend their channel for review. I will select one channel based on the following criteria.

1. The show must be active

The creator needs to be making new videos semi-regularly, once a month will do. They must also be actively promoting the channel. This can be social media, podcasts, other means. As long as the creator is trying to grow his or her respective show I will check it out.

2. It must be a small audience.

The purpose of the show is to help get exposure to new, smaller channels while creating quality content that other YouTubers will enjoy. The channel cannot have more than 100 subscribers.

3. It must be relatively new.

This is subjective but if the channel was created in the last year and is actively growing it is eligible. If the channel was created some time ago and only posts sporadic content on rare occasions it is not actively trying to grow and is not eligible.

4. There needs to be some proof of commitment.

This is also subjective but I am using 20 videos as a minimum threshold. The most current video cannot be older than a month or else it won’t be considered active.

5. It has to be quality content.

This is very subjective but Let’s Eat, prank shows, conspiracy theorists, hate speech, personal diary style vlogs etc., will most likely not make the cut. But don’t hold back submit a channel and see if it gets featured.

I will feature one channel a week. I will look at the content, I will reach out to the creator on social media and I will link back to the channel and creator’s social media once the video is live on my channel. The creator is free to share the video and discuss it in their own content; blog, podcast etc., but they are not allowed to upload it to their channel or spam the comments of the video.

I am trying to make a series of magazine/TV style videos similar to Entertainment Tonight or TV Guide that brings attention to quality, but unknown, content.

I have a companion show called What’s Streaming. There is absolutely NO criteria for this show, I decide which videos or channels to feature.

What’s New to YouTube will ONLY review YouTube channels. I am not interested in Twitch or similar content. What’s Streaming can be anything, from YouTube, Twitch or podcasts to Hulu, Netflix and the like.

If you want to submit your channel for review on this exciting new series feel free to respond to one of the social media posts on Twitter @ phatrat1982 or Facebook @ thespiderslairblog. As always, Stay Cool.

Why HOUSE music is NOT TECHNO music

The birth of Techno music is often attributed to an isolated DJ in the slums of Detroit while it’s counter-part, “house music” is attributed to an isolated DJ in the clubs of Chicago. Both alleged movements describe their music as the definitive origin of modern Electronic Dance Music. These distinctions are often very divisive among aficionados of electronic music. However to divorce both techno and house from the origins of Hip-Hop is doing a disservice to the pioneers of the techniques that would evolve into the diverse strands of EDM music techno-nerds constantly fighter with each other over on the interwebs to this day.

This is an analysis of the evolution of the terms as they relate to the styles of music we have today. This is all from the perspective of a lonely DJ whose understanding comes from the studying of the roots of the movements, independent of any agenda, or even more importantly, ties to a movement.

The claims go as such. Someone in Detroit was mixing disco records with electro records and developed this into the musical style techno-nerds will call “techno” music. The so-called attributes of the music are singled out as they are defined solely by how closely they resemble the benefactor with no regard to the reality of the techniques being developed for nearly a decade previously by DJ’s in the Bronx, Southern L.A. as with elsewhere. The so-called purists make every attempt to white-wash Techno music by making the claims it strictly evolved out of the ashes of the discothèques from the late 70’s who’s audience had moved on.

The addendum to this alternate reality account of the rise of the dance music disregard the techno moniker entirely, going out of their way to stringently insist it only applies to a very narrow, very precise set of rules determined arbitrarily by the followers of a cult-like DJ who they credit with creating, what they refer to as ‘house’ music, which bears a striking resemblance to the music the uninitiated refer to as ‘techno’, which they deem either unworthy or inferior to their beloved house term. Both sides equally ignore the development of the music Hip-Hop DJ’s were doing elsewhere, while simultaneously accrediting, incorrectly, developments to DJ’s who severe ties with the urban roots of Hip-Hop. This is not to say the author himself believes white washing is inherently a sin. However, in the context of the evolution of electronic music, it is a disservice to blatantly neglect the work of the ghetto disc jockeys and their obnoxious rhyming emcees who popularized the music being created by mixing records on turntables. This, in fact, requires a serious bending over backwards on the logic of those holding to the false narrative.

Thus it is now THE RAT, who shall bear witness the truth of the birth of electronic music, henceforth correctly identified as Techno for all purposes. Partially based on the erroneous neglecting of the connection to Hip-Hop music the cult followers of the Detroit/Chicago narrative stubbornly adhere to. Also partially birthed in the fact that words actually matter but only in that they are defined. Consider this. Rock N Roll music is the bas moniker for Hard Rock, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal and Speed Metal. Yet, none in the rock community disregard the black roots of their music. The undeniable reality is Rhythm And Blues, born out of the same ghettos that would give rise to rock n roll, bears little sonic resemblance to modern rock n roll to the uninitiated. Still, those who can rightly follow the path from blues to rock to metal ought to also be able to follow the same path from R&B, to funk/disco to Hip-Hop/Techno. It’s not exactly rocket science. Of course ignore the obvious auditory similarities still requires one to disregard the science of linear time. That is, Chicago House and Detroit Techno could not exist in a vacuum with no ties to the developments of electronic music taking place in the Hip-Hop community. Rather it allows certain individuals to disconnect their beloved ‘European-based’ music from the taint of American urbanism. That is to say, a narrative that proclaims techno or even house, began in the white suburbs of the Midwest completely ignores the existence of the disc jockeys mixing disco and funk records into what would become colloquially as rap music.

Disco music itself was a white-washing of the funk music being produced. There are two different paths which interconnect, dissect and reconvene throughout. The short version is this. Funk was stripped of its hook and verse, reduced to the simple break, then mixed with another break, layered upon with scratches, 808 drum beats and other elements to become Hip-Hop music, one of the four elements of the Hip-hop culture.

Disco music began winding down in the cities as rock n  roll was making a resurgence. Clubs and radio waves were cluttered with New Wave bands and imitators who were mixing pop, rock and electronic music to form the basis of the synth pop that dominated the decade. Eventually disco was also stripped in a similar fashion and also layered as funk was being turned into Hip-Hop, disco underwent the same process becoming what those who are not afraid of the cult followers simply call techno. Techno music became an offensive term as it was entered into the lexicon and became short-hand for all electronic produced music. Thus in retaliation the cult followers began impressing upon society an effort to restrict the usage of the term until such time as nothing left could be classified as “techno”, they were so offended by the utterance of the word they not only cringe upon hearing it they shift into belligerent attack mode in an effort to contort history to belittle the pour soul who elected to mistakenly use the word they fear so much. Thus the re-writing of history ensues in an on-going barrage of misinformation used to scare people into accidentally using the wrong term. Coupled with a culture born from being as Politically Correct as humanly possible and this fear of words limits their ability to express themselves without accidentally offending those who adhere to the cult.

This is the truth. Electronic music created using the same methods as Hip-Hop, be it old school turntables with mixers and the like, or combined with synthesizers or even created using loops, if it is in fact electronic and is produced in the same manner at all, as in NOT by playing of actual instruments to create new, original compositions, it is in fact Techno. House music does not exist in the mind of this technophile. It is a make believe term retroactively applied, falsely to a genre of music whose very existence has been under attack by the cult of a single DJ from Chicago.

All of this can be proven by listening to a handful of Hip-Hop acts Break Dancers cling to, mostly who fall under the banner of Electronic Funk (a cousin of Hip-Hop) which is what the cult of house followers will point to, falsely, as what they call ‘Techno’. If one listens to Soul Sonic Force “Planet Rock” and calls that ‘techno’ then listens to TECHNOtronic and calls that house, dismiss their unsound logic and believe the truth, Techno is what they cult of house refuse to utter for some weird hang up. Techno Syndrome is not even correctly label a “techno” song on wikipedia because the cult of house are hard at work scrubbing all references to the word, even when used itself by those making the music. They adhere to a false doctrine perpetuated by a lie to hold up their weird, twisted belief that some disco DJ sitting in Chicago was somehow insightful enough to create his own style of music with absolutely NO prior knowledge of what was already being done elsewhere in the country at a time when radios and MTV were prevalent. Let the haters bring their wrath upon the one delivering the truth. Stay cool friend.


Modern Myths, UFO’s, Angels, and more

Recently I was watching a web video that I check out once in a while and they brought up a topic that I have been considering tackling for some time now. I am not sure if I want to turn this into a full blown series or not. I might offer my generalized views on some of these topics sans “real evidence” and see where it goes. I disagree with the notion that our internet culture has perpetuated this myth that everything needs to be proven in order for it to be fact.

Anyways the topics I intend to discuss are some that I have been considering for a while now so here they are, UFO’s/Aliens, Lochness Monster, Big Foot, Fairies, Dinosaurs, Dragons, Gods, Demons, Ghosts, Angels, Space Travel, Time Travel, Life After Death, ESP, Secret Societies, and cyborgs.  I might go into more depth with certain topics but for now I just want to throw some of my general thoughts down for others to consider.

I will tackle them one at a time so sit back and prepare for a whole bunch of controversy.


For starters I would like to distinguish between UFO’s and Extraterrestrials. I am skeptical that any government or even coalition of Governments could manage to come together to fully enact a complete cover up on something that would have such a huge impact on human society. I mean hell the governments of the world can’t even agree on Global Warming how the hell can anyone believe they are competent enough to secretly agree to cover up any contact with any extraterrestrial life.

I am not going to say the universe is so big there is a probability there might be life out there, that is nonsense. First off we do not know how big the universe really is, even the best estimates by the supposed experts are not consistent and if you really examine their evidence it’s dubious at best. We don’t know if the Universe is a billion light years across, or barely ten thousand light years, or even smaller, or larger. We don’t even know the shape of the universe, which makes any size estimates impossible.

There is a theory that suggests the universe is a giant bubble, well if we look too far part say Andromeda in one direction and measure the light from an object further from Andromeda in one direction how can we tell if the universe is a bubble that we are not seeing the light wrap around and the object supposedly far away past Andromeda is really close by on the OTHER side of us but we are just not able to measure it properly because our instruments can only measure what light PASSES by our Star, we can’t even account for the light that goes in a complete opposite direction. Consider this, if in fact we sitting here on Earth can see in every direction possible then that leads me to speculate that we must in fact be the center of said universe.

But since that is not the accepted view and the ‘evidence’ is skewed towards a specific world view, it makes it difficult to make any argument one way or the other. So the universe could be so big we can’t fathom it, or it could be smaller than we realize. How do we know those “Red Giants” are really super massive stars mega light years away, rather than “tiny dwarf stars” that are just barely past Pluto? We don’t know and the scientists admit they don’t know. There are some commonly quoted experiments that are taken as fact when in reality they are guesses based on very outdated math.

If you take that away and assume the universe is smaller than expected the chances of alien life out there shrinks. Now not to totally dismiss the science because there is solid evidence that we can measure, but it is our interpretation of the data that I question. I do know no matter what there is no chance in HELL every single government secretly agreed to cover up alien contact, what would be their motivation for doing so, hell our own Government can’t even agree on a single issue, other than to give themselves pay raises so unless the aliens promised every single Government official eternal life, I doubt there is any way they could have covered it up this long.

UFO’s are a different story, there are secret government weapons being developed all the time so those are your “Unidentified Flying Objects” but Flying Saucers, not possible.

Aliens Real or Fake: Fake

Lochness Monster

Despite all I had to say about aliens I have only one thing to say about this one, twenty years ago I could have given this a possible consideration but with our current underwater imaging technology there is no Lochness Monster sorry but if there was it would have been found by now, HELLO if it was REAL Scotland would not cover it up they would be capturing that son of a bitch and having their own little “Jurassic Park” honestly this is a no-brainer.

Real or Fake: Fake

Big Foot

Do men walk the Earth, yes, do Apes and other primates walk the Earth, also yes. Is there a chance there is some un-evolved Human/Ape Hybrid hiding out in the Canadian and USA, not a chance. Again this comes down to two realities, the big foot is not the supposed missing link. With that said I DO think there could be some type of as of yet uncategorized life form that might resemble the big foot creature.

Real or Fake: Possible but not likely what people think it is.


This one is a little less controversial, most people would just dismiss any notion Fairies could even exist and shrug them off. On the other hand I do believe there are spiritual forces out there we can’t explain, see my views on Ghosts, Demons, and Angels, below. I have researched both the Celtic view on fairies and more modern views on fairies. I believe that there could be some creature out there that could use magic to disguise itself from man kind.

Yes I do believe in “magic” but when you read what I consider magic it might shatter your mind. Either way I am skeptical that the Tinker Bell type fairy is real or has ever existed, I think what people think of as Fairies are modernized perversions of outdated views on Angels and nothing more. Since I do believe in Angels I would contend that Fairies are just Angels that have been miscategorized.

Fairies Real or Fake: Real but misunderstood


I am not sure if I want to get into this one too deep, I have strong views on this subject that are complicated and difficult to resolve with current mass cultural views. I think Dinosaurs might have existed and might still exist, but I doubt they are what we classify them as. In fact I find it easier to believe in Dragons than I do Dinosaurs. I think that despite the common perception there is a lot of evidence that is not only dubious but it’s not even generally agreed upon. Not to mention just like with Stars, we are interpreting data and you can’t assume one interpretation must be right and another must be false. That is why I think realistically Dinosaurs are harder to reconcile with my beliefs.

Real or Fake: Real but see below.


Dragons are spoken of in nearly every world religion in one way or another and not a single one resembles a single species of Dinosaur that has been classified. In fact none of the current fossils on display even match the views on Dinosaurs as most have been rearranged so many times it’s all speculation how the bones went together no matter what anyone says.

I think Dinosaurs and Dragons are the same thing and I believe they both do still exist but I think they are not the same as what people picture. Dragons are less likely to be Lord of the Rings, D&D, type monsters but I think they are probably just giant snakes that some people might have over exaggerated. I do believe in the spiritual war between God and Satan and I am sure Satan can and does in fact use Dragons in his arsenal.

Real or Fake: Very real, but spiritual today, physical form unknown


I am torn on this one, I believe that the God of the Bible is the one true God, the Almighty creator of everything. I also believe that the Bible mentions other gods, even false gods, in a context that could be interpreted many different ways. Ca I say for sure that Demons are being worshiped as “gods” or that other, lesser godlike beings can’t exist? There are such confusing and difficult imagery in the Bible I content that there is one higher God, the God of the universe, but I don’t know that is mutually exclusive to a singular pantheon or if it is possible God might have other beings that are considered gods by others. I believe that there are unexplainable spiritual forces and not all of them can be classified simple as Angels and Fallen Angels/Demons.

Gods Real or Fake: Jesus, the Almighty Lord our Holy Father an the Holy Spirit, very real I would give my life for that, lesser “gods” there are some spiritual beings we can’t explain, some of them might be what other cultures worship as gods so they might be real but they are not the One True God.


Fallen Angles, as the common Biblical understanding refers to them as. I find that safe and believable. I think Demons are separate from Devils and The Devil, or Satan but I am not sure how they rank.

Demons Real or Fake: Very real.


Some Christians think Ghosts are impossible, some claim they are just demons trying to trick people or Angels that aren’t fully understood. I believe they are possible. The Bible is not at all clear on what specifically happens the exact moment we die. The common quoted verse says “Absent from the Body Present with the Lord” well contradicts, on the surface, the notion of God being Omnipresent. Meaning if the Holy Spirit dwells in our Body, another verse calls our body the “temple of the Lord” then we are always present with God.

Also there is the verse, the Dead in Christ Shall Rise first, among others such as the story of the man in hell talking to people in Heaven, or at least outside of Hell. My view is people once dead leave their bodies, some might go straight to heaven or they might stick around, at God’s approval of course, and try to accomplish whatever He allows them to. I think He can also extend this courtesy to the damned also, there is nothing that says once you leave your body your instantly in Hell if you are damned, in fact it makes it sound very much like there is a future date where that happens so ghosts might be damned souls sticking around trying to warn their loved one and they are just not able to reach them all. See ESP below.

Ghosts Real or Fake: Real but they could be unexplainable.



Time Travel

If time travel were possible it would put God in quite a bind. The Lord and his Heavenly Host can see the future, I am sure they can extend that to human should they choose but going forward or backwards in time is not humanly possible without aid of the Lord Almighty, and the scientific community agrees the laws of Physics make time travel impossible as does all philosophical views on the subject.

Real or Fake: Fake


This is a more touchy one, I do believe in spiritual forces and I believe in magical or supernatural abilities to manipulate these forces. ESP is just one supernatural ability all Christians should be fully aware of, in a sense Prayer is a type of ESP and I believe in the power of Prayer.

Real or Fake: Real with Spiritual assistance.

Secret Societies

I don’t know if I can tackle this one in such a short space, honestly I doubt the Illuminati, the Free Masons, or even the Church of Scientology have some global reach that can manipulate world events. Do I think it is possible for secret societies to exist, yes I call them Cults and some have extraordinary reach, others are just localized.

Real or Fake: Real but I doubt there is a single one with a global reach. Stay Cool.

Status Update, life and stuff.

I took the site down, I am rebuilding it. The truth is I was trying a new content management software and decided I hated it. I like to be in more control of the look and feel of the websites I put my name on. So I am rebuilding the site using the tools I know how to make it the way I want. Going Broke Media is not a site for the public it is a site, plain and simple, for me to promote myself period. I intend to use it to showcase all the creative works I can because I want to use it to promote my career.

I can’t explain it to people who think money is the only motivator but I don’t want to work a typical job and live a typical life. I am willing to get a realistic job that is suitable for my talents and earn a proper living which is why I am in school, but I am a visionary, an artist, a story teller at heart and I need a venue to share my works. That is what Going Broke Media is. I chose the name because I am flat broke and it sounds better than cliche starting artist or something lame. Also it has a nice ring to it.

No it is not a joke it is the real name of my company, a company that I actually am in the process of building from the ground up. What I want to do is not something I can explain to people I don’t have a career path in mind. I want a degree that gives me the flexibility to move where I want and get into any normal office or business at the entry level, which is why I settled on Business.

My typical go to work job needs to be something where I can have job functions that use my talents of organizing data and problem solving and business is that. I am pretty talented at keep track of information and deciphering what it means, writing reports, and processing that data into tangible arguments and presentations. Consider that my day job, the Bruce Wayne of what my life will be. The other side is the creative person who strives to do whatever I want as long and as much as I can.

Some things not many people know about me but I do like to paint. I have canvases, paints, and an easel all for the purpose of creative paintings. No I don’t want to be a painter it isn’t even a hobby it’s just something to do when I feel like it. Something most people do know is I like to make music, and I also like to create and edit videos. Now I don’t exactly want to make a career in video production, I researched what it takes and it’s not for me.

However in today’s world with our modern technology it is possible to create audio/visual works with little money. As someone who has studied theater, films, cinematography, and mass communication in general, I am fairly confident that I can create videos that are compelling and entertaining. I might not become a big budget film maker, which again that is not my goal, but I will continue to make videos as much as I can. I do it because it’s what I want to do.

I also write short stories for the same reason, I have tried many times to write a novel and realized that was not for me, what I should do is write a story that interests me and instead of trying to get it published in the traditional way to make money, I will just share my works with the world via my new website. The point is I just want to share my works with people because it gives me pleasure doing so, even if they do not fully understand my works.

Not everyone gets A Midnight to Forget, hell it was a sloppy effort for an online film class that I cut together using random footage I had saved up over the years. But see that was the point, when I began shooting random footage over the years it was with the intention to compile it all together at a later date and weave it into a visual story, something I accomplished even if it does need explaining for people to “get it” and those who don’t get it that is fine it isn’t meant to be gotten by everyone. The same is true for my music, I create music with one purpose, for me to listen to when I am in the mood, others are free to enjoy my music if they choose to but the music I create is for me.

So what changed, when did I stop trying to commercialize my works? I didn’t are you not paying attention that is what the website is about, by compiling all my creative works together I am show casing to the world all that I do, giving them a place to see what I have done, what I am working on currently, and what I intend to do down the road.

This opens up the door for me to sell my ideas to those who might be interested or maybe someone approaches me and likes what they see and asks for my help with something. I can afford to be selective because my goal is not to be a famous director or music producer, my goal is simply to do what I enjoy doing and live the life I set out to live. Some think of it as lonely but that is their problem, their weakness not mine.

What about The Spiders Lair? What is that all about you might ask? Well let me put it simply Going Broke Media is my professional side, it showcases all the creative works that I have done or will ever do. The Spiders Lair is a personal website that show cases all the things that inspire me in this world, those things that interest me the most. It is also a place for me to organize my thoughts. Both web sites are currently under construction but since they are basically pretty simple ventures there is not much to do I expect them to be completed shortly.

Some websites I attempted to do before were just overwhelming, these latest two ventures are actually rather simple, they represent me, my professional, creative, artistic side, and my personal side. I do not currently have a time frame on when either site will relaunch, I would hope to get them going this next week or so but realistically it might be this summer before I get them up and running due to school, work, and life in general. Stay Cool.

Confessions of a video game collector

I decided to get back into video game collecting. Well not so much the collecting as just getting back into buying and playing some classic video games. Recently I have been in a little bit of a weird place in my life, trying to get back on track after being kicked out of school, evicted from my apartment and that spur of the moment flee to California which ended up a big mess. A few years ago I basically decided to give up on doing what was right and I drifted into the shady world of internet piracy.

What started me down that path was buying a Nintendo Wii and getting addicted to downloading classic games via their Virtual Console service. I had amassed quit a collection of classic gaming machines over the years as well as a ton of movies on DVD and more books than I could ever read. At some point I discovered I could replace everything with digital copies, sounds simple enough except I was broke, no money to buy digital anymore, I was out of work and facing a low point in my life. So I turned to piracy as is often the case. I traded in my game consoles to pawn shops and I bought my self a series of USB external hard drives for my PC and proceed to download, everything.

I started out small and innocent enough, only classic games I either previously owned or purchased via Virtual Console, a few hundred MP3s from limewire to fill up my newly acquired 80GB iPod classic, and a couple of movies I ripped from DVD that I put onto my iPod video to try it out. That was the trigger that set me off, I needed more movies and soon enough ripping DVD’s became too time consuming it was just easier to torrent the stuff, once you go through the process of setting up a torrent client, setting up a secure network, and then waiting for an invite to get into the good sites, you pretty much have to go all in in order to make it worth the effort.

I didn’t stop at movies, pretty soon I had TERABYTES of movies, TV episodes, cartoons, anime, pretty much anything I had ever seen I had downloaded, including a ton of commercials and movie trailers just for the hell of it. Oh and every video game ROM I could find, every ISO, every PC game I could get my hands on, pretty soon my digital collection far surpassed my wildest dreams of content, and as always it was never enough so I branched into comic books, e-books, magazines, pretty soon if it was available to download via torrent it was on one of my hard drives.

As a pretty decent and generally honest person I told myself it was ok because if I had a VCR I would be recording all this stuff anyways, and to make it look semi-legit and to ease my own conscience I even did just that, I purchased a video capture card (DVR) for my PC so I could record movies and TV shows straight to me PC, that is actually something that you CAN do legally but I used that as a front for the other, shadier stuff not that I took it seriously.

Soon that wasn’t enough and I was DVR’s *and* downloading everything I could. It was like a drug the more I had the more I needed. It didn’t even bother me until I saw a movie at a store on DVD and offered to buy it for someone and they said why buy it when you can just download it anyways.

It got me to thinking what I had become. Since I got into school and was studying mass media I really started to feel guilty because I realized who it actually hurts when people pirate stuff and then I started to pay attention to all the video game companies closing their doors and consolidating and they always cited piracy as a big cause. Because I was only downloading out dated games I never even made the connection until once again me and a friend found ourselves downloading Xbox 360 games and current gen PC games without even giving it a second thought.

A couple of years ago it finally got to me and I wiped my digital collections, deleted everything, well except for the classic video games I somehow convinced myself that buying a used copy from a store is no different than having a digital copy on my PC because the publisher is still not getting the sale.

However I noticed more and more companies were releasing their old games on PSN, Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo e-Shop, and even Steam. I did a quick search through each virtual store and realized not only are the prices very reasonable, but the selection was also top notch in most cases. Sure there are those few obscure games that nobody bought new that you can’t get, but for the most part the stuff I was playing the most anyways is still readily available, which defeated my DMCA clause I hide behind for so long, the readily available in the marketplace clause that I soon discovered no longer held any weight.

As a result I did some seriously long and hard thinking and decided to make a change, I got rid of everything, if I didn’t purchase it from a legit source I deleted it out right. I still have some CD’s and since iTunes does allow you to rip those my iPhone still has enough music, paired with Pandora I am pretty much set and don’t even miss those MP3s at all.

I had acquired quite a few Blu Ray discs over the last few years and many came with iTunes copies so I still have most of those too, as well as a few I picked up with iTunes gift cards. I soon realized that it might cost a little more to do things legit but you gain two major benefits, first there is the quality as pirate goods are always inferior, second the affect it has on your soul knowing you are in the clear and have nothing to worry about. Even though it is something most people do without thinking, I realized piracy is not just bad for the industry, it is bad for society and that is why I shifted my focus.

Where does that leave me now? A much older and hopefully wiser video game collector. I don’t need to buy ten copies of the same game just because it was released on several consoles, and I don’t need to own every gaming machine ever made just because. Before I was collecting for the sake of collecting, sure I played the games too but not even a measurable fraction of the ones I had on hand. Now I am more collected and have a real purpose. I will begin obviously with what is available to me currently. I have Steam and my Laptop can surely handle most games from about 2011 backwards so I can pick up a few retro games here and there, I started with a Sega Genesis Classics collection.

I also have a PS2 I can dust off and pick up some classic compilations for for pretty cheap, and my PS3 has a 500GB hard drive connected to PSN that is just ripe with classic PS1 and Arcade games to snatch. I even noticed recently I was about to buy Mortal Kombat Trilogy and held off because I thought can’t I just get it on mame? The temptation to go back to pirate will be there for a while but as I have done with DVD’s and Blu Rays, I have found a way to silence that voice.

With movies and TV shows Netflix has provided me with an alternative and with video games Steam is holding me over just nicely. Eventually I will have to break down and get a few classic consoles, as many compilations and retro games are released on current systems there are still far too many classic NES, SNES, and Genesis games currently stuck on old dusty carts waiting to be plugged into a game console and replayed by a retro gamer who was there when they were new.

I began my journey of returning to legitimacy by picking up a Game Boy Color, and two classic games Tetris and  a two in one cart featuring Centipede and Millipede. The used game store has a pretty big selection of classic games I can sift through and the internet always has whatever I can’t find locally. I don’t intend to go back into a hoarder mode where I buy it just to have, I mostly just want to get back a few games that I know I will revisit often, and keep a clear conscience in the process. Stay Cool.

The Plan: starting a media brand

Alright first off, school was always just a stepping stone to bigger things for me, let’s get that out of the way. I never had any intention of just getting a degree, finding a job and sitting still. My plan was always to start my own media company no matter how small time it turns out to be. This week I came step closer to that dream. I have a new plan one that I think will actually work out for me. All of this is in addition to the regular job I intended to get. Right now I am just sort of bouncing back from a slow period in my life so things are about to speed back up.

The company.

I am creating a new company most likely a sole proprietorship, maybe a limited corporation depending on how things go. Under this new banner I will create a new logo and name for my media projects and file for a proper trademark to make things more legit than previous attempts. I studied some mass media subjects while at school and I am taking lots of business related classes now so I am more prepared to do things the right way than I ever have been before.

The company will be mostly virtual I might look for a small space to rent where I can set up a small studio but for now that is optional the first thing I need to do is get the website up and running. The new website will be different than anything I have done before. I took a professional web design class in school and I am taking some other design and art related classes so my web making skills are much improved from before.

The focus will be the media of course. Divided into categories. First up is a new blog, this one here will still keep going on the side but the new blog will be dedicated to my company. I am creating several new screen names and writing persona’s for this venture. Each entry will be divided into categories and sorted into their proper place making it easier to find what is relevant. The blog will not be entirely random but it will be broad focused.

I am returning to pod casting. I finally have proper professional grade studio quality recording equipment and over a decade of experience to draw on. I am doing this right. The podcast will be divided into different topics and themes. I have three already in mind, the first up is a video game/technology centered discussion. The other two I am still developing, there might be a return of the rat in there some where, a new politically themed show tentatively called “The Radical Republican.”

I am also creating a new web comic that I will be writing, drawing and publishing myself on the site. This is a side venture on the scale I originally envision for Bim-Dizzle, a project that never go off the ground due to being too complicated. I have scaled back on what I intend to do, to something more manageable.

Short stories, themes, essay, I will publish different written works to the site as well. These will be short stories that I wrote or write in my spare time. I have a few saved up that once I edit them I will start releasing as time permits. I will also have an area for fanfics and other stuff.

Short films, movies, music videos, and more. I have different video projects in mind, there are two stop-motion short films I am working on, one live-action short that will feature some primitive special effects, and a couple of other mini-shows that I will try to get set up as I have time. Music videos are also a new part of this venture. I have three full length albums worth of music that I created over the years, and a brand new one that I am in the process of developing now.

Not all of these warrant music videos but I will make some for the ones that are more important to me or those that justify the effort. I already have some ideas in mind and none of this will happen over night. I will make DVD’s available of all video projects as they accumulate. I will be hosting my videos someplace outside of Youtube so don’t expect that same Youtube vibe or experience as before. I am not sure how I will handle web hosting but I am certain Youtube will NOT be in the picture.

I have scrapped the idea of trying to do a full comic book instead I will try to do a web based mini comic that will be published sporadically.

The books are dead. I tried several times to write a novel, I got pretty far this last attempt but the story got away from me and then I got distracted by life events and suddenly forgot where I was going and lost all interest. Instead I will break these things down into short stories, or maybe serials if that is easier, and publish them to the website.

The Adventurers lives on, Candy can just deal with it. I always pictured it as a more serialized story than a massive novel anyways so this works out better for me. Also I am taking it back to its roots, I created it with a specific vision in mind, I can’t let that vision be warped into something unrecognizable. The characters are too important to me to let them die so I have a new plan that will launch with this new venture.

Other than that I will keep things lose. I have a plan and this is more organized than ever before so I intend to stick with it. I don’t have an end game in mind, I will work till I die, so I will write until I die. The goal is to be as creative as possible. I hope to make money sure, but not at the expense of creative freedom. That is all for now, more details to come latter as things get finalized. The pod cast will begin first so keep an eye out for that. Stay Cool.

Which one to get, PS4, Steam Machine, or Wii U?

I was reading a digital verses physical argument on a popular gaming website that I frequent the other day. Since I am taking some business classes at school I thought I would write up a whole perspective on what I think was not best for the consumer but best for business because what is best for business usually ends up benefiting the consumer down the road anyways. I won’t get into that argument instead I wanted to use that as a lead up into something else entirely, but somewhat related.

Recently Nintendo announced they are shutting down the WiFi Connect, the online service that is required to play Nintendo DS and Wii games on the internet. It got me to thinking how often this must happen. Now I am all for having digital copies of my media, I prefer to have everything in one place on one device it’s convenient. What I don’t like is the Cloud, or streaming or digital stores. I don’t buy many movies on iTunes or any of the other services but I do rip my own DVD’s to my hard drive and have them available at the click of a mouse instead of having to shuffle all those discs around. I like having a big collection of DVD cases on the shelf too but there comes a time when its just simpler to put it all on a hard drive and be done with it.

The most current gaming console I own in a Playstation 3. Part of that is because Nintendo lost my interest when they came out at E3 and made a big fuss about Wii Fit and forgot that there were real gamers out there buying their machine too. I won’t dig up all the reasons I ended up hating the stupid Wii and getting out of console gaming for nearly five years as a result. Instead I will present my reasons for wanting to get a new gaming system and what each one I am interested in has to offer.

I am not going to do the whole bullet point list instead I am just going to tackle this head on. Let me be frank, I am a gamer not a fanboy. I got a Playstation and an N64 on the exact same day and I have been gaming on my PC since the Atari 1200 days. I got a Sega Genesis for my 12th birthday after going through a long period of being an NES kid. That is not to say I don’t have my biases or preferences just that I am not a cheerleader for a company and their product, if it is a good product I buy it if not I move onto something else. So far the PS3 has been a pretty good machine and it inspired me to go back and buy a used PS2 and revisit some games I missed being a GameCube gamer back in the day.

As always I am not in the position to buy every gaming machine around so I have to decide which one to get first and which one to wait to hit the clearance bin. As much as I grew to despite the Wii it did have a good start and some worth while hits sprinkled around all the crap. Due to that and my long history of Nintendo gaming I always have to put their newest console on my want list even if it falls off sooner or latter.

As of right now the Wii U is appealing to me because it does have a few good games, Super Mario 3D World looks amazing, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze has me replaying all the old DK games, New Super Mario Bros U and New Super Luigi U both look like fun games I could play and unlike most Nintendo fans I haven’t cared for Legend of Zelda in years but Hyrule Warriors has me seriously interested in the franchise again, imaging a Zelda game that keeps the fun parts (the world, the combat, the characters) and removes the boring stuff (the cut scenes you can’t skip, the endless side quests, the running in circles back tracking to every last place just to find that one small detail you missed), and there are two pretty good looking Sonic the Hedgehog games one that is out and one that will be here next year.

The problem is that’s pretty much it, besides a few decent Wii games I might pick up for the backwards compatibility, there is nothing else to get excited about on Wii U. I am not interested in another Mario Kart, I liked the SNES one and played a couple others here and there but I was never big fan anyways. I hate Mario sports games (or sports games in general) and so those are not interesting to me. I liked Smash Bros. Melee but the stuff I liked about it has not been carried over to the newer ones so there is no reason to get excited about that. Not to mention I prefer *real* fighting games which despite what the Nintendo faithful claim Smash is *not* a real fighting game.

Everything else on Wii U can be found elsewhere or isn’t worth paying what they are asking for. Right now Wii U needs to come down at least $100 bucks before I will consider it and still needs a few more games. I have no interest in Bayonetta 2 as I never liked the first one that much. What does that leave me X? No thanks not interested when I could play the vastly superior Lost Planet games already.

What about getting a PS4? Well I am still interested in this machine even though the launch hype has died down some. What makes me interested in the PS4 is simple, despite their difficulties getting PS3 off the ground they still managed to end up having the best games around three console generations in a row. My interest in PS4 isn’t so much what is out now as it is the potential. I know that eventually there will be a new Castlevania game, a new Mortal Kombat, a new Street Fighter, a new Final Fantasy, a new… the list goes on and on of new games that I expect will make their way onto PS4, games that I thoroughly enjoyed on PS3.

I also am still somewhat interested in some of the games that have been announced, despite being fewer of them than on Wii U, the few there are at least have me more interested than just reliving the past, again. One thing Sony does best is pushing the envelope and giving gamers *new* experiences mixed with sequels of the games we grew up with. Nintendo is a one trick pony, its all Nostalgia all day long with them. BUT if you actually compare side by side, Playstation has more vintage and classic games than Nintendo. I am not trying to bash Nintendo but go back to NES and all the best franchises not made by Nintendo turn up in new iterations on Sony machines not Nintendo machines.

In fact on pure nostalgia Sony beats Nintendo every time, Mario and Donkey Kong is about all Nintendo has for classic franchises still going, Zelda is floating around but that series is such a mess I can’t even pretend to get excited for a new Zelda game anymore. Just a quick browse on the Sony PS4 website I already see plenty of games to really get excited about, not to mention I am still dying to get my hands on Watch Dogs and let’s be honest even if I get a Wii U I won’t be playing that game on that console. While I do like the media features of Playstation to me those are just extras not even a deciding factor for me. Still Sony sold more consoles in three months than Nintendo did in a little over a year, to me that says which one is going to get the support and as a gamer I go where the games are and Wii U is seriously lacking in games right now.

Then there is the Steam Machine. Now here is where I am really torn. I want to get a new dedicated gaming console that much is sure, and I am in desperate need to upgrade my severely outdated gaming PC. A Steam Machine kind of sorta kill two birds with one stone. It is both a super powerful gaming PC and a dedicated gaming console. I already have Steam on my PC which I enjoy very much.

The library of games is second to none. Now I do still have a PS3 which I will keep getting games for and eventually PS Now once it launches, if it turns out worth getting anyways. Some would say get a gaming console and a PC or just get all of them but as money is an issue I can’t do that. I DO need to get a new PC anyways so that money is not coming out of my gaming fund but if I get a Steam Machine and it satisfies my console needs that is just more money for games and less spent on getting two new machines. Also it has the same advantages as gaming PC’s already enjoy, minus one minor detail but that’s not important to my decision.

Before I wrap this up let me say Xbox is not now nor has it ever been an option for me. I don’t play online competitive games and I don’t care for Halo one bit and the best games on Xbox are also on PC, at least with PS4 there are console exclusives with Xbox its pretty much all on PC anyways with a few rare exceptions that aren’t usually compelling enough to me to justify the machine.

Since I game on the PC anyways my consoles are usually for the games I can’t get on PC which usually forces me to get Nintendo and PS both. After the mess that was Wii I am reluctant to ever buy a new Nintendo machine ever again. So far I have never been burned with Sony so there is one more reason to remain excited for the latest and greatest gaming machine from Sony.

In the end I will likely get a Wii U down the road used and pick up a PS4 either this year for my birthday or for Christmas if not sooner. I am still in the market for a new portable gaming device as well but that is an entirely different article.

This is not an evaluation of the gaming market and this is not a what you should buy, this is just my personal views on which gaming device I am considering. I wish I could just buy them all but at a consumer on a limited budget I have to try to be practical. Also as a gamer I can’t just sit back and keep replaying old NES games on my emulators either. Stay Cool.

The end of the PC? Steam OS and Tablets destroying Windows.

The short answer is no, the ‘pc’ will be around forever. The longer answer is and the more appropriate question is really, is this the end of Windows PC dominance? There is a prevalent view in the media that the “PC” is being replaced with the Tablet PC. Except PC is just a term that means Personal Computer, to me a Tablet *is* a PC so I don’t even get the whole discussion of the death of the PC. It is like when they stopped making CRT Tube television sets, was that the “end of TV?” of course not. Still I do think the real topic people are trying to get at is they think the Desktop computer is dying or specifically the Windows PC is what they are saying is dying?

As avid Windows user I really dread the day when Windows is no more. People hate change which is so true, and think that alone explains why Windows 8 is having a hard time taking off to previous Windows levels. And there is some truth to that I think, there are other reasons some of which I will try to tackle today in this examination of the industry. I also want to take a look at the future of computers and maybe redefining some terms people are misusing. The simple reason why I do not want Windows to go away is because as someone who has been using it for nearly two decades now, I have no desire to abandon all the software I am comfortable with and use regularly to try to find equivalent software on a new OS.

I have a Desktop loaded up with Ubuntu Linux and while I personally do enjoy the OS and I like some of the features, I have run into several instances where software I use regularly just doesn’t exist on Linux and I can’t find software that does what I do that is equal. Sure if I spent more time on it I might find more and more useful stuff but the reality is as of right now I use Sony products more than anything, Vegas, DVD Architect, and Acid which are just not available on other systems besides Windows. I always here why don’t I dual boot, well my response is why the hell *WOULD* I? Why would I ever load up Linux over Windows when I can do everything I want in Windows and only certain things in Linux? Is it because I prefer the overly complicated method of installing software? I can understand why computer nerds and geeks like Linux but as a user who just wants things to work with as little hassle as possible, it is not for me.

I don’t spend anymore time explaining why I don’t want Windows to go away I just want to talk about why I think it might be in trouble. First the rise of Tablets, some cite this as a reason why Windows PC’s are doomed. I disagree, here is why. Computers have always existed as a tool for businesses primarily and serious computer users are not giving up their desktops for tablets. Tablets to most advanced users are just toys, and for them they have their merits but not as serious computers.

The interface is one reason, some software is just not designed to be used without a proper keyboard and sure tablets have keyboards as optional attachments the thing is they are already expensive who wants to spend an extra fifty bucks or more to get a keyboard their desktop/laptop comes with included in the package? Also if your desktop keyboard dies well they are all basically the exact same as since the 1980’s, all that has changed is the plug and even those are usually still available and if not they do make a converter that is easy to find, I happen to have four myself just for such an occasion. Also they are cheap nothing like replacing a broken blue tooth keyboard like on a tablet.

The other issue is the types of users, back in the 80’s and 90’s computers were used by a smaller segment of the population, they didn’t reach mainstream levels until the turn of the century and that was when they became multimedia devices with internet access. Today there is so much to do online it makes sense to have a computer or web enabled device to go online and do all the things people do.

Well fifteen years ago you wanted to get online and do Facebook (or Yahoo which was what we had back then) well you had no choice but to own a computer. People discovered that they use parts of the computer and those are the parts they can get on a tablet which is why those customers were only temporary PC users anyways. These user bought a computer at a time when if they wanted to get on Facebook, Netflix, Youtube, Wikipedia, etc, they had no choice.

Now if you only need the internet and media aspect you can get all that on your smartphone or your tablet or your gaming device. So those users were naturally going to leave the PC market first chance they got, as they were nearly forced to get a desktop just to do the few things they wanted. Also a tablet is a lot harder to screw up than a desktop because there is little the actual user can do mostly you install apps and browse the web, not much else to do, on a desktop you have memory management, virtual memory, networking, security, formatting, Defragmenting, and the list goes on, it is so easy to break a desktop most people were overwhelmed and I can understand why those users do not want or need a dedicated desktop or even a laptop anymore.

So that segment of the market is fading away, but the desktop industry will just go back to pre-boom levels it won’t fade away entirely right? Not so fast, there is another side of the equation, Steam OS. Steam is a dedicated gaming service provided by a company called Valve, which is the most popular gaming service in the world right now. Gaming has always been a segment of the desktop market that has driven more growth than even the business side, gamers or PC gamers, like to customize their hardware,

they like to have top of the line video cards for spectacular visual effects, they like high quality monitors for ultra high resolution images, they like to have ergonomic, gaming keyboards and mice, they like to spend money on their machines and that money is what drives the desktop market, business users are cheap they buy a machine and upgrade it once they have no choice and will not replace it until it will cost more to fix it than to replace it, which even then they will be reluctant because they don’t like the extra cost of moving their software and files over as well as learning a new OS which takes time to learn, then to train employees to use, they like things to stay the same which is why businesses are going to stick with Windows for as long as Windows exists period. But what about those gamers? PC gamers are not tempted by the glitter of consoles but there is a segment of PC gamers were game on PC not because they don’t like consoles but because the games are exclusive to PC and are better suited for PC controls. Steam OS and the Steam Machine is potentially set to shake that up.

Here is how Steam Machine works, you buy a pre-built gaming computer that is in a living room ready set top box that looks just like a traditional game console, it will have the same features and options to customize and upgrade a PC will have but it will be designed with gaming in mind, why this will attract a certain segment of the PC gaming market is because there are those who are all about performance and Desktop PC’s are bloated with all the other features that Windows requires to run, which is why gamers would love to switch to Linux but the games selection is a limiting factor. Steam Machines will fix two of those issues, first they will be optimized for gaming which means less overhead and more performance out of the box, something that gaming console gamers already enjoy.

They can still upgrade their hardware as needed but their OS is tailored to be optimized for gaming, where Windows is optimized for multitasking which is good for business but bad for gaming. The second issue it fixes is the games selection, Steam already has the largest library of video games on PC that gamers can get their hands on. It will basically give them a chance to have a closer experience to a console but keeping the benefits of a PC. Obviously these machines will not appeal to everyone but there is a segment, potentially large, that wants a gaming PC without the hassle of PC gaming. I am one of those gamers who loves PC gaming but I hate gaming on a PC, so I am one segment of that market for sure as Steam DOES have games I want, but nobody likes to play games on a Laptop and my desktop has always been used by me for gaming, which is why I tried Linux in the first place.

This will have a side effect on Windows PC gaming, as Steam is it’s own Operating system on these machines it will not be over the top of Windows, on a PC you install Steam on top of Windows and again take a performance hit doing so. This has much appeal to a person such as myself. Also gamers who buy Windows for gaming are a large segment of the Windows PC market, if Steam Machines take off even in modest numbers those are just fewer Windows Users, especially if these users do their media stuff on their Smart devices anyways, like I intend to do. My ideal set up will be PS3/PS4 for console gaming and media usage, and Steam Machine for those PC games I want to play but finally cut out all the hassle that makes PC gaming, at least for me and others like me, a major deterrent. As the Windows market shrinks due to that will it be enough to kill them off? I also think the answer is no.

Before Windows 95 desktop PC’s were not the dominant gaming computer platform, the two big ones were DOS and Commodore/Amiga. Commodore was at one time the largest selling computer brand in the world and they were mostly used for gaming more than anything else. Dedicated gaming machines are not new, and non-Microsoft gaming computers are also not new. The market has grown but the tastes have not changed much. I think what will happen is Windows will be reduced back to 90’s levels and Steam will rise up to replace the gap Amiga left in the industry when they went out of business. Sure they sort of tried to make a come back in recent years but their new systems are all playing on nostalgia and are not to be taken too seriously.

There is one other thing that could take Windows down and that is Xbox, specifically all the money it is losing Microsoft and if it continues doing so that alone could take the entire business down. I think if Microsoft can get things together and focus on the business segment and let the casual users go they can restructure and rebound. I don’t think Windows will ever be taken down my external forces, it’s just too strong of a brand and with good reason, but internal forces at Microsoft and their lack of focus is what is really damaging the Windows brand more than anything else. I think in the near term Microsoft is going to make some major changes, especially if Steam Machines do take off.

Of course those could just be another footnote in gaming history much like the failed 3DO which was a similar attempt at the same type of thing over 20 years ago. I think the market is more fragmented now than ever, even more so than the 80’s when we had Atari, Apple, IBM, and Commodore all as major players. Now we have Microsoft and Apple thats pretty much it, Google has made strides but their Chrome OS is a joke and Android is still only for Tablets and Smartphone so until/unless they ever get a full desktop/laptop version of Android they will not be a major player in that market. However Windows could always continue gaining marketshare in the smart devices area and turn things around that way. My view is that the industry is facing some challenges adapting to these new devices consumers have and this increasingly segmented market.

I can see Steam Machines taking off simply because as the guy who buys desktops quit often for gaming I am considering one and I now others who are interested as well. I think Steam Machines will take the gaming segment and Tablets and game consoles, smart TVs, etc, will continue to shrink the causal market that will just leave the business market and the tinkerers who generally gravitate towards Linux anyways. I do agree that Microsoft and Windows are facing some challenging times ahead, I try to look at all possible outcomes but as a business student I also know where the market is going and I try to adjust accordingly. Stay Cool.

The underdog who should not be forgotten: Defending Atari

Some people just like to root for the underdog, in sports, life, and in movies especially. I think there is something for watching someone you never expected to even make it win the championship. There are too many examples to get into right now but I think most people can agree it is common enough occurrence that most people are just used to it. There is a flip side to that, there is an equal if not greater desire to watch the weakling get bullied into tears. We have all been there, either been bullied or become the bully. In fact some of us have been on both sides of the stick and it’s never fun. That is one reason why I tend to stick up for those who do not deserve to be kicked while they are down. Sure there are some scumbags we just want to see crawling in their own filth, but then once they get down there we kind of start to feel sorry for them.

That is how I think the internet fandom works, no matter what the side who loses gets the undeserved hate and then everyone just assumes it is okay to pick on them. Like Transformers against the Gobots, nobody ever talks about how the Gobots actually were better toys, no they don’t even talk about the apparent flaws that make the original Transformers cartoon nearly unwatchable to anyone who wasn’t a kid in the 80’s whereas the Gobots cartoon had the same timeless Hanna-Barbara charm kids of all ages and generations keep coming back to. Some people on the internet hold this regard that if a product, property, or company ceased to exist they must have not been worth anything or that if they lost market share they obviously did something wrong, never mind that in a free market even the best ideas sometimes lose out to the lowest common denominator. In the late 1990’s I lived through a time when everybody went from thinking SEGA was the coolest thing ever to happen to video games to re-writing history into this warped reality where they *always* sucked and just somehow got lucky. These same people are currently undergoing a shift from praising the once mighty Nintendo to writing them off as always having been behind the times or having always relied on their franchises despite all those franchises having to start somewhere. Still it bothers me to see so many people needlessly attack anyone especially those who do not deserve it.

Out of all the companies that gets the most hate that I feel is not just undeserved it totally and completely warped by some major flawed logic and re-writing of history to fit the current misconception, and that company is Atari. Why do people especially young people just write Atari off as something from the past that never mattered? Well I am here to point out where they are wrong and set the record straight, no you can not say that if not for Nintendo there wouldn’t even be a Sony Playstation or an Xbox, screw that if there hadn’t been an Atari first there wouldn’t have even been a Nintendo (at that time they were in the brothel business and just starting to branch out into toys.)

So here are some key points fanboys on the internet always seem to forget whenever the name Atari gets brought up.

Fact number one, Atari INVENTED video games. Shut up yes they did. Nerds will gladly point out some anecdote about some scientist somewhere in a lab or garage or whatever who somehow managed to get a simulation to work on an old radar scope something or other, I did my fact checking and guess what, WHO FRIGGIN CARES it was NOT a commercial product, it was an experiment in a garage that somebody wrote about AFTER the fact as some revisionist history. Atari has the patent on video games, or “interactive TV games” they lost the patent to TIME but they DID invent video games so deal with it.

There is also a myth that the Magnavox Odyssey was the first true video game or this tech demo called “Tennis for Two” or some bull shit like that, Again those were tech demos done by researchers in a LAB. Pong hit arcades the same year as the Odyssey but here is the catch nobody out side of techies and internet nerds EVER knew what the Odyssey was, if you were alive back then you knew PONG PERIOD. Maybe years latter you heard of the Odyssey 2 most people mistakenly remember that as the first one but it was actually years latter. Anyways PONG was a hit in arcades and began the arcade revolution, Magnavox and their tech demo never even made it to major retailers before being lost to time. I am an avid collector of video game and TV technology, I used to own a Beta Max, Laser Disc player, and a CED player (look that one up if you don’t know) among many other obscure TV related tech. I have NEVER seen an Odyssey in the wild, you see them online in auction sites and in museums but nobody ever bought the damn thing so they might as well not even exist. Does that mean Atari deserves all the credit? YES in my book they do. Sure they maybe borrowed ideas from others at the time but here is the reality, so what, their idea took off and launched an entire revolution, those other ideas where just nerds dinking around in a lab for the hell of it. Atari did the smart thing and found a way to turn it into a business which is why you and I even care about video games in the first place, they were successful products in the marketplace that we as consumers purchased for our enjoyment.

Activision, THE number one video game company in the world, you know the guys who make a little game I am sure you all heard of “Call of Duty”, they started *AS* Atari, that is right the company that you know and love USED to be Atari games. Well sort of but there is a story behind it. Atari was like all tech businesses at the time, and mostly today too, they paid their programmers for work produced and then put them on a new project. Some programmers thought they were rock stars and should be paid and given credit like recording artists and a dispute over royalties led them to LEAVE Atari and launch Activision, a 3rd party publisher that existed to program and sell games for Atari’s home console the 2600 VCS. Why did they name their company Activision? Because it comes before Atari in the phone book, that was the way their founder tells it anyways.

Atari also created a side business called Pizza Time Theater, it was this pizza restaurant that also housed the latest and greatest video arcade games for kids to play while they waited for their food. Their mascot was a cartoon rat named Chuck E Cheese and oh by the way they still exist today but they now use that rat as more than a mascot he is their namesake too.

Atari created the first wireless controllers for a video game console way back in the early 80’s for their 2600 game system. I could go on and talk about how programmers from Atari created some of the most successful games of all time but instead I will share one tidbit about Nintendo and leave it at that. Nintendo wanted to get into the budding video game business so they sold some of their games across the ocean to American companies to release on their machines. Their most popular games were Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Popeye. They ported these to nearly every home console and computer at the time making them a third party company (so when Nintendo fans say Nintendo will NEVER go third party correct them and say they might not go BACK to being 3rd party instead) anyways Nintendo wanted to get into the hardware business because their arcade games were not selling well, those three listed above were it the rest were all flops nobody remembers, even Nintendo leaves them off their company history page.

Oh so getting back to Atari, Nintendo didn’t know how to make a video game console so they stole Atari’s design and rebranded it the Famicom, imported it back into the US as the NES and the rest is history. They made minor changes to the RAM and added a co-processor for graphics but the internal CPU was the same one found in Atari’s machine from 1976, NES came out a DECADE latter. Okay so that is not enough to defend Atari as this great company but here is one for you, even though they STOPPED making video game consoles in 1997 they made MORE consoles from the 70’s to 90’s than Nintendo has to date. They also made computers and arcade machines for nearly 20 years, Nintendo barely made arcade games for five years before getting CRUSHED in the Arcade arena by Atari and Sega, two companies who remained kings of the Arcade till the very end. (or the decline anyways)

Atari also took their game consoles online TWO DECADES before Nintendo did. Of course everybody had been doing online a whole decade before Nintendo anyways so that isn’t saying much. Also keep this in mind, even though Nintendo supposedly revived the video game industry after this mythical crash that gets blown out of proportion by internet sites looking to sensationalize a downturn in the economy, anyways the point is despite Nintendo somehow saving or reviving the video game industry people tend to forget Atari survived the crash, they kept making products during and throughout the entire period, Nintendo just came in and took all the credit for basically just taking advantage to a clean market with most competition bankrupt.

I think Nintendo has done some great things for the video game industry and so has Sega, Sony, and well even Apple, but don’t forget that it all started with Atari. Oh by the way Steve Wokzniak the guy who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, he was a programmer at Atari before Apple, and he made one of the most memorable Atari 2600 games ever. Anyways not only that but the guy who programmed Mortal Kombat got his start at Atari as did the guy who programmed some of the more popular Sega Genesis games. In fact Atari and Sega are similar in many ways but one of them that is unfair is they both failed to stay in the hardware business. My view is first so what, they made great games who cares where you play them, second actually it is false to say neither still make consoles, although they mostly make flashback consoles based on their old tech, that is more than Nintendo does for their long time fans so lets not forget about that. If you want to play some Atari classics like Asteroids or Missile Command or Centipede, go ahead an Atari Flash Back can be had for a reasonable price at nearly any store. You want to revisit old Nintendo NES games, first shell out the money for their LATEST console as that is the only way to play their old games, they won’t even sell them on Steam, or mobile devices.

Atari was a great company that had some poor management and made some bad decisions (that face it NOBODY could have predicted would be wrong) and well they ended up becoming a relic of the past. Do I think they are the greatest game company ever, no and I greatly exaggerate some of their accomplishments to prove a point not to be taken literally so don’t even bother with comments debunking facts because I don’t care this was an opinion piece the facts don’t mean shit to me. The reality is facts are stupid the truth is Atari made the video game industry and their great games are still available for all to enjoy, Nintendo hordes their old games like some sunken pirate treasure chest or something. Do I hate Nintendo, no but I hate when people shit all over Atari, turn around and praise Nintendo for things they had nothing to do with, and then act like Atari never mattered in the fist place. They have become a relic of the past which is fine they are just a company that failed to stay relevant but at least they DID actually matter and for more than a decade.

I could twist more “facts” if you want but the truth is Atari is great and deserves to be remembered for their accomplishments, and nobody cares about those nerds in their garage tinkering with their doodads, the REAL story is Atari created Pong and that launched the video game revolution that is still evolving to this day. Long live ATARI. Now I am off to play me some good old Asteroids on 2600. Stay Cool.