Yesterday, I posed a simple question on Twitter, and on Facebook:

What is the best 3DS game?

I received almost 70 responses overall. Cool.

Let’s show those votes in a neat-o table, arranged by descending order of votes per game title, then alphabetically descending.

Game Title Twitter Facebook Total
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, The 9 5 14
Fire Emblem: Awakening 12 0 12
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate 5 1 6
Super Mario 3D Land 2 3 5
Animal Crossing: New Leaf 3 1 4
Kid Icarus: Uprising 2 1 3
Kirby Triple Deluxe 2 0 2
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, The 1 1 2
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse 1 1 2
Shin Megami Tensei IV 2 0 2
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker 2 0 2
Super Smash Bros 2 0 2
Ultimate NES Remix 1 1 2
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D 2 0 2

Other titles that were mentioned: Bravely Default, Shovel Knight, Fantasy Life, Mario & Luigi Dream Team, Pokémon X/Y, and a few that I am pretty sure were jokes.

This was good for me, because I got to learn a solid, crowdsourced rundown of the best 3DS games from a trusted source: People who would be interested in following a weirdo who calls himself Nintendo Legend online.

Draw your own conclusions, I suppose. I had fun with this informal poll.

Other factoids:

• Twitter drew 48 votes, while Facebook garnered 12. Normally, this would not surprise me, since I have a larger audience on Twitter — but it is worth noting that, typically, Facebook gives me more responses per a discussion question (likely due to the persistence of a question on my wall and across feeds, unlike the more time-sensitive nature of Twitter replies).

• If going by Twitter only, Fire Emblem: Awakening was the clear winner. Zelda and Mario dominated the FB feedback.

• Two different series appear on the list with two different games: Shin Megami Tensei and Legend of Zelda.

I own a 3DS, and I can confidently say that this exercise will influence what games I get in the future. I did not know very much about Fire Emblem: Awakening before, but now that I was prompted to look into it, it looks like something I would dig very much. Fantastic.


Another old Twitter contact (@LambdaCalculus), another ally on the retro scene, another humble person who turns out to be a fun interview.

Menes is a sharp fella. For example: He provided his interview answers in the form of a separate document file, already preformatted for me.



Eric Bailey: On a scale from 1 = the absolute worst constant torture to 10 = sublime perfection across every possible dimension of joy, how would you rate your life thus far?

Robert Menes: I would say my life is around a 7 right right now. Just gotta get rid of this pesky being single thing because it’s nice to be by yourself to think but sucks when you want someone to spend time with.

EB: What is your favorite animal?

RM: Penguins. I am a Linux user, after all. 😉

EB: Do you keep many secrets?

RM: I have my closely guarded secrets, but no, I didn’t do anything extreme or evil like that.

EB: What characteristics do the best video games tend to share?

RM: The best video games share one common characteristic, which is easy: a fun factor. Whether fun to play or just a fun environment or design, games that enjoy what they are and what they offer are the best.

EB: What do you want out of your relationship with me?

RM: Puns. More puns.

EB: Is “feeling awkward” a frequent, feels-like-everyday occurrence for you, or can you think back to specific times you’d have to remember in order to recall what that feeling is like?

RM: I mostly feel awkward when I have to go to work, and no one I work with really understands where I’m coming from. I did feel awkward in school a lot as well… you know, being the nerdy kid that doesn’t act or look like a nerd at the same time? I wear glasses, true, but I wore T-shirts from punk bands, torn jeans, sneakers I drew on, and I wrote computer code and played a shit-ton of video games.

Probably not so awkward, then?

EB: How fond are you of dirt?

RM: I’m good with camping and getting dirty, but once I’m inside, I need a bath!

EB: Bottled water: Wonderful or scammy?

RM: Wonderful when it’s DIY.

EB: Do you currently take any regular medications?

RM: Does caffeine count? :)

EB:How old do you feel?

RM: Over 2,000 years old. I might be a Time Lord. :)

EB: What video game makes you feel like you’re on vacation when you play it?

RM: I would have to go with EarthBound for this one. Whenever I reach Summers in the game, I always seem to be reminded of being in Miami Beach. Guess it’s the ambient sounds in the music.

EB: How far away are you from the farthest person you would consider to be a friend?

RM: She and I have this little 3,000 mile body of water called the Atlantic Ocean between us.

EB: If you could strap anything onto your leg before a flight that you knew had a higher-than-usual possibility to crash in the mountains, what item would you strap onto your leg?

RM: A flare gun. Hopefully someone sees it!

EB: Have you ever actually watched an exercise video?

RM: Yes. They can be pretty pervy at times. 😛

EB: Can you tell me about any nifty projects of your own that you wish to promote right now?

RM: It’s still very early in the works and will take some time to get moving, but I am working on a book for the series “33 1/3” on the Mother soundtrack, which is being released in the US on vinyl by the Ship To Shore Phono Co. I hope to get enough of the book drafted by the time the next proposal cycle rolls around!

Other projects I’m working on are mostly small art projects. Some pieces will pop up from time to time on my Tumblr page:

Lastly, I am a co-host of The Nostalgia Roadtrip podcast, where the host, Edgar Velasco, and I often take an ad-libbed, often funny, and often “cynical old fart” view of things we grew up with in the 80s and 90s, pay tribute to our pop culture icons, and blab about how kids are softies nowadays. We’re on SoundCloud and iTunes, and Edgar tweets from @MoonSpiderHugs and sends announcements of new episodes.


Thanks for your time! Frankly, it sounds like I need to check out your podcast at some point…

I have known Tom Hall for a while. I would even consider him a friend. Although I primarily know him on Twitter, where I gave him a Username Lifetime Achievement Award for his choice of @OcarinaOfTom, he is among the handful of only-knew-you-on-the-Internet people I have hung out with in “real life,” and enjoyed his company.

He has a remarkable wit. When I say “remarkable,” I really do mean worth remarking upon. He is not just “a little more clever” than the average person, but seems to have accessed an entire higher plane of analogical comeuppery that most mere mortals cannot even comprehend. Seriously, most people cannot utilize the kind of lateral thinking he does — and he uses it for humor purposes, which is amazing.

Anyway, on with the interview.


Eric: Who are you? I mean, really?

Tom: I am Tom effin’ Hall. Actually, my middle name is not effin’, it’s Edward. Same initials, I suppose. I am lots of things. I am a 32 year old Quality Assurance Analyst for a software company (fancy way of saying software tester) with a love of video games, comic book movies, LEGOs, professional wrestling, football, hockey, and most cartoons of the 80’s. I am ISTJ. I am always honest, sometimes brutally and hurtfully so although it is never my intention to actually be hurtful and I will often spend a lot of time beating myself up when I know I have caused someone hurt. I have no children of my own, but I do have 2 young nieces that I adore and slowly expose the ways of gaming.

I am a retired gaming blogger and podcaster. I did that for four years before hanging up my keyboard. These days, I am taking my new found free time to enjoy gaming without obligations and I am also learning computer programming in the hopes of potentially following the software development career path. Musically, I am a fan of metal, 80’s music of most varieties, some alternative, and (I know this one sounds weird in the same list) Irish folk music. Another thing I am is extraordinarily Irish. Ask any potato and they’ll tell you. Speaking of potatoes, I love to cook and I think I’m pretty good at it.

Eric: What video game are you 99% confident you could beat me at?

Tom: Any version of Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Let’s bump it to 100%. It is literally the only game I think I can beat you at though unless I get a really good draw in Hearthstone or something. In my younger days, I actually won a local Guitar Hero tournament and came in second in a different one.

Eric: Do you think altruism (that is, the idea that someone can pursue a willful course of action that only benefit other[s] and not their self) is real?

Tom: No. To do that, you must have the belief that helping others is enjoyable to you so while by doing something that only benefits others appears to only help them, in reality, it is also giving you an emotional and/or ego boost whether you like it or not and you develop a mental need for that feeling.

Eric: What’s up with hockey?

Tom: It is Canada’s greatest gift to mankind and my favorite sport. I like the fast pace of it and I very much like how they have not gone the NFL route of making rules that make the game almost boring to watch. They kept it simple: don’t hit people in the head, don’t hit them with your stick, and do not leap into hits. Other than that, have at it. It’s a lot of fun to me. Also, the NHL seems to understand the importance of presentation more than any other sport. There are always so many fun things going on in the arenas and most of it is designed with fan interaction in mind.

Eric: Earlier this week, the two-word phrase “deliriously subversive” entered my mind. Why?

Tom: Ya know, I have known you for several years now and to this day I have not been able to figure out why any of the things that pop into your mind do so. Perhaps for her own amusement, Mrs. Legend whispers random words into your ear while you sleep and then waits to see the outcome.

Eric: What are you currently most cynical about?

Tom: Nintendo. I just feel like they have quietly become “that company” and nobody realizes it yet. The amiibo thing in particular bugs me. Their online ecosystem is horrible so they figured out how to get all of the benefits of DLC while hiding it inside of these little nostalgia trap toys which is physical DLC but no one will call it that for some reason. Then they deliberately create a shortage of them and watch people fall all over each other to get them. Now they have started building their games around them which means that with stock being what it is, some people are not going to have the full experience available to them unless they bow to the eBay scalpers Nintendo helped create. The whole thing just seems so scummy and not like the Nintendo I grew up with. The part that bugs me the most is how no one is even questioning it as if they actually owe it to Nintendo to break their backs to find these things so they can pour their paychecks into Nintendo’s lap.

Eric: Do you have a kind of beer you really like?

Tom: Yes. I am lager man. I also enjoy a good Oktoberfest and IPA’s have started to grow on me. There are not many beers I’ll say no to except for what I like to call “gimmick beers”. For example, there is one I saw that had blueberries in it and there was a bacon flavored one. No thanks. Beer is awesome the way it is, please stop screwing with it.

Eric: Could you possibly improve your name, Tom Hall?

Tom: I’m sure of it. It could go several ways. I could go super fancy like Sir Thomas of Hall which for you trivia buffs out there, was actually my first Twitter handle. I could add in a cool nickname like Tom “Thunderlips” Hall. I could also just change it completely to something super rugged like Sledge Crowley or Biff McIntyre.

Eric: Which is worse: Stepping in a puddle while wearing socks, or literally anything else imaginable?

Tom: The puddle is pretty bad. You immediately wish you didn’t even have feet. However, I can do better since the limit is only my own imagination. You go to sleep and you wake up but your blanket has been replaced with enough cockroaches to take the size and shape of the blanket. Also, your bed has somehow been transported to the middle of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and all of America watches you freak out over the cockroach blanket. You then become a very long running internet joke. Memes, videos, special songs, people might even equate your name with flipping out at the sight of a cockroach like “Oh man, he totally pulled a Bailey.” You can’t go into public without being harassed. People take pictures of you in the supermarket, yell weird roach jokes at you on the streets. Even servers at restaurants will put like a fake roach on the table to screw with you. Finally, you can’t take it anymore and you move into the woods to live off of the land, as far away from human society as you can possibly get. You stay out there for decades but eventually want for the comforts of your former life. You think to yourself that there can’t possibly be anyone who remembers you. You make your way back to society but uh oh. While you were away, nuclear winter happened. You are the only living creature there. Well almost. You know what can allegedly survive nuclear winter? Cockroaches. With the help of the radiation, they have become intelligent and human sized. They are the dominant species now. You lose your mind and decide to become a friend to the cockroach and live out the rest of your days as a servant to your cockroach overlords. THAT is probably worse than the puddle.

Eric: The mall?

Tom: Not my cup of tea. I am a fat guy. Precisely zero clothing stores in the mall cater to fat guys. That leaves me with specialty shops which are either perfume, lingerie, or super high end out of my budget electronics. It also leaves me with the kiosks of the world’s most worthless crap. Yes, I’m happy with my cell service, no I don’t want a bedazzled phone case, I do not want to take a survey for $5, your novelty t-shirts are not funny, and the last thing I need in my tiny one bedroom apartment is an R.C. helicopter. Some malls have a GameStop but I can not tell you the last time I bought a piece of physical media. That leaves my only point of mall interest as the food court and well I can get food literally anywhere else.

Eric: Which noble gas is the best noble gas?

Tom: Krypton because from it we get Kryptonite which can stop Superman if he ever gets out of line. I mean, you saw what he did in the last movie. That city is leveled. Someone should have Krytonited him real good.

Eric: Do you still have that girlfriend lady?

Tom: No, unfortunately we broke up.

Eric: Why does life have to end?

Tom: Probably a question for someone far more omnipotent than I am but if I had to guess, I’d say because if it didn’t, we’d never be able to find a parking space anywhere.

Eric: Do you ever think really hard about fire?

Tom: Yes, but only in an attempt to awaken a hopefully dormant superpower that lets me control it. So far, I have been unsuccessful.

Eric: Do you see yourself being involved in the creating of any new projects in the future, or shall you truly be content to only consume them?

Tom: Sigh. The million dollar question. The best answer I can give is maybe. It was well documented that frustration with the gaming community is the biggest reason why I left but there are others as well. When doing regular projects, I never felt like my life belonged to me, it just belonged to some faceless audience that I hoped somehow would hear about whatever I did and check it out. Since I left, I have that control of my life back and that is really nice. Then there is the carpal tunnel I developed during my games writing career. It’s still around and I need to be careful with it.

Also since leaving, I have had an “outside looking in” perspective and I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen. It has become just everyone trying to scream louder than the person before them. “Look at my blog!” “No, listen to my podcast!” “Screw that, I have a new Let’s Play!” Everyone seems far more concerned with how loud they can yell than actually providing me with content that no one else is or can be providing me with. As a result, we have thousands of creators providing slight variations of the same thing. Everything is vanilla and I want mint chocolate chip. It’s like, oh you’re gonna review retro games? Like everyone else is because that is what’s hip? What are you going to do that they aren’t doing? I see. Just going to do your own favorite games. Awesome. Good luck with that. The sad part is that there ARE some people dishing out mint chocolate chip but it is next to impossible to weed through the jungle of vanilla to find them.

Even with all of that said, there are days I miss writing and podcasting. I’m not really interested in returning to the gaming sphere, but if I had something different to focus on, I could be persuaded to give it a go again. It would probably just be in a guest scenario, though or even something like where it’s my blog but I just sort of post whenever I get the bug. I don’t see myself committing to a regular content schedule ever again but I can see myself needing a creative outlet from time to time. As they say, “never say never”.


Thanks for your time, Tom.

1. SimAnt
2. Chex Quest
3. Tetris
4. Super Mario Bros
5. Super Mario Bros 3
6. Super Mario RPG
7. Super Mario World
8. Mario Is Missing!
9. Where’s Waldo
10. The Great Waldo Search
11. Fisher-Price Firehouse Rescue
12. E.T.
13. Doom
14. Doom II
15. Quake
16. Goldeneye
17. Perfect Dark
18. Halo
19. Marble Madness
20. R.B.I. Baseball
21. Super Sprintg
22. Fantasy Zone (SMS)
23. Fantasy Zone (NES)
24. StarTropics
25. Earthbound
26. StarTropics 2: Zoda’s Revenge
27. Super Smash Bros
28. Super Smash Bros Melee
29. Super Smash Bros Brawl
30. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
31. Resident Evil 2
30. Resident Evil
31. Final Fantasy VI
32. James Pond
33. Final Fantasy VII
34. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
35. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
36. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
37. Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
38. Legend of Zelda
39. Super Mario Maker
40. Super Mario Kart
41. Mario Party 3
42. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
43. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
44. Sonic CD
45. Sonic Spinball
46. Rollerball
47. Pokémon Silver
48. Pokémon Blue
49. Pokémon Black
50. Hearthstone
51. Dark Souls
52. FTL
53. SimCity
54. SimCity 2000
55. SimCity 4
56. Street Fighter 2010
57. Mortal Kombat II (Genesis)
58. Mega Bomberman
59. Atomic Bomberman
60. Bible Buffet
61. King of Kings
62. Angband
63. King’s Quest
64. Kirby’s Adventure
65. Diablo 3
66. Alfred Chicken
67. Twisted Metal
68. Twisted Metal 2
69. Twisted Metal 3
70. Dr. Mario 64
71. Dr. Mario
72. Tetris Attack
73. Pokémon Puzzle League
74. Assassin’s Creed
75. Halo 2
76. Halo 3
77. Crash Bandicoot
78. Ristar
79. Mischief Makers
80. The Guardian Legend
81. Pac-Man
82. Defender
83. Space Invaders
84. Gyruss
85. Crystal Castles
86. Wacky Worlds
87. Pitfall
88. Yar’s Revenge
89. Dodge ‘Em
90. F-Zero X
91. Kirby’s Air Ride
92. Papers, Please
93. Her Story
94. Guacamelee
95. Shovel Knight
96. Pier Solar
97. Action 52
98. Dragon Warrior
99. Super Mario Bros 2
100. Duck Hunt

… that I could think of.

Yep, that’s it: The list of, literally, the first 100 video games I could think of. It was actually kinda fun to see where my brain went, and how it progressed.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t inspired by Pam (@Jasyla_ on Twitter), who wrote on her blog a “completely context-free list of the Best 100 Games of All Time,” which I thought was brilliant.

Of course, all this top-100-list-making nonsense has been brought about Edge Magazine’s own list of their 100 greatest-ever video games, which has been met with much discussion. To be entirely fair, they are explicit in their desire to consider “historical significance” in their choices, which… may only raise more questions, but hey, it’s a list.

[ Oh, quick shout-out to @Replayability for bringing that list to my attention. ]

This might be a good time for this reminder, which I have always always always found to be true:

It is both more fun and more fruitful to discuss favorites rather than bests.

The idea of “best” is subjective, and when you try to sound like an authority on the matter of best video games ever, you just sound full of yourself. And dumb. It’s a dumb  pursuit.

So, instead, try talking about your favorite games. Ask someone to name three games they like, rather than try to hash out exactly what the three best games ever are.

I’m confident you’ll enjoy that way more.

Seriously, it promotes much better conversation. The next time you get sucked into one of these debates, and you see someone pop in with an authoritative absolute statement like, “X is better than Y,” beware that person.

They are missing the point: Games are [ supposed to be] fun. Talking about them can be, too!

I had fun trying to think of 100 game titles in a row. Maybe you’d enjoy that challenge too!

Subject's current Twitter avatar.

Subject’s current Twitter avatar.

So it turns out that Wally is basically the most kind-hearted person in the universe. I have known him for… wow, actually like 4-5 years now. He has always been pleasant. He is remarkable. We both like old video games. He is on Twitter, @TempleOfRetro.


EricWhat are two things you are looking forward to?

Wally: This is a heck of a question. Everyone should have something to look forward to. Me? I really don’t know. I mean, I have a wonderful family with three incredible kids, and a life that I don’t really have the right to ever complain about. But what do I look forward to? The fact that I don’t know the answers to that tells me that I need to set some more goals for myself.

Seriously though…I look forward to little things. The little things that make me happy. I look forward to petty, inconsequential things (and not in a dismissal way at all) like when people I follow on Twitter create new content for me to enjoy, whether it’s in the form of a new blog post or video. Things that pique my interest in the hobbies that I enjoy… I look forward to those things.

In the big picture, I look forward to coming home from work every day. No matter how rough a day I have, the joyous greetings I receive from my daughters and the smiles from my son remind me what life is about and what’s important.

Oh, and the NHL season is right around the corner. REALLY looking forward to watching some hockey for the next 10 months.

Eric: Why would anyone want to get to know you?

Wally: Because I genuinely care about what makes other people happy. Listen, I don’t have to like what you like, but I can get on board and excited for people when things excite them. Like, look at Joe Walker and his wife Christina. I couldn’t give a gee whiz about Amiibo, but when I see those two get so excited and passionate about collecting them, I can’t help but get excited for them. It’s weird, but I get happy when others are happy. It’s hard to ignore.

Also, I’m real. There’s nothing flashy about me. I’m not the funniest guy in the room, nor am I the most entertaining. But I’m real. And I’ll never fake that. Cheesy as it sounds, I just want everyone to be happy. Why live a life full of hate or sadness? We’re given a finite time in this world, and I don’t ever think anyone should experience any less than the best of anything.

I’m a good time. We could slug beers and make a night of it, or we can sit back and have profound, thought inspiring conversations about politics or life. I can be many things to many people without sacrificing who I am.

Eric: What is your favorite book?

Wally: This is tough. I used to read all the time when I was younger, mostly wrestling and hockey biographies so I’m not the most cultured fella in that regard. I’ll go off the board and say that ‘The Spooky Old Tree’ is tops on my list. Mainly because it was one that I read inside and out as a child, but it reminds me so much of my father who read it to me and my brother. And now, as a father myself, I read it to my kids. Everything has come full circle.

Do they DARE climb over that great sleeping bear…?

Oh, and because he might read this, I’ll add ‘Mastering the Game’ by Jon Harrison. Damn fine read about how you can adapt your love of video games into successful business and leadership. REALLY good book, especially for ‘professional’ adults who still enjoy gaming.

Eric: How have old video games affected your life positively?

Wally: Old video games are the greatest escape that I enjoy. Retro gaming is a complete nostalgia trip for me, and while I enjoy the gameplay of certain games or elements of another, these games are almost like a time machine for me. When I’m playing a game like Cobra Triangle, I’m taken back to my living room in the second house I ever lived in. I’m 8 years old. Or, I’m 11 years old playing Turtles in Time in the basement of that same house, taking turns with the two neighbour kids from across the street. In short, retro gaming allows me to mentally and internally go back in time. A time in which I wasn’t anyone’s father or husband.A time in which I didn’t own the responsibilities of a job, career, mortgage or corporate expectation. When I play retro games, I can check out, albeit for a short moment, and remind myself what it’s like to be a kid. It’s not that I want to escape my life because I don’t enjoy it, but I think we all need to step back sometimes when the realities of the world start to overwhelm us a bit.

I think that’s important. I don’t think we should ever fully grow up. Not all the way anyways. Life’s too serious, at times. Retro gaming allows me to go back to being a kid. It’s a therapy I wish more people could enjoy.

Eric: What are some changes you hope to see in your day-to-day existence within the next ten years?

Wally: I hope that I’m able to better focus on enjoying life. While I paint a picture of positivity and ‘escape’, it’s not always easy. I try to manage my employees in that regard, through positive reinforcement, but sometimes I need to heed my own advice.

Attitude aside, I DO want to spend more time ‘living’. And by living, I mean experiencing life. I’ve become such a creature of habit. Get up, work, come home, put kids to bed, play video games/clack away on my computer, go to sleep, rinse, repeat. My days have become very routine and I’m way too comfortable with that. My wife recently told me that when she met me, she wondered if I would ever slow down. I was very spontaneous and a complete social butterfly, never content on staying home. After we got married and had kids, I stopped. Cold. She told me recently, “You can’t forget that you’re not JUST a father. You’ve got to remember that you have a life too. And our kids need to see that.”

A very sobering thought. So over the next 10 years, I want my day-to-day to change. To be full of life. Not just of my family, but of everything else.

Also, from a selfish standpoint, I want to create more content. I love having a creative outlet. I used to write all the time, and it was great to be able to focus on that concentrated thought, and create something out of nothing. Not just about gaming, but about all the things I’m passionate about.

I want to podcast more. I want do record my own podcast, and I want to join others. That’s probably the radio background in me, and my love of being behind a microphone. I love audio, voicing and editing. I often sometimes think of just offering up my help to other people who just want to send me their audio, and I’ll put it together. Of course, that’s just one element of my ‘creative itch’ that I’d love to scratch. My biggest obstacle is myself. I don’t make time for these things like I should and sometimes trip over myself far too much. So, I’d like to change that. Will I have the desire to create content over the next ten years? Probably not. But I do now. And there’s really no point in waiting.

Eric: When is the last time you were deliriously happy?

Wally: The fact that I can’t answer this question concerns me.

Eric: What are you up to nowadays, anyway?

Wally: I’m currently working as an executive with a radio station and when I’m not there, I’m home with my two daughters (Ages 6&2) and my son (3 months). I pride myself on trying to be a good father. I turned 33 years old in September, and while I sometimes start to feel my age, I still only recognize it as a number, and not a state of mind.

Outside of that I’m constantly working on creative outlets, as I mentioned previously. I have done preliminary work on a number of different videos, themed articles for gaming series, and other elements, but none of which I have stuck to. I’m a scatter brain. I think of many different ideas and get excited about starting something else, rather than seeing something through. I can count on two hands the amount of projects I have on the go. It’s frightening. I’m really working on narrowing that down and finishing some of them off.

I wish I could contribute more to the gaming community. I envy those who contribute what they do, and I enjoy the hell out of it. I never want to create content to get famous or noticed. I have zero interest in that. But to have others enjoy my work? Whether it’s 5 or 500,000…that’s good enough for me.

Eric: What’s your opinion on soup?

Wally: I’m not a huge soup connoisseur, but I will say this: I can enjoy a nice, hot bowl of Cream of Cheddar and Broccoli soup like it’s nobody’s business. I almost went broke in college eating it. Yes, when you consider the cost of a bowl of soup, and going broke…yeah. That’s a lot of soup.

Eric: What video game do you love that most people seem to hate?

Wally: This is a difficult question to answer. I don’t know what people REALLY hate, although as far as modern games go, I know a lot of people that seem to despise Destiny, and I rather enjoy it a lot. I’m not the biggest ‘shooter’ guy, but I really enjoy that game for what it is.

On the retro side…that’s tough. I don’t usually pay attention to games that people hate, but I really enjoy Bigfoot on the NES and I know that one gets a pretty rough ride. Again, maybe it’s more of a nostalgia thing, but I still play it from time to time and enjoy it when I do. It gets repetitive, sure, but like any game, it’s what you make it. I love Bigfoot. It was the first game to give me ‘Nintendo Blisters’.

Eric: You’re from Canada?

Wally: Yup, and I couldn’t be more proud. Not that we’re without our own issues, but I absolutely love my country. As Canadians, I love everything that people mock us for. I love being apologetic and trying to put others before ourselves. I love that we’re obsessed with men who have fewer teeth and chase a vulcanized rubber disc across a large sheet of ice with blades attached to their boots. I love saying ‘EH’ every chance I get. And yeah, I actually enjoy the cold and snow.

I’m not as ‘patriotic’ as some of my American brothers and sisters are towards their own country, but there are a lot of reasons why I love being Canadian and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

The funny thing is that my grandfather is from Minnesota and is wildly proud to be American and my grandmother is from England and insanely committed to the monarchy. And here I am…wrapped in whale blubber, snuggled up in my igloo until it’s my time to turn on the Northern Lights. Or so I’m led to believe.

Being Canadian is great.

Eric: What do you like to do?

Wally: I like a lot of different things, yet I’m quite a simple person. I love to write and create…I love playing hockey…I like sitting around with friends over a pint and talking about nothing and everything at the same time. I have a passion for video games and the worlds that engulf me within them. From a young age, I’ve enjoyed professional wrestling and the over-exaggeration and theatrics that go with it, and I enjoy it more than I probably should.

I enjoy Crown Royal. So, so much.

I like simple. Because I’m the same way.

Eric: Do you have a lawyer?

Wally: Only when I need one. I’ve used one, like, twice. Maybe three times. I could never even tell you the firm, or the name of who I used. Lawyers can be good. I don’t want to use one in any situation where they’re not.

Eric: You wake up one morning with a unique superpower: You can generate red ribbon from beneath your left pinky nail. You can start the stream, and then cut it off, at will. How will you use this power?

Wally: Super power? More like, SUPER FREAK! HE’S SUPER FREAK-AY!

But if I was ‘blessed’ with such a power, I would open up a daycare for cats. And I would spend my days flailing around ribbon for them, at a cost to cat owners. That would ensure that cats got ALL THE ATTENTION.


Thanks for your time, sir!

I only know @SpaceCptZemo from Twitter. We do share the same first name, at least. For the purposes of this interview, I shall be designated in the text “Bailey,” where he shall be “Zemo.”

The subject's current Twitter avatar.

The subject’s current Twitter avatar.


BaileyHow are you today?

Zemo: I am doing pretty awesome today. Today is my “Saturday” ( I work Management in a Sales/Retail environment so my weeks are always skewed) so I’m cleaning and cooking today. I’m excited because I’m getting all my errands done today so I can goof offtomorrow 😀

BaileyFrom this moment, until your death, how many people do you think you will witness in their own dying moment?

Zemo: That’s a good question. I’ve already seen one person pass away and although I don’t plan on seeing anyone else die I figure I will see 3 more people. I hope one is my wife, yes that sounds morbid, but I would rather have her go first and me live alone than the other way around.

BaileyWhy do people enjoy video games? 

Zemo: There are numerous reasons why people enjoy playing video games. I’ll go into why I play them and then go into why others play them.

For me, playing games started out as escapism. It then it evolved into appreciating the art, music and style of a game. That’s why I play.

I feel that the general populace plays games to “switch their brain off” they can plop down, play a game and have fun. It’s like fast food to them, a fun experience. Not that I’m trying to act high and mighty about my methods of why I play a game but it’s hard to pinpoint why most people play a game but that’s what I think people play games.

BaileyDoes social media do more harm than good overall?

Zemo: No, I don’t think so. I think people  only look at the negative that social media brings out in humanity. Those negatives being bullying, sexual harassment, threats, etc. All of those negatives showcase the dark parts of humanity but you also have to look at the good is has brought. I’ve met a great deal of nice people, learned about world issues, witnessed great discussions regarding hobbies I enjoy and discovered tons of knowledge on subjects I would have never learned about without social media. I also have to say that it feels great when a comment is retweeted, favorited etc by people I may or may not know so that makes me happy, which is good. I think others also get that same sensation and also have similar experiences with other/learning new thins so I think social media does more good.

BaileyWhat was the coolest thing about medieval Europe?

Zemo: That humans survived it. Humans faced poor medical, hygenic and food handling standards, wars AND a horrible plague. You look at it on paper? We should have been wiped out during that time but we pulled it off. I’ll tell ya what, aliens better bring their “A” game because we’re hard to kill.

BaileyWhat is your favorite color?

Zemo: Dark Forest Green, Dodger Blue and White and Cowboys Blue and Silver. Yeah that’s right I have numerous colors I like.

BaileyDo you like chess?

Zemo: I do! Here’s the thing though, I’m TERRIBLE at it. I never figured out how to play well. I used to boot up Battle Chess on PC when I was a kid just to watch all the death animations.

BaileyHow well can you dance? 

Zemo: I wouldn’t say I’m a traditional “good” dancer. I like to dance and I don’t care if I look goofy or not. It’s about having fun!

BaileyWhen’s the last time you can remember seeing a movie trailer, unexpectedly, and after watching it think, “Wow, now I really want to see that!”?

Zemo: The Martian. Never heard of the book beforehand and I first thought “Meh, another Sci-Fi flick, maybe…” After watching the trailer I was HYPED. The great thing is that it has my wife excited about it and she hates Sci-Fi movies. I made the mistake of getting her excited for Prometheus thinking it would get her into the Aliens franchise and I was met with a horrible movie that she still references today as “The WORST movie ever!” hahahaha.

BaileyDo you have any siblings? 

Zemo: Yes. I have an older sister who is a 1st grade teacher in Texas where we grew up.

BaileyWhat are three things that you are fairly confident you are better-than-average at? 

Zemo: 1-Language acquisition. I grew up speaking Spanish and English in my home and took Japanese in college as my minor (spent a Summer in Japan as well, was a blast) so I can take on languages easier than most. I may not be able to pick up a language instantly but I can look at words and figure out how to speak the basics of it. I’m going to be boastful here but I’ve met people from all over the world and when I pronounce their name (as my job requires me to do at times) I’ve gotten a few compliments on how I speak the name and even a few “Oh do you speak X?”

2-Remembering faces and interactions. I may not remember your name, but I remember what we talked about, what you were wearing and what day we were talking.

3- Puzzle games, I can pick those games up QUICK and when I get good at them, watch out! :P<

BaileyDo you have any desire to visit Alaska?

Zemo: Yeah why not? Sounds like a beautiful place and it would be nice to camp out there. Never camped in that kind of environment.

BaileyWhy do you have the Twitter username that you have?

Zemo: I like Space, for a while people called me “Captain” at work and I rarely see the letter “Z” get used. All those words tended to work together so BAMMO there ya go!

BaileyHow much money do you hope to earn in the next decade?

Zemo: Enough to allow my wife and I to get a house, raise a family and support my nerd addictions.

BaileyWhat are some video games that you really like but are not quite your favorite?

Zemo: Mortal Kombat, fun games but if I’m going to play a fighter I’m reaching for Street Fighter or Guilty Gear first.

The Sonic series. Hey I can run fast!…ok what else? Oh that’s it? Nah I’m good. Like Mortal Kombat, fun for a bit but I lose interest quickly.

Mario Party, so much anger.

BaileyIf you could talk into a microphone for 30 seconds, and every person on the planet would hear what you had to say and have it translated for them to understand if needed, what would you say?

Zemo: “There is no reason to be violent, let’s work together as humans and make a better world for our children and their children.”


Thanks for your time, Captain!

I like Daniel. His work on 1 More Castle was among my most fond. You can find him on Twitter @thedancinpanda.


Eric: Why do you bother getting out of bed in the morning?

Daniel: Depends. Some days, I don’t get out of bed in the morning. I have, many a time, stayed in bed well into the afternoon. Most days, it’s the obligation of school or work that really gets me up. On a deeper level? I don’t know, I’ve never been one to be completely sessile. I have to get up and do something, even if it is just watch TV or play video games. So, on the whole, I guess, the need for a change in scenery.

Eric: Do you think it will ever be a problem, like a real societal problem, that human beings are gradually, generationally, getting used to interacting with each other through a means other than face-to-face for a majority of their communication?

Daniel: Well, yes, if it ever comes to the point of that. Truthfully, I believe that most people have learned to respect the standard social contract of tangible interaction as opposed to digital. Or, in layman’s terms, most people would not speak at work how they do on Reddit. Now, we are becoming less and less aware of it as we continue. There is a sociological theory in the postmodernist camp that purports that the social symbols and cues our society has evolved with over several centuries are eroding, due to a combination of communication change and globalization. I’m not sure I completely buy it, but it is definitely interesting to think about if it happened. Would everything fall apart? Turn to anarchy? Would the limited inhibitions of speech found on the internet, if brought to the physical world, be a catastrophe? Or, would it create a new generation, who, much like The Misanthrope, simply speak their mind with true sincerity all the time, and in turn, create a more functional world without all the trapping complexities of political correctness, or even general courtesy?

For now, I think that it’s a non-issue (with the exception of the younger generations being slightly more obnoxious). Most of them still know how to engage face-to-face, and I don’t see the heightened evidence on online interaction as a bad thing. I do think, though, that we must educate the next generation on how to use the internet to fully convey thoughts. For example, this paragraph cannot be accurately expressed by a handful of emojis. To summarise: we are changing the artistic materials, not throwing away all the canvases. Still, we must teach them how to paint, because no matter the materials, the content must always be expressed by the form.

I feel like I rambled far too much, there.

Eric: Why is the past tense of the word “glide,” “glided”? I mean, for “ride” we have “rode,” and for “slide” we have “slid.” Why can’t the past tense of “glide” be “glode” or “glid”? English is so maniacally bizarre.

Daniel: I actually learned a cool thing about English recently, and it basically has to do with syllable stressing.

For example (bolds mark the stressed syllable):

Noun: Record

Verb: Record

That’s a cool rule English has that I think simplifies a lot about this.

Anyway, I think It’s glided probably because it corresponds to some rule dealing with the original verb from Middle English, “gliden”. So, in that sense, you would be making it “gloden” or “glid”, both of which kind of abstract the word to the point of confusion. So, it was probably “glidened” originally, then when the root word was shortened, changed to “glided”. That is, of course, just my estimate. I’m no linguist or philologist, so, take that with a grain of salt.

EricWhat’s up with curtains? I mean, besides the *obvious.*

Daniel: I actually don’t use curtains. I have a blanket hanging in front of my window. Keeps it nice and dark so there is no glare at any time of the day.

EricWhat is the creepiest thing in your Place Of Where I Typically Sleep right now?

Daniel: There is some cool art of a skeleton woman sitting on a gravestone. It’s super cool, but also a little creepy.

EricHow fond are you of video games?

Daniel: Very. I won’t ramble in this interview again, but let me say it like this: I am a film student, and television editor by trade. Videos and movies are kind of my thing. That said, I think that video games are vastly superior, both in flexibility and potential for artistic experience. I truly believe that video games are the future of art. If film ever dies, I think video games will be the one who pulled the trigger, and I wouldn’t blame them at all.

EricDo you think you could beat me in a fight? Like, a good ol’ fist fight. Just me and you, neutral ground, no weapons. To the death. Do you think you would win?

Daniel: Yeah, I’m a pretty big dude. I am pretty tall (see next question), about 250 pounds, and use to build sets as a job, so, no stranger to a work out. Also, you’re really scrawny. I love you, but like, you’re small, dude.

EricHow tall are you?

Daniel: 6’3” on a good day.

EricWhat is your favorite breakfast cereal?

Daniel: Captain Crunch or Reese’s Puffs.

EricWhat do your parents do for a living?

Daniel: Mother is a stay-at-home. Dad is retired now, but still works just to feed his own antsy behavior. He’s been in basically everything: DEA agent, teacher, home repair, house flipper, private investigator, motorcycle salesman, stock trader. He has a lot of spare time now, and is kind of a workaholic, so, he does a lot of stuff.

EricWhat do you believe is the role of government? Or, at least, what it *should* be?

Daniel: On a very basic level, I believe government is there to defend the people’s rights, or at least, the select few they choose. Citizens must be willing to give up certain rights they have naturally (right to run around naked, right to sell stolen goods, right to smoke crack in kindergarten) for other rights they deem more important (speech, privacy, etc.). That’s basically the idea behind the work of Hobbes and Locke.

On a more pragmatic note, I believe the role of government should be to keep idiocy in line. Maybe I’m a bit cynical, but I believe that the government exists partially as a scapegoat, to say “Look man, this stupid thing you’re doing? We don’t mind it, but the government says it’s illegal, so we gotta shut ya down.” Now, the government is run by the consent of the people, and laws are made by representatives of the people, so really, the fellow citizens are the ones who are shutting down the idiocy, but the governmental process acts as an abstraction layer to keep from direct conflict between neighbors. Unfortunately, when the politicians who run government realized that idiots also had the right to vote, and that, by shutting down their idiocy, they were losing a key voting demographic, they instead pandered to the idiots, instead of the responsible citizens who were instrumental in shutting down the idiocy. It’s easier to get idiots to vote for you, because they are idiots, and will believe everything you say.

This dance has since been performed more time than Kevin Bacon’s lonely Footloose dance in that warehouse. And people have done that dance a lot.

Or at least, that’s my theory.

EricWhat gives you hope?

Daniel: Motivated people, who have goals, and plans, and a work ethic.

EricWould you mind telling me about one of your video game ideas? I would like to hear about it.

Daniel: I have had this idea for a while, that blends two genres I’m not a huge fan of, into something i think could be super cool. So, I like the idea of RPG customization, but was never a fan of menu based combat that was often featured in “JRPG’s” (though, I’m not a fan of that term). As well, I have always liked the idea of fighting games, but the lack of a meaningful story or narrative in most of them, and the kind of concrete decisions on what can and cannot be adjusted. So, I thought of a great idea in which you create a fighter with an archetype (similar to Chargers, Zoners, Grapplers, etc. in fighting games, or Wizard, Warrior, Rogue, etc. in RPG’s). From there, you start to fight others (either in a single player mode with a narrative, or PvP using a level match system, so you play people on your level).

As you play more matches, depending on your grade (A, B, C, D, as Street Fighter does), you gain a certain amount of experience, which levels you up. As you level up, you unlock more moves and items for your character. Your character has a set number of move slots that can be switched out as you unlock more (three two button maneuvers, three three button maneuvers, two four button maneuvers, one super, or something to the like). So, with a library of possible moves, and so many slots, you can create a playstyle that fits you like a glove, without the need for slow menu based combat, and without the need for boring grinding often seen in RPG’s. All of a sudden, grinding is a challenge, as every match requires engagement, instead of just inputting menu commands. Each match feels like it has weight. Now, items play a similar role, but are double-edged swords. For example, one fist equipment, one foot equipment, one clothing, or the like. So, for example, if you give your character a sword, it makes your hand to hand combat have more damage, but your attack speed is slower with your hands, and since your hands are now being used, it might make one of your grapple moves unusable. Or, you give your character metal armor, meaning he can take more hits, but his overall movement speed is slower. Little tweaks like that.

And in the internet age, the nice thing is that a game like this could be updated and balanced instantly, similar to a MOBA. So yeah, I have no talent or capability to do this, but I think it’d be cool.

EricHow awful of a thing is American football?

Daniel: I honestly don’t mind American football. I mean, it definitely is slower than its European counterpart, and more built for advertising and American television, but as a sport itself, I like it. College football is definitely better than professional, though.

EricWhat is your favorite sort of cookie?

Daniel: Probably, double chocolate-chocolate. Ginger snaps are awesome too.

EricDo androids dream of anything?

Daniel: Electric Sheep.


Reese’s Puffs are my favorite cereal, too.

Thanks for your time, sir!

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post: “What is the Retro VGS?”

You can certainly read the content that’s there, but basically, the whole can of worms simply boils down to a fundraising project that I have some misgivings and questions about. I am very fond of old video games, and typically get excited for creative endeavors in that arena.

But at some point, this one went awry. To be entirely forthcoming, the project head has actually done other cool stuff that I would have happily endorsed at some time. He seems like a fun guy in the right setting, and likely has similar family values to my own. I have nothing against him personally. I would hope we each see gaming as Something Of Second Importance in our lives and be on great terms in another setting.

All that being said, I still had those nagging questions about the VGS. I sought out Kevin “Kevtris” Horton, former member of the team that was intending to put the VGS onto market, and was able to get some responses.

I, uh, kinda just jump right in with my line of inquiry. Here it is.


Eric: What experience do you have in the realms of hardware, electronics, modding, plastic mold injections, etc.?

Kevin: I work for a company, and I am responsible for all our electronic design, circuit boards, and some of the other aspects like software and a little mechanical engineering. I have always been interested in electronics, and as a teenager spent many hours modifying my C64 and making add-ons for it like a pen plotter out of an old Decwriter 4 and even an EPROM programmer.

I personally have not gotten an injection mold made, but we have some at work and my friend recently had one done for the NES cartridge shells. I have known a few people who work in the industry as well.

Eric: How did you come to be a part of the Retro VGS project team?

Kevin: I was solicited back in april or may after someone told them about my FPGA cores. I had 3 skype calls total from what I recall, and the cancelled one.

Eric: What exactly is a “core” in this context, and how important would it be to a project like this?

Kevin: The “core” is everything that encompasses a virtual “system”. i.e. an Atari 2600 core would be everything that makes the FPGA operate like an Atari 2600. The Colecovision core would reconfigure the hardware to operate as a Colecovision, and so on. Cores are not just limited to simulating a single machine. Just about anything could be made into a core such as better graphics or sound capabilities, or even weirder things like bitcoin miners (though that ship has sailed. ASIC miners are a lot better these days).

Eric: Can you describe the mood, the tone, the general “feel” of the planning stages of the VGS project?

Kevin: It was a lot of talk about what could be done, pie in the sky things such as “100 year” flash ROMs. I tried to talk them down to a more manageable/cheap solution like a single serial flash ROM that could hold an FPGA core and the requisite game to run on it but they wouldn’t hear me out. I also gave other cost cutting measures and explained how the FPGA should be used to do video processing from an ARM system instead of the rube-goldberg arrangement of buffers and transceivers their HW guy wanted. It would’ve saved money and PCB space and wiring.

Eric: What light can you shed, if any, on where the figure of $1,950,000 came from as a fundraising goal?

Kevin: I don’t know anything about where this came from.

Eric: Was there a single moment when you began to have misgivings about being on the team, or was it a gradual process?

Kevin: It started out seeming feasible until the proverbial kitchen sink was added. When I heard them talk about thinking about using small hard drives on the carts I knew this bird would never fly.

Eric: Ultimately, what led to your departure from the team?

Kevin: I got fed up slowly hearing the grand plan of things that could never be on the podcasts, and when they blew off the last meeting, that was it. I knew it wasn’t even close to done less than 2 weeks before they launched and was shaking my head. I doubt they have a solid HW plan even today.

Eric: Can you remember the original vision for the VGS product in your initial discussions? And, perhaps: How was that vision different from what ended up being represented on the IndieGoGo page?

Kevin: I can’t remember a whole lot. It was originally going to be an FPGA + ARM core I think at first. Then it morphed into an FPGA + ARM core (single chip) into that plus another ARM based SOC (system on a chip- i.e. something you’d see in the Ouya).

When it launched it transformed into a TI SOC of some kind with “3D capabilities” that was so new the data sheet wasn’t even ready, and chips were not going to ship from TI until november of this year. I guess they still are over a month away from having any kind of silicon yet.

Eric: If we were sitting at a bar tonight together, and you had a couple beers in you, and I asked you what you thought of the Retro VGS project, what would you tell me?

Kevin: Haha.   It was a dead duck 5 months ago, and it remains a dead duck.  Only now the duck has been gold plated and made in the USA and is designed to last 100 years.

Eric: Do you have anything you would say to Mike Kennedy, specifically?

Kevin: Don’t discount someone else’s opinion, even though it might not be the news you want to hear.  Get second, third, and more opinions from people in the industry (not just videogames in this case, but hardware, programming, and electronics as well).   Bad news isn’t always bad, even if it does poke holes in your grand vision.

Eric: Finally: What projects are out there, elsewhere, that you are excited about and want people to know of? What are you currently involved with?

Kevin: My friend MarshallH over at retroactive is releasing an HDMI adapter for the N64 which is pretty awesome.   I finished up my own NES HDMI adapter too, the Hi Def NES.  It connects inside a regular stock NES and makes it output up to 1080p video.   Quality is “emulator like” while running on the original chips.

I also had the idea for my own FPGA videogame system for a very long time (11 or more years now) called the Zimba 3000.   There’s a thread about it going at Atari Age.


Thank you for your time, Kevtris.

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