The Game Scholar Column

After Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine dubbed me The Game Scholar in 2003, I came up with the idea to write a column under that name. Over the years the column has been hosted by Manci Games, the Digital Press website, and Old School Gamer magazine. In all cases I had complete autonomy to write about anything I wanted, and many of the columns acted as extensions of my book Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry. In July 2020 the column was moved to this website and all new columns I write will appear here.

The following are all of The Game Scholar columns that I have written to date in chronological order.

The Game Scholar Logo

The original The Game Scholar logo (#1) was created by myself and used in the single column that Manci Games published. When I joined Old School Gamer I suggested my logo, but OSG publisher Ryan Burger sent it to his artist who came up with design #2. Preparing this website, my partner, Rob Far, created the #3 logo as sort of a placeholder. I took the design of that one and combined it with the design of the prior two and came up with the current logo #4.

THE GAME SCHOLAR

From Manci Games – June 2004 Welcome to the first installment of The Game Scholar. In this column I’ll bring you anecdotes from the wonderful world of videogaming’s past, present and future. No matter the era, I’ll always put it into an historical perspective. What you won’t find here are game reviews or strategy tips.… Continue reading THE GAME SCHOLAR

CHILDHOOD’S END

Unpublished column intended for Manci Games – August 2004 When my ten year old, Ronnie, was an infant, I used to worry about my massive Atari collection. I knew that one day Ronnie would want to play videogames, how could he not, living with me? It’s just that many of the games in my collection… Continue reading CHILDHOOD’S END

IN THE BEGINNING…

From Digital Press website In years past there were many fun reasons to attend a CES (Consumer Electronics Show) or E3, One reason naturally was to learn about, and play, all of the new and exciting (ok, not all were exciting) games that may or may not have been released during the coming year. Another… Continue reading IN THE BEGINNING…

TOY FAIR

From Digital Press website Last time around I discussed my trials and tribulations with CES. This time I’m going to talk about another important trade show for gamers: The Toy Fair!  The International Toy Fair is one of the oldest trade shows in the country. It’s held every year in mid-February in New York. For… Continue reading TOY FAIR

CONVERSATIONS WITH CONSOLES

From Old School Gamer Magazine – October 2017 In today’s gaming climate a microphone is practically just as standard as a controller, but it’s usually used for conversations between players. But one goal has always been for verbal interaction, where players could actually speak their commands into voice controller, which would eliminate the need for… Continue reading CONVERSATIONS WITH CONSOLES

THE NINTENDO ODYSSEY

From Old School Gamer Magazine – January 2018 A question had arisen regarding whether a statement in my book, Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry, was correct or not. The book stated that Nintendo had imported the first videogame console, the Magnavox Odyssey, into Japan. Shortly after the book’s publication, this was disputed… Continue reading THE NINTENDO ODYSSEY

REVISING HISTORY

From Old School Gamer Magazine – March 2018 During my freshman year of college I took two semesters of a comprehensive world history course. For the first semester class I had to purchase an expensive, hardcover history book, which was fine. However, when I returned for the second semester, which was being taught by the… Continue reading REVISING HISTORY

KEYBOARD CREATIONS

From Old School Gamer Magazine – May 2018 I think that the Labo, the do-it-yourself kits that released on April 20, 2018, is pure genius on Nintendo’s part. They will breathe new life into the Nintendo Switch, which right now is shining bright, while teaching kids (and adults) the principles of engineering and physics. One… Continue reading KEYBOARD CREATIONS

THE SPORTING LIFE

From Old School Gamer Magazine – July 2018 Since the beginning of videogame history, sports have always played a major role. Higinbotham’s Tennis For Two, Baer’s video table tennis, and Bushnell & Dabney’s Pong are also video versions of tennis or table tennis. But no matter how much you tell yourself that these videogames are… Continue reading THE SPORTING LIFE

READING THE CLASSICS

From Old School Gamer Magazine – November 2018 Ever since the world’s first two videogame magazines, Great Britain’s Computer and Video Games and the United States’ Electronic Games, debuted two weeks apart in November 1981, printed videogame magazines have basically come in four flavors: General: The majority of gaming magazines fell under this category and… Continue reading READING THE CLASSICS

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

From Old School Gamer Magazine – May 2019 Since the dawn of time, or at least since 1975 when every Tom, Dick and Harry began releasing their own forms of videogame console that used General Instruments’ AY-3-8500 chip, people have been referring to all video tennis consoles as Pong consoles. However, this is quite understandable… Continue reading WHAT’S IN A NAME?

HONORING A PIONEER

From Old School Gamer Magazine – July 2019 In January 2000, Electronic Gaming Monthly magazine, which at the time was the world’s best-selling magazine about videogames, published my seven-piece article about Ralph Baer, the inventor of the home videogame console. In the 35 years since he had come across his Eureeka! moment on a New… Continue reading HONORING A PIONEER

PLUG & PLAYS

From Old School Gamer Magazine – November 2019 Following the success of the NES Classic in 2016, we’ve seen the SNES Classic, the forgettable PlayStation Classic and the well-received Genesis Mini. Although these gaming machines are referred to as dedicated consoles, they are not derived from the early ‘70s dedicated videogame consoles that had their… Continue reading PLUG & PLAYS

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE

From Old School Gamer Magazine – January 2020 Videogame software can reside on many different types of media. In the early dedicated consoles of the seventies, the games were built-into the consoles themselves. The introduction of cartridges in 1976 eventually game way to CDs in 1988 and DVDs in 2000. Magnetic media also found its… Continue reading LET’S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE

WAR GAMES

From Old School Gamer Magazine – March 2020 Astrit Begolli, commonly known as Polaki, is just an average videogame collector like the rest of us. His niche is rare consoles and he boasts a collection of over 181 systems including some of the rarest and most expensive consoles such as a Japanese Atari 2800, a… Continue reading WAR GAMES

THE FORGOTTEN EPIC

Much has been written about gaming’s first decade, with a particular focus on western innovation and domination. This focus is understandable considering Americans developed the first console, the first arcade games, the first hit videogame, the first system to support programmable games and the first console that was a true mainstream success, among many other… Continue reading THE FORGOTTEN EPIC