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Gaming History You Should Know – The History of the D-Pad April 30, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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The D-Pad, an abbreviation of the term “Directional Pad”, is a universally included feature in any modern video game peripheral’s control device.  However, it wasn’t always like that.  In the early days of gaming, player control was done with joysticks and buttons. Even controllers for early game consoles like the Atari would follow suit and offered a joystick or dial-type controller.  It would not be until Nintendo launched the NES (or Famicom in Japan) that the D-pad was featured on a console controller, and by the time the Game Boy was released, it was obvious players could not live without it.

So who is responsible for creating the D-pad?  That would be the great Gunpai Yokoi.  Yes, the late father of the Game and Watch and Metroid can be credited with creating the most important controller feature in the past thirty years.

I’ll let Norman Caruso, better known to the internet as The Gaming Historian, take it from here.  He has an incredible YouTube Channel filled with a plethora of well-researched videos on the history of gaming and I encourage all of my readers to check it out!  So sit back, relax, and enjoy his tale of the history of the D-pad.

The only comment I think I could add about this that the Historian didn’t mention is that I remember seeing a commercial for a third-party NES controller that referred to the D-Pad as a “rocker switch”.  It was likely called this due to the fact the button rocked back and fourth on each axis.  I don’t think it would be officially regarded as the D-pad until after the 16-Bit generation launched.


Student Bodies Unboxing April 28, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Student Bodies is a different kind of board game. Developed by Angry Duck Games, 2-5 players must play the roles of five outcast High School students. The catch is the players need to be the first to survive a zombie outbreak at their high school.

Today, Maniac unboxes this unique board game in anticipation of reviewing it next week. Let’s see what’s in the box, hear what he thinks of the game’s art style and hint about the next possible product from Angry Duck Games.

Stay tuned to this site for more news about new products from Angry Duck Games. Until then you can expect a full review of Student Bodies is on its way.

Special thanks to Tim at Angry Duck Games for sending us this review copy of the game!

Tales from IT – Upgrading an Obsolete Laptop with a Solid State Drive April 27, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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We’re back with an all new Tales From IT, a series where Maniac talks about some of his most noteworthy computer technology repairs.  Today, we’re going to be talking about Solid State Drives (SSDs for short).

One of Maniac’s clients had an unusual desire to buy already obsolete used computers. This wouldn’t normally be much of a problem if he was using them to run legacy software, but this client expected them to act as if they were brand-new top of the line PCs just because they were “refurbished”.  After buying a laptop he was told would not work well, he called up Maniac to complain the laptop was slower than dirt when trying to run essential software he installed on it like Quickbooks.

Because the laptop was so old, Maniac’s options for improving the laptop’s speed were limited.  The RAM was already maxed out and could not be upgraded, and because it was a laptop, internal components like the CPU, GPU and Motherboard could not be upgraded at a reasonable cost.  The only option left was to upgrade the laptop’s hard drive with a SSD.

Would the new drive make the computer any faster?  Would it even work?  Watch and find out!

Chessex 23 1/2″ x 26″ Reversable Battlemat Unboxing April 26, 2017

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Maniac got a really good price on a brand-new Chessex Vinyl Reversible Battlemat at his local game store and decided to pick it up. The mat features a grid pattern on one side and a hex pattern on the other, allowing for different games to be played on either side.

Please post a comment with your ideas to make the best out of this mat!

40 Years of Star Wars – George Lucas Interview April 26, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I know this is a bit belated but I wanted to make sure that a high-quality official archive of this event was posted before writing about it here.  Last weekend, Star Wars fans from all over the world went to Orlando for Celebration 2017.  To kick things off, actor Warwick Davis hosted an interview with the creator of Star Wars himself, George Lucas.

These two talk about nearly everything that could be discussed about the history of Star Wars, the personal stories of the actors who have appeared in the franchise, and a lot more. Prepare yourself for some incredible guest appearances and a tribute that is not to be missed.


Tales from IT – Replacing a HP Designjet Printer Belt April 24, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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Printers can break, it’s just a fact of life. But what happens if your broken printer happened to cost 2000 dollars and was the size of a couch?

Maniac tells the story of a time when he had to replace the belt on a HP Designjet printer. The catch? You needed to completely disassemble every single component of the printer JUST TO GET TO THE BELT. Can he do it? How did he fix any problems he came across while replacing the belt?  Watch and find out!

Here’s the link to the belt replacement video we used as a guide to fix the printer in case you need it.

Gaming History You Should Know – Video Game Inspired Game Shows April 23, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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It’s Sunday and we are back for more Gaming History You Should Know.  Let me tell you about the YouTube Channel Grid 19 Productions. It features a fantastic ongoing series called The Game Show Reviewer, where a man trapped in space and time reviews some of the most memorable game shows in the history of television.  You name the show, he’s probably reviewed it. Jeopardy, The Price is Right, and Press Your Luck are just a few examples of adult game shows he’s reviewed. Heck he’s even reviewed memorable kids game shows like Legends of the Hidden TempleGUTS and Double Dare.

You’re probably wondering why I would feature The Game Show Reviewer on a website devoted to video games, and to answer that I need to take you back to the 90s.  When I was growing up I always had a thirst for new information, regardless if it was historical or pop culture related, and two shows were about to air that would change my life.

By the early 90s there was no escaping the phenomenon that were the Carmen Sandiego PC video games.  Created by Brøderbund, Carmen Sandiego was a thief who stole the world’s most precious historical artifacts while leaving a trail of clues in her wake. Depending on the game, following the clues and solving each case required a knowledge of history and world geography. This focus made it a perfect fit for the PBS network who adapted the video game into a daily game show I used to love watching it after school every day.  Later on, the series actually got a sequel show. Here’s his review of the Carmen Sandiego game shows on PBS. Now, I finally can say what I’ve always wanted to say, “Do it Rockapella!”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the dial, the first kids’ network Nickelodeon was dominating children’s programming with an influx of unique sitcoms, cartoons and game shows. It was the early 90s and the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis consoles were dominating with their superior graphics and sound. Competitive gaming was being openly discussed among people who never even played video games before and Nickelodeon had plans to capitalize on the craze.  However, if they were going to make a tv show about games they weren’t just going to show kids playing video games, they were going to put kids IN THE GAMES!  With that in template mind, the show Nick Arcade was born and here is his review.

Hope you enjoyed this look at the classic game shows that made up my childhood. Special thanks to The Game Show Reviewer for letting me feature him on this site, I can’t wait to see what videos he has in store for the future.

Halo 3 Earth Day Valhalla Sigil April 22, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Happy Earth Day!  Fans of Halo: The Master Chief Collection may know that there are tons of achievements in the game that nod to various Easter Eggs which were sprinkled over the various Halo titles, and what better way to celebrate Earth Day then to go looking for Halo 3‘s Earth Day sigil on the Valhalla multiplayer map?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is out now exclusively on the Xbox One.

Let’s Play Quantum Break Act 5 April 21, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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All good things must come to an end and I’m sad to say that we have come to the end of our Let’s Play of Quantum Break on the Xbox One. How’s the story end?  How did our decisions effect the game?  Will your playthrough be any different?  Watch our play through of Act 5 and find out!

All game footage is provided with full video commentary.

Quantum Break is out now on the Xbox One and PC.

Tales from IT – Setting up Multi-User Access in Quickbooks April 21, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, Tales from IT.
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In an all-new Tales from IT, Maniac tells the story of the first time he ever worked with a small business.

Quickbooks is an important piece of software for small businesses, and about a year ago, Maniac was asked to configure a Quickbooks database for multi-PC access. This isn’t much of an issue until you realize that his client had no Quickbooks server on his network. Will Maniac be able to do the job?  Watch and find out!