For any male readers born from the mid ’70s to early ’80s, listen up—Console Wars by Blake Harris has it all: your childhood, the answer to your next marketing challenge, cultural divides, innocence, under bellies, triumph, and loss.
It’s also the only book I’ve ever read that made me feel as young as I am old. Take these gems, for example:
- “There was no such thing as a magic touch, and it wouldn’t have mattered if there were, because the only thing it takes to sell toys, vitamins, magazines (or anything) is the power of story. That was the secret. That was the whole trick: to recognize that the world is nothing but chaos, and the only thing holding it (and us) together are stories… When you tell memorable, universal, intricate, and heartbreaking stories, anything is possible.”
- “Tony Harman was prepared to leave with his tail between his legs (smiling, though, as his thesis that western cultures can make great games too had made it all the way to the top), but he decided to try one more approach. “Let me just ask one more question,” he said, taking a step toward [Nintendo President] Yamauchi. “How many bad television commercials do we make each year?” Continue reading…
Although they were one of my top three bands in high school, Smashing Pumpkins haven’t rattled my earbones much since. Maybe twice in the last decade.
To remedy that, I turned on Siamese Dream last week for myself and my posterity. My six-year old aspiring-drummer headbanged to it. My eight year old — who prefers electronic music — raised an eyebrow at it.
“Sounds like something from the 1900s,” she said unamused. I laughed and informed her that it was, more specifically, from the early 1990s, which reportedly took place two decades ago.
Well, when you put it that way…
Fun fact: Siamese Dream’s overly thick or “fat” sound is largely the result of up to 100 recorded guitar parts per song.
When Return of the Rentals released, I was sixteen. I instantly fell in love.
Not only was it a five star album then, it’s a five star one today. To put my money where my mouth is, I think it’s aged as well as Weezer’s seminal Blue Album, something not a lot of ’90s albums can say. (Anyone tried to listen to Nevermind lately? Yikes!)
The reason The Rentals debut still speaks to me is because I like playfulness, groovy synths, classical music, catchy melodies, and ’70s hard rock. That and it makes me want to dance. It makes me want to play air guitar, head bang, and sing aloud. It makes me want to start a band again, even though I never will. It’s like looking at an old photo of yourself and liking what you see. That’s a beautiful thing.
And just like it did when I was 16, the song “Move On” quells any desire I have to run away from my problems. Just singing the words is relief enough to face them. That’s why I love this album.
If you’ve never listened to it, or if you haven’t in years, I highly recommend a spin. You friends with P.?
It was the ’80s or ’90s. It moved at a faster pace because officials actually let the players play, unlike today. And uh, as the above video shows, it was a lot more physical. Good times. (Thanks, Tim).