New Feature: “It Came From Netflix…”

Today, I’m proud to announce a new feature on  “It Came From Netflix…”  – This is the silly name for my long planned review of strange and wonderful things that can be found deep in the dark depths of the Netflix streaming library. Of course, there are other streaming services like Hulu that also carry some obscure and interesting content, and I’m sure at some point I’ll touch on that too, so perhaps the name “It Came From Netflix” is a little too specific… but let’s not worry too much about that right now.

So where did this idea come from? Well, anyone who spends more than a few minutes digging through the Netflix menus will undoubtedly find some pretty interesting suggestions. Sure, you have blockbuster movies, popular TV shows, and even a good selection of Netflix original content. All of that is fair game for this feature. But, Netflix also gives us some real obscurities as well. Cheesy foreign films, low budget horror flicks, indie comedies… it is like an endless vault of pop culture potential.

I remember the day I was browsing and accidentally discovered the film Thankskilling. This movie was hosted by Netflix for several years before finally being cleared off to make room for something else. It was a cheap horror film about a phantom turkey that would rise from the grave to seek revenge against modern American teens for the atrocities suffered by the Indians during the early colonial days. The turkey could talk (and cuss), the characters were shallow, the whole film was obviously a parody of the genre – but it was wonderful! But that’s not all. Over the years other strange and mind-bending horror films have been given the spotlight thanks to Netflix. I’ve seen movies about consciously aware killer tires, ginger bread men, zombie beavers, the list goes on and on.

These days, Netflix has recently ramped up the introduction of foreign films and television. Bollywood films from India, Chinese action flicks, Japanese anime and dramas – it’s a virtual smorgasbord of entertainment. And I’m going to share with you some of the nerdiest, strangest and most interesting things Netflix has to offer. I hope you enjoy these new articles.

Site Update!

Quick update! I’ve recently added a few new tabs to the front page: Twitter, Backlog, Streams, Radio, Record Shelf, and Pantry. Here’s a quick rundown on what these new areas are for:

TWITTER: An embedded link to my twitter feed.

BACKLOG:  I’ve finally done the unspeakable and posted my complete game backlog. This is an exhaustive list of every game that potentially interests me. Please understand that this list not necessarily represent every game I intend to play or review for this site. But it’s instead more of a personal list of title I find significant for one reason or another. As usual, if you have a favorite game that does not appear on this list and you think it should. Leave a comment.

STREAMS:  Yes. 2018 is the year that I intend to finally start streaming some gameplay. I’m not sure to what extent, but I do have plans to give this a try. I want to be clear, I’m a fan of the printed word. I think games are best reviewed in print. But, a few live streams here and there might be fun. We shall see.

RADIO: The RetroSensei podcast is dead. I really enjoyed making it and Short and I really had some good discussions on the show. But, to be completely honest, it required a lot of time and work. Time is something that is in very short supply for me these days. So instead of podcasting, I’m currently cooking up an alternative that will not require such a strict schedule.  More on this and what it entails later. Stay tuned.

RECORD SHELF: This is simply a repository for all of my album reviews.

PANTRY: This is simply a repository for all of my “Nerd Fuel” coffee reviews.

New Year 2018 – Update

Well, 2018 is finally here. My last full “update” post was in Spring of 2017. Prior to that, I posted one in Fall of 2016 where I outlined my plans for the next year. I’m happy to say that I pretty much managed to keep my promises as far as progress on my backlog. I had hoped to be finished with the PS1/N64 era by the end of 2017.  I fell short of this goal by just two games, Parasite Eve 2 and Xenogears.  I’m playing Parasite Eve 2 now and I expect to be finished within a week or two. Hopefully, Xeno will be complete by the end of February and I can start the next gen in time for Spring! (But knowing my track record, that probably won’t be the case…)

So where does that put us? Well, allow me a moment to explain how exactly I choose which games to play. First of all, I make a list of popular or important titles by system. Then, I break them down by year. Games that I want to play or games that tie-in to other reviews on this blog take priority. After that, I finish up the remaining titles on my list. Before moving on to the next generation, I check to see if there is anything that I may have overlooked. If a certain title catches my eye, I’ll play it

To date, I’ve covered, NES, SNES, Gameboy, N64, PS1 and 80’s-90’s PC titles. Of course, I occasionally throw in new game review or go off on tangents that take me to more modern systems (my Final Fantasy and Castlevania reviews for example).

Occasionally, I get emails from people to the effect of “How can you not play [your favorite game here]?? It was only one of the best games for the [your favorite system here]!!!” – Well, as much as I’d like to, it’s simply impossible to play EVERY game for every system. So, I pick the ones that I feel are important and go from there. Once I’m all caught up, I do plan to go back and fill in some gaps. Heck, I might even do so before I conquer the backlog. It’s my blog after all… But I have to set some type of limitation. If not, I’d be stuck on the PS1 era forever. There were SO MANY truly fantastic games released for that system alone.  Plus, skipping a few titles has actually worked out very well for me. For example, one classic SNES game that I did not review was Street Fighter II. A game loved by many gamers my age. I too have very fond memories of sitting on the living room floor with friends, playing that game until all hours of the night. But I just didn’t have time to fit it in with all my other reviews. Well, in a few months we will be treated to a special Street Fighter Collection by Capcom. This release is the perfect time to revisit that game, as well as other titles in the series!

So what lies ahead. Well, for the immediate future I do plan to post my reviews for Parasite Eve 2 and Xenogears. These will be my final Sony PlayStation reviews from the backlog list.  I’ll end the era with a look at Tomb Raider 4 and 5 for PC. Then it’s on to a very brief catch-up on some Game Boy Color games (Pokemon Silver/Gold/Crystal, and The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages/Seasons).  Once those are out of the way, we move on to the next generational phase, which consists of: Nintendo GameCube, Playstation 2, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and various PC titles from 2000-2005. I expect this phase to take me into late 2019 to mid 2020. Some of these systems have very few games worthy of mention (looking at you, GameCube and Xbox), plus the time gap between eras is getting much shorter and some of the key titles from that era have already been covered.

I do have a couple of planned side-treks. First, at the end of this month a new game in the Final Fantasy series is being released, Final Fantasy Dissidia NT – a brawler that features Final Fantasy characters. I want to dive into this this game as soon as it comes out. But before doing so, I want to catch up on the Dissidia series. So I’ll be reviewing the first two Dissidia titles in the next few weeks.

Second, I have a VERY strong suspicion that 2018 will see a remastered version of Shenmue. This is a rare and beloved Dreamcast title that I never had the pleasure of experiencing. I fully intend to check that out at release as well, assuming of course that the rumors of it’s release are actually true.

Finally, I want to play and review a few classic PC titles from the Ultima and Elder Scrolls series that I neglected to play through. Not to mention, I have a brand new Nintendo Switch to explore…

I may try to fit many of these side-treks into the space between my generational playthroughs.

Oh! And let’s not forget the seasonal reviews! Something flirty and cute for Valentines Day and something spooky for October.

So yeah, welcome to the confusing world that is my mind.

Blah… backlog. May I live to see the end.

Games aside, my blog will continue to host reviews and discussions on other subjects of interest. D&D, music, Star Wars, coffee, and film. Yes! 2018 will see the debut of television/film reviews. Again, these will most be nostalgia trips. But most of my traffic comes from retro-related reviews and discussions.

So there we are. If all goes according to plan, we will be ready to start Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 sometime around 2020! How’s that for long-term goals?

Blog Update & The Final Fantasy Initiative

Today, I’m going to take a moment to declare my intention to temporarily refocus my game playing agenda for the purposes of this blog.

I started this blog to share my love of video games and the nostalgia that I feel when I think about my youth. It didn’t take long for me to learn that there was a lot more to those warm fuzzy memories than retro video games. My childhood was extraordinary. I was born in the late 70’s, so my early childhood took place in the 80’s – a wonderful time for games, cool movies, cartoons, etc. All the great kid stuff came out in the 80’s. During this time, I also was blessed with the fortune of being able to experience life in a foreign country. My time in Japan helped open my eyes to a larger world and even though it was only three short years, it had a large effect on me as I grew into adulthood. After getting married and settling into the routine of the five-day work week, I had my first child.

Unless you’re just a selfish deadbeat, having a child changes you in ways that you cannot expect. Your priorities change, and so does your habits. Sometimes, things even end up coming full-circle. Right before my son came along, my wife and I enjoyed going to clubs, socializing with other couples, attending concerts, things like that. Video games and other “childish” obsessions had really been put on the shelf to large extent. However, once you have an infant in the home, you find yourself AT HOME at lot more than before. It doesn’t take long for you to go through that stack of DVDs you never got around to watching. Once they are gone, you’re bored. While I had never fully abandoned my interest in gaming, I now found myself thinking about taking up the hobby with more zeal. When you have baby sleeping in a bassinet for extended periods of time, something like a video game ends up being a perfect way to pass the time. You play it for as long as you need to. You can pause it, save it, whatever.

It was during this time that I once again allowed gaming to become a main hobby of mine. Once my son got a little older, he naturally wanted to play games as well. It was at that time that I knew gaming was something I would be able to use to help form a bond with both of my children in one way or another. I guess that’s a big reason why I’m so passionate about games these days. When I play a video game, it reminds me of the good times of my youth and also rings a chime on the present day as well.

When I started this blog, I decided to replay my entire game library. Starting with the games I played as a kid and progress onward to new games. To date, I’ve pretty much covered the first half of my plan. I’ve reviewed and a talked about a majority of the games that were important to me when I was a child as well as sprinkled in a few new releases from time to time. I’ve deviated on a couple of occasions, like my Castlevania and Mega Man playthroughs, but I’ve done a pretty good job to sticking to my original goal.

Currently, according my own plans, I should be focusing on games for the original PlayStation. But I’m going to announce another temporary deviation:  The Final Fantasy Initiative.

You see, Final Fantasy is one of my favorite video game franchises. I’ve played almost every title to date (with a few exceptions). These exceptions are the most recently released titles in the series. If you’re reading this, you know me by now. I am pretty OCD when it comes to playing things in a particular order and I’m starting to fall behind. There’s a slew of new FF titles on the horizon and I need to catch up quick.

So when it comes to my game entries, I’m going to be catching up on all of the remaining Final Fantasy games I have yet to review. So far on this blog, I’ve managed to playthrough Final Fantasy 1-7 and all of the related spin-off games thus far. Next up, I’m going to proceed onward with 8, then 9, etc. Final Fantasy XV is on the horizon and I would LOVE to be ready to play it on release day. Of course, I admit that I will unlikely be able to meet that goal, I do plan to be there as fast as possible.

Once I am all caught up on the series, I will resume my original plans.

About Me


I’ve now made a few posts about the games that make me tick and why I find video games so appealing. This post is going to serve as a more formal introduction. First, let’s talk a bit about my moniker (and the name of this blog itself): Retro Sensei

“Retro” refers to my love of old school gaming. But of course I don’t limit myself, nor the content of this site to games of the past. I have a love of video games both old and new, but I do think it’s important for any gamer to “know their roots” so to speak. Not to mention, as a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I suffer from frequent bouts of nostalgia – all of which I plan to share with the readers of this blog.

The “Sensei” part? Well, this is a bit more complicated. As an older gamer who loves to share my passion for retro games, I suppose you could consider this blog my way of teaching these youngsters about the games of yesteryear. On top of that, I actually spent several years as a child living in the country of Japan. My time there, gave me a deep appreciation and love for Japanese culture. So… RetroSensei.

Originally, I ran this blog under the name of “8bitwizard”  (So yes, you’re reading an edited post).

I conceived the 8bit Wizard name a few years ago when posting on some old video game newsgroups back in the early days of the Internet. The name came to mind again when I decided to create a blog. I knew I wanted to make a blog with a strong focus on video games, but occasionally I like to ramble about other topics that interest me. Most of which are subjects that would also appeal to the geek-culture that seems to have blossomed with the advent of the Internet. In a nutshell, I decided it was time to change the name when I moved the blog to its own domain. Apparently, there’s a webcomic called 8-bit Wizard. (even if it only has one issue..)

Now, to get a bit personal. As I’ve said before, as of 2012, I’m a 33 year old adult, but I’m obviously still nothing more than a big kid who wears the skin of responsibility quite comfortably.  I was the only child in a military household. This means that every three years or so, my father would be reassigned to a different location and my family had to move. Moving so often makes it a bit difficult to make friends. Not only are you always confronted with new people, but there’s the whole social awkwardness of being in a strange place and not knowing how things work in a new school, etc. Often times, due to variances in education standards from state to state, you find yourself playing catch up or sometimes you’ll move to a new school and you’ll actually be further ahead and BORED TO DEATH!

I had a rough go of it as a kid. I was skinny, a bit awkward, and I usually talked different from everyone else. (Born in New England but lived in placed like Arkansas and Louisiana). I was always the “nerd” that everyone picked on. I was never good at sports, I had nothing in common with most of the other kids, you get the picture. So I retreated to safe confines of my bedroom where countless worlds awaited me thanks to both my large library of books and my NES.

I finally broke free of my nerd label as a teenager. I became interested in music and taught myself to play the guitar. Around the age of 14, I put away my games and focused my attention on starting a band. Playing rock music helped me build confidence to the point where I learned how to develop my social skills and overcame all the nonsense that plagued my early childhood. Over the years, I learned how to take care of myself and not to be pushed around. Regardless, I never forgot where I came from and I’ve made it a personal goal never to be like the bullies that once harassed me.

I got married in my early twenties and shortly after, my interest in video games returned. My wife and I bought a Playstation 2 and a Gamecube. I slowly started to rebuild my library and catch up on all the great games I missed over the years. That brings us to now. I worked a fulltime job, raise my family, and pursue a variety of interests. But my love of games remains.

As tempting as it is to claim that this is going to be a retro-gaming blog, I can’t really promise that. I’m also going to be talking about newer games. Actually, I’ll pretty much be posting about anything that interests me. Movies, comics, novels, whatever. Another large focus of this blog will probably be my video game interactions with my kids. My oldest son is eight, and his interest in games is at an all time high. If nothing else, I hope this site will make a nice bank of memories for them to look back on. But in the meantime, I hope anyone who stumbles across it has fun. If nothing else, this blog is a diary of sorts for whatever nerdy passion consumes me at the moment. Please feel free to participate and comment.