Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Single Greatest Change in My Life

I've not written too many posts in the last year. Life, laziness and lethargy have generally conspired to keep me quiet. The interested thing about that: my life has changed a lot since I last wrote, and that certainly should have given me things to talk about. So what's on my mind right now is why I'm going through changes rather than the fact that I am experiencing change in my life.

If I were to analyze my entire life (which I often do internally) here in this blog, I could list several key moments, memories so vivid and clear (even 30+ years later) of events that changed the direction of my life. However, none are so powerful and important as this one: the birth of my daughter.

Bindi's first night: I fell asleep
after a stressful day. Early bonds
were formed here.
Bindi Rhiannon Newsome, born December 5, 2008, is the single greatest catalyst for change my life has ever known. Her arrival forced me to break down my internal walls and rebuild myself from the ground up; her smile shook me to my foundations and burst through locked doors. When I think of happiness, I think of her laugh; and sadness is there every morning I leave her to go to work. Shortly after Bindi was born,  my sister in law said to me, "did you ever think you could love something so completely?" I took it as acknowledgement that she knew what I was experiencing.

I tend to be a thinker, a studier, the person who does not make quick decisions. History has taught me that quick decisions are often poorly made. I bring this up because, at the time of this writing, Bindi is turning 7 years old; however, it did not take me 7 years to change, or to feel this way. Rather, it has taken me this long to feel comfortable enough to express these things, to act on these feelings of change in a public and recognizable fashion. Bindi is developing rapidly too, (in the way that parents observe the passage of time. If you don't understand, you probably aren't a parent, but it goes by quickly) learning, growing into a person that's smart, witty and enjoys life.

I took this photo with my old Blackberry Pearl phone. It never
really took good pictures, but this one was an exception.

If you read my previous blog entry titled "From Beyond the Grave", you've seen how much my grandparents meant to me. Bindi seems to be a miniature, female version of my grandfather, Ireland Prillhart, who could be somewhat of a "ham" at times. He loved to be the center of attention. As a younger man he was on a weekly radio show performing as half of a duo called "The Yodeling Twins from Possum Holler" and he continued performing in one way or another until he physically could not. He loved to entertain, and Bindi is much the same. Of course, like all kids, she has moments of shyness, but overall she enjoys being in the spotlight. She especially seems to enjoy having us make videos of her silliness, so she can watch it over and over.

Anyone who has kids knows that life as a parent is not perfect. It can be very stressful and frustrating at times. But it also has the potential to bring the greatest rewards to your life. The positive changes in my life are far greater than anything I "lost" or "gave up" when I became a parent.  For years, I struggled to understand God, Christianity, religion, etc. I had times when I doubted God, but deep down I believed and had experienced the spiritual change of salvation earlier in my life. What happened with me is not uncommon; I let my intelligence get in the way of my emotions. In other words, my brain was telling my heart what to feel instead of my heart just feeling what it felt naturally.

Bindi is about 4 years old in this photo.
One of the comments I frequently made to people during this time was indicative of my doubts: being a man who values logic, I struggled to make sense of God and His omnipotence. I would offer that, if God is real, and He created all things, then he created me as I am; and, if God so desired to have me follow Him, believe in Him, give myself over to Him, then He would present Himself to me in a way that would make sense to me.

Like all things relating to God, events moved in His timing, not mine, and more than a few years were wasted thinking like this. After Bindi was born, I felt the love and affection for her that a father has for his child - and one day it came to me: God, the Father of all, loved me in a way even greater than my love for my child. My child amazed me time and again with her intelligence, wit and personality, and as much as I'd love to, I just couldn't take credit for creating her. It had to be God, and suddenly the universe clicked into place for me. He had in fact presented Himself to me and helped me understand.

A more recent photo of my ZuZu

So the story here is that my life's direction was dramatically altered by the birth of my little girl. Earlier I called her a "catalyst." A catalyst is described as increasing a reaction.

I wake up differently, I work differently, I think and live differently. I treat my wife differently. I treat my friends differently. All because of a little girl and my love for her, and her love for me. I thank God every day for bringing her into my life and I pray to be the father she needs me to be, and better than I was the day before.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Nintendo Love - Mario Kart 8

For the few of you who may have actually read some of my posts, it may come as no surprise to you that I am writing another blog on the greatness of Nintendo as an entertainment company and the Wii U as a video game console; previously I had already sung the praises of the Wii U and detailed why I wouldn't be buying an XBox One or PS4.

I'll admit: "Wii U" is a terrible name and the system has suffered from a low number of quality games, but Mario Kart 8 has changed all that. With the word that the game has sold over 2 million copies in roughly a month, Nintendo finally has the massive Wii U hit that it desperately needed. Estimates were placing roughly 600,000 new Wii U purchases strictly on the back of this game as well, making it truly the "killer app" Nintendo was hoping for.

Quality games is nothing new to Nintendo - they've been doing it longer than I've been alive. What I think is lost is that there are a lot of great Wii U games - The Wonderful 101 is a great example of a fresh title that offered new characters and gameplay, and Pikmin 3 was so well-made that it redefined the series. Lego Marvel Super Heroes is another great title that appeared on other systems, but the Wii U version has a brighter, cleaner look to it. The Uncharted Series is the closest to a breath of fresh air I've seen from Sony or Microsoft, but the tired genre of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, etc., doesn't offer me anything compared to seeing my five year old daughter power slide through a turn, fire off a red turtle shell and take first place at Mario Stadium. We've beaten every track and unlocked almost every item and we still enjoy playing it. Sometimes I even play the game by myself after my daughter's gone to bed - which is something I've not done in years.

It may surprise you to learn that, even though I sing the praises of Nintendo regularly, I was never into Mario Kart before. The first time I ever played the game was "Mario Kart DS," after buying the game for my daughter. That purchase quickly snowballed into "Mario Kart 7 (3DS)" and now "MK8." I had actually played quite a few racing games when I first got a Nintendo Entertainment System, but my interests quickly switched to more "serious games." I can remember the original Mario Kart being released, but it came in a time when I was not into "fun" games - I considered myself a "serious gamer" who had to conquer RPGs and save the universe every time. But games are supposed to be fun!

So Nintendo, congratulations on the sales. I hope they continue to skyrocket. Now just bring me a modern version of RC Pro-Am, Cobra TriangleSuper Off RoadF-Zero and Wave Race, 'cause I've got the racing bug. (And if you're feeling generous, an HD Micro Machines would ice this cake!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apple & "Jobs" A Personal History

     I should state immediately that this post will offer "spoilers" to the recently released movie "Jobs," starring Ashton Kutcher; however, this is not traditionally the kind of movie that one would necessarily worry about being "spoiled." It is, after all, an autobiography, and anyone who is interested enough in Apple or Steve Jobs to see the movie will most likely know many of the events portrayed in the film.

     Perhaps I should, before offering my opinion of the movie, relate my own personal relationship and history with Apple, and what I knew of Steve Jobs to this point. Being 36 years old, I grew up in an age of technology; my generation was the first to really have home video games, personal computers and cable television. I always held a keen interest in these things, being a "geek" by all traditional measurements. My family had an Atari 2600 (I loved "Combat", the pack-in game, and my sister and I loved to play "Breakout" against one another) and, at a later date, a Commodore 64 personal computer. I don't exactly remember whether the C64 was purchased for me, or for the family in general, but it didn't take long for me to basically confiscate the computer for my own. My parents, in particular my father, were always buying things they considered more educational to somewhat dilute the glut of toys I always asked for. (Of course, I used the C64 for gaming A LOT)

     As I got older, my interest and knowledge of computers grew; as a child, I remember seeing the live  infamous Apple "1984" commercial on TV. My school, although fairly poor for a private school, eventually offered computer classes, and even built a "computer lab." Indicative of the times, the computers were predominantly IBM PCs; I vaguely remember a Tandy or C64 being there among the monochrome black and green screens (no MS Windows on these PCs). There was also 1 single Apple IIc computer, the only one with a color monitor in the entire lab. Sadly, although we asked about it, the teacher didn't know anything about Apple Computers and rarely allowed us to turn it on.

     Even at a younger age, I knew the names of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates. My computer teacher at school was somewhat old school, in that he liked using the command line and didn't necessarily gravitate towards the graphical user interface that the Mac introduced and Windows popularized. He also kept us informed on things he considered important, and I remember hearing of Steve Job's departure from Apple. Basically, for me at that time, Apple was really interesting but obviously not going anywhere, and I followed the rest of the world of the Windows-based PC.

      It wasn't until later that I truly grasped how important Apple had been and what they offered; but like most people, I went with the flow and convinced my parents to buy me a Packard-Bell computer with a 15" monitor and an Intel Pentium CPU running at 100 MHz. It also was among the first computers on the market with the revolutionary Windows 95 operating system. This system took me through high school even though I took it apart, bought expansion cards, reinstalled windows several times, and basically used it as a surgical test dummy to learn how computers work. I've had several different systems through the years, and of course all were Windows based.

     I can remember hearing that Steve Jobs was back at Apple in the early 2000s, and the Apple commercials encouraging us to "Think Different" began appearing. Of course, the arrival of the MP3 was life changing for music fans. I can remember the first MP3 file I ever heard of was "Discotechque" by U2 in 1996, and nobody I talked to knew what an MP3 file was or how to play one; however, the small file size and relatively decent sound quality spawned a paradigm-shift in the music industry. Like any die-hard music lover, I carried CDs in my car and dealt with changing them out and storing them. So the appeal of the digital music player - 10,000 songs in my pocket - was irresistible. I had a Creative Labs Nomad, which was a 20GB ripoff of the original iPod with terrible software and a dot matrix display. Once I put my hand on an iPod Nano's control wheel, and saw how simple it worked, I was impressed.

     Yet I still didn't understand what was happening. I used the iPod with my Windows XP based PC, and the iTunes software wasn't very fast or easy to understand. I didn't buy music digitally, so iTunes was little more than a vehicle for putting my CDs onto the iPod. Then came iCloud, a genius idea so obvious now that the concept of cloud syncing and access to your files from anywhere, at anytime is a must for any tech company. Once I realized the possibilities of an Apple-based world for myself, I began the switch.

     It started small: I had always wanted a smartphone, and when the opportunity presented itself, my wife and I switched our mobile phones over to an LG android-based phone with a touch screen and seemingly endless possibilities. After a frustrating year of using this half-baked piece of junk, we both switched back to regular, simple cell phones. The Android based phone was such a bad experience, I couldn't understand why smartphones were so popular. I consider myself a fairly advanced user of technology, and if I didn't think the phone was a good product then what did everyone else see in it? (I'll write another post on Android sometime) Of course by this time the iPhone had been out for a few years, but they were more expensive. It wasn't until I bought my 32 GB iPod Touch, and tried a co-worker's iPad, that I truly understood what the iPhone was all about. I could have all the features of my iPod, along with a mobile phone, in one package. When the iPhone 5 came out, with a slightly larger screen and access to my cell provider's faster 4G LTE network, I took the plunge.

     I was so satisfied by the iPhone experience that I can't really imagine not having one. Soon after, I took another leap and bought myself a Macbook Pro, replacing my Windows 8 desktop. It took some time for me to adjust to the subtle differences in the Mac OS vs. Windows, but now I'm completely sold on the advantages of the Mac. Also, things just visually look better on the Mac. Steve Jobs was a stickler for font styles and rounded corners on rectangles, etc., and the Mac OS reflects that attention to detail. Windows, even in its current "metro" style, seems much more utilitarian by comparison. Now, through iCloud, anything I want is accessible to me at basically any time, through my Macbook, my iPhone, my iPad, my AppleTV. It's simple, convenient, efficient. The tech just works, and works the way I want it to. My wife can use it without asking me how to do everything. My daughter has been able to play games on the iPad since she was 2. All without a manual.

     So now I'm a Mac, as the old commercials used to say. The Apple "ecosystem" welcomes me with open arms, and I embrace it. The reason: I got tired of fighting technology. My computer and my phone are tools in the same way a drill or hammer is; if the tool works the way it's supposed to, then the job gets done more quickly and efficiently. Poor quality tools may still get the job done, but it will take longer and cause more frustration.

     I like tools that work.

(to be continued)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

From Beyond the Grave

If you're lucky, you'll have someone in your life that makes the world better. I don't mean a parent, a child, or a spouse - someone who's important to you but not necessarily in your daily circle of life. It could be a friend, a relative, whatever, just one person who delights in spending time with you and vice-versa.

My Grandparents, Emma & Ireland
For me, I had two: my grandparents, Ireland and Emma Prillhart. I was fortunate to grow up being around them quite a bit; I know several people whose grandparents died before they really got to know them, or ever met them at all. Mine lived until I was well into adulthood. My grandpa passed away when I was 23, and my grandmother followed earlier this year, my 36th on this earth. As a child, I spent a lot of time with them, as we lived directly beside of them. Afternoons were spent in their care as my parents worked, and once my grandfather retired he enjoyed having his grandkids around. He always entertained me with a song from his guitar, or by using a slingshot with pinpoint accuracy. I would roll my eyes when we would enter a store or flea market, as he would always bump into someone he knew and talk for what felt like hours to my young mind.

Here I am mixing some cornbread. I
have this mixing bowl at my
house now.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was a steady and reliable homemaker, and worked in a garden and the home all day long. I would spend time in the garden with her, helping gather corn and other vegetables. In the afternoons she would fix supper, and I would sit on the counter and mix cornbread and watch her tend the stove. In all my years, I never saw my grandma drive a car, work a "real job," or type on even a typewriter; at times, she would spend hours reading the Bible and endlessly writing in notebooks. I used to think she was just copying the Bible into her own hand.

Working in the garden
My grandparents didn't have a television for most of my childhood, a decision they made when I was still young. I don't think they were any the worse for it, as there were many other things that occupied their time. In fact, without the distraction of television they were probably happier, although again, at my young age, I did struggle with the concept.

There was also my uncle Danny, the youngest of my Grandparent's five children, who was mentally handicapped and lived with them. He died a few years after my Grandpa. Although he wasn't very affectionate, he loved everyone, and we loved him. He was a big part of the time I spent at my Grandparent's house. We watched baseball at the park across the road, looked at books, played games and just enjoyed the endless days.

When I was in second grade, we had to move away, and I didn't see them as much. We moved only about 15 miles away, but it might as well have been across the country - I only saw them at church on Sundays and on special occasions. It would be about seven years before we would move again, this time to a house 2 doors up from my grandparents. I was just entering high school, and although I fell in love with computers and video games in my isolation, I was delighted to be near them again. In the summer, I would walk to their house early in the morning and spend the day driving around with Grandpa or learning to play the guitar. Sometimes I'd have some fresh cornbread and fried squash for lunch with my Grandma.

One of the greatest joys of my life is
that my daughter, Bindi, got to know
my Grandma before she was gone.
The point of all of my talking is this: my grandparents were always there for me. They loved me and I absorbed their love. It's a part of who I am. When my grandmother died several months ago, it was a very difficult time. I had the opportunity to kiss her forehead and tell her I loved her the night before she died, and I'm so very glad I did, because she told me she loved me every day of her life, not just with words, but with actions.

Recently, I've been struggling with some personal issues of depression, loneliness and worry. There's been a lot on my mind. Friday, my parents, who are preparing to move into my grandparent's house, have been cleaning out the usual papers and mementos that accumulate over the years. They gave me a stack of report cards, papers and a yearbook from my early years and told me to take them home. Thinking not much of them all, I started leafing through the papers and drawings, reminiscing of an easier time. Mixed in with all of the report cards and kindergarten drawings was a card in an envelope; inscribed on the front:
The mysterious envelope
"Master Chris Allen Newsome"

So I had to open it and read it. There, in the simplest way humanly possible, my grandparents (I assume my Grandma actually wrote & drew in the card) had reached from beyond the grave to tell me that everything was going to be all right:

I love you too, Grandpa and Grandma. Thanks for still being there for me.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Being a Parent

Being a parent is a lot of things, most of which you've heard already; but trust me, unless you are a parent, you really don't understand what they mean.

Over the years I heard my mom say things like, "Having you kids has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me" and "I don't know what I'd do if something ever happened to you." At the time, in that moment, I (like most people) thought it was just mom being mom, paying lip service, etc., etc. Once I became a parent, it was all so clear to me; and yet, it's almost indescribable. My sister-in-law put it the best I've heard: "Did you ever think you could love someone so completely and totally?" She really hit that one out of the park... most people think of their significant others and say something to the effect of "I am totally in love with this person" and "I love everything about them." Cameron Crowe, in "Jerry Maguire," said "you complete me." In truth, the only time you ever really, honestly feel like this is when you are a parent.

The mere thought of your child being hurt sends a deep ache through your body and tears to your eyes. Their cries can slice through you like a lightsaber. Their smiles and laughter can take your soul higher than it's ever been. Truly, one can see divinity in a child's face.

I realize I'm not making much sense in this post, but tonight I'm writing totally off the hip, as opposed to my usual half off the hip approach. There is much swirling through my mind and heart. This is just a method for me to release it. If you are a parent, hug your child and tell them you love them. NOW.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"On Vacation"

Prior to the year 2010, I had really never been "on vacation." At the age of 34, my only time "on vacation" had been my family's annual whirlwind trip to Augusta, Georgia. My father is from Augusta, and, living in East Tennessee, rarely saw his family. So every summer, when I (and my brother and sister) was out of school, we packed up in the car and left out for Georgia at 4 a.m. Saturday morning. We would arrive at my Grandfather's house somewhere between 10 and 11 a.m., and spend the day with him and various other members of my dad's family. Sunday morning around 10 or 11, we would pack back up in the car and head home.

Twelve hours of driving over the weekend to spend 24 hours (at least 8 of which were spent asleep) in Augusta. In a strange, seemingly copacetic ending, the last time I took this trip was before my senior year of high school when my grandfather died. We stayed a few days that time, and I haven't been back since.

After high school, I went through a few jobs, some schooling, met and married my wife, and settled down. I was married in 1998, four years after graduation, and my wife and I bought a house just 2 months later. Being a newlywed, a new homeowner, and having a job that paid just enough to get by led us to spend a lot of time at home. My employer offered me a one week paid vacation every year, but also gave me the opportunity to take it as extra pay instead of time off, so I did that every year. By 2002, I had my own business and couldn't make enough time or money to take any real time off. When the business ended in 2008, we were in financial distress.

I had been married for 10 years at this point, and I had never taken a vacation. It was a miracle my wife hadn't left me. In 2005, I had managed to scrape up a little cash and take her to Gatlinburg, TN, for a weekend. We called it our honeymoon, even though it was several years late. By 2008 my business had failed, I had taken a job I wasn't all that thrilled with and my wife was pregnant. There was no way I was going to be able to get away any time soon.

It seemed like the next 18 months went by in a flash. My daughter was born, I was promoted at work, and we were starting to get our finances back in order. By the fall of 2010, we had scraped together some money with the help of a bonus I earned at work, so we rented a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN, and spent a week "on vacation." It was amazing. Never before had I been paid while I wasn't working. Spending time with my wife and child every day was priceless.

Me and my dad in St. Augustine, FL.
The next year my brother and his family offered to let us stay in their rental condo in St. Augustine, FL., for a week while they were on vacation. A small disclosure: I had actually been to St. Augustine as a child with my parents on the last real vacation they took. I was so young I don't really remember much, other than partial memories of seashells and starfish. This had to be around 1979 or 1980, when I was 3-4 years old. My wife had never been to the beach either, and had asked at various times throughout our marriage that I take her to the beach. I am somewhat of a nerdy, geeky, indoor-type (if you didn't guess that already) and the beach never seemed appealing to me. I don't really enjoy warm weather, so why would I go somewhere that's even hotter for vacation? Nevertheless, again we scraped up a little cash, and took advantage of my brother's offer.

St. Augustine turned out to be so much more than I thought. Sure, it's hot, but it's a different heat. The water is cool, the wind is nice, the sky is beautiful. We were hooked. As I type this, I'm in a condo right off the beach on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine. This is the third year we've vacationed here, and I can't imagine not making time for it. This week seems to sustain me all year long. We may not always come to St. Augustine, but now we treat the annual vacation as a regular expense and plan for it. In the past, I would downplay the importance of anything that didn't have any long term reward, such as a new roof on the house or remodeling the bathroom. What I didn't see before is the long term reward of time together - making memories with my family. My wife and daughter will be able to talk about trips to the beach and we will all remember the things we've done "on vacation."

Friday, June 28, 2013

Next-Gen Gaming: Why I'm NOT buying an XBox 1 or PS4

In my relatively isolated media bubble, the topics that compete for my attention are relatively simple: comic books, movies & music, technology and video games. Anything that relates directly to one of these things is included as well. So as E3 came and went, the video game world was buzzing as Microsoft and Sony fired their opening salvos in the coming console wars.

Microsoft, which is a relative newcomer in the grand scheme of video gaming, has reigned supreme for years on the strength of its XBox 360, which, had it not suffered so much hardware failure, could potentially challenge the Super Nintendo as the greatest game system of all time. The XB360 concentrated on a great gaming experience with sharp, easy controls and smooth action. The controller is so good that I cannot play a first person shooter with any other one. So there was much excitement over their long-awaited next-generation console, the XBox One. (which we all thought would be the XBox 720) Sony, (the former champion with another GOAT contending console, the PS2) who stumbled out of the gate with the PS3 but delivered a great (if overpriced) console that featured home theater integration, blu-ray playback (Sony introduced this concept with a DVD playing PS2) and great independent titles, has upgraded to the PS4.

Each console has its strength and weaknesses, but here's what neither of them offer:

Backward compatability. This is a real thorn for me, and a lot of people; Sony started the trend with the PS2 by offering the ability to play your old PS1 games, a genius move that helped justify the extra cost of moving to the new gaming system, only to basically abandon it with the PS3. Microsoft treated backwards compatability in their XBox 360 as an afterthought, making sure top games like Halo worked but not placing any emphasis on it. What's interesting about this is that before Sony offered that to us on the PS2, we as gamers had never thought about it before; and now we are angry that these companies have taken it away from us. Microsoft in particular is committing a huge transgression against its customers by not even allowing the purchases made with their XBOX LIVE accounts to transfer to the new system.

Affordability. This may seem petty, as I paid $300 for my PS3 five years ago, but for a system that includes 1 controller, no games, and can't even play my old games, $399 for a PS4 and $499 for an XB1 feels like highway robbery. I can remember being 9 or 10 years old and begging my parents for a Nintendo Entertainment System that cost $199 and came with 2 controllers, a light gun, and 2 games. Now, I realize that things cost more now, but look at the value there - I was able to make the initial purchase and take the thing home and play it right then without having to make an additional purchase. I was also able to play with a friend or family member as well, again at no extra cost.

Replay Factor. I'll confess - I don't do online gaming. So for me, getting Call of Duty: MW3 is like spending $60 for 4 hours of entertainment. That's not to say that this game and others aren't fantastic, but once I finished COD:MW3, I didn't touch it again. When I was a kid, I played Super Mario Bros 3 literally hundreds of times. It didn't matter how many times I beat it, there was always something new to discover and some new twist to the way I played it. My favorite game of all time is Maniac Mansion, a story about a mad scientist, his crazy family, an alien tentacle, and a meteor. It sounds zany, but I have actually played and beaten the game over 100 times and it still doesn't get old. The game features multiple solutions and scenarios that are entertaining and engrossing. I don't care that it has no photo-realistic dogs or epic soundtrack.

The point I'm getting to is that I really have no interest in spending $500 to play the next Call of Duty or God of War game because I'll only play them once. You may think I am just getting old (I've lamented about this in another blog post already) but I say I'm getting wiser. As the father of a 4 year old who loves to play games (already, I know!), I think she won't miss either of those titles. I certainly won't miss having to turn the XB1 on every day just to let Microsoft know I'm alive, either.

I did take the plunge recently though, and bought a new game system: the Nintendo Wii U. I have a Wii, (which played GameCube games, by the way) and my daughter loved it. After looking at the Wii U, finally in HD, with the iPad-like main controller that can be used instead of the TV, I decided to go in Nintendo's direction. They've been largely dismissed by the "serious" gaming crowd, as they don't cater to the first person shooters and massive role playing games of the other 2. But I offer this opinion: they have better, longer lasting games.

The first game I fell in love with, like many gamers of my generation, was Super Mario Bros., the pack-in game with the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It was simple to play, easy to get good at, and difficult to master. Yet every time I beat the game, I came back for more. The sequels were even better, introducing us to new concepts and maintaining a high level of re-playability. Super Mario Bros. 3 may even be the best video game of all time. Another Nintendo classic is Metroid, which has always appealed to my interest in sci-fi and fantasy in general. Throw in The Legend of Zelda, and you have 3 very enjoyable, consistently fantastic and highly replayable games that are going to continue on the Wii U. I bought "New Super Mario Bros U" with the console and have loved every second of it - and so has my daughter. We're looking forward to Super Smash Bros U, Mario Kart U, and many more titles. We'll love playing them over and over in the years to come.

That's worth a lot more than one or two exclusive titles that I'll play through once and sell for 1/4 the price I paid for it.