Just as if your’re playing a game,in real life you have to pick your battles. You have to figure out when it will be the perfect time to strike, either literally or figuratively. I bring this up because so far I have been stuck. I am stuck in figuring out a time schedule to play any of my games. Destiny is my focus and probably will be my sole focus for the rest of the year. Destiny is a very good game and my suite mates believe so as well.

I agreed to allow my suite mates to play Destiny if I am out of the room. I had no idea that they would utterly surpass me so quickly. Currently, I am a level 7 Warlock. My roommate is a level 14 Hunter and my suitemate is a level 14 Titan. I am happy for them, but quite sad because my progression seems stagnant compared to theirs. Granted, I am in college, I work, and I do Chinese martial arts, and so I am pretty busy. However, I do feel as though I am neglecting my inner gamer. This is when prioritizing comes into play. I prioritize my responsibilities first, then I fit in time for gaming. Gaming usually falls on the weekends for me and only for a couple of hours.

I guess I’m posing a question instead of a statement this time around: How does one find the time to be productive in the environment in which they inhabit and still be a hardcore gamer? To some this is pretty simple, which is to leave some tasks to sit and linger while you play. Others, just like myself, need to schedule the times we game- if that’s even possible. So, again, how do you manage being a productive person in area in which you reside in and also make sure you are still competitive with the rest in terms of gaming. Quick side note-I told my suite mates they cannot explore Venus until I get there first so- ha…ha ha…teehee!

 

Videogames Are No Longer Separated!

Posted: September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

As we all know, videogames are just another form of entertainment under the grand umbrella called the “media”. The media is comprised of television, music, newspapers, online videos, and more. Videogames, however, seem to have been  quite separated from the rest of these forms of media until recently. The way that information is being given has also changed: online articles are being turned into online videos, thus giving the reader the choice of either watching a game review or to reading it. Our fads are more noticeable in movies with the subtle advertising of products and popular songs being featured in scenes here and there. That is not to say that popular songs are not incorporated into videogames, but usually they are either instrumental versions of popular songs and/or completely exclusive scores that were created for that particular game.

If you are abreast on the competitive gaming scene you would know that the League of Legends World Championship is currently going on. To celebrate the momentous occasion the popular music group, Imagine Dragons, collaborated with Riot Games and created a quite badass trailer for the LOL Championship. I was struck by this video, in particular, because it made me reflect a little on how videogames are becoming more mainstream than a subculture. The harmonization of popular music, videogames, and video mediums is quite amazing. Of course, this is not the only time a popular music group got involved with videos, but this is a testament as to how videogaming is now becoming entangled with other forms of media and not remaining as a separate entity. It is only a matter of time before videogames find their place in every educational institution, and will be used to teach kids about how videogames can be reflections of the human experience. Quite a dream is it not?!

P.S. here is the LOL Championship Music Video. Its pretty badass!

The Exodus of Local Multiplayer!

Posted: September 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

Destiny is upon us! After 1 year, 8 months, and 9 days, I finally have Destiny in the palm of my hands. A mishap occurred that almost prevented me from buying Destiny, but a gracious friend and roommate supplied me with the funds to buy the game (Thank you Sam!) Anywho – as I was standing in line my other suite mate asked a very simple, but thought provoking question: “Does Destiny have (local) multiplayer?” I told him that I really have no idea. 10 minutes later I was walking out of the GameStop with a brand new videogame and a lingering question. My suite mate and I arrived back at our dorm and headed straight for my room. Now altogether there are 6 people in the room, including myself. My suite mate posed the question again for everyone to hear and, hopefully, answer the question. I flipped the back of the game case and it said 1 player Xbox and 6 multi-player Xbox Live. So, here is the question that my suite mate proposed: “How come there is no more local multiplayer in games?” That question made me reflect on all the recent games that I have played that also do not have local multiplayer.

Of course, we can say that local multi-player has been dwindling due to the advances of videogame technology and the increase in the amount of players online. This is true, but is there more? The days of playing with your buddy in the same space on the same console seems to be headed out the door. This is not true in all cases, but being able to play with your friends right next to you has lessened over the past few years. I still play the occasional Mortal Kombat with my friends, but not at the same rate as when I was in elementary and middle school.

Maybe the local multiplayer exodus is a market strategy: The less people that play games with each other on the same console, the greater the chance that a consumer may end up buying a console and/or the game themselves. This creates more revenue for the developers of the game and, of course, the console manufacturers. This, honestly, is pretty sad. As a person who studies human interactions I see the disappearance of local multiplayer as a straining close relationships with other people. I am not saying that non-existence of local multiplayer will make us a more secluded community, but it does not help in the creating and maintaining relationships. Honestly, not every game needs local multiplayer – some games are better without it. The problem is that even the simplest of games that have fully flushed multiplayer do not support local multi-player (here’s looking at you Halo 4). Playing with your buddy online is fun, but nothing is better seeing the actual shock of utter defeat on your friends face when you perform a fatality on their character!

Special thanks to my suite mate Patrick for inspiring this post!

Gamer Conversations!

Posted: September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

First week of school completed! I just wanted to throw that in there. Anywho, with school back in session and the coursework rearing its ugly head my mind is pretty much everywhere right now. I am glad that I have solace and a little bit of peace in my five person suite on campus. My roommates are pretty cool (Praise The NORDS!) Interestingly enough, they are all gamers. Each of us has our main systems for which we game (PC, Xbox 360, and even the Wii U). So, when you get a bunch of gamers living in the same space you will encounter lots of interesting conversations as it relates to videogames. Through an interesting chain of topics we started discussing the very definition of the word “gamer”. The definition of what a gamer is has definitely sparked some controversy.

My suite mates and I were all in my room having an open discussion trying to define the word “gamer” aswell as who is allowed to identify themselves as a gamer? Identifying who can consider themselves a gamer was the root of the debate. One of my suite mates stated, “If you only play Call of Duty then, you are just a C.O.D. player.” As well as, “if you just play tablet games, such as Angry Birds all the time, then you are not a gamer. You are just a casual player.” So, the first definition of being a gamer is that you have to be a multifaceted player. You necessarily do not have to play every game that out there, but at least play different genre of games. We also discussed how important gaming is too you to considered yourself a gamer? Through some heavy discussion I came to the conclusion that being a gamer is not necessarily the how many genres of games you play and on what platform you consume games. Being a gamer is a lifestyle choice. This implies reading gaming articles, updating yourself on the newest games, being aware what the BIG 3 (Ninteno, Sony, Microsoft) are up to. Just in general being an active and involved member of videogame culture.

Once, I got that point across we basically agreed with that definition. Being a gamer is a lifestyle in which one who involves them wholeheartedly into the many aspects of videogame culture. Yup school is definitely back in session!

 

I know, I know. Summer is over! No more long nights staying up until 8am, no more sleeping all day and doing nothing once you wake up. It sucks, but that’s the way of the world. School is back in session and next week it will for me and my colleagues. The realization that another academic chapter on my life is about to ensue makes me think about how my gaming sessions will be effected. Usually, the first 2 or 3 weeks of school I can play my 360 everyday for at least 4 hours. Once, the homework starts piling on and I start going to my weekly meetings, my gaming sessions get pushed to the weekends. I am a lot more involved now at my institution including working at my current on-campus job. Time management has always been my best friend and is the key to success (that was random, but it needed to be said). All college students have different ways of being an actual student. Some study a lot, most study to little, some go to bed at 11pm, most stay up to 3am. It all depends on what kind of student you want to be. For the purposes of this blog it will be about what kind of gamer I want to be while in school. So, here are a couple of ways I plan to be a productive student as well as keeping my edge as a gamer.

1) Gaming is reward that needs to be earned. I constantly feel guilty if I have an assignment due soon and I am chilling playing a videogame. By using my videogame as its on achievement or trophy that needs to be unlocked, I should be able to keep my work up as well as my gamer stats. 

2) 3-1 rule. For every 3 hours of studying I am going to do an hour of gaming. Gaming relaxes my brain all depending on what I am playing (FPS’s after studying will get you frustrated…campers ruin everything.) I will play Batman: Arkham City or Destiny.

3) Study hard to game even harder! My long gaming sessions usually start are Friday and Saturday nights. If I can end each school week feeling like I studied hard, did most of my work, and overall just feel like I accomplish something then, Game On!

This is my expectation, hopefully this becomes my reality…if not I’m screwed!  

I have seen it many times before, but it hit me even harder this time. What I’m referring you might ask? Well let’s set the scene. On August 15, 2014 a colleague and I had the pleasure to attend the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions event. Held at the Warner theatre in D.C., my colleague and I were indulging in classic and modern “Pokemon” scores expanding most of the videogames from the franchise. The whole theatre was packed full of fans ranging from the very young to the elderly, from Nintendo fanboys and gals to Xbox and Playstation lovers. The audience were treated to a visual display of scenes from some the games as the orchestra plays with the visual. Now that I have set the scene here is my main intention of this post. As my friend and I walked to our seats we were temporarily blocked by a father and his two kids. The father was haphazardly watching his kids, taping away at his phones, and trying to move out the way so, we can get to our seats. We sat down at our seats and awaited the start of the performance. In the meantime, my friend pull out his Nintendo 3DS and started to play Pokemon: Black Version. For the most part, many people had a Nintendo handle device of some kind mainly, some variation of the 3DS model. As my friend is playing the little boy next to him also, start playing his game. Instantly, the little boy started to converse with my friend about what kind of pokemon has?, what level is most of his pokemon on?, what his favorite?, etc. My friend was engaged in 10 or so minute conversation. I was flabbergasted at the same time, pretty happy. I saw it as amazing triumph for Pokemon, but ultimately for games in general. Here is my 20 year friend and this give-or-take 7 year old boy bridging the age gap. I saw the father elated at the sight of seeing his son engage in conversation with an older person. The word that comes to mind is awestruck for I have seen this happen before, but no where near the time length of the conversation and there was no prior engagements between the boy and my friend. This was a completely spontaneous act. There was no hesitation, no judgments based race, ethnicity, background, culture. It was just people engaging in a very spontaneous dialogue about a videogame. This is one of the many reasons why I advocate for videogames. As I say to distinguish professors, researchers, and directors that videogames bring people together. It comes down to do have a good grasp of thorough knowledge about the game to engage in meaningful and insightful conversations about the game. I love games with a passion and this proves yet again I am not ashamed to call myself a gamer.

P.S.

My friend and I got our posters signed by the conductor, the producers, a singer, and Pokemon creator himself, Junichi Masuda. Too awesome!

 

Two of my goals are to teach a course about videogames. More specifically, how humans interact and influence virtual worlds and how these virtual worlds interact and influence us as humans. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I am studying Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Thus, brings me to my other goal of being a socio-videogameologist (Made it up myself)! These are the goals I have set for myself and taking the necessary steps to accomplish both these goals. I take pride in having a good grasp of what it means to be a gamer and how I fit within the culture. As I meet new people such as directors and professors, I usually take them by surprise when I tell them my career goals. I get the occasional head nod with a face of confusion and intrigue. Some blatantly ask me, “Why videogames?” Of course, when talking with an esteemed professor and/or professional they feel inclined to ask to me, “Can you get a job in that?” or candidly say, “How can you turn that interest to be more academic?” There are plenty of jobs that people can get that to work with videogames for example, a videogame developer, analyst, researcher, author, journalist, talk show host, engineer, animator, CEO, director, etc. The list goes on just look at the end credits for some of the biggest blockbuster games!

As for the second question, “How can you turn that interest to be more academic?” Well, let’s see! There are plenty of institutions that offer bachelor degrees in videogame design such as Full Sail University and WestWood colleges. On a more prestigious scale, New York University(NYU) recently announced that they will be offering a bachelors of fine arts degree in videogame design. This is exciting news because NYU is a very well-known and prestigious institution so, for an institution of their magnitude to offer a degree in something some professors scoff at is truly wonderful. In an age where kids are being born with an Android phone to their left and IPad to there right, it is hard to say that videogames have no place in higher education. Videogames come in many formats in order to have as many people in world to be able to play them. I would enjoy using my passion for videogames to teach and show people the arts of videogames. Videogames go beyond a hobby or interest for me. It’s a life style choice! 

I feel angry. I feel upset. I feel jovial. I feel rambunctious. I feel tired. These are only few of the many adjectives that help describe how I feel when I am gaming. Most importantly, playing in a virtual space has taught me a lot about how I deal with certain challenges and complex obstacles. Mostly, I am very calm and happy-go-lucky person (I try to be), but I also get very frustrated. Daunting challenges that seem to manifest into a much more complicated issue really get to me. In my reality, when I do assignment it is meant to be turned in for a grade. You get one shot and one shot only. No restarts, no do-overs, or last saved games. So, when I am doing an assignment I feel this immense amount of pressure to do the assignment correctly, but pretty much aiming to get a perfect score. In a virtual reality things are completely different. I learned that in a videogame I feel way more relaxed even when I am traversing an environment that is unfamiliar to me. I feel much more confident when I feel that have all the tools necessary to accomplish a goal. I also, noticed that when I get frustrated I don’t curl up in the fetal position because I know I can come back to that task later on. Of course, there is a cornucopia of other feelings and slight nuances that I noticed about myself when I am “in game”. Everyone should take a step back and reflect on of their virtual realities can ultimately, explain or change one’s reality! Just pause and reflect!

NO…NO…NOOOOOOOO!!! This is the word that I shouted to the white ceiling in my room when I forgot to save during a crucial boss battle in Ninja Gaiden II. This happened some time ago, but the frustration is still with me. Granted, in Ninja Gaiden II, order to save your game you must go to a dragon totem in the game to save where you are. They are spread out just enough that you really have to spend some time in the game before you reach the next totem. They are slightly hidden at times, but I was able to always find them. Except in this one case where I forgot too and I was already at one of the boss battles. In my frustration fighting against the boss after about 45 minutes, I just gave up. I turned off my Xbox and walked into the distance(I actually went into kitchen and got me some water and snack.) Anyways, about 30 minutes of trying to regain my confidence I got back on my Xbox. As the screen was loading, I am eagerly waiting to implement my brand new strategies that I…ummm…graciously borrowed from Youtube! The screens loads, I pick my saved storage, I pick my profile and to my surprise I realized I did not save. The last save was about 20 minutes prior to the boss battle. I was completely upset so much so, I shed a couple of tears. The forgotten saved data was not really the source of my pain, but remembering all of the hard work and many deaths I went through to get to the boss. Remember gamers to save and save often! We now live in times of the automatic save! This helps, but sometimes automatic saves can be unreliable as well. Please save your games manually, otherwise you will face the same heartache and grief that I went through many saves ago!

For as long as I have been a gamer there is always this discussion about the identity of a gamer. More specifically it is a discussion about females in the gaming community or female gamers. Now if you are a kind of person who is pretty much aware of what goes on in videogame culture, you know females get the proverbial short end of the stick. There is this overwhelming mental image that gamers are just males. Of course, this is not true, according to the ESA 2014: Essential Facts, 48% of all gamers are females (up 3% since 2013). So, if half of all females are gamers why do they constantly receive such harsh criticism and harassment? This maybe simplifying things to much, but female gamers are still seen as outsiders. Females are seen as invading the male dominated gaming community. This is absurd for the gaming community consists of people from all walks of life whether someone is male, female, gay, bisexual, etc.

For the sake of keeping this blog post relatively short, I will not further elaborate of the distinctions between male and female gamers (which do not exist besides how males and females are treated differently). There has to be and I do believe there is a change where being a gamer is not gender specific. However you put it, female gamers or gamers who happen to be female, everyone deserves respect. Differences in opinions should stem from intellectual conversations amongst gamers and not on the basis on gender. Game developers can change the narratives of the games we play and members of the gaming community can change the way we argue when it comes to the people who play these games. Let’s stop this obscene vendetta against female gamers and just see them as gamers who are just females. Also, don’t get upset if a female owns you in game. Gender has nothing to do with individual player skill level. You just suck dude!