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!

Yes! I finally finished playing a game that I bought sometime ago in March of this year. Saturday(My BDAY!) I finished playing the campaign to Prototype 2. Prototype 2 could and should have been a lot better, but I still had fun playing it anyway. As I watched the credits scroll through after the final cutscene, I started to reflect on how many games I have recently completed and still need to finish playing? Overall, I have completed the main story arcs of the games I own my 360. Also, I have completed majority of the side missions and dabbled in the multiplayer a little bit. So, I am doing pretty well in finishing the games well at least the campaigns. Unfortunately, I still have a handful of games who have not received some tender, love, and care in awhile. I feel so ashamed.

So, here is a list of all the games I still need to finish playing.Games to finish on Xbox 360(in no particular order): Borderlands 2, Batman: Arkham City, Ninja Gaiden II, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bayonetta, Crysis, and Halo 3: ODST.  Games to finish on PC( in particular order): The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, Borderlands 2, Batman: Arkham Origins, Mirror’s Edge,The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, and The Impossible Game. 

So, I still have a ways to go in trying to finish these games before the summer ends, but I have hope! Is this gaming backlog pretty good or is mind blowing that I have all these games to still play? Let me know and tell me what your gaming backlog is. Hopefully, yours is a lot nicer.

Finally, the annual EVO Championship Series is here! Why I am so excited? Well let me explain without fully geeking out! EVO(Evolution) Championship Series is an annual fighting vidoegame tournament held in Las Vegas. Gamers from all over the world come ready with there fight sticks and controllers in hand, strategic fighting techniques, and a strong can do attitude to beat every competitor that stands (or sits) in their way! I have been a big fan of EVO since, 2011 and have not missed one since then. The games played at EVO are usually the latest fighting games that have come out. This year’s tournament will be comprise of Ultra Street Fighter iV, BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma, Killer Instinct, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us, King of Fighters XIII, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Tekken Tag Tournament 2. These will be the games that these skilled players will be fighting each other in. Personally, I will be heavenly looking at Injustice: Gods Among Us mainly, this game was developed by NetherRealm Studios. NetherRealm Studios as most know created the deliciously fun and bloodied Mortal Kombat (9). So, I assuming most players who will be playing Injustice will have a Mortal Kombat background. Almost forgot there is suppose to be a Mortal Kombat reveal at the Injustice Grand Finals on Saturday so, make sure you do not miss that.

Did I mention this is suppose to be EVO’s biggest Street Fighter tournament ever!!! Nearly 2,000 competitors from around the world! You can read more about it here.

Cannot make to Las Vegas to see live (me neither), then do not fret because there will be a live stream of the tournament of there website. Also, for the first time IGN is getting in on the fun with their live stream as well here. Also, a twitch live stream here. EVO 2014 starts at 8amPST/11amEST. So, let the long killer combos, finishers, sweating palms and loud cheering commence. MWUHAHAHAHAHA!

I am going to cut straight to the chase with this and say, GAMES ARE DIFFICULT! Well…games can be difficult. The hardest game I have ever played involves the faced-paced, bloodied-action, and oh so deadly ninja, Ryu Hayabusa! Specifically, I played as Ryu in the frustratingly tough Ninja Gaiden II. Now some of you may believe Ninja Gaiden as a franchise is difficult, but you were able to get through the games with some ease. That’s fantastic…for you! In my case, playing this game was exhilarating, fun, tiresome, and really stressed me out…a lot! Do not get me wrong, everyone should play at least one game from the Ninja Gaiden franchise, if and only if you are some kind of Zen master or at least a low level monk. FYI, play the older games not the newer one’s, Team Ninja really f’d up the franchise once NInja Gaiden III came out. I played Ninja Gaiden II as if my soul being and purpose in life was just to defeat each boss battle and level. I have owned Ninja Gaiden II for about 4 years and still have not defeated the final boss! So, far that is the only game that I am afraid to play, solely because I know I will lose multiple times before I even get to the part proceeds the final boss battle. Yes this is me being afraid to play a GAME! 

Difficulty in games is something of a must in vidoegames. No challenge or occasional struggle then, the game because uninteresting. Most games have the standard difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, hard, Difficult) or some variation of that. Us gamers fail more times, then we actually succeed. We keep going back because believe it or not, we enjoy to fail. Failing anything sucks, but in a virtual sense, failing is alright because games allow for you to try again. Therefore, you learn from your mistakes and try the level again. Some games are just notoriously hard fresh out the box such as Dark Souls 2. Difficult games can be conquered, it just takes some ingenuity, will, and some luck to get through our gaming struggles. Hopefully, I will build up the courage to pop in that disc of disdain and fear and getting trying until my fingers fall off…or until I quit again. Which ever comes first!

“You don’t know how to talk to people!”, “Go outside or something!?”, “Can you talk about anything else besides games?” Do any of these judgmental phrases ring any bells? Why do these people judge gamers in such a manner? Let me give a little insight into why people response in such a way. People are naturally judgmental especially, when people are faced with obstacles or situations they do not immediately understand. I do it myself, but I’m open minded enough to try and embrace it(with in reason). Gamers are a cohort of people that are still seen as being antisocial and/or outkast(I love this group). Now this ideology varies place to place, culture to culture. In recent years, the perception of gamers went from geeks with no sheek to geeks with still no sheek, but have awesome gamer-related graphics t’s.

Most of the time when someone writes or in this case blogs about gamers lack of human interaction, it is mainly a one-sided conversation. That side is always asking, “how are gamers lack of face to face interaction affecting them”, but the person writing the article is more than likely not a gamer. So, how do gamers feel about this misconception? The answer is we either truly do not see it as a problem or we have came to that realization, but have no idea how to break out of it. Some gamers believe that MMO’s connect them with other people, just in a virtual space. The gamers who do recognize this issue or lack of social skills are, sorry to say, “socially awkaward” to the point that games are a safer and less judgmental place than trying to interact with actual people. Not that all gamers try to avoid people, it is just life has shown them that people are wildly sporadic, erratic and have several ways to communications that varies depend on factors such as age, culture, political affiliation, etc. Gamers can be interactive and sociable, we just need at help. Judging does not help! AT ALL! In order to come to together as people we must take the time to get out of our own way and try to understand. If we just listen to others, we might just learn something!

Gamers! We all know that some of the members of this passionate community can get tad bit…ummm…what’s the word…oh yeah…annoying, rude, loud, obnoxious, disrespectful, anxious, depressing, and overall just vulgar! Now this of course is not reflective of the entire community. It is rare to say that you do not know someone or have encountered a gamer online or in person who embodies those particular adjectives. I can admit that I have friends who have bad temper tantrums when a game of League does not go well. Now we all drop the occasional “F-bomb” and as well as referencing other “cheating” gamers as S.O.B.’s. A few people in my cohort need anger management to the out-most degree! I use to ask why do you “geek” out so hard? In reply, I would get either, “I just do that sometimes”, “No, that guy was f#@king cheating!”, and the nonchalant, “I don’t know!”. My fellow gamers of all ages, backgrounds, genders, worlds, galaxies, and multiverses please just try a take a breather every once in a while in game. Games can be frustrating trust I’ve played Ninja Gaiden(that game is f#@king difficult!) Step away from the screen, walk away from the mouse, trackpad, controller, Kinect, etc. and take a break. At the end of the day, you can’t play successfully, if you’re in the hospital because you have a brain aneurysm!  

STEAM Summer Sale has finally ended! After a week and half of awesome cheaply prices games, bundles, and software I can come out of my dimly lit room and red eyes with my head held high! This was my first Summer Steam sale and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will checking Steam consistently every hour or so. I had to make sure I wasn’t missing out on any killer deals. I thought that Steam was going to leave me literally and figuratively, penniless, but it did not. I spent very little money on several awesome games. I first, bought The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and Mirror’s Edge and together paid $13.98. The next day I bought Batman Arkham Origins for $7.49. Next, on my list was Borderlands GOTY (game of the year) and Borderlands 2 bundle for $9.99! Just yesterday for my last bit of shopping I got The Witcher for $1.99 and The Impossible Game for $2.99. Thus, my grand total for the 2014 Steam Summer Sale was $36.44.

Buying the games was fun, but trying to play them really tested my almost 3 year old laptop. I had to put majority of the games I bought in compatibility mode and currently, looking for a laptop cooling station. This new found issue has gotten more into building my own PC. I still plan to get a PS4, but a building my own tower is looking alot more appealing at this moment. Who knows, I may end up building my own PC first, then buying a PS4. Either way, these games are testing my computer to max and eventually, my laptop will cease to function. Even though, I have a daunting issue to needs to rectify, I can still say that I had one hell of time during the sale. The sales were awesome, but the increase flow of conversation amongst my friends and other gamers was priceless!

Gaming and food! What a wonderful and utterly dreadful combination. Do not get me wrong I love playing games and I love eating food. I also love eating food while gaming. The problem is watching what I am eating and how much of it as I am gaming. Personally, I grab whatever snack, drink, or confectionery treat that lurks in my kitchen and/or backpack. I usually eat treats that do not leave a sticking, greasy, or powdering residue, for it will rub off on my controller. I pride myself on having clean controllers! You will face my wrath if you dare to eat Doritos or a powdered donut while using one of my controllers! Besides that, snacking helps fulfill my dietary needs and helps me stay up later in the night for gaming. You may be wondering if I partake in the consumption of more recognizable brands that have associated themselves with games. Well, my answer is not necessarily.

“Gamer food” usually appears in sponsored tournaments consist of Monster Energy drink, Mountain Dew, and Doritos. Of course, this only a few of the hundreds of other food products aimed towards gamers. I do not knock down these items, but one must be able to recognized this s@*t will kill you! Of course, I am exaggerating( a little), but seriously eating foods such as these gives you an absurd amount of energy due to a vast of sugar and other ingredients inside these products. Again, I am not tearing to bash your favorite foods, but you must be realsitic and aware of the health risk associated with conusming these kinds of high caloric, fat, and sugar induce foods. I myself still love to eat to pop pieces of candy in mouth and drink soda as I game. I have been doing it for years. It is has only been recently in the past year or two that noticed I was crashing real hard after long gaming sessions. Gaming is fun and eating fun, but passing out for 10 hours after a long game session hyped on Skittles and Mountain Dew is not. Just a sign of causation to my fellow gamers.

Playing games by yourself allows one to solely focus on your character(s) alone without interference from others. Sure, there are some games where decisions could be influenced by others, but you still only have one foucs: yourself! So, what is it that that brings gamers together to form groups, competitions, and giant tournaments? Since, I was small I have been playing videogames with my little brother and cousins for years. Our favorite game as children was oo7: Agent Under Fire for Gamecube. We would have so much trying to find each other, hide from each other, and have the bot metaphorically be a dog chasing several mailmen. Oh those were fun times. I tired playing 007 by myself, but it was not the same, something was missing. Reflecting now, I can see that individually playing a game can be fun and interesting if the game is actually better that way. Some games that have mutliplayer are just not fun to play even though, the campaign is awesome i.e., Tomb Raider(2013). 

Groups allow us to learn from each other in more interesting, intuitive, and creative ways. Games such as the Borderlands franchise is good to play in single-player, but awesome to play cooperatively. Gaming with friends allow for stronger bonds to form “in-game” and influence the friendship while “afk”(away from keyboard) or just not online at all. Playing with other random gamers online can be just as fun if not more exhilarating. Back when Call of Duty was not plagued with prepubescent children, playing online was pretty fun. I have made Call of Duty, Halo, and Gears of War friends just from talking with people in the open game chat. Gaming with others is not all its cracked up to be. Sometimes you get frustrated because you are not achieving the objective in time or dying faster than you would by yourself. I understand all the struggles of gaming amongst others. Gaming is with others is not everyone one’s cup of tea, but having others to just converse with you about the game is good enough for me. Now back to playing Halo 4where my friends drive off the cliff with me still in the Warthog. Oh so much fun! Please tell the masses about your awesome of disastrous gaming sessions with your buddies. Post a comment, leave tweet, send a paper airplane with you comment written on it, whatever makes you feel happy!

STEAM Summer Sales are here and gamers are going broke all for the right reasons. Steam is an online collection of some the most interesting, biggest, fascinating games to be put on one website. Steam allows the user to buy reasonably priced PC games such as popular franchises and indie games. I have had Steam for about year now and it was only until yesterday that I actually embraced what Steam is all about. I knew Steam was pretty awesome, but I had know until tbe commencement of the summer sales. I bought Mirrors Edge for $9.99, originally priced for $14.99. I also bought bought critically acclaimed game The Witcher 2:Assassins of Kings for 80% off so, I paid only $3.99 for one of the most badass RPGs to date. My grand total was $13.98!

Steam is the number one stop shop for PC gamers especially because of the discounted prices. Steam is beneficial because it avoids the feel that someone is trying to force you to buy a highly priced game for no reason. Steam is a universal and efficient system to play awesome games without breaking the bank. So, with all this said it is back to the deals that will leave most gamers penniless with red-eyes and hand cramps!