When I started this blogsite mid-June of this year I honestly had no idea what to expect? This could have been a crash and burn situation or a huge success. Thankfully, the world of blogging has been kind to me. It has been kind enough for me to reach over 500 collective views to this blog. I honestly did not see my blog passing the first 100 views, gladly I was wrong.

Of course, there are thank yous that need to be given! I would like to thank my eccentric and brilliant roommates. They have given me topics to blog about many times. That includes my most recent blog post, “Videogame Assurance”. My roommates are prime examples of what a respectable and smart gamer should be. They have their wild sides (someone more than others), but they enjoy playing and discussing aspects of videogame culture just as much as I do. I would like to thank my mentor for believing in me. It is difficult convincing people that I want to study videogames as a career, especially when other professors and directors see videogames as a waste of time. Professor Rashawn Ray has been a tremendous help in getting my blog out there. I even got a job do to him mentioning my blog to a colleague of his. So, again thanks Professor Ray. A special thanks for my beta, Ana. My blog posts sound a lot more concise because of her edits. She has endured editing many blog posts that have been typed late at night with improper grammar, misspelled words, and incoherent sentences. I will do my best next year to type up posts earlier in the day when my mind is still active. Ana thank you!

Ultimately, a big thank you to everyone who has viewed my site and read my posts. This sounds cheesy, but every view that I see brings a smile to my face. I love talking, researching, laughing, playing, etc. about videogames. I am so glad that they are members of the gaming community who enjoy reading my posts.Now that my goal of reaching 500 views before the end of the year has been reached, what is next? This is a big goal, but I want to be at 1,500 views by the end of 2015. I will keep posting if you keep reading and liking my posts. Again, Thank You to everyone who has encouraged me to keep blogging. I greatly appreciate it. Now it’s time for ice cream! Mmmmmm strawberry!!!

It has become more apparent to me that videogames need validation. What do I mean exactly? For example, whenever I play some kind of mobile or tablet game I usually get a pop-up notification asking me to rate my experience. Sometimes I will give a rating, but most of the time I do not. I skip these notifications because I find them annoying and some ratings take me out of the application and send to the Google Play store to leave a comment. This irritates me so I skip them. These types of rating features are embedded in a lot of games, but I myself just realized this very recently. I have been playing Assassin Creed: Unity on Xbox One for some time now and even though bugs are still being fixed I still find the game enjoyable. As I was playing, I had completed another sequence or mission in the campaign. I noticed there was an option to “Rate My Experience”. I have never noticed this kind of feature before in other games. More than likely, this is nothing new, but I can say this is something I am now paying attention to.

My roommate was in disbelief to see this feature – He too had never seen it. Then again my roommate and I have not played many Assassins Creed games, so this feature is most likely nothing new. He was still shocked because he realized that some of the games that are coming out have some type of rating feature!

This is not bad, but it does speak to the ways game developers are trying to get real-time feedback on their games. I see this as a benefit for any developer because the more feedback they get, the faster they become more aware of any glitches and bugs. Videogames in this case are just like people…they too need validation.

Let me first say that I hope everyone had a joyous and delicious Turkey Day. If you do not celebrate it, I still hope that you enjoyed some time off.

I had a wonderful time eating lots of food, laughing with my family, and also shopping. Yes I was a part of the large procession of people sprinting from store to store. I joined a group of friends and headed out to the mall around 11:30pm that Thursday. We traversed the mall until 3:30am, then stayed in Walmart until 4:30am. We crashed at one of my roommate’s friend’s place who lives pretty close to the mall. Out of the 8 person group, four of us decided to go back out at 6am because most stores would reopen at that time. Once 6am rolled around we decided to get at least some sleep, and that we would go to Best Buy at 8am. My goal during Black Thursday/Friday was to get my brother an Ipod 5 (16gb), but sadly there was none to be found. My very patient brother agreed to wait for me to get it online. Thanks to him I was able to redirect the spending money I had to go towards my new console.

I did state in an earlier blog post that I was planning to get a PS4 as my next generation console. Due to financial constraints, interesting bundles, and sheer impatience, I bought an Xbox One. I did not only get an Xbox One for these reasons. I honestly wanted one around the time Microsoft revealed it. I believe it is a very fast and interesting console to own, but this depends on if you want the “all in one” appeal to it. I am an avid Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube watcher. Of course, all of this you can still do on any other system, but I am also into social media. I do find the social media feed quite appealing. However, the user interface takes a while to get used to and needs some fixing here and there.

Currently, I have two games:Assassins Creed: Black Flag and Assassins: Unity. AC:BF looks amazing on the Xbox One. There is a clear difference in graphics between the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. AC:Unity I am not for yet because I have not installed it. I am waiting for the 300 plus software patch from Ubisoft before I jump into the game.

So, yes – I am a proud owner of an Xbox One. I do know that the Xbox One is lacking behind some things that the PS4 can currently do, but just like a fine wine it gets better with age. The Xbox 360 did not immediately come out the gate with hard hitting titles. For example, the 360 came out in November 2005. Halo 3 did not come out until November of 2007. So the games, the user interface updates, the peripherals will get better over the next year. 2014 was the year of seeing what the consoles can do out of the box. 2015 is the year where we will see just how far these consoles can take us into the next generation of gaming.

Oh Black Friday! Black Friday is the grandiose day of American consumer culture. All over the country, malls will be surrounded by a large mass of people. Uncles, Aunts, Mother, Fathers, small children, and big children will all leave the turkey and ham on the table and hit up the malls. Some may bring said items with them to pass the time in lines. I never celebrated Black Friday in the “traditional” sense of waiting in incredibly long lines and hopping from one store to the next. However, this year may be different for me because I plan on going out on Black Friday to hopefully get an Xbox One.

Now I did state in a previous blog post that I had planned to get a PS4 to bring me into the next generation of gaming. I still would prefer to buy the PS4, but the Xbox One deals for Black Thursday and Friday are just too good to pass up on.. Most of the major retailers (Walmart, BestBuy, Target) have bundles that come with the Xbox One. The one that I am eyeing is Walmart’s 1-hour guarantee on an Xbox One w/o kinect and Master Chief Collection bundle for $330. There are other bundles that include an Assassin’s Creed and Black Flag bundle as well as an Xbox One with another controller and $60 live card. These are some very attractive deals. But no fear, I still plan on going getting a PS4 eventually! I may just wait until December for the Christmas deals. At the end of the day I just want a new console since my Xbox 360 is getting older and thus, malfunctioning. Nothing incredibly serious, but the disc tray does not open when I want it to majority of the time.

Whatever I get, I will be pretty happy. New console means new games. New games means new gaming experiences. New experiences means a whole new way to understand and appreciate the realm of videogames.

You Had A Nice Run!

Posted: November 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

School has been very demanding lately, which explains the lack of blog posts. And for that I apologize. Anywho, as I was calming my mind down after a boring school day I came across some sad news. Discovery Channel’s Revision3 Games Channel is no more. Co-hosts, Tara Long and Nick Robinson, both posted up goodbye videos on the Rev3 Games Youtube Channel on November 6, 2014. Both said their heartfelt goodbyes and optimistic perspectives on their futures. This is upsetting, but honestly I had a feeling this was coming. This is not to  say that I disliked Tara and Nick. I thought they were both pretty level headed, spunky, entertaining to watch, as well as being great reviewers. I saw this coming because I started to notice that the viewer count for every video dropped drastically after the departure of Adam Sessler.

Now if you have been living under a rock for the past 20 years, then I will explain who Adam is. Adam Sessler is a prolific videogame advocate, reviewer, researcher, former co-host of G4TV’s X-Play. Adam joined Rev3Gamess in November of 2012 and left in April of 2014. Adam Sessler brought not only his stark expertise, but a mass following of internet traffic. Rev3Games was on the metaphorical map. Once Adam left I had a feeling that there would be a small dip in viewership. Unfortunately, that dip began to increase more and more over the next few months. Don’t get me wrong, they still had a nice viewer count on all of their videos, but not as much when Adam was there. Tara and Nick tried to do more with the channel, but it’s very difficult for only two people to manage a video game channel. I kept watching Rev3Games hoping that there would be that one idea, or segment in their programming that would bring them back to the top, but sadly that never happened. It’s tough out there!

Just like other forms of entertainment, videogames are very wishy washy. If the masses of internet surfers do not like your opinions or you’re just not entertaining, you will definitely see your channel become barren. This ultimately sucks and is kind of disheartening for those of you who are trying to become some form of videogame journalist.

Don’t fret. Tara and Nick are on to doing bigger and better things in future. Both are very entertaining and level headed, which is quite refreshing. Nick has his own YouTube channel that he is in charge of and Tara will soon be at another videogame centric organization. I wish them and their entire crew of Revision3 Games all the best. You had a nice run you guys! Now on to something new!

 

I have been watching the seemingly endless amount of news surrounding GamerGate. Due to the highly sensitive and life-threatening nature of the conversation, I will refrain from commenting on my position on the matter. At this moment things have gone to far for my liking. Once things seem to have mellowed out where we can have a healthy and non-aggressive dialogue about gamergate, I will post my opinion. Until then…there will be no blog post about gamergate. That is all and thanks for your understanding!

Let’s start with what is VGHS? VGHS stands for Video Game High School, which is a web series created by famed YouTuber Freddie Wong and his colleagues Matthew Arnold, Will Campos, and Brian Firenzi. VGHS is a action comedy web series that takes place in a…high school. Main protagonist Brian D. is a chipper and eclectic FPS shooter and you follow his life at VGHS. Of course, there are other main characters; the charming intellect, Ki Swan, badass with a sniper, Jenny Matrix, and the outlandish and cunning, The Law (seriously that’s his name). This web series is funny, cheesy, heartfelt, explosive, and all around awesome. Usually, shows based around videogames do no pan out so well (here’s looking at you G4TV. VGHS has captured the attention of those who love interesting shows on youtube and gamers alike.

VGHS brings two worlds of media together tv and videogames.  Granted, VGHS is not on television, but it is created to be watched as a short mini series. Videogames can be studied, analyzed, and cherished as a collectible, but VGHS is different. VGHS embraces the different kinds of games together to make for interesting story lines and set pieces. Also, the show does not take itself to seriously to feel like you are watching some boring action movie. Most importantly, this show incorporates interesting characters who you start to really care for. These characters help show a different side to the videogame community, a side where gamers can be just as hard working and studious as any non-gamer. Stereotypes such as all gamers are lazy, or there are little to no female gamers. Those stereotypes amongst others are virtually (pun-intended) no existent. All this is not to say, VGHS is greatest thing that happened in the videogame community, but damn near close.

Sesason 3, sadly the last season, of VGHS released there first video today. You can either download the full season on itunes and/or wait for weekly episodes. VGHS is brilliant displayed of how web based television and videogames can come together to make something amazingly. It’s about embracing the culture around games and stop trying to alienate as something completely new to explore.

P.S. Click on VGHS to see the first episode of season 3 and to watch the previous seasons.

The debate about whether gamers should be considered to be Pro-Athletes has been going on ever since the rise of major e-sports games such as Defense of the Ancients (DOTA), Counter Strike, and League of Legends. This is an exacerbating conversation to talk about, but it brings up a valid question.

So, let’s start by breaking down each of these identities. Video gamers are people who play virtual games by using certain apparatuses (e.g. mouse, keyboard, controller) to interact with a game. Gamers use mental strength to solve in-game challenges and plan strategy. Physical strength comes into play with the rapid clicking of RTS’s (real-time strategy), fatigue of sustained focus over a long period of time, which, of course, comes with the inevitable hunger pains. An athlete, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary website, is “a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise.” Physical exercise is the key point here. Exercise is defined as an “activity requiring physical effort, carried out especially sustain or improve health and fitness”. I bring this up because this is the crux of the debate. More specifically, we need to be able to evaluate the physical exercise being done by gamers and compare it to that of pro-athletes,

My mentor recently sent me an email about colleges recruiting gamers as athletes. This topic actually started a rational yet somewhat heated conversation between my suite mates. One was on the side that League of Legends professional gamers are athletes. His reasons were that pro-gamers go through rigorous training, long hours of playing to contemplate strategy as well as sustained focus. The other was asserting that ‘real’ athletes have to actually move the whole body to play their sport. He further exclaimed that an athlete has to go through much more strenuous physical activity than pro-gamers. Long story short, the conversation ended with “Let’s agree to disagree”.

I honestly do not know how this escaped me, but I just found out that professional gamers are considered professional athletes in the U.S. What does this mean? Does this mean the U.S. is taking a step forward into understanding the value of being a gamer? Or is this just another way for the U.S. to make money? I say it’s a little bit of both. The economy benefits because the videogame industry is a billion dollar industry. So, the American economy greatly benefits from the consumption of videogames. Also, being a gamer goes beyond sensationalism and entertainment, but becomes a large part of a person’s identity!

So after all of this, I guess my readers still have questions? Mainly, what side on the debate am I on? Honestly, I do not know. I empathize with pro athletes since I was the captain of my high school tennis team. I understand first hand the time and commitment it takes to be good at your craft. I also appreciate the time and commitment professional gamers put in to be good at competitions. This debate will continue for as long as we try to quantify the amount of exercise between these two groups. No one puts into question that both groups are dedicated to their craft. We must come to a consensus on this issue, for I would not want pro-gamers devaluing basketball players and vice versa. I have a feeling things will never get this heated, but who knows? At the end of the day, gamer, pro-gamer, professional athlete, are all descriptions of people who enjoy a particular activity. I love games and I love tennis – enough said.

 

 

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!

 

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!