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!

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!