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FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137 Background: I own and have completed every entry in the Ninja Storm series, so there is inherent bias but luckily this isn’t a review. These are just my thoughts on a fun series I chose to pick up after my Dragon Ball Z Budokai days. I am also only about 3 episodes behind in the...


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The Ghost of Video Game Violence
Posted on Thursday, February 7 2013 @ 07:54:19 Eastern

October 7th, 2005. In the throes of the Autumn weather, then Governor of California, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed two bills into law. The bills in question were California Assembly Bills 1792 and 1793--more commonly known as the video game ban bills. The two bills, pushed forth by then California State Assemblyman, Democrat Leland Yee, would explicitly place the sale of violent video games as a criminal offense in California, as well as require M-rated titles to be segregated from E-T titles, according to the ESRB labeling system.   The bills passed, but were never implemented, as in December 2005, California Judge Ronald Whyte deemed them unconstitutional, which forced the legislation to reach the United Stated Supreme Court. There, in 2011, The U.S Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, would grant first amendment freedoms to video games, guaranteeing the same protections as film, music, and other forms of media against unconstitutional practices. This has not stopped many from attempting to counter the legal progress the gaming media now enjoys. Time and again the specter of video game violence is raised by the buffoonish necromancers that read the tea leaves too closely, the Jack Thompsons of the world that give no credibility to their cause. And yet, the ghost lingers still, thanks to the tragic events of Newtown, Connecticut.   The tragedy at Newtown saw a gunman, whose name is unimportant, murder 26 human beings, including 20 children. Since then, the political boiling pot has reached a fever pitch, inciting a fervor for or against the curtailing of gun control unlike any the U.S has seen before. Once again, video games have come under fire as a possible reason why the gunman decided to murder the likes of victims Noah Pozner, Dylan Hockley, and Rachel D’Avino.   Recently, Vice President Joe Biden met with industry leaders regarding gun control, an action that some criticized as admitting we are part of the problem. Biden was quick to state that they are not trying to single out anyone specifically, as other groups, such as the National Rifle Association, were also contacted to discuss ways to promote gun control. In the interum, President Barack Obama has proposed that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) investigate the psychological effects of violence, effectively lifting a ban on studying gun violence that was in place for nearly a generation.   What the CDC will find is anyone’s guess, but that has not stopped this ghost from returning. The NRA has criticized the medium as the root cause for gun violence and having too much violent content, shrilling that the industry is a “callous, corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people.” House Representative Diane Franklin (R-Mo) of Missouri has recently proposed a “violent video game tax” based on their ESRB ratings, which would cause all games rated T-AO from the ESRB to be taxed for violent content. And let’s not forget Leland Yee, the man who proposed the video game ban bills back in 2005. Yee, a former Child Psychologist, recently stated that “Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest.”   Since then, Yee has of course apologized for his comments, stating he has respect for gamers but "the industry has profited at the expanse of children." The stark and direct language, often condescending towards those within the industry, no doubt will invoke the wrath of many. In fact, numerous critics have already responded with their typical disdain, replying back with myopic, passive-aggressive language to convey their own frustrations for retreading old ground. Yet, we don’t have to say anything in the end, thanks to the U.S Supreme Court giving games the same protections under fire.   The spirit of these arguments will never die, of course. That is expected. But with legal precedent set and psychological studies showing inconclusive evidence towards the claims made by video game violence critics, the fight is much easier to weather. It also helps that the video game industry is just as reactive. One could even argue that the influx of violent games and first-person shooters is itself due to an already present culture of violence glorification. Kate Edwards, president of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), puts it more succinctly:   "Developers consider many complex social issues that may arise in their games. On the issue of violence, I think most game designers are cognizant of the role that violent actions serve in their games' stories, very similar to how a film's scriptwriter or a book's author leverages such acts to serve the stories they wish to tell. Having worked on many major game titles over the years, I can attest firsthand that the writers, designers and developers are usually very conscientious of their craft and how certain actions — violent or not — serve the purpose of their games.   I think in the broader context most people would agree that they have to be true to their artistic vision as part of a broader creative expression of our culture. The decision to accept or reject that artistic content is at the discretion of a consumer's own preferences, or if they're young, at the discretion of their parents to decide what is appropriate."   Excess is obvious all over the gaming industry, where wanton, random acts of violence paint the whole art form in a negative light. Slaughtering waves of colored bad guys in Uncharted is given a pass because it becomes a game conceit, despite the somewhat audacious notion that so many bad guys would exist in such an impossible scenario. Manhunt also comes to mind as a game that adheres to this decadence as being excessively violent, and downright exploitative, because of its primary design directive. And yet, for every Manhunt, there is a Spec Ops: The Line, a game that utilizes its “violent nature” to not only service its story arc, but to examine the “fun” of violence in a video game, and communicate the fact that it shouldn’t be fun at all.   We have seen many positive examples of violence, despite their content, on the surface, being negative. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s famous “No Russian” mission can be seen as how cold and troubling violence is, callously shooting bystanders in an airport to keep up appearances with Russian nationalists. In 2009 it was a harrowing scene, one that even Infinity Ward was cautious about to the point of making the scene skippable if the player wished it. It was a calculated risk, a moment to show how terrible violence can be, and it was done tastefully in one of the very same games where many detractors would cry out against its excessive content.   Not to mention the plethora of games that are without violent content, but immensely popular with the gaming audience. Nintendo’s entire catalog is devoid of bloodshed, yet many of their games are predominantly among the top-selling games each year. Sports titles and other simulators abhor violence and favor the realistic representation of our favorite pastimes. And many role-playing games can have you bypass violent behavior all-together. Fallout: New Vegas is a recent example, where your words and wits can be effective weapons over guns and grenades.   Many of those titles above are the unsung heroes of the gaming industry, due to the stigma of being too casual or a pure simulation. Yet, many of them offer the chance to unwind in ways that Call of Duty does not. They can be as fun as the latest Modern Warfare, without the bloodshed required. In fact, in 2012 the top ten video games sold across each platform contained equal representation of non-violent titles. Just Dance 4, Madden, even Lego Batman 2 were in the mix, all of them perfectly viable titles that detract from the generalization that gaming culture is too violent.   It would be easy to lambaste people such as Leland Yee or Diane Franklin for “not getting it.” But their concerns, correct or not, are just as valid as ours. Many people are afraid of what they see as a scandalous cultural issue, but whether they are right or not is not the question we should be asking. If Yee and Franklin were to look at the whole picture, to examine the issue with a wider lens, then they would see that this ghost of video game violence is truly transparent. That there is no solid evidence that supports it, no preceding case that defines it, and ultimately, no legal power to convict it.   This is, of course, a two-way street, one where we, as a community, must respect people such as Mr. Yee and Ms. Franklin, who should in turn respect the rights that video games have finally earned from the Supreme Court. Politicians and psychologists should work with the artists, game makers, and the community at large to uncover a deeper meaning to these violent tendencies. If a mutual understanding between the two groups can be found, perhaps the idea of video games as inherently violent will be exorcised for good.

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The Dissolution of Choice, How Choices Matter in Gaming Narrative
Posted on Monday, December 17 2012 @ 13:26:13 Eastern

Note: The following editorial contains spoilers. You have been warned.    "Choices." "Consequences." "Engaging and defining your play style." These are the short and catchy buzzwords of a fast-growing gaming medium that have found a way into the very heart of modern game design. It is almost inescapable in the current market to find a game not touting how much “impact” your choices have. And yet, for each choice we see, within them is a growing illusion of what they truly represent. Having control and impact on the choices made in games is something of a misnomer, because in the end a fundamental question needs to be asked: How much control does the player actually have over their choices?   It really is a tough question to answer. On the one hand, the player should have mastery of the domain of the video game they are playing, control of the aspects and movements of the protagonist in that diorama of pixels. On the other, the developers set the rules of the game through the same mechanics, essentially forcing players to operate within the world as well as controlling the plot through allotted and limited number of in-game choices. One could argue that the player should dictate what is allowed by the parameters of the game design, but no game is a blank slate. This is even more apparent when we see the type of control implemented by the developers that perpetuate the illusion of choice, the common cries of "railroading narrative" often being the loudest. Let’s face it, that is all we see in gaming, a fabricated selection of choices with predetermined consequences, all connected in a defined matrix that can never be deviated from, at least fully.   So perhaps the better question to ask is why? Why do we put up with these predestinations? How can developers make these choices and consequences matter, when it often seems like they rarely do? Perhaps we can find the answer to these questions by analyzing an example from this year. Easily one of most critically acclaimed titles of 2012, this game is perhaps the most emblematic example of how the choices are irrelevant yet poignant at the same time, reflecting this strange dichotomy well. I am, of course, talking about The Walking Dead from Telltale Games.    What, you thought I was talking about something else?
    Without going into too many spoilers, The Walking Dead has you play a singular protagonist, Lee Everett, in his plight of survival against the undead along with a group of survivors in rural Georgia. Within the plot you are given spur-of-the-moment choices—timed responses that offer a way to interact with the number of characters around you, as well as some more emotional choices such as choosing who to save in a given situation or deciding how a character should die before they reanimate into a one of the flesh-eating undead.    These type of choices offer variety, yes, but what do they do for the plot? In many ways, very little. See, The Walking Dead as a plot-based game is shackled by its set narrative—you are going from point A to B regardless of what you choose, even if the consequences change in the middle. And the moments where the plot does deviate from the choices made would eventually become inconsequential to the final outcome of the overall experience, which is almost railroaded into a pre-determined endpoint for the series. So picking to save the life of one of two characters in Episode 1, in this example Carley or Doug, only to have that chosen survivor dying in Episode 3, is an unavoidable moment in the plot. The survivor is shot and killed regardless of what you do.    But the caveat to this is simple: While the plot remains unchanged save for a few deviations, the story is what becomes the emotional output that people latch onto. The story is essentially what the entire narrative is all about; the emotional resonance behind the moments of the plot. It is easy to say “Lee saves Carley over Doug” because the plot demands a character death. But the story takes shape through this action; Lee saved Carley and the story continues with Carley backing up Lee and his actions. That validates the choice made, and allows the player to become more attached to characters like Doug or Carley outside of who you wish to save.    So it is a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless that developers typically employ to fabricate an emotional response for the player. In a way the illusion of choice is purposely perpetuated by the developers, where the outcome is essentially set in stone in one, two, or ten different ways; the only thing that changes is how you get there, or what path you take to get there. It is a well-crafted lie that eventually becomes railroaded, because players always find a moment that rings false to the intended message of "choice and consequences." The Walking Dead is no different, with the climatic and, in many respects, somber ending to the first season reflecting such a moment that never fully changes the fate of some characters, but allows the player to feel that emotion because of the story created en route to the ending.   But it is through this difference where we see a strong sense of attachment to both characters and actions in many story-driven games. The narrative is what sustains such attachment through the actions the protagonist takes, be it directly through player intervention or indirectly through the plot. And from this many games walk a tightrope to avoid the pitfalls of an unsustainable narrative, one that is all plot, no character, or vice-versa. The Walking Dead, despite the fact that it essentially lies about the choices having consequences in a mechanical sense, is able to surpass any snags the plot may have because the narrative was well-told, allowing an emotional experience that feels like the choices mattered.
    It really is no different than other story-driven games involving choices and consequences. Dishonored locks you out of choices based on how you respond to certain situations, forcing you to deal with the consequences while rarely changing its fixed plot. Sandbox titles such as Skyrim hold sometimes massive repercussions for the world you are inhabiting, despite the consequences behind these earth-shaking plots essentially being invisible in-game. And I don’t think I need to retread new ground regarding the Mass Effect series and how the choices were always huddled into a singular conclusion at the end of each game, regardless of the number of outcomes presented.
  But this is the primary appeal for choice-based mechanics. Much like those old "Choose your own Adventure" books, you essentially are creating your own story based on the elements available. Is it full control of the games outcome? In pretty much every case: no, especially when you are dealing with a series of games, such as the episodic way The Walking Dead presents itself. Because you have five episodes, each part acts as a building block to the finale, which is always pre-determined to end in one of two ways canonically. But what makes that moment special is the story, as it is what these sequences of events are all about, the very soul of the choices made to reflect the journey you, the player, goes on.   The point being, the choices given to the player are almost always an illusion to make it seem like they matter. But what makes them matter is not that they are there, but that they allow the player to feel the impact of these moments through the story. It is within choosing the Stormcloaks over the Imperials, in curing the Genophage over tricking the Krogan, in saving Doug or Carley, where the narrative takes shape depending upon our choices. But because of this seemingly betrayal of trust in the audience to distinguish the two styles, the theme of choice have become a pariah of sorts thanks to this perceived notion of railroading storylines.

In actuality, that is nothing new or against the mechanical design of the choices given in video games. For story-driven games, the choices will always be tied to a plot written by the developers, but controlled by the players. The real value of this is not that the story eventually doesn't matter, but that the journey the story takes, the changes in the narrative because of how the player controls the story, will make the experience worthwhile. It is a gamble each time, and this past year we have seen many games succumb to the wrath of players because the plot ended a certain way.   In the end, we need to take to heart the fact that in the end there are no true consequences, no fully changed outcomes to be gained in a fixed plot. But there are consequences in the choices made because of our attachment to them, to the characters and the often moral implications of their predicaments, that allow us to shape the eventual narrative we experience. It is through this illusion of choice where we see the crux of the narrative that gamers become attached to, and in the end the choices matter only because we made them that way. We control the illusion by making the choices, which in turn help us tell the story, the emotional meat of the experience.    So don't blame The Walking Dead or the next game following the buzzwords of "choice" and "consequences" for eventually removing the facade of the choice in an instant. What truly matters in a narrative is not that the plot can change, but that the circumstances of the plot, the actual story behind your actions, dictate the tone of the overall experience. In doing this, Telltale Games, along with many other industry leaders can craft stories with hard choices and consequences for them. But a little give and take regarding what can be influenced, and what can't needs to be recognized for the illusion to work its magic.

It's come to my attention that this article was posted on another site. So to be better safe than sorry, it's been removed from the Vox Pop, but this blog will remain.  ~Ed. Nick

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Fiction Over Fact: Why EA Is Destined To Lose When It Doesn't Deserve It
Posted on Wednesday, September 19 2012 @ 12:36:47 Eastern

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.

A sort of disclaimer before I begin. It is not every day that I normally throw myself out there with the purpose of starting a conversation to discuss discourse of the general gaming audience, but with the calm before the holiday storm ebbing away and with little news to really report at the moment, now is as a good as time as any to really sink my teeth into something that has been troubling me for a while now.   I admit as a pseudo-journalist, I tend to over-value truth and integrity to the point where I am sometimes gobsmacked at the reactions of the “uninformed” around me, and fight with every fibre of my being to stem the tide of misinformation. Not because I am some sort of journalistic elite entitled to his opinion due to my stature, but because it is more of the right thing to do to actually foster a more positive outlook on the industry as a whole. Take today’s example, for instance, as we go down the road of discussing the merits of Electronic Arts.   Yes, good old EA, the “cancer that is killing gaming” depending on which slack-jawed attention-seeker you currently believe. Not because they are right, mind you, but because they believe they are right, a universal truth based on a perpetual myth of things. As is such a case, it is quite easy to stack the house of cards against the corporate entity and erode its foundation with spewed hatred ad-nausea. It’s like it’s hip to be a hater of a game company on the internet, and because of that perception, EA will always be fighting a losing battle.   What do I mean by this? Well, wind the clock back a week, and you see what I mean. It was reported that EA was under fire for promoting the idea that single-player games were no longer going to be developed under their label. At least, that is what the spin doctors of sensationalist titles took from the comments by EA Games President Frank Gibeau. For example, Destructoid’s own Jim Sterling ran with the quotation and used it to call doom and gloom for the company based on the singular soundbyte, which is as follows below:    "We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers," he said. "I have not green lit one game to be developed as a singleplayer experience. Today, all of our games include online applications and digital services that make them live 24/7/365. “   Sterling of course penned the article titled “EA Boss Proudly Refuses to Publish Single-Player Games.” on Destructoid, and in an instant, EA loses. Just like that, they no longer have credibility or clout to counteract any dissenting voice on the internet.
Of course, upon closer examination of the quote and the context it was said, things are not as dark as Mr. Sterling, and other journalists among the gaming-sphere, would have you to believe. For starters, the quotation were remarks taken from promotional materials for a cloud-gaming conference, a place where the talks would likely reflect the discussion of online applications and digital services, as described in the quotation. It also doesn’t distinguish what digital services are considered “non-singleplayer.” Not that my opinion matters so much in this case, but non-single player can have several meanings, from online leader boards found in score games like Rock Band, to applications tracking single and multiplayer progress like Halo 3. Of course, multiplayer and co-op modes have also made appearances as well, some correctly implemented and some not. But does this truly lead to the death of all single-player games?

To be fair to Gibeau, this is not an earth-shaking stance from him, as he has spoken in similar terms since 2010, discussing how social interactions and connectivity are the way to go. In fact, EA as a company has been fairly vocal about this idea of social interaction; COO Peter Moore has stated his opinion on the future of gaming as it transitions into the more lucrative free-to-play model for everything out there. See, the trick is to differentiate the multiplayer aspects, something that looks to be in the forefront of Gibeau’s mind when he replied to the criticism made by his comments on Kotaku.   "Let me clarify," Gibeau began. "What I said was [about not greenlighting] anything that [doesn't have] an online service. You can have a very deep single-player game but it has to have an ongoing content plan for keeping customers engaged beyond what's on the initial disc. I'm not saying deathmatch must come to Mirror's Edge."   Gibeau chuckled at his own example and continued to explain what the shape of EA's game-making approach will be moving forward. "What I'm saying is if you're going do it, do it with an open-world game that's a connected experience where you can actually see other players, you can co-operate, you can compete and it can be social. Everything that we do, we see the telemetry coming in telling us that's the best way to build our business and that's the best way to build these experiences and be differentiated from others. Yeah, I'm not suggesting deathmatch must be in Bejeweled. It's just… You need to have a connected social experience where you're part of a large community."   It should also be noted that Gibeau’s stance on social interaction is nothing new in the industry, since several high-profile leaders in the industry have described similar ideals in different ways. Essentially, Gibeau is discussing gaming as a service over a commodity, echoing the stance of giants such as Satoru Iwata, who recently discussed how the New Nintendo Wii U will have a critical social component that is mandatory for the future of gaming. Valve’s CEO Gabe Newell also is a proponent of this ideal; speaking at the Sony conference at the 2010 E3 that “the needs of gamers and developers are evolving. Specifically, it‘s not just about chips rendering pixels or calculating nav meshes, it‘s about giving gamers a complete, social connected experience."   No wonder EA wanted to buy Valve—they think alike on this issue.   This new development philosophy may also be the reason why Half-Life 2: Episode 3 is never going to come out, since Newell once said back in 2011 that it is finished with episodic content. And we can see this “gaming as a service” model used by Valve without much penalty, Team Fortress 2’s entire Manconemy is emblematic of this change, creating a drop system, a barter system, and an online store in the blink of an eye to add to the service model, and longevity, of Team Fortress 2. It offers microtransactions and interactions with players, all of which adheres to the service model Valve has adopted. All of which is also met with pure praise by fans.    But I digress, because we are talking about why EA is destined to fail, and in the end it becomes perception above all else. What is the real difference between Valve and Electronic Arts? Well, one was voted the worst corporation in the United States in an arbitrary online poll, while the other is lauded for being a shining light in the gaming world. Critics and entertainers alike seem to universally agree on this myth, that EA is, and always will be, evil and destructive, while Valve can do no wrong and the best company in gaming today.
    Opinions aside for each company (in which I personally don’t see a difference between the two since they both make quality products), it seems clear that there are other differences under the surface argument here. Of course, one can say that EA has been doing their emulations of Valve wrong, and that is somewhat true. Origin being a prime punching bag for critics is again, emblematic of that whole perception. But the shortcomings of Origin aside, why does one company get the pass while another gets the boot? Why do both follow a similar business model, but people cry foul against one of the two?   I can’t answer this. Hell, it can be argued that their models are not the same, although the goal they are attempting to achieve is within both of their sights. Of course reaching it on different terms is up for interpretation, but that is besides the point. In the end, it doesn’t matter if EA copied everything Valve did for their race to gaming as a service—they would still be seen as a blight by the near-sightedness of those around them, as “the inexorable march towards videogames becoming one indistinguishable mass of grey sludge continues," according to Jim Sterling.    But it is Sterling’s, and other journalists' chicken-little attitude regarding a narrow point of view that causes the sky to fall in this myth. Not to discredit Sterling too much here, but the fact that he is openly against gaming as a service model (if an episode of Jimquisition is to be believed), and yet, when reporting on the story about EA’s alleged buyout of Valve, Sterling made the comment, “It's really hardly surprising, given that EA likes to buy hot studios and turn them into hit factories. I hope Valve continues to resist though -- we need more companies like it in this industry, not less.”   A rather curious choice of words [Particularly since the right word is "fewer", not "less". ~Ed. Nick], considering Valve is essentially doing what he hates. Of course, the context is everything, although Mr. Sterling has yet to really give context to the line, since it can be interpreted in several ways, like I am doing right now, putting words into Mr. Sterling’s mouth. Clarification is key.    But all is fair though, because EA is evil. Right? So it doesn’t matter what Sterling or those reading really think. Of course it can be argued that there is major differences between the business models of both EA and Valve, and rightfully so there are. But that is wholly irrelevant in the end because even if they were the same, the company would be called a copycat for taking ideas from one to use on their own. Either way, Electronic Arts can’t win.   So it boils down to perception, a slanted myth that everyone has a "my side" bias based off of hypotheticals. It is one thing for a fact to reach the ears of listeners and to be used to create an opinion; it is another entirely to eliminate those facts because of such bias. Journalists, entertainers, bloggers and gamers alike each come loaded with bias, and it skews their vision when facts are present. It is a fact, that EA is going to follow a gaming as a service model, and hopes to implement a social interaction, through multiplayer, co-op, online connectivity, or social media application, and free-to-play microtransactions into their product line. It is a fact that Valve is doing the same thing, with minor or no differences, social interaction, in-game currencies and barter systems, micro-transaction models and online connectivity. It is a fact that they are not alone in this practice, as the comments by Iwata weeks ago indicate. And it is a fact that EA is receiving the brunt of this hated despite being guiltless to the practices around them.   Hell, the recent reveal of Command & Conquer: Generals 2 inclusion of a single-player mode is proof of this, despite even adding the mode and listening to the rather vocal feedback of the gaming community, the overall feeling is one of uncaring neglect. It doesn’t matter if they cater to our needs—it will still be terrible because it’s EA. So to complain about what was missing, and then getting what was missing yet dismissing it immediately is okay because we know how EA operates. I think my point is made clear here, that it doesn‘t matter what EA can do to help itself, be it damage control or just being generally responsive to their fanbase. They will always be hated, no matter what.    Hell, maybe I am just being biased myself. It is certainly possible. But it is also hard to give a pass to one group over the other when both do the same thing, only in different ways. One can say it is a false equivalent, and I won’t dismiss it, but all that remains that it becomes irrelevant to the fiction that we perceive, leaving the facts drowned out by the noise with little chance to rise above it. In the end, it may be too late for EA to ever change their image, but they should not be blamed for the evils of the industry as much as they are, because they are just doing what everyone does best—adapt and survive a changing tide.

The opinions expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of Game Revolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. It has been submitted for our monthly $20 Vox Pop prize. ~Ed. Nick

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Separate but Equal: The Narrative and the Gameplay.
Posted on Monday, March 14 2011 @ 10:37:39 Eastern

The recent release of Dragon Age II has kind of compelled me to write this piece. It is something that has been on my mind for years, something that is starting to become a grim reality that anyone who is a fan of video games is facing. It is also so...   read more...

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My Link to the Past: Reminisces on Legend of Zelda
Posted on Tuesday, February 22 2011 @ 05:29:52 Eastern

Today is a red letter day for video games. By red letters I mean the crimson N of course, and the brain child of Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka that I am referring to is The Legend of Zelda. The original game has just turned 25 years old ,...   read more...

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NaNoWriMo Entry 2: Blind Date
Posted on Tuesday, November 2 2010 @ 14:47:31 Eastern

Here is entry number two for my thirty day odyssey to see how long I can have creative juice. I hope you enjoy "Blind Date."

Blind Date

      Liz was trembling madly as she clasped her ...   read more...

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NaNoWriMo Entry Number 1: The Simple Things
Posted on Monday, November 1 2010 @ 20:52:12 Eastern

For those that do not know, Novmeber is National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge for aspiring writers to pen a 50,000 word story in thirty days, a hefty task indeed. One that at best I got about 36,000 words or so at my peak.

La...  

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Playing Wargames: The story of “Under Ash” and the lessons learned from it.
Posted on Tuesday, October 12 2010 @ 15:55:34 Eastern

 With “Medal of Honor” being released today, I did want to bring up another first person wargame that has been in development and was released in the year 2000, a classic known as “Under Ash.”

Now many of y...  

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An Open Letter to Robert Kotick
Posted on Monday, July 12 2010 @ 17:16:06 Eastern

Dear Mr. Robert Kotick,

While I know you are a busy man as the CEO of Activision-Blizzard, I implore you to take some time to read this open letter to you, sir.

As a gamer for over twenty years, I have seen many trends c...   read more...

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National Poetry in Your Pocket Day
Posted on Thursday, April 29 2010 @ 13:19:37 Eastern

And now for something bleak...


Clouded mind, clouded judgement,
trapped in a thick black haze,
consuming, controlling my very thoughts,
stuck in an endless maze.
No entrance, no exit,

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