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Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Military Video Games

Posted by Keith Webster

call of dutyBy Keith A. Webster Jr.

Do the names Call of Duty, Splinter Cell, or Ghost Recon ring a bell? All three of these games have one thing in common: military action. These games have been modernized and are becoming more popular as the years continue to move forward.

According to Corey Mead’s study of War Play, military games attract the life of the soldier in computerized combat. War Play explains the usage of government actions and have led society in education, from GPS and jet engines, to distant education as well as vocational learning.

The interesting fact about military games is that they have been in existence since 1960. Spacewar! was the first game created by graduate students from MIT who were funded by the Pentagon. In 1980, the first-person shooter Battlezone was created which made success in the game industry, which led to the infamous 3D shooter Doom in the 1990s. The reason why Doom was so successful was because it provided multiplayer interacting and its virtual reality based training.

As we witness wars rage on in modern society, the need for young soldiers continues to increase. This is how the military was able to attract the young generation. However, the downside of recruiting soldiers was the rise of psychological disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A simulator called Virtual Afghanistan helps soldiers confront traumatic events in a process called exposure therapy. This allows soldiers to rehabilitate their emotions and memories, and also gain an outlook from role-playing different characters.

Although improving the lifestyle of an American soldier is profound, the idea of becoming a soldier is reflected through military games. As these games continue to win fans, the gaming industry will always have a source to provide insight to various soldier scenarios. One thing is clear, the government will not stop recruiting soldiers.

However, the likelihood of military video games not being produced will not be a factor as long as it keeps its gamers entertained and satisfied.



Why Do We Love Video Games?

Posted by Keith Webster
severedBy Keith A. Webster Jr.
I have written a series of articles about the world of video games. From its origins to its adaptation to the social environment today, it is fair to close these articles on a high note.The subject: Why do we love video games? I can honestly say that video games have become part of my life not only as a fan, but as a social individual that identifies with other gamers that have the same passion and interest in different video game genres. So I have identified four main reasons why gamers love video games. See if you agree with any of them:First, video games allow us to break away from the harsh realities of the real world. We all have our bad days and just want to relax in an environment that is stress free. Well video games offer that independence. Video games allow us to out our aggression and negative inner emotions to wreak havoc on an unreal model of subjects.But this does not mean that gamers are angry individuals, it just means that when we want to unload our stress, we simply find the means to channel that energy and transfer it to something else. It is the simple law of physics; energy is neither created nor destroyed; however, video games let us vent that energy into a virtual environment.

Second, video games have often brought out the little kid in all of us. When it is time to play, we as humans are brought back to the times when fun time literally meant fun time. This could last from thirty minutes to endless hours of button pushing, open dialogue, and constant movement on the television screen. We play video games because there is no outside control to invade our space. Not to say that video games are the leading cause of breakups, because men and women of all ages play video games.

Thanks to internet game play, the social identity of video game collaboration is more appealing to gamers all over the world. Therefore, fun time never seems to end when it comes to playing video games.

Third, instead of sitting on the couch all day you can actually workout with video games. Nintendo became a huge hit with its Wii console, and ever since then workout games have been launched into the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Getting fit has been the life goal for men and women of all ages, but that does not necessarily mean they have to get a gum membership. Video games have given those individuals the freedom to workout in their own home by experiencing the same exercises you would normally get at a local gym. Adults can fully take advantage of this new trend and still be a gamer at the same time!

Finally, the reason why we love video games is because they can be found anywhere. I am not just talking about game consoles, but also the smartphone, tablet/IPad, and computer. As the next generation enters this world, the creation of video games will adapt to them in a more nonlinear platform.

The success of creating video games and attracting gamers of all ages will definitely have a positive effect in the world. Video games will forever be embedded into the souls of gamers and will continue to attract newer audiences with innovative developments and creative masterpieces. No one will ever get bored with mundane activities or feel negative energy as long as they have something to play with, and that will forever be the influential video game.



Second LifeBy Michele McMillan

I could never understand how SecondLife worked, or what made it interesting; but what really appealed to me was the virtual economy – how a pixelated avatar could generate revenue in the real world and intrigue many of us and marketing and technology professionals everywhere take notice. It just didn’t hold me. RPGs have always been my favorites because I’m more into losing myself in an experience, but I have yet to find one online to join. Being a developer, I am always looking at code and thinking of things to write, and lately I have been wondering about a more graphically intensive online virtual economy…but what? Does the future of the virtual MMORPG economy rest solely in user accounts and weapons? Is there something more we are missing? Can the fantasy become the primary life? I believe as we approach the possibilities of wildest science fiction dreams, we need to first, come up with them. We need to imagine the possibilities for the usage of the latest technologies. What if every home had a danger room? What enemies would you fight? Where would you go on the holodeck? Currently, we have tons of awesome, fast-paced, action packed games, but where does one go to relax?







The Future of Video Games

Posted by Keith Webster

Candy CrushBy Keith A. Webster Jr.

Who knew that video games would make it this far in modern society. With the linkage of online play for the Xbox and PS4, there seems to be no end to gameplay for mass audiences. Let’s be honest, the diehard fans of video games will always be there in the present. But what about the video games of the future? How will developers continue to reach gamers and capture their interest in gameplay? I will give a short glimpse of what video games could look like and how they will affect the nature of game design as well as experience within society.
First, there is the mobile game revolution, in which games are being played on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. With the overabundance of apps being created, this model of gameplay will surely be the next big influential style of game choice. Some games that can be found on the smartphone are Candy Crush and Clash of Titans just to name a few. Smartphones have increased in sales over the past ten years, up to $50 billion in 2015. If this continues to unfold in the U.S., then there is no end to whether the smartphone industry will sink in dependency. Mobile app games will find a home in smartphones, creating the new age personality and attracting gamers within a wide range of Millennial age groups (mostly 12-30+).
Second, there will be an increase of virtual reality gameplay with the use of motion sensors and goggles. This type of style can be found on the Xbox console (Kinect), but its style is questionable in the mainstream market. Some of the virtual reality games developers that come to mind are Oculus Rift and Virtual Omni. These two industries will become more popular if the pricing of the games and virtual reality accessories can be situated.
Third, there is the visual graphics of the video game, which makes the game more realistic. The graphics hardware these days have made the gaming industry more prevalent with gamers. However, the visual components of the game are affected by the way it is modeled, animated, and scripted. In other words, the environments of sleek game design are being challenged by game physics, lighting, and human attributes (hair and facial movement). It won’t take long for game developers to match these changes appealing to gamers, and innovative for future games.
How will you become an advocate gamer will depend on your style whether its sports, adventure, or action. Games will never die down, and will never replace its devoted fans.


 About the Author

Keith WebsterKeith Webster earned a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Tampa in 2014. He has also studied to become an Instructional Designer as a graduate student as well as a professional in the workplace. Webster has completed multiple projects involving the use of instructional strategies that are involved in the learning process of academic learning in higher education and non-profit organizations.
Currently, he is involved in the creation of an online web game with a group of game developers, and has high hopes of obtaining overall knowledge of the gaming industry and its components, including script writing, game design using 2D and 3D animation, logo branding, and other important tools for game development.

Seven Wonders By Darwin Geronimo
My love for games extends not only to digital games but tabletop games as well. Companies such as Sony and Microsoft spend millions of dollars developing and designing controllers comfortable to the player’s hands but no video game can replicate the feel of rolling dice in your hands or shuffling a deck of cards or moving pieces on a game board. I look forward to every new tabletop game I receive as much as any video game.
My love for tabletop games arose right around the time I became interested in designing games. I bought my first and still my favorite tabletop game about two years ago after I played it at a convention. The game is called 7 Wonders and to this day, I still consider it the most well-designed tabletop game I have ever played. Thematically, you are the ruler of a civilization based around one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and your goal is to create the greatest civilization in the world. Throughout the course of the game, you build structures that enhance one of your civilizations traits such as military might or available technologies. The beauty of the game lies in its draft mechanic. Each player chooses a structure to build from a hand of cards and then gives whatever cards they do not build to another player while also receiving a new hand of cards from a different player and the process is repeated. The most interesting part about this mechanic is that all players perform this step at the same time. Therefore, rather than the game lasting as long as the sum of all player’s turns like in a typical turn-based game, it is only as long as the sum of the slowest turns amongst up to seven people making for a rather fast-paced strategy game.
What truly interests me about 7 Wonders and tabletop games in general is the communication of the rules of the game. Tabletop games do have many of the same liberties as video games do. A video games programming will often restrict players from breaking the rules of the game, though kudos to speedrunners for finding holes amongst the rules of the game. The thing enforcing the rules of a tabletop game is each player’s understanding of the rules outlined in the rule book. Designing a rule book is one of the most crucial parts of creating a tabletop game. All your mechanics from your game are derived from the rule book. If a player fails to understand what is written in the rules, then they are not playing the game you had intended them to play. It is an excellent exercise for beginning designers to create a tabletop game and to effectively communicate the rules of said game. That is why as an aspiring designer, I will hold tabletop games in the same regard as video games.


About the Author

Darwin Geronimo
Darwin Geronimo is a 21-year-old senior from California State University East working toward his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics. His specialties include scripting, game physics, data analysis, and critical problem-solving. He hopes to one day break into the industry designing systems and mechanics.

Sunless Sea Has Few Rivals

Posted by Sarah Howell

Sunless Sea BannerBy Sarah Howell
Sunless Sea is a spin-off of a popular browser game called Fallen London by the same company, Failbetter Games. Sunless Sea is based in the same universe and the player takes on command of an Unterzee steamship as their captain, whose background and goals are customizable. The player only wins when they achieve the goals they set at the beginning of the game, or when they discover their calling along the way.

In terms of story, Sunless Sea has few rivals. The setting is alternate history in 1800 and London has fallen underground, the soil overhead closing and leaving New Londoners in a subterranean archipelago. The Zee and Underzee (navigated by Zailors) is filled with danger and meaningful choices that will determine your followers, crew’s mood and general well-being in the world. The player will find quickly that no Captain can survive without trade but the legality of that trade is up to the player. The risk of shipping Souls for Echoes, the currency of Underzee, might outweigh the gain if the police of New London get a hold of the ship. All this and more, important crew members, smugglers and crime lords, hinge on the player’s pull and influence that they gain in their travels. More than items can be sold; stories and news also fetch a tall price from isolated islands but getting there is risky, but necessary.

A character’s death is permanent, Sunless Sea even warns you that many captains will die before the player fulfils their ambitions and masters the game. A captain’s passing, however, lends perks for the next captain to reap whether it’s in the form of knowledge, connections or treasures. In this top-down rogue like game, players must navigate the Zee, avoiding pirates and monsters and maintaining their crew’s sanity in the pitch blackness of the Underzee. The game’s map is built on a tile system and few islands are permanent fixtures between games, adding another challenge to the Unterzee. In SUnless Sea, you are expected to embrace the challenge; you are even expected to die (several times). The only question that you have to answer is this; how?

 About the Author
sarah_howellSarah Howell is a 25-year-old graduate with a Bachelor’s of Art and Science degrees in Entertainment Design and Game Design and Development, as well as a minor in writing. She is skilled in story creation, management, 3D modeling and multimedia design.