The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
For those of you who are not familiar with me, my name is Jack and I like a lot of things. I like the color green, caffeinated beverages (with the exception of coffee, BLECK), alternative rock and folk music, and video games. Oh yeah, and I like to write. I like to write a lot. What kinds of things do I write? I write poetry when the mood takes me, I write short stories on occasion, and I also sometimes work on a few novel ideas I have stashed away on my computer. In addition to those pursuits, I am an English Major at the University of Minnesota and so I end up writing quite a few academic papers dissecting Shakespeare, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and other writers that you may or may not have heard of. I am usually perfectly happy to do this, but sometimes, especially in the case of material that I don’t find particularly compelling, it can become quite a drag. It sucks away both time and energy from both writing and reading things that I would normally find interesting and engaging. I enjoy writing creatively enough that I have published a book of poetry and short stories. I published it three years ago as as a gift to my parents for putting me through college and public education. But I have continued working on it over the years and it is currently in its third edition. I’m not going to say that it is good because, well, I don’t think it is that great. In fact, I get a bit embarrassed when people who have read it quote lines from it. But that is neither here nor there.
The question asked in the title of this post is one that has occupied me for a while. I think that the answer gets at some of the profound changes that the video game industry has undergone in the past to make it what it is today, and will also be the impetus for changes that will come in the future.
So often, licensed games get the harsh end of the stick from experienced gamers. Partly, this is because, with the exceptions of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, developers just try to capitalize on the name recognition such properties bring with them. But this does not mean that all licensed games are doomed to be terrible, but it does rankle gamers that their hard earned cash is being taken for a less than stellar experience.
Every so often, when I am unable to think of what to write for a blog post, I sit down and brainstorm for an hour or so and come up with a list of different ideas. Sometimes these ideas are terrible, and sometimes they are pretty darn good. Some of the good ideas for blogs are written down and become blog posts, while others are saved for future use. A small portion of the saved ideas are actually half written or mostly completed, but never finished. Today, in a new series titled Blog Vault, I resurrect an old post that was mostly completed about two months ago. Enjoy!
Today, I was really happy. Let me tell you why: yesterday I posted a new edition in my Casting the Games series. When I went to bed at 4 AM (yes, 4 AM… college is a downer sometimes….), my blog had about 200 views. I woke up four hours later and checked my e-mail before I went left to start the day and, low and behold, my blog had over 1,200 views. I have been blogging long enough to know that this is not a common occurrence. I was quite shocked.
Hey everybody! Recently, I have been in contact with Mojomonkey12 regarding the fundraising efforts for Extra Life, which raises money to help sick children in hospitals. If you missed what Extra Life is about, you can go to the website, look at Mojomonkey12’s blog, my blog, or Born4This’ blog. Basically, on October 15th participants will be going through a 24 hour video game marathon. The marathon is used as a way of raising money for local hospitals through Children’s Miracle Network. This could be an opportunity to help children in need while catching up on your back catalogue of games or playing through an entirely new series. Oooor it could be used as a chance to settle old rivalries, shed some virtual blood, and decapitate a mortal enemy and scream in victory.
Last week in Time With Demos! I wrote about El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. What I didn’t tell you all was that I had found the demo for Ace Combat: Assault Horizon available for download. This made me incredibly excited, as the Ace Combat series is probably one of my favorite video game franchises. I downloaded it to my Xbox 360 and there it stayed… until today.
As many of you know, Mojomonkey12 has been spearheading the Team GIO effort to raise money for local children’s hospitals through the charity event Extra Life. Money will be sent to a children’s hospital of your choice to be directly used by the hospital to help the children recover and get better from various stages of illness and disease. Basically, Extra Life participants will be gaming for 24 hours straight on October 15 starting at 9 a.m.
Most of us here on Game Informer Online are, oddly enough, gamers. The word “gamer” describes what we like to do, which is to play games. More specifically, gamers enjoy and partake of the interactive medium more colloquially called the “video game”. This should be very obvious to anyone who has played a video game, but a key component of playing a video game is actually playing, or interacting, with it. Through interaction we can control the flow of events, experience triumph and failure through the guise of our on screen hero or anti-hero. Through interaction we develop a closer bond to the character, perhaps because we come to see the character as an extension of ourselves, and through the character we come to know and appreciate the dramatic arc of events through which the character passes (whether the story is linear or open to be tackled in any order or even if there is no apparent story).
I had a unique experience today and I felt compelled to write about it. For those of you that play League of Legends, yesterday was a big day. Yesterday Riot Games released a limited public beta for their new game mode called Dominion. It is not constantly available, but rather open during random, non-peak server hours. I managed to play three games before the beta closed for the day and they were awesome. If you need some background on what League of Legends is, check out my review or the League of Legends website.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I am late to the Minecraft craze. I’ve been aware of this indie hit for a very long time, but have been constantly avoiding purchasing or playing it. There are a few real reasons for this hesitation. First, I didn’t think that it was going to get big or really continue (boy, was I wrong). Second, I had other games on my hands and it wasn’t on top of my backlog of games to play. Third, once it started getting bigger and better I realized that playing it would be terrible for me (I’ll get to that a bit later). Fourth, my gaming habits are sometimes unhealthy and I recognize that.