October 31, 2010

Video Blog #3 - Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear!

I know this isn't video game/industry specific....but I couldn't help but post this. Enjoy!

October 21, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas

Here are my initial thoughts on the game:

1. I LOVE the intro; Brings the player up-to-speed on the main character, the social/political climate of the West Coast, and the status of the "war." Not to mention it's downright beautiful! I mean...if you can get past all the nuclear waste and grime. I'm kind of all about that though; anything post-apocalyptic or utopia = super awesome in my book.

2. Some things never change - like the character creation! I find it amusing that they can create beautiful scenery and detailed characters, but the character creation functionality is poo. Sure, it gives you plenty of options to change, but on the super-tiny screen that shows your character's face, you can't really see any of the changes! And why does my character look like she always has a 5 o'clock shadow, no matter what settings I change? This is a carry-over problem from Oblivion as well...couldn't make a decent looking character no matter how hard you tried. Fallout is certainly better...but damn.

3. The story is fairly interesting, so far. I was drawn to Fallout 3, not only because I was born in and raised close to Washington D.C., but also because I'm a daddy's girl :-) The New Vegas storyline doesn't pull at my heartstrings, but I like some of the characters enough to continue on. Plus, I'm eager to see what this "New Vegas" is like, and see how it differs (if at all) from the actual Las Vegas.

4. I'm roughly 4 hours into the game, and I feel like I've barely done anything. I like this, however, as I expect RPG's to take hours upon hours to complete. I'm just now leaving the starting 'town,' and as eager as I am to get to New Vegas, I'm forcing myself to stop and look around the wasteland a bit.

So far, I'm diggin' this game! Stay tuned...

October 18, 2010

Video Blog #2 - New York Comic Con 2010

1. Still getting used to doing Video Blogs, hence they don't have any real 'purpose' yet.

2. Please pardon the poor camera quality and instability - walking and talking are obviously not my strong points.

3. Look at all the pretty, nerdy things!

October 4, 2010

A message from the ESA

Thanks to a great friend of mine, I was forwarded the following message from the ESA...

The Entertainment Software Association
October 4, 2010
Dear Friends,
In the past few weeks, we witnessed a unique series of events that reflected
the significance of the entertainment software industry. These include: an
outpouring of support from the political, scientific, business and legal
communities in defense of the constitutional rights of video games; a White
House ceremony at which President Barack Obama launched a national
competition to create a video game promoting math and science learning; and
a cover story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about the importance
of games in education.  All of these occurrences represented more visible
proof of the positive impact our remarkable industry is having on society.
On November 2, our legal team will be before the United States Supreme Court,
defending the First Amendment rights of our industry's innovators, creative
artists, and storytellers. I am extremely proud of the respondents' brief we filed
with the high court, which clearly detailed why the California statute is unnecessary, unwarranted and unconstitutional. No less important, on September 17, a
bipartisan group of state attorneys general were among more than 180 First
Amendment scholars, social scientists and organizations representing entertainment
media, business and journalism that filed amicus briefs in support of our position.
Groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Cato Institute and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined entertainment media companies and
others in opposing the California law as an unconstitutional infringement on our
right of free speech. The video game community also continues to show its
support through the Video Game Voters Network which now has more than
250,000 activists who believe in the First Amendment and are fighting with us
to protect it. To read the amicus briefs and other materials related to the
upcoming case, please visit our Supreme Court microsite.
By ensuring that computer and video games receive the free speech
protection they are entitled to, our industry can focus on creating innovative
products that are a source of entertainment and learning. This powerful
combination was highlighted on September 16 when President Obama
launched the National STEM Video Game Challenge at a White House
event as part of his national "Educate to Innovate" campaign. The Challenge,
which ESA co-sponsored, aims to motivate interest in science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students' natural
passion for playing and making video games. 
Research has demonstrated that playing and making games fosters the
development of the critical thinking, design and problem-solving skills needed
to succeed in STEM subjects and motivate students to pursue careers in
these fields. The competition -- supported by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
at Sesame Workshop, Microsoft Corporation, American Library Association,
The International Game Developers Association and other organizations --
will feature prizes for middle school students who design an original video
game, as well as prizes for emerging and experienced developers who design
mobile games that teach STEM concepts to young children.
The growing use of entertainment software as an educational tool was also
highlighted in the September 19 edition of the Sunday New York Times 
Magazine article Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom. The
piece profiled Quest to Learn, a New York City public school that has
incorporated computer and video games into virtually every aspect of their
curriculum in an effort to "support the digital lives of young people and their
capacity for learning." The fact that the influence of games in education
will continue to grow was underscored by neuroscientist Paul Howard-Jones
who told the Times that 30 years from now "we will marvel that we ever tried
to deliver a curriculum without gaming."
To respond to the expanding role that computer and video games are playing
in education and other aspects of daily life, an increasing number of institutes
of higher education are offering degrees in video game design, development,
programming and art. Our own research has shown a record 300 American
colleges, universities, art and trade schools will offer these types of programs
during the 2010-11 academic year, an almost 20 percent increase over
I know in the weeks, months and years to come we will see even more
recognition of the many positive ways computer and video games are
impacting the American economy and society. As our Supreme Court case
demonstrates, we face challenges today. As our industry's history proves,
there is no limit to what our creativity can achieve tomorrow.  
Michael D. Gallagher
Michael D. Gallagher
President and CEO
Entertainment Software Association

More information on this case can be found here. Go crazy!

October 3, 2010

Halo: Quite the Reach..a mid-game review

Alright everyone...I tried.

I really
really tried.

Sadly, Halo Reach is just not a game I can really get into.
Oh, I can't wait to get the hate mail for this one. Let's see if I can't justify my feelings...

I played all of Halo 1, and I can  happily say that it was different, intriguing, and fun. I skipped Halo 2 after I tried the first level (couldn't get past the weird controls/game feel...no thank you), and I played bits and pieces of Halo 3 (mostly multi-player). So, I was really excited to dedicate myself fully to Halo Reach, since I hadn't done so in the past. I really wanted to get caught up in the hype and love for the story and game play. I really wanted to complete the campaign and try my hand at different multi-player styles. And yet, here are the big cons so far:

  1. Futuristic Soldiers can't Run n' Gun

I suppose I'm partial to fast-paced shooters. I grew up playing FPS's like Quake and Unreal, so when I encounter game mechanics like the ones found in Halo Reach, I get very frustrated - fast. Having power-ups is neat, but I would never suggest to have 'sprint' as one of these, as 'sprinting' should be something that every soldier has the ability to do all the time, Spartan or not. It also kills me that many of the guns have no scope (at least having add-ons to guns would be nice). Overall the controls seem slow (at least slower than what I'm used to) and unresponsive. I'd love to hit the left analog stick once to crouch, instead of 3 or 4 times. However, this could also be a PEBCAC problem.

     2. Lets do the same thing, over and over and over again!

After three levels of the campaign and a few rounds of multi-player, I keep having to force myself to put the disc in and keep playing. I have little to no interest in finishing the campaign; this may be because I didn't play all of Halo 2 & 3, but also because as of now all the levels are looking the same (both look and objective-wise). Now, I'm still fully committed to completing this game, but for some reason I'm not having nearly as much fun as I would have liked.

But have no fear, there is a silver lining:

  1. One small step for FPS's, one giant leap for Online Match-Making
I really like what Halo Reach is doing with the match-making process in multi-player games. Before I joined a clan and became accustomed to the way people interact in online multi-player games, I would avoid playing multi-player games unless I knew everyone playing. I knew I'd only interact with uber-competitive guys who would relish the idea of making fun of a girl playing video games. But in Halo Reach, I'm able to describe my gaming style and preferences, and the game will automatically match me with similar-style gamers. I love it! Too bad I don't love the game.

Now, don't totally hate on me just yet. I'm still determined to see this whole thing through. I'll make my final decision about the game later, after I've beaten the campaign and played many more online multi-player games. But for now...blah.

October 1, 2010

Video Blog #1 - PAX Prime 2010

Finally! An update!

Yes folks, and a long one at that. Below you can watch my very first video blog, which is all about PAX Prime. Now, I warn you, it's a long video blog....over 10 minutes of pictures and stories from Seattle, Washington. I'm going to make it a point to be more concise in my future video blogs, so hopefully this will be the only 6+ minute vblog. We'll see!

So, what are you waiting for? Take a look! :D