Good To Be A Gamer Podcast – Week of 2/3/2013

1

Category : Featured, Good To Be A Gamer

Recorded 2/6/2013
Good To Be A Gamer is Available on iTunes!

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NEWS
Robin Sachs passes away at 61 [GameSpot]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/mass-effect-dragon-age-voice-actor-dead-6403512

Game Tax Proposed by CT Lawmaker [GameSpy]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/game-tax-proposed-by-ct-lawmaker-6403507

Sony’s Bullet Run shutting down after just 7 months live [Bullet Run Site]

https://www.bulletrunthegame.com/news/article.vm?month=022013&id=108

Zynga loses $209 Million in 2012 [GameSpot]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/zynga-loses-209-million-in-2012-6403464

Related: Zynga to Close Cityville 2 as it shows no mercy for weak games [Venture Beat]

http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/05/zynga-to-close-cityville-2-as-it-shows-no-mercy-on-weak-games/

Sony Replaces “Kevin Butler” Ad Agency with “Axe Astronaut” Firm [Joystiq]

http://www.joystiq.com/2013/02/06/sony-replaces-kevin-butler-ad-agency-with-axe-firm/

EA Tops Metacritics best publishers [GameSpot]

http://www.gamespot.com/news/metacritic-ranks-ea-as-2012s-best-major-publisher-6403487

WiiU-exclusive Ninja Gaiden 3:Razor’s Edge to go Multiplatform [Eurogamer]

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-06-wii-u-exclusive-ninja-gaiden-3-razors-edge-to-go-multi-platform

Xbox Live Sees First Film Premiere [Games Industry International]

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-02-06-xbox-live-sees-first-film-premiere

FOX Reloading “Hitman” with Paul Walker as Bald Barcoded Assassin Agent 47 [Deadline]

http://www.deadline.com/2013/02/fox-reloading-hitman-with-paul-walker-as-bald-barcoded-assassin-agent-47/

J.J. Abrams and Valve “In Talks” for Collaboration [Computer and Video Games] http://www.computerandvideogames.com/389670/jj-abrams-and-valve-in-talks-for-collaboration/

 

ITEMS OF INTEREST
Defiance: The MMO vs The TV Show – Fight! [GameSpy]

http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/syfy-action-mmo/1226469p1.html

Everything I Needed to Know About Love I Learned from Playing Chrono Trigger [Bygone Bureau]

http://bygonebureau.com/2013/02/05/everything-i-needed-to-know-about-love-i-learned-from-playing-chrono-trigger/

EVENTS
DICE Summit
February 5-8, 2013
Hard Rock Hotel
Las Vegas, NV

http://www.dicesummit.org

Total Confusion
February 21-24, 2013
Mansfield, MA

http://totalcon.com/

PAX East
March 22-24 3-Day passes already sold out, individual days still available for Friday and Sunday only.

http://east.paxsite.com/

WonderCon Anaheim
3/29/13 – 3/31/13
Anaheim Convention Center – Anaheim, CA

http://www.comic-con.org/wca

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek. Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

PAX East 2012: Educating Through Gameplay

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, Featured, Game On, PAX East

I have always been a supporter of gaming as a resource for learning. More and more, people are taking notice of educational aspects that are inherent to certain game design and how games can be used as an entertaining way to teach concepts. One of the things I most look forward to at PAX East is the panels that feature “gaming for good.” Whether being used for charity, education, or other good works, these are always incredibly informative panels.
 
This year I attended a panel titled, Educating Through Play: The Future of American Education. The panel offered a sobering look at the current state of the US education system. In a first world society where technology surrounds us and information is quite literally a touchscreen away, why is it so difficult to teach the youth of today and why are some resistant to using games in an attempt to enhance learning? Three of the guest speakers were themselves responsible in developing and implementing games to foster and encourage learning. The panel offered a brief glimpse into the projects and left the audience wondering what else may be possible for the future.
 
To start things off, Primer Labs gave us a peek at Code Hero, a game that teaches people how to code. Code Hero transports the player to a virtual world where they can see the code used to create objects and execute actions. Players then use the code to influence the virtual space and complete tasks, thus offering a cause-effect reaction to cement the concept. Essentially, the player get to play a game while learning to make a game. Primer Labs recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign which brought in $170,954.00 in contributions.
 
   
Elizabeth Lawley was on hand to discuss the Just Press Play Project being utilized at Rochester Institute of Technology. The Just Press Play Project uses game layers to incorporate gameplay into the undergraduate experience for students enrolled in their School of Interactive Games & Media. The initiative connects the educational and social lives of students, provides incentives for educational achievements and creates a greater sense of community among peers, further encouraging students to help one another.
 
   
Rounding out the panel was Leslie Reed of Valve Software to show off Learn With Portals. If you have ever played Portal or Portal 2, you know these games are rife with problem-solving opportunities. Somewhere along the way, teachers also began to recognize the potential of using Portal to teach physics, mathematics, spacial reasoning and engineering concepts, among many other skill sets. Valve Software has been one of the industry heavy hitters to embrace education, going so far as to build a practical lab that teachers can arrange to visit as a school field trip. These field trips allow students to get hands-on experience with the technology and build their own structures to better cement the concepts expressed. In the near future, Valve expects to work more closely with educators as they build a network for educators to share ideas and curriculum in an effort to assist one another in creating dynamic tools for teachers.
 

 
This is only the beginning of what I hope will become a long and cooperative relationship between education and gaming. Game mechanics inherently teach skills in an entertaining way. The biggest obstacle to such an effort is the lack of concrete metrics. While there are plenty of anecdotal experiences that tout the benefits of gaming as an educational tool, there is a need for hard and fast demonstrations of measurable value. The only way to obtain this data is to keep on gaming.
 

Good To Be A Gamer Podcast, Episode 109 – Week of 01/01/2012

1

Category : Featured, Good To Be A Gamer

Recorded 01/08/2012

 

 
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Dreamcast the Movie: Super Mario Bros. Results
Mario: James Gandolfini
Luigi: Will Arnett
Peach: Jayma Mays
Toad: Nick Frost
Yoshi: 3 way tie: Andy Serkis, Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill
Bowser: 3 way tie: John C. Reilly, Brendan Gleeson, Jack Nicholson
Wario: 2 way tie: Danny DeVito & John Noble
Director: Terry Gilliam

 

Dreamcast the Movie: Eternal Champions
http://www.goodtobeageek.com/?p=2626

 

NEWS

-Microsoft Discusses Xbox Live Security Issues [IGN]

http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/121/1215973p1.html

-Major Nelson reports the top Games Played on Xbox Live [Major Nelson Blog]
http://majornelson.com/2012/01/06/top-games-of-2011/

- Crysis 2, Super Mario Galaxy and Gears of Wars 3 Are Among the Most Pirated Games of 2011 [TorrentFreak]
http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-games-of-2011-111230/

-Finalists Announced for Game Developers Conference [GDC Site]
http://www.gdconf.com/news/game_developer_choice_awards/skyrim_bastion_lead_finalists_.html

-Steam continues to Grow & Show No Signs of Stopping [GameSpy]
http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/121/1215997p1.html

-Toxic Games Qube released on Steam [Qube Site]
http://qube-game.com/

-Asura’s Wrath Story Trailer [IGN Entertainment YouTube Channel]
http://youtu.be/pAEwZ_MJd5g
 

EVENTS

 -Arisia
January 13-16, 2012
Boston Westin Waterfront – Boston, MA

http://arisia.org

 

-TempleCon
February 3-5, 2012
Crown Plaza – Warwick, RI

http://www.templecon.org

 

-Total Confusion
February 23-26, 2012
Holiday Inn – Mansfield, MA

http://www.totalcon.com

 

CONTACT

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.

Good To Be A Gamer Podcast by Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Almost a Review of Portal 2′s Single Player Campaign

Category : Game On, Reviews

I guess I’ll begin with the most concise review I can manage: I love this game. The puzzles are great, little improvements like adding a zoom function really improve the overall experience, and the graphics are fine in spite of the now-positively-ancient Source engine. The single-player experience is significantly more fleshed out and substantial than that of the first Portal, and this time around truly holds its own as a game and not simply a Half-Life side story.

I’m not particularly surprised by any of this, really. I can’t recall the last time Valve released a bad game, and there is clearly passion within the studio about this franchise. I’m more relieved than anything else, really. I’m one of the few out there who considers Mass Effect to be considerably better than its sequel, and I’m always wary of a company trying to recapture the magic of a game by polishing up what’s good about it and not paying attention to what made it so good in the first place. That probably sounds dumb, but I’m going somewhere with this so shut up and hear me out. It would have been very easy to make a Portal 2 that would be very successful both critically and commercially that I would have hated. The first title was built on an innovative and solid puzzle mechanic, but what people remember about it was cake and GlaDOS and whether or not there is any truth in said cake (there is not) and a Jonathan Coulton song which was at once catchy and clever but now only exists to ruin parties when somebody who can’t read the atmosphere insists on adding it to the Rock Band playlist. Portal was a short but magical experience which was very quickly distilled into a teeshirt. Nothing scared me more than the prospect of going to a message board on Friday morning (allowing for a 3 day moratorium on spoilers) and seeing it awash in sycophants declaring their unending love for Test Room 16, AKA THE CAKE LAIR!!#@! while posting youtube videos of themselves doing the GlaDOS Shuffle, the hot new dance craze set to the tune of the latest tongue-in-cheek JoCo jam.

It’s easy to dip back into the well when trying to follow up something as surprisingly popular and beloved as Portal. The game was a phenomenon, hitting hard and fast and when something like that happens, it can be very difficult to discern what creates that kind of success, even for the creators. Often, the best people can do is try and recapture the phenomenon’s most successful parts because they can’t suss out any better way to follow up on it. Maybe the brightest minds at Valve got together in a board room and the best they could come up with was “People love cake and songs penned by Yale graduates,” with one post-it note stuck to the side of the whiteboard saying “Maybe mix it up and get a Harvard guy this time?”

It became clear to me very quickly over the course of the game that this was not to be the case. Valve had the sense to identify that the product was not what made the first game great, but rather it was the ingenuity and creativity of some truly talented, very funny people. Portal 2 is wonderful for all the same reasons that Portal was wonderful: it is incredibly well-crafted in every area and it is a truly original and unique experience, even against its predecessor.

Thought I just had: Did Valve choose not to recycle the old jokes so they could make new tee shirts with catch phrases on it? My meme predictions are: ::maybe spoilerzlol?:: “I’m Different” and “I’m the guy who’s gonna set your house on fire… with lemons!” ::end spoilerzwtf?!::

I’ve yet to experience cooperative play! I wanted to finish the single player first. I have, and you should too. Portal 2 is kind of a can’t miss thing, and if you don’t like it then you’re wrong and we can’t be friends.

First Impression: Steam on PS3

Category : Game On, PS3, Reviews

So yesterday was Portal 2sday, which we all know to be very, very important. Truly, it is, and I will have more on that in the very very near future. However, the other important thing about yesterday was the debut of Valve’s Steam service on its third platform, That Triple. As much as I have looked forward to Portal 2, I’ve almost been more excited about this Steam thing and what it could possibly mean in the future.

I probably should have tempered my expectations a bit. Steam on the PS3 is exactly what Valve told us it would be, which isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it really highlights some of the flaws of PSN in ways that I’m sure Sony had hoped it wouldn’t. Pressing the select button during Portal 2 gameplay brings you right to the Steam overlay, letting you quickly chat with anybody on your Steam friends list much more quickly than sending them a PSN message, and it lets you view your own and your friends’ Steam achievements before the XMB could even finish the obscenely long trophy sync operation. Even in this limited implementation, I think it would be great if other publishers were able to take advantage Steam integration. It remains to be seen how things such as updates will work, but I’m optimistic and feel that overall this is a step in the right direction.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there is science to be done and then I can tell you all about how much I love Portal 2 because I love it quite a bit.