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Two years ago when a couple guys wanted to come back to their 1st love they created at the beginning of their careers, they decided to take it to Kickstarter and hoping that that the fans would help bring what they love back to life. After surpassing their goals by $17,232 Zojoi has cleared the path to recreating the game two generation of gamers loved and now so shall this current generation of gamers. Zojoi, thats right the studio behind the classic point and click adventure, Shadowgate from the days of NES has taken the time to answer a few questions about their upcoming title and the re-imaging of that decades old title of might and magic. These Questions were answered by Karl Roelofs, Design Director at Zojoi

 

 

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What made you guys come back to this classic series; was there an outcry from your faithful supporters?

 

Dave and I always had the desire to bring back the original game and tell the other stories from the world of Shadowgate we have written. When we saw that retro-gaming was being embraced by fans again, we decided that the time was right to re-introduce the franchise. So we reached out via Kickstarter and found that fans of the original game (especially the NES players), as well as new enthusiasts, were excited about what we had planned.

 

 

When designing this updated version what from the past titles did you want to redesign and what did you completely scrap?

 

Well, we definitely did not want to do a port – we had done this about ten times before – so we spent a lot of time looking at each puzzle, deciding whether it was something we wanted to keep. I would say that 95% of the puzzles are either completely new or use the same location but are altered in some way to fit with the storyline better. There are a few puzzles from the original that we completely scrapped since they really didn’t fit into our narrative anymore. We’re pretty happy with the outcome.

 

 

What added features and or content have you added?

 

We weren’t constrained by a disk or a cartridge, so we were able to add some of the things that we always wanted to. New to this version of Shadowgate is an in-game map that tracks the locations you have travelled to as well as records the cryptic clues found along the way. We provide 45 in-game and Steam-based achievements that range from experiencing all the deaths in the game to beating the game within a certain amount of turns. We have several side quests and new creature interactions, a full-blown interactive soundtrack by Rich Douglas and three difficult levels that change the puzzles in the game based upon your skill level. Really, there is a ton of new stuff here.

 

 

When designing this game have you placed any Easter eggs of sorts giving a nod to your fans of the past games?

 

Absolutely! We pay homage to several things from original game that didn’t quite make it in this version. Players may get to finally find out what is behind that locked door in the well room and we also give a shout-out to fans of Déjà vu and Ace Harding. Also, should you choose, you can switch from orchestral music to the original 8bit NES music (composed by Hiroyuki Masuno). Additionally, we’ve elevated the role that death plays by scattering a number of hidden deaths throughout the game. These offer several particularly nasty yet humorous ways to meet your end.

 

Who from the original development staff came back to help with this iteration?

 

Dave and I are the only members from the original team (we designed the original game as well as created all the art). We then reached out to a team of folks, many whom we had worked with in the past and they were just as excited to re-imagine this game as we were. Our team is really an awesome group and for the last year and a half has been pouring their hearts and souls into making Shadowgate every bit as memorable as the original.

 

 

How excited was it for you to have the chance to have better orchestrated soundtrack for Shadowgate this time around?

 

We are ecstatic to have Rich Douglas provide not only the soundtrack for Shadowgate but an unbelievable sound design (sound effects, ambience, etc.) Rich took his inspiration from the original soundtrack but went way beyond that, creating both familiar orchestrated themes and brand-new epic compositions. Additionally, the game supports multiple tracks of instrumentation that can be added or removed to enhance the ambiance of a particular room or situation. This really amps up the intensity when you are encountering deadly traps and monsters throughout the castle.

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What do you think is next for your studios?

 

Well, from a Shadowgate perspective, we just made the game available for pre-order at www.shadowgate.com and should have the game out on Windows and Mac this summer. After that, we will release the game on iOS and Android before moving on to doing localization for other languages. We’ll then be looking at other console platforms and since we’ve built the PAC (point and click) engine, making developing other games easier, we plan to re-visit the world of Shadowgate very soon. In fact, we have the story-arc planned for the next two games.

 



 

 

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Hi, Sean Jacobs here I would like to present my interview with Switchblade Monkeys the wonder team behind the upcoming title Secret Ponchos. I would like to apologize for the delay but, I went Clark Kent and transcribed my interview via my handy digital voice recorder. Lets get into this tasty treat why don’t we.

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Me: Hi, Sean Jacobs here from RealOtakuGamer.com can you Please introduce yourself to our readers at realotakugamer.com

Yousuf Mapara: Hi, I’m Yousuf Mapara and I am the Creative Director (and President of Switchblade Monkeys) of Secret Ponchos.

Me: Well, you just answered my second question because I was going to ask you what you’re relation to Secret Ponchos was!

(Shared Laughter)

Me: What inspired Switchblade monkeys to create such a unique game like Secret Ponchos?

Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that takes us back to multiplayer fun, That’s just fun to pick up and is not this huuuge learning curve of like 30-40 hours just to be able to have fun. We are all hardcore fighting game kinda fans and so we love that depth but not the (inaudible) Though, the main thing is that we wanted to make a Spaghetti Western game so, that’s where it all started, ya know? its just such a cool genre. Basically our musician and I were sitting playing Soul Calibur and we had um, were playing Ennio Morricone in the background at the same time and all of a sudden everything just magically synced up the music, the epic trumpets and uh ya know the drama from the music and it felt like everything we felt like everything we were doing was just choreographed to the music so, we were like “WOW we really need to make a fighting western game”

Me: Isn’t it weird how things just come together like that?

Yousuf Mapara: I know, I know it wish there was a cooler version on how the game started but, its stupid but, that’s how it came together.

(Shared laughter)

Me: That’s OK because that is the most organic way to come up with an great idea.

 Me: Were there any other influences drawn from other games pulled into making Secret Ponchos?

Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that has this competitive, you pick it up and we want your adrenaline to start pumping, that kind of fun. You pick it up and we want it to feel competitive, fun kind of game… I remember lining up to Street Fighter and getting our quarters and this is the type of game that we wanted to make so you could enjoy. A lot of games recently are awesome experiences but, they have also have became like interactive stories with a lot of cinematic experiences

Me: Yeah, like watching a movie you sometime play.

Yousuf Mapara: …and we wanted to take a step back from that, we have developed plenty of projects like that at AAA studios and we wanted to get to the feeling of  “ah man you got me this time I’m going to go home and practice to get the best of you”

Me: Given the multiplayer nature of Secret Ponchos when it is released will Switchblade Monkey launch some sort of DLC to compliment that element?

Yousuf Mapara: You know uh, so our model for DLC is very interesting we don’t want to be very aggressive with dlc. When you buy Secret Ponchos its a complete experience on its own you don’t need to pay more money or buy stuff to be able to fulfill your experience, with that being said the genre is such an interesting genre for character archetypes that we only scratched the surface with our characters so, we are going to keep expanding on the Secret Ponchos Universe and that’s a better road to DLC. As long as the fans want to see the game universe expanded we will keep have new guys and use DLC to fund new characters.

Me: When I was doing research on you guys on YouTube that’s what I was thinking. I was like  They could be in a good position to be able to spin DLC in a good way if infused correctly. I don’t like the aggressive DLC, I don’t like aggressive salesmanship at all so like, if your company create a great package its going to make us the fans want to buy it.

Yousuf Mapara: Yeah don’t want people to have their defenses up when playing our games as if we are trying to pitch them, if they bought the game its a fun universe, right? we hope people are looking forward to new expansions and new characters and we could use DLC to fund that. When you are really excited for a game, like Diablo and you are really looking forward to the expansion and its a worthwhile purchase that is the type of feel we want to lean towards.

Me: What about this game excites you the most and what can you tell people about secret ponchos that haven’t heard of it?

Yousuf Mapara: The two things we are the most proud of is the art style we really tried to focus on a great art style but, secondly when you look at team shooters and fighting games and there is a lot of them and they are all feeling kind of similar it was really exciting that we have found a new twist a new presentation for a combat game in this genre hey we are a small indie company and just by moving the camera over top we kinda made our own type of combat game and that’s what we are excited about it doesn’t have this superficial feel of a slight change on an existing shooter game it has its own thing and that’s what we are most excited about.

 Me: Thank you again Yousuf and it was a pleasure standing here with you and playing with your staff on multiple matches. I can’t wait for Secret Ponchos and the many ways you will possibly expand its universe.

*Before our scheduled interview Yousuf and I had several conversations one that revealed that Secret Ponchos will be on the Steam for early access. Secret Ponchos was originally slated for PS4 release but, after the outcry of the PC community Switchblade Monkeys have decided to appease the masses and give the Steam community an early shot of the former PlayStation 4 exclusive.

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Here is the Trailer for the game.

 

By Lethal Minx On 11 Jan, 2014 At 11:25 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Interviews, ROG News, Tales of Real Otaku | With 0 Comments
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560059_545217922223147_21166582_nI had the wonderful pleasure of being able to interview Leon Chiro, a respected cosplayer throughout the nerd community who has won several awards for cosplays like Dante from the Devil May Cry series, Tidus from Final Fantasy X and Dissidia, Caius from Final Fantasy XIII-2, and the list goes on and on. Today we get a sneak peak into the life of a competitive cosplayer from his humble beginnings, his current works in progress, and everything in between.

ROG: The classic question; we all started somewhere in our cosplay careers. Tell me a bit about that – how old you were, what inspired you, your cosplay inspirations, and what convention you did your first debut.

LC: Ok, so it was 2010…

ROG: Oh, so you’ve only been doing this for a little while!

LC: Yeah. I only started to cosplay seriously when I realized what cosplay was. But my first convention was in 2010. I’m coming from the modeling world, and I was asking myself, “Ok, I love doing pictures, but what if I try to take a character I love a lot and I model with them?” So, I was thinking of doing Tidus because he’s my favorite character ever, and I was thinking, “what if I contacted somebody to see how much this costume would cost?” And they said, “Oh, that’s simple!” And I was like, “… what?” “Cosplay.” “Ok, what is cosplay?” So he explained it and I was like, “Oh. Hm. Sounds like a carnival thing.” He said, “No, it’s more than that…” So he explained it to me. I could never imagine what the cosplay world was. So, I took my Tidus cosplay, I went to the convention alone, and I was a nobody. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. That was fine because I was like, “Woah.. where the [expletive] am I?” (Laughter) Someone came up to me and said, “you should enter the cosplay contest [with the Tidus cosplay] because you are very, very good.”

ROG: Yeah, you did a really great job on that. I’m shocked that was your first cosplay.

Leon Chiro's cosplay as Tidus from FFX

Leon Chiro’s cosplay as Tidus from FFX

LC: Yeah, I did Tidus’ first and second version. So yeah, this guy said I should do the cosplay contest. Ok, what is the cosplay contest? Well, it’s like a masquerade. You have to do an exhibition and interpret your character, and I said “oh, sounds cool!” I discovered that I made it to the finals without knowing it. I wasn’t expecting that. A lot of people were surprised because I was anonymous and I came from nowhere, and I arrived in a place that other people have been trying to get to for years. I don’t know what I did… I did it with my heart. That’s the thing – I did my character with my heart.

I have to say that a lot of people started to go against me – “Oh, he’s nobody,” “He only has one cosplay,” “He has too much success” – just people talking bad about me. So I said, “Ok, it’s time for me to do a second cosplay.” I did Dante, and I tried to do the cosplay contest, but I didn’t arrive in time and I had some problems. People still continued to talk bad about me because they were like, “Oh, he’s just doing it for the body” or “He’s just doing it because of the abs.” By then it was 2011, and I wanted to stop because I was like “What the [expletive] is this world?” I’m coming from the modeling world where a lot of people respect me.

ROG: Cosplay is supposed to be fun, and unfortunately there’s a lot of hate.

LC: First of all, it was just supposed to be fun. Secondly, in the gaming and comic world, if I’m winning a lot in a short amount of time, they should be happy for me, and that wasn’t the case. I wanted to stop, so I stopped for two months and I thought about it, and I said, “Ok, there are a lot of haters, but I met a lot of special people and I wanted to do an achievement exhibition for them.” So I entered the cosplay contest, and the winner won a trip to Lucca. I won first place with Dante, and a lot of people were against me because I was doing good. It’s not easy in the beginning and you’re alone and you don’t have recommendations, but I started like everyone else – a nobody. Everything I did, I did by myself.

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

Leon Chiro as Dante from DMC3

I started to get more motivated, and I was like “Ok, you hate me because I’m doing good? Ok.” And I did Tidus from Dissidia, and I started to face more haters, and I was winning every contest I entered. People started to look at me with more respect. I went to Lucca with my Kung Lao cosplay because he’s my favorite character from Mortal Kombat and I won the Best Interpretation Award, which is the hardest award to get. When you win in Lucca, you can say that you’re a professional cosplayer. Winning that award made me really proud of myself, so after I won, that’s when I made my facebook cosplay page towards the end of 2011. So yeah… that’s my story. After my first convention, I won something like 14 in a row, including Lucca. The most important thing was that people were starting to know who I was and that I did good work. That was the main victory. It wasn’t about being popular – it was about being respected. I got a lot of respect for my Caius cosplay because it was very hard. Do you know of Kamui Cosplay (another respected cosplayer in the community)?

ROG: Yes, I recently liked her page on facebook because I saw it on your page. So I watched some of her tutorials on YouTube – they’re really helpful.

LC: To me, she’s the best cosplayer in the world. I had the honor of her complimenting me, and that was really satisfying… someone that big complimented me. I’m also talking to Rick Boer from Ubisoft, who’s the official Edward Kenway cosplayer (from Assassin’s Creed IV), and it feels great to have his respect because he’s such a humble guy. He’s my Assassin’s Creed idol. (Laughter) So that was a long reply for just one question!

ROG: (Laughter) It’s not a problem! How a cosplayer started out is usually a long one. All right, so an editor from ROG and I were talking and we were discussing that cosplaying seems to be mostly female dominated. What do you think about that and how to do you feel taking part in something that’s so female based?

1531739_565873086824297_1431166684_oLC: It depends, because people usually focus on half-naked girls. But for me, they’re appreciating cosplay – they’re appreciating modeling. It’s not the same thing. I’m not looking for likes (on facebook) – I want to earn them. I try to mix the two because I come from the modeling world and I’m doing cosplay from my heart. It’s female dominated because it’s easy to be popular when you’re barely wearing anything. It makes me laugh because girls will be like “Oh, you’re judging me because of my half-naked pictures?” They barely know what they’re talking about, and after you see their page, you’ll see them in bras and barely wearing anything. Girls will get angry and nitpick other girls’ cosplays, but they’re the ones doing sexier versions of a particular character. A lot of girls will judge girls that they can’t be as good as.

ROG: As a girl, I understand that totally. All right, so have you ever been an invited guest to a big name convention? And if not, what would be your dream convention to be invited to?

LC: I’ve been invited to a lot of European conventions, but I still haven’t been to America, for example. It’s unfortunately really expensive to go there.

ROG: Yeah, which is a shame. But, in the same way, I haven’t been to Italy because it’s really expensive. A friend of mine just left for Rome a few days ago and I was mentally cursing her (laughter).

LC: I mean, for me, a lot of people that go to America are really lucky. But even if I was invited to an American convention, I don’t think I’d be able to accept it anyway. I’d love to. I hope one day someone sees my cosplay and invites me over, I don’t know. This year, I was invited to three conventions. I’m taking things step by step. If you reach an achievement, it’s because you deserve it. That’s what we learn growing up. For me, it’s hard to keep up the good work because people love my cosplay, and they have a lot of high expectations. I always have to do my best.

ROG: Sure, it can be a lot of pressure.

LC: No, it’s not pressure. It’s kind of motivation for me. If cosplay was a pressure for me, I wouldn’t be doing it and I wouldn’t be doing this interview with you (laughter).

ROG: (Laughter) Trust me, we all appreciate your work. So, you’re from Italy, which I already said I’m totally jealous of, and you’re jealous of the fact that I live in New York. What would you say the biggest difference between American and European convention scenes are?

LC: I wish I could know about the American convention scene, but I’ve never been there.

ROG: I wasn’t sure if you just meant you haven’t been to New York in particular.

LC: I can say about Italy and other European conventions that there is a lot less competition. There are two European championships, and they’re the EuroCosplay, and ECG, European Cosplay Gathering. In every main convention in Europe, they choose 2 representatives and put them against the representatives from all the other countries.
I’m really proud to say that I’m competing in the world championship for Italy. It makes things harder because the competition gets more and more intense. Sometimes, competition isn’t healthy here because a lot of people are doing all they can to destroy the other cosplayers, with flames, with fights.

ROG: So it’s not good sportsmanship.

LC: Yeah, there was this guy who used to be my friend, and we’re not friends anymore. He always used to come into my job and wanted the basics to cosplays, and he’s good now, but he’s so arrogant. At the first opportunity, after I helped him meet a lot of contacts, he turned his back on me and left, and spoke bad about me. For example, we had a TV show to do and they were going to choose two cosplayers – one male and one female. They called me instead of him and a lot of other cosplayers, and I was happy about that. He wrote to the director of the show and said, “how can you choose that shitty Dragonball cosplay instead of mine, just to make me look bad. I didn’t believe he wrote and the director said, “yes, he did. Do you want to read?” So I read it and I was shocked. I was like “what the [expletive]? I don’t know what I did to him. Maybe he just ate something bad (laughter).” So I began to understand that reputation in Italy isn’t always good because a lot of them aren’t able to be humble and honest to someone else. Cosplay is a hobby, not work.

ROG: Yeah, I was actually talking to the rest of my team a few minutes ago that I truly appreciate you taking the time out. It says a lot about the cosplay community – you being good at what you do and so respected, but you’ll still take the time out for others. I’ve known and met a lot of cosplayers who thought they were better than everyone else and slammed other people. We’re all nerds, we all play videogames, read comics, watch anime – whatever. We’re supposed to be a family, but instead we just shut other people down because someone can’t sew and craft as good as someone else.

LC: There should be a middle ground between those who share the same passion. It’s not everyday that you find someone who understands you. You can’t always talk to others about video games. For example, when I was doing my Tidus cosplay, I had my hair blonde. I wasn’t wearing a wig and I had to face university with blonde hair. People would call me names like fleshlight (laughter).

ROG: That’s awful! I thought it looked great. Who cares?

LC: Yeah, who cares? I can kick your ass whenever I want, so…

ROG: (Laughter) I’d hate to get on your bad side…

LC: (shakes head) Nu-uh. Ok, so I go to school for motor science… what I would like to do with that degree – that future degree. University is a

Chiro's cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

Chiro’s cosplay of Kung Lao won him first place in Lucca.

cruel world. Not everyone can pay to go to university here in Italy. It’s very selective. They’ll choose the best 200 out of thousands of applicants. Luckily for me, they were extending applications to former athletes. I was a former national champion in athletics.

ROG: What sport were you in?

LC: 100 meters. I was a runner. I’m doing parkour right now because it gives me freedom of expression. I would take my degree, get a passport, and come to the USA. I’m doing this major for personal satisfaction. I want to create my own future and do the things I love. If I can do something with it, that’d be great.

ROG: That’s a great point. Most parents in America – when I tell my parents, “hey, I want to go to school for video game design.” The first question out of their mouth is going to be “what are you going to do with that degree?” There’s no such thing as going to college for something that makes me happy; it’s all about how to make money out of it. Good for you that you go to school for something that makes you happy.

LC: You pay for your time to study. You can’t live anymore because you have to constantly study. School should make you motivated, not miserable. A good teacher isn’t someone who knows everything. A good teacher is someone who can give you those few things during your time at university and motivate you. It’s not a competition of knowledge. Sometimes it could be a former student going through their own frustrations and they pass down to you what they’ve learned in life.

ROG: Great point. So, we’ve all had that one costume that was a lot of fun, and others that were extremely challenging. What costume did you have the most fun making, and which one was the most frustrating?

LC: Caius was the one that gave me the most satisfaction. It’s full of armor parts, and it was great winning because it didn’t show off my body [like how Dante and Tidus did], but I spent a lot of money on Caius. Especially making this (shows Caius’ weapon).

ROG: Wow… how did you make that?

LC: (Laughter) I don’t even know. It’s a bit damaged now. You can say that it looks good, but since I created it, I can say that it’s definitely damaged.

ROG: How long did it take you to make Caius’ cosplay?

LC: Ahhhh… a month. One month, every single day for five to six hours. If you look on my page, I have a work in progress album that you can see. I started with a piece of wood, and then cut the shape, added more layers of wood, and just added things piece by piece. I was covered in sawdust. I had so much sawdust on me that when I went outside, all the dogs kept trying to pee on my leg because they thought I was a tree!

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Caius was the most uncomfortable to wear. It’s a lot to put on. I went to a convention and I took three redbulls with me… I have no idea why I did that. When you’re anxious and nervous about getting on stage, I had to have a redbull. But then I was like, “Oh my God, I have to pee. What the [expletive] am I going to do?” I had to remove all the pieces of the cosplay. It took a half hour to put it on and fix it. Thankfully, the Dante cosplay from DMC was the easiest. I just had the coat, didn’t have a wig, and if I got hot, I could take the coat off. It’s hard with the Caius cosplay because he does a lot of movement, and it’s hard to move in his cosplay. I need to improve some things before I compete with it again for the debut of Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns.

ROG: What do you enjoy doing the most – the outfit, the props, or the makeup and wigs?

LC: I hate the wig part. I have to make them in a way that it wont fall apart. When you’re on stage, you can’t have something like that go wrong. I mean, you’ve seen my Vegeta cosplay. It’s really heavy. I love doing makeup, but I love making my accessories. I’m well known for my props. I can get help with my tailoring and sewing stuff. If I have to do something with a coat, I’ll buy a coat and alter it. Come, on, let’s talk about it. I think it’s stupid. If you need orange pants, buy a pair and dye it. There’s no need to make one. I mean, sure, it can be satisfying, but really. Just buy a pair of pants and do what you need. With the accessories, you make it from scratch. I go to the woodshop, get the wood, and I get to work. Or you can use regular household items, like tubes from toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper. Even plastic water bottles.

ROG: Obviously it takes a lot of work to keep your body in such great shape. What’s a typical workout routine for you? I know you’re all about ‘eating clean and training dirty.’

LC: I avoid fast food and processed food. I train 6 days a week. You have a choice between choosing an elevator or the stairs. Just take the stairs. Exercise is making changes in habits like that. People always complain because they don’t get the results they like because they’re not working hard enough. Or they reach their result and people think they can take a break. No, it doesn’t work like that. You have to maintain it. It’s not just your metabolism – it’s about habits. Everyone can be in shape if they wanted to. We have two legs, two arms, and a brain, and we can do whatever we want. I work out a bit less in the winter – one to two hours a day, a few times a week. During the summer, I’m training three to four hours, six days a week. I’m a trainer too, so I have to make sure I stay in shape. I don’t do the gym… I’m usually in the playground. You should see the face of the kids. They’re like “daddy! This guy is stealing our playground!” Well, you’re gunna have to fight for it. Round one… FIGHT!

ROG: (Laughter) Your cosplays are absolutely incredible. I see that your cosplays are all video game-based. Do you plan on doing any anime or movie characters?

LC: I do video game cosplays because video games, in my opinion, are the best ways to release emotion. Video games give you the power to choose, and to be that character. I believe in the power of books, but that’s the power of imagination. It’s still good, but they have limited potential. You can have great images from a movie, but not control. Video games combine the two – the freedom of movement and the wonderful visuals.
I did do a non-video game cosplay. Well, it wasn’t really a cosplay. It was a tribute to Spartacus. I did it for a new amusement park that was opening in Rome. They were doing different eras – Roman, Greek, futuristic… They wanted to do some entertainment with gladiators and they asked me, “do you have a Spartacus cosplay?” I said no, and that I’ll call them once I was done making one. I have a recycle box with material – if I don’t like a piece of armor, I’ll put it in there because I don’t want to waste materials. So I took out the box, and I made that cosplay in 4 hours with just the recycled stuff.

ROG: Care to share what character we should expect from you next?

LC: Sure, why not. I’m planning on doing Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon. I usually like to do characters that are newer, but I want to do some nostalgic cosplays too. So, Lloyd from Legend of Dragoon will be my next cosplay. Next, I’m going to work on Gladiolus from Final Fantasy XV. He is such a badass. I don’t think this cosplay is a secret anymore (laughter). I want to learn more about him before cosplaying him. Adam Jensen, from Deus Ex, is a dream cosplay of mine. I really wanted to do Nathan Drake. I could cut my hair, but I don’t want to cut it just for him. I want to keep my hair longer for some cosplays in progress and future projects.

ROG: I can say for myself that you’re a true inspiration for cosplayers around the world – whether just starting out, or an expert. To those just starting, what would you consider to be the best piece of advice you can give them?

LC: Like I said before, do everything with your heart. If you really love a character, do it from your heart, and don’t care about the critics. Don’t do it because you like it – do it because you love it.

So, there you have it – backstage access to the world of cosplay through the eyes of a professional. I was fortunate to be told some exciting news and future cosplays (I was sworn to secrecy!). Thank you again to Leon Chiro for graciously allowing me his time and contribution, 

You can find Leon Chiro on Facebook at Leon Chiro Cosplay Art and look through the rest of his work. You can also find him on Instagram at Leonchiro, and on YouTube at LeonChiroCosplayArt.

By SarahTheRebel On 2 Aug, 2013 At 09:03 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, Tales of Real Otaku | With 0 Comments
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First appeared on www.NerdyButFlirty.com.

I recently interviewed Deja, better known as Jade Aurora. Jade is an artist, model, and cosplayer from Detroit, MI.

Me as Bellatrix Lestrange, Youmacon 2012

Me as Bellatrix Lestrange, Youmacon 2012.

1.) When did you first start cosplaying? What inspired you to start?

I started cosplaying in 2011. What inspired me to start cosplaying was in 2010 when my best friends convinced me to attend Youmacon with them. This was the first anime convention I ever went to. Seeing all those people dressed up in these amazing, kickass costumes is what inspired me to join the cosplay club, lol.

2.) What are your favorite video games?

My favorite video games are Super Smash Bros., Mortal Kombat, and Dead or Alive. I don’t know if this counts, but I am a huge Sims addict!

3.) What’s your favorite anime?

I have quite a few favorite animes, but my absolute favorites are Sailor Moon and Soul Eater. Death the Kid can take my soul any day.

4.) What’s your favorite cosplay memory?

I would have to say that my favorite memory was during Youmacon 2011. I was cosplaying as Princess Tiana, and my friends and I were on our way to a panel, when a little girl and her mother stopped us. The little girl thought I was really Tiana, and wanted a picture of me. It was very heartwarming.

Jade Aurora, Cosplay, Tiana, Youmecan 2011, black, female, cosplayer

Jade as Princess Tiana, Youmacon 2011.

5.) What advice do you have for other girls interested in cosplaying and modeling?

Do what you feel. Cosplay is about having fun. Don’t let race, gender, or size stop you from indulging in your fandom. To those who want to take the path to modeling: be prepared, because it is not easy. The modeling industry can be very cutthroat and catty, and you will hear a lot of nos before you hear yes. And do your homework and always take precautions, because there are people who take advantage of women and prey on their dreams to become models. But modeling can be very fulfilling. You will gain confidence in yourself, and will begin to embrace YOU, flaws and all.

Great advice! You can find Jade Aurora on her Facebook page.

By SarahTheRebel On 4 Jun, 2013 At 10:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments
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The other day, we mentioned an awesome Kickstarter by Ashphord Jacoway for her one-woman show I Wish My Life Was an RPG. I’ve seen the show a few times, and it is AMAZING, so I jumped at the chance to interview Ashphord about this latest iteration, which will be performed at the renowned Hollywood Fringe Festival. Oh, and if her name sounds familiar, you may have seen her on season three of The Tester.

ashphordjacoway

1.) What inspired you to create this show?

When I was in college, I took a solo performance class with my teacher and inspiration, Dr.Tawnya Pettiford-Wates. We were asked to bring in material that struck us emotionally and that we were passionate about. I thought of my love for gaming and anime first, and that evolved into an idea – I would discuss life as a female gamer. I had found the passion aspect, but it felt like I was missing the emotional connection. At the time, I was reconnecting with my African ancestry and finding a love for my own culture. As a kid growing up in Northern California, I grew up around a lot of white people and, as a result, the black people I met when I moved to Virginia did not accept the way that I talked or acted. I chose to explore my fears and concerns with my race and the gaming community combined.

2.) What’s your favorite RPG of all time?

My favorite RPG of all time is Earthbound. My favorite game of any other genre is Tetris Attack, cause I’m sooooo good at it.

3.) How long have you been a gamer?

I have been gaming for nineteen years now.

4.) What do you do to prepare for the show?

Now, since the work is so ingrained into my body (I know the show inside and out), I do run-throughs each week and try to add new things to keep it fresh. I also meet once a week with my director, Mischa Livingstone. He cast me after my first audition in LA, and we’ve been close ever sense. I also spend this time playing video games; it helps for research!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPekt6h-drI

 

5.) How does it feel being a part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival?

I feel so blessed. The community is wonderful, and the love and support from my family and friends is even better. It’s nice, because when I’m asked what projects I am working on and I mention Fringe, it gets such a positive response – and a +1 in Respect.

6.) What do you hope people gain from I Wish My Life Was an RPG?

I want people to feel a sense of self-validation. I want people to walk away knowing that they can overcome anything, and that they’re not alone. I want people to be proud to love the things they love.

7.) Do you have any advice for young girls out there who may be going through some of the troubles of being a female geek?

If it’s negative, it’s not true. You are wonderful and amazing, and if no one wants to game with you, make your own raid. People will come, because they can see the light in you. And no matter what games you play and how often, if you have a passion for ANYTHING (games, anime, comics), be proud and know that you are a geek, gamer, nerd, or whatever you want to be!

Don’t let anyone tell you what you are and are not. Lots of gamers (male and female) want to challenge your geekdom and see if you’re really one of them or just one of the new geeks who say they are geeks because it’s the cool thing to do now. It’s called a Nerd-Off, and it’s ridiculous and created out of fear – now their sacred thing is public and no longer hidden – but that’s another story.

Either way, I say be who you are and stay true to yourself, because validation comes from within.

8.) Anything else you’d like to share?

I am so happy to be working on this project, and I feel as though I am doing something useful with my artistic abilities. I want to create change in this world, and I know that I can. I started in college by performing with The Conciliation Project, a sociopolitical theatre company based in Richmond, VA. When I do panels with my group, Chocolate Covered Cosplay, we hold open dialogues about race and gender in the geek community. There is always someone who approaches us at the end and says, “Thank you for sharing, because I thought I was alone.” I want everyone to know that they are not alone. That is why I do what I do!

Donate today!

By Isabel On 20 Dec, 2012 At 04:07 PM | Categorized As Featured, International News, Interviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
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On December 21, a peaceful demonstration to honor the lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is occurring in the video game realm. Created by Antwand Pearman, the president of  GamerFitNation (a website that combines the world of gaming and health together for gamers to gain a healthier life through their hobby), it is a call to gamers to not play online shooters for one day to commemorate the lives of those innocent people lost in the shooting. Pearman first expressed his idea in this powerful video, and since the hash tag #OSCEASEFIRE has caught on in Twitter and more than 2,800 people are “Going” to the event as confirmed by Facebook.

As a believer in peaceful demonstrations and the genuine goodness found in the gaming community despite the vast sea of foul mouthed little kids and (insert)-ists commonly found, I saw this as an admirable opportunity for everyone who’s part of the gaming community to join together for one common purpose. I went to the man himself to ask him some pressing questions regarding the event and what it means to him and other gamers.

 

ROG: So how did you get the idea for Day of Cease Fire after hearing about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School?

Pearman: Like all my ideas it just came to me with something being the trigger. Right after hearing about the shooting I attended a screening for the movie Django. Love the movie by the way. Anyway I watched the movie only to feel my body cringe every time someone was shot. I kept thinking about the victims. Afterwards I was very emotional, and wanted to do something about it right away. Then I made the video about the Ceasefire. Still beforehand I reached out to people asking for support, but few answered. But they are here now, and I’m grateful.

ROG: Do you believe you’ll get support from video game companies that have online shooters?

Pearman: Good question. Honestly, I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t blame them either. It’s a conflict of interest. They are trying to get people to play and I’m telling them not too. Still if they did I’d be shocked and grateful. I respect these people and the work they do and wouldn’t want them to think other wise. Some people from big name companies support me already, but I won’t put them on blast out of respect.

ROG: Now, video games have had a long history of being blamed as a reason for mass shootings and seem to be constantly brought up whenever an event like this occurs. Do you think this event might show society video games are a safe source of entertainment and most gamers prefer to pick up their controllers and not guns.

Pearman: Yes for the most part and no. Yes, because it’s a peaceful mission and informed people will see it for what it is. No, because people don’t try to keep themselves informed. People choose to accept certain inaccurate beliefs. Why? Because they don’t want to accept the reality that goes against what they believe. It’s easy to accept video games as the villain rather than say, “Hey maybe gun control is an issue, or mental health, or parenting, or bullying.”

ROG: In your video, you said you wanted to create a peaceful demonstration, which seems like an honest purpose. However the event has been receiving backlash with people saying it’s pointless and won’t achieve anything. Personally, what do you think when you read these things against something that’s supposed to be an act of respect you care a lot about?

Pearman: I feel that those people, who in my opinion are few in comparison to the people who support it are looking at it the wrong way. First some of them are misinformed about what it is. I say this because I’ve read those peoples’ reactions and they thought it was a boycott of FPS, period. It’s like that game you play when you have a row of people and you whisper something in the first person’s ear and by the time the message gets to the end it’s completely different. This is simply an act of peace that all gamers, no matter where they are in the world can be apart of. As far as the ceasefire being called “pointless” if they feel it’s not enough by all means may they do more. Donate, care give, visit the victims, whatever they wish. People shouldn’t act like the Cease Fire is stopping them from doing something for the victims. Let the gaming world serve as an example of what world peace could look like if everyone just ceased fire.

ROG: Now, what would you like to say to a gamer who is hesitant about participating in Day of Cease Fire because he can’t see how it would make any impact?

Pearman: Don’t do this Cease Fire for the media, or me. Do it for yourselves and the families who are hurt right now. Still, if my words are not enough try the words of a greater man. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter (Martin Luther King Jr.).”

 

So take the occasion to do other great things to make the world a better place on that day. Volunteer or donate to charities like Child’s Play or the Red Cross. Day of Cease Fire is an opportunity for every gamer to get in touch with their inner philanthropists because after all, many games center around heroes and saving various real and made up worlds when we can be powerful (maybe not as powerful but still powerful).

*UPDATE* as of now Australian gamers are participating in #OSCEASEFIRE. Please join us and other gamers and let’s pay tribute to all of those who lose lives to gun violence.

By otakuman5000 On 26 Oct, 2012 At 03:18 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, ROG News | With 2 Comments
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We at Real Otaku Gamer love movies, we hope you enjoy the new Silent Hill Revelation 3D which is out today. The first Silent Hill movie was actually pretty good in this authors book and I am looking forward to the next movie. In a virtual round table conference call with 2 other journalists, We were able to get an interview with Micheal J. Bassett, the director of the new movie. Here are a couple of questions we asked.

ROG: One thing I did notice in the trailers, was the fact that you incorporated a lot of the character designs and models from the games in the movie. How Challenging was that for you and the team?

Michael:I am a fan on the games, I was basically a PC gamer and a lot of my friends were console gamers, so they said “you have to play this game, Silent Hill”. I am a gamer, so I played it and I thought is was freaky and I loved the sound design and the characters. I think is was a seminal part of gaming history with has a short history of only 25 years. Fast forward 10-15 years I was a filmmaker and I had done a few horror movies.  While working with the producer of the first Silent Hill movie and talking to him I told him I love the film and wold love to see a sequel and after him say he wants someone to do it, I jumped at the chance. 

ROG: One more question. What other gaming franchises do you think would make a good movie adaptation?

Michael: Wow!! That is a good question. There are so many. If someone were to back a big truck full of money to my house, I would love to do a Half-Life film. It is one of my favorite games of all time. It made me think that games have some of the same level of storytelling that movies do. Deus Ex would be another great example, and Assassins Creed is being done. I would like to do Doom and do it properly as well. There are so many good titles. 

Thanks to Michael J. Bassett. Also thanks to the other journalists on the call.

Here is the Interview in its entirety.

 

 

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Last week I received the great privilege to interview Mr. Haydn Dalton, Lead Designer at Vigil Games. As Lead Designer Mr. Dalton works close with all members of the Darksiders 2 development team and is always looking for new ways to make Darksiders 2 an even more fun experience for gamers worldwide. Read the short interview here:

A heap of loot

Loot will play a great role in Darksiders 2. Loot will be divided in rarity and special stats. Successfully defeating bosses will reward players with higher tier loot and also a lot more loot. The ultra rare “Possesed” and “Legendary” items will be obtained by destroying certain enemies or performing special tasks.

ROG: “I understand that loot drops from enemies and could be armor, weapons or gold. Will there be different tiers of armor and weapons? (Comparible with the color coded loot in games like WoW or Diablo 3?) And will bosses drop (special) loot? (Powerful gear that might only drop once every 100th boss kill for example?)”

Mr. Dalton: “Yes there are tiered loot drops, which are based on rarity and the amount of stats applied to them. Bosses will drop higher level loot, and a higher quantity of items (always feels good to burst a boss pinata ). We have very rare possessed items (very low frequency drops) and Legendary items (one-off items that can only be found by defeating a specific enemy, or found in secret locations, completing a task etc.)

Necromancer, Slayer or Wanderer?

Darksiders 2 will have three different sorts of armor. Players can pick out of  the Necromancer (magic abilities) , Slayer (melee) and Wanderer (hybrid of the first two) armors.

ROG: “Could you tell us anything about the different builds you can create for your character? The different weapons seem to play a big role when it comes to personal playstyle. Would it be possible to make a super fast character that wields a heavy 2h hammer?”

Mr. Dalton: “We have 3 specific armour types; Necromancer (magical abilities), Slayer (melee combat focus) and Wanderer (rouge-ish armour that is a hybrid of the two other armour types). Upon starting the game, it’s always good to figure out what type of gamer you are, and focus on that element, be it magic casting/protection or, full on melee combat. As you focus stats and items towards those play types, you’ll see big rewards. Hammer wielding will always be slower than Scythes, but you could use the melee hand-to-hand weapons, such as gauntlets and claws which are incredibly quick and devastating.”

Secrets, Sidequests en Legendaries.

 Mr. Dalton told us that Darksiders 2 will have many secrets. The optional sidequests will give players awesome rewards and teh ultra rare Legendary loot will have it’s own name, lore and statistics.

ROG: “You’ve mentioned that there are many secrets hidden in Darksiders 2. Will there be optional sidequests that reward you with unique loot? A legendary weapon perhaps?”

Mr. Dalton: “Yes, there are many secret items in Ds2, including option side-quests that reward with Unique loot. As I mentioned before, we are having Legendary one-off items that have their own name, lore and stats. “

Special reward for Darksiders 1 players

Fans that played trough the original Darksiders will recieve a special ingame reward that can be used in Darksiders 2. Unfortunately Mr. Dalton can not disclose anything yet so we’ll just have to wait a couple more weeks.

ROG: ‘Do you think that the current achievement system could be used to give players unique In-game rewards? Players who have finished the original game on Apocalyptic could get cool extra’s like a Abbadon armor for Death or getting to ride on Ruin as Death? Or something similarly epic?”

Mr. Dalton: “I can’t get into this too much, but there is something in the game that rewards players of Darksiders 1.”

We would like to thank Mr. Dalton for his time and will keep you updated with the latest Darksiders 2 news.

Darksiders 2 will be available in stores around August 21st for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. A WiiU version is also in development.

 

 

By SarahTheRebel On 19 Jul, 2012 At 07:46 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews | With 1 Comment
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From  SarahTheRebel.com

As we wait with bated breath for the announcment of the 2012 Maxim Gamer Girl (which was supposed to be Monday), I decided to share an excellent discussion I had with Raychul Moore, named one of WhatCulture!‘s “50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of,” and Krysti Pryde, one of the final three contenders on Sony’s The Tester Season 3. Both ladies made it to the Top 5 in the first round of the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest.

About the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest

For those who don’t know about the contest, the Maxim Gamer Girl Contest was a competition in which female gamers competed by gaining votes in the first round and by creating videos in the next round. The winner gets to become the 2012 Maxim Gamer Girl, which includes  promotional all-inclusive trips to gaming events, broadcast shows, appearances on the Virgin Gaming YouTube channel and site, a Playstation 3 console and games, and, $5,000 in Virgin gaming dollars to wager in tournaments.

My Thoughts on the Competition

I heard about the Maxim Gamer Girl contest through Twitter. In fact, I heard about it because a larger-number-than-I’m-comfortable-with of guys told me I should enter the contest.  I will admit that it hurt my feelings that they didn’t pay enough attention to my feminist rants to get that this sort of contest was anathema to me.

How can I tell men that we are not sexual objects, that we are gamers just like them, while asking them to vote for me in a contest that focuses on me as a sexual object?

However, I will also admit that I was tempted, for just one second, with the though of getting paid to play video games all day while making pouty faces and nibbling my controller. But only for a second.

I did not enter the contest, and I did not vote for anyone. I felt that even voting would go against my code, although I did retweet a few of my close tweep’s tweets for votes, because they are my friends and I support them.

After a week or two, the requests for votes disappeared and I assumed the contest was over. Until one day when I noticed Raychul Moore’s tweet about how she was in the top three the entire time and was not chosen to move forward.

I went to the site to investigate, and that’s when I discovered that two of my tweeps, Raychul Moore and Krysti Pryde, were in the top five!

My first question, of course, was about why they entered. Both had reservations about entering, but came to the decision to enter by different paths. Krysti’s goal was the challenge the system.

“You know, honestly, at first I was sort of annoyed at the idea of a “Gamer Girl” contest, because I so loathe the term ‘Gamer Girl’,” said Krysti Pryde, “but after some thinking and some discussion between other men and women in the industry, and a lot of support, I decided to enter to prove a point and for my own personal gain. I wanted to post blogs and talk about the industry and community, and not Maxim, how I look, or why I’m a more superior girl gamer than any other broad. I wanted to show that an intelligent girl with legitimacy, knowledge and passion could make it into the top girls, all while her avatar is fully clothed and her profile is full of gaming substance and not braggadocios material.”

Aint no braggadocio here!

Raychul, on the other hand, entered on the belief that this contest would be more than just a publicity stunt.

“I had huge reservations at first, because we all know how these contests usually go down, it’s more of a popularity contest rather than a search for a true gamer,” said Raychul Moore.

“So I talked to them for quite a bit about my reservations. They assured me that they were looking for a true gamer; a girl who knew about the industry as a whole and not just a few key games. They wanted a girl with knowledge of the industry and had experience covering game events and talking about games while on camera. It took some convincing, but I finally decided, ‘Sure, why the hell not. This would be a dream job for me!’”

The Case of the Unimportant Vote

However, despite both ladies maintaining a position on the Top 5 during the voting portion of the contest, both were passed over by the judges to move on to the second round.

I asked them how they felt about not making it to the second round, despite having massive amounts of votes.

“I think I may of been one of the few people that went through the entirety of the Terms and Agreement and really tried to understand the rules,” said Krysti.

“So I knew while voting didn’t necessarily count, and placing in the top 5 girls basically meant nothing, other than the judges maybe get to see you first and you remained on the front page. I sort of know the nature of these competitions, and it’s all smoke and mirrors and “rules” is a loose term. I also got the vibe from reading more into it half-way into the first round of voting that the girls that attended the NYC personal casting were at the top of the list. I think the online audition page is purely so Maxim can get hits on their page and build hype for the upcoming feature in the magazine, and use the girls to bring new viewers to the page. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Unlike Krysti, Raychul took issue with the way the judges picked the next round.

“This is where things get confusing, because I was told voting would go down a bit differently in the beginning,” said Raychul.

“I was under the impression they would be weeding out the girls who used promotional tactics and that going to the Maxim Casting Call in NYC was not a requirement and would not give some girls an advantage with the judges.”

Raychul expresses her rage

To Enter or Not to Enter

Despite not being chosen as one of the finalists, Krysti thinks these kinds of contests have some worth as a means to further her goals of showing female gamers in a more positive light.

“For the same reasons I would probably still participate in like competitions,” said Krysti. “I met so many fantastic girls and it’s really a great feeling to met other smart, fun, passionate and FRIENDLY girls within the community. That alone was worth entering. While the competition wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, it was certainly worth entering.”

She also had some advice for other gaming ladies.

“If it has to do with the industry I love it’s always worth it to me,” she said, “But for anyone wanting to enter any sort of contest, dont be discouraged because their is always a chance, but nothing is ever black and white. I have a pretty good understanding of competitions like this, but I’ve really learned to take it for what it is and use it to benefit yourself if anything. That’s the best advice I could give anyone as well. Contests like this sort of show that it’s a good idea to not take anything too seriously!”

Raychul, who had a different experience, says she will not enter another similar contest.

“I really wasn’t a fan of these kind of things to begin with, but felt after talking with them, that this one might be different. I am not upset I didn’t get chosen, I am more upset that I just feel like I was fooled into thinking votes counted. I feel like a jerk for spamming Twitter and YouTube asking people to sign up to vote for me, when none of it mattered. I feel bad for inconveniencing people,” said Raychul.

Her advice for fellow lady gamers?

“If a company really wants a well-rounded gamer who knows her stuff and can do on-camera work, they will go through a normal hiring process, not a contest.”

Summary

I really enjoyed getting to hear two very different perspectives on the contest. I myself toyed with the idea entering to prove a point, and yet also asked around to see if perhaps this contest would indeed result in an actual female gamer getting a promotional position with a big name consumer magazine.

On the other hand, it’s Maxim. I do have to agree with Raychul: if a company is looking for a true gamer rather than eye candy or hits, they will go through the normal hiring process.

I believe that competitions like this hurt the credibility of female gamers. Male gamers compete in contests based on their gaming and charisma. Female gamers seem to always have to rely on their looks and… well… how sexily they can bend over while holding a controller.

I would love to see the day when my fellow gamers of the lady persuasion shun or boycott these types of competitions, to show that we are not tools to help sites pander to the more immature male gamers out there (not that mature male gamers don’t admire nice bodies, but more that they seem to see these types of contests for the shameful sham they are). We have the power to change both perceptions and reality. Like Krysti, I too think that one of the main steps we need to take is to change our perception of each other as well. If lady gamers are bashing each other for their looks or as “fake” or “not really a gamer,” then why would male gamers not think that is normal behavior?

All in all, I hope this competition can become a talking point in the discussion of gender differences in gaming.

More about Krysti Pryde:

“Did you know that “Honey Badger” is a frozen yogurt flavor? I learned this today. Needless to say, I’m excited.”

To learn more Krysti, check out my feature Lady of Gaming for the Month of April

You can also visit her excellent blog, www.krystipryde.com. Make sure to follow her on Twitter @krystipryde, and  Instagram: @krystipryde.

“Thanks to everyone that voted for me every single day and left comments and made the contest a fun experience regardless! That is super important to me. Thanks a frakin’ million. <3″

More about Raychul Moore:

www.Raychul.com

Check out Raychul’s site: www.Raychul.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @theRaychul and check her out on YouTube: www.youtube.com/RaychulMoore and Twitch: www.twitch.tv/theRaychul.

“A huge thanks to everyone who did vote! Keeping me in the Top 3 through out the whole contest was quite a surprise and, even though I didn’t make it,…I have the best group of fans/followers/subscribers a girl could ever ask for! Thanks to everyone! <3″

Relevant Rules Mentioned:

7. SELECTION OF SEMI-FINALISTS, FINALISTS, AND GRAND PRIZE WINNER: The Contest has three phases: (1) the Entry Phase during which Entries are received and public voting will select “Semi-Finalists” (as defined below), (2) a Finals Phase during which judges will select and designate “Finalists” (as defined below), and (3) a Grand Prize Phase during which public voting combined with editorial judging which will determine the Grand Prize Winner (as defined below) who will also be named the “2012 Maxim Gamer Girl”.

7-1. ENTRY PHASE – PUBLIC VOTING & SEMI-FINALISTS SELECTION: Each accepted Entry will be available for public viewing on the Site until that Entry is no longer eligible to win the Contest. Visitors who have created a profile on the Site will have the ability to cast a vote for an Entrant based on the Judging Criteria described below during the Contest Period (“Vote”). Limit: 1 Vote per IP person per day. Votes generated by script, macro or other automated means or with the intent to impair the integrity of the voting process will be void. At the conclusion of the Contest Period, the 500 eligible Entrants receiving the most Votes (the “Semi-Finalists”) will then be judged in the manner described below.

7-2. FINALS PHASE – JUDGING (TO DESIGNATE FINALISTS): Each eligible Semi-Finalist will be judged by editors of Sponsor (“Judges”) with no connection to the administration of the Contest. Entries will be judged based on originality, creativity, humor, telegenic presence, and adherence to Contest instructions (the“Judging Criteria”). Judges will select three (3) final contestants (each, a “Finalist” and together, the“Finalists”), which decisions shall be within the sole and absolute discretion of the Judges, and all such decisions shall be final.

7-3. GRAND PRIZE PHASE – JUDGING CRITERIA (TO SELECT GRAND PRIZE WINNER): Each Pilot will be available for public viewing on maxim.com from June 22, 2012 to July 13, 2012 (the “Grand Prize Voting Period”). Visitors to maxim.com will have the ability to cast a Vote for a Pilot (each a “Grand Prize Vote” and together, the “Grand Prize Votes”). Limit: 1 Vote for Finalists, per IP address, per day.Grand Prize Votes generated by script, macro or other automated means or with the intent to impair the integrity of the voting process will be void. At the conclusion of the Grand Prize Voting Period, each Pilot will then be judged by the Judges. Pilots will be judged based on the following weighted percentages: number of Grand Prize Votes received (10%), telegenic presence, originality, creativity, humor, and adherence to Contest instructions. (collectively, 90%). The selection of the winning Finalist (the “Grand Prize Winner”) shall be within the sole and absolute discretion of the Judges, and all such decisions shall be final. The Grand Prize Winner may refer to herself as the “2012 Maxim Gamer Girl” in written and descriptive materials such as a resume (without the Maxim logo and trademark and logo), but only if such uses and displays are purely non-commercial and in no event suggest or create any confusion whatsoever that AMG or Maxim Magazine is endorsing or participating in any manner related to the use of its name, makes, fonts or logos.

8. GRAND PRIZE WINNER SELECTION: On or about July 16, 2012, one (1) Grand Prize Winner will be selected by the Judges from all eligible Finalist Entries. The Grand Prize award (described below) is subject to verification and will be awarded upon winner validation and verification by Sponsor. The potential winner will be notified by electronic mail, regular postal mail or other traceable method of delivery on or about July 18, 2012. If the initially selected winner is ineligible, cannot be contacted after two (2) attempts by Sponsor, or fails to complete and return any required documents to AMG within five (5) days of receipt of the documents, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected by the Judges from the remaining eligible Finalists.

By SarahTheRebel On 12 May, 2012 At 04:23 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews | With 1 Comment
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This week I had the opportunity to catch up with Will Santiago, better known as AkilleezMight, winner of this season of The Tester. I spoke with the 28-year-old  Brooklyn native after his first official day of work at Sony, so decided to ask him a few questions about his new job and the state of the gaming industry.

So what are you playing right now?

Just finished Prototype 2. I’m also playing my favorite RPG of all time, Legend of Dragoon, and I’m playing Final Fantasy 9 again.

What’s your current favorite game?

Soul Calibur V

What’s your favorite game of all time?

Earthbound. It was the first game I played where I was just captivated and I remember being like oh my God. Wow.

How was your first day at Sony as a Production Associate?

It was very informative. I got to spend time with a bunch of talented people all day. It was cool to really get some one on one time with them and to learn the history of the studio.

You’re moving from New York City. Was it a big adjustment moving to Cali?

I’m used to moving around because of being in the military, but it doesn’t make it any less daunting. Moving from coast to coast was a big transition. Especially with jumping into the real gaming side and seeing behind the scenes of the game industry. It’s totally different than I imagined!

How was your experience on the Tester? Did you ever doubt that you would be the winner?

I cant say that I didn’t think I would be the winner. I tried to stay confident. The really weird thing about the whole experience for me is that I wasn’t nervous. I didn’t get nervous the whole time I mean… I was on a reality show. That can be intimidating but for some reason I just kept my composure.

 

It wasnt until after the Santa Monica visit that I actually became confident that I was going to make it to the end.

I have to ask: why the Tester?

It was a whim. I was on vacation and I saw the first two seasons. I was just looking at the blogs and thought why not? So I made my profile, submitted my video and the rest is history.

So what do you think of how women are treated in games/gaming culture?

It goes along with the whole race thing. Things are moving forward. I like the way the industry is moving towards being more diverse and more gender friendly. There are more female protagonists now. I definitely support this move because it’s not just good for adults: it’s good for the kids. Gaming helped me stay out of trouble and I think if we can introduce more diversity and culture into our games and teach people not to segregate then it would be a positive thing.

Especially (working with Sony) now, I see a lot of women able to take on roles in the industry as project leads or directors or other prominent roles like that. It’s impressive and it’s the way it should be. I like the improvement I’m seeing.

Is there anything you would change about the state of the gaming industry?

Yes actually I would love for the golden age of gaming to come back. You know, when everything and all parts of the game came with the disc.

It just  seems like there’s too much complacency and dependence on patches to fix errors that shouldn’t be there at launch. I know a lot of it has to do with deadlines from the higher ups but people used to put blood, sweat and tears into games to make them damn near flawless at launch.

If you could be any video game character, who would you be and why?

I would be Dante from Devil May Cry 3.

…Why?

*looks at me incredulously*

Cuz he’s a f***ing bad***!

*laughs*

Ok, Ok well he’s over the top and he’s this funny, arrogant, crazy character but he is never unlikable.

Keep an eye out for Akilleez as the newest addition to the elite ranks of The Tester winners!

 

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