I remember the first time I was told this, way back in 2012. As someone who attends a lot of conventions in a year, names of new events are tossed my way by friends eager to show me something I hadn’t been to before. Most of them are, of course, anime cons: because when you write your thesis on anime convention culture, and spend countless weeks traveling to said cons to speak, everyone you have met AT the con wants to tell you about their favorite events here and there, in hopes of bringing you along and sharing the love. This is nothing new, and is a lot of fun when your friends come along with you.
But Magfest was something else. I had a lot of friends who would “boost” for the convention, telling me about how laid back it was, how it felt more like a party than a con, how it was a lot of music and a lot of games, so there was always something happening. And of course, it was always finished by “you should go to Magfest.”
This was my first year attending TigerDirect’s Tech Bash which itself isn’t exactly an old established event itself but apparently buddies and staff there last year noticed two major changes from its last run.
An increase in attendance.
An increase in observers.
What do I mean by observers? Well mostly people who don’t use technology so much, besides your run of the mill smart phone and computer for social networking and whatnot, and only attended to get a show and maybe some free stuff. There were many attendees and yet a lot of the large extravagant gaming setups seemed to go largely ignored by them.
Funny enough there was a huge line for a demo of the Oculus Rift which as you know Zuckerberg picked for its potential outside of gaming despite the project initially getting funded by a largely gamer demographic.
Now you can’t talk about the event without talking about how all the different exhibitors were laid out. The event was hosted at Marlins Park, the baseball stadium for Miami’s team. In the homefield where the actual games are played they set up a temporary show floor to not ruin the grass where the main sponsors were gathered. The areas outside the ring of stadium seat had rows of exhibitors with smaller booths from NVidia to Microsoft. I wish I could show the wide range of booths and setups but unfortunately my PC is not working normally and can’t detect my SD card. I believe I could benefit from buying either from Asus or iBUYPOWER whom had gaming setups in the main exhibit area. In terms of gaming a lot was going on, there were promotions for giveaways, gaming lounges, and Alienware even had a preview of Dying Light.
I have a few suggestions for both the actual event and its exhibitors to make next year even better.
Get a convention center. Marlins Stadium is large, but results in a lot of wasted space and more crowding.
Make the event slightly longer than 7 PM to 11 PM. It’s a short span of time to network, look around, have fun, find your buddies, etc. Especially when everything moves so slowly. Also observers can take up less of the event’s time.
If you’re having giveaways every half hour or so, PLEASE don’t make it a be there or lose deal. Seriously. Ask for a phone number and text the winner to collect their prize at the booth. A raffle of that sort should only be conducted once and have a prize worth the attendance. I’m looking at you Sandisk.
I can see Tech Bash is also an opportunity for people in the industry to connect. So please, make the networking event more accessible instead of a secluded area for the employees of event sponsors.
TigerDirect Tech Bash is a promising event with room to grow, but the event will have to grow along with its number of attendees lest they suffer in quality and lose the interest of sponsors and attendees. Miami does have a small but growing technology sector, and we need events like the Tech Bash to present it in a positive light and help foster it.
PAX East 2014 was my fourth PAX but my first time going as Media. As always, PAX East was a great experience! Every year PAX East is held in Boston, so I enjoy being able to see another part of the East Coast while checking out all the video games.
This year I got to see many different video games, the most notable of which included This War of Mine from 11 Bit Studios, Sniper Elite 3 and Defense Grid 2 from 505 Games and Hidden Path Entertainment, and Framed from Loveshack Entertainment. All of these games were very different from one another but brought a lot to the table to create an enjoyable experience. This War of Mine allows you to gain insight into the struggle of a war torn country from a very individual level of trying to survive day to day. Sniper Elite 3 brought a new and fun entry into shooters with absolutely amazing and awe-worthy graphics. Defense Grid 2 was an amazingly fun tower defense game that doesn’t fail to keep you on your toes. Framed was a very unique entry with a puzzle style journey through a mystery. I plan to get all of these games the minute they’re available and I highly recommend each and every one of them.
Of course, there was far more to see during PAX East as the expanse of the show floor and panels is ginormous! 2014 was definitely the year of the indie games for PAX East. The presence of AAA games seemed to be a bit light and I was quite worried when I saw the schedule, but PAX East did not disappoint.
An organization I would definitely like to highlight is Operation Supply Drop. As an Army brat (my parents served in the Army for a long time) and having a lot of friends in the military, it definitely makes me happy to see an organization that makes it their mission to help out the troops. Operation Supply Drop does just that and more. I met with Captain Stephen Machuga of the US Army and Charity Founder. Captain Machuga, as well as everyone at OSD’s booth exhuded passion and enthusiasm about their mission to bring “video games to soldiers in combat zones and military hospitals.” Being in a combat zone, in military hospitals, and other areas where soldiers serve can be extremely stressful so OSD does their best to make “fun where there is none!” There was never a dull moment at the booth while there or passing and I’ve seen so much enthusiasm from the gaming community to help their cause. It’ll be very interesting to see how OSD expands and grows further to be such a great presence for our troops. For more information about their cause and how to help out, check out their website at www.OperationSupplyDrop.org, their Twitter @OpSupplyDrop, and their Facebook page at Facebook.com/OperationSupplyDrop.
I also got to check out numerous booths on the show floor which is always exciting. GUNNAR Optiks never disappoints with their selection of gaming eyewear. I even snagged myself a pair from their Intercept line in Ink (purple). I always get a pair of GUNNARs every time I go to PAX East and absolutely love them. Whether I’m gaming or staring at a computer screen, GUNNARs help reduce the strain in my eyes. I’ve also found that their line of sunglasses are absolutely wonderful and are far better than all of the other sunglasses that I own.
As always, PAX East was a great experience and I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance. It’s worth the fun and craziness and the video game culture galore! Everyone is excited and happy to be there with so many things to do with such a short amount of time!
Although I may not attend next year, you may be able to catch me at PAX South and PAX Prime next year. I, also, plan to be at Otakon this summer and Baltimore Comic Con this fall.
Did you go? What did you think of PAX East? Is there anything from my experience at PAX East that you’d like to hear more about? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @LadyLoveMonster!
This year Microsoft’s media briefing did not disappoint as Phil Spencer promised to devote the “entire briefing to games!” Immediately, you could hear the applause around the theatre. Last year, there was a lot of disappointment as Microsoft spent a lot of time talking about other features on the Xbox One like the Kinect and the TV features. They seemed to learn from this mistake as they enthralled us all with game after game!
Further excitement came when Spencer stated that all the games shown during their media briefing would first get add-on content on the Xbox One!
The briefing began with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. We saw new footage that included gameplay. I’m not a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise, but I may just check this one out. It also helps that Kevin Spacey is in the game. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be out on November 4, 2014. Here is the gameplay that was showed:
Dan Greenwalt, Creative Director, came onto the stage to talk about Forza Motorsport 5 and unveiled the “nuburgring” which is available TODAY for free to those that own the game. Ralph Fulton, Creative Director, presented Forza Horizon 2 which will be available September 30, 2014. The game will be in 1080p, have 200+ cars, include various weather conditions, and drivatars.
I’ve been highly anticipating with glee, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Microsoft and BioWare unveiled a new trailer for the game, which will be available October 7, 2014.
Another game that garnered a lot of excitement from the masses is Sunset Overdrive. We saw a bit about this game last year, but this year we got to see a lot more of this game! Ted Price, the Founder and CEO of Insomniac Games, came on stage to talk more about the game. Sunset Overdrive will be available October 28, 2014 and is exclusive to Xbox One.
Ori and the Blind Forest is a new IP from Moon Studios that looks absolutely stunning. I’d love to see more of this game before it comes out this fall, but so far I like what I see. Ori and the Blind Forest will be available Fall 2014.
A Microsoft briefing wouldn’t be the same without some Halo for us all! Bonnie Ross, Studio Head at 343 Industries, presented a spotlight on the much anticipated Halo 5:
Then we were presented with the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The collection will include Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4, Halo: Nightfall, and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta. Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be out on November 11, 2014.
A very nice surprise to the mix was the Rise of the Tomb Raider world premiere! We will get to follow Lara Croft after the last installment to see how she rises from what she went through to become the character we know and love. Rise of the Tomb Raider is expected to be available Holiday 2015.
Ken Lobb, Creative Director at Microsoft Studios, expressed his passion for reviving games that garner cult audiences as classic games. He then presented Phantom Dust, an absolutely beautiful game.
Scalebound is a new IP that shows a lot of promise from Platinum Games. This game is one of my favorites so far from what I’ve seen at E3. It is absolutely beautiful and I would love to see more
Microsoft wrapped up the media briefing with Crackdown.
Other games that were shown included Evolve, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dance Central, Fantasia Music Evolved, Fable Legends, Project Spark, Inside from Playdead, The Witcher 3, and The Division.
I’m VERY impressed with Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing. They brought it with the games and I even got a look at new games that definitely interest me.
To look at the rest of the trailers that were shown at Microsoft’s media briefing, check out their YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjBp_7RuDBUYbd1LegWEJ8g.
May is yet another month to empty out your wallets – probably the biggest month for major titles. If you’re a Nintendo fan, be prepared to work some overtime. Not only is Mario Golf coming out in a couple days, but you’ve got Mario Kart 8 at the end of the month, too! There’s really something for everyone. You’ve got Bound By Flame next week for people who are into RPGs. There’s also major titles like Wolfenstein: New Order and Watch Dogs, finally getting released. You can also see that Sony is still churning out exclusives for the PlayStation 3.
My top picks for this month are Bound By Flame, Watch Dogs, and Mario Kart 8. What are you picking up this month?
Kirby Triple Deluxe (3DS)
Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS)
Borderlands 2 (Vita)
God of War Collection (Vita)
MLB 14 The Show (PS4)
Stick it to the Man (PS4, Wii U)
Peggle 2 (360)
Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC)
Bound By Flame (PS4, PS3, 360, PC)
Killer is Dead: Nightmare Edition (PC)
Minecraft (PS3 – Retail)
Drakengard 3 (PS3)
Mugen Souls Z (PS3)
Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Always Sometimes Monsters (PC)
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II (PC)
Tropico 5 (PC)
Mind Zero (Vita)
Watch Dogs (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Sly Cooper Collection (Vita)
When I was first asked to play Conception II I haven’t played an RPG in quite sometime. Going into this game I didn’t expect an extremely fantastic title or anything remotely interesting…mainly because I didn’t know anything about the title or series for that matter. Then I realized that the more of it I play the more intrigued I became. Then the experience became a little more jaded. While the game wasn’t bad it became slightly repetitive and more so cumbersome than anything.
The game takes place in the World of Aterra where they worship the Star God where they prosper through the power of Star Energy. You are known as God’s Gift who trains at an academy for disciples which is a special group of people who are summoned to fight against monsters who come from Dusk Circles. As God’s Gift you and a collective of females perform a ritual for the church known as Classmating to generate Star Children. Why is this important? The Star Children assist you in combat along with you and a female partner and they all have a particular class and several set of set of skills.
I’ve never been so confused and befuddled with confusion quite like I have been while playing the game. I’m not so much confused into the depth of the world as I am with why some of these things are especially necessary. For a lack of better words, classmating is essentially having sex to produce children who can fight. It is blatantly obvious considering the underlying tone of everyone and the way each girl presents themselves before and after it occurs. Doing it just makes you feel slightly more dirty. Even more so when you are forced into doing classMANting which while really funny is in a way kind of perverse.
Engaging enemies is where the game gets even more unique. Once you encounter an enemy inside one of the games many labyrinth’s you are forced to choose between normal JRPG actions such as attack, skill and defense. The most interesting aspect is the combat system in which you choose the side to attack your foe. Every enemy has a weak side and the choice of each side benefits you during combat. My only main concern with the battle system is that you are given the option to guard and yet it does nothing. It states that you will take less damage but you still take just as much as if you weren’t defending. I have also noticed that for a JRPG it’s pretty easy. I have played much easier games but I never really felt as if I there was too much going on and the difficulty made matters worse.
Graphically the game is rather impressive as it features fully animated anime style cut scenes and moves at a silky smooth 60 FPS. The in game engine isn’t bad as it looks more like an above average PlayStation 2 title with a few more bells and whistles. The thing I was more impressed with was the music and the character design. These two things were probably my main drive for playing this game as I was more intrigued just to see what the next monster would look like. To be quite honest the designers seem to draw heavily from the Persona series as the music and monsters seem as if they came straight from that source.
Overall the game is like “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears” as it doesn’t do anything overall really impressive nor does it do anything really bad. Although it’s themes may not be quite suitable for everyone it’s still interesting enough with it cool soundtrack and character design. The game may not be for everyone but I do feel as if it worth a play through for anyone who is itching for a new RPG to play for their Vita. It hits the mark at being just right.
With just a few days into April, it looks like we have another time consuming, wallet draining month of video games ahead of us.
Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Deluxe Edition (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)
Mercenary Kings (PS4)
MLB 14 The Show (PS3, Vita)
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE (PS3, Vita)
Call of Duty: Ghosts – Devastation DLC (Xbox One, 360)
Awesomenauts Asssemble! (PS4)
The Elder Scrolls Online (PC, Mac)
Daylight (PS4, PC)
Kinect Sports Rivals (Xbox One)
Lego The Hobbit (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, Wii U, 3DS, Vita, PC)
Strike Suit Zero (Xbox One, PS4)
Trials Frontier (iOS)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS4)
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars (3DS, Vita)
Moebius: Empire Rising (PC)
War of the Vikings (PC)
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (PS3, 360)
Trials Fusion (Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Batman: Arkham Origins – Cold, Cold Heart DLC
Dark Souls II (PC)
NES Remix 2 (Wii U)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, PC)
Child of Light (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC)
Personally, I’m most excited about Elder Scrolls Online. I’m a little on the fence about buying it on launch day, but I will probably buy it by the end of the month. I was involved in the last four beta weekends, and I liked what I saw. What are you most excited about this month? Let us know in the comments below!
For those that are in the area of Maryland and DC (and Viriginia as well if you’re willing to make the trip). On the campus of the University of Maryland, there lies a little gem known as the TerpZone. It’s open for anyone to use, even those that aren’t students. They welcome any and everyone.
So what does the TerpZone offer? Well, they offer many things! They offer bowling, billiards, gaming, ping pong, arcade games, game nights (spades, etc.), and a lot more.
Most Fridays, the TerpZone offers video game tournaments for anyone to participate in for FREE! The games range from Call of Duty: Ghosts to Super Smash Bros. Brawl to NBA 2K14. They have their sign ups for the tournaments at 6pm with it starting at 8pm.
The schedule for the rest of this semester (until early May) is as follows:
Mario Kart Wii : March 28th
FIFA 14 : April 4, April 11, April 18, April 25
Super Smash Bros. Brawl : May 2nd
For more information on the video game tournaments, the contact is Leonard Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any general questions about The TerpZone or to find out more, the contact is Kevin Alexander at email@example.com.
I remember my very first gaming console: A Sega Master System. I was about 8 years of age when I had received it. That right there was my gateway into the realm of gaming. My favorite games to play were ‘Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?’ and ‘Alex Kidd In Shinobi World’. From there, I got my very first NES and SNES. I was done for after that. Those two systems started what would become a life-long obsession for me. I got those two Nintendo systems when I was about 9 or 10…I’m almost 27 now, and I’m still obsessed with Nintendo, and it’s an obsession that I am proud of and will never quit obsessing over.
Mario Bros. was my first game, then there was The Legend of Zelda. That game is what created the gamer within me. The Legend of Zelda sparked a fire in me so fierce, I could hardly contain it. Still to this day I play the original Legend of Zelda for the NES and all of the ones that came after it. It was the story behind the game, the fantastical world of Hyrule, that drew me in deeper and deeper as the series carried on. Hands down, I can say that The Legend of Zelda is my all-time favorite game series.
As a little girl, you’d expect me to be playing with dolls and ponies. Instead, I was busy adventuring, saving the land of Hyrule, and defeating Mother Brain in Super Metroid. Gaming has molded me to be who I am today. Today, I have found passion in a career that is based around a world I love so dearly: Video Games. I am a gaming journalist for several websites, and as time goes by, I can only hope to branch out further into the world of gaming journalism. I am ambitious, and know that I will reach my goals one day!
So who am I you ask? Well, the name is Felisha, but I go by Nightingale . I am an avid gamer, cosplayer, anime enthusiast, artist, writer, blogger, sculptor, mother, and a wife. I have many responsibilities and many titles. But what is it that defines me as a gamer, anime enthusiast, and so forth? As I’ve mentioned previously in the beginning of this short novel, you see why I consider myself a gamer. I never out-grew gaming, and it never out-grew me.
Life-long Gamer Addict:
Today, I own a Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, 3DS XL, and PSP Go. Not to mention the multitudes of emulators and roms on my smartphone. I will always be partial to Nintendo because that is what I grew up with and loved, but I love my many other consoles as well, and game on each and every one of them in my free time.
Part of my gamer set-up!
As a child, video games helped me escape a world I didn’t really care for at times, and helped me sink into a world where I felt I belonged, and where I was most happy. They hold a special place in my heart and always will till the very end.
I didn’t get into anime until much later on in life. I remember my first introduction to it being Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball. Later that moved on into Cowboy Bebop, Wolf’s Rain, Witch Hunter Robin, Fullmetal Alchemist, and so many others. Still to this day I watch anime…some of my favorites are Attack On Titan, Soul Eater, Hare+Guu, Elfen Lied, Spice & Wolf, Fruits Basket, Ouran High School Host Club, and Rosario+Vampire. I even read manga too! As it is just the comic version of all my favorite animes!
Current Anime/Manga Obsession: Attack On Titan
Cosplayer In The Making:
I have a long ways to go when it comes to cosplaying, with only a few under my sleeve. I think the most elaborate one I did was one of Midna, from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in her human form. I made everything by hand…I even hand painted all of the intricate designs on her cloak, her sleeves and on her skirt. It took me at least 3 months to complete it all. Someday, I’ll revamp it, making it better and more professional. My last cosplay was Saya Takagi fromthe anime High School of the Dead, the only thing I hand made from her costume was the pleated skirt…First project on a sewing machine, and I just had to go and make a pleated school girl skirt…
My human-form Midna Cosplay
My Saya Takagi Cosplay
Most days you will find me in my comfy pajamas, typing away on my computer while video game sound tracks play in the background, with my 3DSXL at my side. And while doing all of this, I also tend to my baby girl who is almost 2 years old while I’m missing her 5 year old sister who is away at kindergarten. Amidst all of that chaos, I add more fuel to the fire by working some days for my apartment complex, and babysitting three others kids about 4-5 days a week. Luckily, through it all, I have an equally geeky gamer of a husband to keep me somewhat sane through everything I do. I am a busy woman, and that at times gets in the way of my ‘otaku-ness’, but I’m still a super geeky otaku gamer at the end of each and every day!
Everyday Otaku, Nightingale
Whoever said you can’t do what you love for living was dead wrong! I do what I love everyday and make somewhat of a living off of it! I can only hope to continue using my Otaku Gamer wit to get me far in life, and make an awesome living for my two beautiful girls and my loving fellow-otaku of a husband. Peace, love, & Video Games! Nightingale, out!
Doesn’t flow off the tongue like Jay-Z Hard Knock Life Vol.2 song “A week ago” unlike the timeless Rap classic album Nintendo’s reputation amongst gamers has been a tumultuous one & hasn’t really been good to look back on. Though while the “gamers” have rallied against big N’s relevance in gaming today. Nintendo has continuously remained profitable and as a business that is the core thing for a company to remain successful. Gamers as fickle as we are as a whole are nothing to scoff at. The gaming community rallied around all that was Nintendo throughout the 3rd and 4th generation but, as the 5th generation reared its head. It seemed as if throughout all the years this company has gotten right they have lost what essentially made them great. Let me dust off the history books and take a peep into them to see what the catalysts was that landed them into this peculiar situation. Generation 5 when Nintendo 64 was released by the big N there was so much hype surrounding what could be. There was its new weird looking controller introducing analog control stick tech into console gaming along with 64 megabits of power. It seemed as if things were all good except for the fact Sega’s Saturn & newcomer Sony’s PlayStation was a CD based platform. That to me was Big N’s major 1st misstep because we all know Nintendo stayed with the old ways of console gaming mediums, Cartridges. I believe this is why Nintendo started to lose its grip on the gamers. Though, a long time ago for most of you modern gamers the gamers whom are in their late 20’s to mid-30’s should remember how the N64 was a wasteland of 3rd party titles rarely seeing jewels that were popping up on the competitions CD based platforms.
Though, the games that did show up by Nintendo’s efforts to collaborate with 3rd party developers & utilizing & acquiring new in house ones. They were able to remain profitable and provide us gamers with classic titles like Mario Kart 64, Star wars Rouge squadron, Mario 64 and let’s not forget the title that made the FPS genre popular on consoles James Bond’s Golden eye to name a few. Those weren’t enough to steamroll the legions of developers from leaving Nintendo home console behind. The flexibility of CD wasn’t the only reason they left Nintendo in the corner. It was their overall business practices that seemingly drove a lot of business away because of that but, it took the likes of the new challenger of the throne Sony’s PlayStation that gave them a place to call home. In return the Sony PlayStation won the 5th console generation. Along with that stole a good portion of the market share Nintendo had for years. During Gen 5 games like Banjo-Kazooie while fun and enjoyable could not bring in new adult gamers into the fold when there were mature titles being released with cinematic experiences unseen for the most part on the N64.
As Generation 5 came to a close and new gamers of a higher age bracket came into the market. Sony Playstation had experiences and cutting edge technologies that you couldn’t find in Nintendo’s home console. Though like a well primed company that it is Nintendo still remained profitable even after losing significant market share along with maintain some of the fiercest fans out there. Granted their profitability wasn’t all hinged on their home console efforts all the while Nintendo is an game company so, as they somewhat floundered their market share Nintendo has the portable gaming market in their pocket protector. Pulling in gangbusters of cashola into their bank accounts later to be infused with some of their future home consoles. Titles like some of their tried and true franchises and new IP’s like Pokémon flourished on this platform but, also new gadgetry and technologies sprung up throughout the Game Boy’s lifetime. Though the portable market is virtually owned by Nintendo for the most part the home console side of things is where Nintendo should start to tighten its grip. From here on out Big N had an uphill battle going into the 6th generation. Stay tuned for the second half of my vision in “Double-edged sword Part 2: Now you’re playing with power”