Tag Archives: games

Revisiting Conference & Job Fair Etiquette

This is a topic that I always come back to every couple of years, whenever faced with a new batch of college graduates and job hunters.  General etiquette and preparedness for job fairs and networking.  I find it is always worth repeating.

  • Always have a business card even if it isn’t your ideal design.

I was surprised by the number of people that didn’t have a card, whether because they haven’t designed one they liked or they just didn’t get to it.   Continue reading

A Different Game

I started by just looking at my backlog. All those games bought over the years from crazy Steam Sales or from an article raving about the gameplay. Of course I will play ALL of them.. someday.. I wanted something that I had barely touched but I would have to dive deep into. Twenty games off the shelf later, I landed with Final Fantasy XII. This is one of those titles I bought when it came out, collector’s edition of course. I just had to have it and knew I would love it. Over the years I maybe played 4 hours of the game and pulled it out to play a dozen times, only to have a change of heart or be interrupted. Now it was time to delete all game saves and start from scratch.

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Personal Project Overload? Reboot.

A frequent problem of mine – coming up with too many tasks to do in my free time. Its something that plagues me when I’m too busy to add to the list; I have to keep piling it on. A backlog of games/books/movies, new projects, blog updates, clean out files on my computer or desk, picking up gardening, trying new recipes, begin an exercise program, catch up with old friends, and the list can go on and they do and they multiply. Often it leaves me just sitting and staring at the wall, not knowing which way I should be turning and my brain scattered across the room. Or even worse, it ends with endlessly streaming through Facebook posts and articles, mindlessly going where everyone has gone before. I feel lucky when it’s more productive procrastination, cleaning the apartment and reorganizing my desk, both usually on my “Household List.” In the end comes down to me not getting anything meaningful done.

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The Horror of Walking…

I was faced with this question tonight as I played Fatal Frame with a friend. Does the horror genre have any games that have fantastic controls? I am not a pro with the genre, but of all the games I have played it is incredibly complicated to move the character in their environment, efficiently. This could very well be caused by the cinematic camera angles used to add suspense. But in the end, it is just added frustration to the player when their character gets caught on an invisible barrier. Fatal Frame is plagued by this. Many a times, I have been walking down a narrow corridor with full visibility, and my character got stuck on the wall.

This is definitely something I want to look into more. I have copies of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, which I remember both being easier to control than the original Fatal Frame but are still a bit clunky.

Controls aside, I still really enjoy the game.

The Motley Single

I found a really cool advance in video game pop culture that everyone else is probably already aware of. Motley Crue is going to be the first band to release a single via Rock Band.


I just find it really cool how other forms of popular culture are embracing video games. In no way am I saying that things like this haven’t happened before. You really just need to look at Revolution X and the new Guitar Hero Aerosmith Edition. To release a single that is only available via video game is pretty damn cool.

Just wait, next post I will try to use the word “cool” even more. 😀


Anyone that truly knows me, knows I have a massive problem when faced by percentages. I get clammy, disoriented, then I lapse into an unholy fit of focus. Thoughts fly through my mind, “not again,” “that could be 100,” and “whoever created the percent symbol is a genius.” Coping with it not moving is not an option. Walking away, definitely not an option. It must be conquered and it will be conquered by me. The left side of my brain rejoices, while the right side says, “Oh crap, not again.”

What brought this up is work. We implemented a percentage into our system and now it haunts me in good and bad ways. (Ambiguous enough?) It did bring up games in my head, as does everything. What is it about seeing my status, that gets me through the game? I am 3 times more likely to finish the game if I have that goal. (Scientific poll with myself.) Games, such as Morrowind, fall to the wayside, because I am unable to grasp a foreseeable goal. My LinkedIn profile is even at 100%, because I couldn’t let it sit at 95%. It made me sad.

The question really is, does this help gameplay? Is this something that enhances the player’s experience, or does it throw your game into a pile of other games that have to be completed for completed sake?

I prefer the status bar, because it helps me visualize my progression. There is a need to know I am being productive in my environment and I want to see by how much. I felt very accomplished plowing through 33% of Jak and Daxter in one sitting, but I wouldn’t have known that unless they gave me all the tools to see that progress. How many orbs do I have from that one area at the beginning of the game. There are a lot of games that have managed to get so complicated that they require the status bar, or the player would never know what they are missing. Confusion and irritation would take over and the game would end up at the wayside.

I think what it comes down to is the player’s preference in how they want to perceive the game world. How detached from the reality of the game do they want to be. Do they want the game broken down into goals for them, or do they want to have a playpen where they create their own goals for an infinite amount of time?

At least we don’t have percentage bars on our lives. That would be depressing, and raise the question, “Why is yours going 4 times slower than mine?”

Ms. Scarlett in the Hall with the System!

Games are more than what they are when they come out of the box. They are what the players make them. Any game is more than just the pieces, but an experience. At the end of play, the player can walk away with their own story of what happened, which brings greater meaning to their play. During some random week back in college, I sat down with some friends and played a game of Clue. Then I wrote this paper, which has been edited before I posted it here. This was at a barbecue, half the group was inebriated and the atmosphere was relaxed. As a group, we chose a game and set up the board. All of us had played the game so many times that we didn’t need to look at the instructions. We all knew what to do.

Looking at Clue as an experiential system is much different than looking at it mathematically or logically. It is the system of the experience the game creates while being played. The objects of the game would normally be the pieces and weapons of Clue, but since we are talking about the interaction of players, the players are the objects. This is the five or so people sitting around the board. The reason I said “or so” is because some people were sitting in to help others. The pieces then took the place of the player’s attributes. I was Colonel Mustard and my friend, Lindsey, Ms. Scarlet and so on. The experiential system of this game, for the most part, is a move up the hierarchy to include the players. What I mean by this is, in a normal system the internal relationships would be purely the relationship between pieces and the strategic relationships that occur with the pieces. In this new system it is the players. All the talking, questioning and “smack” that crossed ways are the internal relationships.

At one point in our game, one of the players made a faulty accusation and, as a result, was booted from the game. The player then became the moderator for anyone else that wanted to make a false accusation. The game at this point had two people that had trouble sitting up straight and two people completely sober (me being a sober one). The moderator began to get bored and walked out of the room because she wasn’t playing anymore. At this point I decided to mix things up with my sober companion by creating an alliance. I had no way of winning due to a bad batch of questioning, and the wobbly ones didn’t have a chance. A winner needed to be declared; so all my findings went to the only person in the room that was capable of winning. This is a prime example of internal relationships on the experiential system level. The rule set doesn’t say anything about creating alliances, but I am sure it is something the game designers thought of. Rules could have been put in to stop this, but weren’t. In general, game designers don’t know how people are going to play their game or in what conditions. This brings me to the next section.

The environment in the standard logical sense is the interaction of objects in play, but when it come to the experience, it is much greater. It includes the room and situation we were in. As I mentioned before, we were at a barbecue and half the group had been drinking. The entire group decided that it was a great idea to play Clue, and that the game is, in fact, awesome. The environment includes the culture and any preconceptions of the game. As a group, we didn’t need the rules to play the game; we knew how to play the game. It was a cultural icon, a representation of us growing up, even though the game is older than anyone in the room. Only one time did we reference the rules, and it was because we began to debate different people’s “house” rules. Overall, the experience for all the players at the beginning was positive, but by the end people started walking off or talking to others. This was due to there being other people at the barbecue and certain players getting booted from the game early.

In every game of Clue I have played, the players start off with a very secretive demeanor, but by the end, everyone is trying to look over everyone else’s shoulder. This game was no exception. Also, playing the alliance in a game that wasn’t meant to have one was all the easier when the two people in front of you had trouble sitting up straight.


Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play. London: The MIT P, 2004. 49-54.

Thank you, to Brenda Brathwaite for her notes when I was taking her class.

A Rock Band in my Pocket!

It was fantastic going into work today and hearing that Guitar Hero was making the jump to DS. What made this great was yesterday’s post. Though, not anything really related to Guitar Hero, I felt the connection in my head and that really is all that matters.

Gamestop Page

You can go there to get your info and see the commercial. My major concern are the buttons and comfort level. Anyone that knows me knows that I generally have issues with things like this and will most likely find a way to get my hand out of the strap and drop kick my DS across the room whilst proving that it was entirely an accident. Apparently, according to the commercial, this game also helps you find a girl to make googly eyes at….but nothing else.

That really is enough for me. Now all I need is My Fitness Coach, so I have the equivalent of 3 DS’s in my pocket at all times. 😀