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Penguins vs Possums Interview - 7/21 on Mom's Minute

On Monday July 21st, Ms. H will welcome one of the creators of Fanboy Comic's hit title Penguins vs Possums to Mom's Minute. Sebastian Kadlecik will give Ms. H the ins and outs of the secret war that has has been raging since the dawn of time between two unlikely foes. Penquins vs Possums is a graphic novel written by Sebastian Kadlecik, John Bring, and Lindsay Calhoon Bring and features the art of Sebastian Kadlecik and John Bring. The trade paperback collects issues 1-4 of the epic story and is available now from www.Fanboycomics.net

Listen to Mom’s Minute to find out the hurdles in developing and publishing an independant comic, how digital media has effected a medium once ruled by pen and paper, and most importantly, which side Ms. H chooses, Penguins or Possums.

Join the show live at 4pm PST/7pm EST at www.allgames.com/live  to submit questions you’d like Ms. H to ask, or if you’re too busy reading comics on Monday, post your questions right now in the comments section below.

Bobby King and the Future of The Pinball Arcade on Mom's Minute

Bobby King, VP and Lead Designer of Pinball Arcade joined Ms. H for a riveting interview on the Mom’s Minute podcast. He discussed the current kickstarted campaign to license the legendary Addams Family pinball table and also dropped more than a few gems of info about what lies ahead for the Pinball Arcade. A deal with Sony Entertainment will bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back to pinball with The Last Action Hero table and also, for the first time Farsignt will design a completely original pinball table based on a Sony film property. That leaves a lot of room for speculation, although it’s slated to be released in time for Halloween, so that could narrow down the prospects.

Mr. King also let us know that the long awaited Xbox 360 release is nearing completion with all of the current tables in the mix. Even more exciting is the Xbox One version of The Pinball arcade is in final testing and may be out as soon as next month.

You’ll find a lot more information in the 30+ minute interview as Ms. H gets answers about upcoming tables, leaderboard hacks, Farsights new non-pinball titles, and exactly why Christopher Lloyd’s face won’t be on the Addams Family artwork.

The interview starts 37 minutes in and you can listen to the 9/22/14 episode of Mom's Minute below.

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Ms. H Examines: Noel Brown’s Ban from Video Game Tournaments

Noel Brown’s Ban from Video Game Tournaments
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of AllGames.com

 After researching Noel Brown and his present and past behaviors, I questioned why I should give him further notoriety by covering his antics. As you may know. whenever a catastrophic event occurs, the media seemingly concentrates on the perpetrator instead of the helpless victims. I prefer not to spread more publicity about someone such as Noel Brown. However, I’m providing my thoughts on this topic in the hope that others will learn about consequences that could result from someone’s wrong behaviors -- even if not directly impacted by them.

Specifically, the purpose of this article is to share my thoughts on whether or not Noel Brown’s ban from playing in Capcom and Evo professional video game tournaments is adequate or if his punishment should have been more severe.

 Background

Noel Brown is a professional video game player who participates in tournaments, usually involving the Street Fighter games. Based on my research, he is not one of the expert players who regularly wins or even places in video game tournaments.

Noel Brown 240x300He has become known mostly for how he reacts violently and inappropriate in certain situations rather than his expertise in playing video games. For example, in 2011, Noel Brown engaged in a physical altercation with another video game player. In 2013, he was arrested for domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend. More recently, in May, 2016, he sexually harassed a female which was recorded and caught on tape. As a result, Noel Brown was banned from playing in Capcom and Evo video game tournaments for the rest of 2016, 2017 and possibly 2018.

Noel Brown’s ban was effective soon after the sexual harassment action occurred. His return to playing in video game tournaments depends on how well he conducts himself during the time he is banned.

Will this ban be sufficient to cause a change in Noel Brown’s behavior and his tendency towards violent and unsuitable behavior? Before I answer, let me state that I think that everyone, depending on the specific offense, deserves a second chance. However, it appears that Noel Brown has already been given numerous second chances. He needs to understand he does not have a place in public video game tournaments if the violent and improper behaviors continue. He can play video games to his heart’s content, but not in public tournaments or events that involve interactions with other people, specifically Capcom and Evo video game tournaments for now.

Was Noel Brown Guilty?

There is no doubt that during this latest incident, Noel Brown was guilty of sexual harassment that was not consented to by the female. I was not present at the event where the harassment occurred; however, a video exists of the inappropriate touching by Noel Brown. (The woman wishes to remain anonymous.) In the video, there were a lot of people congregating and moving around. As the female walked in front of him, Noel Brown groped her in plain view of the cameras. Even if the cameras were not rolling, the behavior he displayed was not appropriate and was uncalled for.There is no doubt that during this latest incident, Noel Brown was guilty of sexual harassment The woman did not consent to being groped; therefore, Noel Brown was called out for sexual harassment, and subsequently banned from Capcom and Evo tournaments. Even if this act was not done in public and was not recorded, he would still be guilty of sexual harassment.

noel brown

Who is to Blame

If Capcom or Combo Breaker, the organizer of the tournament had a zero tolerance for sexual harassment, Noel Brown would not have been given a second chance to display bad behavior at the tournament. However, it appears that Capcom and Combo Breaker do not have a strong sexual harassment policy. And if there is a policy, it is not actively enforced.

Instead, Capcom and Combo Breaker gave Noel Brown what I consider to be a slap on the wrist instead of taking a serious stand against what he did. Sexual harassment is a serious charge and as such should come with serious consequences. I do not see any evidence of Noel Brown learning his lesson that sexual harassment is not acceptable by having an insignificant break or ban from playing in these  tournaments.

The above being said, Capcom and Combo Breaker cannot be blamed for Noel Brown’s behavior. Being an adult, Noel Brown is the only one to blame for what he did. 

Noel Brown’s Response

In reviewing Noel Brown’s response regarding sexually harassing the female, he indicated that this was no big deal. In fact, he mentioned he and the female victim were texting later that day. My response to him is “So what?” Just because you carried on a conversation with her does not negate what you did earlier.

Noel Brown seems to make excuses for his actions. For example he responded that he doesn’t understand why other people are concerned when they are not involved in what happened. Here are his words:

“I don't understand how someone else calls sexual harassment on someone else's behalf if they're not any of the parties involved. Actually all three [her, her boyfriend and I] of us drank and ate pizza together that night after seeing the screenshot.”

Apparently, Noel Brown is downplaying what he did and does not understand what constitutes sexual harassment. I think that he feels sexual harassment involves only the two people who are directly involved in these acts and does not know the reach of sexual harassment. If he knew anything about sexual harassment, he would know that in addition to the person directly impacted by the sexual harassment act, anyone who saw and is offended by such behavior, even if not directly impacted can accuse another person of sexual harassment.

I don't understand how someone else calls sexual harassment on someone else's behalf if they're not any of the parties involvedNoel Brown

Noel Brown also had an excuse for the physical altercation he experienced with another player at the video game tournament in 2011. He indicated he was provoked to violent behavior because the player threw his personal items that had been taken out of his pocket to the floor -- even after he had warned the player of the consequences if he did so. His violent recourse was caught on tape as the physical fight broke out between the two video game players.

 Noel Brown needs to learn that violence is not the answer when someone does not do as he instructed. The video showed he was the aggressor, and lunged at the other video game player. I do not know the real reason behind the aggressive, violent behavior, but I do know this retaliation was uncalled for and immature for a grown man to display.

Noel Brown needs to learn that violence is not the answerIn each of the previous violent incidents, I think Noel Brown feels that he did nothing wrong -- which is unreal to me. Capcom and Combo Breaker seems to be validating his recent act of sexual harassment and the seriousness of the matter by giving him minimal punishment. When the ban is lifted, Noel Brown will have chances to perform more harm to others should he be allowed to participate in future video game tournaments.

Noel Brown and the Reputation of Video Games

Violence and sexual harassment unfortunately probably happens in other type tournaments -- not only in video games. However, video games often suffer undue negative publicity when it comes to violence, i.e. there is the notion that somehow playing violent video games causes violent behavior. Noel Brown is perpetuating this unfounded reputation of video games by failing to control his immature violent actions and continuing to show behavior that has negative impressions relative to video games -- simply because he is associated with video game playing. Even though this recent sexual harassment event did not involve an altercation, the groping of the female while at a video game event placed video games in an unfair negative light.

Positives

Capcom, Combo Breaker and Evo are to be commended for banning Noel Brown from future tournaments -- even if the ban will last a short time. Capcom is stating that if it happens again, Noel Brown will be banned for life.

The plus is that at least for the rest of 2016, 2017 and maybe 2018 Noel Brown will not be making news relative to his actions, at least not in the world of video games. One may think that by not playing video games in the public for awhile, he will have the chance to maybe reflect and change. But based on his history of violent and unsuitable behavior, I’m sure that it will resume once he is allowed to play.

Negatives

Noel Brown has been given many chances to change his behavior for the better. This latest incident of sexual harassment while in a video game atmosphere should have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Back in 2013, CapCom categorized the domestic violent incident that occurred involving Noel Brown as a personal matter and dismissed the seriousness of what happened during that time. Now, three years, later, Noel Brown has not changed but continues to perform actions that in this case, was not violent but was grossly improper.

 Next Steps - Eradicate Noel Brown from Video Game Tournaments

Why wait for another public or non-public incident involving Noel Brown to happen? Noel Brown should have been given a life-time ban from playing in public video game tournaments for Capcom and Evo after this latest incident. He has already been given many chances to change his ways -- which is not happening.

It is up to the video game companies, namely Capcom and others to show that video game tournaments is a time for friendly comradery between video game players -- and nothing else.

As long as Noel Brown lingers around in the background, waiting to return to tournaments to show just how violent and inappropriate he can be in public, some people's negative perception of video games will fester, and people may be harmed. On a positive note, Noel Brown can always play video games in other places where he is not yet banned -- the keywords being “not yet.”

 To put it simply, in my opinion Noel Brown should be banned from playing video game tournaments publicly for life at Capcom and Evo tournaments. He has shown time after time that he cannot control his behavior and act like a civilized, mature adult. Believe me, I do not think anyone will notice he is no longer around.

PS4 Release Date Revealed

IMG 0667

Here --  In this seemingly ordinary looking Best Buy lies the answer you have probably been waiting for.

Have you pre-ordered your PS4 or plan to get one but do not have the slightest idea of when the system will be available?  You may have  a general idea or a nebulous time frame as to  when the PS4 will be released.  For example, you may have heard the rumor that the PS4 will be launched some time before the holidays, 2013.  The question you may have is --  how much time before the holidays arrive will the PS4 be available and is there a specific release date for the PS4?  

Could the release date be just days before Christmas, since some video game companies like to schedule launches around the holidays?  Or maybe the release date will tie in with Black Friday.  Since Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days before Christmas, it would be strategic timing on Sony's part to release the PS4 on a day when just about everyone will probably be out shopping anyway.  There's nothing quite like a big shopping day like Black Friday to launch a new,  highly anticipated video game system, especially for those holiday shoppers who like to get their shopping done early.

BestBuy

Can you find the system inside Best Buy that shows the release date for the PS4?  Hint:  It's in the picture to your left.

Putting speculations aside, could it be that somewhere out there in the video game biosphere, there is someone or a group who knows without a shadow of a doubt the release date for the PS4?  Certainly Sony knows, but to date, they seem to be taking their time getting the word out.  I guess Sony may be satisfied that it has done enough by sharing  with you at E3, 2013 how much you will have to fork over to get your hands on a PS4 -- namely $399.99.  Maybe the company is of the mindset that the price is enough information for you right now.  However, I will wholeheartedly disagree.  I think Sony should share when this game will be available when known, without any leaks, teasers, etc. I'm sure Sony knows that news regarding video game systems or even video games for that matter involve providing answers relative to the Who, What, Where, Why and When.

BestBuy Preorder

If you picked this Pre-order touch screen system, you were correct as to the source for the release date for the PS4.

You already probably  know the Who -- Sony;  the What -- PS4; the Where -- Whereever video game systems are sold; the Why --Releasing new generation video game system;  but until now you probably did not know the When.  Exactly when will the PS4 be released?

The answer lies in what I would describe as an  impressive pre-order display touch screen system located at a particular Best Buy I went to recently.  Using the touch screen, you can pre-order video games and/or the new video game systems.  While I was at Best Buy,  using the touch screen, I decided, on a whim, to select the video game consoles category since I was curious as to what would be displayed for the PS4.  I touched the screen that showed a picture of the PS4 -- when lo and behold --  I saw it!  There before me on the big screen was the release date for the PS4.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so take a look and you will see what I saw as the availability, release, or launch date for the PS4.  Rather than me telling you the date -- check out the visual below.

PS4date

Pre-order touch screen at Best Buy shows availability date for the PS4 as 11/30/2013

There you have it -- practically in black and white -- that the release date for the PS4 is 11/30/2013.  In my opinion, it is beneficial to know the specific release date for the PS4 for planning purposes -- however; there is a caveat. If you are interested in pre-ordering the PS4, unlike Amazon or other places that do not require a deposit, you will have to pay a $25.00 deposit if you pre-order from Best Buy.

PS4 Preorder

The PS 4  will be available on 11/30/2013, and will require a $25.00 deposit if you pre-order from Best Buy.

Regarding the $25.00 deposit -- when you look at the big picture, if you already plan to spend $399.99 for the new video game console -- along with the cost of the video games you plan to buy for the PS4 -- paying a $25.00 deposit to pre-order the PS4 now may not be such a big deal.

As for me, I plan to continue to enjoy playing video games on my PS3, for now, even if the PS4 is probably a steal, when compared to the $499.99 price for the Xbox One when it launches. As the release date for the PS4 gets closer -- of course, this could change.

That being said, I'm looking foward to getting an up close and personal look at the PS4 on the store shelves when it releases on November 30, 2013. 

2015 L. A. Games Conference : Gaming on a Higher Level

 lagamesconf title

The Digital Media Wire L.A. Games Conference was held May 6, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m. at the W Hotel in Los Angeles, California. Due to renovations at the Roosevelt Hotel where the conference was originally scheduled to take place, a change was made to move the conference to the W Hotel a few weeks prior.

The DMW L.A. Games Conference is an annual conference where the movers and shakers in just about all facets of the video game industry get together, network, collaborate and share ideas not only on the current state of video games, but also on where video games are headed in the future. Some of the best minds in the video game industry got together to debate such topics as Virtual Reality (VR), Alternative Reality (AR), mobile versus console and PC gaming, advertising in video game and a wide range of other video game topics of interest not only to gamers, but to those who can direct the fate and destiny of the video game industry as a whole.

Digital Media Wire 2015 L.A. Games Conference SponsorsDigital Media Wire 2015 L.A. Games Conference Sponsors

Location, Location, Location

It was fitting for the DMW L.A. Games Conference to be held in Los Angeles, California. During the conference, it was pointed out that L.A. is fast becoming just as noteworthy and the place to watch for videogames success as other citiesL.A. is fast becoming just as noteworthy and the place to watch for videogames success as other cities, such as the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York and other mecca gaming locations. Additionally, L.A. is becoming the hot bed to attract great startups and communities who are all about creating video games.

With the E3 video game convention happening in just a few months -- the DMW L.A. Games Conference seemed to be just the right introduction to this event. During the conference, E3 was mentioned and a question was asked by one of the audience members if E3 is still relevant. The response given was that E3 is not as relevant as it was years ago when video gaming was relatively new -- however E3 is still relevant, but to a lesser degree. That being said, everyone was encouraged to attend E3 which is currently scheduled for June 16-18, 2015 at the L.A. Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. Just to clarify -- E3 and the DMW Games Conference are separate events and are not partners, etc.

Keynote and Roundtable Conversations

Given the varied calibre of video gaming industry experts, speakers, debaters and presenters -- it appeared that no stones were left unturned when it came to sharing views, opinions, challenges, and predictions for the video game industry. The spokespersons were directly involved in the video game industry whether their involvement was deeply intertwined in the making of video games such as developers and designers, or if the involvement was from an investment point of view, such as the investors and venture capitalists who had a fireside chat as well. There was also a discussion from TenCent on China’s request for more western games to be available for play in China.Popular games in the Chinese marketPopular games in the Chinese market

Future or Fad? The Great Debate on Virtual and Augmented Reality Gaming & Entertainment

At the DMW L.A. Games Conference, anybody who was anybody in the video game industry seemed to be there to not only share video gaming information but to debate as well. Like the saying goes -- there are two sides to every story -- which includes the video game industry. It was refreshing to see the panelists not only agree to disagree on some topics, but were also willing to listen to the other side’s argument as well.

An example of this was a discussion on whether Virtual Reality (VR) and Alternative Reality (AR) should be relegated for at home play only -- or if these new forms of video game play requiring headsets and other apparatus, other than today’s gaming consoles, PCs and mobile devices -- could enter into mainstream living. In other words, what would be the ideal setting of VR and AR relative to video game players? Interesting enough, both sides had compelling reasons why VR and AR should be an at home gaming activity only, as well as why VR and AR would be ideal to enhance the social aspect of gaming. This could be done by affording gamers the opportunity to interact with others outside of the home environment. The debate was not settled at the conference; however, this topic did open up dialogue as well as thoughts relative to the future of VR and AR and the impact these types of games will have on society.

VR PanelistsVR Panelists

It was noted that video gamers were expected to lead the advent of 3D television -- which sort of fizzled due to human dynamics as well as poorly executed content. The question was whether VR and AR would face a similar demise, or would it become a part of gaming just as much, if not more so than today’s gaming consoles, mobile devices and PCs.

Comments from Ted Schilowitz, VR Creator & Futurist, 20th Century Fox/CinemaVangelist indicated that to the contrary, VR is destined to become an integral part of video gamingVR is destined to become an integral part of video gaming. In fact, in his position at 20th Century Fox, he spends up to 8 hours a day in the virtual world instead of the real world. He added that hardware is the easiest part of VR, and creating the best possible content for VR is the hardest part. Concern expressed was people will try to give away VR games to stimulate the market -- which should not be done.

Some of the challenges discussed relative to VR and AR included safety issues as well as the difficulty of making VR and AR video games.


Money and Video Games

For these discussion topics, the politically correct term of “monetization” was used instead of “making money” in the video game industry with topics such as   The Evolution of Free-to-Play,  Mobile Advertising: Maximizing The Value of Advertising, Mobile Games: Strategies for Cost-Efficient User Acquisition, Investor’s Roundtable as well as other monetization discussions.

The company’s bottom line is the basis for the video game industry which cannot be ignored. The company's bottom line is the basis for the video game industrySure, the conference was enlightening and it was sometimes eye-opening to find out the inner workings of the video game industry; however, at the end of the day the question must be answered -- How will money be made from video games?

Towards this end, a fireside chat was held on how to use ads in video games as a way of monetization. Discussions included how to embed ads in video games without taking away what could be an enjoyable video game experience for the video gamer.

Specific methods discussed to introduce ads seamlessly to the video game player was to bring the ads in slowly, depending on how long the game was played. For instance, if someone just started playing the game, the strategy used was to wait until the game is played for longer periods of time before ads are slowly introduced. 

Another idea presented was to have the ads become part of the video game play itself. For instance, the gamer would have to click on the ad to either get more points or to advance to another level in the game, etc. In this way, ads would be used as incentives or rewards for reading or even clicking on the ads.

A statistic shared was that only approximately two to five percent of video gamers actually click on ads with the remaining players, either skipping or ignoring the ads. Even though the numbers of gamers clicking on ads are relatively low -- this does not dissuade video game companies from concentrating their advertising efforts on those two to five percenters which could possibly grow in numbers.

There was an agreement among the panelists during this discussion that if video games were of high quality, gamers would be more tolerant to ads appearing in the game. The message seems to be for developers and others to provide more high quality, innovative video games to equate to higher revenues from ads. An example provided of a video game that uses ads appropriately was Compass Point West, a free online game.

An additional method of monetization of video games discussed was to use subscriptions which would almost guarantee gamers will return to play the game, while at the same time being exposed to ads which could result in more revenue.

As a footnote: The monetization fireside chats were well attended. During one of these chats, a group of ad executives sat on one side of the couch and the developers sat on the opposite side -- which made for a productive exchange of information and ideas relative to the monetization of videogaming.

Hollywood & Games: Opportunities & Strategies

Since the conference was held in L.A., the topic of Hollywood celebrities was a given. Several experts shared thoughts about Hollywood celebrities and video games. It was mentioned that more celebrities are being urged to become part of the twitter universe, especially if they have aspirations of having their own video game. With the monetary success of Kim Kardashian’s game, Kim Kardashian:Hollywood, it is not surprising that some celebrities are looking to capitalize by having their own game. The benefit mentioned during this discussion was that unlike movies, with video games, celebrities have a more intimate relationship with the game. 

Hollywood and Games PanelistsHollywood and Games Panelists

Distribution Track - Myst to MP3S: Music in Games: The Next Generation

How would video games fare without music? Probably not as well as video games do with music. During this fireside chat with the experts which included Brandon Young from Blizzard, Siegfried Paquet of FreshPlanet, Les Borsai of SongLily and others, discussion ensued on the sometimes daunting task of making sure all the licenses are in place before music, songs, arrangements, etc. are added to various video games.

Music in Games

One may think the only person’s license that is imperative to get approval for is the songwriter. However, this is sometimes not true. In fact, narrowing down who the licenses should be obtained from as well as locating the applicable people to discuss terms, etc. for the licensing -- appear to be a job in and of itself. Brandon Young indicated the timeframe for licensing for some video games can take up to four months. On the other hand, it was noted by a panelist that the time frame for getting approval for licensing music for video games in China is much shorter. Sometimes approval is granted in as little as 24 hours since there are no layers to muddle through to get licensing approval. The flip side of the short time frame in China according to one of the speakers was the high cost of licensing there when compared to the U.S.

Wrap-Up

Attendance at the DMW L.A. Games Conference is highly recommended. Not only was there a multitude of compelling discussions on video games as well as the video game industry, but the venue provided an opportunity to network and collaborate with others. Attendance at the DMW L.A. Games Conference is highly recommended. The cost is sky-high to attend, but when one weighs the positive benefits of getting instant answers to questions one may have about the video game industry, as well as to learn more about the video games from the developers’, strategist, and even investors’ points of view, the money can be considered money very well spent. To find out what is happening, not only on the outer edges, but down to the core of video gaming, this well represented, and well attended DMW L.A. Video Game Conference was by far the place to be.

Mom's Minute Interviews Pinball Arcade's Bobby King on 9/22

Monday 9/22, Bobby King from Farsight Studios will join Ms. H on Mom’s Minute at 4pm PST/7pm EST for an indepth talk about Pinball Arcade and the new Kickstarter to bring the legendary pinball table, The Addams Family to life. For years Pinball Arcade has been dedicated to bringing the most realistic simulations of classic pinball tables to as many platforms as possible. Now they’ve set their sights on one of the most coveted tables of all time and are crowd funding the licenses needed to make it happen.

Ms. H will get all the details about the project from Mr. King and also find out what’s in the future for Pinball Arcade. And you can get your questions answered, too. You can interact with the live show by hopping into the chat room during the interview at allgames.com/live and submitting your question. If you can’t be here live on Monday 9/22 at 4pm PST/7pm EST, then you can still ask your questions for Bobby King right here by using the comment section below.

The Little Pawn Shop That Could

Royal PawnRoyal Pawn

 When garbage collectors are called sanitation engineers, and used cars are referred to as certified pre-owned vehicles, it's refreshing to notice a place, though small in size, that goes simply by the name of Royal Pawn.  Why?  Because it is an actual pawn shop.  Unlike another establishment I visited during my video game field trip that was called "Cash Converters" when it was in essence a  pawn shop, the store I visited for my video game field trip was a bona fide pawn shop.  It's a place where you can pawn items it you want, or if you prefer, you can just shop around like I did, and find out what they have to offer in the way of video games.

Before visiting Royal Pawn, I went to their website and saw lots of pictures on the walls, as well as musical instruments and other merchandise displayed in glass cases.  I have visited similar looking places, and would more often than not be told that they do not sell or trade video games.  When I visited Royal Pawn and walked closer to the glass door opening of this store, I saw the sign  "We Buy Gold” -- which heightened my doubts that video games would be sold in this pawn shop.

When I walked in the store, I was greeted by a salesperson.  I was going to ask a leading question such as, "You all do not have video games or video game systems here, do you?" -- when I decided to take a more positive approach and just ask if they had any video games. I was surprised when the salesperson said that they not only sold video games but had video game consoles as well --  which were located in an area behind where I was standing.

Xbox 360's at Royal PawnXbox 360's at Royal Pawn

 I asked the salesperson if there were any PS4 or Xbox Ones in stock, and his reply was that it was too soon to have the new systems. However, he mentioned that about two weeks ago, this store had a PS4, which was bought within a few minutes after it was put on the shelf.  Of course, this could have been a fabrication; however, judging from the busyness of this store, this was a possible true story. When I asked about the prices of the video games, he said that most of their video games sold for $10.00, unlike the "Game Box" down the street that sells games for $50 and up.  When I questioned "Game Box," he said that he meant to say "GameStop."  Having visited GameStop the previous week, I can attest to the fact that the used video game prices at Royal Pawn were more reasonable. An added plus was, from what I saw -- the video games included some recent titles.

Here are some of the video games displayed in the locked glass case.Here are some of the video games displayed in the locked glass case.

 When I asked to look at a game in the glass case that caught my attention, he went to another area in the store and brought a key back with him to open the case.  The video game that caught my eye was Gears of War for the Xbox 360, which  was in a new-looking metal case.  When he opened the metal case, the game along with the external and internal packaging were intact.  I was expecting this game to sell higher than $10.00 -- but when I asked, he told me the price was $10.00.  I was tempted to purchase this game; however, I did not particularly like that there was a red skull on the front of the packaging, similar to the skull that's on Call of Duty Ghosts. The salesperson jokingly said that he would remove the skull if I liked, and I knew obviously,  he was just kidding.

To make a long story short, after much contemplation, I passed on the Gears of War game and did not purchase it.

I would describe this video game field trip as an enjoyable one.  Not only was I looking around for video games in a pawn shop that was also known as a pawn shop,  but I was being assisted by a salesperson who was very helpful as well.

If you want to look for your favorite older video games in a place that seems like it's not out to take your money, I recommend you visit a similar type establishment  in your area. If there are no video games in the pawn shop that you are interested in, there may be other type merchandise that you may want to check out.  It is likely that should you decide to look for video games, consoles, or other merchandise,  there is a pawn shop waiting for you to frequent.  Hopefully the salespeople are just as friendly as the merchandise is inexpensive.

 

Black Desert Online: A Ms. H Video Game Review

 Introduction to Black Desert Online: A Ms. H Video Game Review

I was pleasantly surprised at what awaited me when I downloaded the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Player Game (MMORG) Black Desert Online.  Black Desert Online was different from the video game I imagined it would be.  I've played quite a few MMORGs and was ready to experience the same type video gaming experience as I did before.  However, I quickly realized Black Desert Online wants to be clear that it is not your ordinary, run of the mill MMORG video game.  Here are my thoughts and views of the Black Desert Online video game.

Video Game Customizations in Black Desert Online Video Game

It didn't take me long to find out that one of the many high points of playing Black Desert Online was the customizations.  In fact, I spent an inordinate amount of time first of all on naming my characters -- then customizing them to the Nth degree.  There were numerous choices of how I could customize my video game characters which included not only the facial features and body types, but also the horoscopes and other aspects that were provided to me.

There was a minor downside to my customizations. When I logged back in to play Black Desert Online, I discovered the specific character I customized was tied to a particular server.  Of course I had not made note of the server I chose, so I was unable to retrieve my customized character.  No problem.  All I had to do was to pick another server, customize another video game character and be sure to use the same server to bring her back up.

I believe I customized about two or three characters before I decided that it was time to get into actually playing the video game.  When i concentrated my efforts on playing the video game, instead of using my customized characters, I decided to use the character that was provided in the game with no customizations whatsoever.  That's not to say that I will not maybe later retrieve my customized character and play the game from her vantage point.

Graphics in Black Desert Online Video Game

At first glance, Black Desert Online graphics had the cookie-cutter look of other similar type video games.  However, some of the close-up rendering of the enviornment was quite impressive, and appeared to look realistic.

Choices in Black Desert Online Video Game

The developers, in my opinion, did not economize when it came to giving gamers choices when playing the Black Desert Online video game.  In addition to the wide variety of customization features available for the video game characters, there were numerous choices within the video game itself.  As I completed quests and other adventures, I was given options to interact with other video game characters in the game by simply pushing the "R" key.  There were many other choices as well throughout the video gameplay.

If I was stuck in some way in the video game or needed help, I could summon the assistant called the Black Spirit by simply pressing the comma key on my laptop.  The assistant would appear as a black flowing cloud with red dots for eyes to instruct me on what I could do.  Interesting enough, I found out if I summoned the assistant while I was in combat with enemies, this assistant was not immune and could get temporarily destroyed.

Black Desert OnlineBlack Desert Online

Violence and Gore in Black Desert Online Video Game

Speaking of enemies, many of the quests in Black Desert Online video game involved fighting or destroying enemies.  Some of the enemies included grass beetles, weasels and other creatures.  I think it was creative how the developers would oftentimes camouflage these enemy creatures in the foilage and other areas where sometimes they were not easily visible.  A negative was the blood splatters in this video game which I am not a fan. I think the video game would be even more enjoyable to play if there were no blood splatters in these battles.

Leveling Up in Black Desert Online Video Game

I think leveling up in Black Desert online was not difficult.   When I reached level 10, I was no longer considered a beginner in the tutorial stage. As I leveled up, I begin to notice other aspects of the video game.  For example, I noticed the attention to detail in the environment as well as other video game players' characters in the game.  There was also the usual dialogue among players appearing and scrolling sometimes on the left side of the screen.

I was leery of being tempted to get loyalty points by logging on to the video game Black Desert Online daily.  For the first two or three days, I gave in to signing in daily, and in turn boosted up my loyalty points.  However, I still limited my video game playing time.  I resisted the urge to log on to Black Desert Online for loyalty points as I did other things instead of playing this video game.   My caution is to not get lured into having this video game take up a lot of your time by playing it for long periods of time, not only because of the temptation of the loyalty points, but also because Black Desert Online is such a fun video game to play.  As I've cautioned you before -- always strike a balance between playing video games and doing other real-life non-video game activities.

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Assessment of Black Desert Online Video Game

In my opinion, Black Desert Online is a video game that is worth your time playing in moderation.  I think you will enjoy the different type environments and the feeling that you are actually a part of this video game world and making video game accomplishments. There are lots of quests you can choose to take as well different adventures you can embark upon.  Black Desert Online video game will keep your interest in part because of the wide variety of characters and the real-world look of the video game backdrop as well as the various missions and quests.   As with most online video games, there is also an online forum you can consult as required if you need help in getting to the next level or getting further into the video game.

Black Desert OnlineBlack Desert Online

I believe I would have rated Black Desert Online higher if the blood splatters were eliminated, if it was easier to get the video game launched in the first place and if the characters retained their customizations once you got a far-away view of them in action, if profanity in the video game was eliminated and on top of all this if there were no instances where the server timed out during the game play.  When this happened, I had to start playing the video game all over again. That being said, I think the positives of the Desert Online video game far outweigh the negatives.

Rating of Black Desert Online Video Game

On a scale of 1 star to 10 stars, with 1 star being the lowest and 10 stars being the highest, I rate Black Desert Online video game 8 stars.

Availability of Black Desert Online Video Game

Black Desert Online is a buy-to-play video game developed by Pearl Abyss and is playable on the PC.

  • Published in PC

Anime Mid Atlantic 13 Report

anime midatlantic13 report

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I have to hand it to Anime Mid-Atlantic.  They really know how to throw a party!

Whether you attended the Anime Mid-Atlantic for the cosplay, costumes, dances, video games, guests, contests, workshops , videos, card games or for the other fun activities – you could most likely enjoy doing it at Anime Mid-Atlantic.

 

Background of Anime Mid-Atlantic

Now in its thirteenth year, the Anime Mid-Atlantic is an annual event where fans of anime and video games come together sometimes to just hang out with new and old friends and have fun.  You can dress up as your favorite anime  or video game character in any form or fashion you like, of course, in adherence to the rules of the event.

anime midatlantic marriot

 Anime Mid-Atlantic was held on a beautiful weekend, June 14-16, 2013  at 725 Woodlake Dr., in Chesapeake, Virginia at the Marriott Hotel and the Chesapeake Convention Center.  Yes, the fun is spread between two buildings including the walking areas between the two.

 The Marriott Hotel and the Chesapeake Convention Center are conveniently located adjacent to  other hotels – so if  you were from out of town, you could stay either at the Marriott Hotel or at the other nearby hotels that were in walking distance.

Arrival at Anime Mid-Atlantic

I arrived at the Anime Mid-Atlantic  event towards the end of Friday night, and activities were still in full swing.   As I walked to the registration area in the hotel, I was met by one of the event’s security.  Still remembering and stinging from the coldness I felt when I attended the Civil War V video game tournament that  I covered a few months earlier, I had my guard up and immediately asked him why did he come up to me.  He responded that he wanted to know if I had any questions, and decided to approach me.  He seemed sincere, so I pushed my reservations about the atmosphere of  the event aside and asked him where I could pick up my press badge .

On my way to pick up my badge,  I met a young man who was dressed up in a costume  that included a feminine looking tank top and shorts.  He smiled and literally apologized to me for the costume that he was wearing, stating that he usually does not dress that way.   I laughed and told him he was “looking good.”

From that moment on, I knew I would enjoy  covering this event for Allgames.com.  Not only because of all the interesting events scheduled, but also and more importantly, everyone appeared to be very friendly and out to just have a good time.

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Video Game Room at Anime Mid-Atlantic

My plan was to focus mostly on video games the first day of the event. So after receiving my participant badge, I  walked the short distance from the Marriott Hotel to the Chesapeake Convention Center  where the video game room was located.

anime midatlantic hoop

 

On the way to the convention center, I enjoyed watching a dance contest where the participants were dressed  up in costumes. I also enjoyed the performance of a  hoola hoop dancer, who was dancing with a neon lighted hoop for a small group of admirers who had gathered around him.  It was dark outside, so the bright colors of the hoola hoop shone brightly against the night.  At one point during his performance, he jokingly said that he was getting tired, but he received a burst of energy and continued to perform when the cameras started flashing – including my own.

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When I reached the convention center, I showed my badge to the two ladies seated at the entrance, and I was happy I had  registered as a participant, because I was able to show my badge and get in.  At that time, I had not picked up my press badge.  I also like the fact that there was control as to who went where.  I, along with other attendees had to show our badges to gain admittance to several events, which in my opinion was an effective security measure.

When I reached the video game room, the moderator was writing on a white board, changing the closing time for the video game room from 2:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.  Whew! I was glad that I made it there before they closed.

Once in the room, there were about 14 monitors on tables lining the walls with a Just Dance video game going on in full swing.  Just about every type video game system was there, including the WII U.

A couple was dancing to the game, while two fully uniformed male and female police officers watched.  Yes – in addition to having staff security personnel, the event also had uniformed policemen there as well.  It’s possible that the policemen were there for the convention center security, instead of just for the event.   The police officers were smiling as they watched the Just Dance video game couple perform – so it looks like in addition to their security duties, they were having fun as well..

In the far corner of the small video game room was a guitar hero type set up with a standing microphone  and  large monitor. After one group finished playing the game, a young lady who had just sung,  asked if I wanted to play.  I complimented her on her singing and declined the offer.  If her personna was any indication of the type people attending this event, not only were they overtly friendly, but they were polite and cordial as well.

 In addition to the newer games, there were also retro video games to be played.  The retro game was centipede/space invaders, which I got the chance to play .   I witnessed a high score obtained by a video game player. Interesting enough, within the next few minutes, I also witnessed the high score of the retro video game being broken by a much younger video game player.

Unfortunately, the video game room closed at about 1:00 a.m., and we all had to leave.  But not to worry.  There was still a crowd of people out in the convention areas as well as back at the Marriott Hotel.

 

Saturday at Anime Mid-Atlantic

Technically I was at the Anime Mid-Atlantic on Saturday, since it was about 1:30 a.m. when I left. I was prepared to make a late night appearance at the event  Saturday night, but looking at the schedule, most of the events I wanted to cover had already happened.

 

The neat feature about the Anime Mid-Atlantic is that there was a schedule of events to cover just about every hour or so  of the three days.  You could either wander around and catch some of the happenings in an impromptu manner, or you could follow the  schedule and pick and choose which events you wanted to attend. 

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Interview with Doug Smith, Graphic Artist/Voice Actor

My first order of business on Sunday was to pick up my press badge, which I’m happy to report was ready and waiting for me at the registration desk.  When the volunteer staff handed my press badge he suffixed  it with “Have fun! – which I’m glad to say  -- I did.

Located next to the registration room where I picked up my press badge was another conference room where a group of people seemed enthralled at listening to the presenter.  I decided to attend this workshop that was headed by Doug Smith, a graphic artist as well as a guest at the event.

He gave training on graphic art drawing using the software, photoshop.  In addition to demonstrating graphic design techniques, he also took interesting questions from the audience.  Some of the questions asked and answered included how to show perspectives when drawing figures and objects, as well as how to show texture of items such as brushed metal, etc. 

At the end of the workshop, I got the opportunity to interview Doug Smith, and in so doing, I found out that he was not only a graphic artist, but was also a voice actor.  He told me the story of how he got into voice acting by accident when a company was looking for someone to play a part in voice acting, and he just happened to be seemingly there,  at the right place and at the right time.

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Other Anime Events

After leaving the workshop,  I got the chance to see part of an anime movie in the video room, which was located next to the rooms where board games were being played.

I perused some of the tables that were located outside the conference rooms in the hallways.  Some people were promoting other upcoming Anime events. In fact, I discovered there are several other  Anime events that are happening in the near future.

 

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Anime Pictures

 

As I continued to walk down the hallways that were bustling with people, most of whom were dressed up in costumes, I met a young lady who was dressed in a cute victorian type outfit and she had black and red ringlets for hair.  I asked her if I could touch her hair, as well as take her picture – of which she replied yes to both.

Yaaaa!! I had taken my first of many pictures of creatively dressed anime costumed participants at the Anime Mid-Atlantic.

I decided to leave the Marriott and take a short walk over to the Chesapeake Convention Center to see what was happening over there.

 

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When I reached the convention center, a group of people dressed up as their favorite anime characters were just outside  the center playing a game similar to vogue – where you struck a pose  when the music stopped and was eventually eliminated from the game.  Everyone seemed to be having fun.  This is where I took my second picture of an Anime costumed attendee who was dressed in a black suit and tie – which appeared ordinary enough; however there was one big difference.  His face and head were completely covered in white cloth.  Someone who was also taking a picture of him told me his name was “Slender” when I asked who he was portraying. 

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Anime Mid-Atlantic Territory

Two nights before, I did not realize the full extent of the Anime event that was going on in the convention center.  At the time, I had only visited the video game room.

On Sunday, I found out there was a whole lot more at the convention center than the video game room.  Apparently the Anime Mid-Atlantic covered a lot more territory than I thought.

The hallways were  crowded with people, as well as vendors and it looked as if each conference room was also filled with people.

There was a large conference room set aside for autograph signing.  I decided to stand in line to get my Anime Mid-Atlantic book  signed.  As I waited in line, I had an interesting conversation with a woman behind the desk leading up to the autograph signing about a topic I would not have correlated with anime.  She told me about a website where there is an Anime cookbook.  With the increase of cooking reality television shows, I should not have been surprised that cooking had made its way to anime!

I asked the guest who was signing my event book if he did any voice acting for video games.  He said he would if he was asked; however, right now he did voice acting mostly for anime characters.  I liked the fact that when he autographed my event book, he addressed it to me, Ms. H! –  with an exclamation point after my name – very fitting to show just how much fun I was having at the event.

 

anime midatlantic beachball

In fact, I was not the only one having fun there.  In the autograph conference room, there was a large group of people sitting in the audience who were in amidst of friendly conversations, when I noticed a beach ball being hit back and forth over the crowd.  Of course, I could not let this get by me without taking a picture.

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anime midatlantic cosplayer3A Real Live Anime Character at the Anime Mid-Atlantic 

I next walked to the large vendor selling area.  If you were in a buying mood, you could purchase items from any of the vendors set up in the hallways and some of the rooms.

In fact, the hallways were filled with tables where people were selling any and everything related to Anime. 

Additionally, there was a large room set aside strictly for vendors which appeared to be  filled to capacity.  As I walked around the vendor area, I came across a booth where there was a young lady where I had to do a double take because she looked so much like a real life anime character.  She was Japanese and had very long blue hair styled with bangs and two very long ponytails.  I was getting ready to ask her if I could take her picture when her attention was drawn to someone else who was talking to her. 

I found out later that she was Yunmao Ayakawa, one of the guests when she appeared at the closing ceremony of the event with an interpreter. I got the chance  to take a picture of her at that time.

 

anime midatlantic ac cosplayer

Art Auction at the Anime Mid-Atlantic

I checked the schedule and decided to make my way back to the Marriott Hotel to cover the art auction.  While waiting for the art auction to start, I found a comfortable  and convenient sitting area at a table located right next to the front window that faced the front of the hotel.  It was here where I took lots of pictures of attendees dressed up in costumes.

In fact, I noticed a young man dressed up in an Assassin’s Creed outfit, which I took a picture of from a distance then, and closer pictures later when he made an appearance at the closing ceremonies.

By this time, it was about 2:30 p.m. on Sunday – almost time for the art auction!  I went to the information desk and asked her where was Restaurant A which is where the art auction was held.  She checked the schedule and told me the art auction ended at 12:30 p.m.  Unfortunately, the schedule I had was not the very latest, or had been changed.  Even though the art auction was over, I still had time to take more pictures of all the interesting anime costumed attendees – so all was not lost.

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Anime Mid-Atlantic Closing Ceremonies

The closing ceremonies were scheduled to be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Chesapeake Convention Center on Sunday, June 16, 2013.  To make sure there were no schedule changes, I verified the place and time – which had not changed.

I made the short trek from the Marriott Hotel back to the convention center.  The weather was absolutely beautiful outside, with sunny, blue skies – so the walk was an enjoyable one for me, in and of itself. Plus I met interesting costumed characters along the way.

After reaching the convention center and before going to the closing ceremony, I quickly checked the video game room to see if any changes had been made in the set up, etc..  The video game room was a little crowded than before; however, the set up was the same.

After leaving the video game room, I went to the closing ceremonies. 

Everyone entering had to show their badge – which I again thought was a good security measure. 

The closing ceremony consisted of the MC, Daniel Taraschke , thanking every body – jokingly, for not tearing the “place” down.  He then thanked everyone for coming and hoped that everyone had fun.  Next the guests were introduced and took the stage to additionally offer their thanks as well.  Most of the guests were there with the exception of a few who had to leave early.  The guest who I had interviewed earlier, Doug Smith, was introduced by the MC as their very own Tarzan -- took the stage and thanked every one.  Some guests actually ran up to and jumped up on the stage as a way to show their enthusiasm for the event.  

After presenting fan favorites awards, the MC ended the show requesting a group picture of the audience, with everyone posed with one arm outstretched with a finger pointing.  I moved over to the center audience section to be sure I would be pictured and joined in the fun.

 In the midst of taking the group picture, someone asked if there was a beach ball around.  Sadly, there was no beach ball to be thrown; however, the audience made up for it afterwards, by some posing for pictures and others doing impromptu dances.

After waiting in line, I was able to interview Daniel  Taraschke and obtained his assessment of the overall event.  In his words, he dubbed the event, “a success.”

(Listen to Ms. H's interview with Daniel Taraschke below)

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Pros of the Anime Mid-Atlantic 

  • Very well organized
    • Professionally made brochure and badges.  Brochure included rules of the event which were clearly and concisely provided.
    •  Friendly, safe location including staff security and police officers
    • Convenient location with other hotels in walking even
    • Eating available in the establishment
    • Impressive caliber of guests
    • Suitable time frame for the event – 3 days.

 

Cons of the Anime Mid-Atlantic

  • . In my opinion, I did not like the use of the term “black man” that was thrown around  in jest during some of the exit presentations.  For example, at one point when a person went on stage, he said, “I have the imprint of a big black man’s hand on my behind.”     At another  time, someone in the audience  yelled out in response to something the MC said, “I’m glad I’m not the only “black man” here.  Even though these were said in fun – I think the event was brought down a notch – since, again, in my opinion, we were all there to have fun – regardless of our race.
  •  I think it was mildly disruptive when two young ladies during the closing ceremonies in the audience yelled out one on one conversations with some of the people on the stage.  They would yell out their comments and the guests would respond, which was again done in fun – but I think this sort of alienated the rest of the audience. Happily, their comments were few and did not dominate the presentations.
  •  Video game area need to be larger to accommodate more people.

Recommendations for the Anime Mid-Atlantic

 

  • Even though it may be difficult due to the size of this event, I recommend the event organizers try to keep last minute changes to the very minimum.  For example, closing up the video game room l hour earlier than posted in the schedule as well as  changing the time for the art auction were, in my opinion last minute changes.  If I had arranged my video game room visit according to the schedule I had, I would have arrived at the event at 1:30 a.m. and found a locked door instead of video games.
  • Have a large sign posted somewhere in either the hotel and/or the convention center announcing the event – including a marquee – if available.  I did not see any Anime Mid-Atlantic signs posted, unless I missed them.  In fact a couple drove up to the front of the hotel and asked the costumed characters what was going on out of curiosity.  If a sign was posted, it would have been obvious that the fun-filled Anime Mid-Atlantic event was in full fling!

Closing Remarks  -- Anime Mid-Atlantic

All in all, the Anime Mid-Atlantic looked to be not only a success but a great one at that.  It was an event that you can go to and conversate with and be around others who share your interests in anime, and video games and all that goes with these fun venues.  You can dress up as your favorite character and in a way, bring to life  anime characters who you have probably admired virtually, and can now  give them the breath of real life, so to speak, at an event such as the Anime Mid-Atlantic.  If you have a competitive spirit, you can participate in the many contests to see how you measure up – or you can enter just to have fun. If you want to learn more about the different facets Anime, there were many workshops available as well. 

The saying that would wrap up my personal assessment of the Anime Mid-Atlantic event would be –“ And fun was had by all!”  Well done.

 

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