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Injustice: Gods Among Us DLC Character

NetherRealm Studios has announced the latest character  added to the Injustice: Gods Among Us roster is now available.  This character was selected based upon twitter votes and won over other suggested heroes and villains.  His name is General Zod.  If you are a Superman or DC Comics fan, you may know that General Zod is a villain of Superman.  The selection of General Zod as the next DLC character for Injustice: Gods Among Us completes the list of 4 DLC characters that have been added since the game launched in April 2013.  The other characters previously added to this game were Lobo and Batgirl from DC Comics as well as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat.

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General Zod is the latest addition to the character list for Injustice: Gods Among Us

If you were hoping that a different video game character would be selected, there's a chance that he or she may become available as DLC -- since NetherRealm Studios plan to add more characters.  The latest rumor is that the next character may be Martian Manhunter from DC Comics, however, this could, of course change.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us

Unfortunately, there is a cost involved if you would like to acquire General Zod for gameplay. The current price is $4.99 for this character.  In a spending mood?  In addition to getting a new character for this game, General Zod, you may also like to purchase DLC packs which include skins as well as a variety of costumes for the current Injustice: Gods Among Us video game characters.

Injustice: Gods Among Us is rated T for Teen and is playable on the Xbox 360,  PS 3 and the WII U.

{youtube}http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2p_0kkPPJw{/youtube}

Published in Mom's Minute Blog

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Personally, I was excited to hear about an event that would bring over 150  talented programmers, developers and others together in a 48-hour time span with the goal to create a video game with a strong female protagonist.  The I Am a Gamer Jam was held in Vancouver, Canada during the weekend of July 12-14, 2013. Due to the popularity of this event, satellite operations were set up in various North American locations and others participated remotely around the world.  The event was the brainchild of Kimberly Voll, a professor of software engineering and gaming design at the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, Canada. She stated she was stunned to hear that major video game companies were of the mindset that games with female protagonists would not succeed.  Her answer? -- The I Am a Gamer Jam 48-hour video game jam development marathon. 

remember me   nilin by krizalidbrandoremember me nilin by krizalidbrando

The question is, did this event that actually sold out in Canada serve its purpose to convince major video game companies to feature more female protagonists in video games, or did it do the exact opposite?  From most reports, the event was well attended; however, in my opinion, some of the video game submissions were not of the highest calibre.

First of all, when I found out about this event, I was under the impression the participants would collaborate and develop a video game with a female lead that would garner lots of attention after the event was over, and go on to become a huge success.  In other words, I thought that with all these great minds working together, the results would be stellar, culminating in a video game that not only had a realistic main female protagonist, but a game that would prove to be a financial success as well.

After the event was over, I was eager to learn of the game that could possibly propel and convince major gaming companies that video games with a strong female protagonists could actually succeed.  The resulting video game would be a sort of  a "See, I told you it could be done and here's the proof."  Did this happen?  You tell me.

Here's what I found out. First of all, the developers worked on separate games that supposedly cast a female character as the main protagonist.  This was my initial surprise -- Multiple video games would be created instead of one.  Maybe it is unlikely that so many people could collaborate and come up with one magnificent game after only 48 hours, but at least this would have been a good start, in my opinion.

 My second surprise was that most of the games were cartoonish, simplistic and lacked imagination of any kind, in my opinion. 

banana

Yes, the above picture of a banana was one of the more than 40 submissions of video games with a female protagonist. By the way, when you clicked on this game, nothing happened, so apparently it may have, thankfully, been taken down.  One of the statement made by a commenter was he or she  would not have played this game anyway -- even if the game did not have a  banana as cover art.

Unfortunately, it gets worse.  I got the impression the developers were determined to steer away from actually showing a female as a graphic.  Of course some of the submissions showed females, some as stick figures, some as unattractive cartoon figures or other images that were not appealing to the eye -- in my opinion.  Some of the submissions veered off the topic at hand and brought in social issues, and even religion.  

Could it be that some of the developers at this jam were not quite the best and brightest the video game community has to offer? Believe it or not, I "played" one of the games, that essentially was a story about someone's relatives.  You advance through the story by clicking on a link, which brought you to another page with a picture of someone and a story line that went nowhere. Where is the creativity in that?

Another question I have  is where were the imaginative, talented developers that create those big block-buster type games such as Call of Duty, Mass Effect and other creative games that are saturated with video game playing excitement?  Based on the results of some of these elementary video games submitted, they definitely were not at this jam.

 

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This is another game that supposedly advances the cause of having female video game protagonists.  A game with a grotesque looking bee, no less.  

There were other games that showed pictures or illustrations of buildings, etc. with nary a female character in sight.  With over 40 percent of the particpants female, it makes me wonder if they also veered away from showing an actual female as cover art for their video game.

To be fair, Ms. Voll, did mention that these were mostly independent developers; however, in my opinion, independent developers can be just as talented and creative as those who work for the major video game companies.

I believe that, unfortunately, the I Am A Gamer Jam may have done the cause a disservice by trying to cram creativity in video game development in a 48-hour period.  Sometimes it may taker over 48 hours to come up with a good idea for a video game -- much less to actually have one finished by that time.  Maybe a week's time span would have given the developers more time to get their creative juices flowing and come up with a plausible video game with a strong female protagonist.

Regarding the publicity for this event -- I recommend that Ms. Voll be mindful of the comments she makes which can be miscontrued or misinterpreted.  For example, what would you think if you heard her say that "Independent developers are the ones that can come forward and try crazy ideas."  Was she inferring that having a video game with a strong female protagonist, is a "crazy idea?"  Also she further stated, "What defines the industry is the big, production companies...On one hand I respect what they are doing." She's entitled to her opinion, however, did she mean she respects that some of these companies shun having a female protagonist in their video games?

Of course, sometimes things and situations seem differently from the outside looking in, and maybe those participating thought they were really doing something positive to promote having female protagonists in video games. I think organizing this event was  probably a huge effort on Ms. Voll's part; however, it remains to be seen if any positive actions in the video game industry will result from this jam.

It is possible a message was sent to the video game industry that they need to step it up relative to featuring female protagonists in their video games.  In order for this effort to have any affect on the video game industry, regardless of how insignificant-- they must look deeper into the overall idea of this 48-hour jam, rather than the actual substance, which unfortunately, in my opinion, left a lot to be desired.

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Sunday, 30 October 2016 00:27

Win a Shirt Weekend 11-6-16 : Forza 6

On Sunday, 11/6/16 you can win a limited edition All Games ‘Legacy’ t-shirt by beating Ms. H from Mom’s Minute in a race in Forza Motorsport 6 on the XBox One. To enter, send a friend request and message to gamertag ‘VARACES’ on Xbox Live or post your gamertag here stating you want to enter the race using the hashtag ‘#allgameswasw’ at anytime this week and we'll contact you. On Sunday, 11/6 at 4pm EST/1pm PST you will be invited to an online race via Xbox Live with other entrants along with Ms. H. If you win the race you will win a gorgeous AllGames ‘Legacy’ t-shirt.
Rules: Players may use any B-Class Vehicle
The Race will be 3 laps on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Ms.H will be using a custom 2014 Lamborghini Huracan
(we can ship to US or US Military Base addresses)

Published in All Games Blog
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:08

PS4 Release Date Revealed

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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.

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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. 

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 00:00

Project Spark: Create Your World

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Project Spark

Have you ever played a video game and thought that if only the location or setting of the game was designed differently, it would be a more exciting game to play?  Or maybe you thought that if the video gameplay was tweaked just a little, you would have a better chance at winning or getting a high score, depending on the type video game you were playing.  Enter Project Spark. Now that the formerly closed beta version of Project Spark is available to all video game players-- you can do a lot more than just think about how you would like to change video games.  Tapping into your imagination and creativity, you will be able to actually create your own video games, including the world the video game characters designed by you can explore.  Maybe you prefer not to design a video game from scratch.  No problem.  You can simply play unique video games that were created by other video game players if you like.                                                                                       

Project Spark is  a video “gamemaker”, developed by Team Dakota, where you can build your own video game experiences including the backdrop of the gameplay.  You create your video game on a digital canvas that can be a blank sheet or one that has already been started for you.   You can edit, change, design, modify and create aspects of the video game with just a push of the controls on your controller, choosing from the wide selection of terrains and environments available to you. You are not limited in using only the controller when creating your video games -- You may also use the Kinect and even Microsoft's SmartGlass.

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Project Spark

This game has been compared to Minecraft and Terraria by some; however, in my opinion, this game gives you so much more in the way of creativity. For example, unlike Minecraft, you are not carving your video game environment, but you are designing one that is attuned to a video game that you created yourself. In other words, you are not just building an environment from one that is already there, but you are creating one from the ground up -- so to speak. As mentioned earlier, you also have the option to get a headstart on your video game as well as the environment by choosing from those that have already been designed for you. Also, the graphics, vivid color terrains, and other elements of video game designs are, in my opinion, levels up from what is available on Minecraft, Terraria, and other similar type games. Additionally, there is the social element of Project Spark where you can share your video game creations.

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Project Spark

With the above being said, you may ask, "What is the catch?" Well, even though the download of Project Spark is free, you will have to pay for some of the content for your video games. Depending on how you look at it, this may not be a drawback, if you look at this from the standpoint that once your video game is completed, it will be a true original -- which in some ways can be considered priceless.

Project Spark beta is available now and is playable on the Xbox One, and Windows 8.

{youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufeUvNmskqA{/youtube}

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Thursday, 25 April 2013 22:38

Ms H's Civil War V Tournament Report

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By Ms. H
If you would like to know what happened at the Civil War V Tournament, you’ve come to the right place. Not only will you find out who won at the tournament, but you will get a sense of the general atmosphere of the event and much more from someone who attended all three days of the tournament. Civil War V Tournament happenings will be shared with you raw – without any frills or fluffs.
So let’s get started!


The Civil War V Tournament was held in Richmond, Virginia at the Comfort Inn Hotel on April 19-21, 2013. This video game tournament included such fighting games as Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Street Fighter X Tekken, King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat 9, Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Super Street Fighter IV and many other fighting games. To the Civil War V Tournament organizers’ credit, the event even had the video game Injustice: Gods Among Us which was released less than a week from the start of the tournament.

Weather During the Civil War V Tournament
civil war v comfortinn 1civil war v comfortinn 1Rain greeted the players and spectators on the first day of the tournament on Friday, April 19, 2013, but the weather redeemed itself quite nicely with blue skies and sunny days on both Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21, 2013. Of course, once inside the Comfort Inn, weather was not a factor and probably far from everyone’s minds as the focus turned to the tournament. Attendees either actively participated in the video game matches with a chance to leave as a winner, or they were spectators -- basking in the after-glow of experiencing superb video game playing by some of the most well known names and competitors in the video game world.


Parking and Rooms at the Civil War V Tournament
Parking and hotel rooms at the Comfort Inn, Richmond Virginia were at a premium during the tournament. All the rooms at the Comfort Inn were sold out a few days before the event which started on April 19, 2013. The organizers appeared to have done a good job getting the word out that if you planned to stay at the Comfort Inn, it would be to your advantage to make your hotel reservations early. In fact, days before the event, the Civil War V Tournament website provided a count down of the number of rooms available at the Comfort Inn– until they sold out.

If you planned to stay elsewhere while at the tournament, there were plenty of other hotels within close proximity, or even a short drive away. Of course hotel arrangements depended on whether or not you travelled a long distance to attend the event. If you arrived at the Civil War V Tournament after the Comfort Inn parking lot was full, especially on Saturday, April 20, 2013, all you had to do was to drive around the parking area a few times and sooner or later someone would leave or take a break from the event, drive away in their car, and leave a parking space for you. I know, because I experienced this for myself on the tournament’s busiest day -- Saturday.

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Eateries at the Civil War V Tournament
There were no food services establishments at the Comfort Inn such as a hotel restaurant, eateries, etc. When the hunger pangs hit, video game players as well as spectators had to either go out to eat at one of the nearby eating areas, or place an order and have food delivered to the hotel. The plus side of the eating situation is the downtown Richmond area where the tournament was being held had lots of eating establishments around – some were even located within a short walking distance of the Civil War V Tournament site.


Civil War V Tournament - Day 1 - Search and Discover
I really did not know what to expect during the first day of the tournament. I was in a search and discover frame of mind. I did some preliminary research on the net and saw pictures of people huddled in a small room. I am happy to say the room sizes were a lot larger than I expected once I actually arrived at the site.


Once you walk through the double doors, which are located near the front entrance of the Comfort Inn, you are a hop, skip and a jump away from the main video game viewing area.
Due to the time of my arrival on Friday, April 19, 2013 on day l of the event, no one was at the registration desk. I walked right into the main video game viewing area where there were some chairs and a large screen video of the video game plays by the competitors.


At about 11:30 p.m., there were about 45 to 60 people in the room milling around or sitting as they watched the video game plays on the big screen. Some people were standing near the entrance way, while others were inside the video gaming room. I sat at a table which had casual video games set up. Soon after I arrived in the room, a Civil War V Tournament staff person walked in and announced or reminded the attendees that beer was not allowed in the area, after, I presume, he saw someone drinking beer. He also reminded everyone it was close to quitting time.


The first day of the tournament was scheduled to close at midnight and resume at 10:00 a.m. the next day (Saturday, April 20, 2013). In jest, he humorously said that he was going to have to kick everybody out if they did not leave soon since no one seemed anxious to leave.

civil war v attendees 1civil war v attendees 1Civil War V Tournament Day 2 – Full House
All I can ask is - Where were all these people on Friday? Everywhere you look, there were people either congregating together, standing along, walking around or sitting, if they could find an empty seat.


By the time I reached the Comfort Inn on Saturday, the video game tournament was in full swing. The registration desk was now open and staffed. Just in front of me was a young man who asked how much he had to pay to enter the venue. He was told $40.00. Apparently it appears that he did not preregister early for the tournament when he could have paid $20.00 instead of the hefty $40.00.
After a minor administrative mix-up of my name not being on a list of people who registered was cleared up, I received my official Civil War V Tournament spectator badge which I promptly completed with my name, Ms. H, followed by Allgames.com. The tournament participants wore blue Civil War V Tournament combatant badges, while the non-players wore orange spectator badges. I later wrote “MEDIA” on my badge to further identify myself as the press for Allgames.com.


People were crammed in the large video game viewing area, almost wall to wall.People were crammed in the large video game viewing area, almost wall to wall.. There was a noticeable shortage of chairs. As soon as someone got up to move, he or she promptly lost his or her seat which was quickly taken by someone else. I located a chair, and stayed in the same area for quite some time in order to keep my seat. The downside of not having enough chairs was sometimes people stood right in front of you if you were seated and blocked your view of the video game play on the large screen. I personally had to move my chair over as people stood in front of me looking at the screen, oblivious that they were blocking someone’s view – not only mine, but the people sitting behind me as well.


I later brought the lack of an adequate number of chairs to one of the organizer’s attention who said that next year they will make sure there are a sufficient number of chairs. According to the organizer, the reason there were not enough chairs was the unexpected increase in this year’s number of attendees – about 100 more people attended this event this year than last year. The increased attendance was a plus for the event; however, the downside was the lack of chairs to accommodate the increased number of attendees.


The “Big Names” at the Civil War V Tournament

civil war v chrisg 1civil war v chrisg 1It did not take long to find out that one of the big names at this tournament was a person who has been touted to be one of the best, if not the best fighting video game player in the U.S. His name? AGE|NYChrisG. He was the favorite to win most, if not all, of the video game tournaments at this event. How did I find this out? Due to the buzz in the room, my Allgames.com media contact, and AGE|NYChrisG’s name being brought up numerous times during the event’s conversations. He was always seated prominently on the front row with the other video game players, white head phones first cradled around his neck and then later moved to wrap around his ears where they would stay for the remainder of the tournament.


Video Game Rooms at the Civil War V Tournament
Initially, I was under the impression the large video game room was the only area for the video game tournaments. However, I found out that in addition to the main video game (xBox 360 area with the large screen) there were two additional rooms designated for video game playing – the arcade and the PlayStation 3 rooms. I took a quick glimpse of the PS3 room and saw tables set up with PS 3 video game systems. This room was dark inside – but not as dark as the arcade room.


Even though it was dark in this room, the arcade room was the second location that I visited the most often. The first location I visited the most was the main area with the large video game viewing screen. This smaller room had the Marvel vs Capcom 2 sit-down arcade machine as well as various other arcade fighting video games.


civil war v arcaderoom 1civil war v arcaderoom 1Of interest in the arcade room was a Street Fighter II tournament where players were provided video game fight sticks. This was a contrast to the main video game area, where everyone seemed to be carrying and using their own personal video game fight stick. Whether being held by a handle or clutched underneath their arm, it looked as if everyone had their fight stick to play the video games. Therefore, I was surprised that for the Street Fighter II game in the arcade room, players had to use the video game fight stick provided to them.
I watched as one of the well-known players TS|NerdJosh,played the Street Fighter II game –awaiting for him to walk away victoriously so I could interview him. But that was not to be the case. After losing that particular match, he spoke to one of the Civil War staff in the room about the delay in the controller relative to the game. He then walked pass me without nary a glance or an acknowledgement that I was even there – even though I was within his line of vision. Could it be that when someone is in the midst of a video game tournament, they get tunnel vision where their focus is strictly on video game playing – and little or nothing else? I’ll leave this question for you avid gamers to answer, especially if you have ever been in a video game tournament.


Crowd Appreciation – The Misses
civil war v tournament 1One of the highlights of this event was the crowd enthusiastically showing support for their favorite video game characters or players by roaring and cheering loudly in unison when a K.O. or win occurred. Unfortunately, quite a few people thought it was also appropriate to add lots of profanity along with their cheers. For example, if the game was not going as planned, someone yelled profanities, over and over again. Someone else inappropriately used the “N” word, and not in a whisper – but it was yelled out very loudly, also over and over again. Yet someone else showed his support for smoking an illegal substance by displaying in large letters an inappropriate message on his T-shirt. Thankfully, there were no children there; however, there did seem to be some people who were under eighteen years old at the tournament.


even though drinking alcohol was going on – which is prohibited as listed in the rules for the tournament – no one got into any fights, arguments or altercations.Alcohol once again made a presence by one of the video game spectators having a bottle enclosed in a brown paper bag and taking generous swigs from it, as he shared it with the rest of the people in his group. Yes, as with any large gatherings – groups, or cliques formed where they attempted to try to let everyone know that where they were is where the “party” was happening. The more drinking that was done, the louder the group became. Thankfully, the event was almost over for day 2, and even though drinking alcohol was going on – which is prohibited as listed in the rules for the tournament – no one got into any fights, arguments or altercations. (I kept my fingers crossed).


Most of the time on day 2 was spent by the Civil War staffers organizing the video game players into teams who competed against each other in order to advance to the next round of eliminations. Later, an announcement was made that Marvel vs Capcom would be streamed live instead of another video game – either Street Fighter x Tekken or Injustice: Gods Among Us.

 

Crowd Appreciation – The Pluses
It was exhilarating to see how animated the spectators got when various video games were played and their favorite video game character, or favorite video game player was on a winning streak.

 

Civil War V Day 3 – The Finals
On Day 3, it appeared as if the venue found more chairs after the congested seating experienced by all the previous day. Sadly, there were not as many people present on the last day of the tournament, so the seats that were very much needed on Saturday, sat idle, -- unused on Sunday.


Sunday’s, April 21, 2013 Civil War V Tournament
After spending most of my time in the main viewing area on Saturday, I did a “360”, and spent time in the small dark arcade room on Sunday. Similar to the main viewing room, there were less people in the arcade room than the previous day. In fact, there were lots of arcade machines that were not being used – which was a good thing. I, along with other video game spectators/players played some of the street fighter games for “free.” Of course if you paid the admittance fee, you sort of also played to pay these arcade video games as well. I enjoyed playing the Marvel vs Capcom 2 version which was located just inside the arcade room.


A couple sat next to me at the arcade video game machine and proceeded to play a video fighting game. I noticed the female or girl gamer was winning against her opponent, time and time again. I made a mental note to interview her after they finished their game play – which I did.


civil war v commentators 1Since I was in the arcade room, It was unknown to me what was happening in the main viewing video game area. I found out later as I watched part of the streamed game play online, that raffles were going on, as well as a “televised” view of everyone in the room. This was unlike the Evo stream that I watched last summer, where only the video game play and the players were streamed.
It looks as if Civil War V Tournament streams give viewers a look at the video game players as well as the audience, instead of just the players and the game play. This would not have been a problem if the lighting was better. In fact, if you look at the stream, some of the audience members resembled zombies with blacked out—skull like eyes due to the poor lighting. Additionally some of the video game players features were hard to make out due to the very poor lighting. Sometimes you saw what looked to be a silhouette, when instead the camera was aimed directly at the player.
I was glad I was not in the main room at that time when there were camera shots of the audience with lots of very poor lighting.


However, I eventually went to the main video game viewing area. On my way there, I noticed fewer playstation 3 video game players in the PS 3 playing room than what I saw earlier - so apparently actions were already being taken to clear out the area since the tournament would be ending soon.


Once back in the main video game playing room with the big screen, I noticed a few more females there than the day before, however, in my opinion, they did not seem to be as interested in the video game as their male partners.



civil war v casualgamearea 1Once again, AGE|NYChrisG appeared to be the main attraction. However, during a break, or lull in the game play, he found his way to one of the casual video game tables, and actually watched someone else play the game – but not for long. He made his way past me back to the front of the video game playing/viewing area – still with his hair pulled back into a ponytail with white headphones around his ears. Just like TS|NerdJosh--he seemed preoccupied, and walked past me. However, unlike TS|NerdJosh, he did give me about a 1 second glance since I was in his line of vision. I guess tournament video game players are really focused on their gameplay at the exclusion of smiling and sometimes giving pleasant greetings to others.


Break From the Civil War V Tournament
I would describe the overall atmosphere of this event as intenseI would describe the overall atmosphere of this event as intense – not friendly – not jovial – not overly happy – just intense. If you looked around, you would see some people sitting by themselves just starring at the screen, or checking their phones – just as if they were the only ones in the room instead of in a room full of people. I at one time was sitting next to one such person. I took a picture of the screen just in front of him, just as he turned to look at me. At that moment, the camera flashed a light in his face and I apologized. He smiled and said that was ok. Yaaaa!…. Finally, I saw someone smile!
Soon after that, I initiated smiling and speaking to people regardless how brief – just to bring a more uplifting feeling to the event, for myself – personally.


When I took a break and went to the local CVS store down the street, it was a welcome change to have not one but two people to just smile and speak to me without me making overtures to speak first. I enjoyed my break from the Civil War V Event – if only to converse with someone outside of this intense atmosphere – and even if it was only for a few minutes.


Interview with Civil War V Tournament Organizer
When I returned from my break and after getting a phone call, I left the main video game viewing area and went to the lobby of the Comfort Inn. After my phone call, my immediate goal was to interview someone at the tournament for Allgames.com. While walking down the hall corridor, outside the video gaming rooms, I met a gentleman who was wearing a grey jacket. I asked him if he was there for the tournament and he replied that he was the person who checked me in at the tournament and gave me my badge. Initially, I did not recognize or remember him since I did not see the blue Civil War Staff T-shirt he was wearing beneath the grey jacket.


Herein starts one of my highlights of the three-day video game event - My candid interview with Patrick Perrone, one of the organizers of the Civil War V Tournament. Patrick politiely answered my questions and voluntarily provided interesting and thought provoking behind the scene information regarding the Civil War V Tournament.


After thanking Patrick for the interview, I returned to the main viewing area where the tournament finals were really heating up quickly. The video game being played was Marvel vs Capcom and the crowd was really into it. As the number of hits grew on the screen, the crowd would cry out in a deep voice in unison – “WOOF, WOOF, WOOF” each time the number of hits escalated on the screen. During the actual tournament play, the pause screen would appear when the match ended. Each time this happened, I thought there was a malfunction – but found out later that the pause screen was intentionally added to the game for effect-- almost as another way of saying “Game Over.”


Alcohol and Gambling
Once again alcohol manifested itself at the tournament. There were lots of red cups floating around which may or may not have had alcohol in them. I do know that at about 8:00 p.m. on Sunday night, one of the attendees walked past me as I was sitting and he left behind a large clear bottle of smirnoff vodka, laying on its side on the floor with alcohol left in the bottle. He kept walking without looking down so it is unknown if he knew he had dropped the bottle or not. The alcohol bottle became another piece of debris left on the floor along with the many other pieces of trash.
Looks like the venue did not provide enough trash can receptacles. There were lots of empty soda containers, soda cans, McDonald empty bags and other trash on the floor – in addition to the just fallen vodka bottle.


I happened to be sitting next to this bottle, and decided to move further over to the chair to the far right that had empty soda cartons and McDonalds bags instead of an alcohol bottle. I knew I was risking being seen on the streaming video with the poor lighting – but took my chances.


By this time, one staff member who was now wearing his regular clothes instead of his Civil War V Tournament staff t-shirt was really into the video game play on the large screen. He was screaming so loud he almost sounded hoarse and out of breath at times. After yelling loudly continuously, when the game ended, he bounded from his chair, and made his way to some people as a chair fell on the floor behind him. He did not bother to stop to pick up the chair that had fallen over, but kept moving among the crowd. At first I thought it was interesting that he would be so excited about his favorite video game tournament player winning the match, but then found out that he was actually excited to be winning the money he had gambled on a particular player. Thankfully, everyone had the “bet” money and paid up, because I shiver to think what would have possibly happened if someone did not have the money this excited person thought was due to him. In my opinion, gambling and betting money can create a volatile atmosphere, so I’m again thankful that there were no altercations or real fights at this tournament.


The organizer announced the tournament was over at 9:54 p.m. on Sunday April 21, 2013.


Civil War V Video Game Tournament Assessment In a Nutshell:
PROS
1. Well organized, culminating in announcing winners in a timely manner
2. Tournament players easily identified and put on the correct teams
3. Badges identifying who was playing and who was spectating
4. Friendly/Polite/Informative Organizer (Civil War V Tournament Interviewee)
5. Well attended
6. Eating places nearby
7. No real fights or altercations
8. Ended ahead of schedule
9. Large viewing screen
10. Enthusiastic crowd
11. Well done video game/tournament commentators
12. Free casual video games
13. Injustice: Gods Among Us video game in tournament less than a week after release
14. Games tested and game testers at the tournament
15. Non-smoking – Attendees had to go outside the hotel to smoke
16. Considerate of hotel guests—On Saturday, video game sound was turned down at about 11:00 p.m.
17. Had a contingency plan in place in case of a power outage
18. Arcade kept open for free video game play
19. Neatly typed video game players’ names posted on wall for easy visibility
20. Even though there was a table outside the video gaming room with a person selling t-shirts, no one was openly soliciting or trying to get you to purchase anything
21. Tournament brochure that included rules of the games and conduct expected during the event.
22. Electrical cords were taped down that ran across the doorway entry in the arcade room to avoid a tripping hazard.


CONS
1. Overall intense, unfriendly atmosphere (in my opinion)
2. Arcade room too small with dark lighting
3. Alcohol used by some attendees, vodka alcohol bottle on floor
4. Lots of profanity and the “N” word used
5. Floors trashed
6. Lack of sufficient number of chairs on the busiest day – Day 2
7. Lack of adequate number of trash receptacles
8. Gambling money against winning video game plays/players
9. Poor lighting on streaming which included audience in addition to the video game players
10. “A lot of hype” –This quote is from a video game player at the tournament
11. Lack of adequate number of parking spaces (2nd day of the event)
12. Discourteous attendees including those blocking the view of others
13. Inappropriate T-Shirt message worn by attendee
14. No food service/eateries located at site of tournament


Recommendations:
1. Ensure there are enough chairs so people can sit comfortably at the tournament instead of standing up.
2. Have more than enough trash receptacles available on the video gaming floors to reduce the incidences of people using the floor as a trash receptacle.
3. During the announcements, emphasize that one of the purposes of the tournament is for players as well as spectators to have fun, so enjoy yourselves, but also be nice, polite, and friendly toward others.
4. Enforce the no alcohol policy with a penalty of forfeiting attendance at the event if anyone is drinking alcohol.
5. Add “No Gambling” as one of the rules of the tournament to prevent the possible occurrence of fights or altercations.
6. Locate the arcade in a larger area to allow more walking around space and prevent the feeling of being cramped up in a small place to play video games.


Ms. H’s Message
Video game tournaments can be stressful events – especially for those who are competing. Many have their reputations to uphold as well as other reasons to put large stakes into winning these tournaments.
However, at the end of the day, the tournament was about playing a video game in a virtual world with imaginary heroes. While you were at the tournament, you could have been standing next to a real-life hero – and didn’t even know it. That being said, at your next video game tournament, regardless of the stress and intensity factors involved, take the time to smile at someone and simply say “Hi.”

civil war v lanyard 1

Complete Civil War V Results - http://rvatournaments.tumblr.com/post/48625185250/civil-war-v-results-courtesy-eventhubs

Civil War V is organized by Robin Palm and you can find more information on the event at RVATournaments.com. The tournament was streamed by Team Spooky and sponsored by Mad Catz, Brokentier, Capcom, Monoprice, Lee's, and Home Depot.

 

 Listen to the Civil War V Recap episode of Mom's Minute here - http://www.allgames.com/mm/item/5431-mom-s-minute-04-22-2013

Ms H's Interview with Senior Staff Member Patrick Perrone -

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Ms H speaks with Jessica Flux -

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Ms. H speaks with Alt Mario -

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Published in All Games Blog

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.

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00

The Next Mass Effect

masseffect415

The next Mass Effect video game is shroud in mystery

Your guess is as good as mine as to when the next Mass Effect video game will finally materialize.  It looks like Bioware is in no hurry to whet the appetite of Mass Effect video game fans who are anticipating the next Mass Effect video game.  Is it possible that Bioware is still  treating its wounds as a result of the pounding it got from the Mass Effect fans over the ending or endings of the last game in this video game trilogy?  Not to rehash what now seems like ancient history -- but you may recall the [virtual] lashing that Bioware got from Mass Effect video game fans who were not shy about letting the company know in no uncertain terms  they were not satisfied with the so-called endings of the game.  The good news is that  Bioware was receptive, and tried to appease the fans by re-doing the video game's ending or endings.  Refunds were even given out by some retailers.  However, in my opinion,  video game players would probably have prefererd a better ending for Mass Effect instead of an apology or even the refunds.  

Fast forward to the present and it appears as if die-hard Mass Effect video game fans may be ready to give Bioware a second chance.  Bioware, on the other hand, seems to be slow to reciprocate.  It looks as if Bioware is taking its time to create, design, produce and ultimately deliver the next Mass Effect video game.  To date, little is known about the next Mass Effect video game except there will be a whole new set of video game characters which will exclude Commander Shepard. 

Bioware has announced they will be taking it slow on the Next Mass Effect to bring a good, quality video game to you, the video game player,  instead of rushing to develop another video game. The company has also been relatively quiet about the storyline, the characters, type of characters, i.e., aliens, astronauts, etc. The two facts known about the next Mass Effect video game is that it will not be called Mass Effect 4 and that Commander Shepard will not be featured anywhere at all in the game.  However, the location of the video game story as well as the action will be set in the same Mass Effect universe from the previous video games in the series.

mass effect 3 shepard1 

Commander Shepard will not not make an appearance in the Next Mass Effect video game.

Just how slow is Bioware taking to make the next Mass Effect game?   The answer is "very slow."  Progress is being made -- but it is being done at a relatively slow pace.  A few days ago, it was reported there were new graphics created for the next Mass Effect video game by developers within the span of about five hours.  Of course we were not privy to look at these creations which could be due to a number of reasons.  One of the main reasons I think Bioware  is hush-hush about the next Mass Effect video game is they are taking their time to search for or create a story that will resonate as favorable with video game players as the former Mass Effect video game did -- sans the poor endings.

mass-effect178

Until a name is revealed for the next Mass Effect, Bioware appears to not mind in the meantime, if the upcoming video game is called the next Mass Effect -- just do not call it Mass Effect 4.  According to Bioware Chief Yanick Roy --  calling the new game Mass Effect 4 would be a disservice, since the Mass Effect triology is complete, and a new story will emerge.  In other words, it would be misleading to name the next video game,  Mass Effect 4 when it will not be a sequel  for the previous video game. 

masseffect4

Commander Shepard will go; Mass Effect universe will stay

The latest rumor regarding the next Mass Effect video game is  Bioware may do a reveal at the June, 2014 E3 Expo  while others say nothing will happen until around 2015.  With E3 just a few months away and if Bioware makes an announcement-- hopefully more will be revealed about the next Mass Effect video game, including when it will be released, as well as its name.

The next Mass Effect video game will be rated M for Mature and is expected to be playable on the previous and next generation video game consoles.   As a side note -- given the volatile atmosphere and competitive nature of the video game market, I would not be surprised if Bioware decides to speed up its production and complete the next Mass Effect video game -- sooner than later.

{youtube}https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfdHWKkwqDM{/youtube}        

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 20:00

Anime Mid Atlantic 13 Report

anime midatlantic13 report

anime midatlantic msh

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.

anime midatlantic gameroom

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.

CONTINUE TO PAGE 2/6


 

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. 

anime midatlantic dougsmith

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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anime midatlantic animeroom

 

 

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.

 

anime midatlantic cosplayer1

 

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.

 

anime midatlantic slender

 

 

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 midatlantic cosplayer2

 

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.

CONTINUE TO PAGE 5/6


 

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.

CONTINUE TO PAGE 6/6


 

anime midatlantic closingceremonies

 

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.

 

Published in All Games Blog
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 02:30

The String Arcade - Dren McDonald Interview

Ms. H from Mom's Minute interviews Dren McDonald, composer of The String Arcade, a collection or video game music arranged for a string quartet. He gives insights on making full renditions of songs that began as electronic sounds, and what his motivations were in starting the project. All proceeds of The String Arcade go to the Alameda Music Project, an afterschool music program for kids in grades K-5. 

Listen to the Interview Below

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You can purchase the CD from:

Loudr.fm - http://www.loudr.fm/release/the-string-arcade/wvbUB

iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-string-arcade/id805763356

Bandcamp - https://thestringarcade.bandcamp.com/

Take a look at the trailer
{youtube}http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGWdo3VuIP0{/youtube}

 

Published in Mom's Minute Blog
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