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Ms H's Civil War V Tournament Report

civil war v msh title 1
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.

civil war v parking 1


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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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}

 

Basil 'The White Dragon' Masters on Mom's Minute

Ms. H welcomes actor and martial artist, Basil 'The White Dragon' Masters, to an episode of Mom's Minute. Basil has starred in a number of videogame related short films, including Metal Gear Solid : Blood Brothers and Bare Knuckle Streets of Rage.  He joins Ms. H on the show to talk about how he managed to mix his passion for martial arts with becoming an actor. He chronicles his youth on the streets of Dubai all the way to being cast as Johnny Cage in an upcoming short film.

Listen to his appearance on the 9-25-15 episode of Mom's Minute and take a look at 'The White Dragon' in action below:

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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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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.

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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. 

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

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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.

The Next Mass Effect

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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Will Aiden Pearce Deliver for Watch Dogs?

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The main protaganist, Aiden Pearce of the Watch Dogs upcoming video game, has his job cut out for him.  Not only is he expected to give video game players a spell-bounding, action-packed, suspense-riddled video game playing experience, but Aiden Pearce must also help bring in record breaking sales numbers for Watch Dogs --  similar to Grand Theft Auto V. When GTA V was released, it was probably not surprising that Watch Dog's original release date of November, 2013 was delayed.  (See Watch Dogs article link below).  You may know that GTA V went on to break video game sales records upon its release. During that time, it appeared that UbiSoft was not confident that Watch Dogs' Aiden Pearce was up to fighting against the video gaming beast that was GTA V; and subsequently, held off releasing Watch Dogs.

Aiden Pearce Fights an Uphill Battle

Looks like in some cases Aiden Pearce will be fighting an uphill battle to get to the "victory lap."  He is already being compared to the main protoganists of the Assassin's Creed and Unchartered video games.  Even the premise of seeking revenge upon which the gameplay is based resembles other video games.  As the storyline unfolds in Watch Dogs, Aiden Pearce gets into the hacking business to avenge the destruction of a family member.  His methods include hacking the surveillance system, CtOS which is used by the fictitious Chicago, Illinois company which he hacks into.  He spies not only on his enemies but also on his family because of his strong propensity to work hard to keep them safe. Even some of the gameplay of Watch Dogs is being compared to that of GTA V, Infamous Second Son as well as other games.  

The question is with these similarities to characters, actions, gameplay and missions of other video games, where does the uniqueness lies with Aiden Pearce as well as the game, Watch Dogs? What is the magic ingredient of Watch Dogs that will catapult it to record video game sales? The hacking element of the gameplay may fit the bill for uniqueness and may be the basis for the continued excitement for Watch Dogs, similar to when it was first introduced at Ubisoft's press conference at  E3 2012.  The game itself has been in production since 2009 and many may say that this game has improved with time.Watch Dogs Supporting CastWatch Dogs Supporting Cast

Aiden Pearce Strengths

Besides the similarities between him and other main male protaganists in video games, what does Aiden Pearce bring to the table that may entice you to want to play Watch Dogs?  For starters, he is a technological mastermind; an expert in social engineering; highly proficient in hacking; an expert at defensive and offensive driving; has impressive hand-to-hand combat skills,  and demonstrates atheleticism and agility when mobile.  He also appears to remain calm under pressure.  

Additionally, even though he is known as the best in his field, he still seeks out help with hacking from others including Clara Lille who he admits that he does not trust completely -- but she is the best hacker that he knows.  He shares the thought relative to technology,  "Big Brother is Always Watching." In fact, Watch Dogs gameplay uses the concept of information warfare, where all data is interconnected, in a world that is dependent to a degree on technology.  It is this information warfare and the thought that someone is always watching, in addition to revenge, that is the basis for Aiden Pearce's concentration on surveillance. Aiden Pierce in actionAiden Pierce in action

Aiden Pearce Weakness

Aiden Pearce has a criminal background, even though he seems committed to try to walk the straight and narrow sometimes.

Will Aiden Pearce Deliver for Watch Dogs?

All being said and done -- Will the video game character Aiden Pearce deliver for Watch Dogs?  The short answer is that after five years in development, the prevailing thought may be that Watch Dogs is now as good a game as it will ever be -- not allowing for the DLC that is sure to follow.  

With Watch Dogs being released in just a few days, I guess we will find out soon enough if the delay beyond the November 2013 initial launch date was worth the wait and if Aiden Pearce will deliver. When UbiSoft delayed the game upon GTA V's release, the expectation was not only would Aiden Pearce deliver for Watch Dogs, but the game, itself, would rival other games in the same genre of third person shooters, open world action adventure video games.

Watch Dogs, is rated M for Mature.  The video game releases on May 27, 2014 on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, the PC, and later (about Q4 2014) for the WII U.

http://www.moms-minute.com/index.php/ms-h-news/953-video-games-watch-dogs-release-date-revealed

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Enter the Mom's Minute Ultra Street Fighter 4 Tournament!

It's time again for the Mom's Minute Matriarch Meltdown! This time players will battle each other in Ultra Street Fighter 4 on the PS3, and the winner gets the chance to fight Ms. H herself for the championship.

The winner of the tournament will get their choice of three incredible prizes.

Square Enix Street Fighter IV: Play Arts Kai: Ryu Action Figure
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Square Enix Street Fighter IV: Play Arts Kai: Cammy Action Figure
Street Fighters Play Arts Cammy kai 6

Street Fighter Collectible Mini Figure Series 1 Blind Box Lot Of 20
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Sign up for this free tournament by creating an account and logging in to AllGames and going to Community-> Tournaments  or http://goo.gl/Nj7LdW .  Click on the Join Group button and you're in! The bracket will be created and matches will be set up once the tournament starts. The winner of the tournament will then go one on one with Ms. H, the host of Mon's Minute in a winner take all match. If you're able to defeat her, you will get your choice of the grand prized. But if you lose to her, you will leave empty handed. 

Pac-Man Battle Royale - Ready - Fight!

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What can I say about a game that's been around for more than thirty years and seems just as new as if it had been developed just yesterday? Answer:  "A lot."  There are many versions of this classic video game, and of course, none of the new Pac-Man games rival the original. In my opinion, the original Pac-Man will always be the best. It's a game that's probably been imitated, but can never really be duplicated.  I would describe Pac-Man as a video game that refuses to go quietly into that good-night, but instead reinvents itself for the enjoyment of Pac-Man video game players.  This is exactly what the developers responsible for the video game Pac-Man have done -- reinvented this game, time and time again.  By doing so, Pac-Man remains a fun video game to play, today -- some thirty-plus years later.

Of the many reinventions of this game, one of the most exciting, in my opinion, is the video game Pac-Man Battle Royale.  I happened upon this game when I was recently at a newly opened Dave and Buster's as part of my video game field trip for Mom's Minute Video Game Show. During opening night at Dave and Buster's (which was standing-room only), a crowd gathered around a group of players sitting and playing the Pac-Man Battle Royale game.  It was interesting to me to see the words in large letters appear on the gameplay screen, "Ready", "Fight!" before the Pac-Man matches started.   Pac-Man is a bonafide fighting game, where opponents go against each other in video gameplay for the win.

Actually, Pac-Man Battle Royale, as a fighting game, has been out for awhile now -- since January, 2011.  The game was brought out as part of Pac-Man's thirtieth anniversary after being introduced at various video game events such as E3 after parties and amusement expos before actually being released. Since that time, this game has not only retained die-hard Pac-Man fans but have possibly, more than likely, gained new Pac-Man fans as well. 

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Pac-Man Battle Royale video game at Dave and Buster's

The video game fighting actions include eating the other Pac-Men or allowing them to be eaten by the ghosts in order to advance. From the happy and smiling faces of the players at Dave and Buster's, I could tell they were enjoying playing Pac-Man Battle Royale and competing against the other players for the win.

Did you know that Pac-Man Battle Royale has a facebook page -- which is unique to Namco games?  The facebook page, among other topics, tells you where you can play the game. I checked the Pac-Man Battle Royale facebook page and found out this game is currently going strong at Comic Con, being held in San Diego, CA.

Regardless of the type video games you play, you will probably be able to find a Pac-Man video game equivalent for it. Pac-Man video game shows no signs of becoming obsolete or evolving in a game resting on its past laurels.  Instead Pac-Man video games continue to gain popularity and from the looks of things -- will probably be even more popular for many years to come.

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