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Table of Contents

Video Games in the Classroom? Awesome! By TIM WEIDEMAN - High school assembly Editor

Student Life | 10 Games You Gotta Play!


Student Life | Video Game Review: Bulletstorm


Student Life | Hoover Jazz Fest


Student Life | Federal Budget and College


Student Life | A Fun, Fun, Fun, “Friday” Review


Academics | Video Games in the Classroom


College Prep | College Money Saving Advice


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This is the first time we’ve put together an entertainment-themed issue. But hey, it makes sense doesn’t it? For this issue, we focused on one of the most popular forms of entertainment for high schoolers: video games. Whether it’s Madden 11, Halo 3 or Angry Birds, video games reach everyone. They’re also starting to find new ways to reach kids, specifically when they’re in the class room. Yes, that’s right, video games are starting to have an impact on teachers’ lesson plans. I personally can’t imagine what it would have been like to have video games in the classroom. Granted, there weren’t as many interactive games such as Wii and Xbox360 Kinect games, which have led the way in entering the classroom. When I was in middle school and high school, the debate was whether or not video games were becoming too violent for kids. That argument still rages on but another about whether or not video games have a place in the classroom has started to take its place. The very fact that this discussion has started is amazing to me. People, not just students, are obsessed with interactivity. The learning environment needs to be an interesting, growing, ever-changing place for students to really want to become engaged in the material. Incorporating video games has gone so far in achieving interest in many classrooms. Turn to page 14 to read Lauren Smith’s article discussing the examples of how video games are being used in the classroom.

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Also, check out Ethan Clevenger’s list of top video games on the next page. I have to admit, even though we may have different tastes in video games, he picked a lot of good ones.

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Enjoy life,

Tim Weideman | Editor

Tim Weideman

Volume Six | Issue THREE Mike Rickord | President

Ethan Clevenger | Student Writer ADAM OESTREICH | Graphic Design Intern HUNTER PETERSEN | Graphic Design Intern LAUREN SMITH | Graphic Design Intern 4

Volume 6 Issue 3

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Student 10 Games You’ve Gotta Play Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer This month marks a new age for High School Assembly: Now, in the rotation between CD and movie reviews our readers are used to seeing every month, High School Assembly is including video game reviews. In order to kick off this exciting new feature, I’ve compiled a list of ten games that anyone who considers themselves a gamer should play.

picked up a few, and this is certainly my favorite. It offers a good mix of shooter and RPG. Dragon Age put me off pretty quickly, as I’m not much of a dragons and wizards kind of guy. This is where Fallout 3 becomes a cross-breed that can’t be ignored. Make sure you have time to play the full story mode plus all of its add-ons, as the experience is incomplete without all of these. In true RPG fashion, it will absorb more hours than you are comfortable admitting.

First, an explanation. There is no way that I would assume that I, personally, can qualify the top ten games of all time within any reasonable stretch of the imagination. Only in the past couple years have I gotten heavily into the gaming scene, so I’m quick to admit that there are probably several games that would rank a top ten that I haven’t played. Hence the reason I present this list of then that every gamer should play. However, these ten are still in order of my favorite.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – PS3

Fallout 3 – Xbox 360/PS3

Super Smash Bros. Melee – Gamecube

This game is at the top of my list for several reasons. As far as RPGs go, I have

A truly cinematic experience, this installment of the Metal Gear Solid series bolsters Kojima’s reputation for unforgivingly long cut scenes. However, every minute is worth it. It looks gorgeous, and the plot is wonderfully upsetting. If you aren’t familiar with the Metal Gear Solid series, read a Wiki article reviewing the first three before playing. Read it very carefully. Then get ready for a sometimes slow (it is a stealth game, after all), but always intense adventure.

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This title takes Rockstar’s familiar Grand Theft Auto formula and moves it to the Old West. You will not see Grand Theft Auto on this list, as it is way too primitive for me to consider worth playing. Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, fine tunes the formula, puts it in an appropriate setting, and looks ten times better. John Marston will quickly become one of your most-respected video game heroes to ever exist.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – PS3 Nathan Drake is a treasure-hunter who


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Red Dead Redemption – Xbox 360/ PS3

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Smash Bros. suffered from the intense controller-thumb brought on by late nights with the N64, and anyone who played Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii realizes how little it built on its predecessor, a fact that makes it a disappointment. Super Smash Bros. Melee was the perfect blend of the two, pitting your favorite Nintendo characters against each other, revisiting the Master Hand, and holding the crown for greatest multiplayer experience until Halo 3 ushered in the era of online FPS multiplayer.

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Student always seems to find himself in the midst of the supernatural and 2 / the gun-wielding. In Uncharted 2, Drake chases 16 Polo’s lost fleet, the Marco Cintamani Stone, and Shambhala. This title makes the case for third-person shooters, and offers a multiplayer that is varied and fun. The cutscenes in this one are equally cinematic in comparison to Metal Usher Gear Solid 4, but integrate Raymond v. Raymond more smoothly into the 2/ gameplay, utilizing quick-time events very well. 23

Heavy Rain – PS3

Heavy Rain is really the only game of its kind. It follows the events of a string of murders by a killer known only as the Origami Killer. You play Lifehouse four different characters who Smokecaught and Mirrors find themselves in the events. The gameplay is 2/ extremely unique, as you play out23 the entirety of the game doing relatively normal actions using six-axis control and prompted button presses, or you can use the new Playstation Move. The plot is compelling and has a number of dif-

ferent endings depending on your actions. A Director’s Cut seems 2 / to have made its way to the market as well. While I’m 23 not sure what it contains, I’d pick it up.

Timesplitters: Future Perfect – PS2/Gamecube/ Xbox

The Timesplitters series is sort of likeThe theRocket “ScarySummer Movie” Of Menwith andthe Angels of video games, goal of mocking other big2 / games on the market. name 23 Perfect was the most Future recent installment, following Sgt. Cortez through time in a humorous journey to save the world. The series is notorious for its fantastic multiplayer more than its storyline. Developer Free Radical was bought Daniel Merriweather up by Crytek after announcandthe War ing TimesplitterLove 4, and project 2 / was put on hold. As of November, Crytek UK has ad23 been discussing the mittedly title with publishers. Fingers crossed, as the multiplayer would likely be unmatched if finally given the opportunity to hit online servers.

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Super Mario Bros. – NES

That’s right, 1985. Super Mario 3 / Bros. ushered in the platformer like nothing else 2 had. It has spanned generations, with remakes on floppy disc, Gameboy Color, and is available for download on the Wii Shop Channel. The game was also featured in Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Gamecube and Super Little Smash Boots Bros. Brawl. It’s reallyHands a rite of passage for any gamer. Follow 3 / in his first quest to stop Mario Bowser and rescue Princess 9 Toadstool (not yet Peach). There’s even an online emulator, which you can find linked to on our website.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – Xbox 360, PS3 Gorillaz Beach Arkham AsylumPlastic is probably 3 /the single-best videogame-based-on-a-comic9 book-character ever made. Completely independent from any film, follow the Caped Crusader as he thwarts Joker’s efforts to take over Arkham Island, home to the criminally insane of Gotham City. This

game goes lengths to reinforce Batman’s abilities as 3 an / expert detective, and the hand-to-hand combat sys5 tem is unmatched. You can also put your own puzzlesolving efforts to the test, as the Riddler has placed tons of puzzles of different varieties across the map.

LittleBigPlanet – PS3

LittleBigPlanet is another one of those titles that really stands alone. A platformer at heart following the adventure of the loveable Sackboy, LBP has one of the most extensive level-designers ever created, and the biggest draw is sharing those levels with other users online. Customization is the name of the game. Its sequel, LittleBigPlanet 2, took it a step further and even allows its users to create entirely different games within the LittleBigPlanet level creator. It’s really something you have to play to understand.

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Student Bulletstorm Injects Flavor Into Old Recipe This new title from Epic and People Can Fly delivers a fresh spin on an old formula. Platform: Xbox 360/PS3* Genre: FPS Action/Adventure Players: 1 (Online: 2-4) ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol) Bulletstorm is taking the most common type of game seen today, and making something more out of it. The big sell of this game is “creative killing”, which is exactly what it sounds like. Kill people creatively. Gray and Ishi are a couple of rogue assassins who crash on a planet filled with mutated enemies. The game is a quest for revenge on their old boss. Gray comes across a leash, which enables him to get points for making creative kills and leash enemies and toss them places. Let’s start with the positive. Bulletstorm is way fun for a while. It’s never particularly hard, even on the toughest difficulty, which some people may consider bad, but I consider a way to blow off some steam amid a slew of more stressful games out there. It’s a bit cheesy and

over-the-top, but it matches the art style.

Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer

It’s dripping with action and firefights, similar to the Killzone series. Unlike Killzone, however, the plot is a bit more fleshed out, and even has a tinge of emotion. The skillshots are fun and creative and breathe fresh life into gameplay that has arguably over-saturated the market.

Overall, fun while it lasts. Don’t buy it used unless it outweighs the online pass you’ll have to buy from EA...

The players are pretty bulky in a Gears of War style, but feel a lot more fluid than Gears, which is great. However, your player sticks out of a lot of cover for this reason, and so the game drastically needs a cover system, probably the most striking flaw. The duck mechanism is a press-and-hold as opposed to a toggle, making it both inaccurate and ineffective in many cases. The game looks pretty good in its own cartoon-y way. It starts catching however, especially towards the end, when lots of enemies and goo and blood starts building up. Like a skipping DVD. And finally, there’s not a lot of replay value. One play through the campaign really doesn’t leave the player begging for more. This leaves the multiplayer, which is pretty limited, and Echoes mode, which reflects Call of Duty’s Special Ops mode.

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Volume 6 Issue 3





♍ Annual

Hoover JazzFest

Saturday March 5 marked the 4 Jazz Fest at Hoover High School Jazz bands from across the state c learn from various professionals r to professors to famous jazz guita sen. Congratulations to all who p gratulations to Hoover High Sch alive for these 40


40th Annual Hoover in Des Moines, Iowa. came to compete and ranging from teachers arist Corey Christianparticipated and conhool on keeping jazz years!



Student Federal Budget is a Must-Watch for College Hopeful Ethan Clevenger Staff Writer Start saving. College is potentially about to get $800 more expensive. The U.S. government is currently locked in a battle over the federal budget, which is in a severe deficit. This means that every aspect of the budget has to be looked at and evaluated for possible spending cuts. There are lots of varying opinions on where the money should come from, and one of the contention points is education and funds important to many college students. Many students currently receive up to $5,550 from the federal government to pay for college each year called a Pell Grant. The Republican senate has put forth a budget proposal that would shrink the maximum amount by about 15%, or $845. Additionally, it would mark the end of the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which is only for Pell Grant-eligible students and totals about $700,000 in grants at Drake University. The financial aid office at Drake has been watching these proceed-


Volume 6 Issue 3

ings very carefully. Susan Ladd, director of financial aid at Drake, called Pell Grants the “cornerstone” of financial aid. In order to combat this proposal, Ladd and her colleagues have been working with several organizations with professional lobbyists. One of these organizations is the Student Aid Alliance, whose members include Georgetown University and Harvard University among other prestigious institutions. Not only will this reduction affect current financial aid, but Ladd explained that if the Pell Grant were to drop to this level, it would no longer be eligible for mandatory add-ons to the amount that were supposed to begin in 2014. Also, these proposals are in the midst of two other financial aid programs set to expire this year: the Academic Competitiveness Grant, which may only total a few hundred dollars and SMART grants that can amount to as much as $4,000. “Your college career depends on financial aid from the government,” said first-year Peyton Fagenel. “It could cause drop outs, which would be bad for the U.S. since we’re already behind [the rest of the world].”

own budget, which would maintain the current Pell Grant level. In order to save money, however, his budget would eliminate subsidized Stafford loans for graduate students. This means that graduate students would no longer be eligible for interestfree loans, and would begin accruing interest their first year. Some people believe this is a great step, and believe that too many students attend graduate school, and that only those pursuing degrees in sciences, math, or engineering really need the extra education. Ladd disagrees. “Facing the shortages we are, that makes sense,” she said. “But it’s a short term view. Graduate education brings value to the life of our society as a whole.” “We need humanity professors just as much as we need economics professors.” She also conceded, however, that it’s about access. You have to be an undergraduate student before you can be a graduate student, explaining the push from schools for maintaining the Pell Grant.

(continued on p. 12)

President Obama has proposed his

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Volume 6 Issue 3


Student Federal Budget Continued from p. 10

“We have to assume the $5,500,” the second was used for for summer. she said. They include a disclaimer Should Obama’s budget pass, stuLadd also added that she didn’t be- dents would likely see a return to the that this is subject to change, howlieve that this would affect the number former. ever. of graduate students anyway. Several students agree. “We’re running on if’s and but’s,” “Summer enrollment is not huge here,” Ladd said, expressing that she she said. Faganel said that he’s already discussed the financial situation with his wouldn’t expect this to have a great Ladd finished by saying that it’s effect on those numbers. “Some stuparents, and he’s going to medical about financial planning. She said she dents try to accelerate their degree, school no matter what. which requires attending every sum- gets students who sometimes havne’t though far enough ahead about paymer, which is not likely.” Ladd ex“We agreed that the education is worth the debt as opposed to sacrific- plained that many students are much ing for school, and stressed that this more likely to use summer as a work was the biggest step in preparing for ing opportunity,” he said. period to save money for the fall and whatever might come. spring semesters. Also, President Obama’s budget would eliminate the option to apply for Perhaps senior Angela Bradburn ex“Summer courses are more for two Pell Grants over a single year. plained it best in calling the situation a students who have fallen behind,” “Double-edged sword.” she said. Ladd explained that originally, students could spread their Pell Grant So what is a person in Susan over the fall, spring and summer seLadd’s shos suppoesd to do in a time mesters if they chose to attend then. of such uncertainty, which financial When the option for two Pell Grants became available, it essentially meant aid packages due out to prospective students shortly? that one Pell Grant was spread over the fall and spring semesters, while

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Student A Fun, Fun, Fun, “Friday” Review Lauren Smith Writer/Graphic Artist Three weeks ago, nobody knew who Rebecca Black was. Now, she is one of   the most famous people in America. Black’s music video “Friday,” currently has around 33 million views on YouTube. However, this teen anthem has gone viral solely due to people mocking her. The video, which was actually posted six weeks ago, didn’t go viral until Buzzfeed and Reddit posted it last week. Dubbed “the worst song   ever,” Black has been ridiculed across the web, from bashes consisting of slight jabs to suggestions that she commit suicide. First of all, despite the absurdity of the video, I genuinely feel bad for Rebecca Black. Many teenage girls dream of being music stars, and I’m sure she is no different. People have been recording themselves singing and making music videos since the creation of the camcorder, and Black seems to be just carrying on that teenage tradition.  That being said, not all of the criticism is undeserved. Black’s parents paid Ark Music Factory $2000 to collaborate

with their daughter and produce a music video. So although her life has been turned upside down in recent weeks, it is one of the consequences of posting videos online. However, Rebecca Black may be getting the last laugh. According to Forbes, Black currently stands to make over $1 million between her iTunes sales and ads on her YouTube video. “Friday” currently is at #42 on iTunes, and peaked at the #33 spot last week. As of now, there’s no word on how much of a percentage Ark will be taking from their protégé’s online success, but even if they are cut a massive percentage, Rebecca still will make a good deal of cash. She has already said she will even donate a portion of her earnings to disaster relief efforts in Japan and school arts programs. In an interview with People Magazine, Simon Cowell admitted that he is a fan of Black, “I want to meet her,” he confessed, “Anyone who can create this much controversy within a week, I want to meet. I love people like that.”  Cowell isn’t her only fan. People have been clamoring to latch onto the Black craze. Rebecca was recently interviewed

on the Today Show, and Nick Jonas covered a portion of  “Friday” at a benefit concert. So, whether we would like to admit it or not, it looks like Rebecca Black’s 15 minutes of fame might be a little longer than expected. She’s already commented via twitter that she’s back in the studio working on a new track. Prepare yourself world, “Friday” might be here for awhile.

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Aca Could Video Games Change the Classroom? Lauren Smith Writer/Graphic Artist

within our culture, many people agree with Kelly in that this style of teaching will continually become in the future.

Many different organizations are creating games to help students learn subjects that may be a little more difficult to learn. The Federation of American Scientists created a games called “Immune Attack,” designed to teach now the immune system works.

Although many classroom video games are developed solely for educational purposes, some teachers are using popular traditional video games to get their message across. Some teachers in Minneapolis use Sega’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” to help their students better understand Odysseus’s quest. Another teacher in Cincinnati is using Creative Assembly’s “Rome: Total War” to have students compare simulated battles to actual historical evidence, and then design their own wartime simulations. This style of teaching doesn’t stop outside of single classrooms, the ideas of a new educational system are sweeping across the country.

In an interview with ABC News, FAS president Henry Kelly explained that he believes video games can be incredibly useful teaching tools. “The goal is to hook you,” he noted. “You can reach people who think they hate the subject. The minute you get swept up in the thing, you sort of forget you hate science.”

The National Institute of Play in New York has also pushing for educational curriculum changes throughout the country. Along with their Council of Advisors, they are planning to design a series of play based on curricular alternatives. However, they are also connecting themselves with other educational endeavors.

Because the internet, social media and video games are becoming so immersed

Katie Salen, the Executive Director of the Institute of Play is also the lead institutional

Gone are the days of video games being dubbed “brain-rotting activity.” In the near future, instead of pounding away on your laptop to write a paper, homework might consist of sitting down and playing Xbox. Video games are becoming increasingly popular in schools, and many teachers believe that their use in an educational setting will greatly enhance classroom curriculums.

partner for Quest to Learn, an innovative school in New York that was recently developed and teaches students by bridging old and new literacies. Quest to Learn uses “game-like learning” as a way to engage their students. By using video games and interactive computer programs within the classroom, Quest to Learn is on the forefront of technological-based educational learning. With schools like Quest to Learn and teachers who are willing to accept new variations of learning enter their classroom, video games becoming fully immersed in the educational system seems more and more likely with each passing day. School just got a little more exciting.

The leading cause of death in young Iowans, aged 16-20, is fatal car crashes. The Iowa Department of Public Safety-Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau (GTSB) is focused on helping deter one of Iowa's and the nation's bleakest statistic: Nationwide, a total of 58,000 drivers ages 16-20 were involved in fatal crashes; crashes which took the lives of 6,400 individuals. Additionally, in 2009, 41 young people ages 15-20 were killed in Iowa fatal crashes.

Several factors contribute to these unfortunate statistics: Distracted Driving - Texting While Driving - Alcohol Use Speeding - No Seatbelts - Inexperience


Volume 6 Issue 3

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College Prep Money-saving College Prep Advice for Teenagers Christine MacDonald While you can’t control the cost of college tuition, there are smart ways of saving money for college that can start as early as your freshman year of high school. Read on to see how your high school academics can affect your college bottom line.

High School Academics Counts

Emily Sole of Traverse City, Michigan, handed over more than six hundred dollars to Wayne State University for a remedial math class that won’t even count toward graduation. She blames herself for not taking her high school math seriously. “I took Algebra II with a bunch of my friends and I just goofed off,” she admits. She took geometry her junior year but passed on math her senior year because she wanted to take more classes that matched her interests, primarily business classes. Now as a college freshman studying business

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administration, she regrets that decision. She spends five hours a week in a computer lab going over math basics she should have mastered already.

Unprepared College Freshmen

Colleges routinely test incoming freshmen to gauge how prepared they are for college work. According to a report published by the American Diploma Project and Achieve, Inc., almost seventy percent of college instructors reported spending time reviewing material with their students that students should have learned in high school. The same professors estimate that half of the incoming freshman class is unprepared for college-level math and writing. Why? Many college freshmen who feel unprepared for college admit that they didn’t work hard in high school.

How Difficult Courses Can Pay Off Jim Levasseur from Mount Carmel,

Illinois, took six Advanced Placement classes in high school and entered Bowling Green University with thirtythree credits. Since thirty-three credits is the equivalent of a whole year of college credit, he entered school not as a freshman but as a sophomore and saved himself an estimated $21,700 in out-of-state tuition and room and board at the school. Since tackling these challenging courses also helped Levasseur improve his scores on the PSAT, he earned a full ride National Merit Scholarship that will pay the rest of his way through school. Having the required courses behind him lets Levasseur take classes he is more interested in sooner, including classes in his major of computer animation. He can also register for courses as a sophomore honors student, practically guaranteeing he won’t get shut out of any classes. This calmed his nerves about making the transition to college. “It’s sort of like a big head start,” Levasseur explains. “I was confident in my ability to do work at the college level.”

Volume 6 Issue 3


UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY HAS A LOT TO BRAG ABOUT “ I chose Upper Iowa University to develop and broaden my education, play competitive collegiate sports, and meet new people. UIU offers opportunities to young minds everyday.” Shaina Marnell, ‘12 Hanover Park, IL

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stUdent FocUsed – graduating students with less debt than any other private institution in Iowa excellent FacIlItIes – completing $75 million in Phase I construction of classrooms, residence halls, and a student center globally avaIlable – offering degrees through 16 U.S. educational centers and 3 international locations onlIne excellence – nationally ranked among top online degree-granting universities by Online Education Database and repeatedly rated for “best buy” programs by

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High School Assembly - Volume 6 - Issue 4  

The Entertainment Issue, Video Games

High School Assembly - Volume 6 - Issue 4  

The Entertainment Issue, Video Games