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TESV: SKYRIM

what makes skyrim so appealing Zelda: Lure of the LEgend

why gamers keep getting pulled back in to hyrule

Artist

unwrapping the mind of a Zynga artist

Favoring Fantasy: why do you choose the fantasy genre?


Contents FEATURES

Volume #1

17 ZELDA Exploring the appeal of the Zelda series through the eyes of an average player. Includes view of a designer about the evolution of the series. By Chris Wheatley

23 FAVORING FANTASY A look at why peple enjoy fantasy games and the fantasy genre, using the oppinions of normal high school studants. By Jeremy Friedman

25 ARTIST. Profining an artist and designer at the popular gaming complany Zynga. What makes the artist? By Emma Genet

07 TESV: SKYRIM What makes Skyrim so appealing? Why was this game voted the best of 2011? What made players so excited for this game to come out? By Justin Kang

21

PG. # 13 01 | May 2012 | BANE BLADE

Art Credit: Wikia, a free resource site.


Meet the Authors

Jeremy Friedman

Emma Genet

Jeremy is the only group member that has never played a fantasy game. This made him ideal for discovering the strengths and weaknesses of this never played genre, a blank slate as it were. His main interest is RPG gaming, including Mario and Pokemon.

Emma is actually a total n00b, considering she’s only played about 7 hours of Skyrim in her life. Emma, personally, hates writing auto-biographical tidbits and is really hoping to get an Xbox sometime soon so she can play multiplayer games live with bands of 12-year-olds.

Justin Kang

Chris Wheatley

Justin is the person of the group that actually doesn’t play fantasy games currently. Instead, he spends his time having a life and hanging out with friends. Lol suckers. However, he is good at researching stuff and learning information from that, and that is how he became knowledgeable enough to write parts of this magazine. He also made this biography page. Haha.

Chris enjoyes the legend of Zelda series, as well as Skyrim. He is also a competative fencer that enjoyes going to renissance festivals. He is also responsible for most of the background graphics and layouts.

Art Credit: Wikia, a free resource site. .Background Art Credit: User 1nflames on deviantART

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Letter from the Editors Hello, readers. Thank you for picking up this magazine. Perhaps you came upon it by chance, or someone shoved it in your face shouting, “Read it! Read it!” In any case, you’re reading the magazine now. Bane Blade has a fantasy game theme. Our articles all involve various fantasy games. One article even involves Pokemon, for some reason. One of writers probably got lazy when looking for what to make into a piece. Anyway, it’s all about fantasy games, like Legend of Zelda and The Elder Scrolls. Nothing good about Final Fantasy, though. Just us talking about how much we don’t like it. I mean, really, if it’s Final, why are there 13.5 different games? Jeez. So, the articles are about fantasy, hope you enjoy the magazine, blah blah blah, etcetera etcetera, done.

- Jeremy, Emma, Justin, Chris


P

Demons of Pokemon

okemon masters...take control of spirits in the dark realm, and they tell those spirits what to do.” This is a quote taken from one of many anti-Pokemon videos found online. The preacher goes on to talk about how Pokemon causes children to begin using witchcraft in real life. He then says “you might not take it seriously, but...demons take it quite seriously, Satan takes it quite seriously.” He finishes up by talking about how children are so used to killing each other in their games, “that when they walk down the streets...pull out their .45 and...pump some friend full of bullets, they...think...‘we’ll just turn off the machine..they’ll get up...I’ll shoot them again.’” These people are becoming quite ridiculous. Pokemon is no more than a game that involves that capture, training, and battling of nonexistent creatures. Their reactions to Pokemon are over the top and fail to point out any true problems. Many of them have created web pages where they rant about the evils of Pokemon, but their reasons are finally becoming increasingly unreasonable and tiresome. One reason that some people view Pokemon as unholy is that the term Pokemon is short for “Pocket Monsters,” and we are taught that monsters are evil, thus children should not become associated with them. This is utter garbage. “Pocket Monsters” is an American name for the creatures. The Japanese, who created the game, did not come up with that title. It’s unfair to call something evil for the reason that the American name of a non-American product is considered unholy. Another point some make is that the

By Jeremy F.

Pokemon trading card game is made by the same company that manufactures “Magic: The Gathering” and “Dungeons and Dragons(D&D),” both games that are disapproved of for their “relationship” with witchcraft and dark magic. Because of this connection, Pokemon is considered as unorthodox as those games. But in the opinion of this writer, that fear is ungrounded. According to the Bible, God made both Jesus and Satan. If everything from the same creator embodies the same qualities, then either Satan is holy or Jesus is a demon. Furthermore, neither “Magic: The Gathering” nor “D&D”

A demon Pikachu

This image was made by Chris W.

worship demons. Psychologists have even shown time and time again that neither of these two games have resulted in any side effects. There have also been claims that Pokemon involves witchcraft, because Pokemon are summoned to your circle and aid you in fighting others. That is untrue. In the games, Pokemon can be found in different habitats, like animals. If they are encountered, they can be caught,

providing that you’ve brought along the correct supplies. Humans capture animals everyday, whether to train them as pets, like in Pokemon, or to eat them. As for the fighting others, it’s friendly competition. You take what you have and use it to defeat an opponent, like nearly every game or sport in existence. Finally, many have talked about how children watching a certain episode of Pokemon went into epileptic seizure. One went as far as to say that it was caused by demons entering the bodies of those watching the show. It is true that in 1997, more than 600 Japanese children came down with epileptic seizures after watching an episode of Pokemon. However, not just watching Pokemon can cause seizures. They are caused when the eyes are exposed to rapidly flashing lights, which overstimulates the optic nerve. Any show on TV can cause a seizure if there are too many flashing lights. Just because a single episode of Pokemon had that effect does not make it uniquely dangerous. Pokemon is not as sinful as these people make it out to be. They create reasons that not only fail to prove Pokemon sinful, but embarrass themselves in the eyes of others and become a nuisance. If they wish to continue preaching against Pokemon, we shouldn’t stand in their way. But we should hope that, along the way, they’ll realize how ridiculous their arguments have become, and choose either to end their tirade or come up with more sufficient reasons to deny Pokemon.•

“Humans capture animals everyday...” BANE BLADE | March 2012 | 04


Caption Goes Here Courtesy ofCredz Wikia Photato


Elder Scrolls V:

Skyrim J By Emma Genet

ohn Chan once mused “Skyrim is a hell of a drug”. He, of course, is talking about Skyrim, named the 2011 Game of the Year by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences . Skyrim is the fifth and latest game in the Elder Scrolls series. The series and its success began in 1992 around the time that the rise of role-playing games (RPGs) began. The whole idea of these games is “being who you want and doing what you want.” Skyrim is the absolute embodiment of this concept. Players are given the first-person experience of living in a beautifully illustrated fantasy realm. Walk up to a given tree stump and upon the artfully designed face of it you will see lines of ants moving at a steady pace. The attention to detail is astounding. Despite the excruciatingly meticulous details and the realism of every last aspect of the game, some are wary of yet another first- person fantasy game. They fear not the unknown, but rather, the all-too-familiar. Honestly, I get that. It’s understandable. Many say that it’s just gotten a bit boring. Robert Brockway, an editor and columnist at Cracked.com, points out “5 personality flaws with Skyrim”, one of which being the fact that you’re being forced to play a tragically boring character. Again, I get that. How many of your friends hit you up to scavenge for elements to perform alchemy with? It’s not a common request and there’s a reason for that. Across the board, it’s no fun. But, one of the wonderful things about the game is that it’s utterly huge. There are so many options in every possible field, you barely even have to think about alchemy if you don’t want to. A lot of the game doesn’t even involve following the main quest. In fact, in order to be able to complete the main quest tasks, you have to level up enough outside of the main quest to move along in the game, regardless of whether it’s a main task or a random opponent encounter. Okay, I may have lost you there. Basically, if you want to get anywhere, you’re going to have to relax and just play the game.

Courtesy of Elder Scrolls Wiki

“Walk up to a given tree stump

and upon the artfully designed face of it you will see lines of ants moving at a steady pace.” Power-leveling isn’t really the main idea of Skyrim. You’re going to want to level up on side-quests frequently. This will make it MUCH easier to take on an unexpected dragon encounter and will result in a much less frustrating and more enjoyable playing experience. I’m not going to shove a sack of empty promises in your direction. Some probably wouldn’t enjoy Skyrim. They feel it’s just another Oblivion (the latest Elder Scrolls game preceding Skyrim) with a change in scenery and graphics.With that being said, Skyrim can be enjoyable for gaming newcomers and veterans, alike. Those that are newer to this style of gaming are being introduced to fantasy gaming through beautiful graphics and an interesting storyline. The older players can really appreciate how far not only Skyrim has progressed, but the progress of an entire genre of gaming. Regardless of prior experience, Skyrim offers a unique story that is yet to be surpassed.

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim What’s All the Hype About?

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BY JUSTIN KANG

“I

don’t play Skyrim because I have a life,” LASA freshman Daniel Um says. For some people, this can be considered true. Once you enter the world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, any life that you had before will disappear, and will it will be respawned in the game’s world. “The game’s greatest accomplishment is that it is a paradise of escapism,” states Wired.com, the website of the popular magazine. “[When I had time] I was playing a good three hours a day,” LBJ orchestra director Andrew Potter says. With over 300 hours of gameplay available, Skyrim seems to be a game for those who have time on their hands. The Edler Scrolls V: Skyrim cover art


G

ameSpot, a video gaming website that provides reviews and commentaries on games that are released, also agrees with this, with this comment on their site: “Skyrim performs the most spectacular of enchantments: the one that causes huge chunks of time to vanish before you know it.” Selling 7 million copies of the game in just the first week, Skyrim has captured and sucked in the time and lives of many people around the world, and will continue to do so for a while to come with its technological improvements, classic storyline, and the liberation that it gives from the real world.

this time to its draw distance, allowing you to look at something in great detail, be it as small as a fork to as a large as a mountain. Dynamic lighting also allows the game to create shadows for each and every structure/item. The Creation Engine also allows Skyrim to incorporate wind, giving weight to tree branches which affect how they blow in the wind, and allowing wind to affect the flow of water in a channel. “I think that the coolest thing about the views,” Kim says, “were the Auroras. They pop up every once in awhile, and they look so real that you’d think you were watching them from the North Pole.”

Skyrim can be conceived in radically different views, depending on whether the opinionator is a player or not. “Isn’t Skyrim just where you kill dragons?” Um says, having never played the game before. However, this is far from true. This “paradise” is filled with anything and everything that real life could and couldn’t offer, such as being your own “Dora the Explorer,” exploring the immense world of the land of Skyrim (the location of the game, not the game itself), chop wood, fight dragons, mammoths, assassins, bounty hunt, experience civil wars, quell or join rebellions, and see the popular “arrow-in-the-knee” meme.

Geography and landscapes are not the only appearances that are more than meets the eye. Towering castles, looming forts, and bright villages are also portrayed with great detail. However, something that may be more impressive are the ones that inhabit these areas. As you walk through the villages, you would think that you were walking through a zoo or a carnival show. Cat people, lizard people, orcs, elves, and humans are all cohabitating throughout the land of Skyrim, with the option to choose one of these races (and gender) available at the beginning of the game.

“You can spend forever just walking around the land and not doing anything,” former player Josh Kim says. Exploration is a large part of Skyrim. There is a “fast-travel” system which allow you to “teleport” (actually the computer causing you to walk super-fast to the destination, but it’s pretty much teleporting) to any place you have discovered before. This is considered to be one of the best features of Skyrim by several players, allowing you to save loads of time by not walking around all over Skyrim. The geography of the land itself ranges from steep cliffs to snowy mountaintops to grassy plains.

The NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) in the game to do whatever they want, have personalities, and act as real people would, by using the Radiant AI artificial intelligence system, which was updated from Oblivion. The Bethesda team also used Havok’s Behavior toolset to allow greater fluidity in movement, and increased the efficiency of the third-person camera. The toolset also allows you to converse with NPCs in real time, and allows them to perform things such as hand gestures.When interacting with these characters, they usually talk to you about random things, and every once in awhile give you requests which are known as “side jobs.”

“The view is breathtaking,” Kim says. “The graphics make it look like you’re looking at real life, not a computer screen.” The graphics are one of the most attractive and radical improvements made from the prequel of Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. For Skyrim, Bethesda created a brand new game engine, called the Creation Engine. This new engine allowed Skyrim to apply the technological advancements of

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All art was taken from the Skyrim wikia page, a free resource site.


“I’ve done a lot of side jobs. I really like doing bounty hunts,” Potter says. Side quests are often randomly generated, allowing an indefinite number of possible things that you can spend time doing. This happens because Skyrim, along with many popular games such as Grand Theft Auto, is a sandbox format game, allowing open-ended, non-linear play. “I did anything and everything, without even starting the main quest.” Kim said. Skyrim goes a step further in its sandbox mode, to the point where the main quest can be completely ignored. Although it is often neglected due to the appeal and intrigue of the sandbox feature of the game, the main quest plays a major role in the experience of Skyrim. The main quest starts out with you being transported to his/her execution. Along with you is Ulfric Stormcloak, one of the major NPCs and leader of the Stormcloak rebellion, who are trying to “free” Skyrim from the reins of an Empire. Just before you are executed, Alduin, the main antagonist (and dragon), comes and attacks the town, disturbing the execution and allowing you to run away.

Winterhold City

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Dovahkiin vs. Alduin

During his/her travels, you discovers that you are a Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn (a being with a mortal body and a dragon soul), destined to defeat Alduin, who in turn was destined to come and destroy the world. By defeating dragons, you learns and uses “shouts,” which are magical words used by dragons to use supernatural abilities (The popular meme “Fus Ro Dah” are the words needed for the shout Unrelenting Force). Fighting many dragons, the Dovahkiin manages to gain their approval by defeating them, and in turn the dragons help you to reach Alduin. You and Alduin then have a battle of gargantuan proportions, with you ultimately defeating Alduin. Upon his defeat, the rest of the dragons officially recognize you as one of their kind, then leave. Although this may seem like a lot of things to do, the main quest takes around only 10% of the total amount of gameplay in Skyrim, filling 30 of the total 300 hours, showing how time-intensive and extensive Skyrim is. “I stopped playing because there was too much to do... I managed to escape Skyrim once, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it again.” Kim says. If you ever get bored of the real world, simply open up the world of Skyrim, and let your inner Dovahkiin take control. However, proceed with caution from that point on, because once you get respawned into that world, it’s pretty hard to get out. •

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Test Your

Skyrim

Knowledge Do you really know Skyrim?

Results 6.C

7.C

8.C

What is the name of the Divine Might and Mericful Forbearance? a) Arkay b) Talos c) Dibella

Where is the prophecy of Skyrim spelled out? a) Saarthal b) High Hrothgar c) Aldun’s Wall

5.C

What is the name of the cat-species in Skyrim? a) Jags b) Khajiit c) Argonians

From which continent did the Nords come to Skyrim? a) Yokuda b) Aldmeris c) Atmora

4.B

What are the words of power of the dragon shout Ice Form? a) Fus Roh Dah b) Yol Toor Shul c) Fo Krah Diin

Which of the following is not a location in Skyrim? a) Falkreath b) Riften c) Blackwood

3.C

What is the prequel of Skyrim? a) Morrowind b) Oblivion c) Tamriel

What is the name of the Dragonborn? a) Brutus b) Talos c) Dovahkiin

2.B

What is the highest mountain in Tamriel? a) Low Hrothgar b) High Hrothgar c) Oblivion

Show us what you’ve got. Are you a true Elder Scrolls master, or just a n00b?

1.B


the Legacy By Justin Kang

The Legend of Zelda (1986)

The Adventure of Link (1987)

of

Zelda

A Link to the Past (1991)

Link’s Awakening (1993)

Link’s Awakening DX (1998)

Ocarina of Time (1998)

The Legend of Zelda series has been a popular fantasy game series since its creation in 1986. Once a pioneer in technology since the introduction of 3D software in Ocarina of Time, it is now traveling into actual 3D with the Nintendo 3DS software. Building on its recent success, Nintendo has recently released many more games in the franchise. Many remakes have been made, transforming old classics into new and exciting adventures of nostalgia and rediscovery. The Legend of Zelda series will always be on the list of top fantasy games, for old veterans and young n00bs alike. •

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Phantom Hourglass (2007)

Four Swords Adventures (2004)

Skyward Sword (2011)

Spirit Tracks (2009)

Oracle of Seasons and Ages (2001)

The Wind Waker (2002)

Majora’s Mask (2000)

The Minish Cap (2004)

Ocarina of Time 3D (2011)

Twilight Princess (2006)

A Link to the Past & Four Swords (2002)

Four Swords Anniversary Edition (2011)


Number One The Best Game in the World

By Justin Kang

L

egend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It draws you in, forcing you to play until you become just another mindless zombie slave, trapped in the world of Hyrule, the location of the game. Created surprisingly long ago in the year of 1998 for the Nintendo 64, it has stood the tests of time at being better at everything than any other game that was, is, and ever will be. Many games, such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Halo have challenged the game for the title, but none have come close to defeating the master. Metacritic, a site that ranks pretty much all games ever released, gave Ocarina of Time a 99/100 score, a near perfect rating; this is the highest ranking, since at least 2010, given to a game. Critics that scored the game in Metacritic were famous companies such as IGN, GameSpot, and GameShark, all giving the game a perfect score. Out of the 22 critics that ranked the game, only 4 ranked it less than a perfect score, with rankings of 98, 95, 94, and 90. GameRankings.com, a similar site that ranks games, gave the game a rating of 97.7%. In fact, Ocarina of Time even gained the title of “Greatest Game of All Time” by 13 different sources, and according to Nintendo Power in February 2006, was the “Best Game Released for a Nintendo Console”, and has the Guinness World Record of the “Most Critically-Acclaimed Videogame of All Time,” awarded on August 1, 2010.

Now who is able to argue with Guinness? Apparently some users and critics are. IGN, although giving the game a perfect score, stated that the frame rate and textures of Ocarina of Time were not as good as that of Banjo-Kazooie, a game released earlier in the year for the same console. On the Metacritic review page for the game, the negative reviews from the users stated that the plot was boring, linear, and repetitive, with the player doing to same tasks over and over again, and solving similar puzzles and problems for the quests. There were also comments on how the plot was easily predictable, and followed the route of any other average princess-rescuing game. Also, the reviewers stated that the game was not as good as Majora’s Mask, and that the game has become outdated. Majora’s Mask, which was released in 2000, is the sequel to Ocarina of Time, expanding on the themes and ideas, such as music, introduced in the game, and expanding upon it, adding importance in other aspects, such as masks.

Shared repository taken from the Zelda wikia page

Box art for the Player’s Choice version

However, in my opinion, Ocarina of Time has become the best game due to different reasons. Ocarina of Time was the first game

in the Legend of Zelda franchise that introduced the concept of 3D graphics, where the player could view the game in 3D instead of the then-common 2D. Seeing as this game was released in 1998, this was an interesting development and pioneering of this technology. Also, Ocarina of Time was one of the first games to introduce the concept of a target lock system and a context-sensitive control system (where the same buttons have different functions based on the situation), which are now common elements portrayed in many games. Furthermore, the graphics of the game are considered technologically advanced for that time, showing great detail of the environment, such as blades of grass and rays of sunlight, and having many atmospheric and surround sounds that help the player feel immersed in the world. In fact, music is so central to the game that the player must even learn and recognize certain songs on the in-game ocarina to unlock and clear certain puzzles/levels in the game. In addition, Ocarina of Time brings in interesting gameplay by including side-quests and increasing the importance of exploration to unlock items that are used for the main quests. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time exceeded everything that was expected of it in terms of concepts, plot, features, elements, technology, detail, and imagination. Although Ocarina of Time may be challenged as the best game, it left a legacy that no one can argue with. •

Taken by user AuronKaiser of the Zelda wikia page

Link (player), battling Ganondorf (antagonist)

BANE BLADE | March 2012 | 16


Zelda Lure of the Legend BY CHRIS WHEATLEY


“U

m...yeah,� is simply all that some people can say when describing the Legend of Zelda. Maybe it is because their breath has been taen away by the series, frering to express their thoughts out of reverence. Or, it may be on account of poor speaking and social skills that usually be found in a gamer. In spite of this however, there is at least one gamer out there, Dhruv Puri, who is able to clearly express their opinion of the the Zelda games.


“I

Picture by Zeldape

love the freedom that you have in the game,” said Dhruv, a freshman at LASA, “The open world really lets you explore.”

the game is, all in that order. Many other archetypes remain the same as well as link runs and rolls silently through each game in the series. Some people are put off by this fact, however most gamers enjoy the familiarity. Despite the similar themes and characters, each game has it’s own personal element. For example, there is the time travel in Ocarina of Time, and the twilight zone in Twilight Princess.

Even if some other gamers are not able to fully express it, they all have similar opinions, and enjoy many other aspects of the game as well depending on their own personalities. Ever since the series came into being in 1989, it has been an instant hit drawing the attention players young and old, appealing to the adventurous sides in all of us. The basic concept of the game stays the same throughout most of the games; You find yourself as a mysterious orphan who has always been different in some way, Link. Then, suddenly you are called to adventure, and ripped out of your village to fight off the rising forces of darkness, usually the king of desert thieves, Ganon. You dawn your green tunic, the hero cloths, discover your first sword, and then you are off. Then, through a plethora of puzzles, hoards of moblins, and multitudes of traps, link is makes his way through first the forest temple, the closests to his home, next the fire, then water, next the desert, then comes air, and then whatever the central temple of

“Even though the games are over 50% the same with all of their shared themes and characters, you still feel as though you are playing a different game each time!” Another important aspect of the actual gameplay itself are the many and various items. theses become extremely important in temples. When you get right down to it, The Legend of Zelda games are more than just narrative adventure, but it’s also a puzzle games as well. In every single temple you must ‘outsmart’ rooms rather than bull through them. On top of this, you can only go so far in a temple without a certain item. Then, after you find your useful new toy someplace in the temple, then and only then are you able to use use it to emerge into those mysterious rooms that you could not reach. before.

“I love all of the different items,” says Dhruv, “ I like how you need a different one to get through each

Picture by Zeldapedia

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edia

“I love all of the different items,” says Dhruv, “ I like how you need a different one to get through each temple. It really is a large puzzle.” These items have another use as well, boss fights. The boss of a level can usually only be conquered with the use of the specialty item found in that temple. for example, the fire temple boss in Ocarina of Time can only be defeated by throwing the bombs that you acquire into his mouth. Over time, this series evolved to have a more complex story than the original, “sophisticated though it is,” according to Dhruv. The games have also developed a wide plethora of variation making each game different from the last, enticing the eager player to keep diving deeper into the series, exploring the realms of Hyrule. Now, millions of fans honor the work done on this series by it’s game development crew. Shigeru Miyamoto, A Zelda developer said;

“I am not Link, but I do know him! Even after 18 years, the Legend of Zelda never stops changing… We are now taking you to a world where Link has grown up…In order to grow, Link must not stand still and neither will I.” • Picture by Zeldapedia

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Favoring Fantasy Explaining the Gaming By Jeremy F.

“The games let you go

into the fantasy worlds.”

"I've always been into fantasy games,” LASA freshman Sean O’Connor says. An avid video game player, Sean is the go-to man on what’s new and popular in fantasy gaming. Sean went on to explain the main reason behind his preference: “I like to be able to make my own choices. I hate to be confined to the storyline.” Free reign is a feature that is almost entirely unique to the fantasy genre. Fantasy games have been around for years now. Any game that revolves around the use of magic or mythical creatures is considered fantasy, such as “The Elder Scrolls” and “World of Warcraft.” Ever play “Legend of Zelda”? Fantasy game. “Rune Scape?” Fantasy game. “Final Fantasy?” Okay, that one seems fairly obvious, but you get the point. Fantasy games are everywhere. But what has made these games so well known? Each person is entitled to their opinion, but there are many qualities to fantasy games that have made them popular. Several of these have been brought together into this article. Justin Zhang, another LASA student, says “I usually want an intriguing plot. I like having a story.” This is important factor for any game, because plot is what drives a game forward. People more often than not will choose to play games that interest them in one way or another, and plot is one of the first things they look at when making their choice. If a plot is overdone, too complicated, or not engaging, the game is less likely to be played. When well made, the plot should keep a gamer interested enough to continue playing, often using unsolved questions and important goals. Plot, however, is not the only factor that makes fantasy games so interesting. “I really like reading books with fantasy worlds,” LASA freshman Bobbie Soques says, “and the games let you go into the fantasy worlds.” To Bobbie, fantasy games bring stories she has read to life. Freshman Katy Hannah agrees. She says, “In worlds that are different from our world...It’s a good way to use your imagination.”

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New, different worlds are enticing. Whether on another planet or the medieval era, worlds that work differently than ours are intriguing. How many times have you wanted to explore an exotic landscape or take place in a magical duel? These events are unlikely to ever happen, but since they aren’t what you experience in everyday life they become alluring. Fantasy games take you to worlds far beyond your own, thus appealing to this desire. LASA freshman Audrey [insert last name here] says, “I like that there is always goals, and [the games] usually have puzzles.” These puzzles are meant to keep players occupied and interested with their games. Following a single goal throughout an entire game can become boring and make gamers lose interest. The puzzles are tricky to make effectively. If they’re too easy, the players may become bored. If they’re too difficult, the player might lose patience. But if made with a difficulty somewhere between the two, puzzles can keep one’s mind interested and provide players with a break from the usual gameplay. LASA freshman Horst Evans says that his favorite part of the games are “the side missions, because they give you a break from the storyline.” In certain cases, new goals and challenges can be brought up during the game. They provide longer breaks from the main goal than puzzles, and also help gamers keep focused on playing.

One fantasy game that is currently popular is Skyrim. The main purpose of the game is to defeat dragons while learning new spells. Skyrim is also well known for its advanced graphic design. That’s not all what interests the players, though. “It’s a free roam game,” LASA freshman John Chan says. A “free roam game” allows you to travel wherever you want inside the game’s world. They also allow the player to choose whatever course of action they want. This allows the storyline to become far less restrictive than in other games. “[I like] the perk system,” John said. “When you gain a level, you can get perks.” When your character levels up in Skyrim, you can earn points to spend on power-ups, or perks. These perks include the ability to charge spells, increase damage from attacks, and boost archery range. This system is not special to Skyrim, but it is the first of “The Elder Scroll” series to have the feature. The perks improve gameplay, but aren’t required, thus acting as a bonus feature. Fantasy games have qualities that help them stand out in the video game world. They are popular enough to make long running series, and are flexible enough to not restrict players to one storyline. They are imaginative and fun, letting gamers slip easily back and forth between reality and their game experience. As Bobbie put it, “They’re very easy to get into.” •

Found on zelda.wikia.com Link completing a side quest in “Link: Ocarina of Time”

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Pictures by Final Fantasy WIki; Modified by Chris Wheatley.


A

As you wander around a distant land, the colors are vibrant, the graphics amazing, and you feel a sense of apotheosis. You speed towards your objective, running through a dangerous part of the map. The trail looks clear. Your party walks through the path with the greatest confidence and security, but suddenly, you find yourself inexplicably sucked into a random battle! You wonder the logic behind this, but simply shake it off and prepare for the fight. Your adversary approaches into the light it’s...it’s...some shapeless smiling anime goo pile? What the heck is going on? The answer is simple, you are “playing” Final Fantasy. It’s hard to argue with the amazing graphics of the newly released Final Fantasy XIII-2, however many gamers are disgusted with both it and the entire series. According to Final Fantasy Wikia, FF VIII as well as the earlier games in this series, made 9.8 million dollars internationally in 1997. Unfortunately for the company, each new game has been making gradually less money than the previous one, with Final Fantasy XII having only 1.04 million dollars in sales in 2008. Now we can as ourselves a question, why do people dislike Final Fantasy and how could it improve? First of all, the big reason that the game has become unpopular is because of the battle set ups. It’s plain and simple, gamers don’t like random encounter battles, and Final Fantasy that use them way to often. Statistics seem to show that people prefer games were you can simply walk up to a monster on your own, and then then the heck away. This theory can be backed up by looking at how fights are set up in the top 20 games of 2010. According to the game industry SEGA, 16 of the top 20 video games of 2010 involved

combat. Of these 16 games, 15 of them did not use random encounter battles. The only one of these games that uses random encounters, or “wandering monster fights” was Final Fantasy XIII. However it was also rated below all of

Picture by Final Fantasy Wiki

the others at number 20. This means that gamers obviously prefer real time fights to random encounters, therefore the first thing that the Final Fantasy series could revise is, you guessed it, the fight sequences. By substituting real time fights, that don’t suck you into a separate sequence, for their current wandering monster battles, the series shall most likely gain more fans based on the top 20 games. Now I know what you may be saying if you enjoy the series, and most Final Fantasy users would say this as well, ‘Its the random encounters that make the game fun and unique.’ Even though they all have valid opinions, the majority of people think other wise. the Final Fantasy fanatics may choose to hold on ‘till the bitter end, but they may soon be like drowning rats holding on to a sinking life boat as the series goes down.

The story line is also less than awesome. In order to find opinions about this topic, one must turn to the average gamer, frequently found on blogs and websites, passionately debating this very same topic. Writers at rpgamer.com report that the story plot becomes too boring and that the characters are too shallow. Average gamers such as Superawe, Wheelcha, and Josh H when asked why they abhor Final Fantasy, all report that the story is too repetitive from game to game. It’s the same old story and the same old song and dance. It almost always centers around a group of misfits, and your main goal is to save the world from some ancient evil again, and again, and again...But, most Final Fantasy players enjoy the story because it is familiar to them. They argue that nearly every game series repeats itself. However, Final Fantasy changes next to nothing. At least in games like The Legend of Zelda, there is always at least one new dominating theme in each game, even though it still keeps past elements. In Final Fantasy in the other hand rarely anything changes.

“The story is just the same re-occurring theme over and over again.” says Superawe. The game company needs to listen to the fans! The masses want a new story, and it will benefit the sales of this series to deliver, and cater to the needs of the gamer. If you pan it all out and shake it down to the bare facts, the Final Fantasy series has not gotten any better after releasing its first “final” game in 1987, due to poorly set up random encounter battles, and highly repeating story line. However, by changing these things the series may just better itself in the future. •

BANE BLADE | May 2012 | 24


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Zynga Logo Courtesy of Zynga


Manuel Carrasco Courtesy of David gGenet

Artist

The Inner-Workings of One of the World’s Biggest Gaming Complanies

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By Emma Genet

Small, 3x3 scraps of paper speckle the walls and windows of the conference room. Brightly illustrated concept art creates a pixelated spectrum around the space. These small ideas will end up collectively making up the majority of a game. The light glow of natural light makes its way through semi-closed blinds, softly illuminating the room. A few different couches line the walls, all casually beckoning weary gamers. People are talking in the main workspace behind the door. The mechanical clicks of plastic toy guns can be heard. The subtle, but familiar smell of plastic and wiring is pleasantly present in the air. Nerf guns are strewn across the carpeted floor. These couches, the nerf guns, and so on are all important cogs of the inner workings of Facebook’s most crucial gaming company, Zynga. Behind a small table covered in Legos and Barbie accessories sat another crucial cog, Manuel Carrasco, a concept artist. Manuel Carrasco has been working on art his entire life. From nationally distributed comics to hand-drawn, animated movies to video games, he’s nearly seen it all. Not only are people like Manny responsible for thinking up how to portray given characters and things, but they must also be able to present their ideas. With that being said, it’s not hard to see why these are essential to a thriving game company. Although he has been doing graphics for numerous companies throughout the years, Manuel hadn’t always anticipated that he would be working in the field for most of his life. He had always had an interest in graphics and graphics design, but he was in school to become a paramedic or veterinary. He is now a concept artist. “People give me an idea - it could be video games, it could be movies - and I make those things come to life.” before Manuel had even hit 19, he thought he would be working in the medical field for the rest of his life. It wasn’t until some friends welcomed him to the world of animating that he changed his mind. After applying to and getting into different colleges, Manuel had a decision to make. “I got the opportunity to attend cal arts or cartooning school in New York. But I had some friends in the industry that said ‘No, no, no, that’s a lot of money, why don’t you move to LA?’... This way I could learn on the job, so I was really lucky.” It would be over a decade until he did any work for Zynga, though.

“I was pretty lucky... Well, it wasn’t lucky. It was a lot of hard work.” In the meantime, Manuel definitely didn’t hesitate to take on other projects. “I was very lucky, there was a guy who lived in my town that was drawing Spiderman, so I became his assistant. So what he would do is that I would do all the stuff that he didn’t want to do, which sucked, right? But, he would have me, like, ink buildings, help draw cars and all of that stuff that was boring.” It wasn’t necessarily fun, but there were minor benefits. Although it seems unlikely, this was only the very start of his career. He went on to work on movies like Anastasia, Space Jam and prince of Egypt.6 “I worked as an animator. Back when everything was drawn on paper. Cartoons, yeah, I worked on cartoons,” he says. “ I worked on Garfield, Rugrats, all kinds of stuff. I was pretty lucky... Well, it wasn’t lucky, it was a lot of hard work.” Some friends of his told him about a job opening and now he’s working for one of the most successful gaming companies of the decade. “The hours are long and hard; I mean, I’d like to get to see my son more often.” Sadly, family time isn’t something Zynga employees have the luxury of indulging in.” “Its a lot of hard work, as you’ve seen, but I mean, it’s what I want to do. I’d rather be doing this than some manual labor job.” After the interview was finished, he walked back to his large computer monitor to put finishing touches on a piece of scenery. I saw all of the workers contently talking about work and making jokes here and there. A lot of quiet chatter can be heard and the atmosphere is calm, but solemn. As I left the room to go home, I couldn’t help but get distracted by a wave of Nerf bullets soaring through the air. BANE BLADE | May 2012 | 26


Top Three

Fantasy/RPG Games By Jeremy F.

3. Link: Ocarina of Time zelda.wikia.com

“Ocarina of Time” was among the first games to use 3D design, as well as the first to use puzzles well in an adventure game. Its gameplay kept players interested throughout the game, and the storyline is both entertaining and original.

2. Skyrim The newest “Elder Scrolls” game has successfully used the recent advances in 3D graphic design to create beautiful scenery. “Skyrim” also managed to work in a Free Reign function that gives the player next to complete control on how they choose to play. elderscrolls.wikia.com

1. Twilight Princess With its combination of advanced graphic design and excellent story, it’s no surprise that “Twilight Princess is our number 1 game. By building on the earlier 3D designs of other “Legend of Zelda” games, “Twilight Princess” takes advantage of the Wii by using its motion sensor to register attacks. The game also manages to combine both puzzles and action to make an effective gaming.

16 | BANE BLADE | May 2012


cosplay contest 1st

2nd

3rd

1.By Emma Genette “Creeper from mindcraft.” 2. Chris Wheatley “Ghetto Link.” 3.Jeremy Friedman

FOR MORE INFORMATION about the next contest, contact baneblade1997@gmail.com

“Arc Final FAntasy.”

BANE BLADE | May 2012 | 26



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