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Welcome to the first ever issue of Empire Magazine. Today we take the first step on a great voyage together. Hand in hand we will traverse the gaming meduim as it transforms over the many years to come. This is our handcrafter piece of art, directly from the very bottoms of our large hearts. All we ask is that you support us along the way and we as the Empire editors promise you, our dear and beloved reader, the finest quality of work that can be achieved. Thank you, Empire Editors

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CONTENTS 6

Alternative Story Forms 6. A History of Video Games 8. Is Dark Souls the Game for You? 10. The Best Genre? 12. How to Shoot for Success

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Opinion Pieces 14. Battlefield 3: Revolutionary FPS 16. The Sin of Buying Used 18. Game Piracy Sets Sail 20. ESRB: Helpful or Harmful?

Feature Stories 22. Why WOW will Never Fail 24. The Mass Effect Ending 26. Battlefield Runs Aground 28. We Have to Pay Money?


Meet the Editors

Ross Murdock is a 15 year-old avid gamer who enjoys all games but finds particular joy in RPGs such as Dark Souls, his all time favorite game. Ross can be found on his PS3 happily gaming away in his free time.

Matthew Mercado is a tech-savvy 15 year old high school student at LASA. His favorite game is Diablo 1 and is currently learning to program his own games by learning programming languages like JAVA. His favorite console is the Xbox 360, and actually enjoys things outside of gaming, like collecting vinyl records. His favorite genre of video games are RPG’s. David Hamilton is a ninth grade student at LASA high school. His favorite game is Battlefield 3, which he plays in his free time on the XBOX 360 console. His favorite genre of video games are FPS’s.

Dylan Luo is currently a ninth grade student enrolled in LASA high school. He was born in Houston, Texas, although his ethnicity is Chinese. Dylan’s favorite genre of game is FPS (first person shooter), and he prefers to play on the computer or the Xbox 360. Dylan’s hobbies include playing games, reading, swimming, and all the other stuff teenagers like to do.

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A History of Video Games A brief view into the history of Video games By: Dylan Luo

1972

1947

Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann constructed the cathod ray tube amusement device, the earliest known interacive electronic game.

The first commercially successful video game, Pong, is released.

1971

Arcade games become available to the public beginning with Computer Space.

By Wally Gobetz

By Marcin Wichary

By Eli Brody

By Joi Ito By Thomas Becker

By Tyrus Balk

1962 1936

The first monopoly game is released.

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The first computer based video game, Spacewar, is released.

1972

The first at home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, is released.


1998

Nintendo releases the Gameboy Color.

October 18, 1985

June, 1980

The original Pacman is released to the public.c.

By Wen Zeng

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is released in the United States, ending the North American video game crash.

By Dylan Luo

By David Carter

April, 2010

Apple releases the first iPad, selling 300,000 units on the first day and 3 million by 80 days. By Matt Buchanan

1983-1985

The North American video game crash occured, causing a 97% revenue drop from $3.2 billion in 1983 to $100 million in 1985.

2006

Nintendo releases the first ever motion sensing gaming console, the Wii.

By Dylan Luo

Microsoft releases the Xbox 360 after the success of the first Xbox console. 62.7 million copies have been sold as of April of 2012.

By La Ignorancia Mata

By Drdemento (flickr)

November 2005

April 1, 2007

The first generation iPod Touch is released, providing a new device to play games.

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Is Dark Souls the game for you? By: Mr. Murdock

Do you like hard games?

YES Do you like being challenged?

YES Do you like dying countless times just in order to advance in a game?

YES

Do you like enemy ai thats smarter then you?

YES

Do you enjoy stunning graphics?

YES

Do you like loads of unique weapons each with thier own move sets?t?

NO

Go back to your wii games and enjoy looking like an idiot [Try Again]

NO

Bet you subscribe to Wuss weekly [Try Again]

NO

All you will ever be good at is flicking small, flightless birds at green pigs [Try Again]

NO

Learning how to breathe was probably the hardest challenge of your life [Try Again]

NO

Congratulations, you are the first blind cave fish to ever read this [Try Again]

NO

I wonder how this magazine made its way into a retirment home... [Try Again]

YES Do you like feeling rewarded whenever you finish a stage?

NO

Did daddy never love you?

NO

That air you’re breathing? You don’t deserve it. In fact, the only thing you deserve is a truck hurtling at you at 80 mph.

YES

Do you like bosses that will will literally shove a spear through your gut and then strike you with lightening?

YES

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[Try Again]

[Try Again]

If all of your answers were yes, go to the green text. If even a single one of your answers was no, even after trying again, go to the red text.


You are made of sterner stuff then the rest. You rise to the challenge and conquer all before you. Anything you lay your sight on becomes yours in time. You are god among men. Mates come to you and throw themselves at your feet. Enemies cower in fear at your very shadow. Dark Souls will sharpen your senses, turn you into a true conqueror of all. Remember your days of Dark Souls fondly, for it is only the first step to your domination of all that opposes you.

You are nothing but sand in the wind, loose particles that will do little to nothing in their lives. You will have no impact on the world as you float around, simply existing and consuming. Dark Souls laughs at your very attempt at existience and mocks you when you fall. Even the bull, right down there, is disappointed in you. Go through life knowing that.

All Images provided by FromSoftware’s Dark Souls

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The Best Genre? By: Matthew Mercado

As games become more and more popular to the masses, certain genres become more popular than others. This is a survey of students at LASA, to see what genre is currently most popular.

Other

Games: Portal Series Braid Limbo Fez

10.81%

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Racing

Games: Gran Turismo Series Mario Kart Series

10.81%

RPG

Games: Final Fantasy series Elder Scrolls Series Dark souls

8.10%

Strategy Games: Starcraft 2 League of Legends Dota II

35.13%

Shooter Games:Call of Duty Series Battlefield Series Halo Series Killzone Series

Action Games:Uncharted Series God of War Series Devil May Cry Series

2.70%

32.43% 11


How To Shoot For Success A Method Applicable to All Multiplayer FPS Games By: David Hamilton

Damsgaard

1

First, find a location on the map with few passages. The less passages, the less directions oponents can attack you from. Try to find a location with 2 to 3 at the most.

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Damsgaard

2

Once you have located such a place, you will need to find a vantage point in which you can see each entrance. Optimal positions include corners where you can lie low and areas with objects to conceal yourself. You will remain here for the rest of the game.


When you see an enemy, open fire! Aim for the head.

Damsgaard

4

Damsgaard

3

You must now watch each entrance for approaching enemies. Continuously look in each direction and be ready to shoot. Be sure to glance at the minimap every few seconds to know when an opponent is about to run in.

Damsgaard

5

Stay where you are and repeat steps 3 and 4. By doing so, you will score many points and gain killstreaks.

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Battlefield 3:

f p s Revolut i o n a r y

B

By: David Hamilton

series dominates all other first person shooters. According to the game producers Electronic Arts, Battlefield 3 has currently sold over 14 million copies. While Call of Duty fans may point out that COD has sold more copies, this does not prove which is the better game.

and flies straight at the two-story corner house. “Bang!� With a groaning of metal and flurry of dust, the building collapses into a pile of rubble. Battlefield 3, winner of over 60 game industry awards, is the best warfare game ever to have been created. Defined by stunning graphics and action packed gameplay, the Battlefield

Some people may argue that it is too easy to die and too hard to find enemies in Battlefield. They say that it is frustrating trying to figure out where the objectives are. The maps are too big. This, however, is not true. Battlefield 3 is a very advanced game when it comes to multiplayer game play. Why is this game better

Picture by SobControllers

arren and decrepit, the Pakistani market sits in the midst of potholed streets and rundown homes. Golden sun rays fall upon the uninhabited vending stands, casting long shadows against the cobblestone. All is quiet. Suddenly, something whizzes overhead

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be destroyable. This allows for camping to be eliminated and maps changed each game so one never truly knows what will happen next. In my opinion, this added element to the game play makes the game more stimulating than others such as Call of Duty through this added realism. Who enjoys dying over and over again in a single match because someone on the opposite team has overpowered killstreaks? Not me. Battlefield 3 has integrated vehicles within the multiplayer designed so that none are too overpowered. While Battlefield is not the only game to have vehicles, I believe their integration within multiplayer to be better off than in any other game. For those of you who enjoy simple victories, go on playing Call of Duty. But for those of us who want to have a meaningful gaming experience, Battlefield 3 is the way to go.

Picture by Ninja Niner

than all the rest? Battlefield 3 is able to hold the gamer’s attention through exciting game play and action. The online game play is very different than other FPS’s like Call of Duty and Halo. According to Seth Schiesel, a well known gaming critic from the New York Times, “the learning curve is much steeper in Battlefield 3.” For hardcore gamers, this is a must. A gamer does not want to play a game where there is no depth. But in Battlefield 3, advanced team play and the spotting of hidden opponents satisfies the need for a challenge perfectly. While at first this game may seem hard to master, once one has mastered it, playing online will be much more fun. Battlefield 3 is also a superior game because it isn’t repetitive like many others. This can partly be attributed to Frostbite 2, an engine that allows for buildings and structures to

Stunningly real graphics define Battlefield 3

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The Sin of Buying Used How Used Games are Damaging the Market By: Mr. Murdock

play the newest games. With technology that would make any fans across Amer- used games obsolete, many ica eagerly await news gamers would be turned about the long anticipated away from the medium. successor of the very popular Xbox 360, but recently Gaming as a medium has rumors about the system evolved to become a major have left many horror struck. part of many people’s lives According to the popular as more and more people gaming site Kotaku, “ [Mi- purchase consoles to play crosoft] intends to incorpo- in their down time. In fact, rate some sort of anti-used financial analysis site Seekgame system as part of their ing Alpha states that, “Game so-called Xbox 720.” Used sales have outpaced movies games are one of the only for some time now.” Howways people can afford and ever, developing a game in

M

today’s market requires tremendous amounts of money, often ranging from $20 million to $100 million simply to produce the game. With the additional fees of proper marketing, distribution, and other such expenses, making a video game is not cheap. Thankfully the return is normally enough to keep developers and their publishers in business. However, there is one thing that is detracting from the money they receive and that is the used game market. Physical distributors such as Gamestop will sell used games for less than their original price. This makes sense due to the product being used, however there’s a

“Gamestop takes all the profit for themselves, leaving game developers completely out of the equation.” catch, Gamestop takes all the profit for themselves, leaving game developers completely out of the equation.

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Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Still, it has always been the


right of the buyer to do whatever they want with their product and video games should be no exception. Still, used games do hurt the industry and starve many developers and producers of their hard earned money that could be used to make new and improved games that players would love even more. However, game publishers have taken steps to limit the power of physical distributors by adding “online passes” to many of their games. These passes are one time codes that you must enter when you first open the new game in order to unlock content such as multi-player or single player bonuses. If someone were to buy a used copy of this game, the online pass would have already been used and force the new owner to purchase a code for more money that would completely skip the physical distributors. Many gamers find this whole process very irritating and some even refuse to buy games with these passes, finding them a violation of their right to sell games in their original condition. This is simply

wrong due to the fact that when someone buys something new, it should come with everything because it’s new. However, when you buy something used you are giving up the right to have the complete package.

count, thus losing so many features that people with the new game would possess. Buying a used game is everyone’s right, but to complain when companies attempt to fight the sale of used games is just silly. If the developers risk the possibility of losing money to the sale of their game as a used copy then they have all rights to try to fight that. Future consoles will probably take the lead of the Xbox 720 and stop the use of all used games. They are simply evolving just like the PC market.

Another thing to keep in mind is that used games are unique to consoles. PC gaming has moved past this issue many years ago. First, many games on the PC are bought digitally on sites such as Valve’s Steam where you download the game directly from the digital distributor on to your own computer. However, you can’t see the code you have on your computer without pirating the original content. Actual physical copies of computer games normally come with account activations that can only be used once. If given to another person, they will not be able to start a ac-

Photo provided by Gamestop

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Game Piracy Sets Sail By: Dylan Luo

Y

ou go to the “GameStop” store around the corner, and you see that Halo Combat Evolved has come out at the price of $25. Then you decide that you want to save some money, so you go to your computer and download it off of Mega Upload. It’s just $25. No harm done, right? Wrong! From an individual’s perspective, the piracy of a game is nothing to multibillion dollar corporations. However, when the entire world population’s rate of piracy is taken into account, a small issue turns into a monumental issue for the gaming industry. It has affected some of the largest corporations for the entire gaming including Sony, EA, Nintendo, and Treyarch (creator of Call of Duty). The main problem is that piracy is increasing and shows no signs of slowing down. According to the researchers from the anti-piracy firm, Envisional, the percent of pirated games went up 20% from 2006 to 2011. To give an idea of

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how extreme some cases of piracy are in a few countries, approximately 600,000 copies of the game Fifa were sold in the Middle East when it was released in 2009. That’s a pretty decent number right? There’s just one problem. Only 4,000 of the copies were legally purchased from the real company, EA Sports. According to Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software,

“If you’re unwilling to shoplift in a store, you shouldn’t be downloading illegally pirated versions of games.”

According to dictionary.com, the traditional definition of piracy is the practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea. However, in the modern world, piracy is defined as the unauthorized reproduction or use


of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trade marketed product, etc. For example, James Burt, a 24 year old Brisbane resident, illegally downloaded Super Mario Bros Wii and distributed it six days before the release date. This is an example of piracy and illegal distribution of a product. However, the purchase or use of a pirated product is also considered piracy and is therefore illegal. In the end, Nintendo hired a private detective to hunt Mr. Burt down. He was charged with a $1.5 million fine. As one can see, the consequences of game piracy are extremely severe, which is all the more reason for pirates to buy or sell the game legally! Game Pirates do provide many logical and persuasive arguments to justify and defend their actions. An extremely effective excuse that pirates use is that they claim that they simply test out the quality of the game before buying it. What makes this argument so effective is that one can’t be completely sure of the valid intentions of the person. But in the end, why would one buy that which they get for free? The vast majority of people would realize that they wouldn’t need to buy the game after they “tested the quality” for free. Another commonly used excuse is that the price range of certain games is too high for many people to be able to legally purchase them, so instead, they pirate them. Pirates also claim that the developers are greedy, selfish, and undeserving of the large profits they make from the games. However, because game companies actually create the games, it’s their right to sell the games at whatever price they wish.

Without money, these companies are not able to exist, which would mean NO MORE GAMES. It’s the reason why so many major American companies (especially Apple) are outsourcing jobs to other countries. Workers cost less in other countries. It all boils down to MONEY! Although pirates do occasionally provide logical excuses for their crimes, they are essentially generating excuses to defy the government and break laws. Many pirates don’t realize that what they’re really doing is essentially the same as committing crimes that society considers disgraceful.

by the Motion Picture Association of America

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ESRB: Helpful A journalistic review of the Electronic Software Rating Board By: Matthew Mercado

E

SRB, the Electronic Software Rating Board, the sacred guardian of video games, is supposedly sheltering our kids from the intense violence of Modern Gore-fest: 2. However, recent studies have shown that the ESRB is ineffective, inconsistent, and in need of change. According to this recent scientific study performed at Routledge, a global publisher of academic studies, it has been shown that violent video games no negative effect on people. This brings into question the idea that certain video games needing to be reserved for certain ages based on content. A twelve year old should be able to play a 17 and up game. Not only that, but another study at the Pew Research Center has shown that most people completely ignore the ESRB rating, with 47% of all teens playing fps-shooters, an almost exclusively “mature” genre. Obviously, the ESRB is completely ineffective, and is in dire of change. Why

Courtesy of http://mariosworld. org/assets/images/forum_images/forums.mariosworld.org/E/ esrb_game_ratings_system.png

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Is this really needed?

should a game that has no negative effects on a teenager be reserved for only those who are 17 and up? It would seem like the outright removal of any rating system whatsoever would probably be disconcerting to parents who generally do not like to do research on games before they buy them for their kids, yet still feel like they need to protect their children from the “mature content” of video games. I think a compromise can be made. My suggestion to improve this broken system would be to remove the age restrictions altogether, and instead work to improve on the accuracies of the list of things that could potentially make a game “mature.” For example Modern Warfare 3’s ESRB rating of mature, for intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language would be more useful by more explicitly saying what one would actually see in the game. For example, I have played through the


or Harmful? would most likely allow them to be better educated about games. This in turn would mean that they would most likely let their children play games that they initially might think were too violent. Hopefully, the ESRB system will be changed so more people of all ages can play the games that they wish to.

Courtesy of http://images.wikia.com/gearsofwar/ images/b/b3/Gearsofwar.jpg

game, and found no sexual content. Why does ESRB consider something I never saw in the game to beas big of a deal as the “intense violence?” Not only that, but the idea of what exactly “intense violence” really is, never gets actually defined that well. How intense is intense? Does the player rip out a man’s intestines with a golf club? Or does the player just shoot a man and see a very small decal of blood? This can be accomplished by actually giving a sentence or two about what justifies putting a game on the list of those that deserve a “mature” rating. For example, if the game has “intense violence,” then a brief description of why that is justified would be necessary. Something like “The player punches someone an a brief decal of blood is shown.” After the list is given, there could be a general notice at the end it stating that this is just a list pointing out what one would expect in the game, and that no link has been shown between violent video games and aggressive behavior of players afterwards. This system would keep parents who feel like they shouldn’t let their kids play violent video games happy, and due to the more accurate description of what actually happens in the game, as well as the notice at the end,

Should kids be able to play this?

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Why WoW will never fall By: Mr. Murdock

C

harles Kennedy’s eyes quickly scanned the screen in his dimly lit room as his guild mates asked him for “rezes”. The raiding had started and the players would continue for hours, however they are the last of a dying race.World of Warcraft, once a game with over 12 million subscribers, is losing its fanbase at a drastic rate, possibly leading to a future where only the hardcore such as Kennedy will remain. World of Warcraft (or WoW as it is colloquially known), was released in 2004 and quickly became the most subscribed to game ever, having over 12 million subscribers in 2010. However, the game has lost roughly 2 million in over a year as gamers are attracted to new games with different payment methods. WoW started and refined the subscription payment method, one large payment to get the actual game and then small monthly fees to keep playing. This left many players dissatisfied with the amounts that they were paying which led to similar games starting a “free-toplay” model where you could get the main game for free and pay for small

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Image PRovided by Blizzard

things within in the game enhance the experience. Still, with a new expansion pack on the way and incentives for coming back, WoW may not suffer such severe losses as predicted by many. And even if many leave, it will take more then a little stagnation to make the gamers that have been with WoW from the start to forsake the multiplayer master piece. Kennedy on the other hand feels that WoW is only a nearing a minor setback and will not plummet as some experts say. “It’s like the stock market and the Simpsons,” he said, “your hardcore fans will stay and bring others to enjoy the mayhem.” Why do they stay? Multiple other MMOs(massively multiplayer online games) have come out since the release of WoW and each one hasn’t garnered even half the amount of subscribers that WoW has. “I’ve heard that WoW has a better social network


than other games,” stated Kennedy. Simple and to the point but really how sophisticated and complex is the social system of WoW? How are common day arguments dealt with between minotaurs and elves? “In WoW, most will duel it out and by then it’s long forgotten. Some are really petty, but those folks are identified by oth-

“It’s like the stock market and the Simpsons, your hardcore fans will stay and bring others to enjoy the mayhem.”

ers quickly and then get snubbed.” This paints a picture of a game full of angry gamers who do nothing but kill each other. However, this is not true and many gamers find that helping others is more to their taste. “I stay on my low end server and I help another person out in their quest and in some cases the favor will be returned,” says Kennedy, “I enjoy it being sociable.” Still, a game needs more than just a great community to garner millions of subscribers. MMOs specifically need things to do once players reach the maximum level or they’ll all leave out of boredom. So how does WoW deal with this? “There are End Gamers who

want more challenges,” says Kennedy. “I’m down with that, but I prefer getting Achievements rather than figuring out how to get to the very end.” Even after 8 years of constant updates, World of Warcraft has some gameplay issues. The actual movement of characters is rather clunky and many players find themselves frustrated when their character runs into a small hill that instantly blocks their character. Other such problems persist as well. “I would like [Blizzard] to give us the option to Rock Climb. Once you’ve fallen down some place, in some cases, you have to either die or port back to your home.” Blizzard has many forums in which fans can voice their opinions on what they would like to change such as the ability to rock climb, but how do they implement this feedback? “I have a suspicion they know and therefore, they’re shelving it or waiting for a new expansion pack.” If Blizzard continues to add to the game such as their successful Cataclysm expansion then WoW will never run out of content and players will always have something to do on the plains of Azeroth. Yet that would lead to a stagnation and many players question where WoW will even go in the future. “I see it possibly intermingling with its other titles. Like, let’s say, a Hunter from Diablo meets up with a Hunter from WoW and they now can travel to both realms as Mercenaries. Plus my Zombie Priestess will go on a brain eating spree on Alpha Centauri.” WoW may be in a brief period where content is stale and its appeal and charm have worn off for many but it will never die as long as players like Charles Kennedy remain. “Me, I’m loyal and I’m staying with Blizz until I hear it’s pushing up daisies.”

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The Mass Effect Ending Courtesy of http://cdn2.holytaco.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/mass-effect-3-hd-wallpaper-3.jpg

by: Matthew Mercado

F

abian Magallan, an avid fan of the Mass Effect series, has nearly finished playing the final installment in the franchise. He has been amazed by the game’s quality so far, but as he finished the final ten minutes of the game, he was left completely bewildered by what has just taken place. Recently, there has been an outcry of the ending by the fans that has been so severe that they have demanded the ending be changed. “I enjoyed Mass Effect 3 completely up to the final moments,” he says. “The combat has been upgraded to the point where it is nearly perfect.” Obviously the game was great until the very end, so what is the problem? “No matter what you did in the entire series the outcomes are nearly identical,” Fabian says. In the end, you are presented with three options, to destroy the Reapers, a race of god-like robots that threaten to destroy the galaxy, along with all A.I., to sacrifice yourself to take control of the Reapers, or to sacrifice yourself to merge all organic life with synthetic life, creating a new life. “There is simply no satisfying closure. Nothing is said of the future of the galaxy you spent the last

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Does the ending ruin everything?

5 years trying to save. Nothing is said of the races you helped bring together for the final assault on the reapers. No matter what you do you end up dead, the relays get destroyed, and your crew is trapped on an unknown planet.” There have been multiple protests of the ending. One particularly notable protest occurred when the fans managed to buy over 400 cupcakes for Bioware with each one being either the color red, blue, or green to represent the endings. However the cupcakes taste identical, according to the fans, this represents how the even though the endings look different, they still seem like the same events occur, with your choice barely mattering.


However, fans think there is a way Bioware can redeem the ending. “There is a prevalent theory among the internet is that the final scene of Mass Effect 3 was a hallucination, a test of Shepard’s (the player’s character) will to resist indoctrination by the Reapers,” Fabian says. Fans call this the “Indoctrination Theory.” “People who believe in this theory cite the reversal of moral choices, destroying the Reapers is considered evil but con-

“The ending is terrible” trolling them is considered good which is unusual since the Illusive Man, a primary antagonist, was the one who wanted to control them,” Fabian says. “I do not plan on buying any DLC relating to Mass Effect 3 unless it revolves around the ending of the game. This is an ingenious idea if it were true; one that is deserv-

ing of praise for its depth and genius. I feel Bioware has a chance to redeem itself if the indoctrination theory is true.” While he thinks the publisher of the game, EA, “doesn’t control the plot of the series,” that doesn’t stop him from criticizing the company, “EA is concerned more for the short term profits rather than the overall quality of the product or the consideration of their fan base. Their policies are outrageous, a perfect example of their love for profit rather than the consumer.” “I will always love Bioware,” Fabian says. “Mass Effect 3 was an amazing game, worthy of its critical acclaim, it was just the ending.” “An rpg is not required to have a radically huge amount of endings available to the player but at least have endings that show a little more difference than the color of an explosion.”

Courtesy of http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-goWTggy_ yoY/TY-SJZt3A6I/AAAAAAAAAQ8/7ivwsurcFfU/s1600/ Mass%2BEffect%2B3%2BTeaser%2BWallpaper.jpg

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Battlefield Runs AGROUND By David Hamilton

T

he iridescent glow of the computer screen shines upon thousands of hunched over Battlefield 3 fans spread across the globe. Each one is constantly hitting the refresh button on the Battlefield 3 official website, just waiting for new news. Suddenly, it’s there. “Close Quarters!” Fingers tapping, eyes gleaming, the gamers spread word of the upcoming expansion pack. As the forums pop up and comments are posted, disbelief and shock emerges. The expansion looks just like Call of Duty! On March 13, Dice released a preview of its upcoming expansion for Battlefield 3, “Close Quarters”, which was soon met with both rage and excitement at the strikingly similar resemblance to Call of Duty. Previously, the “large maps and vehicles is what separated [Battlefield] from Call of Duty,” says Jake Janssen, a Battlefield 3 enthusiast. Now, however, four close combat maps are being introduced to the game, lacking vehicles and bringing some of the classic Call of Duty guns into the game. These similarities to Call of Duty have horrified many avid Battlefield 3 fans. “I’m morally appalled at the Battlefield franchise for giving up the basic

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Photo by Psygeist

foundation that made the game what it is today,” Janssen says. “Battlefield is known for being more realistic with large maps while Call of Duty is known for its close quarters maps.” By adding these non-vehicle small maps, “they’re taking their first step to be a knock-off of Call of Duty.” Janssen says that it’s not just the different style of game play Dice is adding, but that he is also deterred by the attitude of the developers of the game. “How can we trust the Battlefield Franchise if they are willing to sell out their original community that grew them to the game they are today? This update makes me feel like the Battlefield Franchise is in for the mon-


“Our Battlefield culture will be gone” fast paced and close encounters… but it won’t be bad because you can still play on the big maps. Battlefield always is going to be different.” While the expansion may captivate a large portion of the Call of Duty audience to retain an interest in Battlefield, Jacob admits other problems with Close Quarters exist. “There are a lot of people who only play Battlefield for the vehicles and not the game play,” he explains. “People who don’t want to play Battlefield for the game play aren’t going to switch [what they play] for this Close Quarters.” Because of people’s resistance to changing what they play, he says Close Quarters “won’t draw in the full potential of people.” While the potential for Call of Duty players to convert from Call of Duty to Battlefield may result in an increase of rev-

enue for Dice, this element is an additional factor that some are worried about. Jake acknowledges that more Call of Duty fans may begin playing Battlefield, but for him, this is concerning. “I do not want these Call of Duty heathens in my game play. With many of the new players coming into the game….our Battlefield culture will be gone. What if they lose us hard core fans and sell out to the eight year old crowd?!? ” To Jake and so many of the other hardcore Battlefield fans, Close Quarters is just the start of a momentum that’s taking Battlefield towards Call of Duty. “It’ll change. It’ll grow,” says Jake. “[But] in the end, it will end up being a worse version of Call of Duty.

Photo by Gaming Union

ey and not for the actual players.” However, many people think otherwise. Jacob Saslavsky, a fifteen year old Call of Duty fan, poses a different stance on the issue.” “The update will help to bring more people to Battlefield,” he says. “[Close Quarters] will be more like Call of Duty because everything will be more

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We Have To Pay Money? Major League Gaming Decides To Go Pay-Per-View For The Winter Arena Competition

By: Dylan Luo

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Photo By Willow Higgins

The luminescent blue light from the computer monitors shines against the stolid faces of the competitors as they struggle in an all-out attempt to win. Hundreds of wideeyed professional gamers play StarCraft 2 in the Winter Arena pay-per-view event for a cash prize of $10,000. Despite the numerous cameras focused on them, not to mention the thousands of online viewers, the players pay no mind, never taking their eyes off the belligerent war taking place on the screens. “It’s really a battle of wits to the extreme,” says 15-year-old avid StarCraft 2 player, Kevin C., “almost like a high level of chess.” This intense competition rapidly gathered attention, so Major League Gaming (MLG) decided to take a leap. What was happily remembered as a free competition to watch now costs $20. A week before the Winter Arena competition held in New York, MLG made a lucrative decision to make the Winter Arena event a pay-per-view event. According to the new paying system, each viewer was required to pay $20 to view the competition. Afterwards, there were contradicting views about the event and whether future competitions held by MLG should be pay-per-view. Some StarCraft 2 players viewed the new paying system as a step up from the old competitions. They enthusiastically welcomed the pay-per-view system with open arms.

Kevin C.

In his February 14, 2012 article, “Why MLG’s Winter Arena Being PPV is the Best Thing to Happen So Far in 2012,” Well Played chief marketing officer Alessandro Minocci stated that MLG’s pay-per-view decision was “brilliant” and said, “I applaud the bravery of MLG.” Kevin C. also has a positive view of the situation. “The StarCraft 2 scene is expanding,” explains Kevin. “It’s going…towards more of a real sports scene like in football or soccer where you actually have to pay to watch games,” he adds. Additionally, Kevin doesn’t seem to mind the fact that he has to pay $20 in order to view the competition. “I felt like it was a reasonable amount because it was 20 dollars,” says Kevin who watched the event. “[The tournament] was definitely worth it because the best 32 players in the entire world were going to be there,” he explains.


Photo By Vincent Samaco

However, the announcement also released an overwhelming wave of outraged and disappointed fans, including 15-yearold StarCraft 2 player, Ryan R. “I have to use money for this? Nope, not watching this anymore,” Ryan says. “I’m not buying tickets, because, as of now, other tournaments have just as high level games that I can watch for free…I will miss the games from MLG, but I don’t believe it’s worth it.” Minocci, on the other hand, has a completely different opinion. “StarCraft 2 fans have been extremely spoiled in the past year,” he says. “[Fans have] had access to more content than [they] can possibly consume.” The streams were available in Full HD or 1080 pixels, and the 32 professional gamers held frequent breath taking matches. However, there were numerous lag problems throughout the entire weekend associated with the Full HD. There is room for improvement for future competitions, but many viewers thought the game play was still fantastic. “I’d say it was a great viewing experience,” says Kevin C. “It was a pleasure to watch it.” Despite the fact that countless fans decided not to cough up their twenty dollars, MLG co-founder, Sundance DiGiovanni still called the competition a success. However, there’s still a lingering question that still has yet to be answered. Will future competitions be pay-per-view as well? “There doesn’t need to be too many events throughout the year that should be pay-per-view only,” states Kevin C. “Only a few events should be pay-per-view like… the last competition.”

MarineKingPrime, the winner of the Winter Arena competition.

Ryan R. views the future tournaments differently. “MLG is shortsighted,” says Ryan. He continues to say, “I believe MLG should release the streams for free with ads at least, and…have replays for pay, or something to attract an audience and keep it, while still profiting…That should be MLG’s primary concern.” Since the Winter Arena pay-per-view competition, MLG has held the Spring Arena tournament. This tournament was also PPV, except this time, the price was cut in half to $10. Fans yielded similar reactions to the Winter Arena competition in February. However, due to the fact that the price was significantly lower than the past competition, there were less displeased reactions. That wasn’t to say that there were still outraged fans that were aggrieved over the new pay-per-view system, but it was inevitable that some fans would be upset to shell up any money at all. In spite of that, MLG has made its point clear. “If a profit cannot be made, this industry will collapse,” Minocci says. “We need to see where this goes.”

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Empire  

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