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Why We Plug In We Play for a Reason and its Time to Find That Out

The Days of Old Revisiting the Retro Games of the Past

What Defines an R PG A look at the Electronic Version of the Age-Old Nerd Game.


SUMMER 2014


WINTER 2014


Letter From The Editors Hello there, we here at Next Level would like to take a page to explain this magazine to all the people reading it. First and foremost, this magazine was created at LASA High School through their Electronic Magazine program which we all participate in. This magazine is, rather obviously, about videogames and their relevance to us, the gamers. If you are a “Fitness Nut” or parent, we do not recommend this magazine. Here at Next Level, video games are very important to us, so if they’re just as important to you, this is a magazine you will find enjoyable. All of us have a love for video games, and we would like to share that love with you. Instead of taking one specific stance on a video game or company, we encompass all aspects of gaming culture and share them with the world. Whether we play as an escape or just because they’re fun, video games will always have a special place in our hearts. We would like to thank all of the people who helped make it possible, especially Oshawott, who is pictured at the bottom of the page. When Oshawott first brought the idea to the group, we knew that we had a winner. Oshawott was also there every step of the way, providing constant constructive criticism and support. The only reason that he was not included in the bio’s page was because of anti-Pokemon laws enforced by our instructor. We would also like to thank Megan Smith, Keith Baker, Ari Marmell, Gaijin Goomba (real name unknown), Ronnie Edwards, Jack Butler and William Allen for generously donating their time and being willing to be interviewed. We would also like to thank Kristy Golubiewski-Davis, Sony Corp., Nintendo Co., Microsoft, Deviantart and Wikimedia Commons for their picture donations. Thank you also to video games everywhere. Without them, we wouldn’t be here now. Thank you for reading. Enjoy Next Level! -Harper Jambor and Antonio Batista


Meet the Team Antonio Batista No. 303 Antonio Fanboy Pokemon Type: Steel-Fairy Height: 5’5 Weight: 110.1 lbs. Every day, he can be found on his 3DS training his competitive Pokemon team, playing with La Chompere the Mawile or praising Lord Goomy. He is a primary user of the moves Sing, Petal Dance, Slack Off and Uproar.

Harper Jambor Subject Name: Harper Jambor Height: 6’4” Age: 14. Warning, do not approach. Extremely dangerous, especially when interrupted from playing video games. Known Hideouts: Robotics shops and movie theatres in Austin TX. He is usually found with his secret spy ring of murderers and assassins known as “The Nerds.” Harper Jambor’s history is riddled with mystery partly because he never leaves his house apart from going out to buy a new video game. The FBI is positively sure he is plotting to blow up the earth and is simply using video games to build a bomb or he could just be as antisocial as the rest of the lunatics forced to write this magazine.

Aaliyah Tucker You’ve probably never seen Aaliyah outside of school, McDonalds, or any general store that sells game related items, and that’s mostly because she only leaves her lair once in a blue moon. Her part time jobs consist of goofing off, nothing, and being an Umbreon in the fall. She mostly plays pokemon and other Autonomous games, and she recently discovered Animal Crossing. If you have yet to meet her, good luck because she’s not leaving her house anytime soon. She also enjoys first person shooters (to a lesser extent), and absolutely adores the Arbiter. As you read this, she’s probably not working on that project due next week, and is playing with her Sylveon in Pokemon-amie.

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LEVEL SELECT 1-1 p. 8

Console Timeline by Aaliyah Tucker

A quick synopsis of where the world has gone from the beginning of video gaming consoles.

1-2 p. 10

2-1 p. 16

2-2 p. 19 3-1 p. 24

3-2 p. 26

What Defines an RPG by Aaliyah Tucker

The history and ideas behind role-playing games from the beginning to the modern day.

Nintendo vs. Sony vs. Microsoft by Harper Jambor

A comparison of the three modern-gaming giants of the industry and their current-generation console.

The Days of Old by Harper Jambor

A look at how much video games have changed since the beginning.

Super Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS by Antonio Batista

A discussion about the new features, characters and more coming to the new Super Smash Brothers game.

Why We Plug In by Antonio Batista

An analysis of how video games affect people and why they are so important in this day and age.


THEY LAUNCHED THE KICKSTARTER... wikpedia.en

wikpedia.en

wikpedia.en

The technology was developed to sense to motion of the player, and respond by moving the ingame view at a syncronized rate, ultimately enhancing the involvement and experience of the gamer as they play the game through the headgears projectedvision.

THE OCULUS WAS A BIG HIT... AND NOW, BROUGHT TO US BY OCULUS VR...

www.pcgamer.com

THE OCULUS RIFT DEVELOPEMENT KIT 2 PROJECTED TO RELEASE IN THE SUMMER OF 2014

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How Far we’ve Come with Gaming Systems Taking a Look Back at the Top Ten Consoles Released in North America Based on Sales by Aaliyah Ellis Tucker All pictures from en.wikipedia.org

If one was to track every gaming console ever made since the Odyssey released by Magnavox in 1972, the list would amount to dozens upon dozens of different units of entertainment-based machinery. Now it is plain to see on a year-by-year basis that these consoles have developed considerably. Their evolution took place not only in their aesthetic aspects, but in how they are played and experienced. Over time, the graphics and controller sensitivity of each and every console down the way improve, and these factors alone can improve the game’s quality and one’s gaming experience.

Sega Genesis (1989) Sold: 40,000,000 Units

Being the very first 16-bit gaming console on the market, the Sega Genesis set a new trend for consoles. Instead of cartridges, this console utilized special CDs.

Nintendo SNES (1991) Sold: 49,100,000 Units

Sony Playstation (1994) Sold: 102,490,000 Units

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was the successor and improved version of the NES

In result of a failed relationship with Nintendo, Sony took what they learned before the partnership was broken and creased the Playstation, one of the biggest hits around the world. It was the console that turned the worlds focus to 3D gaming.

1990 Atari 2600 (1982) Sold: 20,000,000 Units

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The Nintendo 64 was a personal achievement for nintendo as it was their first 3D gaming console. With this new gaming ability, many reputable games were produced for this console.

Nintendo NES (1985) Sold: 61,910,000 Units

Though the initial plans for this console were significantly more complicated, the final product was the Nintendo Entertainment System, NES for short. It was a popular gaming console that utilized gaming cartridges, like the other consoles in its time. It was an improved console at the time and was released after the video game market crash of 1983; each console came with a R.O.B (Robot Operating Buddy).


Nintendo 64 (1996) Sold: 32,930.000 Units

The Nintendo 64 was a personal achievement for nintendo as it was their first 3D gaming console. With this new gaming ability, many reputable games were produced for this console.

Sony Playstation 2 (2000) Sold: 155,000,000 Units

Sony Playstation 3 (2006) Sold: 77,000,000 Units

The Sony Playstation 2 was by far the most advanced gaming console at its time of release, with its DVD movie playback feature, it’s compatibility with the predecessor playstation games, and it’s unique vertical stance feature.

Nintendo Wii (2006) Sold: 99,840,000 Units

2000

A superior console in its time and to its predecessor in every aspect: graphics, motion-sensing technology, internet access, and its games are far more enjoyable to the public.

The Wii was a revolution in the smallest package known to gaming console history. Not only was it an interactive game that could utilize the movement of gamers to assist and add to the gaming experience, but it was also backwards compatible with the Nintendo Gamecube’s games and controllers.

2010 Microsoft Xbox 360 (2006) Sold: 77,200,000 Units

The Xbox 360 was a console with an unconnected controller. It was able to play DVDs and was well known for its “Xbox Live” feature, which allowed it to connect to the internet to certain extents depending on membership.

Sources: http://classicgames.about.com http://www.alteredgamer.com http://www.gametrog.com http://www.cracked.com http://www.geeksaresexy.net http://en.wikipedia.org http://www.consoledatabase.com http://www.factsbarn.com

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What Defines an RPG The Critical Distinctions that Set them Apart by Aaliyah Tucker

RPG Gaming dice www.wallpapers.org

Breaching the surface of The relationship that role playing games have with the gaming community and to what extent players feel psychologically and emotionally involved in RPG’s.


R

Dungeons and Dragons dice, from the Wizards of the Coast owned game

PGs are simulated worlds that puts players in full control of the environment they are in. These games allow one to essentially control their own story. RPGs tend to include character customization, a diverse inventory, and some sort of leveling system. Roleplaying games are known for

popular and well-recognized feature of the games. Though there is so much more that affects and enriches the quality of these types of games. “I believe that customization and the control over the plot are key characteristics that make up a RPG, but how the graphics, characters, and tone

Though these qualities have become with people tend to associate with RPGs, they are fragments of an RPG. According to page 52 of “Glued to Games: How Video Games can draw us in and Leave us Spellbound” by Scott Rigby and Richard M. Ryan, what role-playing games really

www.ddo.com The Dungeons & Dragons online game logo with the Menace of the Underdark update

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several things, and the aspect of customization tends to be what comes to mind first in players. The reason behind this is that customization is a

of voice set the mood for the entire game and storyline are also or even more so important.” Said Megan Smith, LASA student.

give is autonomy, the ability to make decisions out of free will. The player is meant to feel important when they create their story and charac-

ters. It is up to the player to to decide what is important in the games that provide autonomy, which tends to reflect upon themselves and make them feel significant. For this reason, RPGs can satisfy social needs that were formerly accomplish by

“A good RPG puts each player in the spotlight and challenges them to be creative.” -Keith Baker, game designer and fantasy novelist. completing tedious tasks or engaging in social conduct with other people in reality. While one might not be able to completely control their lives in the real world, the virtual world puts the user in control. “A good RPG puts each player in the spotlight and challenges them to be creative.” Said Keith Baker, game designer and fantasy novelist.


There are many RPGs circulating the population, one of the older and more popular being Dungeons and Dragons, which evolved from pen and paper to online. This game features full character customization, an evergrowing inventory, and plot control via quest acceptance. While RPGs are well-known gaming formats, it’s important to remember that it is still illfavored among those within the gaming community with different genre preferences. Other types of games appeal to different people for

around them. The key difference between MMORPGs and RPGs is what MMORPG’s accomplish. While RPGs give the player control and make them feel important, and MMORPGs are meant to make the play feel significant to other players. They essentially make players work for each other, and this way, they feel as though that they are somehow making a difference for those they play with. www.mmorpg.com sumarizes that Dungeons and Dragons is technically an MMORPG itself, but it is structured to appeal to people much like an

www.company.wizards.com

Wizards of the Coast is a publishing company that has many successful RPGs

different reasons. When are RPGs are compared to massive multiplayer online role-playing games, it appears both provide high free will to the player and a diverse selection of options that let one control the story. MMORPGs take the concept of single or multi-player RPGs and extend the range of in-game interaction to other players all around the world via the internet. MMORPGs and RPGs are indeed similar, right down to having free range customization over characters, the inventory, and the world

RPG does. “It’s all about “me, me, me.” And there’s nothing wrong with playing for that experience, but it’s not going to make you any friends in an MMO. And that’s precisely why some people who enjoy RPGs don’t care for MMOs. They like being in the spotlight, they like being able to make choices without affecting other (real) people.” Said Ari Marmell, novelist and freelance RPG writer. The type of games that RPGs

Owned by Wizards of the Coast, an American game publishing company

Dungeons & Dragons in the origional pen and paper format that RPGs were played in

would be considered the least similar to would be completionbased games such as super Mario Brothers. In these types of games, on the events that occur or set in stone. This means that there is no choice for the player to make their own story as it is already created, And so the only way to advance the storyline is to achieve certain preset goals. RPGs can provide completion if the gameplay consists of quest and arcs, but completion-based games eventually ends, are you can continue to play RPGs as there is usually no definite end. And though not everyone enjoys RPGs, some people might have an unhealthy addiction to them, as with most games. “Most RPGs have some puzzles, quests, or other objectives that must be done in a certain sequence--but if the whole game is defined that way, it’s not going to provide what many RPG player look for.” Said Ari Marmell, novelist and freelance RPG writer.

“Most RPGs have some puzzles, quests, or other objectives that must be done in a certain sequence-but if the whole game is defined that way, it’s not going to provide what many RPG player look for.” -Ari Marmell, novelist and freelance RPG writer. Trading human interaction for simulations is very unsafe

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“Interacting with an artificial persona can provide all sorts of therapeutic benefits, especially for people suffering from social disorders. And if someone has no access to “real” interaction, it’s a better substitute than nothing.” -Ari Marmell for one’s social health, but those who tend to feel more

involvement within the games than in real life can be at risk of diving headfirst into the virtual. This makes sense when you also consider that RPGs can replace social interaction with humans and can do so in an environment that the player is most comfortable in. RPGs have demonstrated that they are capable of replacing human social interaction for some people in the past. This activity is unsafe because secluding oneself to simulations alone can hinder one’s social ability, according to www.livestrong.com. Keep in mind, the numerous issues with role-playing games and how they can negatively affect one’s social ability stems from the overuse of the games and misuse when disregarding the intentions of an RPG. In the rarest cases where players find themselves “hindered” in any way by games, only dug their own hole when they overcomplicated their usage of RPGs and try to satisfy and seclude themselves. The purpose of role playing games is to give people options that essentially

fulfill the players who get to choose, and that is exactly what they do. Keep in mind that as previously mentioned, the cases where role-playing games retard someone social ability are rare, and that RPGs are capable of doing so much more than entertaining or obstructing social activity. They can also work as a substitute for recreational communication if it is difficult or temporarily impossible for someone to interact with others, say they have a disorder, are socially neglected, or are in a scenario where they are isolated from public activity.

things unattainable in real life. They give a choice where there is no right or wrong, and only the players opinion matters. “Probably the most important point to me is that there’s no wrong way to play an RPG. Many people are put off by RPGs because of what amounts to stage fright – fear of looking foolish in front of friends. As long as everyone is having fun, there are no wrong answers. You’re creating a story with friends; embrace that.” Said Keith Baker

“Interacting with an artificial persona can provide all sorts of therapeutic benefits, especially for people suffering from social disorders. And if someone has no access to “real” interaction, it’s a better substitute than nothing.” Said Ari Marmell Though there are setbacks to RPGs, things like shabby graphics or abuse and misuse of purpose, they give many

History and Facts -Dave Arneson and Gary Gyqax are the co-creators of the first commercially available role playing game, the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop, a pen and paper game that was published in 1974. -In 1974, Mazewar, the first virtual world in which players could interact with each-other was created. In it, the players could shoot each other. This was considered the first MMORPG. The virtual world was later enhanced to play over the antecedent of the internet, the ARPAnet. -The dice (that are depicted three times within the former pages) are used in tabletop and pen and paper games. They are customized differently depending on the game that they feature in. These dice are commonly used to determine what events will occur,and the resolution of a situation dependent on the number or numbers rolled (i.e. Whether or not one can defeat an enemy, climb a mountain, or which direction they can go in a path, etc.). The number of dice used per game is different, and many tabletop RPGs even have a diceless system, commonly using cards as a substitute. -The initial gaming format for RPGs before they went onto computers was the pen and paper or tabletop games. Pen and paper games only need to be played with pen and paper accompanied by the discussion within the small social group partaking in the game. The discussion occurs between players who describe the actions of their in-game characters, and the game master. The game master is in charge of essentially creating the world in which the players are to imagine the game taking place in. The game master creates events that occur within the game and responds to the players retaliation to these events. The players verbally instructs the actions that their characters will take against all affairs that occur, and can roll dice to determine whether or not their actions are successful.

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COMING TO ALL IN NOVEMBER 2014 15


Battle Royale, Video Game Style By Harper Jambor

Our good ol’ friend from back in the day, Nintendo was always there from the beginning of popular video games. Blockbusters like Mario and Pokemon have kept it on top in the past yet recently they seem to be falling down. In this year alone Nintendo’s stock price has dropped almost 20%. Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii U, has brought the company up a bit as well as the anticipated release of the new Smash Bros. as was covered earlier in this magazine. Still, the great Nintendo, herald of the popular video game age may be coming to its end. The Wii U, Nintendo’s newest console, has sold almost six million copies and grossed almost two billion in profit, a Mario, Nintendo’s popular character good bit of money. Still, Nintendo isn’t the same as it was before. It used to be who brought the company its fame. almost unopposed, the only company His newest game, Super Mario 3D releasing any good games and consoles world has sold over 2 million. and now with the over saturated Back in the day, Nintendo practically saved video games single handily with the NES and Mario Bros. It started a great legacy and stayed strong for a long time with groundbreaker after groundbreaker and kept going through the turn of the century. Nintendo’s real fall started with the advent and popularization of first person shooters. They didn’t get with the program back then and it’s costing them now. Perhaps they will come out with another widely popular console or perhaps their stubbornness to platformers will betray them to their death. But this Pikachu from Nintendo’s hugely popular doesn’t appear to be happening Pokemon Gen 1 which sold over 23 million anytime soon

copies.

market, Nintendo is slowly losing value.

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Sony didn’t start in the video game business but it’s there now. Sony’s first and only console line, the PlayStation, is quite popular and the release of their new PlayStation 4 came with a bang. But is Sony really all they say? Gamers seem to think so buying over six million and making Sony over two billion in profit. Sony does not have a lot of games made by them but the ones that they do make tend to fall into two categories. The first category contains big hits like the Bioshock series, Dead Space, Infamous and some older ones like Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank. These games are fairly popular and well enough known and quite popular. The second category is complete and utter obscurity like Fat Princess and Equinox. Sony’s games are never as big as Microsoft’s or Nintendo but they are pretty famous in their own right. Sony also controls other

aspects of the gamer experience such as

A Little Sister and her Big Daddy from Sony’s Bioshock series which sold over four million copies Image property of Sony


There are a lot of names in video games and most of them know how to make good video games. Yet, there are three who collectively control a vast portion of the market. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. These three names strike fear into the hearts of other game companies and release the consoles and games which are so very repetitive yet people buy anyway. But which of these three big-wigs really is the best or is there even a best? Time to take a look at the top three companies in modern day games.

headphones and recorders which “hard core” gamers eat up like Halloween candy. They also make the TV that gamers play on and the speakers they listen to music on while they’re playing. They may not control as much of the technology world as Microsoft but they definitely control more of the game scene than either of the other two.

Isaac Clarke From Sony’s Dead Space which sold over two million copies. Sony didn’t come into existence as a video game company. The original Sony made recording and storage technology like floppy disks. The company eventually transferred to TV’s and home entertainment in general. Finally, in the 90’s Sony released its PlayStation and became even more popular. Rising to the top with the PlayStation 2, the best selling console in history, Sony became hugely popular and remains that today and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

The biggest of the three and the most broad. Microsoft makes not just consoles but games. It rules the electronic market but is its rule supreme? Microsoft thinks so with its new releases like the Xbox One and the new games like Titanfall and COD Ghosts generating big profit’s along with all of the indie games that get released for their computers and consoles. The other companies also have indie games but Microsoft has been the most indie friendly in the past. Microsoft was and is the top dog in technology covering the broadest range of almost any company from computers to phones and tablets to consoles and games. Microsoft has a greater presence in the video game industry than even either of the other two because of the fact that it has The Arbiter from Microsoft’s classic Halo 3 a larger which sold over 14 million copies. presence can probably milk both of these series’ in both video for at least another two years generating game consoles and even more revenue and releasing new games. Microsoft’s games like Titanfall which they will again widely popular make into countless sequels and spin-offs Halo and Call of to squeeze as much money out of their duty series both gamers as possible. Despite the fact that generate more Microsoft appears to be a corporate dog revenue than most hell-bent on making money off of the people make in bull they feed gamers, their practices a lifetime and have worked and Microsoft is one of the because of the most profitable companies of all time, repetitive nature probably due to the fact that they make of games and every popular thing under the sun except low standards of for burgers...for now. gamers Microsoft

John 117, AKA “Master Chief ” from Microsoft’s Halo 4 which as sold over four million copies

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Photo property of Sony

Wii U Specs:

PlayStation 4 Specs:

Xbox One Specs:

- Game pad with touch screen: The Wii U Game Pad is one of a kind and comes with new features like its touch screen and ability to play the game purely on the Game Pad if a person wishes to use the TV for another purpose. Even if the Game Pad is innovative, it comes at a cost. The Wii U Game Pad is bulky and oversized measuring 10.2 inches across.

- Eight x86-64 cores and a 1.84 TFLOPS graphics processor with 8 GB GDDR5 unified system memory: High tech processor and graphics give the PlayStation some of the best looking games on the market.

- Xbox live multiplayer is the standard online multiplayer that runs smooth and well as long as you have $50 a year.

- CPU, GPU, 8 Gig RAM: The Wii U has good memory and can be upgraded to have more but it still is a bit low as compared to others. - Multi-Core processor: Standard new processor, able to run most games pretty smoothly. - Backwards compatible: Unlike most new consoles, the Wii U has backwards compatibility, able to run most games from the Wii. - Online Miiverse multiplayer: Wii U has a new and redefined multiplayer allowing players across the world to play online together for free. Players can also access applications like Netflix and Hulu. - Wii U OS: The Wii U operating system is relatively stable and fast allowing players to play games with ease. - Easy to set up and use with minimal extra downloads and disk based gameplay keeps the console storage free of unnecessary data. The new interface makes use and play easier - Family friendly games and simplistic play style lets everyone play with ease.

- Remote play through vista: The PlayStation 4 ties in with Sony’s new handheld, the Vista, to let gamers play games anywhere they go. - Play the game you’re downloading: The processor of the PlayStation 4 allows it to play the game currently downloading by downloading part of the game and downloading the rest in the background while you play. - High tech controller with touchscreen: Like everything modern, the PS4 comes with a touchscreen controller to easier access apps and games as well as share with friends easier. - PlayStation Plus: The new PlayStation multiplayer is better and smoother allowing for more seamless play but, like everything, it comes with a price: specifically about $50 a year. - Integrated app: The PS4 has it’s own app that you can download on almost any mobile device. Check score, games, download progress from anywhere anytime at all. - PS4 system Software: The PS4 software runs smooth and looks nice. It’s a great and almost seamless interface between gamer and game.

- 8 Cores interact to make a great game and media runtime as well as amazing next-gen graphics. - Connect your cable or satellite box to your Xbox One and watch TV through your Xbox. Xbox One runs every media under the sun so one of these will make almost any other TV System obsolete - 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive give it enough memory to run even the most data heavy games - Gaming OS designed specifically for games and media making it even easier to use. - CPU, GPU and ESRAM give the computer new depth and greater, more complex AI - The high tech controller is the best in the market - New Motion tracking which can register smaller motions, see in the dark, and filter audio to register a specific voice. The audio registration system (run through the Kinect) can even register heart beats. - Greater processing downloads and plays at the same time. - Connects to your tablet to play on the go and brings games and gamers closer together.

So who really is the best? Which one will go down in history forever and which one’s will fade and become as popular as Atari? Nintendo boasts innovative controllers, backwards compatibility and new multiplayer. Sony has great graphics, a vaster variety of technology and better pricing. Microsoft comes in with the greatest variety of technology, longest company history and a reliable computational system. As far as the best, the one to bet on, to beat the rest...how about you decide. Information from Microsoft.com, Nintendo.com, Sony.com and New York stock exchange

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All Photos not otherwise stated are public domain from wikipedia


The Days of Old Were the Games of the Good Old Days Really as Good as We thought

Photo credit of BHSPitMonkey

By Harper Jambor


Photo Courtesy of Kristy Golubiewski-Davis

N

ame any person you know and the likelihood that they have played a video game is high. According to the ESRB, 67% of American households play video games, the average gamer is age 34 and they spend 8 hours a week on video games. Yet, even just a few years ago, games weren’t nearly as popular. “In the beginning, games were just a novelty. Only ‘gamers’ would own and play video games” Jack Butler, a video game enthusiast and collector said. These games were wild and new, yet only a limited people were exposed to them. A handful of the population enjoyed games and the vast majority of them were young notes the ESRB. “Anything went back then and the limited audience was more receptive of things. As untested territory, retro games were a great way to learn what people liked because gamers were a lot more forgiving.” said Butler. The story of those games was relatively new, and quickly expanding. Back in the day, games weren’t designed to be emotionally investing.

“ Early games are still very important. we were just starting to build games, taking our first steps into a new world.” - Jack Butler the technology of the time,” Ronnie Edwards, a video game analyst said. How we went from these limited and new games of the retro days to the commonplace game today is quite the adventurous story. “Video games have gotten more varied in terms of difficulty,” said Butler. “Games have gotten generally easier because they have to rely less on the difficulty and can rely more on story. Yet people kept playing because of the challenge they provided. Retro games didn’t have great graphics, story and engines so they had to rely on difficulty to make a lengthy game. Games were all overtly difficult.

“The vast majority of games made before 2000 didn’t really attempt to get the player emotionally invested, and the few games that tried often fell flat because designers who were trying to tell a compelling story were always super-limited by

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Photo credit of Alphacoders.com

Yet people kept playing because of the challenge they provided. Retro games didn’t have great graphics, story and engines so they had to rely on difficulty to make a lengthy game. “They have also become more progressive in terms of difficulty. Older games completely make levels difficult in order to keep you playing while newer games can rely more on longer levels, story and growing difficulty within the evolution of a game’s character.” For those of you that don’t know about Moore’s Law, it is a property created by Gordon E. Moore that states that every year, the processing power of a CPU doubles. When video games were just invented, storage space and processing power were very low. So, by extension, game length and graphics were less than impressive by today’s standards.According to MIcrosoft their new Xbox One ‘console of tomorrow’ has a custom 8 Core AMD processor while yesterdays Nintendo boasts the good old NES with an amazing and impressive 8-bit proces-


sor. Yes, we definitely have come far in more ways than one. For example: the games. “These days we have things like the “indie scene” where you just have tons of talented people experimenting with game design, and they’re doing it for

fun--they’re not too worried about making money or keeping the stock investors happy, so they have magnitudes more creative freedom--they’re not too shy about experimenting with the medium or taking creative risks. I’d be hard pressed to think of a pre-2000 game that could deliver the same amount

of emotional impact as a modern game,” Edwards said. Yet, video games were impressive by their own times standards. Whenever something is new, people want it. Think about any console available today, let’s take for example, the Wii. At launch

Below: the Sega Genesis, the first home console with 16 - bit Technology

Photo credit of Evan-Amos of Wikipedia

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Photo created by Blueamnesiac of Devianart

day, it’s cost was $250. Now, a few years later, they go for about a hundred dollars. When it’s new, it’s better. Today, games are far from a new concept yet they are still exciting, mainly because they haven’t really changed. “The games evolve to fit gamers. Original gamers grew up and became the graphic and algorithm designers of today so they built the game to their gamer standard,” Butler said “The only differences is in the fact that now a days there are more genres. Graphics have allowed for people to tell a story in more depth. They also have gotten more varied in terms of difficulty. Games have gotten generally easier because they have to rely less on the difficulty and can rely more on story.” Video game players from back in the day are the people designing the games of today. They know what they like from the old games and they keep that stuff, and also add in the newer elements that today’s gamers like. Matt Hullum and Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth LLC., creators of Red Vs. Blue, both grew up playing video games and transferred that love to their adult lives. It’s no secret that bigger ‘Triple-A’ companies definitely like to see what’s trendy and they try to retrofit every trendy feature they possibly can into whatever games they have in development.” Edwards said. “Sometimes companies will go out on a limb and put something fresh out and then cross their fingers and click their heels, but even then they tend to play it pretty safe. DICE is a fantastic example of this--they spent years making sequels and expansions to their Battlefield series, playing it super safe, but then they decide to take a chance and release Mirror’s Edge--but at that point, even if Mirror’s Edge did poorly, it wouldn’t bankrupt them.”

Above: The Legend of Zelda was one of the first Released on the NES was widely popular and one of the most popular Retro games.

complex stories. But the early games are still very important. we were just starting to build games, taking our first steps into a new world. Anything goes back then and the limited audience was more receptive of things. As untested territory, retro games were a great way to learn what people liked because gamers were a lot more forgiving. If some of the most celebrated retro games were released today, they would have a very stiff reception and not a huge fanbase. It’s kind of like being a baby, you have to learn what’s edible and what’s not and the only way to do that is to try and eat everything.”

and like all great loves, there is a specific way to care for it. “A great love is a lot like a good memory. When it’s there, and you know it’s there, but its just out of your reach, it can be all that you think about. And you can focus on it, and try to force it. But the more that you do, the more you seem to push it away. But if you’re patient, and hold still... Maybe. Just maybe, it’ll come to you.” Burnie Burns said.

Video games are a great love of the world,

Yes, retro video games don’t look as pretty and yes their stories weren’t as good but many believe they still have value. “Retro games had to work around the graphics and technology and the limited control options of the time,” said Butler. “Furthermore, better graphics, memory and engines have allowed us to tell more

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Photo credit of Evan Amos of Wikipedia


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What can we expect for the new Smash Bros. game? By Antonio Batista

Release Date Summer 2014 for 3DS Winter 2014 for Wii U Small Tidbits

In past Smash Bros. games, characters would occasionally trip, which could lead to an untimely death at the wrong times. Masahiro Sakurai, the director of the game’s development, has stated that there will be no tripping in the new games, with the exception of slipping on the Banana Peel item. Any attacks which, in previous games, would continue infinitely until the button was released have been removed and will instead end in a combo finisher. It has been stated by Sakurai that the 3DS version of the game will run at 60 fps, or frames per second. Assist Trophies and Pokemon will run at 30 fps to keep the game smooth.

Pokemon

Since the original game, Pokemon have been around to help the fighters out. Along with the return of the Pokeball item, players can now find Master Balls, which only contain legendaries and rare Pokemon. There are 10 new Pokemon currently released as of yet, pictured here; Arceus, Meloetta, Xerneas, Fennekin, Victini, Keldeo, Kyurem, Palkia, Eevee and Gogoat.

New Characters

Six new characters have been shown off so far, along with 23 returning characters. The new characters are Villager from the “Animal Crossing” series, Mega Man from “Mega Man”, Wii Fit Trainer from “Wii Fit”, Rosalina and Luma from “Super Mario Galaxy”, Little Mac from “Punch Out” and Greninja from “Pokemon X and Y”. Villager is a very mixed fighter, incorporating lots of different fighting mechanics from other fighters. Mega Man is a primarily projectile-based fighter, with weapons from the many Robot Masters from his own series. Wii Fit Trainer, while a bit of an oddball, has many great physical moves and a reliable projectile as well. Rosalina and Luma are very different, being two players in one. This creates some good strategies for more creative players. Little Mac is a very fast, very strong fighter on the ground, and will not flinch when receiving weak attacks. He also has a chargeable K.O. Punch, which is the only one-hit-kill attack in the game. However, he is absolutely atrocious in the air, and possesses no reliable method of recovery. Greninja focuses greatly on speed, and has many moves from the Pokemon games that represent his ninja-like status.

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All photos are free-use screenshots taken in-game by the game’s developer, Namco Bandai.


New Game Mode

In exchange for the lack of a story mode like the Subspace Emissary in Brawl, the 3DS version of the new Smash Bros. game gets a mode called Smash Run, pictured on the right. Smash Run is a mode where characters run around for five minutes battling enemies and collecting power-ups. After the five minutes are up, the players are transferred to an arena to fight with their new power-ups.

Online Modes

The online capabilities of the game evolved trememdously from how they were in Brawl. Now there are two online modes to play on, known as For Fun and For Glory. For Fun mode enables all items, stages, and stage hazards. On the other hand, For Glory mode disables all of these features and only takes place on the Final

Assist Trophies

Starting in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Assist Trophies appeared to help the fighters, very similar to the likes of Pokemon. There are nine new Assist Trophies, being Skull Kid and Midna from “The Legend of Zelda”, Mother Brain from “Metroid”, Elec Man from “Mega Man”, Isabelle from “Animal Crossing”, Chain Chomp from “Super Mario”, Color TV-Game 15, Ashley from “WarioWare” and Dark Samus from “Metroid”. Isabelle and Color TV-Game 15 seem to stand out from the rest. Isabelle is the first Assist Trophy to heal the person that released them. Color TVGame can hit people with the ball or the paddles, leading to mass chaos.

Changes to Returning Characters

Many characters changed in the time between Brawl and Smash Brothers 4. In the past, Lucario was known for becoming more powerful when he got hurt. However, it was not a very noticeable difference. In the new game, Lucario powers up much more after taking damage, even to the point where he might cause his own defeat. Olimar can only carry three Pikmin at once, but also gets a much better recovery move. Kirby received a new move, very similar to King Dedede’s hammer move from Brawl. He also got a new final smash, being the Ultra Sword from “Kirby’s Return to Dreamland”. King Dedede only throws Gordos now, and is much more expressive. Lucario and Charizard now take from their appearance in “X and Y” by being able to Mega Evolve, although the circumstances to trigger said transformation have not been revealed. Pit is now unable to glide, but in exchange has been powered up. He also has received a new Final Smash, being the Three Sacred Treasures from “Kid Icarus Uprising”.

All information about the game received from Sakurai’s daily Miiverse posts and Nintendo Direct.

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Why We Plug In

What do video games mean to us?

by Antonio Batista


Photo courtesy of Nintendo

Photo from Zupertompa on DeviantArtPhoto courtesy of Nintendo

W

elcome to the world of gaming culture! This world is brimming with different video games and video gamers. For some, video games are a pastime. For others, video games are fuel for competition. Still others play video games for the world to see. On the flip side, some people analyze video games and try to find some meaning behind their existence. Why are they here? What do they convey? Why do we love them so? Those are the questions they ask. This is the story of three people with vastly different interests, opinions and ideas about video gaming. Years of gaming and making videos have tested their thoughts, and their video game adventure is only just beginning to unfold. “I’ve been playing games since the age of four,” YouTube gamer William Allen said. “So, 14 years.” William Allen, known to most as RabbidLuigi, posts top tens and let’s plays on his channel. He has been growing more popular as of late, showing the growing trends of YouTube gaming shows. “I’ve been playing video games since longer than I can actually remember,” YouTube video game evolution expert Ronnie Edwards said. “And I can remember things that happened when I was 2.” Edwards is the man behind the YouTube show “Digressing and Sidequesting” on the Game Theorists YouTube channel, as well as the editor of the most popular show on the channel, Game Theory. “Digressing and Sidequesting” is a show that analyzes the evolution of games and growth of franchises.

Photo from gamehdwallpaper.com

Photo from wallsave.com

Photo from SonicTheHedgehogBG on Photo from Cool Video Game Stuff DeviantArt

“I’ve been playing video games ever since the tender age of 6,” YouTube gaming culture analyst Gaijin Goomba said. “And I’m seeing 30 right around the corner.” Goomba is another member of the Game Theorist channel and has appeared on not only just collaborative projects on the channel, but also with gamers across YouTube. He runs the show Game Exchange, where he analyzes real-world culture that appears in video games. For years, video games have intrigued, interested and convinced people across the globe to keep on paying their money to keep up with the next game in a series. The fact is, most people don’t know why. They know that they do, but they don’t know why or how gaming is such a huge industry. Video games satisfy needs in our lives in many different ways for many different people. “I find video games are a great medium for creativity and it’s very interesting to see how different companies do things,” Allen said. “It also acts as a healthy release from everyday life.” The way people see games as children can always change by the time they are teens or adults. “Video games have become far more substantial in my life in general than they ever were as a kid,” Goomba said. “Not just because it’s something I make a livelihood analyzing, but because with every episode I make, I personally learn something now about the world. My mind is ever expanding through studying a medium of Photo from forwallpapers.com

entertainment I’ve always loved, and had been shunned for liking.” One thing that gamers treasure regarding video games is their degree of difference from one another. One game could be about stacking blocks while another could be about cute fighting monsters. You could be collecting coins or collecting rings. You could battle the ruler of time with

“Trying to say whether platformers are better than puzzle games is a bit like arguing whether apples are better than oranges. The qualities I like to see in my apples are totally different than the qualities I like to see in my oranges.” -Edwards ice cream or battle the ruler of time with keys. A lot of the time, these differences are debated and compared, but some people recognize that different mediums can’t be compared for the same thing. “Trying to say whether platformers are better than puzzle games is a bit like

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Photo from Alphacoders


Photo courtesy of Ripten

Photo courtesy of Alphacoders

Photo courtesy of AutoMobileIn

Photo courtesy of SuperBWallpapers Photo courtesy of Ob-A

arguing whether apples are better than oranges,” Edwards said. “There isn’t really much of a comparison that can be drawn. The qualities I like to see in my apples are totally different than the qualities I like to see in my oranges.” Even so, some people still understandably have preferences amongst games, franchises, or genres. “I’ve always been interested in platforming games,” Allen said. “As I feel like the difficulty curve of the game always seems to match your skill as a player and ability to adapt to the game’s controls. I do also like first-person-shooters as even games that have similar mechanics have aspects that really set them apart.” Photo courtesy of TheAngryAron on DeviantArt

In the past, video game companies had one

The most famous and heated rivalry of the 1990s, Nintendo vs. Sega

Photo courtesy of FunkyDiva Photo from Alphacoders

Photo from wallpaperswide.com

Photo from freehdw.com

chance to make a name for themselves in the industry. By creating games like Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros, new game companies could easily become very famous very quickly. The players made the games as popular as they are. Software limitations didn’t matter back then, because that didn’t matter. Now, video games are aimed at a newer crowd, people who don’t normally play games, while also targeting the older crowd. With cutting-edge graphics, amazing music direction and balanced gameplay, video games are able to keep up with the current trends of human desire. Companies have already rooted themselves into the minds of the players, and now video games are creating gamers, as opposed to gamers creating successful video games. “I find it fascinating how the gaming community can be the most supportive people I’ve seen, but also the most disgusting, hateful, spiteful, bigoted group of people as well,” Goomba said. “It gives you perspective on just how many people are into gaming. At this point, it seems everyone plays now, for better or worse. The evolution of games also interests me. We’re at a point now where there are a limitless amount of games for every single budget that can suit everyone’s needs. It’s a time and place where stagnation runs rampant, yet creativity is everywhere. It’s almost omnipresent.” With an ever growing library of games, people are bound to find one with some interesting trait or great multiplayer possibility. This might make them want to show the world what they’ve found. People can just record how good they are at a game and get a million likes on YouTube. Photo from fullhdwal.com

Photo from hdwallpapers.in


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Photo from DownloadWindows8Themes Photo from wallpaperswide.com

hoto from Eurogamer.net

With all of this, work must be done. “Research is probably the least tedious part of making a video, actually,” Edwards said. “In fact, most of the research I do is just for fun. It’s usually by complete accident that I actually stumble across a good idea for a video. Believe it or not, I’m a bit of a nerd, so reading a 20-year-old Miyamoto interview that only appeared in an obscure European gaming magazine is totally my jam. I’d do that stuff even if I didn’t work on a show.”

Photo from KuriboShoe.net

Reasons for playing are almost limitless, so each person should have some reason. Whether it’s for the gameplay, graphics, music, multiplayer, replayability, difficulty or any other reason to play, people will always play games. That is something that’s known. The only thing that still needs to found out is why.

The pictures above and below are the logos of Edwards’ and Allen’s shows respectively. The picture to the left is artwork from DeviantArt by CustomWeapon of Goomba’s show.

“Video games interest as they act as one of the only forms of media that you can genuinely interact with and mold to your liking,” Allen said. “When you beat the final boss, it’s something that you did yourself, not something that the main hero did without any input from you.”

Photo from Google+ page of RabbidLuigi

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