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Minecraft:

Will the addiction ever end? Best Games On the Market! Gamers Demand Better Storylines!


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MAXIMUM GAMING EXPERIENCE


Dear readers, We have no clue how or why this magazine is in your hand, but trust us, you’re probably a very lucky person. Here in this magazine, we are detemined to teach YOU, yes you, all about gaming. We cover a wide array of gaming platforms. If you are even remotely interested in gaming, you are bound to find something that you like. With that we leave you to roam free in the world of Reload. Enjoy the magazine!


NOW AVAILABLE ON XBOX 360 PS3 WII PC Photo courtesy of Netflix


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14 “The Evolution of Gaming”

“Picked”

Minecraft players share their experiences with the game, and explain why it is so fun.

Gaming has changed drastically since its inception.

“The All Powerful Story”

“Rise of the Gamer”

Many gamers demand better storylines in their favorite games.

“App Overload”

Iphone owners are becoming frustrated with bad apps filling up the App Store.

How gaming is becoming more widespread across the world.

THE REST 6: “LASA’s Favorite Apps” 8: “The Great War of Tech” 10: “Top 5 Apps” 16: “XBOX Is Superior”

18: “Console Wars” 24: “Our Favorite Games” 28: “Is Gaming Really Bad?” 38: “Are Campers Smart?” RELOAD

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Meet the Authors Christopher Stevens Christopher Stevens is a 9th Grader at LASA High School. He likes to play video games. He plays the Saxophone and is in the LBJ Marching Band. He is a swimmer on the Dolphins swim team.

Video Gaming Platform of Choice: PC Favorite Video Game: MineCraft

Forrest Hammel Forrest Hammel is a student at LASA. He is learning German at school, and also participates in Quiz Bowl. He got his first gaming system, the original Xbox, when he was 5, and he now owns an Xbox 360. He also enjoys playing Minecraft online with his friends. Sometimes he likes to cover himself in Vaseline and roll around pretending he’s a slug.

Video Gaming Platform of Choice: Xbox 360 Favorite Video Game: Halo Reach


Zafar Maniya Zafar is a 9th grader at LASA High School. He plays a lot of video games on the Xbox and PC. He plays all sports and is on the LASA Tennis Team. He lives in Austin with his parents and sister.

Video Gaming Platform of Choice: Xbox 360 Favorite Video Game: Call of Duty MW3

Vicente Kaufhold Vicente looks for hay in needle stacks and leaps in lava beds. He grinds nails for smoothies with his bare hands. He likes playing Minecraft andd Starhawk. If you enter his house in minecraft, you will offerred the option to die in five different ways. No exeptions.

Video Gaming Platform of Choice: PS3 Favorite Video Game: Starhawk


LASA’s FavoriteApps By: Vicente Kaufhold

s Sp

ace

Temple Run: Temple run is the survival game of running for your life from monkey-zombie things. Much like IndianaJones, the game takes place on the ruins of an old temple, hence the name. Available for free in the App Store and Andorid markets

Bird

Ot

he

Ang ry

r

ds Bir

ething

Fifa

Temple run

y gr An

t

j n i N

Draw Som

a

i u r F

0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

Angry Birds Space: The new game in the Angry Birds series comes with a whole new gameplay method. Now in space you can beat levels by going from any direction. Available for $.99 in the App store and for free in the Android market. Draw Something: Draw something is Pictionary meets Facebook, making a great family game. Available for free on the App store and Android market.

Fruit Ninja: The game of slicing fruit! There are 3 ways to play and each has it’s own gameplay. Available fro $.99 in the App store and $1.26 on Android. FIFA: Fifa is the soccer game series on iDevices that gives users the abitlity to play soccer anywhere and anytime. Create, manage and play on your own team with real players and teams. Available for Android and apple users for $4.99 Angry Birds: The original game of the series where you fling birds at pigs in crazy forts. Available for $.99 in the App store and for free in the Android market.

Other: There were quite a few of runner-ups like Jet pack Joyride(Free on Apple and Android devices) and Doodle Jump ($.99 on App store and Android Market) RELOAD

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Have you ever tried setting fire to the rain?

Feel the Burn


The Great War of Tech Who will emerge victorious? BY: Zafar Maniya

Apple Logo vs Android logo

Posted by MarkHillary on Flickr

Y

Posted by Scarygami on Flickr

OU RUSH INTO THE MALL, YOUR FACE LIT UP WITH EXCITEMENT. IT’S YOUR 13th birthday and your dad just told you that you can get a phone, any phone you want. You know exactly where to go, and sprint there as fast as you can. As you turn the corner into the AT&T store, you stop in your tracks. To your left lay all of the newest IPhones. To the right, the newest HTC Android-powered phones. Which way to go?

The heated battle between Android and Apple has been going on ever since the release of the HTC Dream in 2008. There are many people who have reasonable arguments to why one side is better than the other, but I am here to tell you why Apple is, without a doubt, the clear victor. According to a recent comparison of the two by Redmond Pie, the Apple devices and the software (iOS) had the advantage on almost all of the categories that were tested, categories that are thought to be the main ones to provide the user with the best experience possible, which is what one needs to be the most successful.

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The Apple products won by a long shot in categories like voice assistance, with SIRI .No other company, has anything like SIRI. It is one of the most advanced voice recognition systems ever, and proves to be ever so useful to all the IPhone 4S owners. Yes I know, only the newest IPhone has this, but all Apple products have voice recognition The Apple App Store which has over half a million apps; over double of the Android’s mere 250,000, is also a major advantage to apple The App Store is a HUGE part of all apple products as it allows you to get games, news, entertainment etc. The list goes on and on. Everyone who owns an Apple product can take advantage of this. They can also take

advantage of the movies on the App Store, and the Music store too. These are just some of the things that you can do on ALL Apple devices. Wi-Fi syncing is also far more advanced with the new release of the ‘iCloud’. According to another article by PCMag comparing new smart-phones and operating systems, Apple products have things like location based reminders, quick camera access, and advanced photo editing tools. All of these, things that Android doesn’t. True, Android did have its better categories, such as its browsers being able to support flash, and that it is a lot more customizable than Apple. However, though there are browsers available on the Apple’s App Store that support flash, and you CAN, in fact customize


IPhone and IPods just as much as Androids by jail-breaking them. Also from personal experiences, I have gathered that Apple products are, always have been, and probably always will be more popular than Android powered tablets, phones etc. An article in the L.A. Times stated that Out of all the tablets sold in the 4th quarter of 2011, 56.7% are IPads while only about 39.1% are android tablets. That’s more than 15 percent!!! To some 15, percent may not seem too much, but if you put it into context with how many were sold, that’s about 5 million more than Android Tablets! Although Android makes some of the most popular phones on the planet, and some of the best selling electronics, it will never catch up to the great dynasty that Apple has proven to be. Many have tried, and Android has come close. However as of now, Apple is the king, and Android is a small pawn that is trying to catch up.

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. ... Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.” - Steve Jobs Art Credit: Zafar Maniya

Apple IPod Touch next RELOAD 11 to an Android Samsung-Sidekick


Top

5

Apps

-Chosen by LASA students

1

By: Chris Stevens

Temple Run: Imangi Studios game Temple Run, is a game in which your chatacter has stolen a sacred statue. There is not mush of a back story to this game, all you do is run a way mutant apes, but it deffinantly a fun game. As you run you collect coins that can be spent on upgrades and eventualy more characters. There are many different obsticals to jump over as you run, and eventulay one will get the best of you, and you will die for a various number of reasons each time. Over all, temple run is a great game for everybody.

Photo courtesy: Imangi Studios

Rank: 9

2 Photo courtesy: Rovio

Angry Birds- Space: Rovio has added yet another addition to the Angry Birds group. Angry Birds Space is probaably the most complex of them all. It includes gravity, bosses at the end of each world, and more. Thankfully, it got rid of the boomerang bird, and replaced it with an ice bird. It also gave the speed bird the ability to change directions and head to the exact area you want it to. The down side would have to be that you only get 2 worlds, and after you complete those, you have to buy more. Over all, this game really improves the origional angry birds, and any one can have a blast playing it.

Rank: 7


3

Draw Something:

OMGPOP has created on of the top downloaded apps of the year. Draw Something is a wi-fi game, which is basicaly charades, but instead of acting acting, you are given a word and have to “draw somthing”, that will lead them to the answer. tThe level of drawing skill range from writing out the word, to stickfigures, and some people go as far as drawing works of art. When you start a round, you are given a choice of 3 words, ranging from easy(one coin), to medium (two coins), to hard (three coins).TIf your partner guesses correctly, you get the number of coins indicated. You can use coins to unlock more colors. Over all, Draw Somthing is a game that if you have to people, you can play ro hours. ext Text Text Text Text Tex

Rank: 6

Photo courtesy: OMGPOP

4 Photo courtesy: Halfbrick

w Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text Text

Fruit Ninja:

Fruit Ninja, by Halfbrick, is a entertaining game in which you slice fruits, avoid bombs, and score as many points as possible. There are also chalenges, and completing one will unlock new knifes and backgrounds. There are also different modes of game play. You can play arcade (in which you have a time limit to score as many points as possible), Zen (in which you have no bombs and a time limit), and classic (where you go on forever). Over all, Fruit Ninja is a fairly simple game, but can entertain for hours.

Rank: 6

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Fifa Soccer 2012: EA Sports has revamped the FIFA series with the latest addition, banking off of the huge success of FIFA ‘11. Game modes include Penalty Kick, “Friendly” Match, and Manager Mode, where you control all aspects of a team utnil you get fired as a managaer. Overall, this game keeps you interested with the major differences between gameplay modes and team depth. Although only a sports fan would like to play this, it is an extremely fun game.

Rank: 4 or 5

Photo courtesy: EA Sports


APP

iPods, iPhones and an iPad demostrate the huge usage of Apple iDevices by families.

-Photo by user blakespot on Flikr

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OVERLOAD BY Vicente Kaufhold

A

S DUPLICATE APPS FLOOD THE APP MARKETS, CONSUMERS ARE being easily confused by clones, scams and malware. Half-a-million apps and counting are for sale in the Android App market and the Apple App Store. Copies, duplicates and scams are running rampant. Typing “flashlight” into the search bar yields dozens of results. Some are just white screens, some cost money, some are games, and some apps might not even work. With these results, the average app user can become easily frustrated and confused. “I’ve never been able to find a decent app,” says 9th grade LASA student Sean Sheth.

Sheth is one of many Apple App Store users who experiences this common problem. According to Kyle Orland of Ars Technica, Apple does not have a copyright infringement check. This means any app can be copied from real games that cost money and can be sold on the App Store and nobody checks. All Apple does is hope the owner of the original content takes care of the problem.

Many apps slip by, without question. Just a few months ago, Pokemon Yellow version hit the App Store. Even for $.99, thousands of people bought the game. However, the app was a scam and would crash while loading the title screen. Dozens of fake reviews were added to make the app seem legitimate and many fell for the scam. The screenshots at the bottom, however, gave the app away.

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The iPhone Poster advertising the revolu-

An Android phone showing the utilities

tionary phone.

screen. This one appears to be functional.

-Photo by user aditza121 on Flikr

-Photo by Johan Larsson

Pictures from later Pokemon games were used, and the difference in graphics and colors was very obvious. The colors were too vibrant and the pictures were too crisp to be from an original 8-bit Gameboy, or even from the later Gameboy Color. It wasn’t until the Gameboy Advance that these pictures were possible.

have at least one emoticon or symbol in the name. However, Apple is still holding on to its consumers. “There’s a sufficient amount [of apps],” says Sheth. Even with some poor quality apps, people like Sheth who are at least somewhat satisfied will remain loyal.

“I’ve never been able to find a decent app” With quality like this, logic would suggest that Apple would lose customers. However, apps are selling faster than McDonald’s Hamburgers says Nicholas Jackson of The Atlantic. The reason? “Cause it’s shiny!” says Sheth. Despite quality checks, fake and illegal apps still pass through. By keeping the App Store sleek and shiny, consumers like Sheth will keep buying. People who make apps make big, all caps names and watch as the customers come in. Adding crazy emoticons in the title, younger consumers will go straight to it. Put them all together developers receive many views and therefore more downloads. The evidence can once again be shown by searching “flashlight” on the App Store. The highest rated apps all

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Although the App Store has many quality problems, the 500,000 apps on the Android market are mostly spam. “The amount of quality apps on the android market is really, really low,” says Android user Sergio Jimenez. “A lot of them [the apps] are malware.” Reviews like these, are why the Android market is looked down upon as a dump by most users. Glenn Derene described the Android market as a “Technological Ghetto.” Especially with the addition of malware and mods, apps can disguise themselves very easily. There is an Android Police that is trying to reduce these virus apps, and stop copyright infringement but they only warn people what not to get. They don’t actually take down the app. When consumers get a game it could


A typical Blackberry phone. With such a small app market, there are not many problems with the AppWorld.

-Photo by user edan on Flikr

An Andorid and iPad comparing reading apps to an Amazon Kindle.

-Photo by user edwc on Flikr

be really cool or it could crash their device.

“I don’t specifically use my phone just for apps,” says Sergio Jimenez.

“Really, I can’t vote for Facebook?”

“There’s (sic) not a lot of quality apps on there,” says Sergio Jimenez.

Not using the phones for apps could be the solution to the app markets’ problems. Some recent polling showed many iPhone and Android users didn’t use games as much as they used other apps. Social media apps like Facebook and Twitter came out to be greatly favored to gaming apps like Temple Run and Angry Brids. When told, students could only vote for gaming apps, some replied with answers like:

If people are spending their time on Facebook and Twitter, then the Apple and Android Markets don’t have a problem. People don’t use the markets as much so they don’t need to worry about things going wrong, especially if all they are looking for is the Twitter App. Especially if people like Sheth only need a shiny look, then the task has already been accomplished. The app markets could be just fine and they don’t have to lift a finger.

As quality and functionality problems increase, the Android market could really be in trouble. There are people like developer Rovio Entertainment Ltd. who rip off good ideas and publish buggy and virus ridden apps on the Android Market. Many people are being spammed. Rovio Entertainment is the exact name the official company uses to publish Angry Birds on the App Store. On Android devices, somebody has completely copied the name and published copy games with viruses. According to the Android Police Tips page, other apps like Angry Birds 2 or Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 have also been published. Like the Apple dilemma, it seems people would flee this market faster. Yet, according to an infographic on The Atlantic, Android Apps are selling faster than Apple apps. What could possibly cause this growth?

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Photos courtesy of Microsoft.

WHY THE XBOX 360 IS SUPERIOR BY: FORREST HAMMEL

V

IDEOGAMING IS AN INDUSTRY DOMINATED BY three consoles: Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s Playstation 3, and the Nintendo Wii. Microsoft is the only one of the 3 that doesn’t make a portable system, which means that they devote more of their time to the Xbox than their competitors do to their consoles. If you ask anyone who has owned either device (but not both), they will vehemently argue for their system. I have had the experience of owning both, and they are both great consoles. That being said, the Xbox clearly has the advantage over the PS3 in most facets of gaming. Microsoft recently redesigned the home screen for the Xbox, and it has further accelerated the advantage that the Xbox has. On the Playstation, the user must scroll through several identical pages before finding the Game menu, or the Social menu. On the Xbox 360, every page is marked, certain buttons correspond to certain

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actions (for example, hitting the X button ejects the current disc), and when you go to the menu, it takes you directly towards the most used icon: “Start Game.” Another reason that I enjoy the Xbox more is the presence of the “Halo” series of video games. All of the games in the series are futuristic first-person-shooters, and the series will never be produced for any systems other than PC and Xbox, because according to the Xbox Game Content Usage Rules, Microsoft owns the copyright to the Halo series. I enjoy the other multiplayer games too, especially the Call of Duty series, but I like the extra fairness associated with Halo. Players don’t get more powerful weapons as they level up (often resulting in newcomers’ rage), rather, they have to find better weapons in the actual map. There are also several other popular series that belong to Microsoft, such as Forza Motorsports, Age of Empires, and Rise of Nations. The only systems that any of these will ever be produced on are the Xbox and the PC. Some criticize the Xbox due to the cost of Xbox Live ($50 per year if bought in 1-year increments), but the basic PS3 model actually costs about $50 more initially, as priced on Gamestop and WalMart. On Amazon, the Xbox’s price has recently been dropped to be $100 less than the PS3. Also, Xbox Live is more structurally sound than Playstation Network (PSN). PSN has gone down three times since its start, all due to external sources (i.e. hackers), while Microsoft has only had to shut Xbox Live down for updating.


These are the logos of Xbox LIVE, the old Xbox gaming system, and the more recent Xbox 360. Within the last year, Microsoft has released the Xbox 360 Slim, a big upgrade to the 360.

Another advantage that the Xbox has over its main competitor, the PS3, is a greater variety of games. Microsoft’s newest addition to the Xbox, the Kinect motion sensor, has brought with it the kid-friendliness that the Sony has not yet been able to achieve with the PS3. With titles like “Kinectimals,” “Kinect Joy Ride,” and “Just Dance,” parents no longer have to worry about their children playing games that are rated Teen or Mature. Instead, they can set up their child’s Xbox 360 with age-appropriate, non-violent titles. Compare that to the PS3, whose child-friendly games can also be found on the Xbox shelf. Even though parents are likely to go for the Wii for their little children, the Xbox is the closest thing to that.

Master Chief, the protagonist of the Halo series, excluding Reach and Halo Wars.

Playstation 3 users will be quick to argue that the Playstation’s graphics are better than that of any other console. However, as Nicholas DeLeon, a videogame columnist from TechCrunch, argues, “The differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game are so minimal it’s hardly noticeable.” Even if you think that you could have better graphics, you can. All you need to do is buy an HDMI cable for your Xbox (if your television supports High Definition). The same can be done for the PS3, making the graphics even closer to identical. I bought the cable for my Xbox, and the only difference I noticed was in the aspect ratio. Putting all of this evidence together shows that, clearly, the Xbox 360 is superior to the PS3. It just brings more to the table than any other gaming system, and that is why it is the most popular system with serious gamers and casual gamers alike.

“PSN has gone down three times, all due to external sources like hackers, while Xbox Live has only shut down for updating.”

Photo by Microsoft and Bungie.

CATEGORY

WINNER?

User Interface

XBOX

Exclusive Games

XBOX

Security

XBOX

Online Price

PS3

Game Variety

XBOX

Kids’ Games

WII

Graphics

XBOX and PS3

OVERALL

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Console Wars By Zafar Maniya

Over the past couple of years, people have debated of which video gaming console is best; Wii, Xbox, or PS3. A lot of the times, they are just basing this off of which console they own. However, what side do people that are just buying one choose? I had heard a lot of good things about all the systems, however, when I was choosing mine, like many others, I just looked at the facts. Some of the major categories i looked at were the cost of the console and online gaming, memory, wifi-connectivity, and battery life. In most of these categories, it was the Wii that looked like the best system, so I chose that one. Looking back, I was happy with my choice. Now however, I realized that I need to look deeper.

For example, when looking at the online gaming category, I read around and learned that PSN, the Play Station online gaming, has been hacked multiple times, and is often taken down for maintenance. Also, WiiConnect24 is only for a limited number of games. After looking at all the pros and cons, I decided that Xbox was the best. In other things, Xbox was just the staigh-up best, like with the Kinect, Battery Life, etc. I new that Xbox was the one that suited my needs the best, so now I play that. I think that looking at the facts and seeing which one suits you best is the best way to choose which console to get, because of I know that almost all the time, you will be the happiest witht that console.

Popularity of the 3 different consoles Worldwide

PS3 Xbox

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WII

LASA

PS3

WII

Xbox


Posted under creative commons by benjamin-nagel (on Flickr)

Posted under creative commons by Sean MacEntee (on Flickr)

Xbox

Posted under creative commons by Stella Dauer (on Flickr)

PS3

WII

$249.99

$249.99

$149.99

Xbox Live 60$ per year

PSN Free

WiiConnect24 Free

250 GB

160 GB

512 MB

887

755

1220

Interactive Gaming?

Kinect

PlayStation Move

Yes. Built in motion sensors

RAM

512 MB

256 MB

512 MB

40 hr (controller)

20 hr (controller)

30 hr (controller)

Video Output

256-Bit

128-Bit

256-Bit

Game Media

HD DVD

Blu Ray

DVD

Yes with wirless adapter

Yes

Yes

Up to 7 players on one console

Can use game cube games and controllers.

Cost Online gaming? Cost? Memory Number of Games

Battery Life

Wi-Fi?

Other

Has USB, Ethernet, and HDMI ports

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The

Evolution

A Picture of one of the oldest and most popular games ever, Pac Man

- Photo by f_sheilds on flickr

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Of Video Games By Zafar Maniya

I

T’S SUNDAY NIGHT AND IN HIS FILTHY, UNORGANIZED apartment sits a man, playing the new Battlefield on his Xbox. His phone sits under a pile of dirty clothes. It doesn’t matter, though. He isn’t expecting a call from anyone. All he cares about is beating the next level of this game.

After finally beating the level, he stops playing for a second and remembers a picture that his mother took of him when he was a kid. It reminded him of his life now, addicted to gaming. He wonders about how, ever since Pong, he hasn’t been able to keep away from video games for more than a couple of days.

“I think now, since the technology is advancing so rapidly, that every single detail about any game can be taken into so much depth, that it is more enjoyable to play the games in general,” says Faiz Baqai, a sophomore at Westlake High School.

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This is a picture of the first Nintendo console, and one of the most popular of its time, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

This is the Nintendo64 (N64), with a Paper Mario game in the slot.

-Picture By bochalla on Flickr

-Picture By goodrob13 on Flickr

Ever since the release of Pong, in 1972, video games have been one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Gaming companies are using a wide variety of groundbreaking technology to provide the best gaming experience possible for their customers, so as to have them keep coming back for more. Many people, however, don’t even realize why they seem to be reeled in by a certain product. Gaming companies have always known how important it is to be able to have some sort of new

“I played mostly games like Asteroids and Pac Man. Today, when I go into an arcade, the games are much more difficult and complex. I don’t think I could even play some of the video games that are out there today.” - Brandi Chastain

piece to their system to make it more attractive than the competitors. That is why now, with the tremendous increases and breakthroughs in technology, they are making changes to fit these need of people, so they are not left behind. Another tactic companies use to improve the popularity of their respective gaming platform is making different games that appeal to a certain set

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of people. The idea behind this is that in a group of people with common gaming interests, if one person looks like they enjoy a new game, others will tend to lean to that particular game more than one that they have never heard of or tried before. The faster you can get people hooked on to you company, the faster it grows, and in turn, the more popular it gets. This tactic has worked on many people, especially people like Faiz. “Ever since I’ve been playing video games, I’ve tried to get ones similar to my

friends … I had played a lot with them before, so their choice of games influenced mine,” he said. This does not only apply to Faiz, but many others too. Bilal Habib, a 9th grader at Bowie High School, is also, like Faiz, and avid video gamer who’s choice in video games depends on factors that he think will give him the most enjoyable experience while playing.


This is the Nintendo GameCube.

-Picture By Marco Gomes on Flickr

“When I first started looking into video games, I couldn’t decide between the original Xbox, or the PlayStation2 … A lot of people I knew played it [Xbox], so I figured it would be pretty fun to play with them. I also had played it with them before, and I knew it was fun, so I didn’t take a risk with one I hadn’t tried, and went with the Xbox,” said Bilal. Now, from the perspective of the gaming manufacturers, it is all about what will get the most popularity, resulting in the most profit. However, it hadn’t always been that way. Companies like Atari, when first releasing the Atari 2600 were not made solely for generating enormous revenue, but for things like improving social experiences with other. Geoff Edgers, a writer for the Boston Globe, wrote in his article, Atari and the deep history of

Another Picture of the Wii

The nintendo Wii

- Photo by Yohei Yamashita on Flickr

video games: “We live now in a world where people often are sitting alone in a room playing something. Very different from the Atari philosophy, which, to me, was about games as a social experience. The games were always better with two players.”

“Computer games don’t affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music” - Gareth Owen Now, this is the truth. The original video games were made for the sole purpose of entertainment. Now, they are tailored so the gamer can just get on the Xbox or PS3 in their room and be playing with their

- Photo by Mona on Flickr

friends in the next house, or across the world. There are so many different things that are being improved; it is hard to even keep up! “It’s [Xbox] a lot more user friendly [Than the GameCube]. It’s a lot easier to perform certain tasks, and with the introduction of the Kinect, the difference has gone through the roof,” said Emir Pasha, a Student at the University of Texas at Austin. When asked about the ability to perform tasks on newer consoles, Bilal Habib said “Now there are so many different things possible to do on these consoles, that everyone likes it. For example, you can go on Netflix, watch movies, browse the internet, etc., all from an Xbox!” According to Emir, “Every time you think they [video gaming companies] have run out of ideas, one new one seems to come.” He said. “One that you HAVE to try.”

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Our Favorite Games by Forrest Hammel

YEAH, WE KNOW YOU like video games. We know you want to buy some video games. We also know that you don’t want to be ripped off by buying a terrible video game. So, keep this list in mind when you spend you money on a new game.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Photo courtesy of Valve Corporation and EA.

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Black Ops by Treyarch /Activision Black Ops is basically the sequel to World at War, continuing the series into the Cold War, Vietnam War, and up until the early 80’s. The game is very similar to the other Call of Duty games, where you level up by getting XP points, and you prestige by getting to level 50. Another fun mode is Zombies, where you fight undead soldiers from World War II. The campaign is also pretty enjoyable. 26

StarCraft II by Blizzard Entertainment StarCraft II is a fast-paced strategy game, where you can control one of three races: the Zerg, a swarming race, Protoss, the high-tech aliens, or Terran, the human warriors. Some people take StarCraft II very seriously, like the professional players and teams (i.e. BoxeR, NesTea, IdrA). However, most people

Photo courtesy of Treyarch and Activision.

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Portal 2 by Valve Corporation One big improvement that Portal 2 has is the co-op mode. One person controls the blue portal and the other controls the orange. You can play co-op online or splitscreen on special multiplayer levels. That being said, the singleplayer is just as fun as it was in the original, and adds more complex interactions with the environment. Portal 2 is made for the gamer who enjoys having to think about his next move.


Honorable Mention: Starhawk by Lightbox Interactive The story still isn’t clear but the multiplayer is similar to other games but has some new features: As you run around the map, you gain rift energy. As you gain rift energy you have the option to build certain items like a wall, a tower, a bunker, or a platform. Each build item requires a different amount of rift energy to build. For example, if you get to energy meter gets to 8, you can build a force field. If you save up and go out into the map and get ambushed, you can spawn a platform with a hawk on it. The hawk, the trademark vehicle, is something like a transformer, going between a powerful fighter jet, and a crazy robot stomper thing. You can also spawn a jeep with a gun attachment, a vulture(jetpack) and a tank. The most popular games are CTF and Team death match due to the large vehicle based maps.

5

Mass Effect 3 by Bioware and EA The final game in the Mass Effect series would’ve been much higher on this list, if it weren’t for the controversy over the terrible ending! That being said, the storyline is fairly interesting and the multiplayer mode is fun. However, Bioware did not live up to their promises about the ending (all of the endings were very similar), which puts this game much lower than it should be.

Photo courtesy of Mojang.

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Minecraft by Mojang Minecraft is a open-world game based off of mining and building. You can play alone, where you spawn randomly, or multiplayer, where you spawn on servers. The thing that separates Minecraft from other games is the endless gameplay. You are always mining to create a better house, to get better tools/armor, and eventually to get to The End, where the final boss, the Ender Dragon, lurks.

Photo courtesy of BioWare and EA.

Photo courtesy of EA Digital Illusions CE.

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Battlefield 3 by EA Digital Illusions CE Battlefield 3 is the most realistic FPS on the market today. It’s not like the Call of Duty series, where you can sprint into a room, spray bullets, and kill 4 or 5 people. In Battlefield 3, you actually have to coordinate strikes on the enemy base with your teammates, furthering the sense of connectivity with others. Overall, it takes much more strategy than other FPS’s, and that’s why it’s on this list. That, and the awesome vehicles.

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Modern Warfare 3 by Infinity Ward, Activision, and Sledgehammer Games Call of Duty is back with MW3. The best way to play is definitely Online, with new additions like Kill Confirmed, which discourages “camping,” Infected, which encourages “camping,” and Drop Zone, where you have to take hold of a care package zone before the enemy. Overall, the gameplay is very smooth, the UI is fantastic, and it is a wonderful continuation of the series.

Photo courtesy of Ubisoft.

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Halo: REACH by Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios Reach is set on the planet Reach, with the main characters being in Noble Team, instead of the traditional John-117 “Master Chief.” The main addition is the Forge, which allows the player to workon maps and game types with friends, bringing an unprecedented variety in gameplay. For example, I spend a lot of time playing “Meowster Trucks” with my friends on Reach. I’m looking forward to Halo 4.

Photo courtesy of Infinity Ward, Activision, and Sledgehammer Games.

Photo courtesy of Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios.

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Assassin’s Creed: Revelations by Ubisoft The last game for Ezio Auditore and Altair, Revelations sees Desmond control Ezio’s and Altair’s bodies in the Animus while they are in Constantinople. Multiplayer is also back, where you play as a Templar Agent, assassinating enemy players. However, the next AC game has been announced, where you control Connor, a half-Native American Assassin in the American Revolution.

Honorable Mention: Captain Forever by Farbs THE ONLY GAME ACCESSIBLE via your Internet browser on this list, Captain Forever is a singleplayer futuristic game in which you pilot a space vehicle. The object of the game is to blow up enemy ships, which get harder as your “LAW” rating increases, and take their guns, engines, and girders (which are used as protection). More powerful ships yield more powerful gear. The difficulty from lowest to highest is green, yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, rainbow, and Guardian. The simple yet elegant graphics of the game provide a clean, non-cluttered feel. Captain Forever is free online, however, if you support the game with a payment of $20, you are granted access to the sequel, Captain Successor. RELOAD

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Photo courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.

SKYRIM IS THE LATEST installment in the Elder Scrolls series. It brings the familiar open-world gameplay shown in its predecessors, where you don’t even have to follow the main quest. Some of its fun side-quests include the Dark Brotherhood, which grants you the ability to become a vampire, the Thieves’ Guild, the Companions (gives you gear and a werewolf spell), the Stormcloaks, the Imperials, and the Daedric Prince quests (each of which earns a special tool, weapon, shout, spell, or piece of armor). WARNING: SPOILER ALERT! The main questline of Skyrim follows the Dovahkiin, a character controlled by you which can be a variety of races from the planet Nirn, including Argonian (a lizard-man), Nord,

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Softworks.

1 Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks

Imperial, Redguard, and Khajiit (cat people). As you level up, you realize that your entire Skyrim experience is controlled by what weapons you use (staves, swords, daggers, melee weapons, spells), which skills you upgrade (falling into three categories: Warrior, Mage, or Thief), and how you talk to the Non-Playable-Characters. It is 200 years after the Oblivion Crisis, and the province of Skyrim, stuck in civil war, has encountered a foe that was thought to be gone forever: dragons, led by the World-Eater, Alduin. The quest centers around defeating Alduin and sending Skyrim out of the civil war that it is in. With every character, you experience different gameplay, making Skyrim one of the most captivating games of the last decade.

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Gaming: Is it Really Bad For You? BY: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS

Xbox Kinect is a great work out. It makes you move around and gives you a full body workout. Art Credit: Microsoft

A

LL THE TIME YOU HEAR THAT VIDEO GAMES WILL “ROT YOUR mind” and “socially deprive you.”Your parents are always nagging you and telling you that gaming does nothing for you. But what they don’t know, is that some gaming might actually be beneficial.

Ever since the newer consoles like the Wii or the Xbox and even the PlayStation came out, there have been arguments about how games impact one’s health. The most common argument is that games cause obesity and crime. While this may be true for some games, others can positively impact your life. According to CNN in 2009, action games can sharpen vision and may even help cure Amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. It was also found that first person shooter games can increase the brain’s capacity to spread attention over a large range of events. At first I was thinking that this n’t apply to me in any way, but when I thought about it, I realized that this applies

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to driving. I’m about to start driving, and want to be as safe as possible on the road, so this fact suddenly became useful to me. Also, who wouldn’t pass up a chance to play a fun game while being productive. On the other side, playing shooting games can cause aggressive thoughts. When children play violent games, they develop habits like kicking, hitting, etc. This happens because young kids haven’t fully developed a good since of what is right and wrong, and because their parents don’t punish them when they act up. On seldom occasions teens will be influenced by a game like Grand Theft Auto, and go out and try to steal a car for the same reason. Most parents do

punish the kids, so it shouldn’t be a factor in whether you should get that game or not. Now lets take into account the ‘active’ gaming, like the Wii fit/sports or the Xbox Kinect. In 2007 TIME tells a story of a woman who was battling breast cancer. Her daughters brought over a Wii and convinced her to play. “It got a little exhausting,” Zamora says, but she was hooked and began playing on her own every day. Soon after joining a local bowling league, she was named the league’s Most Improved Player. “What this game did for me was encourage me that I could still do these kinds of things,” she says. This is just one story of one person who was helped by a gaming system. Physical therapists are


“What this game did for me was encourage me that I could still do these kinds of things” -Zamora

using gaming systems or things very similar to them to help people with muscular disorders. The University of Toronto is developing a therapeutic video game that will help people with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, a condition that can partially paralyze one side of the body. It works by making the patients use the weak side of the body and make it stronger. I also own a Wii, along with Wii Sports an Wii fit. I do have to admit that I don’t play them often, but when I do, even if for only 15 minutes, I feel my body working. Recently I purchased Just Dance, and I can not play it for more 10 minutes. It is extremely fun to dance to fun songs, but its like a full body, hour long work out packed into the shortest time possible. In my experience, ‘active gaming’ is probably the most enjoyable and accessible gaming possible. Although this sounds cool, not all games are good for you. You have to take into account all the hours that people spend playing Halo or Black Ops, which are games that don’t get you up and moving around. The fact is that a lot of people just sit on a couch for hours, ruining their social life and physic. Personally, I don’t think that video games can be educational, but I don’t think that they are harmful either. I believe that gaming can be fun, but not when you take it too far. Always keep in mind that they are not reality, and play them for a reasonable time. Instead of talking to your friends over xbox live, talk to them in person, or while being active. Games can be fun and good for you, but like everything else, always in moderation.

The WiiFit is one of those games that will get you up and moving. It is fun to play and definitely falls under the “good for you” category. Art Credit: Nintendo

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is best because I own one


BY Forrest Hammel It’s Friday night. A lone, bright light shines from the boy’s bedroom. All of his friends are at the school dance. He is perfectly content with his game of Counter-Strike, playing with people from around the world. This is how he spends most Friday nights. That may sound bleak, but gaming has evolved from being a solitary activity. Friends are met and bonds are made, all thanks to the socialization that video games create. The culture of video games is having an increasing role in society, from schools to workplaces. Video games are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to television and films (some even have these integrated, like the Netflix compatibility of Xbox, and the Blu-ray compatibility of PS3). Gamers have risen from the shadows to take the entertainment industry by storm. RELOAD

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Andrew Potter, a recent college grad and orchestra director at the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy (LASA) and LBJ H.S. in Austin, TX, has been gaming since 7th grade in the late 90’s. He believes that video games are “a nice chance for people to get their minds off work.” After all, he does spend a good chunk of his time playing Skyrim, the popular RPG by Bethesda Softworks. He enjoys this time, but sees where some people think lowly of gaming. “I can understand a parent’s negative perspective because it’s not schoolwork, so they think it’s a waste of time,” he explained. Kurt Somerholter would be one of those parents. His son, Connor, a 7th grader at Kealing Middle School, plays frequently on their PS3, as well as on the computer. Kurt thinks that gamers can be excessive, saying that if they “spent 12 hours a day doing something redeeming, like practicing a musical instrument, they could take that skill into the real world and make money with it. You can’t do that with something like Modern Warfare 3.” He would know, too.

introduced to gaming without communication. This means that he has always been connected to who he was playing with, whether the connection is with earpiece, keyboard, or just simply being in the same game lobby. “Now almost anybody can be a video gamer, and there’s less of a stereotype,” he told me while slaying an Elder Dragon. He is also a big fan of “Machinima,” which is a type of movie created using screen-capture cameras on video games. His favorites are “Red VS Blue” and “Arby ‘n’ the Chief.” Machinima is a new form of game-based entertainment. Connor Somerholter relaxes after an orchestra concert by playing Galaga at “Rounder’s.”

“When DOOM first came out, it was the only thing I did. I would play all night and go to sleep at 4am. I couldn’t focus at work. I didn’t spend time with my friends or family. DOOM was getting me nowhere. I knew I had to change,” Kurt lamented. Photo courtesy of Forrest Hammel

Kurt does see one thing that video games have changed for the better, however. “From sampling the kids that I know, video games keep kids busy doing something, keeping them out of trouble,” he explained. “However, video games have produced a bunch of fat and lazy kids.” Enter Connor Somerholter. He is neither fat nor lazy. He is a cellist in Kealing’s Symphony Orchestra. He maintains B’s and A’s throughout the year. He is an active Boy Scout, reaching the rank of First Class in his 3rd year. He also is a gamer, playing games like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Portal 2. He is one of the newer gamers, never

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One of the very first to surface was “Red VS Blue,” made by Rooster Teeth, an entertainment company based out of Austin, TX. In the late 2000’s, a few members created the spinoff, “Achievement Hunter,” which would go on to create the aforementioned “Red VS Blue,” as well as other mini-series like “Rage Quit,” where Michael, one of the employees, would play challenging games and become angry, and “Halo: Reach Achievement HORSE,” where 2 “Achievement Hunters” would battle every

week in user-created maps in the popular Halo series. Although they haven’t always been so popular, their fanbase is now made up of a lot of non-gamers, as well as gamers. Even though the non-gamers don’t play video games, they find it fun to watch movies, tutorials, and sketches about the video games. That is what the rise of gaming is all about. You don’t have to be a gamer to like gaming. With the influence of culture by video games growing, they are becoming more mainstream, more widespread. However, sophomore Greg Lyons wasn’t influenced to start gaming because of his friends or the media pressure. He got into gaming because of his family. He grew


up around his brother playing Starcraft, so it was natural when Greg had to get Starcraft II. He also plays the more casual League of Legends. All of his games are online, forcing human interaction. Since most of the people he plays with have microphones, he can actually socialize over video games. He believes some of the reason that video games aren’t as popular as television is due to the thought process that goes into some games, especially Starcraft II. “Gamers will get the thought and implications that go into every move, whereas in

Acheivement Hunter is a group that makes Red VS Blue, Achievement HORSE, and reviews indie games.

Photo courtesy of Achievement Hunter and Rooster Teeth.

That perfectly indicates the rise of gaming in culture today. A major leap in the last decade has propelled gaming to a top position in the entertainment industry, and we should be on the watch for more to come.

“Now almost anybody can be a video gamer, and there’s less of a stereotype,” -Connor Somerholter something like football, there still are a lot of subtle things, but the main idea is a lot more obvious. Athletic sports are just a lot more understandable than video games.” That would account for the relatively low amount of strategy games compared to run-n-gun FPS’s with easy gameplay. After all, Greg says that Starcraft II requires “a lot of mental power.” “When I was first getting into video games, you would’ve never seen a commercial for a video game,” Potter elaborated, “but now you’re seeing ‘Resident Evil’ being advertised during ‘The Walking Dead.’”

Photo courtesy of Team Liquid

Many people, like BoxeR (shown in photo), play Starcraft II professionally. Players form teams, like BoxeR’s Team Liquid, and play at tournaments, many of which are sponsored by Major League Gaming.

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Playstation 3

It only does everything


BY Christopher Stevens

T

he boy finally reached home from the video game store. He had just purchased the game he had wanted for months. A week later, he was back at the store trying to return it. He said that it had good graphics and weapons, but he was frustrated by the lack of a background, or even a basis for his characters actions. He said that if he was going to play a game, he wanted a good story. This is a requirement that many gamers have in this day and age. They just aren’t satisfied with Pacman or Space Invaders, games that have no backstory or plotline. What they really want is a game that will pull them in and entertain them for hours.


One of those people is LASA freshman Kevin Chau. He plays a lot of Starcraft, but surprisingly enough, he had this to say about the game; “There was no reason behind most of your actions, and although I still like the game, I feel it lacks something.” Many people agree, and not just about Starcraft. They might enjoy a certain game, but feel it is missing something without a solid plot. “Although I never got a chance to play it, I heard that the campaign was much more straightforward, and provided a good experience,” explained Kevin when asked about his view on Starcraft Beta, and whether or not he thought it was better than the version he plays.

Mass Effect 3 was a major gaming unrest, as Sergio mentioned. Many people say that it was extremely anti climactic. The main problem that people had was with the ending, and how all of the decisions that the player had made throughout the game were disregarded at the end. This upset many people, because up until the last bits of gameplay, the series was well loved by its fans. “The game’s conclusion does not undo the excellent cooperative storymaking that went on in the previous 60-odd hours, or the player’s investment in the universe. It does, however, disrespect them,” stated Mass Effect 3’s ending caused major unrest in the gaming world, as many fans believe it was subpar to the rest of the series.

Kevin doesn’t just play Starcraft though. He has several other games, and was willing to talk about his views on other games. “If a game has a really good storyline, I want to finish it before I move on to another game,” Kevin stated. Enter Sergio Jimenez, also a LASA freshman, but much different than Kevin, in that he has expanded his gaming range. Sergio plays a multitude of games, and mainly enjoys first person shooters. Some of Sergio’s games include Black Ops, Starhawk Beta, Mario Kart, and Gran Turismo 5. “I enjoy these games, because they meet my requirements, which are a good, long storyline, and reasonable multiplayer,” Sergio said. Although Sergio has a wide gaming range, he shared that he would rather have a good storyline than good weapons or other effects. “If a games doesn’t have a good storyline, I know I won’t enjoy it as much, because I want something to entertain me.” Sergio said that he had never had a bad experience with a game, but heard that the Mass Effect 3 ending was terrible.

Sparky Clarkson, writer for Kotaku (April, 2012).

Photo courtesy of BioWare and EA.

Although some people were only slightly disappointed with the ending, others hated it. Some even went as far as forming a group called “Retake Mass Effect 3”, an organization with the main purpose of getting Bioware, the creators of Mass Effect, to design a new ending to the game and put it on the market.

Many people believe the anger wouldn’t have been felt if the game had not been in an excellent series. “The ending was a bit of a letdown for me, compared to all the excitement leading up to it. It left something of an unsatisfying aftertaste,” said Larry Frum, writer/game reviewer for CNN (March, 2012). On the other side, reviewers say that Black Ops is a great game that has a very interesting storyline. The main character gets brainwashed, and all the missions in the game are the things he is remembering,


Although Black Opps had some problems with the weapons, it gave gamers a good storyline, which was all they wanted.

which gamers believe makes it a little confusing, but fun and interesting to play through. The cons include many things, like the lack of interesting weapons, the game sometimes going on “autopilot”, and that one of the missions doesn’t tell you what to do. “Despite these issues, I really enjoyed the story that the campaign presents and I think it’s the best of the series,”

“I enjoy these games, because they meet my requirements, which are a good, long storyline, and reasonable multiplayer”

Photo courtesy of Treyarch and Activision.

Nate Ahearn, editor for IGN stated. Although the game does have its issues, people liked the game enough that they were able to overlook these. “I like Black Ops because it’s long, interesting, and is different than most of the other games that I own,” Sergio Jimenez said. In the modern world of gaming, it isn’t long before a below standard game begins to accumulate bad reviews. Even if the problem lies within the last few minutes of the game, as in Mass Effect 3, people will only remember the faults. The storyline is so important that even if the game has horrible weapons, and the graphics are bad, if it has a good storyline, people will like it more than a game that has a bad plot. As Sergio stated, his requirements, as well as many others, only consisted of a storyline that will entertain them until the next new thing comes out.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

Star Craft II, a popular strategy game, doesn’t have the best storyline ever, but since it is mainly strategy based, the story doesn’t play as large of a role.


Picture by STUART PRICE

CAMPERS: ARE THEY THE SMART ONES? BY:VICENTE KAUFHOLD

Y

ou just got your first FPS game. Halo, COD, Battlefield, whatever. You take it home and immediately go to the multi player lobby and join in, only to be immediately killed by a sniper standing right behind the spawn point. With cases like this, its easy to see why people hate campers, but camping is a legitimate strategy, especially in team games. The people that really hate campers are the ones that are getting killed by them. What people should really do is try camping themselves. What’s not better than getting a ton of kills, and very few deaths? Plus, once you know how to camp, you learn how to counter the camper.

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According to the Quake 4 files gaming rules, camping is illegal anyone caught camping will be “played with like a toy at the admin’s discretion.” These rules are oppressing campers and flattening the game. Now instead of having many enjoyable options for coordinated gameplay, everyone is stuck, running and gunning and racking up deaths, not kills. How is that enjoyable to anybody? On the Everything2 forum, user “Burnboy” says “Camping in a FPS game is a skill. Some people call it cheating, some people call it [lame]. But it’s a freaking skill.” Burnboy is one of many who stand by camping as the most legitimate and useful tactics. Not only is it a skill and strategy, but its also a sign of wisdom, showing who knows how to survive and use the terrain and who just shoots everything that moves. Some games even encourage camping. The infected mode on C.O.D. Modern Warfare 3 starts off by making one person of the group “infected.” That “infected” person must kill the other players, causing them to become infected also. The most successful strategy in this game is to simply camp and wait for the timer to run out. Especially towards the end of the game when the odds become 7 on 1, camping is really the only option.


For those of you who want to camp but suck at it here are some tips that might make your camping experience successful. Make sure there are at most only 2 access points to your camp site. The more entries there are, the easier it is to kill you. Also, make sure you overlook a high traffic area. A small corner is great, but if no one goes back there you won’t get any kills. WikiHow says “Don’t stay in one spot for too long. Even beginners will pick up on your game after two or three kills, and will develop a strategy to sneak up and take you out. Find a spot, make two or three kills, and escape to another spot.” This is one of the main downfalls of campers. Unless you have a great defensive setup, keep moving.

Left: A real life camper! This is a picture of a Burundian sniper in Somalia.

If your having trouble with campers Try some of the followings tips. Find a different way in. Camp sites often have more than one way in so a new way in could take that camper by surprise. Also, use grenades. Bunkers and towers have to have windows to shoot out of so throwing a grenade in the window should get that pesky camper. Avoid high traffic lanes. These are the most common areas being watched by campers. use back alleys and paths instead. Less enemies and no campers tend to be a good thing commonly found in these back paths.

Pictures by USER ATKR on FLICKR

Overall the important thing is to try different strategies. Find something you like. Not everyone can handle the patience required to camp. As long as you don’t complain, anything goes.

Top: Corner campersometimes effective Below: ghost field camper-rarely effective

“Camping in a FPS game is a skill. Some people call it cheating, some people call it [lame]. But it’s a freaking skill.” - User “Burnboy” on the Everything2 forum.

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SE

AND HE


XY KNOWS IT

This is Steve. He is an adventurer, hunter, marathon runner, miner, crafter, and expert swordsman and ladies, he’s single. He can create monstrous homes out of nothing, and kills spiders for breakfast. How did he get so strong? Punching wood and rocks with his bare hands. Unlike most modern adventurers, he can take arrows to the knee all day, everyday and just keep fighting. He once slayed a dragon with nothing but a sword and arrows. No bow, no armor, and he still won. Suicide bomber Creepers try to kill him, but he lives on. Not even his dreaded rival, Herobrine, can defeat him. If you look up badass in a dictionary you find his picture. He is #winning all the time. So all you other men out there reading this, just give up and go cry in a corner. Now.


The End contains the final boss, the Enderdragon. It is accessible through a special stronghold that can only be found with Ender Pearls.

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PICKED BY Forrest Hammel, Vicente Kaufhold, and Chris Stevens

M

INECRAFT IS AN OPEN-WORLD SANDBOX GAME developed by Markus “Notch” Persson and his company, Mojang. Many gamers have become addicted to Minecraft, as it is very fun to build fancy contraptions and design cool buildings. Here, 3 of our staff writers (who are, by the way, avid Minecraft players) share their experiences and opinions on Minecraft.

Forrest Hammel a.k.a. longhorn1347 When my brother first bought Minecraft, I tried it out, but I had a generally bad opinion of it. I thought that it was dull, but I was only playing on the single-player Survival, with no mods, texture packs, or hacked clients. Now, I’ve “rediscovered” Minecraft as a

fun multiplayer game with a readily-accessible database of modifications, hacks, and graphics upgrades. Thankfully, those will never stop coming, as Minecraft is written in the widely-used Java programming language. The server I most frequently play on is Project907.com, a whitelisted (meaning you have to request to be allowed on) server based out of Alaska. Why that server? Because of their plugins. The

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It’s helpful to have a home. From left to right, the homes are owned by Blake Kar-

It’s also fun to design castles. This one was created and is owned by Forrest, Blake,

woski, Forrest Hammel, and Justin Zhang.

Vicente Kaufhold, and Chris Stevens

-Photo courtesy of Forrest

-Photo courtesy of Forrest

Hammel and Mojang

admins and OP’s really went out of their way to make the gaming experience enjoyable. There is a store with free basic supplies (wood, stone, sand, brick), a default spawn point (accessible by typing /spawn), a home-setting tool, portals to every biome, the Nether, PVP, Creative, and Vanilla (a very basic mode), and griefing protection. By “griefing protection,” I mean the ability to lock chests and furnaces, the auto-regeneration of explosive damage, and a log that keeps track of who gained or lost materials and the time of the gain/ loss. Another reason that I like the server is that most people are nice, amiable players, and the ones who aren’t, get permanently banned.

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was jungle trees stacked on each other, and Chris’s was made out of Sandstone and Lapis Lazuli blocks. In the center we have a “commons” building. The first floor has

“In most cases, you aren’t limited by anything in building.” - Forrest Hammel

One of the things I most enjoy about Minecraft is designing huge mansions and castles with monorails, autogardens, and massive safety-mechanisms. One of the best feelings is when your safety gate works, and you are able to take all of someone’s inventory for yourself. One of the coolest things I’ve ever designed was actually with Chris, Vicente, and Blake Karwoski, another LASA freshman. We built a huge castle, with each corner being someone’s house: Mine was made out of flaming Netherrack, Vicente’s was out of Sandstone and had a leap of faith, Blake’s

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Hammel and Mojang

a pool, and we are eventually planning on making into a trading center. The second floor is storage for items, the 3rd floor has a garbage pit and an enchanting table, and the roof has a melon garden, pumpkin garden, sugarcane area and a chicken farm. One thing we plan on doing with that castle is building an automonorail that connects every corner with each other. We also plan on building a lighthouse out of pistons, glowstone, and iron blocks.

I guess the thing that I like about Minecraft the most is the creative aspect. In most cases, you aren’t limited by anything in your building. Of course, if you want to make a 10 block cube out of diamond blocks, that may be difficult.

Vicente Kaufhold a.k.a. driver565839 I am what one would call an apprentice redstoner. I build the craziest contraptions and traps


The Nether is Minecraft’s version of the Undeworld, complete with lava and fearsome monsters.

-Photo courtesy of Forrest Hammel and Mojang

all day. If you go into my home to get the free cake I advertised, you may as well press the button and release the lava because you’re trapped anyway. The floor and walls are indestructible, the door only opens from the outside, and if you try and destroy the cake dispenser, the TNT behind it will explode. You die regardless, but you at least choose how long it takes. Lava in five seconds, TNT now, or starvation in a few minutes. I’m upstairs, looking through the glass you can’t reach laughing. Did you look through my window outside and see my unlocked diamond chest? It’s a trap. By entering the house, you lock yourself in and the pressure plates that cover the floor are powering my machine gun arrow dispenser. You have three seconds to live, even in diamond armor. When you mess with me, you will die. And I like to make sure that happens.

Chris Stevens a.k.a. tigerdragon4797 I bought Minecraft 2 years ago, and didn’t get into playing it until about 2 months ago. The reason behind that was because my previous computer re-

A naturally spawning NPC Village full of villagers, slimes, and other monsters.

-Photo courtesy of Vicente Kaufhold and Mojang

fused to run the game. When I started, I had an advantage over other people just starting out. My advantage was that I had watched my friends play, and I had watched many videos. There are a variety of Minecraft videos out there, ranging from Minecraft music parodies on popular songs, my favorite being ���When I Ruled the World- a Minecraft parody”, to instructional videos about redstone, to my favorite, MInecraft survival videos. Minecraft survival videos are videos of hardcore servers, in which you basically reenact the Hunger Games, but in Minecraft. My favorite series include Mine Cracked, and Zombies vs. Dwarfs. So far I have only talked about other people in videos, so I will now talk about myself. On most servers I am known as a Warrior of Old, because of

“I am the chosen one.” -Chris Stevens

my skills in battle. I have been known to accumulate stacks of Diamond armor and weapons with in the half hour of playing. I can take down a creeper with a glance, and people beg me to teach them my ways (including driver565839 and longhorn1347). One time I received a request from Notch, asking me if I would like to get paid to stay on Minecraft all day as Herobrine. I declined the offer, for previously that day, I had destroyed Herobrine for good. When Minecraft said that they had removed Herobrine, only I knew that it was because he was beyond all hope. I have been to the End 5 times, but not for the normal reason. Most people travel to the End to kill the Ender Dragon, but I have befriended him, and we have long theological conversations, and every time we learn something new. That sums it up. I am a master Minecraft, leader and teacher of all. I slay monsters, and talk to Dragons. I am the chosen one.

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SMELL LIKE A MAN,

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