wingspan • may 12, 2010
Video games contain online multiplayer modes and realistic gaming to enhance experience
Gunn High set an example for us all
hat would students at West do if angry, conservative picketers showed up on our campus, promising students hellfire and brimstone for being Jewish or a part of the gaystraight alliKyle Keith ance, or even simply for attending school with such “delinquent individuals?” I asked myself this question when I stumbled upon a YouTube video of Westboro Baptist Church members protesting outside Gunn High School in California earlier this year. So what would students here do? Would we ride the hateful protests out and try to go about our day normally while picketers hold pictures of bloody fetuses and call us all murderers and fags? Maybe some of us would protest angrily back. The students at Gunn High had an excellent way to deal with the hatred targeting them. Instead of sitting meekly in their desks and attempting to learn normally or administrators stumbling over themselves trying to deal with the controversy, the students took it upon themselves to show the individuals from Westboro Baptist that they were not welcome to protest on their campus. In a show of unity and maturity, the students left the cafeteria during their lunch periods and made what is possibly the most beautiful display of tolerance and school pride ever conceived. Instead of shouting slurs back at the protestors, students sang songs, played guitars and held up signs that said “Gunn = Love,” “God loves everyone” and “Love thy neighbor as thy self.” Naturally, the Westboro Baptist Church members wouldn’t leave until they found their next victims to harass, and they only shouted louder and called more students bigoted names. I couldn’t help but admire the Gunn High School students’ courage to sing, “We shall overcome” amidst the angry “church members.” Gunn High should write a manual on how to deal with intolerance. Westboro Baptist has sent representatives to the Hendersonville area in the past. They protest military funerals and even had the nerve to show up on the campus of Virginia Tech claiming that the mass murder committed on their campus was God’s way of showing his disgust for college students. But Gunn High should be proud that their students set a national example for dealing with Westboro Baptist Church. When hatred rears its ugly head, it must be dealt with, but most effectively in a peaceful, mature fashion. Hopefully, we can all take something away from these amazing students who showed the nation that hatred and intolerance are not welcome on their campus.
Simulation games show trend toward lifelike gaming cessful, it became the predecessor of modern simulation games. In 2000 William Wright, a successful computer game fter a long day at school, freshman Maddi Havener designer, created The Sims. It became an instant hit. It is exhausted. She has spent eight hours working on also became the best-selling PC game in history, with 6.3 a project, taking a test and finishing her homework million games sold in the first year. Since The Sims’ apand now finally has time to relax. She sits pearance, Electronic Arts Games has prodown in front of her computer and begins duced three core games and 17 expansion to play The Sims. After seeing that her packs for Windows, Mac, PlayStation, Xbox money is low, she quickly types a “motherand Nintendo. lode” code in and collects $50,000. The Sims allows the player to control “The virtual life is a lot easier,” Havener a character, or Sim, and decide what he said. “My Sim is rich. It has everything it motherlode - adds wants the Sim to do with its life. It gives wants, and it doesn’t have any hard things 50,000 Simoleons players unlimited choices to determine the to deal with.” Sim’s life story. Among the life-changing kaching - adds 1,000 For more than 10 years now, people Simoleons experiences, Sims are also faced with dayhave been captivated by simulation games. jokeplease - gives ranto-day activities like eating, going to the Since their appearance in the 1980s, simu- dom joke bathroom and paying the bills. lation games such as The Sims and Animal unlockoutfits + (type on “You decide the plot so you can change Crossing have grown in popularity. Best Buy or off) - view outfits and the life of your Sim depending on how you Loss Prevention and Sales Representative uniforms want it to be,” Havener said. “You tell your Keith Roland attributes their popularity to resetsim + (first name) person where to go and what to do and + (last name) - return the simplicity of virtual life. how to interact with others. You just point home “You can build your own home and go and click.” familyfunds + (family through day-to-day life without the stress name) + (amount of Animal Crossing is very similar to The of day-to-day life,” Roland said. “It takes Simoleons) - add family Sims games. However, while The Sims is you away from reality, and you can have a funds more of a realistic, suburban simulation lot more fun.” game, Animal Crossing is a rural, fantasy hideheadlineeffects The idea of social simulations origi- hides thought bubble simulation. Havener said that the two nated from the 1985 computer game Little above head games are basically the same with only a Computer People. The game featured a few minor differences. (www.softsailor.com) single man living in a three-story apart “You tell the avatar what to do, and you ment that the player interacted with by playing poker, can create your own life in both of them,” Havener said. buying luxuries and conversing with characters. One of “But The Sims allows you to do more with your person the unique aspects of the game was that no two experi- than Animal Crossing.” ences were exactly alike. Although the game wasn’t suc- While simulation games have become popular in the
Brandon McArthur Staff Writer
U.S., they have not yet achieved the success of simulation games in Japan. The Japanese have created several popular simulation games based on dating or business. The Facebook application FarmVille is a significant move from computer simulations to Internet simulations. Since its appearance in 2009, FarmVille has become Facebook’s most popular game application. With more than 82 million users, it is a step toward Internet simulation games. Its relationship with Facebook allows the player to visit and converse with others while playing. Junior Sokadum Suy, an avid player of FarmVille, credits its success to the game’s simplicity and addictive qualities. Suy explained that to succeed in the game, the player has to manage his money and time to enlarge his farm and earn more money. “You start out with a certain amount of money and you start building up your farm with animals, fences and barns,” Suy said. “The plot is pretty much to have the biggest and best stuff on your farm.” Internet-based simulation games like FarmVille may soon replace The Sims, but for now companies such as EA Games can still make a profit off PC simulation games. Currently, EA Games is working on several extension packs for the third Sims game for PC and is planning on creating a fourth Sims to be released some time in 2011, according to video game blogging sites. The company is also working on a handheld version of The Sims 3. However, Roland said the popularity of The Sims and other simulation games has most likely passed its peak. “Future Sim games are going to be a little bit harder than the ones now. Players will be able to pick their career path, they’re going to be able to have relationships, just like the first Sims, and probably it will mostly be online,” Roland said. “With Call of Duty and the first person shooter games being so popular, The Sims seems to be going downhill a bit.”
Online multiplayer modes allow gamers to interact Josh Wentzel Asst. Opinion Editor
errorists are shooting at junior Hoon Lee as he runs down a narrow alleyway. He jumps, swerves and dodges bullets. He turns around and fires back with a few expertly aimed shots. Then with a press of the left D-pad button, Lee calls in air support. Pressing the triangle to change weapons, he fires his gun with the R1 button as he takes a win for his team. The days of exclusively single player gaming are on their way out. Today, multiplayer games with scopes of anywhere from two to four players to 2 to 4 million players are becoming the norm. Games with player populations of upwards of several thousand on a single server are known as massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs. Most of the new MMO games come at a price. Some games, notably those on Xbox Live, charge by requiring a connection fee to the console network. Others, such as the immensely popular game World of Warcraft, charge a fee of $15 a month. While this fee is an initial discouragement for some players, it remains only initial and World of Warcraft has gathered a massive following of more than 11 million loyal players. The game generates approximately $165 million a month and $1.98 billion annually in revenue. Among West students such as junior Mike Aamodt, these popular games have large followings that are undeterred by game fees. “Originally it was troublesome paying $15 a month, but then I got my dad into it – and then he started paying,” Aamodt said. “Both of us have really gotten into it.” Aamodt has played many different games, some sim-
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Released on Nov. 10, 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has an online multiplayer mode for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It is a first person shooter set in Afghanistan, Russia and the U.S. and is the third best-selling game in the country.
Released on Nov. 23, 2004, World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game for the computer. It is set in the fantasy world of Azeroth and is currently the world’s most subscribed to multiplayer online game.
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Released on Oct. 14, 2008, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation can only be played through the online multiplayer mode for the PlayStation 3. The game is a third person shooter in which teamwork is essential to success.
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ilar and many different from World of Warcraft. However, Xbox Live has more people, and to me, PS3 is lame,” Lee he says he finds the game unique among its competitors said. “Even though PS3 runs a lot smoother because Xbox and thinks it offers what other games do not. has the downgraded version, Xbox 360 has the better ser “There’s no other game like it. It’s really original and vice, but you have to pay for it. Playing on a PS3 is free.” just a really good game. There are a lot of different ways MMO games offer students a way to interact with to do things. Unlike a single player game, you can choose their friends. Aamodt said he grew many of his friendfrom a bunch of different characters, and there are a lot ships at West online. He exchanged usernames with of different ways to do things,” Aamodt people he met three years ago in his freshman physical education class and said. “It’s not like a single player game where you know what’s going to happen. became better friends with them online. Unlike a single “You get to know some people better You can go to a lot of different places player game, with multiplayer and do a lot of different than others,” Aamodt said. “With some the World of things. The World of Warcraft universe is people you just run in and do one thing with, but with others you can actually so big that it’s almost impossible to do Warcraft universe start a group and pretty much play the everything in the game.” is so big that it’s whole game with them.” Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has been an enormously successful game. almost impossible When playing Modern Warfare 2, Lee Preorders for the game alone put it said he prefers to play with people he to do everything among the best selling games in history, knows, although he is open to meeting and the game has set a new standard for people through the game. in the game. “I’d say about 80 percent of the peofuture first-person shooters. Michael Aamodt ple who I play with online are people Lee said the game’s popularity junior comes from its realistic aspects as well who I’m friends with at school,” Lee as the experience it gives its players. said. “The rest of the people are about “I think that people like first-person shooters be- 10 percent people who I met online and 10 percent peocause of the experience it gives them. People like to expe- ple who I wouldn’t ever want to meet.” rience war,” Lee said. “Modern Warfare 2 is more realistic The Call of Duty series is on a track for more success, than other shooters out there.” and Infinity Ward has shown that it can deliver what its Modern Warfare 2 is available for two consoles, Xbox players want. Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft, 360 and PlayStation 3, with some minor differences. On has also built a reputation by making best-selling games. the systems that it is available for, it has outsold most all “It was the game to have,” Aamodt said. “If you didn’t have of the competitors in its genre. it, you weren’t playing Xbox. I prefer multiplayer gaming, “I’ve played Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox 360 and PS3. and Modern Warfare 2 does a great job with that.”
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