Author Archives: Sharon
Originally posted on March 21st, 2012 by Sharon at FromtheDpad.com
A Salute to Gaming Roots
1889: The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed from coast to coast, the Great Fire in Seattle destroys 25 downtown blocks, Thomas Edison shows his 1st motion picture, cable cars begin service in LA, the 300m Eiffel Tower officially opens commemorating the French Revolution, and 29 year old Fusajiro Yamauchi opens the doors to his company Nintendo Koppai.
A ban of foreign (western) playing cards plagued the fun loving people of Japan (after the communications break in 1633) but playing card games was not entirely banned….exactly. Crafty and persistent gamblers found ways in which card decks were created using imagery as a way to get around the prohibition. Unfortunately each time gambling with a card deck of a particular design became too popular, the government banned those cards, which then prompted the creation of new ones. As a result of this back and forth a game was developed. That game was called Hanafuda and it combined traditional Japanese games with Western-style playing cards. Eventually the game had become popular enough that the government threw its hands in the air and conceded to loosening the reigns, so to speak. And when big brother stopped trying to control the card playing it magically became less interesting to mass consumers. It is funny how that works, isn’t it?
Enter Nintendo. Nintendo, which began with the purpose of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards. Instead of just making general illustrations for use with the game, Fusajiro Yamauchi would develop unique hand crafted artwork that would drive the sales of the cards far beyond the competition. Nintendo quickly became the top game company in Japan, and over the next 40 years Fusajiro’s small store expanded into a major corporation adding an expansive library of original card games developed specifically for Nintendo.
Did you know: During the early years of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo expanded to include ….
Click here to read the rest of the Sharon’s Salute to Gaming Roots and learn more about Nintendo’s beginnings.
This week cohosts Nick and Sharon talk about Mass Effect 3 (almost exclusively), Draw Something for IOS, and Shining Force Neo. Yes, you read that right.
Originally posted February 22nd, 2012 by Sharon at FromTheDPad
Check out the trailer below and then head on over to the DPad for all of the launch details including the preorder incentives!
Originally posted February 20th, 2012 by Sharon at FromtheDPad.com
The new SSX is a mere week away from store shelves and unless you are excited about the PS Vista, you are probably looking forward to a stand up February title. As promised I have come bearing gifts of screen shots and soundtrack details to help get you pumped about this EA Canada title.
Straight from the get go EA promised the “Most Treacherous Mountain Ranges on the Planet” would be part and parcel with their up and coming reinvention of the franchise. Even at announcement EA said that “Redefining the SSX franchise, SSX: Deadly Descents* will pit riders versus both mountain and man. Players will explore the story of a team who seek to be the first to descend the faces of the most treacherous mountain ranges on the planet. The team will travel the world to face the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them. From the peaks of the Himalayas, where the air is so thin that riders have to descend through the death zone at breakneck speeds to keep from blacking out, to the solid ice ranges of Antarctica, where a sunlit line is the only survival option when temperatures drop 50 degrees centigrade in the shade. And the mountain isn’t the only danger players will face. In SSX: Deadly Descents* the first goal is to survive. The second, in true SSX fashion, is to look good doing it.” And now the time has come. Will the EA SSX team be able to make good on their promise of an outstanding new SSX?
*SSX: Deadly Descents as a working title is now known simply as SSX
“SSX has always been one of EA’s most music intensive, genre diverse and sonically adventurous titles,” says Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music & Music Marketing. “The songs on this new soundtrack cover ground from indie rock, dub step, hip-hop, drum + bass and beyond. As fans of the ultimate snowboarding franchise have come to expect, our artists range from top cutting-edge stars to tomorrow’s hottest underground acts. Ultimately, it’s a soundtrack full of next-level music that is totally ripe for discovery.”
In March of 2010 Forbes online stated that ”the new face of videogaming is almost as likely to be a 30-something woman as a teenage boy”, and that “women are increasingly eager to ride the game wave.” This movement is exactly why the folks at Sony Online Entertainment are so dedicated to inspiring women’s involvement in the video game industry, as well as for providing an open gateway for those pursuing careers in the field of creative and applied arts.
Since 2008 SOE has been sponsor to The G.I.R.L—Gamers in Real Life—Scholarship. The purpose of G.I.R.L is to positively impact the way females are depicted in video games and create and influence content to be appealing to women. Another purpose is to help raise awareness of the serious female gaming audience to the media in an effort to encourage the gaming industry to positively promote women throughout all facets of games, game production and into game management. And 2012 marks the 5th pairing of G.I.R.L. and SOE to bring the scholarship to a very fortunate student. The recipient will be awarded a unique opportunity to get a foot in the door with an optional internship at SOE, plus $10,000 towards tuition and other educational expenses at the school at which the student is currently enrolled.
“The goal of G.I.R.L. has always been of opportunity, education and recruitment to get more women into the gaming industry,” said Laura Naviaux, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. “Over the last few years, we have been nothing short of impressed with the hundreds of amazing submissions from talented students nationwide. Now in our fifth year, we can’t wait to see the creativity that comes out of the G.I.R.L. program.”
The G.I.R.L. Scholarship is for any individual who is 18 years of age or older at the time of entry and a legal resident of the United States, who is currently enrolled at an accredited school in an undergraduate program related to video games, including programs related to video game art, design, animation, production, programming or visual effects, has an average GPA of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), and will not graduate before the end of the 2012 spring term. The SOE internship is an optional ten (10)-week position at one of SOE’s studios (room, board, transportation and living expenses not included). The internship will provide invaluable real-work experience & will offer the student an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally, as well as make tremendous networks for a future in gaming.
It happens to the best of us, the gaming backlog. Whether it is because you are over extending yourself, there was a really good sale, you have too many favorite franchises, or life just got right in the way, it happens. Now you sit with anywhere from three to six games (or more) that you were really excited about but haven’t touched. Games and guilt are piling up and the task seems overwhelming. With the release schedule starting to pick up again, it’s time to consider how to tackle the mounting backlog before it gets any bigger. Here are a few tips to consider to help you make sense of it all.
Previous Iterations: Play or Pass
Yes, The Darkness II just released! But, what’s that, you haven’t played the first one? Well, that may or may not be necessary. Sure, many game franchises continue one large storyline (as with Assasin’s Creed), but not all do. Sometimes, even with a continuous story line, playing all of the previous iterations is not always necessary (as in Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). Take some time to read the reviews of previous title releases; decide for yourself whether or not you are interested in devoting the time to the back story or if you are ready to jump in feet first. Your decision could be wildly based on how many releases are part of the franchise, how inexpensive it would be to invest in the franchise, and if there is any benefit to revisiting those missed titles (such as will the carry over benefits in the Mass Effect titles).
Are you passionate about the Genre
It’s true, Star Wars the Old Republic looks great! The community it has created is fun and all of your friends are playing it. The screens, the memes, the universe itself, is so intriguing that this game has been put on your ‘to play’ list. There’s just one catch, you’re more of a FPS kinda player. MMORPGs have never really been your ‘thing’. This might be the kind of game that can get cut from your backlog team. While it is great to broaden your horizons from time to time, save it for the off season or when there aren’t more interesting things at your disposal.
Multiplayer games are tons of fun when there are other players to play with. A multiplayer title that has been on your radar since before release should probably move up to the top of your backlog. This title should be experienced with other players, and you will have the most opportunity to play with others closest to the release of the game. That’s not to say that there aren’t folks to play with later on, but nothing stinks like jumping into your favorite multiplayer game (such as a racing game or co-op action adventure) and not being able to find folks to play with.
Budget of Time
What kind of games are in your backlog? Are they the kinds of games that require 3-4 consecutive hours at a time? Do you have that much time to dedicate right now on a regular basis? Do you commute to work? Is there a game in your backlog you can play for short amounts of time more frequently? Carefully look at the time you are able to allocate to catching up. If you have an hour break each day for lunch but only use 15 minutes of that for actual food consumption, that might be a great time to pull out the laptop and grab a few quick levels, achievements, or quests. Perhaps you can take that handheld with you on the commuter train. Whatever games are in your backlog, understanding how they can fit into your budget of time without interfering with what caused your backlog in the first place, will go a long way in helping you to reduce it.
Whether you are trying to catch up before the newest iteration of a franchise drops, working through games you bought while on sale, or are just now getting to titles you always meant to play, the inevitable gaming backlog can seem like a daunting task. Examine what you have, the time you can allot, and how excited you are about the game(s), and your backlog should seem more like a plethora of unexplored adventure, rather than a race to catch up with the masses.
What games are in your current backlog?
What helps you through your mounting library? Don’t forget to leave us a comment below.
For the first time ever, Fan Expo Canada™ is extending its show westward!
Highlighting celebrities, shopping, panels and workshops, you will be able to find the newest and hottest in Anime, Manga, Comics, Sci-Fi, Gaming and Horror.
April 21st-22nd 2012, come out and meet your favorite celebrity or creator and shop for the hottest or most rare in comic books, graphic novels, manga, toys, t-shirts and more!
Fan Expo Vancouver™ is brought to you by way of Hobby Star Marketing Inc. HSM was founded in 1992 as one of Canada’s premiere sports and entertainment marketing agencies. The company first staked its claim in 1995 with the successful launch of the Canadian National Comic Book Expo. It has since been re-branded as Fan Expo Canada featuring Comic, Anime, Science Fiction, Horror and Gaming. The event has evolved into a spectacular, annual, multi-media even with prestigious acclaim, becoming North America’s 3rd largest event of its kind.
Fan Expo Vancouver is uniting all fans of comics, gaming, anime, horror, and sci-fi. For years fans have been asking Fan Expo Canada to come to Vancouver. Comicon Hollywood North has final arrived! Tickets go on sale: February 21, 2012.
Special Guests include: Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Fullmetal Alchemist), Veronica Taylor (Pokemon), Richard Cox (Inu Yasha) Trevor Deval (Mobile Suit Gundam), Mike McFarland (Dragonball Z), Brian Froud (Bakugan & Jimmy Two Shoes), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Kristen Bauer (True Blood)…and more to be released soon!
FanExpo funtimes will include:
- Celebrity Autographs & Photo Ops
- Celebrity Q & A’s
- Sketching Duels
- Workshops & Seminars
- Web Series for Grown Ups
- Artist Alley
- Retailer & Exhibitor Area
- Voice Acting 101
- Ultimate Fan Expo Party
- Horror Author Panels
- The 501st Legion: Star Wars Photo Session
- Sci-Fi Fantasy Author Panels and Readings
The expo takes place April 21-22, 2012 (Saturday & Sunday) at the Vancouver Convention Centre, 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC. Tickets go on sale: February 21, 2012.
sources: press release, official website
If you are a student of game design or art and you intend to work in the games industry after graduation (and you live in Scotland, India, China, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, or Sweden), this is a competition you will not want to miss out on! Run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital sees hundreds of students every year competing to become one of the 15 teams to build a working game prototype in just nine weeks.
At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games. At the Dare awards ceremony, three prizes of £2500 will be awarded to the three highest scoring teams based on the criteria of innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology (none of the three will be specifically attributed to any particular criterion). Seven months later the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”. What better way to spend your summer semester than kicking down the door of opportunity with other ambitious students?
The competition is open to all Universities and Art Colleges in the UK and to sponsored Higher Education Institutions outwith. Be sure to visit the official site for details.
There are a specific terms and conditions for applying but I don’t want to leave you in the lurch so here they are:Terms & Conditions(as per the official site)
- The closing date for applications set out on this website is final. Entries received after this date will not be considered. (April 10th)
- Dare to be Digital (the Competition) is open to undergraduate or postgraduate students studying at Universities or Art Colleges.
- Entry for teams must be 5 members except specified countries sponsored by the Scottish Government, namely China, India, and Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). Teams from these countries must be 4 members.
- Those teams applying from the island of Ireland MUST have a mix of team members (a minimum of 1) from institutions (further education and 3rd level colleges) in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
- Teams with members graduating in 2012 are eligible to apply.
- A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be graduates of up to 2 years as long as they are not currently employed in the games / interactive entertainment industries. The rest of the team must fit the normal entry criteria as set out in (2) above.
- A maximum of 2 members in a team of 5, similarly a maximum of 1 member in a team of 4, can be studying at a Further Education college as long as the remaining 3 team members fit the normal criteria as set out in (2) and (5) above.
- Applications from individuals are not permitted.
- No applicant should have had any extensive (more than 6 months full time) work experience in the games industry as a graduate or study break. Part time relevant work, internships or placements undertaken during consecutive years of study are permitted. Please refer to the Dare team if you are unsure.
- Applicants who have previously taken part in the Competition are not permitted to apply. This includes applicants who were successful in securing a place in the Competition but who later withdrew from the Competition either prior to its commencement or after the Competition had started.
- Applicants who have previously applied to the Competition can re-apply. This includes applicants who were successful in getting to the interview stage but who were then not selected to take part in the Competition.
- The selection dates announced by the organiser will be the sole dates for selection. No other date will be set with any team.
- The Competition will be hosted at Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland between 11th June and 12th August 2012. Each Team Member is required to work on the Team Project at the host centre for a minimum of 35 hours per week during Normal Working Hours and attend the public showcase event Dare ProtoPlay from 10-12th August 2012.
- You are not permitted to take any time off (Monday to Friday) during Dare, unless it is under exceptional circumstances, of which the Competition Organiser will be sole judge. Any time off will be deducted from your weekly stipend.
- All Team Members will be present during Normal Working Hours (9am-5pm) on Compulsory Attendance Days (comprising the first and last two weeks of the Competition).
- No Team Members are allowed to engage in any form of paid employment during the course of the Competition other than work outside Normal Working Hours which has the prior consent of the Competition organising team, and which does not impinge on the Team Project and has the approval of all fellow Team Members.
- A judging panel involving industry and funding representatives will determine which teams will be selected to take part in the Competition. The judges’ decision is final and not open to negotiation. No correspondence will be entered into.
- All works and ideas submitted must be original, created specially for the Competition and not infringe any copyright.
- All Dare participating teams can start the preparation work for their game idea as soon as they are informed that they will be entering the Competition. Any work done prior to the start of the Competition will need to be declared when the Competition starts.
- All successful candidates have to make their own travel arrangement to arrive Abertay University, Dundee before the starting date of 11th June 2012.
- Accommodation will be provided throughout the whole Competition period between 11th June and 12th August 2012.
- Successful applicants will have to abide by the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) conditions set out in a formal contract before they start the competition. The contract sets out that Dare to be Digital will own any generated IP until proposals are made by any team to explore exploiting their game IP after the competition finishes. Post-competition IP agreements will protect team members from each other and allow freedom to explore non-commercial and commercial activities. Dare to be Digital will not require any payment for post-competition exploitation until a team creates profits and, even then, the payments are currently planned to be limited to £1,800.
- Each Team/Team Member shall consent to taking part in the filming of a documentary film of the Competition for the Competition period. The Competition organiser shall be entitled to use any such film for any purpose at its sole discretion. This will be used in the promotion of the Competition.
- The above terms are subject to change.
- You must complete all fields and submit your application no later than 5PM (GMT+1) Tuesday 10th April 2012.
- Each team member should have registered on the Dare to be Digital website using the same email address.
- every applicant has to provide a reference from your university – preferably your lecturer. The reference can be the same for all applicants. Make sure you seek prior consent from your lecturer before you put his/her contact details on the form.
- Team members must have a good level of the English language: written, spoken, listening, reading. If your team is selected for interview, each team member MUST provide a copy of their IELTS or TOEFL certificate, Level 5 or above is acceptable. If any member of the team does not have a IELTS or TOEFL certificate they must be able to provide a similar certificate or a letter from their lecturer confirming that their command of the English language is of a good standard.
- All applicants MUST have a valid/current passport.
- In order to provide you with a better opportunity to pitch your game to the judges, Dare 2012 is requesting teams to provide a video of up to 5 mins to explain your game. Please make the best use of this 5 min to explain clearly your game concept and the strength of your team. You should try your best to include the following elements in the video:
- Game Play
- Game Mechanics
- Storyline (if any)
- Unique Selling Point
- Target Audience & Age Profile
- Project Plan; Briefly outline the key milestones to demonstrate how you are going to complete the project on time
- Visuals: artwork, storyboards, design diagrams of core mechanic features of your game to help the judges see what you want to develop.
- The video must be in the MP4 format, with *.mp4 extension (You can use HandBrake for transcoding videos)
- The file size of the video is not allowed to exceed 100MB
- The video should be a maximum of 5 minutes long
- Ideally all 5 team members should be present on the video, however if this is not possible, a minimum of 3 members are to be present
- Make sure that your video can be clearly understood
- All team members must introduce themselves indicating what skill set they will bring to the team. If there are team members missing, make sure their skill sets are also mentioned
- All material used on the video must be the work of the team applying
What are the benefits of entering such a contest? Well I am glad you asked. Dare to be Digital’s website explains the benefits very concisely:
- Enhance your CV
- Get mentoring from the industry
- Produce a demo to take to interviews
- Hone your skills and get the experience that employers are looking for
- Expose your skills and work to games industry luminaries / potential employers
- Experience working as part of a team
- Weekly stipend of £150
- Team budget of £200
- Free accommodation at Abertay’s halls of residence throughout Dare
- Build industry contacts
- Work with friends and make new ones from across the globe
- Opportunity to start your own games studio
- Work on your own ideas
- Exhibit your game at Dare ProtoPlay where thousands will play it
- Chance to win one of three £2500 prizes
- Chance to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award
BAFTA-nominated Sophia George from Dare 2011 said: “I think people should enter Dare to be Digital because it is a great opportunity for people who are keen to break into the games industry. I feel the experience was priceless and I met so many wonderful people.”
Elaine Russell, Dare to be Digital project manager, said:
“Taking part in Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for many young game developers, giving them incredible experience and access to leading industry experts from companies like Rockstar and Sony. And the experience of seeing thousands of people play your game at the Dare ProtoPlay games festival at the end of the competition can be life-changing for students looking to enter the games industry. With the many innovative release channels available in the market, we are particularly keen to see how the students can use Dare to be Digital as a platform to launch commercially in the gaming market.”
Still not sure? Check out these links to find out even more about the competition, past participation, details on budding teams, involvement, and how to apply.
sources: http://www.daretobedigital.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/DareToBeDigital Gamasutra