The Obsolete Gamer Show: Pedro Guerra (Good War Games)


We chat with Pedro Guerra, designer/programmer for Good War Games an indie studio based in Miami, Florida and one of many developers that was at the recent GaCuCon gamer cruise. We discuss how the cruise went, starting and being part of an indie game studio and some of his favorite games.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Frank Azor & Raymond Watkins (Alienware)


We’re talking Alienware on the latest episode of OGS with Alienware general manager at Dell, Frank Azor. Along with Raymond Watkins, technical marketing manager we decided that instead of spending time going over hardware trends and the latest tech we would discuss some of the history of Alienware and the culture behind the company.

Both J.A. Laraque and Ignacio worked several years at Alienware in Miami Florida before starting Obsolete Gamer so this was as much about reminiscing as about covering some topics and tackling some misconceptions of importance.

We had fun with this one so if you are interested in Alienware talk that is different than you normally see in articles and interviews check this one out.

Public Opinion: The Sangria incident

sangria

This is a new segment for Obscure Internet. We all read a ton of stuff on the internet from news reports to message boards, but what stands out plenty of times are the user comments. This new segment will profile a news story or article and then list some of the funnier (weirder) comments found.

Restaurant gives Fla. toddler sangria, not juice

This story comes from the Associated Press and was found on Yahoo News.

The gist of the story is at an Olive Garden a toddler was given Sangria, an alcoholic drink instead of Orange Juice. Apparently this happened before at an Applebee’s. The child is ok, but it was an ordeal for the parent and the child.

Now let’s see some of the comments left by members of the site:

Herb – Think of the poor schlub who ordered sangria and got orange juice instead.

Antler All Big – “Shortly after downing the beverage, Nikolai slapped the waitress on the rear, adding, “Got milk?””

Do not Tread on Me – The folks in Lakeland are not the smartest people on the planet. But you would think living in the center of biggest citrus producer in the wold would know the differance between orange juice and wine.

M – What’s the problem here? Sangria is more expensive than orange juice….the baby got a GREAT deal…..Jeez…….lol

Special Agent 69 – I think I’ll order some fruit juice and wait for them to bring me a margarita instead.

Mr. 0 – Can the guy who ordered sangria and got OJ instead get on the news too?

Tom r – Olive Garden.. When you’re here, you’re family.  I always give my toddlers sangria. That’s why we are a happy family. 🙂

Sam M – My kid throws a holy hell fit if we don’t go to Applebees or Olive Garden latelyt for some reason…

Roofus Jones – What’s the big deal? Was the kid caught driving around looking for hookers with Charlie Sheen later that night?

STFU! Now! – The kid is a miniature Ted Kennedy.

TW – When the kid ordered his juice “straight up” that should have been a clue…

Wallio S – hey the kid was quiet during dinner and didnt disurb the other patrons.

C – Well, If he’s old enough to get body searched at the airport……

Tim – Wow! I could’ve had a V8.

Richard Noggin – There’s a lot of drunks down in Florida. He’s just starting a little early !

There are a ton more good comments, check out the article for more.

 

State of the LAN Party IV

LAN Party sign
LAN Party sign

 

If you missed it you can read part 1 here , part 2 here and part 3 here.

We saw how the LAN party evolved with new technology and how it inspired Alienware and how Alienware helped change the look of many LAN parties. With faster, more portable systems we saw LAN parties rise. With high-speed internet and MMO’s we watched as membership diminished.  Everyone grew older, but we were still gamers, the question was, what games will be played and how will that affect the LAN party.

When the XBOX360 was introduced, Microsoft realized with the success of XBOX Live on the XBOX that pushing forward with online community gaming was the future of console gaming. If there were a few gamers who still did not utilize the online universe of gamers beforehand, once the 360 hit the shelves even they joined in.

The 360 also brought a new type of LAN to gamers, the Console LAN or Local Play Lan was established where people would bring together multiple XBOX systems and connect them in order to multiplay. This allowed gamers to use separate television screens since for many the split screen was not a viable option.

What made XBOX live so successful was the variety it brought to gamers. You could play the hottest games like Halo 3 or classic favorites such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  For better or worse you could chat online with fellow friends and gamers which gave console gamers pretty much all the tools a LAN member would use when gaming at a LAN party.

Software developers also realized the market created by the 360 and the Playstation 3. More computer titles were being ported over to the console. Not only that, but there were much more FPS and RTS games developed for consoles than ever before.

Many in the industry knew that computer gamers also owned a console and wanted the switch from the PC to the console to not be a shock to the system. Both 360 and PS3 were designed with top end processors and video cards. This allowed players to experience games on par and sometimes better than their PC counterparts.

Those looking for a lower cost gaming system turned to consoles to experience high end graphics and gaming without the high end price tag of computer gaming units. With online play complete with patches, demos and downloads, the console gamer had everything they needed.

By the time consoles invaded my LAN party we had reduced in size to just a few friends, but the new presence was noticed. Games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero replaced the twitch action games we played before. It saddened me at first. I believed some of us were getting too old for fast paced FPS games. Honestly I thought it was a fad, but numbers don’t lie. Interactive party games are as hot now as FPS games were ten years ago.

I embraced the change. I enjoyed playing those games (even those on the Wii) and I remembered the point of the LAN was to have fun with friends which we did have. The connectivity we have today can bring us closer together if used correctly. Having access to your friends 24/7 through XBOX Live, IM programs, FaceBook and Ventrilo can be a wonderful thing even if it does lessen the need for LAN parties.

In the end those of us who grew up during the gaming revolution will continue to be gamers for a long time to come. The games may change and the way we play them. Friends come and go and places we play will change, but the main goal stays the same, have fun.

The future of the LAN party may be more virtual, larger groups of gamers playing from their home with others across the world. With gadgets such as the iPhone sporting multiplayer capabilities, we may find ourselves having impromptu LAN parties from our phones while waiting for our oil to be changed or at the doctor’s office.

The great thing about technology is it adapts and changes the landscape. More and more people will have access to the tools to allow them to play the games they want and with that will come a community to join and interact with. The LAN party is ever changing, but will never die. As long as there are gamers there will be games and a means to play them.

State of the LAN Party III

LAN Party dark
LAN Party dark

If you missed it you can read part 1 here , part 2 here .

Everyone thought that growing older, getting married and having kids would be the only thing to bring an end to the LAN party. While it was true that as we got older we did not have LAN parties every two weeks, we still had them once a month. What did risk putting ours and many LAN parties to an end was Massively Multiplayer Online Games or MMOs.

By the time the game Everquest had come out our LAN party was in full swing. We had met with many other LAN groups across Florida and made a name for ourselves. I personally found working atAlienware, that the growing attendance to LAN parties translated into more buzz around our products.

One effect was peoples request for a smaller more LAN friendly sized system. People were torn between the massive power and size of our Dragon case and the prospect of having a small portable case to take. Remember, at this time there really wasn’t a gaming laptop and smaller form factor cases were not widely known of or used.

In the midst of larger LAN’s and more attention to networked gaming, a new fully 3D massive multiplayer role playing game was being released to the public. Now Everquest was not the first MMO, but it was the first to do fully interactive three dimensional game play and it brought in gamers who loved Dungeons and Dragons and the other successful MMO at the time, Ultima Online.

Over the next few months hundreds of thousands of people began to play EQ. At first this did not change the attendance of our LAN parties, but it did change much of the conversation within them. Many of us got into EQ and spent much of the LAN talking about our characters. We did continue to play normal LAN games like FPS’s and RTS’s, but somehow we always came back to talking about Everquest.

This was not just an occurrence at my LAN group. All across the U.S. people were talking about how Everquest, or as it was soon to be known as, EverCrack, was taking away gamers from their normal LAN games.

In our LAN group there was actually a divide between those who played EQ and those who did not. The pure gamers, as they called themselves, hated the fact that we talked so much about EQ and one said our LAN party officially died the day we connected a DSL line and played EQ at the LAN.

From my and many other EQ players point of view nothing really changed. We still played other games and interacted. MMO’s were just a new part of the landscape that we enjoyed, but we did find some took to EQ more than others. On the EQ main boards there were daily discussions of people becoming less active in work, school, their social life and LAN parties due to EQ. However, I felt in the end we became even more social because of it.

As high speed internet became easier to come by many LAN goers opted instead to play online. Gaming clans regained much of their strength because of this and LAN parties grew smaller and less frequent. Some of this was also blamed on MMO’s, but also because many companies decision to hold massive yearly LAN parties. It was felt that there was no longer a need to have a LAN party ever month when you could play over the net and then go to the larger sponsored LAN events.

Oddly enough, the EQ players were the ones to stay in touch the most. Since we all played on the same server in the game guild, we would often meet outside of EQ to talk and hang out. We found that many of our non-MMO playing LAN members did not want to attend these social gatherings. Perhaps it was because we talked about EQ, but we were skeptical.

As time went on many EQ and MMO players found themselves going back to LAN parties to get away from MMO’s and to do something different. LAN parties became much more social and private, except for the company sponsored ones.

At Alienware, we knew what our customers wanted and launched several gaming laptops which helped many LAN party members return to their LAN’s now being able to quickly and easily transport their gaming system.

In part 4 of the series I will talk about the evolution of the console and the affect new technology has had on the LAN party and the future of the LAN and its place in computer history.