Author: Patrick Scott Patterson

Game Reviews

The Final Day at Westfield Arcade

“The Wonder Years is my favorite television show of all-time, and I basically envisioned the novel as ‘The Wonder Years but set in the 1980s as opposed to the 1960s,'” he said. “In my novel, a once-popular arcade is closing, and on the final day of business at the arcade, the owner reflects back on the decades of memories he’s had at the arcade. There’s a girl who’s a Winnie-Cooper-type character, and, through his flashbacks to the arcade’s earlier years, he tells the story of the ups and downs in their relationship, as well as chronicling the experiences that he and his friends have as they grow up.”

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Blog

Indie developer Tiffany Nickel

“Final Fantasy X for the Playstation 2 was the game that hooked me. Not only was it the game that hooked me, it was the first game I started taking notes on,” she recalled. “These notes consisted of ideas that I thought would make the game better for whatever reason to questions such as ‘why do all the characters walk the same?’ I was only ten years old at the time and didn’t know much about 3D models and animation, so I’d sit and contemplate these things.”

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Hardware

The Stinky Footboard Review

The product itself is quite sturdy. A video shown at PAX East showed the Stinky Footboard being run over by a car and continuing to work with only minor case scratches. While that extreme was not used for this review, the product managed to survive hours of use by a 245-pound former pro wrestler without any loss of functionality. It continued to work like new, which is more than can be said about almost any other controller product.

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Blog

Michelle Juett Silva: Lifelong gamer draws up a successful industry career

“My first time officially exhibiting with Ska Studios at PAX East in 2011, I was actually called a ‘booth babe’,” Michelle recalled. “James and I were talking with some attendees for a while when they asked if they could get a picture. We assumed they meant James and he agreed. Then the guys awkwardly said ‘Oh no, we meant with the booth babe’ and gestured at me. I wasn’t sure how to respond and even more awkwardly replied ‘Uh, I worked on the game’ to which they just replied ‘Oh’. At the time I was completely shocked and withdrawn but now every time I think back to it, it makes me angry. It doesn’t make me as mad at the guys as it does that I did not stand up for myself. It’s up to each individual to call out what is unacceptable to change our culture.”

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Indie Games

Rad Raygun

“I spent most of my childhood trying to learn anything that could get me in the video game industry, such as programming and 3D animation,” he said. “I can remember being 13 or 14 and wanting absolutely nothing for Christmas. All I wanted was knowledge. I wanted to know how to make games. I would make little text games in QBasic. I would also download other people’s source code and dissect it, trying to figure out how it worked. In 10th grade Computer Science class, I built my first two actual games, a clone of Pong and a clone of Frogger.

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Blog

Gaming Under the Influence

“I headed over to South Korea for fun and made it a point to see what they were doing in TV and gaming,” he said. “As most gamers know, professional video gaming is serious business over there and broadcasted on two major networks. What you might not know is the studio that makes all this magic is smaller than a high school gymnasium and broadcasted in standard definition. The same day, the executives at KBS-TV showed me GAG, a live, improv show that seats 500 audience members every show. It was unbelievable. With that, I had my motivation.”

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Arcade Games

Capcom’s Arcade Cabinet Review

One of the potentially biggest issues I can see with Capcom Arcade Cabinet, however, will be the depth of game selection. While several early Capcom arcade titles proved popular when new, the average gamer never saw the majority of them. Capcom’s main claims to fame in the 1980s came from it’s successful Nintendo Entertainment System releases, followed by the Street Fighter II series in arcades the following decade. For every Ghosts ‘n Goblins will be a lesser title such as Son Son that most gamers simply won’t remember.

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Video Game Voters Network aims to band gamers together in violence debate

According to Taylor, the information given in the media fails to reflect the actual nature of the video game industry, including the fact that no scientific evidence exists proving the link between violent media and violent acts and the fact that the age of the average video game consumer is in their thirties. These missing facts, he says, often brings forth attempts at legislation aimed toward the video game industry.

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Mobile Games

Twonky Beam app review

The video quality of the beamed content was just as good as the content appears within the websites themselves. While using the app only a little buffering was apparent early on in some higher quality videos, but at a level far less than often encountered when playing content straight from the built-in XBox 360 applications. Each HD video used to test the application, once streaming on the television, was indistinguishable from broadcast quality programming.

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Editorials

Violent video game debate goes back decades

“You cannot tell me that a kid sitting in a basement for hours playing Call of Duty and killing people over and over and over again does not desensitize that child to the real life effects of violence,” Christie said. The topic of video game violence has been going on almost since the day the general public first became aware of video games. In 1976, Exidy’s Death Race became the first video game to spark such discussion. A game which challenged players to run over stick figures with cars,Death Race made national news headlines on shows such as 60 Minutes and created such an outcry that many video arcades removed the game.

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Blog

Wreck-It Ralph: The backstory behind the classic Tapper arcade video game

The game was a modest success at a time when the arcade market was falling into a deep slump due to oversaturation of product and locations. Around 3,300Tapper machines were sold, and not all of them to bars and taverns as expected. When concerns arose about alcoholic advertising appearing in arcade locations where children might see it, Midway released an altered version of the game called Root Beer Tapper. The basic concept of the game was the same, but with root beer replacing Budweiser, removal of many of the bar elements from the game cabinet and replacing the bartender with a younger and more family friendly looking soda jerk.

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Hardware

Hands-On Review: Plantronics GameCom Commander

This headset is tough and will likely last longer than your keyboard and controllers will. As I noted earlier, I’m a pretty big guy and yet my experience with the Commander marks the first time I’ve ever been unafraid that I might break a headset. I considered giving it the same test that I gave the case and see if it could take me stepping on it, but opted not to since I have to return this sample copy to Plantronics. The volume control uses a flat dial that makes it hard to accidentally bump in the middle of play. The odds of accidentally muting yourself in the middle of a firefight or blasting your ears off accidentally are low.

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Blog

Original Pac-Man cartoon series hits 30th anniversary

The series took some liberties with the characters themselves, as might be expected by any licensed property-based cartoon series from the 1980s. Most of the male characters, including Pac-Man himself, sported a variety of hats. The ghost monster characters for Blinky and Clyde switched places from their video game roles with Clyde becoming the smart alpha of the group and Blinky becoming the dim witted follower of the group. Sue, the female ghost from the Ms. Pac-Man game, appeared in a shade of blue rather than the orange color from the game, likely in an effort to make her stand out more from Clyde.

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Interviews

David Crane speaks on the triumphs and pitfalls of his multi-decade career

“I would have never predicted the classic gaming movement where people continue to play their favorite games 30 years later and who bring in a new generation by exposing their kids to the classics,” he stated. “Sure, we tweaked the games to a fine point and we felt those games were the best games on the market at the time, but it still surprises me when classic gaming enthusiasts tell me that for pure game play, modern games fail to live up to the standards we set back in the day.”

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Blog

The Classic Gaming Birthday Round Up

Capcom introduced this one-on-one fighter to arcades on August 30, 1987 in two different cabinet styles. The first featured two pressure sensitive “punch” pads while another marked what would be the first-ever six button layout on a fighting game. While the original Street Fighter was only a modest success, the impact of the game on video game history cannot be fully stated in a short article. Street Fighter II, first introduced in 1991, became the biggest arcade hit since Pac-Man and spawned an entire generation of fighting games. Today, the Street Fighter franchise is one of the most competitive scenes in all of professional video gaming.

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Editorials

Nintendo Power: Reaction to the end of the long running magazine

I remember these days very fondly. I can still remember reading through that first issue three or four times that first night alone. Back in these days we didn’t have the internet to give us instant news nor were the other video game magazines on the market particularly timely. Nintendo Powerwas a literal treasure trove for a Nintendo-obsessed youngster such as myself, and I miss the feeling of anticipation of each new issue. I couldn’t wait to read the newest previews, try the latest tricks and tips and even to see if Howard ever gave Nester a little respect.

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Editorials

Arcade Classics: What happened to them all?

Several arcade conversions have appeared on these popular treasure-hunting television programs in recent years, often without the people on the show seemingly aware of it. An episode of Pawn Stars saw someone bring three “Japanese Arcade Games” into the Las Vegas shop, two of which were conversions from Defender machines. The Ms. Pac-Man machine that appeared on an episode of Auction Hunters was actually a conversion of an original Pac-Man machine, a cabinet that is similar but quite different in many ways as well.

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