All posts by Alex Ferri

Endgame to host ‘beta test’ gaming party July 12

Endgame Bar is looking for more beta testers to attend a daylong gaming party this month.

Endgame will be open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, July 12, at the Brickyard, 699 S. Mill Ave. Suite 201 – a location Endgame’s project founder Ryan Scott plans to make permanent this fall.

A $5 cover charge gets you access to all of the bar’s video games, a slice of pizza and entry to the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournaments at noon and 5 p.m. (a new addition to this month’s event)

Although the campaign failed, anyone who pledged at least $10 to Endgame’s Kickstarter will get into this and all future “beta test” events for free.

You can bring your own games, food and drinks but no alcohol. Parking is free on the weekends at the garage on Fifth Street and Forest (across from the light rail).

RSVP for the event on Endgame’s Facebook page.

DayZ Steam sale: Everything wrong with early access price cuts

Today marks the first day of the Steam Summer Sale, and zombie-survival game DayZ has gone on sale for 15 percent off.

Compared to other huge price cuts in the sale, 15 percent is hardly noteworthy. However, DayZ is an early access game and is far from a completed product (it’s currently an early alpha).

Its lead developer, Dean Hall, had previously said the game would not go on sale until it reached the beta stage. However, this is the second time now that the game has gone on sale – and it appears to be out of Hall’s control:

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Aztez, Grave developers showcase games at E3

Last week, the Arizona game developers behind Aztez and Grave attended E3 2014 in Los Angeles to showcase their work. I caught up with them to get their thoughts on this year’s expo, what it was like to present their games there and what moments stood out to them.

Ben Ruiz makes up half of Team Colorblind, the minds behind fighting game/real-time strategy hybrid Aztez, coming this year to PC, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and more.

Tristan Parrish Moore is the creative director for Grave, a survival horror game with randomized gameplay a surrealistic elements. The game recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign and is shooting for a release date in early 2015.

Q: What did you think of this year’s E3 Expo as a whole?

Ben: It was kind of hard to get a holistic view of the event since we were hovering around the Aztez kiosks in the Microsoft booth. I just know that I saw a lot of great new games coming up, and it finally got me excited for this new generation of consoles. I have them, I like them, there’s just not much to do on them yet. So that was nice.

Tristan: This was my first time going to E3 – I’d never actually been in any capacity before. It was a bit of an interesting experience. it’s definitely different from many other conferences. We got a lot of support from Microsoft, which was really cool – we got presented in the Microsoft press briefing as one of the ID@Xbox games, so that was super great… It was really awesome to see that Microsoft is going a long way to represent the indie crowd.

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Gaming bar launches Kickstarter, eyes Tempe location

A video game bar has its eyes on a space on Mill Avenue in Tempe – but it’s dangerous to go alone.

Endgame Bar has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and support for its bid to move into the 7,000 square foot space at 699 S. Mill Ave., owned by Arizona State University, by the fall

Ryan Scott is the project founder and a former ASU student. He said in a interview with Arizona Gamer that he has plans for Endgame to provide console-based entertainment in a gamer-friendly bar atmosphere.

He’s joined in the project by Nikki DelRosso, the lead designer and website manager, and Mike Goosens, the project’s marketing coordinator and head bartender.

Scott said in an interview with Arizona Gamer that there are two main goals for the Kickstarter campaign: to raise additional funds to pay for a liquor license, which costs around $70,000 in Arizona, and to demonstrate to ASU that there is interest in such a venue.

“We wanted to be able to use the Kickstarter to show the people that have doubts that this is something that people actually want,” Scott said.

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Cox: Gigabit internet coming to Arizona, eventually

Google’s threat to bring faster internet to Arizona is working…. sort of.

Cox Communications announced today plans to introduce gigabit Internet speeds in Phoenix starting this year. That’s great news for local gamers as gigabit internet is as much as 100 times faster than the average broadband speed.

Don’t get too excited though – the company will begin only with select residential projects and neighborhoods, so chances are you’ll have to wait until 2016 when Cox begins its “market-wide” deployment.

Cox also announced today it will double the speeds of its most popular tiers of internet service, with the Internet Preferred package going from 25 mbps to 50 mbps and the Internet Premier package jumping from 50 mbps to 100.

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Arizona developers present games for Education Hackathon

Above: Justin McCandless explains his game, Mathpx, to Education Hackathon judge Mario Vassaux.

Local developers demonstrated the educational potential of games May 16 at a Game CoLab Education Hackathon pitch event.

The hackathon began April 22 and asked participants to create an educational game over the course of about three weeks and then present it to a panel of judges.

Four judges evaluated the eight games on four factors: fun, creativity, marketability and assessment. The winning game would be fun, feature original design, have a marketable concept and be able to measure a student’s progress and achievement.

Game CoLab partnered with Pearson to host the event and provided $600 in prizes divided among the top three finishers, with $300, $200 and $100 going to first, second and third place, respectively.

Justin McCandless won first place for his game, Mathpx, a learning game built in HTML5 that teaches students addition and subtraction through number visualization. A traditional math problem appears at the top of the screen while pixel balls are shown on the lower half, allowing students to manipulate problems and picture the math as they go.

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The 5 best Star Wars video game characters

The Star Wars Expanded Universe has “turned a new page,” revoking canon-status from the majority of the universe’s fiction. That includes most Star Wars video games. We may see remakes or revisits of certain games, but it’s possible we’ve seen the last of some memorable characters.

Here are five of the best Star Wars characters that will be greatly missed in future games:

StarWars_Nym

5. Nym (Star Wars: Starfighter, Jedi Starfighter)

Part of a long line of lovable Star Wars mercenaries, Nym was introduced in Star Wars: Starfighter. He led the Lok Revenants, a group of pirates, as they raided and eventually waged war with the Trade Federation. He was known for his theft and use of a prototype bomber he called the Havoc, which he used to destroy a major droid production facility on Eos.

He returned for Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, which saw him continue the fight against the Trade Federation alongside Jedi Master Adi Gallia. In that game, he helped destroy a biological weapon called trihexalon and regained control of his base on the planet Lok, which had been overrun years before.

Nym was essentially Vin Diesel in an alien suit, and that contributed to his appeal. It’s unlikely we’ll see the character again, as he played a minor role in a lesser-known game series. But his gravelly voice, gruff demeanor and lovable group of pirates won’t be forgotten by the dedicated LucasArts gamer.

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Puzzle platformer TesserAct heads to Steam

Portal was about using physics to your advantage. TesserAct, a puzzle platformer from Phoenix-based Propelled Bird Software, lets you bend it to your will, lead developer Clay Walters said in an interview with Arizona Gamer.

TesserAct was greenlit last month and Walters expects the game to hit Steam this summer. The developers also recently received backing on Indiegogo to pay for licensing fees.

The game is set in a “universe based on scientific theory,” Walters said. It follows Sam, a student who is inexplicably teleported to an abandoned moon base in another dimension.

She stumbles upon the Catalyst, a tool that can manipulate the laws of physics, and sets out to find a way back home.

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Game CoLab announces incubator program

Local gaming co-working organization Game CoLab has announced plans for a gaming entrepreneurship program funded by two sizable grants.

Co-founder Ben Reichert announced the Game CoLab Incubator Program on Tuesday. It’s funded by a $33,798 grant from the city of Phoenix.

The program will assist local game developers with innovative and disruptive ideas, according to Game CoLab’s website. Its goal is to create three new jobs in within three years.

Game CoLab is accepting applications for membership in the program. Four teams of developers will be selected and receive a monthly stipend of $300 as well as free workspace, classes, mentorship and networking.

There will be two four-month sessions beginning in June and October with space for two teams each. Some of the classes will be open to members of the Game CoLab for a to-be-determined fee.

Mind games: Researcher to kick off education hackathon

The world needs more games like Age of Empires. The series not only required strategic thinking, it taught an entire generation of gamers about medieval history through an engaging story mode. And it did so without the player even noticing.

Kristen DiCerbo
Kristen DiCerbo

Kristen DiCerbo, a Pearson research scientist and member of gaming education organization GlassLab, thinks games can be an excellent learning tool. The key to a successful educational game, she said in an interview with Arizona Gamer, is its ability to both teach as well as assess student work.

She’ll try to impart that idea to local game developers Tuesday, April 22, at a kick-off event for the Game CoLab Education Hackathon. The challenge gives participants three weeks to create an educational game that will be judged on its capacity to teach, assess and engage its players.

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