Tag Archives: arizona gamer

Arizona Gamer reviews Banished

“The worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzche

City-building strategy game Banished is a testament to individual accomplishment. Luke Hodorowicz of Shining Rock Software created the game by himself over the course of several years. While the game certainly isn’t perfect, its success is a testament to power of hard work and determination.

Banished breaks down the city-building genre to its most basic form. Its minimalistic approach is refreshing and it presents the player with the simple goal of keeping his citizens alive. It’s true that beyond survival, the game lacks depth, and its replay value is limited. But there’s an appealing quality to the game’s simplicity that is strengthened by a quality soundtrack and pleasing aesthetic.

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Phoenix developers participate in Global Game Jam

Kyle, left, and Alex Uithoven created E.Y.E.R.I.S. during the Phoenix Global Game Jam.

By Alex Ferri

It took developers 15 years to complete Duke Nukem Forever. Last weekend, teams participating in the Phoenix Global Game Jam had just 48 hours.

Global Game Jam is a worldwide gaming event that tasks developers with creating a game in the span of a weekend. More than 4,000 locations participated this year; Ben Reichert, cofounder of GameCoLab, hosted the Phoenix event.

This was the first year for the Phoenix event, held on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus Jan. 24-26. The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe has held Global Game Jams for the past several years, Reichert said.

“I wanted to try and get ASU and others involved by offering another location,” he said.

More than 100 people signed up for the Global Game Jam between the two locations; 89 at UAT and 47 at ASU.

While not all those who signed up attended, “game jammers” put together eight teams for the Phoenix event. Those teams ranged in size from two to six as well as in experience.

Each team had to fill the roles of programmer, designer, artist and more. Reichert said having a dedicated programmer is ideal, but recent rule changes allowed the creation of tabletop as well as digital games.

None of the teams at this year’s event chose that route, but Reichert said it highlighted how anyone could play a role in making a game.

“Each game plays to the strengths of the teams,” he said.

Most groups worked from the space at ASU the entire time; some even slept there, Reichert said.

The theme of this year’s Global Game Jam, announced just before it began, was “perspective.”

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League of Legends: ASU eSports enters Collegiate Championship

Eric Piispanen, left, poses with Alex Ich, middle, and Genja, members of competitive League of Legends team Gambit Gaming.

By Alex Ferri

Eric Piispanen thinks of competitive League of Legends as a game of chess.

“Your goal is basically to predict and outplay your opponent, not through mechanics, but through being in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Piispanen is coordinator for the League of Legends teams of the Arizona State University eSports Association. League of Legends, the massively popular online battle arena title from Riot Games, is one of several games played competitively at ASU and across the globe.

When Riot Games announced its North American Collegiate Championship on Jan. 7 that would pit the best college teams against each other for a chance at a $100,000 prize pool of scholarship funds, Piispanen, summoner name iamanelf, started putting a team together.

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GameCoLab hosting workshop on storytelling in games

Does story matter in Mario games? Tain Barzso,  a new media expert, thinks it does.

He’ll host “Mario to Skyrim: Making story matter at all levels of gaming” from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at GameCoLab. The workshop, part of GameCoLab’s Osmosis series, will explore narrative-based games and the various structures and processes that go into building and crafting original game concepts.

Barzso is an educator and technology professional in the areas of new media, gaming and technological research. He’s interested in “gamification,” the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts, as well as educational and narrative-based games.

His current projects include directing technology for the Digital Culture program at ASU and he co-owns the media and consulting agency Lab238 LLC.

Guests can RSVP on the event’s Meetup page.

5 zombie games to satisfy your Walking Dead cravings

America loves zombies. Even though AMC’s The Walking Dead has its flaws as a show, it’s one of the most unique programs on television, and it fills a very specific (undead) niche.

After the  Walking Dead season finale, American television is zombie-less once again. Luckily, zombies have existed in other media for some time now, so here’s a list of five zombie games sure to satiate anyone’s zombie cravings.

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Opinion: I don’t want to save the world

“No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved!” –Mr. Incredible

CD Projekt Red released a new gameplay trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt a few days ago, and it got me thinking about the different approaches roleplaying games take on player characters.

Imagine a spectrum, with a rigidly defined protagonist on one end and a blank sheet player character on the other. Most roleplaying games lean toward one side. The more defined protagonists still get some breathing room for player choice, and the less defined ones still usually have a role in some larger conflict.

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Welcome to Arizona Gamer!

Welcome to Arizona Gamer, your new source for gaming news in the Valley area.

Arizona might not seem to have a big population of gamers, but the scene is bigger than most realize. There are numerous gaming organizations, clubs, developers and even esports teams located right here in the Valley.

The problem lies in the sprawling nature of the Phoenix area. Gamers are too spread out. This site will offer a common hub for gamers of all types: video gamers, board gamers , card gamers and more.

Many local groups and individuals will be featured here. If you think you’ve got something newsworthy to submit, shoot off an email.

Stick around for our first wave of content. Game on, Arizona!