What Games Mean to Me

I’ve played a lot of games in my life. The first game I ever played was Peek-a-Boo. I would hide behind my hands, thinking that I was invisible to my relatives, and then surprise the hell out of everyone by throwing my hands aside to unveil myself. The rules and expectations were simple back then. I made the rules, or thought I did, and everyone played along. I had no concept of winning or losing. Everyone who played the game was a winner and the prizes were giggles and smiles.

The next game to enter my life was Hide and Seek. It’s similar to Peek-a-Boo except none of the players are under the delusion that they are invisible. You run to your chosen hiding spot and hope that you’re the last one to be caught. Sometimes, depending on the rules that everyone agreed to, you’d try to sneak back to the safe area. Simple rules, but they are necessary for the game to function. Living in rural Western New York, we had plenty of great hiding places — some even came with a complimentary patch of poison ivy.

One of my all-time favorite games was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was not a licensed game, and there were no tokens or boards. It consisted of me, my grandmother’s front yard, nunchucks (an important role played by a stick), and sometimes a cousin that would play as one of the “lesser” turtles to my stellar Michelangelo(1). It was a great game where story ruled and everything could only be limited by your imagination. We’d often take down Krang while he was super-sized in his exo-suit. Neighbors driving by probably just saw two kids high-kicking the air. Their loss. Continue reading

Musical Game Competition Idea

This was too long to tweet, so here’s a quick ramble…

The following idea popped into my head after thinking about the Ludum Dare competition. If I had the funding I would love to set up a week long competition with an org (Full Sail or similar establishment) where teams compete by prototyping their video game idea. The catch is that we would require the teams to build their idea around a song from a list of licensed songs that have already been paid for. The question that the designers and devs would be answering is “How do you incorporate music directly into the gameplay of an FPS, side scroller, RTS, etc. without just being background noise?” Of course, music games like Rock Band, Lumines, and Rez already exist, but music seems to be underutilized in the gameplay of many other genres. It could be as simple as Mario getting more points if he jumps on Goombas in beat with the background music, but I expect that there are much larger ideas out there.

A week for something like this isn’t a long time, but it’s enough to prototype ideas. At the end of the week a set of judges would vote for the best idea. Winners would win funding to expand on their idea and hopefully make a polished experience. It would be really cool if the competition required each dev to fully document their progress to put in a mini documentary to show students their creative process. If planned well enough I could see some pretty big partners from both the music and game industry pitching in to help such as offering tech/tools to the teams.

I’ll admit that this sounds like a massive amount of work and a lot of technicalities would need to be ironed out, but frankly it never hurts to help drive creativity.

Just another idea to throw in the notebook.

 

Zilla

 

 

Extra Life: Make Me Suffer (for the kids!)

This year I have joined the fray and committed myself to the Extra Life 24 hour gaming charity marathon. My goal is to raise $1500 and if I don’t meet it then a gang of penguins will club me with fish while I try to slumber each night for eternity.

Please donate HERE… but wait, there’s more!

To gain support and donations I have raised the bar by allowing anyone who donates $50 or more to pick a game that I will play for one hour during my 24 hour marathon. This is an opportunity to get me to play your game (ex. BigRook chose their Undead Empire) or torture me by making me play a game that I don’t want to play. The only catch is that they have to run on an Xbox 360 (US/NTSC), so retail, XBLA, XBLIG, and some originals are all fair game.

Here are games I currently have lined up for my marathon (in no particular order):

– Hanna Montana (btw @esko is a jerk)
– Portal 2
– Red Dead Redemption
– Totem Ball
– Kinectimals or Viva Pinata
– Gears of War 3
– Call of Duty: Black Ops
– Sneak King
– 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand

On top of all of this I will be live streaming my marathon over the Intertubes for you to watch my pain and, eventually, see me slip into madness. I plan on trying to get some visitors as well as give out some prizes to random stream viewers. I will post the schedule of what order the games will be played in before the event, so if it is Multiplayer you’ll know when you can jump in with me and keep me company.

More details will be posted here as we get closer to October 15th, but in the meantime if you have the means to do so please help make this as painful as possible. 🙂

Note: If you donate, please include a note with the game of choice and your Twitter name, if you have one.

Thanks!

Zilla

Coming to PAX? Welcome to Seattle v2.0

Coming to PAX Prime in Seattle? AWESOME!

Some of you live in Seattle or have been to PAX Prime before, so this post may not have a lot of new info for you.  This is more for those that are PAX/Seattle newbs.  Either way I hope there’s at least one nugget of info that helps you out.

Travel:

Seattle proper isn’t very big.  If you have the legs for hills I suggest you look into walking to your destinations to see more of the city. Continue reading

Meeting People from the Tubes

I will be meeting a lot of new people that I have only previously talked to over Xbox LIVE, Facebook, or Twitter. This is pretty common for events like PAX East. Here are some tips to make meeting in person less awkward.

1) A week or two before meeting the people from the Intertubes, set your Avatar as a picture of yourself. If we agreed to meet at a certain place at a designated time it might help if I know what you look like.

2) Introduce yourself as either [Twitter/Gamertag] followed by your real name or vice versa. To be honest, if I’ve been talking to you for weeks as your alias, I wont remember your real name and may continue to call you the alias in real life.

3) Have a pen handy to write your Twitter handle or Gamertag on your business card if it isn’t already printed on it. If I’m going through a 100+ cards post-PAX I will get to yours and go “Who is this?” and assume it was a random card that was thrown at me at a late night mixer.

 

New to Conventions?

[Note: There were more comments than I expected. Please make sure to read through them as there are some great additional suggestions that I didn’t get in the original post. Enjoy!]

Here is a list of tips for those that are new to industry events/conventions:

Comfy walking shoes
No, really. You will be on your feet for hours on hard surfaces. On top of that, you’ll be walking the city for food and to your hotel. Keep your feet happy or you’ll be limping by day two.

Continue reading

How Do I Get a Job at Xbox?

This was written for the Xbox Engineering blog back in May 2010. Posting again so I have it archived in my feed. If you haven’t read it before, enjoy!

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Before we get rolling, some of you may have noticed that my title is Community Coordinator.  Unlike my peers who have posted to this blog before me, I am not an engineer.  My role spans across the Official Xbox Forums, the MVP program, competitive analysis, community events, etc.  As part of my role, I feel it is my duty to step up and answer the one question that I and everyone here at Xbox HQ get asked more than “I can haz Recon?”:  “How do I get a job at Xbox?”  Please note that I’m writing this from the angle of helping out someone who is still in college or very early in their career development, but I hope this serves of some use to anyone looking to get into Xbox regardless of professional experience.

Continue reading