STOP: Stack Up’s New Veteran Support Service Can Help Save Lives

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

How non-profits and video games are picking up where government support of veterans falls short: saving lives.

Article published on SideQuesting

According to a press release from last September by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the suicide rate of veterans in the United States is 22% greater than non-veteran citizens. “We know that of the 20 [veteran] suicides a day that we reported last year, 14 are not under VA care,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin in the report. “This is a national public health issue that requires a concerted, national approach.” Even without this data, it’s easy to see that war affects all lives intertwined with its pervasive web. Being deployed overseas is not a nine-to-five job; war doesn’t stop for coffee breaks or lunch dates. And, over the last few years, there is an increasing lack of belief in the support the VA can offer veterans returning home; a question in credibility that stemmed from whistle-blowers who, in 2015, made the claim that hundreds of thousands of veterans have died while on the VA’s waitlist for healthcare.


Dying Light: Zombies, and Parkour, and Heart Attacks! Oh, My!

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

The nighttime demo of Techland’s Dying Light proves that it is still possible to create an entertaining and exhilarating zombie game.

Zombie. Video game. Been there decapitated that. It is a given that zombies are overdone in the entertainment industry. Occasionally games like Telltale’s the Walking Dead or Naughty Dog’s the Last of US break the mold and reinvigorate the genre, but more often than not the industry has a tendency to regurgitate the same general formula.

What Video Games Can Really Teach Us: Active and Critical Learning in Gaming

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

As a person who has been in the “ivory tower” of academia for quite a bit of time, I can say first hand just how traditional it is in its values. One would think that education would attempt to take advantage of technological advances — yet when I teach my composition courses (that focus on digital literacy, mind you) I often times find myself in a classroom with nothing more than a chalk board; in terms of digital literacy, this can prove to be very limiting to what we can do. Sometimes the graduate teaching assistants and professors at our university get to branch out the curriculum, leading into activities like analyzing YouTube videos, music, and pop-culture.

Catching my Breath: E3 “Hangovers,” Highlights and PAX on the Horizon


Holy moly. I haven’t done a personal update in forever. E3 was well over a month ago and I am finally starting to feel like I am caught up.

Or I thought I was. One of the largest things I learned from E3 this year is that when everything is said and done, it’s not really said and done.

WildStar: Bringing Individuality Back to the MMO (Hands-On at E3)

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

WildStar, Carbine Studios up-and-coming MMORPG was at E3 this year, and it brought with it all of its mirthful and often hilarious personality. At the expo, we were lucky enough to get some hands-on time with the game and chat with Tiffany Chu, social systems director and tutorial creator from Carbine Studios.

‘Beyond: Two Souls’ How Narrative Design Can Make a Game an Experience

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

In 2010, Quantic Dream and Sony Computer Entertainment reinvented video game narrative style with their critically acclaimed title Heavy Rain, a game that tugged at the heart strings of the millions that played it. Emotionally engaging and at times uncomfortably heart wrenching, Heavy Rain, written and directed by master story-teller David Cage, gave the world affirmation that video games have the capability to tell artful, intricate, and morally complex stories with a cinematic scope. Quantic Dream’s up and coming title Beyond: Two Souls, promises to do the exact same.

Xbox One: What About All the Gamers?

Games and Media

In retrospect, I don’t really have anything to take away from the Xbox Reveal conference yesterday. With that being said, let me make it clear that I don’t blame the system; in fact, I think the system looks great. I blame the way Microsoft handled the overall conference.

An article from called it a bunch of “hot air,” and despite my love of Microsoft and Xbox, I agree. Aside from Xbox One’s capability to turn your living room into the “ultimate all-in-one, entertainment system,” the press release was not very informative; what little information we did learn about the system was convoluted. It is within this ambiguity that I found fault it in Microsoft’s marketing campaign for the next Xbox. We have been left with little clarity about how the issue of used-games will be approached, how accounts will transfer over, how the perma-kinect will work, or how internet connectivity will be handled. As of now it seems as if used games will be purchasable, but with the added code required it will end up costing the same as new game… because, you know, that makes total sense.

Parallel Timelines: The History of BioShock Infinite

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

**Minor spoilers below!

            The moment I entered the BioShock Infinite universe, I felt as though I was in some parallel version of United States history. Within five minutes, I was face to face with grand statues of three of the nation’s founding fathers — Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. Within ten minutes, I felt as though I was literally exploring a city based in early 20th century America; wandering around the streets of Columbia, one can easily find that historical context is everywhere in the game. Flapper jazz, a music style that was still developing, plays through the streets. Families spend leisure time at ice cream parlors. Women are dressed in lithe attire and hobble skirts (still wondering how they actually walked in those), and men are dressed in suits and coats. Personally, this is how my ever-so-idealistic mind exaggerates the early 20th century to be–a  time of high fashion, parties, and jazz… like The Great Gatsby minus all the drama.