Clockwork Empires: Victorian Steampunk at its Finest

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

Victorian dry humor and horror find their way into the gaming universe with Clockwork Empires.

(Article published at Gameranx).

As I sat down to preview Gaslamp’s  Clockwork Empires, I was met by three developers feverishly discussing the Victorian era in all of its opulent historical background. CEO Daniel Jacobsen, Art Director David Baumgart, and Technical Director Nicholas Vining knew their stuff. As an English major I was enthused—sitting in a room of game developers who reminisced on reading Dickens and Tennyson—but I was more intrigued when they told me that all of this was inspiration for their game. Everything from canonical literature, steampunk, ludicrous invention, and even the occult were all used in the game not merely out of the idea of absurdity, but out of an actual historical mindset held in perhaps one of the most long-winded but fascinating literary periods.

Literacy and Critical Thinking in the Modern Classroom

Education, Games and Media

Writing. Critical thinking. Rhetoric. We often times find ourselves placing these words on a pedestal that focuses only on canonical literature or verbal literacy and communication.

That’s a major problem with academia, something that stems (somewhat) from the rise of philosophical thought and the shadows on Plato’s cave. Not that philosophy is bad, but it did undeniably see itself over art and visual thinking as some sort of intellectual behemoth well above cathartic moments and classical art. It was in this that our conceptions of the verbal and visual were divided as two separate and unequal modes of thought. *rant rant rant, academia, rant, ivory tower*.

An Interview with Ralph Ineson: Meet Assassin’s Creed IV’s Captain Vane

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

Known for his roles in BBC’s The OfficeGame of Thrones, and Harry Potter, English actor Ralph Ineson is not new to the realm of playing somewhat immoral, albeit colorful, characters–a trend that continues with his character Captain Charles Vane in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

(Article published on Cinema Blend.)

.Given the popularity of the Golden Age of Piracy, it’s safe to assume that many of us know who Edward Teach is, better known as Black Beard. So who is this Charles Vane then? Historically speaking, Vane was a successful pirate captain based out of the Bahamas in the early 1700’s, made infamous for the intense cruelty he held towards both his own men and those aboard the vessels he plundered. In the context of Assassin’s Creed IV, Vane, who appears to lose little of his nefarious personality in the transition from reality to game, acts as an early mentor figure for Edward Kenway.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Review

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

Ubisoft provides us with a bold and successful move than can help revitalize the franchise.

(Review published on Gameranx.)

Pirate. Assassin. Two words that, when juxtaposed, evoke feelings of nostalgic childhood ambitions. To the overzealous imagination, a pirate assassin works as a flawless mixture of career choices and vigilante work. Conversely, in the context of a non-satirical video game, the terms can seem somewhat silly. Yet there is little silliness found in the pirate assassin Edward Kenway, the protagonist of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

How Video Games Help: Soldiers Deal With The Troubles of War

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

A charity is stepping up to help soldiers suffering with PTSD, and they are doing it through video games.

(Article published on Kotaku.)

War takes a terrible toll, not just in lives lost but in psyches shattered. Depression in the armed forces is widespread, and suicide rates among members of the military are higher than they’ve ever been. In addition to more traditional treatments, soldiers have been looking to video games to help them cope with the horrors of war. And it’s working.

Interview with Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’s Director, Ashraf Ismail

Games and Media, Journalism, Portfolio

Game director Ash Ismail talks about historical credibility, setting, easter eggs, and those lovely Kenway boys.

(Article published on Gameranx.)

When game director Ashraf (Ash) Ismail talks about Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, an inevitable sense of pride beams across his face—a trait that immediately displays the passion he and the team at Ubisoft are putting into the blockbuster title due out later this fall. This passion is heavily reflected in the game itself, which displayed an impressively vivid world in the demo at PAX Prime. I recently had the pleasure of playing said demo, and after the experience I sat down and chatted with Ash about the history behind the title, the benefits and challenges of going into the next generation, and Edward Kenway himself.

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

Thoughts

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.