Changing The Face Of Gaming

Changing The Face Of Gaming

"Pokemon GO" merges video games and reality.

When Nintendo first released its "Pokemon" games for its handheld Game Boy system in February of 1996, they probably had no idea just how popular the franchise would become. After spreading to the UK, North America, Australia, South America, and beyond, Pokemon quickly became an international pop icon. Even back in 2013, before the release of their incredibly popular "X" and "Y" titles or similarly hype-driven remakes "Alpha Sapphire" and "Omega Ruby," the Pokemon Company announced that it had sold over 172 million copies of its games worldwide. With each new title of its main line, Pokemon has endeavored to move its players toward active social interaction. For those who have never had the joy of playing the Pokemon games, a typical summary would be that they are about traveling different geographical regions collecting and befriending a huge assortment of wild creatures. In the Pokemon world, everything seems to revolve around trainers and their relationship with their Pokemon friends. The strongest trainers take lead positions in society, acting as both a sort of government and as community mentors for the cities and towns in which they reside. By creating combat-oriented games that remain free of blood and relatively scarce of death, Pokemon explores themes of power, friendship, and work ethic while still being family friendly.

Unlike in previous generations, the fanbase for games like Pokemon and other forms of animated entertainment never seemed to outgrow the product. Instead of dismissing the games as childlike, the Pokemon fanbase remained loyal, creating a unique opportunity for the company to work with a market of increasingly older fans. While attending the midnight release of "Omega Ruby" and "Alpha Sapphire," I was pleased to see a long line of 20 somethings dominating the area, some even bringing their kids along for the event.

Recently the Pokemon Company made an announcement that created an internet uproar among its fans. For the first time ever, Pokemon was coming to the physical world in "Pokemon GO." How, you ask? By utilized GPS and smart phone technology couple with a sort of “Fit Bit”-style watch, "Pokemon GO" places different Pokemon at actual geographical locations. Players must travel to these locations to battle or catch wild Pokemon. As always, players can also play the game amongst each other as they trade and battle cooperatively or competitively. The game’s trailer teased at major events in which large numbers of players will have to join forces to fight powerful legendary Pokemon at a specific location.

What I find most intriguing about "Pokemon GO," however, has little to do with the Pokemon world. Think back to when a groundbreaking system was announced for the first time. Maybe you can remember as far back as "Pong," or the first standing arcade. Maybe you remember when the Xbox 360 consolidated all of your entertainment needs into a single box. Maybe you played some of the first MMOs. No matter your age or gaming interests, you were probably present when the cultural methods of entertainment were dramatically shifted. This is what fascinates me. Though "Pokemon GO" is not the first “augmented reality” game, it is already one of the most popular. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit exploded with rumors and questions about how the new game will operate. In my opinion, the game’s popularity has already changed the way we think about entertainment. Now that we view an idea like "GO" as an option, we have created an opening for game developers to accommodate that desire. We are the forerunners and aggravators of whatever comes of this. That’s why I will not only be playing "Pokemon GO," but purchasing whatever associated products that are released with it.

Being a gamer does not mean you dislike being outside. A common (though dwindling) stereotype portrayed video game enthusiasts as lazy, unhygienic, and disconnected from reality. The overwhelmingly positive interest in "GO" seems to derail such a narrow view. If you really think about it, gamers are probably more active than their movie-buff or bookworm counterparts. A huge chunk of the gaming industry encourages players to use their minds actively in order to achieve a desired goal. Freeform and open world games such as "Skyrim" and "Minecraft" allow the player to create their own gaming experience rather than being forced to play a specific style. As a video game lover as well as a physically active person who enjoys being outside, I am ecstatic about the possibility of taking my family or a group of friends on an outdoor gaming adventure. By playing this game, writing this article, and talking about it in general, I am joining millions of others in laying the foundation for the new wave of video game hybrid experiences.

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Top 5 Things 'Fallout" Fans Know To Be True

It's always a fun time in the wasteland.

In the gaming world, no title is as popular or as revered as "Fallout." Set in an alternate future ravaged by nuclear war (and imagined by the 1950s), you are tasked with taking on a wasteland filled with mutants, raiders and irradiated creatures. "Fallout" constantly leads the pack in sales, it's most recent title, "Fallout 4," sold over 12 million copies in the first 24 hours at retail, generating over $750 million in sales.

"Fallout" has become something of a cultural icon now, finding its way into stores such as Hot Topic and even Target! If you're anything like me, you'll know these 5 things to be true if you're a "Fallout" fanatic:

1. You check every nook and cranny for valuable loot, even if the containers are empty

I know it says empty, but you can never be too sure!

2. You listen to the radio while shooting down any enemies in your path

Listening to "Anything Goes" while mowing down raiders into a bloody paste is quite a relaxing experience

3. There's always a settlement that's in trouble, apparently

Preston Garvey, a companion and Minuteman in "Fallout 4," is always there to tell you that there's a settlement in trouble. Don't worry, he'll mark the location on your map for you.

4. Deathclaws are your worst nightmare

When you see it charging at you with the velocity of a freight train, it's time to run the other way.

5. Nothing is better than goofing off after a long day of questing

Whether it be strategically placing buckets and barrels on people's heads or dragging around dead bodies, it's always fun just to mess around in the wasteland.

Cover Image Credit: Bethesda / YouTube

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Fortnite On Your Phone? It's Here

"Fortnite" on mobile. Need I say more?

"Fortnite," the popular PC/Console game that everyone is talking about, has just done the unthinkable. They released to mobile. You heard me right. MOBILE. It's been a long time since any PC/Console game went to the mobile platform or was even popular enough to do so. In fact, there were so many people who wanted to sign up for the "Fortnite" mobile beta that Epic Games' site, the creators of "Fortnite," actually crashed just a little bit after the sign up was posted because so many people tried to access the website, overloading their servers. And it takes a lot of people to do that. And from the gameplay previews that have been released by Epic Games, the mobile version looks pretty decent.

And to me, this model doesn't look bad at all. The controls look clean and sleek, and questions about buttons for mechanics like building are answered by the photo. And I've gotta say, I'm impressed by the initiative Epic Games is taking. They really are revolutionizing the gaming industry. And I signed up for the mobile beta, so hopefully, I'll get an opportunity to try the game out for myself.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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