Category: Games

Flappy Frustration

Troy Abut
Staff Writer

With over 50,000,000 downloads, the popular game known as Flappy Bird has become an instant fad this year.
Even though this game was made in May of last year, the game has risen to prominence because of the rage and frustration it causes, despite its simplicity. You may have become familiar with the game from friends, relatives and the many videos online of people playing the game; trying to show off their skill or lack thereof. The object of the game is to make a bird flap its way through a series of pipes simply by tapping the screen to keep the bird “flapping” in the air. Sophomore Katherine-Anne Christy says “It’s literally Angry Birds and Mario World combined,” and that best describes the way the game looks because of its graphics.
There seems to be no end to the game, and the fun of it comes from trying to get a high score. But once you get the hang of the game,which means getting past the first pair of pipes and so on it becomes progressively harder to maintain rhythm and concentration. It becomes addictive because you want to keep beating your previous score. What starts out as a few tries may turn out to be an hour or more of playing the game because of how it attracts your attention and inevitably causes you to waste time trying to beat a high score. Although getting a high score will allow you to show off and boast about your tapping ability, the game can become frustrating and stressful. As easy as it is to get through the pipes, it’s just as easy to lose at the game. Even though many players may recommend the game, it’s best played in moderation to prevent stress, anger, profane outbursts and broken mobile devices.
“I think it’s frustratingly addictive and the more you fail, the more it makes you play” says sophomore Robert Sutton.
But if you’re willing to give it a try, all it takes to get the score you want is a lot of patience, focus, and concentration.
Despite its popularity, on February 8, 2014, “Flappy Bird” was removed from stores by its creator Dong Nguyen. Nguyen took down the game because of all the bad press that surrounded his game as well as accusations surrounding the game’s success. Because of how famous the game became, many believe that Nguyen may have used Internet bots to promote his game and also help boost the game’s ranking in the stores. Allegedly, he didn’t think using bots was wrong. Another issue raised surrounding the game was that some of its graphics resemble those from a Super Mario World game; like the green pipes and the bird, who looks an enemy from this game. With this in mind, it’s easy to assume that the creator may have ripped off Nintendo, even though there have been no legal charges filed against him.
Although the game was free to download on the Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, the game was raking in $50,000 a day (and will now continue to do so even after the game was taken down from the stores) from ads alone, which worked perfectly for advertising companies since the game reached a large number of people. But most people think the biggest reason that Nguyen took the game down may be that he was overwhelmed by all the fame and hate he received from having made such a successful game. He made it so simple and different, that people praised it because of how difficult it was and how it allows the player to keep playing for a higher score, either for self-pride or for showing off scores against friends.
If you happen to be one of the many fortunate people who were able to download the game, then keep playing and sharing your scores. You happen to have a piece of gaming history that will continue to haunt avid players and confused gaming companies alike.
Students on campus have tried their hardest to master the game, and this is a small list of some varied scores recorded.

Senior Nikki Cuthbert 213
Sophomore Dakota Grizzle 117
Junior Tim Pepper 56
Sophomore Robert Sutton 14
Senior Michelle van Patten 16
Sophomore Glen Johnson 19
Freshman Mitchell Wilson 21
Freshman Kiki Decruise 25
Freshman Nicolette Burns 4

Pokémon is back

GLENN ROSE
Staff Writer

The entertainment craze Pokémon was first unleashed upon Japan in 1996 and has since taken the world by storm. The series started out as a simple top-down adventure and role playing game, and has evolved to become a beautiful representation of the story that many college students know and love from their childhood.
Despite over a decade of games, Pokémon has mostly looked and played the same, but the most recent installment has changed been developed to breathe new life into the old games. Previously, the games main camera was focused looking down on your player and the graphics were just a bit sharper from generation to generation. But now, “sharper” can’t even describe the amazing visual improvements that have been added to the game.
As the first installment of Pokémon for Nintendo’s 3DS, the game can also be played in a whole new dimension. The graphics are much different and add a whole new feel to the game that never existed before, except in a few of the lesser known console games.
This is Pokémon’s sixth generation and everything has been drastically changed. Before this installment the game was set up in a world very much like Japan. Four of the islands in the games archipelago-like continent were based on Japan’s shape, with the fifth resembling New York. In the newest installment the hero of the story spends their days exploring a land very similar to France. Many of the people speak small bits of French and the new region greatly resembles France in appearance.
On top of the fantastic graphics and new environments, there are also 69 all new Pokémon added to this game. With this new crop of Pokémon, the total number has been brought up to 718, and a new ability type has been added. This is special because a change like this hasn’t been made to the game since 1999.
The new ability type is called “Fairy type” and is made to counter Fighting, Dark, and Dragon type Pokémon. Fairy type is also weak against Poison and Steel type Pokémon. The addition of Fairy type Pokémon is beneficial because it finally gives players a fighting chance against the powerful Dragon type Pokémon, who were previously only weak against other Dragons.
Along with the new Pokémon and types, Nintendo has added a new feature known as the Mega Evolution. This is the next level of the powering process of Pokémon where they become exponentially stronger after gaining enough experience through battle. These Mega Evolutions are only available to a select few powerful Pokémon that transform when presented with a special stone. After completing their Mega Evolution the Pokémon become extremely powerful and are given an upgraded appearance for the rest of the battle.
Besides the intense Pokémon Battles and great new looks, there have also been two additions to the mechanics of training your Pokémon. First there is an addition called Super Training, which allows for a massive boost in the player’s Pokémon’s stats. These stats include, but are not limited to, attack, defense and speed. Then there is Pokémon-Amie, which is a way for players to interact more closely with their Pokémon, giving them better stats in battle and more affection for their trainers.
The game has undergone so many large changes that some of the smaller changes can be easily overlooked to those new to the franchise. However, for die-hard fans and returning regulars, the small improvements to environmental detail, character design, character customization, plot and cinematic gameplay stand out immediately and with force. The game feels and plays like something entirely new, while maintaining the atmosphere and tone of its predecessors.
“Pokémon X and Y” have truly changed the franchise forever. These new titles that Nintendo can still make radical new installments to their older franchises, which is a factor that will likely keep them in business for many more years. “Pokémon X and Y” has set a new bar for future Pokémon games and will likely continue to contribute to the already massive fan base the series holds. The love fans have for this game is insurmountable and surpasses many other fan bases out there today, and has only been strengthened with the release of “Pokémon X and Y.”

Are video games a sport?

ANDREW MULLEN
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The question of whether or not video games are a sport has been surrounding the gaming community for years now, but has accumulated more interest in recent months with the emergence of new fans. The topic is widely talked about among news sources and bloggers around the world, and the gaming industry is reaping the benefits.
With over 60,000 viewers for any one game at a time, electronic sports, commonly referred to as eSports, have been gaining more and more followers with each passing month. At the top of the charts are the following games: League of Legends, Black Ops II, Starcraft 2 and Defense of the Ancients 2. The gaming events have gone worldwide, that have sparked national patriotism in particular teams and have fleshed out entirely new subcultures on and off of the internet. The phenomenon is catching like fire, and the self-acclaimed ‘sports’ are beginning to gain recognition.
The fundamental question behind whether or not something is a sport seems to be whether or not it is physically taxing. These athletes are a new breed. They may not run for miles and do hundreds of push-ups a day, but their exertion is of a different sort.
When looking at chess and checkers, which are both considered professional sports, the physical aspect is minor, but the mental strain is immensely large. What these athletes may or may not lack in physical prowess, they more than make up for in mental processing.
With reflexes like cats, decision making skills that rival military pilots and team-leading abilities that are similar to NFL football captains, these newly prolific E-Athletes have started to solidify their place in sports history.
Take League of Legends for example. The game is what is commonly referred to as a MOBA, or massively online battle arena, and is as mentally taxing as it is nerve-wracking. The athletes are commonly on stage for 40-60 minutes at a time and have the hopes of thousands of fans bearing down on them. There is a constant thinking process that goes into every aspect of strategy for the games.
The strategy involved is itself a feat of sports-like prowess. Each team has coaches, and most have at least one analyst as well. The coaches watch other teams and instruct their own on strategies, techniques, playing styles and everything in between. The analysts will go over every single game played by the athletes and pick it apart minute by minute, play by play. Just like those in football and baseball, these coaches and analysts perform many of the same duties to achieve the same outcome: victory.
The other question raised is how much money do these professional gamers make? Well, like any profession, it varies from person to person. If the team is doing well and wins events with money on the line, the pot can be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand or even a few million dollars. The biggest events are world tournaments and the smallest are private events. Some are for the fame, others for the prize. Each athlete does what is called ‘streaming,’ which is simply playing the game they are known for while broadcasting it live on the website of their choice, most often Twitch.tv. Their viewers can skyrocket, and with each advertisement they play between or during games, they receive revenue. Some athletes give replay commentary to players that want to learn and charge a small fee. Others will do private lessons with fans that want to improve their game, and charge an arm and a leg. One player, Michael “Imaqtpie” Santana has garnered an absolutely massive and somewhat crazy fan base, and his common fee per hour for lessons is $300. Another famous American player, Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani, is rumored to make more than a doctor’s wages each year.
With more than 32 million registered players and 12 million online players, League of Legends has taken the lead as one of the most popular video games of our time. The pro season has been raging on for months, and has finally culminated in the world championships. This is a series of games played out in bracket style by the best of the best from America, Europe, East Asia and Korea for a huge prize pot and eternal glory. This year’s finals are being hosted right here in the United States at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. That is the same venue that hosts the Clippers, Sparks, Kings and Avengers, all of which are established professional sports teams.
With a massive fan base and a growing player base, the games show no sign of slowing or halting their climb to sports-dom. Recently, the United States government allowed a Chinese eSports athlete into the country on a professional athlete visa, the very same given to established sports veterans. The state of California recognizing eSports as a sport, and the government starting to accept it into their cold hearts, marks a huge step for fans and players of video gamers alike.
It is not a stretch to assume that when this generation has kids, they will grow up playing football, soccer, basketball and whatever video game may be in style at that time. The phenomenon is expanding, and will continue to grow until it takes over. It may be time to consider the keyboard the next backboard.

PlayStation 4 unveiled

Andrew Mullen
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The PlayStation 4 has finally been unveiled. For what has seemed like millennia, rumors and speculation about this mythical gaming system have been flouncing around the abscesses of the Internet. After faked patents, high-reaching rumors and photoshopped images, Sony has finally given the world a sneak peek at what very well could be the future of gaming.
The system itself is a total powerhouse, boasting an X86 CPU, enhanced GPU capabilities and an excellent 8 gigabytes of memory to work with. As for the hard drive, there is no word yet on what option Sony will provide at the launch of the system. For those who do not follow the technical jargon, the PlayStation 4 is a workhorse that has the power of a supercharged, overclocked computer.
The controller for the PlayStation 4 is a hot topic of discussion. The classic DualShock layout returns, with the familiar X, O, Triangle and Square buttons to the right of a direction pad and two analog sticks resting in their normal spots. However, this new controller has a sleek black sensor bridging the gap that usually exists between the shoulder buttons that will be used for motion sensor games and applications. The controller also has a “share” button on it, which is arguably the most exciting aspect about this entire unveiling. This button will allow every single person with the system to record and stream their gaming sessions live.
As for the interface, much of it is yet unknown. However, Sony seems to be working on a Netflix-like system of buying and renting games. This means that games will be available in droves, and they will also not need to be installed, which has been something PlayStation 3 owners have complained about since its launch.
It has been announced that the PlayStation 4 will have a sleep feature that allows the system to be converted into a low-power, sleep-like state, and have a game resumed immediately from the exact position in which it was ended. Additionally, the system will not have any backwards compatibility with older PlayStation games, but it should be noted that this only applies to physical copies.
The stage has been set for the next generation consoles by Sony. The few games shown at the unveiling are gorgeous, innovative and familiar. The system is a juggernaut of technology. The controller is revolutionary, just like the interface that will be implemented into the system. Now the world will have to play the waiting game to see what Microsoft does with its next generation console, as well as a price tag for the PlayStation 4.