Glenn Beck illogical opinion about ‘Watch Dogs’ ridiculed by gaming community – 5/31/2014

Glenn Beck has created a firestorm of laughter and backlash among the gaming community after denouncing Watch Dogs for teaching kids how to hack.

During a segment about the effects of video games on children, Beck claims that Watch Dogs teaches the player how to hack into other peoples smartphones and computers to collect personal data for their own personal use.

Beck further stated during the segment, “The idea here is they are teaching you to hack and then become the ultimate voyeur in other people’s lives, including their bedrooms, by hacking into their phones and everything.

To no surprise; the gaming community has denounced his ignorant remarks while he has become a laughing stock among members of the game and tech media. Many have been quick point out the fallacy in his statement while others have just called him out on his ignorant remarks.

Erik Kain of Forbes.com pointed out that Beck rhetoric has always been about Americans cultural decline while further stating, “So it’s really not surprising that he’s latched onto video games. Video games, to those who don’t play them, have a mysterious and threatening aura. They’re violent, decadent things.

Patricia Hernandez of Kotaku stated in her article, “Listening to him talk about Watch Dogs is kind of funny, since he’s convinced it’ll teach kids how to hack into his iPad.

Machinima official Twitter page stated, “Oh come on. Political commentator Glenn Beck believes #WatchDogs is teaching children how to hack

Watch Dogs creative director, Jonathan Morin, was quick to denounce Beck remarks via Twitter. Morin even responded to the remarks of his Twitter followers who mocked Beck’s misinformed opinion of the game.

Meanwhile most gamers have mocked Beck’s illogical connection to hacking or just say some offensive remarks about him on social media.

Despite Becks misinformed comments, many academic studies have shown that playing video games improves a subjects ability to make quick decisions along with overcome complex challenges. Meanwhile criticism of violence in video games has declined while the few that are published often lack any real credibility to support its argument.

This is also not the first time a political pundit ignorant remarks about a game has met with a backlash among the community. Most infamous was when Kevin McCullough of TownHall.com wrote an article that described Mass Effect as a rape simulator targeted at children.

Watch Dogs is an open world game that has players take on the role Aiden Pearce, a vigilante hacker, who is trying to avenge the murder of his niece. The game was released on May 27 for the PC and all major consoles.

Written for The Gamers Progress
05/31/2014
Original Article: Glenn Beck illogical opinion about ‘Watch Dogs’ ridiculed by gaming community

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Review: ‘Modern Warfare 2’ brings the battle to the Mac – 5/22/2014

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It has been six years since ‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’ wowed the gaming world but Aspyr Media is hoping to reignite that spark for Mac gamers.

While most of the gaming community has moved on to Black Ops II and Ghost as they await the release of Advanced Warfare, Mac gamers now have the opportunity to play one of the most iconic shooters. The series has changed since but Mac gamers have never had the chance to finish the story of Captain Price and Soap MacTavish.

To recap the story; the game is set several years after the events of the previous game with the Ultranationalist having take control of Russia while Irma Zakhaev has become a national martyr. Meanwhile an international special forces unit designated Task Force 141 is established under the command of General Shepard and the leadership of John “Soap” MacTavish.

The war never ended for Vladimir Makarov, a Zakhaev protégé, who has embarked on a terrorist campaign against the West. A CIA operation tries to shutdown his operation but it ends with America being framed for a terrorist attack in Russia. In response to the attack, Russia launches a massive invasion of the eastern United States which forces Task 141 in a race against time to capture Makarov.

The single player campaign switches between the Army Rangers defending the American homefront and Task Force 141’s hunt for Makarov. The Multiplayer feature gives players a verity of gameplay options while unlocking new gear as they improve their status. Overall it’s the same classic that console and PC gamers fell in love with a long time ago.

Some might feel it’s redundant to port a game that is six years old while the series has radically changed. However, it needs to be noted that Call of Duty games are the most popular online game and Modern Warfare 2 still has a strong multiplayer presence on both consoles and the PC.

Compared to the titles that followed, Modern Warfare 2 is an outstanding game by improving on its predecessor while enriching the already beloved characters and pushing the story to a peak of perfection.

Given the limited selection of games that are available for the Max OS, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was the perfect title. Now Mac gamers can finally play the iconic shooter that all their PC and console friends talked so much about.

Final Score: 4/5

Written for Digital Journal
5/22/2014
Original ArticleReview: ‘Modern Warfare 2’ brings the battle to the Mac

Playing It Old School – ‘Wolfenstein’ and the birth of the shooter – 5/18/2014

Most of the iconic and popular games are first person shooter (FPS) that put gamers in the role of a hero who has to go against an army with nothing more than a few rounds in the magazine. A gamers time is mostly spent on the virtual battlefields of Counter Strike, Call of Duty, Halo and Battlefield.

This joy of the virtual war was made possible thanks to Wolfenstein 3D breaking the norm to establish a new genre for a mature audience. With Wolfenstein: The New Order on the horizon, Playing It Old School will like to go back and pay its respects to the Father of the Shooter genre.

Known to most gamers as a shooter, the Wolfenstein series actually started back in 1981 as a stealth action game developed by Muse Software. Castle Wolfenstein had players attempt to infiltrate a Nazi fortress to steal secret plans than escape undetected. The game was a hit and was followed by Beyond Castle Wolfenstein.

Unfortunately Muse Software closed in 1987 with most of its assets sold-off.

Then in 1991 John Romero, John Carmack, Tom Hall, along with Adrian Carmack established Id Software LLC and one year later they would set the foundations for modern gaming. These pioneers acquired the Wolfenstein intellectual property and used it as the foundation to create the first-person shooter genre.

Wolfenstein 3D has players infiltrate the castle by fighting Nazi soldiers and their monstrous creations (including a Robot Hitler). The games success was followed by Spear of Destiny, which has the gamer attempt to recover the Holy Lance before the Nazi’s could use its power.

The game became the building blocks for the FPS genre and it’s success was followed by Doom and Quake. They would become a major influence on the development of other groundbreaking games like Half Life, Medal of Honor, Soldier of Fortune and 007 GoldenEye.

The game also introduced gamers to one of the most iconic characters, William “BJ”  Blazkowicz. He was the foundation for characters in an FPS while being one of the earliest gaming heroes that was targeted towards a more mature audience. On a side note; he is the grandfather of Billy Blaze from Commander Keen and a descendent of the “Doom guy” from the Doom-series.

The game itself was a pioneer in transforming video games from an expensive childs toy to a mature medium. Wolfenstein 3D was the first step needed for the gaming industry to grow and to experiment with more mature content.

After a decade long absence; the series was introduced to a new generation in 2001 with Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Gamers once again took on the role of Blazkowicz as he attempts to dismantle Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse secret weapons project and prevent Heinrich Himmler from using ancient magic to resurrect an evil warlord. This reimagining developed a new timeline within the context of a classic setting. The game also included a groundbreaking multiplayer feature that borrowed elements of Counter Strike with objective based missions set in a WWII setting,

Return to Castle Wolfenstein was the byproduct of taking one of the most iconic games and rebuilding it into something new. The end result was one of the best FPS games of the time while being awarded multiple “Game of the Year” awards. Its success was followed by a console port that expanded the story along with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, a free to play multiplayer game.

The story continued with the seque,l Wolfenstien in 2009, which had players once again taking on the role of Blazkowicz on a mission to stop the Nazi from harnessing black magic. This time Deathshead have concentrated his forces in the town of Isenstadt in a quest to acquire Nachtsonne crystals needed to access the Black Sun Dimension.

Unfortunately Wolfenstein failed to generate the same kind of buzz as its predecessors. The game was met with average reviews while sales were so poor that the game became a financial flop.

Now the series will enter into a new era of gaming with Wolfenstein: The New Order, a new twist on the classic that will take players to an alternative 1960 were the Nazi’s won the war. How this game will stack compared to its predecessors is hard to tell but the Wolfenstien  series has always been a pioneer in defining the shooter genre.

However being first at something is always followed by a wave of controversy, and Wolfenstein was no exception. Wolfenstein 3-D caused a firestorm of controversy due to its graphic violence and Nazi reference. The original game was banned in Germany because of the display of Nazi symbols and the use of Horst-Wessel-Lied as its theme music (see Strafgesetzbuch section 86a). The game had to undergo editing and censorship just to be sold on consoles and in different countries.

Years later; Return to Castle Wolfenstein became the victim of false moral panic after Jonathan Kay (not a gamer) of the New York Times accused it of promoting anti-Semitism. As a result of the article, the game was vaguely referred to in Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism by the United States Department of State.

Despite the controversy and censorship, the Wolfenstein series has always stood strong as the needed push for gaming culture to embrace a mature concept. The success of Wolfenstein: The New Order will determine if the series could still be a major influence on the shooter genre.

Playing It Old School is a column that looks back on classic games while reflecting on the influence it had on video game and pop culture.

Written for The Gamers Progress
05/18/2014
Original Article: Playing It Old School – ‘Wolfenstein’ and the birth of the shooter

Kevin Spacey’s performance in ‘Call of Duty’ has generated buzz – 5/2/2014

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After the official trailer for ‘Call of Duty: Advance Warfare’ was unveiled, one of the most talked about moment has been the performance of actor Kevin Spacey as the main villain.

The game will be set in a future were Private Military Companies have grown to have great influence around while one of them decides to turn against America. Spacey portrays the villainous head of a PMC and is featured delivering a monologue to the viewer about the futility of democracy.

Spacey’s performance has been well-praised by pundits in the game media while gamers have welcomed his talent to the series. In no time his name started trending on Facebook and Twitter while gamers discussed his role on websites like N4G.

Scott Watson stated on Twitter, Well damn me it’s @KevinSpacey turning up in the latest @CallofDuty game. Is there nothing this man can’t turn his hand to? Looks EPIC \o/.

Lachlan Davidson stated on Facebook, Not really a CoD fan but I’d be interested to see Spacey’s contribution to the game.

Several gamers have refereed to Spacey’s involvement as making the game feel like “House of COD” or “Call of Duty: House of Cards” (a reference to House of Cards). Luke Plunkett of Kotaku added, “If there’s one thing that could revive my interest in this most flagging of franchises, it’s by injecting a little House of Cards in it (not literally of course, that’s not Frank Underwood, but the tone and the timing of the casting says it all).

Spacey has joined the ranks of many Hollywood stars who have had a performing role in the Call of Duty series. In 2008; Gary Oldman and Kiefer Sutherland both had a major performing role in Call of Duty: World at War. Oldman returned along side Sam Worthington and Ed Harris for Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Worthington would return for Black Ops II while Harris was replaced by Michael Keaton. Meanwhile the role of Elise T. Walker in Ghosts was performed by Stephen Lang.

Call of Duty: Advance Warfare will be the eleventh game in the popular series that has sold over 100 million copies and on average has 40 million active players a month. The game is set to be released on November 4.

Written for Digital Journal
5/2/2014
Original Article: Kevin Spacey’s performance in ‘Call of Duty’ has generated buzz