I'm actually quite the adrenaline junkie in general - I love extreme sports when I can actually get the time and money to engage in them. It's too bad the best stuff is the most expensive. Take for example these guys: team Fly like a Brick. They're a wing suit group, and in order to even qualify to train with them you need to have gone skydiving 200 times. On average it's about $300 a drop, so just being rich enough to qualify to go with these guys is a challenge. I could only join them in my dreams but I tell ya, these guys know how to live.
I've played every sport imaginable that doesn't involve a horse, but Fencing was by far my favorite. When I was younger I won a fencing tournament - I remember it was me vs my brother for the final match, and the last point took a whopping eleven minutes. Good times, fond memories. When I graduate it's one of the hobbies I'd like to pick up again.
As long as we're talking about things I'd like to do when I graduate, kickboxing is also on that list (so are more Swing dancing classes). There are a couple of reasons I want to try it: the biggest being that I haven't yet. I firmly believe if you're going to try to design a good experience, you need to have plenty of experience yourself. So for any designer, going out and DOING stuff is vital to having good design.
I'm not what you'd call an aficionado, but I am a huge fan of tea. I like all kinds of tea, and collect it almost obsessively. I have sixty three blends of it at home, though the collection is admittedly shrinking as I'm trying not to waste all my money on Tea and I keep drinking it. I like tea so much, that when I grow up I want to be a Tea Master.
Skies of Arcadia is my favorite video game of all time. If you played it too, congratulations: you just made a friend. I've been aching for a sequel or remake for ages now, but I doubt it'll ever happen. Honestly I'd prefer a remake - Skies had a story to tell, told it, and let it die. You don't see that happen much anymore these days, and I'd hate to ruin it. But on the bright side, Vyse is making an appearance in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I'm going to buy it just for his sake.
I love, love, love music. Seriously, I listen to music of all genres all the time. I have everything from pop to hip hop to classic and french rock opera. Unfortunately, as much as I love it I can't play any instruments and I'm completely tone deaf. I used to spit some mean harmonica, though. Part of the reason I love the song linked below: you don't see many bands use it anymore.
Speaking of underrated things, what about Chess? Maybe it's just where I'm at right now, but you don't hear about people playing it anymore. What's with that? I love chess. What makes it worse is I go to a school full of Designers and no one even talks about it: chess is one of the most interesting board games out there, I think, for designers. Whenever I visit home I always try to make a point to play it with my family over tea, and every once in awhile over the internet (though it's just not the same). I can't say I'm a pro in any sense at the game, but I still love it.
I've been into D&D for ages. I remember when my brother bought that first box set, I couldn't help but laugh at him: and now, I'm a devoted player and DM. This summer a group of my friends and I have decided to give Pathfinder a go. It'll be my first time playing it outside Encounters sessions they run at PAX, so hopefully it'll go pretty well.
HvZ, or Humans Versus Zombies, is a popular college campus game that's basically tag. There are two kinds of players; humans who carry around Nerf guns, and zombies - denoted by their head bands and their insatiable lust for tagging humans. Humans can stun zombies for a set amount of time (it varies from game to game) by shooting them, but if a zombie tags a human the human turns into a zombie. In normal HvZ, the game is played until the end of the semester and the zombies win if there are no humans left, while likewise the humans win if all the zombies starve out. At DigiPen, we play it quite differently, to the point where we've rebranded it as a new game called Outbreak. Ours only goes for a week, and there are missions which the players and zombies compete in. Humans win if they can succeed at the final mission, while zombies win when all the humans are dead (hint: the zombies always win). I'm actually quite good at the game, I've been playing since it started Freshman year and have made it to the final day every time, where I get killed in the final mission. It's usually 150 zombies to 20-30 humans, and the zombies respawn every 5 minutes. It gets pretty hairy pretty fast. The link below is to our Wiki.
Personally, I love seeing systems like this. Any way of measuring the worth of an idea or how urgently a task needs to be completed is pure gold for me, especially when you're trying to coherently move a team forward.
Moving on, this is an interesting little article about the Little Big Planet IP moving around. Little Big Planet is a favorite of mine, so I look forward to seeing where it goes.
So I have a lot of mixed feelings on this article. In short, it's about the team that made Dark Souls pondering adding an easy difficulty level. I'm personally a Dark Souls Fan, and as the author comments: I do consider having beaten the game something of a badge of honor. Additionally, one of the key things about Dark Souls he seems to neglect is how it's insane difficulty has been a selling point. The difficulty is what has attracted it's extremely loyal fanbase to the point where songs have been written about it! So in that respect I'm completely against it. But he does make a lot of valid comments about the game and why it should have an easy mode that, to be completely just, I can't argue against. However I do hate his preachy writing style: "People SHOULD want this, you SHOULD feel this". So as much as I hate to admit he has a couple of points, I still don't ultimately agree with him.
This article, about how Mists of Pandaria isn't selling, doesn't really surprise me. I don't play WoW, but I've been seeing a lot of complaints about it online lately. The reason is, newer, younger MMO's take WoW's basic formula but add some pretty simple improvements and polish, either thanks to better design or technology. For instance, I was reading one woman's complaints about the game: she had switched to The Secret World for a month or so then went back to WoW, and couldn't get over how in WoW you can't move and attack at the same time. Unless WoW gets on simple things like that, I feel like it's collapse is inevitable within the next five or six years.
This article about how Polish makes a game is really true. Polish is important, and especially at DigiPen where there isn't a lot of time to be working on your Game projects, you need to focus fire on what polish you can before the ship date. It's the difference between good games and great ones.
This article concerns how the Vita's having difficulty attracting third party developers. Well duh, considering their history. I think problems like this are ones Sony will have to contend with for as long as the old Nintendo Warhorse is still going strong in the handheld market. One of the things that really bothers me about Sony's handhelds is they know who to look to for inspiration of sorts - Nintendo - but they don't take the time to figure out WHY what Nintendo does works. Take for example the Vita. It had some cool features, but what was the point of any of them? Why have a touchscreen on the back of the device? I mean, really, why? "Well, Nintendo had two screens, and it worked for them", but two touchscreens and two screens serve entirely different purposes.
This is a particularly interesting article for me due to the fact that I agree completely. I've gotten into heated arguments about which is the best console, and frankly one of the Wii's strongest arguing points is that it's inexpensive and open to softcore gamers. But Nintendo has made a lot of good calls that I would have argued against in the past, and they've earned my trust. Whatever they're doing, I'm sure it'll be fine.
This is truly sad news. Nintendo Power, after 25 years of publication, is going out of print December 2012. I grew up with Nintendo Power: they sparked my interest in games, and are the reason I was and still am such a devoted Nintendo fan. They will be missed.
This is a short article about a developer dissecting why games take years to create. There's a lot I don't like about it, but the part about producers I hear. My least favorite part of the job is making schedules we'll just throw out in a day or two because that's what the professors want to see. They have their place, but they're not omniscient. It's actually something I've had to explain to my team a couple of times, our schedules can be bull. Perfect schedules we can all live by aren't the point of scheduling - they're to provide direction to the team and show it's members where we're at and where we're going.