Gamer’s Lounge

For my semester project I created a facebook page called Gamer’s Lounge.  It is a public page for gamers and those interested in video games.  The basic premise of this page is to give gamers a forum to discuss past, current, and future games. For example, if a new game is coming out then members of the group can post a game trailer from youtube on their post and comment on it, whether it be a good or bad take on it.  Then, other members are notified of the post and the comments and can make their own comments.

Also, this page is somewhat of an informal marketing tool to allow the promotions of games.  One aspect of this page that has taken off on its own recently is current members invite other people on their Facebook friends’ list to join the group.  New members are able to view all up to date posts.  Members, if they play Playstation 3 online or Xbox live they can post their gamertag and invite other members to play a match on Halo Reach, for example.

This page is very liberal and depends on the participation of the members.  Without gamers this page would not exist.  It started out with my personal description of the page and a post about Bethesda’s Skyrim.  Certain members commented on it and then the page took off and began to take a life of it’s own.  I would, sometimes, not log onto the page for 2 or 3 days and find a handful of notifications of Gamer’s Lounge.  Some weeks were slower than others, but the common interest of the members is definitely what keeps the page alive and continuing to grow.

This started out as an experiment for the sake of this class’ project assignment.  Now, it is something that I am genuinely interested in and hope to see to continue growing more and more.  Video games continue to be released and the classics remain popular.  I have faith that this page has infinite potential.  The more members, the more up to date the page will likely be.

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Tom Clancy and the Video Game Franchise-Shane Kelly

This blog is on the Chapter 3 presentation: Finding the Origami Unicorn and is in a way related to the Chapter 4 presentation.

Tom Clancy was born in 1947 and graduated from Loyola College in 1969 where he studied English Literature.  He has dozens of books published, some of them were made into movies later on, some of them were made into video games, and a select few were made into both.  His books were tremendously popular.  They are primarily non-fiction novels that pertain to war, spec-ops, and modern warfare.  He had always been interested in being in the military and he would have most definitely served but he failed an eye exam upon his application so he did not go.  After being rejected in the 1970’s he worked for an insurance company for a number of years before beginning his literary legacy.

His first book was published in 1984, The Hunt for Red October.  But, all of his literary works are not the ones that I intend on discussing in this blog.  Many gamers of the first generation of New Media may not even know that some of the more famous games that appeared on PC, Xbox, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.  In 1998, after having recently separating from his wife, he wrote a book called Rainbow Six.  That same year a game was released by the same name that was based on the book that he had written.  He knew what his book was going to be about and knew that the growing gaming generation could truly allow this story come to life.  Many aspects of the game itself may bring about some questions.  The story is basically about an anti-terrorist agency whose job is to seek out and destroy the eco-terrorists.  There are very few mentions of the actual book plot in the game itself because most gamers want to pick up a gun, shoot a handful of terrorists in the face, and call it a day.  However, there are very intricate characters that appear in the game who have background stories and connections that are only briefly mentioned in the games.

After this game sky rocketed in popularity towards the millennium, many gamers wanted to know more about the characters and became interested in the stories that were explained in detail in the books themselves.  This allowed a type of “Tom Clancy” culture to evolve so the slightly more intellectual gamers could discuss amongst friends the connections they made between the book and the game and now could discuss it on the internet.  Clancy, a smart man himself, so this is a beautiful opportunity to release a sequel to Rainbow Six.  He also, a few years after the millennium, came up with the brilliant idea of another game to add to his soon-to-be Franchise.  Splinter Cell was released on Xbox in 2002 a a result of Clancy going to Ubisoft, a reputable gaming company, and telling them this idea.  The game was loved by Ubisoft, so it was developed, released, and became a smash hit.  In 2004 Clancy wrote and published a Splinter Cell book, based on the video game, where he created the same things that the Rainbow Six book did for the game.  Background information and a lot of questions were answered in this book and, since the Internet had now become a tremendous forum-media, the Tom Clancy culture grew more and more, Tom Clancy’s name appears on the top of the game case in big, silver letters.

Clancy continued to allow his games to grow more and more with the releases of his books, following the game concepts and creations, Ghost Recon and a number of sequels to both Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six.  God Bless this man.  I may be a bit biased since I am a gamer and a reader, but this man had this concept down to a science relatively early as far as New Media is concerned.  Not only can I sneak up behind people and snap their neck after interrogating them, command my team of marines to attack a rebel base, and shoot blindly at a group of seemingly evil people, but I can also become highly engaged in the character backgrounds and side stories as a result of this intricate non-fiction novels.  As an English major myself, this is definitely encouraging.

Roger Federer – Tennis Icon – Shane Kelly

I played Tennis for about five years before getting into college and became pretty heavily involved in the tennis culture in general; having the right shoes, the right racket, even hitting the right ball.  Roger Federer is without a doubt an icon amongst the tennis community and even amongst the non-tennis community.  He, as of right now, is the second best tennis player in the entire world but for a few years recently he was number one.  What makes Federer stand out on the court is the fact that he is extremely calm and shows little to no emotion to his opponent while playing.  He is from Switzerland and is without a doubt an advertisement model.

He does commercials for The Swiss Army Knife company, Rolex, Gillette and Wilson tennis company.  For those of you who don’t know, these are humongous brands in the world that have television commercials, magazine ads, billboard ads, and a lot more.  Now, not only do his fans and others want the racket or shoes that hes wearing, but they want the brand of knife that he uses, the type of razor that he uses to shave, and even the kind of watch that he wears.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6R404c1NB0

I think what gives him his power, first and foremost, is the fact that he is a phenomenal tennis player.  He does a trick shot that is unheard of that he actually coined which put him on the map, more or less, a few years ago.  Second, he is so calm and this appeals to people.  Tennis viewers/players and so used to the loud grunting and screaming from the players on TV that when Federer plays they can’t help but recognize his demeanor.

He appeals to a wide range of people.  The kids who like tennis will definitely look up to him, much like how a pee wee baseball player would look up to Derek Jeter.  He also appeals to older and middle aged tennis players because they may model their attire or shots after Federer.  Anyone who knows Federer and needs a new razor, racket, watch, or knife may also appreciate him because of his commercials that bring out his personality that also appears on the tennis court.  Here, for fun, is a video of Roger Federer’s trick shot that I mentioned before, it’s pretty cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37qyvTRVus8

New Rochelle, NY Online Community Site – Shane Kelly

http://www.newrochelleny.com/index.aspx?NID=35

Above is a link to the New Rochelle community website.  It was very easy for me to find, actually, I simply typed in “New Rochelle NY” into Google and it was the second link on the first page.  If you look at the website it’s more of an informative site more than anything else.

There is a lot of information about the city; there is info about the government in New Rochelle, events, departments, and a bunch of other stuff.  I clicked on the “Our Community” link at the top of the page to see what the site had to offer.  Immediately I realized, based on what I learned in class the other day, that this site was definitely “top-down.”  The online community of New Rochelle clearly has little say in the content that is on the site.  There is an option to contact the site administrator and a place for the people to make suggestions and whatnot, but there are no forums, blogs, or comment boxes above or below any of the content.

There are FAQ’s though, which were the closest things that I could find to community based content.  It is basically the most common things that people would want to know about the city of New Rochelle and common questions answered by the site contributors.

I definitely do not use this website since I did not know about its existence until tonight when I Googled it.  However, even if I did know about it, I don’t see how exactly I could “use” the site so much as I can just “view” it.  I wouldn’t really use it since I was born and raised in this city and know a bit about it and am not particularly interested in the departments and regulations of New Rochelle.

I feel like the general purpose of this site is basically to have New Rochelle somewhat established on the internet and so people can find out general facts about the city itself and its history.  Personally, I don’t find that concept to be particularly intriguing.  So, the presence of the site is very effective and easy to find and access but, as far as online-community involvement goes, I would give this city’s site an “F.”

Online Communities – Xbox 360

Professor Proctor mentioned that he would like one of this week’s blogs to be about online community.  Obviously, I am going to have to write a little bit about Xbox Live.  When the original Xbox came out on November 15, 2001 in North America and Puerto Rico, gamers rejoiced.  FINALLY, a gaming system with cool, relatively consistent graphics, by Microsoft, with great multi-player capabilities.  But, of course, within about twelve hours of getting the system, many gamers wanted to know, “Ok…what next?”  Then, less than 6 months later in 2002, came the amazing Xbox Live.  Now people could play their sports games and first-person shooter games with their friends all over the world.  All you would need is a headset and a monthly subscription to Xbox Live.  I could play the army game Counter Strike with my friend in Texas and speak to him simultaneously.  If I am good enough at the game then I can establish some kind of reputation so when my name comes up on other people’s queue, they will fear me.   People continued to become nationally and globally ranked and the games got better and better and now, today, we have xbox 360 Live.  Amazing graphics, high speed internet connections, high definition televisions, yes.  Now, there are over 8,000,000 members on Xbox Live.  People can chat with each other, play with each other, share pictures with each other from their facebooks, go on twitter, download music and share, all while destroying aliens in Halo Reach!  This community is an ever-growing example of a mainstream, specialized community that is updated constantly.  Twelve people from anywhere in the world playing with or against each other in any compatible game while speaking/trash talking with each other…what could be a better example of an online community?

Here’s a taste of what the xbox live community is like…

http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community?xr=shellnav

Shane Kelly

Guardian.co.uk

On page 76 in the Alternative Media Handbook, The Guardian, is mentioned briefly.  It was mentioned so briefly, in fact, that I was intrigued to look deeper into it.  The Guardian has been a mainstream British Newspaper for quite some time now.  According to the Alternative Media handbook, “The blog has become the focal point for much mainstream media attention, perhaps due to its personal roots, enabling mainstream journalism to develop human-interest stories around its creators rather more easily than it can explore the more abstract, political goals of networks such as Indymedia” (p. 76).  This is precisely what the Guardian did.  The Guardian has always updated its fans on current events, politics, you know, mainstream stuff.  However, at the turn of millennium they started to post “warblogs.” A warblog is an online blog that follows the events of an ongoing war.  However, this was not a mainstream blog, only the online followers of the Guardian’s website could follow.  They were encouraged to comment of the posts and make their own posts expressing their opinions and such on the matters at hand.  I, personally, found it interesting how such a mainstream medium went into an alternative-style of reporting when blogs were just beginning to flourish into something tremendous.  Today, though, there are a number of blogs on the Guardian website (guardian.co.uk).  But, primarily, this website is a site of current events and mainstream information that updates itself seemingly minute by minute.

Pirate Radio Creation? – Shane Kelly

For whatever reason, in the Alternative Media Handbook, I was most drawn to the concept of pirate radio.  I feel like it is because I am more rebellious in nature than most and the things that people did in order to broadcast their pirate radio stations in history was really cool.  The off-shore pirate radios were the most interesting to me because it was like, “Hey I am over here doing what you want and you can’t cross this line!”  I found this article on howto.wired.com about Pirate Radio stations.  Apparently it is extremely easy to make your own pirate radio station and all that is really required is a somewhat cool idea and a few steps to follow to complete the process.  This type of radio broadcasting is pretty controversial and it always has been which is why finding this article inspired me to write about it.  Something controversial and seemingly difficult is actually extremely easy to do and there are even some simple steps that you can follow.  All you have to do is type in, “Pirate Radio Examples” into google.com and there you have it.  Although it does require some hardware to do all of this.  You do need a microphone and headset and a make-shift studio so it isn’t exactly ‘free’ per say.  According to the article, the main thing to worry about is using your equipment to interfere with any legitimate radio station.  This sounds pretty obvious but the author of this article emphasizes likely because hacking into the airwaves of the public isn’t exactly encouraged.  Here is the article:

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Set_Up_a_Pirate_Radio_Station

World Of Warcraft Ventrilo – “Rejected” Harassment – Shane Kelly

I thought this was outrageous when I stumbled upon it on youtube.com.  World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role playing game that over 40,000,000 people play all over the world.  I, myself, was literally addicted to this game for about four years; all throughout high school and half of my freshmen year.  The reason this game is so appealing is because of the fact that the creators, Blizzard, constantly update it and allow people to build communities and play with friends.  There is a certain aspect of “WoW” for the players who are hardcore players that devote hours and hours of daily time to play.  This aspect is the “Ventrilo” aspect of the game which allows players to create a channel for one dollar per year so they can verbally chat with the people that they are playing with instead of having to type all of the time.  The only thing that is required for a Ventrilo channel is one dollar per year and a headset which are relatively inexpensive.  In this video that I attached to the blog a player is playing segments of a “Rejected” soundboard over and over again and it is driving the players absolutely insane.  The only thing that is actually occurring in the game itself, though, is the audio.  The creator of the video created a video to go along with this comical gaming experience that he was a part of.  As you can tell in the video, people take this game very seriously because they are getting furious over the fact that this person is ruining their concentration, I personally think it is hilarious.  The video itself is a little bit slow for the first minute, or so, but as it progresses it can, in a way, grow on you.  I found it really interesting that someone involved in such a serious gaming community such as WoW would take the time to incorporate the “Rejected” video into his game play to bother the hell out of his team mates.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C-gLCWoKFg