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Friday Round Up: What We Are Playing

If you didn’t catch the first post in our Round Up Series, make sure to give it a look. Last week’s post highlighted the exponentially growing world of eSports. This week, I asked the team to share what they have been playing.

Never Enough eSports

To start, some of us are still taking a look at eSports. Being that DOTA 2 is one of the most popular games in that area right now, it was no surprise to hear from Games & Impact Innovation Lab staffer Alex Cope that he just cannot tear himself away from the game. He says he really enjoyed the competition and getting to start new each time he plays:

“Well this is probably MOBA’s generally, the genre that DOTA is in…every game you start from scratch basically,” Cope said. “There’s no RPG leveling, so even if you’ve been playing for thousands of hours you still start level zero every game, no items. The whole point is to try and maximize your potential in each game. Depending on who your opponent is or what lane you’re in or what you’re doing, trying to get the best items is a different process ever time. It’s kind of like playing an actual sport, you don’t level up, you just have to score points all over again. There’s a cool mix between you trying to maximize your potential as a character – and there’s different roles. As a carrier you’re trying to score the most points and do the most damage, whereas the support is trying help that person maximize the damage they can do. So you’re trying to maximize your role as a part of a team but it’s a different process every time.

“There’s a certain competitive element to it that’s really addicting. It’s like an actual sport. It’s really hard to place it because often times my friends and I will be playing and if we lose it just feels so bad, like we’re not having any fun, but we will go back and play two more games afterwards. So yeah something about that competition is just a lot of fun.”  

More about DOTA 2 

Made by Valve, Dota 2 is becoming one of the most popular games on the Internet right now. “…here’s a quick update on the state of gaming: World of Warcraft (WoW) and MMORPGS are not the most popular games in the world as they once were in the early 2000′s; MOBA games rule the gaming world right now.” Dota 2 is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game and can be found on Steam.


New News Games on our Playlist

News Games LogoASU journalism professor Dan Gillmor joined us last week to talk about the ways in which games can play a role in teaching media literacy. In his survey of news games he mentioned:

  • NarcoGuerra“NarcoGuerra is Risk applied to the war on drugs; it’s hard, it’s political, it’s really quite good.” – PCGamesN
  • Snowden Run – CBS has an article that describes the game in full here.
  • Freedom of Information – A game that looks at the struggles of a journalist trying to get facts.
  • Buildcraft – A mod of the all-popular Minecraft.

We put all of these on our to-play list and will share as we take a look at each of them. In the meantime, if you have played one of these, or another interesting news game recently, please comment and let us know what you thought.

Adventures in Interactive Text

Shade, by Andrew PlotkinJournalism initiative coordinator, Juli James, has been playing interactive narrative games as she researches teaching journalists to design games for news. This week she said she played an interactive text adventure called Shade.  The completely text-based game is a horror short story and was made by Andrew Plotkin in 2000. He describes it as “A one-room game set in your apartment.”

“I enjoy interactive narrative games like the Walking Dead Game and Heavy Rain,” James said. “Recently, I began playing interactive text stories (think Zork from the 1980s). Shade is this style of game. Completely text based, it feels strange, uncomfortable, but in a good way. Like reading a Stephen King short story but getting to be the main character myself.”


Playing with Storytelling and Mechanics

Kat Dutchin, creative producer, is playing superbrothers: sword and sworcery on her iPad right now and is enjoying it. She said an interesting mechanic of the game is that you go through the virtual world in a 2D landscape, but when fight scenes occur, the screen rotates to portrait and a sword pops up for you to use. Sword and Sworcery ” is an elegant music-inspired adventure video game created for a broad, literate audience. It tells a short, dreamy story about a lone woman warrior on a tragic quest in a lush, haunted mountain wilderness.”