Tuesday, September 27, 2011

History of the Interguild, Part 1: Five Years of Caving

For those of you who don't know, I run a gaming community called interguild.org, and today is the Interguild's 5th birthday! This community is a big part of my life, so I wanted to dedicate a blog post to them.

The Interguild is a very interesting example for how a strong community can form around a single game. In this post, I will be trying to figure out what the major factors were that contributed to the growth of this community, and I'll also be critiquing how the creators of the game both helped and hurt that community throughout the years.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nom: the One-Button, Phone-Rotating, Running Game

The rise of the mobile games industry is one of the best things to happen to video games within the last decade. This market has vastly expanded the number of people who play video games, while fostering a very fertile environment for innovation and creativity that cannot be matched by other game markets.

Having said that, however, I personally don't pay much attention to the mobile games industry. I don't even have a good excuse. I have an iPod Touch but I mainly use it as a pocket-sized web browser. What finally got me thinking about mobile games was the fact that my client for the class project is Riverman Media, a two-person mobile-game studio. I figured that if I'm going to be of any use to them, then it's about time I started learning all I can about this market.

And that's how I came across a popular cell-phone game called Nom. This game was made way back in 2003 by a Korean game studio called Gamevil. Before talking about the game, I think it'd be best to give some historical context first.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It's Evolving!

Wow this blog grew faster than I expected. Actually, it's still super small, but I just didn't expect it to grow at all. So to accompany this "growth", the name has been changed to something less goofy and the domain name has been changed accordingly. The old URL will now redirect you to this one.

And due to popular demand, you can now subscribe to this blog through your email! Just look at the top of the right sidebar for the subscription field. Everyday, FeedBurner checks to see if there are any new posts on the blog, and if there are any then it'll send you an email. The emails get sent out between at 11pm-1am GMT -6:00, which is Central Time in the United States and Canada.

I started this blog less than a month ago for a university course called Business Intelligence: Web and Social Media Analytics. We are tasked with maintaining this blog throughout the semester, posting at least once a week about anything that's related to the class in some way. After my first two entries just happened to be about games, I decided to keep the pattern going.

Pretty quickly, I realized that I wanted to keep this blog once the course ended. I had tons of great ideas for posts about games, but they didn't really link with any of the course material. I intend to work in the video game industry some day, and I hear that having a blog is a great way to tell employers that you really do think about games all the time. But probably the biggest motivator for keeping this blog has been the praise I've gotten after showing it to my friends and other people I know from the Internet.

For the sake of the class, I originally decided not to change anything about the blog until the semester was over. But then I realized what a tangled mess it would be to change my blog's name and URL after it had ranked up some followers. Aside from that, nothing else is really going to change. This is still a blog for school, but the tricky part will be balancing my target audiences, the gamers and the classmates.

And because this doesn't count as a "real" blog post, you can expect that I'll post something more interesting before the weekend.

EDIT: The class has ended! Click here to read my analysis of the whole semester.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

History of Extra Credits, Part 2: "Inspired by Humanity"

Be sure read my previous blog post before reading this one, because it provides much of the backstory.

Can't Pay the Bills

While the Extra Credits video lecture series was having an incredible rise in followers, the show was in fact suffering from some serious monetary issues.

The Escapist, the publication that originally hired the show and therefore made weekly new episodes possible, was having a hard time paying their bills. To help them out, the Extra Credits team told their publisher to prioritize getting everyone else paid first, because they didn't want to be the ones to crowd out other people's paychecks.

Over the course of one year, the Escapist had only been able to pay the Extra Credits team for four episodes, which meant that they owed them about $20,000. Daniel and James have basically been working on it for free, while James has been paying Allison's wages using his own money.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

History of Extra Credits, Part 1: The Viral Spread of an Online Lecture Series

About three and a half years ago, Daniel Floyd was a graduate student pursuing a masters degree in animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He was taking a required course on contemporary art history in which the students were assigned to do a research thesis on any topic of their choice. Daniel's topic was storytelling in video games, and the final paper was about 15 pages long. Now all he had to do was create a 10-minute oral presentation about it for the class. Rather than making a boring powerpoint, he made this video presentation instead.

A couple months later, he was tasked with a similar project, this time for a media theory course, so Daniel created another presentation with the same style. Unlike the previous video, this one had exploded in popularity after some major gaming publications featured it on their websites, praising its analysis of games as a new art form that is still in its infancy. Daniel was so blown away by how popular his two presentations had become that it motivated him to keep making these videos outside of course projects.