Playing to Win – Competitive Level Computer Games

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Not everyone is into competitive gaming but those who are have one main goal…play to win! There has been a lot of bad press regarding competitive level computer games with “experts” stating that they can cause aggressive behavior. I chuckle at this often because I have seen the coolest and calmest person lose it over a video game, then go back to everyday life as if nothing happened. So one off topic point I want to make here is that aggressive behavior is something that is there to begin with and anything can trigger that. It isn’t caused by a game. However, games do have that tendency to bring out the crazy in all of us. To me, it’s a safe outlet to get all of my stress and aggression out in a non-harmful to others way.

Everyone plays games for a different reason but the concept of playing to win in those competitive games can often be misunderstood. There are two classes of players that you will find in competitive gaming:

  • The Scrub !!  we all start out here and take our time learning the games rules so that we can play a fairly good game. Scrubs tend to have some internal honor code, meaning they stick to the rules. They play for fun and normally won’t step outside of the box to test the game to its extreme.
  • Play To Win !!  those who play to win will find ways to exploit the mechanics of the game. They may search for and use bugs in the game to their benefit for example or find ways to get around the rules.

Playing to win isn’t just about learning the ins and outs of the game, although that is a core step you need to take to start with. You really need to test the game, try things that may seem like they are against the rules and yes that means exploiting any glitches you come across. There is a fine line where using cheat codes is concerned however. Going into “God Mode” for example, can give you unlimited resources or stats and allows you to just breeze through a game killing everything in sight. But that gets boring after a while. I personally like the more creative exploits of game glitches that allow you to gain an advantage while not making the game boring.

I’ve listed some of the top competitive games out there that offer a high skillcap:

  • Starcraft: Brood War – This is a game that offers depth, complexity and requires an insane level of multitasking. It has been considered the most professional competitive game in the world.
  • Street Fighter III: Third Strike  this is a game where perfect timing is a necessity if you want to win.
  • League of Legends !!  this game created the term Multiplayer Online Battle Arena and has become the most played of the MOBA games out there. There isn’t an e-sport event out there where you won’t see this game being played.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee  !! the game itself uses simple controls and a lot of randomness that can swing in your favor or not. But gamers have found some incredible techniques to use like wave dashing and the game offers some unique mechanics.
  • Quake III Arena !!  this is a shooter type game that got its own convention. Here you dont have a team to fall back on as you do in Counter Strike (another good competitive shooting game). You are basically on your own and need to be able to shoot flawlessly and make snap decisions. It will definitely make you break out in a sweat!

Who Are You? – Gamer and Gaming Culture

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You have probably heard the terms “gamer” and “gaming culture” being thrown around before. When someone refers to a person as a gamer, what comes to your mind? A person who lives in the basement and plays video games all day and night? Did you know that gamers are so much more than playing video games? They have helped develop some of the best games we now have out there and are amongst the most creative individuals I have ever met.

I’m a gamer myself and have found that there are many levels of gamers out there. I have played everything from Dungeon’s and Dragons to Dark Souls 2. Some gamers prefer PC gaming and others prefer consoles like PS4. A friend of mine plays the more non-stressful games on the market, brain challenging adventures and such. But hard core gamers, the ones who have to try every game out there, would not consider her to be a true gamer. Gamer is a broad classification that is used for anyone who has an interest in gaming that goes above the “norm”. I came up with a list of gamer categories that I have come across through the years:

  • Casual gamer  to me this is someone who plays games on their mobile phone or plays things like Minecraft and has a console but only uses it for sports games or those crazy sing along and dancing games.
  • Core Gamer  this is a person who has a console and tends to play every majorly released game that hits the market.
  • Hardcore Gamer – here we have a person who has owned just about every console out there along with a high tech gaming PC that runs Steam. They play, or have played, almost every mainstream game out there.
  • Competitive Gamer – some competitive gamers scare me. I mean they really get into the game! They tend to play the multiplayer online games and thrive on the competition of beating quests, other players, and levelling up.
  • Sports Gamer  this would be a person who is uber enthusiastic about sports related games.
  • MMO Gamer  This is your World of Warcraft type group. They tend to play these games religiously…for many hours straight…everyday.

What about the video game culture? Simply put, it is a media culture which has been highly influenced by video games. But it becomes something more than this when you are part of it. It’s a community, a way of life. The gaming culture has spawned new fads and has had a huge influence on mainstream culture today. You can see its impact today in movies, music, TV shows and even politics. Video games are believed to have a hand in how we grow and thrive to some degree. Some will say this is a negative thing where others will feel it’s something positive because it’s brought out creativity in people who may not have had an outlet otherwise. It’s also given people a way to connect with others, to learn to work together as a team in some respect.

Yes there are pro’s and con’s to being a gamer and immersing oneself in the whole gaming culture. But I, for one, am proud to say that I am a Gamer.

Around the World in 8 Gamer Cons

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As a gamer I love going to all of those gaming/sci-fi conventions that run throughout the year. I can remember when gamer conventions were these low key gatherings that many looked upon as just a group of geeks drooling over video games. Well those days are over and gaming conventions can now be found all over the world and are pretty major events! Here are some of the best gamer conventions to visit from around the world:

Dragon Con – this is one of the largest multimedia conventions to be found in the USA and they have been running since 1987. They have everything; sci-fi and fantasy, the newest games coming out, pop culture, comics, and lots of role players! The convention runs for a weekend, usually the last one in August, in Atlanta Georgia. It’s so big that it runs in five different hotels in downtown Atlanta. The gaming section of the Dragon Con isn’t just about video games. They cater to your traditional RPG dice rolling games, tabletop games, a full LAN gaming section for when you are having gamer withdrawals, and you can even talk with some of the best gaming programmers out there if you have the drive to create your own games.

Comic-Con International – This is another huge event that runs over a four day period in San Diego, California. They have some really nice open game areas and run tournaments for all of you competitive gamers out there. They also cover a large variety of gaming genres and have an awesome masquerade for those who really want to get into character and show them what you’ve got.

MCM London Comic con – Across the pond we go, to England, where over 100,000 fans gather together to join the fun that is gaming. It caters to everything from Steampunk to Anime and hosts some of the best actors and special guests. Last year I got to meet some of the cast of Warehouse 13 and Game of Thrones. You can find many gaming sections scattered throughout the site with a large Game Expo featuring popular and independent game developers.

Insomnia Gaming Festival – Insomnia is another UK based gaming convention that focuses solely on..you got it ..gaming! The festival hosts your favorite YouTube gaming stars, LAN gaming halls, and a great exhibition hall where you can buy unique gaming paraphernalia.

Warpcon – This is Ireland’s very own, biggest gaming convention and it is a student run event. It has been going on since 1991 and runs every January. It started out as a small event for students but has really taken off. It’s more of a role playing convention but it gives gamers who love WoW, Warhammer, and other RPG video games to be part of the action themselves.

EB Games Expo – Australia has its own huge video game event that usually runs the first weekend of October. They host a lot of entertainment that is suited for families as well but there are areas where you need to prove your age because the events are listed as MA 15+ and R18+. They feature just about every game, developer and gaming system out there for you to test out and get your game on!

PAX – PAX is in Seattle Washington and hosted by Penny Arcade. They wanted a convention that focused solely on the culture and community of gaming. They have an exhibition hall, a lounge for using handheld games, a console free play area, and the Omegathon challenge where players enter to beat each other in various games, some of which have not been seen before. Kind of helps level the playing field.

MGCCon – The Malaysian Games & Comics Convention host a great, well balanced mix of the gaming community and industry. It caters to games, comics, and your own creativity! Guest stars include many comic artists from companies like Marvel, and the top Cosplay figures out there.
Gaming conventions have come a long way and these days you can find something to please every aspect of the gaming community and industry. These are but a few of the conventions and expos that run worldwide throughout the year and I hope to be able to visit many more.