About Me I work in Redmond, WA, right outside of Seattle. Redmond is the home of Microsoft and is just a couple miles from Kirkland, where Google is.
I work at a new startup called Empower.me. We focus on keeping kids in school, doing really well in school, and preparing them for their lives.
We accomplish this by finding what they love to do and allowing them to learn through what they love. Everyone loves different things and is talented in unique ways. Why make everyone learn the same way?
We change that! We empower teenagers through their passions.
As Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do good work is to love the thing you do."
When it comes to gaming, my age starts to show. I was on the cutting edge back when Half Life came out. I loved that game. My friends used to network computers on a "hub" (long before they were called a switch) because our dial-up internet was too slow. Now, I'm older and slower, and so is my gaming.
Games I Play(ed)
Almost all Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis games.
Air Warrior Classic (AOL/Gamestorm)
Air Warrior 3 (Kesmai/Gamestorm)
Half Life / Day of Defeat (still play)
Half Life / Counterstrike
Half-Life / Team Fortress
Video games are in the news quite often these days. Mostly, getting negative attention thanks to the Sandy Hook school shooter being a player of Black Ops II.
The criticism of games is nothing new.
- Violent videos games have always been a thorn in the flesh of those who see it as a motivator for violence in kids.
- Wasted hours playing games have been the source of arguments between parents and their children for many years.
- Social awkwardness has been attributed to hours of gaming instead of normal, social interaction.
- They teach teens the wrong values.
- Lower academic achievement
- Smaller attention span
However, the issue is far from settled. With a vast majority of young adults being raised playing video games, one has to wonder if the negative effects associated with video games is a stereotype based on a very small sample of bad cases.
Although creatures, like the Sandy Hook shooter, played violent video games, is that what led to the unbelievable tragedy? What does that say for the millions of other players of the same game who still have no issues with violence?
In my research, I have found that most of those who claim the negative effects of video games on young people are from those who have never really been involved in video games. This public outcry over video games usually totally ignores the positive effects video games can have on young people.
- Learning to follow instructions.
- Trouble Shooting
- Creative Problem Solving
- Hand-eye coordination
- Attention to visual detail
- Advanced planning and logistics management
- Quick thinking and reaction
- Situational Awareness
- Reading, Math, and Science skills
- Inductive Reasoning
- Memory Development
- Risks & Rewards Judgement
- Learning advanced concepts at early ages
There is a huge list of benefits kids can get from gaming. The negative effects, in my opinion, are controlled by the parents and not necessarily the game content.
I remember as a kid playing cowboys and indians, I would get in trouble by saying things I shouldn't or being too gory. I remember hiding my fatality codes from my mom so she wouldn't know I was eating people's heads.
I've played a lot of violent games in my life. I've played a lot of hours on games that was basically wasted time. I don't struggle with anger, or violence, or too short of an attention span. I'm not too social awkward or unable to function in the real world.
I'm getting closer to 40 as the years roll by and I still love sinking hours of my week into video games when I have the free time.
With towns now trying to do video game buybacks, and some places introducing laws to ban violent video games, it seems to me we are losing focus on what really matters and instead blindly blaming the hobby of millions of people on the insane actions of a few, sick individuals.
There was violence before the xbox was ever conceived. There was mindless, sick individuals doing horrendous deeds before video games. If we take all of the video games out of the world and destroy them completely, there will still be violence.
As long as there are humans in this world, there will be violence and idiots who hurt those weaker than them for no reason. Is blaming a hobby, and spending thousands of dollars to combat a hobby really productive?
I've talked to a lot of people recently about the ins and outs of a career in gaming. I work for a new startup, empower.me, in the Seattle area that is designing a passion discovery/educational system for teenagers.
I get the exciting priveledge of making the system awesome for gamers. So it's my job to come up with as many learning categories as I can that are associated with gaming, so we can start to build a curriculum base for gaming. Everything from game design and programming, to writing dialogue and music, to testing the game, to selling the game.
I would like some feedback on some learning categories from the community here
Here is what I have so far:
- Video Game Design
- Game Theory
- Video Game Careers
- World Building
- 3D Modeling
- Video Game Art
- Science in Video Games
- Writing For Video Games
- Artificial Intelligence
- iOS Game Programming
- Video Games & Education
- Vocal Acting For Games
- History of Video Games
- How To Build a Game
- Sound Design
- Music Composition
Is there anything we are missing when it comes to gaming? What's something valuable that's not on the list that would be extremely valuable for teenagers who want to get their foot in the door of the video game industry?
It's no secret that the major, blockbuster game developers are slimming down. More and more studios are popping up, and closing down thanks to big publishers taking most of the profit of the video games.
On the other hand you have the exploding "casual" game market thanks to all the mobile devices. Games like Angry Birds are hitting the market by the thousands every month. Rather than $60 bucks for a game that took years and millions of dollars to create, people are buying these games for less than $5 most of the time.
This is leading to two things:
1. The market for blockbuster games is narrowing.
(Yes I know the success of Call of Duty but it's a successful franchise. Most other games don't get nearly that much success and still cost as much to make.) 2. The market for casual games is exploding.
This begs the question:
What is the best career path for teens wanting to get into the gaming industry?
Teens could dream big and get hired on by major publishers and studios to work on the cool game titles like Call of Duty or God of War. But the reputation of working at places like that is pretty bad. From what I've heard, it's long hours, a lot of stress, and not enough money to make it worthwhile.
To actually be fulfilled in that kind of environment (if it's really like that) someone would have to be very passionate about what they were doing.
On the other hand, a teenager could virtually learn programming free from home using sites like Empower.me, Khan Academy, or Code Academy, and create a game for Android or iOS systems from their bedroom. If any of their games are successful, they could literally be in the gaming industry before graduating high school.
Both options sound good to a gamer. But realistically, there are pros and cons to consider. Getting a career with a major publisher could be easier for a niche programmer, writer, or other occupation that wanted to be involved in games. While an "indie" casual game maker might have to have luck to get noticed. But the upsides for making your own games seem inviting as well. Especially if they went viral.
What would be the best career path for a teenager to consider? Getting involved in the growing casual game industry or go for the hardcore gaming career in console or pc gaming?
Teenagers spend hours each week engrossed in fictional worlds in one video game or another. They may fail three thousands times but, before they get off the couch, they are going to conquer their obstacle and claim victory!
Empower.me is for teen gamers to easily learn how to build games themselves as well as get jobs in the video game industry. In order to spend your life playing video games, you have to learn a thing or two about what makes video games work. Empower.me makes learning cool things an experience like playing a game. In other words it’s fun and valuable at the same time.
There is an endless amount of opportunities for careers in video games: - Programmers
- World Builders
- Audio Production
- Concept Artists
- 3D Modelers
- Physicists & Scientists
- Writers, Reviewers, and Journalists
- Marketing & PR
What does it take to land an awesome career in video games? According to Bobby Loertscher, a Community Manager for Zen Studios, “Play a lot. Write a lot.” Bobby’s actual career is a blogger and online community manager; meaning she is a writer. Her passion is gaming, her talent is writing, and she has the job she loves.
Empower.me is a tool for teen gamers to discover the same thing about themselves. If you’re interested in physics and love video games, there is high demand for physicists to work for video game to make sure simulation is realistic. What cooler way to use your talents in physics than making video games awesome?
There is also added incentives for teen gamers to use the empower.me system. If gamers get their parents involved, they can make extra spending money from their parents with each learning video they watch if they pass the 5 question quiz at the end. Some gamers are making enough in allowance to buy a new video game every 2 or 3 weeks. They can also get help with homework, improve their GPA the fun way, and prepare for college and the ACT, PSAT, and SAT.
Empower.me is not just about learning video games. It broadens your focus to show you many different ways that gaming could be a part of your future. It paints a well rounded path for you to follow so that you know where you’re going in life and are learning exactly how to get there.
Instead of “wasting time” playing video games every week, Empower.me will show you how to “invest” all those hours and get a degree and career that you will love. Check out Empower.me for Gamers and let me know what you think.
I will start by saying that I love console games. They are a lot of fun in the right context. However, I can't see how a console could ever be considered as good as the pc platform for gaming.
Two things I notice that is better in PC games:
Sure, they are adding all kinds of buttons to the console controller. I started playing when there was one button, or just a wheel your turned. But the PC has always outclassed console games in control depth.
Take any Jane's Flight Sim. Every keyboard key is attached to a control of the aircraft. Then you have alt, control, and shift to add even more controls than even a keyboard can offer.
There is no way to have that amount of control using a handheld xbox controller.
Aside from that is speed and control at the same time. I'm a big "mouse" fan. I can run, jump, leap, fall, and always keep my sites where I want them, for the most part.
With a joystick-based thumb-control, no matter how much you speed up the sensitivity of the stick, it's still not as accurate as using a mouse.
People that have never gotten over the mouse-shooter learning curve, or never even tried to play shooters on a PC argue with me over this. But I have given both platforms many hours of play. Mouse still have a better control system than joysticks.
I love playing multiplayer in the stage maps in just about every shooter. What I do hate is these blockbuster games that are making a billion dollars in 24 hours, like Black Ops II, that ship without the ability to play COOP campaigns.
When there are two buddies getting together just to play xbox, why not allow them to explore the theatrical story of the game together in co-op? You can do it split-screen or just on networked xboxes. But most of the games out there refuse to add this feature.
I will give sports games to the console. PC versions of sports games are usually just cheap replicas of the console version. The PC hand controllers were never perfected either.
I will give graphics to the console games. They are simply amazing. Unless you have an AMAZING gaming PC, graphics won't get anywhere close to the consoles.
The solution is to merge the two platforms.
Microsoft has the edge in the console market with the xbox. They have the community on xbox live. They also have their windows operating system on just about every computer in the world. (says the guy blogging from a mac)
Why don't they spend a little bit of their enormous income on creating a bridge between platforms?
If they ever do, I've got a lot of young, whipper-snapper xbox players who I'm ready to slaughter when I get my mouse!