Gaming

Gaming For A Cause #BlackLivesMatter #Spawn4Good

Editor's note: Our site is partnering with The Spawn Point Blog to have a gaming marathon this weekend, Jan 17 - 18.  

Donate to the family of Eric Garner: tinyurl.com/Spawn4Good

My Game Streams: Twitch.tv/ReefJackson

Saturday Jan 17th Schedule (all times in CST)

  • 12pm - 4pm CST: 8 bit games
    • Nintendo: Blades of Steel, Super Dodge Mall, Mario Bros, , Double Dragon 2, River City Ransom, etc
  • 4pm - 8pm CST:: 16 bit games
    • Super Nintendo: Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Axelay
    • Sega Genesis: Sonic, Gunstar Heroes, Streets of Rage, etc
    • TurboGrafx 16: Blazing Lazers, Bonk's Adventure, etc
  • 8pm - 12am CST: 32 - 64 bit games
    • Neo Geo: Fatal Fury, Art Of Fighting, Samurai Showdown, etc
    • N64: Cruisin USA, Super Mario 64, F-Zero X, Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Wave Race 64, etc

Sunday Jan 17th Schedule (all times CST)

  • 12pm - 4pm: Wii
    • Super Mario Galaxy 2, Guitar Hero 3, Punch Out Wii, Metroid Prime Trilogy
  • 4pm - 8pm: Wii U
    • Captain Toad, Mario Kart 8, Smash Bros, Hyrule Warriors, NES Remix, Shovel Knight, Tengami, Chariot
  • 8pm - 12am: PS4 / PC
    • Flower, Resogun, Trials Fusion, NBA 2K15,  PS4 / PC + Flower, Resogun, Trials Fusion, NBA 2K15, Foul Play, Goat Simulator, Mount Your Friends

Other Game Streams: Twitch.tv/SpawnOnMeTwitch.tv/SpawnOnMe2

Please see the note below from editor and chief of the Spawn Point Blog, Kahlief Adams.


We at the SpawnPointBlog & Spawn On Me Podcast have been inspired by what we’ve seen in the activism spaces with #icantbreathe and #BlackLivesMatter. We’ve discussed these topics on our show and we want to continue to amplify the messages these communities have been sharing. Whenever we can, we want to put a spotlight on injustices and give people a space through gaming to have their voices heard.

On Jan 17-18, 2015, we ask you to join with us and stream on Twitch. This happening will provide a deliberate space for you to have fun with the community, and to reflect on the unequal way people of color, and specifically African-American people, are treated by law enforcement. We will support the families of those that were lost by donating to the Erica Garner Fund, and The New York Lawyers Guild that continues to organize protests and bail funds for those imprisoned for exercising their 1st Amendment rights on this matter.

All funds donated will be deposited to our CrowdRise fundraiser and then equally distributed to the organizations and families listed above. If you have information about or suggestions for additional organizations involved in work regarding police brutality, or scholarship funds that are collecting donations around this issue, please share those notes in the comments or tweet us @spawnpointblog and @spawnonme

We will be streaming from our respective channels on Twitch (SOM) & (SOM2) We’ll also be hosting other streams as well. Please share this event at anyone you think would be interested, affected or has a platform to signal boost. 

STEM GOOOOAAAAALLLLLS

 Cosmos was awesome, so I definitely had to get the DVD! Click on the pic to access my Cosmos posts!

Cosmos was awesome, so I definitely had to get the DVD! Click on the pic to access my Cosmos posts!

In the spirit of the World Cup, let's check out some important goals to achieving diversity within the STEM community. But first .... Germany's Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA's Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson are both celebrating advancing to the next stage of the World Cup.  Check out some quick soccer moves on the International Space Station (ISS).

We've made great progress in a few STEM diversity goals - let's check em out!

1) Highlighting women in science.

While we will always advocate for more women in STEM, we don't want to forget about the ones that are representing right now!  Kyla McMullen has done a great job to help us reach this goal. Her list of the Sexiest Black Female Scientists, which was inspired by a similar Business Insider list that featured no women of color, was all over the net recently. Check it out to see some gorgeous, intelligent women that are contributing to the world in a huge way.

 

2) Showing a diversity of scientists on mainstream TV

Neil deGrasse Tyson, a Black astrophysicist, conquered Westeros and Essos and consistently topped ratings in the Sunday evening time slot for Cosmos. I hosted live tweets every Sunday and had great engagement and participation from science lovers and newbies alike.  Tyson definitely helped show the world that a person of color can successfully lead a science program.

 

3) Showing a diversity of video game makers and shakers

The people behind the gaming industry tend to be white and male - not representative of the diverse set of people that enjoy games. Recently, Aisha Tyler continued her excellent hosting duties during the largest video game industry conference of the year (Ubisoft's press conference at E3 2014).  She also interviewed with NPR about diversity in the gaming space.  Finally, I've been lucky enough to be a part of several episodes of the Spawn On Me podcast, which focuses on people of color within the gaming industry.

I'll make sure to check in on these goals and others!

#CES2014: Gaming, Printing, Excercising

Last week, I was lucky enough to break out of the balmy -20 degree Milwaukee weather and take a trip to Vegas to the Consumer Electronics Show. I had a great time at last year's show, and this year did not disappoint!  

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But let's skip the technobabble. Here are three things that will potentially change the way we entertain, build, and excercise in the next few years. 3D gaming, 3D printing, and fitness.

 

3D gaming

Imagine walking down a street in a video game, and being able to look up, down, left, right.  Now imagine being able to look in back of you. That's what the Oculus Rift. promises to bring to gaming.

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Looks stupid, right? It was. And I loved it.  Reminds me of the horrible virtual reality games in the arcades of the 80s and early 90s. Remember these?

Transient

Also. Display port had an amazing 3 monitor setup. 3 FREAKING HUGE monitors. I couldn't even fit this inside of my apartment, but I want it!

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3D printing

I've blogged about 3D printing in the past, and there was a huge showing at the conference. 3D printing is pretty much what it sounds like - a printer that can print a plastic object such as an action figure, a ball, or a mask.  Tons of cool companies like Makerbot, Kevvox, and Sculpteo were printing small 3D trinkets left and right. Some great examples are below.  3D printing is still a little too expensive ($2000+, plus printing material) to bring into the mainstream, but give it a good 5 years or so and we'll be printing our own toys at a reasonable price. Secret Santa will be even more awesome.

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Fitness

I've been borrowing a Fitbit Flex from Verizon Wireless for review, and it's become my best buddy.  I leave it on my wrist (even in the shower - it's waterproof) and it automatically tracks my steps, active minutes, calories burned, etc.  

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I forget that it's on, which is exactly the point.  The only time I don't forget about it is when I have to charge it by removing a smal part and plugging it up to a computer, which is more often then I'd like (every day or two). For these things to really go mainstream, wireless charging would be a huge benefit. Imagine that I can just throw my Fitbit Flex on a wireless pad like a Powermat. Or even better, placing a wireless charger under my pilow (or make the whole pillow a wireless charger) so that going to sleep instantly charges the device. I know, big dreams, and I could fry my head ... but it would be awesome.

My favorite fitness gadget was the Infomotion 94Fifty - a basektball with a bunch of sensors in it that measure ball rotation, velocity, the arc of your shot, and tons of other variables.  As you dribble, shoot, and pass, you get instant feedback from the voice of a snarky coach.  

For example, when shooting a free throw, you shoudl shoot at an arc of 40 degrees, which is REALLY hard for the average person. All I heard most of the time was the coach saying "Get that arc up" and other remarks. If I had this as a kid, I might actually have been a good basketball player. Maybe it would have helped me grow to 6' tall to.

 

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Keep an eye out on 3D gaming, 3D printing, and fitness gagdgets in the next few years - things are gonna change!

The Uncanny Valley to our Robot Overlords

 Creepin up on ya

Creepin up on ya

Technology improves at a rapid rate - so fast that most people can't keep up. One of the key ways that we can recognize tech is by visual improvements.  Movies and video games have been on a steady trajectory toward realistic approximations of humanity.  Playing my Atari 2600 in the early 80s is way different from strapping on those virtual reality goggles at Sportsworld in Paramus NJ.  And that is a far time away from video games like Splinter Cell: Blacklist (shown above).

But when does the technology get too real? There's a gap between technology that's clearly fake and us, and straying within that gap can lead to creepy results. Being in that gap, known as the uncanny valley, is offputting because our brains like things to be categorized and orderly.  If we can't immediately peg the source of something, we begin to hyperfocus on anything that would make it different.  If we see a perfect stack of books, we'll look for imperfections in the pages, covers, etc - anything to categorize.  

The BBC has a great article on the uncanny valley:

"There are a few explanations that might account for our strange aversion to humanoid robots. One is that not being able to tell whether something is human or not can be a deeply unsettling feeling in itself. Artists and directors take advantage of this all the time for dramatic effect. The dread that viewers feel while trying to figure out who is a zombie, or Cylon, or alien might be the very same dread they feel when faced with a very realistic robot. "
"An unexpected break in humanness can be an unpleasant shock, one that sets off fearful and distrustful instincts. "

Interestingly, the creepiness doesn't only involve trying to act human. Some things are just damn creepy - like Teddy Ruxpin.

Geeks Are Taking Over YouTube Next Week

YouTube is featuring a ton of great geeky stuff from August 4th - 10th.  A quick view of the video below shows geek heroes such as Bill Nye and Felicia Day. They also give a great definition of the word "geek":

"We're the biggest fans. We're curious about the world. We question what's possible" 

Being a geek is not just about playing video games, reading comic books, etc. It's about being comfortable with who you are and never letting the status quo change something that you believe in.

Check out http://yt.be/geekweek all next week for some pic nerdery