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How To Become A Video Game Journalist

Want to be a video game journalist? I'll let you in on a little secret. Even professional video game journalists don't know how to define “video game journalist,” because we do so many different things. We're reviewers, critics, previewers, live event reporters, bloggers, interviewers, and columnists. If you want the gig full-time, you should be prepared to write all of the above.

Most outlets have plenty of established writers to fulfill those roles, so it can be difficult to break in writing this sort of material unless you already have connections. There's one kind of games writing that's always in demand, however: features. If you can consistently write solid, well-researched features with unique angles, you will find work in this business, and once you have a reputation as a dependable feature writer, it's just a matter of waiting for the right position to open up.

So rather than give you vague advice about how to do the whole job, that no one is able to define in the first place, I'm going to tell you how to get into writing features. If you can jump that hurdle, you'll be well on your way.

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 Morning Hangover: What Does Sony Need To Do To Earn Back Your Trust?

This morning, it was revealed that Sony had changed its End User License Agreement for the PlayStation Network, adding a mandatory arbitration clause to the contract gamers enter into when they click "accept" after they download an update. Basically, the new clause says that larger disputes between gamers and Sony won't be handled in court, but instead will be decided by an outside agency. While small claims are excluded, class-action lawsuits are not, and class-action suits, like the ones filed over the PlayStation Outage of a few months ago, can be a big problem for companies. Check out the EULA here.

Arbitration is a way of settling legal disputes outside of court, usually through an independent organization. It can be a good option when two same-sized companies have beef, but many regard arbitration as a bad deal for consumers in dispute with corporations.

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G4U: The Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Video Game Program Wants To Teach You Game Design

You may have seen men and women in white lab coats under extremely large, orange banners from the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab if you attended PAX East 2011. They were a contingent showing off the results of their collaborative efforts meant to promote and discover inventive directions in game design.

You may already be familiar with some of the Lab’s work, but didn’t realize it. Carneyvale: Showtime was released as an Xbox Live Indie title in 2008, and in 2009 was featured as part of PAX 10, which promotes the work of indie creators. Critics praised the game’s polish and design, and a version was released in 2010 for Windows Phone 7 was described as the platform’s “early, lofty, benchmark.”

Carneyvale is just one of four “featured games” on the GAMBIT website, but it’s important to remember that the primary focus of the Lab is not commercial product, but experimentation. The first time I ever met a GAMBIT member was earlier this year in May, during the Games Beyond Entertainment conference held in Boston, MA. Lab Interaction Design Director Marleigh Norton gave a short presentation of an audio-only, single-button game she was developing. This sort of research is one of the Lab’s primary mandates.

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Game design at Northeastern University

I’m going to start this article with a full disclosure – I am a faculty member at Northeastern University in Boston, with a couple of years of teaching interactive narrative and game design courses under my belt. Don’t scream “OMG Bias!” in panic, though – this is no vapid sales pitch. Instead, consider this a tour through the program, with a guide who just happens to know the ins and outs reasonably well.

G4U: Northeastern's Video Game Program

The Basics

Game Design is offered as a core curriculum in the master’s program at Northeastern’s College of Professional studies. The school offers a 12-month certificate program in Game Design and a Master’s of Professional Studies in Digital Media with a concentration in Game Design, if you want the specifics and wordy titles. What this means in plain English is that you can opt for the quicker certificate if you are simply looking to brush up on skills or learn an aspect of development that’s new to you, or you can go for the full degree program for the in-depth educational experience (encompassing core classes, specialty classes, and a thesis component) and the resume-sweetening power of a master’s degree. It’s up to you.

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Sony is preparing to launch the PlayStation Portable Vita, their third handheld gaming device, soon and to counter their efforts we have created this PlayStation Vita Guide to help you through this interminable waiting period. Following the legacy of the PSP and the PSP Go, the PlayStation Vita will feature innovative gameplay, unique games and wifi enabled social features. Unlike its competitor, the Nintendo 3DS, the Vita will not focus on 3D graphics. The Vita will use dual-analog sticks, front and back facing cameras and touchscreen/touchpads to make sure the Vita provides a unique gaming experience. 

PS Vita Reveal Video Sony Press Conference E3 2011 »


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G4 University wants to enroll you into the "How To Get A Job In Video Games" course, and the good news is that the enrollment fee is free. Playing video games is incredibly fun, which is probably why you're here reading this. But wouldn't you love to turn your obsession and love for pixellated playtime into a career? Now when people tell you that work isn't all fun and games, you can turn around and tell them that yes, it actually IS games. And fun as well.

Starting on Monday, September 12, we'll have an entire week's worth of information for you, and you won't have to read a single textbook. We'll have multiple features every day like "How To Be A Video Game Producer," a video look inside the making of Gears of War 3, interviews with industry notables like Ken Levine, the BioWare Doctors Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, Pete Wanat, and a look inside the video game programs at Northeastern University, the University of Utah, The Guildhall at SMU, along with the Gnomon Workshop and MIT's GAMBIT program.

It's an entire education aimed at helping you get into the games, and we'll be covering every facet of the industry. Stay tuned next week as it all unfolds, and keep it here all week for daily new G4U content. Veni Vidi Videogame!

Resistance 3 Gameplay Trailer, Screens Reveal Chimera Brawler

CheapyD at CheapAssGamer.com scours both the online and offline world for the best deals on video games, and to help out your wallets, we're bringing his weekly recap to you!

Best Buy knocks 50% off select games with the purchase of Resistance 3. A $50 gift card is included with the Xbox 360 4GB Kinect console. Buy Dead Island, get a free Zombieland DVD or Blu-ray.

Kmart offers Deus Ex: Human Revolution for $44.99, and includes $20 gaming coupons with Resistance 3 and Dead Island, and $15 coupons with Driver: San Francisco and Warhammer 40K: Space Marine.

Target includes a $20 gift card with the purchase of 2 select $59.99 titles, including: Resistance 3, Dead Island, Driver San Francisco, Madden NFL 12, NCAA 12, and Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Toys R Us promotes a buy 1, get 1 50% on all games $19.99 and under as well as a buy 1, get 1 50% off on select games, including: Deus Ex, Driver, F3AR, Mortal Kombat and more. On Tuesday only, get a $15 gift card with the purchase of Dead Island, Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, and Resistance 3. Get a $50 gift card with the purchase of a Xbox 250GB Kinect console and a $25 gift card with the Kinect Sensor. Lastly, buy 1 select Kinect game (Child of Eden, Dance Central Kinect Sports, and others), get a 2nd for $10.

Amazon matches the Deus Ex $45 deal.>
Visit CAG for more details and the rest of this week's Sunday ad deals.

Best of the Rest:

Deus Ex (360/PS3) $34.99 9/11-9/17 at Toys R Us
Back to School Gaming Sale at Amazon
House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut $29.99 Pre-order at Amazon

Follow Cheap Ass Gamer on Twitter at videogamedeals and ukgamedeals.

Sony E3 2010 Press Conference Highs And Lows

The Tokyo Game Show runs September 15-18 and Sony is trying to steal the show with their impressive lineup which includes a whopping 31 PlayStation Vita titles. Needless to say, the portable console from Sony will be in the spotlight this year but as of this writing only 13 of the Vita games have been announced.

Here's the list that we've confirmed so far:

PlayStation Vita

  • BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend
  • Dynasty Warriors Next
  • Asphalt: Injection
  • The King, Demon King, and the Seven Princesses: New King Story
  • Mahjong Fight Club
  • Shinobido 2
  • Virtua Tennis 4
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Gravity Daze
  • Hot Shots Golf Next
  • True Kamaitachi
  • Disgaea 3 Return
  • Ridge Racer
    Plus 18 more unannounced Vita titles

Check out the PS3 and PSP games Sony will be bringing to TGS after the break.

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Yakuza 4 Heads West In Spring 2011

There's some big news today in the world of Yakuza fans -- the game series, not the Japanese organized crime syndicate -- starting with word that series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi has established Ryu ga Gotoku Studio (Yakuza Studio) in Japan. Famitsu reports (via Andriasang) that Nagoshi will be formally announcing the studio's formation today when he reveals two upcoming Yakuza series games.

One of those games will be Yakuza 5, which should be quite exciting for fans of the recently released (in the US) RPG/brawler/minigame fest that was the fourth numbered entry in the series. The new studio is also working on a sequel to the PlayStaton Portable game Yakuza Black Panther, oddly, for the PSP once again. Surely Famitsu doesn't have all the facts and it's actually a Vita game that's in development ...right? Expect to hear more from Nagoshi later today.

Source: Famitsu


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Madden NFL 12 hit stores today, August 30, 2011 and that means it's finally football season again! To go in-depth on Madden and its impact on not only professional players like Deion Sanders, Jerry Rice, and Barry Sanders, but also its impact on football education, we took a trip to the Madden NFL 12 Pigskin Pro-Am in New York City's Bryant Park.

On Location: Madden NFL 12 Pigskin Pro-Am »



Are you going to be picking up Madden NFL 12? Who's your favorite football team? As for me, as much as it pains me to admit, I'm a Redskins fan through and through. Madden's the only game where my failure of a team can be winners, which might be why I love it so much.

New Value PSP Model Announced At GamesCom 2011 -- Coming To Europe Only

Sony announced a new value PSP model, the PSP E-1000, will be coming exclusively to Europe later this year for only €99. The device will not have Wi-Fi functionality, but will instead allow access to the full catalogue of UMD PSP games, and all of the games from the PlayStation Store via Media Go.

The design of the PSP E-1000 will be slightly different than the current PSP models. It will have a Charcoal Black finish, the same finish that you'll find on the PS3 slim model.

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Electronic Arts To Shutdown Online Play For Army of Two, Skate And Others

Nothing lasts forever, especially not when you're talking about online play. Every once in awhile, a publisher will go in and flip the switch off on any number of old games, to make way for all of the new hotness that's incoming. Electronic Arts is getting ready for one of those house-cleanings, with a sizable list of games set to go offline in August and October.

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Digital Comics Service Launches For PSP Today

This weeks marks the final update for the PSP's digital comics store. Comics will be provided for other Sony devices thanks to the Digital Comics Team. While there will be no more additions to the comic store, the over 4,000 comics already featured will continue to be available. Keep reading to see the comics being added in the final update.

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Little Deviants

At the just passed E3 2011 convention, we got our hands on PlayStation Vita title Little Deviants. Judging from our hands-on time, this silly mini-game collection is not going to change anyone's life, but it's designed to show off the unique capabilities of Sony's new system. Here's a taste of the preview:

"The final game is to include over 30 mini-games. In my hands-on time, I got to test four of them. The first was called 'Botz Blast,' and it was an augmented reality game about shooting robots chasing the deviants. It operated like the 3DS's Face Raiders, in which you view the world through a camera and aim by moving the system around. Unlike Face Raiders, Little Deviants also uses the touch screen. When robots squirt slime at you, you have to manually wipe it off the screen. Doing so was as strangely gratifying as wiping a windshield with a squeegee."

Read the rest of our Little Deviants preview.



All rise. The court of TheFeed is now in session. The honorable Jake “Fake Judge” Gaskill presiding. It is the opinion of this court that video games are…what’s that?...the Supreme Court already handed down its ruling on California’s violent video game law?...7-2?...Oh, I see. Well, let's get on with it.

As you've no doubt heard, this is a big week for the games industry, thanks to t but in case you were too busy, I don't know, playing games or something, then you definitely want to check out this week’s episode of Feedback, as Adam Sessler is joined by Casey Schreiner, Stephen Johnson, and Nikole Zivalich to discuss what is arguably the most significant legal decision in gaming history. (For more, be sure to check out Adam's in-depth look at the Supreme Court's decision, and if you have no idea what this whole case is about, brush up here.)

And, as if to honor said decision, the Feedback crew also examines and cross examines the game of the week, the cheeky horror shooter Shadows of the Damned. So if you're into legal jargon and penis-inspired gun puns, you've certainly come to the right place!

Feedback -- Supreme Court Video Game Ruling »


Feedback: Where we still have no idea why the abbreviation SCOTUS makes us chuckle. Hehe. SCOTUS.

The AUDIO MP3 of this episode of FEEDBACK is available here: Right-click and Save.

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