Posted by & filed under Gaming, Media Library, Uncategorized, Video Games.

 

I sat down virtually with Dr. Lin Joyce to chat about her creative journey, discuss her narrative insights, and gather advice for writers looking to get into the games industry.

 

Hello! First things first, please introduce yourself! Please let me know if you have any name or pronoun preferences.

Hello, there! I’m Dr. Lin Joyce. I am the Head of Writing at Gearbox Entertainment. I use she/her pronouns, thank you for asking!

 

So, before we jump into your current job, let’s talk about your creative journey. The games industry often finds talent from a myriad of backgrounds: what creative positions/experiences did you have before getting into games?

My creative journey started in university. I have a BA in Professional Writing and Editing, an MA in Literature, and a PhD in Art, Technology, and Emerging Communication. The tie that binds those degrees together (aside from student loans) is a love of words, what they mean, and how we use them. The jobs I maintained while in university also speak to my love for language and communication.

Some of my previous positions include Directing the National Writing Project site at West Virginia University, Leading Marketing Content for an educational software company, and Directing Writing and Editorial at another software company. By the time I was hired at a game studio, I had a wealth of professional and educational experiences to draw on.

 

My professional experience in the industry has been nothing short of fulfilling. Every day I get to collaborate with incredibly talented creators to bring worlds and stories to life.

 

Shifting back to games—how did you get your start in Game Dev and what has your professional experience been like?

Depending on how you look at it, I’d say I got my start in academia. My PhD research focused on interactive narrative systems in games. Following the completion of my PhD, I remained on as faculty and taught game studies and worked in the school’s game lab. I networked a lot during those 6-8 years, talking to game scholars, game journalists, and game developers. My first job in the industry was at Gearbox, when I was hired on as a writer.

My professional experience in the industry has been nothing short of fulfilling. Every day I get to collaborate with incredibly talented creators to bring worlds and stories to life. Seeing something that started as an idea blossom into a playable experience others can share is…wow. It’s a dream. It’s hard work, too, I don’t want to sugar coat it too much. But it’s hard work with both qualitative and quantitative value.

 

To follow up on that, what is your current position and how would you describe your responsibilities?

I am currently the Head of Writing. I’m the first person at Gearbox to hold the title. That’s an incredible honor, but it also means my latest and greatest creative endeavor is defining the job! At the day-to-day level, I’m responsible for managing Gearbox’s group of talented writers; for analyzing, anticipating, and estimating writing needs across projects and to scope; for maintaining our quality of writing and standards; and for collaborating in the creation of all our story content.

 

 

Game studios are often looking for writers and storytellers with a specific background when hiring for a given project. These can be writers with experience in dramatic screenplays or VO direction, or narrative designers heavily involved with various dialogue systems.

As Head of Writing at Gearbox, what over-arching narrative skills or perspectives do you most value in your narrative team members, regardless of the project?

Adaptability.

In this industry, creative ideas and feedback come from many people across various disciplines. I look for writers who are eager to collaborate with others and willing to adapt to find a shared vision. Being open to ideas is essential. Anyone looking for creative autonomy will struggle in the game’s industry.

Here, we’re hundreds of people working toward a shared goal. To that end, I know and expect that any writer on my team can turn a clever idea into an exceptional story. That requires adaptability above all else.

 

In the same vein, narrative positions in games can cover a variety of creative responsibilities. What skillsets or experiences do you think best prepare burgeoning writers/narrative designers for building narrative in games? On the other side, what skillsets or experiences may not be as helpful or necessary?

I’d advise writers to work on spec scripts within the game worlds they enjoy. Pay attention to how the game presents its narrative and how the player is prompted to move (physically/emotionally) through that gameworld. Then, imagine a “what if” scenario for the player character/s that fits the world. Write that script and be sure it highlights your knowledge of the world as well as your ability to write in the voice of its characters.

Beyond that, know your audience. When you are submitting your portfolio, it’s worth the effort to customize it to the potential employer. What qualities does the studio you’re applying to care most about in its stories? Your portfolio should show your capacity to support what the company cares about.

 

“There is no golden path into this industry. There’s no right or wrong way. There are endless ways.”

 

Thank you so much for your time Dr. Joyce. Do you have any final thoughts for our students?

The biggest takeaway I can give you in this: there is no golden path into this industry. There’s no right way or wrong way. There are endless ways. Find your way. Don’t be discouraged if your journey isn’t direct. Mine certainly wasn’t. Embrace your journey and the opportunities life presents you. What you learn along the way can help make you a more unique and well-rounded candidate. Remember what you love about games and why you love them, and keep pushing forward!

 

Bonus Question: if you’re a dessert person, do you prefer cake or pie, and why? If you’re not a dessert person, what is your perfect meal?

In the words of Mia Agraviador, “Porque no los dos?” I think a piecaken is the one, true best answer here.

Posted by & filed under Gaming, Media Library, Video Games.

 

Minecraft: Education Edition is an approachable, free resource for UNT staff and students that utilizes game-based learning to connect students: in and out of the classroom. Adapting the iconic, open-world sandbox game Minecraft, Minecraft: Education Edition is a lesson-focused version that utilizes the core functions of Minecraft to teach students of all ages. Minecraft: Education Edition offers a communal online space where groups and communities can meet up “face-to-face,” and build an entirely unique world.

The educational basis of Minecraft: Education Edition springs from Minecraft’s 6 core game design functions, as Microsoft’s Minecraft: Education Edition teaching blog explains:

  • The Failure Dynamic: fail early, fail often. Teach students to take risks in a safe environment–a game.
  • The Flexibility Dynamic: provide multiple paths to success. Old school video games had one way to win. Newer “sandbox” games are more open.
  • The Construction Dynamic: build something that matters. Students want to create things with a purpose. Minecraft lets them create something difficult and worthwhile.
  • The Situated Meaning: learn new ideas by experiencing them. Students learn vocabulary in real-time, as it pertains to playing with others in the game; or learn math as they understand construction.
  • Systems Thinking: learn how all pieces can fit or be fitted. Games help players see how their actions fit into the bigger picture, not just the individual.
  • Build Empathy: bring players together to learn a common goal. By communicating and working together, players build empathy through their avatars by raising awareness of local or global goals.

Minecraft is an incredible resource for teaching students, as it presents a space where students have contact with all 6 of these learning functions in a single space. Students quickly understand that they are safe to fail, while using critical systemic thought to reach their goals in creative ways. Students invest and connect with their world, building empathetic bonds while being taught new ideas in real-time.

Minecraft: Education Edition emulates all the functions of Minecraft, while being geared specifically towards game-based learning. Within their “subject kits” you can find custom, downloadable lesson plans that teach macro concepts like, “Chemistry” or “Biodiversity.” These lesson plans are composed of multiple custom-built levels focused on specific ideas, such as the “Type of Chemical Reactions” level, or the “Exploring Chemistry Safely” level within the Chemistry lesson plan.

Minecraft: Education Edition also offers a communal, online space for students to interact with one another outside of the classroom. Students are free to explore the base world without a lesson plan, choosing instead to build a completely custom space for their community. This allows students to connect with one another safely through a virtual space, a continual challenge in these times.

 

All UNT students have access Minecraft: Education Edition using their EUID and Password when downloading the software.

Posted by & filed under Gaming, Media Library, Uncategorized, Video Games.

 

Brief Breakdown:

 

Pros

  • Unique, multifaceted skill trees alleviate traditionally restrictive RPG character systems
  • An abundance of comedic and witty dialogue with a vast assortment of interesting characters
  • Primary, secondary and companion questlines offer a full range of satisfying roleplay options that build to meaningful resolutions for each narrative decision
  • Idiosyncratic environmental, art, and level design that creates distinct yet seamlessly interconnected worlds

Cons

  • Load times aren’t ideal, though this is masked by playful and creative loading screens
  • Combat can become stale as combat expression and enemy diversity is somewhat limited
  • Weapons and armor adhere to a strict power curve, passively discouraging weapon and armor variety
  • Crafting system is well-built but underutilized throughout the game

 

Full Overview:

The Outer Worlds is a sardonic and goofy Sci-Fi RPG filled with genuine banter, gorgeous backdrops, and a meaningful, rewarding narrative. It successfully iterates on historically common RPG concepts, while enrapturing the player with detailed and dynamic dialogue trees.  The Outer Worlds offers vast and fulfilling narrative choices across minor conversations, extended companion quests, and every major narrative arc.

Its talent and skill trees—an RPG staple—offer an equally satisfying level of specialty, with the clever addition of granting combat value to traditionally non-combat skills (Intimidation, Engineering, or Inspiration). This creative iteration prevents roleplay-focused players from being indirectly punished for their narrative-focused skill choice (as they can be in other RPGs) while granting even more skill choices for combat-focused players to chose from.

Though varied in style, the flow of combat can become repetitive throughout the game. Companion Abilities and the Tactical Time Dilation—while flashy and dynamic—slowly begin to fade into the churn of the core combat loop. Many quests offer non-combative solutions to compensate for this, but a full-combat playthrough (perhaps rightfully so) is much less satisfying than a roleplay-focused one.

Due to the clear delineation of weapon and armor strength throughout the game, the crafting systems (scrapping, repairing, and tinkering) can feel a bit bare compared to the expansive narrative and skill systems. By utilizing a scaling tier system, The Outer Worlds grants weapon and armor upgrades at a consistent pace as you traverse Halcyon, but in doing so blemishes any old equipment that you have upgraded throughout your journey. Weapon modification provides some level of particularity in the crafting systems, but is often overshadowed by the shortcomings of tinkering and scrapping.

On a macro scale, the level design tends to off-set tightly knit interactive cities or towns with long stretches of open space. This balance doesn’t create a sense of dissonance, but rather an explorative wanting: a desire to discover the unknown in the winding and wonderous outlands of each planet. No world or location is overly difficult to traverse, but there are some unpolished gems craftily hidden in the cracks and crevasses of Halcyon.

The environmental design of The Outer Worlds is incredible, as each location feels distinct thematically, artistically, and spatially. Traversing through the ramshackle corridors of the Groundbreaker, waltzing through the prim-and-proper streets of Byzantium, and ceaselessly jumping around the tight-knit Unreliable are all distinct experiences. Each new location and level continues to balance familiarity with Sci-Fi strangeness, while blending seamlessly into the cohesive universe of The Outer Worlds.

At its core, The Outer Worlds is greater than the sum of its parts. Its comedic exploration of a capitalist dystopia is as charming as it is critical; Obsidian masterfully balances their gallows humor and emotional punches throughout The Outer Worlds, careful not to spoil one with too much of the other. Some of the core systems hint at their shallowness over time, but are deftly hidden behind the stage of its wholly immersive world. The Outer Worlds consistently provides dynamic interactions with a variety of characters, locations, and quest lines that cultivate a narrative experience that is entirely realized from beginning to end.

 

The Media Library is located in Chilton Hall Room 111, and you can experience the adventure of The Outer Worlds yourself in our fully equipped game space! You can check out The Outer Worlds from the Media Library in Chilton Hall Room 111, book time in our gaming space at https://esports.library.unt.edu/ or at the computers in the Media Library, and browse the entirety of our full catalogue of video games and board games at https://discover.library.unt.edu/?f%5Bcollection_facet%5D%5B%5D=Media+Library

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

For Women’s History Month, the UNT Media Library invites you into the lives of women throughout time, both real and fictional, as they strive to pave their own lanes and walk in their truth.

 

DOCUMENTARIES

 

Zora Neal Hurston: Jump at the Sun (Produced by Kristy Andersen)

“This definitive film biography, eighteen years in the making, portrays Zora in all her complexity: gifted, flamboyant, and controversial but always fiercely original.” — California Newsreel

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6829409

Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun cover image.

 

#MeToo: A Movement that Changed the World (Directed by Abbey Corfrey)

“Examining the truth about celebrity actress Alyssa Milano’s initial tweet of the hashtag to the take-down of Hollywood icon Harvey Weinstein, the film takes viewers deep into the rabbit hole of a movement sweeping the nation.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6377512

Watch #Metoo: A Movement That Changed the World cover image.

 

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins (Directed by Janice Engel)

“The story of media firebrand Molly Ivins, six feet of Texas trouble who took on Good Old Boy corruption wherever she found it. Her razor-sharp wit left both sides of the aisle laughing, and craving ink in her columns.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6373396

Raise Hell: The Life And Times Of Molly Ivins cover image.

 

Amazing Grace (with Aretha Franklin)

“A documentary presenting the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album ‘Amazing Grace’ at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, in January 1972.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6233019

Amazing Grace cover image.

CLASSIC RETELLINGS

 

 

Little Women (Directed by Greta Gerwig)

“In Gerwig’s take, the beloved story of the March sisters–four young women each determined to live life on her own terms–is both timeless and timely.” — Container

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6772786

Little Women cover image.

 

Emma (Directed by Autumn de Wilde)

“In this glittering satire of social class, Emma must navigate her way through the challenges of growing up, misguided matches and romantic missteps to realize the love that has been there all along.” — Focus Features

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6728048

Emma cover image.

 

A Wrinkle in Time (Directed by Ava DuVernay)

“After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6494993

A Wrinkle in Time cover image.

BIO-PICS

 

Harriet (Directed by Kasi Lemmons)

“Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, the movie tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6494994

Harriet cover image.

 

The Crown: Season 1 (Starring Claire Foy)

“The Crown is a historical drama streaming television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, created and principally written by Peter Morgan, developed from his drama film The Queen (2006) and his stage play The Audience (2013).” — Wikipedia

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6773376

The Crown cover image.

 

Judy (Starring Renée Zellweger)

Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6377615

Judy cover image.

FEMALE DIRECTORS

 

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Directed by Céline Sciamma)

“France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6773135

Portrait of a Lady on Fire cover image.

 

The Farewell (Directed by Lulu Wang)

“Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6373385

The Farewell cover image

COMEDIES

 

The Mindy Project: The Complete Series (Written By Mindy Kaling)

“Mindy Lahiri is a successful doctor, but when she leaves the office, all bets are off. She wants to become a more well-rounded woman, someone who is punctual, frugal and well-read instead of someone who is obsessed with romantic comedies and likely to give an inappropriate toast at a wedding.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6494996

The Mindy Project cover image

 

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Written by Tina Fey)

“Rescued after 15 years in a cult, Kimmy Schmidt decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6503551

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt cover image

 

Booksmart (Directed by Olivia Wilde)

“Two super-achieving high school senior girls make up for their clean-cut existence by enjoying a night of uncensored fun. Told from a wildly original, fresh and modern perspective, this is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds they create that last a lifetime.”

https://discover.library.unt.edu/catalog/b6233024

Booksmart cover image

 

 

Posted by & filed under Media Library, Movie Recommendations.

Written By Nathan Williams, UNT Media Library Student Staff

I love Film Noir. Not only that, but I think you do too, and you may not know it yet. Even for those of us that have never seen a Film Noir, the term itself is so synonymous with certain visual techniques and thematic underpinnings in films (and other properties) the style has inspired, it’s easy to feel like one has a good sense of the term “noir” without experiencing it first hand. People’s expectations on what to expect from noir may understandably vary, based on how those early noir films have inspired such a vast array of art from Se7en, Sin City, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Bioshock and Memento.

More than a few people I have encountered just assume that film noir means the movie is in black and white. Nonetheless, the true definition of a film noir will change depending on who you ask. There’s a contingent of people (that the scientific community often refers to as kill-joys) that insist that “noir” can only refer to films that were made during a specific time frame during the 1950’s. Regardless of the semantics, within the noir style you will often find crime, healthy amounts of cynicism, backstabbing intelligent/seductive women, and a hard nosed male lead (who’s usually involved with some form of law enforcement) in the plot.

From a visual standpoint, low key lighting and exaggerated camerawork is used to sew these stories together. Because of those loosely defined parameters, there can often be debates about whether a film is really and truly a noir. However, the more noir you watch, the more you can identify when a director is trying to either reference a visual or narrative motif of the style, or play on the style more generally.

Here are some of my favorite film noirs through different eras in film history that you can find in our collection at the UNT Media Library.

The Third Man: 1951 (DVD 14409)

Holly Martins is a pulp fiction writer who travels to post WWII Vienna to see his old friend Harry Lime, only to find that he died in an accident just before his arrival. Holly comes to find out that his friend maybe wasn’t who he thought he was. Harry was a big player in the criminal underground of war-torn Vienna. Resultantly, law enforcement there want his cooperation in an investigation to find the mysterious third man who was at the scene of Lime’s accident.

There are several reasons why you should stop what you’re doing and watch this film immediately. First of all, this film was shot masterfully on location in Vienna and you can still see the real rubble from WWII bombings piled next to the street. The entire city breathes with its own life and existed, at the time, at the cross section of several different cultures and law enforcement entities, which gives the film a very unique crucible for its plot to take place in. Orson Welles gives one of his best performances as the alluring but dangerous Harry Lime with a role that’s wickedly dark for its time. I could be overly effusive about it for several pages, but in short, it would be at the very least one of the most visually arresting films you’ve ever seen if you took a chance on it. Beyond that, it’s a sparkling example of the noir aesthetic that even those aforementioned kill-joys wouldn’t argue with.

The Long Goodbye 1973 (DVD 1693)

Elliot Gould plays Phillip Marlow, a seedy private eye that’s hired to investigate a murder/suicide that the police are all too keen on dropping. Based off of a Raymond Chandler novel, like a panoply of its noir predecessors were, the set up for the plot could not be more quintessentially “noir.” And while there are certainly some shocking plot points and visuals in early noirs, creators were hampered by the censorship codes in what they could portray. Leave it to 70’s “film brats” such as Robert Altman to take the inherent cynicism of the artform and explore where it could go with the new boundaries on what was deemed appropriate to portray on screen.

Altman portrays both L.A. and his main character as total roving sleaze bags. This is not to give the impression that the film is somehow melancholic or dower, because this fact is often played for laughs, as Altman has a sardonic and matter of fact way of showing you the setting in which these people operate. Much like The Third Man, this version of L.A. that Altman creates for his characters to inhabit is incredibly distinct and almost a character unto itself.  And, yes, you’re with some unsavory characters throughout the film, but the way that Gould plays Marlow really keeps you invested. And, his stoicism is often comical in relation to the extreme events he’s experiencing. The film itself is definitely a love letter to the noirs of old, but you don’t have to be literate in those references to enjoy it by any means. It’s almost equally funny as it is intriguing, provided you have a darker sensibility, which makes for a really engaging watch. It’s one of the true gems of the 70’s, in my opinion. But, if you’re not sold yet, it also contains Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first film role. So…there.

The Last Seduction 1995 DVD 1756

Linda Fiorentino plays Bridgette, a woman who just stole half a million dollars from her husband and leaves New York City to lay low. When she gets to a smaller town she uses her skills as a sexual manipulator to trick a man into help keeping her cover. When her husband finds her she tries to use those same skills to convince her new boy-toy to murder her husband.

The femme fatale has been a staple of the noir style since its inception, a cunning and ultimately evil woman that uses her beauty to manipulate men into doing her bidding. That said, where this film is able to go with that initial idea, through the stellar performance of Fiorentino, the change in censorship laws since the 50’s, and the great script, really capitalizes on that entire idea and puts that character in the driver’s seat. I’m just gonna say it, this film is brimming with sexuality. That being said, it’s not in an exploitative or unnecessary way. Bridgette uses it as a tool in the same way a hard nosed cop from the noirs of old like Sam Spade would use their brawn to smack someone around to get information. She’s an incredibly compelling anti-hero to propel the viewer through this film. It’s a morbidly pleasurable experience to watch these men constantly fall into her web and meet their tragic ends. Much like The Long Goodbye, there are some laughs to be had here amongst this dark and labyrinthine plot, which makes for a pretty breezy viewing experience. It stands as a true accomplishment in the noir style and the 90’s independent film movement as a whole. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Posted by & filed under Halloween, Media Library, Uncategorized, Video Games.

Written By Julia Parkinson, UNT Media Library Student Staff 

With COVID-19 still sticking around for the fall, this Halloween is shaping up to be a holiday devoid of the usual tricks and treats of the season. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a spooky night spent at home! There’s nothing better for getting in the Halloween mood than enjoying some scary video games—and when it comes to inducing good old all-consuming dread, the survival horror genre is where it’s at.

Survival horror is a genre defined by what it lacks; rather than facing enemies head on as players do in action adventure games, survival horror encourages you to run, save resources, and hide whenever possible by limiting the availability of weapons and other ways to fight back against your foes. In good survival horror, this lack of control over your surroundings creates an ever-present atmosphere of fear and dread. You’ll approach every corner and doorway with caution, knowing that your end might be getting a little closer with each step your character takes.

The UNT Media Library has a fantastic selection of games to make 2020 your spookiest Halloween yet. If you’re looking to spend the rest of the month peeking over your shoulder for ghosts and ghouls, check out some of these great titles in our online catalog!

 

   

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (Game 603 PS4/Xbox One)

“The fates of Resident Evil past and present meet on an abandoned island facility. Will they be able to survive the madness that awaits them?”

The Resident Evil franchise is often considered a cornerstone of the survival horror genre, and Revelations 2 is no exception. Switching between protagonists Claire Redfield and Barry Burton, you must try to survive and escape your imprisonment on the remote Sejm Island. Faced with monsters, and mad scientists, this task proves much easier in theory than in practice.

And don’t worry, you don’t need to have any prior experience with the Resident Evil franchise to enjoy this game! If you like it, though, you should definitely give the series’ other titles a shot.

 

 

Until Dawn (Game 709 PS4)

“When eight friends return to the isolated mountain lodge where two of their group disappeared exactly one year ago, things quickly turn sinister.”

If you’ve ever wanted to control the events of a slasher film, Until Dawn is your game. In this tale of love, lies, and betrayal, you decide the fates of eight young adults vacationing at the mysterious Blackwood Mountain lodge. Each of your choices causes a butterfly effect that will change the events of the game, meaning that who survives or who perishes is entirely up to you.

 

 

The Evil Within (Game 588 PS4/Xbox One)

“After witnessing the slaughter of fellow officers, Sebastian is ambushed and knocked unconscious. When he awakens, he finds himself in a deranged world where hideous creatures wander among the dead.”

Made by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, The Evil Within hits every high note of the horror genre. With limited supplies and a host of disturbing monsters following your every move, you must unravel the mysteries of Beacon Mental Hospital and the cause of the horrible tragedy that took place there. The Evil Within will make you question your grasp on reality as you progress, leaving you to wonder whether anyone or anything is more capable of evil than power-hungry human beings.

 

 

Little Nightmares (Game 790 PS4)

“Confront your childhood fears in this dark, whimsical tale. In this super-sized world, even the smallest doubt can lead to a fatal end.” 

In Little Nightmares, you play as a young girl named Six traversing a dangerous, impossible landscape with a lighter as your only tool. While the game appears lighthearted and whimsical on the surface, this aesthetic only masks a much darker, twisted tale. As a combination puzzle-platformer and survival horror game, Little Nightmares is unique, haunting, and incredibly fun to play.

 

 

Dead Space (Game 90 PS3)

“A massive deep-space mining ship goes dark after unearthing a strange artifact on a distant planet. Engineer Isaac Clarke embarks on the repair mission, only to uncover a nightmarish bloodbath.”

Dead Space is a few years older than the other games on this list, first released in 2008 for the PS3. However, don’t let its age dissuade you from giving it a try, as Dead Space was quickly realized as a genre-defining game. In this sci-fi horror adventure, the murderous alien Necromorphs aren’t your only enemy—you must also battle the emotional toll of total isolation in deep space. The Media Library also has both of the game’s sequels, Dead Space 2 (Game 213 Xbox 360) and Dead Space 3 (Game 284 Xbox 360)! If you’re looking for a game whose sense of subtle, creeping terror will stick with you, the Dead Space series is sure to deliver.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

summerofgames-blogroll-1588679258380

 

The Gaming Industry During COVID-19

 

With the unexpected rise of COVID-19 and lack of time to prepare for it, many events around the world have either been postponed or canceled, including a majority gaming eventsThese gaming events usually consist of new game announcements, tournaments, LAN parties, and a place where people from around the world can gather to show their love for gaming. 

While the timetable for the return of physical gaming events is unknown, many companies in the gaming industry have decided to convert and create digital events to replace the canceled ones. We’ve already seen this happen in the past few months with the Guerilla Collective, Nordic Game Conference, and a few others that  

 

July Events 

 

GameSpot’s Play For All – (Summer) 

Throughout the summer, GameStop is partnering with Direct Relief (a humanitarian aid organization whose mission is to improve the health and lives of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, many of which are affected by poverty and emergencies.) to celebrate video games and raise funds for healthcare workers battling the global pandemic. This event will feature let’s plays, gameplay marathons, gaming challenges, and interviews with special guests across the games industry. 

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/introducing-play-for-all-gamespots-summer-gaming-c/1100-6476548/ 

 

Nacon Connect – (July 7) 

Publisher, Nacon, is hosting a stream to show off a wide range of announcements, gameplay videos, and surprises featuring its suite of studios. Some games you can expect to see are Werewolf and WRC 9! 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6CGQMMnnUwwjeK0ujkeF6Q 

 

Tennocon 2020 – (July 11) 

If you’re a fan of the popular MMO, Warframe, you’ll want to tune into this conference for an update from Digital Extremes on the future of its popular game. 

https://www.twitch.tv/warframe/ 

 

Ubisoft Forward – (July 12) 

Expect this digital presentation to be extremely similar to previous E3 press conferences that Ubisoft has traditionally done. Look for updates and announcements surrounding all the upcoming Ubisoft titles. 

https://www.ea.com/ea-play-live  

 

Day of the Devs – (July 20) 

Double Fine Productions, iam8bit, and The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley, will be holding two separate developer showcase events. Both events will be livestreamed and feature gameplay, news, and musical performances. The list of confirmed developers and publishers to appear so far include Akupara Games, Annapurna Interactive, The Behemoth, Finji, Kowloon Nights, Longhand Electric, MWM Interactive, Panic, Sabotage Studio, Skybound Games, Team17, thatgamecompany, Tribute Games, and ustwo games. 

http://dayofthedevs.com/ 

Posted by & filed under Movie Recommendations.

These 10 timely documentaries provide context and information for understanding both current events and the history of civil rights in America. UNT students, faculty and staff can access each through the Media Library streaming collection. 

I Am not your Negro 

https://unt.kanopy.com/node/542401

I Am Not Your Negro explores the continued peril America faces from institutionalized racism. It is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond, confronts the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, and challenges the very definition of what America stands for.

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets 

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/3-1-2-minutes-ten-bullets

On Black Friday 2012, four African-American teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, alongside the wrenching experiences of Jordan Davis’ parents.

Negroes with Guns

https://unt.kanopy.com/video/negroes-guns

Robert F. Williams was the forefather of the Black Power movement, and he broke dramatic new ground by internationalizing the African American struggle. Negroes with Guns is not only an electrifying look at an historically erased leader, but also provides a thought-provoking examination of Black radicalism and resistance, and serves as a launching pad for the study of Black liberation philosophies.

Quest

https://unt.kanopy.com/video/quest

Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, and his wife, Christine’a “Ma Quest” raise a family while nurturing a community of hip hop artists in their home music studio. Epic in scope, QUEST, is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, healing and hope.

Do Not Resist 

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/do-not-resist

Do Not Resist is an urgent and powerful exploration of the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, DO NOT RESIST, the directorial debut of DETROPIA cinematographer Craig Atkinson, offers a stunning look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future.

Strange Fruit

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/strange-fruit

Strange Fruit is the first documentary exploring the history and legacy of the Billie Holiday classic. The song’s evolution tells a dramatic story of America’s radical past using one of the most influential protest songs ever written as its epicenter. The saga brings viewers face-to-face with the terror of lynching even as it spotlights the courage and heroism of those who fought for racial justice when to do so was to risk ostracism and livelihood if white, and death if Black. It examines the history of lynching, and the interplay of race, labor and the left, and popular culture as forces that would give rise to the Civil Rights Movement.

The Murder of Emmett Till

https://unt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=2ec63fc0-c072-4dcc-94cf-aafe01160ced

The shameful, sadistic murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, a black boy who whistled at a white woman in a Mississippi grocery store in 1955, was a powerful catalyst for the civil rights movement. Although Till’s killers were apprehended, they were quickly acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury and proceeded to sell their story to a journalist, providing grisly details of the murder. Three months after Till’s body was recovered, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began.

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible

https://unt.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=0ccb4abc-648e-4c23-b93b-aafe011008d0

This film advances the argument that with transformative learning, a dialogue for learning, changing, healing, and undoing race-based oppression can begin. It features the experiences and stories of white women and men who are social justice advocates. They have worked to gain insight into what it means, as white people, to challenge notions of race, racism, culture and white identity development in the United States. Their shared reflections speak to the denial, defensiveness, guilt, fear and shame often related to these issues and show how these responses can be replaced with solid commitments towards racial justice.

In Search of Justice

https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=https://video.alexanderstreet.com/watch/in-search-of-justice

In Westchester County, New York three unarmed black men were shot and killed by the police between 2008 and 2012. This is the story of one of those killings, and of the fight for justice for all the victims who came before and all who have come after.

Whose Streets

https://unt.kanopy.com/node/1852479 

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters.

 

By Erin DeWitt-Miller & Lindsay Duke 

Posted by & filed under Board Games, Gaming, Media Library, Mental Health, Video Games.

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we at the UNT Media Library would like to take a moment to highlight the benefits that games, gaming, and play can have on mental health and general well-being.

Whether it be relaxing by playing your favorite adventure game, staying active and challenging your brain by solving a difficult puzzle, enjoying a new or classic boardgame, or even hopping on your phone to play a few minutes of a mobile game when you finally have a moment away, many of us utilize games and gaming in some form or fashion to relax and unwind or, alternatively, to stay active and engaged. Each of these activities can be a great resource to de-stress, spend time with friends, and visit other worlds, all the while unlocking rewards, completing goals, or earning achievements. 

For some, the best way to decompress is by participating in a solo, single-player adventure at your own pace and at your own will. For others, the most freeing thing about playing a game is the ability to engage in a multiplayer setting while continuing to foster camaraderie and support connection with others, even during times of social distance. 

There are times that games can support mental health and well-being even just by watching your favorite esport or seeing your favorite streamer play through a game you enjoy (or a game you can’t beat) while you sit back and relax with a bowl of cereal on a Saturday morning 

Gamification, the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts, is also often utilized in various forms during counseling sessions. 

When playing a game, the player can create a set of goals or have those goals provided, complete objectives they set their mind to, and gain a sense of accomplishment when these goals are completed; the rewarding sensation of progressing beyond a milestone and earning a reward for doing so can at times be almost unrivaled. The player can explore, experience, and create worlds. They can encounter and discover characters of all kinds and can even build bonds with these characters and live through the countless stories presented. 

There are numerous games that are great resources for developing positive mental health and well-being. Some games which are said to foster and support well-being include titles like JourneyHollow KnightAbzu, and Animal Crossing. However, there are even games known to have accurate or positive in-game representations of mental health as well, such as HellbladeLife is Strange, and Celeste. For example, in Celeste, the game is structured in a way that allows the player to gain a better understanding of what they may be dealing with in their own lives, with personified problems that allow the player to address things in the game or within themselves. 

Regardless of the delivery method, whether it be playing video games, playing tabletop and board games, watching others play games, rooting for your favorite team or player, or even just making a game out of something that wasn’t initially a game to begin with, games and gaming have the tremendous ability to allow us to relax, unwind, and enjoy ourselves truly however we see fit.  

For more information on mental health and games for well-being, as well as a comprehensive list of games which can support mental health, head over to CheckPoint to read more about the psychological benefits of video games: https://checkpointorg.com/games-for-health/ 

You can also access and join CheckPoint’s pro-mental health gaming community, GamerMates, here: https://checkpointorg.com/gamermates/ 

For more mental health and well-being resources located on the UNT campus, head over to the following link here: https://studentaffairs.unt.edu/speak-out/mental-health-resources 

Be well and game on.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. To learn more about how these rich heritages intertwine with American history, we invite UNT patrons to check out some of the films on this list, all of which are available to stream.

 

In Football We Trust

With unprecedented access and shot over a four-year time period, this feature length documentary intimately portrays four young Polynesian men striving to overcome gang violence and near poverty through American football. Viewed as the “salvation” for their families, these young players reveal the culture clash they experience as they transform out of their adolescence and into the high stakes world of collegiate recruiting and rigors of societal expectations.

Watch “In Football We Trust” online here

Pilgrimage

Two young Japanese Americans set out to find an obscure place called Manzanar in the California desert, in 1969. This was one of ten sites where over 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. This rediscovery then became a ‘pilgrimage’ and the first public event in the U.S. that called attention to the reality of these camps. 

Watch “Pilgrimage” online here. 

You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story

A pioneer for Asian American actors, Jack Soo was the first Asian American cast in a lead role of a television series. In this documentary, friends, family, and peers recount stories from his life, from his experience as an internee during World War II, to rising nightclub star, Broadway performer, and eventually television regular. 

Watch You Don’t Know Jack online here. 

Videofashion Designers: Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is a prominent Asian American fashion designer whose designs rose to fame in 2007, attracting the attention of luxury retailers and celebrities. Videofashion Designers takes the time to look into the brand and the popular designer behind it who rose to prominence over the last decade. 

Watch Videofashion Designers: Alexander Wang online here

How to Be a Writer: Between the Lines, Celest Ng

Celest Ng is the best-selling novelist behind the hits “Everything I Never Told You,” and” Little Fires Everywhere,” which has been adapted into a television series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. Her awards include being the author of a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, and her first novel was named best book of the year by over a dozen publications. 

Watch How to Be a Writer with Celest Ng online here.

Soh Daiko: Taiko in New York

This is the story of a collective drumming community and an empowering Asian American art form, from it beginnings in the basement of the New York Buddhist Church in 1979, as told by its founders and its former and present members.

Watch Soh Daiko: Taiko in New York online here.

 

top