High School  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com High School  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Should Schools Have a Required Gaming List? https://www.gameskinny.com/doy2s/should-schools-have-a-required-gaming-list https://www.gameskinny.com/doy2s/should-schools-have-a-required-gaming-list Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:13:36 -0400 Aaron Grincewicz

Way back in high school I remember having a 'Required Reading List' in English class. The list is nearly standardized among schools. Most of the time it includes titles like; To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, and other classics.  

Movies also have a similar list in some schools. With films like; Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Gone with the Wind being standard. If your teacher is cool enough, they'll also consider movies like Star Wars, and Aliens

In case you haven't heard, times have changed. Gaming is mainstream, and in some cases, in our DNA. Video games have influenced pop culture and many other aspects of modern life. Games have been such a part of my life that if the Animus were real, a ton of my memory sequences would involve playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That is also the reason I would want my kids to have an appreciation of the gaming classics. 

While I'm sure everyone has their idea of what criteria a game must meet to qualify for such a list, I'll dive into some that I would recommend in my class. A lot of the games would most likely be from Nintendo due to the family-friendly nature of the company.  The less time a school has to deal with upset parents, the better.

Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue are a great way to kick off a semester.  Not only is Pokemon just as popular as ever, but the games are amazing. Students would discover the origins of the monster-catching craze, and could also study how accessible the gameplay is, some aspects of character design, and even the financial impact the sales had on Nintendo.

Super Metroid would be great to study in time for mid-terms. Regarded by many as one of the greatest games ever, it's gameplay still holds up, and has been imitated many times, but arguably never duplicated.  While the game is light in the story area, the level and boss design are nearly unparalleled. Shadow Complex would be a great modern alternative, but it's often better to start with the roots.

For the final exam, my class would study my personal favorite, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  This game nailed so many things, but the soundtrack, boss design, and Hyrule itself stand out most to me. Ganondorf is also an excellent example of what makes a great villain/Final Boss. Not only was his power intimidating, but the game showed he was smart, too.

What do you think? Should schools be equipped to teach students about the games on which their parents and teachers spent so much time? Do you have kids, and want them to try your old favorites? Which games should be on that list?

GameSkinny's 2016 Gift Guide For Your Gamer Grad https://www.gameskinny.com/77g0y/gameskinnys-2016-gift-guide-for-your-gamer-grad https://www.gameskinny.com/77g0y/gameskinnys-2016-gift-guide-for-your-gamer-grad Wed, 11 May 2016 09:47:33 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs


Geek-Art: An Anthology


Where To Buy: Amazon


Rating/Store Rating: 5/5


Price: $30.52


Tailor made for your grad who minored in Art History, Geek-Art is unlike most other gaming art books on the market today. Instead of showing off screenshots from classic games, this book features over 750 images created by almost 100 artists worldwide. 


The images themselves are interpretations, artist renditions of characters and moments beloved by geek culture. The book, as a whole, is a celebration of fandom in general, and honestly, is something that no video game fan with even a passing interest in the arts should be without.


Kill Screen Magazine Subscription


Where To Buy: Kill Screen


Rating/Store Rating: N/A


Price: $80/yr


Your grad might still be mourning the death of Nintendo Power, and the decline of print video gaming media in general, so why not fill the void with a subscription to a new video gaming quarterly?


Kill Screen Magazine, in addition to standard reviews and breaking news coverage, features beautiful art and prose in every single one of its issues. They are dedicated to providing what they call "beautiful" gaming coverage, and they absolutely follow through in this regard. Their writing on games is rooted in culture, and in the wonderful ways that gaming and fandom interacts with the world at large. Plus, each print issue also comes complete with a digital edition formatted for most major ebook readers. What more could you ask for?


Uncharted 4: A Thief's End


Where To Buy: Amazon


Rating/Store Rating: 5/5


Price: $59.99/$79.99/$119.99


By now, you're probably familiar with the Indiana Jones-style adventures of Nathan Drake. Uncharted 4 has already garnered a slew of positive reviews and is now sitting comfortably with a Metacritic score of 94. And though video game reviewers often disagree on many things, the resounding consensus is that, above all, Uncharted 4 is exhilarating and just plain fun. Isn't that what video games are all about?


This game is likely going to become a must-own for all PS4 users in the near future, so if your grad has one, make sure they're not missing out.


For those of you looking to spend a bit more, Amazon has 2 special editions of the game in stock. The Special Edition includes an exclusive steelbook case, as well as an art book, sticker sheet, and some in-game currency. The Collector's Edition includes all that, plus exclusive multiplayer skins and items, as well as a 12" Nathan Drake statue.


Antlion ModMic


Where To Buy: Amazon


Rating/Store Rating: 4.5/5


Price: $49.99 (w/o mute functionality); $54.99 (w/ mute functionality)


For the PC gamer grad in your life, a microphone is pretty much a necessity for coordinating tactical strikes on enemy bases, or simply shouting profanity at 12-year olds who beat them at Counter-Strike


The Antlion ModMic is designed for people who already have a pair of headphones they love to use. Its selling point is that you can instantly mount the ModMic to any pair of headphones and easily turn it into a fully-fledged headset perfect for gaming, podcasting, recording, or streaming on Twitch. The sound quality is great, and in terms of convenience, it can't be beat. All you have to do is stick a magnet to your headphones, then the microphone can be pulled on and off at will.


Humble Monthly Bundle Subscription


Where To Buy: Humble Bundle Store


Rating/Store Rating: N/A


Price: $12/mo


This is just a great idea. With the influx of geek and gamer subscription boxes in the market now, the geniuses behind the Humble Bundles, rotating collections of games bought at a discount price, thought to get in on the action.


The Humble Monthly bundle is a subscription service available for $12 per month that delivers curated game bundles to your grad's inbox every month. They're not shovelware either. Last month's bundle included AAA games like Mad Max as well as indie darlings like Galak-Z. Since its inception a few months ago, the average MSRP of titles in each monthly bundle has hovered around $150. Not bad for $12 per month. And hey, 5% of proceeds go to charity too, so not only are you giving to your grad, you're giving back to the community. 




Push Start: The Art Of Video Games


Where To Buy: Amazon


Rating/Store Rating: 4.5/5


Price: $42.65


This is a perfect coffee table book for your hipper-than-thou graduate. Featuring 380 pages of screenshots from classic video games, history, and pixel art, it is a wonderful conversation piece. The book itself was written by Stephen Guenzel, a professor of media theory in Berlin, so he knows what he's talking about.


As an added bonus, hidden in the back of this book is a vinyl record containing songs and remixes from classic video games. It's guaranteed to please any gamer, regardless of whether or not they went to Brown.


Samsung Gear VR & MOGA Power Bluetooth Controller


Where To Buy: Amazon (Gear VR; MOGA Power Controller)


Rating/Store Rating: 4.5/5 (Gear VR); 4/5 (MOGA Power Controller)


Price: $99.99 (Gear VR); $20.63/$49.99 (MOGA Power Controllers)


Sure, depending on your budget (and your grad's PC specs), an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive might be a flashier entry point into the world of virtual reality, but both the Rift and Vive, in addition to being expensive on their own, require pretty state-of-the-art PCs to run. Even if you can afford either as a gift, your grad might have to spend hundreds of dollars on their own rig to make sure the headsets run smoothly.


Given the fact that it works with most Galaxy phones (The S6 and S7, both of their Edge models, as well as the Note 5) and its simple plug-and-play design, the Gear VR really is the perfect entryway into virtual reality. The price point of $99 doesn't hurt either. If your grad already has one of these phones, it's almost a no-brainer.


The one thing to note is that, in order to play most games, a bluetooth controller is required. GameSkinny recommends the MOGA Hero and Pro Power controllers, but a full list of compatible controllers can be found here (as well as a handy FAQ for new users!).




Where To Buy: Buyoverwatch.com; Amazon


Rating/Store Rating: N/A


Price: $39.99/$59.99+


There are very few things that can alleviate the stress of crushing student loan debt quite like shooting the crap out of other people online.


Overwatch has just finished an open beta period, and is set to launch on May 24. If the beta period is anything to go by, Overwatch is going to be something special. On a basic level, it's a team based shooter in the vein of Team Fortress 2, but the sheer number of characters, and the fact that each of them feels completely distinct because of their abilities sets it apart. Your grad can pretty much play the game however they want to. As an added bonus, most PCs should be able to run it, and it's available on PS4 and Xbox One as well.


Multiple editions of the game are available-- the base game, available through PlayOverwatch.com, is just $40, while Amazon has the Origins Edition available, as well as a Collector's edition listed (but not in stock currently). The Origins Edition, at $60, includes in-game skins for Overwatch as well as Overwatch-themed extras for other Blizzard games like World of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm. The Collector's Edition throws in an art book, soundtrack, and a statue of Soldier: 76.


Graduation is just around the corner (or has already happened) at most colleges nationwide, so if you haven't gotten your gamer grad a great gift yet, don't worry. GameSkinny has you covered. Here is our curated, artisanal, locally sourced, bespoke list of the absolute best graduation gifts for gamers in 2016.

Panzermadels: Dating sim offers tank-based romance for lovers of military history https://www.gameskinny.com/rp96x/panzermadels-dating-sim-offers-tank-based-romance-for-lovers-of-military-history https://www.gameskinny.com/rp96x/panzermadels-dating-sim-offers-tank-based-romance-for-lovers-of-military-history Tue, 29 Mar 2016 04:55:29 -0400 StratGamer48

Dating simulation games are getting more and more interesting. And Panzermadels, a dating sim developed by an American studio called DEVGRU-P, is proving just how strange they can get. It was released in Steam Greenlight earlier in March. It's setting is in a military academy and unlike other dating games, the loveable female characters also happen to be tanks.

According to the description of the game, the main character Erwin Lemmor has transferred to a prestigious military academy to study Armored Warfare. However, as he arrives, he realizes it is not regular Tank School, but "Tank School" with students in Japanese anime high school girl form.

In addition, the game also has many history references during the conversations between the player and the female characters. Lastly, Erwin Lemmor may referred to Erwin Rommel, as Lemmor is the reverse spelling of Rommel. Rommel was a famous general of Nazi Germany, also known as the Desert Fox.

Here are some of the tanks...er, girls...you can expect to see:

T-34 is a type of Soviet tank that served in the WWII. This line is a reference to Russia-annexed Crimea in 2015. As Crimea was part of the Soviet Union, of course she did not invade Crimea.

Type 3 Chi-Nu is a type of Japanese tank used in late WWII, and Leichffraktor is a type of German tank used in WWI. The Student Council President is referring to Adolf Hitler, leader of the Axis Power. In fact, Hitler also served in the German army in WWI.

The term "negligent discharge" means unintentional firing by the owner. M4 Sherman is a US tank used in WWII. It may be referring the high rate negligent discharge of the US Army in Afghanistan.

Tiger 1 is a type of German tank used in North Africa during WWII. Non-amphibious tanks need equipment to "swim" in water. 

These tanks above are the four options that the player can choose from at the moment. Currently, it has 290 reviews on Steam with a rating of 9/10. 

Danganronpa Review https://www.gameskinny.com/gzauu/danganronpa-review https://www.gameskinny.com/gzauu/danganronpa-review Tue, 23 Feb 2016 23:15:27 -0500 Tululah Gordon-Hall

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a detective-style mystery visual novel from Spike Chunsoft for the PlayStation Vita (and soon PC). The story follows a group of high school students trapped in the prestigious Hope’s Peak Academy, who remember nothing beyond entering the school for their first day. The students are given a way out of their prison though – murder someone and get away with it.


  • Thrilling Story
  • Character Variance
  • Stunning Soundtrack


  • Linear
  • Little Challenge
  • Repetitive Gameplay


The story of Danganronpa is fantastic. After meeting the game’s diverse cast of characters, you are introduced to the antagonist, Monokuma, who reveals that they will all be trapped in the school unless someone murders another person and gets away with it. If they do, then they walk free and everyone else is killed. But if you and the others discover the murderer, then only they get a flashy personalized execution.

The game very closely follows the theme of hope vs. despair, where you as the main character (Makoto Naegi) represent hope by solving the mysteries behind the murders. You work against the despair that Monokuma brings. Would you murder someone if it meant you could escape? After all, if you don’t then no one gets out…right?  


The gameplay is linear and lacks difficulty. It consists of free time, where you choose who to socialize with for dialogue (and benefits if maxed), investigations in which you look around the school for clues, and class trials where you use all those clues during a debate with the other students to find out the truth. The lose condition is if your influence gauge reaches zero, you redo the trial. You lose influence by choosing incorrect options during the trials or by failing the mini-games.

Once you have found all the clues, if you have been paying attention you’ve probably already worked it out -- especially given that you cannot progress to the trial without finding all the clues. The trials continue to hand-hold, as you are always given a choice as to whether you should choose an option or a clue -- and this is usually preceded by an intelligent student heavily hinting at what you need to do.

During the class trial, you will go through nonstop debates, where the students discuss the murder. During their speeches there are highlighted weak points – shoot the right weak point with the relevant clue to break their argument and find contradictions that bring you one step closer to the truth.

Hangman’s Gambit is a mini-game during the trials -- it's a game of hangman where you shoot the correct letters to fill in the blank and progress the trial with this word. Bullet Time Battles happen towards the end of a trial. Once someone has been pushed into a corner and they panic, they'll begin shouting or blindly denying that they had any involvement with the crime. To break them out of their hysteria, you participate in a simple, fun rhythm game.

Finally, the closing argument is the end of each trial. You go over the trial from start to finish by filling out the missing images in a manga-style summary of the case. The gameplay is fun, but does not pose much challenge. And lthough there is a scoring system for each trial, all of the solutions and conversations are the same each time, so there is little replay value.

The release of Danganronpa in the West was a remake of the original PSP Japanese game, and in this remake an additional mode was added, which is unlocked after you beat the game. This ‘school mode’ follows a comical ‘what if’ situation with a fun time management game and, most importantly, the ability to freely speak to all the characters and completely max out everyone’s social scenes. These scenes add a lot to each character, so this mode should definitely be played.


The graphics are in a hand-drawn anime style, mostly as still sprites with a plethora of emotions, and a couple of smooth, pleasing animated scenes. Each of the character’s designs perfectly show what they are all about, each design suits each character. There are a couple of artistic quirks to separate the art from similar games. When seen in multiple dimensions, the characters almost seem to be cardboard props, an artistic choice that was kept in the Danganronpa anime. The other, most startling, artistic choice is the censoring of blood – bright pink blood! This is not the only game to use this technique, and although it seems a little silly for the dark themes of the game, it actually adds to the surprise and shock of seeing a dead body.


The Danganronpa soundtrack is a strong point for the game. The music adds to the atmosphere -- fun music while everything is calm, tense music during investigations. But most important is the timing of the music. It felt like it changed with me: calm while I was going through free time, quiet and gripping as I investigate the body of my favorite character. But the best music happens during a trial, when you make that final revelation. BAM! The music is right there, catchy and resolute.

The voice acting in Danganronpa is also fantastic. The PC port will have dual audio like the Vita, and both have top class voice actors. The English voice cast includes Bryce Papenbrook as the main character Makoto Naegi, Erin Fitzgerald, and Brian Beacock. The Japanese voice cast includes Megumi Ogata as Makoto Naegi, Koki Miyata and Yoko Hikasa.


I recommend this game. The story is fantastic, the characters are well-designed, and the mysteries are gripping. The visual style is pleasing to the eye and easy to follow, while the soundtrack really keeps the atmosphere and draws you in. Overall, just knowing that Danganronpa is a text-heavy, story-based game that sacrifices engaging gameplay, will tell you whether or not it is the right game for you. 

Be sure to check out the Danganronpa PC port on Steam releasing on 18th February 2016!

Video Games in the Classroom https://www.gameskinny.com/hb4n7/video-games-in-the-classroom https://www.gameskinny.com/hb4n7/video-games-in-the-classroom Fri, 27 Feb 2015 18:04:36 -0500 Pip Simon

Today, I want to write about my experiences using video games as an educational tool in my classroom. I'll start by giving you some background information, so you have a better understanding of where I am coming from. I work at the coolest private school in Washington DC, Emerson Preparatory School. I'm a third year teacher, teaching grades 9-12.

Emerson Prep is a unique learning environment, unlike any school I have encountered. The classes are very small, capping at 12 students per classroom. This is ideal for project-based learning and differentiated instruction. I teach a variety of subjects. Over the past three years I have taught Ancient Myth, Cultural Geography, Film Studies, Filmmaking, The Art and History of Graphic Novels, Psychology, and many more courses that have been absolutely amazing to teach.

Video games are a teaching tool that I feel are often overlooked by educators. I understand that in some schools it may be nearly impossible to incorporate video games in the classroom due to time constraints, standardized testing, class size, and possibly a limited budget, but I'd like to share my experiences and offer suggestions for how you might consider using games in your classroom.

The first time I tried using a video game in the classroom was when I was teaching Psychology. At the time the classroom had 9 students. Students were studying how fear effects the body physically and mentally, and they were questioning why humans are often attracted to media that is fear-inducing (horror movies, horror literature, etc.). After much deliberation I decided to conduct an experiment with them using Amnesia: The Dark Descent by Frictional Games. Amnesia has some graphic scenes, that being said the first part of the game is frightening, but ultimately mild and easily digested by high school juniors and seniors. 

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a horror game, played for first-person perspective. You play as a man named, Daniel, who wakes up in a mansion with no memory, and just a note written to himself, instructing him to kill someone. As you navigate the mansion, you are not given any weapons. The lack of weapon makes you feel helpless; the only way to survive and keep your sanity is to hide from the misfigured monsters lurking in the dark. 

For the experiment we set up my computer at the front of the room and connected it to our TV using HDMI. To create an environment suitable for game play we covered the windows with poster board in an attempt to get the room as dark as possible. We decided that one at time for approximately 10 minutes the students would trade off playing the game.

While one student was playing, the other students would observe their peer's physical state as the game progressed. They would write down their observations and hypotheses in their journals, which we would later share in order to form useful data. We varied our experiment from time to time during the class period. Some students would use headphones while they played while others did not. Students were vocal about their video gaming experience; some students were veteran gamers, and for others this was the first time they had played a video game. We took all of this into consideration as we observed the player's reactions to the game.

Their journals were filled with notes about how some students were scared while playing, but pressed onward into the descent, while others were too frightened to move forward. They concluded that playing this particular game with headphones was much more immersing than playing without them. Students also recognized that non-gamers were at a significant disadvantage. Due to their lack of experience this would be a somewhat stressful activity even if it hadn't been a horror game. At the conclusion of the experiment students wrote about possible flaws in the experimentation process, and attempted to design a more effective way of measuring people's reactions to horror games.

This activity was an overwhelming success. Students learned how create an experiment, how to record data, analyze their findings, and how to pick out flaws in experimental design.

In later articles I want to provide lesson plans for other games that I have used in the classroom, and offer suggestions for how you might incorporate gaming in your lessons. The next article will feature Year Walk and Minecraft. If you have any questions or suggestions for possible games that could serve as educational tools, please share in the comment section below.

Pixelberry Studios Takes On Cyber-Bullying and Suicide https://www.gameskinny.com/n7z8p/pixelberry-studios-takes-on-cyber-bullying-and-suicide https://www.gameskinny.com/n7z8p/pixelberry-studios-takes-on-cyber-bullying-and-suicide Wed, 05 Mar 2014 09:38:10 -0500 Venisia Gonzalez

Pixelberry Studios, a team of former EA developers, have created High School Story, a high school-themed game available to play on iOS and Android devices.

The game is designed for the player to create the school of their dreams with all their friends.

  • Throw parties to unlock over 30 characters
  • Go on dates and play matchmaker
  • Recruit jocks, nerds, cheerleaders and many more classmates to unlock their stories
  • Plan a surprise birthday party
  • Star in a fashion show
  • Go on a wild spring break beach trip and other adventures
  • Battle a rival in an evolving story, including a showdown at the Homecoming Game, a Science Fair, a prank war, and more
  • Make new friends and play their stories
  • Customize your look and choose your clique
  • Play free with tons of free updates

Sounds like a typical high school teenager's life doesn't it?

In recent months the team at Pixelberry Studios decided to use the innate drama of high school to talk about issues affecting young people. This resulted in the addition of a cyber-bullying-themed quest that aims to help those who are a victim to it in real life.

"I was reading an article about a girl in Florida who committed suicide because she was cyber-bullied," says Oliver Miao, CEO of Pixelberry Studios.

The story really stuck with him since he was also bullied in school and the team realized that their game High School Story was perfect for addressing this issue.

"It's a digital game played on a phone, we had a lot of reach with teenagers, and we thought that this would be a way in which we could make a difference," says Miao.

While working on writing for this new quest, the team received a message from a High School Story player via the in-game support system which is primarily used for reporting technical issues.

"They told us they were planning to kill themselves," says Oliver Miao. "We were really shocked. It was also something we realized we had no expertise in."

The team at Pixelberry Studios knew they had to help this player who had reached out to them, so they sought advice from a suicide prevention hotline. This experience became the foundation for the writing of the cyber-bullying quest and resulted with Pixelberry teaming up with Cybersmile, a cyber-bullying support charity.

"We were pushing them to get professional help, but we also wanted them to know that we cared about them. After a week of messaging back and forth, the player decided to seek professional help. She said it was because of our game that she was still there," Miao said. "It's a scary thing to acknowledge, and I think the player felt more comfortable reaching out to us."

With the rise of social media use, whether on Facebook, Twitter, online gaming -- bullying is becoming a real issue that's now venturing outside of the high school hallways and cafeteria. As a result, suicide has become more prevalent among teens.

Many teens find it hard to talk to their parents and teachers, fearing they'll be misunderstood. This is a major reason why stories of young people finding help in video games are becoming more and more common.

Always remember you're not alone and never be afraid to reach out for help.

The Cybersmile Foundation -- www.cybersmile.org

  • (UK) 0207 241 6472
  • (Outside UK) +44 207 241 6472
  • (USA) +1 (650) 617-3474

The Suicide Prevention Hotline -- www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

  • (800) 273-TALK (8255); available 24 hours, 7 days a week