Panels Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Panels RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Why It's Totally Worth Going to EVO as a Spectator Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:12:05 -0400 Megan M. Campbell

Just last weekend, I went to EVO for the first time. However, I didn’t go to compete—I went to spectate. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “How is that any different from watching EVO via livestream?” or “Why did you go if you’re not even competing?” Heading to Las Vegas to experience the convention myself was really exciting and here are a few reasons why it’s worth making the trip to spectate the world’s largest fighting game tournament.


Exclusive Panels

One thing that the livestreams don’t cover are panels. There weren’t many panels with only 4 on Friday and 4 on Saturday, but it allowed con-goers to know firsthand what’s happening in the gaming industry. I attended the Capcom/Street Fighter V Panel on Friday where Capcom developers came all the way from Japan to talk about new costumes, Cinematic Story Mode, and an exclusive stage (which made an appearance during the SFV Grand Finals) that would be released in the future.

Twitch also hosted a panel where livestreamers and other staff from the website gave advice about how to get sponsored by the company. Current livestreamers and those who were interested in livestreaming were able to get advice from employees and also learn about future improvements to the website that might come in the future.

Merch Booths

These are common at every convention, but getting merch at EVO is fun if you’re a fan of fighting games or just want some cool EVO merch. If you do end up going next year, I suggest getting EVO merch the first day -- the second you get into the convention center. I had to wait in a line that reached the opposite side of the convention room for 2 hours before I was finally able to purchase my EVO gear. Since players are trying to win their pools, none of the merch will be sold out…yet. Just be sure you get there early.

Aside from official EVO merch, you can get cool gaming merchandise such as shirts, prints, keychains, and perler bead charms (which sold really well since almost everyone had one on their lanyard). For those looking to get into the competitive scene, there were also a number of booths that sold custom controllers and custom arcade sticks. They are a bit expensive (usually $300 - $400) so if you’re looking to get one, save some money.

Free Play Areas

Even though EVO is a fighting game tournament, there were still plenty of free play area for spectators. They even had some arcade machines for Street Fighter II, Killer Instinct, and more! They had a small Smash Wii U setup where I played a few matches with a Meta Knight player. Despite getting destroyed, I still had fun because I got to meet a fellow fan of the game and he showed great sportsmanship. Despite what we hear about the fighting game community online, it just goes to show you can meet some great people.

All Hype. No Salt.

Watching the best of the best compete is the main event of EVO. It was awesome to see Kamemushi beat zeRo 3-0 firsthand in Smash Wii U. Surrounded by all the fans, it was exciting to see everyone rooting for their favorite player (most were rooting for Kamemushi). During the Smash Wii U grand finals, all of us were on the edge of our seats (even though I was standing) waiting to see who would take the final stock. It was an extremely close match between Ally and Kamemushi, but once Ally took Kamemushi’s last stock, everyone jumped out of their seats cheering for Ally. Everyone was super excited throughout the entire match and since I wasn’t competing, I had no reason to be mad about how the match turned out. We were all there intently watching the match as fans of the game.

Sure, the commentary on stream is pretty exciting, but it doesn’t beat thousands of people cheering throughout the match.

Source Images[Header Image, Street Fighter V, EVO 2016 merch, Arcade Setup, EVO finals]

Talking About Video Game High School With Freddie Wong (Exclusive Interview) Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:15:05 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

So much happened at this year's New York Comic Con 2014 and I'm glad to say I was there as part of the action. Video Game High School had one of the hottest panels at the convention on Saturday, October 8th. IGN's own Greg Miller appeared as moderator, alongside creator Freddie Wong and head writer Will Campos. Those who attended the panel saw the East Coast Premiere of Season 3's first episode before it officially aired on Monday, October 13th.

I must admit I was new to VGHS and when I watched the first episode of Season 1, I didn't know what to think. VGHS is not your typical high school environment for those of you who don't know. It's a world where competitive gaming is very important. It's insane, funny and will leave you cheering.

So check out Season 3 of Video Game High School now available on YouTube!

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Freddie Wong in Manhattan to talk about this mega-hit. I met a very energetic and down-to-earth gentleman comfortably wearing sandles settling in on the couch of his suite after a long flight with busy days ahead.

What inspired Video Game High School?

It came from a weird, jokey pitch that one of our writers did to us back in 2009. Here's the name Video Game High School, so we started riffing on the idea on "what would that look like?" If there's a world where pro-gaming is the most important thing in the world, you got be a pro when you're 18 because the time you're in your mid-20's, your reflexes are shot, so you need to be playing in high school. So we started kicking aroung the idea, do you go to regular classes or is this all video game classes?

It's very much a wish fulfillment fantasy. I know at least for me in middle school/high school was "I don't wanna do homework, I wish my homework was video games" - perfect. So that was pretty much the basis for it. From the concept of it, it's easy to expect a serious, dark, gritty show but that's not who we are. We wanted to turn this into a fun, ridiculous, a little bit insane, a little bit funny and that's sort of where the basis for it came from.

Did your experience in competitive gaming help with the premise for the show?

It definitely helped a little bit early on just in terms of the way when people asked, "Are people really this cocky?" "Believe me this isn't half as crazy as some people get." Plus my competitive gaming world side was for rhythm gaming , was for Guitar Hero. So it was a lot of fun because nobody really cares about rhythm gaming anymore. So I'd be able to play a faculty member of the school who as a former glorious rhythm gamer fallen from grace was a lot of fun. It was sort of like a weird real-life nod from what I'm used to a little bit.

Was it awkward portraying your character on the show with your younger brother? What does it feel like?

It's kind of funny. I asked our Dad about that. It's the one weird thing, if you can't get over this, then you're not getting through the show at all. We kind of get away with it. I didn't want to do old person make-up. We didn't have anyone else to play a real-life character of myself. We definitely had a lot of fun with. I think we get away with it because I can probably pass for a little older than I am and Jimmy can pass for a little younger than he is. You kind of combine those two and maybe we can get away with it.

(lots of laughter all around here....)
How have you felt regarding the overwhelming response to Video Game High School? Did you think you'd get the reaction that you did?

No not really. We always set out to make as good of a show as we can and to the best of our abilities. That's always been the focus. The reaction is mind blowing, especially the depth of the reaction to it. We hear from people " know Video Game High School, there was a tough time in my life and it help me get through that." For us it was like "woah," for us it's a show about video games and it's always interesting. There's story and this sort of thing can affect people. It can be transformative in that way. I think that's probably the most you can possibly aspire to do as a filmmaker, is to have your work be transformative in a positive way for people. Hopefully we've accomplished that over the course of these last three seasons and hopefully we wrap that up with this season.

What can we expect to see from Season 3?

Expect every character will be put through the ringer in this one. Season 1 - I would categorize that as a sports movie structure. It's very point A-point B, very linear following one character. Season 2 is very much a sitcom television show sort of thing. Looser, over-arching storylines, character sort of driven; and Season 3 is a combination of those two things. Every character has a very strong through line, a very crazy, emotional and challenging arch for each of them. They each sort of get through it in their own way.

For fans of the show, it'll be incredibly satisfying to see how we've concluded everything that we've done with our characters over the past two years now. For people who are new to the show, it represents the best of what we're able to do with our skillset and hopefully the skillset that keeps improving.

Season 3 will bring lots of celebrity cameos like Conan O'Brien and many others thanks to some of their kids who are fans of the show. Freddie joked around that they shoot so fast, no one would notice if they filmed a cameo. So be on the look out!

What's next for Video Game High School?

We're not done with it yet. Our plans are to turn it into an animated series. With all the things you can do with animation with the show now, we can create a whole new cast of characters, we can take the world of Video Game High School and transfer it to an animated world.

No word on when that will happen yet folks. It takes time and money to get projects like that underway. Video Game High School the Board Game by Plaid Hat Games will be coming out soon. So keep watching for details.

What are some of your favorites in gaming?

I'm kind of old school like FPS, Quake 2 back in the day, Counter-Strike. I like games hard games, games that are frustrating and challenging. The kind that make you want to throw the controller against the wall. I love rogue-likes.

Freddie Wong is definitely nervous and excited about everyone's reaction to Season 3 of Video Game High School. He playfully hid his head behind his hands during the panel right before the audience saw Episode 1. There's nothing like seeing your highly popular show in a packed room with eager fans air a premiere episode and wonder what their reaction will be.

Freddie and Will got a standing ovation at the S3 Ep. 1 NYCC premiere.

EA's 'Full Spectrum' Event Addresses LGBT* Issues In Gaming Fri, 08 Mar 2013 17:05:08 -0500 HC Billings

If a tree falls in the woods and everybody's too busy screaming about SimCity to notice, is it still a PR gimmick?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is irrelevant, because The Full Spectrum conference is something that's needed to happen for a while now, whether or not a company leverages its political statement in their favor. The first event of its kind, The Full Spectrum was an event co-hosted by EA and The Ford Foundation on Thursday in an effort to foster a serious discussion about LGBT* issues in the gaming industry.

Speakers from several different venues (Bioware Austin and Kixeye being the two major game representatives; other speakers were delegates from telecom companies, human rights organizations, and other major entertainment sources) highlighted issues not only facing women and other minorities hoping to enter the video game industry, but also the disagreement between real, human diversity and content reflected in modern gaming.

"It's a white dude-ly industry, still," Kixeye executive producer Caryl Shaw explained. "In general it is still a very hard place for women to get in, and that's got to change. Games are a place where people want to posture... in whatever way they know how to stand up for themselves," she commented. "It's really sad, but it has become part of game culture, and figuring out how to change that is why I wanted to participate in this event today."

One of the major, if surprising, concerns that the panel addressed was the community that had formed around video game culture. EA Battlefield community manager Jaap Tuinman, a moderator for EA's online forums. "We have a responsibility from a corporate standpoint where we create a safehaven that we can control." EA BioWare Austin general manager Matt Bromberg agreed, explaining the danger of communities filled with "things that make you want to stay in bed in the morning."

Even if the event was wildly considered a public relations stunt, there seems to be a huge wave of support for furthering public conversation from gamers and industry experts alike. Panelist Luis A. Ubinas said it perfectly:

With relentless pressure, change is possible. Attitudes can evolve, and a nation and society can be transformed. I want to emphasize the importance of the role [game-makers] could play. The images you present and the interactions you allow are going to help shape the future.