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How a digital artist named Beeple struck the jackpot.

It was the sale heard around the world, or at least maybe the Internet. For the few who still haven’t heard, a digital artist named Beeple sold the art piece pictured above via Christie’s Auction, an auction house that has been around since before the Declaration of Independence, for almost $70 million. The auction ran for two weeks initially, with the starting price coming in at the now meager sum of $100. It was only in the final minutes of the auction that the price skyrocketed into the millions.

Many have already covered the significance of this sale, with Beeple…


Are video games that cover real violence any worse than ones that depict fictional violence?

Six Days in Fallujah, currently being developed by Highwire Games, seeks to cover one of the Iraq War’s bloodiest battles. The second battle of Fallujah, also known as Operation Phantom Fury, happened in November of 2004, and by the end, around 100 US soldiers were killed. Hundreds more were wounded. Almost 2,000 insurgents were killed, and estimates put the civilian loss of life of somewhere around 800. Expected sometime this year, this will be the second push by developers to publish this game. …


How non-fungible tokens make GIFs and memes collectible.

The potential of NFTs came into focus for me this week while listening to a recent episode of the popular podcast, Lovett or Leave It, where the host, Jon Lovett, had a guest on the pod who talked at length about TopShot. In short, TopShot is a sleek partnership between the NBA and DapperLabs that uses NFTs and blockchain to create a digital version of collectible basketball cards, using GIFS of notable moments in NBA history. They claim to have facilitated over $200 million in sales on their website, and they are only just getting started.

Сalled TopShot moments, these…


How three academics are using Assassin’s Creed: Origins to teach people about Egypt.

Last week, I wrote about how a professor is using Red Dead Redemption in his American History class to help students learn and get excited about history. I even mentioned how cool it would be if other professors and schools utilized video games to their true educational potential. Well, I came across a trio of academics who have started streaming Assassin’s Creed: Origins on Twitch with the aim of teaching viewers all the intricacies of Ancient Egypt using the game as their guide.

The series is called Playing in the Past is hosted by Egyptologist Dr. Chris Naunton; Ph.D…


Has the revolving door of politics come to the gaming industry?

Activision Blizzard made headlines this week when it appointed Frances F. Townsend as its new Head of Compliance. Townsend is a particularly odd choice due to her previous role as the former top White House adviser on counterterrorism and homeland security in the Bush Administration. She was one of the biggest defenders of raising the terrorist threat level in 2004 and the administration’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or what we now know as torture used by the CIA. In 2009, she gave an interview in the wake of the Obama Administration declassifying a variety of memos on the CIA’s…


Finding the right balance between connection and fun.

Think back to your earliest memories of playing video games. Which moments stick out to you? There are two in particular for me. Sharing one computer with my brother as we took turns leveling up our characters in Diablo II. I remember being frustrated when I found out he had made it to Act III before me because I was having trouble beating the big boss at the end of Act II. I remember watching my brother play and just taking in the jungle setting of Kurast. …


Balancing the need for complex strategy while keeping the controls simple is tough but doable

I grew up playing Starcraft: Brood War and Warcraft III, two Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games that arguably catapulted the genre into the mainstream. I was never competitive at either one, but I do have fond memories of hosting many LAN parties with my friends and family, battling against ever more challenging opponents, celebrating our wins and rehashing our losses over and over again.

RTS games have a certain allure to them, a grand scale that is fun to take in. The best players employ complicated strategies like the fabled war-time leaders of history, stewarding a robust economy while managing defenses…


Blizzard’s smash hit is no longer just an online trading card game.

BlizzCon Online was held this past weekend. As I talked about in my last post, I covered all the new Diablo content that was announced, focusing specifically on Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s upcoming mobile entry into the franchise. Today, I want to talk about Hearthstone. A bevy of news concerning Blizzard’s online trading card game (TCG) was announced last weekend, including a new expansion, the introduction of a new core set, and a new game mode. All of this is exciting for fans of the TCG genre. …


How live-service gaming has taken over.

We’ve forgotten how to let go when it comes to storytelling. Not just in video games, but in other mediums too. In a world filled with sequels, prequels, spinoffs, reimaginings, remakes, and remasters, moving on has never been so difficult. The business case for this boils down to the lunacy of a given company setting a captive audience free. Why do we think Disney has Marvel movies scheduled decades into the future? If that cash horse keeps paying out, why try to feed it anything else?

The same dynamic exists in video games with the rise of live-service products. Instead…


How video games are perfectly positioned as tools for education.

A history professor at the University of Tennessee, Tore Olsson, has decided to use the Red Dead Redemption series as a basis for his American History class. Developed by Rockstar Games, each game is set in the latter decades of the Wild West as technology slowly creeps in and brings to heel the last vestiges of freedom in the glorious Western frontier. While Olsson says that video games like this are not completely historically accurate, these games will provide an intriguing basis for exploring themes that are often overlooked in history classes.

Olsson mentions that, “It’s almost like the…

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