Drexel Gets State Grant to Develop Video Games

Tetris on the side of the Cira Center. Drexel's Entrepreneurial Game Studio is getting a state grant to help grow Pennsylvania's digital gaming industry.

Tetris on the side of the Cira Center. Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio is getting a state grant to help grow Pennsylvania’s digital gaming industry.

Technically Philly reports that Drexel University is one of three schools to receive state grants to help develop a video game industry in the state. Drexel will receive $200,000 for its Entrepreneurial Game Studio, which aims to serve helps students start their own game companies in Philadelphia.

Carnegie Mellon University and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology are also receiving grants. The three schools will also share an additional $150,000 for collaborative efforts, like a statewide gaming conference.
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Marriage Equality Passes on Final Fantasy 14!

Your future Final Fantasy husband?

Your future Final Fantasy husband?

The 14th installment of the popular Play Station game series Final Fantasy allows players the chance to marry same-sex partners. More on the decision to let marriage equality pass in Final Fantasy land from the game’s producer and director Naoki Yoshida:

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Homefront Video Game Set in Scary, Future Philadelphia

German video game company Crytek has revealed that the next installment of its video game series Homefront: The Revolution will be set in a future, post-apocalyptic Philadelphia, a city that, according to gaming blog Kotaku Core, is “dotted with encampments of Korean occupying forces to be photographed with smartphone cameras and disrupted with guns and explosives.” More on the Philly angle from Kotaku Core:

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VIDEO, GIFs: World’s Largest Tetris in Philadelphia

tetris-block-interviewed

The first thing I saw after arriving at the end of the Ben Franklin Parkway was a man in a Tetris costume being interviewed by a camera crew. The second thing I saw were a bunch of teenagers singing the Game Boy Tetris theme a capella. I didn’t know this was going to be such a big deal, but it was Tetris. On a skyscraper.

Yes, people played Tetris on the side of the Cira Centre as the kickoff to Philly Tech Week, and it was pretty darn cool.

I went to see Pong played on the Cira Centre last year, and it had nowhere near the crowd this year’s did. Last year I remember freezing with a few other people, hoping the rain would hold off, watching a few rounds of uninspiring Pong play. But Tetris! What a great game. I can’t see any type of tiling without mentally positioning them into Tetris-shaped blocks; you just don’t do this with Pong. And so there were hundreds and hundreds of people eating from food trucks at The Oval and watching people play Tetris — as well as other games, including a giant, light-up version of Connect 4.

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ThinkFest Snapshot: Video Game Designer Frank Lee

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Drexel's Dr. Frank LeeDrexel University has a keeper in associate professor Frank Lee. Not only does Lee teach in the digital media program at Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, he is also the co-founder and co-director of the Drexel Game Design Program, which has been named among the top 10 game design programs by The Princeton Review.

Lee created the program because he wanted to make the best game design program in the world, and although he says we are not quite there yet, his efforts to become the best continue: This year, Lee was named Hacker of the Year and awarded Geek Story of the Year at the 3rd annual Philadelphia Geek Awards for his project “Pong on the Cira Centre,” or as Lee calls it, “World’s Biggest Pong” (video below). He also founded the Entrepreneurial Game Studio, which helps Drexel students create their own gaming companies, in hopes of expanding the video game industry in Philadelphia.

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Philadelphians: Prepare for a Truly Epic Game of Pong

Not beer pong, you alcohol-obsessed people! 70s-style electro paddle pong. Which makes sense, because the occasion for the giant game is Philly Tech Week, taking place in late April. Here’s how the tournament will work: Register to play before April 12th (fewer than 100 admitted), then head to the Art Museum steps on April 19th and April 24th, where the game will be projected on the 437-foot Cira Centre, across the Schuylkill.

Frank Lee, a Drexel Professor who co-founded the school’s Game Design Program, is the brains behind the operation. Here’s a refresher course, for those of you who weren’t alive during the game’s sport’s heyday. (Being stoned and in college not a requisite for entry.)

Monopoly Makes Grave Error, Adds Cat Piece to Game

After an intense period of Facebook voting, the people have chosen. And they’ve chosen terribly. Monopoly, for the first time ever, decided to let the silly people have a say in how the game is played, letting them trade one piece for another. So the schlubby, wrinkled-pants-wearing cat-lady Monopoly fans of the world chimed in and replaced the almighty IRON with a whiny, irritable CAT. Here’s the cat being unveiled on the TODAY Show, looking super creepy.

And here are some sample Facebook comments from all the hard-core Monopoly fans following this.

You Can Buy Curt Schilling’s Model Airplanes

Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios is having a FIRE… (sale) of the “everything must go” persuasion. More than 2,100 lots will be auctioned off at the company’s Providence headquarters on Tuesday. Among the gems available are numerous items left behind by employees, like a “Green Monster” piñata, a caged animal, and model planes supposedly built by Curt Schilling. Would this make for a great episode of Storage Wars or the greatest episode of Storage Wars? The company’s computer animation equipment and other assets are also going to the highest bidder. A later auction will feature the intellectual property still owned by 38 Studios. [CBS 3]

Gay Video Gaming Gets a Boost

Known for bestselling titles like Sims, Battlefield and Madden NFL, Electronic Arts (EA) could change the way gamers think about LGBT-themed video games. The video game maker announced it would join next year’s GaymerCon in San Francisco. It’s the first-ever gaming and tech convention for the LGBT community and EA is the first mainstream mover and shaker to sign on.

“EA believes that to be truly innovative, you must be inclusive,” Ginger Maseda, EA’s head of global diversity and inclusion, said in a press statement. “We are proud to be a part of this event.”

GaymerCon has also teamed up with GLAAD for Spirit Day on Oct. 19, which encourages people to wear purple to support LGBT youth. GaymerCon is holding a contest to find out who can make the best video to help raise awareness for the event, as well as issues related to homophobia and bullying. Just share your story in video format to win top prizes, including a new Xbox 360 signed by the Xbox Live staff and free passes to GaymerCon 2013. The videos will be shared online and on Facebook.

Find out more about the contest, how you can submit a video and where to vote for your favorites:

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