SteelSeries 7H Headset Review

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“What’s that?” My fiancé asked, his eyes wide, as I pulled the attractively packaged headset out of my bag and onto my desk.

“It’s the SteelSeries 7H headset I was given to review.” I responded. “You can have it when I’m done.”

I didn’t think there was an issue with what I’d just promised. At the time, it even sounded logical: I tend to stick to single player games where a microphone isn’t necessary, whereas my fiancé never leaves the land of multiplayer. Common sense dictated that he would put it to better use. The problem was, I hadn’t even taken the headset out the box yet.

The first pang of regret came when I put it on. It was really comfortable. Strong but flexible, the headset fit itself perfectly to my narrow, child-sized head without any sign of slippage. The ear cushions hugged pleasantly around my ears to minimise background noise.

“Dammit.” I thought. Read the rest of this entry

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Stereotypes in Gaming: Where is the Line?

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“I’m like my mother. I stereotype. It’s faster.” – Ryan Bingham, Up in the Air

A few weeks ago I was at a party, and I made a joke to non-white friend based on a certain, less than pleasant racial stereotype. They were not impressed. I did not, of course, mean it in earnest, but that’s by the way. Much as I want to believe, we don’t live in a post-racial world.

I picked up Guacamelee this week and was immediately captivated. Who wouldn’t be? It’s a beautiful looking Castlevania-ish platformer with nimble gameplay. Most importantly, it’s overflowing with charm: charming characters, bad and good, charming environments, charming music, even charming boss fights. If I were writing a review, it would probably be titled: “The Charmingly Charming World of Guacamelee.”

But what’s so charming about it? Read the rest of this entry

Gamdias Products Delivers in Style but What About Function?

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Gamdias is moreorless a new player in the North American third-party PC accessories scene. The Taiwanese company was founded in 2012, and its products (designer mice, mouse pads and keyboards) was sold first in Asia before branching out to a world-wide market. Had their products been made available for a use in a wider spectrum of use, like for artists (with their mats) and Xbox/ Playstation compatibility (with their headsets), Halo enthusiasts may well enjoy their Greco-Roman inspired setup. Maybe some gamers can find some use in Sony’s God of War.

With this company’s product line taking their name from the gods of this Mediterranean culture, there’s no denying that there is a coolness factor for fans of classic mythology to take note of. Read the rest of this entry

The Gottacon Journals: Tips on Getting into the local Video Game Industry & its Future

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The local video game scene of Victoria, British Columbia is the spotlight at this year’s Gottacon show. This event was originally held in the G.R. Pearkes Recreation Center out by Tillicum Mall and after five successful years, it made the move to the Victoria Conference Center. This was done in partnership with the City of Victoria and the Victoria Video Game CEO Alliance to help give the show the ability to expand into better digs without show attendees expressing the feeling that they are being stuck into a sardine can.

Anyone with even a small interest in the gaming culture will find something new to try or learn how to get into this wide and varied industry. Whether that is board games, card games, scale model battles, video or role-playing, there will be some product to sample ot people to talk to. Not everyone will want to invest into a $75 game right away, and this show is the best way to try a new game — board or video — out. The bonus for the experienced is to participate in tournaments for some cool prizes.

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From Minecraft to Youtube with Cyber-Seniors, A Look Behind the Scenes

The documentary Cyber-Seniors is getting special sneak previews at film festivals around the world, and at the Victoria Film Festival, it screened February 11 and the 15th. And on May 2, it will be making its theatrical premiere.

Saffron Cassiday

For the young actress turned director, Saffron Cassaday, this film marks her debut. Many stories are intertwined here: from explaining the origins of what the film title is about — an education program that started in Toronto for showing seniors how to use a computer to effectively communicate — to what these people can do with it, there is even a personal note added to this film.

When Saffron’s sister, Macaulee, and grandfather were diagnosed with cancer during production, that did not bring making this film to halt. Their journey is also chronicled. Having started two years ago, the teaching program called Cyber-Seniors was well underway. When medical issues only showed how effective online communication works for two very close family members, the ties that bind are expressed online too. But that should not stop people from meeting for real.
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The Documentary Cyber-Seniors gets a Sneak Preview in Victoria, BC!

Victoria Film Festival 2014

Tuesday, February 11th at 7:15 p.m.
Parkside Resort & Spa
810 Humboldt St.
Victoria, BC. Canada

Saturday, February 15th at 4:00 p.m.
Vic Theatre,
808 Douglas St.
Victoria, BC. Canada

World Premiere: May 2, 20104

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In the documentary Cyber-Seniors, computer technology does not have to be frightening for a generation who grew up listening to the radio. Oh how the times have changed! From the Silent Generation to the Baby Boomers, not all of them have embraced the digital age, where instant communication is done with the push of a button. Not all of them even know how to turn on a computer.

Advancements in technology to improve communication can be intimidating and the older generation can have problems understanding it. Macaulee and Kascha Cassaday taught their grandparents how to use a computer in order to communicate with them, and their success at home became a project that anyone can download a manual for and start-up in their own town. Filmmaker Saffron Cassaday saw what her sisters were doing and knew it can grow into something big. She began to document what her sisters have done and what she produced is a wonderful look how the lives of an elderly generation have transformed. Viewers cannot help but smile.

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Why play Minecraft when you can drink it? Some videogame ideas can get turned into a cocktail.

The seniors become even more active since they no longer feel confined to their retirement homes or feel isolated. They get love from both the youths who mentor them and from the sons, daughters or grandchildren they once could not connect with. Either they live so far away or travel back and forth is an issue in cold months. When it comes to playing videogames, each of them found the simplest of games thrilling. From Angry Birds to Minecraft, even though they may not play it regularly, at least a Youtube video can be made from it. For another senior, Scrabble on Facebook was here best way to keep her mind active and talk to her family at the same time.

This film is definitely a feel good movie that triumphs in educating the public. This film not only succeeds at showing that there is a cyber-movement afoot but also closes a generation gap. There are enjoyable moments of light-hearted humour. To see young Henri Pelletier express interest in a granddaughter is not without some laughs. This documentary is very humanitarian and more of this type of film should get made.

4½ Stars out of 5

CES ’14 Roundup: Are Gamers Getting Steamed for 4K?

To sum up what last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was all about, plenty of 4K televisions and Steam machines will be entering into the market. That will be great for video enthusiasts wanting a bit of extra oomph from their Blu-ray movies and video gamers will wonder what’s next to enjoy. With multiple hardware manufacturers clambering on board to develop boxes that will run SteamOS, the console gaming war is going to get a lot more interesting.

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Keeping Eyes on Track for a Video Game Future

Tobii's PCEye in action.

Tobii’s PCEye in action.

(This article is republished from Otaku No Culture, a blog that looks the pop culture scene of the Pacific Northwest.)

In an age where motion-tracking is becoming all the rage, only Microsoft knew how to make the idea work right. They made it nearly hands-free. With the Kinect. players can run on the spot in order to move faster than a speeding bullet or leap tall buildings in a single bound within a virtual world. With Tobii introducing a prototype of an eye-tracking sensor at CES this week with the EyeX, people can start sniping bullets out of thin air or melting weapons with laser beam eyes.

This technology to track eye movement may well be the next evolution to bring virtual reality home to the video-gamer. No date has been announced yet, but when this device is ready, it should be cheaper than the company’s main product, the PCEye that starts at $2k (on Amazon).

Danish gaming manufacturer SteelSeries is helping to make an affordable version that can detect what a person’s eyes is really ogling at on a video screen — female avatars may want to start covering up. Or with games like Duke Nuke’em or Grand Theft Auto, they just may become a little more difficult with all those distractions slowing the player down.

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The Future of CGI in Gaming and Films

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If keen observers of video game cinematics and CGI films think the computer graphics look great now, especially in how cloth material and hair is rendered, the next wave is going to be amazing.

The science behind how these surfaces are rendered have been restudied and restructured in such a way, where if there was a real world analogy: the way any type of thread is weaved on a loom in specific patterns is what the team of computer engineers from the Jacobs School of Engineering / UC San Diego looked at, but at a microscopic level. What they have discovered is a simpler method which matches this real world analogy and the ‘virtual threads’ are more cylindrical.

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[Victoria, BC] Fan Favourites Opens with Retro Gaming in Mind

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(This article is republished from Otaku No Culture, a blog that looks the pop culture scene of the Pacific Northwest.)

760 Yates St.
Victoria, B.C.
(250) 590-1202

Retro video gamers will be a go-go for Fan Favourites, a new video games and movie store located in Millie’s Lane in Victoria, British Columbia. That’s an alleyway located beside the Odeon Theatre, where a “second nerd row” may well be developing in this garden city. This store is tucked between Chef’s Quest, a D&D themed diner, and Dragon Impact, a Martial Art Equipment & Supply store. Read the rest of this entry

Weighing in on Nintendo’s latest Two Dimensional Offering

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Nintendo enthusiasts now have a menu of portable hardware options to choose from: they can go 2D, 3D or XL. Each unit has their pros and cons, but as for whether or not their newest unit, the 2DS, will fly hinges on the upcoming Christmas shopping season. Read the rest of this entry

[Victoria, BC] Gotta what? Gottacon Pre-Registration is Open for 2014!

Gottacon Logo

Practically five years in the making, Gottacon is making the leap to become a fully realized convention for gamers and the public alike. This event will now take place at the Victoria Conference Center, running from February 28th to March 2 and pre-registration is open.

This event is for the gamer in us all. People can sign up to play in cards tournaments like Magic the Gathering, miniature battles with Game Workshop’s Warhammer or video games à la Starcraft. The fees pay for the rental of the hall space and prizes. But there are free games to try out too. Whether that is with board games like CLUE, role-playing in the fantastic realms of Dungeons and Dragons, this show has it all. This news is particularly exciting for the local gaming community and this author has seen this event grow from its humble beginnings (behind the scenes and in front of) by simply catering to the dedicated gamer crowd than to make it a side-show attraction.

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