Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sidequest 6

David Herrmann
Sidequest 6
Violence and Nudity in Videogames
          Europeans are befuddled about a lot of American traditions and ways of life. American’s have a distinct lifestyle that is quite different to that of the Englishman or Frenchman. One thing that many Europeans find extremely confusing is our abundance of violence in videogames and movies juxtaposed against our fear and lack of abundance of nudity and sex in those same fields. American videogame creators and film directors have no problem showing men being decapitated or men being tortured yet when it comes to the female nipple, that’s where they draw the line?
          It is quite funny when you actually break it down and think about it, even if you are an American like myself. What is more inappropriate, showing someone get tortured my getting their fingers cut off, or showing a man’s penis or a woman’s vagina? For some reason, Americans tend to think the latter is more inappropriate. Yet almost everyone has seen a penis and vagina. We all know what they look like, so where does this fear come from for game creators and movie directors? In Europe the nude human body is viewed as natural and normal. It is shown much more often in games and in movies. Yet they view horrible violence as inappropriate and often refrain from adding it to movies and videogames. It does make you wonder: did we, Americans get it wrong? Are we desensitizing ourselves to the wrong stuff?

Sidequest 5

David Herrmann
Sidequest 5
Apples to Apples: Cabin in Lake Wenatchee Washington
          Why is it that parents love when their kids play board games, and hate when they play videogames? Both stimulate the mind, both are more active than watching television. So why give videogames such a bad rap? This is a question that has always befuddled me. I used to try and reason with my mother in high school and argue that both are intellectually stimulating. While I still believe that both stimulate the mind, there is something tangible about a board game played with family. It’s all laid out right in front of you and you can touch it. One of the other amazing things about board games is the memories they hold. For me, Apples to Apples means one thing: I’m back at my cabin in Lake Wenatchee.
          Regardless of where I play Apples to Apples, I am reminded of those huge bay area style windows overlooking the silent reflecting lake. I am reminded of Christmas. Of five feet of snow piled up outside and of a fire in the fireplace. When you play a videogame you sometimes become engulfed in that realm of false reality. However board games keep you in touch with reality while still allowing you to experience play. This is due to the human interaction that comes with a board game. Players can look into the eyes of other humans and make conversation as they play. They do not just stare at a screen and talk into a headset. Wow. I’m actually starting to sound like my mother.

Sidequest 4

David Herrmann
Sidequest 4

Question: The NCAA’s policy on amateurism in college athletics prevents the compensation of its athletes for their work and instead considers the scholarships received by those athletes as viable compensation? Is this policy fair? Is there a possible alternate policy that would fairly compensate the athletes?
            March Madness and the NCAA College Basketball Tournament has come and gone with all its hysteria and unfathomable moments. With it, Villanova University was crowned champion in one of the greatest finishes to a championship in college basketball history. I was basically glued to the TV for the entire month of March as I became engulfed in the madness. However, the great play of those college athletes reminded me of a question that had befuddled me and still befuddles me today. Should those athletes be compensated for their work and the attention they bring to their respective colleges? The NCAA's policy on Amateurism lays out the restrictions of compensation of its athletes using the ideal that amateurism helps maintain an environment where its athlete’s number one goal is in receiving a valuable education.
            I was then reminded of my family friend Jay Bilas, the top college basketball expert for ESPN and a former Duke Basketball star and graduate of Duke Law School, and his take on the policy. He believes firmly that the college athletes should be compensated more for their work. He carries some bias as his job is centered on the popularity of college basketball. More and more freshman are leaving their colleges early to play professional and compensation could have the effect of keeping them in school longer.

            I understand that colleges profit off of their athletics from ticket sales, merchandise sales, etc. and I also understand that not all sports and athletes make their prospective schools’ money. For instance, the University of Alabama Football program makes the school much more money than the University of Richmond swim team. A backup goalie on a mid-major men’s soccer team contributes to the profits of the school far less than the starting quarterback for a top-10 college football team. I would like to research more on school profits from jersey sales. Under the amateur policy of the NCAA the name of the player is not written on the back of that player’s jersey to be sold. Only the number is stitched. A common fan cannot purchase a Deshaun Watson jersey with the name Watson on the back, only with the number 4 on it. That is not to say that the person purchasing the uniform is not fully aware that he/she is buying a Deshaun Watson jersey. Is there a way to fairly compensate a player off of the jersey sales and the money made from the sale of his jersey? I would also like to research the possibility of allowing college athletes to appear, and to be compensated for appearing, in commercials and from their televised games. This would clearly favor the athlete playing on a more popular sport for a top level team and I would like to research the effects that this may have on other sports and on mid-major programs. Hopefully I will get the chance to fully research this problem in the near future.

Sidequest 3

David Herrmann
Sidequest 3
Rick Shiels: Making Golf Easier for Millennials
          In an era where much of our news, communication, and life is spent on the internet, there is this unique juxtaposition that it has with the game of golf. Golf is one of the oldest organized sports known to man. It is deeply rooted in its history and its traditions rarely fade away. Yet in today’s day in age much of golf instruction is found online. One of the best online golf instructors is Rick Shiels, an Englishman who lives, breaths, and speaks golf.
          Rick is a young man, a perfect teacher for this millennial era. He brings excitement every single days to his golf instruction videos often cracking jokes and laughing at himself. He makes every type of golf video thinkable from swing instruction to on the course videos to golf club reviews. In such an old game where tradition means so much, it is so refreshing to watch Rick Shiels way of teaching. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it’s helpful.

          The other great thing about Rick Shiels videos is this: they are free. Golf is an expensive sport. It gets a bad rap sometimes for even being an elitist sport. Rick Shiels and his free online instruction helps bring golf to the masses a little more. You can check out Rick’s YouTube page by clicking on the link below: 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Game Process Essay

Game Process Essay

Sidequest 2

David Herrmann
A videogame increases the fan base of the biggest sport in the world
            Soccer is probably the most popular sport in the world. While less popular in the United States, Europeans go literally crazy over professional soccer in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, London, and Paris. Yet the game of soccer is so slow paced. There are usually only 7 or so shots on goal within a game and teams rarely score more than 3 goals. Even more annoying is the fact that players always end up passing the ball along the back line refusing to advance the ball into scoring territory. I don’t know the exact numbers but it seems as though 90% of possession time in soccer is spent in the middle of the field, far away from the goalie and the net.

            FIFA, on the other hand, is fast paced. While it is still a lower scoring game, the ball changes possession seemingly every 10-15 seconds. The ball stays around the attacking areas and games with 30 shots on goal are not unheard of. This is an extremely exciting brand of soccer. However it is unrealistic. FIFA, after all, is a video game. For the style of play to be transferred from the video game to real soccer matches, players would have to be impossibly conditioned. They would have to be in the greatest shape of any human, ever. Yet still, the videogame FIFA soccer has broadened the already enormous fan base of soccer. Americans who loved fast paced games like football and basketball are drawn to FIFA soccer. After playing it over and over again, they begin to learn the names of the players on the best teams in the world. The next thing you know, they are purchasing their favorite teams jersey online and watching every match they play during the season. FIFA Soccer is not just making money for EA Sports, they are making money for, and increasing the popularity of, the game of soccer. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Pitch Can Unite: Final Paper

One Pitch Can Unite, One Pitch can Fight Terrorism

Game Discussion

Game Title: Golf
Game Maker: Unknown
Platform/Format: Golf Course. 18 holes or 9 holes.
Year Released: 15th Century Scotland

An Overview Of How This Game Works (Without Spoilers): Golf is an equipment centered sport that uses clubs of various types to hit balls into holes throughout a golf course. It is usually played on an 18 hole course but sometimes is played on a 9 hole course. Each hole has a number value associated with it called “par”. Par is the predetermined number of strokes it “should” take to get the ball in the hole. The less strokes used to get the ball in the hole, the better. At the end of the round, the strokes on each hole are added together for a final score. The lowest score wins. What makes golf so unique is its course variety. A basketball court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide, a football field is 100 yards long. No single golf hole or golf course is the same. Some are easier than others, and some are down-right frustrating. Just like most sports, the professionals drive the sport forward. The professional golf tour is known as the PGA tour and has a very loyal fan base.
Quick Background & Context: Originating in Scotland during the 15th century, golf is one of the oldest sports humans have ever played. It evolved over time to get where it is today, but much of its history has been lost in time. It is played all over the world by all people alike. Most golf courses have many different sets of tee boxes (The area at the beginning of each hole where the first shot is to be hit) ranging in their distance to the flag. There are the champions tees where the professionals on the PGA tour play, there are “men’s tees” where it is recommended that men ages 18 and up play, there are “women’s tees” where it is recommended that women ages 18 and up play from, and there are children’s tees for the children, obviously. What is great however, is that in a non-competitive round of golf (not a tournament) the golfer is free to tee his/her ball up on whatever tee box he/she feels.

The Main Takeaway(s): Golf is a game for everyone. It is slow paced, lets you spend time outdoors, lets you spend time with friends as it is easy to talk in between shots, but above all, golf is hard.

“What Can We Learn From This Game?” More than any other game out there today, golf teaches life lessons. Here are a few: Humility, Respect, and punctuality.

Interesting Trivia: There are currently 15,372 golf courses today in the United States, alone.

Outside Insight: “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” Arnold Palmer
“Golf... is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.” P.G. Wodehouse

Review? 5/5

Is it good or bad and why? Sports, before I get into golf, are the best category of game by far. They promote values that other types of games fail to even utilize. In the realm of sport, Golf is the single greatest game ever invented. Arnold Palmer said it, and I will second it. No other game reflects on and teaches lessons of life like the game of golf. Integrity: There are no referees on the golf course, whether in a professional event or on a public course during a Saturday afternoon. A player must respect the game and respect him/herself enough to hit his/her ball where it lies instead of kicking it out of a sand trap or putting down a score of a par on a hole where he/she took a stroke over par. Manners: In no other sport is it expected of competitors to remove their hats and shake hands after a round. On the PGA tour, it is expected of each competitor to compliment his playing partner on a good shot, instead of pout or complain to a referee. Creativity: No golf course is the same and no golf hole is the same. A golfer will never hit the exact same shot twice. There is no single path to the hole. There are, instead, infinite paths. A good golfer can curve the ball around obstructions and can visualize fascinating ways to reach its destination. The main reason why golf is the greatest game in the world is this: Golf does not discriminate. Golf does not care if you are 6 foot 10 or 5 foot 9. Golf does not care what color your skin is. Golf does not care whether or not you were blessed with extreme athleticism or with poor athleticism. Golf does not care how much weight you can bench press. The only way to get good at golf is to practice. In basketball, being 7 feet tall is a huge advantage and being 5 feet 5 is an insurmountable disadvantage. I can only run so fast and jump so high no matter how much I practice. I can never stop improving my golf swing, my green reading abilities, and my putting mechanics. Golf does not discriminate. That is why it is the greatest.

Class Responses & Questions:

Digital Poster Session

High School Basketball; in Need of a Shot Clock

Friday, April 15, 2016

Single Player Game Response

David Herrmann
Single Player Game
U CAN’T WIN: Top 1%
            When I began the game designing process I wanted to create a game that was playable, fun, and winnable. Yet as I worked and worked on my design my mentality changed. I was so tired of happy-go-lucky games where the player enters a world brighter than his/her own. So instead, I designed an unwinnable game. I named it U CAN’T WIN, for obvious reasons. At the very end of the game sits a group of green aliens. These represent the top 1%. They sit atop a mountain of gold coins and are barely out of reach for the gamer. This was not done to mess with the gamer, rather to teach him/her a lesson.
            The gamer represents the average blue collar or small business worker who works his entire life (the entire game) to get as high as he can in life. Yet the money at the pinnacle is unreachable no matter how hard the gamer works. The average worker or the impoverished person has an extremely difficult time moving up the financial ladder, just as the gamer can never reach the top and collect the coins.

            My favorite aspect of this game are the words that follow the gamer up the ladder: U CAN’T WIN. This was done to remind the gamer of the satirical nature of the game he or she is playing. The gamer may still believe that he/she can “beat” the game, but no matter how hard the gamer works, how many strategies he deploys, he will never win.

Why Do we Hate Kentucky Basketball?

David Herrmann
Sidequest 1
A Well-Played Game: Do We Know What We Want Anymore?
            As spectators of a sport, we have a great depth of power. One that reaches farther than most of us imagine. We watch a team and judge. We judge individuals, we judge teams, and we judge organizations. Everyone with their own opinion we sometimes struggle to find common ground. Our ideas of what is “great play” in a sport can sometimes go foggy. Yet in that mist, for some reason lies bright appreciated traits of teamwork, sportsmanship, gentlemanliness, and respect. Whether its human nature that draws us to love those characteristics or whether it’s the fact that we aspire to encompass them, spectators can all agree that we judge athletes and coaches based on those ideals. In college basketball, it is the selflessness and teamwork that we are all so intently drawn to. In the pros, we may side with the freakishly athletic, and the amazingly skilled. Yet in college basketball we love the team. These young men are not paid to play. They play for the love of the game and they play to win, for the team, not for themselves. Or, at least they did.
            In an era where media coverage is all-encompassing, at times invasive, the college basketball world is slowly shifting and men like Jimmy Valvano are rolling in their grave. For better or for worse, money controls the NCAA, the coaches, the teams, and even the players. Now more than ever we see young men at the age of 19 leaving college for the NBA. College basketball is nothing more than a pit stop on the way to a world of profession for some of these college athletes. We see the occasional arrest or punishment of a college athlete who thinks he is invisible. They are minor incidents, most of the time. A failed drug test, a stolen item of food. College basketball enthusiasts, like myself, feel cheated. So we sit in our thrones of judgement, and we judge. Some, harsher than others. Now I have no problem with these judgements. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. What I do have a problem with, however, is when a team of young men who encompass all the attributes we seem to adore is hated for no reason whatsoever. They are stereotyped into a group where they do not belong. That, I do have a big problem with.

            The 2015 Kentucky men’s basketball team was a thing of beauty. A team where great (I emphasize that word because it is thrown around too often in our time) players sacrificed their playing time, sacrificed their scoring numbers, and played to win for the team, not for themselves. They played hard, they played smart, and they played together. They acted the right way on the court, and maybe more importantly, they acted the right way off the court. Not a single player was arrested, not a single player was suspended, and not a single player was cocky. Yet we, and I say we because I found myself guilty of doing this at the beginning of the season, decided for no apparent reason that we would hate them. 

Friday, January 15, 2016