81 Slices
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9. Ideology, It’s in the Game: Selective Simulation in EA Sports’ NCAA Football

Thomas P Oates Indiana University Press ePub

Meredith M. Bagley and Ian Summers

ON JULY 9, 2013, THE LEADING SPORTS STORY IN TUSCALOOSA, Alabama, a college town obsessed with its university’s football team, was not predictions for a third straight national championship, not news of yet another five-star recruit, nor updates on injuries and summer training sessions. Instead, inch-high headlines announced “GAME ON: EA Sports Releases NCAA Football 14.”1 Above the text, a color screen shot from the game featured an offensive player in the familiar crimson-and-white jersey breaking tackles on the way to a presumed touchdown. The would-be tacklers happened to be in white and maroon, the colors of Texas A&M, the only team to hand Alabama a loss in its 2012 national championship season. Though completely digital, fabricated, and based on advanced computational formulas, the video game redemption offered by the photo perfectly illustrates the power of simulation-based digital games such as EA Sports’ NCAA Football.

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Medium 9780253017154

3. Eugene Jarvis: Games and Design

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

AS LONG AS VIDEO GAMES HAVE BEEN A COMMERCIAL MEDIUM, they have appeared in arcades. Their success there has waxed and waned over the decades, and for much of the past fifteen years the arcade business has seen most game studios ceasing production of coin-op games, have witnessed more arcades shuttering their doors than opening them, and have seen their historical role as a primary driver of industry trends shifted toward a contemporary role as a niche part of the video game landscape.

Eugene Jarvis, for all intents and purposes, is the “last man standing” in the arcade business in the United States. Jarvis cut his teeth programming classic Williams arcade games like Defender and Robotron 2084 before working on popular titles like Smash TV and the Cruis’n series for Midway in the 1990s. The company he founded in 2001, Raw Thrills, Inc., is the only U.S. game developer regularly producing new arcade titles. In recent years they have produced arcade cabinets related to the Fast and Furious film franchise, the Terminator franchise, and the Batman films and have developed several original properties such as the Big Buck Hunter series. They have found success in placing their machines in Wal-Marts and truck stops and in bars and restaurants, as well as in many other locations outside of the traditional arcade space.

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Medium 9780892728060

Where in Maine?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

For the better part of two decades the editors of Down East: The Magazine of Maine have asked our readers to play a game with us. We publish a stunning photograph of a unique location in the Pine Tree State — sometimes instantly recognizable, sometimes not — and drop a few hints about the historical or geological anomalies of this special place. Then we invite our readers to guess where it is by writing us a letter. We also ask them to tell us a little about their own personal connection to this unidentified corner of the Maine landscape. Have they ever visited this waterfall? Do they own a cottage on this island?

To say that “Where in Maine?” is the most popular feature in Down East is like calling the view from Cadillac Mountain “pleasant:” an understatement of the highest order. We receive more mail for these short items than other magazines receive for entire issues. The responses range from one-line emails — “It’s Perkins Cove in Ogunquit!” — to long, handwritten letters recounting childhoods enjoyed on the pictured shores of Sebago Lake or summers spent at the family cottage overlooking this exact view of Monhegan Harbor.

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Have you ever found this forgotten fort?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

If you’re like many Maine motorists, you’ve driven within a mile of this old blockhouse dozens of times and never known it was there. Built in 1809 to protect a busy midcoast shipbuilding harbor, the fort sits just off Route 1 on an island few Mainers realize is an island, overlooking one of the area’s largest rivers. The solid little citadel was the focal point of an impressive compound at one time, with heavy bunkers, palisades, and a waterfront battery, and it was garrisoned for much of the nineteenth century, as a 1985 archaeological excavation revealed. And the site saw a few tense moments — it was threatened with bombardment during the War of 1812, and fifty years later the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee passed menacingly by not far downriver. Today the fort still sees quite a bit of action, but its many invaders are armed with nothing more threatening than cameras, Frisbees, and overflowing picnic baskets. (The solitary ranger who now mans the octagonal fort would be instantly overwhelmed if the park’s many day-trippers mounted an uprising.) Home to an interesting historical display, the blockhouse is one of the nation’s best preserved forts from the period and became one of Maine’s earliest state-owned parks, purchased in 1923 from the U.S. War Department for $501. Wide, grassy swaths overlooking the river and views of seals and ospreys have since made the spot popular among locals and those taking the scenic back way to a famous resort harbor not far down the road. Things are totally serene on the scene these days — especially under a fair May sky — but there are a few visitors who wish they could blast an unsightly old power plant out of the view across the river. See page 101 to learn where to find it.

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2. Madden Men: Masculinity, Race, and the Marketing of a Video Game Franchise

Thomas P Oates Indiana University Press ePub

Thomas P. Oates

IN AUGUST 2012, AS THE RELEASE OF EA SPORTSMADDEN NFL 13 video game approached, a months-long marketing blitz peaked with a series of advertisements featuring actor Paul Rudd and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. In the campaign, the two are presented as close, lifelong friends, whose bond is cemented by periodic Madden NFL marathons. The ads are clearly presented with tongue firmly in cheek. The friendship between Rudd and Lewis is offered as a whimsical premise. Rudd is a recognizable film and television actor, best known for roles playing middle-class white professionals. While appearing to be reasonably fit, he would never be mistaken for an NFL player, and though his movies are frequently about masculine themes (see, for example, I Love You, Man; The 40-Year Old Virgin; and Forgetting Sarah Marshall), he has never played the role of an action hero. Lewis, meanwhile, is black, was raised in poverty by a single mother in Lakeland, Florida, and was a major NFL star at the time, and hence a visible representative of hegemonic masculinity. The joke turns on the premise that despite the seemingly unbridgeable gaps separating affluence from poverty, white from black, icons of masculinity from the average guy, Rudd and Lewis are improbably buddies. Their friendship goes back to the cradle, as Rudd explains in the first ad in the series: “Oh, man, Ray and I have known each other our whole lives. We grew up together. Best friends!” The rest of the campaign shows the two friends playing the video game, engaging in verbal dueling, boasting, and performing other acts that characterize a certain kind of friendly masculine competition.

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