Adventure Games That Made It Big in Vegas

Video games (as your Nan used to call them) have crossed over into many other genres in popular culture. There was a time – if you care to remember the days of Atari’s and ZX Spectrum’s – when games were just games; standalone titles with their own original plots, and let’s be honest here, generally basic gameplay.

How times have changed. Complex storylines, online play, 3D graphics and vast budgets have made gaming unrecognisable compared to those glorious and innocent early days (I’m still fond of Pacman!). It was way back in 1976 when the first game to be based on a movie was released – Death Race was an arcade game based on the cult 1975 film of the same name – and by the early 1980’s developing games from movies was all the rage. The likes of Tron, Alien and King Kong were all given the treatment for the Atari 2600, with Raiders of the Lost Ark becoming the first officially licensed game-from-a-movie in 1982. It was quickly followed by Star Wars and E.T., although the latter became an infamous flop and the subject of an urban legend.

The line between the two industries has become progressively blurred over the years, and the release of the Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993, heralded a new era where all of a sudden video games started to become the inspiration for films. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat quickly followed, while classic games like Doom, Resident Evil and Tomb Raider were developed into movies in the early 2000’s. This trend shows little sign of stopping, with an eye-watering 30 plus games currently being made into movies. These include Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty, and if they’re as good as movies as they are as games, I can’t wait!

However, it isn’t just the film industry that has borrowed inspiration from gaming, and some of these well-known adventure titles have also made their way to the bright lights of Las Vegas. The Arcade and slots industry has always overlapped with the gaming industry (some software firms such as Konami actually develop both slot machines and video games), and it made perfect sense for slot-makers to latch onto the popular themes.

Better graphics and faster software have made today’s video slot machines much more of ‘gaming-like’ experience rather than a simple ‘one-armed bandit’ style slots experience. Animations and high-quality graphics have drastically changed the look of slots, and bonus games can take on a much more complex nature than ever before. Some of these games get pretty close to playing the real thing, and what’s more, you can win money playing them! It just doesn’t get much better than that, and below you can find five of the best adventure games that made it all the way to Vegas:

  1. Dungeon and Dragons

A classic; it’s as simple as that. A classic franchise of cartoons, books, toys, movies, and of course games. The Dungeons and Dragons: Fortress of Fortunes slot machine by software house, IGT, took the theme to Las Vegas in 2009 and it’s proven to be one of the most popular slots at land-based and online casinos.

It features five reels and twenty pay lines, and gives you the option to play as one of three warrior heroes. The background and sound effects behind the slot provide an air of fantasy, and wins are accompanied by mystical music. A free spins bonus game takes you into a dungeon with up to five levels where you can earn extra multipliers by defeating enemies with the roll of a virtual dice.

It’s an iconic game, but could be surpassed in the next few years, by an officially licensed slot from Konami Gaming Inc. The software giant and its Las Vegas subsidiary, KGI, signed an agreement with Hasbro to develop a Dungeons and Dragons game using the original cast of characters. The slot is aimed at land-based casinos and attracting a younger generation of players, and will feature two games – ‘Conquests and Treasures’ and ‘Enchanted Riches’ – in pods of 2, 3, or 4 machines. The pods will include high quality chairs, custom logos and a themed bezel with authentic designs.

  1. Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider was an iconic game of its time, and Angelina Jolie made the movie equally as iconic when it was released in 2001. The franchise has spawned books, comics, toys, and several sequel games, as well as a classic Vegas slot machine.

Microgaming is the software giant behind the slot machine, which features five reels, 15 pay lines and a max. bet of 75 coins. The Graphics are crisp and sharp, with symbols such as a tiger, gadgetry and Lara Croft herself earning the wins. There is a ‘Tomb Raider’ wild symbol which can substitute for other symbols to create winning combinations, and the game features two different bonus rounds. The scatter symbol is a gun-toting Lara Croft, and if she appears on 3, 4, or 5 of the reels she will launch the free spins round. There is also a bonus symbol, which is signified by a golden idol, and launches the tomb bonus round – a pick ‘em style game where you get to choose three from a number of idols to reveal three cash prizes.

The franchise is one of the most popular of the last 15-20 years, and changed the face of video gaming. It has taken Vegas by storm too, and become one of the most popular slot machines out there.

  1. Worms

Yes, that’s right. Worms. The brilliantly addictive game that is so simple in style but so engrossing to play. Well it’s also been made into an online slot, and it will come as no surprise to learn that it is incredibly popular.

Everything about the slot is as colourful and humorous as the original game, and it features many of the classic sound effects too. It has five reels and a whopping 50 pay lines, with some great animated symbols of the crazy worms with ridiculously large weapons. Remember waiting for supply crates to parachute down from the sky with new weapons? They’re here too, and are used as a bonus symbol to launch the feature round when three or more land on the reels. The bonus round lets you select one of three crates to win one of the three different bonus games. These are a ‘space trail bonus’, a ‘crate escape’ game, and a ‘free spins battle’ bonus; each of which could earn a top jackpot of $500.

There are other great little quirks like a hand grenade which drops onto the reels and explodes, turning another symbol wild; and the infamous shout of ‘incoming’ when two crates land on the reels and you await the third. With equally addictive gameplay, it’s no wonder this slot has become so popular among video gamers as well as casino regulars.

  1. The Dark Knight Rises

The Batman franchise has been around since video games and online slots were the vision of a distant future, with his first appearance coming in a 1939 comic book. However, the caped crusader has been the subject of numerous video games over the last twenty years on a huge variety of platforms, and he deserves a mention here as he remains one of the most popular figures in Las Vegas (on the slot machines, at least).

The Dark Knight Rises is an adaptation of the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s dark trilogy, starring Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman. The game is a cutting edge video slot, which does away with standard reels and features 243 ways to win. The Graphics are superb and include real footage from the movie; while a bonus feature where Batman fights Bane rewards players with free spins and multipliers.

This is part of a new wave of slot machines which are moving away from the traditional ‘fruit machine’ style gaming, and incorporating much more interactive gaming features. It’s naturally popular in bricks-and-mortar casinos due to the popularity of the films, and it’s also made a big splash in the online world. It’s an absolute visual treat, and well worth checking out.

  1. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Well, if we’re talking about popular games it would be remiss not to mention the behemoth of the gaming world that is Call of Duty. It has arguably become the single most popular gaming series of all time, and continues to captivate the soldier inside all of us the world over. It should come as no surprise then, that there is a movie in the offing. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has sold over 13 million copies, and the slot machine by Cryptologic has proven to be just as popular in Vegas and online.

The game itself features amazing graphics and animations that are true to the original. Symbols include grenades, gas masks, and assault rifles, across the five reels and 25 pay lines. An animated marine scurries across the front of the reels on some spins, and plants a timed explosive which blows up various symbols, turning them wild and creating winning lines. On other spins a grenade rolls in front of the reels and the explosion causes the same effect. The wild soldier symbol is a nice touch as after the explosion it shows video footage from the game. All of this is before the excellent bonus game which features some great gameplay. It’s launched by landing three of the Call of Duty scatter symbols, and allows players to gain extra wins by targeting and shooting enemies on the battlefield. Up to four free games can be earned by hitting enemy soldiers, with bonus prizes for headshots; and a five-in-a-row kill streak earns an airstrike which rewards players with a multiplier for the free games.

Various other symbols also include game footage, and there is action on practically every spin in this game. Sound effects are perfect for the game, and there is that tense silence between spins before an explosion sets off a hail of gunfire – just like the real game when I play it!

Video Gaming Vegas Style

As seen on VegasSlots.co.uk, a recent change to the laws in Vegas means that casinos can now introduce more skill-based games alongside the archetypal slot machines. This is the industries attempt to convert ‘millennials’ from video gamers to casino goers; and it might just work. The aim is to introduce the skill element and link it to the prizes on the game, so a fast lap or a long kill streak will result in a bigger pay out. Rather than playing a game of chance, players will be able to use their skill at gaming to earn money – and that sounds like a perfect combination to me!

Film Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 137 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

It’s a sad day for diehard fans of the “Hunger Games” series, while people like me will remember it for its long drawn-out speeches about war and the long clarifying conversations about the plot after heroine wakes up after getting knocked out. The conclusion to the much beloved series doesn’t go out with a whimper, but it doesn’t go out on a high note either. The “Hunger Games” movies will end as they started, just alright; nothing spectacular.

“Mockingjay – Part 2” picks up right after the ending events of “Mockingjay – Part 1”. Peeta (Hutcherson) has been brainwashed by the Capitol and Katniss (Lawrence) is in shock that man she once began to develop feelings for expresses hate and displeasure to the mere sight of her. Meanwhile the resistance, made of all the Districts, is planning their final assault on the Capitol. They’re led by the suspicious President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore).

Coin plans to keep Katniss safe and out of harm’s way, mainly wielding Katniss as a propaganda piece, much like Katniss was in the first “Mockingjay” movie. That doesn’t sit well with Katniss who stows away, joining soldiers on the front line as they prepare for an invasion. Her ultimate goal for this final chapter is to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland) with her own bow and arrow.

The real fun, a block by block journey through the heart of the Capitol while alluding deadly booby traps and fighting creatures, doesn’t come until we trudge through long bits of tediously familiar dialogue. The middle of “Mockingjay” should have come sooner, or at least began the movie. Teasing the inevitable action for half an hour is disingenuous for fans and viewers of the movies, adding to the complaint that the “Mockingjay” sequel is too long. While parts of “Mockingjay” work on a superbly entertaining level, too much of it feels like unnecessary filler.

The excessive length takes away from the main theme of the movie, which is fairly basic: war is hell. For being a somewhat anti-war movie, it seems to solve a lot of its problems through violent conflict and murder. The hell aspect of that statement gives viewers some of the series best emotional scenes. The mature content of how painful and heartbreaking war can be, isn’t explored enough. Its message about how difficult the civilian toll during war can be, on either side of the battle, is sandwiched between expositions, taking away from the gut punch it should be. For a series that prides itself off its adult themes, it seems to misjudge how to present its most interesting topic in its final movie.

Overall, I’m not disappointed that I watched these movies. At times I quite enjoyed them, and I think that the series has multiple, bold adult messages directed at an audience with a young, developing mind. Like the others, I have to praise the acting throughout. It’s the best of any young adult franchise, save for the “Harry Potter” series. At the end of the day though, “Harry Potter” handled the split of its final book into two movies, incredibly well, while “Hunger Games” overcompensated for how much content they had to stretch into four hours. “Hunger Games” is another instance where the story would have been much better off as one impactful final movie than two alright flicks.

Blu-ray Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore
Director: Francis Lawrence
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: March 6, 2015
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Unlike the rest of the world “The Hunger Games” franchise, hasn’t delivered for me at all. The first one was just one. I thought that “Catching Fire” was awful and “Mockingjay Part 1” is another long drawn out lead in for the final film. Personally, I love Jennifer Lawrence much more than I did after the first Hunger Games and her character is more likable but the film is not. I will definitely watch the second part of this film to finish the series but expectations are low. I think the whole “Part 1” and “Part 2” business of these epic films are really getting old.

Official Premise: The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage.

Lionsgate is delivering this release as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy included. Even though, I am not crazy about the film, the Blu-ray merits are very impressive. The 1080p transfer is gorgeous. The CGI in the film is well-blended. I was most impressed with the audio tracks. First we get a Dolby TrueHD Atmos, which basically translates to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for those units that are not compatible. It is an amazing track that delivers the epic feel that the film aims for. There is also an interesting track, which is a 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, not very epic but still a neat option.

The special features are also quite impressive. “The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay – Part 1”: is an eight-part feature-length documentary. If you love these films, this is a must watch. There are two featurettes included. The first is “Straight From the Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman” and the second is “Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack”. There is also a music video for “Yellow Flicker Beat” from Lorde. Lastly there is an Audio Commentary from Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson and some deleted scenes.

Film Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Julianne Moore
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The final piece of a series is no longer a bloated epic detailing the final time we’ll see our heroes, but now cut in half, with the first part generally being the weaker of the two. That makes it easier to scrutiny because of how much of an obvious cash grab it is by the Hollywood executives hoping to squeeze out those last remaining pennies before finding their next franchise to milk. “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part – 1” isn’t about to break that stereotype, but it comes pretty close.

For a movie that seems to be advertised as an explosive and heart pounding action flick, it’s surprisingly thoughtful. “Mockingjay – Part 1” picks up moments after the events of “Catching Fire”. Katniss (Lawrence) is still nursing some mental scars and having to come to terms with the fact that District 12 no longer exists. It’s nothing but rubble and piles of charred bodies. The visuals of blackened skeletons is enough to paint a horrific picture and further imply the brutal extent the Capitol will go to strengthen it’s iron fist grip over the districts.

Katniss is taking refuge underground in District 13, long believed to have suffered the same fate that has recently befallen District 12. There she meets a military society headed by President Alma Coin (Moore). This is the first introduction of President Alma in the series and while it’s easy to trust the person supplying food and supplies, there’s something ominous about a character who never seems to view Katniss more than a puppet for political manipulation. On the other end, Peeta (Hutcherson) is being used to discredit the defiance that grows in the districts.

Katniss and Peeta are clearly being used as propaganda. While Katniss is used to inspire hope to those fighting, through her fiery eyes of anger and bitter words of revenge, it appears that Peeta is nervously regurgitating lines, but we never see or fully know what purpose the Capital is using him for. “Mockingjay” focuses more on President Alma’s use of Katniss to beat the drums of rebellion in the hopes of getting ubiquitous support for their uprising against the Capital. Luckily this disinformation chess match is interrupted by scenes of retaliation around Panem and a third act covert mission to rescue Peeta.

The theme doesn’t say anything new, but it’s refreshing to see a movie, that’s been coined as “young adult”, use such a mature idea in a very presentable and easy to understand fashion. It’s not difficult to see the positive and ill effects of spin that two warring factions can create. Personally, I was expecting CGI explosions and Jennifer Lawrence whipping her hair all about while firing off multiple arrows like Hawkeye in “The Avengers”, but for what we’re given, it is proficient with it’s message and it simply wets our appetites for an explosive finale come next year.

The big problem with the first part of this oversized first course of Mockingjay is that it feels too much like a prologue to something a lot more monumental. There’s a lot of moving pieces, but a lot of downtime that involves staring, sitting and inconsequential dialogue. The obvious payoff for our two hours of time won’t happen until Part 2, but it’d be nice to have some kind of reward for our investment into the lives of these characters. It doesn’t help that Jennifer Lawrence, who’s shown such a wide range of emotions throughout this series, is a bit limited to angry reactions and fear.

Regardless, if it wasn’t for Lawrence’s commanding presence, this movie wouldn’t have the drive and Katniss wouldn’t radiate bravery. All the regulars are back for this movie, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and the stupendously talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Without this cast, this movie would have fizzled out like “Percy Jackson” or “The Mortal Instruments”. It’ll be easier to reflect on “Part 1” once the series completes next year. We’ll know if it’s a good enough primer for the grand ending we’re all expecting. For now though, it’s simply an appetizer to keep us content until the main course arrives.

Troy Baker talks about video games, voice acting and “Mythos” concert

Troy Baker is one of most well known voice actors in the business. He is known for his roles as Booker DeWitt in “BioShock Infinite”, Joel in “The Last of Us”, Kanji Tatsumi in “Persona 4”, Pain in “Naruto Shippuden”, Hawkeye & Loki in “Avengers Assemble” and The Joker in “Batman: Arkham Origins” and “Batman: Assault on Arkham”. In conjunction with New York Comic Con 2014 and the first annual New York Super Week Festival, Tina Guo will be performing as a guest artist in MYTHOS! A thrilling and unique concert experience, MYTHOS, showcases great music from across the spectrum of modern orchestral genres – inclusive of music from the concert stage, television and film, and video games – featuring the all-star orchestra The Third Estate, conducted by Grammy Award nominee, Austin Wintory, composer of Journey, as well as vocalists from Choral Chameleon.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your involvement with “Mythos” video game concert?
Troy Baker: This counts as a win in my book for social media and for the community of gamers. I was a fan of Journey and especially the music. I reached out to Austin Wintory to compliment him not only on his amazing score but also his subsequent success. That began a long Twitter conversation back and forth about games and how we should collaborate on something musically. Also, competitive cat pictures might have been involved. This happened over at least a year and has culminated into this amazing event.

MG: What do you think that video game music is so important to its fans?
TB: The entire soundscape of a game plays such an integral part in the overall interactive experience. The same is true with movies. Dramatic moments are supported by a musical movement. Games are no different. Everyone can hum the underground tune from Mario Bros, some of us can hum selected themes from Final Fantasy of Metal Gear. What we’ve seen recently is how these thematic musical elements play such a crucial element, almost a character in these games. The main theme and even all the music from The Last of Us is a perfect example of this. Look how much of a role the music in Bioshock Infinite played in the overall experience!

MG: You have voiced many great video games including “Persona 4”, “Diablo III” and upcoming “Batman: Arkham Knight”; what do you enjoy most about video games?
TB: First and foremost I love being a part of making something that I’m going to geek out over later. As a gamer, I get to experience these games on two completely different levels and both are equally magical, first as an actor, then as a player. There’s not too many jobs that can boast that kind of benefit. I love that in the gamespace some no name kid from Texas can be a “leading man” in a huge franchise and maintain some anonymity that allows me to hide behind the character. I always want the role I am playing to take center stage, not me.

MG: Ranging from anime to video games; which is more challenging to work in?
TB: Both have their intrinsic challenges and each job requires a certain skill set. I view myself as a carpenter. I come into every job with my toolbox and I pull out the necessary tool for the job. At it’s root, however, everything I do has a foundation in just being an actor. Sometimes you’ll only use your voice and allow the animators to interpret your performance, others the onus is on you to present that character soup to nuts in your performance.

MG: How was it taking on the role of such an iconic character as The Joker in “Batman: Assault on Arkham”?
TB: In a single word: “humbling”. I grew up on Batman. It was my first comic I ever purchased. I’ve seen everyone from Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and, of course, Mark Hamill portray that role. To in any way be counted among those people, to have stepped into those shoes in any way, is an honor. I would rush home from school to make sure I caught Batman: The Animated Series on TV. Which to me, changed mover animation and how we tell a story in that medium. That show is unparalleled. To be directed by Andrea Romano was nothing short of a dream come true.

MG: What was the best part of getting to voice both Hawkeye and Loki in “Avengers Assemble”?
TB: The fact that they let me! I was cast as Loki first and really thought I would be recast as soon as I was cast in Avengers Assemble as Hawkeye. I’ve always loved Hawkeye, especially after The Ultimates series, because you got to see him as just a guy. Not a superhero with crazy powers, but just someone who is really REALLY good at what they do and can fight shoulder to shoulder along side a god, a gamma freak and a billionaire in an iron suit.

MG: Tell us about your first solo album “Sitting in the Fire”?
TB: It’s been such a labor of love. Some of these songs have been gestating for almost 10 years, waiting for the right time, right place. We finally found both. Our producer, Johnny What, our engineer and mixer Rob King and I, along with our musicians went up into the mountains of Big Bear, California with almost a half a million dollars in gear and tracked this record in an amazing cabin. It was a truly remarkable experience. Death bed moment for me. I’m proud and excited that the album is finally coming out. It’ll be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and all digital retailers as well as an actual “digital LP” physical copy in select stores October 14th.

Tina Guo talks about music, video games and concert “Mythos”

Tina Guo has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores. Tina toured with Japanese superstar Yoshiki of X Japan on his Classical World Tour, and recently appeared with the Tenerife Symphony and Choir in the Canary Islands performing “Batman: The Dark Knight” Suite at the 2014 Tenerife International Film Festival, featured on Electric Cello. In conjunction with New York Comic Con 2014 and the first annual New York Super Week Festival, Tina Guo will be performing as a guest artist in MYTHOS! A thrilling and unique concert experience, MYTHOS, showcases great music from across the spectrum of modern orchestral genres – inclusive of music from the concert stage, television and film, and video games – featuring the all-star orchestra The Third Estate, conducted by Grammy Award nominee, Austin Wintory, composer of Journey, as well as vocalists from Choral Chameleon.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your involvement with “Mythos” video game concert?
Tina Guo: I’ve known Austin (Wintory) since University at USC and have enjoyed working with him over the years on all kinds of musical projects! In the Mythos concert, I will be playing cello on 3 different tracks that are based around the music from his Grammy-nominated score for the PS3 game, Journey, on which I did the original solos as well. I’m super excited and can’t wait to perform these completely new arrangements with a fantastic group of musicians in NYC!

MG: How much of a difference is there between the worlds of a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist?
TG: All music is music… for me there’s no difference between genres or even in different kinds of art, whether it be playing the cello, singing, dancing, painting… any kind of expression is expression, and some genres or ways of expression may be more suited to expressing different feelings or energies than others, but in the end, everything is simply a reflection of ourselves. I love dichotomy and extremes, and although there are some extremes between classical music and industrial metal, there are also heavy similarities. For me, the passion, depth, and fury expressed in these two genres make them siblings rather than opposite polarities.

MG: You have worked on various video games including “Diablo III” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II”, what do you enjoy most about the genre?
TG: I love to work on all kinds of recording projects- on the Video Game Scores, working with the composers to create a feeling and bringing their notes and their ideas with what the cello and electric cello can bring mood-wise to the score is super fun! Video Games are an important and popular form of entertainment, and the music is such an integral part of it.

MG: Tell us about your one night only solo show “A Journey Through Music”?
TG: That’s my solo show at the Center for the Arts in Escondido, CA which is a gorgeous 1500 seat theatre in the San Diego area. I’ll be playing everything from classical works by Bach and Vivaldi to my Industrial Metal “Queen Bee” to covers of Beatles and Game of Thrones music. (I love Game of Thrones!!) I’ll be joined by a chamber ensemble of amazing musician friends from Los Angeles, my dad will be making a guest appearance to play the Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto, wonderfully talented Uyanga who is an ethnic Mongolian singer will be performing a few pieces with me, and my husband who composed the final two pieces in the show will be joining us onstage as well on keyboard/samples/electronics for those Trailer Music “Epic Music” songs. The show is sponsored by the Asian Heritage Awards, which is the evening before my show in which I will be receiving the 2014 Award in Innovation. I feel very honored and a little intimidated to be among the award recipients, who include molecular biologists, the scientist who discovered the greenhouse effect of halocarbons and led the first NASA assessment on the climate effects of non-CO2 greenhouse gasses, a California Assembly Speaker, the founder of the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy and scientist responsible for uncovering the structure of neuroligin, the founders of the Global Institute of Stem Cello Therapy and Research… etc… and then… there’s me… Tina, the girl who saws wood. *hand to forehead* I’m very grateful for the Asian Heritage Society for sponsoring my solo show however, and I hope that I can express through the multimedia performance my version of Innovation through music and art. You can find more info here: http://artcenter.org/event/tina-guo/

MG: Tell us about your upcoming albums?
TG: I just released an album on Oct 1, 2014 called “Tina Guo & Composers for Charity” which is available on iTunes, Loudr.fm, Google Play, and other digital retailers. 100% of the album proceeds are going directly to The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to support music education in our underfunded music programs here in America. 13 amazing Film, TV, and Video Game Composers (including Austin Wintory) contributed original pieces that feature the cello for the CD.  In February 2015, I will be releasing a Heavy Metal EP of Metal Classics played on Electric Cello with a full band- Raining Blood, Sanitarium, The Trooper, Iron Man, and Cowboys from Hell. The EP features guest guitarists on a few tracks, including my friends Al Di Meola, Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit, and Nita Strauss.

Austin Wintory talks about scoring video games like “Journey” and the concert “Mythos”

Austin Wintory is a composer known best for his scores to the acclaimed video game titles “flOw” and “Journey”. His score for “Journey” was the first video game to ever be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Austin is currently taking the role of conductor for the upcoming concert called “Mythos”, which is a 70 minute continuous musical presentation played by a 15 piece classical ensemble performing live the music of composers for Film, TV and Video Games. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Austin about the concert and what can we expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with conducting the concert “Mythos”?
Austin Wintory: “Mythos” is a concept I first had in 2011, which I conducted as part of a fundraiser for my non-profit Education Through Music – Los Angeles. The idea behind it was to mix together some of the most interesting, engaging music in today’s scene, totally regardless of the media from which it came. I was approached by Peter Sachon about performing video game music during New York Comic Con, and pitched back the idea of reprising “Mythos.” And here we are!

MG: Having done scores for video games like “flOw” and “Journey”; was this a natural transition for you?
AW: Yes I’m fortunate to have lots of conducting opportunities, which I love taking advantage of in the midst of composing commissions. I grew up conducting in concert, but eventually my primary outlet for it was in the recording studio for films or games, so the onslaught of concerts lately has been a joyous return!

MG: When you did the score to “Journey”, did you ever think that this would become a Grammy-nominated score and the only video game every to be nominated in the “Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media” category?
AW: Needless to say, not in the slightest. And now, almost two years later, it’s not really sunken in. It’s no less surreal than it was that day.

MG: What is the video game(s) that influenced you to do what you do?
AW: The infectious and witty nature of Tim Schafer’s games was a big part of my early gaming, and the music Peter McConnell wrote for them was basically the first game music I truly loved. It all culminated in Grim Fandango, which I think is one of the greatest games ever made, and with a score to match. It’s such soulful, passionate music and all around brilliant game.

MG: Why do you think that 8-bit music has stood the test of time and still resonates with fans?
AW: Chiptunes, those authentic early 8-bit hardware-based scores, were a huge musical contribution. There was nothing really like it before then. Electronic music was, before then, an extension of either the classical or rock scenes, using analog synths and tape manipulation and such. This, in games, was something now totally different. I think a big part of why it still resonates today is that the music was forced to distill a lot of dramatic intention into a very narrow bandwidth. But also a lot of game developers AND gamers alike are nostalgic to the games – and game scores – of their childhoods. So it’s gotten a revival as children of the 80s now enter the mainstream of professional game development.

MG: Can you tell us about little bit about what we can expect from upcoming game “ABZÛ”?
AW: Only that it’s still very early, and a massive delight to be re-teaming with Journey’s art director Matt Nava. I’m very very excited about this one!

MG: What can you tell us about your project “Our Curiosity”?
AW: This was a really special and wonderful experience. I’m a die-hard about NASA and scientific literacy in the general public, and this opportunity emerged to pay tribute to the Curiosity Mars Rover. An old friend, astrobiologist Jeff Marlow, had been working directly with the Curiosity team and so were able to get green lit to produce the tribute. We co-wrote the script, and then recorded our two narrators, actress Felicia Day, and acclaimed science educator Neil deGrasse Tyson. After that I wrote the score around the VO performances, and recorded it with a fantastic orchestra in Nashville. We co-directed the film and tossed it back to NASA who put it on YouTube. I like to think of it as an officially-sanctioned fan love letter.

MG: What else do you have in the works for the rest of the year and 2015?
AW: Lots and lots! But I will say, *hopefully* more Mythos performances!

The Cross-Country “Rio 2” Summer Party Tour Stops in 8 Major Markets Bringing Soccer Fever, Games, Samba Lessons, and Fun for the Whole Family!

JOIN THE SUMMER’S BIGGEST PARTY AS
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT BRINGS THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THE AMAZON TO YOUR HOMETOWN

The Cross-Country RIO 2 Summer Party Tour Stops in 8 Major Markets 
Bringing Soccer Fever, Games, Samba Lessons, and Fun for the Whole Family!

– RIO 2 is on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD July 15 – 

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings the party to the people with its cross country RIO 2 Summer Party Tour. Families will have plenty of reason to shake a tail feather down to the tour; it’s full of interactive activities for all ages including portable viewing stations to watch soccer games, live from Rio; screenings of RIO 2; Samba performances and lessons; customizable Carnival masks; soccer challenges, and much more! All guests can also turn their fun into a global sensation by joining a cross country karaoke   from the party via the sing- and dance-along photo booth.

SCHEDULE: 

Date City Venue Event Times Game Times
Monday, 6/30 New York South Street Seaport 12-6:30pm ET 12 & 4pm ET
Tuesday, 7/1 Philadelphia Franklin Square 12-6:30pm ET 12 & 4pm ET
Saturday, 7/5 Atlanta Mall of Georgia 12-6:30pm ET 12 & 4pm ET
Tuesday, 7/8 Cincinnati Riverfront Park Smale Field 1-6pm ET 3pm ET
Wednesday, 7/9 Chicago Kohl Children’s Museum 1:30-6:30pm CT 3pm CT
Saturday, 7/12 St. Louis St. Louis Galleria 1-6pm CT 3pm CT
Monday, 7/14 Dallas The Parks at Arlington 12-5pm CT N/A
Friday, 7/18 Los Angeles Hollywood & Highland Center 12-5pm PT N/A
.

With the Blu-ray/DVD and Digital HD release right around the corner, Fox Home Entertainment will bring the party from the Amazon this summer with a bunch of family-friendly fiestas across the country. You can find the Summer Party Tour any time of day, check out pictures from the tour, follow the GPS enabled tour bus, and explore all sorts of RIO 2 goodies at www.rio2summertour.com.  Follow the tour on social media with #rio2summertour.

DVD Review “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Directors: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: March 7, 2014
Run Time: 146 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I saw “The Hunger Games”, I plain out hated it. No, I have never read the books and have no interest in doing so either. I thought the movie was completely bland and watered down of what it could have been. It was also during a time when I was not a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence. Well, thanks to “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” that has changed and I have actually become a huge fan of Lawrence now. Unfortunately it only pains me more to say that this sequel could actually be worse the first film. Firstly, it is WAY too late at nearly two and half hours. Nothing happens for the first hour and then is so anti-climatic throughout the rest of the film that the cliffhanger ending just makes you slap your head in disgust.

Official Premise: Based on the best-selling second novel of Suzanne Collins’ award-winning trilogy, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn and directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins as, against all odds, Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta have returned home after surviving The Hunger Games. Winning means they must turn around, leaving their loved ones behind and embark on a “Victory Tour” through the districts. Along the way, Katniss senses a rebellion simmering – one that she and Peeta may have sparked. At the end of the Victory Tour, President Snow announces a deadly 75th Hunger Games that could change Panem forever.

Since this film was in such high demand (no idea why), we only were able to snag this on DVD. The DVD also comes with an HD Digital Ultraviolet copy. In terms of special features, the DVD once again gets the short end of the stick. There is an audio commentary track from director Francis Lawrence (not relation to Jennifer) and producer Nina Jacobson. No cast involved at all which is a shame since it could have added some life to this track. The only other real special feature are a few deleted scenes. Then there is a sneak peak of “Divergent”, which looks even worse than this film if that is possible. The Blu-ray release comes with a nine-part feature-length documentary called “Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire”, so fans of the film should be sure not to miss that. I am sure I will still see “Mockingjay: Part 1 & 2” but I really hope they are a vast improvement on these first two.

Top Board Games for your Christmas List!

Still not sure what to get that hardcore board gamer in your family for a present? Don’t want to just go the impersonal gift card route? Well, here’s my top four for the person who is really into board games:

#4: Well, I suppose I should have called this my top five, because four is a tie between “Alien Frontiers” (Game Salute) and “Star Trek Catan” (Mayday Games).

Both are what we call ‘resource building’ games and depend on your resources to build up your settlements. “Alien Frontiers” uses dice as the actual ships, and you place them in various builder positions based on your rolls, while “Star Trek Catan” uses the dice rolls to correspond to randomly placed tiles that make up the game board which you them place on to determine what resources you get. Both games end in victory points based on what you’ve built, and both have strategies that not only allow you to find better/faster ways to build, but also allow for some blocking of other players. “Alien Encounters” does this more so as you can place your dice where you want, as opposed to “Star Trek Catan,” where blocking is based on random dice rolls. While both are space exploration/expansion games, “Alien Frontiers” gets a bit of an edge in that you have more control over what happens since you have more control of what you do with the dice rolls, but “Star Trek Catan” also gets an edge because, well come on…it’s “Star Trek”!! You get to build starships and space stations and even use the original crew members for their special abilities that help you throughout the game.

#3: “Pathfinder Adventure” Cardgame (Paizo Publishing)

This game is very well done!! It combines so many elements of other games while being quite original and exceptionally versatile. The game is essentially a dungeon crawl game, but unlike other dungeon crawl game, there are no little miniatures or card board-cut outs to move around on a dungeon/game board. Instead, it’s all cards. Imagine “Dungeons & Dragons” as a card game. This is truly a cooperative game, the party has to work together to defeat the scenarios, but you also get to customize your character/deck to start and then continuously build your character/deck as you go through different adventures/scenarios/campaigns. The greatest part of this game is you can play a short 45-minute scenario, a 3-hour adventure, or an entire campaign that can last a week, a month, a year…etc. Not only that, but you can play with different play groups and keep your character along with the deck you’ve created by printing out a card/deck list off of the Paizo website, or play a completely different character, yet still save that one for later with a different deck list. Future expansion will probably keep this game fresh for years to come.

#2: “Thunderstone” (AEG)

This game just squeaks ahead of Pathfinder based on its pure addictiveness. It’s a deck building game with a High Fantasy (and somewhat Sci-Fi) taste to it, where every player starts with the same cards in his/her deck, but then builds their own unique decks based on decisions throughout the game. You gain heroes, weapons, equipment, spells, etc, to defeat monsters and gain victory points. The best part of this game is that each game you play is randomized, so you never have the same game choices. Each game is completely different in what it has to offer based on what random cards are used in that particular game. My playgroup seriously played this game for three days straight when we first got it. So much fun!!

#1: “Lords of Waterdeep” (Wizards of the Coast/Avalon/Hasbro)

Why #1? Simply because this is the game I play the most. It’s like one of your favorite band’s CDs, you just keep coming back to it after trying something else. Another resource building game (this one placed in High Fantasy “Dungeons & Dragons” settings), in this game each player collects different resources for different quests to gain victory points based on completed quests. Different from most resource building games, each player isn’t trying to collect the same items, as each quest has different requirements. To make it even more fun, you get bonus points at the end of the game based on which random ‘Lord’ you are for the game, so players have a chance to jump ahead in points at the end of the game. Again, a different game every time because of the random set up of Lords & quests, it keeps anyone with a short attention span entertained. I was introduced to this game at GenCon (nerdom’s annual amazing gaming convention), and I haven’t looked back since.

Next time…COMICS!!

Bear Wolf operates the New Game in Town shops in Dekalb and Dixon, Illinois
Visit them at www.newgame-intown.com

Film Review “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 146 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m guilty of not being wowed by the first Hunger Games movie. I agreed with those who called it a repackaged “Battle Royale” for American teens. Regardless of my criticism I saw some potential. The potential wasn’t wasted, but was instead misguided and stumbled around until the characters entered the arena. Gary Ross, the man who brought “Dave” and “Lassie” to audiences during the 90’s, was not the right choice to direct the first chapter of the adolescent, bloodbath trilogy. Luckily for people like me and fans of books, the studio has found the right man for the job.

Some time has passed since the 74th annual Hunger Games and things have yet to improve in the life of our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence). She’s continuing her tricky love triangle with fellow victor Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) and hometown lover Gale (Hemsworth). She also suffers from memories of last years games while her mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), continues to sulk behind a bottle of booze. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is still trying to weather the storm and keep Katniss in line by threatening her family and friends.

His plan is to have the two “lovers” embark on a victory tour to each district in the hopes of extinguishing any hopes of rebellion. The Capitol hands Katniss and Peeta some scripted speeches and touts them as the happy couple. With the threat of harm to their families, Katniss and Peeta know they have to play along, but once they start speaking from the heart, the somber crowds begin to show glimmers of hope and disobedience to the Capitol. So what is a President a to do? To declare that the 75th annual Hunger Games will draw from previous winners each in district. God bless those loopholes.

Sure we’re about to start treading the same ground and you can’t help but feel you’re watching a rehashing of the first movie, but “Catching Fire” has taken huge strides in every category. Director Francis Lawrence has delivered us a far more superior sequel that will leave you wanting more. His pacing and direction make every minute of this movie tense and each scene has sense of purpose towards the final moments. Even though were once again thrown into the gauntlet, poisonous fog and skilled killers pump up the action this time around.

The director is obviously the biggest change for this movie, but let’s just go ahead and admit that the foundation and glue of this movie is Jennifer Lawrence. Without her, Katniss wouldn’t appear to be so strong, but feel so fragile. The supporting actors like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Lenny Kravitz are a fine addition, but they wouldn’t have as much purpose without the commanding presence of Lawrence. Her acting doesn’t smother any scene, but instead leads the way for others.

This time around we’re not presented with a couple of terribly presented moral questions, but instead the movie holds up a mirror to society. The very people who create the political ripples and waves are instead masqueraded as media darlings in the hopes of discarding their true meaning. The men behind the curtains hope to keep the ignorant, ignorant by presenting and talking to our heroes like they’re TMZ celebrities. And of course we have the typical bloodlust of the general populous. This dystopian world doesn’t seem so far, far away. “Catching Fire” is a thrilling movie that increases the stakes and expectations for “Mockingjay”. Let’s hope Francis Lawrence can keep distancing himself from the child’s play of the first movie and really deliver the exciting conclusion, “Catching Fire”, has set-up.

 

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Complimentary Passes to Orlando, FL Screening for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

If you would like to enter for passes to the following advance screening:

Log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP

Enter RSVP Code: MEDIAMA22S

Passes are VERY limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Screening Information:
Date: Monday, November 18th
Time: 9:30 PM (View the Live Stream from the LA Red Carpet Premiere); 10:30pm (Film Starts)
Place: Regal Waterford Lakes

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is directed by Francis Lawrence, from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn, based upon the novel “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins and produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. The novel is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE opens on November 22, 2013. Lionsgate presents a Color Force/Lionsgate production.

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Probabilities Understand Your Chances of Winning Online Games

Probabilities of Winning in Computer Games

We all know that when we’re playing our favorite video game, all that we want is to win. When we’re playing our favorite strategy games, fighting games or RPGs, winning rests on our skill and knowledge of the game. However, casino games are another thing altogether – here the rules of probability can help us a bit when we’re trying to win. But how does probability work in different casino games?

It isn’t called gambling for nothing you know – of course there’s never a guarantee, or else casino or bingo sites would never make any money!  Although this is the case – there are definitely some probabilities that if you are aware of could tip some of the bets in your favor!

Bingo Probability

Online bingo fans, we all know you have asked yourselves how much you could win whilst playing your favorite bingo and slot games, right?  At an established online bingo site – the average return to a player is somewhere between 40 and 50%.  Essentially that should tell you that bingo should be played as a pastime rather than as a way to win money.  As the probability of you leaving a bingo site with a profit is low – it’s a good idea for you to spend only what you can afford.

Dice Probability

When playing a dice game it’s definitely a good idea to try and figure out the probability of each throw to allow you to make an informed decision when betting.  There are a total of 36 combinations and the probability ranges from 2.78% up to 16.67% – as you can see there is quite a difference there – so it’s best to swot up!  What is also handy to calculate is the “House Edge”. For example in Craps the field bet is even money, however on the next throw if a 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11 comes out – it would double the bet on a 2 and treble the bet on a 12. The average probable return for craps is quite low as for every $1 a player spends – they can expect to lose 28 cents – and of course whatever the player loses – the house gains.

If you think that this is complicated, think about the different probabilities in D&D games, where the dice have up to 20 sides. This article offers more information regarding the probabilities when dealing with such dice. You can also use an online calculator.

Casino and Table Games

A common technique used when playing Blackjack is what is known as card counting. It tends to be very experienced gamblers that do this and it’s a way for them to try and gauge the probability of a winning card coming out the pack.  The object is to get your hand as close to 21 as possible without boing “bust”.  To count cards – you would need to keep track of the cards that are already dealt – to see what could be coming next.  This could be useful as the probability will change depending on the cards that are dealt.

Roulette is completely different.  There are 38 spaces and after the wheel is spun a ball will be dropped into one of them.  You can bet on colours, numbers, combinations, odd and even and ranges.  The safest bet would be to bet on a colour or odd and even as they are evens.

One thing both video games and casino games have in common is the ability to find help online. There are hundreds of thousands of sites out there that give you cheats and walkthroughs of the video game you’re obsessed with. Maybe you’ll be surprised to learn that there are similar casino and bingo sites, that offer advice on your favorite games. You can check this out on bananasforbingo.com, for instance. Good luck, and remember that playing online games isn’t all about winning – it’s also about enjoying the game.

 

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Zelda Williams talks about the film "Noobz" and her love for video games

Zelda Williams is daughter of actor and comedian Robin Williams. She co-stars in the new film “Noobz” alongside Jason Mewes, Blake Freeman, Matt Shively, Moises Arias and Casper Van Dien. She is also known for appearing in Nintendo’s television commercials for the Nintendo 3DS game “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Zelda about how she got involved with the film, her love of gaming and what she has planned next.

Mike Gencarelli: How you were approached to co-star in “Noobz”?
Zelda Williams: It was like any audition really. I met the director and talked with him about what I liked about the character and the idea to get paid to play video games [laughs]. The cast/crew are really a fun group. With them being such gamers as well, it was like looking for a kindred spirit. So it was a lot easier having that aspect in place.

MG: Tell us about preparing for you role of Rickie?
ZW: [laughs] Thankfully it was pretty easy. Pretty much everyone in the film played a more debauched version of themselves in real life. Rickie is sarcastic and silly but pretty much fairly normal, actually. It was interesting to play the straight man to everyone else goofing off. I really enjoyed it. Especially being able to be the chick gamer in it was also quite fun. Otherwise [laughs], there really wasn’t much prep needed.

MG: Being a gamer yourself, what are you currently obsessed with in the video game world?
ZW: I like playing “Assassins Creed”. I don’t play as much when it is the busy season in L.A. because you can just lose yourself. I was one of those people that would play for 8-9 hours and it doesn’t help you be productive. I still loves games though.

MG: Having a father like Robin Williams, do you feel that comedy comes natural?
ZW: No, not at all [laughs] I think I am really happy that I got his wits. I am quick and snappy but funny is a hard gig. I am happy that I don’t have to be the goofy funny one. I am not speaking a mile a minute and expected to make people roll in their seats. There is a lot pressure in that and it is something that I have avoided for a while. Growing up with comedy, I have an enormous amount of respect for it but is not something that I set out to do.

MG: How was it hosting of the live show “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses”?
ZW: It was wonderful. I met them because of the Nintendo commercials I did and they asked me if I would be interested in hosting. I had no idea that they had a symphony behind this show, besides seeing it at E3 briefly a few years ago. It was fascinating to me but also scary as hell. I have really bad stage fright. But it was really wonderful. Music has such a connection with nostalgia. It was also great to see parents, who are fans of the game, now bringing their kids. Fans were attending all dressed up. People wouldn’t have assumed that when this game originally came out in the 8-bit world that it would played in front of an audience with a full symphony orchestra. It is interesting to look back and just think that they would have had no idea!

MG: I also a big fan of your Nintendo commercials for “The Legend of Zelda”
ZW: It is actually quite funny; doing the Nintendo commercials we actually had the opposite backlash than you would have expected. I really loved working with Nintendo and I think they are such wonderful people. A lot of people loved those commercials. But the gaming community took the other side of it and immediately starting complaining that I was pretending to be named after the game etc. It was very bizarre since half of the community went up in arms about it. But I found it very funny. They are the same people that I don’t think want to see comedians and fun people acting like gaming competitors in “Noobz”. I get it that the gaming community is very elitist but it is just really funny to me.

MG: Are you able to talk about your role in the third season of MTV’s “Teen Wolf”?
ZW: I am not sure I am able to talk about that just yet. I am good friends with Colton (Haynes) and he let that out a little early [laughs]. But next time we talk I will be able to discuss that more.

MG: Can you tell us about your film “Never”?
ZW: “Never” is a wonderful film. Thanks to Kickstarter, it got its post-production funded. I have never had a project do that and I think it is really great. I have a lot of faith done in crowd-funding if it is done properly. The film itself is really different from projects like “Noobz” or “Teen Wolf”. I play a lonely lesbian character living in Seattle, who is in a band. I get to sing three songs in the film. But it is not a musical though; it is more like “Once” where there is a reason why they are singing. But in this film, a straight guy falls in love with her. They become best friends and that’s where things get complicated. So a lot of it has to do with dealing with their friendship and feelings.

MG: What else you have for 2013?
ZW: The rest of 2013 is just working and writing. I am now writing scripts. I am very lucky to have found the team that I did to work with, since they are pushing them along well. Hopefully I will be going into production on one of my scripts soon.

 

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Exclusive “The Hunger Games” Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Thanks to the good folks at Lionsgate Films, MediaMikes has obtained a couple of rare promotional items to give away to celebrate the new film “The Hunger Games.”

We have (12) sets of “The Hunger Games” lanyards and lenticular Katniss book marks to give away. All you have to do is “LIKE” our Facebook page and then post “HG” and the name of your favorite “Hunger Games” character. If you’re already a fan of our Facebook page, just head over and post “HG” and the name of your favorite character. (12) winners will be randomly selected from all entries. The contest will run until Midnight on Sunday, April 8, 2012. Good luck!