Gaming power to the people

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By Stephanie Holland

By Stephanie Holland

Since the invention of Pong, video games have slowly crept into the mainstream.

This year’s E for All Expo showed just how far the culture has come, with entire support industries rising up around gaming.

The expo was held Oct. 3-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and featured appearances by gaming celebrities Steve Wiebe and Fatal1ty.

Wiebe showed up to challenge Billy Mitchell, his costar in the film “The King of Kong,” to a “Donkey Kong” face off. Mitchell declined to play once Wiebe arrived.

Even bigger news this year was the release of “Rock Band 2.” Attendees lined up to rock out like their favorite bands, only this time they were on a stage instead of in their living rooms.

The success of games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” have inspired companies to create similar games like “Piano Wizard.”

“Piano Wizard” uses the same techniques as other music based games, except it claims that players will be able to actually play piano after they’re done playing.

A demo version of the game was very difficult to play and didn’t offer the same rock star quality of its counterparts.

Hoping to set itself apart from other massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) was “Entropia Universe.”

The game is the first MMORPG to feature an exchangeable currency. The virtual economy is backed by US dollars so players can withdraw real dollars from their game accounts.

For fans of first person shooters, TN games is coming out with the 3rd space vest. It allows users to feel like they’re actually being shot while playing.

Technology that originally came from medical exams is used to pinpoint key areas where air compressors shoot puffs of air at players through the vest.

As far as accessories go it was definitely the most creative of the expo, but at $169 it is a little high priced for what is basically a novelty product.

Besides games and accessories the other main focus of the event was careers in the gaming industry.

A full day of panels was devoted to the game career seminar. Experts discussed how to break into the industry and how to find the right gaming career.

There were also several colleges recruiting students for their game design programs.

In addition to recruitment, Devry University had three students on hand who have already designed and marketed the game “CellZenith.”

The overall focus of this year’s show was accessories, with the majority of exhibitors catering to a specialized marketplace.

Whether it be dance pads for “Dance Dance Revolution” or a storage unit made specifically for “Rock Band,” gaming peripheals are the new frontier of the industry.

Gamers even have food that is made to meet their specific needs. Gamer Grub is a trail mix type product that contains vitamins that boost cognitive skills so players will think faster and have quicker muscle reflexes.

In their rush to focus on critical thinking, the developers forgot to add great flavor to their product.

Despite the hit or miss nature of some products E for All expo is still one of the biggest stages for the gaming industry and this year’s show didn’t disappoint.

It featured a variety of displays so whatever your gaming interest there was something that even the clumsiest video game fan could get excited about.

In the aftermath of the expo, gamers have now returned to the darkened basements of the world until the next video game or comic book convention.

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