Are You Professor X or Are You Magneto?

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This is an amended version of a speech I gave at Santa Cruz Quaker Meeting House in June.

Everyone in this room has a superpower.

I don’t mean you can bend metal with your mind, like Magneto or read people’s thoughts like Professor X. I mean you have some skill that is native to you. It is something that you do better than most other people.

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Piranha Frenzy, a novel about video games, is free for the next five days

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To celebrate E3, Piranha Frenzy (Kindle Edition)  is free for the next five days.The novel normally costs $9.99 on Kindle. Here’s the link.

Written by Polygon senior reporter Colin Campbell, Piranha Frenzy is a novel about the gaming industry. It takes place on the day of a big E3-like convention in Los Angeles in the near future. The story, which takes an inside look at gaming culture, centers on a game reviewer who comes under pressure to give a AAA game a positive score.

Piranha Frenzy has been received favorably. Writing on the New York Game Critics blog, New York Times’ regular contributor Harold Goldberg called it, “nerd-dishy … with tight prose peppered with humor that is skillfully plotted.”

Microsoft exec and senior industry figure Phil Harrison said it is “a must read for anyone in games.”

Star Wars movie writer and former PC Gamer editor-in-chief Gary Whitta called it “a thumping good story.”

“I’m really happy that the story has given people pleasure, and I hope that this offer gets it into more readers’ hands,” said Campbell. “Perhaps some of the many people traveling to E3 this week will give it a try.”

The book is also available in print edition.

My World Cup Predictions: Guaranteed to be Wrong from the Start

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Last Update:

So I got 75% of the qualifiers from the first round, and 75% of the last eight. France surprised me by getting through, but the team I expected to play here, finally turned up against Germany.

My pre-tournament last four was 100% right, but after that, everything went to hell. I predicted a Brazil Holland final. Still, great, great tournament.

—–

My Team of the First Round

Ochoa

Mena

Vertonghen

Gonzalez

Lahm

Shaqiri

Rodriguez

Guzman

Musa

Neymar

Muller

 

 

Update: First Round Complete.

I got 12 right out of 16 (original predictions below).

I called all final positions in Groups A, B and F exactly right.

My errors 

Costa Rica instead of Italy.

France instead of Ecuador.

USA instead of Ghana

Algeria instead of Korea

Original Predictions

Okay, here are my predictions for the World Cup. I strongly suggest you invest your entire life savings on my expert analysis. But I feel duty bound to warn you that I have not correctly predicted the last four since 1990.

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About Piranha Frenzy

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I’ve written and published a story about a games journalist who suffers pressure to deliver a high score in a game review she has been commissioned to write.

Piranha Frenzy is the story of a games website and the people who work there. I have spent much of my professional life in places like Piranha Frenzy, so it’s a reflection of a world that I know very well.

For many years I have worked for magazines and websites that have made their way in the world covering video games and the games industry. I’ve done everything from making the tea to running teams of dozens of journos. So I had plenty of material to work with.

Piranha Frenzy is the story of how small compromises against editorial integrity can have big consequences, and it’s about how editorial leaders, who forget who they serve, cause untold trouble.

Just about everyone in my book suffers from some kind of delusion that they take actions for all the right reasons, and that they are above wrong-doing. The story is about people with individual motivations and abilities, operating in an environment where ethical lines are blurry. It also touches on issues about power and belonging.

I hope that Piranha Frenzy will entertain anyone who takes an interest in the world of games journalism.

Search ‘Piranha Frenzy’ on Amazon for print and Kindle versions. For more information, reviews etc. go to the Piranha Frenzy website.

Big issues came to gaming in 2013

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One of the chief pleasure of writing about video games is how deeply they reach into the broader culture and society as a whole. Games have always been interesting in their own right, of course, but in recent years their capacity to engage on a more complex level has opened up new possibilities for commentators. In short, games with something to say provide journalists with that thing we enjoy most of all; angles.

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Nationalists and Monomaniacs

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One of the perils of real life, and of journalism, is the zeal of monomaniacs. The media is a wonderful forum for debate, except when it is hijacked as a lopsided platform for nuttiness. As a reporter, we have to know the difference between a colorful, yet informed opinion, and a barmy obsession.

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My Games of E3

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Rather than a ‘best’ of E3 list, this is, strictly speaking, a personal shopping list. These are the games from E3 that I’m pretty certain I’m going to buy. Links also to some E3 work I did on the games, or my colleagues at Polygon created.

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Gaming’s Quotes of the Week

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PLEASE NOTE – Quotes are now posted live throughout the week at TheQuotableGamer.

Relive the past seven days through the silver-words of gamers and game-makers. This week we have 26 quotes that may, at the the very least, divert you from a pretty crappy week IRL.

- If you want to be alerted to this feature for the next few weeks, follow me on Twitter @colincampbellx -

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Telling Indie Tales

driftmoon_logoIn recent weeks I’ve been talking to a lot of indie game developers about how they view games media. Their opinion, on the whole, is that coverage on the big games news websites is extremely difficult to attain and that the agenda of larger games websites is to serve mainstream AAA gaming, while making a token effort for indie games.

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Online Gaming’s Misogynist Bullies

Bully HORIZ ICONSome months ago, I submitted this feature (I think it was a slightly different edit) to a previous employer, who refused to run it on the basis that the issue of female disempowerment in gaming was “saturated”. Naturally, I was furious, but this was hardly the first time that certain sections of the media have turned a blind eye to the uglier side of audience behavior.

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