orange county gaming group kickstarter interview!

we talked to our tabletop friends from orange county gaming group recently about their kickstarter project!

1) Hello guys thanks for agreeing to talk to us its a real pleasure! now contextually few of our fans emailed in to ask us to interview you guys and we think you have a great idea! but before we get to that, can you introduce yourself and tell us how did you guys get started as a group?

We’re absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to speak with you guys.

Well, we didn’t start as OCGG, but through a series of media, happenstance, friends, and luck we met each other and found that we all shared the same level of dedication to table top gaming. Beyond enjoying the game together, it didn’t take long to realize that our commitment to this genre of gaming extended far beyond mere participation. More than a passion for playing the game, we found we had a passion for innovating the game. OCGG was born shortly after.

2) so in regards to your kickstarter idea, could you tell our fans in a nutshell about your project ?

Essentially, we are trying to bring about custom audio versatile enough to be used across multiple genres of table top RPGS that gives the players that 3rd dimension feel. Try watching the final battle scene of Lord of the Rings Return of the King without sound, when the Fellowship finally defeats Sauron and his eye goes nova. We bet dollars to donuts that scene will fall pretty flat since the music and dramatic sound effects plays such a powerful role in driving home the currents of emotions the audience was meant to feel by Peter Jackson. We can do this with table top games, we know it because we feel it every Saturday around the table when our DM’s weave amazing audio in our amazing games.

3) so in regards to your project, would you say your influence is playing tabletop games to begin with?

Alex, our lead DM, has used musical backdrops for gaming sessions since 1995 starting from seeing the movie Braveheart. That was the first ‘click’. He saw scenes similar to the ones unfolding in his own game and realized that the dramatic music was key to influencing the emotions of the audience (and thus his players). It wasn’t until he received an iPad as a gift did another ‘click’ occur. Laptops, tablets, iPods, these are all ubiquities now a days, there’s no reason why we can’t immerse our gaming table with audio by both players and DM; the technology to play and share audio is everywhere.

4) question for fun, we are members of a tabletop gaming club, so what games do you guys
enjoy and what would you say made you decide to do your project?

D&D 3.5 is our first and foremost main game. We enjoy Shadow Run, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, Spell Jammer. We could do this all day, but we’re just going to stop there. (And that’s not including card games)

5) so would you say as players there was a gap in the market in regards to audio? or was it more lets try and make tabletop gaming better?

By far, we want to improve table top gaming. The audio to repurpose was there and it’ll always be there, it’s just, after playing for 20 years, hearing the same tracks gets old. We also noticed that there wasn’t an easily accessible and usable platform for current audio. You have to put up with ads and buffering and different media player plugins. Although there is a market for gaming music and soundscapes, there isn’t a whole lot of it. Moreover, we never found really cool, what we call, ‘Actual’ audio. That is, tailor made audio that DM’s can play and tell their players “Yup, you hear the elves actually perform this funeral service”. We’re going to change that.

6) You are using Kickstarter to fund your project, as fans we are always interested to ask why kickstarter and whats your thoughts about it?

Kickstarter has the most exposure. It is the biggest crowdsourcing forum available right now. It was easy to use and helpful as far as keeping in contact with those who support our project.


7) Geek Apocalypse loves creative thinkers/makers, so what would you say is the biggest challenge people like yourself have when you make something like this?

Advertising! Getting our name out there and getting people to understand what it is that we are doing and recognize that we are trying to enhance table-top gaming by bringing an innovation that sorely overdue.

8) we are assuming you guys have heard of tabletop and other platforms that are making board games/tabletop games popular? as experienced gamers what effect do you think this has had on the industry?

Mainstream media has boosted interest and acceptance of tabletop gaming. Generally, the popularity of movies like The Lord of the Rings, and series like Game of Thrones have rekindled public interest in fantasy. Specifically, Tabletop, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, Community’s D&D Session episode, various thinly-veiled Futurama D&D references and even Stephen Colbert have helped to bring D&D and games like it out of the obscure nerd underbelly of society.

On the flip side, you have video games. From their inception, RPG video games from Might and Magic to World of Warcraft owe their success to table top games, having heavily borrowed its vernacular, statistical modeling, presentation, and thematic references. However, what we are now seeing is a change of roles where now video games, not table top gaming platforms, are leading the development of fantasy content. A lack of innovation, ancient business models, and short-sighted run to digital platforms, has eroded investment in this genre of gaming, which can still be as profitable as ever – because of new technology, not despite it. Combine this with the fact that fantasy gaming business leaders have yet to truly understand how to bring tabletop gaming out of the 1970’s and we have this relative table top innovation dry spell. Virtual tabletops, E-Tools, and E-Sheets have helped but it’s high time this incredible pass time gets a serious industry facelift.

9) if people are interested in pledging or finding out more information about your project, where would they need to go?

They can go to our website, OCGaminggroup.com, our kickstarter page, our facebook, or they can follow us on twitter.

10) and finally if your project does get made, any plans for the future?

Lots! We envision an ever growing list of custom made gaming audio which will in large part be decided by the gaming community as we pick up steam. Along with the soundboard, we’d like to introduce additional audio and visual immersion tools which are still in the drawing board stage. As long as we are funded, we will keep improving table top gaming.

Well we wish you all the Success in your project, as gamers ourselves we hope you get the funds to make it happen! thank you for talking to us and to quote Wil Wheaton, Play more games!

We can’t thank you enough. Alright everyone, we have innovation to bring to gamers, roll initiative.

you can find there kickstarter at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/105982873/realmsound-project-20

also here is my first vlog post where I recommend them!

Advertisements

Roleplaying and why tabletop games are awesome!

dndgameplayI swear this is true that it pains me to say that I have never played D & D before. My excuse has to be based on the idea that at 25 years old that I just haven’t been exposed to the game. having sad that, in terms of actually roleplaying (and no unfortunately not THAT kind of roleplaying) I did play World of Warcraft roleplaying my character which I enjoyed for a few years. Looking back though, I think that’s all I liked, spending majority of my time helping organising a guild aka spending more time stressed than enjoying playing….hmmm where have I heard that before?

dragon age rpgIn terms of RPG specific games I recently broke that long awaited wait by playing Dragon Age RPG with a bunch of new friends I met by playing tabletop games with my board game club, which kind of shows why game clubs are great. After taking a while to get used to the process (I am a huge fan of dragon age so I was cool with that) the last session we did on tuesday I really enjoyed! I love the idea that our GM Andrew Barnettand any GM’s role is to create a story that captures the imagination and feeling that the players participating help create through their actions and decisions. Its so much fun using your imagination and it encourages you to get involved. Dont get me wrong, sometimes I have days like anyone where the last thing I want to do is play games with other people. I love the gaming industry and Im currently enjoying the pants of xcom, but what makes tabletop games so much more enjoyable is even if you have as bad dice rolls as I do, you still laugh and joke with the players around you! Even when you play these games online like we do, It is great, and in terms of being good for the soul, I always encourage people to open their minds and these games really do let you do that, minus the stress!

The great thing about tabletop games is that regardless of what your playing is just is important that your playing! As I said, without being part of a gaming club community I never would have got the opportunity to play my first ever RPG game. Regardless of the fact that my rogue cant seem to hit shit with his bow, and I’m not always participating, I really do enjoy the comradery and allowing people to express themselves. I’m so my experience has been so enjoyable!

Its funny, before writing this I was watching E3 videos in preparation for our Geek Apocalypse podcast tonight about E3 and I felt very sad. It suddenly dawned on me that the reason i felt this way because E3 really never feels like your part of it, especially if you watched the Microsoft conference, I’d be surprised if you felt like a gamer any more. That what I love about role-playing games, tabletop games, it carries the right attitude in that you have to make friends or you literally can’t play the game! So I actively encourage you to join us if you local in playing games, or find your nearest gameshop and have a go, or buy a game and invite your friends round! you really wont regret it! 🙂

matt leacockif your interested I went to uk expo board game convention and did two podcasts there! I also did a podcast with the brilliant matt leacock last week who makes award winning games pandemic, forbidden island and roll through the ages! pretty awesome! you can find the podcast on itunes and  www.geekapocalypse.com/shows !

We also do a board game review show on youtube! here is the latest episode!

http://youtu.be/0eKozLfecnw

my tabletop day experience: why I love geeks and gaming

After t2013-03-30 12.43.09he 16th hour of games, I took the cucumber slices of my eyes and soathing creams of my face(even I find that image ridiculous, because I’m obviously kidding), and with how much I knew this fantastic day was over, I knew It was time to leave and go home. For those that have no clue what I am on about, I was part of yesterdays brilliant international tabletop day devised by my fellow geek’s at Geek and Sundry.the idea was to get everyone around the world to host an event, wherever they can and with whoever they can, and play board games all day, which is frigging awesome.So me and my new friends from Newcastle gamers decided to do just that, and we decided to do it for charity i.e all the money that’s raised from it is going to a local charity here in Newcastle England.

tabletop day on the service is such a simple idea, yet something like 3300 events in 50 countries participated in the simple act of playing board games with strangers, friends, family, all to embrace and enjoy the brilliant, coming together of people that gaming can create. It generally gives me hope that we can take the word geek and gaming, and mean it as abstractly as I do, that  its about being interested, and appreciate the things that we love not to discriminate against for liking things, whether they are differentSAMSUNG or not. That’s why gaming is beautiful and this idea is so awesome, because it gets together people for all ages, with all different ideas or varying levels of relationships/friendships and gets to know someone more while playing something fun, engaging and enjoyable.

What other thing does that so effectively? how many times have you fought members of your family for the remote and lost? sitting painlessly through a show that you really didn’t want to watch? well, we played for 16 hours and not one time did someone request not to play something. The great thing is that even if your shit at something, which I am for most games, then you still have the advantage of talking and enjoying the company, in a sense the game doesn’t matter if the company is good. With gamers, the majority are interested, keen to try something new and you find that if you play something they want to play, they’ll play a game of yours. this is due to games being playable more so than ever right to the end, so you don’t feel alienated, and TV regardless of what people say, is practically becoming a solo activity, because there’s so much stuff to watch and its hard to find something for everyone. in games, so much choice, but you literally can’t play without cooperation and you still get the end result: bags of geeky fun stuff! which ironically is a name I used to dance under.

2013-03-30 15.36.23

as I said earlier the great thing about games , and tabletop day was a great example of this, is that the time fame of games is so diverse that whatever your in the mood for you can play. like i brought food from home so while some peeps went out for food, we played zombie dice, in which the dice were literally trying to kill me! as you’ll see in the photo, the idea is to avoid the bullet symbols and i rolled 5! this is really hard to suck that bad, its really rare. as in if i poked myself in the eye, while wearing an eye patch on the other eye, or including not playing the game in the first place, i still could roll better than i did then! but as luck would have it, I won in the next turns! but its simple and can be a two player game, so while we were waiting there was still something to play that was great. for your hilarity I’d never won in 2 months since going to my club, but the strange thing about it is its a very short term effect in actually winning. the first feeling I have is ”That’s awesome can we play again’, or ‘lets play another game’. If you look at the first photo of this blog for example, that’s part of a game called war on terror, where you wear the evil hat if your evil, now i know i look like a dick (i do anyway and some think I’m evil anyway) but the thing is, it really didn’t matter. I wasn’t bullied for it, it was all in good spirit! And I hope that one of the things that tabletop does is that it brings people who are worried about being humiliated or picked on , that it really isn’t the case and that they try coming along like people did at the event. free hugs for everyone!

Its funny as i say that because it reminded me that ever since I’ve learnt to accept who I am and what I like, far less people attack me for being who I am. and the irony is, it was more when I wasn’t doing geeky things that people attacked me for liking the things I liked that I wasn’t letting myself like in the first place. in gaming circles 99% of the time your accepted instantly and you’ll find people in there you really like. and it really isn’t a competitive environment so the idea of losing is not anywhere near as humiliating as the douche bag lack of real spirited gamers that attack you online for being supposedly shit at something. This is why board games in particular are awesome, because its underpinnings are promoting cooperation between the players, whether your playing 2013-03-30 12.47.20against each other, or not. That’s why in particular games like castle panic  or pandemic, lord of the rings and other co-operative games are great for people who are unsure, because its all of you versus the board. of course you may get someone with more experience playing the game, but in general they are all for hearing what you think we should do, that’s why its a much more enjoyable experience! us gamers want you there!

That’s why I really like someone if they say, yeah ill play, ill play anything, rather than someone that goes ‘dude that doesn’t sound like something id like’. how the feck do you know? if you  like games, then i generally would like you (i would like to hug you too for 2013-03-30 11.57.11being awesome), because i do think your more likely to be open minded, imaginative, interested in the same things as me. or not interested in anything I like, and that’s the point, games gets us together to talk about and enjoy anything. look at a game we played on tabletop day like pandemic(photo picture on the right), your going to get beat by it, but we tried, and we nearly beat it on legendary! we were 2 steps away from curing all the disease. for those that don’t know the game you have to stop a world wide pandemic by working together to cure all 4 viruses that are affecting the world. if you play on legendary, you never win, but we had the cure, we only had one card in the deck that could kill us, and it came out! I really wanted to raSAMSUNGge quit! but we spent most of the day bringing it up how awesome it was playing together, and I didn’t know the guys I was playing with but I liked playing the game with them. Isn’t that great? Peeps I didn’t know and we already have a story about us playing a game we lost at. that’s the point, whether you win or not, its fun, you laugh, you enjoy yourself. which is good cos i usually win fuck all 🙂

That’s why i love being a geek as well as a gamer, the openness to accept people and allow people to show how much they like things.I saw an article with Simon Pegg recently that said exactly the same thing about geeks. Being a geek is not only having an interested, a love, but it allows you to be that way for everything. Its such a better existance to love what you love because it makes you happy, because you’ll find that it makes other people around you more comfortable within themselves, which is exactly what being a geek as done for me. in a sense I’m not being anything, geek is not a group, its in many ways an ideology of just being interested about people, and not letting anyone who doesn’t, stop you from loving the things you do. I played 16 hours worth of games during the event, and all it felt like was getting to know people, and loving the hell out of it because we were playing awesome games!

So if someone does take anything from tabletop day, I hope its their love of games and that it’s ok to like the things you like, because if we can collectively be 3300 events in one day around the world, we really aren’t alone in thinking the way we do!

and all for just picking up a board games and playing it? thats why gaming is beautiful and important.

play more games 🙂

i did a podcast at the event which you can find here www.geekapocalypse.com/shows

and there’s a you tube diary of me throughout the day and thank you I did for Geek and Sundry that you can find below 🙂

 

The beauty of gaming: a life of a gamer

gaming

It’s funny, I have been a gamer for most of my life, and it was only on a recent podcast I did with the lovely Viv Wiggins that I started reminiscing about my life as a gamer.  Even after the podcast, Viv and I talked about the value of games, and I became to realise the value and thread it has had in my life that I’ve never really realised until now.

I suppose I just never looked at it in reference to my experience playing games, but I am always interested and engaged in seeing how people use games or even value games at face value. When I worked in a local school the other day for example my colleague was trying to get the kids to play the monopoly app and it bored them senseless. Now, on face value, you can say that was unsuccessful and that games aren’t important, but I think like most things, people feel the need to put it in the box of , if you don’t like one game you won’t like them all. If you don’t like a certain pizza topping, you don’t then say, we’ll all pizza toppings are bad so therefore ill just not eat pizza anymore. Which means all food is bad therefore I won’t eat anything, therefore living is wrong so I’m better off dead. Why draw the line so needlessly? The monopoly attempt also was an unsuccessful game because as much as I love board games, monopoly is dull and there are a million more games (such as settlers of Catan or ticket to ride) that kids would enjoy, even changing the rules to accommodate the age of the kids that you’re playing with. But that’s the point I’m making, don’t stop at one game (the kids didn’t they played minecraft) so if whatever you pick first does not work out try something else and you’ll hit that pizza topping extraganza of a game you’ll love (ok I overused the metaphor but hey it twas fun while it lasted!)

Just a heads up that I’ll mention this now before I get on to my experiences with gaming because the thing that often irritates me is an obviously touchy subject regarding games, particularly the video game genre. The violence, the lowering of a persons I.Q and other deeply misunderstood and excuses used by none gamer haters about how games are supposed to be a damaging influence. I can only speak from my experiences in detail but what I will say about that argument is that if you look for example at the Japanese or Chinese gaming markets, millions of games and hardly any violent crime, especially in relation to gun crime because….and this is so hard to understand….ITS HARDER TO OWN A GUN THERE and THERES A LOT LES GUNS!! So rather than become more responsible in regards to gun control (like what people do in most threatening situations) they blame something they have no interest in, or don’t understand in order to protect what they feel is being threatened. In this case particularly with America is their fear of losing their guns to the government why does that then mean we potentially get tougher restrictions on something that isn’t related in most gun controlled countries?

So what’s my earliest memory of gaming? The first computer I ever played on that I can remember  was the Amstrad, the brainchild of the UK Apprentices Alan sugar, where I endlessly played Fruit machines that literally just won you credits to keep hitting space bar to roll the machines again. Imagine a young kid reading this now?! What’s a space bar? Is that like a new mars bar? Haven’t you heard of casino’s Steven? In fairness we are talking roughly 1990ish and I would have been round 4 years old at the time. The other game we had with it I loved, I sadly don’t remember the name of it but I played it that much that the cassette tape broke. Naturally I was devastated, but the idea of the game was you were this stick man and went to rooms solving very limited investigations with very laughably pixelled objects to find. It was sort of the beta test to the UK TV show Knightmare (If you get that reference your welcome to hang out with me anytime). After flirting with the consoles commodore 64 ( CANNONFODDER!!!)  and the SNES, my brother got a SEGA mega drive and so beginneth the adventure and love of games that I still have to this day.

For the one person that may be interested to know, maybe, this is the reason I use the Toejam and earl music as my theme for the podcast. I have never had more fun that playing that game with my older brother, my friends and even one player mode when I irritated my friends by wanting to play it too many times. Imagine a none violent game where you get to use presents, rob Santa Claus and play cool aliens like toe jam and earl? In fact, I think like everyone growing up in the late 80’s, early 90’s have the arcade era to thank for influencing our appreciation for all type of games.  In fact, my older brother and celebs like Wil Wheaton make a good point that it’s a shame kids of this current generation haven’t been brought up to respect each other like their generation, for example you went to arcades, learnt to take turns and play co-op games with each other  and learnt the value of co-operation and general decency. Now if you’d shout at someone there like you do online now aka noob douchebags, then you would have got your head kicked in. at the very least you’d lose the thing you were there to do, being thrown out and barred from playing games. Because there wasn’t them games to play at home therefore it was the only places to go. That’s kind of the unfortunate side to gaming that even use gamers acknowledge, because we don’t like them just as much as other Medias do. We want people to enjoy games and it’s never going to be perfect, it’s a matter of gaming companies, parents and the douches that play to try and be more responsible in tackling it.

It’s the same deal with kids being given access to games that are below the 18 age restriction placed on the game, why are we not questioning the parents that allow kids to play call of duty and other games that have age’s restrictions and yet I know kids that are 10 years old that play these games. Irresponsible parents breed’s irresponsible behaviour, these same kids I meet through my work also watch family guy and south park, cant people see that it’s the lack of parents being responsible for what they child plays and watch that’s a factor if people want to focus on being proactive in the current problem. That’s what I think underlines that video games are not a problem, there is not an outcry of attacking films that promote violence or irresponsible behaviour, yet they mimic real life a lot more realistically than games ever can. Again, I think video games are bullied because it’s regarded as the inferior industry, kind of the geeky school kid who only has a smaller selection of friends, hmmmm where have I heard that before?

Not unlike me I have went on another tangent, but just as I said earlier in regards to my conversation with Viv, she said she wasn’t a gamer, and I told her exactly this, gamer isn’t just one thing, its embracing any type of game, no matter how little or much you play. You can appreciate games if you play half an hour a day as much as playing 12 hours a day, thts the great thing about being part of the main friendly gaming group that is gamers. Yes I play complex board games, I play card games like magic,  I play video games, but I also sometimes just enjoy scrabble, solitare and playing just one round of fifa. Now if I don’t do the first list, does that make me not a real gamer? No, I’m a gamer, because just like being a geek, it’s really just appreciating and being interested in something.

Thankyou games for the fun times and long may they continue! 🙂

p.s I will be part of Newcastle gamers celebration of international tabletop game day on march 30th! Do come along if your free!