Ever wondered what it would be like to step into your favourite game? Numerous stories have explored this concept. The latest addition to this list and to the list of my obsessions is HBO’s Westworld. If you’ve got a few thousand dollars to spare, you can step into the wild west world created by Delos Corp and live out your cowpoke dreams.

“The guests don’t return for the obvious things we do, the garish things. They come back because of the subtleties. The details. They come back because they discover something they imagine no one noticed before. Something they fall in love with. They’re not looking for a story that tells them who they are. They already know who they are. They’re here because they want a glimpse of who they could be.” – Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford

I’m not gonna lie, if Bioware created a game like this for real, I would strongly consider selling my first born just to spend a day on the Normandy. It’s nice to watch a show that focuses on powerful, nuanced narratives and intriguing characters that force the viewer to question our assumptions, all within a world whose intricacies will be increasingly recognizable to gamers and developers. Especially when the NPCs start taking on a life of their own and their (our?) puppetmaster pulls the strings…

Meanwhile in other gaming news…

VR Demos—Get Your VR Demos Here! Only 5 for 10 Minutes!

More and more, we’re hearing about the true next generation of gaming: virtual reality. If the $300-ish price tag for VR headsets is out of your range, you can save costs by trying out the system for a small fee. To be clear, you’re paying for an in-store demo.  Unlike test drives and sample packages that consumers are usually given for free, UK retailer GAME is charging potential customers to try out the PSVR headset. According to a statement released by the company, the fee is refundable, if customers purchase the PSVR or a Playstation 4.

Voice Actors Sound Off

If Jennifer Hale’s name is attached to a game, I’m going to listen. If Gideon Emery promises to whisper sweet nothings to me, shut up and take my money. Unfortunately, I won’t get to hear my favourite video game voice actors for a awhile, because, as of Friday, they have gone on strike against several major game developers after 19 months of failed negotiations. Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) as well as non-union members are seeking secondary compensation, transparency in the hiring process, and safety protocols — all pretty reasonable requests, considering that the video game industry has changed drastically over the decades, but voice actors are still bound to a contract that was created in 1994. Despite the greater prominence of voiced games, with some companies even turning to recognizable Hollywood names to lend their windpipes to game, Scott Witlin, the companies’ legal counsel, claims that voice actors count for “less than one tenth of one percent of the work that goes into making a video game.” Those same voice actors with growing fan followings that also help promote the very games they barely contribute to and whose names these companies are capitalizing on to help sell said games, Scott?

“School is a game”

says the University of Michigan’s professor of education and information, Barry Fishman, who is working with the university’s Gameful Learning Lab to create educational experiences that incorporate game elements into the learning environment. Any opportunity to engage students in learning and maintain that engagement that is a positive. Lab director Rachel Niemer says that the goal of gameful learning is “to help people think differently about teaching and learning. Our goal really is about selling the pedagogy and not selling the tool. The tool makes the pedagogy much easier.” I love to see the various ways education is embracing different tools to engage kids in learning. Of course I’m going to love the one that’s focused in and around gaming.

A Happier Walking Dead

Recent events in The Walking Dead have left many fans feeling rather down — or, if you’re like me, you’ve been rolling your eyes since last seasons’ trolling began and have finally tapped out because you just don’t care anymore about the fate of these characters you once loved so dearly. If you’re looking for something to put a little smile on the face of the zombie apocalypse, check this out: