Eric Wheeler

My Son’s Video Game Art and Level Design

Ashton, my five-year-old son, loves playing video games on his Nintendo Wii. His favorites include Disney Epic Mickey, Hot Wheels: Beat That!, and Wii Sports Resort; he plays the New Super Mario Bros. Wii the most. I’m also a huge fan of the game, and we often team up as Mario and Luigi in the game’s multiplayer mode to save Princess Peach from Bowser and company.

Gone, But Not Forgotten: Vector Games

Although vector technology in gaming lasted less than a decade, some of the designers from the industry’s Golden Era utilized this revolutionary display technology to create classics. Bright, crisp graphics gave vector games a distinctive look and their fast-moving game play mesmerized arcade-goers who lined up to drop quarters for titles such as Space Wars, Battlezone, and Tempest.

Advertising Real-World Products in Video Games

Whether the advertisements we see all around us are the brainchilds of Madison Avenue or of the local lawn care company, we cannot seem to dodge the onslaught. And it extends well beyond traditional product placements in newspaper, radio, and television.  Corporations now place their advertisements on escalator steps, sidewalk trash receptacles, and even on restaurant bathroom stalls.

Taking Video Games Outdoors

As legendary game designers David Crane, Steven Cartright, and Garry Kitchen spoke at the recent Classic Gaming Expo, I couldn’t help but reminisce about some of my favorite Activision titles from the early 80s. As the first third-party developer in the video game industry, Activision released fascinating titles, such as Barnstorming, Keystone Kapers, and Kaboom!, for the Atari VCS. Crane’s classic platformer Pitfall! came to dominate my play experiences—both on the screen and off.

Traditional Influences on Digital Media

As a fan of the hit television series Man vs. Wild on Discovery Channel, I was thrilled by my chance encounter with the show’s celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls at E3. On screen, Bear inevitably finds himself in harrowing situations that test his expert survival skills. Publisher Crave Entertainment is betting gamers will want to walk in Bear’s shoes in their upcoming video game adaptation of the show. From Bear, to Wonder Woman, to Mickey Mouse, countless faces from other media showed up in games demonstrated at the Expo this year.