Join Reason and Celebrate 'Video Game Nation' in Los Angeles, May 8


Just one more drug heist, I swear.

Shall we play a game? That's not just a question, but a famous movie quote that serves as a good early example of how video games have been growing to be part of American culture. June's issue of Reason, appropriately titled "Video Game Nation," explores this now-fully-entrenched culture, examining its intersections with politics, economics, the arts, and even philanthropy.

Video games are now more of a social environment than ever (despite what critics would say about kids glued to monitors), so Reason is opening up its Los Angeles office for a gathering and a panel discussion with a couple of industry insiders about video game innovations, what video games may accomplish, and what the future holds. We'll have food trucks, drinks, video games and free valet parking. Here's the basics:

  • When: Thursday, May 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Reason's Los Angeles headquarters, 5737 Mesmer Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90230 (Map)
  • Who will be there: Besides you lovely people, Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch will moderate a panel with our two industry guests. Craig Allen is the chief executive officer of Spark Unlimited, a Sherman Oaks-based game company that has produced several shooter games for consoles; he also previously worked with Jim Henson Interactive's digital media activities. Joining him will be Tracy Fullerton, a University of Southern California associate professor and game designer. She wrote Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Designing Innovative Games, and is currently working on an experimental game revolving around Henry David Thoreau's experiences at Walden Pond.

Register here at Eventbrite if you're planning to attend and feel to share our Facebook event listing. We're looking forward to seeing you and kicking your ass at Street Fighter.

NEXT: Small Mass. Town Finally Ends Silly Ban on Arcade Machines

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  1. Video games will make you shoot up the neighborhood, and send your childins to hell.

    1. Just started another run through of Borderlands 2. Someone please swat me before it’s too late!!

      1. Yeah, I just got to Sanctuary in Ultimate Vault Hunter mode. And I still have all the Headhunter DLCs to play. God damn I love that game. And we have more coming. Though I’m a little wary of a more “story-driven” Borderlands. I like a thin story, because what I want to do is get killin’ and lootin’.

        1. I like the first one better.

          1. The first one is a great game, and I really liked Lilith’s Phasewalk ability. Phaselock in B2 is cool and can be really useful, but being able to just completely peace out if you were in trouble was really nice. B1 has some great DLCs, which I think I liked better than even the Tiny Tina DLC from B2.

            1. I once knew a Tiny Tina.

              1. A spinner, you say?

                1. /why there are no female libertarians.

        2. I looked that over and didn’t get all too excited about it, but they’ve done a good job so far so I suppose I’ll give it a shot. What I really want is a new Fallout, preferable one that is awesome like 3 was and doesn’t suck ass like NV did.

          1. NV is possibly the greatest action RPG of all time.

            1. I liked a lot of the features, but it was too ultra-civilized for my tastes. Just bored me, I guess, never being more than 5 minutes from the nearest settlement, limited scavenging, lack of random encounters. I think it could have been done a whole lot better.

              1. I have the Ultimate edition with all the DLCs. I haven’t even touched the DLCs, but I have 150+ hours in the base game. I found it to be fantastic.

                Fallout 3 is a great game also, it’s just that it’s only like 40 hours long and the ending is the worst game ending of all time.

  2. Has anyone played Far Cry 3? I just started playing it, despite the fac that I’ve owned it since Amazons Black Friday sale.

    Pretty fun game, so far. I just made it through the part last night where you go get some mushrooms for Dr. whatshisname and wind up tripping on them.

    1. Loved, loved, loved that game. Go on an extended hunting session to upgrade your gear.

      1. The graphics are pretty cool set to HBAO with my Nvidia SLI cards. The only thing that is disappointing is that the clouds don’t move. I notice shit like that, no matter how hard I try not to.

        I’m just now starting to get a feel for the game and controls and getting good at shooting. First time I tried raiding a camp, I blew myself up with a grenade.

        1. I own it but have only tried playing once. The very first thing you do in the game is a stealth mission at first, and I fucking hate stealth anything, which has kept me from going back so far, but I’ve seen friends play it and it’s obviously cool. I have so little free time.

          1. That first mission, where you just kill some pigs and pick plants, is not too exciting. Then you can enable the radio tower and the only thing up there is a snake.

            But then you get to the first camp raid, and it gets a LOT more interesting.

            I was trying Far Cry 3 and Crysis 3 on and off, as they had been sitting on my virtual gaming shelf for a while. I didn’t care too much for Crysis 3 right off, but Far Cry 3 grabbed my attention, for now.

            1. You generally don’t have to do stealth, but the XP rewards are higher (not that it matters that much). I never got tired of hitting an animal cage with an arrow and watching it kill half of an enemy camp.

              Also, make sure you watch any cut-scenes with Vaas. Great script and voice acting.

              1. I never got tired of hitting an animal cage with an arrow and watching it kill half of an enemy camp.

                Haha. That reminds me of the time that I was being chased by an ice troll all the way down a mountain road in Skyrim. I ran into a village and the troll continued chasing me, but also managed to kill every single person in the village while I narrowly escaped. This went on for like 45 minutes. I was only level 10, but finally wound up killing him with what seemed like a thousand arrows and fireball spell. It was epic.

                1. Nice. You Leeroy Jenkinsed that village good and hard.

                  1. At least he had chicken.

    2. Yeah, it was excellent. I spent way too much time trying to take over enemy camps without being spotted or heard. Starting massive grass fires was fun as hell too.

      1. Silenced sniper rifle was pretty much the first thing I went for. There weren’t many camps that were hard to do once you have one.

        1. Yeah, I used that a lot. I also used the bow and knife a lot too.

        2. Yeah, if I can get one of those, I will be a happy camp destroyer. That’s my modus operandi in action games, bows and crossbows, or sniper rifles. So far, I can’t afford to buy anything, and the best thing I have is a cheap-o SMG that I grabbed off a dead body.

          1. Yeah, I was a sneaky archer in Skyrim.

            1. Same here, that just the best way to play as far as I’m concerned.

              1. I’ve been a ranged weapon guy since I first played Gothic 1. I got a pack of Orcs to chase me, and they took out a guard who had a crossbow on him. After I got my hands on that crossbow and started exacting revenge against everyone who had been beating the crap out of me at close range, I was off on my career of evil.

    3. just made it through the part last night where you go get some mushrooms for Dr. whatshisname and wind up tripping on them

      Blaze da fiah, make it bun dem!

      1. Awesome.

    4. Decent, but not great. It’s much shorter than I was expecting, even doing every side mission you can find, upgrading all equipment, and getting all tattoos. Once you get past the first hour or so of play it’s really just kinda the same thing over and over.

      1. Speaking of tattoos, Sleeping Dogs is highly underrated.

        1. Not only that, but pick it up on a Steam sale just so you can bump the theme for like 2 hours straight.

        2. I’ve owned that for quite a while, but never played very much. But it is a pretty cool game.

          1. You have to be a huge fan of HK action cinema, especially this series to fully appreciate it. I mean the main character is basically Andy Lau, and his sidekick is actually voiced by Edison Chen.

            1. I’m planning on trying it again.

        3. I like it for the reasons you mention but the game play got repetitive after a while.

  3. Why does Al Gore have such a hot mistress?

    1. And why is he contributing to global warming with that bong?

    2. I swear the print version is even *more* Gore-like.

      1. Well, since they didn’t make it look like Obama, it’s not racist, at least.

    3. That’s no mistress. Tipper just cleans up well.

      1. She also lost 300 lbs.

    4. It’s his masseuse.

  4. So which SoCal Reasonable persons are going?

    1. There are no reasonable people in Cali. It’s just commies all the way down!

    2. I’d go if others were going. I might have to go to Aardvark’s and see if I can find something reminiscent of Welch’s midnight cowboy getup first though.

      1. You could go as Brony Welch. But we want pictures.

        1. What? And have him and Welch show up in the same clothes?

          Jesse’d be mortified.

          1. One of us would have to go home and change, and I’ll tell you, it won’t be me.

      2. I’m going with some UCI friends. Last time I went to one of these I got to meet Sloop and Banjos and baby Reason, so that was cool.

        1. I may go. Depending on how my work is shaping up by then.

  5. We’re looking forward to seeing you and kicking your ass at Street Fighter.

    Fine, but if you use throws too often, I reserve the right to call you out for playing cheap.

    1. Obligatory whenever mentioning kicking ass Street Fighter:
      .. one of the best moments in all of competitive gaming history

  6. Anyone do something called “Hotline Miami”? Been thinking about getting it.

    1. It’s quirky. I can see why some people like it, but it wasn’t really my thing.

      1. Is it a quick-to-play or a bit of a time investment?

        1. I only played through a few levels. I don’t know how far it goes, but you can pick it up and put it down easily.

    2. Loved the game, especially with headphones on with the sound turned up. Or even better on the flat screen.

      Each individual level is pretty quick to play, you can just play a level at a time if you want quick go. However, you can’t save in the middle of a level.

  7. Can we have an open and frank dialog about the weird sim games on Steam?
    I mean games like Euro Truck Simulator, or Car Mechanic Simulator.

    Who plays these?

    1. Germans. I find it weird that you have to ask.

      In all seriousness. Apparently Europeans love games about driving trucks across Europe. I find it just as baffling as you do.

      1. It’s all about the truck stops, jesse.

        1. It’s all about the truck stops for jesse.


          1. “People who like you because you have cocaine aren’t people you want as friends, Pam! And not to sound elitist, but neither are people who need a roll of quarters to take a shower!”

          2. I chickened out on going to Rastst?tte Gnadenbrot when I was in Berlin. It’s a truck stop themed gay bar:

            The place to go for gay lorry and truck drivers. But not only they enjoy the truck stop atmosphere in Gnadenbrot. The tables are named after truck stops which can be found on the German Autobahn maps. Yummie food is served day and night, a good draught washes down the traditional creative dishes. Do not be the designated driver!

            When I was in the neighborhood it looked like a nice pub rather than the seedy hookup bar the name/description implies.

            1. The Germans are pretty freaky. You might be right to be afraid, if you don’t want them to tie you up and pee on you.

            2. You ever hit the Telephone Pub when you were in Bangkok?

              1. No. The only explicitly gay place I went when I was there was HotMale, which was a live sex show. I also got thrown out of a brothel because the random British fellow I ended up traveling around with wanted a prostitute but wanted to pay rural Chinese prices.

                1. jesse’s game is so bad that he gets thrown out of places where you pay for sex. Come on, jesse!

                  1. That was actually during my pre-game days. Although it was a straight establishment, so I had no plans on finding sex there. I was just there because that’s where the night took us.

      2. I’m extremely sad that the brothel simulator sim never made it stateside.

        1. It’s waiting for the Oculus Rift to be released. If Facebook doesn’t fuck it up first.

    2. I thought the big thing now, that we need to talk about, is games with crafting. I own Rust, 7 days to die, and planet explorers.

      Rust is a massive clusterfuck, the servers are all ruined by hackers, and the developers haven’t done anything but make excuses for months.

      However, the other 2 look very promising, despite still being in Alpha and having too many issues still.

      1. Terraria is basically 2d minecraft.

  8. A really awesome game that I don’t think many people have tried is Gunslinger, Call of Juarez. That game is just pure fucking awesome. The soundtrack and story are both top notch. The only downside is there’s not much of anything for weapon customization, but they story and soundtrack, and the atmosphere of the game play, make up for it.

    I hate Ubisoft, but they make some good games. I’ll be getting a free copy of Watch Dogs because of some hardware that I bought where they were doing a promotion. But it’s not released until, I think the 27th of May.

    1. If you want a good western game, pick up Red Dead Redemption. The theme is pretty damn libertarian too.

      1. I have it. But it’s on Xbox. I can’t really be caught soiling my PC gaming elitist snob fingers by touching that inferior piece of plastic.

        But, yes, it’s a damn good game, if I could get used to the controller, which I can’t seem to do. I am really good at driving horse and wagons over cliffs and killing myself though. I wish they would release it on PC.

  9. Did you guys hear the one about how video games are literally drugs that are destroying the youth of the world?

    There are lots of Americans who already sit around and play games like Wartune until they have no money left in their bank accounts, have let their jobs go and have ruined their relationships. And that’s without wearing a headset that makes them think they are actually in an alternate universe, or a KOR-FX vest that makes them feel like they are actually being kicked or shot or, perhaps, that someone is trying to set them ablaze.

    We are deploying powerful technology drugs to our young people and expecting that they will have no untoward impact on them or the world, even as data stream in telling us that these technology drugs are toxic — even in their current, relatively weak form. Eventually, we will realize that visionaries like Zuckerberg were, at best, blind to the harm they were doing.

    1. The Oculus Rift is the newest tool of de debil.

      Why can’t we just let the noble luddites save us this time?

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