Portfolio

Here you’ll find samples of my work, both recent and a little older. Selections are arranged by general topic.  Page last updated January 5, 2017

Talks:

Opening the Internet: Looking Beyond English Dominance -Examining why, with changing demographics online, along with increased demand for content, it’s important to have available, consistent, options across services for non-English speakers.

AlterConf NYC – December 10, 2016

Op-Ed:

My seriously ill mother wanted to live close to me — but Medicaid said no  The Guardian – When my mom, who has Multiple Sclerosis, faced the possibility of life in nursing care, insurance restrictions could have kept her stuck in another state far from me, her only child. Unless this changes, this red tape still might. A look at how reliance upon state-provided insurance, poverty and disability, might unnecessarily keep families apart.

Yes, Closing Comment Sections is a Loss (2015) – Why closing comment sections on some sites is a loss, and how you can grow and maintain a better community through priority investment in quality moderation.

Gaming:

Culture & Opinion

Gaming Ability – A look at ways gaming can be inclusive
toward those with disabilities. This was inspired by my
mother.

Gangbangers, Victims, and Whores – Latinas in Videogames: The title is
harsh because the depictions are. I remember once wanting to
read about the portrayal of Latina characters in video
games. I searched only to find no one had written that
article yet. This is my take.

Attack of the Eight-Legged Cliché! – Enough with the giant
spiders already, developers! A lightly humorous piece from
an arachnophobic gamer.

 Community-related:

The Social Hub – A regular column (2012-2015) examining communities and
related concerns and issues in MMORPGs and other online games. A few samples:

  • Heartfelt Tribute Shows Community In MMOs is Still Relevant – When news spread that one of their own players had passed away, spontaneous memorial gatherings and tributes rang out as the Final Fantasy XIV community came together to honor the fallen.
  • MMO Marketing – Why the Community is More Important than Ever – We have always shared our gaming experiences, yet the power of the community, the crowd, the fans, is more important than ever. Far from just a few friends around an arcade machine, the ability to share experiences with others has never reached this far before. Streaming and crowdfunding are part of the modern player’s life and vocabulary. Word of mouth marketing from streamers and personalities is significant.

Strategy Gaming, eSports, and MOBA

Civilization V: Gods & Kings review – A review of the game’s expansion originally commissioned by Yahoo in 2012, but link no longer live. (.pdf file).

SimCity: Were We Deliberately Misled? – After a simple hack was shown to enable SimCity’s offline play, and with no word for days from EA and Maxis, pondering if we were misled by the developers about the game’s requirements and purpose of the always-on requirement. (Internet Archive link)

Patience, Your Characters Will Speak – I wrote about paying attention to your characters and letting them speak to you as you decide their fates, whether that comes to moral decision-making,  character identities, or other attributes and paths.

Will Your MOBA Go Mobile? Strategy Gaming on the Go Grows – An RTSGuru feature from February 2012 speculating on just when the MOBA genre would overcome the hurdles in order to successfully bring the genre to mobile platforms. Also compares the impact on PC gaming and discusses consoles. (.pdf file)

How League of Legends Took the Strategy Crown – (from 2011) – Released in 2009, 2011 was a year of astonishing growth for Riot Games’ League of Legends. While StarCraft began to suffer a bit. This piece examines the steps Riot took that made League of Legends such a popular game in a short period of time, and how it became a genre-definer, just as Blizzard did with World of Warcraft.

League of Legends – Putting Honor to the Test – A followup to an earlier piece, this time serving as a capsule review of Honor post-implementation in League of Legends. (.pdf file – originally appeared on RTSGuru.com)

How To Not Leave Players Behind – When it was confirmed that 50% of StarCraft II players never go online, it was clear that the story-based campaign in games still endures for many, even when there is a focus by the company, and in the media, on competitive multiplayer. (From 2012, RTSGuru.com – .pdf file)

Visas for LoL Players Demonstrate Its Global Reach – Shortly after Riot Games announced that its Season 3 final of the League of Legends Worlds championship would be held at the Staples Center, the US began issuing work visas to international players for the tournament. With a major US arena and worldwide popularity, the visa matter reopened the debate over who “real” athletes are, but stretched way beyond to demonstrate what a global game looks like. (.pdf file – originally published on RTSGuru.com in summer 2013)

Civilization V: Brave New World Expansion Announced (Internet Archive link)

Why the RTS is the Ideal Genre for the Freemium Model – Certain characteristics central to the RTS genre make it an idea one for freemium game models, which should explain some of the popularity of free to play strategy games. (Internet Archive link)

Weekend Wrap-Up (sample via Internet Archive) A feature combining the best of our site for the previous week, as well as additional tidbits strategy gamers would be interested in but were not covered by our news or features that week. Weekend Wrap-Up was conceived, implemented, and written each week by myself.

Regular news updates from 2011-2013 at
RTSGuru.com (defunct) Sample link via Internet Archive

MMORPG and Online Gaming-Specific:

The Elder Scrolls Online – From early 2014-late 2015, I was one of the two columnists covering The Elder Scrolls Online for MMORPG.com A few samples:

Why Nostalgia is Necessary – Many MMORPG players feel the genre is stagnant, with studios like Blizzard canceling MMO followups to focus on smaller games in other genres, as well as free-to-play becoming an industry standard. Many claim that the genre today is a shell of what it once was, with nostalgia playing a role in what some of these players want from today’s games. While the past may never fully return, nostalgia does serve a function. Why nostalgia is important to the genre, creativity within it, and shouldn’t be discounted.

We No Longer Truly Value MMOs (But Maybe That’s Okay!) – “I’ll wait until it’s free” is a common phrase among today’s MMO (and online) game audience. Back in the earlier days, a box fee and a subscription were standard, with the occasional trial handed out, but today, players want to know what they’re getting into. In a genre that feels stale and similar for many, “value” is something that has shifted to more complex than just money or time spent.

The Wrong Way to Do Free-to-Play – When game devs announce that the one class available to non-paying members will be significantly weaker and at a distinct disadvantage, it’s not the enticement to pay up that some might hope. When games get few second chances, separating players into blatantly pay-to-win tiers is almost self-sabotage.

Other:

A review of Grab ‘Em Snacks Plantain Chips, plus some
history on plantains
.

Reflecting in a Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Staten Island, NY 

A brief travel piece selected by the editors of Trazzler/Open Spaces for publication.

Being Captivated by the Lamentation of Swans in Brooklyn, NY 
Another brief travel piece from Open Spaces. Originally a
contest entry that became a finalist and was officially
published by the editors.

 


The following samples are currently unavailable. The links are no longer live since the site has gone under. I will update these ASAP if I can fetch archives/copies, or replace this section soon.

 

Will Honor Change the LoL Community? – Reflecting upon the system of positive reinforcement for League of Legends a day after its announcement, and gauging the potential impact on the community.

In Their Words: Why Fans Had to Attend the LoL Worlds Finals –  In Los Angeles for the League of Legends LCS Season 3 finals, I interviewed fans at Staples Center about their experience with the game and asked them all the same question – “Why did you have to be  here tonight?” (Excerpt available via Internet Archive here.)

 Is the Single Player Campaign Still Relevant?  Examining
whether or not the single player campaign in RTS and
strategy games is still relevant to players in light of a
decision by EA to remove — then restore –the campaign in
the next Command & Conquer title.