New Mortal Kombat Game Trailer

New Mortal Kombat Game Trailer

Hot on the heels of a new Mortal Kombat movie’s viral campaign a new trailer hits for a new Mortal Kombat game. What is some what surprising is that this game looks More »

A new Mortal Kombat movie? HELL YES!

A new Mortal Kombat movie? HELL YES!

For a long time Mortal Kombat has gotten the short end of the stick as far as content outside of the games goes. Toys have sucked, t-shirts, books or comics have all More »

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Well I’m going to start this off with the statement that I’m not afraid to admit when I am wrong. I’m sure you all read my “say bye bye to guitar hero More »

 

So you want to go pro? (Part 2)

READ PART 1 FIRST!

Once you’ve started going to tournament and are starting to get recognized as a solid player there’s still more that you have to do! Part 2 is a bit more about the marketing side of being a pro gamer and comes from my 7 years of marketing experience combined with my personal experiences in the gaming industry over the past 4 years.

What was your name again?… 

Make sure you have a good gamer tag that sticks in someones head and is unique to you. Fatal1ty for example has a short but intimidating name when it comes to FPS games and it’s something you remember. The 1 in his name makes it unique so when you google Fatal1ty you get Jonathan Wendel as the top result and that’s exactly what you want. The key is to make sure that when people google you that they find you quickly and easily and they don’t confuse you with anyone else. There’s probably 2 dozen Death Temptress’s out there, but can you find out which one is me? Nope, but when you google StarSlay3r you find this page and you see results for Ciji Thornton. That’s exactly what you want! You need to choose one name and stick with it. This is your brand. Make sure to pick a name that is not derogatory, insulting, drug or alcohol related or anything with a negative meaning at all to be safe. You need a name that if a company chose to sponsor you they would have no problem plastering it all over their website or product. You won’t find any company sponsoring a gamer whose name is 420King. The same goes for your logo/ symbol.



Make yourself marketable…

What makes you different than the hundreds of thousands of other gamers out there? Why should anyone pay any attention to you instead of the guy sitting two tv’s down from you? Make yourself stand out, make sure you have something about you that is eye catching and makes people stop to see what you’re doing. Kicking ass is one thing but no one is going to stop and look at you just because you have a +25 K/D ratio going on, most of the time they won’t be looking at the screen when passing by but if you have an awesome outfit or bright colored hair or a catchy logo on your shirt they are more likely to look in your direction and then stop and watch for a bit when they see that on top of an awesome look, you’ve got the skills to back it up. Again, don’t listen to anyone who wants to insult you for how you look, wear what you like and trust me… it’s always good to stand out! People who have a unique look will be remembered. Even if your thing is showing up in a suit to every tournament… or a vest (DJVest, for example, in the Street Fighter community)… something that is unique to you is the way to go. Companies love someone who has a unique look.

A lot of it is about who you know…

Some of the best opportunities that you’ll ever get in your gaming career will be thanks to your personal friends or people you meet at events. Make sure to make yourself business cards and take at least 50 cards with you to each event you attend. This does not just cover gaming events like WCG or MLG, I’m talking about everything from CES to SXSW. You never know who you’ll meet at an event so always make sure to go to every event possible and to talk to everyone! Some of my best connections today have come from attending an after E3 party and just talking to people at the party and exchanging contact information. Pro gaming isn’t just about playing games and winning, it’s about getting yourself out there. Your goal is to make sure everyone knows who you are, not just the gaming community for the game you play, but people who play all games on different platforms from all over the world.

Take advantage of every opportunity while you still can…

Most of you who are reading this are probably in your teens or twenties. You’re still young, so take a risk or two. Take advantage of an opportunity that seems like it’s only once in a lifetime, because it probably is. You wouldn’t want to miss out on anything and regret it later, and it doesn’t hurt to try so go ahead and audition for a tv show, enter a HUGE tournament with the best players in the world, enter a contest that requires you doing crazy stunts and who cares if you lose… at least you tried! Some of the most awesome things that I’ve done in my life are because I took a shot and auditioned for WCG Ultimate Gamer and applied to be a runner for the Repo Men contest and wasn’t afraid to just drop everything and travel to Japan last minute selling some of my gaming gear to go and report news about Tokyo Game show and again to go to Germany to promote a new game that wasn’t even out yet at time. Go to auditions, say yes to opportunities that you’re interested in even if it might hurt your wallet at the time, the connections you’ll make and the experience are more than worth it. Be yourself, hope for the best, and have fun! Life is short… enjoy it!

Did I st…st…stutter?… 

Lets say you win 1st place at a local tournament and the local news station wants to interview you really quick about who you are and why you are so damn awesome. The worst possible thing that could happen is that you freeze up or start to stutter or just act super awkward on camera.You’ll notice from watching my interviews that I have no problem answering questions fast and don’t say UM much or have long pauses when talking. The secret is media training. Some companies will offer media training if you get sponsored by them, but for those of you who are just starting out and are camera shy you can look into taking public speaking classes like I did in college. While public speaking classes may not seem like a direct solution to camera shyness, it does help immensely. You’ll find that after taking classes you won’t be saying UM or UH, you will speak louder, more clearly, and with confidence. This is a super great thing to have because when a company wants to sponsor a gamer they also will want you to speak on camera to promote their product or to give a shout out to their company when doing an interview. People will notice if you’re not good at doing interviews and it will definitely hurt your chances of getting more interviews in the future, so investing in some sort of public speaking or media training is definitely a good choice!

Have all your content in one place…

It’s a REALLY good idea to have a .com or .net or both if you can. It’s also really important that your official site be the #1 thing that pops up when people search for your name. Your official domain is where you can show off your skills, post your gaming resume, post your videos, and have contact information so people can get a hold of you for tournaments, appearances, interviews or sponsorship offers. It’s not as expensive as you think to get a website of your own. Considering all the opportunities that can arise from being easily accessible, again… it’s well worth it! Also, feel free to post other content on your site like game reviews, or even have daily postings like Kotaku. There’s nothing wrong with that and if anything having more daily hits is a good thing as it’s more exposure to who you are and what you do. Make sure to link to your YouTube, Twitter and other social networks so that people can friend you and follow you for up to date information on what you’re up to.

Street Cred…

Make sure to keep track of all of your tournament winnings no matter how big or small.Obviously if you win large tournaments that’s going to look best on your resume, but don’t be ashamed to post all of your smaller tournament winnings on your resume as well. Many of these “unknown” tournaments (ie not WCG, MLG, etc) have more participants at one event than WCG will have for the competitive YEAR! You winning a tournament at E3, PAX, etc. should always be noted on your resume. What is optional is to include how much you won. Typically console players don’t earn as much per tournament win so they tend not to put tournament winnings on the resume but still try to keep track of your earnings somehow as it’s a popular question that you’ll be asked in many interviews down the line. Keep this gaming resume on hand because it helps when joining a team and also for interviews as they will most likely want to post your most impressive wins and you want those to be accurate!

Have your people call my people…

Once you start to get your name out there a bit it might help to hire an agent to help you to get noticed by companies, booked for events, get sponsorship or land modeling gigs. My personal experience going this route was not very necessary and seemed like it’d hurt me more than help me as agents wanted to charge me a very high minimum monthly fee on top of taking 20% of any deals they made. This is an example of a BAD DEAL that you’d want to avoid. If you’re already a Justin Wong type of gamer you don’t need an agent and would probably be better off without one. If, however, you’re still working on getting your name out there it might be a good idea. If you DO decide to go with an agent ensure that you work out to where they only get paid if they actually book you for an event or land you an endorsement deal. Also, never sign with anyone that wants more than 25% or that takes a percentage for deals that you yourself landed. A GOOD agent will not charge you if they can’t book you for anything so don’t agree to pay any sort of monthly fee either. The same goes for a manager of a team! Even if you get paid a salary from this team there is no reason for them to take more than 25% of and endorsement deals or sponsorships you get because they just had the connection, it’s your skills and your personality that got you the deal! Don’t get used! Make sure to get EVERYTHING in writing. ALWAYS HAVE A CONTRACT and ALWAYS have a copy of every contract you’re affiliated with on hand.

How can I help you???

Having sponsors isn’t just about having them pay for everything for you and getting you publicity, it’s a two way street that you need to treat as if it was a relationship. You can’t just TAKE TAKE TAKE! Ask the company what you can do for them to make them happy or to better promote their product. Offer to work their booth at an event and compete on the side wearing/using their product. Set up exhibition matches to show off your skill and see if your sponsor is willing to offer some product to people who are able to beat you. This doesn’t just help keep you in tip top competing shape, it also helps to promote the product for your company and gives something back to the community of other gamers who dedicated their time to beating you, so it’s a win win for everyone! Make sure to post links to your sponsors on your official pages and give them shout outs in your interviews. If it wasn’t for your sponsors you probably wouldn’t be able to make it to all the events you go to or afford all the entry fees so thank them! Other companies will notice how you treat your sponsors so negative representation or lack of representation can lead to less sponsorships, dropped sponsorships or even dropping you from the team entirely.

“There is no such thing as bad publicity…”

As long as you don’t do anything illegal or anything that would be considered controversial you’ll be fine. Haters are going to appear and they’re going to hate on you for no reason, made up reasons, or out of spite/ jealousy. You need to realize that only you can make yourself look bad. If others want to dog you for doing what you love, spread lies about you or try to discredit you, just let it go. Ignore it because in the end the only people who will believe it are people who didn’t care for you in the first place (and you don’t really need to worry about those people anyway) or people who just don’t know you yet (and those people can change their opinion of you once they get to know you). Anytime someone talks about you, even if it’s negatively, they are helping to make you more popular, discrediting themselves and making themselves look bad.

If people are talking trash you’re probably doing something right. It’s nearly impossible to be successful in this industry and loved by all. Even pro gamers Fatal1ty and Justin Wong have haters, and 99% of those haters are for no good reason. Take people bringing your name up as a compliment, even if it’s negatively. That person OBVIOUSLY sees you as a threat and is probably a closet fan. ^_~ Often times your biggest hater posts more up to date information about what you’re doing in life than anyone else you know! Thank them for keeping everyone up to date and keeping your name going strong ensuring no one will forget you. ^_^

Well, stay positive and keep your eye on the goal! If you have any further questions let me know by leaving a comment below or you can hit me up on my various social media sites.

Thanks for reading! Hope I was able to help!

 

– Ciji “StarSlay3r” Thornton

So you want to go pro? (Part 1)

Originally posted November 11, 2010. Re-posting with some updates and Featuring due to how many times people ask me about this!

 

Pretty much every day I get the same question via twitter, youtube, email, formspring, etc. and that question is “How do I become a pro gamer?”. Well, it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s not easy, and you most likely should NOT quit your day job, but here’s some tips on how to pursue competitive gaming as a career.

For starters…
Pick the game or games you want to focus on and look for online for local tournaments for those games. If you play Super Street Fighter then a good place to find tournaments is SF4Answers.com and also Shoryuken.com (but don’t think about posting in any threads there… just look at the tournament thread) If you’re into Tekken SDTekken.com is a good site for you. For Guitar Hero and Rock Band you’ll find that Scorehero.com and RockBand.Scorehero.com have really helpful tournament threads. If you’re into FPS games like Call of Duty or Gears of War then you’ll want to check out MLG’s MajorLeagueGaming.com for online tournaments and for tournament dates around the US. Basically your best bet for finding tournaments is to go to the official game website forum although googling for tournaments and searching on craigslist is also a good way to find some tournaments that weren’t well promoted but have some pretty good prizes if you’re good at sifting through posts.

 

Every pro gamer had to get their start SOMEWHERE…
Don’t listen to other people who try to discredit you for winning many local tournaments or tournaments that aren’t considered “elite” to some. If you win a tournament at PAX with 300+ entrants you have officially won a tournament with more people in it than all of WCG for the entire year. Sometimes these “smaller” or “non notable” tournaments as some may call them, have the most amount of participants, the best prizes, and just as much tough competition as any other large scale tournament. Not everyone can afford to fly out to every MLG, EVO or WCG event. Events like PAX are cheaper and more accessible, therefore you get more entrants especially since once you pay for an event ticket all tournaments have free entry. You can’t be a pro without winning some tournaments, so be proud of every tournament you win no matter how big or small. They didn’t GIVE you the prize, you had to work for it… so give yourself some props.

Also, this should be something you do in your spare time, nights and weekends. Do NOT quit your day job to start gaming competitively unless you are offered a salaried position with a professional gaming team (such as Overwatch League). Pro gaming is expensive, and it’s easy to struggle financially if you do not have stable income to cover your living costs as well as the thousands of dollars it can cost to travel around and compete in all of these events. Also, never… I repeat… NEVER quit school to pursue pro gaming. I would NEVER recommend this to anyone. Your education is important! 

While it may seem easy to say, “well I’ll have more time to practice” it’s not necessary to dedicate 70 hours a week to gaming to go pro. I started my pro gaming career while doing marketing work 3-4 days a week and continued it while working 40-60 hours a week doing QA testing. The point of starting off locally is so that competing does not interfere with your work schedule and you don’t waste as much money on competing right off the bat. The goal is to spend little money and earn a lot while gaining experience to take your gaming career to the next level.

Practice Practice Practice!…
As Fatal1ty himself says, practicing is important. You can’t just say “I want to be a pro gamer” and magically be one. You have to practice your ass off. If you know an important event is coming up you should try to dedicate as much time as possible to practicing so that you can place well at the tournament. If you are focusing on one or two games you’ll have to put down all of your “for fun” games for the month or so preceding the tournament to make sure you’re up to par since you’ll be going up against the best of the best at these bigger tournaments. Set up practice sessions with your friends every Tuesday night for example to make practice both fun and competitive, because you know you’d hear it for days if you lost to your best friend! If you don’t have friends who play the same games as you going to a LAN Center or an Arcade is also a good option if it’s available to you.

Make sure to play with some players who are better than you if possible. While it’s fun to own scrubs all day long, you won’t get any better beating people who don’t know any better. Even if you get your ass handed to you by RagingRavenSRK 30 games in a row, when you FINALLY see his pattern and kill him on game 31, you realize you are learning how to fight against a top level player that has taken out hundreds of other competitors so playing against someone with only half of his skill will seem like a piece of cake. On top of learning how to play with the big dogs you’ll also learn a trick or two if they’re willing to share their secrets, and many times they will if you ask nicely. By playing with pros you can learn good Halo sniping spots, learn the best star paths on Guitar Hero or learn a good combo or two in Super Street Fighter or Tekken. No matter how good you think you are, there is always someone out there who is better and there is always something more you can learn.

Stepping up your game…
When you don’t think you can get any better and you feel like you’re just burning yourself out on practicing take a break and research techniques. For Guitar Hero and Rock Band you can improve your scores to get on top of the leaderboards by researching Star Paths and Overdrive Paths on Scorehero.com‘s forums or learning new hand positions/ techniques for nailing solos from YouTube videos. For Street Fighter you can learn new combos by watching youtube videos of top players who use your character vs your trouble characters as well as asking specific questions to the oh so knowledgeable crew on SF4answers.com For most people the reason why you keep failing at the same spot or keep being beaten by the same character is usually because of muscle memory. You’re obviously doing something wrong but you haven’t figured out what it is yet, so stop doing it and figure out what the problem is. On top of watching others doing it the right way, it sometimes helps to record your matches and watch them back after you’re done gaming to see where you went wrong and think about how to fix it. A good device to use is the AverMedia Game Capture HD. On top of using it for analyzing what you did wrong, it’s also good for uploading High Quality videos to your YouTube account.

Take it to the next level…
If you start dominating online and your local scene it’s probably a good sign that you’re good enough to move onto the next level. Save up any profit that you make from your local tournaments so that you can put that toward traveling to a larger tournament such as an MLG event, EVO, Devastation, Iron Man of Gaming, etc. Your average cost for attending a tournament of a larger scale will be anywhere from $500-$1,000 depending on how far away from the tournament you live, your method of transportation, hotel choice, etc. The entry fee for most tournaments alone will be anywhere from $10-$50 or so, and that is usually the cheapest part of competing on a large scale. Carpooling and sharing a hotel with teammates or friends is definitely the best way to ensure you can make it to important events. You should try to attend at least 2 major events per year if you are taking this seriously. While winning a bunch of little tournaments is definitely respectable, if you want a chance to be picked up by a team you have to get yourself to the major events that the team managers will be at.

Be professional!…
You can still have fun at events but it’s best to remain professional both at events and online. It’s great to do social networking on facebook and twitter, but don’t use those social networks to insult others or bad mouth the gaming community, instead use it to make new connections and spread the news about your latest accomplishments. You never know who is following you on twitter so your reputation could be negatively affected if all companies see is you bad mouthing others or constantly complaining.

Use your social networks to follow gaming teams you’re interested in and other pro gamers who play the games you play. You never know, some day a team could follow you on twitter, see one of your YouTube videos and offer you a spot on their team. I’ve had several teams contact me because they’ve followed my progress on twitter and facebook. I was surprised when I went to a SF4 tournament and Jason Lake (Manager of Team compLexity) introduced himself to me saying he followed my gaming progress on twitter. Imagine how bad it would have looked to him if I had spent all my time on twitter bashing other players.

Join a team…
While joining a larger salary paying team is the goal, it doesn’t hurt to join a smaller team to get some experience. Teams like the PMS/H2O clans are pretty easy to get into, they have a couple sponsors and they sometimes cover expenses such as entry fees to events. Applying to be a Frag Doll Cadette is an option for female gamers that will help get you into events (usually all expenses paid) and will also help get you some experience with doing game demonstrations in front of large groups, speaking on camera and they also support competitive gaming by throwing their own tournaments with the Frag Dolls and Cadettes which will help you to gain more experience as well.

Check out the teams that are known for having exceptional players for the game that you play and see if they’re taking applications for joining the team. Don’t think that you can go to the MoB Godfather saying “I’m awesome at games you should put me on your team” though, instead type up a gaming resume and prepare a cover letter saying why you think you’re a good fit for the team and talk about how you can help each other. Go about applying to a team the same way as applying to a job. The bigger the team, the harder it is to join and the more impressive your resume will have to be for them to consider you, but don’t give up! If you are trying to be on a team like MoB for example, they may not want you for this gaming season but it may not be because of your skills, it may be because the slot(s) for that game are full and they need to wait for a contract to expire or for more funds to accept another player, so keep up your gaming and keep in touch with people from that team.

To avoid overloading everyone with information I’m breaking this down into Parts so expect a Part 2. Is there something that you want to know about Pro Gaming and the process of getting your name out there? Leave a comment below. Going Pro is not easy, but it is a lot easier once you have some sort of direction or know how someone else went about it so I’ll try to help as much as I can. Thanks for reading!

 

READ PART 2 HERE

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I’m currently rebuilding my website. This process will take some time to get everything re-uploaded. In the meantime you can get updates from me by following me on social media.

 

Thank you for your patience!

 

New Mortal Kombat Game Trailer

Hot on the heels of a new Mortal Kombat movie’s viral campaign a new trailer hits for a new Mortal Kombat game. What is some what surprising is that this game looks more like traditional Mortal Kombat than ever before. There’s no gritty real world take, and the trailer features many of your favorite characters. After MK vs DC it’s nice to see that it has Fatalities as well as brutal violence through out the game. Oh, and this is “Mortal Kombat 9″ or “Mortal Kombat: Random Extra Confusing Title”, but just Mortal Kombat. BUT there are too many characters for it to be a reboot.

The trailer starts with gorgeous graphics showing off the detail behind Shao Kahn and Raiden before they go into battle. Then the actual gameplay hits and I was impressed. Mortal Kombat seems to be in the combo game, as most of the gameplay shown in the trailer involves juggles and special moves. Favorites like Johnny Cage (with a douchey new chest tattoo that says *groan* Johnny), Kung Lao, Sub Zero, and Reptile.

mk1

Perpetual damage taken through out the the match seems to be a hold over from MK vs DC, as does their up close combat system, but this time damage during these encounters is shown with X-Rays that reveal cracking ribs, broken jaws, and mangled bones. It’s a nice touch to be sure.

mk2

What really surprised me is that the game is taking the 2.5 D route rather than full 3D like MK vs DC. All of the levels shown are on straight forward 2D planes, with no room to move side to side. Again this is a great return to form. One of the biggest complaints gamers had with MK vs DC was that special attacks and projectiles were easy to dodge with a simple side step. Levels like the sky bridge, the acid pit, and the evil forrest return, as well as levels like Shang Tsung’s throne room, an arena packed with spectators and a city rooftop. They all have great detail, and one moment in the trailer featured a man being lowered into an acid pit, guaranteed carnage, even when fighters aren’t doing anything? AWESOME!

mk4

The biggest shock may be that the Mortal Kombat may feature a tag system. There were a few moments in the trailer when other characters popped on screen to attack with special moves. This could just be an ally system, but here’s hoping we can see some crazy tag team matches.

mk3

I’m incredibly excited about this Mortal Kombat game. The graphics look great, the environments look really well rendered, and the gameplay looks solid. Honestly, I didn’t think there was much wrong with MK vs DC. I felt like it was a very well balanced game, with a lot of re-playability. My friends would come over all the time and we’d smash each other all day. The only problem was that Street Fighter IV then came out and we started smashing each other with that.

This could be the first Mortal Kombat game in years to be worth of tournament play! Here’s hoping we see a group start to support the brutal killer and that it has some long life ahead of it.

Posted by IamKent

A new Mortal Kombat movie? HELL YES!

For a long time Mortal Kombat has gotten the short end of the stick as far as content outside of the games goes. Toys have sucked, t-shirts, books or comics have all been garbage, and don’t get me started on the films. While the first one was a fun take on the deadly island tournament formula that was popularized by Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”, the franchise has never taken off in a way that it deserves, until now.

scorpion

A new short film called Mortal Kombat Rebirth hit the web today. It’s a 7 minute long, super gritty, real world take on Mortal Kombat that could not only revitalize the movie franchise, but also the video game franchise. It’s directed by Kevin Tancharoen, the man who was behind the camera for the remake of “Fame”, and it’s entire purpose is to show Warner Bros that a that a great movie could be made from the franchise and get funding for it.

Personally I think it’s cast very well so far. I love the real world take on these bigger than life characters. The way they handle them is just as extreme, as ever. Baraka being a made scientist who’s embedded claws into his own arms, and Reptile being a freak of nature all work for me.

Some one recently commented no the video that this approach is “fucking up” something good and original, when I think it’s almost the exact opposite of that. Mortal Kombat itself is an amalgamation of every good martial arts film of the 70s and 80s. It’s premise had been seen before. It’s story was never all that deep or involved, and when it tried to be in later games is when the series fell apart, long before the Mortal Kombat characters tangled with the DC Universe.

I think this could work, and start a cool series of Mortal Kombat films that please the fans, first timers, and set both the movie franchise and the game franchise in a new direction. Here’s hoping Warner Bros listens up and stars production right away. Honestly while I like the video I don’t want Kevin Tancharoen directing. Most of his experience is in music videos. I’d rather see some one like the Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the men behind Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Gamer to do it.

What do you think of the seven minute promo?

Posted by IamKent

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Well I’m going to start this off with the statement that I’m not afraid to admit when I am wrong. I’m sure you all read my “say bye bye to guitar hero post”. Basically it looks like Activision actually listened to the people on this one and made the smartest move they could have ever done and they decided to bring Guitar Hero back to it’s roots. I believe that Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is going to help save Activision’s ass quite a bit after the failures known as Guitar Hero 5 and “Crap Hero”. Yeah, I said it. Basically just when you played Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80’s and Aerosmith and thought “well it can’t get much worse” they came out with GH5 and the pop hits aka Band Hero and totally turned me, along with 75% of the hardcore Guitar Hero crowd, off to the series.

One of my biggest complaints with the series was that ever since Guitar Hero 3 it seemed like they focused more on making the game mainstream by getting the big name pop stars like “Taylor Swift” instead of making the game challenging and fun. They also came up with the gimmicky slider bar for the GH World Tour and GH5 guitars which was a total flop as most people didn’t even use the touch bar since half the time it would malfunction causing it to go off on its own ruining your streak and became completely useless.

When it comes to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock’s setlist it’s looking like they’re going back to the roots of GH1 and GH2 and bringing in some killer metal tracks and some awesome artists that are going to make for some decently hard and fun to play tracks. So far the following have been released:

AFI – Dancing Through Sunday
Anthrax – Indians
Avenged Sevenfold – Bat Country
Black Sabbath – Children of the Grave
Buzzcocks – What Do I Get?
Children of Bodom – If You Want Peace… Prepare for War
The Cure – Fascination Street
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Dethklok – Bloodlines
Dire Straits – Money For Nothing
DragonForce – Fury of the Storm
Drowning Pool – Bodies
Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance
Foo Fighters – No Way Back
Foreigner – Feels Like The First Time
The Hive – Tick Tick Boom
Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Kiss – Love Gun
Linkin Park – Bleed It Out
Megadeth – Sudden Death
Metallica & Ozzy Osbourne – Paranoid (Live)
Muse – Uprising
My Chemical Romance – I’m Not Okay (I Promise)
Night Ranger – (You Can Still) Rock in America
Nine Inch Nails – Wish
The Offspring – Self Esteem
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Rammstein – Waidmanns Heil
The Rolling Stones – Stray Cat Blues
Silversun Pickups – There’s No Secrets This Year
Slayer – Chemical Warfare
Tesla – Modern Day Cowboy
The Cure – Fascination Street
ZZ Top – Sharp Dressed Man

I had a chance to chat with Herman Li of Dragonforce about GH:WOR a while ago and since his band has a song in the game he was wondering what my thoughts were on the game. He wrote “So do you think people will still care about the next GH or Rock band games? It’s getting repetitive now and saturated no?”. Of course after seeing the other artists that are going to be on here and knowing that this is only PART of the list I’m extremely confident that this will be one of the best selling Guitar Hero titles to date and difficulty wise will probably sit at a level comparative to Metallica or Van Halen with the fun factor of Guitar Hero 2 mixed in. I don’t think Herman needs to worry about their song being in THIS version of GH at least. So far Dragonforce has been one of the selling points for Guitar Hero 3 and Smash Hits especially since they had a 3 track downloadable content pack for GH3 that everyone couldn’t get enough of.

On top of the new incredible setlist Activision, of course, felt the need to introduce two new guitars into the mix. I was surprised to see that the new guitars are lacking their slider bar since that seemed to be the new thing that they were all excited about. Gizmodo had a write up about the new guitars and revealed that they will have one cutaway section with all of the electronics inside of the fretboard and neck which means you can change out the bodies or even play without a body at all which is definitely an interesting new approach.

This new concept comes with positives AND negatives however.

gh6g2

Positives:
-The guitars have a more edgy “hardcore” look
-The guitars will be easier to customize
– The guitars will have less problems with buttons going out now that the body/ fretboard can’t disconnect. Often times disconnecting and reconnecting the pieces too much would cause pins to not connect properly and fret buttons would start to mess up or stop working entirely after a while.
-No touch strip means that the game most likely wont have insane unnecessary slider solos in the songs. (Thank goodness!)

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Negatives:
-The guitars are too small which will make it awkward to play if you are a person who plays sitting down with the guitar resting in your lap
-The awkward shape will cause a problem similar to the explorers for 360 where the guitar would tilt if you’re a standing up type of player
-The start button looks like it is big and easy to hit which means that the possibility of accidentally pausing the game is greater.
-Where the hell is the XBL button supposed to be? Basically there’s not much room in the neck/fretboard area for a guide button and I have no idea where they’re going to place it. No matter where it goes it most likely will be in an easy to hit area which is VERY VERY bad!
-The fact that the guitar is all one piece means you can’t break it down for travel anymore which means you’ll now have to check your bag instead of tossing it in the overhead compartment on the plane.

Overall I’m pretty impressed with everything I’ve heard about Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock so far. The set list is looking solid, the new look for the characters is pretty damn awesome and I can only imagine the death metal overhaul that the venues got. So far I’m saying good job Activision. I’m so happy that you have proven me wrong because I was fearful that the game that I once loved so much was doomed to fall into the fiery pits of pop hell. Thank you for taking the route of your fans and going back to the good music that we all know and love and making the songs harder so that we can once again shred on our dusty guitars. On behalf of all of the hardcore Guitar Hero 1 and 2 fans out there… I thank you.

Posted by StarSlay3r

Nom nom updates!

Hey everyone! Sorry about getting to this so late but I’ve been busy busting my ass the past couple days and everything is just now settling down for the night. Here’s some updates.


* As you saw on my twitter I gave you guys a hint about what I’ve been counting down to. YES, I will be doing a cross country road trip VERY SOON! More details about that will come later but it’s because of THIS that I won’t be heading to EVO. I have a very important tournament that will be happening at the same time as EVO and I’ve given that priority especially since I haven’t played SF4 or SSF4 since I got hired to do PR/Marketing work for Neverdie.


* I’ve been in talks with a couple different companies the past couple weeks and two companies just finalized everything with me yesterday and today. I now have 2 new sponsors! Sponsor #1 is the oh so yummy Gamer Grub! I’m told I have some PB & J packets being sent my way as of today and I’m excited to work with them! And yes… I WILL share my Gamer Grub with you. ^_^ Sponsor #2 is American Guru clothing so expect to see me sporting their gear at events in the future. One of the things I love about American Guru is they’ve been super supportive of the “up and coming” gamer offering to help out with a program. With their program gamers that help sell American Guru shirts can earn money that will go toward travel expenses for tournaments. It’s things like this that make me give American Guru clothing the up most respect and I’m honored to be working with them. An added bonus to working with American Guru… well they’re giving me my own line of shirts! I’ll be working with Bruce and his design team to come up with some kick ass gamer shirts with my own little dash of style so stay tuned to see what we come up with! I’ll also be shooting an endorsement video for them and for another sponsor very soon along with a photo shoot so you should see those up sometime in the next month or so if all goes according to plan.


* FiXT music is launching their magazine in the next month and I’ll be one of the featured interviews in their very first issue! For those wondering why a record label would be interviewing a video game player, it’s because of what I do outside of gaming. I have been doing a lot of work in the music industry for over 7 years now and FiXT is one of the 3 record labels that I do work for. Don’t expect this interview to be the typical “when did you get started with gaming, etc etc” interview because this IS NOT one of those kind of interviews. As I said… there’s a lot of work that I do aside from gaming that you guys don’t know about, but soon all of this will come to light… when the time is right. ^_^

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* Last night my band PWN Stars won 1st place in the Rock Band 2 tournament. I was pretty excited because even though the vocalist I was supposed to have (Faye) was unable to show up, I did get 2 really great teammates that I’m actually going to compete in one more tournament with! Last night’s line up was me on Guitar, Sam aka Sammer_i on Bass, Brian aka Brubinow (from GYT) on Drums, and Flitz (formerly of G4) on Vox. We scored 1.4 million round 1, 1.6 million round 2 and 1.6 million round 3 in a score based competition setting the new record for high score at that venue. Unfortunately due to internet issues we were unable to pick from any DLC songs so we did the best that we could with the normal RB2 setlist. After competing together we decided to team up for the larger Rock Band tournament for $10,000. This Rock Band 2 tournament is a bit different however as the tournament rules state that only the band with the highest score from each specified venue gets to move on to the grand finals and at grand finals it turns into a score & showmanship tournament so I’m very excited for this. I have SO much fun at showmanship tournaments! Right now the score to beat is 1.8 million and we only get one shot… so hopefully we can pull it off!

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* Speaking of Jamal… his friend Jake aka Thirstee321 is in the running to be a WCG Ultimate Gamer 2 cast member. This guy is UBER talented and one of the best well rounded gamers I’ve seen in a while. From rhythm to racing to fighting and fps, this guy rises above the rest and he definitely deserves a shot on the show. If you haven’t already voted for him please go to the official WCG Ultimate Gamer 2 website and make sure to vote for Jake! You can vote once every hour per device so bust out your iPhone and your laptop and vote every hour that you can! Also, please tell your friends to do the same. Currently Jake is leading the contest with 49% of the total votes and he only has to hold the lead until Sunday to officially make the cast. I wish you the best of luck Jake, kick some ass!

Well that’s it for now. I’m working on adding more content to my site but I’ve been so busy with work and everything else I’ve got going on that I haven’t been able to get around to it yet. This summer I plan on having exclusive interviews with musicians and gamers as well as coverage of events and video game reviews. Give me some time… and what you get will be nothing short of awesome. ^_^ As always thanks for checking out my site and thank you for all the support. Much love to you all! <3 GAME ON!

Update time!

Hey guys! I know I haven’t been updating my blog much but it’s because I’ve been SOOO busy! So let me talk about some things that have been going on…


Well as you all know WCG Ultimate Gamer 2 auditions went down recently. I’m very excited to say that some of my good friends are still in the finals for this though and I’ve even been asked to train one of these people to prep for the show so I’m looking forward to that. To everyone who made it to the final casting call, CONGRATS! As you can see getting on Ultimate Gamer is NOT easy. We were tested heavily on games and they’re making sure that the personalities of the people are just as good as their gaming skills to make for some interesting situations in the house. I can’t wait to see season 2 this fall and see all the exciting things that everyone got to do this year! Oh, and I’m totally jealous of you guys by the way… you are in for one hell of a treat!

I also got the chance to work on a new game which I have recently been able to talk about since it was just recently released in the app store… Linkin Park’s “8 bit rebellion”. On top of that I have been promoting a video game that I am in called “180″ by HeadCase Games. You can download the game from the app store store today for your iPod and iPhone. I am a playable character in the game found under the name “STAR”. Kick some ass in the game and you can see me doing some awesome Shoryuken motions which was pretty cool of them to put in as a dedication to my liking of Street Fighter 4. ^_^ ON TOP OF THAT I have recently been working for a music/video game company called NeverDie Studios on a new game called RockTropia a massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) where the world revolves around music. I’m pretty excited to be working with the company on this game and I know that I’m going to have a ton of fun doing what I do best… promotional/ marketing work. ^_^

 

 

 

 

Competing wise I’ve been extremely busy going to all of the local tournaments since I’m saving my money for the large New York tournament I’m running. In case you missed it, I’m teaming up with TecHNaSTy to organize a Guitar Hero and Super Street Fighter 4 tournament in the next few months if all goes well. I’m still looking for a couple more sponsors to help me out with making this happen but so far my current sponsors seem to be on board! Many of you are wondering why I’m doing the tournament in New York if I live in Cali… well… I have connections in NY that are helping me with a venue and that’s a major part of this so basically wherever I get the best venue for the best price is where it’s going to be. The lower the entry fee is for you guys the better right? So let me do my thing and make this decent pay for entry with a huge reward. ^_^


As far as my placements go I’ve been doing pretty well considering that I haven’t had much more than one day a week to practice all the games I play! I’ve placed top 3 for Rock Band solo guitar, DJ Hero and Rock Band full band, I have placed top 8 for a few street fighter tournaments in the past two months both here and New York getting knocked out of all tournaments by top players. I have Just Dance tournaments starting this coming wednesday every other week which is good because I not only LOVE this game but LOVE that a new game is being introduced to the competitive scene out here. As far as the large tournaments go I’ve switched up a couple of my events for this year. I found a new LAN that I’ll be competing in the same time as EVO which has a better opportunity for me so I’m headed out that way. I will be at E3 as usual, Devastation is a maybe and there are a couple other tournaments that I will be announcing later. Why am I not disclosing everything now? Well… there’s a few secrets that are still to be disclosed and a few new sponsors this year that are pretty damn amazing that will be helping me to do some VERY cool new things… so… I’m going to make you wait. There’s also a VERY LARGE tournament I’m going to try to qualify for which will be awarding $10,000 to the winners. This is am AMAZING opportunity that is worth missing a “notable” event or two for. What I love most is that its the little tournaments like this that award the most money for the least amount of work. Props to this particular event organizer for contacting me directly about this tournament.

If you’re wondering what’s up with all the new sponsors… here it is. I recently left Empire Arcadia for good. I have nothing bad to say about them… I had some things that I needed to do that were easier for me to accomplish on my own so I decided I should leave and DO SOME WORK. So what does that mean? I’m no longer repping JiNX, but I have a NEW clothing line that I’ll be working with instead. Also, this means I get to work with some companies who I’ve been supporting for a long time now and haven’t had the chance to work with due to conflict of interest with prior teams… now we can finally chill and game it up together!


Community wise I’ve been working with a couple groups to set up some charity events which will hopefully happen before the end of this year. One event I’m especially looking forward to is the Rock-a-Thon part 2! Hopefully this year we’ll rock out and raise more than the $5,000 we did last year. Also thanks to my recent PROJECT NIGHTMARE I now know that I would be able to go the full 4 days of the event without any sleep. Don’t ask how that went by the way. Let’s just say I highly recommend NOT doing what I did. I had never felt so absolutely horrible in my entire life as I did going that long without sleep. -_-


Moving on; I’m going to be doing a chat with the Cub Scouts of pack 17 in Michigan next week to talk about pursuing gaming as a career; the positives and negatives and how to go about it. I really enjoy talking to children about gaming because it’s good to show them that they CAN have a career in this field, it IS possible, but it’s a lot of hard work. I’m told the cub scouts also have an opportunity to earn a belt loop for this conversation which is awesome! I did a similar talk with the kids of Starlight Children’s Foundation last year which had a great turnout. ^_^ I have been a bit bummed lately that I missed Gamers For Giving in Michigan this year due to me writing it down on my calender for the wrong month. I heard they were able to raise nearly $11k to build additional gaming carts for Mott Children’s Hospital, and send video game care packages to troops overseas though which is AMAZING! Congrats to Zach for the great turnout and thank you to everyone who was able to make that happen. Gamers can be capable of some amazing things when they put their minds to it! Also big props to WALSHY for being a great example of how a pro gamer can make an amazing impact on the community. See you next year for Gamers For Giving 2011!


Well, I think that just about wraps it up. I’ve been busy as heck with my new schedule but I’ll try to make some time to game it up with you all. Make sure to send me game requests on XBL to StarSlay3r for some games. I have Tekken 6, Street Fighter 4, Super Street Fighter 4, BlazBlue, PGR4, Guitar Hero (multiple versions), Rock Band 2, Halo 3, COD MW2 and many more to play and am more than happy to join you guys in any game for casuals even if I’m not uber pro at the game. It’s all about having fun! I don’t really care what anyone says, I think the fact that I’m able to play ALL of these games with anyone at ANY time is an awesome thing and I’m happy to be talented enough to be able to play so many games at once. If it wasn’t for the fact that I play so many games I might not have met so many of you cool people who play Street Fighter, Halo, COD, Tekken etc and that would truly be a sad thing! -_-* Well guys that it! Make sure to follow my twitter! @StarSlay3r I’ve been posting where some Guitar Hero tournaments are around the nation since that’s been a request from you guys. I also have friends who are doing Video Game Beta Testing and Focus Testing so I’ll be posting tweets about those for you guys around as well. Average pay is about 40-80 for 30-90 minutes of your time. Not bad eh? Thanks for all the support and much love to all of you guys! <3 Thank you for everything! <3

South Africa’s Do Gaming Interviews StarSlay3r

Interview by Rob Clegg, Do Gaming journalist

Ciji ‘StarSlay3r’ Thornton has been gaming since she was a child and began playing competitively in 1998. She has won many Guitar Hero competitions since then and has ranked up to a total of over 30 top five finishes in nine different games in three genres.

Thornton is considered one of the top female gamers in America and is a threat to many top teams and players. She has been ranked as high as fifth worldwide for Guitar Hero: World Tour in 2008.

Thornton also made history in 2009 by being the first female in the World Cyber Games (WCG) to ever compete on Team USA, and she is considered the best female in Guitar Hero based on tournament placements.

She was also a contestant on popular TV shows such as WCG Ultimate Gamer and Sony’s The Tester.

Telkom Do Gaming caught up with Thornton for a chat.

Telkom Do Gaming (DG): Hey Ciji, thanks for taking time out to chat to us.

Thank you for having me!

DG: How long have you been playing Guitar Hero for?

I’ve been playing Guitar Hero since shortly after its original release date in 2005.

DG: So what would you say is the secret to a good Guitarist Hero?

Being good at Guitar Hero just takes practice. I had been playing a similar game called Guitar Freaks since 1999, so when Guitar Hero first came out I was already playing on Hard difficulty.

If you practice a good 20 hours a week and review the scorehero.com forums for star paths, tapping, and other techniques you will see a drastic improvement in your performance. Practice makes perfect!

DG: What has been your most memorable achievement in Guitar Hero?

My first time competing at a national level on Gamespot’s tournament TV was pretty memorable. I had so much fun and ranked third in the nation for Guitar Hero 3, beating out the top ranking Wii Guitar Hero player which was something that I was really proud of.

I was also pretty surprised when WCG offered me the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Pan American Championships for Guitar Hero last year. That was an awesome time and it led to me taking first place in Rock Band while I was there!

DG: Apart from Guitar Hero, you also play Street Fighter IV. How is that going? Any recent competitive wins?

Street Fighter has proved to be one of the most difficult games for me to master… probably ever. Most of the time I pick up games very fast but this past year of playing the game has definitely been one full of learning, and I’m still learning every day!

My most recent tournament placements were fourth, fifth and seventh when I competed in New York last month, and I recently placed fourth place with my team RM519 and Steve the Champion at the UGTL tournament this past Saturday.

I have been placing top eight in tournaments lately which has been a great accomplishment. I even got my first OCV (one character victory) singlehandedly, taking out a team of two top players in New York at the CTF tournament last month, which was a great show of how much my skills have improved in the past year.

DG: How does it feel to be the most recognisable female in gaming?

I don’t know if I’d say I’m the most recognizable female in the gaming industry, but the fact that so many people know who I am and acknowledge me more for my skills than the fact that I’m just a female in the industry is something that makes me happy, since it shows me that my hard work is not going unnoticed.

I really hope to see more female gamers popping up as time goes on because I really think that there are too many really talented female gamers out there that aren’t getting the recognition that they deserve.

DG: Having been on both WCG Ultimate Gamer and The Tester, you have become somewhat of a television celebrity too. Do people just recognise you in the streets?

Yeah, I get recognised at some really random places. I’ve been recognised when doing everything from shopping for clothes and buying games at Gamestop to getting my brakes checked at Pep Boys.

It’s pretty crazy how many people watched the shows and can recognise me on the street but that’s a good sign because it means that the shows were a success.

To read the rest of the interview click HERE to go to the official Telkom Do Gaming website!

Say bye bye to Guitar Hero

Well early last year I predicted that Guitar Hero would be meeting it’s fate very soon. I explained that I felt it was time to move on from that game and to explore my options in the pro gaming world to ensure that I’m always keeping myself busy. Last year I notice a DRAMATIC drop in Guitar Hero tournaments ever since the release of Guitar Hero: World Tour. After seeing that Guitar Hero just got worse after that (GH5 and Band Hero) It was very clear that Activision just stopped caring about the game and put more focus into producing as many versions of the game as possible as fast as possible and having celebrities promote the game then they did on ensuring that people actually liked the game and was having fun with it. Every version of the game just got worse and the dollar amount spent per game just went up and up even though sales for each version were worse then they had been before.

Last summer over 150 testers were laid off from Activision as they opened a new division in Quebec, Canada to take over the testing for all of their rhythm games. Recently Kotaku has been posting about the massive lay offs and shut downs associated with all companies involved with Guitar Hero and it’s been announced that the only games scheduled for release this year are Guitar Hero 6 and a new DJ Hero meaning that this is the end of Guitar Heros reign in the rhythm world.

Some excerpts from Kotaku:
“Luxoflux, also responsible for True Crime and Kung Fu Panda games for Activision, is said to have been shut down completely, according to former employees. Approximately 55 people have been let go, according to sources at the company, with some possibly being transferred to Call of Duty developer Treyarch.

Activision is said to have laid off another 50 at developer Neversoft, formerly of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series and responsible for the Guitar Hero series after the departure of Harmonix. “

They later posted:
“In addition to sackings at Neversoft and Luxoflux, Kotaku has learned today that publisher Activision has also laid off employees at RedOctane and internal studio Underground Development.

We’ve heard that RedOctane, the publisher of the original Guitar Hero and creator of the franchise’s plastic instruments, has been completely shut down. Those responsible directly for the series’ hardware will now report straight to Activision, while those remaining – around 30-40 people – have been shown the door.

Also reportedly affected is Underground Development, an Activision studio responsible for games like Guitar Hero: Van Halen and…BMX XXX. We’ve heard that, as of today, the entire studio has been shut down.”

Activision says:
“As we discussed on our earnings conference call yesterday, we are directing our resources against the largest and most profitable business segments, and as part of this initiative, we are realigning our resources to better reflect our slate and the market opportunities”

Oh COME ON! Don’t act like you JUST NOW discovered you guys spent WAAAAY too much money on the Guitar Hero series. What happened to just going the route of Guitar Hero 2? That game was all word of mouth and was a HUGE seller. Once they made 50 million versions of the game and paid every celebrity that would agree to get in their underwear and slide across the floor, they should have known they spent WAAAY too much money on the franchise and they were slowly strangling it to death. All they had to do is give us Guitar Hero fans 2 REALLY GOOD Guitar Hero versions in a year and we’d be happy. DLC keeps us busy… they kept coming up with SO many versions of the game and forced everyone to purchase peripheral after peripheral and it just got annoying. Am I wrong? Please… state how you feel about this!!! I loved Guitar Hero and all… but after Smash Hits and Metallica I got sick of the game.

With all of the lay offs the end is near for Guitar Hero. What does that mean for me? Nothing much! I haven’t done much with Guitar Hero lately as there are only 2 competitions involving Guitar Hero planned for this year Devastation and WCG 2010 and due to the fact that the game for both is Guitar Hero 5 and it’s basically just going to come down to whoever memorizes the best star bath and not really involve skill at all, I’m most likely not competing in either competition this year. I have been too busy with my plans to start my own business and practicing Street Fighter 4 for EVO to sit around and watch star path videos. I WILL however, still be competing in Rock Band 2 tournaments.

To everyone who recently lost their jobs due to all of this. I am sorry for your loss… I too was laid off last year so I know how it is to go through the lay off process. My advice to you all, collect your unemployment and use your time off to do something you’ve always wanted to do.. trust me… there are bigger and better things waiting for you out there. I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

To anyone who focuses their career on Guitar Hero only… I tried to warn you.