If you're checking this blog post out, you've probably noticed that this is no longer "www.cameronbanga.com." I've decided to do a little bit of an update and you can now see that the site has become a bit more plain and basic. I really just wanted the homepage to do a better job of explaining who I am and what I do.
I'll still keep this blog here at blog.cameronbanga.com, so this site won't change much at all. It just won't be located at the same address as it used to be.
If you have comments or suggestions about the new look, send me an e-mail to Cameron@CameronBanga.com.
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I've been receiving a bunch of IMs/Wall Posts/Tweets about when the next Four48 event will take place, so I figured it would make a bunch of sense to write a little post on the current status of the team and why you haven't seen any events as of late.
The lack of action on the Four48 front has nothing to do with a lack of desire among the team or should it indicate that we will never throw another event. It's just that any game marathon event takes up an unbelievable amount of time and resources which we don't have right now.
I really hate making it sound like we don't love doing Four48 events, because I think I can speak for anyone who has helped out with an event when I say that we enjoy it pretty much more than anything in the world. Who wouldn't like playing video games with friends for unbelievable amounts of hours while raising money for charity? It's tough when I get asked often as to when the next event is going to be and I don't have a solid answer because I feel as if it seems that I don't care.
I guess I just want to go into a bit of depth as to what is involved in a Four48 event which will hopefully give a bit of insight as to why these things are so hard to organize.
First, you need a bunch of people. Most importantly, two or three people need to be above average gamers to get through 48 hours worth of game play. While we usually play through the Zelda series, which isn't always an exceptionally difficult, real simple puzzles and bosses become extraordinarily tough after 20-30 hours without sleep. I usually spend my entire time during a marathon watching the computer and technically set up and interacting with viewers. Add a person to help keep people awake and make Taco Bell runs and you can see how you pretty much need a full staff on hand throughout the entirety of any game marathon.
Next, you need adequate space with reliable internet. We typically broadcast using only my Macbook and Justin.tv, which is pretty bare minimum. We would love to have better cameras, microphones, etc, but then you add a lot of cost and technically mess. In addition to my computer sucking as much bandwidth as possible through ethernet cable, we also tend to have two more laptops and maybe an iPod Touch or two surfing the web to keep up with Skype calls, viewer e-mail, blog responses, Digg comments, chatrooms, and the like. As you can only imagine, internet reliability is a must. We also need a location where people don't mind 5-10 somewhat loud college kids roaming around for two straight days. It works great when we're all at school together and can use dorm rooms, but not so much when we're outside Valpo. We had our last event at my house and my family was great about it, but to a point it gets tough to live your ordinary life of going to work and living around the house when you have a team of college kids running around trying to beat Zelda games without sleep. I thank my parents and brother for their tolerance, but don't feel like I should throw that kind of lifestyle upon them at home.
Which leads into the next big problem, the only time that most of us have to do this kind of event is when we're at home on break and spread hundreds or even thousands of miles apart from other Four48 team members. I know personally that my life is crazy right now, with most days lasting from 9am to 1am with class, homework, or work filling in all the time in between those hours. Add on an internship and homework on the weekends and it becomes increasingly difficult to find two days to set aside for a marathon. I know everyone else on the team is in a similar position, which makes it real hard to get the necessary team of 5-6 people to have a successful event. The crazy thing is, even if you find the time for one of these events, a majority of the work comes before and after you're ever on camera. We spend tons of hours working before a marathon to prep those who will be playing games, send e-mails to promote the event, answering e-mails after the event, and talking to media outlets in the case of our more successful events. To give you guys a bit of an idea, I spent at least a half hour conducting interviews with about 10 newspapers, radio stations, websites, podcasters, etc after our first marathon in 2007. It all just adds up to be an unmanageable amount of time.
So with that, I just wanted to give a bit of insight as to why you haven't seen a Four48 event in the last couple of months. We're not "broken up" or anything, but we don't have an immediate plans for the near future either. Fear not my friends, we will one day rise again like a phoenix and save the world from a lack of charitable gaming marathons. It just won't happen next weekend haha.
Special thanks to the couple dozen of you who have contacted me in the last month or so via IM, Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, or even in person to ask about Four48 and what's going on. We really appreciate your continued support more than we could ever let you know. It's crazy that we're a over a year removed from our initial marathon and people still seem to care about what we're up to. As an apology of sorts, I know that there are a couple of you who often contact me and don't get a response. It's not that I'm ever ignoring you or anything, it's just that I often get a significant amount of messages or IMs and don't get time to catch up. I'll try to get better at it, promise.
Hope this answers all the questions I've been getting. If I didn't get to your specific question, hit me up on Facebook or e-mail me at Cameron@CameronBanga.com.
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It's been a while, so I figured I would get a quick post in. Life's been flying by and I need time to catch up haha. Classes are picking up pretty hard and I added two internships this semester. One is working in with this newly started business in Valpo and the other is with Dawdle.com. Add those jobs onto the radio station and I'm a pretty busy boy.
Speaking of the radio station, I had the really neat opportunity of interviewing Zach Braff a couple weeks ago on the day of the season premiere of the new season of Scrubs. I didn't really know this before hand, but he is apparently a really big celebrity to most people. I had more people ask me questions about him and the interview than when I had a chance to interview Woz, which the inner nerd in me found utterly ridiculous.
Anyways, here is a link. I would love for you to leave a comment or send me an e-mail to Cameron@CameronBanga.com. I really want to know what you like/hate about the interview and how I can improve.
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I wanted to throw a quick guide together for those who are interested in using Twitter, since I have been getting some questions about it as of late. If you really know me, then you are most likely aware of the fact that I am a HUGE proponent of the service and I want every single person I know to use it.
So what is Twitter and why should you use it? If you're on Facebook (and I'll assume you are if you're even somewhat interested in checking out this guide), I want you to think about what the purpose of a Facebook status is. Do you change your status often? Do you ever find yourself checking out what your friends are up to? It can be addicting to know what your friends are up to at any given time, can't it?
Twitter works essentially the same way as your Facebook status, except it works a lot better with your cellphone (you use that a lot, don't you?). You can have your updates posted on your blog. You can even have your Twitter sync with your Facebook status, so that way your status will update when you tweet (a common word for a Twitter post, you'll catch onto the lingo quick enough).
Frankly, there are a lot of ways to use the service and it's hard to explain to someone who has never tried it out. Hopefully, this little beginner's guide will give you a small look into why Twitter can be so dang cool. Let's start by taking a look at the sign up process.
When you first visit Twitter.com, you'll find yourself at this landing page. After your initial account creation, you will enter your user name and password to log-in. If you don't have an account yet, you just need to click the big green "Join the conversation" button to begin.
The sign-up process is fairly simple and similar to other websites that you may have joined in your internet career. In Twitterland, it's fairly common to use your real name as a user name. When looking for things to avoid in a user name, remember that each tweet (the slang word for a Twitter post, you remember that, right? you're catching on already!) can only be 140 characters long and it is advantageous to keep your user name short (I should have thought about that when I chose CameronBanga, oh well, no going back now). You also may want to refrain from using underscores (they look like this _) because those tend to be hard to type in on cellphones and you want it to be as easy as possible for friends to get in contact with you.
Now that you have successfully signed up for a Twitter account, let's take a look at what you need to know about your home page. Mine may look a bit different than yours right now and that's alright. You can always tweak the colors and look of the page like I did, but the basic principles always remain the same. At the top left corner, you'll see a huge Twitter logo. Click on that at any time to return to this home page. Below that, you'll see a huge text box asking you "What are you doing?" With this box, you enter in tweets (I don't have to explain the word anymore, right? see, you're catching on super quick). Your tweets can be as basic or extravagant as you would like, that's the beauty of Twitter. The only rule is, your tweet can be no longer than 140 characters in length. You can tweet one hundred times a day, five times a day, about important events in your life, or about the lady in a funny hat next to you at the grocery store. It doesn't matter at all, but you do need to keep it under 140 characters in length. You may think that this limits your artistic freedom to express what you truly feel, but it really doesn't. Brevity is key and just may be Twitter's greatest strength. Below your tweet box, you will find the timeline of tweets for the people you follow (we'll talk about how to follow later). In Twitter, you follow your friends, family, or just people you find interesting. Imagine a person you follow to be similar to a Facebook or MySpace friend. This is just a big list of everything that they are tweeting in real time. Check this out and keep up with friends often, because that's the main point of Twitter. Taking a look at your friends' tweets would be like checking out your friends' Facebook statuses. Moving further along the tour of your home page, you will find a little menu bar on the top right of the page. Here you can view your profile, find new friends, or change your settings. Below that in the blue box on the right, you will see the number of people you are following/following you. You can also check out your @replies (what is that? we'll discuss later as well), direct messages (again, we'll talk after the tour), favorite tweets (you can favorite tweets that you find to be super hilarious or useful for easy findings later), as well as a tweet roll for everyone using the service in the world.
So we've taken the tour, you have a user name, but you don't have anyone to follow. Now you need to use Twitter's search tool or get a user name from a friend that you know on the service (as a general note, everyone's Twitter page can be found at twitter.com/username. for example, I can be found at twitter.com/cameronbanga). Once you get to the page of a friend or company you would like to follow, you'll be presented with a page that look's similar to this.
This is my soon to be friend, Darth Vader. You may have heard of him, since he was a big movie star long ago in a galaxy far, far away. The page looks similar to yours, except fo a big "Follow" button below the avatar. If you want to follow a person (and I really want to follow Darth Vader), then click that gray button and you'll be presented with this screen.
Now, everything Darth Vader tweets will be in the timeline on my home page. Everything is starting to make sense now, isn't it? The more people you follow, the more tweets in your timeline, the more fun Twitter becomes. Go find some friends and follow them on Twitter, but keep reading this guide after you're finished because I have some more important things to tell you about your favorite new web service.
Check out your settings menu (you can find that in the menu bar on the upper right portion of any page on Twitter) and set up your device for your mobile phone right now. Trust me. Twitter is an experience that you get the most out of once you immerse yourself in it. Click the Devices tab and set up your mobile phone (the site has instructions for you, they are real easy to follow and you should be able to set it up in now time by yourself). You can now send(just send a text message to Twitter's text number, 40404) and receive tweets through your cell phone (well, not exactly receive yet. there are a couple steps that we need to do first which I'll talk about in a minute). Remember that standard text messaging rates do apply, so be careful if you don't have unlimited texting. Twitter itself doesn't charge you a penny for this service, but you can go through a bunch of text messages real quick by receiving or sending tweets. Like I mentioned earlier, you do need to go through a couple more steps before receiving tweets on your cell phone. Let's go back to Darth Vader's page.
Remember this screen from when we followed him? If I want to receive Darth Vader's tweets to my mobile phone, I need to click the little bubble next to On below "Device updates." This may seem like a pain in the butt, but it makes sure that you only receive text message updates from people you really want to recieve them from. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but you will soon find yourself following a bunch of people and it may become somewhat overwelming to receive everyone's tweets to your cell. Are we done and will I receive Darth Vader's next tweet to my cellphone? Not quite. Let's go back to our home page.
Scroll down the page the little and below the pictures of everyone you are following, you'll see a couple more bubbles under "Device Updates." You need to make sure that the bubble next to phone is blue and filled in. Now, I will receive Darth Vader's (and any other people I set up for) tweets on my cell phone. I can reply to those from my mobile phone as well. Wait, what is a reply you ask? We'll let's talk about that right now.
When you hover over any tweet in your home page timeline, you will see a hollow star and arrow appear. The star allows you to favorite a tweet. By clicking on it, the color of the star will become yellow and you can find that tweet in your favorites page. By clicking on the arrow, you can @reply to a tweet.
@Replies are Twitter's way or specifically aiming a tweet at a specific person. Here, I let Aaron know that I enjoyed his suggestion. When he clicks on the @Replies tab on the right part of his home page, he can see every tweet that has ever been directed to him. You can use @replies to answer questions, as I just did. You can also use it to tell other Twitter users that you are hanging out or doing something with a specific person, as in this example, "Hanging out with @hcassin and @adamamin. Going to see a movie." As you can see, it's better to have a short user name so that when people @reply you, your user name doesn't take a whole bunch of characters out of the 140 character tweet limit. Twitter also allows for direct messages, which are private between you and the person you are direct messaging with.
So now you can maybe just start to see the benefits of signing up with Twitter. It's a great social networking tool and allows you to keep up with tons of friends through short tweets. You can learn a bunch more about people you know and work with while also having an amazing way to get in contact with them as well. So now that you know the basics, what else is there to learn about the service?
There are lots of great tools and services which help make the Twitter experience ever better. As a I mentioned before, Twitter is best when you fully immerse yourself in the experience. You need to use your phone, a desktop client, TwitPic, etc in order to gain the full benefit of Twitter. Let's take a look at some of the other Twitter tools that you can use.
TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application that gives you a fully functional client on your desktop. Here you can make tweets, see your timeline, see @replies, create groups, and follow popular trends without needing to hit your web browser. Once you start following a bunch of people, you will enjoy groups and easy viewing of @replies to keep up with all the tweets flying your way.
If you want to see what other people are saying around the Twitter universe, check out http://search.twitter.com. Here, you can enter in a key word and see what others are saying about any topic. It's a great way to keep up with popular topics in the news or to see what people are saying about the company you work for, your favorite sports team, the weather, or anything else.
On an iPhone or iPod Touch? Check out Twitterific or the many other Twitter apps available on Apple's Application Store. These apps allow for more functionality on the small screen.
TwitPic is a website that lets you easily post pictures in tweets. Just sign in using your Twitter user name, follow the instructions, and you can send images through e-mail or text message which will be posted by link as tweets from your Twitter account. It's a great way to break from the 140 character threshold, since a picture is worth a thousand words. And I'm pretty sure that if you had a thousand words, you would also have more than 140 characters.
There are tons of applications and websites which help you get more out of Twitter and you can definitely check those out and learn about them on your own as you use the service more and more. Hopefully this guide helped you take your first steps into one of my favorite web services and if you have any questions, feel free to send them to me at Cameron@CameronBanga.com.
With tomorrow being Christmas, it's safe to assume that a Nintendo Wii or two will wind up under someone's tree (the one million sold in the US last week have to go somewhere, don't they?)
With this huge influx of new Wii owners, there is guaranteed to be a rise in the number of people suffering from tell tale symptoms of "gamer in need of new sweet new games" disease. It's a horrible condition and I definitely want to do my part to help keep the outbreak at a minimum.
Now, I don't want anyone to take this article as an attack at the Wii's current game library. There are plenty of great Wii games to choose from and you can check out IGN, Joystiq, or 1UP for info on those games. I'm here to cater to a different crowd.
With Wii sales now totalling over 43 million units worldwide, Nintendo has more than doubled the total console sales of the GameCube. That's great and I'm glad to see Nintendo return to gaming prominence, but that still means that there are AT LEAST 21 million Wii owners who never got a chance to own the wonderful purple console with a handle. They missed out on tons of classics with hundreds of hours of great gameplay.
With the Wii being completely backwards compatable, owners who never had a GameCube also find themselves with an extensive library of titles available for cheap. If you're a new Wii owner on a budget, there is an unbelievable amount of triple A titles awaiting your purchase in the discount bin at your local GameStop. I'm here to help let you know which of those titles are worth your time and hard earned dinero.
I've compiled a list of what I feel to be the 20 best GameCube titles around. The list is definitely of the countdown variety, so go with the lower numbered titles first if possible. However, you really can't go wrong with any title on the list. I've also given a little description of the game and if you click the name of each title, you'll be linked to the corresponding GameRankings.com page for a more indepth review.
Disagree with my top 20? Did I miss out on a key title? Send me an e-mail to Cameron@CameronBanga.com or hit me up on Twitter at @CameronBanga.
Now without any further ado, here is the list of 20 GameCube games that Wii owners can't live without.
20. Pikmin 2 - A RTS done right on a console. Pikmin 2 is the same great gameplay from Pikmin with more depth and detail. Controlling the Pikmin is over half the fun in the game. Pikmin isn't for everyone though. Some might find the controls tricky and complicated if they aren't familiar with RTS games.
19. Mario Power Tennis - I had a hard time deciding on if I should add this game to the list. With Wii Sports bundled in with the Wii, gamers can play tennis to their hearts content. However, Power Tennis offers more depth and detail and will keep tennis fans busy for a long time.
18. Super Monkey Ball 2 - If you haven't played any Monkey Ball game before, you're missing out on one of Sega's greatest gaming gems. Anyone can enjoy this puzzle hit. The later stages will push even the most skilled gamers into an intense level of concentration. Everyone should own either Super Monkey Ball 1 or 2 for the GameCube.
17. Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II - This game has held a special place in my heart ever since I picked it up on the GameCube's launch night. The missions are varied and interesting enough to keep any gamer happy for hours.
16. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - A great solid golf game. Much better than the golf game thrown together in Wii Sports. It doesn't feature motion control, but this game offers a fair amount of unlockable characters and courses. I do think that Mario Golf for the N64 is a better game. If your willing to wait, I would hold out and spend my money on the N64 version of this game whenever it is released for the Virtual Console.
15. Resident Evil (aka REmake) - The original Resident Evil won the hearts of many gamers when it was released for the PS1. I had never played the original, so this was perfect for me. Controls can be a little lackluster at times, however this is still a quality game.
14. Super Mario Sunshine - This game might have received more shit than any other game in the GameCube's lifespan. I guess that is what happens when you are technically a sequel to Super Mario 64. No, this game does not revolutionize gaming like Super Mario 64 did in 1996. That doesn't make it a bad platformer. I recommend that everyone checks out this game, just don't expect anything to be leaps and bounds over Super Mario 64.
13. F-Zero GX - It didn't sell too well and it wasn't well recieved by many. Plainly stated, this game was hard. Very hard. If you have the patience to practice and master this game, it could be one of the most rewarding things you have ever done in gaming. ONLY FOR RACING DIE HARDS.
12. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes - Poor sales of this game and Eternal Darkness lead to the end of Nintendo's friendship with Silicon Knights studio. Don't let sale numbers fool you, this game is of superb quality. This game is another quality rerelease on the 'Cube. Again, if you have played the original, you might want to take a pass. If you have never played this Kojima classic, be sure to pick it up and enjoy. It only takes about 15 hours to complete, but I guarantee that it will be the best hours of your life.
11. Animal Crossing - Many will argue with me about placing this game so high up on the list. Simply stated, this game created a new genre of sorts. It was often compared to the popular "Sims" games which doesn't quite do this title justice. You WERE an inhabitant of the world in which you created. Day and night passed and people changed. The DS version released a little over a year ago was a better game. The GameCube version just helped create and define a title which will carry great power on Nintendo systems for years to come. That alone deserves a top position.
10. Lost Kingdoms - One of two real sleeper titles I still have on my list. This game is amazing and I almost promise that you have never heard of it. The story and graphics might be typical but the gameplay isn't. This game focuses on collecting a team on monsters in a deck of cards. The concept it hard to explain in words, but the game is wonderful in action. Definitely worth the seven bucks or so you will find it for at your local GameStop.
9. Eternal Darkness - A game that defines the GameCube. It is amazing, yet it sold like shit. If Nintendo has a kiddy image, this game didn't help create it. The story and gameplay are better than any other horror game on the market. What made ED stand out was a certain gameplay element which I really won't go into detail in because it ruins the game. Want to know what that element is? Do yourself a favor and go purchase this game.
8. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door - I just finished this game less than 24 hours ago. Never before has a game given me such mixed feelings. Part of me wants to praise this game as a great RPG that should be number 2 or 3 on this list. The other part of me placed this game at number 8. This game is slowly paced and involves several fetch quests. The battle system is great and I want to keep finding bigger and badder enemies and bosses. The game would rather send me on a fetch quest and that just pisses me off. This game does have depth on it's side. If you find every badge and shine, you will easily put 50-60 hours into the adventure.
7. Viewtiful Joe - An amazing franchise that saw it's rise and fall before the Wii was even released. The original VJ was a wonderfully fresh side scroller that made games feel like kids again. Capcom would overkill the franchise with too many sequels in too short a time span. That shouldn't stop you from picking up the first game. Just a friendly tip, go through the game first on child mode. Adult mode will kick your ass.
6. Metroid Prime - Considered by many to be the greatest Metroid game. I think 2D Samus is a little better, however this is still a great game. FTS fans and adventure fans will both find this game amazing as it wonderfully intertwines the two genres.
5. Tales of Symphonia - The RPG that PS2 owners wished they had. It made up for the lack of any meaningful Final Fantasy on the system. This game provided a hell of an adventure with a great story and even better gameplay. Battles never got old and the game offered tons of collectible items that could make fights even better. The game does have several fetch quests which do piss me off. They are however placed out evenly enough and sparsely enough that I never even cared.
4. Beyond Good and Evil - This game is easily the Cinderella of the list. Ubisoft delivered a gem which was released on all last-generation systems. It also sold poorly on all last-gen systems. This game was a hit on every level. Story, music, character design, level design, difficulty, and gameplay were all perfect. The game's one flaw is it's length. It is only about 13 hours or so long. I do give Ubisoft credit for keeping the game short instead of just adding in a big cup of boredom to extend the game's length. I bought this game for ten bucks about two years ago and it is still one of the best investments I have ever made.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker - Another Nintendo game that received a ton of flak. Cell-shading or not, this game is a triple A title. Don't let the colorful appearance fool you, this game is beautiful. The game is polished and a welcome addition to the Zelda series. The game is unbelievably polished. Every moment is wonderful. Well, except for the Tri-Force shard hunting late in the game. Damn fetch quests.
2. Resident Evil 4 - The most amazing survival horror game of all-time. Easily one of the best games of the last generation. Personally, I still think the controls are a wee (wow a bad pun) bit wack. Don't let that make you think twice about this game. It is still an unbelievable experience. The best part about it is the price. You can find this game for around $15 or even in the Resident Evil 10th Anniversary Pack which includes RE 0, REmake, and RE4 for a great reasonable price.
1. Super Smash Bros. Melee - Every once in a game comes along that is damn near perfect. Melee is that game. No other game on the GameCube provides the hours of fun of this first generation GameCube game. I will go out on a limb and say this game could quite possibly change your life. The amount of depth in this game is enough to drive any perfectionist to insanity. Collecting trophies, unlocking characters and levels, and playing countless multi-player matches against your friends will continue to be fun even after as much as 100 hours of gameplay. If you have a Wii or a GameCube, go buy this game now. If you don't have the cash, sell the computer your reading this on and go buy this game. You'll make the right decision.
Well, that's it for my top 20 list of GameCube games. If your a new Wii owner who has never owned a Nintendo system, go pick yourself up a WaveBird controller and a few of those games. Any game on this list will be a great addition to any library. If I missed any games or if you want to argue with my order, be sure to leave a comment or e-mail me at Cameron@CameronBanga.com
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