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Archive for June, 2016

By: Michael Ebner
Montgazette Contributing Writer

Today’s gaming industry is full of players with little knowledge of how their favorite games get started. Chris Avellone, a video game designer, most known for “Fallout: New Vegas,” says, “Your job is to entertain [the players] and you can set up a custom adventure that lets them play the characters they want, that lets them take the stage and have their moment, while having a challenging session along the way.” With this knowledge, a game designer then has to create a world that people will want to play in. “Start with a moment or event you want to create, and why you want to create it,” Avellone says. The best games exploit their stories, resulting in a “letting the dice fall where they may” feeling. The end results are often something a gamer never saw coming. He went on to say, “and pay attention to the character builds of your group-each player is at the role-playing game session for a particular reason.” The next major step is the character creation process. “Realize why the players are there. Realize what skills both [the] players and [the] characters [have], and what challenges you can throw at them to emphasize those [skills].” Out of this, Avellone lists four steps for successful video game design. “Examine [the characters] role in the story. Name them properly, this is more important than it may seem. Set up a visual signature for the character with the concept artist. The character must be someone who can give voice to the [things] that bother you or is something you really, really want to write about. …Character designs all depend on the character’s function [in the story].” Even after the designer makes a concept, the story is written and the characters are drawn, game designers have to rely heavily on outside input to get there games off the ground. In the end, if it’s done right, there’s no downside for the game designer. As Avellone says, “The satisfaction you feel should be secondary to the players having a good time. If they do, your satisfaction comes after the session is over and they want to play more.”

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By: Joshua Kellem
Montgazette Staff Writer

On Saturday, March 19th, Ventura, California rapper Kyle Harvey performed at Electric Factory in Philadelphia as part of the Happy Camper Tour. Better known as Super Duper Kyle, a name he acquired in high school, Harvey came to promote his second album, “Smyle.” Harvey’s “Smyle” depicts the self-dubbed “happy rapper” doing just that: smiling. The album’s title and its cover displays his smile which includes his snaggletooth. Harvey’s popular track, “All Alright,” brings the album’s simple message: smile, no matter what you’re going through, just hit play and it will be all alright. With his rapidly growing fan base with over 140,000 followers, performing for Electric Factory’s nearly 2,500 fans and following headliners like popular rapper Hoodie Allen has given Harvey a notoriety he couldn’t gain any other way. Rolling Stone, a world-leading music magazine, dubbed Super Duper Kyle one of ten new artists you need to know in May 2015. This accolade came after shortly his debut album, “Beautiful Loser,” and first national tour, “King Wavy Tour.” In November 2015, “The Fader,” another popular music and lifestyle magazine, dubbed Harvey and his Super Duper crew of photographers, designers, managers and friends, one of eight creative collectives that are changing the way music is made. After his performance, I got a chance to talk with Super Duper Kyle.
Q: What inspires you to write the music you
make? Who are you writing it for?
A: I’m writing music I make for myself. And
what inspires me is life events I go through.
Q: You’ve been to Philly before, most
recently at Trocadero Theatre. What’s the
crowd reaction when you come to Philly and
why do you keep coming back?
A: Every time I come to Philly, people are
excited for the music. They’re not excited for
the night, just to be out, they’re excited to come
to a Kyle show, and relate to the song, which is
why I [mess] with Philly. Philly is ready for that.
Yeah, I love Philly.
Q: So, how does it feel to go from trying to
break into the industry to finally gaining some
traction and some mainstream appeal with
“Smyle” and the Happy Camper Tour?
A: It feels good. I feel I’m working steadily,
but surely. And I feel like I’m not outgrowing
myself, you know? It feels good, it feels like I’m
moving at the right pace, like, “Beautiful Loser”
was my intro and “Smyle” is my follow up. It’s
been a very calm, really amazing, pace.
Q: When you come off the tour, when can
your fans expect the newest project and what
will it entail?
A: The newest project is definitely going
to be the best work of my whole career and I
can’t tell you when to expect it, but probably sometime this year.

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News Release Montgomery County Community College

On April 1, 2016, MCCC Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program presented “A Lie of the Mind,” a darkly comic family drama by Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright, Sam Shepard. Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright Sam Shepard’s “A Lie of the Mind” follows two families in the Montana plains, connected by one marriage and a brutal incident which leaves the wife, Beth, in her family’s care. Filled with enormous vitality, and humor, it explores the destinies of Jake and Beth, torn apart by jealousies and distrust, welded together by the needs of the human heart and the destructiveness which it can engender. “This is the reason why I feel art is so powerful,” says director Samantha Clarke. “One in four women will experience abuse in their life. With numbers like that, it’s hard not to accept that abuse knows no race, gender, socioeconomic status, or creed. However, abuse, arassment, and discrimination often go without a voice and this play gives us a voice in which to speak for those who cannot, will not, or know not how.” This production contains adult language and themes. In conjunction with the production, the students of West End Student Theatre creating a ‘Post Secret’ wall to offer a voice for members of the community who are facing domestic abuse, bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Anonymous drop boxes where available on campus, and students and community members were able to leave a note to be posted on the ‘Post Secret’ wall at the South Hall Community Room
during performances. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales were donated to Laurel House, offering services for victims of domestic abuse and their families.

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By: Nathan Allerbach
Montgazette Contributing Writer

On Thursday, April 28, Montgomery County Community College’s communication program received a special visit from author David Hale Sylvester. Also known as “Big Dave,” David is a bicyclist who has crossed multiple continents and changed countless lives through sharing his stories of love and loss. David spoke to a group of Montco students relating his ongoing story. He began his story with one of a great tragedy — when one of his best friends, Kevin Bowser, was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Plagued with confusion, suffering and “what if’s,” David sought to make sense of that senseless moment by jumping on his bicycle and connecting with people and spreading joy while sharing stories of loss and tragedy with those he met. One of the highlights of Sylvester’s story was when he after being inspired by another cyclist and friend, Kristin Sullivan, as they biked from Alaska to Argentina to raise awareness on human impact to the environment. He told the students how he knew he wanted to do something similar as a short-term goal. With “his pockets virtually empty,” Sylvester took a chance and scheduled his first long distance bike ride down the continent of Africa. As his story unfolded into self-discovery, giving back and inspiring others around him, Sylvester said that through this journey he discovered life was all about “finding your bike,” a phrase in which he shares with everyone he encounters across the world. Sylvester is planning another bike ride scheduled to start in May. At the end of his story, he invited the students to share their dreams for the future and share a high five and a hug. Sylvester hopes that these small gestures become inspirations for everyone he meets.

biked every line photo

he biked article photo

Photo Courtesy of Gail Ramsey, COM Instructor Students take advantage of a photo opportunity with David Hal Sylvester; author and bicyclist who biked across multiple continents.

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By: Dillon Campbell
Montgazette Staff Writer

On April 6th, Montgomery County Community College featured the spring 2016 Five Day Film Festival. Participants were challenged to write, film, edit and produce short films over the course of five days. For each semester, the film festival has a different theme and corresponding challenge. For the spring 2016 semester, the theme of the festival was to “Swede” blockbuster films. The term “Swede” or “Sweded” comes from the 2008 film, Be Kind Rewind, starring Mos Def and Jack Black. In the film, Jack Black & Mos Def work at a video store where Jack Black’s character accidentally erases all of the tapes in the store. In order to fix this problem without the customers noticing, they decide to remake all of the movies. Despite noticing the obvious stunt that the two pull, their customers love the new versions just as much as the originals. With that challenge in mind, the participants of the Five Day Film Festival were tasked with producing a five minute remake of a specific blockbuster movie. On the night of the screening, the five following movies were presented by the named participants: “Billy Wilson’s Days Off, A Parody of Ferris Buller’s Day Off” produced by Billy Wilson Productions. “Point Break” produced by Dream Team. “Home Alone” produced by Team Safety. “The Matrix” produced by Gal and the Guys. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” produced by Philm-It Productions. There were two types of awards each film could receive, the Audience’s Choice and the Judge’s Choice. While everyone’s film showed creativity, the festival gave awards to only two films. “The Matrix” by Gal and the Guys won the Audience’s Choice award and the Judge’s Choice award went to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” by Philm-It Productions.

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By: James Phelan
Montgazette Contributing Writer, student, COM 100 DC

CAPG, or Montgomery County Community College’s Communicating Arts Production Group, is a student-run television club that produces content for Montgomery County Community College. Amanda Zacharias is the club president and the executive producer of “The Buzz Update,” a weekly news broadcast. She makes every decision from what stories are to run that week to what gets aired or cut. The show airs on Comcast Channel 38 and broadcasts on the video sharing website YouTube to spread their name around. CAPG consistently garners around a hundred views each week but produces content in an effort to stay relevant. The students run all aspects of the show’s production form writing the stories to editing and audiovisuals. The professor who has a say in anything when it comes to how the studio is run is Jeff Asch, the studio supervisor and leader of the CAPG club. “The Buzz Update” tapes every Monday from 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. and is then edited and posted on YouTube by 5 p.m. The club gets most of their stories from events taken straight from the college’s student calendar or from press releases by the college. To expand on this, CAPG will soon be venturing into covering campus community events. This requires CAPG members to look more at what is going on around the college community. To be a member of CAPG, in Zacharias’ words, “All you really have to do is show up.” No one needs to be a communication major or have prior knowledge in how to run a television studio. Everything you need to learn will be taken care of while you produce a show.

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By: Mamata Tharima
Montgazette Staff Writer

September 11th and the media’s coverage of radical Muslim activities lead some anti-Muslim protestors to publicly burn copies of the Quran and vandalize
mosques to show their hatred for Muslims worldwide. On top of this, the media continues to focus on critical stereotypes of Muslims and documenting violations of
their rights. The controversial and misused term of Jihad is one of the roots of this hatred. This Arabic word means “struggle or strive for a noble cause with determination without causing any harm.” Many non-Muslims use the word Jihad to mean “Holy War,” which was first used to describe the Christian Crusades from the ninth to twelfth centuries. “The misuse of Jihad contradicts Islam,” Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of America writes in his article “Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept from Islam – What Jihad is, and is not.” Shaykh Kabbani points out that the Quran and Islamic law do not define Jihad as just killing. The concept of Jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious extremists to commit violence and terror against many innocent people. According to Cosmas Akuta, a communication professor at Montgomery County Community College, “We should not require people in terms of proselytizing or get people in your religion to do evils whether in deeds or speech…I think we should use religion for good and to uplift people.” The media and news channels cover stories that interest them and appeal to a mainstream audience but sometimes the coverage can be biased. In 2015, there was a shooting of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. All of them were shot in the head by their neighbor who was an atheist and made antiIslamic statements on social media. The parents of the victims reported that their children were harassed because of their appearance and felt threatened by their neighbor on multiple occasions. Several organizations, educational institutions and interfaith services, taking full advantage of the freedoms from the United States Constitution, express brotherhood and respect of Muslims. Julie Sullivan, the president of St. Thomas University, a Catholic university in Minnesota, offered a statement of support for Muslim students and staff. She said, “At a time of deeply troubling anti-Muslim political rhetoric in American society, we at the University of St. Thomas reiterate our welcome to Muslims as members of our community, our gratitude for the many contributions that Muslims make to our community and our unwavering support especially for our many Muslim students.”
President Barack Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore, Maryland to send a strong message of support to Muslim-Americans and to defend religious freedom in America. In his speech, he said, “If we are serious about freedom of religion—and I am speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country—we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” We as humans should continue to work collaboratively to fight against violence and terrorism to make the world a better place to live in harmony with one another.

article photo for newspaper

Mamata Tharima Courtesy of the author.

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