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Writer, geek, gamer. Lover of beers, whiskey, board games, video games, and tech.

Location:Lafayette, LA

stories by Mark Whitney

The Tao of gaming: Three life lessons I’ve learned

You see it for everything these days: lessons learned from being a bit too obsessed with something you love. But really, you can gain experience from anything if you look at it the right way. Call it Tao, Zen, whatever you like (as long as it sounds mystical and ancient), charge enough money for it in the bargain section of your local bookstore, and at least four people will most likely pick up your creed out of curiosity.

Apathy and monotony: Why I don’t care about Commander Shepard anymore

I have been deeply invested in the Mass Effect series since its inception in 2007, to the point that I’ve played both of the first two titles multiple times to extract every ounce of enjoyment I could from the adventures of Commander Shepard and his ragtag team of aliens. I’ve joined forces with them and helped fight off rogue Spectres, the collector invasion, and the imminent Reaper threat for the past five years of my adult life.

Gamer on a Budget: Three Ways to Stay Entertained without Breaking the Bank

At some point in everyone’s life, money gets tight; whether it’s the economy, a baby on the way, a sudden layoff, or even just realizing your job isn’t as great as you thought there are points where "fun money" no longer exists. My mom used to call it “tightening our belts” – I just called it “the two years I had to wait before I got a Playstation”.

Adventures with no rewards: Story-based games and achievements

Last night, I finally picked up a copy of Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion (I know, I know; I'm late to the party). The Fifth Anniversary edition just came out, and with its incredibly low price-point and the fact that it comes with everything Oblivion has to offer, now seemed to be the best time to actually try out a game that I’ve been called insane for never picking up.

Indies enrich the industry

It seems to me that while the industry continues to do gangbuster business, the originality of games has declined. The production process is a strange give-and-take relationship. Even though games now have budgets that would make some Hollywood directors jealous, tight deadlines and self-imposed censorship constraints turn many efforts into mere shadows of what they could have been.

The Misguided Attempts to Ban Medal of Honor

Over the past few weeks, EA's up-and-coming reboot of the Medal of Honor series has come under fire. Britain's defense secretary called for a ban on the first-person shooter entirely, and the U.S. Army has prohibited the game from being sold from any stores that reside on a base. Soldiers can still purchase Medal of Honor off-site and play it to their heart's content, but they can't buy it from any stores subsidized by the military.

Three Non-Gaming Ideas for Microsoft’s Kinect

With Microsoft's controller-less peripheral soon hitting the market, we would be silly if we didn't look for alternatives to actually using it to play games. Let's face it; this generation is all about connecting the family to the console, and these three options would really get everyone involved with the Xbox 360, not just the gamers in your family tree.

Community Call-Out: A Night With Louis Castle

An industry veteran, Louis Castle has been around the gaming scene for 25 years. As one of the founders of Westwood studios (the company responsible for Dune and Command and Conquer) and the former CEO of EA's Los Angeles branch (which developed the Medal of Honor series and Lord of The Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth), and winner of the "Life Achievement Award" by the CGDA he certainly knows his way around the industry.