'Age of Empires, 'Tomb Raider' vet helps game firms be careful of cultural insensitivity

Kate Edwards has made a name for herself advising some of the biggest video game titles to make sure they are culturally sensitive.

It’s a challenge that video games face more frequently as storylines become more realistic and set in actual societies – or even made-up ones.

“Not everyone will interpret a historical event in a game the same way, especially when dealing with historical events,” said Edwards, who has consulted on games like “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” “Dragon Age” and “Mass Effect” to make sure the storylines were sensitive. “There are different sensitivities in different markets. I help them walk through some decisions.”

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Video game speed-run experts raise $250K for charity in 2 days, aim for much more in Orlando

P.J. DiCesare has some tricks up his sleeve that he shows off when he speed runs Mega Man 7.

For instance, using a variety of weapons on Spring Man – rather than the villain’s greatest weakness, the Slash Claw, exclusively – can save up to 4 seconds on your time.

It’s one of the ways the Rochester, N.Y., native finished the entire game in 41 minutes, 30 seconds, on Dec. 18, marking the second-fastest time ever recorded on the game. He also set the record for quickest to finish the game with 100 percent completion on Dec. 15.

“Every time you leave an area, you start to think, ‘Where can I have sped it up,’” DiCesare, 30, said after he finished the game in less than 50 minutes during the charity fundraiser Games Done Quick, which this year for the first time was held in Orlando. “I just like the mental simulation.”

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Speed runners, indie games and Otronicon: the January events to put on your calendar.

A month full of video game events will start early as speed runs, student workshops and gaming tournaments come to Central Florida. It starts tonight when independent video game community Indienomicon kicks off its 2020 schedule with a monthly meetup.

The schedule will then keep video game fans busy this month. Here’s a rundown of 3 big events coming this month, followed by a list of other events to keep on your radar.  

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RIT wins Hearthstone college title at Full Sail

A team from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York took home the fall title in the collegiate championships of Hearthstone, a tournament held at Full Sail University earlier this month.

The online digital collectible card game from Blizzard Entertainment has grown in popularity and drew the top four teams to Winter Park.

In Hearthstone, players build a deck of digital cards that are based in the popular World of Warcraft universe.

Players and teams use cards from their constructed decks to battle those of their opponents, with specific traits of the characters in the card determining who comes out on top.

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Full Sail to host Hearthstone college title meet

The college championship of Blizzard’s esports competition of Hearthstone is coming to The Fortress.

Full Sail University and Blizzard officials announced Friday that the school’s dedicated competitive gaming venue would host the event in Saturday, Dec. 14.

The finals will be played on the newly released Descent of Dragons expansion, which launches Tuesday.

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Mutineers' Call of Duty roster features most-recent world champion

The Florida Mutineers will have some decorated firepower for the upcoming season of the Call of Duty World League.

Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, who has earned $1.4 million in Call of Duty World League prize money since July, will lead a squad that also includes a two-time Halo world champion and three Call of Duty veterans.

The team will be led by coach Ricky “Atura” Lugo and general manager Tom “OGRE2” Ryan, who himself has been called the best Halo player of all time.

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