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SMU Guildhall students choose 2016’s top 10 video games

Final Fantasy XV screen cap

Vivid characters and deeply detailed worlds are longstanding elements of the Final Fantasy game series. The latest installment, Final Fantasy XV, has been voted one of 2016’s top 10 games by students in the SMU Guildhall digital game development program.


SMU Guildhall students in art, programming, level design and production have named 10 outstanding titles – from the augmented-reality mobile adventure Pokémon GO to a reboot of the genre-defining first-person shooter Doom – as the Top Video Games of 2016.

The students – all Master of Interactive Technology or Professional Certificate candidates in digital game development – each chose their five favorites from a list of 50 of the year’s most talked-about games of every type and for any platform, says Marc Mixon of the Guildhall Student Activities Committee. Results were tabulated with an instant-runoff scoring system, in which descending numerical values were assigned for each place from first to fifth.

Overwatch screen cap

In Overwatch, a motley six-person crew fights missions together in colorful locations ranging from the Temple of Anubis to the Rock of Gibraltar to a Hollywood backlot.

Winning first place easily was the critical and commercial hit Overwatch, a shooter in which players form six-person teams online and complete missions together in a colorful, diverse and lived-in world. The reimagined edition of the classic Doom, once again created by Dallas-based iD Software, was not far behind. The remaining titles were closely grouped, with each receiving several votes.

There are many different measures for what makes a game great, Mixon says, whether a well-balanced experience for multiplayer titles or a compelling story for a single-player game. The students’ game choices reflect the best of their respective genres, he adds.

Video games continue to rake in consumers’ entertainment dollars, according to the industry’s largest lobbying group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Total U.S. revenues for the industry hit $23.5 billion in 2015, which represented 5% growth over the previous year. ESA data show that more than 150 million Americans play video games and 63 percent of households are home to at least one person who plays video games regularly (at least three hours per week).

Fortune: Level Up! Video Game Revenues Soar in 2015

Following is the complete list, in descending order, of the SMU Guildhall’s Top 10 for 2016. Descriptions include the developer/publisher, genre or genres, play mode, ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the game platform or platforms on which it runs. (Note that the ESRB does not rate online interactions for multiplayer online games.)

1. Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: First-person shooter
Mode: Team-based multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

2. Doom (2016)
iD Software/Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

3. Pokémon Sun and Moon
Game Freak/The Pokémon Company
Genre: Role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Dark Souls 3 screen cap

The “withered beauty” aesthetic and heart-pounding combat of Dark Souls III earned it a place among the SMU Guildhall’s top games of 2016.

4. World of Warcraft: Legion
Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
Mode: Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: MS Windows, OS X

5. Dark Souls III
FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

6. Pokémon GO
Niantic Labs/The Pokémon Company
Genres: Augmented reality, location-based
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Apple Watch

SMU Pokestops

The SMU campus is a map of Pokéstops – with Dallas Hall as a Pokémon gym – in a screen from the augmented-reality game Pokémon GO, which makes real-world landmarks a part of the gameplaying action.

7. Stardew Valley
ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games
Genres: Simulation, role-playing
Mode: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: Linux, MS Windows, Nintendo Switch, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

8. Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing
Mode: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

9. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: PlayStation 4

10. Battlefield 1
EA DICE/Electronic Arts
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

December 19, 2016|News|

SMU gathers for All-University Holiday Celebration Monday, Dec. 19, 2016

Holiday Peruna with Tis the Season in lights

Prepare for merriment: President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner host their annual All-University Holiday Celebration from 3:30-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The SMU community gathers after December Commencement for refreshments, holiday music and conversation with friends old and new. See you there!

December 19, 2016|Calendar Highlights, Save the Date|

SMU celebrates 2016 December Commencement Saturday, Dec. 17

December Commencement 2013, blue mortarboards

The SMU community will celebrate 2016 December Commencement Convocation on Saturday, Dec. 17. Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown will give the address.

> Read more about Chief Brown from SMU News

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in Moody Coliseum with a student and faculty procession. Doors to the staging area in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will open at 8 a.m. Processional groups begin forming at 9:15 a.m.; doors close at 9:40 a.m.

Prior to the ceremony, there will be a faculty breakfast at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The faculty should assemble in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Champions Club.

> Watch the December Commencement livestream at smu.edu/live

The December Commencement Convocation is a formal ceremony open to degree candidates from all of SMU’s schools and professional programs. All participants must wear academic regalia; students without regalia will be directed to the SMU Bookstore to rent a cap and gown. No honor ribbons or other decorations or adornments may be worn to this ceremony, including messages or images on mortarboards.

Find complete rules for regalia at the University Registrar’s homepage

The ceremony lasts about two hours. No guest tickets are required, and free parking will be available throughout the campus. Limited concession service will be available in Moody Coliseum beginning at 8 a.m.

Commencement participants and guests should not bring the following prohibited items to the Coliseum, including but not limited to animals (except licensed service animals), backpacks, binocular cases, briefcases, camera bags, cans, cinch bags, computer bags, coolers, diaper bags, fanny packs, firearms, glass bottles, guns, inflated balloons, knives of any size and type, laser pointers, luggage, noisemakers, purses larger than a small clutch, radios, seat cushions with zippers, pockets or compartments, selfie sticks, signs, stun guns, throwing objects, umbrellas (unless threat of rain or raining), and weapons.

All bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and may not exceed 12 x 6 x 12 inches. Bags may be one-gallon clear plastic resealable storage bags. Small clutch purses with or without straps, no larger than 8.5 x 5.5 inches, are permitted. The clutch does not have to be clear and may be carried separately or within an approved plastic bag. Items that are medically necessary are evaluated individually.

> More information for students and guests at SMU’s December Commencement homepage

December 12, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

SMU Law Professor Jenia Turner named Amy Abboud Ware Centennial Professor in Criminal Law

Jenia Iontcheva Turner, Amy Abboud Ware Centennial Professor of Criminal Law, SMUSMU Law Professor Jenia Iontcheva Turner has been appointed Amy Abboud Ware Centennial Professor in Criminal Law for her outstanding contributions as a teacher and scholar in the field of criminal justice. The professorship was endowed by Amy Abboud Ware ’90 and Les Ware ’92 as a gift to the law school and the city of Dallas.

Professor Turner is a prolific scholar, a distinguished teacher, and a sought-after expert, both nationally and internationally, on criminal justice issues. She joined SMU’s Dedman School of Law in 2004. Previously, she served as a Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She attended law school at Yale, where she was a Coker Fellow and articles editor for the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law.

“I am deeply honored with the professorship and grateful for the Wares’ extraordinarily generous contribution to the law school,” said Turner. “It is inspiring to see alumni who have achieved success in the legal world decide to give back to SMU. Amy Abboud Ware’s many accomplishments in the field of criminal law make this professorship in her name all the more fitting. Personally, receiving this honor further motivates me to continue doing the work I love – teaching and researching about criminal justice issues, both in the United States and abroad. I will do my best to see that the Wares’ generosity pays dividends in the form of a more vibrant intellectual community for our faculty and students.”

> Read more from SMU News

 

December 12, 2016|For the Record, News|

Tune In: #HilltopHolidays in SMU’s Residential Commons

The more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff members in SMU’s Residential Commons are using the power of community to celebrate the winter holidays and to prepare for a successful finals season.

A new video by SMU News’ Myles Taylor show how each residential college is celebrating its bonds, from a Ware Commons gourmet treat-tasting to a rooftop dinner sponsored by Loyd Commons donors Paul and Penny Loydvideo [Watch in a new window]

The University is sharing its holiday spirit on social media, too. Follow the #HilltopHolidays hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the SMU website – and use it share your own media and memories from campus celebrations.

> Find more, including photos and slideshows, at SMU News

December 12, 2016|Tune In|
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