holidays

SMU books: Great holiday reads for 2016

Still shopping for the holidays? Complete your gift list with books published in 2016 by the SMU community, including faculty, staff members, trustees, alumni, libraries and museum.

From history to art to science to the Southwest, this year’s compilation by SMU News’ Cherri Gann has selections to please readers of poetry, personal and spiritual enrichment, young adult fiction and celebrity memoir. There’s a southern-themed cookbook for foodies, an uproarious card game based on the language of the Bard, and an arty crime caper filled with mystery and intrigue.

Some selections are available at the SMU bookstore, but all are available via online booksellers unless otherwise noted. Authors are listed alphabetically.

> Find the full list at SMU News

December 19, 2016|For the Record, News|

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|

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|

Calendar Highlights: End-of-term Fall 2016 at a glance

December Commencement postcard 2016

 

The days grow shorter, and SMU’s Fall Term 2016 is drawing to a close. Here are some important end-of-term dates to keep in mind:

  • Dec. 5: Last day of instruction
  • Dec. 6-7: Reading days
  • Dec. 8-14: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • Dec. 15: Residence halls close at 10 a.m. for Winter Break (December graduates and residential students who need winter-break or Jan Term housing should contact Residence Life and Student Housing)
  • Dec. 23, 2016-Jan. 2, 2017: University closed for Winter Break

December Commencement

  • The Rotunda Recessional for December undergraduate candidates will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, with its starting point in the Main Quad. Hot cider will be served. No RSVP is required.
  • The 2016 December Commencement Convocation begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17. Retired Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown will deliver the Commencement address.
  • Faculty: The traditional Faculty Breakfast will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club, Moody Coliseum. The faculty should assemble in the Champions Club in academic dress by 9:40 a.m.
  • Guests: Tickets are not needed to attend December Commencement; all seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The doors to Moody Coliseum open at 8 a.m.; guests are encouraged to find their seats by 9:45 a.m.
  • If you are unable to attend December Commencement, you can watch the ceremony via livestream. Tune in to smu.edu/live beginning at 9:45 a.m.

A quick look at the start of 2017

  • Jan. 9-19: SMU Jan Term (main campus and SMU-in-Taos)
  • Jan. 15: Residence halls open at 9 a.m.
  • Jan. 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (University closed)
  • Jan. 23: First day of Spring 2017 classes
December 5, 2016|Calendar Highlights, Save the Date|
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