Best Spring Break Games

Collin Kelly

Looking for something to play this Spring Break? For those of you looking to add a little ludic spice to your Spring Break, USC Games has built up a “Best of” list of 15 co-op and party games to enjoy with your friends while you lounge around! Most of these games support up to four players or more for a variety of different player types and skill levels! There are cooperative games, competitive games, and we even threw in a couple board games as suggestions for quick, cheap fun! Space Team Space Team is a cooperative shouting game where 3-6 friends coordinate (or don’t) to repair your malfunctioning spaceship! It’s a fast-paced card game where success is always just out of reach! There is an app version available on iOS and Android, as well as a physical card game that is very high quality! This game is great for friends that like to play cooperative games with lots of laughs! Coup Lie and cheat your way to victory, if you can manage the bluff! In Coup, you are dealt a set of two cards, each depicting a certain character with certain abilities. You can use those abilities to do perform actions as you attempt to coup the other players and come out on top. The trick is that no one knows what cards you have, so you can claim to be the Baron, the Countess, or whatever you want! However, if you get caught, you’ll lose one of your two cards! It’s a great game that can be played in 2-5 minutes and each round will have you shouting to deal another! Best for those players that are hyper-competitive and don’t like to lose! Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime Anti-Love is kidnapping space-bunnies and making Spacetime overly dangerous! So hop with up to three friends into your colorful ship and get to shooting lasers, popping shields, and managing your thrusters as you work together to pilot one big ship! There aren’t enough hands to manage all the systems of the ship, so you’re in for a wild ride running around to fill all the important stations at all times! Meanwhile, you’ll have enemies on all sides and all sorts of blasters to dodge! This game is great for groups who like something with simple controls, but lots of deep engaging challenge! Rayman Legends Montpellier does it again with the latest entry in the hit franchise featuring your favorite man-with-no-limbs! Rayman Legends is a fun, character-filled romp with up to four players where you fight to save Teensies and stop the Magician once again! Rayman and his friends have been sleeping on the job for a century, and in that time the nightmares have grown in strength and numbers. Work with your friends to travel across the dozens of stages, including remixed and remastered levels! There are over 100 levels for your friends to tackle together! Overcooked There are too many cooks in the kitchen in this party game! Work with … Read More

Best Female Protagonists

Collin Kelly

In honor of International Women’s Day, we at USC Games wanted to make a list of some awesome female protagonists that we love in video games!  There’s no unique order to the list since we think each of these ladies deserves a spotlight. Here are ten of our favorite ladies in games. Lara Croft She’s beauty, she’s grace, she’ll sock you in your face.  Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft is a fan favorite, since her conception in 1996 to now. Though she has been sexualized in the past, in the reboot from 2013 she powers through her femininity by looking anatomically correct.  She represents a strong and passionate working woman ready to fight. Commander Shepard Bioware’s Mass Effect allowed players to craft their own character and put themselves in the story.  Whether you choose to play a female Commander Shepard or male, both follow the same story and are the same brave person.  Equality, people. Nancy Drew From novels to games, Nancy Drew has been a leading lady solving crimes since the 1930s.  Her Interactive has been creating point and click mystery games for Nancy Drew targeted towards women and girls of all ages, making anyone feel like the iconic supersleuth Nancy is.   Ms. Pac-Man Her Golden Age shines bright in an arcade full of bronze.  Introduced in the early 1980s, Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most popular arcade games of all time.  Since Pac-Man had a large number of female players, Midway Mania wanted to give back to the fans and make the next Pac-Man female.  She eats her way through levels, killing ghosts. Honestly, iconic. Samus Aran Ex-soldier of the Galactic Federation and bounty hunter: Samus Aran takes the starring role in Nintendo’s Metroid series with over 10 titles. Once it was revealed who was under the exoskeleton, it was a big surprise, and it raised the question “why shouldn’t women be protagonists in an action series?”.  She is considered to be the first human female protagonist in a video game, making her a leader in representation and role model. Lightning Farron Claire Farron is determined, independent, and steadfast.  Final Fantasy XIII’s Lightning seeks to save her sister, Sera, and goes on a treacherous journey to do so.  Over the course of the series, she grows to trust others and care for more than her sister, emotionally letting others in and continuing to be a cool mamajama. Aqua First introduced in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep in 2010, Aqua captured the hearts of all who played. Her journey is a sad one – finding her two friends and trying to prevent them from falling into darkness, she plays a big sister role.  Ending up in the realm of darkness herself, she is constantly fighting to protect the light and good in the world. She is a champion. Kate Walker Graphic adventure and point and click Syberia series stars the American Lawyer, Kate Walker.  Since 2002, Kate has been a role model for teen girls due to her … Read More

Long-time Professor Danny Bilson Takes Up Role As IMGD Chair, Launches New USC Games Initiatives

Collin Kelly

After 13 years as faculty, Professor Danny Bilson has taken up the mantle of Chair of the Interactive Media and Games Division (IMGD) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA). An accomplished veteran of the industry and long-time professor, Bilson will lead the program in a concerted effort to further game development at USC under the umbrella of USC Games, the joint-educational program that includes collaboration with the Computer Science (Games), Roski School of Art, and other programs. Bilson aims to revamp programs within IMGD that will reinvigorate the efforts of USC Games. “My first priority is to build out USC Games as an entity that can support all of the great games made across this campus,” said Bilson.  One of these initiatives will be the inaugural USC Festival of Games, a end-of-year celebration in the spring that celebrates and showcases USC’s brilliant student work. It will feature the work of Advanced Games Projects from both IMGD and CS Games as well as curated student work from multiple groups including Gamepipe, MAP and others. The goal is to create what Bilson calls the “most inclusive show we’ve ever had.”   “Wherever great games are built here at USC, the best will on display.  When we get all of our amazing content under one tent, I think we can put on a heck of a show.” Said Bilson. Bilson also plans to institute new programs that support art and animation for games through further collaboration with the SCA animation department and CS Games. These programs will work to fill out a much needed segment of the game production coursework in addition to what is already offered. This is only the beginning of Bilson’s work in the program, much of which he has already begun to put into action in just his first weeks of office. He also doesn’t think that it stops at him, as he urges students and faculty to be a part of this ongoing process. “… our doors are always open for discussion and feedback.  My basic metric for success is, ‘Are we doing better than last year?’” Said Bilson. “We all strive for continuous improvement and ways to better serve the students and the art form in general.”  Emeritus Chair Tracy Fullerton asked Bilson to take up the role as someone who has watched the program grow under both her leadership as well as that of the Founding Chair Scott Fisher. “Honestly, I felt a certain responsibility to my friends and co-workers here to apply my leadership experience to the department,” said Bilson.  “…when I was asked it just seemed like the right thing to do; to use my skills to support the faculty and students to execute their visions and support their tremendous talents.” Bilson started teaching at SCA part-time in January of 2005 and has since gone on to teach multiple undergraduate courses, including acting as head of the Advanced Games Project class in IMGD. A prestigious and successful writer from the film and television … Read More