Hitman pushes ‘episodic game’ model

BY SAMUEL GUGLIELMO
Features Editor

Hitman 2 (both from Sony FB)

Episodic games continue gain popularity in the industry. As both independent and big studios continue to release games in episodes or chapters, whether or not this is a feasible platform is questionable. Various games have switched from normal releases to something else. Square Enix appears to be the biggest company promoting these changes, with two games originally intended to be full releases being cut into episodic games.

The biggest one is probably “Hitman.” The sixth game in a popular series, “Hitman” has gone through a rather strange release schedule. Originally the game was supposed to release complete in Dec. 2015. After getting delayed to March 2016, it was also announced the game would only have its first half released, with the second half being added slowly, for free, over the course of the year. Then, shortly before the release, Square Enix knocked the price of the game from $60 to $15 and announced it would be released episodically. Now users would only get the tutorial and the first mission, and a new mission will get released every month for another $10 each. This isn’t Square Enix’s only push into episodic games: the remake of “Final Fantasy VII” will also be episodic. Though Square Enix has claimed that every episode will be the size of a full game, we’re still not sure about the pricing and real size of the episodes. Square Enix has also published “Life is Strange,” a smaller episodic game about a girl in high school who discovers she has time traveling powers.

Yet it seems strange that Square Enix is going with this strategy. What’s in it for them? It’s probably not to charge more: in the end buying each planned episode of “Hitman” will only cost $65, which is only $5 more than a typical release. Even then, you can also just buy all of the episodes directly for $60. Yet Square Enix may also be making more money from it in the long run. A $15 game is a much easier impulse purchase than a $60 game. Plus if anyone finds themselves interested in that $15 intro, then dropping another $10 for a couple of months isn’t too bad.

In theory, episodic games should allow faster turnaround time for new content, but that’s not always the case. Delays for episodes can be a real problem, with plot elements and gameplay elements being forgotten between episodes. “Hitman” may end up guilty of this: while the second episode is slated for release this month, one of the game’s directors admitted that they may not be hitting their monthly goals. “Hitman” isn’t the only game guilty of this: “Kentucky Route Zero” has been on episode three for nearly two years now, with episode four still “coming soon.”

While it’s doubtful that “Hitman” will ever be canceled, there’s too much money riding on it, it’s still a possibility. Recently, “Sons of Anarchy: The Prospect” was released on iOS and Android devices. The game was going to be a 10 episode series based on the extremely popular TV show. Despite this, the first episode didn’t sell and the publisher recently pulled it off of Apple’s store, refunding the game and canceling future episodes. Similar has also happened to “Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma”

Yet what other reasons are there to go episodic? The developers, Io Interactive, say that the idea came shortly after the release of 2012’s “Hitman: Absolution.” By making the full game at once they didn’t have time to see if gamers would like the changes they were implementing into the franchise, and because of this “Hitman: Absolution” was not received well by fans of the series. On the other hand, if one episode of “Hitman” isn’t well received due to mechanics, it’s much easier to go in and fix something up for the subsequent episode.

There is also the argument gamers can’t pay attention. Many games frontload their content, putting the best stuff in the first half of the game. Developers have said anywhere between only 15-20 percent actually bother to finish a full game. Yet by making a shorter episode, somewhere between 3-5 hours, there’s a much larger chance that people will get to the end of an episode and purchase the next one. Keeping player’s attention is important, both for the publishers who hope they buy the sequel and the developers who would like the players to experience their whole game.

Whatever the case, “Hitman” won’t be changing back to a full release. The traditional full release business model isn’t going to go anywhere, but it’s very likely that we’ll be seeing more episodic games releasing alongside them. Big titles aren’t making the push yet, but “Hitman” may end up being the game to convince them to.

What I would tell my freshman self

BY SANDRA RIANO
Senior Opinion Editor

One of the most difficult transitions from high school to college is the shift in responsibility. Three years ago I learned it is no longer a teacher’s job to force you to sit in a classroom; the professors have other students and they don’t have time to be running around after you. Show up or don’t – it only affects you. It becomes your decision very quickly on how you want to approach college. Are you going to take on this responsibility and take this seriously? Are you going to take advantage of a lax attendance policy and go out for Taco Bell instead? Personally, I did both.

The secret is to take college seriously, because it’s your future that depends on it. However, you also should be aware of when you need to take mental health days. I learned very quickly that being overwhelmed and underfunded is the quickest way to develop negative feelings towards a college experience. I had to step back for a semester even though I knew it would extend my time at the County College of Morris by at least a year. One semester I only took the two courses I could afford, worked some extra hours and used some of my free time to join clubs. It was also at this point that I had to begin mastering time management, which has allowed me to take on additional classes, jobs, internships and clubs. This turning point in my CCM career made all the difference. The transition from student, to club member, to student leader was fulfilling, and it completely changed how I approached college.

I wish I knew when I started CCM that college was more than just going to class, work and then home. CCM has so much to offer and I still meet students who didn’t know we had access to a gym and a swimming pool, students who don’t know what an articulation agreement is, and students who didn’t know career services would help them build a resume. These are all things I had to find out for myself because there are no morning announcements and no letters sent home. It’s up to you to make the most of this and take all the opportunities that arise.

I understand it’s difficult to be happy here at first; all of your friends are off at four year schools, but resenting your time at CCM will only hold you back in the long run. Whether you are here for financial reasons or academic ones, the faster you realize that you are getting a valuable education, the faster you start enjoying the time you spend here. The rumors you’ve heard and the pity filled looks from peers in high school are not indicative of CCM

I wish I knew that college would provide me with more opportunities than one person can handle. You can’t take on every job, every internship and every club, and that’s okay.

I wish I knew that stigmas are more easily erased through accomplishments than through Facebook comments.

I wish I knew earlier that student leadership came with perks like free food!

I wish I knew earlier about the scholarships CCM offers, because they would’ve really helped me out when I first started and I was struggling to pay tuition.

I wish I knew that the easiest way to get the schedule you want is to really learn how to advise yourself. You know what you can handle better than any professor does. Be sure to mix together courses that vary in interest to you so you don’t end up with a hellishly boring semester, and try to line up some courses that may even go together, such as American Government and the History of U.S Minorities. Some of the content in related courses overlaps, which can help you gain better understanding from different perspectives.

I wish I went on more field trips and dabbled in clubs outside of my comfort zone, but I didn’t, and that’s okay. The point is, we all had different experiences here and I wish I had known earlier about all the things I mentioned. But in a way, learning the hard way made my experiences that much more valuable.

I am indebted to my time at CCM, but not to a financial institution. Instead, I owe my accomplishments to all the faculty, staff and student leaders who made CCM an unforgettable place. So, if I could tell my freshman self one thing, it would be to just pick a club and join it, because it makes creating friendships so much easier, and it makes college more manageable having a support system of likeminded students to help you when you need it. Stop fretting about not having friends and thinking no one talks to each other and start the conversation. You never know what kind of background stories you will get to hear, and you will make some great friends along the way.

Letter from the Editor

This is it. This is the last one. My last submission for the Youngtown Edition.

I’ve been part of the Youngtown for most of my three years at CCM. I’ve seen it morph from having a big red banner to the way it looks today, and I’ve seen two Editor-in-Chiefs come and go. If you’d have told me I would be Editor-in-Chief when I first started here I would’ve laughed – yet somehow it happened.

And here we are.

It has been a tremendous learning experience working with everyone here at the Youngtown, and I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish during my time here.

Through a lot of hard work, we’ve managed to change the Youngtown into a paper that puts out timely, polished pieces that look fantastic (thanks to our all-star designers). We’ve managed to win awards, and I’m proud to say we have people interested in what we print, and it’s all thanks to the amazing team we have here.

I’m going to miss you nerds.

I have a lot to say about the benefits you can reap about the Youngtown, for any prospective journalists out there. We can provide you with published clips, we can teach you how to use design software and Russ (our adviser) can potentially provide you with professional connections in the business.

That’s all well and great, but honestly, that’s just half of what makes the Youngtown so appealing.

Join for the people. Through late night post-production meals in the cafeteria, and rampant sarcastic inside jokes, to crowding around a computer to think up better headlines for stories (the funniest ones are always unpublishable) we have so much fun.

We’ve had a blast, going to Mexican restaurants for some fabled, mashed-before-your-eyes tableside guac and going to see Spotlight in theatres when it came out (JOURNALISM). We’ve always found a way to have fun, put out a great paper, and mercilessly joke about each other and anything else going on.

It was stressful at times, but the stress always pays off.

When I started out, I was concerned I was going to be broke with an associate degree I couldn’t use. Leaving the Youngtown, I’m graduating and transferring my skills into a job at a real newspaper for a year – from there, who knows. If you told me that when I first came here, I’d really be laughing.

Join the Youngtown. Even if you’re not a journalism major, you can garner important skills that can be used with any job. Through design, writing, or taking photos, you can leave your mark on the Youngtown.

Who knows, you just might be Editor-in-Chief one day.

-Derek Allen

CCM Sports slide into Spring season

BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
Sports Editor

The County College of Morris’ spring sports teams began playing teams in their region, National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX, during NJCAA’s 2016 spring season. Baseball, which began region play Saturday, March 26, started 7-5 in region play and 25-15 overall while advancing to the playoffs, and lacrosse, which began region play March 26, started 0-3 in the region and 2-13 overall and failed to advance to the NJCAA Region XIX playoffs. Softball, which began region play Tuesday, March 29, started 4-4 in the region and 20-14 overall, and golf, which began region tournament play Monday, March 28, finished first place in four tournaments.

Jack Sullivan, athletic director at CCM, said that toward the end of semesters, many student athletes struggle to balance their school responsibilities.

“It’s a busy time of year, we’re getting ready for finals,” said Sullivan. “So it’s a lot of stress on the student athletes. They have to maintain their grades and stuff. Our expectations are that they’re student athletes first, but this is an exciting time athletically for them.”

CCM’s baseball team won two games against Valley Forge Military College Wednesday, April 20 to advance to the Region XIX Division II playoffs.

“We have a good group of guys that are committed to practicing the right way, and they’re focused on winning,” said Brian Eberly, head coach of baseball at CCM. “And the team has come together well. We don’t have any infighting or complaining on the bench. It’s just a really good group to work with all year long.”

Losing its fourth consecutive game against Region XIX teams, baseball lost two games against Rowan College at Burlington County Sunday, April 17.

“Basically everything went wrong to be honest,” said Omari Beaubien, psychology major and baseball player at CCM. “We didn’t really play a good game at all fielding-wise, hitting-wise. I think mentally we just weren’t prepared.”

CCM’s lacrosse team, sixth place in NJCAA Region XIX Division I, failed to advance to the playoffs this season.

“We definitely could have done way better,” said Khelsae Andican, criminal justice major. “Sometimes you just gotta take the losses, get it next time. There’s always another season.”

Several news outlets, including News 12 New Jersey, Parsippany Patch, and Northjersey.com, reported this season on Andican, a woman, playing as a co-captain on CCM’s men’s lacrosse team.

“I didn’t really think anything of [the news coverage] at first, and now I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s pretty cool,’” said Andican. “I guess [my serving as co-captain] can be seen as a big deal, but it doesn’t seem that way on this team … I think this whole media buzz will bring a lot of attention to our program here, and we can get a lot of talent.”

Another lacrosse player at CCM said that his team will likely work hard for the remainder of its season.

“It’s not the season that we expected, but we’ve put in some hard work for it,” said Sal Maiorana, engineering science major. “We’re just probably gonna work our hardest and win these two.”

CCM’s softball team, third place in NJCAA Region XIX Division II, in order to clinch its division’s playoffs, needs to finish in the top four in its division based on region play.

“We’re the kind of team this year that we’re very inconsistant,” said Greg Wardlow, head coach of softball at CCM. “It’s kind of an oddity … [Every team but one] that we lost to, we subsequently beat in another game, so what that proves to me and should prove to our players is that any given day we can beat anybody, but they did also. It says that any given day we can lose to anybody.”

Sullivan said that CCM’s golf team proved itself a sound team, but not as commanding as last season’s CCM golf team.

“I think it’s been one of the more competitive years, and I don’t think we have the dominant golfers that we’ve had in the past, but I think that they have had a good team,” Sullivan said. “Anything is possible. If they get hot at the right time, so be it, but we’ve had – it seems like – three consecutive Mondays in a row with really bad weather. And that doesn’t help anybody.”

CCM’s spring season is set to end Friday, June 10 during golf’s NJCAA Nationals to which CCM’s golf team will try to send players.

CCM student newspaper takes three first place awards

“The Youngtown Edition” honored six times by NJCPA

“The Youngtown Edition,” the student newspaper at the County College of Morris, celebrated another year of award-winning journalism at the the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA) luncheon on Saturday, April 9.

The publication once again garnered several top-level honors from the NJCPA, this year winning first place awards in Arts & Entertainment/Critical Writing, Layout and Design and overall website in the 2015-16 College Newspaper Contest. The competition includes two-year colleges throughout the state. The newspaper won seven awards in last year’s competition, and six the year before that.

“What I love about ‘The Youngtown Edition’ is despite the fact that the staff turns over frequently as students graduate and the focus and content shifts with each new regime, the strength and quality of the work doesn’t change,” said Russ Crespolini, adjunct professor at CCM and the paper’s faculty advisor. “Last year we won first place for news writing and sports writing. This year we took top honors for features writing and layout and design.”

Editor-in-Chief Derek Allen said he was incredibly proud of the work the team turned in this year and was thrilled to see them recognized.

“As a paper we have autonomy to decide what we cover and what we publish. To see our choices rewarded like this is a great honor,” said Allen, after accepting the second place award for general excellence.

At the luncheon Allen also accepted the second place award in opinion writing on behalf of Opinion Editor Sandra Riano.

“Coming into this year we didn’t have a strong opinion section. Sandra definitely changed that,” Allen said. “She took on broad topics like politics, racism and undocumented citizens and managed to make them relatable to the campus community. Her stories always had people talking.”

Emily Betz was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment/Critical Writing for her treatise on an honor killing documentary.

“Emily is a student in one of my speech classes and is incredibly passionate and expressive when she is trying to get her point across,” Crespolini said. “It is rare to see that kind of energy translate to the written word, but Emily certainly pulled it off. And the judges obviously saw that.”

The design duo of Drew Notarnicola and Frank Eaton picked up top prize for Layout and Design.

“Those guys literally are the best,” Allen said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get the paper out at all without them. They single-handedly take the photos and the ads and copy and lay it out. They deserve all the awards we could possibly give them, honestly.”

Managing Editor Beth Peter, who will ascend to Editor-In-Chief in the fall when Allen graduates, picked up a pair of prizes for her web work. The first place award attributed to Peter was for overall website and she also earned a second place prize for the social media work she does for the Youngtown in the category of special projects.

“I’m proud to have won,” Peter said. “I put a lot of work into the projects I earned awards for and seeing that effort recognized feels really good.”

Peter already has her sights set on repeating the success of this year and adding to it next year.

“We have room for growth and I am hoping we get more talented people on campus to come help us keep the streak alive,” Peter said.

For his part, Crespolini agreed.

“The paper is solely a student production. We are always looking for designers, photographers, writers and editors. If you want to get involved, we will find a place for you. It looks great on your resume, you learn a lot and we have a good time,” Crespolini said. “Anyone interested at all should drop us a line at youngtownedition@gmail.com.”

Student Government Association President Steps Down

BY BETH PETER
Managing Editor

The race is on to find the next Student Government Association (SGA) president at the County College of Morris as current SGA President Marcelle Caruso is stepping down after two semesters at the helm.

“I’ve already had my moment to shine,” Caruso said. “Now it’s going to be an interesting race.”

There are three candidates on the ballot: Walter Yurcik, SGA vice president, Andrew Ginsberg, SGA treasurer, and Stanley White, SGA fundraiser chairperson.

“From what I have seen during my time as vice president, there are certain things that need to change,” said Yurcik, a computer information systems major at CCM.

He cited changing academic advisement and club leadership training as two of his main goals.

“I know of at least two students that actually spent a year taking classes that will either not apply to their major or they won’t transfer out,” Yurcik said. “They could’ve been done in two years flat, and now they have to do another year. And that’s a problem. If it’s happening to one student, how many other students are being affected by this?”

Caruso said every president has their own goals.

“We sit down to have three goals and each one carries that out how they will,” said Caruso.

Yurcik said he is the best available candidate because he has the experience and the knowledge in leadership.

“I have strong time management skills, which I didn’t have before, and I’ve also looked at what issues we have now and what can be different and what we can change,” Yurcik said. “We have to evolve as the student government and as clubs.”

Ginsberg is a public and nonprofit administration major at CCM, and has balanced the treasurer position of both SGA and the Student Activities Programming Board for the last two semesters.

“I’ve received over a half dozen recommendations from students and faculty before agreeing to run,” said Ginsberg. “Which is likely due to the fact the two initial candidates are in their 40’s. What makes me the best candidate, and separates me, is I’m more capable of representing the majority of the student body and I’ve proven to my club members I’m capable of controlling a room.”

His main goals to achieve during his presidency is enhanced student awareness of and involvement in clubs, and the provision of more transfer fairs and career development seminars.

Ginsberg said he recognizes why most people attend CCM and aims to help students achieve those goals.

“I feel like I really have a chance to help CCM,” said Ginsberg.

White said that as SGA president, he will actively advocate for students and be a change agent for the campus community.

“As a student and professional firefighter, I am disciplined, proactive, and committed to diversity and excellence,” said White, a liberal arts major.

Caruso said she is stepping down to focus on academics and is running for vice president of the Student Activities Programming Board.

“It is my time to step down and show everybody what the candidates have to offer,” said Caruso. “I graduate in the spring of 2017, and my plans [for next semester] are to strictly focus on academics but still be involved with clubs because my personality is very involved, very heightened. So, I decided to run for SAPB vice president. You’re still involved, it’s still fun, you still know what’s going on, but there’s not a lot to do.”

Caruso has been SGA president for the entire 2015-2016 academic year, and could run again if she so chose.

She led a student government that was very involved on campus, hosting events including the Student-Faculty Luncheon and Exotic Food Extravaganza.

Caruso said community involvement was one of her goals when she took the presidency, but it might not be the goal of the rising president, and she knows that.

Her advice to the candidates regarding their goals as leaders centers on inter-club development.

“They definitely need to focus on the collaboration and communication with other clubs, that’s the most vital thing.” said Caruso.

Voting is available to CCM students through Blackboard from Tuesday, April 26 to Thursday, April 28. Results will be posted outside the Office of Campus Life on Friday, April 29. The next president will begin his term with a transition meeting on May 12 and will serve for one academic year until the next election.

CCM professor finds funds for passion on kickstarter

BY AMANDA ALLER
News Editor

Bevia_Cropped

PHOTO CREDIT: LIFE IN MOPHOTO

After traveling more than 4,000 miles and crowdfunding $8,000, José Beviá, professor of music at the County College of Morris, released his second CD of original compositions in 2015.

Included on the two-disk CD are “Symphony No. 2: Shapes of the Cities,” which was recorded by the North Czech Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and funded through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. According to Beviá, of Union City, that composition was inspired by the New York City skyline. Also included on the CD are four other arrangements, “El Puente de las Almas,” “Trio No. 3,” “Cenizas Y Fuego” and “Trio No. 4.”

Those compositions were recorded in Connecticut, Prague, New York City and New Jersey. When asked where Beviá got his inspiration from he also mentioned Sydney, Australia; Bisbee, Sweden; Rome, Italy and all of the architectural forms that he’d found there.

“Many members of the CCM community helped me to make this project a reality: faculty, administration, staff, alumni and students,” says Beviá. “They helped me create and advertise the Kickstarter campaign and many donated, too.”

Another CCM professor, Denise Barbarita, did most of the recording and mixing work for the album. Two former CCM music students, Bethany Damato and Patricia Anselmo, are featured in one of the compositions and another CCM alumnus, Anouska Swaray, co-wrote the CD liner notes.

“The most interesting place to record was in Connecticut when we recorded El Puente,” said Beviá. “It was very difficult because we had to take all of our own gear including two Harpsicorts. They go out of tune about every hour and were especially sensitive due to the freezing cold weather which makes them go out of tune more quickly. Recording there was a challenge but turned out to be very successful.”

A lot of Beviá’s music is directly influenced by his native country of Spain. He grew up with the folk music of Spain known as Flamingo which is especially apparent in his song “Cenizas y Fuego”. The CD is available through CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JoseBevia.

Beviá is an award-winning composer and musician, who has earned five top prizes from various music competitions and organizations. The awards came from places all over the world, from New York to Greece.

This year, he was included, along with 27 other composers, in the book “Composition in the Digital World: Conversations with 21st Century American Composers” by Robert Raines.

“There’s no recipe for success other than hard work,” said Beviá. “Pursue your dreams and push yourself to the next level.”