Archive for October, 2012

Gearbox Software pushes Shift Codes like smack

October 26, 2012

My new favorite use of social media has to be Shift Codes from Gearbox Software. Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software has been recently releasing shift codes through his Twitter Account, @DuvalMagic. These codes can be used in Borderlands 2 to unlock better loot for the game.

There have been several times when I have run home from an even to punch the codes into my Xbox 360. I must admit that this is the first twitter feed that I have actively stalked/followed. According to the feed, these codes are helping the company track network traffic. Frankly, I feel a little hurt that I am being used as a cog in the machine to track statistics. But I somehow manage to get over it as soon as the company dangles a shiny new gun in front of me. They are doing a fantastic job of having me hooked to their social media feeds at all hours.

To be honest, I simply do not have enough time in my day to play the game but I have made sure to run home and log into the game for a few minutes just to make sure that I get my loot.

Shit Codes are a code that can be entered into the PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 versions of Borderlands 2. The code will give the player a golden key that will unlock a golden treasure chest that carries rare items that can be used in the game.

Being able to enter in special codes that are only valid for a limited time window ignites the retro gamer in me. I like being able to enter in Shift Codes, which in my mind equate to cheat codes. There aren’t many games that will allow you to enter cheat codes anymore.

Gearbox has also been posting Shft Codes on their Facebook page. Tip to anyone playing Borderlands 2: the codes they are posting on Facebook are not the same as the ones on their Twitter Feed. Be sure to check both.

Gearbox released Borderlands 2 earlier this month and this sequel to` the original game makes vast improvements to the predecessor. It has made it more accessible to play with friends. My favorite feature is that you can jump into and out of a friends game without having to host restarting the game. It has made the social experience much more enjoyable.

If you are playing Borderlands 2, I highly suggest that you follow @DuvalMagic and @GearboxSoftware. Be sure to also check out their Facebook page.




Big Tex flames up like Phoenix

October 21, 2012

Friday morning (the final weekend of the 2012 State Fair of Texas) a fire started inside the framework of Big Tex. His clothing, face and hat were completely destroyed in minutes. While an official investigation has not taken place yet, state fair officials believe that the fire was due to an electrical short.


A majority of the messages on my Twitter feed all day have had #bigtex. Facebook is full of similar comments. Country songs are already being written about it.


If you aren’t from Texas, let me tell you, it’s a big deal. I have read many RIPs from sad well-wishers.

If it is ever discovered that it was something other than an electrical fire than some of the overblown statements of it being the ‘Texan 9/11’ will be repeated ad nauseam. While the two tragedies are nowhere comparable, a great loss if felt by the entire state. Someone who has appeared in family photos for over half a century won’t be with us any longer (this is only half true).

Fair officials have committed to rebuilding Big Tex “bigger and better” in time for the 2013 fair. This will provide a great opportunity to revitalize attendance or interest for next year’s fair and any other possible needed for the Dallas Fair Park.

Before this weekend, Big Tex was a seasonal feature appearing only during the fair. He has been redesigned a few times but has always had the same fiberglass head since the 1950s. Now that Big Tex has reached his golden years (Big Tex was issued an AARP card in 2002), maybe it is time to rebuild him as a permanent installment. And bridge the gap with some old and new:

This may just be me wanting to see a sequel to this comic:

With the possible return of Jean Gray’s character to Marvel Comics after their Avengers vs. X-Men summer event, it would be the perfect time to tie all of these franchises back together.

Because bigger is better. That is how we do it in Texas. He will be back bigger, bolder, more fire-resistant and it should be tied together with the return of one of my favorite marvel characters of all time.


Ok, now that the ‘nerding’ out is over, this is about about journalism as much as it is anything about the nerdery. As a future public relations office, it is relevant to think about how a tragedy can become an strength. The destruction of a local icon will have a great impact on the D/FW area. There is already a BigTex memorial. Anyone who has any memory of the comic book insert from the Dallas Times Herald from 1983 is well in to the age of having their own comic book collecting children. I think that the combination of the two properties would have a retro-chique vibe that could work to the benefit of Marvel/Disney as well as the Texas State Fair.

It would take very little effort for Marvel to release the comic again in digital formats. In my own dreamworld, the communications plan for this project would include mentions of Jean Grey sightings in the social media as well as relevant stories (comics, cartoons, possibly the 2014 movie). It would also include tactics that would require a 30th anniversary edition of the BigTex comic book and a new version that could be published both physically and digitally. The Marvel digital comic book store now has a way to purchase comics easily for almost any digital reading device. Their physical comics also include Augmented Reality which can bring the action right off the page.

In fact, Marvel Entertainment just announced the Marvel AR app won the 2012 Mobile Excellence Award in the category of “Best Mobile Application for Entertainment.”

The Marvel AR app lets users go behind the scenes of their favorite comics with exclusive interviews, features, art, 3D action scenes, recaps of past events, and more! It is available on both iPhone and Android devices, from iTunes or Google Play.

Imagine a 3D rendering of BigTex coming off of the page and speaking those famous lines, “Hi. I’m Big Tex.”



Capcom Uses Cannibalism to Promote Resident Evil 6.

October 21, 2012

On Setp. 29 Capcom presented an event called Wesker & Son Resident Evil Human Butchery to promote the Oct. 2 release of the game Resident Evil 6. The pop-up art installation was held in the renowned Smithfield Meat Market in East London.


Wesker & Sons featured actual meat being shaped into human body parts. Available for purchase, these consisted of such items as peppered human & lemon sausages, J’avo caught human thigh steaks and pots made of red and green herbs.

At the heart of the concept it broadly has all of the elements of a good PR/marketing stunt. It’s trendy. It has a vague, albeit strained reference to the product and it definitely got attention. All proceeds of the grotesque meat sale were reported to be donated to the Limbless Association, a charity for those who have lost limbs.

Whatever the truth behind the circumstance the idea certainly worked. They got loads of attention and plenty of free press, which in this is kind of the point. But it is never a good idea to adopt the tenant that any press is good press.

I think what offends me the most is the travesty they committed to the prosciutto (bacon’s forgotten cousin) by transforming it into the shape of a human arm. Just to be clear, Capcom defiled bacon (to an extent) to look like man-meat, sold it for human consumption and gave the proceeds to a charity for people who had lost their arms.

It just reminds me of a quote from Serenity, “Eatin’people…Where’s that get fun?”

Before the Capcom bashing commences for their tasteless (pun intended) PR stunt, they have some of the best video game IPs in the business. Street Fighter, Megaman & Resident Evil are forever classics. But some of their recent business practices haven’t been fan favorites. Capcom released slightly different versions of the same game within a few months: Street Fighter IV/Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Marvel vs. Capcom3/ Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There was also the paid on-disc DLC for Street Fighter x Tekken and Ashura Wrath that saw a backlash from customers and video game journalist.

These are poor marketing decisions that Capcom has learned from. Reportedly the on-disc DLC on Resident Evil 6 will be free. But I am still not sure that this promotion for the game was fully though through.

Using cannibalism to promote Resident Evil 6, a game about a zombie outbreak seems unfeeling and more like a move that a faceless uncaring corporation would make – like Umbrella Corp.

Via: Eurogamer

Potential Employers may ask for your Facebook Password

October 8, 2012


Facebook announced last week that it now has one billion active users. To say that it might be popular is like suggesting bacon might be from pigs. As a future social media professional, it is important to know what rights protect a future university graduate who is looking for a job.

One of the hottest topics in employment right now is the use of social media in the hiring process. Many employers are asking potential employees passwords for their social media accounts. It has sparked action from legislatures on a state and federal level.

This may seem like a grey area for students fresh out of an undergraduate ethics class. It is important to know what laws apply to social media.

Maryland was the first state to ban employers from asking for employees’ and applicants’ social media site passwords. This particular bill also prevents employers from retaliating against employees or applicants who refuse to disclose that information. This law takes effect on October 12, 2012.

There are currently 10 other states who are proposing similar laws at this time (CA, DE, MI, MN, NJ, NY, SC, WA, OH). It is important to note that Texas is not on this list.

The Texas legislature is not scheduled to meet again until 2013. Next year would be earliest that any changes to password protection laws would change.

Here are the two proposed federal laws:

  • The social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA), introduced in the House of Representatives, would prohibit employers, schools and universities from requiring such information or to deny employment or penalize candidates, employees or students for refusing to give up information.
  • The Password Protection Act of 2012, introduced in the Senate on May 9, 2012, which would prohibit employers from forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private, personal data systems as a condition of employment, but retain employers’ rights to govern access t0o social networking sites within office hours and set policies for employer-operated computer systems and accounts.

It should be noted that Facebook has actually taken a stance on the issue. In a blog post by Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan she wrote requests for access to employees’ Facebook profiles or private information “undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and user’s friends,” and may expose the employer to liability.

Egan went on to say that Facebook plans to “take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policy makers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action.” At this time it is unclear what Facebook may have in mind.  It will be important to see what developments happen in the next few months.

Source: The Advocate – State Bar Litigation Section Report (Fall 2012)

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