Loot boxes and gacha games dubbed newest forms of gambling

Loot boxes and gacha games where players purchase virtual items have become a topic of debate within the online gaming community according to aficionados and regulators who consider them just another form of gambling. In these online games, it’s not unusual for a player to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to buy options to customize their favorite character or to purchase weapons and armor. In one published report, a Japanese player spent $70,000 to participate in the gacha game Fate/Grand Order, also known as FGO. The release of Electronic Art’s (EA) online game Overwatch in 2016 and Sony’s mobile game Fate/Grand Order in 2015 have contributed to the international debate. Loot boxes, also called loot crate or prize crate, are an in-game purchase item that contain implements for the players to use.

What can creatives learn from arts communities on the border?

Arizona theater professor Mary Stephens was pleasantly surprised when a recent arts tour bus ride took less than 10 minutes to get from El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico,

“This is my first time to El Paso and Juarez and I’m just so delighted by realizing how close these cities are with each other,” she said. “Families are on both sides crossing all the time, and culture is crossing all the time. Stephens was visiting the borderland for La Frontera: Art+People+Place, a two-day convening on arts in border communities presented by the El Paso Museum of Art and the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez. The Sept. 7-8 event was part of the fifth Transborder Biennial 2018 exhibition, which featured the work of 32 contemporary artists that live across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Double identity: Beauty apps make it too easy to change your reality online

Bigger eyes, smaller nose and even a breast enhancement are available through several beauty apps South Koreans are routinely using to modify their virtual appearance. I tried it myself when I was living in Seoul, South Korea, while studying abroad and got hooked. To this day, I still use the apps. Editing your digital image is so easy to do through the apps that many in the younger generation in South Korea expect everyone to tweak their looks. “Editing is so common that you seem to be a rebel without any edit done your looks,” said one app fan, SeungHae Ro.

7 quirky El Paso experiences that beat driving to Marfa

Last October I was in Marfa, Texas at the Chinati Foundation—an art wonderland in the middle of nowhere known across the globe for its use of minimalism. It was open weekend so exhibits and galleries were free and open to the public as artists from across the nation flocked to Marfa. Solange Knowles performed a free show at Chinati in the center of a grass field where only fifteen concrete Donald Judd sculptures sit. As an audience member there were only two rules: we all had to be dressed in white and we could not carry cell phones. The whole experience was mesmerizing.

Festival gives El Paso a taste of the Middle East

EL PASO – The annual Feast of the Middle East is an opportunity for border residents to sample great food and learn more about the culture of their neighbors who trace their roots back to the Mideast. Parishioners of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 120 Festival, work for months to prepare authentic specialty dishes and arrange live Arabic music and folk dance for the weekend festival. Guided tours of the church will be available. The 2018 festival will run from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 3 on the church grounds at 120 Festival Dr. Tickets are $2.

Neon Desert Music Festival caters to local talent

EL PASO – When Neon Desert Music Festival kicked off for its eighth time this weekend, many local bands in the lineup represent the Sun City. From the festival’s inception in 2009, Neon Desert Music Festival has continuously strived to be a yearly music event catering to its host city as a creative outlet “for El Pasoans by El Pasoans”. Cumulatively, NDMF has hosted over 170,000 attendees, with over 40,000 music fans joining last year’s two-day celebration. By reserving 15 city blocks in downtown El Paso, this west Texas music festival is one of the largest venues for a street festival in the state, according to the organizers. This year’s lineup features a mix of well-known artists such as Cardi B, Martin Garrix, Café Tacvba, GTA, and local groups such as SleepSpent, The Swell Kids, Fat Camp, and Gila Monster.

United Way helps millennials give back to the Borderland through RISE

When Hollie Jacobson accepted the job of marketing and communications manager for United Way’s Rise program six months ago, she was so excited about the program’s mission of engaging millennials in community volunteer activities that she recruited her boyfriend, Saul Williams.

The 25-year-old intern for the CEO of the El Paso Children’s Hospital says he didn’t think twice.  

 

“I was raised in El Paso and really care about the city so being able to give back to the community that helped mold me into the young man I am today is a great opportunity,” said Williams, who joined four months ago. “The volunteer projects and speaker series are a great way to get involved as well as stay updated with the growth of El Paso,” he added. The United Way’s extension program called RISE is a unique way for millennials to connect with the El Paso community through hands-on volunteer projects such as RISE for Hunger and informal hangouts. The program took off September 2017 when Stephanie Gorman was hired to run RISE.

Hueco Tanks attracts rock climbers from around the world, but few locals realize what else this Texas state park offers

For about 10,000 years, Hueco Tanks in East El Paso has been a destination for people of all types. The rock formation brings nature enthusiasts from all over the world to practice rock climbing, bird watching, camping and to know about its unique history. But, despite its worldwide fame, many El Pasoans do not know about the picturesque rock formation in their own backyard. “Not a lot of people know we are out here,” said Kendra Moore, park ranger and interpreter at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site. Moore provides interpretation tours of pictographs and background information on how the rock formation was home in the past to Native Americans and later to white settlers.

Aspiring Juarez photographers continue to develop one year after National Geographic Photo Camp came to town

Last April, National Geographic photographers Dominic Bracco, Tyrone Turner, and Amy Toensing brought Photo Camp to Cd. Juarez to encourage young people to share their perspectives on life on the border through photography and writing. Now, a year after photo camp, some of the participants reflect on their experience and how their lives changed after participating in this workshop. “This was a really interesting workshop because I didn’t have any knowledge about photography. Although what stayed with me the most is the human side before taking a photo, they made us get to know the person before capturing their portrait,” said Miriam Cortez, 21 years old, a participant of the Nat-Geo photo camp.