Here’s how the drama unfolded. Lynn Bjorklund, 40, and her brother, Eric, 45, were beginning the second day of a backpacking trip in the 11,500-foot mountains of the rugged Pecos Wilderness area northeast of Santa Fe. Both were still sleeping in their tents when they heard a plane pass close overhead. Too close.

“It didn’t sound very good,” says Lynn, a reclamation specialist for the Bureau of Land Management, “and a moment later, we heard it hit the ground twice, followed by a huge explosion. I peeked out of my tent and saw the plane totally on fire just a couple hundred yards away. I couldn’t imagine that anyone could have survived the crash.”

And Bjorklund would know. An experienced search-and-rescue worker, she had recovered bodies before. That’s exactly what she thought she would be doing this time.

After pulling on boots and grabbing a first-aid kit, she and Eric ran down to the crash site. There they found, much to their amazement, that both the pilot and the passenger were still alive. Before the plane exploded, the pilot …


Terry Bennet Vares remembers the day she nearly died in 1982 as clear and cold–nothing out of the ordinary for January.

The plane was 8,000 feet above the North Carolina countryside. Inside were Vares and other members of the Golden Knights, the Army’s elite skydiving team. As the plane slowed and turned, Vares checked her equipment a final time and dove out of the rear door of the plane.

Ms. Vares.

To Vares and other competitors, skydiving is not a stunt, but a sport, and like other serious athletes, they work hard at their craft. Vares had taken over 2,000 jumps, and a national and world championship were in the back of her mind.

Once out of the plane, Vares began practicing the precise turns and rolls which, in competition, are evaluated by judges on the ground looking through high-powered scopes. The style part of skydiving was Vares’ strongest suit. The other part–accuracy–consists of trying to land on a target no bigger than a matchbox.

When her altimeter indicated 2,000 feet, Vares pulled the “D” ring to open her chute.

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My main project currently is in improving the perception of video games as an artistic pursuit and opening up game development to a wider audience.  Even though video games are a cultural phenomenon today, they still remain underappreciated by some of our finest critics.  For example, Roger Ebert, whose film reviews I almost always respect, has consistently criticized video games in the past, saying, “One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game.  It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome.  Santiago [Kellee Santiago, President, thatgamecompany] might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film.  Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.” He later said that games may be art in a new sense, Direct TV, but he wasn’t going to try one to find out.  Well, why not?  What keeps people from exploring the new possibilities that video games offer? I think that the

“Modding” a game is the process of altering it so that you can play it in a different way, without actually changing a huge portion of the game in the process. Over the past few years, modding has become increasingly popular. Playing the same game can get boring over time, but with a few alterations you can change your gaming experience to be something entirely different within the same game.

The most popular computer game that players have modded is MineCraft. This game has literally dozens of mods out there that fans have made to make the game unique in a different way, depending on what mods you are using. There are some to make it play like a story line with quests and adventures, and even a mod that makes the game seem like Pokemon.

Computer games are getting a lot more replay value because of fan-made mods, and they are allowing players to put their own twist on their games. Being able to create your own spot within a game is a true gamer’s dream, and mods allow

In a market saturated with new material, it’s hard to track the latest and greatest independent game developers. We’ll break the most popular down here. Make sure to put these people on your watch lists.

First is Markus Persson, creator of a popular survival game involving mining and hiding from creatures that appear in the night. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s alright, he usually goes by his nickname, Notch. He started out programming for other game developers before striking off on his own.

Next we have a duo: Kyle Gabler and Ron Carmel. These two have created an immensely popular, physics-based game involving little balls of goo. These two both came from inside the industry, much like Notch did. Now they own their own company located in “whichever free wifi coffee shop they wander into.”

Lastly we have another duo: Dan Paladin and Tom Fulp, owners of an immensely popular flash movie and game website, as well as the co-creators of some of the most popular browser-based games ever. Dan Paladin in particular is someone to watch, having

Are you a budding video game designer? Are you interested in creating unique, memorable games? Do you want to find great ways to make sure your characters are realistic and believable? If so, read these tips on designing characters that people will remember!

– Realism is great, but do not overdo it.
All great video game characters are a perfect combination of real life and your game’s fantasy world. Characters that have nothing in common with your game’s audience are too difficult to relate to, but characters that are too similar to that audience will be easily forgotten. Always give your characters a touch of the fantastic, the extreme, and the out-of-this-world.

– Give your characters depth.
This applies to their appearance and overall look as well as their thoughts, emotions and actions. It can be easy to include only the parts of your character which are necessary to the game’s storyline. However, try to think like a great writer: include background and plenty of details. Did your character get a scar in a pre-game battle? Do they have a

The graphics vs gameplay debate has been raging on in the video game community for years. Some gamers demand lush environments, character models where every muscle twitch is registered with pixel precision and full immersion into a world that looks and feels real. Others are more concerned about the fun factor, and are willing to accept less than perfect graphics if the gameplay is unique and engaging.

Graphical improvements in video games are slowly tapering off. Although new technology comes out every year, the changes are becoming increasingly more subtle. Gamers are simply not as impressed with upgraded graphics as they used to be. In response to this, smaller companies are releasing games that may not look as good as their counterparts from large teams, but are far more creative in the way they handle gameplay. Smartphone technology has accelerated this process, using touch based gestures in favor of standard controllers. This tech has opened up a whole new genre of gaming that casts aside powerful graphics and fancy user interfaces in favor of a crisp, clean look and simple

You know how your kids are constantly in front of the TV or online with your satellite playing game after game after game? Well here are a few of the reasons you should be happy they’re gaming and not doing something else!
Hand Eye Coordination – The more games your kids play the better their coordination becomes and that’s probably a good thing considering most gaming kids aren’t exactly all about sports. This will help them in numerous ways later on in life.
Working in Teams – Again, something your kids aren’t learning on the field but important, nonetheless. Teams in video games are crucial to success and it’s nice for your kids to develop relationships with other gamers and players in the area.
Strategizing – The more they play the better your kids will become at determining a solution for a very particular problem. Once they know how to problem solve effectively everything from work to social life will become easier.
Good luck getting them off the games…better yet, don’t even try – let ‘em play!…

There are many online games to choose from that can be very addicting. Some of these games can be available to play online through various websites. Bejewelled and Fortune Stones are just a couple games that are available to play for free online at any time.

Bejewelled has many types available, including the newest version Bejewelled Blitz. On Blitz mode, the player must score as many points as possible in one minute. This game can even be played with friends online to compete for the top score. The player must find the matching gems that are three, four or five in a row, when four or five are found, other gems are found which can bring many more points. It is not unusual to get lucky and have a 100 or 200,000 point game.

Fortune stones is a new game that can also be played with friends in either strategy or frenzy mode. Both modes the player can find different types of gems that bring more points, however; only in strategy mode can the player choose between leisure and timed …

Videogames started as something simple, with games like Pong and Tetris being purely about their gameplay. Nowadays, a story is a critical component to keeping players interested and engaged. There are a variety of ways to tell stories within video games with cutscenes being the most popular. However, newer games are utilizing in game events to tell stories in powerful ways.

The biggest thing that developers miss is the emotional connection. Before you tell a story about a powerful wizard who can change the world, you have to make your audience care about the character. Perhaps he is an orphan, or he is trying to save his sister. Creating emotional ties will keep the player far more interested than letting them have superpowers with no recourse.

Another common mistake developers make is creating a story that has nothing to do with the gameplay. Come up with a concept for how your game will be played and develop a story from there. It doesn’t make sense to make a story and then a game, because it’s a game after all.

Modern …