ARTICLES | January 4th, 2008
Video game testers and reviewers going on cruise!

The National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviewers Corp. (NAViGaTR), a 501(6) non-profit organization, is pleased to announce the first video game themed cruise aboard Carnival Cruise Lines. This special weekend cruise takes place November 14 – 17, 2008 (Long Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico), and features a performance by Video Games Live as seen on the 2007 Spike TV Video Game Awards.

Created by Jack Wall and Tommy Tallarico and performing Mario, Zelda, and other classic video game scores, Video Games Live is the largest touring video game music concert in the world. Blurring the line between video games and other screen arts, an orchestra and choir perform with synchronized video and lighting, live action, and unique interactive segments to create an explosive one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.

The NAViGaTR Cruise is all about bridging the gap between gamers and non-gamers and bringing games to new audiences, said Thomas J. Allen, President of NAVGTR Corp. At once classical and cutting edge, Video Games Live is the perfect entertainment for the whole family, because you don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy beautiful, majestic music. Hardcore gamers will recognize every note, while other family members will discover it just as they would discover Mozart or Vivaldi. Having performed on some of the most prestigious stages around the world including the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center, and the Royal Festival Hall, Video Games Live shares our goal of breaking down walls to show that the artistry and creativity of video games is just as prestigious as that of other traditionally respected media.

Other cruise activities include game competitions and special gaming and celebrity guests including Academy Award winning actress and record-breaking Emmy winner Cloris Leachman. We’re so honored to have Cloris on board, said George Wood, Chairman of the Board for NAVGTR Corp. Cloris is a great example of a woman who has it all and just wants to have fun in life, and she just might give some of those young gamers a run for their money.

NAViGaTR will be unveiling a special audience participation game show featuring hilarious physical activity in a virtual reality experience. Parents will finally understand their kids’ obsession with video games, as the live show will feature comedic sound effects and outrageous gameplay competition among passengers and Leachman.

Leachman is most recently known for playing Grandma Ida in Malcolm in the Middle, Mrs. Norris in Scary Movie 4, the prison warden’s secretary who spanks Adam Sandler in The Longest Yard, Great Gam Gam in the Broken Lizard film Beerfest, the reclining granny that Billy Bob Thornton thinks is dead in Bad Santa, and the boozy, tackling grandmother in Spanglish. Leachman is best known as Phyllis in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Old Frankenstein’s former girlfriend Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, and the lonely housewife who hooks up with a high school student in The Last Picture Show, her Oscar-winning performance.

Also making appearances will be YouTube’s Hardcore Granny, the tough-talking, gun-wielding Internet sensation. Hilariously unsaintly at age 71, she’s been to the frontlines of (virtual) wars and lived to tell the tale to CBS, The Washington Post, Business Week, G4, MTV, and the Village Voice.

Onboard activities will include easy, light play for elder generations playing with their grandkids. The multi-generational mix is a growing trend for both games and cruises, said Allen. The mainstream media constantly reports on senior citizens discovering the Nintendo Wii, and National Geographic Kids and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) research shows that one third of cruising grandparents are taking their grandkids.

The NAViGaTR Cruise has something for everyone, said Wood. We really want to show the positive aspects of the video game medium, from the artistry of its music, to the social and cooperative aspects of its multiplayer entertainment, to its therapeutic applications that have real world benefits.

As seen on ABC News, Dr. Albert Skip Rizzo will demonstrate how gaming technologies are used to rehabilitate stroke survivors, distract children from pain during surgery, and help veterans of Iraq deal with post traumatic stress disorder.

The cruise will also benefit industry charities. 10% of cruise proceeds will be split between the International Game Developers Association and the Game Audio Network Guild.

Cruise fares begin at USD 455. Tickets are on sale to the general public through June 15, 2008. To make a reservation, call 1-800-688-8031 or visit www.avatoy.com. Fare rates are per person based on double occupancy and do not include port processing fees, fuel supplements, and government taxes, or gratuities and optional insurance.Through annual awards, television specials, videos, and other future plans, the mission of NAVGTR Corp. is to preserve the history of the medium as well as honor the creative and technical individuals who have paved the way for new ideas and innovations. In addition to the annual awards show, NAVGTR Corp. also distributes the historical archive series, Gaming in the Clinton Years.

The general voting body of more than 1,150 journalists and writers includes contributors for such varied outlets as About.com, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Austin American-Statesman, NBC, CNN, CNN.com, CNNmoney.com, Chicago Sun-Times, Computer Gaming World, Contra Costa Times, Digital Journal, ElectricPlayground.com, FHM, GamersTemple.com, GamingTarget.com, Gannett News Service, Gear, HappyPuppy.com, Kids & Computers, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, National Post, New York Times, Marquee, PC Gamer, Philadelphia Inquirer, PlanetPong.com, Salon, San Jose Mercury-News, USA Today, USAToday.com, Wired News, Wizard Magazine, WOW Weekly, ZDNet, Detroit Free Press, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Play Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff-Davis Media), Evergeek Media, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, The Regina Leader-Post, and hundreds more.

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