The best video games of all time

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There have been so many great computer games, that it’s hard to pick the best ones, but I’ve compiled a list of my top ten. Sure you may have very different opinions!

Continue reading ‘The best video games of all time’

All about RPGs

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RPG stands for roleplaying game and can be played either around a table by from four to six people or on a computer or video console. The game is all about collaborating to produce an interesting story and to have lots of fun doing it. It is not a game where there are winners and losers. Continue reading ‘All about RPGs’

Synapse – RPG game

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Here’s a review of Synapse, which is a universal system type of RPG created by the games developer Greg Christopher. There is a big emphasis in the game on the character that you develop, and the personality that they have, and this is all done really well and in great detail. Continue reading ‘Synapse – RPG game’

Koala Paddle Boards & Knife Throwing: Two Ancient Games to Remind Us How Far We’ve Come

Usually I favour the more complex games with cutting-edge graphics, but I still get a kick out of the simple and free online ones that often use flash. Can’t beat free, right? Free online games are mostly quite primitive and can only keep a good gamer amused for moments — if at all — but they do have a market. In some case the users are really young kids who don’t have the intellect or sensory-motor skills for complex games. In other cases a special interest group creates an easy game for people sympathetic to the interest.

As an example of a game that might be fascinating for a small children let’s look at Koala Paddleboards. While I prefer to use the real thing when I can (I have a really good standup paddle board (SUP) myself) I can see how this game would appeal to a child. It’s colorful. It’s got a catchy tune. It’s easy to learn. It’s easy to get some success. Most of all it has got koalas and paddle boards, two very fun things. I can imagine it would be especially engaging for any child who’s seen a koala in real life, like at a zoo or in Australia, or anyone who’s actually used a paddle board. It’s pretty simple really, and does have the objective of teaching spelling, so it might even get used in a classroom setting or by a parent trying to direct their child’s play time in a wholesome and useful way.

The other one is a little more sinister. It is a knife throwing game using unpopular but well-known people ranging from celebrities to politicians. It looks super-old too with people like Britney Spears and George Bush used a targets. It is up to you whether you are aiming to hit or miss. This is a flash game that gets me reminiscing about the old days – ha! I think it would be more interesting to try to use an actual knife and throw at a tree or an old piece of plywood. I’ve become kind of motivated to look at purchasing a good survival knife or hunting knife. I’ve already got a good folding knife but it is not much good for throwing.

Anyway, as I mention these games won’t hold your attention for long. If you have a good gaming set-up and have just played a couple of hours of Call of Duty it is going to seem like you’ve gone back to the stone ages and taken a sedative. But it is cool to go back and try an old game from time to time so that you realize how far we’ve come. It is also interesting to think how games will evolve. How will games change so that the ones we play now will seem primitive in 10 years time? I’m expecting graphic will vastly improve and more of the five senses will become involved. Maybe games will be more plugged into our biological response and alter as our blood pressure or pulse goes up and down.

Gardening Mama Review

Just in time for spring, Majesco adds to the best-selling Cooking Mama series with the new and distractingly fun Gardening Mama for the Nintendo DS!

Longtime fans of the Cooking Mama games, meet fans of Farmville and Hay Day. The two worlds collide in the game Gardening Mama, a ridiculously fun addition to the genre with cute art, intuitive stylus controls and interface, and the same ever-encouraging Mama we all love.

Gardening Mama comes with six modes: Let’s Grow It, Let’s Enjoy It, Let’s Do Gardening, Let’s Harvest Multiplayer, Treasure Box, and Dress Up. The first is pretty self-explanatory, but how well you fertilize and tend to your plant impacts what results you get; differently colored flowers or produce, for example, or fruit in a tree you wouldn’t expect it in. It’s also more than just point and click, too; everything is a minigame, so there’s a degree of difficulty and points awarded, and some of the games are actually kind of tough. It definitely increases the fun-factor. Let’s Enjoy It is all about turning your harvest into something else; for example, flowers into a pressed flower album, strawberries into strawberry jam, and pumpkins into a jack o’lantern. I feel like I actually learned about the processes of making and preserving stuff in this segment, it was really cool. Let’s Do Gardening has you laying out and planting gardens for churches, stores, and homes while making garden decorations. Let’s Harvest Multiplayer puts you in competition with up to four of your friends to grow the biggest harvest of something, but I wish it involved more options than that. The final two modes, Treasure Box and Dress Up, aren’t hugely fleshed out; you can trade things you’ve grown or made in the Treasure Box with other people online, and you can dress Mama up and customize your game’s layout. This is where you can unlock better items with which to customize your game, though.

As you progress through the game, you unlock more plants, and earn decorations you can put throughout your garden, too. You can also expand your garden, to accommodate all your hard work. Players coming into the series from Farmville or Hay Day will recognize and take to this quickly.

There are a few spots where the game falters. For one, it’s pretty repetitive after a while, which is good if you’re doing this to zen out and not think about anything, but not so good if you’re trying to have fun. The portions with pest control could be better. For example, getting rid of yellow jackets in the game takes a few clicks with no health risk, if only it was like this in real life. You can see how difficult it can be at PestKilled.com/how-to-get-rid-of-yellow-jackets/. For another, you have to stick around at times to watch the plants grow, which is, well, watching plants grow… and you get scolded by Mama if you wander off. If you can endure the repetition and Mama’s temporary disappointment, then the rest should be more than worth it.

Gardening Mama came out in 2009, so it’s inexpensive and available used at most video game retailers. It’s also available in numerous combo packs on Amazon.com, for very reasonable prices. It’s really fun, and well worth your while if you like time management games.

How To Make A Successful League of Legends Team

One of the most popular games online right now is League of Legends. This great MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) style game has over 30 million players across the world. It has captured the hearts of many gamers such as myself and even turned into a professional sport which you can read more about here. There are many players that would love to be a part of this and this has sparked thousands of teams being formed trying to qualify for the big tournaments held by Riot Games, who created League of Legends. Today I wanted to talk about how you can make sure that your team is successful and gets noticed enough to gain traction towards being able to participate in a tournament.

The first thing behind any great team is a great brand. Not only does each of the 5 players need to be world class, you will also need to play together under one banner. This is best organized into a website that showcases each of the players and allows a fan base to begin to build around the organization. Not every gamer is a professional website designer so I would recommend that you just start off with a basic website and turn to a content management system such as WordPress that makes things easy. You can easily get help with your website through a WordPress support service like Bairkan who basically takes care of your website for you. Once this has been created make sure that you have Twitter and Facebook accounts connected to the website so you can begin capturing an audience.

The second part is that you need to be able to play at least 6 hours a day together as this is an actual job, and you will be competing against teams that play all day every day while training for these competitions. A problem with this is that there is very little money in gaming until you have reached the top, so you might ask yourself, how can I survive? There is angle to this game which can allow you and your teammates to make money while training known as and elo boost. These companies such as eloboosted.comoffer elo boosting and employ professional gamers. Only the best are able to perform this service so the pay is great, and you get to practice while earning cash. What could be better than this?

Once you and your team have become good enough and established enough to be visible on the grand stage you will want to start entering tournaments with the support of your fans. This will make the journey even more enjoyable with fans standing behind you. After you have started to win some events and your team constantly wins matches and stays on top of the ladder you can also start live streaming the gaming which can help earn additional revenue to allow you to focus on becoming a professional gamer.

Apps For Your Every-day Welder

We live in an age where technology has seeped into everything – it has become an integral part of our lives, aiding and simplifying tasks that required significant effort only a few decades ago. Students and professionals have benefited a great deal from the recent leaps that technology has taken – beginning from clunky, old arithmetic calculators, today there are intuitive smartphone applications that allow students of various disciplines and fields to swiftly compute and evaluate complex, field-specific problems.

Welding is a discipline with plenty of diverse branches. There are multiple welding solutions available for different situations which usually require research, calculations and parameters to be factored in before a winner can be chosen for a particular welding task. Thirty years ago, this would require a professional welder with plenty of practical experience to make the necessary calculations and approximate the cost involved to implement the chosen solution. Today, welding professionals have plenty of smartphone applications at their disposal to do the same job. These apps are quite streamlined and user friendly, requiring little technical input on your part. After answering a few questions pertaining to your requirements, the app displays you with optimum solutions, recommended welding settings, charts, tables, equipment details and requisite materials etc.

The problem with most of these applications e.g. Miller Weld Setting Calculator, Welding Pro etc. is that they lack flexibility and reliability due to the fact that they cannot predict all real world situations . There is considerable demand in the field of welding, for an application that can offer reliable results for any situation thrown at it. Because most of the apps in the market today depend on rule based evaluation of the situation, this isn’t possible. An application that taps into a network of welding professionals from around the globe in real-time to answer user queries will be welcomed with open arms by welding professionals and amateurs alike. This app could then store each satisfactory outcome using a feedback assessment mechanism to answer all similar future queries.

Students enrolled in underwater welding schools, or standard welding schools, besides using the apps described above in their projects and assignments, can also take advantage of a smartphone application called the AWS CWI Prep, developed by the American Welding Society, which helps them prepare for their Certified Welding Inspector Exam. However this app is still in the beta phase, with the full version to be released at some point in the future. It is quite obvious that there is no comprehensive test preparation app in the market which means welding instructors and experts who train aspiring welders for professional examinations can collaborate with software houses to come up with smartphone applications. These apps in turn would let students practice and implement what they have been taught in class, in simulated problems, so that they are ready for both exams and practical situations.

Technology certainly has made the whole field of welding simpler and easier to understand but it should be kept in mind that nothing can beat a professional welding degree earned from a topnotch welding institute, not even technology. If the imperfections present in the current generation of welding apps are any indicator, app developers should remain open to suggestions by fellow experts and proactively work to make their apps smarter and more intuitive. Perfection, in this case, can only be approached through constant reassessment and improvement.

Alternative Gaming Communication Solutions

I have been gaming since last century and I sometimes still sit back in amazement at how much things have changed. Single player consoles are so far in the past that when I sometimes mention them at tournaments to some of the younger people they look at me in bewilderment. For me one of the biggest breakthroughs in gaming technology has been the use of the Internet to create a multi-player environment.

I remember meeting up with friends at weekends dragging my TV and console to someone’s house and then hooking everything up. Maybe I’m being a bit nostalgic, but I do miss the more personal contact with friends. Anyway, this was bridged with numerous different attempts at making it possible communicate with other players through the games console. Not a bad solution, but on some platforms it doesn’t come free.

I used to actually pick up the phone when I played something with my brother and I found the quality much better and you didn’t get those annoying interruptions or the crackling sound when there was some sort of system overload. The better services available all come at a price and I do think they are worth it for some of us hardcore gamers. But what if you just play occasionally with close friends?

This is the problem I faced with my brother. He didn’t want to sign up for premium services just to do some gaming with me every few weeks when he has the time. I no longer had a home phone and cell phone calls would end up costing more. We knew there had to be a solution to our problem and we went looking outside the gaming community first, and got lucky.

So, I decided we need to find a VoIP service with free peer to peer calls. To my surprise there were endless services available to choose from and many of them are completely free unless you make a call to a landline or cell phone. Once that was sorted I checked out some reviews of cordless phones with headsets and I bought one for me and one for my brother. Problem almost solved, we just needed a way to not sign up for a landline phone service.

We added a simple VoIP adapter and were ready to test out our new system. The results were excellent. Voice quality is perfect, clear and loud and doesn’t suffer from constant interference. Calls are free so we have only had the cost of buying the equipment which was less than $150 for both of us. In addition we get to make cheap calls to other friends and family, so I have been saving a bit on my cell phone charges as well.

The conclusion is simple. If you do a lot of gaming, or you regularly connect with people that do not have the same phone service as you do, then paid subscriptions are the best and simplest way to go. For occasional gaming with friends and family there is a much simpler solution as outlined above.

My Top 5 Computer Game Soundtracks of All Time

If you ask me, soundtracks play a huge factor in computer games great. Imagine playing an RPG game that does not have any type of musical scoring whatsoever. Pretty boring, right? You see, musical scores set the mood for every scene in the game. This is particularly true for RPG games because it is what puts players into character.

Although I appreciate almost any type of computer game, my preference lies in RPG. Aside from the fact that the gameplay of RPGs is engaging and challenging, I love that I can get lost in the game. I have played a lot of RPG games through the years but there are games that I play over and over again just because of the soundtrack. I thought I'd share them with all of you in this post just for fun.

Without further adieu, here are my top computer game soundtracks of all time:

1. Final Fantasy X

I reckon there isn't a gamer in the world who hasn't played at least one of the Final Fantasy installments. I have to say, this is my favorite among the bunch. The soundtrack of Final Fantasy X ranges from slow ethereal melodies to heavy metal beats. I love it so much I even bought a CD of the soundtrack!

2. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

In my honest opinion, the soundtrack of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is the best in the entire Castlevania series perhaps even in the RPG genre! Don't believe me? Google "Bloody Tears" (one of the songs in the soundtrack) and you'll see that it has been remixed at least 20 times.

3. Silent Hill

The soundtrack of Silent Hill relies heavily on atmospheric industrial music. I think it tied up the game perfectly especially since the game is set in an eerie abandoned town. I highly recommend that you pop on a pair of high quality wireless headphones (click here for recommendations) when you play this game. The reason why I recommend that you go wireless is because it's highly likely that you'll jump up in surprise at some point in the game. You wouldn't want to end up pulling your sound system off the shelf now, would you?

4. Super Mario

If there's a game soundtrack that's both addicting and annoying at the same time, it would be the one for Super Mario. There probably isn't an adult in the world who's not familiar  with the sounds in this game. It's a pity first generation computer games don't appeal to kids these days.

5. Halo

Halo is the most popular shooter game of this generation. Since the setting is in a futuristic battleground, the music leans more towards Gregorian type chants and heavy rock metal. Again, don't forget to put on your cordless headphones. Not only will be able to appreciate the soundtrack more, you will also save your neighbors from having to call in the cops because of the noise.

I can go on and on talking about my favorite game soundtracks but I don't want to make this post long and boring. How about you, what are your favorites?

Choosing Ideal Games to Distract and Educate Young Girls

I have never been a big fan of small kids, and it’s not just because I haven’t had one myself or that I was the last born in our family, it’s largely because I am a gamer, and any gamer will tell you small kids just get in the way in the battlefield, with all their yelling, pooping and demanding attention.

A couple of weekends ago, a friend of mine had an emergency at work and couldn’t get a babysitter in time. Guess who she called? When a 5 year old girl was dropped on my arms for a whole night, I knew I would have to excuse myself from an upcoming gang ambush on GTA V.

Thanks to the Internet and in particular an article “Choosing Ideal Games to Distract and Educate Young Girls”” on KQED . I learnt something about using video games to distract a young child, and apparently, 5 isn’t too young.

Here’s what I learnt:

A child of any age is adept about finding more information, and just like adults’ minds are blown away with new and exciting things, children’s minds can wander off in an enjoyable game.

The internet is the most distractive of all human inventions, let’s face it, the most watched videos on YouTube aren’t about cosmos or health, it’s gangnam style and cats doing tricks. I learnt that the best way to distract a little girl is basically give them what every little girl wants – a distracting time to infatuate doing the most fun things they want to be doing when they grow up. Like shopping, cooking and make-up games.

The internet really does everything for us now, babysitting included. My evening with a 5 year old was among the most exciting as I taught an excited girl how to play games online on my tablet. If you have a little kid, and wish to get them distracting games that also help them learn, don’t shove violence and monsters on their faces, sometimes all they need are as simple games as these I found for Kim, the beautiful 5 year old and my friend:

Sunny Trendy

Sunny Trendy is a summer-time beach game for girls whose heads are turn by fashion. If your little has an eye for color and is selective in matching clothes, then this is the game you will want them playing to master their skills more. In a summer city where every kind of summer style clothing is available to choose, a girl can be distracted for house picking, matching, dropping, comparing and in the process learning how to look. You may be forced to come ‘check out’ every result though, every game needs an audience!

Hannah Montana Miley`s Malibu Manicure

Every little girl loves Hannah Montana even before they watch the TV series on Disney. In my search to understand a little girl’s triggers, I learnt that introducing a 5 year old to characters like Hannah Montana through games and such is a great way to establish consistency in learning and playing, considering that the name is a big brand. Well, at least this is what I realized after talking to my friend Sarah who runs a Nail Art website.

It is manucure time in this game, and the girl gets to join a slumber party where part of the party fun is choosing between Lilly and Miley to help with their manicure!

I now realize that gamers can be friends with kids, just as long as they get a little attention – enough to learn how to become little gamers themselves.

Crysis – Advanced Bow and Arrow Weaponry

Everyone anticipates the future with eagerness. After all, we don’t know what the future will bring. Some people, like artists, filmmakers and video game creators, have let their imaginations run wild and produced a lot of fictional work that deal with what the future could bring. There have been a lot of interpretations, of course, as each creator took a lot of liberties and artistic license on their vision of the future.

The Crysis franchise, the third in the series, is one of those games that attempt to speculate on what the future could bring. Set in a dystopian world, the hero of the game spends a considerable time hunting his prey with his advanced weaponry. These advanced weapons are simply improvements or innovations on conventional weapons that we have nowadays. Now, one of Prophet’s weapons is the Predator Bow, which has been introduced in the third installment, Crysis 3.

Next Generation Hunting Bow

The Crysis 3 website describes the Predator bow as a composite bow with a very high power capacity. While it does rely on human intervention in order to fire its projectiles, the bow adds its own power to improve the projectile capability of the Predator bow. By appearance, it looks similar to the composite bows of today but that’s where the similarities end.

The Predator bow is very flexible. It means that its payload is not limited to conventional arrows only. The hero of Crysis fights non-human opponents. Targets like that lethal require a more lethal form of weaponry, so the Predator bow is designed to be able to different types of arrows. You can fit it with exploding arrows. If you need to simply incapacitate a target, you can use electrically charged arrowheads and fire them at the prey.

The Predator bow also sets itself apart from conventional bows with the cloaking technology it has. The bow shares that capability with the protagonist’s nanosuit. When there’s a need, the cloaking technology is activated in order to hide the wearer from the sights of their enemies. However, the Predator Bow can still be fired even when the cloaking technology is turned on – the user remains stealthy even when launching an arrow at the enemy.

Other Weapons

Aside from the Predator bow, the protagonist of Crysis has access to several weapons including firearms. These firearms, however, are more advanced than any the world has seen today. These firearms are more powerful and can certainly do a lot more than what our soldiers are able to do in the present world. Of course, this is the future. The enemies are more powerful, so it would probably require more powerful weaponry for a person to at least defend himself or herself.

It’s a fact that movies can speculate much on technology and actually influence it along the way. Much of today’s technology, like the touchscreen, is similar to technologies from films like Minority Report and Star Trek, and so it might not be a surprise when somebody comes up with the technology for the Predator bow soon. Some of the crossbows and bows developed today already look like they came from sci-fi movies or games.

Keep Fit With Xbox One Game ‘Shape Up’

A number of game creators have tried and mostly failed to create a console game that also keeps you fit. So how will the new Xbox One game called “Shape Up” compare to other previous incarnations?

Starting and setting up the game is quick and easy. I am thankful for that, as setting up most “fitness” games is tedious. From the start you are placed straight into the action with a workout called Artic Punch, and when I say placed, you are literally in the game.

The aim of Artic Punch is to do punch-and-kick combinations, destroying ice blocks and snowballs on top of a submarine in the middle of the Arctic Ocean! As the game progresses, the combination of moves become more difficult, and the game also speeds up significantly. The end result is a high-paced workout similar to HIIT or Crossfit training (more info), and this is one of the best workouts you can do.

During this part of the game, you are competing against a computer-generated competitor. However if you go online you can compete against other people from around the world, making the workout more effective and fun (depending on if the other person speaks English and is cool).

Because the game is made by Ubisoft, parts of the game include aspects from “Just Dance,” and in my opinion, this is why the game works. Every game inside of “Shape Up” is similar to a style of dancing, adding a fun aspect to every workout.

The connect-in screen play is another fine feature of the game. Every time you complete a workout/game it records you, saving your time. Then the next time you play the game you can either compete against yourself or go online and kick someone’s ass.

Playing online is awesome, but playing against other friends and family in the same room is even more fun. “Squat Me to the Moon,” for example, is a great game to play with a group. It’s addictive and brings out the competitiveness even in the most timid of people.

The graphics are nothing special, but the game play is very clever. During “Squat Me to the Moon,” for example, once you hit deep space it turns into a classic game of space invaders, and who wouldn’t enjoy a retro fitness game?

Two things I would advise to buy are a pair of good-quality workout shoes (here) and a fitness outfit. The workouts during the game are as difficult as going to the gym — you will sweat a lot, especially if you are playing for an hour or more.

I think Ubisoft has finally nailed the fitness game concept. It has managed to create a game that really does give you a quality workout, but at the same time keeps the process fun and entertaining for everyone that plays. The multiplayer, on and offline, is excellent.

The only thing I think needs more attention is the graphics. They could be designed better, however I would gladly take another five games over better graphics in the next release.

Video Game Gunsmithing App Inspires Actual App

We are in an age where smartphones and handheld devices are becoming virtual extensions of our own selves. Anything from socialization to entertainment to education is conducted using applications and services which can be set up on these devices and used on the move. If there was a great way to earn a high income and develop a brand for your software development company, it is to produce an app that targets a niche that features a strong following and does not have any comparable apps competing with it in the market. The thing is that small business owners have caught on to this notion etc. and as such free, untapped financial markets are depleted quickly.

One market is the niche of gunsmithing… of which Gun Gods have some great articles on gunsmith training you can take as well as some tutorials. This is the domain that has and may always remain liked by an incredibly large area of the global population with thanks to the natural charm and appeal of having the ability to craft your individual weapon. Probably, from the time the 1st gun was invented, there have been people who wanted to learn this craft to make their own unique guns, from kids to old people, guns have held a particular attraction. The greatest trouble with this area continues to be that it’s both expensive and risky with few professionals to help novices figure things out and get on the right path. It doesn’t take an entrepreneurial genius to work that out, because of the cheap computational power afforded by smartphones and handheld computers, it is extremely basic and profitable to develop an application that teaches people the skill of gunsmithing by letting them create their particular firearms and testing them in a generated or simulated environment.

Consider for example Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Network app that has a GunSmith feature included. Although definitely not simulating real world weapon conditions, it enables users to make more than 20 million weapons. This application continues to be criticized because it lacks the appropriate interface to allow intuitive gun creation but it has nevertheless received attention from gamers and non-gamers alike who will be into gun crafting. This demonstrates just how much potential this niche holds within the app market. There are no quality apps that allow users to evaluate their gun schematics before giving them a shot in person which explains why making a gunsmithing app will likely be extremely practical for a mobile app development company that is in its infancy. Should they manage to create an application that simulates actual life physics besides allowing users to make their very own guns coming from a diverse assortment of spare parts, their company will certainly have the attention of both critics and customers alike, bringing in the required profits and fame to enable them to establish themselves in the mobile application market.

Just as one afterthought, the application can contain advice for aspiring gunsmiths extracted from reputable websites that rate gunsmithing schools, so that the consumer has the impression that the app was made by expert gunsmiths who know their business. This in turn can earn money from actual colleges and universities that would pay to be featured in the app.