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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

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How to change server name in Minecraft

If you have found yourself bored of playing with the same plain old boring settings in Minecraft, then you have come to the perfect place to change the way you perceive the game. Add a bit more dazzle to your player with this step-by-step we have prepared for you today! If your MOTD looks great, then you are guaranteed to feel great! No one denies that aesthetic is an important point if you want all the other players to be jealous of you, so go on and follow the steps! Configuring a different server is rather a challenge if you are not familiar with the technical side of the game, and this is where we have decided to step in. The following seven steps are sure to make your life in the world of Minecraft a whole lot more interesting!

Oh, and if that is not enough change for you, then you can also download some of the best Free Minecraft skins! You can browse through the www.skins4minecraft.com to find the perfect one!

Before we go into the whole shebang, we have to inform you that you must long into Multicraft first if you want to change your MOTD or a Public Minecraft Server Name in the client. The Multicraft is a Minecraft Hosting Solution, if you are wondering. You will then have to select your server and stop it to proceed to the actual instruction. The steps would look something like these:

Step 1. Click on the drop-down box that says ‘Files’ and which is situated on the left-hand side of your control panel.

Step 2. Click the ‘Configuration’ button.

Step 3. Hit the ‘Minecraft Server Settings’ button to open the actual settings of the game.

Step 4. Scroll down the page to find the ‘Server Message’ field. If you cannot find it, then try looking for the ‘A MinecraftServer’ field. See the image added below for reference.

 server name

Step 5. Remove ‘A Minecraft Server’ writing and type in the display the message you want to choose.

If you want your message to have a different color, then you should definitely check out the color codes for Minecraft or for Bukkit. If you want to color your message in, then enter the color code you want to use before sending a certain message.

Step 6. Once you are done with all of that and are happy with how it turned out, you should click the ‘Save’ button.

Step 7. After that, you can successfully run your server and enjoy the newly applied changes. Look how great your personalized Minecraft server message works! Fantastic, isn’t it?

Please, however, note, that you must restart your server every single time you want to change your MOTD. If you are a user of Vanilla Minecraft, then you should definitely pay attention to the fact that it cannot use the Bukkit color codes mentioned above. However, the Bukkit feature can use all the Minecraft color codes.

There is also a way using which you would be able to change your server name a lot quicker. Navigate to the details page of the responding server and then locate the ‘Name’ entry field. Once you have done that, you have to type your new server name and then click the ‘Save’ button once you are successful with this.

 

There you have it! You are now able to change your server name whenever you would like to by simply returning to this article and following the aforementioned steps. Good luck with your game!  

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Glory To Metal (A Symphonic Metal Tribute to NieR: Automata)

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

After hearing Ferdk’s symphonic metal rendition of several popular Undertale songs, I became a fan and bought the tracks. Ferdk and I both enjoyed the music and gameplay from the sleeper-hit, NieR: Automata.

Glory to Metal features four enhanced tracks from the game that are a little over three minutes each. The $4 bundle includes the following songs:

Bipolar Nightmare
Alien Manifestation
Forest Kingdom
Grandma (Destruction)

Two of the tracks are battle oriented while the other two focus on the game’s ambient music. Each of the songs harness Ferdk’s bombastic symphonic metal music style. In Bipolar Nightmare you’ll hear pounding drums, guitar, bells, and an orchestra backing it up. It’s been a while since I played this game but I’ll take an educated guess that this is one of the fighting tracks. Alien Manifestation has the guitars taking the lead with the orchestra and drums backing them up. The organ work is great as well. I am assuming this is one of the background music pieces.

Forest Kingdom features a xylophone and is probably the tamest track on the album. The tempo picks up halfway through the song and is a joy to hear in its entirety. I’m quite certain that this is one of the ambient songs in the game. The orchestra starts off Grandma (Destruction) and the guitar quickly steps in and dominates this battle music track.

All of tracks are wonderful and I can’t pick a favorite. As expected, the guitar work is exceptional and prominently featured in each of the tracks. My only complaint with this album is that it’s over too quickly! I look forward to more game inspired renditions from Ferdk.

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7 Features of the Best Gaming Headphones.

Investing in a good gaming headset is one essential step in upgrading your whole gaming experience. While it may seem like a matter of walking into the nearest store and picking the first brand you see, such a practice could get you regretting about your purchase. With the vast options of gaming headphones available in the market, picking one is becoming more challenging even to the veteran gamers. Going through a couple of gaming headphone buyer guides may help, but knowing the most important features to always look for is often the best tip. Do you want to know the 7 most important features of the most incredible gaming headphones? Then you are definitely in the right place.


High Quality Sound
           
The ability to hear game audio loud and crisp clear is the number one reason why gamers choose to invest in the best gaming headphones. The gaming headsets are usually made with both hardware and software technologies that ensure that high sound quality is upheld. The most common sound quality choices for these headphones include Stereo, Surround 5.1 and Surround 7.1, and the choice usually depends on the gamer’s personal preference. In terms of hardware, gaming headphones usually incorporate designs with noise cancellation technology. Some of these include closed-back designs and over-ear earpieces. While the closed-back design isolates the outside sound, the earpieces with paddings that cover the whole ear keep the sound intact, directing all or most of it to the ear canal. This results in loud, clear and high quality audios. Although, there are gamers who enjoy gaming while listening to ambient noise from their environment. If you fall under this category, the open-back gaming headphones are the perfect choice for you.


Comfortable Design
           
Apart from sound quality, comfort is another great reason why gamers can easily spend a fortune on gaming headphones. Actually, most gamers usually spend so much time playing, and comfortable headsets will not only help them enjoy gaming for longer, but they won’t have to worry about adjusting them from time to time, which may be detrimental to their performance particularly in competitive gameplay. The best headphones fit perfect especially over the ears. This is what makes circumaural headphones the most common gaming headphone design. The earpieces should be well padded to provide comfortable cushioning to the ears while sealing in sound and directing it into the ear. The head strap must be sturdy and adjustable to ensure a proper fit for different head sizes. The materials used must also be gentle to the skin such as genuine leather on the earpieces and smooth plastic on the other parts.


Diverse Connectivity Options
           
Wireless and wired gaming headphones are the most common gaming headphone designs in the market based on connectivity. Wired headphones will connect to your gaming device via a cable that transmits audio to the earpieces. However, if you are tired of connecting wires and cables every time you want to game, then wireless headphones are perfect for you, in which case you need to ensure their battery life and charge runtime is reliably long. Rather than connecting to your game devices via cables, it makes use of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or other wireless connection channels. If you want to enjoy both of these worlds, then having a compromise between the wired and wireless headphones is perfect. Some of the top gaming headphone models can connect both wirelessly and via cable, which is a great plus for any ardent gamer.


Multiple Device Compatibility
           
Imagine coming home with those fantastic gaming headphones and on plugging them in, they cannot produce a single sound. The second scenario is when your headphones only play on a few of your devices. This is very frustrating, especially for gamers who use multiple devices. The greatest gaming headphone models should have technologies that are compatible to multiple devices. It helps to inquire from the seller about the compatibility of the headphones you are looking to invest in to your device. You could also check out the different ratings and reviews of the gaming headphones from people who have used them on similar gaming device models as the ones you already own. Multiple device compatibility means that the gamer can easily use your gaming headphones on any device, even if it is away from your gaming station. In addition to the software and drivers used being multi-device compatible, the connection jack should also match the connection ports of most gaming and audio equipment.


Customizable Settings
           
Adjustability and customizability of gaming headphones are the features responsible for these headphones’ reliability and versatility. First, for the perfect sound quality at any given time, the best gaming headsets usually come with adjustable controls such as volume and bass. This ensures that even subtle sounds such as footsteps and audio cues are audible enough. The headband should also be adjustable for easier and comfortable fitting of different sizes and shapes of the gamers’ heads. Other adjustable features include foldable earpieces meant specifically for increased portability and easier storage of the gaming headphones. In addition to these, you could have removable cables whether the gaming headphones can connect wirelessly or not.


Strong and Durable Build
           
No matter how small a product you purchase is, the ultimate goal for everyone is getting one that can last longer. This applies to gaming headphones too. Strength and durability all depend on the materials used and the quality of the construction. The materials used in impeccable gaming headphones have to be strong and sturdy to ensure resistance to wear and tear, making them last longer. The quality of their construction should also be high quality, with every connection being strong and secure. You should always avoid headphones that look flimsy and cheap.


Excellent Microphone

During gaming, it is essential for the gamer to communicate with his opponents or teammates. For this to be effective, the gaming headphones should have an inbuilt high quality microphone. This will ensure perfect recording and transmission of the gamer’s voice, which will result in a crisper and clearer audio heard from the receiver’s side. This is very important, especially in competitive gaming where instructions, responses and other communication should be fast and very audible.


Conclusion

As you surf different websites over the internet, I am sure you have found different resources regarding the most reliable gaming headphones in the market. Most of them will promise you heaven, only for you to purchase them and regret your decision. Apparently, all you need is this reference of the main features of the perfect gaming headphones. Once you go through these, you will have no problem finding the ideal gaming headphones to cater for your needs. All you need thereafter is a budget and a gaming accessories store of your choice.

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How to Download Minecraft Skins

Do you enjoy playing Minecraft? We bet you do, but since you are reading this article, we can’t help but think that you are getting bored with the default character skins (yes, Steve, we’re all looking at you right now). While there’s certainly nothing wrong with playing the original characters, Steve or Alex, they just don’t feel very personalized and are bound to make you wonder whether they can be “upgraded” at some point. Fortunately, they can, and there is a huge variety of alternative character skins available online. In this article we are going to show you how to download a skin on Minecraft Mac and PC editions, as well as guide you through the following steps required to make your Minecraft character “wear” the custom skin.

So, first of all you’ll have to choose a skin you like and download it onto your machine’s hard drive. There’s a multitude of custom Minecraft skins that you can get online for free, but if you feel like going for something extra fancy, you can invest some money into the game and purchase a themed skin pack, or even pay a designer to have an original and unique Minecraft character skin created just for you. Assuming you prefer to go with the free skins (for now at least), we recommend that you check out skins4minecraft.com, as this website has got a great selection of cool custom skins available for free downloads and usage.

Minecraft Skins

You may be wondering what exactly is a Minecraft skin, how you are going to download it, and whether you need any additional software to work with it. A Minecraft skin is basically an image, which is usually in PNG format, and if you open it with your computer’s default graphic viewer, you’re going to see a jumble of various body parts on a white background. Minecraft skins tend to look like unassembled paper dolls, but don’t let bother you - when you’re done with the skin “installation”, it is going to look exactly as presented on the website where you downloaded it. Downloading a skin is easy - just click on the respective link or button, and the skin will be saved in your downloads folder just like any other file. You won’t be needing any software for the skin installation, and in fact, you don’t even need to view it as an image, unless you’re curious to see what it looks like “unassembled”.

Minecraft Skins

Regardless of whether you play Minecraft on PC or Mac, your next step is to memorize the location of the skin on your hard drive (if you plan on switching skins frequently, you might be better off creating a separate folder for Minecraft skins so that you don’t get confused going through a multitude of small image files). Then you’ll need to log into your player profile on the official Minecraft website and find the “Browse” button on the main profile page. Click the button and you’ll see an Explorer (on Windows computers) or Finder (on Macs) window pop up over the browser window. Find the skin you just downloaded, select it, and click “Upload”. Wait until you get the confirmation message, and voila - your character’s skin has been successfully updated!

Minecraft Skins

However, to see the changes you’ll have to restart game, so close it and log back in if it was running in the background while you were uploading the skin. If not, just open Minecraft and go to any world - you’ll see that your character now looks exactly like the skin you’ve chosen. Starting with Minecraft 1.8, you can even customize the skins within the game, but some older skins are incompatible with this fun feature. To see whether your new skin can be further customized, go to “Options” and click “Skin Customization”. Here you can make your character “take off” their cape, hat, jacket, or even left pants leg! If your character’s current skin is compatible with the feature, you should see the changes immediately after closing the “Options” menu.

Armed with this knowledge, you no longer need to google “how to download minecraft skins pc,” so you can proceed to personalize your Minecraft character and have even more fun with this amazing game!

 

 

 

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Everything You Need to Know About Nintendo Emulators and ROMs

What is a Nintendo emulator? It is the easiest way to play Nintendo retro games on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. But how do emulators work? Is it a complete substitution for a console?

n64

Basically, the emulators are hardware or software that enables your computer's system to behave like another system, which you're trying to emulate. The most frequently used forms of emulators are game emulators for popular old-school console systems from 90's and 2000's. One of those systems is Nintendo. To get a NES (or Nintendo) emulation software on your tablet, PC, or smartphone, you have to download it from the Internet. Today, there are a lot of specialized websites which provide free access to all existed emulators and ROMs (games). For example, you can get a nintendo emulator on romsmania.com with a full pack of games for it. If the emulator and the ROM files are chosen based on your OS requirements, they will perform as closely as possible to the original system. So, how to choose a concrete Nintendo emulator and Nintendo roms download files to get the most out of them?

Nintendo Emulator and ROMs: Downloading and Installation Process

As we have already mentioned above, you have to find the proper Nintendo emulator download files depending on your computer's operating system and parameters. This information is always mentioned on the websites, which provide Nintendo files. Pay attention what other users say. Picking the emulator by the rating is a good choice too. As the older device you have, the higher chances that some programs will lag or work too slow on them. So, keep it in mind. If it is a low-level emulator and a very modern and powerful device, they may not perform well together. If you want your Nintendo games run smoothly on your PC or laptop, you always have to pick those files which are created to work together.

When it comes to ROMs, you also have to match them to the emulator you download. For example, for Nintendo you can choose something among:

  • Super Mario Bros 3;
  • Kirby's Adventure;
  • Contra;
  • Super Mario World;
  • Metal Gear;
  • Zelda 2 – The Adventure of Link;
  • Airwolf;
  • Aladdin 1,2,3;
  • Bases Loaded 1,2,3,4;
  • Bubble Bobble, etc.

rom

Since you have both the emulator and the ROMs downloaded to your device, you can go ahead and start the installation process. First of all, create a separate folder to place all the extracted Nintendo files together. The installation process may take a couple of minutes only. Just click on «Next» button. Then, double-click the emulator and run it. You'll see a small window, where the game will be displayed. You can customize this window to your own preferences. You can make it a full-screen game, change the controllers, the sound, etc. Press on «Options» to see the full list of configuration features. Now, you can go back to the game and start playing whatever you want.

Best Nintendo Emulators

If you don't know which Nintendo software to choose from, here is the list of the most popular ones on the Internet:

  • Jnes;
  • ImbNES;
  • HalfNES;
  • Nestopia;
  • FwNES;
  • Nemulator;
  • MarioNES;
  • And 80five.

These are the Nintendo emulators with the highest rating from the users. So, definitely check them to pick one or two if you consider playing those famous console games from 90's. And don't forget to leave your feedback too. Which emulator and which Nintendo game are your favorite ones?

 

 

Disclaimer - this post has been provided by romsmania.com

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How to Get the Best Skins in Dota 2?

How to Get the Best Skins in Dota 2?

Skins for Dota 2 became an object of obsession for millions of gamers all over the world - this is one of the reasons why the competition is so high when it comes to acquiring skins. Skins vary by quality and rarity and the higher are these indicators for the item the higher is the demand for it among players. That is why many players are interested in the best ways of acquiring rare items.

One option is available for you if you have a few skins and want to convert those in real money to purchase rarer ones. The easiest option for you would be to sell items you have in a skins marketplace as there you can make a prompt deal free of fraud. And the more skins you sell the higher would be the price for each new item sold. Actually, this is a good way to earn some cash and it is up to you how to spend it afterwards.

Dota 2 Skins

Track Special Events

Special events that take place permanently are usually followed with release of the limited line of skins and sometimes you can get those for free if you follow some conditions like participation in giveaways, or in the event somehow.

The value of the skins released for special events grows each month, as usually those are the limited editions and new similar models are not likely to be released. You can get really unique items - and what is rare is always of higher demand.

Play Frequently

When you play there is always a chance you are going to get a valuable case in the end of the game session. You need to use that chance, although the probability you are going to get a rare item after the game is really low, it still remains and even if the skin you get is not rare at all you can sell it in the specialized marketplace or exchange on forums.

Track Giveaways Organized By Different Services

There are many services that are associated with the Dota 2 or that count to engage as many Dota 2 players as possible and those usually conduct giveaways in Facebook and other social networks with corresponding hashtags (which you can use to find those).

Usually, all you need to do is to share the post and it is enough to participate in the giveaways. Of course, it is not the best way to acquire skins, but having a tiny chance to win a valuable item is better that having no chance at all.

Usually, such giveaways set several winners with different prizes which makes your chance to win at last something much higher.

 DOTA 2 skins

Conclusion

There are many legal ways to increase your skin account and the more of them you use the more are the chances that once you will get the skin that will cost several hundred dollars in a year or two.

 

 

Disclaimer - This article was provided by Skinsmarket.com

 

 

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Flash/Browser Games Trends to Watch Out for In 2018

 

flash browser games

Games that can be played in browser are our salvation when we’re bored, regardless of our location. As long as there’s WiFi and you have a device that supports a modern Internet browser, you could be at work, caught in a long commute, or bored out of your skull at a conference and still have entertainment options due to these wonderful creations.

The history of browser games started in 1995, with the birth of Macromedia Flash (now known as Adobe Flash) and Action Script and evolved to HTML5 games, that don’t require you to install Flash as a browser extension. The cool thing is that browser games cover a wide range of genres and they can be both single and multi-player. Even more, these games are highly portable and can be played on different devices and browsers, some even offering a persistence feature (where your game progress is saved).

Throughout the years, you can observe an ascending trend, with flash/browser games becoming more complex and diverse. Thus, both the level of action and the graphic quality evolved so nowadays, games like DOOM, Dragon Ball Z Online, and Infinite Mario Bros, can be played in browser (of course, there are more cool examples to check out).

But what will happen next? Is there more space for development when it comes to browser games? Let’s see what we should expect in 2018.

More Remakes of Classic Games

The classics made history for a reason: they are entertaining and difficult to let go. So there’s no surprise that you’ll find them available online in a free-to-play format. I already mentioned Mario but other classics are expected to show up this year so keep your eyes peeled.

The best thing about a browser game (except the fact that they’re readily available without complicated installs) is that you can enjoy a fantastic game for free (as most browser games are free versions). Even more, classic remakes come with better graphics and smoother action.

More IO Games

The trend of IO games may have been born on a whim and showed up as of nowhere, but it will stay strong in 2018 as well. If you don’t know the genre, you should know that these are online browser games that are easy to understand yet difficult to master. A good example of an IO game is Little Big Snake (which is also based on the classic Snake game).

Basically, this trend started with basic games that took around 5 to 10 minutes to play (just perfect for when you’re stuck somewhere with nothing better to do). However, as people’s interest grew, so did the complexity of the game (both in graphics and gameplay).

More HTML5 Games

flash browser games

There is a constant battle between Adobe Flash and HTML5 and there was a time when we thought that the multitude of security issues and other problems may bring an end to the first. However, Flash still has lots of power in the world of browser games and other applications so you’ll still find that you’ll need the browser extension if you want to play all the cool games.

Still, it is expected that 2018 will bring more browser games based on the HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript technologies since they evolved and grown becoming more reliable. The HTML5 platform allows game creators to offer a more fluid and immersive experience for players due to great animations and cool interactive elements. Not to mention they are already embedded in modern browser clients so games will run on a native platform.

More Complexity in Graphics

Just like with PC and Console video games, it is expected to see more graphic complexity for browser games as well. Of course, you can’t compare one with the other since browser games are specially created for short-term entertainment and they run in a browser, but specialists expect a bit more this year. As it can be expected, game creators already deliver with games like League of Angels, Imperia Online, and more.

Overall, the 2018 trend for flash/browser games is of growth and we can’t wait to see new releases with more complex gameplay and stories. Our time-to-kill moments just got a lot more interesting this year!

 

 

 

 

--Disclaimer - this post has been provided by Katie Green.

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CORE Gaming Backpack by Mobile Edge

Thank you Mobile Edge for sending us a loaner backpack to review!

The CORE Gaming Backpack was successfully Kickstarted in September 2017, exceeding its $30,000 goal by $4! As of this review, the backers have received their products and most of them are satisfied with the results.

As an owner of a 15.6” gaming laptop it’s rather challenging to find a laptop bag big enough to fit my laptop let alone the accessories I like to tote around with it. Granted some of the items I carry around are not your typical fare, but I like to keep it all together if possible.

I’m happy to report that my laptop does indeed fit in the checkpoint friendly pouch. This is great for easy access and airport security checks. The fleece pouch for tablets is super soft and won’t scratch the screen unless you add something sharp in there along with it.

Core Gaming Backpack

There were some nice add-ons like a USB charging bank which I did not get to review, but this backpack does make it easy to charge accessories with its built in USB cable. Another add-on was a Samsung Gear VR. Again, this was not included with the backpack, but, my first generation Samsung Gear VR fit nicely in the middle pouch. While I was able to store my SteelSeries controller, Oculus Touch controllers and sensors, I could not get my Oculus Rift to fit inside the backpack with all of my other accessories. My current laptop bag can fit everything.

As long as you don’t need to carry a full blown VR setup, there is plenty to like in this backpack. The build quality is top notch. The rubberized grip on the metal reinforced carrying handle is both comfortable and sturdy. The gel lined backing and straps adds further comfort for long walks with a heavy laptop on your back. The shock absorbing straps seem pretty strong as well. Since we can’t keep this review sample, it’s hard to say how long it will last, but the overall build quality is quite good at first glance.

Core Gaming Backpack

In my attempts to squish my Rift in there I started to see some threads showing but that would probably happen with any item and I did not force the issue to avoid damaging my Rift or the backpack. If something were to happen to the CORE Gaming Backpack, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. On the Kickstarter page they seem to be very responsive to customer complaints and thankfully, a majority of them are satisfied with their products. One of the backers was having trouble fitting their 17” Asus RoG laptop in it, but I don’t have a laptop that big to confirm that. My 15.6” MSI fits great with some room to spare.

There are plenty of pouches for various accessories. I like the small memory storage units for SD cards. The Velcro front is rather strange for my tastes but it makes customizing the backpack rather easy if you have Velcro decals for your favorite games, sports teams, or sponsors. There is a Velcro free version available as well.

The price is very reasonable for this gaming laptop backpack. Early bird backers were able to get it for $75 with free shipping. Not so early backers were able to snag it for $89 shipped. Everyone else can get it on Mobile Edge’s website for $129.

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2017 Christmas Buying Guide

Here’s a quick breakdown of the most family friendly games we have reviewed in 2017. More reviews can be found on ChristCenteredGamer.com! Each game is given a gameplay score for the overall gaming experience and a moral score for how suitable it is for younger gamers. The Amazon and Humble Store links will benefit Christ Centered Gamer by giving us a small % of the sale.

System Game Game Score Moral Score Buy it!
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Metroid: Samus Returns 92% 90% $39.99
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns 86% 94% $39.99
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Kid Tripp 80% 96% $3.99
Switch
Switch
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
(Switch, Wii U)
98% 83% $59.99
Switch
Switch
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 88% 98% $59.99
Switch
Switch
Puyo Puyo Tetris
(PS4, Switch)
88% 97% $39.99
Switch
Switch
Fast RMX 86% 96% $19.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Hover: Revolt of Gamers 94% 96% $19.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry 94% 94% $14.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
20XX 90% 93% $14.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Minecraft Story Mode: Season Two
(Android, iOS, PC, PS4, Xbox One)
90% 87% $24.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
Destiny 2 
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
96% 86% $59.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4

Cities: Skylines
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)

94% 100% $49.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone 92% 87% $53.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
Aven Colony
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
90% 82% $29.99
PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Vita
Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas
86% 83% $12.99
  While we have reviewed other Vita games this year, they
are not on this guide because they are not family friendly
enough to be included. You can read our other Vita reviews
 here.
     
Xbox One
Xbox One
Seasons after Fall
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
88% 86% $19.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Aaero
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
86% 94% $14.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Ghost Blade HD
(PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U)
84% 87% $9.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Typoman Revised
(PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U)
82% 93% $12.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
GNOG (PSVR) 90% 93% $14.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Darknet (Vive) 88% 86% $14.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Sairento VR (Rift) 88% 85% $29.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
EVERSPACE (Vive) 86% 96% $29.99
Hardware
Hardware
Custom PS4 Controller N/A N/A $70+
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hebe M1 RGB Surround Sound Gaming Headset N/A N/A $69.99
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hermes E2 7 Color Mechanical Gaming Keyboard N/A N/A $56.99
Hardware
Hardware
Kidz Gear Wireless Headphones N/A N/A $19.99

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What to look for in a gaming laptop

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Buying a gaming desktop or laptop is a big commitment. However, if you get a machine powerful enough, it can provide years of entertainment. Desktops are cheaper and easier to upgrade so if you don’t need portability, you can get more machine for your money that way. No matter which route you go, the advice in this article is applicable for both systems.

Generally speaking, with gaming laptops, you have the classic 'pick two' rule: Power/Specs, Size/build quality, Affordability - pick two. The slimmer and lighter something is, the less powerful - unless you are willing to pay more for it. There are relatively affordable gaming laptops that are significantly less expensive than the thin and powerful variety, but they are usually an inch thicker or more. It's only on the very high end where no matter how much you spend it won't be thin (like SLI video cards and such).

All system types discussed herein are assumed to be Windows computers. Macs can play some games, as can Linux, but they are sadly limited. And while Linux can actually use much of the same hardware as Windows, so most of this guide still applies (with the caveat that OS and hardware support is all on your own), you are still limited on game selection (though you may learn other useful technology skills!). On Mac, you are limited to the maximum of a midrange gaming GPU - for their top of the line Macbook Pro prices. Typically, I would say that people who purchase Mac computers do not or should not choose them with primarily gaming in mind. This is something that Apple Corp. has simply chosen to ignore; they do have the power to fix it if they so choose. Instead, Apple has pre-chosen size and build quality as their sole focus, which is dandy, but they do not make gaming capable laptops, and what they do offer is extremely expensive.

The first step in purchasing a gaming machine is to determine your budget. Faster machines are more expensive and there is no way around that. Most laptops come with Intel graphics but if you want to do some serious gaming, you’ll have to pay a premium for AMD or Nvidia graphics. If you plan on doing VR with your system, you’re going to want a GeForce GTX 1060 at least. Anything faster is, you guessed it, more money.

Another thing to consider is current year vs. previous models. Generally the rule I follow is that it's okay with CPUs, but tread carefully when comparing last generation GPUs. While in principle older models are okay and a decent compromise if the price is right, realize that each new GPU model year, especially when there is a new process node or architecture, dramatically decreases power usage while simultaneously increasing performance. For example, the NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB is in most cases more powerful than the GTX 980M - and uses far less power doing it, at a much better price to boot. The GTX 1070+ naturally blows the doors off of anything available in the mobile space before.

The best resource available, when comparing notebook graphics chips, is this tool from notebookcheck.net:

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html

As you can see, at the time of this publication, NVIDIA owns the high end space, and it's been that way for several years.

When it comes to the CPU, newer models are still better, but not nearly as dramatic as it is when comparing GPUs. For example, the Intel i7 6700HQ is only about 200-300MHz difference between that and the newer i7 7700HQ. There is a difference, but it's not worth spending a lot more for, though at similar prices, obviously get the newer one.

When it comes to gaming, the priorities are GPU first, then CPU, then RAM and storage. You would want no less than 8GB of RAM (and 16GB is better). More is not necessary. I highly recommend a SSD drive for the OS, but that can sometimes come later as an add-on if you are technical enough to clone it there, though it should be standard on any laptop >$1000. There are other considerations, like whether you hope to hook up the computer to external monitor(s) or not, or whether built-in speaker sound quality is important to you or not.

For the record, almost all gaming laptops lack a touchscreen.

Generally, the price to performance brackets go somewhat like this:

<$800: There are significant compromises. Typically you only find integrated video for less than $800, or last year's models of dedicated GPUs. AMD has the brand new Ryzen Mobile CPUs, and they are quite competitive. They seem like a good compromise platform for lower priced systems, though laptops with NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPUs would be slightly faster, if you can find one in this price range, though they often only have 2GB of video ram, which impacts higher resolution gaming. Intel integrated GPUs work okay these days, but are generally to be avoided for a primary gaming PC. (As a companion to a gaming desktop, they can be quite decent, however.) If they have a GPU at all, they will likely come equipped with an i5 CPU, which is a very reasonable compromise to reach that price point, and if this is your budget, go for that.

As a general rule, games will run:
Intel Integrated: low settings only.
AMD Integrated: low to medium settings
NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB GPU: medium settings

These recommendations generally assume a 1080p resolution (1920x1080), though honestly, integrated video (both Intel and AMD) will have a much better experience with less than a 1080p resolution, as even some games at the lowest settings aren't playable at 1080p, or simply will not work at all on any resolution if the computational requirements are too high, especially on Intel. This is why, generally speaking,

$800-$1000: This is probably where the best price to performance gaming laptops are. Almost all have i7 CPUs (with the occasional i5), and most have NVIDIA GTX 1050s, 1050TIs, or the occasional 1060 on a good sale. For the record, I would choose an i5 CPU with a 1060 over an i7 with a 1050 (either version) any day of the week. AMD GPUs in this price range do exist, but are pretty rare. Most of the laptops with 1050s are a bit thinner, but not thin and light. If you want something with these GPUs that are thin(ner) and light, add several hundred dollars.

NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB version: medium to high settings
NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti 4GB: mostly high settings
NVIDIA GTX 1060 3GB version: mostly high settings (there is a case to be made for 1050Ti over 1060 3GB... and vice versa too)
NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB version: high to ultra settings; performs well in VR.

$1000-$1300: This is pretty much the exclusive range of the i7 with NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or 1060 6GB. These should perform comfortably in most games at 1080p. They often come with a bit more 'bling' at this price range, with things like G-Sync screens and extra DisplayPort outs, for multiple monitors. These are the big and heavy gaming laptops, not the thin and svelte ones. Automatically add several hundred dollars if you want thin.

Up until this point, I have assumed that we are talking about playing games on the integrated 1080p screen. None of the above GPUs will work well at 4k, and only the GTX 1060 6GB is acceptable for entry level Virtual Reality (VR). Generally speaking, VR compatible gaming laptops demand much more from the system itself, the thermals, and naturally, the GPU. You may find switchable graphics on the 1050 model laptops; once you enter the VR ready space, this disappears, as VR requires a direct connection to the GPU, which switchable graphics, which tend to optimize for battery life, cannot provide.

Three USB 3 ports and an HDMI 1.4 (or DisplayPort 1.2+) connection are required for VR. Thunderbolt 3 is nice to have since that allows you to connect an external GPU to your laptop at some time in the future if you choose. Not all gaming laptops have these, even if they have USB 3.1 ports. Read the specs carefully!

From here, you have the higher end. If you plan on driving a 1440p external monitor, you can probably get away with a GTX 1060 6GB, but a GTX 1070 is much better here. If you are not going to enjoy VR with your laptop, and you only stick with a standard 1080p screen, then a GTX 1070 is almost certainly overkill. If you are going to play extensive VR or move up to a 4k screen, then a GTX 1070 is practically a bare minimum. 4k gaming is very taxing on the GPU.

$1300-$2000: This is typically NVIDIA GTX 1060 or 1070 territory. One of the only stores to buy a laptop with a GTX 1070 at less than $1500 is at a Micro Center. They currently are selling on one sale for $1299; suffice it to say I count my blessings being able to drive to one. (At our house we have two laptops with GTX 1070s inside thanks to our local Micro Center.)

NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB: Can play anything at ultra settings at 1080p and 1440p. Medium to high settings at 4k. Performs excellently in VR.

$2000+: This is the high end, and prices can get pretty crazy. There is everything from thin and light notebooks with 1070s to huge fat SLI desktop replacements. These are no holds barred, but I have a hard time justifying the price personally (as at that point you can get a desktop and a 1060 gaming laptop and come out ahead).

NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB: Can play anything at ultra settings at 1080p and 1440p. Mostly high settings at 4k, but not ultra. Performs excellently in VR.
NVIDIA GTX 1070/1080 SLI: Yup, it's fast.

Optical drives are not standard issue in laptops anymore. Since many games and applications are digital these days, chances are you won’t miss the DVD/Blu-ray drive that much. I do recommend picking up an external drive for the rare moments you’ll need it.

Depending on the size of the laptop you’ll be considering, there may be room for two hard drives. The ideal configuration is having an SSD for booting up your operating system and frequently used apps the fastest and a standard spinning drive for data storage. SSD drives are great but costly in comparison to mechanical ones. Thankfully, this is a pretty standard configuration for most gaming laptops over $1000.

If you want to use your laptop as a desktop replacement or only computer, consider how many video out ports there are. HDMI supports only a single monitor, so if you want two or three, that option will not work. If you would like more, look for laptops with either several video ports on the side, or ones that support DisplayPort MST, which allows you to daisy chain multiple monitors off of one DisplayPort connector. This can also be in the form of a USB 3.1 port, as long as DisplayPort (or Thunderbolt 3) is wired internally. This is how I run two monitors off of my laptop with only one cable.

There are some ways to save money on laptops. If you time it right, you can buy the previous model as they are being phased out by the latest and greatest. Another option is to buy an open box. Before spending any money, check the return policy. As gorgeous as some screens are, many may have some dead pixels. Thoroughly check your laptop for any defects before the return period is up. If possible, open up and power on your laptop at the store to spot any noticeable dead pixels or defects.

Once your machine is purchased, keep an eye on the price for any changes. Some stores will refund the price difference in your favor if it changes within fourteen days of purchase.

I find that the best way to get a great deal on a gaming laptop is to check out a local Micro Center if you have one, and/or check out slickdeals.net. At the time of this writing, there are some killer gaming laptops on sale, being the beginning of Christmas shopping season. If you are lucky or keep an eye out, you can often find fantastic deals.

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Undertale: Strings of Determination

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

I reviewed Undertale shortly after its 2015 release date and this game continues to stay popular, with many kids still talking about and playing it. I can see why since it’s a fun game. While I did beat the game once, I haven’t had the time (or determination) to revisit the other endings. What impressed me most about Undertale was the wonderful soundtrack composed by the very same game developer, Toby Fox. Although the game was gifted to me, I purchased the soundtrack and Ferdk’s symphonic metal rendition as well. As great as those are, I truly feel that String Player Gamer’s digital album, Undertale: Strings of Determination, is the definitive soundtrack to buy if you have to choose one. Of course, I recommend picking up all three!

The violin and guitar work is top notch and the production quality is as good as it gets. The songs don't stray too much from the original soundtrack, but the instrument work really does stand out. In total, there are forty-six songs and they are all well done. All of the tracks are arranged by Diwa de Leon and the song ‘Temmie Village’ has a guest acapella singer, Tera Catallo aka TeraCMusic on YouTube. It’s hard to believe that this album was made by a couple of people!

The asking price is a very reasonable $14 and this album can be listened to and purchased on BandCamp, Spotify, and on iTunes. Before this complete album was released, String Player Gamer released four Undertale volumes so if you only want a few of the songs, that’s a cheaper option. Each of the volumes cost $6 so getting the complete set is still a better deal. I now consider myself a fan of String Player Gamer’s work and will continue to follow and look forward to his future masterpieces.

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Our Experience At GDEX

The GDEX was our second conference and it was much bigger than Gamer Grace. We enjoyed our stay in Ohio and felt at home there. I arrived on Friday and got our booth set up as much as I could given the 30-minute unloading time limit and lack of power. Since I had some time to kill before I could check into the hotel, I decided to try some local cuisine and was introduced to fried corn nuggets - those were yummy! Once checked into the hotel, I was planning on utilizing the swimming pool, but some kid threw up into it and it was closed for a few hours. Despite some obnoxious neighbors and kids in the hotel (not mine), I did manage to get some much needed sleep until Jay arrived at 12:30am. Thankfully, on Saturday we had enough time before the doors opened to the public to finish setting up our laptops and Oculus Rift.

Even though they had a nice VR exhibit with several games, our VR setup got a fair amount of use on Saturday. On Sunday, the attendance in the exhibitor hall was much lower and it was only used once or twice that day. I don't know how many people attended the seminars but the exhibitor hall didn't seem to have 4,000 people as advertised. On the other hand, the classes were scheduled back to back and didn't give guests much free time without sacrificing a class to attend.

The GDEX

One highlight of the conference was meeting one of our reviewers, Gamer4Christ, there. Until this year, she never heard of GDEX! We also met a couple of developers (Hullbreach Studios and Schell Games) whose games we have reviewed (and they were still happy to see us!).

There were a lot of exhibitors present and many promising games being shown. Some charities like Extra Life and Able Gamers were there as well. We were not the only gamer reviewers present and we handed out plenty of business cards and made some new contacts. Our review queue has grown because of this conference! That’s a good thing though as many of these games are family friendly and deserve to be promoted.

Many Christians stopped by our booth and offered appreciation and encouragement for what we're doing. We were not the only Christian exhibitors as representatives for The Bible Project were two booths down from us. Some of the game developers we got to know are Christian too!

The GDEX

Our biggest goal at this convention was promotion and awareness. So many people stopping by our booth did not know that we existed! Many of our business cards were taken and people wanted to tell their pastors/priests about our ministry. Despite a few Bibles being returned with (broken) promises of picking them up later, we still gave away about a dozen to good homes. We didn’t want to force them on people and we hope and pray that the people who took them are blessed by them.

Although we didn’t sell any shirts or action Bibles, I still consider this conference a success. I’m smacking myself for forgetting to bring the bumper stickers that we have. In the end, it was great interacting with the gaming and game development community. I look forward to returning next year, Lord willing.

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Our First Convention Experience

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As many of you are aware, we’ve been preparing for various gaming conventions and finally attended our first one, Gamer Grace, this past weekend. It was quite an experience and we’ve learned a few things along the way.

The Oculus Rift was a hit and many people enjoyed their first VR experience with it. Watching a six-year-old think he was falling in space was priceless. I kept the headset sanitary by using mask covers and offering disposable shower caps if anyone was interested in head lice prevention. Our family dealt with head lice and it was a total nightmare. Only one person bothered with the shower cap. I’m open to suggestions on what to do with the leftover shower caps.

Setting up the Rift didn’t take much time, so in the future I think a half hour of prep time should be sufficient for placing our tablecloth, Rift, business cards, t-shirts, and Bibles. We offered Bibles to people but didn’t force them. The last thing I wanted to see was them in the garbage can. Although we couldn’t give any away (didn’t realize how hard this would be), we did sell an Action Bible. One thing we will add is a whiteboard to explain that the Bibles are free. I was thinking of writing this on our future whiteboard:

Free Bibles!
Great for:
Reading
Salvation
Changing lives
Bookshelves
Night stands

We had one mother consider buying a t-shirt but her son seemed rather indifferent about it so it never happened. We do have some shirts available online if anyone wants one. Hopefully, more people are interested at future conventions.

Speaking of more people, that’s what Gamer Grace REALLY NEEDED. During our three-day stay we probably had about seventy-five visitors at our booth, total. It wasn’t just us either. There was some amazing artwork, leather crafting, and gaming accessory exhibits that probably didn’t break even from their booth cost. We did get to meet some nice game developers and followed each other on Twitter. Those were probably my only new followers from this convention.

It’s a real shame since Gamer Grace had lot going for it. Unlimited and coinless arcade games, interesting panelists and competitions, board/card games, crafts, and foam weapon/armor battles. My kids plus their friend had a blast and I rarely saw them. My husband and I enjoyed playing some In The Groove and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games. My son was really happy to meet one of the creators of Terreria, one of his favorite video games.

Other than the Rocket League tournament, the multiple Xbox Ones sat untouched. Many of the vendors, us included, played on our mobile hand held devices. The Microsoft rep was knitting! I managed to get some good play time in for some upcoming handheld game reviews.

Gamer Grace was a learning experience for sure. I won’t mind attending as a patron if they do it again in the future. To consider it as a vendor I’ll need to know specifics on their game plan on getting the word out next time around. I look forward to better results at our future exhibits!

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Shadows of Mordor's Sequel, Gaming and Gambling

Shadow of Mordor 2

So the sequel to the popular Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor has micro-transactions. They are loot boxes; for folks who may not know, they are randomized rewards. You have no control over what you'll get. Now you'll find opinions, fact articles and many other thoughts on the sequel in general and micro-transactions. Yet here I want to talk about gambling. No matter your stance on gambling, I feel this will slowly become a more prevalent thing in mainstream gaming, adding random loot box prizes or card packs. So here we are going to talk about gambling from a faith based and business perspective.

Luke 12:15: Take heed and beware of covetousness - for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. It is this quote that fits gambling best I would say. Too often people associate gambling to the slot machines and roulette wheels only. Remember, no matter your stance on gambling, it will lead to covetousness: you will want that skin, that rare card. Those who delve into this vice will risk becoming enveloped in the sins of envy and greed. Do not write it off as a phase just because it's not gambling for money.

Whether you feel gambling is a vile thing or not, understand that activities that involve playing the odds in anything requires a certain amount of mental toughness. If you let yourself get addicted to gambling, you won't have any medicines or physical therapies you can do to get it out of your mind. Gambling is a very strong addiction if you let it become one. Yet whatever's making money is going to follow in business. These game publishers know people will pay to make a game faster and they will exploit that without a care about someone's risk to gambling addiction. On record I’ll say that I am against loot box style micro-transactions in retail priced products that are not cosmetic only. These randomized rewards are usually designed into the game to test the gamers patience in earning them by grinding in game. Also on record, keep in mind whether you hate gambling or not, casinos are regulated in many ways including age restriction and government regulation to make sure the casino isnt cheating folks out of their money. The exploitation of those who will spend money to take a gamble at getting that "legendary" prize will most likely become more common in the games industry.

However, if you're a parent with a little gamer, keep these things in mind if they are spending that allowance on any loot box micro-transaction no matter the game.

Talk to your kids about the odds and reality: teach them that unlike buying a in-game skin or toy directly, they might not get what they want if they take the risk. Tell them if they spend their whole allowance on a loot box or card pack and they don't get what they want, that's on them. Don't let them expect an extra twenty if they didn't get the prize they wanted. Make sure they understand as well, unlike a investment or solid item, if the game shuts down, all that money they invest in randomized digital items gets flushed down the toilet.

Consider monitoring what your kids are spending money on: hey, I get kids need a little bit of room and trust, especially when learning the value of a dollar, yet if you know your little gamer has a bit of a self-control problem, keep watch on what they are buying. If they are spending a bit too fast on loot boxes or card packs, intervene as necessary.

Teach them about the tough sides to the value of a dollar early: tell your kid that if they spend their allowance fast they lose out on a lot. This can be things such as not having enough for a bag of chips on the way home from school or missing out on a sale. They are out of luck, aren't they? If they learn fast then responsibility will surely follow. Some people may find this a bit mean, but tough love can work.

So while a lot of discussion is already going on about the Shadow of Mordor sequel or loot boxes in general, please at least keep in mind that one way or another any randomized micro-transaction is still gambling. No matter your stance on if it's OK to spend money on these things or not. Please be responsible. After all if you can't provide for your family, according to Timothy 5:8, maybe that makes you worse than a non believer? Even if you're not a person of faith, sure would stink if you couldn't eat that day because you spent your money to try and get some "legendary" equipment or a skin in-game, right?

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Retrogression: Vol.1

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was truly innovative on many levels upon its launch. So many great games were available on that console and given the success of the recent NES Classic, gamers still love them. Besides the fun gameplay, many of the most popular games had stellar soundtracks to go with them. Stemage has done something interesting in their recently released digital album, Retrogression: Vol.1.

In Retrogression: Vol.1, Stemage plays four popular theme songs backwards and then reverses them (individually) so you can recognize them again. To stay true to the NES’ limitations they used drums, two guitars, and one bass. The songs performed backwards are really well done and are fun listening to, even if I’ve only played 3/4 games being represented.

The four games paid homage to include Ghosts N’ Goblins, Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Brothers, and Tetris. Since the album is available on Bandcamp, you can listen to each track individually and pay what you want for it. The songs are available to download in MP3 or FLAC format. Since you can set your own price, I won’t complain about the length of the album as it can be heard in its entirety in less than fifteen minutes. While the reversed/forward songs are neat, I would have loved to hear the jazzed up songs played in their proper direction. Other than those minor nitpicks, I recommend picking up this album if these NES games hold a special place in your heart.

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The Most Thrilling And Mind Blowing Video Games Of 2017

The Most Thrilling And Mind Blowing Video Games Of 2017

What was just considered as a hobby a few years back that some freaks used to play sitting in their living room or any other place is now an art that every human being in the world enjoys participating. Whether it’s your friend next door or your elder brother who is working in a firm, everyone is now playing the astounding video games.

So, with reference to the sneak peaks and the interesting early gameplay footage, 2017 launched many breathtaking video games and is proved to be one of the best gaming years of the era. Moreover, the well-known technology stores around the world also made it sure that you can grab the latest games at any point of time as soon as those are launched in the market. So, you can find these stores always updated with their stocks.

But with so many games around you, it might be too perplexing for you to choose the one that stands out. Thus, without further hassle, here are the top and mind blowing video games which you’ll be much excited to know about.

  • Platform PS4

It is one of the most surprising and striking video games of the year which is a sequel to the very famous Vita adventure. It leads you to battle evil in a captivating imaginative world with an ability to turn the world upside down. The Gravity Rush 2 walks through with a creative streak which runs across the two heartfelt heroines of the game i.e., Kat and Raven. And moreover, the fascinating land of Heskeville will be a wonderful place to explore.

Running short of time to hop into a store for buying this amazing game? Then you can order it online from various leading stores of the UK like Argos. And on doing so, you can purchase and get it delivered to you both in a frugal way through various deals, discount offers, Argos free delivery discount code etc. 

  • Dandy Dungeon

 It is a brilliant mobile game where you’ll be brave Yamada, an upcoming games developer and a defeated lothario who is trying to impress his beautiful neighbor with his skills in coding. In this puzzle game, you must find the right path for the hero to the exit while avoiding all the traps and beasts on his way. It’s a funny yet an extremely interesting game. 

  • She remembered Caterpillars

It is an eccentric and adventurous puzzle game where you’ve to build bridges and make paths through the nominal insects. The logic puzzle in the game is appealingly wicked and enthralling with various unique elements added in a smart way. Thus, this game will certainly lead you to end up unwinding yourself into a whole new world.

  • Nioh

It is a fantasy RPG which lets you to explore the vast battle-field, hunting Yokai. It might be hundreds of hours that you’ve played but new excitements and discoveries will always keep on coming towards you. You’ll be continuously finding fresh an rewarding things to do. It is an absolutely fantastic game which includes a strong sense of charm.

So, if you’re a yet another teenager or someone in his or her 20’s, 30’s 40’s or of whatever age who is one of the biggest fans of video games and still now haven’t tried your hands on these phenomenal new-ones in the market, then you should explore those soon. And moreover, browsing through Dealslands you can even save your huge bucks as you can grab the lucrative deals from the UK’s high-end technology and games selling stores in this money-saving voucher site. 

*This post has been provided by Dealslands*

 

 

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Should You Still Play Fallout 4?

When you work for any games publication, you're gonna play a lot of games. Shocker right? As games have evolved over the years, one of the biggest game changers is story. Long gone are the days where you simply had to pretend the pixilated dots on screens are airplanes and missiles. Sure we have great indie games that can draw you in with even the most minuscule or goofy plots on a meaningful level, yet how much of it is the gameplay and not the story? Likewise, can a game be ruined by a mediocre story, or can the gameplay carry the experience? I thought I'd do a few look overs of older games and see if they are worth playing purely on gameplay vs story. The first game I will look at is Fallout 4. This title has already been reviewed by our big boss lady Cheryl Gress, you can look at said review here. Today is just a journey to see if this game is good as a game despite supposed controversies of the story.

So let's start with the game's story. Long story short? It wasn't fun. In previous Fallout titles, whether the early top down RPG games, or Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, you can easily pretend your character is whoever you wanted it to be. Yet Fallout 4 decided to do a fully voiced protagonist with a large backstory. It doesn't pan out well. The more you give a character a face, the more you have to put effort into emotional investment. Allowing me at least 10 minutes to enjoy my apparent married status and child before the nukes are dropped doesn't help me get invested in my fake family. Sure I am a married man in real life, so I tried to pretend that I was playing as myself and it did nothing to help the investment. Trying a different character file did nothing to help immersion either. Whether I was male or female, I was a lone parent hunting for my child that might not even be alive.

Some people may say, "wait were the previous stories in Fallout games really that good?" If they were stand alone books or movies, no, they would be rather mediocre. Yet by giving the player choice on how to approach a game you manage to bring that much more interest in the investment of the story. Previous Fallout games made you the story; Fallout 4 does not. Wide focus doesn't work for a book or a movie, yet we have many famous games that tell rather fun or compelling stories when it allows you to choose how much you want to care.

The reason character builds in previous titles helped define the character was due to that use of imagination. When I made the person with one strength but 10 agility in Fallout: New Vegas, it was not about playing optimally or providing a challenging. It's because I was playing as the skinniest, weakest gunslinger in the post-war west. No matter what gender, shape, or build I had in Fallout 4, I was a concerned parent that had to get by while dealing with other people's problems. It doesn't help that unlike the other games, you'll have to deal with most of these problems from other people whether you like it or not. If the game is still a ”RPG” then at the very least let me find my son first.

Now let me do another long story short. As a game Fallout 4 is still a top notch experience. I find the settlement management side of the game rather relaxing for when I don't feel like exploring. The loot system is fun, crafting is a joy and the game combat is enjoyable. Exploring the world just to loot and survive is still just as fun as in previous Fallout games. This is a case where I can say the weak story did nothing to prevent me from enjoying a game  as a game. Maybe one time I'll run through Fallout 4 on mute with my own music and I will just make up my own dialogue for the characters.

Modding communities should not make or break a game's review score, yet that doesn't mean modding isn't valuable. Fallout 4 has thousands of mods to extend the life of the game; this includes new quests and dialogues for characters. Even at the age the game is now, you'll get your money's worth from the game and its DLC.

The story is not good, yet the game is better than people may give it credit for. It can have some interesting thinking points in the game as well. Fallout 4 is still a great game to pick up to this day despite its problematic story.

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Battle Princess Madelyn First Impressions

The way of the knight is a path of honor, duty, and cute graphics. At least that's what it is according to Battle Princess Madelyn. This knight in training and her kingdom fall under siege to the forces of a cruel wizard. With her ghost dog Fritzy, fight, jump and bite your way to saving your kingdom.

The first thing this game says is that it is heavily inspired by the Ghosts and Goblins franchise, and this is true in every step down to the way Madelyn runs. While she tosses spears, she can either have her dog shoot balls of energy to stop her foes or she can channel his power to charge at enemies to devour them whole. 

The first impressions are great so far. The story isn't trying to be some deep and complicated trek into Madelyn's world and yet I was invested into the introduction of the game. The combat was simple, but it felt satisfying and fun. My spear wasn't too weak and the trusty ghost dog didn't make the enemies in my way super easy. The artstyle is visually pleasing; people may say doing retro graphics is a lazy indie trope, yet the team behind Madelyn worked hard to make sure the world pulls you in. 

The most important aspect of these sorts of games is the challenge. Despite my own experiences with Ghosts and Goblins, I had a hard yet fair adventure with Madelyn. The enemies were paced well, I didn't get to a point where I felt I could just rush through the game. The enemies were varied and unique. This game doesn't suffer from “enemy recolor number 1000” syndrome. I started my journey with Madelyn in a unkempt graveyard. I had to climb through an Underground Mausoleum and it ended with a boss battle with a giant skeletal knight. When a game is challenging, the satisfaction of beating a level or a boss is all the sweeter. 

I can't completely critique a game that is far from finished so I’ll talk about what should be improved or what I hope stays strong. The music for the first few stages was not what I’d call memorable. While the artstyle pulled me in despite being based on retro graphics, the old school music just didn't do the same thing for me. I hope that the rest of the tracks are more immersive as the game progresses. While the enemies were varied in my playthrough of Madelyn, I hope this stays true throughout the game's development. Recolored enemies can make or break a game; that's why I hope enemy design remains unique throughout the levels. 

Morality wise, you'll see themes of necromancy, and evil magic being used against this girl. Some people may also be bothered by the idea of her loyal friend coming back from the dead with the same evil magic. Though it could also be seen as a pure dog willing to help the hero. From the preview build, Madelyn didn't use any magic herself, this may or may not change. Though as it is now, I have a feeling that this game will be for most people.

I have confidence in Madelyn's development team; I have a feeling it will join Ghost and Goblins in my yearly halloween knight charity run. Best of luck to Casual Bit Games.

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Nintendo Switch Event impressions

For being a loyal My Nintendo member, I was offered two tickets to attend the Chicago Nintendo Switch demo event.  My husband and I planned on going without our kids since tickets were limited.  Thankfully, 360 PR was able to let us bring our three kids along and they had a blast testing out the upcoming console and launch titles with us.  The turnout was good, and I’d guess that there were three hundred or so people there.  The staff members were easy to identify with their red Switch shirts and warm smiles.  They were also very knowledgeable about the game demos and were happy to teach and assist if you got stuck in a game. 

Out of all of the launch games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was the most in demand and you had to grab game session tickets to schedule your twenty-minute play session.  Headphones were provided to help drown out the loud electronic dance music that the DJ was playing, as well as the substantial crowd noise throughout the event.  I really enjoyed my time with the game, though like many open world games, twenty minutes was barely enough time to get a good feel for it.  I was very impressed with the art style, the beauty of the world, and how much there is to do.  The clearly less than 1080p pixels on TV was rather annoying, but you do get used to it.  It looks gorgeous on the small Switch screen.  Combat was also fun, and there is a lot of variety as well.  You constantly pick up new weapons either found outside, or as dropped loot.  Items, including weapons, wear down and break, which is a bit of an adjustment from previous games.  Arrows also seemed hard to come by, but I can understand that given how powerful they are.  I definitely look forward to playing this game more once we get it, since we pre-ordered it along with our Switch.  

Some classic games like Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers and Sonic Mania added retro feels, but didn’t show off what the new console system was capable of doing visually.  ARMS was fun and looked good on the flat screen TV/monitors we played it on.  I thought it was one of the highlights of the show, but it's hard to say if it is worth full price, since it's somewhat of a one trick pony.  Some games like Splatoon 2 were playable on TV/monitors as well as the Switch itself.  In all honestly I was disappointed with the pixelated visuals of this title on the TVs there and while there are new weapons, I don’t think it’s different enough to warrant buying it at full price.  On a positive note, this did spark some interest in our kids playing the Wii U version we already own.

Super Bomberman R is a challenging co-op game that allows up to eight players.  The CPU players are pretty formidable and they won more matches than the humans did.  I wouldn’t mind owning this game, but I’ll be waiting for a sale on it.  

Another game I enjoyed was Fast RMX which is a fun racing game that adds a color matching element to change the color of your car’s exhaust to take advantage of speed boosts.  If your car is the wrong color, it will slow you down instead!  The graphics were decent in it but didn’t blow me away.  The local four player multiplayer is fun, and if you’re online, you can race against eight players.   

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looked well polished, though I only got to play it on a hand-held screen.  I do look forward to checking it out on a big screen.  This game is still a blast to play and the included DLC and added levels and characters make this title worth picking up, especially if you missed it on Wii U.

My son enjoyed playing Skylanders Imaginators and like the Wii U, the controller base has an IR reader for importing your favorite Skylander characters into the game.  One of the games that did not resonate with me was Has Been Heroes.  I enjoyed the row-based combat from Grand Kingdom, but the way this game implemented it didn’t seem to click with me.  

Skylanders 

One of my favorite games I played with my oldest daughter was Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!  It’s been a while since I got a good laugh from playing a game with someone.  In this puzzle game you must cut the paper based characters to rotate and fit into specified shapes.  This game requires good team work, communication, and accuracy when cutting.  Just when I was getting close to getting my daughter into the proper shape she’d snip me and I would have to start over to do my part.  This title will be available for $19.99 and I’ll be picking that up as soon as our Switch arrives.

The whole family got to play 1-2 Switch and thought that it was okay.  It had a guessing game where you and your partner had to guess how many balls were inside of a box.  Whoever was closer to the correct amount would win or in our case resulted in a draw since both parties were off by one.  The cow milking simulator was fun to watch as a bystander and the winner is determined by who can get the most cups of milk from the udders.  My husband and I faced off in a Western style shooting match and I shot my hubby down first.  No blood is shown, just the shadow of the loser kneeling before the winner.  I like how the speed in milliseconds is shown at the end.  While this game is alright, I’ll wait for it to hit the bargain bin before purchasing it.  (I still think this would have been a perfect pack-in title.)

We got to check out some games that we anticipate getting review codes for since we’re on good terms with Ubisoft, NIS America, and SEGA/Atlus.  I’m happy to report that I earned a score of 5 stars in Just Dance 2017 to Joan Jett’s 'I Love Rock N Roll'.  Puyo Puyo Tetris is a fast paced and fun mashup of those two games and it switches between them every ten seconds.  Sadly, the CPU whooped me.  I had fun though, and that’s what counts.  Disgaea 5 Complete looks sharp with modern visuals, along with fairly revealing outfits when it comes to female attire or lack thereof.  While the gameplay is fun, I really am spoiled by the accuracy of a mouse from playing PC ports of the first two games.

Puyo Puyo Tetris 

Stay tuned for more in-depth reviews from us as we get to spend more time with these games after they are released.  I’m looking forward to the arrival of our Switch!

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Civilization Revolution 2 Review

Since the dawn of time, humans have strived to build vast civilizations on earth. Rulers have sought to leave their mark on history by making advances in construction, culture and technology and by taking as much stuff from their neighbors as possible. The civilization series depicts this struggle from the Stone Age through to the modern era and beyond.

The PC versions of Civilization have given me more than a few bouts of ‘one more turn’ fever over the years. They are compelling classics that are epic in scope. But what of the trimmed down version for consoles and mobile devices? I played Civilization Revolution 2 on the iPad to see whether it could recreate the complex joy of the PC experience.

The game starts as all Civ games do. You control a group of wide-eyed settlers looking for the perfect spot to found their first city. Once the foundations of your soon-to-be great civilization are laid, it’s time to turn to the serious business of world domination. Explore your surroundings, choose technologies to develop, train units, and build municipal buildings for your city. The choices you make determine how quickly your civilization develops, scientifically, culturally, financially and militarily. Each of these four areas can lead to victory, so it is important to decide where to focus your efforts.

Civilization Revolution 2

You encounter rival civilizations along the way with which you can trade, swap technologies or fight. Most of the fighting occurs as a result of direct competition for land. Everyone is vying to found their cities in the juiciest spots, and this is where friction arises. There can be rewards in combat - If you manage to capture all three enemy capital cities, you win the game. But it also comes at a great cost - war is expensive, after all. Get bogged down in a long, protracted war and more peaceful civilizations will outstrip you in other areas of the game.

Though stripped down from the PC version, Civ Rev 2 manages to pack in a lot of features. Games can last for many hours and there is great pleasure in seeing your people rise from stone huts to build great wonders and powerful cities. There is a lot of replay value with many civilizations to choose from, each with their own bonuses and special troops. You earn achievements for winning in various different ways and unlock new civilizations to play with. There are also a variety of scenarios to play through that change the gameplay up, such as focussing solely on the space race, or defeating barbarian hordes.

Civ Rev 2’s graphics are crisp and clean with a style that supports understanding of gameplay. Units are slightly cartoonish without being too kiddy, and the UI is easily readable if not beautiful to behold. Given the platform, the scope of the terrain is pretty respectable and different land types and city bonuses are easy to make out.

Civilization Revolution 2

The menu music of Civ Rev 2 has the same orchestral world music vibe of the original games. It can sound a bit like a mixtape in a massage parlour, but is pretty unobtrusive, which is no bad thing. In game the ambient country noises and city sounds can get a little repetitive but they do add some character. There is very little music in-game, which is a good thing as any track would get stale over three to four hours of play.

Civilization Revolution 2 is obviously not as deep as the PC versions of the game. There are some great design decisions that have simplified it in a way that makes it easier to handle on the smaller screen but also a few more questionable ones. City management is mostly automated, which is great - I often found myself bored of moving workers around in the PC version. The stacking of units into three-strong armies is a little bit confusing though. At later stages of the game, individual units are pretty worthless so you have to wait till you have built three. When units become obsolete you cannot build them any more so any individual units not in armies are left in limbo. Curiously you are unable to disband these units so they just hang around, getting in the way.

Minor issues aside, Civ Rev 2 is a very strong iPad game. There are lots of features and oodles of replay value. This is a great introduction to the Civilization franchise for those who haven’t experienced it yet. Even if you have played the PC version, it’s still good for long train journeys or away days when you need to get a Civ fix.

Andy Trowers is a game design consultant, freelance ne’er do well and staff writer for www.canada.for-sale.com

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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