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The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games, Volume 2 (N-Z)

Author: Brett Weiss
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing
Hardcover book
464 full-color pages
Over 375 games covered
MSRP: $49.99

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for sending us this book to review!

As I mentioned in my SNES Omnibus Volume 1 review, I was blessed to grow up as video games did, and played tons of Atari, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and got my Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in what was probably early high school. Based on the release date of Super Mario All-Stars as mentioned in this book, I believe it was 1993.

This book celebrates this generation of gaming by devoting one or two pages to each and every game in the SNES library. This volume covers every game in alphabetical order, starting with ‘Natsume Championship Wrestling’ and ending with ‘Zoop’. I highly recommend you check out Volume 1, as well as this one.

The first few pages include a foreword, where the technical specifications of the SNES are discussed, as well as a brief summary of the competitive landscape surrounding the system’s release. There is also a preface, where the author talks a bit about his love for the SNES, along with his rationale for making the SNES Omnibus series into two books, rather than one. The game compilation itself starts on page 12.

Each page is in full color, with the title, publisher, developer, game type, and release year all notated at the top. Under that is the box art, a picture of the cartridge, and a general description and summary of the game. If it’s particularly good or bad, you might find some commentary there, too. Sometimes they will compare the game with its Sega Genesis counterpart, if there was one. There are also screenshots, and some titles may have promotional art or a picture of an ad as well.

Other than the general overview, each page also includes a ‘Notable Quotable’, which is typically an excerpt from a review, sometimes modern and sometimes classic, or a comment from a famous YouTuber, game developer, or industry veteran. Some games also feature one or more ‘Insider Insight’, which is a story of how that game impacted one of the many contributors. There are eighty-seven people listed as contributors on pages 453-457. Having been recently honored by an entry in the Superstars of 2019 Walter Day Trading Card collection, it was really neat to see other Trading Card holders mentioned in the credits. There are also articles that go in-depth about the Super Game Boy, which is an accessory I treasured since I also loved playing Game Boy games on my TV, and Super Metroid, one of the greatest games of all time. There is also a bibliography.

Reading through this lovingly crafted archive, I was reminded both of the many great games that shaped my adolescence, and also the many that I remember looking at fondly but never having the chance to purchase for myself. I had a job in high school, so I worked for my games – but no kid can afford everything, so something always had to give. Thankfully, I often had great success scouring the used games at my old Blockbuster Video, which no doubt saved me a pretty penny in these early days before GameStop (as FuncoLand was the only used game store around).

A few notable games that I either own or owned, or borrowed from friends which are covered here include:

Pocky & Rocky (big garage sale win!)
Rampart (played at a friend's house as a kid)
Robotrek (love this game!)
Secret of Evermore (recent acquisition!)
Secret of Mana (one of the best games on SNES)
Shadowrun (borrowed from a friend - love this game!)
Soul Blazer (a friend of mine had this game when I was young. If anyone is willing to sell for a reasonable price, please let me know!)
Star Fox
Star Fox 2 (SNES Classic only)
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting (I have so many wonderful memories of this game!)
Super Castlevania IV (SNES Classic/Wii VC)
Super Double Dragon (garage sale find)
Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts (I played this at a friend's house, and now own it on SNES Classic)
Super Mario All-Stars (my SNES came with this and I loved it!)
Super Mario Kart (I love all of the sequels, but this one never really worked for me)
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES Classic only)
Super Mario World (love this game! I got all 96 stars)
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (mind-blowingly good game!)
Super Metroid (one of the best games ever. Borrowed a friend's copy as a kid. I never owned a cart, but I own it now on SNES Classic and Wii VC)
Super 3-D Noah's Ark (Okay, I never played the SNES version, but we reviewed the Steam re-release!)
Super Punch Out!! (borrowed it from a friend as a kid, now own it on the SNES Classic)
Super R-Type (I remember playing this at a friend's house)
Super Scope 6 (never had one, played it once, but it looked really cool!)
Super Star Wars (played at a friend's house, and years later it was a garage sale find!)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (I never owned this, but have good memories playing with friends)
Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety (garage sale find)
Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits (a friend gave me an unopened copy!)
Wing Commander: The Secret Missions (I played a friend's copy. Great game, but even better on PC!)

And, of course, the awesome Super Game Boy, which has a dedicated article about it.

As an aside, many, many games of that era would call themselves 'Super' if they were on the Super Nintendo. If you want proof, pages 228 through 312 all deal with games that start with 'Super'.

This book is an excellent retrospective, and reminded me of several games that I wanted to pick up when I was younger, but never had the chance, as well as some new ones I hadn’t heard of. I had no idea Paladin's Quest was a good game. I had no idea that the NBA Jam games were popular because they were good (I've never been a sports game person). I ended up getting some new-to-me SNES games recently, including Secret of Evermore, thanks to reading more about them in this book. I'm sure my wife is thrilled!

If you want to be tempted to hunt down old games, or simply long to read about more games from arguably the greatest video game console of all time, then you owe it to yourself to check out The SNES Omnibus: The Super Nintendo and Its Games Volume 2. If you are a collector, or simply love the SNES, then I highly recommend that you pick up this book and its companion volume. It may be pricey, but it’s worth every penny.


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How to launch your indie game in 2019

The gaming world is one of the most popular industries among today’s internet users and technology savvies. Video games are extremely fun and engaging and can take you to a completely different universe.

It is extremely interesting to observe how the graphic design and the functionalities of video games have changed over the last decade. From classic popular games like Pac-Man or Super Mario which used to thrive among gaming enthusiasts many years ago, to VR games. Thanks to technological advancements and the rise of machine learning, game developers have been empowered to create games that take players into an exciting digital world. These days, video games have evolved so much to the point where they offer a complex digital world with a multitude of possibilities for gaming enthusiasts.  

With the developments in the gaming industry, people are spending more and more time on video games, especially when there are thousands of video games out there and thousands more are created every year. Thus, the increasing demand for video game localizations. But, expanding into international markets would require a great deal of effort, particularly if you are an indie game developer. Budget wise, is it feasible to market your product into different languages?

Fret not, there are affordable options to localize your game. You can certainly minimize your spending if you target specific markets that essentially speak the same language—this would be a good start. You can also collaborate with a good translation and localization agency and ask for advice on how to cut back the costs of your game translation and localization needs. This is something most consumers are forgetting, you can always ask them to configure the service in such a way that it would turn into a win-win scenario. With this in mind, it would certainly be wise to localize your game or you might suffer embarrassing setbacks that might affect the playability of your game altogether (this is specifically true for games that are highly dependent on dialogue).

And of course everyone can remember the phenomenal video game translation fail of Zero Wing’s opening cut scene, “all your base are belong to us”, an improper translation turned meme that has entered legendary status, it all worked out for Sega at the time but nowadays mistranslations are just annoying. To avoid these embarrassing mistakes, one must certainly consider game localization services in order to ensure that your game projects its intended meaning. You would not want a twelve year old kid laughing at your blood, sweat and tears would you?

Indie games don’t differ much from startups, you will initially have a tight budget but once you get your dedicated following of game enthusiasts—by utilizing game translation, it will be generally easier to shell out budgets for other necessities. And as someone who grew up mesmerized by in game dialogues it would be a shame to see it foiled by mistranslations.

So, you are a game enthusiast yourself and you have decided to use your passion for gaming and your skills to create your first indie game. Creating and launching your own indie game can be exciting and rewarding. Perhaps not in terms of money, because most indie games are not profitable for developers, but creating a game that becomes popular among gaming lovers will give you a lot of personal satisfaction. Here’s everything you need to know to create a successful game, build your audience, and have a successful launch.  

Know your budget and stick to it

The first thing you need to keep in mind when creating your own indie game is your budget. Whether you have a lot of money to put into the creation of the game or a small budget, you need to know right from the beginning what costs you should expect and how much you can afford to pay.

Depending on your budget, you will be able to gather your team and discuss money. If you are creating the game together with your friends, chances are that you can all agree to be paid after the game is launched and becomes popular. However, if your team will contain employees that you have to pay, you must make sure that your budget allows you to pay for their work comfortably.

Play games to learn

Perhaps the most exciting part of creating your own game is using your passion to do it. So, you are a game enthusiast and love spending hours in front of your computer to enter the digital world of the video game you are playing. However, being a good player doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to create your own game.

When learning about game development, you must see the games you play from a different perspective. Analyze what you like about the games you play, what offers a good user experience, which graphic design is more eye-catching, and perhaps even why you prefer a game over another one. You can use your experience as a gamer to create your own indie game.

Create a unique indie game

The fun part about creating your own indie game is the fact that you can use your previous experience as a gamer, your passion for video games, and your ideas to create a whole new digital universe.

Nowadays, every day you can hear about new games being launched from mobile games to PC and console games. However, while some have very poor graphics and user experience, others can be amazing but they are just a copy of a famous game which has already been launched. Thus, creating a successful indie game can also come to creating a unique one. Don’t be afraid to use your ideas and personal preferences as a gamer to create an indie game that represents you and offers the gaming experience you would like to have with other games.

 

Create a game website

The key to a successful game launch is to start preparing your strategy months before the release date. Your game’s website can be the most important part of your marketing strategy. It will not only be the place where you can update your audience with any information about the development process but it can also help you build a community for your indie game. You should consider hiring a professional outsource web development team to help you create an engaging website for your game. The website should include detailed information about your indie game, a development blog to build a game community, a news section where you can post all updates, your social media accounts, and contacts. The most important thing your website should have is the store section where you can sell your indie game.  

Create an amazing game release video trailer

A promotional video trailer for your indie game can play a huge role in how popular it will become among gaming enthusiasts. It is the first thing that can make people find out about your game and raise their interest in playing it once it is launched.

Your game trailer should have the most eye-catching images, engaging background music, and fast-paced animation all combined.  However, you must pay attention to the length of the video trailer. It shouldn’t be longer than 1 to 2 minutes because it can either bore the viewers or reveal too much information about the game which can decrease their interest in downloading and trying your indie game. The first few seconds from your trailer are the most important ones because they are meant to catch the viewer’s attention. Thus, make sure to include the best information about your indie game at the beginning of the trailer.

 

Capture engaging screenshots

Capturing engaging screenshots from the indie game also plays a huge role in your marketing strategy. The screenshots from your game will be the visual content that you will shave on your social media accounts and website. Those images should be high-resolution and capture the best parts of the story of your game. However, they should never reveal too much information to not make your audience lose their interest.

Choose an eye-catching app icon

The app icon of your indie game is also extremely important in catching your audience’s attention. Moreover, an eye-catching app icon can have a vital role in your App Store listing and optimization which will influence your app’s ranking and discoverability.  

 

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Safety Tips For Parents With Gaming Kids

Gaming has certainly evolved over the last decade.  Kids don’t use their consoles solely for gaming anymore.  An extensive interconnected network of millions of gamers is available for playing any time of the day or night.  

You can talk, text, send emails, send pictures, watch streaming movies/television, play games, and more from the access granted through one gaming console.  This means that parents have a heightened sense of danger, and must pay closer attention to what their kids are doing.  

Make use of the parental controls

Get to know your child’s preferred console.  All modern gaming consoles come equipped with the option of parental controls.  

Dig into the specific options you have for your child’s platform, and set them to your liking.  Here is where you can place a password on purchases from the online game stores, and keep your kids from blowing money without permission. 

Stay interested in what your kid is doing on their console

You can’t maintain full control of your child’s gaming until you really know what it’s all about.  Educate yourself on the various gaming platforms available, and understand what each machine is capable of doing.  

Stay interested in your child’s gaming likes and dislikes.  It’s helpful to be able to connect with your kids on this level, especially if gaming is something they really enjoy.  

Set time boundaries for your gaming kids

You should never just let your kids play video games for twelve hours straight.  It’s not good for their body, and it’s definitely not good for their eyes.  

You can experience vision loss from extensive exposure to screen time.  Use the parental control settings and your own verbal reinforcement to limit your kid’s screen time.  Consider their age and maturity while calculating just how long they can play each day/week.  

Have a conversation about cyberbullying

Your first instinct is likely to teach your kids what to do if someone is bullying them, but it’s important to remember that your kid may be the bully.  Teach them that it’s bad form to verbally abuse their competitors, no matter the setting.  

Gamers can be pretty unforgiving, so keep an open line of communication when it comes to your child’s gaming connections.  Some kids may not be responsible enough to use a headset.  Others are mature enough to be trusted.  Gauge your child before granting them free access.  

Maintain control over game choices 

Play a game before ever allowing your child to play it.  This is the best way to monitor the content your kids are really being exposed to during gameplay.  Use your judgment after playing to decide whether or not your child is mature enough to play the game in question.  




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Unofficial Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids: How to Stay Sharp, Have Fun, Avoid Bullies, and Be the Creative Ruler of Your Universe

Thank you Quarry Books for sending us a review copy!

Minecraft Life Hacks Lab for Kids is a book that teaches kids some things about communication skills, building self-confidence, and much more. It has some stuff to do and build in Minecraft, and some stuff to do in real life.

There are two chapters: Life Hacks: Acquiring Skills and Life Hacks: Applying Skills to Projects. Chapter one teaches children skills (hence the name) like emotional empathy, problem solving, and much more. Chapter two teaches children ways to use those skills. For example, you would make an animated movie in real life, as well as a short film in Minecraft.

This book has twenty-four labs (twelve in each chapter), which are things that you can do. In every chapter, there are 6 in game labs, and 6 labs to do in real life. Most of the things that you have to do in real life have something to do with what you do in-game. As an example, you had to draw a map of a house, and then building the house you drew in Minecraft. It made you build your character as well, and it had you fill it with positive messages to gain self-confidence. A lot of the things you do in Minecraft relate to the real world. It makes you build a farm, but the farm has to be the same style of farm that you can find in the real world. It also had you build a democracy, which was interesting. My favorite thing to do was building a roller coaster that described me. I put lots of work into it, and it turned out very well.

Overall, this book was fun to work on and I loved building some of the things, and then testing to see if they work, and then fixing them if they don't work correctly. The only thing it had wrong was the estimated time that it takes to build something. The book said it would take one to two hours to do something, but I was able to do it in ten to fifteen minutes. Other than that, the book is great and I think that lots of people who enjoy Minecraft should read it and use it as well.


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Wholesome Games That Can Be Enjoyed With Friends And Family

One of the most worrying things about being a gamer in 2019 is the deluge of stereotypes that the gamer community finds itself battling against. Let’s face it, video games (and the people who play them) are no stranger to controversy. From political outcry over violent games like Mortal Kombat and Duke Nukem to the frankly abysmal display of behavior in “Gamergate”, there’s a lot to reinforce the stereotype that so many gamers rail against. No matter how old, well educated and morally centered we may get, no matter how much we may read the Bible and try and lead lives that exemplify Christian values we can still find ourselves tarred with the “stereotypical gamer” brush. The popular image of an antisocial, basement dwelling and aggressively male teenager living out violent or misogynistic fantasies through their games is, tragically, one which still pervades in our popular culture today.

Wholesome Games That Can Be Enjoyed With Friends And Family

This is such a shame as many of us are far from this stereotype. We are nice, socially well adjusted, morally and spiritually sound people. Some of us may see gaming alone as a way to let off steam after a busy and stressful work day. But we also enjoy playing fun and wholesome games with friends and family.

With this in mind, we’re going to look at some fun and wholesome games that everyone in your family and friendship group can enjoy! We’re going to look at a wide range of games so that no matter what your hardware or personal preferences you’ll find something that you, your friends and your family will enjoy playing...

VR Games

What is Virtual Reality? It’s a technology that has fascinated us for decades, allowing software developers to create immersive digital worlds which users can just dive into. While VR lends itself naturally to gaming, it’s currently hard at work in a number of different industries facilitating employee training, creating safe combat simulations for the military and even transforming the way in which we shop. You could be forgiven for thinking that VR gaming is a solitary pursuit, but there are plenty of VR games you can play with friends and family for an experience that, while immersive can bring you together with the people closest to you...

VR Pictionary (Steam VR / Oculus Home)- A technologically advanced spin on a party game classic. It works in exactly the same way as the board game except with VR you can draw with much more artistic license using different brushes, a wide range of colors and even 3D effects. It can be used with Tilt Brush or Quill.

The Playroom VR (PS4)- If you own a Playstation VR set, the good news is that you already have a copy of The Playroom VR. It includes a fun array of mini VR party games which offer a combination of co-operative and competitive games. It’s a great way to get to know the capabilities of VR and enjoy it with special people.

Mass Exodus (XBox One)- A single VR player plays the role of a Seeker, an android tasked with the job of tracking down four rogue robots… That’s where the other players come in. Your friends will have fun confounding the seeker as it searches the factory floor for the mischievous bots.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (multiple platforms)- Ever wondered if you and your loved ones would be able to safely defuse a bomb together? Of course you have! Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a preposterously fun game that puts the VR player in a room with a ticking time bomb… And it’s up to the player’s friends to help them solve the puzzles to disarm it. Clear communication between players is the key to success, making it not just fun to play with friends and family but a potentially awesome team building tool for work or business colleagues.

AR Games

In the age of the cell phone, everybody’s a gamer! Even if you don’t have the time or cash to dedicate to serious hardware, as long as you have a smartphone you can play fun games with friends and family via AR or Augmented Reality. These combine digital elements with the world around you to create experiences that exist in the real world and the game world simultaneously. The Pokemon GO craze that swept the nation a while back was a great example of this. 

Today, of course, everyone’s in on the act. Although the Pokemon game is still as popular as ever, there are many other great AR games that can make for fun activities with friends and family. Jurassic World has its own AR game as does Ghostbusters and now Harry Potter is in on the act with Wizards Unite which encourages players to track down magical creatures in their neighborhood while also solving puzzles and expanding on the mythology of the beloved franchise.  

Don’t feel like tracking down ghosts, dinosaurs or nifflers in your apartment complex? How about raising a virtual pet with My Tamagotchi Forever. That’s right, the beloved cyber pet of the late ‘90s is back and cuter than ever. You can work with friends to keep your Tamagotchi happy and healthy or compare your virtual pets with others’.

Co-Op Games

I don’t know about you guys, but for me when it comes to family friendly co-op games, anything with Lego is a win. The licensed Lego games (starting with Lego Star Wars back in 2005 are just bursting at the seams with fun challenges and their own idiosyncratic charm. There are many, many franchises that have been given the Lego treatment from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to DC and Marvel Superheroes to Indiana Jones and, of course, more Star Wars games than you can wave a lightsaber at! They’re easy and intuitive to pick up yet hard to master. Your four year old can play them while your forty year old friends can really sink their teeth into some of the games’ meatier puzzles and collection challenges.

Speaking of cute, lovable things. We can’t have a conversation about couch co-op without mentioning LittleBigPlanet 3. Ostensibly a simple yet satisfying platform game, it takes on a whole new dimension when playing with friends and family. You can create and explore one another’s levels, download levels made by other users around the world and work together to navigate them. All with an infinitely endearing art style that people of all ages will love. 

If, however, you like this dynamic but would prefer to move it to a more familiar environment, look no further than Super Mario Maker 2 which was just released last month on the Nintendo Switch. You can design levels in the familiar multicolored mushroom-centric universe and watch your friends navigate them or download one of the millions of levels which have already been created by gamers all over the world. 

Competitive Games

As fun as it is playing collaboratively with your friends, your loved one or your spouse… let’s face it, sometimes you just want to prove who’s best. The trouble is that the majority of competitive games are off-puttingly violent for some or at the very least less than appropriate for younger members of the family.

The good news is that there are a great many competitive games that eschew violence for family friendly fun. Needless to say, Mario Kart is always a win! Even those who don’t usually enjoy racing games can’t deny the charm of racing adorable characters from the Mario-verse (or their own Mii characters) around on little buggies across a wide range of tracks taken from various eras of the wider Nintendo Universe. While ostensibly a fighting game Super Smash Bros. is a more family-friendly button basher which is also a cornucopia of Nintendo references and easter eggs which devotees of the Nintendo brand will get a huge kick out of. Ever wanted to see Ryu from Street Fighter mix it up with Sonic the Hedgehog and Pikachu?

Looking for something with the gameplay mechanics of a shoot ‘em up but without the violence so that kids can enjoy it? You should definitely get to know Splatoon. It offers all the fun of firing paint guns at your loved ones… Without the humongous dry cleaning bill.

Puzzle Games

What could be a better way to bind with friends and family than by pumping some neurons together? Puzzle games are a great way to keep your mind sharp, and there are many that you can enjoy with other players, too!

Fans of PC and PSOne classic Myst will get a huge kick out of The Witness on PS4 which similarly dunks you in a digital world and forces you to use your problem solving skills to navigate it. It’s definitely too big a challenge for just one brain.

Or if you like your gaming worlds more retro flavored you could do worse than check out Fez, a NES-era inspired puzzle platformer that the whole family can enjoy.

Who said that gaming had to be an unhealthy, unwholesome and antisocial activity? 

 

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What are the Best Games For Teenagers?

It’s little wonder than the average age of a gamer is 33. They were coming to age just as video games really began to take off, and once they were on the hook, it was unlikely that they were going to stop. After all, games have just continued to get better and better, and in many ways, they’re “better” for people than watching TV shows and movies, which are passive experiences. When it comes to gaming, they’re involved every step of the way. Studies have shown that gaming can also have a positive impact on teenagers, especially older teenagers, as it develops their cognitive abilities, and, despite what people think, their social skills too -- they’re rarely playing by themselves, after all.

If you’ve got a teenager of your own, or are indeed a teenager yourself, then take read below, where we outline some of the best types of games for this age bracket. 


All Things Sport

It’s true that children should be spending more time in the outdoors than they currently do. It seems like when we were younger, we were always outside -- but times have changed. Even though crime is lower than what it was in decades past (it’s practically at an all-time low), perception of crime has gone up. And that’s what counts to parents. So if teenagers aren’t able to go out and play sports with their friends anymore, then they should at least be able to play them at home (and also with their friends). Get your child the latest soccer, basketball, or NFL game, and you’ll be keeping your child interested in sport, and they’ll be more likely to play when they’re older.

On the Roads

Everyone says that being a teenager is all fun and games, but it’s really not. For starters, you’re not able to do anything by yourself. You’re under your parent’s control, and you can’t even drive (or if you can, you probably don’t have a set of wheels). If gaming is about feeding the imagination, then look at introducing your teenager to some driving games. There’s a lot of fun to be had by playing drift hunters, for example. They’ll love being in control of the vehicles that are available in the game, even if they’re not yet old enough to have one in real life. In fact, that might make the game even more enjoyable for them!

Hollywood Goodness

There’s nothing that captures the imagination like a trip to the cinema. You’re transported into a magical, Hollywood-sprinkled world, one that is hard to resist. If you see a movie that you love, then it can be a bit of a buzzkill to leave and return to everyday life, can’t it? In this day and age, though, the magic can just keep on coming. If a movie is at all magical, you can rest assured that there’s a game that’s based on the movie. There are Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man games and much more than you can play. The out and out best has to be Lego Star Wars, however. It’s just super fun for teenagers (and, come to think of it, the whole family). 

Raising their own Family

What better way to prepare teenagers for the trials and tribulations of adult life than by...letting them play a game where you look after a family, and there are zero consequences? OK, The Sims might not really be all that relevant when it comes to actual parenting responsibilities, but it is fun. And the positive sides of the games seem to go beyond just what’s enjoyable -- there’s an element of elevated thought processes that are involved in the game too. There aren’t too many games where you get to create your own world from scratch.

In the Warzone

There has been a lot of negative talk about the use of weapons in video games, and some of it is justified. Grand Theft Auto, for example, isn’t right for kids -- it paints a terrible picture of violence. But that doesn’t mean that anything with a gun is wrong. Take war games, for example. They’ve probably had a more positive impact on teenager’s understanding of violence than people give credit for. There’s a storyline and honor and respect for the military in these video games -- and these are things that some teenagers are lacking in. 

Conclusion

Virtually every game can be fun when you’re a teenager, but the ones above are the best. If you’ve got to buy a birthday present soon, try one of these! 



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How Board Games Help Your Brain?

brain

Games played on a surface or board with counters or pieces are made to move around that board which contains some pre-marked areas according to some rules are known as board games.

Board games are of different types and have various genres. They have been quite popular among youngsters. Such games are often entertained in Evening or House parties. Board Games Land provides detailed information on such games.

Board games cover a wide range; beginning from basic childhood games such as Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly to thought-provoking games such as Chess to adult games such as Splendor, Dixit, etc. Thus board games are made eligible and entertaining for all ages. Apart from just fun board games do carry other values too and the majors are given below:

  1. Fun value

Playing board games brings forth fun and lightheartedness amongst the sordid realities of life. It helps avoid boredom and act as a means to cut off time.

  1. Lower blood pressure

It helps release endorphins that help to relax muscle thus keeping up a good blood circulation which in turn helps the blood pressure to be low.

  1. Stress reliever

It acts as a healthy distraction. It is the best way to sit back and relax because it brings about happiness which results in lowering down the stress level.

  1. Brings laughter

Board games promote the secretion of endorphins also known as ‘happy cells’ that helps bring about laughter and causes happiness. 

  1. Therapy treatment

These types of games help improve motor skills and used as a treatment of trauma, coordination, nerve functions, etc. It can be used both for children, adults, recovering patients, etc.

  1. Strengthens immunity

Negativity and stress inhibit the strength to fight diseases, thus positive thoughts and enjoyment which come along with board games release certain chemicals which boosts up one’s immunity. Board games also give rise to survival genes which gets activated and help brain cells live longer.

  1. Reduces the risk of mental diseases

These types of games reduce the tendency of cognitive dissonance that is a cognitive ability which becomes the cause for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Board games keep the brain working smoothly and cognitive functions lubricated, declining the risk of such diseases 

  1. More active

Board games help speed up the responses in day-to-day life issues. It helps in quick judgement, immediate responses and targeting locations, etc.

  1. Strong memory

Board games help development hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, thus it helps memory formation and complex thought process to enhance.

  1. Child development

It enhances the development of a child in many ways. Starting from logical and reasoning skills; critical thinking it ranges up to spatial reasoning, communication and verbal skills, ability to concentrate, focus, etc. Hence, it helps in shaping the personality of a child.

  1. Increases patience

It helps to set a winning target thus building up strategy and be patient at times of failures which happens easily in a playful environment.

  1. Increases intimacy

It brings together strangers, old friends as a team or help in the familial bonds that may have been weakened.

Conclusion:

In this world where all are heading for monetary luxury and becoming digitalized in all fields including gaming and entertainment, board games maybe unknowingly but do play a very important role. It also helps build self – confidence and develop a sense of creativity too. At times it isn’t possible for kids to go out and play on the grounds or for adults to go for a walk but they can, of course, play board games at regular intervals.

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Between Earth and Sky (Music from "Chrono Trigger")

Between Earth and Sky (Music from "Chrono Trigger")
By Julia Henderson
Published by: Materia Collective
Julia Henderson: Producer, Arranger, Lyricist, Vocals, Mix Engineer
Alejandro Hernández: Mastering Engineer
Lorenzo de Sequera: Album Art

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this album on MP3 to review!

Chrono Trigger is one of those rare games that actually deserves all of the unbridled praise that it gets. It was also a capstone on the total domination by the 1990s Squaresoft during the Super Nintendo era of RPGs, and is an absolute classic still worth playing today. One of the many ways in which Chrono Trigger excelled was in its music.

It's funny; during this era, Nobuo Uematsu was king of the Final Fantasy music empire, and while he did contribute to Chrono Trigger's soundtrack, the majority of the truly memorable tracks came not from him, but from Yasunori Mitsuda's excellent compositions. It is from these that Julia Henderson takes her inspiration in the development of this album.

It is only six tracks, and just over twenty-three and a half minutes long. Thankfully, the price is quite reasonable at only $5 on Bandcamp; at that price, it's well worth it.

Memories of Green is music you hear early in the game and is a perfect song for the first track. It's the overworld song from 1000 A.D., which is where you start. It's also mellow and has a mysterious mood. Julia does a great job on the synthesizer and flute, but her voice, where she adds vocals to an otherwise instrumental piece, is remarkably good. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, in an appropriate way. The other artists who join in, on the violin and clarinet, all come together to make a beautiful piece.

The next track is Battle with Magus, which has always been my favorite track in the game. The titular character is also one of my favorites. This one starts off slow and quickly ramps up into the heaviest song on this collection (and rightfully so). It's a lot of fun, and has no words but plenty of vocals to act as instruments in their own right. It is an excellent homage to an excellent song.

Corridors of Time is once again more mellow, with piano, and Julia's beautiful voice once again anchoring the song. It goes into a bit more later in the song, adding bass and guitar. It does a good job keeping the tone of the original in this arrangement.

After this is Schala's Theme, which is a critical song that sets the tone for a very important part of the game. Here, Julia once again sings along, this time with an oboe and violin. It's another beautiful song, and I enjoy it quite a bit.

Wings That Cross Time is the second-to-last song on this album, and probably the most thematically unique. Rather than being orchestral like most of the other tracks, it's played in a smooth jazz arrangement. It makes sense, as the song is much more melancholy in-game as well. Julia sings quite a bit, but with few actual words, instead relying on phonetic sounds that fit the moment of the song. I like it, but it probably departs from the source material the most of the songs in this album.

The final track, World Revolution, is frankly a must-include song in any Chrono Trigger sampler, and this most certainly does not disappoint. It is the final boss music and a glorious rendition at that. It is complete with heavy synthesizers, vocals, and a solid horn section to bring it home. And a flute is called upon when needed also. This song sticks quite closely to the source material for the first half, then lets you down gently as the song wraps up.

This short album does an excellent job of picking up arguably the six most important songs in all of Chrono Trigger and giving them the most lovingly inspired arrangements I could have imagined. I normally am not a fan of vocal arrangements in general, as I mostly prefer instrumental music, but they did as good of a job as anyone could have with these six songs. The production quality is also excellent; despite them being MP3s, I found the sound to be quite good. I imagine the FLACs available at Bandcamp would sound even better. I also love how each song flows, one into the next - while they can be enjoyed in a shuffle fashion, I would strongly discourage that; this is a short album, and should be listened to in one sitting, consecutively. And when you do, your love for one of the best games of all time may come rushing back to you.

Bravo, Julia Henderson. Bravo. If you love Chrono Trigger as I do, do yourself a favor and check out this fantastic album here.


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Can Undertaking Video Game Translation as You Play Add to the Gaming Experience?

Perfecting your translation and language skills needn't be a bore. With the right approach, it can even be fun! Video games offer a terrific opportunity to hone your proficiency in another tongue while taking part in some healthy competition. Additionally, there are so many genres to choose from and devices to use for gaming that nearly anyone can find something to capture their interest. When you find something that you enjoy, playing it in order to practise your second language will hardly seem like learning at all.

What Are the Advantages of Video Game Translation?

Aside from the obvious reason that improving your video game translation prowess will give you a competitive edge, there is another reason to take part in this enriching experience.

Both the gaming and translation industries are growing by leaps and bounds. The market for video games is expected to be worth around 90 billion dollars by 2020. Further, annual spending on professional translation services is expected to reach over 56 billion dollars by 2021. If you have ever considered a career in mobile and video game translation or even app translation, there has never been a better time than now.

Understanding Video Game Localization

Gaming provides an atmosphere of learning that is dynamic. When you are playing, you become immersed in what you are seeing and hearing. This hyperawareness of your surroundings within a game can help you learn localization skills quickly.

Games that are based in other cultures, for example, will incorporate regional landmarks, symbols, street signs, and other visual details that might typically be overlooked. Localization services work hard to make these as realistic as possible. These seemingly small inclusions taking place in the background offer an excellent opportunity to perfect your localization skills by taking note of them.

Additionally, many app localization professionals and game developers have created different versions of popular games to reach across global boundaries. Spotting these features can be a game in itself. Are you eagle-eyed enough to pick up on any differences between two different versions of the same game? This is particularly fun for unearthing the use of colloquialisms in different languages.

Gaming Is Motivating to Language Learners

Some people value competition more than others, but for some reason, nearly everyone enjoys the sense of satisfaction that moving up to the next level brings. This dopamine rush that seems to be a universal experience among gamers is one of the best learning tools at your disposable.

When you become involved in a game you are really interested in, you naturally want to understand what is happening so you can progress. This determination can potentially drive language learning faster than any other method. It's like being dropped off in a foreign country with nobody who speaks your language.

To survive, you need to develop skills and understanding quickly by learning some basic words and symbols. It is likely that you will instinctively gravitate to someone you can communicate with (even on the most rudimentary level) who will help you understand things better. This brings us to another essential part of the gaming experience: communication.

Basic Communication Will Make You a Better Translator

Communication is the fastest way to improve your translation skills in gaming and nowhere is this more obvious than in massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMO's). These games are dependent on communication with other players from all over the world.

What's more, players are so involved in trying to beat specific parameters that learning takes place super-fast. Communication happens in real time, so there are not a lot of opportunities to stop and think about what you want to say and how you should say it. Also, because of its anonymous nature, interacting in the virtual world removes a layer of self-consciousness in even the shyest and most introverted people.

Making mistakes in the chat box is no big deal, and the sense of camaraderie that develops among players is one of the most critical aspects of this type of gaming. The negotiations that take place offer a kind of shared experience that is unique to gaming. Not only does this make you a better gamer, but it helps you to meet people who will help you be a better translator. Your language skills will stay fresh, and you will probably learn a lot of the jargon and slang of your second tongue in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

Gaming and Language-learning: Conclusion

Gaming is one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways of immersing yourself in a new language. It offers the ability to fast-track your learning while giving you a broad overview of the nuances of a different culture.

If you intend to make translation a career choice, the opportunities available in app strip translation, app description translation, and mobile and video game translation are abundant. The entire virtual world is at your fingertips.

 

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Top 10 educational games in 2019

Introduction

The gaming industry is often dealing with concerns about the influence and overall value of the content that it delivers to the users, particularly the younger generation. Violence, sexual and otherwise less appropriate characters, and game concepts represent the mainstream of the gaming market, which forces many people to question the actual value of such content and the effects of the gaming experience on the more sensitive members of the gaming community.

Nevertheless, the industry is not absent of valuable options, in fact, there is a whole spectrum of different educational PC games that are fun and provide a meaningful array of content, some of which holds real academic value. Therefore, in this article we are going to let you in on top 10 educational games you can enjoy.

Human Resource Machine

A 2D game with simple-enough graphics that don't have any negative influence on the gaming experience. The HRM sets you up as a worker in a company assigned for various task divided into 37 levels. With each level you complete, your character gets promoted, thus moving to the higher floor of the company building. 

This programming puzzler allows you to learn the basics of assembly code by assigning you with different tasks that you have to complete with simple drag and drop commands. The game starts with only two commands, but as you reach higher levels the number of commands increases, allowing you more automation options.

kid controllers

Factorio

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, this 2D RTS game puts you on an alien planet to search for resources and build an entire industry that will allow you to build a rocket so you could escape the hostile world. Although the core of the game is focused on the simulation of construction and management, the game also has strong survival and RTS elements. Since Factorio offers a multiplayer mode, the players can co-operate in order to perform automation more effectively and defend against hostiles.

Kerbal Space Program

You are in charge of the space program development for an imaginary alien race, called Kerbals. In various game modes, you can control anything from technology development in Science mode to complete control of the space program in Career mode where you take care of the budget, construction, planning, and practically every aspect of the project.

The goal of the game is to develop and construct a fully functional rocket. In order to do so, you will be able to use a set of parts, each with their own function, while keeping in mind real-life laws of aerodynamics and orbital physics. When it comes to educational computer games, KSP is one that provides a wide array of learning opportunities.

Infinifactory

Among many PC learning games that are currently available on the market, Infinifactory stands out for its simplicity. However, simple as it might appear, the game requires strong logic and creative thinking that is necessary in order to turn simple components into fully-operational machines that produce different products for an alien overload race. The player needs to manipulate different block components according to provided schematics in order to build materials and machines.

SpaceChem

This is a 2D puzzle game that involves the use of automation and chemistry principles in order to accomplish your tasks. The player needs to use a visual programming language in order to instruct two remote manipulators that produce complex molecules by binding simpler molecules and atoms. As far as searching for Chemistry research proposal topics in education focused games is concerned, SpaceChem holds a valuable position considering all the features it has to offer. The game visuals are pretty simple, however, it requires a lot of creative thinking and also develops programming skills.

Epistory – Typing Chronicles

One of the best educational games you can find that concerns the development of your writing skills. In this 3D action adventure game, the story follows a writer who needs help with the latest book. Unlike regular writing apps, Epistory helps the player understand the complexity of the writing process. After a while playing this amazing game you’ll have friends coming to you asking “Could you write my paper for me, please" simply because of your typing skills if nothing else. Actually, the game is so much keyboard oriented, there is no need for a mouse at any point during the game.

Glitchspace

Educational PC games that help the player obtain better programming skills are full of interesting concepts. In Glitchspace, the goal of the game is to move through a soothing environment by modifying the attributes of red blocks using a set of virtual programming language functions. The game has no tutorial, therefore, it’s necessary to learn the basics on your own, which is an interesting challenge on its own.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Build and develop your city by gathering resources, developing new technologies, and improving your “workers”, while competing with AI-driven enemies. Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy that starts you off with a single settler with the goal to develop a thriving civilization and defend it from your enemies.

TuxMath

In this open-source arcade, you actually have fun while learning math. If you ever wondered if you could look for a math research proposal topics in education game industry, TuxMath will give you the positive answer. The goal of the game is to protect your city from incoming comets. However, in order to tag the comet so your laser weapons could destroy it, you have to solve math problems.

Sugar

A learning platform developed for Linux environment which allows kids to learn typing, use of abacus, even Python programming among dozens of other apps. As a child-oriented software, the interface is almost completely based on graphics so the kids could use it intuitively. With more than three million kids all over the world enjoying Sugar, it's easy to see that the advantages of this software nullify the fact that it's built exclusively for Linux.

Conclusion

All of these games are developed in order to bring academic value through the process of entertainment. Most of these games are free and still, they enhance and build up our skill set. We hope you enjoyed this list and have your mind already set for the next addition in your game catalog.

Bio:

Robert Everett is a freelance writer focused on reviewing PC games designed for education. Through a series of respective publishers and social network platforms, Roberts aims to provide meaningful content for gamers all over the world. His work also includes writing different types of top list articles that introduce less familiar games to a wider array of the public.

 

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The World Is Square

Thank you Scarlet Moon Productions for sending us this digital album to review!

The World Is Square began in 2003 and took over fifteen years to complete by Mustin who is best known as one of the founders of OneUp Studios/The OneUps. This album features classic Square Enix music from hit games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, VI, and VII. The eight tracks are given an electronic jazz twist and sound great. There is some creative license, but the songs are still very recognizable.

The songs range from three to over six minutes each. It takes a little over thirty-seven minutes to hear the whole album and I’m always looking for more when it’s finished. The calm and relaxing tracks would make excellent hold music; I certainly wouldn’t mind listening to it while waiting.

The first track is Fear of the Heaven from Secret of Mana. I have to confess that I have not played this game (yet), but the song, acoustic guitar, and vocals are good. Thankfully, I have played all of the Final Fantasy games represented on this album. Final Fantasy IV’s main theme is the second track. One of the most popular songs from Final Fantasy IV, Theme of Love, is the third song. The violin work on this track is exceptional.

Chrono Trigger fans will enjoy Forest Butterflies and From the Bottom. William Carlos Reyes provides the guitar playing for From the Bottom and does an excellent job. We’ve previously reviewed his album Guitar Collections Final Fantasy IV.

The remainder of this album features Final Fantasy tracks from VI and VII. The sixth track is Coin Song followed by Terra from Final Fantasy VI. The acoustic guitar sounds great in Terra’s theme. That final song, Serenity, is Final Fantasy VII’s main theme.

Final Fantasy fans should definitely pick up this soothing album. Even though I have yet to play Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger, I still enjoyed those songs. (Chrono Trigger is on my bucket list!) The album can be yours for $7 and is available in MP3, FLAC, and other formats. Physical CDs are available for $10.

 


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Total AV for gaming - Review

Are you an enthusiastic gamer? You most definitely understand the need to stay safe whenever you are playing a game online. The internet is free and a large village that has every type of person. Some are there to enjoy its connectivity and easy access to information, while others target victims to hack and steal their information. Whichever the case, you must ensure that you have a good antivirus to keep you safe whenever you are playing online.

For a good antivirus for gaming, you must consider if it has a gaming mode. In some cases, the game/gaming mode is when the antivirus can run smoothly even as you play your game. In other words, the antivirus should be able to run without lagging your computer as you play.

TotalAV is one of the best antivirus programs that you can use for gaming. With this antivirus, you can play a heavy game as it continues to keep you safe. But that’s not all; here is why you should use TotalAV for gaming.

  • Accurate Virus Detection

How would you feel if you were sure that the antivirus you have on your computer could alert you of any possible threats? It would be a great experience because you will not have to worry about having any possible malware or virus on your computer. If there is any virus that has gotten into your PC, TotalAV will detect it in a matter of seconds.

It will also find any affected file and quarantine or delete it accordingly. Nonetheless, this can take some time to finish based on the complexity of the virus. The best part is that it will scan for any malware whenever you visit a website. So if the game redirects you to their official website, you’re still good to go. If you are overly suspicious of any website, you can use the security tools to scan those websites or check for any suspicious links that are sent in your game’s chat room.

  • Total Protection

It is one thing to detect malicious links and infected files and another to offer protection to your computer. Luckily, TotalAV offers both. You can enjoy the remote firewall that protects you from any possible incoming attack. Plus, you can control the firewall settings of your computer remotely with this antivirus. This way, you can be confident that you will remain safe even when you are away from your computer. In case you try to download any risky file or malware from the chat room or any game website, the firewall will always notify you in advance.

  • Optimizes The Comp To Run Smoothly

Any game lover would tell you how much it sucks to have your computer lagging whenever you are playing a game. In most cases, it could be that you are playing the game on a computer with limited requirements. But if the comp has all the requirements, but it is still lagging, then there might be a virus slowing it down. Nonetheless, the computer can naturally slow down after using it for a long time.

If you look at a detailed TotalAV review, you will see that the antivirus also comes with a disk cleaner. This feature will scan all the folders on your computer. The antivirus will usually try to find duplicates, junk files, as well as the unnecessary data that is filling up your hard drive. All these files will make your computer full for no reason. As a result, it will slow down the entire system including your game.

But TotalAV will try to create more space for new files and also boost the computer speed. So yes, this antivirus can help to boost the speed of your game too.

  • Stay Anonymous Online

No regular internet user will want to be noticed when they are browsing online. This is the same as the gamers that play online. If you are in the chat room, you don’t want other gamers there to know about your location.

Well, you can count yourself lucky because TotalAV will keep you anonymous. It is one of the few antivirus programs that come with a VPN. You can enjoy your online game as you remain anonymous. Plus, this helps to prevent other people from stealing your data as you play online. Some games might need you to purchase chips and supplies with real money. The antivirus will keep you safe as you make these transactions.

With the VPN feature, your IP address will be kept safe, and your browsing data will not be saved.

If there is any game that has geo-restrictions, you can break-free with the VPN on this antivirus.

  • Privacy Tools Onboard

There’s more to enjoy from this antivirus. Besides the scanner and VPN, you also enjoy three incredible tools that will defend you against all the common threats online. For instance, there is the Adblocker extension, Safe Site, and Password Manager.

Adblocker will do the obvious to block the multiple ads that pop up on most game websites. The Safe Site is a tool that will alert you even before you open any new URL, while the password manager helps you keep track of every password. This means that it will not save the password on the browser but the secure antivirus.

  • User-Friendly

If you are new to this antivirus, you won’t have to worry about how you are going to work with it. The interface is quite friendly. Plus, you can learn more about how to protect yourself as you play online. For example, there is the Antivirus Pro and Ultimate Antivirus that come with an Antivirus eBook. This eBook entails detailed tips on how to protect yourself as you game online.

A handy guide is there to help you know how to use the antivirus and get the most of it. The guide is also quite easy to understand.

Even with a good antivirus, you still need to follow the right tips on how to stay safe when playing online games. Don’t just be careless because you have a reliable antivirus at your disposal. Plus, always avoid that are known to contain too many ads. Such games are risky to play on your comp.

 

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The analysis of the TOP-5 popular PC games in March 2019

PC games become more and more popular each year. There are declines and recoveries of individual representatives in this rhythm. Many agencies even create particular ratings of the most popular PC games to find out what games were popular during the reporting period.

In this material, the specialists of the gaming website EGamersWorld have prepared the analysis of changes in the popularity of games in March 2019.

The list of the most popular PC games looked in the following way in March 2018:

  1. League of Legends (Riot Games)
  2. PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS (Bluehole Studio)
  3. Fortnite (Epic Games)
  4. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)
  5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve)

The situation changed in a year and there are slight changes on this list in March 2019:

  1. League of Legends (Riot Games)
  2. Apex Legends (Electronic Arts)
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Valve Corporation)
  4. Minecraft (Mojang)
  5. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)

League of Legends is the unconditional leader, it didn’t leave the first place during the year. The MOBA strategy has been holding the leading position for years. Such a result was achieved due to the significant fan base from Southeast Asia. Many tournaments with a big prize pool, nice coverage, and a good organization allow the game to keep the leading status.

The new member of the rating, Apex Legends – the game was revealed by the giant Electronic Arts in February 2019 and it became very popular at once, having displaced Fortnite on the 6th place in March. The new leader has appeared in the Battle Royale genre. If two representatives of the genre were in the top 5 on PC last year, the recently-made game Apex represents them today.

With regard to Fortnite, it’s obvious that the game becomes boring when the time passes like his colleague PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, which stepped down to the 10th place. The genre, in which games don’t differ a lot, needed fresh blood. It has received it in the form of Apex Legends. We’ll how long EA’s newcomer will last.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been on the top for not the first year. The shooter wins new viewers’ hearts every year. There is nothing more to say because the game is called the classic of the genre. The game will not have a decline, according to a row of experts.

HearthStone is also an immovable leader of its genre. The game has been very popular all over the world for 3-4 years.

Minecraft has balanced on the verge of getting to the top 5 for 2 years. The pixel game entertains not only small gamers but enough adult people due to an addicting atmosphere. Many interesting mods and full freedom of actions cannot but attract.

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS is the main loser compared to the last year. The game placed second in the rating in 2018 but it holds the 10th place this year. Such decline was caused by slow changes in the game and also a fast development of analogs. The emergence of Apex made an even more significant impact on the popularity of someday breaking game.

With regard to other important esports disciplines, Dota 2 holds the 9th place, having grown up on one position. Overwatch has held one place higher and become one place closer to the top of the rating. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege places 7th stably without showing rises or declines.

It will be very interesting to see what games will get hyped till the end of 2019 and what regulars in the rating will have to slide over and to give way to newcomers.

 

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Top Seven Highly Anticipated Video Games in 2019

Top Seven Highly Anticipated Video Games in 2019

2019 looks promising with new unforgettable and classic video games marketed to be offered to gamers of all ages. And although it may be hard to live up to the 2018 hype with hits such as Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Monster Hunter: World, and many others offered by Homeofarcadia, 2019 is stirring anticipation with more incredible games for people around the globe.

Here are the top 7 video games set to be released in 2019 that is brewing excitement to every gamer out there.

  1. Resident Evil 2 Remake

Capcom already had a great year in 2018, but they still started the year with a bang, releasing one of their most successful games in one of their most successful franchises ever made: Resident Evil 2.

And this remake isn’t just a simple graphics update, either. Developers and publishers have announced that there are several changes that every gamer will love, including gaming mechanics, character design as well as an array of bonuses such as character skins and alternative weapons.

Resident Evil 2

And as long as the game stays true to the original while delivering at least some fresh surprises, this should be fun and exciting to revisit one of the best horror games in the industry.

  1. Kingdom Hearts 3

It has been 13 long years since Kingdom Hearts 2 was released way back in 2005, much to the disappointment and annoyance of the franchise fans everywhere.

The expectations and anticipation have been mounting since its first teaser trailer that made its appearance in 2013. This January, Kingdom of Hearts finally hit shelves around the world and Square Enix and Disney fans could finally end their 13-year-long anticipation.

  1. Anthem

Anthem, a newly launched franchise, made a strong impact on the world when it was first announced. The game features flying over to an alien planet with friends in Iron-man like suits and laying waste to enemies in a detailed and beautiful environment.

Anthem

Built around cooperative and multiplayer options, this game is expected to offer a similar gaming experience to Destiny, but with a different package. And it’s quite promising to be everything that Destiny wasn’t and more of what it should have been.

  1. Mortal Kombat 11

The very first game in the Mortal Kombat series that came out 26 years ago has changed the face of gaming since then— and not just with regards to fighting games. It has long inspired and popularized arcade fighting games.

There are very few other titles claiming that kind of influence with even fewer staying in power for 3 decades. But, here we are, anticipating its 21st game in the franchise and the 11th installment of the main series. Its teaser trailer was shown last December with few details revealed. However, from the looks of things, Mortal Kombat 11 should be the most action-packed and bloodiest entry yet.

  1. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

The game was supposed to be released last year, however, Koji Igarashi, the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night producer and former series producer of the Castlevania series, has announced that it will be pushed back to the new year.

Excitement is high for this Castlevania successor developed by Dico co., Ltd., Monobit, Inti Creates, WayForward Technologies, and ArtPlay. It is always great to see an indie game whipped up by the gaming community and also quite interesting to see if Igarashi and the game’s team can truly live up to expectations.

  1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Both Bloodborne and Dark Souls were incredible, challenging the gothic-inspired hack-and-slash games whose level of difficulty and gruesomeness puts the like of DCM or Devil May Cry to utter shame.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

The game is certainly not for everyone, and that’s kind of the point. Developed by the very same team that offers us both of the above-mentioned super violent games, Sekiro looks to stay the course with some hugely different gameplay mechanics as well as world-building. Set in a war-ravaged Sengoku-era Japan, but with a few supernatural elements, this samurai-inspired game looks to be one hell of an action game.

  1. Halo Infinite

Over 300 industries are keeping their lips tightly sealed for the most part regarding their most-anticipated project, the Halo Infinite. This game is a sequel to the game Halo 5, bringing back the couch co-op and is looking to make a blast with the latest Halo game release.

It is expected to be released in November 2019, however, it still remains unconfirmed. Right now, though, there will be a bit of waiting and patience before its official announcements.

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Atari to launch an inexpensive streaming console for non-broadband internet users

atari

There’s been a lot of talk about game streaming services for the masses. What about those who don’t have fiber, cable, or DSL internet? Atari hasn’t forgotten about them! In fact, they have the perfect streaming console solution that runs games great for those with dial-up internet access! The 8GB of storage is plenty of space to hold the entire game library of the 2600, 5200, and 7800 systems combined! Cloud saves are a standard feature as well so your progress in E.T. will not be lost!

There are three affordable subscription plans available and the same stylish console can be used for any or all of the plans:

  • For $26.00 a year you get access to all 565 of the 2600 series games.
  • The $52.00 annual plan gets you access to the Atari 2600 titles plus the official 69 from the 5200 series. The number pad controller is also included in this bundle.
  • For $78.00 a year you get access to the 59 7800 games as well as all of the titles of the 5600 and 2600 systems. Durable metal reinforced joysticks are included in this bundle.
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How to Bypass IP Bans When Gaming

Today, most service providers and website owners do their best to protect their customers.

This is usually done by monitoring their networks and blocking any abuses when flagged or reported by other users. Whenever an abuse is detected, they may either choose to block the contravening user’s account or they might put a full-on ban on that user’s IP address.

Obviously, the best way to avoid having your IP address banned is to simply read and follow the service providers rules and regulations.

But fortunately, if you find yourself having been banned for whatever reason, there are a few stealthy workarounds that you can employ to regain access to the service.

In essence, since your IP address has been blocked, you’re going to need to change your IP address. This can be done in a number of ways, such as using a proxy server or a service such as ExpressVPN. But we’ll get to a bit further on in this article.

For now, let’s start out by explaining a little bit more about IP bans.

What Are IP Bans?

To define an IP ban, it is a block created by a server, which will reject any requests made by a specific IP address or range of IP addresses. IP bans can either be implemented manually by a server’s admin, or they can be put in place automatically when a pattern of abuse has been red flagged by the server itself.

There are many reasons that IP bans are put in place. But most of the time, they are implemented to help protect the server and its users from brute force attacks, to limit network usage, or even to block unknown spam emailers.

IP bans allow a network server to block certain IP addresses from being able to access a website, chat forum, game server, or any other type of online destination.

How to Bypass IP Bans

As we’ve mentioned, the best way to avoid an IP ban is to abide by the service provider’s terms and conditions. So, if you’ve had your IP banned, chances are that you’ve gone and contravened against their rules.

However, there are some situations when you might want to or need to regain access after being banned. Below, we’ll explain some of the most common methods for this.

Changing Your IP Address

To regain access after having been banned, you’re going to need to change your IP address to one that hasn’t been blocked by the server’s administrators.

To do this, you can try to renew your IP with your current internet service provider by speaking with them. However, they may or may not end up assigning you a new one and might simply renew the one that you’ve been using.

If that doesn’t work, depending on your setup, you might be able to change your IP address by resetting your hardware device (router) or your computer’s IP address.

Aside from that, the only other way to change your IP address is to use someone else’s instead. Below, we’ll take a look at the three easiest ways to go about doing that. 

Proxy Servers

Proxy servers are basically computers that sit somewhere between your computer and the internet and provide you with an indirect way to access a client’s network.

Essentially, when you access a proxy server, you’ll be able to access the world wide web by using the server’s IP address instead of your own.

So, when you try to access a gaming server or any other type of online content that your IP address has been banned from, the proxy will intercept the request and provide a response to the client you’re trying to reach before forwarding your request to its final destination.

Virtual Private Network

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a type of networking technology, which extends its private network (similar to a LAN network) across the world’s biggest public network, otherwise known as the internet.

In other words, using a VPN allows your computer to safely connect to the internet, almost as if it was physically wired to it. At the same time, by using a VPN, you’ll have the option to choose the server with which you would like to connect.

This means that, when accessing the internet, it will appear as if your IP address is actually the IP address of the servers that you’ve chosen to connect to. Essentially, this can trick gaming servers and they won’t be able to see your true IP address, which has been put on their blacklist.

The TOR Server

TOR is a free-to-use software application, which allows internet users to browse and communicate anonymously while connected to the world wide web.

The name TOR is short for The Onion Router. This refers to onion routing, which is when the data being sent from a computer or device is encrypted and then routed through multiple nodes or relays located around the world.

TOR has more than 6,000 relays that your activity can be routed through, making it practically impossible for anyone to view where your IP address is actually located.

In other words, if your IP address has been banned from your favorite gaming server, using TOR can help you hide your IP and get around the block.

 

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How Much Money do Esports Athletes Earn?

Do you remember the times when your parents used to tell you to stop playing video games and go study because video games are a waste of time? Well, it turns out they did not see the whole picture. In the past several years, Esports has become a budding industry, allowing gamers to earn millions of dollars.

So, if you are good at playing video games and you’re wondering whether you should or shouldn’t try to go professional, the answer is now more complicated. There is a lot of money to be made, and you will be part of a rapidly growing industry.

In their infographic named “The Rise of Esports,” NJ Games states that the highest-paid esports team, Team Liquid, earns almost $24 million a year. The second and third highest-paying teams, Evil Geniuses and Team OG earn $20.5 million and $17.5 million a year, respectively. Therefore, the amount of money that you can get as a professional esports team is much higher than in many “real” sports.

If you climb the esports ladder and become one of the best players in the world, such as Kuro Takhasomi, Johan Sundstein, or Amer Al-Barkawi, you can earn millions in net worth.

Moreover, when it comes to the future of esports, there’s no need to be skeptical. The future seems as bright as it can be, as experts predict that the industry will continue to grow. All of the major sports leagues are investing tens of millions of dollars each year in tournaments and new video games, as the industry is becoming more profitable by the day. Also, there are serious indications that esports may become an Olympic sport as well, perhaps as soon as 2024 Paris Olympics.

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Why market research in the gaming industry matters more than ever

Game providers know how to create games; they have countless ideas and once they finish a game they want to sell it fast to start designing another one. When getting started in the game design and diving right in, developers consider it a rewarding and fun experience. They share their visions with the world and they are working on something they are passionate about. However, there are times when the passions of the developer are not the same as the ones of the gamer, especially now when the gaming industry is in a major transformation.

Gaming has grown in a subculture nowadays and gamers are very determined when it comes to the features they want from their games. For the gaming providers, every year means 12 months of opportunities to launch new games and to make money. However, in order to make money they need to find out what the requirements of the market are.

 Why market research in the gaming industry matters more than ever

Why is market research needed?

Market research helps gaming providers know their clients. They get to find out who their clients are because the audience is continuously changing. The main question gaming providers have is what do people want from their games?

First, they want to have a spectacular gaming experience and 4K games are nowadays considered the standard ones. The latest trends have shown that more and more gamers want to play games that include support for PS4 and Xbox One X with HDR included. The majority of them have PC monitors with HBR support and this is a sign that the tech industry is heading to a new direction. Players want to offer their eyes a visual feast when trying a new experience, and if the game promises them the best experience, they will be interested to try it. Gaming developers have to implement higher resolutions and High Dynamic Range on their products more than ever if they want people to buy them. Considering that nowadays high-quality monitors and TVs come at affordable prices, market research reveals that clients are interested in visuals more than ever.

Second, market research shows a growth of the number of players who are passionate about Indie games. Why do they prefer these products? They are more affordable, they offer a long time experience and they are easy to play. In addition, the majority of them come with expansions and additional features and these aspects always thrill the public. In order to meet their clients’ needs and interests game providers have to release new games weekly because the bar has been raised in this domain.

Third, Pokemon Go made people became more interested in AR gaming. When the game was launched, everyone was running around trying to catch digital creatures. Gamers nowadays want to have access to games that allow them to explore a new world through their devices that act as a mirror into another dimension. Market research shows that the gaming industry should base their products more on tech advances and use AR as an entertainment method.

Forth, the market research reveals that games are nowadays considered services and people want to access them anywhere. People want games that demand every hour of their life, they want to dive in the digital world and forget about their real lives. Game providers have to put on the second plan the games that imply pay-to-win tactics and to focus on creating games so good that the player is willing to pay to download it.

Games as services are a predominant trend in the industry and clients are interested in them more than ever.

Therefore, game providers should ask themselves if they are creating games for their players. Viewing the games as an extension of the creator is no longer an option. Nowadays, they need to present in the game their players’ vision and not their own. The market research should offer them information on the preferences of the audience. Companies need to research the market and reach out to their prospective clients to find out what features they want for the next games released.

In the process of knowing their audiences, companies need to determine whom they want to sell the games, what kind of games their audience prefer and why should their clients be willing to pay for their games.

Why market research in the gaming industry matters more than ever

Market research helps gaming companies know their competition

In order for a gaming company to succeed, they need to know who their competition is. Who is selling the same products as they do on the market? Having a list with their competitors and with the products they sell can help a provider know what aspects require their attention.

When developing a unique product they should get the assistance of experts, not only in their field, but in other related fields also. For example, Svitla now provides software consulting services for the companies that have difficulties in developing successful apps and systems. Sometimes a third party partner can have an objective perspective on the products a company is creating and can offer them a new vision on how to develop competitive products.

Market research goes a step further and it checks the quality of the products the competitors are offering and their sale price. It is known that people prefer to buy the cheapest product but when it comes to gamers, they are willing to go with a pricey option if it promises to deliver them an incomparable experience. By knowing how many competitors they have on the market and what place they have in the top of preferences they can decide how to market their products in the future.

Gaming providers have to be aware that constant effort is required in order to keep up with the tendencies of the market. Market research is vital in the process because it helps them understand how they should interact with their prospective clients. Market research is the new way of listening to your community and see if they like or not the direction you are heading to.

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Celeste Piano Collections

Thank you to Scarlet Moon Productions for the music!

Undoubtedly, one of the best parts of Celeste is the soundtrack. The various movements match the action, the melodies are emotional, and every track is catchy. As hackneyed as my regards are, the game deserves the praise it has received. When given the opportunity to listen to the Piano Collections, I was curious to see how an already piano heavy soundtrack would be modified for solos. The end result maintains most of the original's charm, but some of the omissions were disappointing.

Celeste Piano Collections comes with the main soundtrack of Celeste, arranged for the piano, of course. While many of the pieces in the main game were piano oriented, this rendition adds the various harmonies to the piano as well. I was provided a digital copy of the music, though a physical copy and sheet music are also available. All the included music is immediately recognizable to anyone who played Celeste, which is always a good sign with these arrangements. Generally, each piece contains the main melody and appropriate segments needed to loop back to the melody. The mood of each piece is maintained through various dynamic and tempo changes.

However, not all the movements of the pieces are included, which was disappointing. Although the pieces are still well composed and the key is properly maintained, omitting the many movements was a poor move. Granted, this would make some pieces nearly ten minutes long, but some of my favorite pieces from Celeste are these secondary segments. The music is stellar without considering what was removed, however. The B-Side remixes are also not included, despite being an integral part of the game's soundtrack. I assume this is because the negotiations with the various composers of the B-Side music (as opposed to the single composer of the A-Side) would be too difficult. I would have loved to hear the blues remix of Chapter 5's music on a piano.

While all the music that was chosen to be arranged for Celeste Piano Collections was done very well, I couldn't help but be disappointed by the missing parts. I loved that the mood of each piece was maintained with only one instrument, and the original melodies are still easily recognizable. However, I would recommend the original soundtrack over this, simply because it has more music. It’s 15 dollars for both the A and B side music, available wherever the Piano Collections are. As a standalone product, Celeste Piano Collections is nice, but the source material is certainly better.


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Gaming Headset Buyers Guide

gaming headset

Having a rad gaming headset is a must in the world of interactive video games. If you don’t have a great gaming headset, you will struggle to keep up with other top notch players. If you are in the market for a new set, check out this gaming headset buyers guide. We have you covered.

What Not to Buy

If you want to really immerse yourself into the gaming world you don’t want to buy a cheap or knock off set that will break in a few hours. Avoid the drug store ear buds, that barely work well for cell phone calls, as well as the headphone you can get in the discount bin at Walmart. You don’t want these for gaming; maybe for your Walkman, but not for Fortnite or SmashBros or anything that requires talking to another human being and hearing what they are saying back to you.

What You Should Buy

There are several features you will want to consider. If you want a top-notch pair be prepared to pay for what you are getting. Even if your budget puts you in the middle-of-the-road market, you can score a decent headset. Be sure that whatever you pick meets the following:

Know the Difference Between Headphones and a Headset
Headphones are what you think of when you picture a kid walking down the street with a portable CD player. A gaming headset is more like what a pilot would wear, because you can talk and hear others. Size, features, and quality are what differentiate them.

Sound
If you can’t hear what’s being said, there is no point in even wearing a headset. Find something that has killer sound and has good bass.

Comfort
If you are like most gamers, you will be wearing your headset a lot. So find a set that is comfortable. The goal is to feel like you aren’t wearing anything on your head at all. If it is bulky and heavy, it won’t be comfortable, and you will get annoyed quickly.  

gaming headset

Microphone
You want to make sure that you have a great mic on your headset. You don’t want it picking up background noise or other sounds that are coming through your headset. The only thing that a mic should pick up is the sound of your voice and deliver it as clearly as possible.

Compatibility
Be sure that the headset you get is compatible with the gaming system that you own. Some headsets are specific to brand and won’t work with a different system.

Wireless vs Wired

Do you want to have constant gaming, but be limited by a cord, or be wireless and have to charge your headset from time to time? This is something to consider when purchasing a gaming headset. There are wireless ones that run off AA batteries, too. Be sure to check the expected battery life before diving into your purchase.  

Do They Look Cool?
Looks are not everything, but some people love a good looking headset. To some , the look, shape, color, and details on their headset are just as important as is its performance. There is nothing wrong with style, just be sure you aren’t sacrificing quality for aesthetics.

There are a ton of gaming headset options on the market. Where to start depends on what you plan on using your headset for and what you want to get out of it. After that, comfort, style, and even durability come into play. If you don’t have a headset that is comfortable and can withstand the occasionally launch across the room, you might want to consider a different brand. Things do get frustrating after all.

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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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