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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

Metal Trainer

Metal Trainer

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

The Pokémon franchise has been around since 1996 and has been producing best-selling games almost yearly since then. I started with the first generation of Red, Blue, and Yellow games. Ro Panuganti, who specializes in video game covers, takes tunes from the Red and Blue games and puts a heavy metal spin on them. The end result is a nine-track digital album that provides over twenty-five minutes of heart pumping music to catch Pokémon to!

It’s been years since I’ve played Pokémon Red/Blue, but I still recognized the first tune, Pokémon Master, right off the bat. It’s the theme song, electrified! The second track named Viridian is the Viridian City music overhauled. The guitar playing is fantastic! The third track, Wild Encounter, has some nice sound effects and really spruces up the wild Pokémon battle music. Pokémon Hospital begins with a lot of background noises including chatter and ER machinery before revealing a soothing remake of the Pokémon Center music. The Mt. Moon track is true to the source material and keeps the sense of danger and the thrill of exploration. The sixth track, Cerulean, takes the upbeat city music and jazzes it up a bit. I wonder how many people would recognize it if it was set as hold music?

The seventh track, Lavender, is the longest track at nearly five and a half minutes long. I must say I like this version much better than the original game’s town music. The mysterious mansion music is the eighth track dubbed Mansion. Again, this rendition improves upon the original in my opinion. The final track, Gym Battle, is a souped up version of the iconic Gym Battle music.

This album is available digitally for $7 on multiple platforms and audio formats. It’s worth picking up for fans of old school Pokémon games and heavy metal.

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The increasing risk of addictive gambling mechanics in video games

Those who enjoy playing video games know how easy it is to get fully absorbed into a game. A quick 10-minute play session can quickly turn into hours of gameplay.

It wasn’t all that long ago that enjoying a video game meant going to purchase it from the store and having full access to the game. However, in modern gaming, features such as paying to have to recharge or paying for special items are common.

To some people, having to pay to continue playing a game might seem like a minor inconvenience. However, for other players, the need to pay to continue playing a game becomes a compulsive impulse. This impulse is actually a form of addictive behavior. Many game developers are aware of this addictive behavior and are using it to increase their revenue.

Play-to-Win and Loot Boxes

Most games have the same basic mechanics, no matter the genre: to complete a series of tasks and unlock harder objectives. However, now that many games can connect to the internet, developers have realized that players will pay real money to complete an objective more quickly.

Most of the time, this payment happens in one of two ways. One is known as the “Play-to-Win” method, where players will pay to skip the objective or pay to unlock a new area. The other method is known as “Loot Boxes”, where players pay to receive a mystery “box” of virtual items that will enhance their gameplay.

Spending money to engage in games

Play-to-Win features and Loot Boxes require in-app purchases or microtransactions. Spending this money can become an impulse. People enjoy being able to advance in a game and feel satisfied when they’re able to unlock new content. Eventually, the brain becomes addicted to feeling this satisfaction.

This is a form of behavioral addiction, which is different than a chemical addiction. However, the need to spend, unlock new content, advance in the game, and feel that satisfaction is still a need for some people. To feel that satisfaction, many people willingly spend money on Play-to-Win features and Loot Boxes without realizing they’re addicted. It is a dangerous cycle.

Similarities between video games and casinos

Some people might find the gambling mechanics in video games hard to believe, but it is important to remember that casinos have used this technique for decades. When people purchase a Loot Box, there is no guarantee that they will get the items they need. This forces them to purchase more Loot Boxes.

People play the slots in casinos because they want a large money prize. Sometimes, they receive nothing. Other times, they only receive a little. But because the possibility of winning large is still there, they continue to play. Just like how people become addicted to casino gambling, they can become addicted to video game gambling.

Addicting games with microtransactions

Any game that offers microtransactions to continue to play can become addictive. One example of a popular game that is currently using these gambling mechanisms is Fortnight. While it is possible to play Fortnight without spending money, those who want to advance more quickly will need to purchase packs that grant them access to new items.

Other video games that have used microtransactions include FIFA and Overwatch. Even Nintendo is using microtransactions in Mario Kart Tour. It is usually easy to tell what games have microtransactions before you purchase or download them. For example, in the iTunes app store, apps will clearly state if they offer in-app purchases.

Beating the addition

So how exactly can you beat the addiction? Well, one way is to read reviews before purchasing a game to see if other players have concerns about in-app purchases. If they do, you know you’ll have to be more cautious when playing that game to not get absorbed into the gambling mechanisms.

Another way is to set clear limits for yourself. If you know a game offers microtransactions, give yourself a limit of how many Play-to-Win features or Loot Boxes you can buy in a month. If you like a game and want to support it, there is nothing wrong with buying a Loot Box on occasion, as long as you’re in control over your spending.

Final thoughts

Having an awareness of the addictive gambling mechanics in video games can help keep you from becoming too addicted to these mechanics. If you suspect you are already addicted to these mechanics, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional — behavioral addiction can be just as devastating as a chemical addiction.

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7 reasons why video gaming will take over

A video game is interactive digital entertainment that you “play” via a computer, a game console (like the Xbox or PlayStation) or phone or tablet. 

The reason why video games are awesome, and extremely popular among all age groups is that people are trying to escape the real world and prefer to live in the virtual world.

There could be many reasons why video gaming will take over but according to me, they can be summarised in seven points.

People find it easy to find a community within the gaming world.

Technology has been a boon for some people while it is a curse for the others.

People find it easier to join a community in gaming worlds and make friends or even compete with one another rather than dealing with the real people.

It saves people from the task of handling tantrums, or mood swings of the people face to face.

This is proved from the following data. 

7 reasons why video gaming will take over

Source: limelight.com-How many hours each week do you spend playing video games?

Video gamers spend an average of 7.1 1 hours (seven hours, seven minutes) each week playing games. This is an increase of 19.3 percent in the last year.

Well, if you find that the servers of your country are particularly slow, then you can use VPNs and increase the speed.

The popularity of television as a means of entertainment is decreasing

According to estimates, there are 120.6 million TV homes in the United States for the 2019-2020 TV season. Whilst the number of TV households continues to grow, pay-TV is becoming less popular – the pay-TV penetration rate in the U.S. was pegged at 75 percent in 2019, marking a drop of almost ten percent in just five years.”- source Statica.

More and more people are turning to video games as a stress buster and for entertainment.

Easily downloadable games on mobiles.

Many devices are available to play video games but mobiles are the most preferred ones. 

7 reasons why video gaming will take over

How much of your total time playing video games is on the following devices?

(Scale 0-4)

Source: limelight

It is evident from the above data that people prefer to use mobile as a means of playing the game.

The easy availability of mobile phones and the compactness makes it a point to use them as gaming devices.

Due to this, the popularity of video games is increasing.

Career options in gaming.

Nowadays there is one more career in the minds of young people and that is to become a professional video game player. 

They don’t mind turning their hobby into a career which is evident from the below graph.

This has given a boost to the field of video gaming.

7 reasons why video gaming will take over

Would you quit your job if you could support yourself as a professional video game player?

 A shift in content consumption

There is a trend to watch online games on Twitch and YouTube rather than watching real sports on the television. Of course, online games cannot replace real ones.

 For instance, the overnight sensation “Fortnite”, reported 1.1 million simultaneous viewers on Youtube.

There is a paradigm shift in the way people want the content to be delivered to them, which makes video games a more popular option.

Requires less investment

Movies like ‘Star Wars’ require huge investment whereas video games do not require the investment of that magnitude. It is comparatively less.

Besides, there is a headache of approaching the celebrities and fixing the dates for shooting in case of T.V which is not so in case of video games.

Also, in television serials, there has to be continuity whereas in games they can be started from anywhere and slowly levels can be crossed.

Fictional characters are often used in video games and often a real game player substitutes himself/herself in that role.

This is one of the factors why gaming is becoming more popular than television.

Games are replicating T.V characters and T.V serials

Characters from popular T.V serials or movies are often animated and adopted in various games.

When people play games they shift themselves into these roles and it gives a kind of mental peace to them.

Besides in the case of T.V, people needed a television set to view it whereas in the case of gaming everything is stored on a cloud. Due to this, it can be accessed from anywhere and any device. 

CONCLUSION

So whatever be the purpose of gaming, be it a career, just for entertainment or watching people play games on Twitch, one thing is certain that video gaming will continue to be popular in the coming days.

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How playing esports influence education: 5 advantages

How playing esports influence education: 5 advantages

Introduction

Since the 80s brought home entertainment systems into millions of households, video games have taken a strong position on the market ushering new jobs, products, and ideas. It didn’t take long for organized competitive gaming (esports) to appear, with numerous tournaments attracting gamers from all over the world.

However, are esports valuable only to video game marketers and console manufacturers, or is there a deeper value? In this article, we are going to go through some of the benefits that competitive gaming holds for education.

Improved cognitive function

Doctor Peter Gray, in his article on cognitive benefits of video games, shows evidence that video games improve our spatial attention, memory, and multitasking abilities. All of these skills represent a significant set of personality traits that allow us to learn faster, adopt new ideas, and extend our ability to focus during class, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, or create a reasonable schedule.

So if you’re still coping with these cognitive functions, try pursuing a professional gaming career. You might not reach the top but you’ll fix those issues that stopped you from getting your college degree.

Scholarship programs

In the US, alone, there are more than 450 institutions of higher education that provide esport programs with full scholarships for students interested in pursuing this career. What this means is that we could expect, soon enough, many aspiring gamers signing up at a college much like basketball and football students do. It's general knowledge that most students get through their college only thanks to their athletic endeavor, while they’re provided with a reliable assignment guide to help them with their homework, essays, and other academic challenges that they might face.

Furthermore, students that don’t get an esports scholarship or attend programs that don't offer this sort of help, can easily fund their college by winning tournaments or stream their gaming sessions. These sorts of activities attract a lot of sponsors that would gladly help financially or in some other way like donating equipment. 

Socialization

It’s not a secret that a lot of gamers tend to keep to themselves, don’t get appreciated enough by their age peers, and have a difficult time socializing outside their interest group. Organizing esport clubs on campus gives a chance for gamers to find likeminded people and fulfill the social aspect of their college experience. The value of socialization goes beyond making new friends and potentially build college teams. Students can also help each other with other subjects, exams, homework, and other activities. 

A highly organized esports club could also attract students to enroll because they would be pulled by the chance to learn next to other kids that share the same passion for games.

STEM education

Studies confirm that video games like the League of Legends and others significantly improve skills needed for STEM (Science Tech, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. This is one of the reasons why almost every college holds a gaming club, if not providing a program focused on esports.

As we already said, the influence of esports on STEM education shows a positive return, mostly by raising interest with kids that propels them to learn more about video game development and the skills required to produce this sort of content. Recent statistics show that only 36 percent of US students major in STEM fields. Since gamers predominantly choose science and technology-related programs, it's easy to conclude that providing more space to esports in universities will help to keep STEM programs alive.

Stress relief

College is a stressful period of life for most students. For a vast number of freshmen, this is the first time to leave home and live on their own. Others have a difficult time managing their academic obligations and personal life which can be a source of serious stress.

According to an article issued by The Independent magazine, video games can serve as a powerful stress therapy, releasing the extra pressure and keeping us calm. Since our learning abilities suffer under increased stress, it’s easy to connect the dots and see how esports can help students focus on their college assignments.

Conclusion

Video games are fun, engaging, and a great socialization platform if you have the right approach. The influence of esports is not only visible in education it shows its face in marketing, movies, tech, sports equipment, and virtually anywhere you can think. Since this industry has such a strong impact on our lives, it’s imperative to understand this value and channel it properly because no concept is perfect.

Author Bio:

Joshua Robinson is a freelance content writer engaged with several essay writing services. Joshua seeks new ways to improve the everyday lives of his readers through informative and engaging topics. In his articles, Joshua uses only relevant resources that bring practical value.

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5 Tips for Young Players: How to Succeed in CS and Don’t Fail in College

 

5 Tips for Young Players: How to Succeed in CS and Don’t Fail in College

Smart and young CS players are well aware of the benefits of gaming. They’re not afraid to believe in their chance of making it big, so they’re often sacrificing the rest of their daily activities in order to become successful counter-strike players.

Regardless of your age, playing a complex video game like CS should never make you feel that you’re wasting your time. If your friends and parents judge you, they’re doing so because they don’t understand the value that we can extract through such experiences.

However, regardless of your age, you should never allow video games to make your life worse and stop your personal and professional growth.

When it comes to college students, there are many individuals who are sabotaging their future without even being conscious. Failing in college is not something you want to happen, especially if you’re committed to grow and become a responsible adult, and you cannot allow computer games to put you in that position.

In today’s post, I’m going to share 5 relevant tips for college students that want to succeed in good games like Counter-Strike more than anything else while still wanting to create a balance in their life. Pay attention and apply!

Establish Solid Objectives

To succeed at Counter-Strike, you need to treat your experience like a mission rather than entertainment. Getting to the top of the ladder requires a lot of work, experience, mistakes, lessons, emotion control, and so much more.

Therefore, establish your objective first and set a deadline. Create a strategy based on habits and keep repeating those habits until your objective is reached. For example, an objective could sound like this:

“I will pass X and Y exam by 20th of January while ranking up to Nova 2.”

Take that objective and give it your full attention, energy, and time.

Assume Responsibility for Your Growth and Actions

If you want to be successful at anything you do, you need to be responsible. A responsible person is someone who understands the impact of his own actions and the consequences that are about to follow. No lies, no blaming, no complaining.

If you want to learn more about responsibility, you should check the crucible essays and learn from the characters who are committing the most mistakes.

Either way, when it comes to CS and college, assuming responsibility is about understanding that you cannot ignore either. For that reason, you need to have a very well-defined purpose (as mentioned above) and create a solid action strategy around it.

Understand the Purpose of College

Before you go to class or write an essay, remind yourself why you’re doing it. You are here because you’ve chosen to be here, but also because you know that it will help you become a better person. Acknowledge the purpose and embrace it!

Important vs. Urgent

When it comes to balancing games and college, you need to think in terms of important vs. urgent.

When you feel like playing, ask yourself what’s more important: this game or this essay? What are the consequences of each action? What do you really have to do now?

Use this comparison and make smart choices whenever you’re not sure about what you have to do next.

Commit to Be Good at Everything You Do

If you want to be successful in life, you need to approach a winners’ mindset. Be great at what you do and never stop improving yourself.

Since you’re also in college, why not raise your standards and do great at school too?

It doesn’t have to be games vs school. It can be games and school!

It all starts with a decision. A commitment to be good at Counter-Strike, a commitment to finish college without problems, a commitment to live an abundant life!

Takeaways

The benefits of video games cannot be denied. The Esports industry is growing every year and the standards for reaching the higher leagues are getting higher every moment.

Succeeding in Counter-Strike takes a lot of focus and balance. If you’re serious about becoming really good at this game, you need to be serious about becoming the best version of yourself. That includes passing your college exams, eating healthy, sleeping enough hours each night, exercising on a regular basis, and so on. Take today’s tips into consideration and take action!

BIO: Joshua Robinson is a highly talented CS:GO player, academic tutor, and blog writer. He is passionate about gaming since he was a very young man, and he’s always been a big supporter of the benefits provided by video games. In his free time, he’s a father of three children and a supportive husband.

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5 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience

5 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience

VPNs are great resources for data security while accessing sites and information online. A fact about VPNs that is not so well-known is that they can be effective at providing online gaming experiences if they are high-quality enough.

Here are five important ways that VPNs can heighten anyone’s video game experiences while online.

1. VPNs Overcome Geo-Blocking Obstacles

Many video game developers restrict where their games will properly function through geo-

blocking activation keys and obstructive technology. Geo-blocking was created in part due to gamers purchasing games from countries where the games are less expensive. VPNs can beat geo-

blocking because the technology relies on location-detecting technology that uses an IP address. As VPNs replace a user’s IP address with a different one that represents a location of the user’s choice, the VPN can overcome any geo-blocking. ExpressVPN notes that as VPNs can get around this geo-blocking obstacle, gamers can play even console exclusives from anywhere in the world.

5 Ways a VPN Can Enhance Your Online Gaming Experience

2. No Penalization for Bandwidth Use

Online games nowadays require massive amounts of bandwidth. Having access to high volumes of bandwidth should mean that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not limit the bandwidth of these online game players. However, there have been stories of ISPs throttling bandwidth, regardless of whether its users have or have not reached their monthly bandwidth limits. This is due to the ISP’s reasoning that a given user is taking up too much bandwidth in a relatively short time-frame, such as the bandwidth that would be used up by an online gamer.

VPNs can provide a solution for online gamers who feel that their ISPs are unfairly penalizing them. A VPN can encrypt online traffic even during online gaming sessions. VPN users are untrackable by ISPs. Due to this, ISPs will not be able to punish gamers for their online gaming sessions.

3. Low Ping Times

For serious online gamers, ping is king. According to Player.One, ping is a kind of digital signal sent from a user’s computer to a given server and then sent back to the original computer; this process is done repeatedly throughout an online session to measure latency. Latency is a way of measuring the overall quality of a given internet connection.

High ping means long latency, and it will mean that it takes a long time to move data between a gamer’s computer or console and the host server being used to play the game. Long latency rates will equate to poor, lagging gaming sessions and frustrated gamers. Low ping means that a gamer’s inputs will lead to fast responses from the host server. It will also mean smooth and crisp gaming experiences.

VPNs such as this one can improve latency issues. If a gaming device and the host server are very far away physically, then the latency will get worse. With a VPN, the gamer can digitally locate themselves closer to the host server, which reduces the distance that the signal has to travel in turn. This means more consistent low latency periods and improved gaming experiences.

4. Out-maneuvering IP Bans

Emotions can sometimes ruin gaming experiences for others. Emotions can run so high that gamers may complain to the game gatekeepers and administrators, resulting in bans from a video game. Usually, a gamer is banned from a game through their IP address.

With a VPN, a gamer’s IP address is changed to a different one. This permits a gamer to continue playing their favorite games, even when other gamers attempt to prevent them from doing so.

5. Evade DDoS Attacks

Cyber attackers sometimes target gamers through a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. These attacks can shut down a website by overloading its system with more requests than the system can deal with.

When used on individuals, DDoS attacks typically target a user’s IP address. The attacker can flood a gamer’s network connection with extremely high levels of traffic, causing the gamer’s connection to be cut off. VPNs can evade these sorts of attacks due to the IP address being encrypted and completely invisible to DDoS attackers.

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What is the best configuration for Fortnite?

controller

Gaming is the act of playing video games. And in today's world, technology has given children this present. From generation to generation, gaming is widely practised. But it was not so long that this thing is discovered. Just to our previous generation, computer games have been introduced. And the video gaming zone is created on the verge of that generation and ours.

Nowadays, children have a craze on video games and day-by-day the quality and type of games are increasing. Well, recently a new video game was launched in the market. The name of the game is Fortnite, developed by epic games and released in the year 2017.

This game has marked a remarkable success in just one year. The game has high resolutions and graphics which create a ravishing craze among gamers. The best configurations which you need to experience yourself in the world of Fortnite are:

1)         RAM:

RAM means random access memory. For this game, RAM is not a big issue. People recommend 8GB, but 4GB memory can sustain the requirement of this game. Now most players use PCs having 4GB RAM as 8GB RAM is overkill. It can make your computer take overload. For further details, you can continue reading this article.

2)         GPU:

GPU means graphics processing unit. It is highly recommended to use NVIDIA GTX 600 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 graphics cards. Minimum Intel HD 400 is to be used; otherwise, this game will not support.

The function of a graphics card is to make hassle-free visualisation of the game on your monitor. The better the graphics card is, the better it will work. So you have to keep in mind about the graphics while playing Fortnite.

3)         Processor:

While playing games a processor enhances the 3D resolution of the game. For this game, the best processor is Intel core i5 2.8 GHz. The game can also be run with a minimum processor of Intel Core i3 2.5 GHz. A gamer knows the experience of playing a 3D resolution game.

So if you want to play Fortnite, you have to run it on the highly recommended processor to experience the heights of the game.

4)         Storage:

Storage is not an important issue which is tough to fulfil. The size of this game is 19.76 GB, and so, you require a free space of 19.76 GB to get the game on your PC. Hence, there are no otherwise references of storage. You have to fulfil this demand for the game to play it.

5)         Operating system:

OS is also an important point to notice. A game does not support every OS. There are specific operating systems for every game. For Fortnite, you need windows 7/8/10 64-bit. 32-bit can not support it. Least you can use Mac OSX Sierra.

Versions:

The game has three variants namely,

  • Fortnite: Save the World
  • Fortnite Battle Royale
  • Fortnite Creative

These versions have the same gameplay and same game engine. In the Fortnite: Save the World version, you have to fight and kill zombie-like creatures and defend their invasion on earth. This is a four-player game.

The Fortnite Battle Royale is the free-to-play version where about 100 players can participate. In this version, these 100 fighters fight with each other and ultimately one fighter stands, who is the winner.

The Fortnite Creative is the third version, where players have the freedom of creating their virtual world and fighting scenery. The first two versions were launched in 2017 and the third one in 2018.

Conclusion:

The Fortnite series is a huge blast in the gaming world. If you are a true gamer, you should definitely let your hands on it.

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Ways to Pass the Time Online

For all of the many charms that exist in our world, and regardless of everything that we’ve created, people still get bored. Boredom is an absolute nightmare because you just have nothing to do, so people usually tend to pass the time by doing things which are potentially not wise.

However, if you have access to the Internet, then you have a whole selection of different things to entertain yourself. But we thought we would do is take a look at a few of them here and now.

Okay Some Games

Let’s be honest for a minute. The most likely thing that you’re going to do when you’re bored on the Internet is playing games. And that’s okay. There is a lot of good options out there. Just make sure that you don’t go on any websites which look a bit dodgy, or are listed by Google as being not secure. If you want to play crash games online, then you should be able to do so.

Learn Something New

The Internet is a pretty incredible resource when you think about it. You have access to so many different opportunities to learn something new. You could go and find out local history about your town, you could learn some basic phrases in another language, and those are just two of thousands of options.

Connect With People on Social Media

Something else that you can do when you’re looking for something to do blind is to connect with people on social media. You might have old friends or people you know currently, and they are bound to have a social media account that you can connect with. It might take a little while to track them down, but it’s easy enough to do. 

Build a Website

If you’ve got the time, and the inclination, then you could build a really good website. You might wonder why, and what the point is, but the truth is you can make a site about just about anything these days. Unlimited control is at your fingertips, and that’s definitely a desirable thing. We think that people who want to make a website should try making a small basic one to begin with, just to get an understanding of what needs to happen.

To summarize, these are just a few of the different things that you can do when it comes to being on the internet and being bored. It is not an easy thing to deal with by any means, but if you take your time it can be incredibly rewarding. We encourage as many people as possible to try and experiment with the different options available, so that they can find the option that works best for them. Looking for things to do on the Internet can be difficult sometimes. Because there is so much to choose from, and so many different potential ways to pass the time, a lot of people feel like they will get overwhelmed. A good trick to avoid this is to just stay on one website and explore all that it has to offer before moving on.

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The Best Multiplayer Games - Board, PC And Console

If you like playing alone, there are many games where it is just facing the mobs, mini-bosses, side quests, and main bosses. It is a lot of fun, and when you play a game well, or you really enjoy the gameplay, it is hard to imagine a day when you didn’t love the game. As you play more, you learn more about how to play online securely, the details that you shouldn’t share, and how to remain anonymous. And eventually, you might find yourself safely ensconced in a guild, team or just enjoying playing the same game with the same people regularly. 

The Best Multiplayer Games - Board, PC And Console 

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Co-ops and multiple players bring a more social aspect to any game. And it is pretty cool chilling with your friends, catching up and then, of course, destroying either each other or the opposition in a game. 

There are some games that are hailed as the best two-player board games, console, and PC games. 

So let’s take a look!

Payday 2 

You can’t, shouldn’t and won’t rob a bank in real life. But Payday 2 will let you and a friend do just that. You can pay with up to 4 people which is pretty good. You will be playing with alarms, case the joints and try to steal as much from the banks as you can before the police arrive. This game is tension-filled, and you have to stick to the plan. Unlike the movies where one person always goes rogue, you’ll be making a clean getaway… maybe. 

PC, Switch, Xbox One, PS4

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

This is for both local and online. Lego games are highly rated because they are a lot of fun. You can play with anyone of any age too. Most Lego games are co-op, but Marvel Super Heroes has a little bit of an edge. You can play as pretty much any character, which is a nice touch. The gameplay is well done, and the cutscenes are carefully prepared. 

PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

Call of Duty WW2 Zombies

This is a stark contrast in comparison to the last game on the list. The CoD games are a lot of fun, and pretty intense, but with this one, you and up to four friends can play against some brain-eating enemies. Each wave gets more powerful, with more bodies running your way. But of course, you can only get hold of more powerful weapons by powering forward and opening up new areas of the map. Coordination and communication will see you clear it thoroughly. But you’re going to die, a lot. 

PS4, PC, Xbox One

Legendary

Doesn’t take too long to play the game from start to finish. It is a deck-building board game. So, in essence, you will draw 6 cards and use the power they provide to battle opponents. Be they villains, new heroes, henchmen and beyond. Legendary is a Marvel-themed game, so it makes a neat collector's item for people who are big Marvel fans, or people who enjoy a deck-building game. The mastermind and the plot are selected by the players at the start of the game, and you can set the difficulty too. The game changes and remains something you can play multiple times because the luck of the draw is a big deal here. There are expansions to this board game too. 

Monster Hunter World

An online co-op that has a rep for not being super friendly when you first start playing. However, after you have been around awhile it you’ll be taking out the bigger monsters with teams of players. It can feel like the online system is a bit disjointed and takes too long. But once you get over the fact you need to go through a few steps before you can even get online, and that you have to watch/clean the cutscenes… Well, there is a lot to get used to, but in general, it is a really great game. 

PC, Xbox One, PS4

 The Best Multiplayer Games - Board, PC And Console

Photo by Mateo Vrbnjak on Unsplash

Bananagrams

People have loved Scrabble for years. It works well for two players and up. Games can last for ages too. But if you want to break out of the box that Scrabble puts you in the Bananagrams is the way to go. It is more competitive because rather than be a turned-based game, you are looking to race to be the first to use all of your letters in a grid. And if you are a fan of the kitch, it comes in a banana-shaped bag, and you have to yell Bananagrams when you complete your crossword grid. 

Snipperclips

This is a two-person puzzle game. It’s super smart, and you will waste plenty of time with your buddy messing about with the main gimmick - before you even get into the meat of the game. You will both have control of a 2D toon, and you can cut pieces out of each other. Sounds gruesome but looks cute. You cut the pieces out that overlap. Due to the cutesy feel, this can be played by younger kids too. You take one Joy-Con each from the switch, and away you go. 

Switch

A Way Out

Most games at least give you the option to play alone, but A Way Out throws that rule into the sea. It is designed with two players in mind, and you can feel that when you play it. You are two criminals trying to find a way out of prison. You’ll be squeezing and shimmying up tiny wall gaps, finding exit routes by passing tools to each other, playing basketball and Connect Four. 

There is a lot to do, just you two. 

PC, Xbox One, PS4

Rivals For Catan

You probably already have this in your board game stash, or perhaps Settlers of Catan. If not, don’t worry. Where Settlers isn’t great for two players, Rivals works really well. This card game lets you start out with your own principality, with 6 different regions - which are already arranged. Two settlements are connected by a road, each settlement needs to gain extra resources and expand as they go. Each settlement and city are worth different points, and so it goes. It is a lot of fun and works really well for game nights. 

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

This is a game for casual gamers. You can drop in and drop out, and just spend some time shooting some grunts and trading goods. If you are really into the game, you can head for some mega bosses and start coordinating to clear more content. There are mega-rare loot drops, and who doesn’t love some epics? 

PS Vita, Xbox 260, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Don’t Starve Together

Never has a more heartwarming title been created. Sharing the imminence of death is comforting in many ways. You’re both going to die, but at least you can do it together, right? This game is about resource gathering and creating bases for you both. You can split up the tasks between you and your co-op buddy and get everything done nice and quickly. Ideally, you just want to survive. The cartoon style day of the dead animation keeps the game light enough, and the tasks are enjoyable. 

Ps4, PC, Xbox One

Gaming has always been a great way to spend time. And the more social the game, the more immersive it can be. Fortnite, WoW, WoW Classic, HoTS, and LoL are all a testament to the power of playing in groups. So if you aren’t always keen on branching out and sharing the load, it might be time to grab one of the games above and get started.

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The Perfect Computer Accessories for Your Gaming Habits

If you enjoy video games, then you know how important it is to get the perfect computer accessories. If you want to be fully immersed in the experience of gaming, you have to remove yourself from the external environment.

There are many different ways to do this. Comfort has to be your top priority if you want to experience your videogame lifestyle fully. You need to make sure you purchase the ideal mouse that fits your hand shape and the type of gaming that you do. 

You absolutely need a high-resolution monitor so that you can stand the right distance away from your screen and see all the details that you need. And that there is no denying that the ultimate gaming chair will make a huge difference in your overall experience.

The Ideal Mouse

When you begin to research the best ergonomic mouse for your gaming activities, you’ll be amazed at the variations that you find. You can have different sizes, types, and shapes. You can get a mouse that has a cable or is Bluetooth connected or has a laser. 

You can find one that is vertical, or horizontal, or lays flat like a magic pad. It may take some experimentation to find out which one works the best for the type of game that you want to play, but once you do figure it out, you’ll be amazed at how much difference it makes in your gaming experience.

A High-Resolution Monitor

For gamers, the visual experience is a massive part of what allows them to immerse themselves into the storytelling aspect of the journey. To dive fully into this concept, you need to buy a high-resolution monitor. The production quality of video games these days is phenomenal. To appreciate all the details that go into the programming, you need a high-resolution monitor to make it shine. 

The Ultimate Gaming Chair

If you’re like most people, then you play your video games while you are sitting down. In fact, you may spend more time sitting down then doing anything else. Because of this, how important do you think it is to buy the perfect gaming chair

If there is one expensive purchase that you should make, it should be your chair. There are even options for chairs that have speakers built-in or motors that vibrate different parts of the chair, depending on what kind of video game you’re playing.

People entertain themselves in different ways. Videogame culture is a fascinating group to be a part of. But to totally immerse yourself in any videogame, you have to be as comfortable as possible for long periods. Knowing this, expect to invest in all of the necessary accessories.



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100% Unofficial Fortnite Pro Guide

Thank you Quarto Group for sending us this book!

This is a book that teaches Fortnite players how to become a pro at the game. It teaches players the art of speed building, how to build a good base, the best strategies, and much more.

This book tells the readers about emotes. It shows what they look like, and when to use them. It also talks about a lot of epic things that happened in the history of Fortnite: Battle Royale. It will explain you many ways that you can bend the rules. It tells you that you can play the game however you want to play the game, so that you can have fun as well as everyone else who is playing with you.

The only problem with this book is that it is outdated. Fortnite is one of those games that changes or has something added or removed every few weeks, so that makes this book incorrect in some of the things that it says in it. When this book was made, it was season 7. As of this review, season 10 just came out. It is a little more up to date than the first book (the 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide), which was made in season 5. Other than that, the book is great.

I think that any Fortnite players that want to become a pro (probably all of them) should read this book. If they just want to become a master builder, then this book would help them. If they just want to know how to properly raid an enemy base, they are covered. This book covers stuff from battle tactics to just organizing your inventory. This book is very useful, but I still think that you should read the first book before reading this one, that the first one covers the basics, while this one contains more advanced things.


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5 Ways Gaming Can Affect Your Eyesight

You have likely played some type of game today on one of your many various digital devices.  From games like Angry Birds to Call of Duty, video gaming is a mainstream part of today’s culture.  

However, playing video games for extended amounts of time can cause physical damage to your body.  Your eye health, in particular, should be your main concern.  

Take a few moments to read through some of the most common ways in which excess gaming can affect your eyesight, and go forth with new knowledge. 

Problems focusing

Focusing on words you see on a piece of paper is much different than what your eyes go through when you play video games for hours.  Your eyes are used to focusing in on one depth and angle to read and write, but gaming requires much more from your vision.  

Gamer eyes are required to refocus on a dime, and long hours of play can really wear your eye muscles down.  You may experience problems focusing even after you turn the game off. It helps to limit your exposure. 

Issues with dry eyes 

Gamers tend to get tuned in to their chosen activity, and blinking becomes a bit of a distraction.  Hardcore gamers can go for quite some time without blinking their eyes.  

Though it may have seemed like a gift when you were young, allowing your eyes to dry out on a regular basis will likely cause vision problems in the future.  Remember to take the time to blink when you play games, and keep your most effective weapon on point.  

Eye irritation 

Eye irritation is a common effect of excess gaming.  Not blinking, constantly shifting your focus, and staring at the contrast of the screen for too long can really leave your eyes in a world of irritation.  

If you have kids who love gaming, it’s helpful to set a timer for breaks in screen time.  Every 20 minutes, make your kid take a break. Step away from the game, and go find something else to do for at least five minutes.  Taking a break will give your eyes time to rest, reducing your risk of inflammation and irritation.  

Computer Vision Syndrome

Using any digital device excessively can cause you to suffer a physical price.  You may experience pain in your neck and shoulders, headaches, and unusual fatigue after playing video games for a long period of time. 

Computer vision syndrome is not compartmentalized solely to the excess use of computers.  You may also experience these symptoms from gaming.  

There are some positive things

There are some positive aspects of gaming.  When done in moderation, gamers can really improve their eye’s abilities.  Gamers can see things quicker and more fine tuned than the average watcher. 

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Kingdom Heartbeats

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

Kingdom Heartbeats features ten electronically remixed tracks from the popular Kingdom Hearts franchise. This album has been produced by Roborob and features some excellent vocals in some of the tracks.

The album begins with a nearly two minute shorter version of the intro song: Simple and Clean. Though the original tracks fall under the electronic dance music category, these remixes kick it up a notch. Tension Rising from Kingdom Hearts II is the second song and the remix amplifies it but stays true to the original battle music. The 13th Struggle from Kingdom Hearts 2 has also been tweaked for this album and it too sounds true to form and is nicely done.

Most of the tracks are from Kingdom Hearts 2 and Sora’s Theme has not been neglected. You’ll find a longer and tweaked version on this album. I have no idea what the Japanese singers are saying in the song Passion, but it sounds great. The menu music Dearly Beloved is so beautiful and should have been left alone. Although the remix is good, I still prefer the original.

Kingdom Hearts 3 gets some representation with Face My Fears. After that opening song, the first game is re-visited with some enhanced theme music from Traverse Town. Kingdom Hearts 2 takes the spotlight again with the upbeat battle music, Sinister Sundown. The album concludes with a much faster and dubstep version of one of my favorite tracks, This Is Halloween. Although interesting, I still prefer the original version.

Fans of Kingdom Hearts and electronic dance/dubstep music should definitely check out Kingdom Heartbeats. This album is available digitally for $10 and can be yours in MP3, Flac, and other lossless formats. A limited-run physical edition will be available in September for $20. If MP3 format is good enough for you, it’s also available on Amazon for $8.99.


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The Best FIFA 20 Players

The top 10 or top 20 of anything can be a highly subjective rating. Even when the rating depends on goals scored or blocked, passes completed or assists made, there is still the simple matter of likability. Some players, no matter how good they may be technically, just aren’t popular because they’re a horses behind.

A perfect example of this is Megan Rapinoe. Although she led the U.S. Women’s Team to a championship in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, her extreme attitude turned a lot of people off. Even if you agreed with everything she said, the way she said it was too ugly for most people to put up with. She needs to be reminded that FIFA is not the League of War where the object is to utterly destroy the other side.


Fédération Internationale de Football Association


Voting is going on right now for the top spots and will continue until August 19, 2019, for the Best FIFA Men's and Women's Players and Coaches. The awards will be given out once all the votes have been tallied and the results published. If you’re looking for more information on the best FIFA 20 Players altogether you can follow the link for a complete rundown of them and their stats. Be aware though that the stats given are temporary at this point and still subject to change.

One of the great things about FIFA is its openness to both men and women players. In the United States, for instance, the NFL is only open to male players. While there are certainly females involved in the game, they’re relegated to the sidelines as cheerleaders. They’re pretty and lots of fun to look at, but they’re not in the game.

In FIFA, women are definitely in the game. Returning to our previous example of Megan Rapinoe, whatever you may think of her, good or bad, there is no arguing the fact that she is in the game. She’s not on the sidelines in any way, shape, or form. She is one of the best women players in the world and she and her team won the championship fair and square.

They didn’t show much sportsmanship in the process, but that’s a different story.


Paid To Play


The women’s teams get paid to play too. That is important to note. Leaving aside for the moment of how much they’re being paid compared to the men (an economic question best settled by the bean counters in the back room), they are being paid. Furthermore, they’re being paid enough to make their living at it. That means they can survive on their player’s salary without having to moonlight at another job. It’s not nearly as much as men are being paid, but again, that’s for the bean counters to worry about.

In many ways, it is similar to the bad guys in the VR game High Noon, where the men and women have an equal chance to be part of the ravening horde trying to overrun your town. If both men and women have an equal chance to be the hero or the villain, whether it’s in sports or in a video game, then you can safely say that equality has pretty much arrived.


Choosing The Top 20


Choosing the top 20 players in FIFA is an emotionally charged issue. Everyone has their personal favorites; scoring, kicking, dribbling, etc., notwithstanding. It all comes down to personality. The inspirational story of Eric Abidal is a case in point.

In 2011, he underwent surgery to get rid of a tumor on his liver. Just two months later he was out there on the pitch playing in the UEFA Champions League Final. Then a year later he underwent another surgery, this time a full liver transplant. A year later he was back out there with his team playing a full 90 minutes.

Regardless of anything else you might think about Abidal, you have to admire his raw courage, determination, and guts to face those kinds of odds and make a full come back anyway.


It’s Not All On The Pitch


Why are footballers so passionate about the game? It’s because FIFA is full of examples of personal strength and dignity in the face of monumental struggles and obstacles, not all of them out on the pitch.

The players showcase the best of human nature as well as the worst. They represent all of us in our constant, eternal struggle to be better than we are. What’s not to love about that?

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Games as a Tool to Improve Students Behavior

Ever since their invention, games have been seen as only a tool for entertainment. But, plenty of research and case studies have shown that games can be beneficial in many ways. Of course, the benefits will depend greatly on the game choice, as well as the time the person spends playing them. Even so, games can definitely lead to good things like good behavior, boosted critical thinking skills, etc.

In fact, this goes so far that there are currently scientifically proven advantages of playing games. According to research, games can increase memory capacity, provide pain relief, help dyslexic kids with reading, help limit trauma, etc.

That being said, it is about time that we all learn how to use games to our benefit. When it comes to students and behavior, here are the ways the good game can yield positive results.

1.  Students Can Learn While Playing

When a student plays teaching games, these games can help them understand the new concepts, learn new skills, and use their knowledge in practice. Games are a known way of boosting fresh knowledge, which is why they are so widely encouraged in the world of education.

Based on the choice of a game, students can learn quite a lot by playing. With the right approach and some quality educational games, teachers can create an interesting and inspiring teaching atmosphere. When you add some versatility to the study process, students are more likely to feel motivated to learn.

This is where games come really handy.

Games as a Tool to Improve Students Behavior

2.  Games Provide Learning Practice

Games aren’t an educational material on their own, but when combined with it, they provide an excellent opportunity to practice. When students are faced with a challenging new material to grasp, they can benefit a lot by some ‘mental exercise’. This is especially useful in cases where the students learn rules, structures, and vocabulary.

In such cases, the repetitive exercises in textbooks are simply not engaging enough. That’s where teachers have to include a new, fun element to boost the student’s motivation and therefore, behavior in the classroom.

3.  Games Help Students Learn New Skills

There are so many games nowadays, there’s no limit as to how much a student can learn by playing. Many skills can be developed with the help of games, such as creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, and even good sportsmanship. All this leads to a more developed individual with better behavior and learning habits.

For example, when a student plays guessing games, he’s boosting his critical thinking skill and his circumlocution improves while he has fun. Moreover, by allowing students to play games, teachers can literally watch their creativity and tweak the education to fit every individual student.

There are even games that help with the writing skills. Students will still order from Edu Birdie when they lack of time to write a paper, but with some good writing and vocabulary games, they can work on this skill, too.

4.  Games Help Students Boost Their Memory

Memory games are an excellent way to boost the memory skill. When combined with material that the student needs to master, these can give the student a positive look toward the process of learning. If learning is fun, the student will be more likely to engage in it.

Games as a Tool to Improve Students Behavior

There are plenty of games that boost the memory in students. Some of them are so fun, they stick into their memory for years. With the right game and material-playing combination, teachers can help students master structures and vocabulary much easier.

Moreover, some games feature stimuli that will aid the students in remembering vocabulary words, such as mimics, acting words out, using clues, calling out answers, etc. As you can see, there’s no limitation of the fun. As long as you can find different games to play, you can engage the students and boost their behavior toward learning.

5.  Games Grab the Attention of Players

The concept of playing a game is engaging and fun. To students who are stuck most of their days in a classroom and have to spend hours studying from books, this is the best break they can get. So, since games are actually beneficial in terms of mastering the material and building new skills, why not use them to boost the motivation, too?

Games are known to grab the attention of those who play them. If students are too tired or lazy to study from books and textbooks, they might enjoy being more active and having fun. Instead of the standardized classes and exams, an addition of some games can be truly refreshing.

Final Thoughts

The education has improved a lot in the past few decades. We’ve found new things to teach the youth, but also new ways to engage them and help them memorize. The burden the educational system puts on children is immense and, even though its goal is to prepare them for the future, it still has to be relieved from time to time. As it turns out, games are the way to do this.

Author’s Bio:

Joshua Robinson is a teacher with eleven years of teaching experience. As an educator, he has worked with children from the youngest age up to high school, constantly inviting new, modern ways into his classroom. Thankfully, he takes the time off to share his results and tricks with others.

 

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100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide

Thank you The Quarto Group for sending us this book to review!

This book is a guide to Fortnite players who had just started playing the game. It provides lots of tips and tricks to help you survive a good amount of time in a match. If you don't already know, Fortnite is a Battle Royale game, so the tips that this book gives are very nice to know when you are being attacked by another player.

This book is very useful, but it is also very outdated. When this book was made, it was in season 5 of the game. As of this review, it is in season 10. That does matter a lot, because the creators of Fortnite have removed and added some weapons and features since then.

This book helps you decide what gaming platform you want to play Fortnite on, learn the controls, helps you decide if you want to play Battle Royale or Save the World mode, and so much more. It tells you what to do when you encounter another player, stumble into a build battle, and how to use your weapons and conserve your ammo. It tells you what building materials to use, their advantages and disadvantages, and also what every item and weapon can do. It provides a description of a weapon, how easy or hard it is to find, and where to find them. It also tells you how to build a base and how to invade other bases as well. It also describes each location and tells the reader how many players usually land at that location.

I think that this book is very useful and whenever I play Fortnite: Battle Royale I use these techniques and I use the hints and tips that it gives me. There is also another book like this one called the 100% Unofficial Fortnite Pro Guide. If you read this one and use it, then you should also read the Pro Guide.



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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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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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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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