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Month: August 2018

Pirate101

Pirate101 Online Family Gaming Review

Posted on August 25, 2018  in Game Review

Pirate101 is a massively multiplayer online game. It is a spin-off from the popular Wizard101 online game. Unlike most of the online games that are coming out today, Pirate101 is not targeted towards adults or hardcore gamers. It is actually being promoted as a family friendly game that everyone in a household can enjoy regardless of age or game playing experience. This claim is largely true for a number of reasons.

Child-Friendly Game World

One of the main reasons the game is so popular with families is that the virtual world is a very friendly place. The game world is not full of areas that are inspired by death, destruction or horror. Most of the cities in the game are active and happy. They have normal residents. The game does not really contain any areas that could be disturbing or frightening to children. Even the villains in the game are mostly portrayed as being more silly and comical than evil. Combat does not involve blood or gore. The game world is also easy to understand. Children and families do not have to study maps or work through confusing mazes at every turn.

Safety Features

Pirate101 goes to great lengths to ensure the environment inside of the game remains safe for children and families even while thousands of people are playing simultaneously. One of the first differences is that it is impossible to simply type in a name for a character. Players must select a first and last name from a long list of approved words that sound like pirate names. There are also restrictions on chat. Parents can set accounts so that children cannot type into the chat box or receive private messages from other players. This means children can only communicate through a premade menu of standard responses. Parents can change account settings so that children are able to talk to only approved friends.

Simple Gameplay

The entire family can play Pirate101 together because the game interface and mechanics are simple. The menus are large and very clear. Anything that needs to be done is usually accompanied by brief on-screen instructions so non-gamers do not have to memorize multiple key commands. Even the combat in the game is simple. Combat is turned-based and does not require twitch skills or fast reflexes.

Colorful and Humorous Graphics

Pirate101 has unique graphics that are colorful and humorous. Most of the characters in the game are anthropomorphic animals like monkeys, tigers, and dogs. The scenery is bright and simple with just enough detail to make it interesting. Many aspects of the game are exaggerated graphically in order to convey humor or drama. Children and adults will find the graphics fun and entertaining.

Mini-Games

If children or families do not want to play through the main storyline, then there are many mini-games spread throughout the world. Mini-games allow players to win in-game currency or other prizes. They are simple games that involve basic tasks like matching colors or creating rows of items across a grid. This makes the game fun and accessible even if children do not want to take part in ship-to-ship combat.

Underlying Gameplay Complexity

Something that is interesting about Pirate101 is that the seemingly simple game mechanics actually have some depth. This complexity adds a new level to the game for adults and for growing children. There are statistics for characters and items that can improve performance while sailing or in combat. These can largely be ignored unless a person is interested in managing the character at a more granular level. This game is also great for those who enjoy Pixel Gun 3D!

Fun for Parents and Adults

Parents will have fun playing Pirate101 for many reasons. Parents who are grouped with children in the game can take care of some of the more complex tasks that will make playing easier. This puts the parents in a protective role over the characters the children are playing. The game also has many Easter eggs and funny moments that are clearly intended only for sophisticated adults. Parents can enjoy the gameplay on a different level. Parents will find the combat system and strategic planning aspects of the game engaging once the mechanics are understood. Adults will be able to find much fun and interesting things in the game that are more engaging and complex than children in the family might realize.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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Month: August 2018

Banished

Banished Review – Civilization Simulation of the Year

Posted on August 20, 2018  in Game Review

Civilizations massive sphere of influence, both in the realm of strategy games and in the realm of gaming, in general, continues to grow. The success of the Civilization franchise has spawned a series of spin-off games that deal one way or another with building a Civilization and lasting the test of time. Some of the most successful Civilization spin-offs are Tropico the island civilization game and Banished which is a new game and newcomer to the civilization simulation arena.

 

 

 

Now as a person interested in gaming, let alone online computer gaming, its a safe bet that you have many modern conveniences at home. These probably include electricity, central ac, cable tv, internet, phone, and most likely a small cache of computers and portable devices. Well, what would you do if the government kicked in your door, grabbed you and your family, perhaps your neighbor and their family, and hauled all of you out to a deserted island and left you there? Well, in a nutshell, this is the premise of Banished.

 

 

 

How would you, your family, and the other families, that have been banished from civilization survive? How would you collect food, keep warm, build shelter, and thrive in the harsh wilderness? How do you think you would fare? Do you have an inner Ron Swanson that would be fine or an inner Tom Haverford that would likely die in less than 24 hours.

 

 

 

Banish presents you with this very scenario. The game starts off with a half dozen social outcasts who have been banished from civilization and are forced to survive in the wilderness and guess what they have elected you as their leader. Congrats.

 

 

 

On the surface, this sounds easy enough right? Just chop down some trees, plant some gardens, catch some fish, love balls, and build houses so people can make babies. Easy-peasy… right? Well, this ain’t your momma’s civilization game.

 

 

 

The developers of Banished have done a masterful job at making this simple game into one of the most challenging puzzles you can imagine. They accomplished this by making the simple aspects of resource gathering into a complex feedback loop where every single action has a reaction, and more often than not the reaction is negative and based on the real world laws of nature.

 

 

 

For example, each game starts in spring, and you have until winter to clear enough land to build a shelter for your people, plant some gardens, collect firewood, build tools, and build a make-shift fishery. Needless to say on your first turn you will barely have time to do any of these tasks. Once winter hits you are crippled as Atlanta in a snow flurry. Your only choice is to hope and pray that nobody freezes or starves to death.

 

 

 

While other games like civilization put an emphasis on money, food, and resources equally, in Banished people are the primary key resource. If your population dips below a certain amount you won’t have the manpower to get firewood, mine for resources, collect food and basically survive. Unlike other games, there is a huge emphasis on providing for your people and protecting them from the environment which is unforgiving and very harsh. Your people will need homes, food, clothing, tools, medicine, spiritual guidance, and even emotional support. Every mechanic of this game ties into other parts of the game, which in turn feeds back normally in a negative manner.

 

 

 

For example, let’s say you build a mine out in the woods, and its too far from your city then it will take your miners extra time to transport the mined resources back to the city, which increases their exposure time and the likelihood they will die. Also, mining is very hazardous and it’s not uncommon to have a mine shaft collapse and kill 5 to 7 miners at a time. Losing 5 to 7 people will severely handicap your city, especially if its expended its wood resources. Again all resources are finite and eventually run out.

 

 

 

At first, you will be dependent upon wood for building materials, once you have chopped down all of the trees you will need to start digging some mines to get stone. When you deforest your area your population loses the ability to get medicinal herbs, which can only be found in old growth forests. Even if you replant the forests it will take years before they can produce enough medical herbs and game animals to sustain your population again.

 

 

 

In addition to the complex network of negative feedback loops, this game also has a series of random disasters that will test your towns ability to survive. These disasters include tornadoes, fires, and diseases. While tornadoes are a pure act of God, fires and diseases can be brought on by your people. Again if you over deforest the surrounding wilderness you will run out of medical herbs and your population will get sick and die. If you build too many houses it increases the chances that someone in your village will catch their hut on fire during the middle of winter. And don’t forget about winter, which is a disaster in itself.

 

 

 

Given the complex playstyle of this game, and its unique still of play, Banished has done what few other games have been able to do. It has redefined the gaming format for civilization simulations by creating the first ever survival civilization simulation.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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Month: August 2018

How To Game On a Budget

How To Game On a Budget

Posted on August 17, 2018  in Gaming Tips

There are many of us, myself included, who always thought that gaming was a children’s activity. Once you reach a certain age you think, “Aren’t you getting too old for that?” Surprise, surprise, it’s no longer thought of as a kid’s thing. There are more and more adults seeking refuge and comfort in the gaming world. Some call it a hobby, others call it an obsession.

The Gaming World is Here to Stay

Either way, the gaming world is here to stay. The only problem with this refuge is that so many max out their credit cards, in keeping up with the latest games. How can you stay on budget and still reap the rewards?

 

E3 Sales

1) Look to the E3 sales. Many retailers take advantage of this. They wait till they get a bunch in and then put them on discounts. Some stores offer as much as 20-40% off per game. That means you can get the latest titles, and get them all at a low price.

 

Dumpster diving

2) Don’t be ashamed to dumpster dive. I do this with movies all the time. I go into the $5 bin at the stores. You’d be amazed at all the great movies I find in there. They are all at $5 or less. The gaming world works the same way. Don’t be in such a hurry to get the latest games that come out. Hold off a bit. They will soon make their ways into those bins. The best part is they come at such low prices! Never pass up a good bargain bin.

 

Keep watch

3) Always keep your mouth closed and your ears open. Keep your ears and eyes pinned to the gaming world, especially online. Various gaming stores will promote slashed prices at various times. If you are a member of the community you can get in on this. Don’t be afraid to admit you are a gamer. In doing so, you can get your hands on some really good deals.

 

Make friends

4) Learn to share with your friends. Go out and make some new friends. I’m not talking about Facebook either. Facebook is more or less a virtual adult playground. I’m talking about actual real friends. If your buddies know you have interested in a certain game, he or she might just give it to you for free. Ask first! Don’t just take it from them. The more real friends you have with gaming, the more games you will be in contact with.

 

Discounts

 

5) Look through the coupon and other discount books. They are out there. You just have to know where to look. Don’t be afraid to be a coupon person. It’s one of the only ways you’ll get your games for less.

 

Used games

6) Learn to buy used games. I do this with movies online. If I can get a movie in a “used, but great condition” or “used, Like new”, this comes at a great advantage to me. Who cares if the game is used. As long as it still works, that’s all that matters.

For more tips on gaming, go online and join one of our communities.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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Month: August 2018

Inversion Review: Everything You Should Know

Inversion Review: Everything You Should Know

Posted on August 16, 2018  in Game Review

Inversion is a 3rd person action game with a unique twist. The gravity changes. A central part of the gameplay is that the enemy is capable of changing the gravity. This keeps the game exciting and interesting and offers a unique spin on the standard 3rd person action game. One of the things that set this game apart is that some of the environment is destructible, which makes the game entertaining if you like that sort of thing. The solitary game has a very convoluted story that someone thought was smart but really does not answer any questions that the player had, and leaves them completely confused at the end. Not at all like the straightforward games like Homescapes or Mobile Legends!

The Grappler

The grappler is a gravity control device that they player can gain access to over time. It allows them to move objects and people effortlessly. This gravity manipulation device is part of the technology that the enemy in this game has, but it can be used by the player as well. This gravity control device is not only used in combat, but it is also used to solve puzzles and get through mazes. This game does make decent use of the grappler, though, in the end, it is more of a gimmick than a necessary part of the game. It does keep things somewhat more interesting than without it.

Multiplayer modes

The games multiplayer modes can be split into broad categories. The first category is cooperative. You can play through the levels of the main game with a friend. This can make the gameplay a little more fun, as you can offer cover for each other, or defend your friend while he uses the gravity manipulator. For the most part, this does not do much to make the game any more enjoyable. This game single player game just is not fun any more than one time through. There are very few secret areas, and only one way through each level this means that the game really suffers from a lack of replay. The story is over the top ridiculous so that will not sustain you either. Maybe the only thing can sustain you would be making fun of the story as you play the game. There are a few moments of the game that are brilliant, but they are not often enough to truly hold your attention. The premise is a good one, but it essentially rips off games that you have played in the past, with very little changes.
The second category of multiplayer modes is those that are competitive.

Competitive modes

The competitive modes may be a little more fun, but they are not all that unique or interesting. There is really only one unique most of multiplayer which can be fun for a little while but quickly becomes imbalanced. It is called the king of gravity. In this game, one player has control of the gravity while the other players try to kill him. Whoever kills the King of gravity then has control of gravity. A smart person who has control of gravity can easily dominate this game. It may seem as if the fact that it is three against one would make a difference, but the effects of gravity can really make a difference. If the person who controls gravity does not know how to play the game then it may be fairer, but for the most part, the game mode is not balanced.

Conclusion

All in all this game is not horrible, but it is not worth the price that people are charged for it. Because the online modes are not used often there are not too many people who are willing to play. Even if the game was good, one could still not play it online much since no one plays it. The game’s single-player storyline may be worth playing through once if it holds your attention, but you will not want to play it again like some other games. This game tried to do something new and interesting, but it fell far short, and because of that it is not worth many peoples time. There are some who really enjoyed this game, but many more who found it to be extremely boring and repetitive.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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Month: August 2018

Naughty Bear

Naughty Bear: The Cuddly Strategy-Horror Game

Posted on August 15, 2018  in Game Review

How many times have parents around the world heard their children complain about their teddy bear scaring them, well with Naughty Bear, those misconceptions about teddy bears being unable to hurt people is thrown out the window. Naughty Bear takes a look behind the scenes of what goes on while our toys wait for us to adopt them. This also has an adult theme, besides the violence, behind the game.

 

 

 

Naughty Bear is a teddy bear that lives on an island called Perfection. While he is there, he is surrounded by other teddy bears, and the more he looks around, the more he notices that the other bears hate him and are actively trying to kill him. So what is a bear to do when surrounded by all this animosity? Why, he attacks first that’s what he does.

 

 

 

There are seven different chapters in the game, and in each chapter, you have to play as Naughty Bear and figure out his story. Naughty Bear is available on the XBox360 and has a child-like quality to it despite the adult themes involved. The game opens up in Naughty Bear’s home with a birthday party for another bear starting up close by. The narrator is just like the ones you would expect from Great Britain, one that interacts with the main character as well as the audience.

 

 

 

Each chapter reveals more and more of the story as to why the other bears don’t like Naughty Bear, as well as gives the player a chance to enact revenge against the other bears who purposefully go out of their way to make sure Naughty Bear never participates in any of their activities. Many players report that being able to play this type of game is therapeutic when having to deal with stressful days at work, or with just everyday life. However, there are a lot more people who report frustration with the game having no driving plot behind it.

 

 

 

On a scale of one to five, with one being the worst and five being the best, Naughty Bear rates, according to Amazon, with an average rating of three. And the ratings are pretty much even across the board, with only one or two ratings to separate each rating. The difference between a five-star rating and a one-star rating is only a margin of two, so this game really does seem to be a “love it or hate it” type of game.

 

 

 

After seeing a few gameplays, this writer has to agree that there doesn’t seem to be much beyond the game besides just killing other bears and going on a rampage. While everyone knows that in real life people just don’t go around killing those who make them angry, in the world of Naughty Bear, that is exactly what happens. Whenever the other bears refuse to incorporate Naughty Bear into their activities, he goes on a murdering rampage. And that’s not the only thing that this writer has noticed going on in the game. The kill actions are repetitive, and while it is narrated by an Englishman, the words are also repetitive. Invariably, something happens, Naughty Bear wants to be involved, and when he’s not, he goes on a murdering rampage with the same weapons and moves.

 

 

 

And it’s not just the storyline that frustrates many people. There is also the fact that the camera gets caught on walls and corners, the controls are clunky at best. There are no options for setting traps to capture and kill the other bears for later, nor is there anything that gives the player a more substantial puzzle to figure out, even though the creators assure everyone that there are more substantial storylines behind the gameplay, unlike games without any storylines, like Sims or Clash Royale.

 

 

 

All in all, Naughty Bear seems to be the best game for adults who just want something mindless to play. A game that really doesn’t take much thought behind it to play. However, for the money that is being requested to purchase the game, it doesn’t seem like a good buy on the part of the gamer. Instead of buying, rent the game first to see if you would like this style of game. That way, you aren’t making a purchase you will later regret.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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Month: August 2018

Gaming Tips

Tips For Energy-Efficient Gaming And Entertainment

Posted on August 15, 2018  in Gaming Tips

Today more than ever, gaming and television entertainment are a common outlet for escaping from the increasing pressures of everyday life. According to some studies, 49% of the households in America have video game consoles and the average owner owns 2 consoles. This can lead to an increase in the amount of the electricity that gets consumed each month, especially when the console or the television set is not being used. A great way for you to help make sure that you are doing your part to keep your energy bill down while still enjoying your favorite television programs or video games is to look for any equipment that has the energy star rated logo displayed. Energy star qualified television sets are over 40% more efficient when compared to the standard models. Also, if you own a DVR box, there are energy star recommendations available to guide you. An interesting fact to be aware of, is that if all the digital boxes in the United States of America could meet the energy star guidelines, then the average consumer savings would equal almost $2 billion every year.

 

 

Due to their increased popularity, ease of use and their affordability, more and more people are using video game consoles. Many in fact use them to game online, chat with friends or to watch videos. This is not surprising as recent data shows that video-on-demand as well as streaming service use is up. In fact, according to one university study, there has been a large increase in the number of the video game consoles that end up being sold. Research also indicates that more time is also being spent playing on the consoles and this behavior leads to energy use skyrocketing.

 

 

Between 2007 and 2010, the amount of electricity which was reportedly being used by video game consoles went up by an alarming 50%! However, not all the news is that bad. In fact, if you are a gamer then there are steps that you can take to where you are using less energy. For example, simply turn it off. It is an easy habit to get into. Don’t simply leave your Subway Surfers running while you shower, for example!

 

 

One study finds that the average user who does not power down their consoles when not in use will end up using 10 times more electricity than someone who does take the time to power down. So, the next time that you are using your game console make sure that when you finish playing, that you take a moment to turn the power off. If you are using the console to work out to an exercise program, listen to music, or if you are having your family game night when the console is not in use then turn it off. Take the extra step and go as far as to unplug the console’s power adapter from the outlet. Many consumers may not be aware that even when the console, tv, or other powered device is not powered on, the power adapter itself is pulling power from your energy provider and raising your electric bill the entire time that it is plugged into your outlet.

 

 

It does not make a difference whether you are updating your home theater or playing the latest karaoke game, because the combined energy that is being used by your systems will all add up. According to the environmental protection agency, consumer electronics now account for up to 15% of household energy use in the United States. So, as you pick up your remote controls, try to remember that you can control your household energy use with just a few simple steps.

Alex is your game homie. He’s played the roughest levels, the toughest games. Follow him on this blog for the best game scoop ever.

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