Month: August 2018
Month: August 2018
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.
Month: August 2018
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Month: August 2018
The second category of multiplayer modes is those that are competitive.
Month: August 2018
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.
Month: August 2018
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.