Author: <span class="vcard">Rene Marin</span>

Grand Theft Auto V

To call Grand Theft Auto V an ambitious game would be utterly underselling it. This is the first game that actually feels like a living, breathing world. It also implements mechanics that makes games like Call of Duty and even The Sims work so beautifully. Grand Theft Auto V is like the Rome of video games; it melts down the best features of other games and puts them into a bow-tied delicate gameplay package.

One of the big features with Grand Theft Auto V is the new concept of playing as three main characters. This caused some confusion as gamers were worried that the writing wouldn’t be as sharp or the game just wouldn’t mesh well as a whole. Luckily, all this is completely taken care of and the way you switch between the main characters is both innovative technically and also from a gameplay perspective.

With the three main characters in Grand Theft Auto V, you’re getting different experiences. Franklin is the youngest one who focuses on his driving ability and Michael is sort of like a washed up mobster who now lives the family life. Then there’s Trevor. Trevor is basically a ticking time bomb whose leash has been completely removed and almost fits into Grand Theft Auto V too well. Think of him as the Joker with a drinking problem, only even more murderous.

The storyline was very eventful and at times it was downright one of the best mission structures I’ve ever seen in a game before. Not to spoil anything, but you’ll be flying helicopters, stealing bulldozers and occasionally flying through windows. With games these days only lasting about 8-10 hours it was great to play a game that was a marathon in length. There were so many character specific missions to partake in other than the actual story- needless to say, this game will keep you busy.

In my opinion there are actually four main characters; the fourth is Los Santos, the city where all of this takes place. Los Santos is based on Los Angeles and tries to replicate the craziest aspects of that area. You’ll have beaches to run around in, military bases to infiltrate, upscale mansions to invade and even wildlife to shoot at. The best part of this world is that it will keep going with or without you. For example, I saw a high speed chase and eventually the perpetrator stopped and got out of his car and there was a massive shootout between him and the police. The game is just downright fun.

With a game so large, it would be hard to imagine them focusing on visuals, right? Rockstar is pushing the aging PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 to their limits. While you’re playing, just fly over the ocean and marvel at how gorgeous it is and how the waves come in. It’s not all rainbows, though- the graphics do come at a price. There were plenty of times when the framerate would dip down pretty significantly, especially when you’re in a highly populated spot full of NPC characters. The worst seemed to be when you were driving in the middle of Michael’s upscale neighborhood.

With so many things to do and experience it truly feels like this game doesn’t end. Even after beating the game and all the major side quests, I’m still busy with other tasks. For example, I’m trying to run a bar with Michael and even playing the stock market with all my characters. And nothing is more fun than jumping out of your burning airplane and opening up your parachute to enjoy the view. Heck, you can even customize your vehicles and weapons.

It seems the best is still yet to come with Grand Theft Auto V. In October, Rockstar will be launching the online portion of the game titled (of course) Grand Theft Auto Online. This will almost entirely be its own experience and the game is vastly ambitious. If they can pull off all the things they say are possible, we won’t ever leave our televisions.


Animal Crossing

Once you begin the story, you’ll be notified that you’re the mayor of a randomly generated town! This is exciting because you as a player can make choices that affect the look and feel of your new found destination. Want to make your own town jingle? Feel a need to kick out a pesky resident, or even create your own town flag? Well, you can do all of these activities, and more. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is all about giving the player choices on how they want to play, without ever making them feel overwhelmed.

Animal Crossing is a cross between a game like The Sims but with a bit of Minecraft mixed in there as well. The main appeal of this title is that it’s ever changing. The world evolves with you, you can catch new fish or insects in your village depending on what time of day or even what month of the year it is. This is a great way to keep the player coming back, as there are certain things you can only do at certain times.

Whenever I logged into the game, there would always be something that I had to do. I always feel like I have to harvest all the fruit from my town’s trees, and destroy all the weeds that have been collecting around the town. Animal Crossing makes you feel responsible in a good way without ever making the gameplay feel like a chore.

What I found really addictive was decorating my house. There’s a plethora of items you can use to make yours feel unique- almost unlimited customization. In fact, you can use the Nintendo 3DS step-counter to get exclusive coins that you can use in one of the shops. You can buy these fortune cookies that will reward the player with a unique item from the Nintendo universe. It’s completely random what you’ll find in them but again, it felt rewarding and never like a carrot on the stick gimmick.

Sometimes Animal Crossing‘s coolest features can also be it’s lamest. Take for instance, I’m a pretty busy guy and the only time I can play the game is really late at night. Well, most of the shops in my village are closed after 9 or 10 pm. Granted, you can eventually switch how the town functions, and how late stores open and close but for a while I felt like I was being punished for not playing the game.

Another fault that plagues Animal Crossing is of course Nintendo’s online network. It’s not entirely the game’s fault but Nintendo’s incredibly annoying friend-code system is outdated and actually holds the game back. It would’ve been really impressive if New Leaf could implement an actual living and breathing online community in the game itself, without the need of the silly friend codes. Nintendo’s general paranoia with online gaming hurts one of their best franchises on the system.

That being said, if you do have friends on your Nintendo 3DS, the online functionality was amusing at best. The only real reason to use it is to gather things from their town that isn’t available in yours. For example, my town only has cherry trees but my friend has apples. I can take his apples and plant them in my town and get extra bells (Animal Crossing‘s currency). They could have done a bit more with it.

Other than some design choices, I found Animal Crossing: New Leaf to be a very enjoyable experience. It’s rare to have a game that will keep you coming back day in and day out, especially when it also creates new experiences for the player. If your Nintendo 3DS hasn’t been played in awhile, this game will keep the handheld in your hand for years to come. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you busy for some time to come, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is it.


Basketball Games for Mobile Devices

Basketball Shoot

Basketball Shoot is a simple yet very enjoyable game, which is based on realistic physics and allows you to play and feel like a real basketball player. This game has very easy controls and you can throw the ball into the basket only by touching the screen, dragging the dotted line to change the power and angle and release your finger off the screen to shoot. This game provides real fun moments and is great whether you’re a fan of basketball or not. It is suitable for everyone at every age and of every gender, so you should really give it a try!

BIG WIN Basketball

This game is perfect if you’re looking for something addictive and sporty to play. In BIG WIN Basketball you get to create your own unique dream team, compete against other players from all over the world, watch your team battle on the court, boost your players’ shooting and passing and generally just manage a fantastic basketball team. This game also has a “friends mode” in which you can connect to Facebook and challenge your friends by inviting them to play basketball with you. But, you don’t have to invite anyone if you wish to play by yourself – single player mode is very cool as well and you can play it anytime and anywhere, from every mobile device!

Real Basketball

This realistic game is packed with goods – 3D realistic graphics, 6 different game modes, interactive experiences and much more! In Real Basketball you can choose to play online with people from all across the world or play live games against your friends. You will work on your skills and play your way to the top, trying to prove to the world you’ve got everything it takes to become the biggest star around.


Splatoon for Wii U

Although this game is a “shooting game” it is relatively benign. The game is rated E for everyone and this holds true in the game action. There is really nothing in this game that would cause concern for parents. My nine-year old picked it up very easily, learned the back story and got into the game very quickly. There are different shops to buy different guns and accessories which helps to keep the game fresh and engaging. The single player is challenging but did not seem to be too difficult, at least for a nine-year old. Since the game is marketed to young players it seems like they have hit the sweet spot for difficulty.

There does not appear to be an in-game chat option in Splatoon as there is in other games like Plants vs Zombies. The in-game chat can be a problem area for younger gamers as older gamers sometimes enjoy the game and do not filter their language in games with younger players. In Splatoon, there is no worry about inappropriate language or other interactions with other gamers.

I’ve even found the game to be entertaining to watch. It has funky music and is very colorful with somewhat androgynous characters. My son picked a character that to me looked like a girl but he was certain that was not long hair but rather drops of ink drooping down. I have found his interactions with the game to be quite imaginative.


Online Car Games

Some of these games are free to play, which makes them the favorite of many users. Another favorable point is that they are available online. So you don’t need to download them, meaning that you are eliminating the chances of getting your computer infected with any virus. If you desire, you may chat with other online players to minimize your boredom. To your relief, there is a great variety of online car games to choose from. You can find adventure, truck, parking, tuning, sports, racing and almost any kind of car game you could imagine.

The best feature of these games is that you can choose any car and its model. Perhaps, you have been longing for a shining Lamborghini in red color. Now you can drive it! It doesn’t take a minute to change the color of your loved car to your favorite color. Moreover, you can add all the accessories of your choice. You also have the option of choosing a powerful 4X4, if your sense of adventure is to drive on some of the roughest terrains. And, that’s not the end of your options, because you can use nitrogen for getting maximum speed.

Another very interesting aspect of virtual car games is that the vehicles can be maneuvered in whatever way you like, manner that might not be fit or safe in the real life. When you are playing virtual car games, you don’t need to fear that your car will turn turtle, hit against a tree, fly off a bridge or get hit by a massive truck, as you are aware that, at the end of the game, you can recreate your car by pressing a few buttons. And by the way, you don’t need to buy any insurance cover for getting your car repaired.

And what about the characters? Surely you have noticed how cute and sexy the girls in these games are! Also, all the males look so perfect. Playing such a game offers you the opportunity to choose any character you want, and to enhance your social status, making you feel very good. For example, many of us dream to look like a famous actor, don’t we?

Other than the fun these games offer, they are also good for keeping your mind and health in good shape. It has been realized that the thrill associated with these games increases your blood pressure. You also learn how to make quick decisions in difficult situations and you develop fast reflexes. So it would be wrong to consider these games simply a way of losing time and getting some thrills.


Dangers of Game Addiction

Stress

An obvious fallout of game addiction is stress. Stress develops when the person gets so involved in the game that there is an inbuilt pressure on him or her to achieve goals and cross stages and levels of the game. It slowly converts the game from a source of entertainment and fun to a catalyst of stress buildup. Also, when a person realizes that his life is in a pitiable state because of excessive gaming, he or she develops more stress out of the fear of not being able to get back to normal.

Lack Of Sleep

A major portion of a person’s time is taken up by work and it has been found that many people sacrifice their precious time to play an extra game or two instead of sleeping to rest the body. Long term game addiction leads to a sleeping disorder called Insomnia that takes a huge toll on a person’s health.

Disregard For Personal Hygiene

Excess gaming leads to seclusion of the gamer from the outside world which eventually leads to little or no interaction with people. When the person realizes that there is nobody who may notice his lack of grooming, he feels less compelled to take care of his personal hygiene.

Seclusion And Isolation

Gaming addiction can lead to people developing a tendency of seclusion and isolation. They start isolating themselves from family and friends. The fact that they start ignoring their personal hygiene is just the beginning of his or her displacement from the social scene. Gaming starts taking precedence over other important chores such as interaction with friends and as this addiction intensifies, the subject may start becoming more and more stubborn and rude. All that a gaming addict wants to spend time on is games.

Carpel Tunnel Syndrome And Arthritis

Excess gaming can lead to these two physical disorders. Studies have revealed that years of excessive gaming can lead to serious issues with the person’s thumb as this area is most exercised in gaming and is prone to osteoarthritis too. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in which there exists an excessive pressure on a nerve in the wrist which is responsible for allowing certain hand movements. This syndrome is likely to surface in game addicts since they make a lot of repetitive hand and wrist movements while playing games.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

With excess gaming, one becomes oblivious to dietary routine because he or she is too busy thinking about what is next in the game for them. Most game addicts choose fast food and sugary sodas to accompany their gaming sessions which further leads to deterioration of health. They also prefer frozen food that does not take much time to cook and thus does not hinder their gaming spree. Such eating habits are a major cause of diabetes and obesity in adults.

Depression

It might be rare to know a gaming addict who realizes that he is slowly slipping into depression. Depression slowly makes its way to the addict’s brain as he or she gets more and more addicted to the game. The only time they realize that they are in a state of depression is when they pause for a moment to realize that they have made a mess of their lives by excess gaming and neglecting other necessities of life. What makes the matters worse is that the only recourse they find to get out of this depression is more gaming and this drags them deeper into the trouble creating a vicious cycle that declines to break until the person resolves to take back the control of his or her life.


Make Money On FIFA

Mass biding

Here you need to choose a famous player and find the price that he is going for. After doing this you should take away the EA’s tax which is usually 5% the price of the player. This means that if a player is going for 5000 coins you need to deduct a 5% tax in order to get the exact price of the player.

You should then decide the amount that you would like to make as profit. For example, if you have found a player going for 4800 coins after deducting the EA tax, you can bid 4500 on the player and later sell him for 5200 thus making a profit of 700 coins.

To increase your chances of making money you should bid on the player many times. For example, you can bid on 60 cards. If you are out bidden on 75% of the cards, you will still have 15 cards to make money on and as a result you will be able to make 8400 (12 x 700) coins.

Repeating this process every hour will make you a lot of money that will be of great help to you.

59th method

Here you need to find your favorite team and go to the 59th minute. When you get to this page, you should bid and keep on refreshing the page and you will most definitely make some money. The prices of players at this minute change rapidly; therefore, you will easily buy and sell the players.

You should note that while this method works effectively, it takes plenty of time to make a good amount of money.

Buy coins

While many members of the FIFA community frown at this idea, it’s very great. This is because you don’t have to go through the hustle of playing tedious matches to gain a few coins; you only need to contact your favorite store and you will have coins in your account within a very short time.

Coin selling sites have brilliant rates; therefore, you won’t spend a lot of money for you to get the coins that you need. For example, by spending $10 you will get 100,000 which will take you a long way.


Goodgame Empire

You had just left your castle for some time and on coming back, you are taken aback by the news that a cruel robber baron named Wolfgard the Flayer has attacked your family’s castle and now occupies it. The cruel invader has chased away all servants, and is holding your sister captive. In fact, there is no more news about your sister thereafter.

You move to the castle to see things for yourself and on getting there, you are ridiculously greeted by the new ruler of the castle. If there is anything going on in your mind during the moment, it would be anger and revenge. However, just as any wise and experienced leader would do, you choose to back off from there for some time. This retreat from the castle probably confuses Wolfgard who thinks that you have lost hope or you fear death. You know that this could either make him complacent or drop guard. That is exactly what happens. You then attack with perfect planning to take control over your castle but the evil one is not done yet. He manages to escape while taking your sister hostage.

Another worrying factor is that this evil fellow has many powerful friends and that would make it even more difficult to track him down and punish him for what he has done. Now is the real time to show that you have the best strategy making abilities and the inherent leadership qualities. Start building your empire from the scratch and get into action.

You will need to keep expanding your empire and being bonded with allies in order to fight against the other empires that will not be easy to beat by any stretch of imagination. Strategize every move like a truly able leader. Here in this fabulous online multiplayer game, you will be up against other real players from around the globe. Given the high quality and the absorbing gaming experience that this game has to offer, I suggest that you must play this game.


Gold Miner Game

The major challenge by far in the gold miner game is the clock. When you play, you are issued a certain monetary goal for each level. You achieve the goal by grabbing chunks of gold and other items from the virtual mine underneath you. You have to reach the goal before the clock runs out and that can be more difficult than it sounds. If you grab the smallest chunks of gold, they will come to the top quickly giving you more time to collect more pieces. If you grab the larger nuggets, they are worth a lot more money, but take a long time to drag to the top. When you are racing against the clock, you will have to decide if you have time to go for the large chunks or only the smaller ones, and also if you will have enough money for your target.

Another challenge in the gold miner game is the number of rocks surrounding the gold chunks. When you drop your crane into the ground to grab chunks of gold, you have to be careful not to grab a rock instead, a good level of precision would help you a great deal here. Rocks are worth only a small amount of money, and take a long time to crank up to the surface because they are heavy. You can waste a lot of your precious time by missing the gold and grabbing rocks instead.

The next challenge is the gopher. These pesky little critters run around in the mine, and scurry back and forth. When you drop your tool to pick up gold, you can very easily grab a gopher instead. When you are playing the gold miner game, time is of the essence and you can waste plenty of it on these varmints. There are times when collecting a gopher is good news because on some levels there are gophers with diamonds in their mouths, and these are worth a significant amount of money. For the regular gophers however, they are simply pesky obstacles.

Finally, there are the powder kegs. At the game’s higher levels, many of the treasures are placed precariously close to the powder kegs. If you accidentally hit a powder keg instead of grabbing your target item, everything around it will blow up, and you will be unable to reach your financial goal if there are not enough gold chunks and diamonds left in the mine.


Halo 4 War Games

Leveling System

In War Games and Spartan Ops, you receive experience after completing each game. This experience is used to level up your Spartan IV character. As you level up, you unlock new equipment (such as weapons, armor abilities, and perks) and new armor. Each level requires more experience to unlock, so you will level up quickly at first and slowly later on. After you reach level 20, you will have unlocked all equipment, and any levels past that will have little effect on your gameplay.

There are 3 ways to gain experience. The primary way is to complete games in either War Games or Spartan Ops. After each game, you will be rewarded a fixed completion bonus and a much smaller bonus based on your success during that game. In general, you will receive around 2500 experience from shorter games (slayer, oddball, etc.) and 3000 experience from longer games (Spartan Ops, Big Team Battle, CTF). The second way to gain experience is by completing challenges. There are an assortment of War Games, Campaign, and Spartan Ops challenges that you can complete to gain extra experience, with rewards ranging from 1000 to 20,000 experience depending on the difficulty of the challenge. Challenges come in many variations, such as killing a certain number of enemies in a certain way, winning a certain number of games, or completing a certain campaign mission on a certain difficulty. New Challenges are added periodically. Finally, you can gain experience by completing commendations. Commendations are similar to challenges, but they have no time limit and new ones are never added. There is a large assortment of over 100 commendations, each with between 5 to 7 stages of completion. Every time you complete a new stage of a commendation, you receive a certain amount of experience. You can also gain new armor and weapon skins by completing the highest stage of certain commendations.

After you reach level 50, you can choose from 8 different Spartan specializations. Each specialization requires 10 levels to complete, and you unlock new armor with each level. After completing the final level of a specialization, you unlock a new perk. While these new perks only have a minor effect on gameplay, they do offer useful bonuses such as more experience per game, faster assassinations, or longer overheat times on vehicles. Once you complete all 8 specializations and reach level 130, you have completed the leveling progression and will no longer level up.

Throughout the leveling process, you will unlock numerous pieces of armor, all of which can be accessed from the “back” menu. This allows you to customize the way your Spartan IV looks in both Spartan Ops and War Games, but has absolutely no effect on gameplay. You unlock new armor by reaching new levels, completing commendations, and completing armor-specific challenges.

Loadout

Unlike in the previous Halo games, you can create your own loadout in Halo 4. Each loadout consists of a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, an armor ability, a grenade type, and two perks. You can have 5 different loadouts at one time, allowing you to develop different combinations for each situation. These 5 loadouts are used in both Spartan Ops and War Games, so I suggest that set allocate 2 loadouts for Spartan Ops and 3 for War Games.

Below, I discuss which equipment to use in your War Games loadouts. However, these are only my opinions; you should develop a loadout that fits your play style the best.
Primary Weapon: I highly suggest that you use a headshot weapon as your primary weapon, as headshot weapons have a much longer range and kill enemies faster than any of the assault weapons. I suggest that you use either the DMR, Battle Rifle, or Light Rifle. Of these Options, the DMR is the most accurate, the Battle Rifle deals the most damage when not zoomed in, and the Light Rifle deals the most damage when zoomed in.

Secondary Weapon: You should always use the Plasma Pistol as your secondary weapon, no matter the situation. Although the Plasma Pistol and headshot trick does not work very well against human players, you can still use the Plasma Pistol to stun and jack vehicles and to remove peoples shields and melee them. The Magnum is inferior in damage and accuracy to the headshot rifles, and the bolt shot does not deal enough damage to be worthwhile.

Grenade Type: I suggest that you use the Frag grenade as your grenade type. You can bounce Frag grenades around corners or up gravity lifts, allowing you to kill players that are out of your line of sight. When used in combination with Promethean Vision, this can be a very effective tactic. However, if you are very good at sticking your opponents, you may wish to use the Plasma grenade.

Armor Ability: In my opinion, Active Camouflage and Promethean Vision are the two best armor abilities for War Games. Promethean Vision allows you to see your opponents before they see you, allowing you to get the first shot and the element of surprise. It also allows you to easily see players using Active Camouflage. Active Camouflage allows you to stay hidden while snipping or sneak up on enemies, which is especially useful when using shotguns.

Perks: There are a large assortment of perks that provide minor bonuses. You should choose whichever perks complementing your play style the best. Some of my personal favorites include extra ammo, more frequent ordinance drops, and faster armor ability regeneration.

Ordinance Drops

In order to obtain non-loadout weapons in War Games, you will need to rely on Ordinance Drops. Ordinance Drops are a new game mechanic implemented in Halo 4, replacing the previous system of weapon spawns. Weapon crates are dropped onto the battlefield from above, and can contain either a weapon, a power-up, or two grenades. There are two types of Ordinance Drops, and they are as follows:

Map Ordinance Drops appear throughout the map at the start of the game, and redeploy after a certain amount of time. These drops usually contain a tier 2 (Shotgun, Saw, etc.) or a tier 3 (Rocket Launcher, Binary Rifle, etc.) weapon, though they can also contain grenades or power ups. Any player can access a Map Ordinance Drop simply by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x, just like swapping with a weapon on the ground. When you are near Ordinance, it will show up as an icon on your HUD. This icon displays your distance from the drop and what equipment is in the drop, so it is a useful tool for judging if it is worth taking the Ordinance. Drops of higher value take longer to redeploy.

Personal Ordinance Drops are rewards given to players after they score a certain number of points in a game. These drops are somewhat similar to “Kill Streaks” in the Call of Duty games. After you score a certain number of points (from kills, assists, objective completions, etc.), an option to call in Ordinance will appear at the top of your HUD. You will always have 3 options, which you can choose by pressing the corresponding direction on the D-pad. The middle option will offer a power up, the left option will offer a grenade or weapon, and the right option will offer a weapon. On larger maps, you are more likely to receive tier 3 or “power” weapon options. After you call in your Personal Ordinance, you will begin working towards your next one, though each subsequent drop requires more points. There is no limit to the number of drops you can receive in a single game, though realistically, you will usually receive between 1 – 3 drops in a typical game. After you call in a Personal Ordinance Drop, you can obtain your equipment by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x. If you ever try to “steal” an enemy’s Personal Ordinance, you will need to hold down x for approximately 3 seconds.

Ordinance Drops also introduce power ups to War Games. Each power up provides you with some type of advantage for a set period of time or until you die. The Speed Boost power up allows you to move, throw grenades, reload, and punch twice as fast. It lasts for a long time and is very useful for carrying the flag in CTF or reaching objectives in other objective-driven game types. Damage Boost doubles all forms of damage that you deal (weapon, grenade, and melee) for a short period of time. This means that you can easily kill an enemy with a single melee, or kill them with two body shots and a headshot with a headshot weapon. When combined with more powerful weapons like the Saw, Beam Rifle, or Fuel Rod, you will become nearly unstoppable. Over Shields provides you with triple shield capacity, displayed as a second green bar covering your blue shield bar. This extra level of shields will not regenerate, and it will drain slowly over time.