Friday, November 7, 2008

Nancy Drew -- "The Haunting Of Castle Malloy" (Her Interactive)


The amateur sleuth might best be known as one of literature's greatest detectives, but over the past decade, she's built an iron-clad case as gaming's most accomplished mystery-solver. Her games sell like hotcakes, routinely joining the likes of The Sims and World of Warcraft atop the PC game sales chart. Look for her latest conundrum, The Haunting of Castle Malloy, to confound store shelves on October 17th.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bayonetta -- "Bayonetta" (Sega)


Think you're having a bad hair day? At least your locks don't punch monsters in the face: just one of many follicular abilities bestowed upon Bayonetta's eponymous star. As if lethal hair wasn't tough enough, she also jumps like a ninja and sports pistols on her hands and feet. Her game isn't due out until well into next year, but this wicked witch already has gamers buzzing.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Flo -- Diner Dash (PlayFirst)


Serving up more treats than Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsey combined, the star of the preposterously popular Diner Dash series is gaming's most accomplished restaurateur. The culinary expert is also something of an inspiration, single-handedly spawning the time-management genre by way of countless clones and several hit spinoffs. Next up: Parking Dash, featuring Flo's entrepreneurial pal, Karma.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Elika -- Prince Of Persia (Ubisoft)


Behind every great man is usually a significantly greater woman, and make no mistake -- Elika is a life-saver. The new Prince of Persia's indispensable ally helps our hero leap, flip and hurdle past countless obstacles, dispatch foes, solve puzzles and generally stay on the right path. Her gorgeous, cel-shaded adventure arrives just in time for your Christmas wish list.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The History of Mahjongg

During a recent visit to my parent's house I noticed a solid black briefcase on the kitchen table. I was curious as to what was inside. From it's size, I thought it might be a laptop computer. My mom opened the briefcase to reveal several colorful tiles and game pieces. She informed me that it was her Mahjongg tile set. She plays this ancient Chinese game weekly with her friends. 

Read Full Story>>>>


The History of Backgammon

The history of backgammon, the oldest known board game, is an interesting one that began almost 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Numerous variations of the game were adopted by other cultures throughout the history of backgammon. Archaeologists continue to discover many similar games in the ruins of ancient civilizations as they explore the intriguing history of backgammon.

Read Full Story>>>> 


The History of Chess

The history of chess isn’t especially clear – there’s hardly a country in the world that doesn’t claim to have invented it, including China, Egypt, Greece, Uzbekistan and (most unbelievably) Ireland. Given the evidence, however, it seems most likely than the game of chess has its origins in 6th century India, and was then refined in Persia, from where it travelled to Europe and much later on to America.

Read Full Story>>>>





Lara Croft -- Tomb Raider Underworld (Eidos)

Believe it or not, this venerable action hottie has been raiding tombs for a dozen years now. And just like the ancient artifacts after which she so recklessly romps, Ms. Croft gets better with age. Catch the buxom Brit in her next adventure, the highly-anticipated Tomb Raider Underworld, this November.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Are Video Games Good For Children?

If you are a parent, you no doubt have asked this question more than once. Are video games good for children?
With all the exposure on the bad games, the violent games that are nothing but blood and guts, it is hard to get past that to the benefits of video games to children.
Yes .. there are benefits.
There are plenty of games out there that are not filled with violence and are geared to children by age. These games are good for children. Have you ever tried playing one of these games? It was tough enough playing "pac man", right?
If you have never played a video game your child plays, welcome to a new world .... inside the video game world of your child.
Here they are asked to do multiple tasks .... bang, bang, bang ... quick moving, quick thinking, quick acting .... to get them to a goal set ahead. It becomes a speed game of chess where the entire game calls for the ability to think ahead . Nothing can develop the strategic thinking of your child so minutely.
The movements dependent on his fingers develop great eye/hand coordination as this problem solving strategy is going on in the brain.
If this is your first attempt at getting inside the video game world of your child, don't be dismayed if you cannot get past frame one. You are not unique. Now watch your child. You will be amazed .. not only at the speed of his/her finger movements but at the knowledge being displayed as the game goes on. How does he know which way to go? Which door is the correct one... and how does she tell? Which rock is the right one...... Is there a clue telling him?
Don't worry ... they know what they are doing ... and all the while they are doing it .... they are getting smarter.
There is one thing to remember however. Video games are good for children .. but ... so is playing outdoors and reading and romping with their siblings or friends or dogs or Mom or Dad.
Video games can become almost seemingly addicting so it is up to you .. the parent to regulate the time your children spend playing them and ... of course ..... regulate the type of video games they play.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some of our favorite XBox games you don’t even have to buy–just download!

With the arrival of the next generation of X-box video games, the system for
buying games has changed forever. Before the world of interactive online video
game consoles, buyers had to go down to the local toy store to find the newest game.
It was impossible to add updates to the games, and players were unable to try out
a sample of the game they were thinking of buying. However, today, video game
consoles such as the X-box are increasingly interactive, making it possible to
surf the web, watch movies, listen to music, and play games on what is essentially a computer.

Users can now download as many video games as they want from websites that bring together X-box 360 users from around the world. These games are available for players to try a sample before deciding on whether or not they’re going to buy the full version. Players can enjoy games at a lower cost, as the video game companies don’t have to worry about transportation costs or the middle man anymore. Players will be able to enjoy endless options for their high tech video game consoles.

Users can also download the latest movies, music, and other programs for their X-box. This new system is one of the most innovative ways to play video games. Many video game consoles can simply store the information on a hard disk. This means the end of using CDs and DVDs that can be damaged by wear and tear after just a couple of months of use.

Many X-box games are now released in stages, with users downloading the newest chapter or episode as they come out. This is one of the most innovative new developments in the world of video games. Instead of releasing an entire game at once, video game developers can release a game in episodes and offer players a much more interactive game playing experience.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy the X-box 360 is through interactive online gameplay. Download the latest video games and go online to play with friends from around the world. Players who at one time became bored with their games because they were able to beat every level of the computer can now test their skills against the best from around the world. Imagine playing a game of football with an opponent led by a coach like you, who uses a strategy that is difficult to predict. No more patterns to get a touchdown every time.

Game play will never be the same. Users who can now enjoy the latest video game by simply downloading it in the comfort of their own home can now play people from around the world. Enjoy the world of online video games with your X-box console today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hop in on the fun with everyone with free mass multiplayer online role playing games

Role playing games have moved to the mass market online. Players can find some of the best multiplayer action for free in several sites. Role playing games now open up an incredible world for fans who were once limited to playing with people at their dinner table. Now, players can join together with others from all over the world and enjoy free games with increasingly complex multiplayer scenarios.

Online multiplayer games include fantasy, war, first-person shooter, strategy, and even rhythm/music games that offer excellent graphics and intricate scenarios. Dungeons and Dragons continues to be one of the most popular role playing games in the world. However, as more players move online, they are finding many new choices for role playing games that aren’t found on the mass market.

Players can now focus on one game that best matches their interests. Websites bring together players that enjoy the same kind of role playing games and create a more involved scenario. Games can last for months, and the involvement of players becomes more intense as the game advances. These games can also involve
dozens or even hundreds of players based around the world.

Online games allow players to interact with each other, keep track of points, and continue scenarios over a long period. Players can also meet new friends and find people who are interested in the same kind of things as they are, something that was next to impossible just 10 years ago. The internet has brought about many changes, and makes it possible for role playing games to offer incredible new opportunities for fans of this type of online game.

Find the best free online role playing games and join with the mass of fans that have already moved on to the internet to enjoy the unbeatable action and detail of these incredible new games. Choose from games such as first person shooter games, strategy games, fantasy games, war games, and even build your own railroad and struggle against other tycoons.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fun, Free, sometimes Frantic, online flash games are a blast!

Online flash games are becoming one of the newest and most popular choices for many online gamers. These fast paced games offer both scary and exciting scenarios for players of all ages. Many of these flash games offer incredible graphics that really suck you into the game. Watch out though, these games can be so addictive that hours may pass before you realize what’s going on.

Many sites offer a comprehensive collection of many of the best flash games, making it easy for players to try the newest game and stay up to date with the latest innovations in the industry. Free flash games can be downloaded easily, but users will need to download a special program to run them. Adobe Flash is
an absolute necessity for downloading and playing flash games from an online site.

Programmers can also make their own online flash game. It takes just a short time to create a new and popular flash game that can be enjoyed by players from around the world. Sites such as the Experimental Gameplay Project is a great place to meet other developers and get ideas for making your own scary, adventurous,
or challenging online flash game.

Learning the programming language to make a truly innovative online flash game is another challenge for developers. The biggest problem is learning the flash layout, and creating the right kind of timing to make game play smooth and entertaining.

The choice of online flash games ready for download and play is endless. There are so many flash games to choose from that anyone can find something for their tastes. Flash games are popular exactly for this reason, that with one click of the mouse, anyone can find an entertaining or scary game to download in just seconds.

Fighting, flying, sports, strategy, multiplayer, and arcade style flash games are all commonly found on sites all over the internet. Many of these games have been rated by users, helping you to find the most popular flash games out there. Online sites also offer message boards for users to discuss their favorite games
and share the latest developments with fans of flash games.

Don’t miss out on this exciting online world. Download flash games today and see what you’ve been missing out on. Each game requires no installation and downloads are free. Remember that the world of flash games is large and full of many types of games. Find the right game for you and share it with your friends. Programmers can show their talent and creativity when they make a new and innovative flash game that becomes all the rage in this incredible online community.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

From barrel racing to F1 racing, there are fun online 3D racing games to play

Many online sites offer sophisticated and entertaining 3D racing games with excellent graphics to play. These racing games include races in spaceships, luxury cars, barrels, and even boats. Online racing games that can be played online are also becoming increasingly complex as internet speeds increase and allow for a higher resolution of 3D graphics.

A simple online search can find plenty of racing games ready for download or online play. Many of these video games have creative types of racing, including one that allows you to race in a barrel down the road, running into as many cars as possible. There’s even one game that is pretty popular to play online where you and your friends race without any sort of transportation. You have to run through different terrain with a map, and the first to successfully navigate to the goal is the winner.

In fact, online racing games using LAN connections is quick becoming one of the most popular online gaming options on the net. You can race against your friends or total strangers from around the world in a number of creative races.

Aquadelic 3D is one of the most popular racing games where players can play against the computer or among friends. In this game you race one of four different speed boats, which become available to you as you win races. A total of four players can play at the same time in the multi-player version.

Enjoy the online world of racing games today and support grass roots video games designers. Many novice game designers are able to get valuable experience through creating their own online game. There are even several games that are more popular than racing games sold with the most popular video game consoles. Play with gamers from around the world through LAN technology.

If you’re looking to design an online racing game that anyone can play, there are plenty of websites that can help you learn how to program these types of 3D racing games. Programming your own racing game can give you incredible experience and maybe even a job with one of the big video game designers.

Take advantage of the opportunity to post or play online racing games today. The choices are endless for action packed game play. Finding the best games online is possible by going to popular message boards or reading user reviews in the most respected sites online. You can also search for specific types of racing games. It’s almost sure that you’ll find something for your taste.

Whether it’s racing on a horse or in a barrel, there’s a 3D racing game out there for you.

3D racing games are perfect for spending a few minutes online relaxing from work or taking a break from a long night of homework. Enjoy this incredible world today with just a click of the mouse.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cell Phone Revolution

Will cell phones be the future of gaming?

On buses and trains and at the local Starbucks, more and more business people are staring at their cell phones. But they're not trying to close the latest deal! No, the new interest in cell phones is gaming, and everyone is swept up in this craze.

After the success of Atari in the 70's, arcades sprung up and gaming became seen as childish or nerdy. After years of continued growth, gaming is now even larger than the movie industry. But until recently, average people fell like they aren't interested in wasting their time and were embarrassed to admit they played. So what's changed this trend?

People are now surrounded by computers and technology. With the ubiquitous cell phone on every hip and in every purse, it is harder and harder to find a time to wind down during lunch and on break. With stress levels rising, it is more important to relieve this stress and come back to work productive and energized.

Not only do cell phones provide a way to play video games, but game makers have gone after business users, making games that are now shorter and can be played in short bursts, making them ideal for coffee breaks and lunches. A puzzle game can be a stimulating challenge that keeps the brain working. A board game can be a relaxing break that lets you rest your mind. And all of these games can be played in 5 minutes or less.

So the next time you stand around the water cooler, don't be surprised if idle banter and gossip is replaced with battle cries and victory cheers!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Free Online Games and Their History

Among the old time classic games we have all of those which are organized under board games, these have been around for quite some time, some go centuries in the past which makes them all time classics. The way they are designed which requires constant thinking and planning are one of the few factors which make these games so desirable and addictive.

A brief research in board games shows remarkable facts about the history of board games, the oldest is said to date back to 3500 BC, this board game was called "Senet" which in ancient Egyptian translates to "passing game" ever since the first board entertainment games were invented they have evolved into more interesting forms which have been spread all over the world with the power of the internet.

One board game which became popular in the early nineties is called battle-ship. The fact that this board game became popular during this decade is not an indicator of its age though, this game was first invented in 1931 and was first published Milton Bradley which gave a new design and spin in the 90's.

Today, this legend lives on the web were it is accessible to millions of people around the globe. The rules and instructions to this game are quite easy, it is played in a double board setting which is divided by a similar vertical board where players can keep track of the attacks they have made on the opponent through a square tracking system. The goal is to try to find the exact position of your enemy's ships and sink them before they sink yours. When a player finds one ship he/she can keep on firing until a shot is missed, then it's your opponent turn to try to take on your fleet.

The fleet consists of 5 vessels they are: an aircraft carrier which is often easy to take down due to its five square size, then we have a battleship which is somewhat easy to target because it covers 4 squares, a cruiser covers three squares, the submarine covers 3 and can be quite hard to find and last but not least we have the patrol boat which covers two squares and can be a nightmare if you have found all others but not this one. When played online you can play against the computer or against an actual player through social sites which makes things even more interesting and addictive.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The History Of Pinball Machines

Pinball machines have a complex history. The roots of the modern-day pinball machines that you use in your local café come from games such as croquet and billiards, which constitute of guiding a ball to a precise location by hitting them with an instrument. However, the real spiritual ancestor to modern pinball machines was the game of Bagatelle. Developed in France during the 18th century, the game consisted of getting balls into the holes on one side of the board using a stick or a cue. The surface of the board was inclined, and obstacles were set in front of the holes to provide a more challenging experience. Many of these features have been adapted and can be seen in modern pinball machines.

In the 19th century an inventor named Redgrave took the design of the Bagatelle game and improved on it. One of his additions, still visible today, is the plunger: a device which launched the ball up an inclined field. However, once the ball was released from the plunger the user could not interact with the ball further, as flippers for the pinball machine had not yet been developed. This lead to individuals gambling on the outcome the ball would face. As a result, pinball machines were banned in many parts of the United States, including in New York City from 1940 up to 1976. The ban on the machines was ended in a famous case where Roger Sharpe claimed that the balls could be controlled by skill (with the addition of flippers) and were not solely based on luck. On a pinball machine present in the courtroom, he announced where he was going to hit the ball and proceeded to do so successfully.

The 1930s saw much innovation in terms of the design of pinball machines. The machines now included limited electronic functions such as basic sounds and the ability to propel the ball without the user's force. Several new features were introduced at this time as well, such as the tilt mechanism and free games. These new features were groundbreaking for those days and sparked a renewed interest in pinball machines. The "Humpty-Dumpty" pinball machine was the first pinball machine to include flippers. This meant that users could now play a ball for a greater period of time and introduced the whole aspect of skill and controlling the ball while playing pinball.

However, with video games being developed in the 1980s, they were quickly set aside in arcades to make way for the innovation provided by the video game sector. Many companies which had made their fortunes on manufacturing pinball machines were forced to close. It was only in the 1990s that pinball machines made a comeback, bringing exciting innovations to the machines such as a complex displays and sound systems.

Yet the turn of the millennium was a turn for the worse for pinball machines, and the sales reported by many manufactures were falling dramatically. Most manufactures were once again forced to close. Today, Stem Pinball is the only remaining manufacturer in the industry. We will have to wait and see whether they are able to bring innovation to an industry which has had so many ups and downs.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

There are ways to copy PS2 video games, but keep it legal!

How many PS2 users have had their video games damaged by wear and tear? Everyone who owns a video game console that takes CD and DVDs knows the feeling of not being able to use a game due to scratches. However, copying your PS2 video games is an excellent way to protect your collection and enjoy your games for years to come.

If you’re looking to play copied PS2 video games, there is a lot of technology that can allow your console to read a DVD or even CD copy. The key is to put in a mod chip to play these video games. This mod chip works to allow copied CDs that were not originally coded to work on a PS2 console to boot without problems. Without these mod chips, the system would automatically reject any copied CD.

Installing and using a mod chip can put a lot of pressure on your PS2 game system. Many mod chips can even eventually wear down your laser and result in the need to buy a new one. Mod chips should only be installed by trained professionals, as it is never advisable to open up your own PS2 console without special training. Make sure to use only the best technology, as a cheap mod chip can ruin your PS2 console.

Creating the right copy of your PS2 video games also requires a special program for your computer. HD Loader is one of the most popular systems for copying and storing your PS2 games on your hard drive. This allows you to create a back up disc or keep the information there for safe-keeping. HD Loader allows you to boot and load your games faster, and reduce the wear and tear on your PS2’s laser especially with games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that read from the disc most of the time during play with games that you legally own. With HD Loader you don’t need a mod chip or special equipment, but you’ll need the PS2 Network Adapter, a Playstation 1 game, and an IDE hard drive (Maxtor ones work the best, usually) for continued use, as well
as an Action Replay Max to get the hard drive software on the memory card the first time.

Many PS2 users who want to protect their original video game use this technology to back up a disc, or use HD Loader to boot their games faster and keep their laser from being overused. However, users should be careful to not break copyright laws, since buying or downloading a pirated PS2 video game is against the law. It is also against the law in many countries to bypass any copyright technology that is installed in a PS2 video game, so make sure you check into local laws before going ahead with this kind of project.

This technology helps users restore video games that have been damaged by wear and tear and continue enjoying their PS2 experience. Protect your games and continue to enjoy the best video games in the world for years to come. Back up your collection of PS2 games today using a mod chip and special software on your PC.

Be a Video Game Tester

Becoming a video game tester sounds fun, doesn't it? Those that play and test games know that it's an excellent job or a great career choice. It's unfortunate that a lot of gamers think or somehow believe being paid to do this simply cannot happen. Just the opposite, there are many people that play games, just like us, doing this type of work as a full blown career with benefits.

Having a career as a video game tester can be really fun, but it's important to note that this is also a real job, with real money making opportunities. It may not be for everyone, but that's obviously up to each individual. At first glance, being a tester may sound like it's "all fun and games", which it can be, but it also requires more than just playing a game.

Some examples might be having to play the same levels many times over just to identify all the different bugs that are presented within the game. So there is "work" involved. That being said, the majority of people that are in this business do tend to be very happy with their jobs. Of course, they do get to play the hottest games on the market in addition to see what the future holds for the industry - in some cases, days, months, or even years before the general public does.

Many known designers, programmers, etc, in the industry actually started as a video game tester before getting the position that they have today. So it's an excellent way for people to get their foot in the door. Contacts are everything, so meeting the right people is very important, thus becoming a video game tester being a great way to do that.

How much do game testers get paid? It really depends on the position your interested in, and it can vary from place to place. It would require some research on the participant interested. Generally speaking, you can get paid from $10/hr, all the way up $100+/hr or more.

If you love playing video games, chances are you will love having a job that requires you to test them. The growth of this incredible interactive medium has given birth to opportunities like this. Becoming a video game tester is a real job, that pays real money, and in many ways, it goes much beyond that.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Online Hunting Games - Early Age Video Game History

Even though personal computers have been around for a very long time, they really became popular in the 1980’s and have evolved into almost a necessity of life for many people. However, video games really began with the invention of the Atari video game system which would eventually evolve into more in-depth and more powerful game systems. One of the earliest hunting games developed was Duck Hunt which was made for the Nintendo game system.

Duck Hunt required the use of a special Nintendo Zapper light gun that plugged directly into the system. Players would then wait for ducks to show up on the screen which looked like a field. When the ducks came along, they would point and shoot. They were accompanied by a faithful hunting dog who would laugh if the duck was missed and congratulate on a successful shooting. The game also allowed players to shoot clay pigeons if they chose.

There was really no ending in the Duck Hunt game, however there were playing levels. Depending on how good the player got, he or she would advance up to 99 levels at which point, the game would go to level 00. At that level, no ducks would appear, but you would hear wings flapping. After three times of no ducks appearing, the game would be “over”.

After Duck Hunt, there were many other hunting video games that would begin to emerge on the market including Deer Hunter, Big Game Hunter, and Dangerous Hunts. Most of these games began for video game consoles like Nintendo, but the computer industry would soon become more and more involved as these games began to rise in popularity. While opinions vary as to which hunting video game was the first one developed for the home computer, many think that it was called “The Hunting Game” and was made by Oquirrh Productions. The Hunting Game allowed players to hunt for mule, deer, elk, and white tail deer from 48 separate locations. You were allowed to use a rifle, a bow, or a muzzle loader to hunt your prey. You also could hunt for turkey or water fowl from 18 separate locations.

When The Hunting Game first came onto the market, it caused quite a stir among hunting enthusiasts as well as animal rights activists. In fact, in many circles, the emergence of hunting video games brought about much debate and controversy.

Those who enjoyed hunting in the “real world” found these new games exciting and a great way to get some entertainment without leaving the comfort of their own home. They saw the games as a great way to be able to hunt animals they might never be able to do in real life such as bears and moose.

After all, the average Midwestern hunter sees plenty of deer on hunting expeditions, but their chances of hunting bear or elk is limited without a trip someplace.

On the other hand, animal rights activists threw a fit over these games because they perceived them as just another way to harm the animal population and promote violence against our furry friends. Even though the animals were just a bunch of coding made up by a software programmer somewhere, they still felt that video games promoting hunting only added to the real hunting of animals which they perceived as wrong.

At any rate, the fact remained that hunting video games took the market by storm and soon became some of the most popular selling games and software around. Software developers began to make these games much more challenging offering up different options for players that would make the games more enjoyable.

Today, there are hundreds of hunting video games for enthusiasts to choose from that have evolved into truly challenging games. Some may think that a point and click game where you can “down” a virtual deer might be a bit boring, but those who love these games disagree wholeheartedly.

They provide not only entertainment, but also a way to hone their hunting skills at any time of the day or night. When you spend a certain amount of time honing your tracking skills on the computer, chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to use those skills while hunting for real.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Video Games A Leading Entertainment Market After Bumpy History

The first video game that most people remember was a basic computerized version of table tennis, called "Pong". This is not because it was the first video game - there were many others floating around university campuses long before Pong debuted - but because it was the first video game to gain massive popular appeal. Today, video games are a lucrative entertainment industry, rivaling films for popularity and even intertwining with Hollywood - movies are made from popular games (such as Doom and Resident Evil) and games are created based on popular movies (such as Transformers and Star Wars). In fact, the first movie tie-in video game ever created was based on Star Wars in the 1980's, when video games were first emerging as a competitive force in popular culture.

It's tempting to be dismissive of video games as a toy for kids or a hobby for nerds, but they are really much more pervasive and widely popular than that. Their history is filled with ups and downs. Video games did not achieve world wide success overnight, but rather over a long period of time and in fits and starts.

After the sudden popularity of Pong in 1972, the industry enjoyed a brief period of commercial success, where a few of the best-known early games emerged, such as "Tank" and "Blockade", but it didn't last. In 1977 the public lost interest in video games and the bottom fell out of the market. This, too, was short-lived, however, as the video game began to reemerge in 1978 with the release of a game that is still popular with video game fanatics to this day: "Space Invaders". Space Invaders was the first game to give players the incentive of besting other players' "high score" and was an enormous success. Space Invaders was followed in 1980 by a little game known as "Pac-Man", an unprecedented success by any standards that put video games firmly back into the public imagination. For the first time, a video game character was so popular that merchandise tie-ins such as keychains and bedsheets were sold bearing its image. After Pac-Man, the public was clamouring for new games, and the companies that designed them were falling over themselves to come up with the next big thing. The next big thing ended up being released by a small Japanese company called Nintendo and featured an ape called "Donkey Kong" throwing barrels at a little jumping man who was trying to save his girlfriend. The little jumping man didn't get a name until Donkey Kong's sequel, "Donkey Kong Jr.", was released and they decided to call him Mario. He would go on to become the single most popular video game character in the world.

The first few years of the 1980's also saw the emergence of the home game console. The Atari 2600, the Intellivision console by Mattel and ColecoVision consoles all improved upon previous graphics and gameplay, but in the rush to cash-in on video game popularity, the market found itself overcrowded and the public once again lost interest. In 1983, the bottom fell out of the industry for the second time. However, this was also a short-lived setback. Home computers brought back the video game as a popular form of entertainment, and consoles made a major come-back in the 1990's. Though there were popular consoles during the latter part of the 1980's - the Nintendo Entertainment System comes to mind - the console really took off when they developed to the point that sophisticated, realistic graphics began to be possible with the innovation of 64-bit technology. At that point, Sony created its famous first console, known as the PlayStation. The PlayStation went head-to-head against Nintendo's acclaimed 64-bit console, the Nintendo 64, without a clear winner.

The popularity of PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 led to the next generation of consoles from both of those manufacturers, but also saw computer software giant Microsoft enter the fray. In 2000 and 2001, the PlayStation2, the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox were all released in quick succession, and despite the presence of three major consoles on the market, they all enjoyed a high level of success. Video gaming had reached a level of popularity that, unlike in 1983, allowed it, as an industry, to support them. It had truly become entertainment for the masses.

Currently, the three major console manufacturers each have new consoles on the market: the PlayStation3, the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox360. Each company has tried to come up with new gimmicks and innovations to beat out the others for the affections of gamers.

What's best for hardcore gamers, however, isn't necessarily what's best for everyone. While the PlayStation3 is competing for the same market as the Xbox360, the Nintendo Wii has taken a different approach, appealing to a broader, more family-friendly audience. With its innovative new controller that works by waving it around in the air, rather than pressing buttons, and its family-friendly games - many featuring the famous Mario from their Donkey Kong days - they have managed to create the sold-out, must-have console for the second Christmas season running.

The competition between Playstation3 and Xbox360 is more heated, however. Though they have only been out for about a year, it looks like the Xbox360 is just barely ahead of the Playstation3 in appeal to gamers. Its stunning graphics and capacity for massive online multiplayer games - developed through Microsoft's extensive experience in home computer technology - has a lot of gamers convinced it is the best console available for serious video game fanatics.

Many people think that the next big innovation in video game technology will be in the field of virtual reality, a medium that has been in development for some time and never quite seems to get off the ground in a commercially viable way. This may change, however, as processors get faster and smaller and the components needed to build sophisticated electronic equipment become cheaper and easier to make.

Regardless of where video game technology goes next or who will win the console war, it seems pretty clear that video games are here to stay. Who knows - one day, they may even usurp movies in popularity.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

History of Real-Time Strategy Games

Real-time strategy (RTS) games are arguebly the most popular genre on PC and rightly so, as they are highly competitive and long-lasting due to the many different ways an RTS can be played. Today I want to provide you with a hisory of RTS that will give you an idea of where it all started.

RTS games are still a fairly new genre compared to others because early computer strategy game revolved around turn-based strategy, which whilst fun does not offer the frenetic thrills you can expect from an RTS. The following is a discussion of the most influential RTS games:

Herzog Zwei- Surprisingly enough what is now considered the first RTS game was in fact released on the Sega Megadrive back in 1989 instead of the PC. The game focused mainly on split screen multiplayer action, (Yes that's right a split screen RTS) where each player had a main base with several support bases, the maps also consisted of neutral bases that any player could capure and use to their advantage. What made Herzog Zwei work on the console is the control of a single unit only, with all other units acting as support,a rather ingenious move that could be implemented in future console RTS games.

Dune II- After Dune II was released the RTS front suddenly became quiet until late 1994, when Warcraft: Orcs and Humans was released by Blizzard Entertainment. This game moved away from the sci-fi aspects oof Dune II and into a magical fantasy world that was thoroughly entertaining. There are two resources to be harvested in this game; lumber and gold. The two would have to be managed successfully inn order to build a mighty war machine. The units on both sides were essentially mirror images of each other, however they still looked distinctive from each other.

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans- After Dune II was released the RTS front suddenly became quiet until late 1994, when Warcraft: Orcs and Humans was released by Blizzard Entertainment. This game moved away from the sci-fi aspects oof Dune II and into a magical fantasy world that was thoroughly entertaining. There are two resources to be harvested in this game; lumber and gold. The two would have to be managed successfully inn order to build a mighty war machine. The units on both sides were essentially mirror images of each other, however they still looked distinctive from each other.

Command & Conquer- Westwood responded to the release of Warcraft in 1995 with the release of Command & Conquer, which was a spectacular evolution of the Dune II formula. Command & Conquer could have been released under a different name but Westwood decided it was time to make a fresh game without a license attached. Command & Conquer follows the story of a charismatic batle between GDI (Global Defence Inititive) and the Brotherhood of Nod, led by the ruthless Kane. The game made use of cut-scenes, which were rather cheesy but proved a hit with gamers.

Conclusion- There you have it these are the most influential games in RTS gaming history and all except Herzog Zwei have spawned various sequels and clones. In this day and age developers often merge RTS elements into other genres and it is not difficult to predict that this trend will continue as more advanced technologies are released allowing for more creative expressions from software developers. The genre may start to re-emerge on consoles, as attempts made recently have been more successful, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars being a good example.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Moms, Sons, and Video Games

Generally speaking, although there are exceptions, it is easier to stay "in touch" with our teenage daughters than it is with our teenage sons. On the surface, it may not appear so, but how often do you get to really talk with your growing son? How much one on one time do you get? And I don't mean from the stands of a sporting event that he is participating in.
There are several ways to accomplish this major goal as a parent. You could go hiking together, camping, fishing, but these are usually "Dad" times to bond. Some Moms do this as well, but I found something that is fun, a bit challenging, and just about anyone can do it. Now, this is for the Mom whose boys enjoy video games and are completely brilliant at them, getting bored easily because they beat the game so quickly. Ask them to teach you how to play, be very interested, and genuinely wish to learn!

The easiest game I found, and the one my son taught me first, is Dungeons and Dragons Heroes for the XBox. It is a two player game, comes with a tutorial that you stay in until you have it all figured out and learn the controls, the graphics are pretty good, and will retain your sons interest for enough time to get you started. The choices in the two player game catagory are very limited, but after you master Dungeons and Dragons Heroes, try another XBox game called Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance 2. This is a more challenging game that will hold both you and your son's attention a bit longer as there is an awesome side quest to find soul shards. As you get more comfortable with the game systems, you start incorporating other topics into your conversations besides just the games and "which button do I push?" Before long, he will start to tell you important things about his day or even his thoughts. Understand, that if he is really good at the games, for him, it is a relaxing, no brainer activity, and those are the most opportune times to get to know who your son really is.

Yes, it might be a lot of work to learn something new, or you just don't have time, or it is too hard. OK, this is not for everyone and certainly there are other ways, but this way works And you obtain a skill to boot! Trust me, video games Are a skill! Some help with History, like Age Of Empires will give you is a big plus. Age Of Empires is a PC game that comes in different eras. A brilliant learning tool on the Roman Empire and tacticle manoeuvers, while you learn better to interact with your son.

Or, you could choose a racing game, like Mario Cart! It is a benefit to their later driving abilities and found with the Nintendo systems. Haunted Mansion is an XBox figure it out puzzle type game that boosts your thinking and reasoning skills. Even Fable, which is absolutely brilliant by the way, shows them morality as they and you journey through life. Fable and Haunted Mansion are one player games, but you can help him figure out the puzzles in the Haunted Mansion, and with Fable, the beautiful graphics are like watching a movie play out by your sons hand.

The best part of this adventure through gaming, other than the main purpose of getting closer with your son, is when you can play the cool old stuff we used to play, like Pacman and Gallaga. Nintendo has these for their system. Your son might say that the graphics are a bit on the lame side, but you will enjoy the play time together, no matter how short.

Don't wait for them to want to do something with you, it may not happen right away. And, offering to do something with your son out in public is not always received with great eagerness. This is at home, no one has to be informed that your son is "hanging out" with his Mom, that is, until you get good and then become a bragging right for your son! Well worth the effort at that point!

You can spend time online at Amazon, or drive down to EB Games or Gamestop for inexpensive, used games. There really are only a few select "greats" that never get old. Enjoy your new skill and the new relationship with your son!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:
1) You can't get the best gaming computer from computer retailers
If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.
2) You don't have to be rich to build the best gaming computer
It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.
3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part
Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?
4) You don't need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer
It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.
5) Brand is important
Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider
If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Runescape: History and Development of the Game

Runescape is an extremely popular Multi Massive Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), that was created by Andrew Gower, and is currently owned and operated by Jagex, Ltd. The game offers to methods of play: free and paid. Runescape currently has over 9 millions active Free players, and more then 800,000 subscribed paying members. The game is written in JavaScript and can be played through an ordinary web browser such as Internet Explorer, or Firefox.

Runescape takes players to the medieval fantasy realm of Gielinor. This world is further split into several kingdoms: Misthalin, Asgarnia, Kandarin, the volcanic tropics of Karamja, dry desert of Kharidian Desert, and of course the Wilderness. The wilderness is the only area of the world that players may currently battle or “player-kill” each other. Currently the only mode of transportation is to walk or run. Users at higher levels can make us of Magic Teleportation to a few select towns or realms. All of the above mentioned regions each offer different enemies and monsters for the players to battle.

During a players adventures in Runescape they will encounter many quests, and are able to set their own goals and achievements. There is no “one” right way to play the game. Players are also encouraged to communicate with other players by means, of chatting, trading with each other, or simply cooperating with each other to help finish the quests.

As a Cambridge University undergraduate, Andrew Gower worked on writing the game with the help of his brother, Paul Gower. Through several trials and tribulations, Runescape was eventually released to the public in a beta version, on Jan. 4, 2001. The game was originally operated from there house in Nottingham. Eventually the brother duo tagged the company name Jagex.

About a year after the beta was released the brothers decided to open up the membership services for Runescape. This would allow players to pay a small monthly fee to access new in game skills, items, and a variety of other features not available to free members.

With the continued growth of Runescape game the challenges to also update the game's technological aspects as well. Being written in JavaScript the game was easily suspectable to “hacks.” This forced Jagex developers to completely rewrite the gaming engine. This rewrite also added a more three dimensional look and feel to the game as well. This version of the game became known as Runescape 2, but has since then completely taken over the original Runescape Classic version. Runescape 2 was initially released to all paying members around earlier December of 2003, and was release to free members on March 29, 2004. As of Jan. 12, 2006 Runescape Classic is only available for play if you are a subscribed member.

There are currently Runescape servers located in 7 different countries! With over 130 servers total, and new servers are constantly being added due the overwhelming popularity of the game. Currently each Runescape server can hold 2,000 players, this enables the servers to hold around 260,000 simultaneous players at any given time. The servers are split into Free worlds and Member worlds.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Legend of Zelda: A Short History

If you’ve clicked across one or another Top 100 games of all time list you’ll remember one thing from them all – the number one game is almost always Zelda. They tend to clump them together by franchise, and Zelda tends to battle it out with Mario for the top spot. More often than not though, Link’s magnum opus comes out on top.
The Legend of Zelda series is always about the same basic thing; a young boy, Link (or whatever goofy sophomoric name you give him – my brother’s first link was named poopFace) is called upon to accomplish a quest that his name sake, the great hero of Hyrule (at some unspecified time in the past) undertook. Said quest usually involves being tossed randomly into a situation of battle (often times as a young child) only to meet the princess of the realm, Zelda and uncover a plot by Ganondorf to take over and destroy the realm by getting his hands on the Triforce, an ancient remnant of Hyrule’s Goddesses. Link always kicks enormous amounts of ass and becomes the great hero of the realm. The story’s usually the same, with whatever goofy humor Miyamoto decides to throw in there and the few variations of gameplay.
And the gameplay is the key to all the Zelda games. The famous dungeons, usually 7-10 of them throughout the game, are notoriously well crafted, difficult without being impossible and almost always incredible beautiful. The time and energy put into the Zelda games usually produces lavish, monstrous games that rewrite how the genre is played. And that is why it’s the greatest franchise of all time.
It’s impossible to build a chronology for the games, as they are never specifically linked, but there are a variety of little details that give out some information as to how these break down.
The Legend of Zelda, released in 1986 for the NES, created and established the dungeon actioner genre and introduced us to the cast of now well known characters. The story involves Link being called upon to defeat Ganon, already in his pig form, after retrieving the triforce pieces that Zelda scattered throughout the land.
Zelda II: The Adventures of Link was released the next year and involves the same Link only a few months later. It’s considered by most to be at the end of the chronology as it is never referenced in other games. Moreover it gives cause for all of the princesses being named Zelda. A Zelda of many generations before was put to sleep for her transgressions against the King by hiding the triforce, so the prince decreed that all princesses of the realm would carry the name Zelda.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released for the SNES in 1991, making the great leap to 16 bit, the only game from the sequence to appear on the console. This game occurs earlier in the Zelda chronology, revolving around Link’s first attempt to retrieve the Master sword and defeat Ganon, still in pig form. It also makes first reference to the origins of Ganon, that is Ganondorf the thief, who stole the triforce and attempted to overtake Hyrule, and the Seven Sages who seal of the Golden Land from him.
With most of the Zelda games, shortly after a main sequence game, a spin off or sequel, something lighter is released not involving Ganon. In 1993, Link’s Awakening was released for the Gameboy as just that, a quest for enlightenment after defeating Ganon.
It wasn’t until 1998 that the next true Zelda game was released, and boy was it a game. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is considered by many as the greatest video game ever made. I tend to agree. Chronologically, it’s the first in the series, taking place when Ganondorf is still human, a thief from the desert in the west. He steals the triforce, which shortly after breaks apart because of his impure intentions. Link’s quest involves finding and putting the triforce back together and enacting all of the seven sage’s seals. This game more or less invented the genre as we know it today. Autojumps, aiming, analog controls, fully 3D environments, and the sheer scope of the game make it a classic without peer.
Majora’s Mask does the whole side story thing again. It’s about Link’s return to youth after the events of Ocarina, in which he’s robbed and drafted to help stop the moon from destroying another world.
Wind Waker, released for the Gamecube in 2003, takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina, after the land of Hyrule has been destroyed and is underwater. We meet Ganon as a pig once more, and discover that Link and Zelda are both reincarnations of their Ocarina counterparts. This game took a sharp turn from previous games, still extremely well made, but alienating many fans, with it’s cel shaded graphics and fetch quests. The game took as long as any previous Zelda to complete, but half of that time was spent sailing from island to island, floating around the great Hyrule sea. It could be….frustrating at times.
And that brings us to the newest entry, the big Wii release game, Twilight Princess. The newest Zelda takes place a few decades after the Ocarina of Time, this time our Link is an adult, living on his own in southern village as a wrangler. It’s the darkest and most mature of the Zelda games and along with its Wii controls, it manages to be the most breathtakingly cinematic of the games as well. Ganon first appears as pig, but reverts to Ganondorf at the end. Easily the longest of the Zelda games, Twilight Princess introduces tons of new elements, not the least of which is the chance to play as a wolf various times throughout.
The Legend of Zelda series is a long running Nintendo tradition, the kind that will never fade away, if only because of the fierce loyalty of its fans. These games are masterpieces, every one and never once has Nintendo let its fans down. We’ll just go ahead and pretend The CDi games never existed (they weren’t Nintendo anyways).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Final Fantasy: A Short History

In 1987, Square was on the verge of a complete and utter breakdown, bankruptcy from a slew of failed games. It was with this that they decided to throw everything they had into one last ditch effort, aptly titled Final Fantasy. The game was a monstrous success, utilizing cutting edge technology to tell the first of many epic tales in the newly minted Japanese RPG format.
The next two games didn’t see immediate release in the United State, but grew the brand name and popularity of the series in Japan, leading up to the release of Final Fantasy IV in 1991, released later in 1992 in the US as Final Fantasy II. It was the first of three releases for the SNES and single handedly blew away the entire genre. It was an epic tale of deception and betrayal and the quest of a disgraced Knight to uncover and destroy the conspiracy that promises to ruin his nation.
The next game was similarly skipped in the US, a more numbers and level oriented affair much like earlier entry III. It was a growth in the series but nothing revolutionary, merely an extension of the brand name to bridge the gap until the next blockbuster in Final Fantasy VI.
Final Fantasy VI was released in the US as Final Fantasy III and proved to be the kick in the pants that many American gamers needed to truly fall in love with the series. Even now, it’s considered by many to be the best of the series. Terra, Kefka, intensely fun boss battles and a story line to rival any since then, Final Fantasy VI had it all and stands even now as one of the most often played of my classic game collection.
And it was with this game that Square brought to an end the 16 bit era of Final Fantasy. The inclusion of offshoots, Mystic Quest for the SNES and Legends for the Gameboy should be noted as attempts by Square to extend the popularity of the franchise to a mainstream audience. Most will note the failure of the endeavor, as none of these titles were true Final Fantasies relying on the brand name more than the game play to sell copies.
It would take a technological revolution and the abandoning of a classic partnership for Square’s key franchise to make the jump to mainstream popularity. That came in 1997 with the PlayStation release of Final Fantasy VII. The decision to abandon Nintendo was made for multiple reasons, not the least of which was the inability of Nintendo to develop a platform capable of the technical capacity Square wanted to introduce. Staying true to the classic cartridge format, Nintendo alienated the desire for video and orchestrated music inclusion, something Sony’s new CD format game console handled beautifully.
And it was this new technology and openness to innovation that brought Final Fantasy VII to the market. It was the first in the series to jump to 3d. Also, the first to use FMVs, the videos played during emotionally climactic moments of the game. Whether the story or game play were revolutionary has always been hotly debated by fans and dissenters, but the impact of VII on the genre has been felt ever since. It reinvented, as the series did 10 years earlier how the RPG genre was viewed, and today remains one of the most popular games of all time.
A year and a half later saw the release of Final Fantasy VIII, step two of Square’s Playstation trilogy of games. It took the advances of Final Fantasy VII and built on them admirably, introducing a new format for magic and leveling that some saw as too easy, but also added entirely new levels of strategy to the experience.
Final Fantasy IX sought to return the series to the medieval roots from which it grew. By reverting from the nearly realistic approach of the eighth entry, we saw the reintroduction of the super-deformed cartoonish style of earlier games. The plot retroacts to the medieval formats of the earlier games as well, away from the science fiction elements of the previous three games. It was received well but overlooked because of the simultaneous release of Sony’s new PlayStation 2 and the introduction of new highs in graphical output.
Enter the next generation. Final Fantasy X was a step forward in the ways VII was five years before. It introduced true 3D, voice acting, astounding graphics, and one of the most compelling stories in the series, unabashedly harsh and unforgiving to its characters, so powerful it bred a sequel, the first in Final Fantasy history. Of course, the sequel didn’t quite live up to it’s predecessor and Final Fantasy X-2 has never received the respect of its brethren, but the game itself is fun and full of innovation that no main series game could pull off.
Except, Square decided to go for it, and in Final Fantasy XI they didn’t even create a standard RPG. Instead, the RPG giant brought to us their entry in the MMORPG realm, a sprawling, technically wonderful internet RPG, which now boasts one of the second largest internet populations (World of Warcraft destroys all of its competition). Some found it too hard, and more didn’t appreciate the use of brand name just to sell a completely new product, especially as it pushed the release of a new console game to almost 5 years later. XI has been around for a little while now and is in need of a sequel, and it’s yet to be seen if Square-Enix will go to the trouble.
Yup that’s right, Square Enix. The two giants merged shortly after XI’s release and things took a sure change. Final Fantasy XII was indefinitely delayed for years because of the merger. But it finally released earlier this last year to critical acclaim. The game took the more efficient elements of XI’s battle system and introduced a more mature, involving story, revolving around all of its characters. As a game, XII succeeds on multiple levels because of its willingness to change from the “formula” that the other games created. And this is the story of Final Fantasy as a franchise. Through innovation, Square Enix has managed to always craft something incredible worth playing and lasting. I still have all of my original Final Fantasies intact on a shelf hidden away for safety, something only Zelda also enjoys as a game franchise. Everything else tends to disappear.
As PlayStation 3 arrives, the newest entry is probably only a year or two away and we’ll see what Square Enix does with it, but you can count on one thing. It will be innovative and top notch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Fascinating History Of Backgammon

Backgammon has a long fascinating history of more than 5000 years, making it one of the oldest games in civilization. The earliest backgammon board, from an early version of the game, was found circa 3000 B.C. in the royal cemetery in Ur of the Chaldees in southern Mesopotamia(now called Iraq), the birthplace of Abraham.
The game has been played around the world and throughout recorded history. A form of the game was enjoyed by the Egyptian Pharoahs; boards dating from 1500 B.C. were found in King Tut's tomb. Wall paintingsin many Egyptian tombs portray people playing the game, indicating that it was played by the common people as well as the Pharaohs. A thousand years later, the Greeks were playing a form of the game. Homer, Sophocles, and Plato mention the game in their works. In Rome, the game long remained one of the most popular among the patricians. Emperor Claudius reportedly wrote a book on backgammon.
The excavators of Pompeii found a backgammon table in the courtyard of almost every villa. Various early versions of the game were popular in Britain, dating from the Crusades. It has always been a favourite game of the English. It is believed that the current form of the game evolved in the tenth century. Backgammon has been played in the United States since the seventeenth century.
However, the doubling cube was only introduced to the game in the early 1920s by an anonymous genius. This greatly enhanced the quality of backgammon and increased its popularity in the United States. The game had another surge of interest in the 1970s, but has waned in popularity in recent years due primarily to the advent of video and computer games.
When backgammon is played with the right people and strategy, it can be a very fascinating and addictive game for everybody. Hopefully, interest in this ancient game will increase in the near future. Perhaps, if more people discover the real game of backgammon, it will regain the popularity that it deserves.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Fascinating History of Bingo

The amazing success of the favourite pastime of many, Bingo does not happen overnight. It does has its own history, which dates back to it first appearance in the early 1800s. Bingo is a direct descendent of lottery-type games and its roots can be traced back into Europe, to the year 1530, when the Italian state run game of Lo Giuoco del Lotto was organized.
Over the centuries, an offshoot of that game spread through the whole of Europe. It was played quite differently from now as the game card was divided into 3 horizontal rows and nine vertical columns, instead of the usual 5x 5 grid. Another difference is that the numbers used are in the range of 1-90 while nowadays we use only numbers from 1 to 75.
The horizontal rows contained 5 numbered squares and 4 blank ones. As usual, the objective of the game was to cross out a horizontal row or vertical column. The blank squares were marked as "free" , similar to our present game, and the player needed to have the 5 numbered squares called.
Each player would be given one unique card and has to wait for the caller to draw numbers from a bag that contain wooden chips which are numbered from 1-90.
Bingo in its current form, grew out of the depression and was immediately a big hit with the Americans looking for a diversion from the everyday drudgery of life. As its fundraising potential was realized by churches and various groups, Bingo grew out of proportions and spread from coast to coast rapidly. By the middle of 1930s, thousands and thousands of Bingo games were played each week and this game subsequently ended up as the favourite pastime for many players.
On the east coast, New Jersey legalized the game in the 1950s and New York did the same in 1959. As other states realized the popularity of Bingo, the game simply became unstoppable and everyone seems to be playing it everyday.
The lucrative possibilities of Bingo was also attracting the attention of other neighbouring countries who were looking for revenue generating opportunities. Thus, it did not take long for these countries to jump onto the Bingo bandwagon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Sims Makes History

A recent online survey of PC gamers has revealed that "The Sims" is one of the most popular and best-selling games of all time.
Electronic Arts, distributors of the game, announced that the virtual-life game created by Will Wright and Maxis, has sold over 7 million copies worldwide (2002) to dethrone Myst as the top-selling computer game of all time. If you combine The Sims with all its expansion versions, The Sims series will have accounted for more than 13 million sales worldwide.
The Sims was first released on February 4, 2000 and, since then, seven expansion packs and a sequel, The Sims 2, have been released.
The great appeal of the game is that, instead of meeting a set of objectives, players engage in a fully interactive environment and are encouraged to make choices about everyday living. It is up to the player to decide how he wants to spend his "virtual day," with the only real objective being how to organize his time and activities to help him reach his personal goals.
Like real people, Sims (which also refers to the virtual character in the game as well as the game itself) have a certain amount of free will, which means they can choose to ignore a player's commands and do something else that they think is more important, just like real people. For example, you may want to make them go to the supermarket or visit a friend, but if their energy level is too low, the Sim may just decide to sleep instead to build up his energy reserves.
The game calls for players to make decisions for their Sim characters about personal development (such as adding specific activities like exercise and reading to enhance creativity, and logic), personal hygiene (how often he must clean the house, do the dishes or take out the garbage), personal finances (what kind of job does he take on and how does he spend his income), eating, and sleeping.
Let's say the Sim does not have enough eat or sleep, or has not created a healthy environment, they could get sick and die. If the Sim does not have enough recreational activities, his fun level bar falls and he becomes depressed (but never to the point that he commits suicide).
Players also have control over how their Sim character relates with other characters. They can make their Sim a nasty person who insults, slaps or even attacks other Sims, which usually means they get insulted, slapped and attacked in return.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Games : Fishing Games - A Quick Peek in the History

A tranquil lake. The sound of rippling water. Waves lulling you to sleep as they slap against the sides of your small boat. The sound of leaves rustling in some far off distance. The smell of damp earth. A moment later, a sharp tug at the end of the pole is felt. Man then pits his strength and cunning against one of nature's most slippery creatures. Ah, the joys of fishing.

But then, not all people have the time nor the inclination to travel a long way to experience said joys. Fear not. I present to you, computer fishing games!

With the vast technological advancements we are enjoying right now, the world of the computer fishing game has become more fun, more exciting and more challenging.

Change is brought about by the advent of such features such as a wide variety of fishes to choose from, realistic actions and events, cool underwater scenes and beautiful color displays. The player is introduced to lifelike sound effects and an interesting assortment of game equipment.

The appearance of the life like fishing rod used as the game controller revolutionized the scene. With sensors mounted on the ends, the player can actually feel the vibrations and forces acting upon his line as the virtual fishes struggle to break loose from his hook's trap.

Indeed, virtual fishing has come from a long way. From the old DOS discs to the dynamic game consoles we have today, the industry of computer fishing games may have faltered a few times but for now, it's still going strong.

Let's take a look back at the path virtual fishing has taken.

1. Gone Fishing by William Engel

Made by Radio shack in 1977 for the TRS 80 Model I, Gone fishing is the first of its kind.

2. Fishing Derby by David Crane

This game was next as Atari launched the first fishing game with any hint of realism. Using a color display and blocks, the Fishing Derby was played using an Atari Joystick.

3. Fishing by Gakken

LCD/LED was introduced to the scene by Japan. In 1981, Gakken released it's small, electronic, hand held fishing game.

4. Virtual Fishing (1997)

In the middle of the 1990's, computer monitors leveled up. They became bigger, clearer and more colorful. Graphics became more and more realistic and appealing. Fishing games, of course, upped their standards by producing better quality games for the DOS interface.

5. TNN Tournament of Champions

Made for the consoles Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, the TNN Tournament of Champions was made using help from various professional fishermen and manufacturers of tackles.

6. Sega Bass Fishing Duel

With the release of Playstation 2, Sega launched the Sega Bass Fishing Duel last 2002. The use of joysticks heightened the fun as vibrations and shakes were included in the features.

7. Wireless Fishing Games

Using their cell phone, the player can choose of lure and a location anywhere in Japan and try to catch the fishes. A ring or a vibration of his phone would signal a catch.

The arrival of newer and more sophisticated game consoles would probably never end. Thus, the market for games such as fishing games will always be open for developers as the market demands more from them. The evolution of computer games therefore, from the ancient Gone Fishing to high end virtual simulators, will continue and will still be enjoyed by adult and youngsters alike for a long time to come.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Games : Video Game History – Do You Remember Pac Man, Space Invaders, and Super Mario Brothers?

Of all the things that the 1970’s produced, there are few that made as big of a cultural impact as video games. There’s no question about it: video games have been a significant force in society and one of the most popular leisure pursuits. Chances are if you’re under the age of 40, you played them, some of us a lot. There was Atari, Intellivision and Colecovision. Don’t forget Sega and Nintendo. Today there are web sites that allow you to download free online games.

And if you remember those days of the late ‘70’s and early 80’s, you recall that the games relied on graphic improvements and better ways of shooting the enemy. It was more or less a solitary pursuit. With the rise of the Internet and online games however, lots of things changed, including the ability to download games and playing online games, making games a more social activity, with lots of players, or opponents playing each other from different countries. This may be the biggest change – and the latest benefit that games have offered the world.

But what about the early days? How did it all start and what were the video games that defined the era?
The Innovators

Many people think that Pong was the home game that started it all, but really it was Magnavox and their "Odyssey" system in 1972. Although it was very simple, it was still the first. It had twelve simple games with graphic overlays. However, there was lots of room for improvement, and that’s where Pong came into play.

Nolan Bushnell created Pong, along with Al Alcorn, the founder of Atari. Rumor has it that when the prototype was tested at a California bar, the machine broke down after two days, because it was so popular. The next logical step was to create a home version. So, one year later, Atari released Pong, complete with built in paddles, and a speaker. Of course, Pong was a huge success and represented a new stage in the evolution of gaming. Over sixty Pong knock-offs would be produced, but Atari dominated the market.

Next was the implementation of the microprocessor, which the entire industry adopted. As a result of this, more complicated systems could be developed. These systems produced groundbreaking and innovative graphical and auditory effects that had never been seen before. Consumers were eating it up. The industry was on fire. In 1981 alone, five billion dollars were spent on video arcade machines and another billion dollars was spent on home video game systems. Atari’s VCS/2600 system remained the dominant player through 1982, when the gaming market experienced a crash.

What were some of the great games? How about Pac Man? Pac Man, the yellow blob that ate up dots and avoided squid-like ghosts, was a worldwide sensation and probably the biggest game of all time.

Space Invaders was another incredibly popular game. In fact, it really marked a turning point for arcade games, bringing them out of bars and into family friendly places like shops and restaurants. The premise of Space Invaders was to stop an alien invasion. This simple formula went on to become the most successful arcade game of all time.

Then there was Super Mario, which was huge as well. It involved an Italian anti-hero who was deliberately designed as a character that everyone could relate to. Soon thereafter came Zelda, Metroid, and other classics.
Rise and Fall of Atari

Atari was the hottest thing in the gaming world in the early ‘80’s. Today, they are a relic of past glory. So what happened? Atari made some bad decisions, and although it’s a little complicated, it’s helpful to understand the situation. At that time in the computing world, magnetic mediums were implemented in the data storage used in Arcade machines. These mediums allowed for a higher memory capacity than ROM cartridges.

In 1982, Atari had the option to include a disk drive in their systems. The price difference would have been nominal, and the memory capacity would have been significant. Atari, however, thought that magnetic media was too “fragile” for the consumer to adequately handle. Atari's "concern" for the customer backfired on them. In the previous years, there had been a very fine line separating arcade game quality from home game quality. With arcades utilizing storage capacities ten to forty-five times larger than home systems that fine line became a chasm. Arcade games seemed to be evolving exponentially, while home systems seemed "stuck in a time warp.”

The public quickly became uninterested in video game specific consoles, and sales plummeted.

This would mark the end of Atari's reign of the video game market.
The Rise of the New

In 1984, everything changed. The reason? Two innovations: The reduction in cost of Dynamic RAM (DRAM) chips which allowed more memory, and the production of higher power 8-bit processors, which lowered the prices of the previous chips. Sega, a new player in home gaming systems, entered the console market with their Master System 2. The Sega Master system would sell very well, but its success would be limited.

The other key player was Nintendo of Japan. The genius of Nintendo was their marketing prowess, as they poured millions into advertisements. These advertisements hit consumers at the perfect time, as evidenced in their sales. In fact, Nintendo couldn’t manufacture enough systems to keep up with demand. After all was said and done, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) would become the highest selling system in history. They would also become the most notorious, as they were involved in the intimidation of retailers, competing companies, and other suppliers and partners.

Over the next five years Sega and Nintendo would battle for dominance, going back and forth. The consumer definitely benefited from this rivalry.

Today, it’s between PlayStation 2, the Xbox and the GameCube. Xbox has taken the step to merge the past and present, where Xbox "Live Arcade" is a console system that has a "download-like" characteristic where you can buy games via the console itself. One thing in the video game industry will always remain: the classic games of yesterday were great games, helped define an era, and will always be fun.