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.