Top 5 Most Important Aspects of Your Game

So you’ve decided to plunge yourself into the world of game development, have assembled a team of mighty warriors to tackle all the big issues and are ready to create the next best game in the industry… trumping WoW, Guild Wars… (you get the point). You’ve chopped up all your brainstorming and assembled some really keen concepts for a storyline and you’re ready to go. But amongst all the programming, the character concepts, the dungeons, and the quests – what are truly the most important aspects of your game that will determine whether someone enjoys themself? Read on, and allow me to share with you what I think.

When we do decide to take that plunge into the development of a new game, there are five things you should consider very carefully, and pay a great deal of attention to. There are probably more of these that will hinder or help you along your way, and your ordering may be different than mine, but these are what I always hold to be the most important. Over the next week we will reveal each aspects, and at the end of the week culminate with the complete article. For today we’ll begin at the top, with number 5.

Number 5: Storyline

When crafting your game, there is no better inspiration for features and activities, quests and dungeons, than your very own highly developed and custom tailored storyline. Some may balk at this statement, claiming that storyline is easily overshadowed and un-necessary when you have intense graphics that make your fingers tingle, or when you have combat so intense that you’re literally ducking out of the way from behind your monitor. While these things definitely contribute to an awesome game, and can lead to a lot of excitement (in fact, they’re on the list too!), they cannot make up for a lack of storyline. One thing many players crave whether consciously or not, is a strong storyline that leads them into caring about the game – it entices you – and makes you feel as though your wildest dreams may in fact be possible in this environment. Storyline can be simple and to the point while being so flawlessly done that it serves as the crux of the entire game (EVE Online: We’re flying through space, blowing people out of the sky…) and at the same time being so rich and deep with lore (the complexities in lore and story surrounding EVE is so great that it entangles even the most basic ships and inventory items) that it compels players to write their own histories.

Not only does storyline help players become engaged with all that you’ve slaved over and worked for, but it helps you the developer along the way. If you’ve been smart, and from the beginning dreamed up an intoxicatingly deep history of your game setting, it will constantly serve you throughout development. It will provide clues into what features want to be a part of the game, what doesn’t need to be included, and what does or doesn’t fit. An architecture professor of mine once said, when referring to the site analysis portion of architecture that we could find out a great deal about what we should be building on the building site by simply visiting the location, and “envisioning the invisible building that wants to be built”. This is true in architecture, and it is especially true in game development and dreaming up your storyline/game setting.

Storyline may be important, but is it more important than a snazzy game setting so rich and vibrant that your tempted to stay indefinitely? Well, maybe – just as long as your 3d representation isn’t bogged down by hundreds of thousands of nasty polygons or quads. Why in the world is Artwork important, anyway?

Number 4: Artwork

I’ve heard many, many times that the artwork/3d models/characters found in your game won’t make or break things. I agree with this in that it won’t make or break the entire game, but artwork and professional looking/feeling models definitely help you out along the way. Think of any movie you’ve seen recently where the sets were absolutely incredible and stunning – one such example (although not necessarily as “recent”) are the Lord of the Rings movies. Throughout the entire set of movies, rich and diverse settings are abound, and help the immersion factor like you wouldn’t believe. Would the movie have been “broken” by less awe-inspiring scenes? Probably not, because in the case of The Lord of the Rings, there were a lot of other incredible aspects. Did the awe-inspiring scenes make the movie just that much better, and give it just that much *more* to drool over? Yes, Definitely. The same kind of effect can be seen in the game industry. I play games that have incredible graphics (EVE Online) and other that don’t (Dark Ages). I am however, addicted to both of these games for different reasons, but you can bet that the stunning environment in EVE certainly helps to inspire its large player base.

Additionally, your artwork can seriously effect the mechanics of your game. Many developers over look an incredibly important aspect of their 3d models – poly count… That’s to say, the number of triangles (or *shiver* quads) your game has. Many of the free 3d models you may find on the internet are gorgeous, but are so incredibly detailed that using them in a computer, real time environment would not be wise because you are typically trying to appeal to as many systems as possible. Console systems have the luxury of (for the most part) assuming that everyone’s running on an even playing field. Those of us developing games strictly for the computer don’t have this luxury. Suffice it to say, it’s important to find quality, low poly game content, and there’s certainly enough of it out there that there’s no excuse for you to be shoving your game full of characters that are in the 10,000 poly range (many online companies limit their avatars, or characters, to around 2500-5000 polys).

The lower your poly count on your 3d models, the smoother your environment is going to run on the widest range of computers… usually. One thing to keep in mind throughout this entire process is how your engine handles polygons, and to find out what the ideal poly range is that you want to aim for for characters and scenery. In most cases higher character polys are more acceptable, with scenery (buildings, trees, etc) being lower in poly. Another engine specific feature to keep in mind is whether or not the engine supports Level of Detail (LOD). LOD for those who may not know is a system where the engine will use very low poly versions of a model if the player is far away, swapping the model in and out for high quality versions the closer you get to it. As far as I know, almost every engine out there supports LOD, but some like Active Worlds do not.

Down the road we go with Number 3: Music! Some may say (and argue) that music for an online game should be included into the category of “Artwork” – while this may be true depending on how you look at it, music in a game is incredibly important *aside* from your 3d models and 3d characters and so it receives its own spot.

Number 3: Music

In many ways music is the heart and soul of any environment you may create in 3D – it is literally the sound trick to which events occur, players win battles to, return home to, etc etc. Music is a vital tool used to set the mood in any setting, and without it your game will feel dead and like something is missing. In many ways, music helps to express for the player the mood of a specific area, it enhances and emphasizes what you are relating to your player. Do you want them to feel sad, anxious, excited, fearful? Because hearing is one of our primary sense (seeing, smelling, etc), one could argue that it is just as powerful in linking and creating memories. It should be one of your *top goals* to make people remember your game – making your game memorable is one of the tricks in making it both enjoyable and something that people will tell their friends about. Hearing, and the music in your game is one of the more subtle qualities that plays a huge part in how an environment *feels*. Think about what your favorite movie would sound like without sound and music?

This highlights another important aspect that is a sub category of music: sound effects. While music is the key that gives your environment some feeling and life, sound effects are what make the environment tangible and feel realistic. When a player is able to knock over a trashcan and as a result they hear the clanging of aluminum and tin rolling down the concrete they’re standing on, the player has an increased feeling of interaction with the environment. Think of the effect and life the environment takes on when a player goes from walking on stone, where their shoes may be clacking, to walking on dirt or mud, where the sound would naturally change quite dramatically. making good games is about mastering small (but powerful) details that immerse your player.

Many independent developers may shy away from placing such an importance on the music played in the game because in some ways it can be hard to come by for people with limited budgets. While music can be expensive (alright, no foolin’ it IS expensive) to have custom made, you can find some great deals on royalty free music for purchase online. In many cases these tracks are professionally made, and available for flexible licenses – either for independent folks, or commercial studios. It’s not uncommon for instance, to find 5-6 tracks on an indie license for around $100.

GarageGames.com has some great deals on music and sound effects – the sound effects found there are definitely a deal. You can find the page directly by visiting their content packages.

Gamedev.net also has some great resources relating to music in games, and provides a nice directory of sites containing stock and royalty free music. Check it out here.

At a later time it would be nice to include a directory of our own of some great music resources. Look for that later. In the mean time, let us know what you think about Music and Sound Effects inside of games that you’ve played, whether you thought they were effective and important to your gaming experience… And if you don’t agree, you can let us know that, too!

Now that we’ve covered much of the meat of your game (Storyline, Artwork, Music), we’re going to delve a little bit farther into game design and really define the skeleton of your game – the backbone, the thing that ultimately keeps people coming back to your game day after day. Storyline, artwork and music are important things that will really make your game feel complete, and make it less likely that people will stand in your local village, and look around wondering “What’s missing?” But ultimately when it comes to the development of your game, we’re now getting into what really matters. That brings us to today’s post…

Number 2: Game Flow

When it comes to game design in today’s world there are really three primary types of flow that you game can follow. What exactly is game flow? The game flow, or structure of your game, is how players interact with it and storyline events, quests, missions, etc. It determines whether players can branch out and make the game what they want it to be, or if they’re locked onto a track that guides them into their pitfalls and excitement. Appropriately the three types of flow are as follows: Sand box, Roller-coaster, and a hybrid mix of the two. In many cases the way in which your game engages people, and how it forces them to interact with the environment and progress in the game will determine the types of players you attract to your game.

The most “traditional” game play style, or rather the most frequently used in the past has been that of the “Roller-coaster”. This type of game play is just as the name implies – users begin the game (get on the ride) and are carefully lead through the build up, the climax of storyline, pitfalls, exciting twists and turns, and ultimately the game ends with a rush of excitement. This could also be equated with the experience reading a book gives where there is a definite beginning and a definite ending of things. Many RPGs out there fall into this category, where your goals in the game are explicitly defined (conquer the evil demons of the sea and save the pretty girl) and while these games are a lot of fun, in some ways this system doesn’t always work as well in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG’s) where you have dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people interacting with one another. This isn’t to say that there aren’t MMOs that pull it off (Guild Wars specifically comes to mind), and this isn’t to say that MMORPG’s that go the route of the Roller-Coaster aren’t wildly fun (as Guild Wars is). This IS to say that in more recent years people have begun to favor a newer breed of game where the options appear limitless, and if instead of rescuing that pretty girl from the evil demons of the sea, you want to go and be an innocent farmer… more power to you!

Enter the “Sandbox” games. In more recent years there has been a big push to these sandbox’s where people can do what they’d like. Similar to roller-coaster games, the name is synonymous with it’s real life counter part, the sandbox. The idea is that upon entering the game, if you decide to ignore the over arching and present storyline (remember our pretty girl), that you can do just that without any significant consequences. This type of game play is sometimes said to appeal primarily to hardcore style gamers, although I’m not sure I fully buy into that philosophy. Often times I’ve found many casual players in sandbox type games who simply enjoy socializing with one another, mining together, exploring, etc, without all the insane time commitment of pursuing the major storyline events. In many of these games political and religious systems can be found, as well as a variety of job occupations. From what I’ve seen however, these games tend to be far more time intensive than roller-coaster games, simply because of the amount of time you need to pour into your character to forge your own path (and be successful at it). While some many not agree with me here, I would say EVE Online is definitely classifiable as a sandbox, as a majority of EVEs content, gameplay, and activities are created and inspired by the players themselves. GTA3 is also considered by many to be a sandbox game. That in itself is an important note: in sandboxes you will normally find a wealth of systems run by the players themselves, like guilds and factions – usually there is also an economy in game that is facilitated totally by players selling their personally made goods.

Finally, very recently we’ve hit a time when some people are discussing ways to make what you could call a mix between sandbox and roller-coaster games. I have yet to come across a good example of how this has been done (or how someone is working on one), I’ve only heard slight mention of it here and there. From what I gather though, there would be a few central over arching storylines taking place at one time, giving users their choice of how to proceed, and along the way providing ample opportunity for players to branch off onto their own paths, while still allowing them to come back to the big storyline. Some may again classify this primarily as sandbox, but I would argue that if at any time there is a great deal of direction coming from quests, storylines and developer driven content, that you begin to get more into roller-coaster elements. If anyone has run into what you’d consider to be a good example of a sandbox roller-coaster hybrid, please let me know! If you’ve ever read one of those “Choose your own ending” style books that plagued elementary and middle schools, you’ll understand what a sandbox roller-coaster hybrid might be like. While the player has choices (perhaps many, many choices!), things are still ultimately “guided” by an over all storyline, while leaving room for player created content. At the end of the day though, all of that is easier said than done.

Ultimately, deciding on what game system you use, or “Game Flow” method you use is going to be vital in developing your game. Like storyline, it will give you direction and more easily help you to make decisions about whether or not a specific feature would fit into your game. Not only will it help you to make decisions, but as a result it will help to shape your game. Direction and determination are absolutely mandatory in game development, and deciding on a Game Flow will at least help you in the direction department 😉

We’ve covered some incredibly important aspects of your gaming environment – from visual stimulus, and the sounds that pull your travelers deeper into your game, to the stories that inspire and the game mechanics that help shape your players’ characters. However, at the end of the day there is one aspect that will bring everything home and determine whether or not your game is bursting with eager players, or an emptied ghost town.

Number 1: Activities, baby!

While friends within games come and go, quests are released and beaten, items are unveiled and later trumped – at the end of the day the gaming community is not unlike society at large; we are a disposable group of people. We love to love the hottest items, spells, houses, quests, but eventually they become something of yesterday and cease to draw as much excitement from the people who have been hanging around your game for a while. Many games falter because they fail to recognize that new content is a must, even if the content you already have is incredible. The typical gamer can crunch through your average game in less than a month and if you’re planning to release a game that has a monthly subscription, or the need to retain players for an extended amount of time, that’s bad news for you. Ultimately the solution to “What next?” and “Why are people leaving?” is to imbue your game and all of its nooks and crannies with valuable content and *things to do*. It is from this area that it seems most of the discontent for games comes from which means that it is not only imperative to have plenty of activities in the game when it first releases, but to follow up on those activities with new things to explore, find, and participate in in the following months and years of the games life span.

Not only does providing and planning activities in the beginning stages of your game design help create a game that will be fun to play, but it may also help to inspire other areas of your development as well. Events can inspire your storyline, and your storyline can help to give you ideas of activities and new plot lines, for example. In many ways this aspect of your game is what will help to build and foster the social community within your game, which is ultimately what ties people to specific games: the friends and community that would be left behind if they were to leave.

Ideally, there are a whole host of event and activity types you can create within your game. Some of them are global style events that involve almost everyone active in the environment at the time. Examples of such events would be those relating to real world holidays like Christmas, Halloween, etc. More often than not those are time periods in games where if there is nothing new going on, your game will lose out against real life in the excitement category. People will choose to spend time doing things other than playing your game, if this is the case. Now, while we at TGS appreciate family time and all, this is bad news for you. Create global events that match up to real life events that will make being inside your environment during this time fun, exciting, and provide the extra bit of holiday spirit for your players. There are also events that are recurring, such as player run elections and hunting parties that give your players something to do year round. Optimize these activities and make them readily available to players so that these are things they can easily take part in and enjoy.

There are countless numbers of events that you can include in your game to make things feel more lively – we’ve just covered a very small number of them here. Perhaps in a later post we can create another article in order to inspire you a bit more in this category. We’ll see! An important thing to remember when judging whether or not “activities” are your number one priority: an online game is at its best when there are ample things to participate in with others. When your game is one which does not foster socializing, it will more than likely become quiet and empty, and let’s face it – do we expect people to play (and pay for) an empty online game? Food for thought.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please visit our site at http://thegamestudio.com for more articles like it.

James Rothfork

http://thegamestudio.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jim_Rothfork/196097

 

What Makes a Good Game, and Where Will it Lead Us From Here?

Considering the variety of different games available to us, let alone the type of games; flash, Internet, computer, video game, it’s really hard to be able to say what makes a good game a good game. However, no matter how hard of a question this is, many people are still asking it. I’m sure I could list a few games I love in the console world such as Need For Speed and the ever popular Tom Clancy trilogies, but just because I may like these games, doesn’t mean everyone else does! Examples of good games are out there but, they don’t really answer the question at hand. All in all I think for everyone, the question; what is a good game? Comes down to a few major attributes. These attributes are included in the following paragraphs, these are of course generalizations and don’t count towards or include game titles, there are merely categorical opinions.

The Game Design – In some instances you may hear people talking about the design of the game, and how it does or doesn’t “work” with the game. Usually when people are talking about the design they are speaking in specifics of how the game was set up, and the rules of the game or the rules of engagement so to speak. The phrase is also expended to distinguish both the game design embodied in an actual game as well as software documentation that identifies such a design. Other attributes of the gaming design include; narrative, mechanics, visual arts, programming and audio.

Game Play – This includes all player experience during the interaction with gaming systems, particularly formal games. Appropriate utilization is coupled with acknowledgment to “what the player does”. Arising alongside game evolution in the 1980s, game play was applied exclusively within the context of video or computer games, though now its popularity has begun to see use in the description of other more traditional game forms. Broadly Speaking, the phrase game play in video game language is used to identify the overall experience of playing the game omitting factors like artwork and sound!

Graphics – Back in the days of the original Nintendo and even flash based games like Asteroids, the graphics were very “blocky” of course most of didn’t even realize it at the time until newer consoles like SNES and particularly XBOX and XBOX 360 came out. I think the important of graphics is more steadily sought after nowadays because people want to the best. It’s been argued that the differences between XBOX and XBOX 360 are different or aren’t different. Just the same, more people have bought XBOX 360 than XBOX, maybe for this reasoning alone.

Game Engine – This is a software system designed for the creation and development of computer and video games. There are many game engines that are contrived to work on video game consoles and desktop operating systems such as Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. The core functionality typically provided by a game engine includes a rendering engine (“renderer”) for 2D or 3D graphics, a physical science engine or collision detection (and collision reaction), sound, scripting, animation, AI, networking, streaming, memory management, threading, and a scene graph. The procedure of game maturation is oftentimes economised by in large part reusing the same game engine to create different games.

Character Creation – Also known as Character generation is the procedure of defining a pretend character for a game. Usually, a character’s individual strengths and weaknesses are presented by a set of stats. Games that have a mostly fictional circumstance may include traits such as race and class. Games with a more contemporary or narrower setting may limit customization to physical and personality traits.

Some people play games because of the attributes listed above, and they simply won’t play or won’t enjoy a game if the graphics are less than perfect or if the characters are annoying or if the game play is buggy, but others, play games simply because it’s a way to take a break from the real world, it’s a way to get away from the ordinary humdrum of our regular lives, and some of us though sometimes anal about the specifics of a console game, don’t use those same criticism when playing something like an online flash based game because we know they aren’t made the same way (not really anyway).

Since Asteroids in the 80s, there have been several million different flash based games released, some of these are by big whig companies and others are developed by individuals that simply enjoy making games. These games have come a long way from Asteroids and the like, and now you have all sorts of categories to choose from.

In reality, flash based games can only get better from here on in, but I think that’s the same with any type of games or gaming simply because of the technological innovations that keep being created! In the end, it really depends on the user playing the game, as to what makes a good game. You be the judge!

This author is a HUGE fan of free online games

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kristi_Ambrose/243176

 

The Growing Popularity of Free & Casual Games

Free online internet gaming has exploded over the past 10 years and now comprises of a large collection of game developers, publishers, web portals and millions of casual game players. Talented game developers are in more limited supply than publishers and portals, yet even they are steadily growing in supply as more companies and brands look for sponsorship deals with high quality upcoming free games.

Wide brand exposure can be gained from sponsoring free online games and more companies are looking towards game sponsorship and in game product placement as a serious advertising platform. Portals are in the greatest supply with a huge amount of gaming orientated sites offering the developers creations, indeed some game developers also offer their own web portals such Ninjakiwi and Armor Games. These are two of the more popular and innovative gaming developers with Armor Games holding a top 1000 traffic rating.

Behind such successes are talented flash game designers and coders, it is usually one or two experienced designers that plant the seeds from which top free gaming websites flourish. Casual gaming both free and paid downloads have become so huge online that the genre has the greatest presence in the world’s most highly trafficked websites.

Ninjakiwi have an in house team of developers, they are owners of the very popular brand of games named Bloons. The first Bloons game was introduced back in mid 2007 and the series has already been played hundreds of millions of times. If you compare such an audience exposure rate to the most popular video watched on you tube, it is easy to see why advertisers are turning to free online games to reach global audiences. What’s more intriguing are the demographics behind casual game players with a considerable percentage of the audience being young adults. This demographic has caught the attention of many blue chip companies including mobile giants Orange and O2 who regularly advertise through Mochiads – an in game preloading ads platform.

As the advertising revenue increases for free games so will the creativity, detail and complexity of their design. Developers are now creating games targeted specifically at certain age ranges, including teens, young adults and mums.

Ninjakiwis’ list of games is expanding rapidly. As their brand has received greater exposure over the past year they have branched out from their original success of Bloons to produce other games with different concepts, some have been received with more enthusiasm than others. Some of their successes include:

  • Bloons – Including the player packs, more bloons and even more bloons, tower defense games, hot air bloon, bloons pop 3
  • Boombot Games – 1 and 2
  • Hotcorn Games – 1 and 2
  • Potion Madness
  • Powerpool
  • Replay Racer – 1 and 2
  • Rings
  • Shinju
  • Sinta
  • Zeba

Ninjakiwi has established a loyal fan base with their range being published across hundreds of medium to large sized gaming portals. One of their advertising platforms is through the previously mentioned Mochiads, a major advertising platform for both game developers and game publishers who earn revenue from publishing games. A small advert is shown whilst each game is loading in a web browser, developers and publishers earn money from game impressions and advert clicks.

The other free games developer previously mentioned, Armor games, is the larger of the 2. Armor develops in house games and sponsors independent developers, funding their creations and offering revenue sharing across their advertising platform. Armor games has a much more extensive range games than Ninjakiwi and has funded the creation of some of the most imaginative games on the internet, a list of some of their best games is compiled below:

  • Armed with Wings – 1 and 2
  • Crush the Castle
  • Hedgehog Launch
  • Hedgehog Launch 2
  • Fancy Pants Adventure – 1 and 2
  • Gemcraft
  • Gemcraft Chapter 0
  • The Last Stand 1 & 2
  • Pillage the Village
  • Sonny
  • Sonny 2
  • Warfare 1917

It is common to find developers and portals alike sharing each other’s games. This idea was originally invoked by the biggest casual free game provider on the internet – Miniclip.com. Their success grew from allowing webmasters to publish their games on thousands of smaller sites. Sharing and creating viral copies of successful games can prove a very lucrative strategy on the internet.

There are many more high quality game developers, publishers and portals, ones worth a mention include Crazy Monkey Games, Addicting Games, Newgrounds and Kongregate.
Free game production has also seen the remake of many old classic arcade games which will delight fans of the 80’s arcade.

Classic games such as PacMan, Ms PacMan, Space Invaders, Pong and Frogger have all been remade using flash and are now available to play as free online games. Paul Neave, a talented flash developer is responsible for such flash reproductions.

More comprehensive flash gaming communities have sprung up within this landmark 10 year period of growth. One example of an immensely popular community is MechQuest, this is one of currently 5 flash games created by Artix Entertainment. MechQuest is an online Fantasy/Sci-Fi Web RPG game that offers both a free and premium paid side. The game is built using flash and has millions of members in its community. Striking a balance between casual and hardcore game play it aims to offer a compromise allowing players who do not wish to spend all day at their PC’s a casual multiplayer experience.

Of course free online games such as MechQuest, AdventureQuest, DragonFable, ArchKnight and BattleOn.com are a step in the right direction for what online gaming should be about (if we are looking from a healthy perspective), they offer gamers a balanced dosage of online fun which don’t require a lifelong commitment to progress and gain in game rewards. The total opposite would be games such as World of Warcraft which are designed to reward excessive amounts of game play.

The free games market will continue to its rapid growth in the foreseeable future and more developers will come into the market. Whether flash will remain the markets main publishing platform remains to be seen but for now it will keep its dominant position with all free online game developers using it. Fans can expect to find more elaborate free online flash games being introduced in the coming years as free games compete and very much encroach upon paid game audiences.

Many of the free online games mentioned above can all be played at Games Lunatic, including Ninjakiwi’s popular monkey games.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Joshua_Finley/187551

 

Is Swapping Video Games With Other Gamers a Better Way to Play New Video Games?

Every gamer goes through the process of buying a new video game – playing it to boredom or completion and then moving onto the next game. For some, the retail value of £40 (~$60) for most new video games makes moving onto the next game a tricky task, making gaming an expensive hobby! This article will discuss several methods of buying/getting new video games available to gamers and consider whether video game swapping sites represent the best possible value to a gamer when moving onto a new video game.

Trading in Video Games

Trading your video game in at a local store is one method – this will often mean losing over half the value of the game you paid in the first place. And the local store is probably going to sell your video game at a markedly greater price. So the trade in value they offer you isn’t going to get you very much at the store so you’ll still have to contribute some extra cash to get a new game. However, this process is convenient and you have your next game in hand as soon as you’re in the store!

Advantages:

1. Convenient

2. Instant

Disadvantages:

1. Low trade in value

2. Hefty mark up by retailer means you pay more cash for the next game

Video Game Rental

Joining a games rental service, such as Boomerang or Lovefilm, is another option. You typically pay a flat monthly subscription fee and receive a limited number of games which you can keep for as long as you wish. The quality of such services varies greatly and the major drawbacks here are that you must keep a list of games you desire – resulting in you receiving which ever game the rental company has in stock when they receive returned games. So the danger here is that you may not actually get the game at the top of your list. Other drawbacks include waiting a long time for that one game you want – or receiving games that are scratched to the point where your console won’t play them! Most importantly, you hand out all that cash each month and you don’t actually own anything in the end – it’s arguable that there’s better value in buying a game, keeping it until you’ve finished with it and then trading it once you’re done.

Furthermore, the value in this service varies from game to game. Some games can be completed within a few days of playing, and so the effective cost of playing this game is a fraction of the monthly subscription fee. And some games will be played for many years, making playing these games via rental very expensive! So in this sense, rental has the advantage of letting you try out a large number of games for a monthly subscription fee. If you think the game has long term value, then you could simply buy the game safe in the knowledge that you’ll be playing this game for a long time to come! But then PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers can try out new games by downloading them, muting this point in their case.

Another game rental option is often available from a local video store. The rental cost is typically 5% to 10% of the cost of the video game for up to 7 days worth of play. Using a local video store to rent games is definitely convenient and the value of the service to you depends on whether you actually finish the game or decide it’s not your thing (i.e. you’ve gotten the most out of them) before the game is due back.

Advantages:

1. Large collection to choose from

2. Easy to get new video games as you complete old ones

3. You get to try a large number of games for a nominal subscription fee.

Disadvantages:

1. May not get the game you want

2. Could be waiting a long time for games depending on rental companies stock levels

3. You don’t actually own anything in the end

Selling your video games

Another route is simply selling you video game. One of the most convenient ways to sell is by auctioning your game on eBay or TheGameCollective. If the game is a recent and popular one, you’ll probably get a good price – potentially much more than a local store would pay, and all you had to do was wait a few more days for the auction/sale to complete and then send your game through the post. A little less convenient than a local store but for many the extra value in the video game is worth it.

The draw back here is that eBay will take a cut of the final sale price currently 8.25% of the final fee and if you accept payment via PayPal, you’ll have to pay an additional fee (~4%), representing a loss of up to 12% of the final price (unless you’re cunning and build this into the P&P price – but that’s a bugbear for many!).

Advantages:

1. Can receive a good price for your game

2. Quite convenient

Disadvantages:

1. Must wait several days for sale to be agreed

2. Commission on final sale price

Video Game Swap

Swapping video games via an online game swapping network is another method. These sites include TheGameCollective, gamejam or hitflip and for a small/no fee these sites will allow gamers to agree swaps and then exchange home addresses and mail their games to each other. This service provides gamers with the opportunity to play new video games at about the cost of posting a game. So in this sense, the game swapping option offers great potential for the value conscious gamer.

Game swapping isn’t currently widely adopted and so unless a game swap site experiences heavy traffic a gamer may have to wait a little longer to get the video game swap they want. This could take a short while depending on a game’s popularity and so in this regard game swapping is not as convenient as, say, trading. But as game swapping becomes more popular, the process of moving onto new video games is set to become a much better value experience.

Advantages:

1. Can be obtained at the cost of mailing a game

2. Easy to get new video games as you complete old ones

Disadvantages:

1. May have to wait a long time to find another gamer willing to swap

John Dunne has been an avid gamer for over 20 years and has setup the video game swapping website TheGameCollective.co.uk [http://TheGameCollective.co.uk] to help gamers swap and sell their video games free of charge to help us get the most out of gaming.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/John_Dunne/92627

 

Top Ten Classic Video Games

10. Pong

Origins: Pong was based on a game called ‘Tennis for Two’ which was a simulation of a game of tennis on an oscilloscope. Physicist William Higinbotham, the designer, goes down in history as creating one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display.

The Concept: The game is intended to represent a game of Tennis or Table Tennis (Ping Pong). Each player has a bat; the bat can be moved vertically. The screen has two horizontal lines on the top and bottom of the screen. A ball is ‘served’ and moves towards one player – that player must move the bat so that the ball hits it. The ball rebounds and moves back the other way. Depending on where the ball hits the bat, the ball will move in different directions – should it hit one of the top or bottom lines, then it will bounce off. The idea is simply to make the other player miss the ball – thus scoring a point.

Game play: while it sounds utterly boring, the game play is actually very addictive. It is easy to play but very difficult to master, especially with faster ball speeds, and more acute angles of ‘bounce’.

Nostalgia: for me this is the father of video games. Without Pong you probably wouldn’t have video games – it started the craze that would continue grow and become a multi-billion dollar industry. I will always remember this game!

9. Frogger

Origins: this game was developed by Konami in 1981, and was the first game to introduce me to Sega. At the time it was very novel and introduced a new style of game.

The Concept: Easy – you want to walk from one side of the road to the other. Wait a minute – there’s a lot of traffic; I better dodge the traffic. Phew Made it – hang on, who put that river there. Better jump on those turtles and logs and get to the other side – hang on that’s a crocodile! AHHH! It sounds easy – the cars and logs are in horizontal rows, and the direction they move, the number of logs and cars, and the speed can vary. You have to move you frog up, down left and right, avoiding the cars, jumping on logs and avoiding nasty creatures and get home – do this several times and you move to the next level.

Game Play: Yet another simple concept that is amazingly addictive. This game relies on timing; you find yourself dinking in and out of traffic, and sometimes going nowhere. The graphics are poor, the sound is terrible, but the adrenalin really pumps as you try to avoid that very fast car, or the snake that is hunting you down!

Nostalgia: I love this game for many reasons. I played it for a long time, but never really became an expert – however, it was the first ever game I managed to reproduce using Basic on my ZX81 – I even sold about 50 copies in Germany!

8. Space Invaders

Origins: Tomohiro Nishikada, the designer of Space Invaders was inspired by Star Wars and War of the Worlds. He produced on of the first shooting video games and drew heavily from the playability of Breakout.

The Concept: aliens are invading the Earth in ‘blocks’ by moving down the screen gradually. As the intrepid savior of the Earth it’s your task to use your solitary laser cannon, by moving horizontally, and zapping those dastardly aliens out of the sky. Luckily, you have four bases to hide behind – these eventually disintegrate, but they provide some protection from the alien’s missiles.

Game Play: this is a very repetitive game, but highly addictive. Each wave starts a little closer to you, and moves a little fast – so every new wave is a harder challenge. The game involved a fair amount of strategy as well as good hand eye co-ordination.

Nostalgia: I wasted a lot of time playing this game. While originally simply green aliens attacked, some clever geek added color strips to the screen and the aliens magically changed color the lower they got – that was about as high tech as it got back in the days of monochrome video games!

7. Galaxians

Origins: Galaxians expanded on the Space Invaders theme by having aliens swoop down on the defender. It was one of the first games to have colored sprites.

Concept: Take Space Invaders, add some color, remove the bases and make some of the aliens swoop down at you and you have Galaxians. Essentially the concept is the same as Space Invaders, you’re defending the world against alien invaders, but rather than the whole screen full of aliens moving down at you in a nice orderly fashion, you get groups of aliens swooping down in haphazard ways.

Game play: if you liked Space Invaders then you’ll love this. The strategies are different, as you often have to avoid two or three different groups of alien ‘swoopers’ but if you can shoot them as they swoop, then you get some great bonus points. The game is difficult until you get used to some of the patterns

Nostalgia: this was one of the first games that I played on a desktop computer that was almost exactly like the arcade fame. I had an old Acorn Electron, and this game was almost perfect on this little machine. I miss my old Acorn Electron!

6. Defender

Origins: This game was created by Williams Electronics in 1980. The Game was designed by Eugen Jarvis, Sam Dicker, Paul Dussault and SLarry DeMar. It was one of the first games to feature complex controls, with five buttons and a joystick. While slow to catch on due to its difficulty, it still was a popular game.

Concept: Most of the shoot-em-up games of the era were horizontal shote-em-ups. This game changed the playing field by being a vertical shooter. Yet again aliens are intent of doing nasty things to earth – this time they are trying kidnap 10 humans. You are in charge of the sole defender and must kill the aliens before they kidnap the humans. You fly over a ‘landscape’ and can see your humans mulling around on the surface. The aliens appear and drop towards the humans – you can kill them at this point, but should they grab an alien, you must shoot the alien, and catch the human before the alien reaches the top of the screen.

Game play: This was a great game that was easy to play but tough to master. Shooting the aliens and catching the humans gave the best bonuses, and this formed a major part of the strategy. There were some different type of aliens that chased you making the game a lot more hectic than others; often it was just a relief to finish a level. While not as addictive as some, it did give a feeling of achievement when you reached a high score.

Nostalgia: I went on vacation with a friend for a week and we spent the entire week in the arcade playing this game and the number one game on my list (I won’t reveal the name now!). It was one of the best memories of my teen years!

5. Missile Command

Origins: In July 1980, Atari published a revolutionary game. It didn’t have a joystick, but had a ball that controlled an on screen cursor. It was programmed by Dave Theurer and licensed to Sega.

Concept: Those pesky aliens are getting smarter. Rather than sending space ships down to fight, they’re hiding in deep space and sending a bunch of missiles to blow up the Earth’s cities. This game was unique as it use a ’round’ joystick. You used this to move to a point on the screen and then fire a missile into this spot – the culminating explosion would destroy any missiles that hit the ‘cloud’. The missiles were essentially lines that moved down from the top of the screen at varying angles and speeds – some of them would split into multiple ‘missiles’ half way down.

Game play: this is a very strategic game. Placing your bombs in the right place and timing them right could essentially clear the alien missiles quickly and easily. As the game move on you found yourself spinning the wheel frantically trying to get the bombs in the right place. This game was adrenalin pumping fun – sometimes you seemed to be up against impossible odds and yet you’d breath a sigh of relief when one city survived.

Nostalgia: this was one of the first games I played on a table top machine. While these didn’t really catch on, it was still fun to be able to put a can of soda down while you played!

4. Breakout

Origin: This game was heavily inspired by Pong. It was created in 1976 by Atari, with Nolan Busnell and Stew Bristow being the key designers. It’s probably one of the most cloned games ever, even today there are new games based on the same theme coming out. Apparently the Apple II computer was inspired by this game – wow where would Steve Jobs be now without Breakout.

Concept: The idea is simple – you have a bat at the bottom of the screen that can move back and forth. Above you is a wall of bricks. A ball will move from your bat – every time it collides with a brick, the brick disappears and the ball bounce back at you. Your task is simple – stop the ball going off the bottom of the screen by placing your bat in the way and bouncing the ball back at the wall – you also have to remove all the bricks in the wall to progress to the next level!

Game play: this is a fairly difficult game to master. As the bricks get lower each level and the ball speed increases, it becomes more and more difficult to ‘break out’. Also, sometimes the angle that the ball comes off the bat is so acute that it is very difficult to judge where the ball will bounce! It’s one of those games where you just keep on saying ‘just one more game’ and before you know it five hours have passed.

Nostalgia: when I lived in Wales we had a little utility room that housed books and my little ZX Spectrum – I used to spend hours playing this game as my Father sat and studied. It was like a male bonding session!

3. Hang On

Origin: This game was released in 1985 and was developed by Sega. It was one of the first ‘3D’ racing games and one of the first to introduce a ‘realistic’ aid to playing the game – that it a larger replica motorcycle style cabinet, with speedo, brakes and a throttle. This game became the benchmark for future racing games and lead to the highly praised Out Run series. The game cleverly used ‘billboards’ and trees to give you the feel that you were moving at high speed.

Concept: You are a motorcycle racer – you sit on top of a bike and have to race around a 3d race track, overtaking other riders and reaching certain checkpoints within a time limit. The game featuring different places and conditions (such as night).

Game play: Yet another easy game to play but very difficult to master. Timing the turns was essential, especially if other bikers got in the way. Each slight touch of another bike, or crash into a barrier slowed you down and made it harder to reach the checkpoint in time. The awesome graphics (for the time) made this game pleasurable to play as you really felt you were in a race. It is another game that kept you coming back for more.

Nostalgia: As a kid I always wanted a real motorbike, so this gave me a feeling that I actually had one. I was very good at this game (an d Pole Position) and constantly had my name on the high score table – it’s perhaps the only game I could truly say I was a master.

2. Pacman

Origin: Developed by Toru Iwatani, and programmed by Hideyuki Moakajima San, this game came out in mid 1980. The name is derived from a phrase that relates to the sound when your mouth opens and closes (allegedly). Namco produced the game, but it really took off in America when Midway released it.

Concept: You are Pacman and you are very hungry. You find a maze full of ‘dots’ and zip around eating them. Unfortunately there’s some ghosts who aren’t too happy about this and they will chase you and eat you – but hey, there’s some really big dots that give you the power to banish the ghosts back to their central cage. The maze is complex, filling up the whole screen, but there are no dead ends – there’s also a passage way between each side of the screen. In the center, is the cage that holds the ghosts – occasionally bonus fruit appear next to the cage. You essentially have to eat all the dots in order to progress.

Game play: This is a simple concept, but with pretty decent graphics and an addictive tune it became a huge success. There is a lot of strategy to the game – each ghost follows a set pattern (although eventually they’ll forget this and follow you) – in fact there are books dedicated on the best route to avoiding the ghosts. The game gets harder as you go, with the ghosts speeding up and getting smarter.

Nostalgia: there’s something about the music in this game that is just so catching -even as I write it I can hear it in my mind. It’s one of the first games that I can remember using music as a major selling point. I wasted many hours playing this game, and although I was never great I always had fun trying to devise new routes. It is also probably my most successful programming achievement – I designed a version of this for the Acorn Atom and I actually sold a couple of hundred copies (again in Germany) – I am proud that as a twelve year old, I was able to use logic and programming skills and make some money doing it.

1. Asteroids

Origin: It’s truly amazing to think that this game was first released in 1979 – I’ve been playing it for 30 years now! Developed by Atari and designed by Lyle Rains and Ed Logg, the game cleverly used vector graphics and real inertia physics to convert a simple concept into a classic game.

Concept: Your little space ship has strayed into an asteroid belt. With the use of thrusters, a trusty laser cannon and a hyperspace unit, you must move your spaceship in all directions over the screen and avoid the asteroids. You can go anywhere on the screen and even going off the edge is OK – it just happens to be a wrap around universe. The asteroids come at you from all angles. Initially they are large, and are fairly slow. Once hit they split into smaller asteroids, and these smaller asteroids split again – the smaller the asteroid the faster it goes. Occasionally a nasty alien ship will appear and start firing at you – he’ll occasionally hit the asteroids and split them. The idea of the game is simple – destroy all the asteroids without colliding into them or getting shot by an alien.

Game play: Wow what can I say. To really succeed at this game you have to use strategy – firing at all asteroids will fill the screen with a lot of small fast moving asteroids, making it difficult to avoid collisions. Therefore the game required that you pick off one asteroid at a time, and then deal with the smaller asteroids. While doing this, you also had to maneuver gingerly; with real inertia, you often found yourself drifting without realizing it and suddenly you’d be in the middle of four or five asteroids.

Nostalgia: this is one of the only games that I still play today. Whether it’s the ‘Buck Rogers’ in me, or I just like the challenge I don’t know! You’d think that after 30 years of playing I’d either master the game or get bored; somehow neither has happened – I can sometimes get a mega score, but usually I’m just average. I guess I like the fact that it makes me think and keeps my hand-eye co-ordination in tip top condition! Now if only I could get all that money that I pushed into the asteroids machine back – I’d be very rich!

To play some of these games for free go to my website:www.squidoo.com/TopTenVideoGames

http://www.squidoo.com/SimonCook

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Simon_M_Cook/253965

 

Massage in Bucharest

Recognize it! You’re busy! And so must be! That’s what life is like! But you want more than that, you want to do more for yourself and massage can help. Because massage makes more than a simple relaxation of the mind and body. It keeps your body in shape and gives you enough energy to make you enjoy a longer life better than you do it today.

Massage releases stress. At the moment, stress is a universal evil. Every time you are late, every time you avoid a car in traffic, every time you have trouble working, stress is doing his job. Each time adrenaline increases heart rate and cortisone levels and organs respond to the measure. You will be in a state of nerves and constant agitation.
When there is no release of stress, serious problems such as an upset stomach, hypertension, sleep disturbances, chest pain, or existing illness may worsen.

Some of the changes that may occur are: Anxiety, lack of concentration, depression, permanent fatigue, muscle or bone pain, sexual dysfunction, excessive sleep or insomnia

All these stress-related problems can be diminished and some can be totally eliminated by massage. The researchers concluded that a massage session can lower heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase endorphin production. The massage also releases serotonin and dopamine and the result is a general relaxation, both physical and mental.
Our body care must be at the top of the priorities.
By adding the massage to your routine you will look much better and you will be much healthier and relaxed. Massage can improve your vitality and mood. Massage can prepare for a long and beautiful life.

Our masseuses personalize each massage session according to the needs of the individual.
Our massage parlors offer a variety of relaxation styles and techniques to help you. Apart from relaxing, massage can be a powerful ally in reducing pain, increasing energy levels, improving mental and physical performance

We recommend : HotAngels , VipZone , JadePalace , ThaiPassion

After a massage session, you will see how the mental prospects are enriched, the body allows easier handling, better pressure resistance, relaxation and mental alertness, calm and creative thinking.
When you have the impression or force yourself to stay straight, your body is not actually aligned properly. Not only does the posture look bad, but it forces some of the muscles to go muddy all day, while others become weaker. After a long time, the incorrect position may cause other drops. For example, internal organs press on what affects digestion, breathing ability is also diminished, which means that much less blood and oxygen reaches the brain and hence all sorts of other complications.

Massage allows you to return your body to the track. Allowing the body to make healthy and accurate movements is one of the greatest benefits of massage. Massage can relax and restore muscles injured by bad posture, allowing the body to position itself in a natural, painless position.
Apart from posture, there is also anxiety. One of the signs of anxiety and stress can also be heavy breathing. When the body begins to breathe too little and deeply instead of breathing at a natural rithm, it is impossible for one to relax. One reason may also be that the chest muscles and the abdomen get tightened and the air gets harder.

Massage plays an important role in learning the body how to relax and how to improve breathing. Respiratory problems such as allergies, sinuses, asthma or bronchitis are a group of conditions that can benefit from massage. In fact, massage can have a positive impact on respiratory function.

Many of the muscles in the front and back of the upper part of the body are breathing accessory. When these muscles are tight and shorten they can block normal breathing and interrupt effective breathing natural rithm. Massage techniques for stretching and relaxing these muscles improves breathing function and breathability. Massage leads to an opening of the chest as well as structural alignment and nerve dilatation that are required for optimal pulmonary function. A good way to treat respiratory problems with massage is the taping made in Swedish massage. When done on the back, along with vibrations, it can detach the mucus from the lungs and can clean the airways for better later function.

Massage not only relaxes muscles, but helps people become aware of daily stress levels. Once the body recognizes what really means relaxation, the mind can rest easily relax before the stress becomes cornice and harmful. This will help you enjoy a balanced life. Massage controls breathing, allows the mind to re-create relaxation before the occurrence of chronic and harmful stress and increases the level of energy.