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Monthly Archives: October 2018

Video Games on Heart Rate

In a study conducted by the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, it has been found that playing violent video games affects heart rate variability not only during game play but also when you are sleeping at night. A group of boys, aged between 13 and 15, were told to play two different games in the evening, one focused on aggression while the other had no violent features.

Fifteen boys were exposed to violent video gaming, playing for no less than three hours a day. The remaining fifteen were asked to play nonviolent cartoon games – no more than one hour per day. The boys played the games at their homes, on two evenings.

Heart rates were observed during the game play and also while sleeping. The study seems to show that effects of gaming don’t just stop when you switch off your system, but they have a continuous psychological impact without the player even being aware of it.

While the boys were sleeping later that night, boys that were exposed to highly violent games had faster heart rates compared to the night after playing nonviolent games. Boys who were exposed to violent games also reported poor quality of sleep on the night after playing an aggressive game. They also reported increased feelings of sadness. The violent game seems to have elicited more nervousness and stress at bedtime.

This suggests that frequent exposure to violent computer games not only increases stress and aggressive behaviour, but also increases anti-social behaviours. Other studies have also indicated that violent video games can cause an adrenaline response. In other words, they can affect your blood pressure, breathing rate and pain tolerance.

Gaming Mice and Keyboards

A high-tech set containing a gaming keyboard and mouse can make the difference between someone who plays games for fun and someone who understands and respects them. In fact, one of the reasons why the dedicated market has advanced so much is that professional gamers have very high requirements. In a heated game of League of Legends between two world class players, milliseconds really matter and clever button placement on the mouse or keyboard can actually make the difference between victory and defeat. Professional gaming peripherals were especially created to be fast, resistant and feature-packed. They can withstand physical pressure and don’t fail you when you’re really into the game and you slam buttons instead of pressing them, nor when you spill your energy drink on them in the heat of the moment. They also have a special ergonomic design that makes gaming more comfortable and also special features that allow you to be lightning fast. Programmable keys allow you to make shortcuts and execute complex movements instantly, without having to push keys all the way down. This makes for seamless gameplay and gives you an edge over your opponents. Also, gaming keyboards are slightly elevated for better comfort and the backlit keys are more than just eye candy: they emphasize different sets of controls or the most commonly used keys, so you can reach out to them instantly.

More often than not, gaming devices are backlit, have a very solid, bulky build and never compromise on resistance. They don’t get slimmer, lighter and shinier by the day, as it happens with the peripherals manufactured by popular companies these days. Their main purpose isn’t to look fancy in an executive’s minimal desk, but to be fast, functional and reliable. Customization is also an important feature that hardcore gamers might be looking for. Regular peripherals do the job in terms of scrolling, clicking and pointing and other basic screen actions, but complex games have complex commands and only a specialised device can withstand them. In the end, the aim of gaming devices is to become an extension of the gamer’s hands and take the whole experience on new and exciting heights.

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Use an Xbox Gift Card

Gift cards fall under the category of prepaid codes. They come in the form of cards with a 25 character code on the back. They can be purchased from a retailer or received as a gift. Buying a gift card for yourself is a good idea so no credit card information is put onto the Xbox network for hackers to access.

Prepaid codes can be used to make purchases without a credit card. Prepaid codes can be redeemed on the Xbox console or on the computer. There are five types of prepaid codes that can purchase Xbox content.

Xbox gift cards are usually purchased through physical or online stores. They are added to the Microsoft account for future Xbox purchases. They are most often given as gifts, but are also paid for in cash in order to transmit money to an account.

An Xbox Live Gold membership is a type of prepaid code that is redeemed for a membership. These memberships can last for 12 to 24 months on average, depending on the type of card purchased either online or in store.

An Xbox Music Pass card can give the user unlimited access to all the music they love. Premium cards allow an ad-free listening experience on all devices. Users get access to millions of songs on the PC, tablet, Xbox, phone, and internet. Music can be downloaded for offline listening and users can create playlists that automatically sync across all devices.

Microsoft Points cards are the currency of Xbox. For example, spending 15 pounds on a Microsoft Points code will give the user 2100 points. These points can be used to purchase downloads, content, and games on the Xbox Live Marketplace. They never expire and will always be available on the account.

Xbox gift cards can be used toward Live Gold memberships, Live content like games and apps, and a Music Pass. There are also prepaid code cards available for specific items that can be found on the Xbox. This includes games, app content, Xbox music content, and Xbox live content.

All of these prepaid codes can be redeemed in the same way, but depending on the code the account will be affected differently. When redeeming an Xbox gift card, the denomination of the card goes directly into the Microsoft Account as local currency. If entering a 25 pound gift card, then 25 pounds will go into the Microsoft account when the card is redeemed.

To redeem, sign into Xbox Live using the account the prepaid code should go to. Press the Xbox Guide button on the middle of the controller. Go to Games and Apps and select Redeem Code. Enter the 25-character prepaid code and select Done. When prompted, click Yes to confirm the redemption.

Codes can also be redeemed on the computer to be applied to the Xbox Account immediately. Go to Go to Redeem Code and sign in with the Microsoft account the card amount should go to. Enter the 25 character prepaid code and click Redeem Code.

To check the Microsoft account balance, go to the Microsoft account page and sign in using the Microsoft account email address and password associated with the account. After signing in, users are prompted to enter a code that will be received by email. This proves the identity of the user. From the Microsoft account homepage, click Payment Options to see the account balance.

Total War

Directly controllable artillery isn’t Fall of the Samurai’s most significant feature, but it’s probably its most irresistible and surprising. Nailing far-off commanders is deliberately difficult through. The camera accompanies larger projectiles, but there’s no sniper style zoom view. While there’ll be occasions in FotS when you get to mow down of samurai with machine guns, Creative Assembly is too serious about their history for it to be a regular occurrence. Despite the cinematic Last Samurai overtones, the game’s primary focus is the Boshin War (1868-1869) rather than the ill-fated Satsuma Rebellion (1877) that inspired much of the 2003 Tom cruise movie.

Both sides in this low-key civil war were enthusiastic modernizers, eager to lay their hands on the latest Western military tech and strategy. In other tweak, clicking the “end turn” button now advances your campaign a mere two weeks. With winters now lasting six turns, ponderous or ill-timed invasions will be costlier than ever.

Longer cold snaps aren’t the only new feature the humble Total War grunt has to worry about. Now the poor fools who do all the heavy trigger-pulling and sword-slashing can be slain between battles by naval bombardment. Select a friendly fleet on the campaign map and a range circle appears. Any army within this zone-o’-death may be pummeled without risk. You won’t devastate targets, but hounding an invasion force as it trudges down a long coastal road could become the difference between victory and defeat in later battle.

Mark this moment. In Fall of the Samurai, Total War navies finally go from being mere amusing distractions to indispensable strategic tools. That bombardment ability can also be used to clobber cities, neutralize coastal batteries (a new buildable structure) and turn the tide in normal ground battles.

Unsurprisingly, given the 300-year period shift, most of the cast and rabble-rousers don’t come direct from Shogun 2. Working alongside familiar Shinobi (ninjas) and Geisha are two faction-specific secret policemen-the Ishen-Shishi (Imperialist) and the massively useful Foreign Veteran.

Ultimate Spiderman

What is unique about Ultimate Spider-Man, us that it allows players to take on the role of super hero Spider-Man and the love to be hated super villain Venom. It does so using an original storyline made especially for the game that follow the tale the comic books have told. Interestingly, and perhaps disappointingly the combat system used in the game is no where near as deep as the one used in it predecessors, that means no combos. Eeck!

Reasons for this could span Treyarch not having the time to implement a better system then before or perhaps it just wanted to make the title a little easier to play for younger player. Whatever its reason this is the first of many disappointing moments I had while playing USM. The next reason I had for been less than happy with the games was the story mode, first off it is extremely short and only lasts a few hours (it may even been beatable in one sitting if you have the time and put you mind to it).

He needs his own game. Who am I talking about? It is Venom of course. I had much more fun than a spider can while playing around with this guy. Off course it is much more fun to be the bad guy but playing as Venom defines this phrase as you suck in bystanders which ups you health and whip and slap them with you tentacles.

Of course this is not all good ol’ Venom can do. He can also throw cars around at ease and scale tall building in almost single bound. Almost all of Venom mission revolve around causing a much mayhem as you can and end then this is much more fun than playing with a certain restricted red and blue clad spider we all know and love.

The missions in USM seem like there pulled straight from a lets build a free-roaming game book. If you want to start a mission you look down at you radar and see a colored marker and you run and swing with all your heart towards it. Once you complete this mission you open up another one and then when you beat that one; well you get the picture! Some story modes also opened up by beating some of the city patrol requirements.

Once a few mission are done you may then run into a boss battle which are undoubtedly the best new addition to the Spider-Man series of games. The boss battles are fantastic and are some of the most exciting moment you will have in a game. They start of with an exhilarating chase which will take you over many parts of the city as you try to keep up with your foe.

Each boss battle will lead to you having to do different things. Some may have you rescuing pedestrians (by playing a mini game) as you try and keep up with the super-villain while others will lead you through trapped alleys and dodging obstacles. When you finally catch the villain you end up fighting a straight up old school fight to the death, if you notice any weakness in enemies (each one of them as a different weak point) you have to exploit it as much as you can till you take him down.

As with all of these new free-roaming titles there is a hell of a lot more to do than just play the story mode in Spider-Man this is no different. First of there are 60 races for you to take part in along with this there are 36 combat tours. Then there is a few side quests in which Spidey may have to take part in.

If you have played Spider-Man 2 then you will probably remember all those guys hanging of buildings for no reason well now they are back again and can be rescued if you feel like it, you can also stop robberies, halt attempted break ins and beat up a guy who tries to mug people and participate in a chase a car. None of these all side missions do much to further the game main story but can be entertaining if you get tired propelling the story mode forward. It has to be said though that much more could be done to flesh out this area of the game as it can get old very, very quick.

Visually UMS looks fantastic and embraces the style that’s been seenin the comic book over the last few decades to its fullest extent. It totally disregards the style seen in the last two game and jumps straight onto the cel-shading bandwagon. If you have read any of the comic books ever then you will be right at home right of the bat when the game first loads. The game does the best it can it immerse the game in the fantastic world of Spider-Man from the, till now unused comic book perspective.

Each of the character models, particularly the main characters all look great in their new guise as does all of New York in its cel-shaded form. In terms of audio them game does a good job the music and sound effect suit the game well but the Voice acting can get a bit iffy at time, at some point it is OK and at other time it seem like the people were rushing through it just to get out of the studio. It is a definite mixed bag if there ever was one. Once more with feeling guys.

Wars of the Battle Wizards

The game is played with two to six people, each taking on the role of a Battle Wizard, such as Fey Ticklebottom the Enchanter, or Krazztar the Blood’o’mancer. I usually try to claim Princess Holiday & her Furicorn (judging from the art, that’s just short for “furious unicorn”). There aren’t any special abilities applied to a particular wizard (I just like to pretend I’m a princess sometimes), and regardless of who you play there’s only one objective: Eliminate all other Battle Wizards and be the Last Wizard Standing!

If you want to take out your competition, you’re going to have to cast some spells, so here’s the breakdown. Spells are made up of three different component types: a Source, a Quality component and the Delivery. You don’t have to include one of each component to cast a spell though; you could cast a spell made up of just a Source and Delivery. You can’t, however, cast spells with more than one of each component type. For instance, a spell with two Sources is illegal.

Once all players have determined the spell they’re casting for the round, all players announce the number of cards in their spell to determine whose spell resolves first. Spells made up of one component will cast before a two card spell, which in turn would resolve before any three card spells. Often more than one player will cast a three card spell in a given round. If this is the case, and more than one player casts three card spells, initiative is then determined by a number on the Delivery card. The higher the initiative, the sooner you act.

Once play order for the round is determined, the Battle Wizards then reveal their card(s) and announce their spell from Source to Delivery in their best wizard’s voice. For instance, “Sir Lootzor’s (Source) Mysterious (Quality) Power Vortex (Delivery)”. Then spell components are resolved in order (Source, Quality, Delivery), with the player following the text on each card. There are beneficial effects such as healing or gaining treasure, but most spells are all about inflicting damage. Spell components come in different flavors as well, such as Dark, Primal, etc., easily marked by a glyph in the lower left corner of the card. Matching these spell types will often make your spells stronger. In the example above, all three of the components have Arcane magic glyphs, so when resolving the text on the Power Vortex card, the player would roll three dice to determine the spells effectiveness. When all players have cast their spells, a new round of casting begins. Wild Magic cards add a bit of randomness to the mix, allowing players to play one in place of a Source, Quality or Delivery card, and then draw from the deck until they get a matching component to fill in. They come in pretty handy when you don’t have a particular card type in your hand.

Once a wizard dies, they immediately lose all cards in their hand, any treasure they’ve gathered and start drawing Dead Wizard cards. Once a wizard is determined the Last Wizard Standing, they receive a token and a new round starts. Each Dead Wizard card then grants a boon to start the new round with. This helps even things out if you die particularly early in a round. The overall winner of the game is the first player to get two Last Wizard Standing tokens.

War World Video Game

9 feet high and rising

In the simplest terms, there really isn’t a lot to War World at all. You’re initially treated to some intricate back-story involving a planet (War World itself) splintered into various city-states, governed by the Gathering of Leaders whose inhabitants work out their frustrations by staging regular battles in the Arena Combat Network. Rather than send in actual people, the battles are fought using 3-metre tall robots controlled by the player’s consciousness.

Of course very little of this actually matters, as upon starting the game you very quickly find that the background matters not one iota as there isn’t even a story mode to play through. Within 30 seconds of opening up the first arena you realise this is a good old simple arena deathmatch game, along the lines of Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena. The aim? Get through 100 levels of against-the-odds battling. So far, so generic.

The science bit

My first couple of hours with War World were a tad forced. The graphics are nice enough and the levels are well crafted but the game’s just too darned fast for you to be able to appreciate any of this. Even though you’re only facing two or three enemies at a time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, even if the game does resort to using standard FPS controls.

What doesn’t help matters is the lack of a tutorial. There’s nothing too complex going on in the levels themselves, but before each round starts there’s an equipment selection area. Without having had any training or build-up at this point, it’s left up to you to decide whether miniguns will be a better choice than lasers, or whether you need to invest some cash into shields or mines. Luckily you soon find that you’re able to restart and select different weapons should things go pear shaped, but it takes a fair old while before you find your ideal combination.

As I said earlier, fights are a simple “deathmatch” affair, with you being very much on your own. Unlike Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 though, here there’s no in-fighting whatsoever. Everyone’s out to get you and you alone. A typical round may last only a couple of minutes, with you having to clear the arena of up to 4 or 5 enemies at a time. Dropships will bring in new waves periodically on the longer missions, whereas other levels will simply have one seriously tooled-up mech to defeat.

The weapons choices you made earlier will pay off here, as some guns will hold more ammunition/power than others. If you do run out of ammo mid-match, there are caches dotted around so a quick blast of your shield (which only works for a limited amount of time and prevents you from using weapons) will usually see you right whilst you locate your nearest supply point. Health is catered for by killing other mechs, where you’ll have to be sure that you pick up the energy supply they drop as they explode. A victory on the battlefield will take you out to the equipment selection area with a reward of 3,000 credits. As you can swap existing weapons and recoup their original asking price, it doesn’t take long before you can truly find your killer combo of lasers, miniguns, mines, rockets and shield.

Ooooh, shiney!

I touched upon the graphics previously but I think it’s worthwhile pressing that they are very lovely indeed. The levels move from future industrial through desert via jungle ruins (looking very reminiscent of Thai temples) and because the arenas have been kept very small, the game moves at a cracking pace even with a relatively modest system. My system’s only a reasonably middling one in gaming terms and I still had the ability to throw on a good couple of levels of anti-aliasing whilst keeping the framerate well over 60FPS.

Unlike the graphics, the sound could only honestly be described as functional. Everything sounds fine and the positioning on a 5.1 system is good, but there’s nothing that lifts it above the crowd. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoilt by the likes of FEAR recently, but I couldn’t help thinking it was an area that could still take a little work.

Old-timers apply here

Now you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing mentioned above seems to ensure War World stands out, but it’s at this point that I’d ask anyone over 35 to pay attention: War World may appear to be a Q3A or UT clone, but in actuality it’s nothing more than Robotron or Smash TV in 3d. Some would think this isn’t an important statement, but as someone who’s piled hundreds of hours into the likes of Geometry Wars (the retro blast-em-up featured as an Easter egg in Project Gotham Racing 2). Mutant Storm and Llamatron (Jeff Minter’s seminal take on the Williams game Robotron) I feel it’s a deeply significant point, especially as it’s actually just as satisfying to pile a bit of spare time into.

Make Cash Playing Video Games

Video games started way back in the 1950’s with a game called Tennis for Two being played with two paddles and an oscilloscope. Now we are playing 3D games on our hand held game units! The progression over each decade has been unbelievable!

The world of video games has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. This consists of home gaming systems, hand held systems, PC games, and systems specifically designed for kids. This is because the appeal doesn’t stop with young people. People of all ages, races, and religions get in on the playing of video games.

It has turned into an outlet for people to pass the time, get aggression out, stay fit, and believe it or not, learn.

There are many different companies that develop and produce video games. These companies have many people on their payroll to do all of the technical work. When it comes to testing the games out, it is their practice to have a group of individuals from their target market play the games and give their feedback.

The feedback they get usually consists of glitches, ease of play, if the game was enjoyable to play, and what things could be done to improve the game. Obviously it is extremely valuable to get this kind of information. This is just one of the many ways video game software advances so quickly.

This type of testing is called Beta Testing. This is just one way of how to make money playing video games. Companies all over are always looking for market consumers to get paid to test their products. That is where you come in.

Don’t just sit there and spend hundreds of dollars on a video game system and just play. Use it as a tool to make you cash. Use your PC in the same way. You can look up Beta Testing on the Internet and find companies to test for. Or you could pay a small fee and have someone else find these companies for you.

Keep in mind there is no guarantee that the game you test is going to be a huge big name game like World of Warcraft or Madden Football. There are so many games out there, all that should really matter is that you get paid cash to play (test), a game.

Just think. All you have to do is wake up, sit in front of the TV or PC and turn them on and you are at work! Most of these pay you per hour. If you are going to sit and play a game for hours you might as well get some money to do it!

Not Desert Land Based Casinos

To begin with, land-based casinos have a human element, considering that real people meet to gamble under one roof. No gaming experience can replace the interaction that results, when friends and strangers engage in various games, laughing with, and at one another. There are players who visit casinos simply to meet with people they know, and to share experiences as they play. While anonymity is valued in virtual casinos, here it if frowned upon. Instead of hiding in a room and playing alone, one has human companions to share both winnings and losses, and the concomitant emotions.

Secondly, there exists some a palpable excitement in land-based casinos, which is absolutely absent, when one is playing online. The sounds made as the coins, slots and roulette equipment move, are unique to terrestrial facilities. As the outcome of a bet or the implications of a move is awaited, there is palpable excitement. One can almost hear hearts pounding. Players and spectators alike, hold their breath and exhale or bust into cheers of jeers, as soon as the outcome of a game becomes clear. Contrast this with a player who is engaging in a game alone, using a phone or a computer, and you will realize that traditional casinos are not about to be phased out.

Lastly, people gambling in a land-based casino have the advantage of interacting with real customer care staff, and to receive personalized service. In a conventional casino, there are attendants ready to fill your glass, and direct you on where to find anything you need. They smile at you, and give you a sense of comradeship and security. The people seated on the other end of an internet site can never offer a player tangible and humanized assistance. Even if they strive to be friendly on chat, phone or email, they cannot engender an experience comparable to that of casino staff in a traditional casino.

Mini Baccarat

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good things must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to wager on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin toss. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I see it done all the time). It’s an even money bet on either side with the exception of a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission the outcome would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get closest to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the rules governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and pit bosses.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your wager and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the aura that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are betting against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the look out to make a buck, devised the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino patron. It seemed to work although it still hasn’t garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Betting Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and betting systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there can be only one of two outcomes, betting systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of wagers tend to do well.

It is common to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to streaks on both sides.

If you toss a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the outcome. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that wager. If successful, the player would receive a 3 to 1 payoff. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

Playing for three consecutive wins would reduce the player’s winning wagers but the payoff would jump to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.

Another sound betting system calls for a gradual increase of winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended run of wins that will undoubtedly occur and protect the player’s capital if the outcome is “choppy.”
This type of betting sequence would look like this:

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50

No wager after the second one in the series would produce a loss for the player.

Following the 1st bet the player is risking $5 and betting $15;
After winning the third bet the player is up $20 betting 25;
On the fourth, the player is up $40 wagering $30;
On the fifth, the player is ahead $65 betting $40;

A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 wager as the next bet. All with a starting wager of $10. Following any loss the player reverts back to the starting $10 bet.

With this method the player is increasing their bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the type of smart money management used by professional gamblers that takes full advantage of winning cycles while protecting their bankroll when losing. It insures that their winning bets will be substantially greater than their losing ones.

Although the hands are dealt at a rapid pace, I consider mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for the beginner. It allows them to acclimate to the game and concentrate on their playing strategy and wagers without feeling intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.