Tag Archives: pc games

Why Video Games Are NOT a Waste of Time

Although video games are slowly becoming more mainstream in our society, there is still a negative stigmatism of laziness that pervades the video game hobby. People think it a waste of time and time better spent.  Yes, there are certainly lines to be drawn. There’s a big difference from spending a few hours a week on a good story game to spending all your free time in an online universe. Like with everything else in life, gaming as a hobby requires moderation. Know when to allow yourself to play (without feeling guilt) and when to say, “Okay that’s enough, time to get something done.” I’m here to tell you why video games are NOT a waste of time! There are some real benefits to immersing yourself in different games, different universes. Read below to find out why:

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#12 Greatest Video Game of All Time

I know we are one day late, but hey, we are still in the same week! Three weeks in a row–yes!! This countdown is on a roll and dangerously close to the top 10. As a refresher, this is the video game brain trust’s list of the top 25 greatest video games of all time and we are now down to #12! These are the ones you’ve missed so  far: #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20#19#18#17#16#15, #14, and #13

Kai – Master of Orion II In my opinion, Masters of Orion II is the best space-based 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) ever made.  I love science fiction and this game really makes you feel like you’re running an alien empire, but doesn’t overwhelm you with options.  There’s lore, multiple victory conditions, colonization, building, and space battles.  You design your ships, decide which technologies to research, and can even create your own alien species.

It’s a turn-based game like Civilization and definitely shares that “one more turn” compulsion.  It still holds up today as nothing in the genre has really come close (the sequel was probably the most disappointing game of all time for me).  If you’re looking to conquer the galaxy in an afternoon, I can’t recommend anything other than Masters of Orion II.

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#14 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Yet, again, there has been a big gap between this series! We apologize, as sometimes it takes a bit to get everyone’s entries in. If you are new to this countdown, it’s just a top 25 list of our most favorite video games!  These are the ones you’ve missed so  far: #25, #24,#23, #22, #21, #20 #19#18#17#16, and #15. Let’s dive into #14!

Kai – X-COM – I’ve played three versions of X-COM: The original, X-COM UFO Defense, the third version X-COM Apocalypse, and the latest offering from Firaxis XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Within.  The original was revolutionary in scope, with everything from morale to technology research, and still holds up very well today.  

X-Com is half real-time strategic base management and half turn-based top-down tactical squad management.  The basic story is that aliens are real and are terrorizing human cities.  You’re put in charge of defending earth from this alien threat.

During the base management phase, you train/recruit soldiers, build weapons/vehicles, dispatch people on missions, and research alien artifacts to get new technology.  When a mission happens, it switches to the tactical mode, where you explore alien wrecks, kill/capture alien soldiers, and rescue civilians.

The games are difficult but addictive, enticing you to complete just one more mission with your squad of veteran troops.  You care deeply about your veteran soldiers as you’ve played with them for multiple hours and it’s very painful to lose one (or a whole shipful).  The theme is well-integrated and the gameplay is very tight, where every action you take is meaningful and possibly dangerous.  If you’re looking to blow an afternoon tracking down aliens and defending earth, I highly recommend picking up something from the X-COM series.

#21 Greatest Video Game of All Time

Finally, #21 is here! We apologize for the hiatus, we’ve been busy with the move and settling in. However, we are now back on track! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, look at this post herePlease meet our Video Game Brain Trust before you continue on. We put this together as a somewhat weekly display of what our favorite video games are. What we love about it is the variety between all of us and what we prefer. If you missed it, please see #25, #24, #23, and #22! Let’s get started.. 

#21 Best Video Games of All Time

Kai — Gunpoint – A much more recent game than those I’ve listed so far, Gunpoint is a stealth puzzle game with great atmosphere.  You play a private detective in a noire style adventure.  Although short, the story is really interesting and ties in great with the gameplay.  It doesn’t feel like you’re figuring out puzzles, it feels like you’re trying to move the plot forward.  The difficulty curve is very good, challenging but not overwhelming, unveiling various mechanics and techniques as time goes on.  My only real complaint is that the game is short and not very replayable, but definitely worth the price ($10).  If you’re looking for a game to while away a rainy day, I’d recommend Gunpoint.

Po — Super Mario 64 (N64) – Brought 3-D gaming to the mainstream. I’ll never forget the first time I walked through a door and entered a new room — it blew my mind.

Andrew — Ninja Crusaders (NES) – Really nothing much to say here other than that I spent countless hours playing this with my brother. YOU COULD TURN INTO A DRAGON. Top 5 NES Game. 
 

Alana (Fit) — Yoda Stories For me, this is an absolute classic. It’s a LucasArts game not many know about, but it holds a very special place in my heart. Released in the 90s, this game has no ultimate goal. It’s simply a collection of various levels you have to play through. So when you start the game, you could be doing one of the various Hoth levels, Endor levels, Death Star levels, Tatooine levels, and so forth. There were tons of different “levels” aka scenarios, each one with different surroundings and plots. Sometimes you’d meet Boba Fett, sometimes Vader, sometimes the Wampa. I remember my cousins, brother and I would always crowd around the computer playing and laughing at the subtly funny LucasArts writing characters said.

You usually played as Luke Skywalker, out to save the day or escape or something of that nature. You also could gain other weapons like a lightsaber and find hidden things behind boxes. It’s really a puzzle game in order to find the objective. This game was basically just the arrow keys and that’s all it really needed. It was a blast to play any of the levels over and over. I think I will play it again today. 

Chris — Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2) – Vice City is close behind on my list of favorite GTA games. While I typically enjoy some of the earlier entries in a franchise, the expansiveness and ability to do so many ridiculous things makes San Andreas my favorite. I might have enjoyed the story in Vice City a little bit more, the game based on Los Angeles takes the cake over the game based in Miami. However, San Andreas really is one of those games that I put on that highest level of near perfection. 

Simply, the graphics, soundtrack, and controls were all top-notch at the time. The story was what you would expect from a GTA and as I mentioned before, they expanded on what the player could do a million fold. One example is the ability to get in a plane, jump out, and go skydiving. Every vehicle was an option and if you had the money, you could customize your really fast cars however you wanted. 

But this is a favorite list and not a list of the best games, so what really makes San Andreas stand so tall. Completion. This game truly had an RPG feel to it and I put in hundred of hours in order to get to a 99.9% completion rating. I never got to 100% but it always offered enough mini-games and side quests to keep my attention and that replay value in a game like this is untouchable.

 That wraps up our picks for #21 Greatest Video Game of All Time. Stay tuned for next week’s #20 and read up on the previous ones if you haven’t already! We are having a blast doing this. I hope you’re having fun as well looking at what we have to bring to the table. And as always, stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: Have you played any of these games? Do you like them?

#22 Greatest Video Game of All Time

After a slight hiatus, we are back on our series of the Top 25 Greatest Video Games of All Time! Don’t forget to check out our video game brain trust as well as #25, #24, and #23! This week we are rolling into #22. We all come from different backgrounds and video game tastes which makes this list so interesting! See below for our picks for #22. 

Kai Powell – Soul Calibur – One of the few fighting games I really played, but boy did I play it. Junior year of high school, I’d basically play everyday at lunch with a random group in the back of our biology teacher’s classroom. It was really approachable, but also clearly had tiers of skill, with the best players almost always beating the worse players. It had a group of memorable and distinct characters (I played as Lizardman) and straightforward, comprehensible mechanics. Soul Calibur was the perfect lunch time distraction.

Scott (Po) – Super Metroid – The premiere mix of horror and gameplay. I’ve yet to play a game that mixed mood, puzzle, and overall playability so well since.

Andrew – Mega Man 4/series(NES + forward) – Same thing, should be higher. Series needs to be refreshed. It didn’t matter whether gameplay was the same, whether it was Mega Man or Mega Man X, you had a new map and different colored enemies and that was pretty much all you needed. The music was always fantastic. You had upgrades! Mega Man 4 had one of the best intros of all time. For anything. Period. Heartbreaking. Emotional. Legendary.  The TV show was phenomenal (it’s a tie in so it counts).  Mega Man X was probably the last good game in the series , Mega Man 64(Legends) was pretty disappointing all around but this game could play just like Metroid Prime if it was given another chance. Hell, make it a rail shooter…just give it another shot. Give a new generation of gamers the chance. 

Alana (Fit) – Battlefield 1942 – I’m not talking about the whole series here, I’m talking just the original Battlefield 1942. For way longer than we should have, my brother and I just played the demo. The only level in this demo was Wake Island, north of the Marshall Islands. I loved this game and I find it astonishing now that we never got bored of playing that one level over and over and over and over. Multiplayer, of course, so that it would never be the same. You could play as the Japanese or the Americans on this specific level. We played tons of Call of Duty, but what made this stand out was that you could use vehicles! And oh what fun that was.

We eventually bought the game and got the rest of the levels as well as the ability to play as Germans, English, etc. We would have jeep wars, where we would race each other in jeeps, which always resulted in a fiery crash of doom. Learning how to fly airplanes was certainly interesting as well as I would usually run into the building before I could get my tail in the air. All of the different classes you could play really made it special to me. I would always play as a medic and make it my duty to heal anyone out there. It highlighted teamwork, which I absolutely loved. We always played the scenarios where you would try to capture as much flags (aka land) as possible so that you would win with the highest points. The variety of ways to play really made this a fun one for me and I would still play it today. And you bet you would find my in the front seat of a jeep, nearing a cliff’s edge. This first-person shooter was truly a blast to play. I tend to stick to the original. 

Chris (Hungry) – Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000, Arcade) – Yes, I also had it for PS2, Dreamcast, and later for the iPhone but nothing lives up to the arcade console. This game will most likely be the only game in the fighting genre on this list although some Mortal Kombat installments were extremely enjoyable. I was also a big fan of Gundam Battle Assault and other games that provided the opportunity to use your favorite characters from various other sources, but I’ll get back on track. This game makes my list because not only was it one of the best fighting games of all time, it also led to hours of great times at various arcades throughout the Jersey Shore. It’s huge cast of characters from two of my favorite entities of all time presented so many combinations for arcade and versus mode. The one down side is the story, because I love a good story. That is what makes some of the newer Mortal Kombats so good… a little extra on the story. (Marvel Super Heroes crushed this category by using Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet arc as the basis of the game.) This was a classic save the world by beating the final boss… (SPOILER) Abyss. His background and three forms make for a solid enemy, add the fact that he’s unplayable and it makes him even better. Maybe not quite as good as Onslaught in the first game, but still solid.

As for my team, it was relatively standard with some variations when I was having a hard time defeating an opponent. First, either Cable or War Machine. Cable had some cheap projectile attacks that kept your opponents at distance. War Machine had some amazing special attacks that hit often and added to your combo a lot. Second, either Ryu or Akuma. They would typically be my close combat character for dealing with some of the bigger and slower enemies like Hulk and Blackheart. They were usually my best bet in any pinch due to my playing style. Finally, Captain America. No alternate there. Obviously I played with every character at some point but these were my competitive ones. The Captain was always one of my favorites and as much as Wolverine if my favorite character, I just couldn’t get much done with him. Captain and myself worked perfectly together, using the shield as an extension of ourselves and creating distractions to bring in aid attacks and rush the enemy. Final Justice will always be my favorite special in the game. With that team, I had a blast and set a ton of high scores in arcades throughout NJ only to have my brother take some of those records back. I will play this game anywhere, anytime. It’s replay value is unmatched. Who was your go to team? Could it take down Cable, Akuma, and Captain America?

So that sums up #22 for our video game trust. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for next week! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

#24 Greatest Video Game of All Time

It is time to bring you #24 of our “Top 25 Video Games of All Time“! I’ve been looking forward to this since last week! Make sure you check out our video game brain trust before reading further. If you missed last week’s #25 games, read here to update yourself. Ready, get set, go #24! 

#24 Favorite/Best Video Game

Kai – Worms Armageddon – One of the few multiplayer PC games that could be played on a single computer.  An amazing party game, full of humor and customization as well as tactical depth and variety.  I spent countless hours at home and at friends’ houses trying to master the art of the ninja rope or the exploding sheep.  A great game that perfectly captures the idea that games are about fun and shouldn’t take themselves too seriously.

Scott (Po) – Skies of Arcadia – I’m a sucker for sky pirates and RPGs. I fell in love at first sight.

Andrew – Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr. (N64) Call, call, call me Junior. Pretty sure that reticle size never, ever made any difference at all here. Pretty sure that Scott Rolen + anyone else was an absolute trading machine and other teams would drop him pretty much right away for rinse and repeat. This is my most played sports game after Madden and I just felt like I could replay the season mode over and over again. The music, the pageantry, the dynamics were just so fun (only thing holding this game back was that overthrows didn’t happen – if they did, absolute surprise to me). Naturally Mark McGwire shouldn’t be used in game. …with all this said, I tried to play whatever 2K Baseball or whatever people play now a days and I had like 0 outs with 3 runs against me in the top of the 1st so…yeah…

Alana (Fit) – FIFA World Cup Series – What a perfect way to continue the list as the actual World Cup 2014 approaches. FIFA games are all great, but I specified World Cup so that I could play as those famous countries. For me, it’s a timeless game that I can return to over and over. Soundtracks from that game will forever populate my mind. I started playing around 2000, I believe, and Kai and I would play tons of it. I would love to go through the whole World Cup process–it didn’t matter how bad the graphics were. There’s something about that game that gives you that addiction. Even when I start to play real life soccer, I say, “Let’s play FIFA!” It’s a great game for multiplayer and solo, especially for those who love the game. FIFA will always have a special place in my heart and I will continue to play it time and time again. Definitely my most favorite sports video game series. 

Chris (Hungry) – House of the Dead III (ARCADE) – There will be a few arcade games that will make my list. The reason I am choosing the arcade version rather than the console release one is the pump-action shotgun that you get to whip around like Arnold in that mall scene in Terminator II. House of the Dead III is by far my favorite arcade shooting game, although there are tons of top choices including: Revolution X, Time Crisis II, Virtua Cop, The Ocean Hunter, etc., mainly because of the memories it produced. It also was one of the few that I beat in the arcade over and over again, along with all the ones listed earlier. It was a money issue, typically, but I couldn’t hold my quarters back for this one. The continuing story throughout the series, the decent graphics, the presence of voice acting, and the ability to choose your stages made this game better than most of its competition. Plus, the fact that it was released for multiple consoles made it even more accessible for in-home gamers. It might have been released in 2002 but it is a game I will still throw quarters into over 16 years later. If I have an arcade in my home one day, this will be one of the first three machines in it.

And with that ends our #24 greatest video game of all time. Keep your eyes ready for next week’s #23! Looking forward to what everyone lists! Let us know what you think with comments below! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

 

 

Tips for New Elder Scrolls Online Players

Hurray! Elder Scrolls Online has finally released (at least for PC). It is a MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game) set in the Elder Scrolls universe (which released games like Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim). At first I had mixed feelings…I was upset that Elder Scrolls was turning into a MMORPG instead of another solo game (because they are so fantastic). However, I got put into the Long-Term Beta Testing, so I got to play for a good few months. They happened to change my mind. I absolutely love it. Sure, it’s not the exact same as the other Elder Scrolls with the whole MMO element, but it still allows me to get lost in the world as the others do. I haven’t felt this excited about a game in a while and it feels good! 

Character I'm playing right now...pretty badass

Character I’m playing right now…pretty badass

From being in beta for a few months and playing live now, I believe I have a firm grasp on how to play the game or at least how to help beginners at this game. Those who have just bought it and started to play can certainly benefit from the advice below: 

1. Loot Coldharbour. This is the place where you start. There are baskets, trunks, chests everywhere! These contain lots of crafting materials and more. Don’t rush through this beginning zone, take the time to explore and you will have a head start on crafting and making money. It is worthwhile to loot everywhere!

2. Be flexible at first. This is like no other MMO in the way of classes and abilities. It is Elder Scrolls; where you can decide what character you want to be. Sure, there are the foundation classes of Dragonknight, Templar, Nightblade, and Sorcerer, but it’s up to you who your character will be. You can use any weapon no matter what class. Play with each weapon for a level or so, see what comes natural to you and what fits your playing style best. Your knowledge of this will help you further in the game as you know you chose the best type of weapon for your playing style. It also helps to know when you can switch out weapons at level 15. But that’s a little far away, right now.

Character creation

Character creation

3. Decide what role you want to play. This means deciding which class you want to play as to which race to which skill lines you are going to focus on. For me, I’m all about the story, so I don’t always make the most efficient character (I pick the race I personally want, despite if it has the bonuses that is going to go best with my class or role). However, since it is an MMO, I still want to be useful in a group whether that means tanking, healing, or being the damage dealer. 

4. Immerse yourself. This is a big one, but it is an easy one, at least for me. Tamriel (the Elder Scrolls continent) has always been a favorite place of mine, rich with history with a plethora of adventures at your disposal. It’s very easy to lose myself in this world, in the quests, the people, the fighting. Allow yourself to do so (despite it being an MMO). Don’t just spam click the quests, read them, listen to them, know why you’re doing them. It will actually benefit you in the long run with some quests when you’re required to recall information. Lose yourself in the game!

5. Pick up everything. Yes, everything! Unlike other MMOs, you aren’t limited to one or two crafting abilities. You can do all of them. Yes, that may be a little overwhelming, but it is so exciting! Unlike the other Elder Scrolls games, ingredients are a little bit tougher to pick out in the scenery. Look out for flowers, runes, ore, and so forth. Always check all the baskets, trunks, crates, etc, you never know what you could find. It’s always exciting to find new recipes and new materials to work with. And even if you don’t use them, you could always sell them in bulk. 

searching

6. Learn how to craft right away. From the very first moment you get to your starter area, start crafting! If you’ve already followed the advice of this post, then you will have a good amount of ingredients in your inventory. Go to each crafting station, read the tutorial, and understand it. Try each one out, even if you don’t have all required ingredients. Don’t forge to “deconstruct” things. That means armor, weapons, glyphs, and so forth. This is how you can get more materials to craft more things. The ESO crafting system is probably the most amazing and complex one I’ve ever seen from an MMO. I love it! 

Tons of different crafting options!

Tons of different crafting options!

7. Use that bank! Going along with crafting, you’re going to need to take advantage of your bank. Ingredients take up a large part of your inventory, but they invented something beautiful to help you with that. I’m sure you’re familiar with depositing items in your bank from other MMOs, but Elder Scrolls does it differently. This trick can save you time, money, and the heart-wrenching choice of destroying inventory. You can deposit any and all crafting items in your bank (up until it hits its capacity) and you can still use those items while you go to a crafting station. So even if they aren’t in your pocket, your ingredients and crafting items are readily available any time you go to actually craft. Pretty nifty, huh?

bank

8. Hold off on weapon skills. This is going to be a controversial one. First off, I certainly don’t mean don’t choose any weapon skills, that would be absurd. But in light of #2 and #3, don’t throw all your eggs in one basket. Once you hit near 10, you should know which weapon you want to focus on. I think that’s a good time to start piling points there. Before that, if you’re still playing around with a few, you should just hold off until you know for sure. That way, you won’t be wasting any skill points! 

My skill tree

My skill tree

9. Pick up a book. No, really! If you know Elder Scrolls, you know that some books can give you bonus skill points. Trust me, it’s worth it to look at every bookshelf. Plus, that’s how you level up in the Mage’s Guild AND there’s some pretty cool lore out there. 

10. You can join up to 5 guilds. I’m not talking about the Fighter’s Guild or anything similar to that, I’m talking about player guilds. Guilds that fight for certain alliances that players create and recruit for. You can name it what you want (within reason) and make it what you want. Some guilds are for trading, PVP, PVE, RP, and so forth. In most MMOs, you can only join one guild. I thought it was pretty cool to be able to be a part of 5. Plus, they go cross-characters, so all your characters will be in said player guilds if you join them.

11. Get lost. Again, this is an Elder Scrolls game. You will always be rewarded for exploring off the beaten path of quests. Explore every nook and cranny. You could find new quests, crafting materials, treasure maps, locked chests, cool new areas, and awesome items. Although it is “zoned” like other MMOs, it is unlike others because you are encouraged to run off the trail and towards the beach, fight some mudcrabs, and come upon a barnacle-encrusted chest filled with treasure. This is your world–explore it! 

Walking around

Walking around

With that, I leave you to it. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I am always here as a source if need be. I will be continually playing with my brother (and eventually Chris when it comes out for PS4) under “Ewoky.” Please let me know if you have any other questions, I would love love to help! And as always…stay hungry and fit!

The Invasion of MMORPGs

Nerd alert post–no cooking or working out in this one. What is a MMORPG? It is a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game. Think World of Warcraft–the most popular and successful of them all. There have always been some: EVE, EverQuest, and so on. But now, big companies and big game lines have really started throwing themselves into this genre. Don’t get me wrong, I used to play WoW a lot, it’s a lot of fun, but my feelings start to get mixed once my beloved game series get involved.

This post is inspired by my playing Skyrim yesterday. I love the Elder Scrolls series, with them choosing different homelands of each of the playable races and being able to experience each one. Skyrim, which is pretty much all snow, is for the Nords. I usually either play as a Khajiit or a Wood Elf. I started thinking how cool it would be when Elder Scrolls finally got to their homelands. The desert land of the Khajiits with endless sand, or the forest-cities of the Wood Elves. How awesome it would be to explore it, especially now with such improved graphics and the ever-present attention to detail Bethesda offers.

My Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim character

My Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim character

And then I remember. Oh yeah, they’re making an MMO. That might mean that there will never be another Elder Scrolls game after that. And that kinda breaks my heart. I know they’re trying to make it as Elder Scrolls-y as possible, but it will still be an MMO. It will never be the same. I find myself wishing that they would choose not to jump on the bandwagon and instead, work on Elder Scrolls VI. Perhaps they still will, but that will be a lot to take on.

ScreenShot3 (2)

Star Wars: The Old Republic by BioWare (probably in competition with Bethesda for my favorite company ever) jumped at a huge MMO project like this as well. Of course I was excited–one of my most favorite series by one of my most favorite companies, it had to be good. And while I do enjoy playing SWTOR, it’s just not the same as Knights of the Old Republic. I would much rather have another single-player sequel to that amazing series with all its tough choices, exploration, and story than the impressive huge universe BioWare created. But KOTOR is a lot smaller than the Elder Scrolls games, so I doubt there will be another since TOR is out.

naiya avatar sokan

I’m not sure why MMOs are trending so much–perhaps because of the big money gains, the success, and fame? World of Warcraft certainly made its mark on gaming history and will continue to do so. But just because it was wildly successful doesn’t mean that every big awesome gaming company needs to do it. For me, the Elder Scrolls series is truly unique and I love the worlds they create, the attention to detail, and the openness of gameplay that is hard to recreate in an MMO. I hope the MMO format doesn’t kill it, but it probably will.

What are your feelings about the increasing number of MMOs? Cheers!