Used Games For Your Well Earned Downtime

There are a lot of great games out there, some for various gaming stations, some for PC or MAC, and some that are the good old fashioned but still a lot of fun board games. The thing about some types of games, those mostly of the electronic type, are very pricey. If you love to play games, but you don’t have a lot of money to invest in each and every one that comes out. You can find less expensive ways to own the ones that you want, or you can use some for a while and then send them back to get something else. With board games, you can find great used games as well.

A good, new video game that plays on the PC or on a system like PlayStation or WII can cost anywhere between twenty and a hundred plus dollars. This can add up fast if you love games and like to play a lot of them. Instead of keeping a game that you no longer need, you can take it into a store, or find a site online, and trade it in. you won’t get all of your money back for your used games, but you can get other used games that others have traded in. Unlike other things, though there may be wear and tear on the case, the game is as good as it was new. Stores won’t buy scratched games, so that should not be a worry.

You can also set up an exchange with your friends for used games. Once you are done with a game, you can trade with someone else who has finished a different game. This type of used games swap can be a lot of fun, and you can play five or six games for the price of one new game. The more people you include in your swap, the more games you are going to get to play for free. If you don’t like something, you wouldn’t have wasted your hard earned money on something that is no good to you. You can just swap with someone else.

You can also sign up for a service much like Netflix that allows you to rent games for a small amount each month. You get the one you want in the mail, play it until you are done, and then send it back in. After they get the game back, you get the next one on the list. These too are used games, but you can be sure that they are not going to send you one that you will not work well. If you hate it, you can ditch it fast enough, and if you find out that you love it, you will have to send it back, but you won’t feel anxious about spending big bucks on a game because you already know you love it.

If you love board games, you can also find used games in many places. These are not always going to be in good shape, but if these used games have all of the pieces, they can be a great deal if you just want to play the game. Some games require writing pads or other things that you may not be able to find elsewhere to replace what is missing, so do look through a game for all of the parts needed before you buy. You can find some classic board games at rummage sales for as little as 25 cents. You can’t get a better deal than that, unless of course, you find some for free.

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What It’s Like Being a Game Maker

Game Making: Life

This article is about the life of being a freelancing game maker. Not that many people actually understand what it’s like to have this job. You’re at a family dinner and some relative asks what you do, you tell them and they just have a blank sorta face. Adult’s really don’t understand games even slightly. They then try and be interested and ask questions like… “So what type of games do you make” it’s pointless because they won’t understand my answer anyway.

It’s funny really, even my mum is like go get a job! I’m like I have a job mum…she’s like… uhh yeah but.. a real job. It’s so frustrating and makes me so angry. Just because I don’t go into an office and have a set work time, it doesn’t make it any easier. In fact it makes it even harder and this is what people really don’t realise.

When you make a game or anything at all. It is not like working at your 9-5 job of boredom. (Now when I say 9-5 mindless job, I mean any job that is one you shut your brain off for to endure instead of turning it on. Such as working take away joints, supermarkets, security etc) You can’t just shut down your brain and keep looking at the clock. You have to solve problems, you have to be creative of new ideas. Your brain is running non stop and it gets very stressful. Cause if you can’t be creative enough, then you can’t pay rent. That is a lot more stressful then having a solid weekly pay check where you just clock in and try get through it. I could spend a month working on a game, only to have it not sell very well and now I’m broke. It really is the harsh reality of it.

I argue with a friend who says my work is easy because I can set my own hours and get up whenever I want. Sure this great and theirs many positive things to it. Making games is awesome! I love it all, but it’s not a free ride job as people think. When you work, you look at the clock different to someone at a 9-5 job. You don’t hope for the day to be over, you keep looking at the clock worrying you haven’t got enough done today or this week. Will I get this game finished before I can’t afford food anymore?

The problem is pressure dampens creativity, but it also speeds up getting work done. It’s a tug and pull.

Basically my day will consist of waking up between 9-12. I’ll check up on all the usual stuff. Emails/Facebook/Reviews. Then I’ll tell myself I should work, but I’ll usually procrastinate till 2 in the afternoon. Usually I’ll get a few hours of programming in then. Till I get angry and stressed out from programming bugs. (Programming is really a mental strain sometimes, people that work mindless jobs will never understand this. It can be related to doing your final exams in high school for the amount of stress)

Some days Ill wake up and just work from 9 in the morning till midnight. Every day varies. Depends what I’m doing and how motivated I am or if I’m inspired by a song or movie. Usually I’ll be slack at the start of the game, but towards the end I’m working every day for 12 hours. Working from waking up, till I sleep to get it done.

How do you explain to someone your job consists of so many things put together. If I explain it, they don’t understand and still think I’m a slacker. The process has so much you need to learn. It’s something like this though..

– Coming up with an idea that is unique and fun
– Programming your idea into a workable engine WITHOUT BUGS
– Designing the art style and mood to the game
– Level Design; making mass new levels which can take a long time when you have 50 or so
– Fixing Bugs and Glitches. (This can break people who give up)
– Designing the game to work out what the player wants
– Sound Editing. Getting sound effects and music for your game.
– Storyline, coming up with an addictive story for your game

It goes on and on really. So many things you needa worry about, because a game is made up of everything. All this goes through your head working every day full of stress and worry the game won’t be good enough and you try tell me your job is harder because you work 9-5 and have to dig holes? pfft. I’m not saying it’s not hard doing manual labor all day, but you’ll never understand the pressure and stress of truly creating something that has to please millions of people.

I’m living out of home now. It’s great and all, but I needa make sure I finish a game about once a month to keep up on bills now. In a way it is good though. It motivates me to get more games done which is what I want. I have so many ideas to be put into games that I can’t wait to try. The problem is sticking to them and making them work.

In this line of work, every piece of media you do becomes research. Every time I play a game, I mentally pull it apart thinking why it’s fun. I’ll watch a movie at the cinemas and take a little bit away from it that inspires me. It’s sorta hard to shut my brain off to ideas. Though I’ll cover ideas and inspiration more in depth in another article since everyone asks how I come up with them.

In this job it’s constantly highs and lows. I’ll release a successful game and have enough money to last me a few months and I relax. Other times I’ve been down to less then $100 in my bank working non stop for a week or two to get paid. I’m pretty good with money though. Whenever I get below a certain amount in my bank I start working a lot more, and spend a lot less. I just try manage it as best I can and have faith in my own game making abilities to get paid.

I recommend this job 100%, but only if they have the motivational and love of game making to keep with it. It’s not easy, but if you can do it. You have a huge portfolio of stuff you’ve hand made that feels like you’ve really accomplished something. It’s so rewarding when people say they spent an hour of your game having fun. It’s still weird for me to hear that, each time I hear it I just think really? you liked it?! I’m so used to look at statistics on the game it’s always different to hear it in person.

My general tips for living a life like this would be –

– Create your game making folder. Organise it into folders of sound, written ideas, engines, anything that inspires you. Throw everything in here.

– Start making every single thing and idea that pops into your head. Build up a folder of engines you can start to use to make into a game any time. If the engine is fun, then the game will be later.

– Build up some savings before quitting your other job. The first few games you make won’t do as well, you gotta be prepared for failure and maybe some debt before progressing forward.

– Don’t listen to anyone that doesn’t make games and doesn’t offer any value to their criticisms. 99% of people have no idea about game making and will put you down by saying it’s not as good as their job.

– Be prepared for long hours at the computer. Try look after yourself. It’s hard though. Specially since a lot of programmers take a lot of caffeine and don’t eat right.

– Just go for it. Don’t let anything hold you back. Sit down, don’t think about making games, just do it. Sit down and start making whatever you want. Have fun!

In summary, I love my job. I wouldn’t trade it now for any other besides working in a proper game studio, but even then I’m not so sure since I’d then be taking orders and can’t make whatever I want. So I’m gonna keep having fun making games till it can’t make me an income. Then I’ll port my games onto other things or start a website that makes me income through paying. Not sure yet. I just know with all the advancing technology, theirs always gonna be more possibilities.

Now, time to stop procrastinating my work by writing this article.

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MMO Games for Kids and Teens – Harmless Fun?

An MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game is played on the internet, set in a virtual world in which many people are playing and interacting with at the same time. Currently the largest MMO in North America, certainly the most talked about MMO, is World of Warcraft (WoW). Besides WoW, however, there are several MMO games targeted at and marketed to children; recently I started reading about these “kid-friendly” MMOs and I started to wonder what impact an MMO would have on children and their creativity.

There are several MMOs out there for kids. There are free versions (free-to-play) and subscription versions, but they’re all built around one principle: MMO games can make BIG money. How do they do this? They are experts at creating an atmosphere that gets you to open your wallet and they employ psychological tools that promote addictive behavior. Many adults have a hard time spotting this, how can you expect your kids to?

MMO games – The Financial Cost

Most MMO games have a tiered system, a free portion and a payed portion. How these two sections of the game interact depends on the financial structure of the game. There are two primary and distinct strategies a company could try to use:

One is the monthly subscription model. In this model, to enjoy the full game you have to pay a monthly fee. Often this means the free portion of the game is time-limited; you can download the game, play for the trial period and once it’s over, you’ll have to pay to keep playing. Alternately, you might be able to keep playing the free game, but to unlock better features, new experiences, and places to explore you must be a subscribing member. Basically, while using the free/trail version it will take more effort and time to reach the same goals as a subscribing member, if it’s at all possible. The game will typically remind you, as often as possible, that your life and gaming experience would be easier if you just send them some money. This latter model is the one employed by Toontown, an MMO published by Disney and marketed to kids.

The other is the Microtransaction model. In this system, the game does not have a monthly fee but they offer options to buy credits (with real money) that you can spend in the game for bonuses. The “Coins” feature on Facebook games is an example of this – sometimes, game play is not affected by these items and they are only for the people who want bragging rights, but usually they do affect the game and give great advantages to those willing to pay for them.  The term Microtransaction refers to the fact that typically these purchases are small typically ranging from five dollars down to just a few cents – small enough to seem small, big enough to add up quickly.

The attitude and culture of “keeping up with the Joneses” is something that MMO games actively encourage, whether it is having the latest and greatest weapon, a special limited edition item, or giving awards to the top players. It encourages players to play longer and pay more money.

MMO games and Creativity

There is very little true creativity in MMO games. They are carefully designed to keep you playing for as long as possible, often doing the same repetitive tasks over and over again to gain money, experience, or to meet some other in-game goal. There might be some problem-solving in-game but, within the confines of the game, there is a limit to how complex a problem can be and a limit to how creative the solution might be. There are so many other more creative activities kids can be doing!

MMO games and Addictive Behavior

There are many strategies used by MMO game makers that you should be worried about. Possibly the most common task in MMOs is “farming” in which you need to collect a number of objects to turn in for a reward. You collect 20 blue stars, turn them in to receive a shiny silver button, and move on to collecting 20 red squares so you can get your shiny gold button. This strongly echoes the behavior analysis concept of reinforcement: pull on a lever and get a reward or reinforcement. In this case, you pull the lever 20 times and get an virtual reward.  Much of the research in this field was pioneered by  B.F. Skinner, whose studies suggested that you can control a subjects behavior simply by creating a scenario to be played out and a reward for doing so correctly. MMOs have this down to a science. You perform one repetitive task to receive your reward before moving on to the next task, a task that is often just a few shades different from the previous one.

MMO games run on a system of rewards, accomplishments, and one-upmanship. There is a whole trophy section in Toontown where players with the top scores for various accomplishments are posted for the world to see – but to get this recognition you have to play and play a lot. The human brain does not readily distinguish between virtual and real accomplishments; working for hours to obtain a special item in a game is as satisfying as creating something in the real world, as far as your brain is concerned. This is a very addictive and dangerous element to games. The mental attachment can be so strong that some countries such as Korea now recognize virtual goods as if they were real. An entire industry has sprung up around creating and selling virtual items and this industry is now worth over 6 billion dollars. “Collecting” can become addicting behavior and MMO games actively encourage it. It keeps you playing (even if these items have no direct affect on the game) and keeps you spending.

They also employ Skinner’s theory of “Variable Ratio Rewards” – which gives you items or rewards at random to keep you playing. Similar to slot machines, you keep playing because the next one might be the “big win.” Is this the type of behavior we want to encourage in our kids?

All three of these tactics can be combined to create a highly addictive environment. Take our Blue Stars, for example. We need to collect 20 to receive our Shiny Silver Button (Reinforcement).  However, Blue Stars can only be found under Green Rocks, not Red or Blue Rocks, so there’s a random chance to find the right rock to look under (Variable Ratio Rewards). Furthermore, they’re only found under a quarter of all Green Rocks (more Variable Ratio Rewards). But, underneath all rocks, we have a small chance (say one percent) to find a super-rare Gold Shiny Hat (even more Variable Ratio Rewards and One-upmanship). Once we finally find all our Blue Stars, we are guaranteed to get our Shiny Silver Button but now we can try to get our Shiny Gold Button (One-upmanship) by collecting Red Squares, and the process starts again. In that simple quest, the designers have managed to fit one instance of Reinforcement, three instances of Variable Ratio Rewards, and two instances of One-upmanship. Three different addictive strategies, applied six times, have guaranteed that the player will check every single rock they come across while convincing them that it’s worth their time.

Through the use of behavior controls, you can see how such a simple quest has turned into a huge time sink. We started by just having to check Green Rocks for 20 Blue Stars, which with a single application of Reinforcement would require 20 Green Rocks, but thanks to Variable Ratio Rewards, we’ll probably have to check 80 Green Rocks to get those Blue stars. And because there’s a chance at finding a Gold Shiny Hat (which probably doesn’t even do anything besides look shiny), we’ll check the Red and Blue Rocks too. Assuming an even distribution, we’ll end up checking around 240 Rocks in total, 80 of each color.  240 rocks to find 20 Blue Stars. But at least we’ll probably get our Gold Shiny Hat, right? Too bad everybody else has one too and are now looking for a Shimmering Gold Cape instead.

This is one of the simplest examples of addictive behavior controls in an MMO, there are many many more.  Now imagine that you could pay a monthly fee to unlock a Special Magnifying Glass that gives you a chance to find that Shimmering Gold Cape while looking for the Gold Shiny Hat.  If you’re emotionally invested in the MMO, you might very well become financially invested too.

The Time Cost of MMO games

MMO games can very easily become a time sink, especially if you do become addicted to them. They do make a very efficient babysitter but the costs to creativity and general well-being are too high. There is a fine line between having time for hobbies and recreations – even television watching and playing regular computer games – and becoming completely engrossed. Many adults have not figured out this balance, so our kids, left undirected, would have no hope.

MMOs are more social than many other games, and often do require teamwork or some problem solving skills. There are some skills a child might learn through playing games, MMOs in particular, but practically all of these skills can be taught or learned in other environments that are free of behavior controls, hidden costs, time sinks, and virtual accomplishments.

If you set very strict guidelines such as having the computer in a public room of the house (remember most games have a chat function), have your child playing under a parent account you have full access to, and set a daily time limit, then it is possible to enjoy these games. At the very least, you can use the game as a learning tool, so you and your child can identify the marketing and psychological strategies game makers employ.

**This post was co-written by my amazing editor Darrel Ross. I did lots of research and game playing for this post but he has the experience of having played recreationally so was able to provide the detailed examples of how MMO games can be addicting and destructive.

There are lots of reasons I do not think that MMO games are a good idea for kids, but I would love to hear your arguments both for and against. If you have experiences both positive and negative with MMO games please leave a comment below.

Sheena is an educator and author who is passionate about creativity. Her website “Growing Creative Kids” is full of ideas, resources and creative inspiration for parents, educators and care givers. http://growingcreativekids.com

Sheena has two e-books available on her website at: http://growingcreativekids.com/shop

“Growing Creative Kids” a great resource providing you with the ideas, inspiration and and tools to cultivate a creative mind within your family.

“The Art of Money Getting – Adapted for the Modern Teen Money Getter” takes P.T Barnum’s classic lessons and makes it relevant to today’s teens.

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Downloaded Games Versus Game Backups Created With Game Copier Software

There is some confusion among gamers as to what the point of game copier software is and if programs like game copy wizard actually work? As an avid gamer myself it didn’t take much for me to see the value of game copier software to backup games safely and legally. Where I think the confusion comes from is the difference between creating game backups and downloading and burning games.

Let’s start by looking at game copier software and its value to other gamers like me out there.

As you would undoubtedly know gaming is not exactly an inexpensive pastime. With increasing technologies and developments in gaming software the price is also increasing accordingly. And unfortunately, the more popular and anticipated a new game may be, the more expensive the game will likely be.

When you are investing a lot of your hard earned cash into your gaming collection, doesn’t it make sense to find ways to help you protect it? What will you do if your game disc decides it no longer wants to run? How will you replace that game you have already purchased without having to purchase it again? This is where I first saw the value in game copier software.

With game copier software you can immediately make a high quality backup of your new game purchase. I’d actually recommend that you use your backup copy for your main gaming use. Then if that copy becomes damaged you can use the original game disc to make another backup. You only need to purchase the software once, and I can guarantee you will find yourself using it again and again.

The next question that often comes to mind is how does this game copier software work and whether we even need it?

It’s not uncommon for people to think that since our computers are already able to copy and burn discs, they surely would be able to copy games without needing extra software. Unfortunately, because of the protections and the unique types of game files used, your computer doesn’t have the in built ability to recognize and duplicate the information contained in the game discs.

Game copier software works by enabling your computer to bypass these protections and then to recognize the game files to duplicate them. Without game copier software there is no way a standard personal computer could do this.

So how do downloaded games differ?

Downloaded games are more often than not illegal copies of original games, unless you download them from manufacturers sites. When downloading and trying to play these unregistered games you’ll find you need to flash or modify your console in some way. When flashing or console modifications are involved in any way to use game copies, it should be seen as fair warning to stay away. You could otherwise be faced with piracy or copyright infringements.

I’m sure for a number of gamers this may see like a cheap and viable option to maintain an enviable game library without breaking the bank. However, the risks involved aren’t worth the savings. Not only could you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, but you could also find yourself damaging your console through the modification process. Another deterrent for many gamers is the fact that xbox Live will ban your console for life if you go online using an illegitimate game copy.

Taking all of this into consideration, it should be obvious that game copier software is a viable tool for all gamers. It will help you to enhance and protect your game collection without breaking any laws. You will also end up with game duplicates that offer the same high quality experience as the original gaming disc.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robby_Hopkins/780116

 

The 4 Basic Types of Online Flash Games

Online games – discussed casually or perhaps sometimes officially, but usually referred to as video game which can be enjoyed on the personal computer and a connection to the internet. You will find video games that can be played out on the internet requiring different gadgets, for instance video games consoles (PlayStation, Xbox) as well as mobile phone devices, however online games typically suggest computer games that may be experienced only once you will be coupled to the Web. These types of video games started off in the 80s at the same time Internet connectivity was basically sluggish and high priced. The first editions of these online games were being basic multiplayer text-based video games.

During the 90’s these types of video games began acquiring popularity, and from now on they will include high-end visuals, incredibly real sounds, and virtual communities, together with so very much more.

Varieties of Online Games

Online games are generally:

(1) First-person shooters: In this case the players fight with each other “head-to-head”. In many first-person shooters video games, you can find online elements which allow a death match/arena type of playing. During these video games, the your view perspective in the game play will be the one observed through your character’s (the virtual you) vision;

(2) Real-time strategy video games: These are generally online games for which you need to build a fight strategy or a game plan by creating resources, as well as coming up with a powerful army in order that you can combat many other internet game enthusiasts;

(3) Internet browser video games: These are generally straightforward, compact games, and also an extraordinary way to rapidly kill some time; games which can be enjoyed through your internet browser. These are created with the well-known Shockwave or perhaps Java technological innovations;

(4) Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG): These types of online games which could sustain a huge number of participants coming from across the world at the same time, messing around with NPCs (non player characters) or perhaps in opposition to one another inside an enormous virtual world. You can even interact one with another. In this case an individual has to maintain progressing until he or she gets to the absolute maximum achievable level prepared for the video game. These types of online games can continue to keep a game player involved for a few months and even years! That’s why the most inoffensive, best to kill some useless time and perhaps to spend some time with your kids games in this niche, are the ones in the third category described, and those are the internet browser games. They are relaxing, helping you to distress and to continue the day after a short mind break from any concern in life. You can drive F1 monopods, make the most incredible “2 wheels tricks”, usually be whoever you want to be. These video games depend on Internet and also the technology grows them up in a short time.

Through web based gaming, you are able to subjugate a competitor of a character who will not reside in our planet or who know what other creatures you may defeat.

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