How Social Media Has Revolutionized the World of Gaming

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Thanks to social media, it has never been easier to connect with other gaming enthusiasts from around the world. Better networking has allowed developers to be more in tune with what gamers are really looking for in a game. Gamers can even pre-order games on popular platforms so that the game is automatically downloaded or arrives at their home on the day of release. Here are some more advantages that social media has brought to the world of gaming.

Better Multiplayer Experience
In the past, many people would meet up at locations to play games. LAN parties still exist to some degree and are much easier to arrange due to social media. It is more common for players to meet up on fan forums or Facebook pages. Players can use the event function to arrange times to meet up online and play games together. World of Warcraft and Call of Duty are two examples of popular multiplayer games. 

Getting the Message Out
Developers need to have good ways to let gamers know about games before and after they are released. Social media makes it easy to tell a lot of people at once about releases. Gaming enthusiasts often reshare information, so they are actually helping developers advertise. Developers set up pages on sites such as Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter. These sites provide a forum for fans to inquire about games, stay up to date on the latest gaming developments, review games, and more. Keeping up to date on the latest Social Media News is important when trying to maximize exposure.

Less-Expensive Games
Since advertising on social media is so inexpensive, game developers can keep prices lower, so games are more accessible to people on a budget. The lower cost encourages fans to buy more games. It is also proven that if the cost of trying something new is lower, then more people will try it. This means that more people will become gamers if they see it as an affordable hobby.

Mobile Games on the Rise
Console and PC games are popular, but many people are finding out about the pleasures of mobile gaming. There are many people that have a smartphone already, so it is easy for them to try out mobile games such as Angry Birds. Social media plugins allow them to recruit friends to play, announce milestones they have reached in the game, and get regular updates. Mobile games are popular because they can be played almost anywhere, require no extra equipment, and are highly affordable.

Setting up a Game Day
If you like to game, you should think about creating your own game day with your friends from around the world. If you haven't played much with others, then now is the time to start. Social media makes it easy to meet new friends and encourages you to set aside some time to do something you love. If you have a good friend that games, you can even set up a tournament.

No Data Left Behind: How to Scrub Personal Data From Your Gaming Console

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Video games have come a long way in the quality of their graphics and sound as well as in the amount of personal information needed if you want the full experience. In the early days of arcade gaming, the most personal information you entered was your initials, and that was only if you were good enough to earn a high score. And if the machine lost power, then your initials went with it. If you’ve ever seen the “Frogger” episode of Seinfeld, then you know how far some people are willing to go to preserve their high scores.

But that was before the modern age of hard drive-equipped, Internet-connected video game systems. With the ever-rising popularity of online gaming and pay-to-play downloadable content, modern consoles have become veritable storehouses for your personal data. The good news is that you don’t have to re-enter your credit card number every time you want the latest Mortal Kombat 5 DLC. The bad news is that it can be hard to make that data go away. By following a few easy steps, you can be sure your personal data doesn’t stick around once you’ve moved on to the next generation.

Know Where Your Data Is Stored
In the age of cloud-based data storage, it can be difficult to know exactly where Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are storing your personal information. Is it on the system? Or is it on a server in a secret bunker in the middle of the Nevada desert? Ultimately, it’s best to assume that the information is stored in both places. This means you need to format your console's hard drive and find a way to guarantee that your online information stays secure. You don’t want to delete your online account if you’re going to purchase a newer system, but you definitely want to change your password. Do this through a device other than your console to help cut the cord between your account and the device. Your console can’t remember something you never told it.

Perform a Full Format With Overwrite
The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii all have settings devoted to data management and options for completely erasing the hard drive. Before you do this, make sure you back up all of your data with a memory card or external hard drive. Once that’s complete, be sure to select the option for a full overwrite. A less stringent format is only going to mark your data to be overwritten by new data in the future. A full overwrite takes a lot longer, but it immediately replaces your data with random gibberish so that a savvy data-stealer can’t make any sense of it.

Have a Fail-Safe
Even if you take every precaution, there is always the chance that someone can access your personal information through an old gaming console. If you plan on selling consoles on a regular basis, it can’t hurt to have a basic LifeLock account to help protect your identity. It’s only 10 bucks a month to be protected from any kind of identity theft — even if your gaming console isn’t to blame. A little peace of mind can go a long way, and it might just help you stay focused when you’re going for a new high score.

Article by: Cherie Nelson

FIFA 16 to Include Women's Teams

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After a long, football-less summer, fans can now start relaxing a bit. The boredom of not having any football action for a few weeks may have become pretty unbearable, but it is not long now until the new season starts. Hooray! And with a new season that means a new installment of the massively popular and successful FIFA games.

FIFA has sold more than 100 million copies. It is the bestselling sports game in history. The reason for this is that it is brilliant. Not only is it brilliant but it keeps getting better and better each year. With improvements on each annual edition, and advancements in technology and graphics, the games have come a long way over time. Nowadays, it is pretty hard to differentiate between the game and real life. To the untrained eye it may look like gamers are actually watching a game of football. OK, maybe that’s going a bit far, but it is still quite realistic.

The reasons why the games have such repeat sales each year is because things that were wrong the years before have been fixed. New features have been added and teams are updated. There are plenty of other additions that the developers make each time. There is also usually a new game mode or something of similar significance. So, what can gamers expect to see for the first time in the new installment?

With the massive popularity of the Women’s World Cup this year, FIFA have finally included some women’s teams in the new game. This is something that has never been done in a football game in the past. Because the women’s game differs massively from the men’s game, extensive research has gone into this new feature to make it feel as accurate and real as possible. The game’s developers have said that, when playing as the women’s teams, gamers will have a completely different feel. There will obviously be technical differences as there are in real life. They say they have wanted to do this for many years but only recently had the technology to create it authentically.

With a couple of months left until the game’s release, gamers should look forward to what else might be in the new game. At the time of writing, Chelsea are around 6/4 with the bookmakers to win the league again in real life, but that might not be the case in the gaming world!

Life Skills Learned From Gaming

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Gaming has had a stigma for too long. If you enjoy games, you are branded as a nerd and your hobby is labeled as a waste of time. However, games can teach you the skills you need once you put down the controller. Here are some skills your favorite games have taught you and where you can apply them:

Patience isn't only a virtue, it’s a learned skill. A large component of action RPGs center around the grind to become more powerful. The grind describes the boring and long parts of a game where a player might encounter a series of monster fights with no real variation. These can be mentally exhausting and require patience.

This type of gameplay can be compared to the daily grind of work or school and the patience needed to get through them. Whether it's the long hours required to finished a project on time or cram for a test, all of these activities take patience and perseverance.

Memory Retention and Spacial Awareness
In 2013, a study about the effects of video games on the adult brain was published by Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence. In the study, 23 adults played “Super Mario 64” for 30 minutes per day for a month. Another group was asked not to play any video games over that same month. After the month was over, the subjects' brains were examined through MRI scans. Those who played “Super Mario 64” daily showed an increase of gray matter in different parts of the brain (the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and cerebellum). These brain segments are used for spatial navigation, memory retention and formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills.

The rise in gray matter has given scientists and doctors hope that video games can be used as therapy for people with brain conditions in these areas, such as schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer's.

Quick Thinking
Video games can help you think more strategically, improve your fine motor skills, become more organized and manage resources. All of these necessary skills transfer to the real world.

When at a job interview, for example, you need to communicate quickly and effectively. Online games require a fast thought process and concise communication to achieve your goals, just like in a job interview. Games like poker also teach you how to impress your opponent to win. You may need to do a semi-bluff to make an impression without completely bluffing. The same is true in interviews when you need to impress your interviewer without lying.

Or, if you have your sights set on purchasing a new home, the negotiation skills you learned from betting in poker will come in handy. In many online games, you also learn how to negotiate with other factions by talking and compromising, which can help you connect with your real estate agent and the homeowner.

Whether it's board games, video games or betting games, there are life skills to be learned and applied to other areas of your life. Don't completely write them off as a waste of time, but appreciate them for what they can teach you.

Article by: Cherie Nelson

Make Gaming Memories With Your Kids

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Just because you’re a father doesn’t mean you have to give up gaming. Gaming is an activity that can bring you closer to your children. Here are some tips for dads to introduce and explore gaming with their kids:

Andy Baio introduced his son to video games chronologically as an experiment. He introduced each console to his son in order they were released. There's a certain charm to the classic titles of yesteryear such as Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man, and while they may not have the replayability of modern games, their simplicity is their charm. Repeat this experiment with your son or daughter, before they're introduced to the complexity of modern games.

Modern Gaming
Playing through a good RPG is similar to reading a fascinating book or watching a favorite TV show. Even though many RPGs are only one player, the dialogue, cut scenes, and puzzles can be enough to engage multiple people. Discussing battle tactics, hypothesizing over plot points, character development, and the mystery inherent in storytelling, can give you and your child lots to talk about. However, PC gaming offers the choice to play together if both parties have a computer and a copy of the game in question. While some RPGs are made for single players, many have co-op play, so you can share the adventure with your kids and even some of their friends.

Off the Screen
While playing games can bring you closer together in some ways, it’s important to explore the outside world as well. Video game and comic book conventions like PAX, E3 and Comic-Con can help to bring your interests off the screen and into larger social situations. Designing and making your own costumes for these events can be a fun and creative bonding experience between you and your child, as you take the stories and characters you love and make them come to life.

Indie Games
While large developers still dominate the market place, services like Steam and GOG Galaxy have given a voice and platform for indie games to take root. While there is a discrete formula for what makes a compelling video game, story or no, independent developers now have a platform to explore what makes a game memorable as well as replayable.

For instance, the game Antichamber challenges players to think outside the box of what is possible. There is no plot or character; instead, it is a game that challenges perceptions. Elegy For A Dead World, on the other hand, lets you create the plot of your own game, by landing a character on an unknown planet and asking the player to fill in short writing prompts. Games like these ask players to interact on a more cerebral level than conventional games, and if you haven’t tried them, they might be exciting ones to explore with your kids.

Article by: Cherie Nelson

Onikira: Demon Killer Official Release Date

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I'm a sucker for old school beat em' ups. I still religiously play games like Double Dragon, Altered Beast, Ninja Turtles and Ninja Gaiden to this day. The indie scene has truly embraced these classics over the years, bringing us gems like Shank and Guacamelee, titles that have breathed new life into the genre. As soon as I saw developer Digital Furnace Games' upcoming Onikira: Demon Killer, it immediately caught my attention. A fantasy feudal Japan setting where you get to fight demons as a samurai? Sign me up.

The game has been in Early Access for a while now, but its official release date has finally been announced: July 30th, 2015. While the Early Access reviews have been somewhat mixed, I'm still feeling relatively optimistic about the official launch. The game's aesthetics are undoubtedly gorgeous, and the overall gameplay style has a lot of potential. But as always, we'll hold off our final verdict until we've had a chance to thoroughly test the final build. 

News by: Tin Salamunic