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As gaming technology becomes more and more advanced, and graphics and gameplay become increasingly more complex, there seems to be a subterranean yearning for simpler times – when two dimensional game platforms were the norm, complete with 16 bit sound effects. As someone who grew up in an era when Mario and Bomberman were the top-of-the-line in terms of available video-games, it’s been a slow and difficult shift for some of us to adapt to the supra-realistic gaming realm of today.
The benefit of two dimensional games was the fact that they were limited by their graphics, which meant that they had to work extra hard to supplement the other facets of a quintessentially good game – namely, plot and character development. I don’t want to sound like a movie critic. But at the same time, video games have always fallen into a similar field of media, and they have been judged and lauded accordingly. Some of the best games out there, which have stood the test of time, are ones that have a deep and interesting story to tell, full of imagination and unexpected twists. Halo quickly revolutionized the FPS genre by combining not only great and unprecedented graphics, but also incorporating a fascinating storyline, which lent itself to subsequent sequels.
But in the 90’s, games had to rely on storyline a lot more if they wanted to have any lasting impact. One of the classic SNES games was Chronotrigger, that for all intents and purposes, pretty much defined the RPG genre up until the present day. It followed the temporal adventures of a kid named Chrono as he passed through various time periods, making friends from each era, and striving to uncover the secrets behind an eventual enemy named Lavos who would destroy the world some time far in the future.
But it was, like most SNES games, two dimensional. Nevertheless, the lack of ‘dimension’ was secondary to the worlds that the creators were able to portray, and the story arcs that developed (Chronotrigger was also one of the first games to introduce alternate endings, based on the decisions of the player).
Today this movement back toward two dimensional games can be seen in a number of independent companies, since they are relatively easy to develop – however, their ease of development doesn’t mean that they are any less compelling. Games like Fez (which is at face value 2D but uses a unique 3D ‘shifting’ ability to solve puzzles) and Reus (in which you take on the role of a world deity), as well as a number of other independent games, utilize the two dimensions to their utmost.
Of course, 2D isn’t restricted primarily to independent gaming companies – Sid Meier’s Civilization series is one of the longest standing world empire games, which a number of incarnations (I believe we’re on 5 already?), and many casinos and online gaming websites also employ two-dimensional interfaces into their games. However, both online casinos, independents, and commercial programmers are aware that the graphics of a game always play second fiddle to how playable and entertaining a game is to the buyer. For nostalgia hunters like me, it’s a way to reconcile some of the more vapid “high graphic” games coming out these days. I’ll take fascinating character development over realism any day.
The gaming world seems to change faster than most industries these days. Several years ago Nintendo was on fire with the Wii, and now everyone seems down on the company and Wii U. How did things change so fast? Well, it shouldn’t be surprising in a world where cheap apps are flooded onto the scene, offering new options daily for gaming fans, and online gaming options seem to expand exponentially as well, with everything from slot games at Sports Interaction, massive multiplayer games and then games like Minecraft that seem to turn conventional wisdom on its head. The console makers seemed to rule the world just several years ago, and then social gaming companies like Zynga suddenly became powerhouses, but now we’ve seen how quickly things change. Wii also will be facing the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in coming months, so even in its own console space the competition is fierce.
But many still have faith in Nintendo. Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning recently made the bold statement that Nintendo would be around for another 100 years, while Zynga would not. Casual observers might be startled a bit by this statement, but when you look more closely at the history, the man has an excellent point. Nintendo is a 124-year-old company that was founded in 1889 as a producer of playing cards. The concept of innovation has been ingrained in this company and its financials are very healthy. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has made it clear he won’t be laying off development staff to deal with short term problems, as that would destroy the company long term. He understands that the key to long term success involves consistently producing great products. He shouldn’t let the short term analysts distort his thinking.
While this culture is ingrained at Nintendo, a young company like Zynga has less to fall back on in tough times. Their games exploded in popularity off of Facebook, but then reality set in when the landscape was changed a bit. Now who knows how they will react to adversity? I wouldn’t make a long-term bet on them.
So when you look at the landscape out there, it’s clear that games will come and go, and so will gaming companies. But I think a company like Nintendo with a tradition of innovation should be able to ride out the highs and lows.
Since the world of gaming has taken off in such a big way, the amount of adults who are now playing console games has risen to an all time high. But this raises the question, why arnt their any adult games for the Playstation 3? There are plenty of games aimed at just children but how about a casino game for adults. Many games offer an insight into the world of casinos offering the odd moment in the game where a character tries his or her hand at a game of blackjack or poker. However there are currently no games that offer the full casino experience for players. So far many games touch upon gambling yet non offer the full casino experience.
It could well prove to be a popular idea to offer a game on the PS3 that gives the gamer the opportunity to control an onscreen character and walk up and down a casino, order some drinks, play some slots, sit down at a poker table or play roulette. The gamer has the opportunity to build up a reputation as a high roller on the Vegas strip, or they could go one step to far and have to build your their fortune again. All of this would allow the gamer to experience the thrill of a casino without actually betting real money. Perhaps seeing the effects of winning and loosing in a virtual world will provide some with those high and low feelings many high rollers have felt before.
Currently one of the only games available that offers a casino experience is ‘High Stakes’, a game that offers the gamer the chance to play 5 variations of poker, but they’re all hold ‘em variations: Billabong, Shanghai, Tahoe, super hold ‘em, and Texas hold ‘em. The lack of classic games such as black jack, roulette and other casino favourites lets this game down. However until somebody commits to creating a new casino game ‘High Stakes’ may be the best bet. Until that day we will have to make do with the odd casino experience we can gain from games such as Red Dead Redemption or online sites such as GamingClub.co.uk.
With Sony and Microsoft introducing the newest eighth generation consoles – the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, respectively – some of the highest graphic potential games are imminently poised to enter the market. Video game technology is one of the fastest moving industries, and in order to compete studios are consistently testing the confines and boundaries of what that technology is capable of producing.
Some of the hottest games slated for 2014 include Titanfall and Destiny that immerse a player in a hyper-realistic setting with incredibly detailed character and in-game design. The sheer size of some of these virtual environments is amazing. Additionally, the freedom to be able to create entire worlds has allowed developers to take full advantage of the human imagination, inhabiting these other universes with anything from monsters and mech-robots to protolithic deities and cartoon characters.
But sometimes it’s easy to forget about the precursors to these next generation gaming experiences. The beauty of consoles like the Super Nintendo was that the limitations on their technology, what they were able to display, did not hamper the creative process – quite the contrary, it fostered it. Some of the first role-playing games (RPG) to grace the video-game industry like the initial Final Fantasy and the time-shifting Chrono Trigger were (and are) just as expansive and imaginative as games coming out today, both in terms of their innovation in actual gameplay, their focus on story and character development, and their playability even decades after their release.
That seems to be where a lot of modern games lose their steam – press releases for new games tend to emphasize how many hours of gameplay are to be expected, and this notion of setting a quota often makes the games quite interesting to play, but don’t really imprint any lasting effect. Arcade-style and strategy games, like the original RPGs for the SNES, are iconic not only in their capacity to draw us, but also in their tendency to keep us coming back for more.
Some studios have picked up on this latent nostalgia for simpler formatted games which emphasize 2D interfaces, most notably Klei which brought out Mark of the Ninja for Xbox and continues to release updates to its survival game Don’t Starve. But the beauty inherent in coming back to an older format of video game is being able to look at it through a contemporary lens, and develop novel ways of approaching the gameplay.
Independent studios, which often lack the same sort of funding and manpower, are the guiding forces behind this 2D re-emergence, as well as other businesses that are picking up on the accessibility of gaming. Online casinos and developers of applications for mobile phones and devices are consistently using the 2D style to display their applications and services – think of any Online Poker or Slot Game, or the craze that Angry Birds experienced.
It’s proof that advanced and complex graphics don’t necessarily make for a good game (consider all the heat that subsequent installations in the CoD saga have experienced). What makes a good game is a good idea, and the ability to tell a story in a fun, interesting, or controversial way – the release of Reus from Abbey games is an excellent example, where you take on the role of a god by creating entire eco-systems. The dimension-shifting 2D game Fez takes a meta-approach t by allowing the player to shift the environment 180 degrees on its axis.
Although there is something exciting in the course of video-game evolution, and its endeavour to supply an interactive form of entertainment and adventure, it’s important for developers to recognize that technology is a tool, not a crux. A game can be as flashy and loud as an ambulance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s appealing. The rise of independent game developers, by virtue of the resources available to them, are beginning to represent a shift in video game culture as more and more people pick up on the creativity afforded by a simple 8 bit graphics card.
Simon is a writer and content specialist who is addicted to being on the front page of anything. A graduate of Dalhousie University, he specializes in using the em dash too often. Currently, Simon rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada. Check out his recent thoughts on online gaming.
Every so often nostalgia sets in causing me to reflect on exactly how I got to where I am today. I have a good life and do pretty much exactly what I want with it. Reviewing video games and gaming systems allows me to continue to enjoy my favorite pastime. As I was thinking of what to share with you guys today I went through a list of topics. I could counter a previous post on complicated games and give you my list of the easiest video games of all time. Nah… that would be too simple. I also contemplated really hard on reviewing the Fast & Furious Showdown for you. Great game, but no…
I sat and racked my brain on topics as I reminisced about my past and all of the games I have played in my lifetime. As our thoughts tend to do I drifted deep into childhood memories and all of a sudden pieces were coming together more than ever before. I ultimately had two habits as a child (and as an adult). Comic books and videogames have always taken up my free time and somehow I have been fortunate enough to turn that into a career. Yep, I have the best job ever!
Okay, back to the point of this story. I was 6 years old when my grandparents bought by sisters and me a Nintendo. It was the coolest thing ever. Within a few short months I could save the princess and was moving onto other games like Mike Tyson’s punch out. As technology increased my collection of gaming systems elevated. My house quickly became the one all the kids flocked to as this gaming craze really took off.
Around the same age I took an extreme interest in comic books. My favorites were Superman and Spiderman of course. Reading them weren’t enough. I actually enjoyed the art as much as I did the storyline. I began drawing and designing my own comics convinced that someday I would be responsible for carrying out the legacy of the superheroes I was growing up with.
So where is the correlation between the two? Well obviously my childhood spent indoors is one of them. However, that isn’t really where I wanted to go with that. Mainstream comics are generally based entirely off of years of continuity. The stories I have been reading for over 20 years are still being updated today. When a writer is given the assignment to write a Superman comic he/she is expected to follow traditions that were set long before they came around. The groundwork for these professionals has been set for them.
This connects with video games in the sense that we see expanding universes throughout them. Essentially a player is placed in a world where he/she is free to make whatever decisions they want to, but they are guided by a story that is out of their control. The character has pre chosen powers. So ultimately we don’t control what we can do, we do however control when and how we do this. So while I may not be designing or writing comic books, the job I do now (play games and review) is extremely similar to what writers and artist experience when updating their storylines and characters.
Another correlation between the two is the advances made over time. Today we don’t have to own a bulky council or blow into the game in hopes to make it work again. We can play a multitude of games from almost anywhere. Technology has also improved the way in which we view comic books. Through a digital comic book we now have easy access to our favorite heroes in only a few clicks. I am appreciative that my two favorite habits are more convenient than ever before.
So there you have my thoughts of the day. Comic books and video games absolutely connect on some level.
The ultimate poker event is about to begin in Las Vegas with the World Series of Poker, and as usual it draws all sorts of people from around the world. The buzz is definitely our there online with qualifying tournaments and WSOP poker “classes” and prize packages, and Vegas will be buzzing with side games and all sorts of extracurricular activities as players and fans descend on Sin City.
Las Vegas always draws celebrities, and with the World Series of Poker you have another event that brings in the big names. The latest chatter involves Michael Phelps, who is known to be a poker fan and is now reportedly going to enter the World Series. You have to respect great athletes who take their competitive spirit to other challenges. Michael Jordan is a great example with golf, as is Tony Romo. Yet there are cautionary tales there as well, as Jordan allegedly had some problems when it came to gambling. His legendary confidence and competitiveness was actually a huge problem for him.
Phelps has discussed his very aggressive betting strategy, and while that suits some players well, you have to wonder if he has a ton to learn and whether his ultra competitiveness will be a liability at the poker table.
Still, at the end of the day this is all about fun. If Phelps keeps his head on straight and understands that poker is a skill that has to be developed over time with practice, then he doesn’t have to worry about squandering the millions he’s earned through endorsements. It will also be interesting to see if he can function in the setting of the World Series with all of the distractions that a celebrity must face.
The World Series is such an awesome event, and the celebrities just add to all the hoopla, so I’m glad to see guys like Phelps develop an interest in the game.
Poker has been steadily gaining in popularity for years, and the number of people trying their luck at casino poker tables has grown. These days, people have options when it comes to playing casino games. When given the choice or playing poker online or playing in person, playing online has its advantages.
When you play poker at sportsbook.com, you do not need to be a World Series of Poker professional to get involved. One of the main advantages to playing poker online is that you can take all the time you want to learn the game before you start playing for real. The websites offer tutorials and training games that you can use to figure out what is going on and what you need to do to score big.
If you have played poker in a casino at all, then you know about the audience that can sometimes develop around a good game. Even if the game is not good, there is always the chance that someone will plant themselves right behind you and make you feel uncomfortable. When you play poker online, you do not need to worry about these distractions, which allows you to focus on the game at hand.
On Your Schedule
An online casino never closes, no matter what. If you want to play poker at 3:00AM on a Wednesday, then you will always be able to find people online who are interested in a good game. Online poker allows you to play on your schedule, and not on someone else’s.
If you do live near a casino, then it can sometimes be inconvenient to get dressed, get in the car and drive over to the casino just to find a poker table you can play at. If you do not live near a casino, then your problems at finding a casino-caliber poker game are obviously much larger. With an online poker website, you do not need a casino to play poker. You also do not need to spend time finding a parking spot and then walking around the casino just to find an open table.
Poker is an exciting card game that requires skill and a complete understanding of all of the different elements. If you want to play the game at your own pace and on your own schedule, then you will want to check out the many convenient options available for online poker.
The launch of Wii U in 2012 brought with it a fantastic selection of titles for gamers to get the most out of the home console. And next year, it looks like there will be plenty more to look forward to. From platform games to health and fitness packages, it seems the Wii U has all gaming bases covered.
Mario returns for platform adventure
For many, the release of a new console comes with the hope there will be re-imagined versions of console classics. Nintendo certainly didn’t let people down, bringing the latest of its Mario games out on the launch day. In New Super Mario Bros. U, you can expect an all new 2D side-scrolling adventure, but with some great new twists in gameplay. As well as allowing up to five people to join in with additional Wii Remote controllers, the innovative Wii U GamePad allows you to get more control by placing Boost Blocks and much more.
Family gaming across Nintendo Land
Wii U is a home console that works brilliantly for solo play, but it’s even better when bringing everyone together. A great example of this is Nintendo Land, a fabulous title that takes you through 12 different attractions – all based on the worlds of famous Nintendo franchises. With each game, players will be challenged to take on a series of levels and modes that will test your skills in all kinds of ways. You can visit places like Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, take part in Mario Chase or take on the bad guys in Metroid Blast, to name just a few of the attractions featured.
More action and adventure to come in 2013
If you were lucky enough to get a Wii U at Christmas, you may be wondering what is coming up in the New Year. Well if its platform fun you’re after then Rayman Legends could be just the ticket. Maybe you’re after high-octane action from one of the latest shooting games? If so, Aliens: Colonial Marines should probably be on your shopping list. There are also releases like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and Pikmin 3 to look forward to, as well as Wii U Fit – which could be just the thing to help you out with a few of those New Year’s resolutions you’ll be trying to keep up with!
All in all, if you decided the Wii U console was for you following its November release – there is plenty coming down the line to enjoy in the coming months.
Casino games are all based on complex formulas that figure out odds and probabilities or the likelihood that an event will occur. While you do not have to be a math whiz to play casino games, you should still understand a little bit about how the odds work so you can place the best possible bets.
Let’s say, for example, that you decide to play live roulette. The probability that the little metal ball will drop on the number 8 on a European roulette wheel is 1 in 37 (1/37) because you have just one chance that the ball will drop on number 8 out of all of the 37 numbers. This means that the “true odds” of winning with a bet placed on the 8 are 36 to 1. The first number represents how many chances you have to lose a bet and the second number represents how many chances you have to win.
But never forget that casinos are in the business of making money. If the payout odds were also 36 to 1, the casino wouldn’t have any advantage over the players. The casinos solve this problem by offering “payoff odds” that are slightly less than the true odds. That is why payoff odds are also referred to as “the house advantage” and “the house edge.”
Many casinos offer payoff odds of 35 to 1 on the roulette wheel. The difference between the true odds and the payoff odds allows the casino to keep a bit of money on every wager, even including the winning bets. In American roulette, the house advantage runs at 5.26%, which is quite high for a casino game.
If you decide to switch over to a live blackjack game, you’ll be facing different probabilities and odds. For example, if you bet $10 and you get blackjack and win $15, you will win $3 for every $2 that you wager. That would make the payout odds 3 to 2.
Some casino bets have payoff odds of 1 to 1, which means that you win the same amount of money that you wager. Other bets offer payoff odds greater than 1 to 1, which means that you will win more than $1 for each $1 that you wager. Be sure to read all of the payout odds carefully before placing any bets.
Place casino wagers that offer the lowest house advantage. A good rule of thumb is to only place bets when the house edge is 1.5% or less. A lower house advantage gives the players better odds of winning.
Bear in mind that the closer the payoff odds are compared to the true odds for a specific bet, the lower the house advantage and the more likely you will place a winning wager. Watch out for the word, “for” in payoff odds because it indicates that the house gets to keep your initial bet, even if you win.
Each online casino has its own specific payout odds and every legitimate internet casino will list those odds somewhere on the screen. The higher the house edge, the more money you are expected to lose. Also, the longer you play a casino game, the more money that you will likely lose.
Everyone enjoys a friendly game of poker, and of course, it’s more fun when playing against family members. However, they know you so well that you might be giving away your hand with your familiar “tells”.
A tell is a small gesture or other unconscious habit that may provide information about your poker hand. These little signals will give your opposing players a look at whether you are holding a weak or strong hand. These tells can be detrimental whether you are playing at a gambling city casino in Vegas, with your family or online.
Tells can be something as minor as a little smile or frown, all the way up to something major such as squirming in your chair or coughing. Many times players think that by smiling they can cover up a weak hand and vice versa. These tells often are read by the more experienced players so use these tips if you want to win.
Hiding these tells is not that difficult. For instance, each time you play poker, maintain the same routine and movements. This can include how you handle your chips, how often you check your cards and at what speed you play.
Little movements such as staring too long at the flop cards may give away your hand. Looking at the cards too long may indicate that you have a poor hand and need extra time to evaluate. Alternatively, looking away too quickly from the flop may indicate that the cards are just exactly what you need for a winning hand. Betting too quickly is also another tell that should be avoided. It can either be read as a bluff to a poor hand or a sure sign of a terrific one. Also, don’t immediately reach for your chips when betting—it’s a sure tell.
We’ve all seen the professional poker players on television who wear hats and dark glasses. Well, these are very effective methods to prevent others from letting others see your tell. Eyes are especially expressive, so hiding behind a pair of dark shades is a very effective method of disguising your tell.
You may feel that appearing supremely confident at all times is a way to throw off your opponents. In fact, the opposite may be the case. Others may perceive this as your way of bluffing a bad hand, or just trying to psych out your opponents. It’s best to remain neutral as much as possible.
Now if you play poker online, it’s obvious that other players won’t be able to “see” your tells. However, there are other tells that can be perceived online. These include the speed of your play. Keep it consistent and it will reduce the opposing players ability to “read” you. Also, don’t forget about online perks. For instance, a good way to enjoy casino games is get more with Europa casino bonus code programs.
No matter how you choose to gamble, just make sure you are aware of your tells and work to disguise them.