Tag Archives: Gaming

The Return Of Retro Gaming

The Return Of Retro Gaming
Source: Pixabay

Remember the days when finding your favourite part in a film meant rewinding and fast-forwarding a VHS tape? A process that could often take 15 minutes or more. Those times sure were great, weren’t they? Or is that just my rose tinted spectacles playing tricks on me?

Retro video games, on the other hand, were unquestionably the bee’s knees. They supported 8 bits of information and a handful of pixels, but sure could do a lot within those limitations. Every aspect of them was a glorious celebration of excellence, pure unadulterated gaming joy, so perfect that I wept tears of happiness with each new 8-bit masterpiece. Or is that those rose tinted spectacles again?

Retro video games are making a major comeback, which means that, if anything, rose tinted spectacles are a ticket to some serious retro-fuelled cha-ching.

Nostalgia Reigns Supreme

As the core of gamers, those with the money to spend, tick over into their thirties and beyond, retro gaming has made a comeback of epic proportions. Cutting edge graphics are cast aside, accepted video game formats are tossed out, and 8-bit gaming takes its place back in the spotlight once again. Why? Due to one very simple word that holds an enormous amount of power; nostalgia.

Fond memories are an extremely compelling force, and game developers are taking full advantage. Why wouldn’t they? Creating a game that resembles those from two decades ago takes a great deal less effort and money than creating a cutting edge game of today. Hence why we have games like Shovel Knight that don’t just mimic the retro style as much as embrace it with both arms, and give it a long, loving kiss on the mouth.

But is it really so easy to wear the mask of retro, and simply rake in cash hand over fist?

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Rose Tinted Is a Tricky Beast

The SNES Classic Edition, Super Retro Boy, and Sega Genesis Flashback are all in the pipelines. As the names suggest, they are re-releases of the classic consoles, exclusively featuring retro games with just a few mild tweaks and adjustments to keep alive the notion that the systems aren’t a thinly disguised cash grab.

Games like Shovel Knight, on the other hand, faced a far greater challenge. Appearing retro, while not actually being retro. Because it just so happens that the vast majority of retro games were awful. Don’t tell that to your target market, however, because they have rose tinted spectacles glued permanently to their faces.

Most simply forget that their once beloved childhood games have aged appallingly. So, creating a true retro game would require it to likewise be appalling. No prizes for guessing how well that would go down. The truth is, in reality, creating retro games may be a breeze in some regards, comparatively speaking, but pleasing the retro fan-base is a nightmare.

A Matter Of Taste

Retro games are back, and likely have a more or less permanent place in the video game world. Retro style, 2D and with a strong focus on gameplay is a concept that really has far more going for it than simple nostalgia. The games of today tend to lean so heavily on visual appeal that other aspects, such as being an enjoyable experience, buckle a little under the weight.

The whole situation says a great deal about the video game industry as a whole, and brings up some very interesting questions about what the future of the industry might hold. After all, the truth is that graphics are more or less reaching a plateau point, and what exactly will keep players coming back for more, beyond graphic evolution, is a question that will soon have to be answered. While you ponder that, I’m off to play Pac Man.

Video Game Addiction An Official Medical Condition

Video game addiction now recognised by WHO
Source: Pexels

It was recently announced that The World Health Organization would be classifying video game addiction as a treatable medical condition, and that they had added it to it their ‘disease bible’. This has raised eyebrows in some cases and has become something of a debatable topic, but the crux of the matter is, video game addiction seems to be a growing problem, and steps need to be taken to address it.

Whereas many accept that gambling addiction is an issue, and those that offer casino games should do so in a way that promotes both how fun this type of entertainment can be and the responsible behaviour players should implement, the spotlight is now on video games and the harm that they can cause people of all ages.

The Kendal Parmar Campaign

The core of the move to officially list video game addiction as a disorder lies with a woman named Kendal Parmar. Parmar passionately campaigned for her son to get treatment, after she explained the severity of his addiction to the game Fortnite. According to Parmar her son, aged 15, was so addicted to the game that he did not attend school for a full year.

She stated that her son was even admitted to hospital for 8 weeks after his ability to function was all but entirely impaired. Upon leaving hospital, vitamin D tablets were prescribed in order to help the boy reverse severe lack of sunlight symptoms.

Parmar Succeeds

After determined campaigning efforts, Parmar finally managed to get her son clinically diagnosed with addiction. The World Health Organisation then made the move to officially list video game addiction as a mental disorder. The result is that now, treatment for video game addiction will be incorporated into healthcare systems.

Parmar is relieved, saying that her son had been all but lost to her. She hopes that her son’s “all consuming addiction” will soon be brought under control and that others will benefit from the ruling.

The dangers of being hooked on gaming
Source: Pixabay

Fortnite – Ticket To Addiction?

The game in question that Parmar’s son was addicted to is Fortnite. Fortnite is relatively new, rising to mass popularity in mid-2017. Today, the game boasts around 40 million players, making it the biggest video game in the world.

The style and nature of Fortnite is not new to video game design at all. Its core gameplay is a simple take on Battle Royale. This involves 100 players dropping onto a virtual island, quickly gathering weapons, and eliminating one another until ultimately a single winning player, or player team, is declared. One of the key reasons for Fortnite’s mass success is that it is free, with the only options to spend real money based around digital cosmetic items.

In winning, players are rewarded points, which may also be spent on cosmetic items. No real money of any kind is traded for victories.

Should Gaming Addiction Be Taken Seriously?

Debates are raging all over the Internet as to whether video game addiction really should be treated as a mental disorder. Many are stating that it is more a case of discipline and poor parenting as opposed to real, classifiable addiction. Others counter with the statement that addiction exists in all shapes and forms.

Matt Hancock, the British Culture Secretary, went on record to say that addictive video games can be very harmful to children. This was backed up by reports that many medical experts fear the effects of violent, addictive video games on developing minds. By recently released statistics, around 4% of children are at risk of video game addiction.

Regardless of on going debate, video game addiction is now official, and parents can seek treatment for their children on the NHS in the United Kingdom. This will save roughly £350 per session, which is the average cost of private therapy. Across the rest of the world it will be interesting to see what sort of treatment programs arise, although there are already private rehabilitation centres that say they have treated patients for video game addiction, and now that the disorder has been formally recognised, these numbers may well sky rocket.

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A Look At The Best Gaming PCs

The Velocity Micro Raptor Z95
Source: PC Mag

When talking about gaming, there is just no beating the raw power and abundant resources of a PC. Consoles have their benefits no doubt, but those who are serious about gaming know that a PC always provides a superior experience. At least it’s the superior experience if you demand the latest video games, with the graphic’s settings turned up to maximum. If you are playing other games, like casino games, then you’ll be able to enjoy premium quality entertainment on just about every PC or mobile device, as these games run at different specs and don’t require the same resources.

But what exactly makes a PC better than a console?

Simply put, the world of PC technology moves forward, while consoles are stuck in a bubble. The latest consoles are roughly the equivalent to 5-year-old PCs, and that speaks for itself. The average gaming PC just has more to work with; more RAM, a faster CPU, and a drastically more powerful GPU. This ultimately means superior graphical fidelity, and a higher frame rate.

PC Part Necessity

A gaming PC is nothing more than the sum of its parts, and not all parts have an equal impact on gaming. The GPU, or graphics processing unit, is going to be doing the bulk of the work. As such it’s the focus of attention when buying a PC for the express purpose of gaming. There is a variety of GPUs on the market, ranging from modest, to immensely overpowered.

The CPU, or central processing unit, is less important as far as gaming is concerned. For the most part a CPU need not be top of the range in a gaming PC. The RAM, or random access memory, is all about quantity. In the best gaming PCs more than a certain amount is not necessary. 16 gigabytes is more than enough.

Prebuilt Best Gaming PCs

It is always cheaper to buy PC parts separately, and assemble them yourself. A little research and a YouTube video will help with this. Premium pre-built gaming PCs are also available, and these are some of the best gaming PCs.

1. Velocity Micro Raptor Z95

A powerful rig offering absolutely everything needed for top end gaming, and then some. This is overkill where pre-built gaming PCs are concerned, but keep in mind that this PC will be top end for years to come, meaning that a buyer need not even bother with upgrading for at least 5 years. Cheaper options are available.

2. Origin Neuron

Cheaper than the above PC, but still coming with enough power to play games to their full potential. Anyone wanting to spend less, and still get bang for their buck should start here. It isn’t as powerful, but certainly powerful enough for gaming. An excellent choice.

3. MSI GP72

If you like your gaming on the go, a gaming laptop might be just what you’re looking for. The MSI GP72 may not have the specs of the above-mentioned PCs, but is still a great entry level gaming platform. Plus, you can take it anywhere, and play for about 4 hours.

4. Alienware R3 range

A portable midrange gaming PC is nothing to take lightly. This portable beast has 6 hour battery life, and enough power to play the vast majority of games to their full potential. Plus it comes standard with advanced OLED display, for outstanding image quality.

5. Asus ROG Strix GL502VS

More power, but with a lower battery life than the Alienware, this is a true gaming laptop that rivals desktop PCs. Just about as good as it gets, while still keeping your wallet mostly intact. It offers excellent value for money in the portable gaming department and a must for players on the move.

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How Fortnite Got So Big, So Fast

Fortnite- The Worlds Biggest game
Source: YouTube

Video game fans are fickle. This is what can be learned from the success of Fortnite. You have probably heard of it, even if in passing, and you would be forgiven for asking what exactly it is, and where it came from. After all, it wasn’t even a blip on the radar a year or two ago.

And wasn’t PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds) the most popular game in the world? Well, it was, but no longer. Fortnite is now the biggest game in the world, with around 40 million players globally. And yes, that number is still growing.

From Humble Beginnings

Fortnite was created by Epic and was first released in July 2017, with no sign of being anything more than a moderate success. The focus of the game was on players mining resources from the environment, building structures, and defending against computer-controlled zombies. Notably, the game had no player versus player functionality.

But at the time that Fortnite was released, another game was already out, and seeing enormous success. This game was PUBG. The premise of PUBG was a simple one; 100 players parachute onto an island, scramble to find weapons, and fight until one person is left standing. Eager to get in on the success of the game, Epic made some quick adjustments to Fortnite, all but entirely copying the formula of PUBG.

But there were two differences that made Fortnite not only equal to PUBG, but also better than it.

Fortnite Comes Out On Top

Towards the end of 2017 and in the early months of 2018, PUBG and Fortnite were head to head in terms of popularity. But it wasn’t long before Fortnite surged ahead, leaving PUBG in second place. In February 2018 Fortnite took the lead in concurrent players, with around 3.4 million people playing the game at one time.

Why did it come out on top? Simply because it remained free to play, while PUBG had an upfront cost. Second; although PUBG released first, Fortnite showed a marked step up in terms of overall polish on quality.

Either way; don’t let the free to play tag fool you; in April it was reported that Epic earned a stunning $296 million from the game, via selling digital cosmetic items to players. The average person would have to hit a pretty big jackpot at an online casino Ireland has to offer to come close to making that much money in such an insanely short space of time.

Fortnite characters
Source: Inspiration Me

Twitch Success

Of course with massive interest directed at any one game, online streamers are quick to pick it up and run with it. Fortnite has been no different, and has smashed records not only in player numbers, but also viewer numbers.

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has become the unofficial face of Fortnite on Twitch, streaming to around 100,000 viewers on a regular basis. When Ninja teamed up with well-known rapper Drake for a game, the two managed to make Twitch history by having around 635,000 viewers sign in. A Twitch record.

Not Without Issues

But regardless of the game’s enormous success, it has also stirred up no small amount of controversy. Anyone who has a pair of eyes can see that Fortnite all but directly took PUBG’s formula, and copy-pasted it. This was not lost on Bluehole, the creators of PUBG, who announced they had growing concerns with how close it was to their own game.

Chang Han Kim, CEO of Bluehole, expressed his concerns early on in the life of Fortnite, before the game had found major success. But it was not until it rose to its bigger levels of success that Chang Han Kim declared that they would be going ahead with the lawsuit.

It seems that their overnight success may have piggybacked off of PUBG, and although many would argue that they simply took a formula and made it better, there may well be a bit more controversy in the future – but this may serve to make it all the more popular- who knows?

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