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Who is the Gamer? 0

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Who indeed is the gamer?  In present common parlance, a gamer refers to a player of video games.  These may include people who do not necessarily see themselves as regular players as well as those that practically live and breathe gaming.  Serious gamers not only play, they also learn and study the games and bring gaming to an entirely new level.

Gamers have their own communities where they can participate and interact with other like-minded people.  These communities usually come in the form of discussion forums and other virtual communities. Social clubs in schools, universities, and other places where interest in gaming is alive are also fertile grounds for lively interaction.

Behind the gaming attitude, is there one single profile of a gamer? There have been attempts to classify gamers according to their level of intensity and the amount if time spent in playing thus we hear of casual gamers and their extreme counterpart- the hard-core gamers.  Those that fall somewhere in between are referred to as mid-core gamers. There are also the newbie gamers and the professional gamers who treat gaming as a source of income.  In simple terms, they mainly play for money.

In this sense, the playing part tends to be relegated to the background. This is especially so when gamers are sponsored by big companies to play and win.  It is not uncommon for the more successful professional gamers to gain a following of their own.

Real interest and enjoyment in gaming can be the primary reason why anyone would even consider making a career out of it.  One must have a keen interest in the gaming industry itself.  The best opportunities in the industry lie in game development.

Now, game development is not something one just decides to do without having any foundation or basis for it.  One needs to be very interested in working with technology because a career in the gaming industry is definitely not child’s play.  It is as serious as any other career that requires time, devotion, and ability.

Unless one is a game developer who intends to go solo all the way which is often referred to as indie developers, it is necessary to know how to work with other people since most games are products of collaboration between many talents and expertise. Testing a game for any loophole is not as easy as it seems.  It is a long way off from playing a game since testing is synonymous to serious work rather leisurely play.

Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.


How to Play Games Safely 0

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Playing video games is supposed to be fun and safe.  Few people realize that there are certain health risks related to playing video games.  These risks mainly arise from improper positioning and excessive playing time that will no longer constitute a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  Parents are more often worried of the  psychological effects of some video games, forgetting that video games of whatever content can prove to be risky if the players choose to abuse their bodies in the process.

There are some things to consider to facilitate safe and healthy gaming.  First is to ensure that players can position themselves comfortably while playing.  Good posture must be maintained at all times and awkward positions must be avoided.  It is likewise important to take breaks in between so as to enable the body to relax.

Some of the more common issues that are related in a way to incorrect and excessive gaming and use of other technological devices such as computers and laptops include carpal tunnel syndrome, vibration syndrome, tendonitis, and tenosynovitis.  Some people have been known to have photosensitive seizures due to exposure to specific visual images such as flashing lights or patterns.  Seizures are manifested by face twitching, confusion, and shaking of arms or legs, among others.  Musculoskeletal disorders such as those mentioned above can be painful and disabling.

Players are advised not to play when tired or fatigued.  They are also advised not to use too much force in pressing buttons or keyboard keys.  Static positions held for a long time should be avoided.  Games are meant to be fun and it can be so if players will look after themselves correctly.


About the Author:

Teresa guides her children away from excessive gaming.

Online Xbox Gaming 0

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Xbox Live offers online gaming through Microsoft’s digital media delivery service.  Although gaming has been made available for free, some features including online gaming are only limited to subscribers of the Xbox Live Gold service. It is by far, the only online gaming service where players are charged for the benefit of playing multiplayer games.

Online gaming has always been part of the creation of a comprehensive Xbox console strategy.  Microsoft saw that the success of any online gaming offer from consoles would largely depend on broadband connection and the hard disk drive’s storage space.  These are concerns which Dream Cast and PlayStation 2 failed to deliver on, thus their failure.

Xbox launched its online service in 2001 without the benefit of a name.  Microsoft got beta testers in several batches in the aim to improve the service.  The service took off but not without glitches and obstacles of intermittent service interruptions and compatibility.  An increased cost for subscribers of the Xbox Live Gold was inevitable because of the continuous efforts to improve the service.

At present, Xbox Live Gold subscribers enjoy many features that encourages them to continually patronize the service.  These features include Voice Chat, Party Chat, Video Kinect, Avatars, downloadable content, multiplayer gaming, Xbox Live Arcade Point Results, Xbox Videos, Xbox Music, MSN, Halo Way Point, Crackle, Avatar Kinect, Kinect Fun Labs, Game Room, Bing, Internet Explorer, Cloud Storage, Skype, and YouTube.  Various television and other entertainment service has also been made available to subscribers.  Works in improving the online Xbox gaming experience have not stopped and are expected to continue as long as there are subscribers to it.

The Value of Demo Games 0

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Manufacturers of games are doing their customers much service when they offer demo downloads for free.  There is no other way for a buyer to know if he or she would be happy with a game unless they are allowed to play it.  Demo games make this possible without having to buy a particular game and then regretting the purchase later because it doesn’t come out as expected.

Titles alone cannot provide buyers a clear idea of what can be expected from games.  Demo games provide consumers a better feel so that they can decide whether to purchase the full version or not.  It is typically provided by game publishers as a preview of a recently released game.

Demo games are different from shareware since unlike the latter, demo games cannot be upgraded to the full version.  Rather, they are stand alone programs.  Upgradable shareware usually provides a trial portion consisting of the first episode with the other episodes to be purchased on a later date form one intact file.

Shareware is usually provided in CDs or DVDs.  Demo games in their original form are fast becoming obsolete due to readily available broadband connection.  The newer playing platforms such as Xbox Live are offering demos either for free or as premium download.  Demo games can be playable or not.  A non-playable demo is simply similar to that of a teaser trailer which only shows what is being offered but does not allow for actual gaming experience.  Playable demo games allow the players to experience the game at a certain point with some features disabled or playing times limited.  At present, free digital downloads can be obtained from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

Can Seniors Play Xbox Games? 0

The most recommended games for senior citizens are the so-called brain games or memory games that are said to keep the brain active and prevent memory loss.  Seniors however, are fast catching up with the younger generation in relation to gaming.  In fact, a considerable increase in the number of senior gamers has been observed over the past years.

This increase in numbers is not at all surprising considering that the variety of electronic games suitable for seniors is likewise expanding.   Although there is nothing that would prevent any senior from playing a game he or she wants, maximized advantages are expected from playing games that promote motion control and cognitive ability.

Classic card and board games can now be played in just about any modern gaming console such as Nintendo Wii, the Playstation, and the Xbox 360.  Wii Sports and Wii Resort are especially friendly to senior gamers.  Xbox also has something to offer through Kinect.

Seniors battling conditions such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may still be able to dance with Kinect through dancing games such as Just Dance and Dance Central.  It is interesting to note that Kinect sensors are used by some living centers for seniors for the purpose of gathering data about the movement and motion of its residents   This information specifically the gait data which can help in discovering ways to minimize fall risks which is a major problem among sensors.

The sense of well-being obtained from participating in fun physical activities such as gaming is highly beneficial to adults.  Microsoft has made donations of Kinect for Xbox 360 to senior centers with games and subscription to Xbox Live.  The reported consistency in attendance among seniors for health management activities of this nature is quite encouraging.

Migrating Your Xbox Live Account 0

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Finally, moving from one country to another no longer means terminating your existing Xbox Live Account and starting from the very beginning.  Microsoft has recently allowed migrating Xbox Live profiles to another region.  This is not however, without some consequences.

It is highly possible that some of the services and contents offered by the current Xbox Live Account will not be available in the place of transfer.  With the exception of the Xbox Live Gold, all current subscription will be cancelled.  In this regard, it may not be possible to redownload some or all of the download history’s content. The applicable geofencing rules of the new location will be in effect with regards to content downloaded after account migration.  Due to geofencing constraints, subscribers may have to repurchase contents already paid for before in the original location.

The main negative aspect of this very positive news is that migration can take up to a week which can feel like eternity for some since the account will not be available during this time.  When migration results to any loss of content, no refund can be expected.  Migration is essentially a manual process which explains why it has to take this long.

Migration is not without its disadvantages although many are happy enough that it is offered.  This is quite understandable since achievements already earned is something one cannot  let go of without much thought especially when they are genuinely obtained.  Gamers hold a distinctive pride in their statistics and they will tend to hold on to it as much as possible.

Another positive thing about this development is that its shows efforts to make the gaming experience more fun for the users.  It also shows that almost anything can be done if worked on seriously.  Any kind of online migration is not easy so it is best to think things over before doing so.

Xbox Live Arcade Game Compilation 0

Xbox has for sometime been making available several compilations of its game for better enjoyment of gamers.  Rather than offering a single game, compilations provide several games in one.  This should be an interesting option for players who easily get bored with single gaming options.

The Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged released in 2006 offers a series of Xbox 360 games to players without the need to purchase Xbox Live.  The first volume is a retail package that consist of six arcade games and three demos.  It comes in a disc which is used like any other game although it automatically adds the nine items to the Xbox Live Arcade Menu.  Included games consist of Bejeweled 2, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, Hardwood Backgammon, Outpost Kaloki X, Texas Hold’Em, and WIK and the Fable of Souls.  Demos of Feeding Frenzy, Marble Blast Ultra, and UNO complete the package.

A similar product was likewise launched in 2007.  This was the Xbox Live Arcade Compilation Disc which consists of five Xbox Live Arcade games.  These include Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy,Luxor2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and UNO.

This was followed by the Xbox Live Arcade Game Pack which includes three Xbox Live Arcade games.  These are the Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Lumines Live!, and Bomberman Live.  This was released in 2009.  The latest Live Arcade game compilation was released in 2011 through the Xbox 360 Triple Pack.  Included games consist of Limbo, Trials HD, and ‘SplosionMan.

Game compilations are good options for people who prefer variety in a single purchase.  This is a practical way of experiencing different games and levels of excitement.  Fun really need not be so complicated.

The X-Box Achievements and Scores 0

Every serious gamer would like to be recognized for his/her exceptional playing prowess.  There’s nothing actually wrong with this and is in fact even rewarded through the so-called Achievements.  Essentially, all earned achievements from playing XBox 360 and Live Arcade games make up a gamer’s score.  A gamer’s score does not necessarily represent a player’s excellence or lack of it but shows the games played and the achievement level accomplished.  This fact however has not stopped many from using the score as a gauge of their gaming ability.

The number as provided by scores can be very misleading since it is possible to chalk up a large number of points by playing easy games.  This is an often-used strategy to facilitate increase in points which may not actually serve any other purpose but to make the player feel good about himself since the score is made public among gamers.  Achievements can be very hard to attain in some games so the comparison between two players may not be exactly right.

There are some concerns however about players who go after achievements and scores way too seriously by actually  cheating to produce their high numbers.  It is as if the fun part of gaming is non-existent.  They play merely to add up on points.

This of course is acceptable when the achievements and scores have been obtained through honest playing.  Other than that, a high score probably wouldn’t matter .  Other people might be impressed for a while until they find out the truth.

There is a way of finding out, usually by just looking into the series of achievements obtained by players.  A high score obtained through fair means is accompanied by a record of achievement unlocking that does not defy common sense.  When a cheater is found out, he/she soon realizes that it is not worth it after all.



TV Service thru XBox 0

The Xbox is a common gaming gadget found in many homes but not everyone is aware that it is able to deliver another entertainment option – TV viewing.  No longer do core gamers hold the monopoly of its use as consumption for family content exhibited outstanding numbers for the past year with big names in cable service such as Comcast and HBO joining the foray.  These numbers are only expected to increase even more. 

The ability of a single device to perform multiple functions is always attractive to consumers.  It presents better value for money since it provides other uses when owners feel the need to temporarily desist from using it for its primary function.  The Xbox entertains beyond gaming and that is so much a plus factor. 

The Xbox 360 TV viewing capability could probably explain why Microsoft is in no particular hurry to develop a TV of its own.  Why develop something else when the function is already being offered by an existing product?  There is much logic in maximizing the Xbox and work on developing another product which can perform other innovative functions. 

Now that the Xbox 360 is also utilized as a TV set top box, cable and satellite services are being made available through it.  Consumers are having the time of their lives manipulating their entertainment gadgets.  People are discovering the advantages of having an Xbox especially with a Kinect.  It is probably the next best thing to having access to a single interface offering all video services which appear to be unattainable at this time. 

Regardless of the excellent performances of individual gadgets, having too many can be overwhelming and too complicated to be truly enjoyable.

Bringing Stories to Life 0

Microsoft’s “Project Columbia” is not about some sci-fi or battle gaming.  It is actually a new experience which the producer hopes to bring to children and parents in relation to reading books.  Designed in collaboration with the Sesame Workshop Curriculum Team, we will more or less have an idea of what to expect as to quality.  What is relatively new is the project’s goal to encourage book reading by changing how it is done. 

We are familiar with how children are taught to read.  Parents are tasked with the preparation of their children through regular oral communication, reading books for them, and conducting auditory activities such as rhyme games for learning support.  Barring any related medical or environmental condition, children are expected to be able to read fluently with proper comprehension by the second or third grade.

“Project Columbia” seeks to make learning more fun through the use of Kinect.  It is expected to make use of the multisensory nature of the gaming platform to facilitate better understanding of the written words.  Children will be able to bring stories to life and play an active role towards achieving the purpose. 

Children are given the advantage of playful learning wherein they are able to work towards their learning goals as they interact with their favorite characters.  Parents will be happy to note that these games are being designed to encourage children to engage in physical activity instead of being perpetually seated on the couch for a considerable period of time.  Encouraging physical activity in children is the very reason for the entirely new level of interactivity which the games wish to provide. 

Traditional gaming habits have proven to be unhealthy for many.  This is expected to change with more on-screen engagements of players.  Who says gaming has to sacrifice our children’s health?