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By Jessica Brister On 17 Jul, 2016 At 06:44 PM | Categorized As Featured, ROG Humor | With 0 Comments

No GravatarEaster eggs can be cool tidbits that game developers put in for various purposes, whether for humor or for sentimental value.  In this blog series, I will highlight some famous, interesting, or obscure Easter eggs in gaming.  This article’s particular Easter egg is Borderland 2’s Storm sniper rifle.

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For those who have played any of the Borderlands games, you know that finding awesome weapons is one of the fun parts.  In fact, since weapon combinations are randomly generated, you may never find the exact same weapon with the exact same stats ever again.  The Storm is a Pearlescent sniper rifle that is made by Maliwan.  The one pictured here has a 120 percent critical hit damage, a 5.7x weapon zoom, and can possibly deal bonus elemental damage (always shock damage).  I have seen it in many different combinations as well.  The particular Storm weapon that I have is called the “Gentleman’s Storm,” and it has the red description of “Tut, Tut, It looks like rain.”  It is one of my favorite sniper rifles in the game.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Wow, that’s a really nice weapon, but what exactly is the Easter egg there?”  Well, it starts with a short story of me reading to my daughter:

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I enjoy reading to my daughter before her bedtime every day.  A few days ago, we picked up “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.”  I do believe that there is an animated cartoon that goes along with it as well.  The story is about how Winnie the Pooh is trying to get as much honey as he possibly can.  One thing that he has his friend, Christopher Robin, do is launch him on a red balloon to try and steal honey from some bees.  While up on the balloon, Pooh asks Christopher Robin to dance around and go, “Tut, tut, it looks like rain,” so that the bees think Pooh is a rain cloud.

Now, it was about at that point in the book that I paused and went, “Wait a second!  Why does that phrase seem so familiar?”  It only took me a few moments to realize that the phrase was on one of my favorite weapons in Borderlands 2.  I did some digging and found out that it was indeed from Winnie the Pooh.  I suppose someone on the B2 development team has children (tee-hee).

So, there you go: a rarer weapon on Borderlands 2 cross-references a children’s story.  The English teacher in me is going nuts right now.  Winnie the Pooh, for me, will always be a bit different now!

By Jessica Brister On 16 Jul, 2016 At 08:19 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWith so many times during the year that we need to buy presents (birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.), sometimes it can be hard to buy for gamers, especially if you are not sure what they really want.  Well, I have simplified a list of 10 affordable gaming gifts for this year.

10.) Long Micro USB Cables

If you are tight on cash, but want to give a gamer something that they will truly be grateful for, give them some long micro USB cables.  They are fairly cheap when purchased online and will give the gamer in question some freedom to plug in his/her current generation controllers when they are out of juice.

9.) Logitech Wireless Mouse

For about thirty dollars or under, you can get a PC gamer a great mouse that will give them a bit of freedom when unpacking for LAN parties, moving a gaming laptop around, or just not having to worry about the hassle of a mouse with wires.

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8.) Controller Charging Station

Charging stations may seem frivolous, but they are actually quite handy for gamers.  Sure, a gamer can just plug into a micro USB cable, but it’s so much handier to have a docking station instead.  And it’s a cheap gift that will keep on giving: controller docking stations typically range from ten to twenty bucks.  A full console/controller docking station is a bit more expensive, but could also be a great idea.

7.) PlayStation Silver

Since gaming is increasingly online, the gamer in your life probably needs a headset.  If you know that they are using something very basic, such as the earbud that comes with a PS4, the PlayStation Silver may be a great gift.  Sure, it isn’t the Gold–which is much more expensive–but it does the trick.  Some have complained about the plastic breaking on it, but for the price, what else exactly would you get?

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6.) PlayStation Plus Membership Card/XBox Live Membership Card

A Membership Gift Card is always welcomed to any gamer, especially since it’s pretty much mandatory to have an online subscription.  Being able to choose the amount is a bonus as well.  Just make sure that you check what console they use.

5.) Steam Digital Wallet Gift Card

For the PC gamer, a gift card from Steam is always welcome.  PC gamers usually can get some good deals, particularly on Steam, so the gift card could go a long way.  Just be careful.  Getting it from some places will tack on a surcharge, especially if the store is a direct competitor of Steam, like Amazon.

4.) Extra controllers

Like I always say: you can never have too many controllers.  There are also options for different colors and controllers that are linked with certain games.  Of course, some of the custom controllers can get a bit pricey, so be careful.

3.) Retro consoles and games

Retro gaming is getting more and more popular.  If you know your gamer has an old console, consider getting them an older game.  You can find some of them for fairly cheap, although others can be quite expensive.  Depending on where you are looking, you might even be able to pick up an older console for cheap.  Does you gamer have a ton of retro consoles and games and you’re not sure what to get?  Extra accessories like AV cables, controllers, or memory cards would be appreciated.

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2.) Redbubble Merchandise

If you are unfamiliar with Redbubble, they sell artwork that can be printed on tons of stuff such as shirts, coffee mugs, posters, etc.  Though they are not specifically gaming-related, type “gaming,” “geek,” or the name of any game in the search and behold all of the good merchandise they sell.  You will definitely find things there that are sold nowhere else. Note: I have only received items from this company.  I have not purchased anything.  Buy at your own risk.

1.) Check out their wishlist; get them the game!!!

Seriously.  What they probably want is a game that’s been sitting on their list for awhile.  See if they have a wishlist on Amazon.  Or, just ask them, right?

By Jessica Brister On 8 Jul, 2016 At 06:53 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, Games You Slept On, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Throughout the time that I have been writing about video games, I have expressed my love for Sims 3. It is one of my favorite games, and I have probably played it more than most games. Although Sims 4 was a huge let-down for me, I still play a lot of Sims 3. Since it has had such a big impact on me, I have decided to do a belated review of it (the base game only). So here it is, though it’s a bit overdue…
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The initial base game for Sims 3 came out on June 2, 2009. It was the third installment of the popular life-simulation game. Sims 3 was developed by The Sims Studio (this was a group that was split off from Maxis) and published by Electronic Arts for PC. The game was a critical and commercial success, gaining mainly positive reviews and selling over ten million copies.
The core aspects of the game play remain: make a Sim (or a family of Sims), control their basic activities, build relationships, establish careers, and create homes. However, there were many changes and improvements to the base game which include the following:

Basic game play

Just as in previous Sims games, the game play itself does not have a definite ending or goal. You play as a Sim or set of Sims until you don’t feel like it anymore. There are mini goals such as certain career or school opportunities, as well as skill-based goals (more on the new skills and careers later). There is a new reward system for accomplishing certain tasks as well. These attribute to a Sim’s overall Lifetime Happiness points, which allows the player to purchase different rewards. Tasks could include something as simple as cooking a meal all the way up to getting a promotion. Players also choose a Lifetime Wish that holds a bunch of points if the Sims achieves it.

Sim Creation

The Create a Sim system was significantly updated from Sims 2. The player can customize Sims in a much easier fashion using sliders which adjust for weight, muscle mass, skin tone, and facial customization options. Hairstyles, make-up, and color options were also upgraded. The Advanced Mode feature allows the player to get really in-depth with the amount of Sim customization. Overall, the Sims looks much more realistic than previous Sims games and even include small details such as beauty marks and freckles.
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Open World

One of the biggest changes was the switch from lot-based game play of the original Sims games to an open world concept. For once, Sims could literally walk out of their house and seemlessly go for a jog around the neighborhood. It was an amazing step in the right direction for the game play because it allowed for the typical Sims-style life simulation of eat, sleep, go to the bathroom to exploration and adventure. Now only that, but the Sims 3 allows for Story Progression, a way for all of the NPCs to get married, advance in their careers, have babies, and move. The open world system also allows for Sims to leave the town with later expansions for visits to other areas (such as in the World Adventures and Into the Future expansions). The open world concept of Sims 3 was a huge leap ahead in game play and really added to the depth of game play.
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New skills and careers

Sims 3 added more careers to the base game (and many, many more in the expansions). The main careers range from business to medical to science and anything inbetween. When Sims apply for these jobs, the player can follow them to their place of work in the open world while the Sim goes into a “rabbit hole” for the duration of the work day. Some people apparently hated this concept, but I personally thought that it was much better than the Sim disappearing off of the map entirely.
Along with new careers, there are also a slew of new skills to go with them. Some of the new skills include painting, guitar, charisma, handiness, athletics, gardening, writing, and so on. Each skill compliments a career, so the higher a Sim is at a skill, the better of he or she will perform at the career. The skills themselves have mini-goals that are based in a Skill Journal. There are challenges presented for each skill that include special perks if completed. For example, on the charisma skill, there is a “Celebrity” goal. When a Sim knows twenty-five other Sims, they will hit the goal and earn a large starting bonus in any relationship of any other Sims met afterward. The skill challenges are a great way to really get into a game that doesn’t have actual set goals or an end game. As a completionist, I have found myself obsessed with trying to get all of the achievements for each skill.
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 Advanced lots and world building tools

Although Sims 2 did allow you to add and modify different lots and venues, Sims 3 takes it to a whole different level. Anything on the map can be changed or modified to allow for complete customization of the game play experience. You can change businesses, houses, add parks, or do whatever. With the open world style with no loading screens, it really feels like a custom city when you go through the “Edit Town” feature.
As well as editing existing towns and cities, EA also included a Creat a World tool, which allows players to create their own custom worlds. It was a really neat idea that allowed those really creative players to make the game their own. Players could also share their worlds (as well as any other content they created) with other players online.

Graphics

Just like with any other PC game, the graphics really depend on the type of PC you are playing on. I’ve played Sims 3 on a laptop with a low-end graphics card up to a heavy-duty gaming PC, so I know the span of what the game is capable of. On low settings, the game will look tolerable, but at this point, the game might start to show its age. On maxed out settings, I personally believe that the game looks amazing. Sims 4 is very cartoonish with its graphics, and Maxis didn’t focus on them to make the game more accessible to everyone. Due to this, I believe that Sims 3 maxed out competes with Sims 4, which is why I don’t have an issue playing Sims 3 instead of Sims 4.
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Game engine

Although I am mostly positive about Sims 3, I will call the game out on one of its detractors: the game engine. Although I did say that I would only talk about the base game, I did want to give a warning out to anyone wanting to purchase more expansions on top of it. The game engine is fine for the base game. It runs well. It’s fine for a couple of expansions. But once you start adding a handful of expansions onto the base game, the game engine just cannot handle it. EA and Maxis pushed the game beyond what it could reasonably handle. I have every add-on available with my game, and it can be frustrating since it is so glitchy. However, for the purposes of this review, since I am only looking at the base game, this was never an issue with just the Sims 3 installed.

Overall

I do love Sims 3. It is one of my go-to games, even at its age. If you are looking to get into the Sims franchise, you may do better with getting 3 then 4 (if your PC supports it both with stats and operating system). There are some issues with Sims 3—mainly with the game engine—but overall, it is a solid addition to the franchise that adds a lot to the typical, mundane game play of the previous Sims games.

By Jessica Brister On 7 Jul, 2016 At 08:17 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, Games You Slept On, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSometimes sequels just don’t compare to the original.  In the case of Chrono Trigger, one of the greatest RPGs of all time, there was a lot riding on a follow-up game.  Happily, Chrono Cross ended up being an amazing game with the same ground-breaking game play and story that we loved about Trigger.  It continues to be one of my favorite games of all time.

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Chrono Cross is an RPG developed and published by Square (now known as Square Enix) in 1999 for the PlayStation.  It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Chrono Trigger, which was released in 1995 for the SNES.  It was developed by Masato Kato as well as others who worked on Chrono Trigger.  Chrono Cross was released with critical acclaim and sold extremely well worldwide.

Chrono Cross follows the protagonist Serge on a gorgeous tropical archipelago named El Nido.  The island and nautical theme runs throughout the game, including the enchantingly beautiful soundtrack.  Serge is transported to an alternate dimension where he died ten years beforehand on a beach and sees how his life has impacted the world.  He meets a thief named Kid and finds out that the universe split into two dimensions on that fateful day at the beach.  He is able to go back and forth between the dimensions by using Kid’s Astral Amulet.  There’s a lot more to the story, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t play it (seriously, if you haven’t, you need to).

Now, I know it doesn’t sound like the story of Chrono Cross has anything to do with Chrono Trigger, but it does.  A few familiar characters make cameos, and the games are intricately linked together in ways that I’d rather not say in order not to give out a bunch of spoilers.  Chrono Cross always felt to me like the sequel that you could play without the original and have a great time, but if you played Trigger, it would be even better.  In fact, I played Cross before Trigger and didn’t have any issues following anything.

An interesting concept that was used for (possibly) the first time on this game was the idea of talking to villagers or characters, not to further the story, but to add depth to the setting and feel of the game.  As players, we are so used to this now, but that was an unheard of concept back in the day.  This really adds a cool twist to the game with the dimensional travel, since you can talk to the same character in both dimensions and see how Serge’s absence or presence has affected that person.  It’s a really awesome story element.

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One thing that people both love and hate about the game are the multitude of characters that you can have in your party.  There are forty-five party members that you can have, although you cannot play them all in one game.  But, just as there was in Trigger, you can do a New Game+ in order to have access to all of them.  Some people hated having all of the characters because some of them weren’t developed very well.  I personally loved it because I could find the exact party to fit my play-style.  To each his own, I guess.

The game play is so much fun, and it’s probably one of my favorite old-school RPG systems ever.  There are still a lot of traditional RPG elements to it: an overworld map to go between areas, places to explore, puzzles to solve, and enemies to encounter while going through.  The enemies are completely visible, and there are no random encounters.  Battles are turn-based, which was pretty standard for the time.  This allows the player to take as much time as he or she wants when battling an enemy.  And, of course, there are hit points for each character and enemy.  One revolutionary concept that was added was the fact that you can run away from any battle, including all boss battles and the final battle as well.

Chrono Cross also deals with an elemental system (sort of similar to FF VII), where characters are best with a certain element while the opposite element really hurts them.  Elements are reflected in colors: Red (fire) versus Blue (water), Green (plants) versus Yellow (earth), and White (light) versus Black (darkness).  Red characters match up against Blue characters best, and so on and so forth.  Characters also have Tech abilities like Chrono Trigger, which can be doubled or tripled as well.  An interesting twist to the element-based battle system is the use of a field effect, where if the field is all one color, that color’s power will be enhanced and the opposite is weakened.

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When characters are not using their Tech abilities, they can use standard attacks.  Chrono Cross was also innovative in the fact that it has a stamina bar for attacks.  That stamina can be raised or lowered, depending on whether the character uses a standard attack of an Element.  Another interesting twist is that there are no experience points.  Players level up by upgrading their stats a couple of times through regular battles but do not level up until there is a boss battle.  This concept completely gets rid of the idea of grinding because you actually can’t.  To me, it makes the game play more fun and the story feel more exciting because there are never any lulls.

The graphics for the time were amazing. The opening FMV (full motion video) sequence is probably one of my favorite game openings ever. It seriously gives me goosebumps every time I see it. Even the in-game graphics looked slick (again, for the time). The color-palate is bright and beautiful, which enhanced the overall feel of the game.

This review would not be complete without praise to the beautifully done and award-winning soundtrack.  Yasunori Mitsuda, who did most of the soundtrack for Trigger, came back again and really outdid himself.  It has elements of Caribbean, Fado (Portuguese), Celtic, and some African.  The soundtrack is so good that was officially released in a three-disc set in Japan (one that I got my hands on through E-Bay many years ago).  It is probably the best soundtrack that I have ever heard for a game, and I don’t say that lightly.  In fact, you really haven’t experienced the soundtrack to its full extent until you’ve listened to it on the beach or on the deck of a cruise ship.  The music is magical.

There aren’t many games that have brought me to tears, but Chrono Cross is one of them.  It is an amazing masterpiece of a game, not just a sequel, but an amazing game just by itself.  If you ever get the chance to play or replay it, I highly recommend it.

No GravatarMy little girl might be little now, but eventually, she will be old enough to start gaming.  For the record, I’m not saying that she has to be a gamer (she can have her own interests and hobbies–as long as they are appropriate), but I will be introducing her to gaming when it is developmentally appropriate (don’t put comments about how some of these games aren’t appropriate for (fill in the blank) age; I know that).

If I had to whittle down my list of games I would love to have my daughter play, here is the list that I came up with of the games that really had an impact on me, both as an adult and when I was growing up:

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20.) Rebel Assault II

I do love a good Star Wars game, but this one was very special to me.  I still have the discs for it, though I’m not sure I could get it running again.  I bet my technically-savvy hubby could get it to run.  This was one of the first good Star Wars games that I played, which got around graphics limitations of the time by having live actor shots.SWTIEFighter

19.) Tie Fighter

This is another Star Wars game, which I still have but have no idea if I could ever get running again (bet hubby could with enough motivation).  Just like it’s X-Wing counterpart game, Tie Fighter was an excellent flight simulator that also portrayed the Empire in a different light.  I spent HOURS playing this game.

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18.) Wolfenstein 3D

It’s the first first-person shooter I ever played.  I clearly remember the first time I got to play this revolutionary game, even though I was only six or seven at the time.  Sure, there have been sequels and reboots or whatever, but nothing beats the original.

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17.) Sim City 3000

I do love a good simulation, and this was the last good Sim City that I can still play without any special things done to my PC.  Interesting story: When I was in high school, I studied for my AP Government local government test by playing this game.  I had the highest score in the class.  Woot!  Woot!

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16.) Duke Nukem 3D

Sure it’s a little raunchy, but I spent most of my middle school years playing this game.  I bought every add-on that I could get my hands on.  It’s just a really good and really funny first-person shooter, and I still find myself to this day quoting from it.

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15.) Doom

This is an absolutely essential classic first-person shooter that I think everyone die-hard FPS gamer should play.  Sure, it was a bit scary for it’s time (now it looks a bit cartoonish), but it was revolutionary for when it came out.

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14.) Manhunt

Okay, this is definitely a game that my little girl will not be playing until she’s much, much older, but it’s probably one of the best, most original games that I have played for PlayStation 2.  Screw the Hunger Games.  This game is an amazing sneak game with a really good story, similar to “The Most Dangerous Game,” The Running Man, or Battle Royale.  It’s amazingly violent as well, and I wish that Rockstar would either redo or remaster THIS game instead of some of the other games being redone.

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13.) Jones in the Fast Lane

I do have an original copy of this game complete with packaging because it is one of the best life simulation games that I have every played.  However, you can actually play this game on your phone or tablet now without worrying about getting it to work on a PC.  My have times changed!  The game is similar to The Game of Life: you get a job, work on advancing, and manage your time.  And it can have up to four players, so I will be playing this one with my little girl as soon as she is old enough.

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12.) Fallout 3

Besides having the best intro to a video game that I have ever seen, the game is absolutely amazing to play.  Part first-person shooter, part action RPG, this game has it all.  Another thing that I absolutely adore about the game is the size of the enormous map you get to play around in.  No claustrophobic maps here!

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11.) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Another amazing Bethesda game and one of my favorite open-world, fantasy games, Skyrim is another must to play.  Sadly, I’ve probably spent a couple hundred hours on this game and actually haven’t finished it yet.  It can get you really side-tracked if you let it.

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10.) Borderlands 2

This is one of my favorite cooperative games that I have ever played.  It’s funny and a bit ridiculous at times, but that’s what makes it so great: it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  With several different characters to play as, including two very strong female roles, and a TON of weapons to collect, this will always be one of my top FPS games.

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9.) Final Fantasy VII

Okay, the graphics DO make my eyeballs bleed a bit, but there is no doubt that this game is one of the best Final Fantasy games ever.  It’s got the best characters, the best music, and the best story line.  And with the remake coming out soon, she hopefully will be able to play it without getting a headache.

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8.) Tomb Raider II

The original Tomb Raider was a little fuzzy on graphics and TR III was a bit whacky in the plot.  However, Tomb Raider II–to me–is the perfect balance of a cool story, interesting places to explore, and a trendy tone.  It’s the game that really spawned my love for the franchise.

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7.) Final Fantasy X

This is another one of my favorite Final Fantasy games.  It’s got a great story and awesome characters, but the graphics have aged a lot better than VII (and I’m not even talking about the HD version that just came out).  And, I now do have the option to update by PS2 version if I want to.

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6.) Sims 3

Sims 3 is my favorite out of the franchise (and I have played 1-3 extensively).  Some people don’t understand my obsessive with simulation games, but think of all of the cool things that I can do: create interesting Sims, design my dream home, design my dream town, go to new and exciting places, and do things I wouldn’t dream of doing in real life.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

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5.) Chrono Cross 

This is one of my favorite RPGS of all time.  The graphics STILL look awesome.  The story is amazing, even though it’s technically a sequel.  The music is amazing (I actually bought the soundtrack).  It’s a great game, and would be my favorite RPG if it weren’t for the next game on the list…

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4.) Chrono Trigger 

A game that has consistently shown up on “best RPG ever” lists, Chrono Trigger really should be listed as one of the best games ever.  Period.  The graphics stand up to the test of time.  The music is awesome.  The story is amazing.  My husband always likes to comment that it it one of the few games in which you don’t have to have the main character to beat the game.  It’s just one of those games that you will always remember and want to play no matter how old you or it gets.

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3.) Mass Effect 2

Not the original Mass Effect and definitely NOT Mass Effect 3–Mass Effect 2, to me, was the perfect balance of a good story, good game play, and cool characters.  But it wasn’t just those elements that makes me rank this game so high.  I was completely in awe of the really cool mix of genre and game play.  I mean, how many space-related action RPGs do you see out there?  Not many.  One of the best things about the game, besides having the really cool character of Commander Shepard, is how engrossing BioWare was able to make the Mass Effect universe.  As in games like Dragon Age, you could literally spend hours reading up on all of the technology, history, and species in the Mass Effect Universe, and that is a really important story element for me that I love in well-thought out games.

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2.) BioShock Infinite

I never thought that another game could rival my precious BioShock, but I was totally wrong about this one.  BioShock Infinite is an amazing game with some of the best graphics of the time and a story that will make your jaw drop.  The game play was a blast to play as well, and the setting was totally immersing.  This is a game and a franchise that have really upped my expectations on what first-person shooters should be like.

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1.) BioShock 

I thought about this for a long time and realized the BioShock is–hands down–my favorite video game of all time.  There are many reasons for this.  It was the first FPS that I have every played that demonstrated intelligence in its story: it discussed political issues, morality, all sorts of things that don’t normally make it into the standard FPS.  Second, I absolutely, positively fell in love with Rapture.  I can’t explain it.  I just love being there and exploring.  I love learning about the people who lived there and what all went wrong.  I enjoyed the cool game play with the plasmids and ADAM.  Third, I really enjoyed how awesome the graphics have aged (look at some of the other games that came out at the same time, and you’ll see what I mean).  It still looks AWESOME.  And lastly, I really appreciate the tone of this game, which many games in the genre fail to generate.  It’s sometimes scary but always enjoyable.  It’s a bit demented but doesn’t encourage what you see as being “normal.”  It really does make you think, and I love that and hope that I can share that–eventually, when my little girl is much, much older.

By Jessica Brister On 29 Jun, 2016 At 09:54 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, Games You Slept On, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarTo this day, I still absolutely adore Sims 3.  Even though I want nothing to do with the 4th installment, I still love to play the third, especially while utilizing all of the expansions that have come out for it.  Here is my list of the best expansions to date:

11.) Generations  The_Sims_3_Generations

Though this expansion isn’t “hit you over the head” with new stuff, it does have some subtle changes to the game play that are interesting.  Teens and children have a lot more interactions than before.  There is a new profession: day care.  Adults can even send their kids off to boarding school.  However, with only some slight changes and no new town, this is probably my least favorite expansion.

10.) Seasons  Sims_3_Seasons

This is another expansion that isn’t as good as the rest.  It gives Sims 3 weather, which sounds like it would be cool, but it gets a bit old after awhile.  Sims can go to festivals that change depending on the season.  There are also some outdoor activities that are added, including snowboarding and soccer.  Sims get to swim in the ocean (though correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was a complete game update…maybe I’m wrong on that one) and aliens are another life form added to the game.  Overall, it’s a little weak for an expansion.

9.) Showtime The_Sims_3_Showtime

This is definitely the expansion for people who love the “L.A./Hollywood” lifestyle.  There is a new town, Starlight Shores, that has a Hollywood vibe to it.  There are new careers that are more performances based: singer, acrobat, magician.  A new life form was created for this expansion as well: genies.  I could take them or leave them, though.  Simport was also introduced with this one.  However, I have never used it (and am VERY glad that EA is not forcing social play in Sims 4).  Some new venues were introduced in this one as well, including coffeehouses, live show venues, and private show venues, though these are not my favorite.  I’ve found that this town is a bit glitchy to play in as well.

8.) Supernatural  The_Sims_3_Supernatural

This expansion allows for a variety of different types of Sims, including vampires, witches, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, fairies, and genies.  Although I never really cared for the supernatural types, the town of Moonlight Falls is one of the more stable towns to play in and some of the architecture features and styles of furniture are really cool.  There is a new skill, alchemy, that goes well with the supernatural theme.

7.) Into the Future  The_Sims_3_Into_The_Future

As the last expansion of Sims 3, this was unfortunately not the best.  It’s an interesting concept: you can take your Sims back and forth to the future and back to the present as much as you’d like.  In the future, there are a lot of high tech gadgets, including jetpacks, hover boards, and other futuristic things.  There are a couple new careers: astronomy and bot arena.  Actions in the present can change the future.  Oasis Landing, the new town, is pretty cool, though I found myself wanting to stay in the present more than the future (the bot people can be really annoying).  Overall, I thought it was okay, but it is not my favorite.

6.) World Adventures  The_Sims_3_World_Adventures

This was the first expansion for Sims 3, and it allowed some really cool travel options.  Players could choose to travel to three different places: China, Egypt, and France.  Besides seeing the sights, tomb raiding is an option for the adventurous Sim.  The more activities a player did with their Sim, the longer the visa level for the particular place.  World Adventures also opens out three new skill possibilities: martial arts, photography, and nectar-making.  Overall, this expansion was a great because it allowed the player to get out of town for a bit.

5.) Ambitions  The_Sims_3_Ambitions

Along with the new town of Twinbrook, Ambitions allowed the player to expand into many different professions, including being a firefighter, stylist, ghost hunter, architect, or private investigator.  These professions are different from regular Sim careers because you go out on “jobs” instead of working normal hours.  Also, this expansion allows for becoming “self-employed” in most skills.  Two new skills were added: sculpting and inventing.

4.) University Life  Sims_3_University_Life

Finally!  Sims 3 got the ability to send Sims off to college.  One of the last expansions done for the game, University Life allows Sims to go off to college and pursue a degree.  A lot like World Adventures, where a Sim travels to Sims University but does not permanently life there, this expansion has plenty going on.  Sims can pursue degrees, join cliques, and drink from “juice kegs.”  There are a few new careers, depending on a Sims degree and clique association.  There are apparently Plant Sims that players can get to, though I’ve never tried this.  New skills include: Science, street art, and social networking.  Overall, this is a very good addition.

3.) Island Paradise  he_Sims_3_Island_Paradise

This is a very good expansion, and it contains that town that I am currently using (Isla Paradiso).  The town is a really cool set of islands and has a really interesting feel to it.  There is a new life form: mermaids.  Also, boating and scuba diving have been added, which I have really enjoyed.  Being a resort manager is the new profession, though it’s not like a normal profession for the Sims (you can still hold down another job, if you want).  With lots of water sports, a cool new town (that is pretty stable for the most part), and an interesting feel to the town this is one of my favorite expansions.

2.) Pets  Sims_3_Pets

One of the better expansions to date, Pets allows players to own different types of animals, including cats, dogs, horses, and smaller rodents, birds, and snakes.  A new town, Appaloosa Plains, is given.  It’s a very western-themed town, but I’ve found it a bit glitchy to play in.  Sims can train their horses and the new riding skill is offered.  However, for people who don’t like pets, this expansion could be a miss.  But I love pets, so this expansion is more of my favorites.

1.) Late Night  Sims-3-late-night

This is definitely my favorite out of all of the expansions.  Besides giving the player the new city of Bridgeport, which has a cool “big city” feel to it, the expansion also introduces a lot of cool social aspects.  Clubs, bars, and a new celebrity system add a new dimension to playing.  Sims can also live in high-rise buildings with elevators and join the acting career.  This was also the first expansion to add a different type of Sim other than “human.”  Vampires came with this particular expansion and made things interesting to the game play.  Overall, it’s a very slick expansion.  And the city is very stable to play in, which is definitely a plus.

 

By Jessica Brister On 12 May, 2016 At 10:51 PM | Categorized As Featured | With 0 Comments

No GravatarGamers tend to be a passionate group.  Sometimes, that passion may spill over into real-life, including family.  For the pregnant gamer, choosing a baby name can be difficult.  However, I have went ahead and did some leg-work.  Here are some video game-inspired baby names to help with selecting an awesome name for your little one:

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*I have listed first names only in alphabetical order and the franchise the name belongs to.*

Girl Names:

Ada (Castlevania)

Angel (Borderlands)

Aria (Mass Effect)

Ashley (Mass Effect)

Athena (Borderlands)

Aya (Parasite Eve)

Ayla (Chrono Trigger)

Claire (Resident Evil)

Cortana (Halo)

Diana (Mass Effect)

Edi (Mass Effect)

Elizabeth (BioShock: Infinite)

Eve (Parasite Eve)

Faith (Mirror’s Edge)

Helena (Borderlands)

Jack (Mass Effect)

Jill (Resident Evil)

Jolene (Walking Dead)

Kairi (Kingdom Hearts)

Kazumi (Mass Effect)

Kelly (Mass Effect)

Lara (Tomb Raider)

Leliana (Dragon Age)

Liara (Mass Effect)

Lilith (Borderlands)

Lucca (Chrono Trigger)

Marle (Chrono Trigger)

Maya (Borderlands)

Miranda (Mass Effect)

Morinth (Mass Effect)

Morrigan (Dragon Age)

Moxxi (Borderlands)

Patricia (Borderlands)

Peach (Mario)

Samara (Mass Effect)

Samus (Metroid)

Schala (Chrono Trigger)

Sheeva (Mortal Kombat)

Tali (Mass Effect)

Tina (Borderlands)

Veronica (Resident Evil)

Wynne (Dragon Age)

Yukiko (Persona)

Zeal (Chrono Trigger)

Zelda (Legend of Zelda)

Boy Names:

Aiden (Watch Dogs)

Albert (Resident Evil)

Alistair (Dragon Age)

Andrew (BioShock)

Axton (Borderlands)

Booker (BioShock: Infinite)

Chris (Resident Evil)

Chun-Li (Street Fighter)

Cooper (Sly Cooper)

Crono (Chrono Trigger)

Dalton (Chrono Trigger)

Dante (Devil May Cry)

Duke (Duke Nukem)

Duncan (Dragon Age)

Ethan (Heavy Rain)

Ezio (Assassin’s Creed)

Frank (Dead Rising)

Garrus (Mass Effect)

Gurus (Chrono Trigger)

Isaac (Dead Space)

Leon (Resident Evil)

Link (Legend of Zelda)

Loghain (Dragon Age)

Jack (BioShock)

Jacob (Mass Effect)

James (Mass Effect)

Kaiden (Mass Effect)

Kanji (Persona)

Kratos (God of War)

Kyle (Half Life)

Magus (Chrono Trigger)

Mario (Mario)

Max (Max Payne)

Mordecai (Borderlands)

Mordin (Mass Effect)

Nathan (Uncharted)

Niko (GTA)

Oghren (Dragon Age)

Raiden (Mortal Kombat)

Roland (Borderlands)

Saren (Mass Effect)

Shale (Dragon Age)

Shepard (Mass Effect)

Sten (Dragon Age)

Sully (Uncharted)

Thane (Mass Effect)
Wilhelm (Borderlands)

Zaeed (Mass Effect)

Zevran (Dragon Age)

By Jessica Brister On 29 Apr, 2016 At 08:32 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, ROG Humor | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAfter talking to many gamers and comparing gaming experiences with them, I have noticed a trend with a certain portion of the gamer population.  I see it with some people’s posts on Google+ and tweets on Twitter.  I have discussed this with a few of you at length.  You see, there are a few of us (me included) that have what I like to call “Gaming OCD.”  This type of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) may affect the following areas of a person’s gaming life:

*Disclaimer: This is not a real diagnosis or disease.  I am not a doctor.   This article is meant to be humorous.  That’s all.

1.) You must pick up every item you can possibly find in a game, even if you don’t need it.

This compulsion probably started with games like the original Resident Evil, where there was almost no ammo and very few save points. One of the signs of Gamer OCD is the fact that you must find every item you can.  This can become annoying, especially in Bethesda games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim, where weight is a factor.  That’s okay, though.  You will spend an extra hour slowly trudging to a place where you can sell or stash your items.

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Having Gamer OCD in games like Skyrim can be a bit annoying, as there is a compulsion to pick up everything and do everything.

2.) You have to go through levels perfectly.

This sign shows up especially in sneak games like the Metal Gear Solid franchise or other games like The Last of Us, where screwing up even a little bit can cost you ammo or other items.  You will re-start an encounter until do you things perfectly.  Even a small screw-up will drive you nuts.

3.) You have to find all of the secrets, no matter how annoying it gets.

Secret items are often used in games so that gamers can get more out of the game play.  From secret treasure in the Uncharted series, to infusions and extra voxophones in BioShock Infinite, to finding a particular roaming monster in Borderlands 2 that will drop a specific weapon, secrets are a large part of gaming.  However, many use this as optional fun.  OCD gamers have a compulsion to find all of them.  A subset of this group may even use walkthroughs just to make sure they found every secret or area.

4.) You have to completely clear areas, do every side mission, and every quest.

Remember in the original Doom how one had the percentage of monsters killed?   Or in Infamous franchise how one could clear districts completely?  Well, people with Gamer OCD must complete all of the areas.  Leaving baddies behind or areas to clear is not an option.  If you are into RPGs or games with extra side missions or quests, you feel like you have no completed the game unless all of those side missions or quests are completed.

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Feel like you ever need to clear the map every time you play a game? You may have Gamer OCD!

5.) Your character must be the highest level possible.

Whether it be the ranking system in the Call of Duty franchise, to perfecting a character in an RPG, to increasing skill levels in The Sims, people with Gamer OCD must have the highest level character possible with all of the bells and whistles.  Their character must have access to every skill and weapon possibility and must be a complete beast in specs.  Although many gamers like to do this, people with gaming OCD take it to the next level and may create multiple characters that are like this and will take the extra time and effort to get their character leveled as high as possible.

6.) You must get all of the trophies.

I’ve seen this a lot from #PS4share.  Gamers do enjoy getting trophies for accomplishments in the games that they play.  However, an OCD gamer feels the need to get one hundred percent trophies across the board on all of his or her games.  A game is not complete unless all of the trophies have been won.

When you have Gamer OCD, getting all of the trophies is mandatory.

When you have Gamer OCD, getting all of the trophies is mandatory.

So what are OCD gamers to do?

Well, if you are like me and haven’t finished a Bethesda RPG because you have to do every side quest and take every item in the game, then it may be okay to tell yourself to let go a bit.  Perfection isn’t always attainable, right?  However, I will say that OCD gamers probably get the most bang for the buck when it comes to our video games.  We spend more time than most per game because of it, so happy gaming everyone!

By Jessica Brister On 21 Mar, 2016 At 07:00 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured | With 0 Comments

No GravatarGaming is a billion dollar industry that incorporates a wide audience of every demographic.  It amazes me, however, that as a gamer ages, their gaming hobby starts to be frowned upon by other non-gaming adults.  Apparently, in this day and age gaming is hobby that is only supposed to be enjoying by teens and college students.  People critical of older gamers point out the fact that adults need to be responsible and do things like work full time, fix up their house, and spend time with their family.  Of course, all of these aspects of life are incredibly important, and I am not advocating for people to ignore their children for a video game.  However, I do think that non-gamers should consider the validity of having a gaming hobby.

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For starters, gaming is not any more time consuming than other activities and hobbies favored by working adults.  How many people come home from work and promptly sit down in front of the television for hours?  It’s amazing to me how some people think that it is okay to watch television for three to four hours every night, but apparently gamers are “wasting their lives” doing the same.  How many people spend time on crafts, reading, going out to bars/clubs, sports, etc.?  All of these things entertain us and take up our time.  Does it matter whether a person spends their Sunday afternoon spending hours watching football or playing the latest multiplayer game?  Frankly, I don’t care what people spend their time doing, as long as they give me the same courtesy.

Another thing that non-gamers tend to say (amazingly enough, it’s usually in off-handed comments; it’s almost always never direct), is that gamers need to “grow up” and find a more mature hobby.  Well, what exactly is a mature hobby?  Spending every evening at a bar?  Going to clubs?  Working on a fantasy football league?  Blowing money on needless window shopping?  The thing is, a lot of things people spend their time on isn’t really “mature.”  To me, there are a lot of  “acceptable” hobbies that seem pretty childish to me.  And again, I don’t care what people do, but I want to be left alone.

Lastly, gaming is actually an intelligent choice in hobbies.  It is not mindless like some people seem to think.  Okay, I’ll admit that there are some bad games that fall into that category.  There are some games that are beyond the inappropriate level as well.  However, there are some star titles that are intelligent and make you think.  The BioShock franchise immediately comes to mind.  It is a game that makes you think and highlights important issues such as capitalism and communism, the role of religion, and how power affect individuals, as well as class and race issues.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Games like the Mass Effect franchise and the Fallout games have amazing story lines to them–better than most movies I’ve seen in a long, long time.  Even the games contain an amazing amount of satire.  So to me, I’d rather be playing a video game than trying to watch the latest Hollywood bomb.

Then again, I may just be writing this in vain because, as my husband correctly stated, “I don’t need to prove myself to other people.  I don’t need to justify my hobbies to anyone.”  I think he’s absolutely correct.  Besides, I do not need to “get a life;” I have one, and it’s a lot of fun.

By Jessica Brister On 13 Mar, 2016 At 07:52 PM | Categorized As Featured, ROG Humor | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIt’s amazing to me how many gamers act completely obnoxious when playing.  I do think a lot of it is just plain trolling, but sometimes, I think that some people are just oblivious to proper etiquette.  While I don’t think that this article will change much in the matter of obnoxious gamers, maybe I can reach a couple of people.  And maybe the rest of you will find some humor in this.

Here are some things to consider:

Console/Computer Etiquette

Controllers

Do: Enjoy food and beverages while gaming.  No one wants you to get dehydrated and pass out.

Do Not: Leave food debris all over the controller/keyboard for the next person.  (I MAY have been guilty of this before, but I’m trying to get it together.)  Also, do not drink too many adult beverages while gaming.  It will not end well for you.  *See below on leaving during online play.

Do: Find time to game.  It’s an escape from the stresses of life and a great way to unwind after a long day.

Do Not: Ignore your children because you want to play a video game.  I’m sorry, but I have heard way too many little children and babies crying in the background of online games, while the parent just yells at them to be quiet.  Be an adult and take care of your kids.  Also, be an adult and tell your children, “No.”  Toddlers should NOT be playing Call of Duty.

Do: Find time to charge the controller/headset if multiple people use a console in your household (Playstation).  Or, make sure there are plenty of AA batteries (Xbox).

Do Not: Drain all of the controller battery so that the next person can’t play.  Or, if you don’t like that, get your own console, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Headset Etiquette

Playstation_Gold

Do: Use your headset for talking ONLY.

Do Not: Use voice-changers, play music over your headset, have screaming children in the background or barking dogs.  No one wants to listen to your music or your little brother or sister (or even your child) in the background.

Do: Speak coherently when you have a headset on.

Do Not: Use language that is either not understandable, uses too much slang, or too much cussing.  It just gets you made fun of and eventually muted.  Then you’ll just be talking to yourself, and that’s a bit creepy.

Do: Use the mute button occasionally.

Do Not: Take a telephone call while you are still gaming with the headset on or hold a conversation with someone in the room who is not playing.  No one wants to hear your mom yelling at you to clean up your room.  No one needs to hear you talk to your best friend on the phone.

 Online Gameplay Etiquette

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Do: Take breaks at appropriate times.  No one wants you to pee yourself or get dehydrated (well, MOST people, anyhow; there are  A LOT of trolls out there).

Don’t:  Walk away from a game that is still going on.  It’s annoying to your team, and it’ll make your score look bad.  Wait for a good time, and if you HAVE to leave in the middle of a game and it’s co-op, tell your team.  Well, unless it’s an emergency, like say your house is on fire.  Then, please, get up and leave.

Do: Take your game seriously.

Do Not: Take your game too seriously.  No one likes a sore loser, but no one also likes a sore winner either.  People who act arrogant when they win or who get too bent out of shape over a game put people off.  This is why I stopped playing all of the Call of Duty games and moved to a more co-op game like Borderlands 2.  Games are supposed to be FUN.  If you aren’t having fun, then you might want to check yourself.
Do: Use your gaming talents to win.
Do Not: Go noob tubing, excessively snipe or “camp” (unless it’s Borderlands 2 and your sniping with a rocket launcher, which is freaking awesome), or cheat.  It’s obnoxious.