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blood-omen A crazy immature gaming freak and freelance writer for Honestgamers....my friends tell me to grow up i tell them :P......life is short, forgive and forget quickly.....

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Warning: this blog does not have all the facts right and im too lazy to check them.....

Title: Xbox 360 Arcade edition
Posted: December 10, 2007 (10:45 AM)
if anyone has bought the new Xbox 360 Arcade edition that has the Falcon chip installed in please reply back and let me know about its performance.
does it still suffer from RROD and other effrors?
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Title: Error E 74
Posted: December 03, 2007 (02:06 AM)
:(
this the latest error that i got while playing and searching through various forums it appears it is 90% of the time related to the AV Cable.
lets hope my problem comes into this 90% and not the remaining 10%. will buy an AV Cable soon
"fingers crossed"
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Title: the XBOX 360 appreciation blog
Posted: November 28, 2007 (12:22 PM)
no matter what anyone says to me XBOX 360 is the best console out there right now.
it has undoubtedly got the best line-up of games right now which is ofcourse what u primarily do on a console.
forget 20,40,60 and 80 GB and motion sensing, XBOX 360 even without the HDD ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!
micrsoft hit the nail right on the head with the XBOX 360 and next-gen gaming.
although my XBOX 360 went through the RROD phase i still love my console and i am playing it almost all the time.
so microsoft thank u for the XBOX 360!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Title: how do videogames influence you?
Posted: November 23, 2007 (10:49 AM)
i am writing an article on how videogames influence gamers.
if you can all contribute that would be awesome.
let me know how long u have been gaming and how gaming influences you before the 25th of november that would be great
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Title: 4got to mention 1 IMP. thing
Posted: November 21, 2007 (11:58 AM)
and by the way Assassin's Creed is an excellent game. ignore the ratings and play the game whenever u get the chance.
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Title: Gamescores. Do games really need them?
Posted: November 21, 2007 (11:57 AM)
Assassin's Creed gets a 7/10 on IGN.com and a 9/10 on Gamespot!!!!!!??????????? whats going on here?clearly something is wrong.who am i to trust?so i think to myself maybe it's time game sites and magazines stopped awarding gamescores. reviews are just opinions so why cant we keep them just that. why do we have to assign numbers to opinions?
Game sites and magazines should ONLY write about what they found good and bad about the game and let the reader decide whether the game is worth buying or not WITHOUT gamescores.and how am i to differentiate between 2 games where one gets an 8.9 and the other gets a 9.0? what did one of the games do to get a score that is only 0.1 higher than the other. will that 0.1 difference affect my buying decision if it affects it at all?
frankly, i have lost faith in gamescores during the pastfew months and i believe its time they were done away with
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Title: Pro-Gaming; What's all the fuss about?
Posted: November 15, 2007 (11:55 AM)
So you think that you are the best player of Counter-Strike in your neighborhood? Do you believe that no one can score better goals than you when it comes to the FIFA soccer series? Or when it comes to Real Time Strategy games other gamers hesitate when it comes to competing against you? How would you like to earn money and also travel the world while you beat others at their own game? If you like the sound of that then let me introduce you to a career choice that might be right up your ally. I'm talking about Professional Gaming or E-Sports.

The concept of people playing and competing professionally in computer games is relatively new. But what was once just a few friends competing over a few bucks at a local gaming zone or cyber-cafe has swiftly become an international phenomenon which now involves thousands of gamers from all over the world competing with each other for prize money up for grabs is in thousands of dollars.

The World Cyber Games (WCG) inaugurated in the year 2000 is the world's first 'Cyber Game Festival.' Also known as the Olympics e-sports, more than a million players compete in this annual event and the number of participating countries has seen a steady rise since its inception. From just 17 countries in 2000 the number of countries has increased to 78 this year. The competition features various games from different genres such as Counter-Strike, Warcraft, the FIFA soccer series and the Need for Speed series among others. Not only is the number of participating countries rising over the years, the prize money has also seen a rise this year. The prize money for the Counter-Strike tournament alone is $200,000 this year up from $150,000 over the past years. Divide that amount among 5 players and the amount comes to $40,000 per team member which, in my view isn't such a bad amount for one night's play. National qualifiers are held in each participating country and winners from the national qualifiers meet in the Grand Final in the host country which is different each year. Just like the real Olympics, participating countries compete with each other for the opportunity to host the Grand Final.

Similarly, there is Quakecon. Termed the "Woodstock" of gaming, this annual event is held in Texas USA and is an event where gamers can come and enter for free. Thousands of gamers from around the world register and gather in Dallas to participate in perhaps one of the longest running and most prominent LAN competitions in North America. What began as a humble affair in 1996 has become a major event attracting gamers from around world and offering thousands of dollars in prize money. In this event gamers can play games just for fun or take part in tournaments where the prize money is up to $100,000.

Then there is the Cyber Professional League (CPL). Launched in 1997, the CPL describes itself as the world's first computer gaming sports league. Over the years they have hosted 60 international main events with a total attendance of over 300,000 gamers, sanctioned over 500 international qualifiers and awarded more than $3 million in prizes.

The CPL also does a world tour and this year the league will be visiting Italy, Sweden, USA, Brazil and Australia. Prize money that will be awarded to the winners in this world tour is $40000.

The above mentioned competitions are just a few competitions that take place in the world of E-Sports. The reason that I have mentioned them is because I wanted to show you the kind of money that is involved in these competitions and as you might have guessed by now the money involved is huge. Not only is there money to be had but fame too. Top gamers like players of other professional sports are well known among the pr-gaming community. In videogames obsessed Korea pro gamers are like celebrities and enjoy the same kind of attention that Cricket players enjoy in Pakistan or Soccer players in Europe. Pro gamers in Korea even have bodyguards to protect them from their fans and their matches are shown on television too. Although this kind of media and public attention is rare for pro gamers in other countries they do however get noticed. One such professional gamer is Johnathan Wendel who goes by the name Fatal1ty in games. He has been featured on MTV and also on other videogame programs over the years.

With bundles of cash to be made and fans who adore you, all for just playing games; it seems all too good to be true, doesn't it? So before you quit your current job and start installing games on your PC, you have to realize that it takes more than just having games on your PC to become a pro gamer. Just like other professional sports, e-sports require passion, dedication and sacrifice. Fatal1ty claims to practicing 8-10 hours a day, Fatal1ty himself claims to have practiced 8-10 hours a day, an act which has won him many top places in gaming tournaments for the past few years. To practice 8-10 hours a day means a shorter social life and gaming taking precedence to many other issues of normal life.

Also critics of e-sports give the following reasons as to why e-sports has no future or go even as far as to say that there is no such thing as e-sports or pro gaming.

1. Lack of a proper competitive platform

Every year new games keep appearing and the older ones are left behind. In the world of competitive gaming, the same thing occurs, except the impact of a game being pushed aside can be devastating for some.

For example, the CPL's decision to switch from the Quake series, which they had been using since the beginning, to a newer (and more popular) game at the time, the legendary Counter-Strike.

For most of the professional gamers who had made their income from past CPL tournaments by playing Quake, this meant the end of their career unless they made the switch from Quake to Counter-Strike. Unfortunately, switching games is not as easy or simple because both games have different sets of physics and gameplay; in Quake you fight one on one while Counter-Strike is a team-based game, the players usually in numbers of five.

Thanks to patches, updates, and advancing technology, the games used in competition change constantly. Also, you can't even evaluate the Counter-Strike matches of today to the ones from two years ago, because so much has changed thanks to the release of new versions and rule changes.

2. Games aren't made for competition play

Most game developers in general make their games for the casual gamers and not the competitive ones who are but a niche segment. Most of the time it is the mod community that modifies the game to be played competitively. This alone brings trouble, as the more modifications to the game; the more the community is divided, some preferring the one version of the game while others preferring something else.

As mentioned above, the fact that the majority of gamers are casual gamers while the competitive ones make up only a small niche in the market, game developers don't see catering to the competitive community as lucrative as the majority.
3. It's impossible to have a fair game

You can use all the anti-cheat software you want, you can make all the rules you want, you can do all the supervision, umpiring, and server logging you want. But the fact of the matter is, at this point, it is absolutely impossible to run a completely fair online tournament.

The reasons include Exploits, ping-rate differences, inconsistent server configurations, lag ... these are just a few of the many technical problems. And even if you were somehow able to solve all those, it's nearly impossible to confirm a player's identity. In past competitions, players have confessed that they had played under the names of some of their friends in order to help them earn a place in the tournament.

4. Rules are Inconsistent

One thing all sports have in common is steady rules. There are of course lots of small variations but the basics are always the same.

Not so with modern professional gaming. Maps, time limits, team size, kill total, how many rounds you play ... is always changing. There's no such thing as uniformed scoring, no official rulebook, and there's very little consistency.

This is partly because as mentioned above the games are continuously changing, and partly due to the fact that most games aren't really designed to be played under competitive tournament conditions. Even when modifications are made to facilitate professional play, there's no governing body or a universally accepted set of guidelines for each game which can be adhered to.

These are only a few of the objections that have been raised against e-sports. The list of objections, frankly speaking is quite long. Even so one has to realize that pro-gaming is still very much in its infancy. Pro-gaming came into the limelight only in the 90's. Even if you take 1990 as the starting point of e-sports then its only been 17 years since its been around and 17 years in the life of a professional sport is nothing. Games like Soccer and Cricket have been around for centuries and still they are not perfect, therefore right now, who is to say that electronic gaming will not achieve mainstream sports status?

So, if you think you have what it takes to be the next big thing in e-ports/pro gaming, what are you waiting for? Start playing and start practicing.



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Title: Positive effects of playing videogames on your brain.
Posted: November 15, 2007 (11:53 AM)
As we move further into the 21st century, the gaming industry yearly expands in size and complexity. From hardcore gamers the reach of this medium is growing to more casual and generally non-game-playing people. Increasing in popularity with each passing day videogames, one could conclude, are becoming the entertainment choice of this, and upcoming, generations.


This is exactly the reason more and more researchers are studying how games affect our brains, behavior, and social relations. There seem to only have been two kinds of researches. On the one hand there are those that tell us games are bad for us (which most of you, I am sure, are familiar with).

On the other side there are the researchers, professors, and psychologists (perhaps more positive) who are interested in how games affect human nature. They're examining games from a more objective standpoint. They often say that videogames are good for us. Videogames, they say, don't promote violence; instead they engage our imaginations and test our hand-eye coordination. They are no worse than playing war games in the street with other kids or playing with Army Men and that videogames might even provide logic puzzles and challenge our intelligence from time to time. These individuals generally say it's fine to play games, and just like with anything, to play them in moderation.

In a recent Discover Magazine article, James Gee, a professor of learning sciences at University of Wisconsin, suggests that gameplaying might be mentally enriching. Gee's research looks at how games bond with the reward circuits of the human brain, and suggests that while gaming is indeed addictive, it builds instead of reducing cognitive skills.
In his studies, Gee found that gamers learn pattern recognition from puzzles and enemies or bosses; not only that, they also learn system thinking, which means that they learn how a game is ordered, or how an enemy is attacking, or how to solve logic or physical puzzles. They even learn tolerance.

Gee's research also suggests that gaming is equivalent to exercise for the mind. It "exercises" the mind like physical workouts exercise the body. Gee's studies also show that successful gamers must have endurance, develop a willingness to delay satisfaction, and prioritize limited resources.

Gee also explains that every videogame is rooted in one of the core principles of learning - similar to the fact that students prosper when the subject matter challenges them right at the edge of their abilities. Make the lessons too tough and the students get frustrated. Make them too simple and they get bored. Cognitive psychologists call this 'the regime of competence principle'. Gee recognizes that this principle is central to videogames also: as players progress, puzzles become more complicated, enemies faster, tougher and more numerous, underlying patterns more clever.

James Gee isn't the only one to publish positive results from his studies on videogames and its effects on people. James Rosser of the Advanced Medical technology Institute of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, learned that laparoscopic surgeons playing videogames more than three hours a week made 37% fewer mistakes then their non-gaming peers, thanks to improved hand-eye coordination and depth perception.

Harvard Business School press also published a book with research among white-collar professionals, hardcore gamers, occasional gamers, and non-gamers. The data disagrees with nearly all of the previous findings on the impact of games. The gaming population, it turns out, is constantly more social, more confident, and more comfortable solving problems creatively. The report showed no evidence of reduced attention spans compared with non-gamers.

Numerous studies show that when playing games, the neurotransmitter dopamine is produced in the human brain. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at the Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics at Northwestern University, calls the dopamine system the brain's 'seeking' circuitry, which propels people to search for new opportunities for reward in their surroundings. Naturally, games encourage "risk and reward" behavior with mission objectives, explorable settings, optimization, customization, new weapons and more. While dopamine is also involved in the addictiveness of drugs, "The thing to remember about dopamine is that it's not at all the same thing as pleasure," says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "Without dopamine, you wouldn't be able to learn properly." As a result of generation of dopamine, games become highly addictive and engrossing.

Researchers also say that games help people learn because of the following attributes that are associated with games. Researchers say video games have many attributes that help people learn: * They trigger prior learning, because players must use formerly learned information to move to higher levels of play. * Games provide instant feedback in scoring and in visual and auditory stimulus, which allows learners to more rapidly adjust their learning strategy before the unsuccessful ones become ingrained. * Skills transferring from games to real life is much more likely to occur. * Motivation to learn new ideas or errands is higher when games are used for most people (although some prefer to learn in traditional ways). There's more, scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada evaluated two groups' capability to look for and find an object. Their results showed that study members who frequently played video games were far quicker at finding the target than those who didn't play.

And if you are afraid that games don't give you exercise which you so dearly need, then I suggest you get yourself a Nintendo Wii and you'll give yourself even more of a brain boost. The motion sensitive controller makes you move around your arms in all directions and at various speeds in order to control your character. Scientists have revealed that lively rats have healthier DNA and hardier brain cells than their couch-potato cousins and there's every reason to believe the same is true for humans. "Muscle activity is a cue to keep a synapse in the brain steady," says Professor Jeff W Lichtman, of Washington University School of Medicine in the US. "If you lose activity, you lose receptors. Regain activity, and you'll get those receptors back."

Playing video games can divert one's attention from pain and distress during medical treatments, says Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University. Griffiths has spent 15 years studying the psychological effects of video games and he upholds that the level of attention needed to play distracts the player from pain. Studies show that children undergoing chemotherapy have benefited from being given video games to play with during painful treatment.

While much of the research on video games has focused on behavioral studies, researchers at Indiana University aimed to find the short-term physiological effects of such games on the brain. In the research, half the test subjects played the first person shooter Medal of Honor: Frontline while the other half of the group played a non-violent, but exciting racing game. After the games finished, the participants' brains were examined. Compared to those playing the racing game, those playing the violent game had larger activity in the areas of the brain linked with emotions. In the case of the prefrontal areas of the brain (which are connected with self control, self-consciousness and focus) those playing the violent game had a lesser amount of activity than those playing the racing game.

The experiment's results are not surprising at all. Given the situation that a first person shooter presents, focus and self-consciousness are damaging. Too much focus can hinder alertness of the general situation and self-consciousness can cause a person to falter when action is essential. From an evolutionary point of view it makes sense that humans have this reaction to violent contexts. If they did not, humans would have had a greatly reduced chance of survival in conflict circumstances such as in hunting and in war.

While it might appear strange, the results can in fact be used to argue in support of violent video games. The argument for this is as follows.

As many people endlessly warn us and as the news frequently shows, the world is a cruel and treacherous place. If violent video games condition and train people for violence, then those who play such games will be better prepared to handle this cruel and treacherous world. Thus, children should not be discouraged from playing these games; they should in fact be encouraged to play them so as to be prepared to face the world. While it could be disagreed that it would make more sense to create a healthier and more peaceful real world, there somehow seems to be a modest will or tendency to do that.

Wars going on around the world right now further strengthen this argument. As the conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to get worse and the war on terror soars, it is evident that armies around the world will need an increasing number of soldiers. Getting them mentally prepared through video games can have a very positive effect-they will be better prepared to face the violence and will already have experienced virtual combat. If today's children will be tomorrow's armies, then it would be best for them to be as ready as possible for the wars they will be fighting. Thus, violent video games should be encouraged.

The US military also supports the argument that learning through games can train soldiers for the multifaceted, rapid-fire decision making of battle. For this purpose the U.S. Army developed its' own game, titled America's Army, which aims to train soldiers in real world war situations.

It could again be argued that it would be better if the same resources and vigor that were used to produce wars and violence were engaged to bring about a better world in which conflict was resolved in a sane and nonviolent manner. However, the leaders of the world seem quite dedicated to war and in love with violence. Hence, it would seem to be a mistake to try to bring about a virtual peace in the land of video games.

Keeping the violent nature of the world in mind, violent video games seem more acceptable and desirable now than ever before. Finally, it seems illogical to focus on virtual peace when the real world is drenched in war and violence.

All of the researches and arguments quoted above should make believers out of most of you. But still if there are skeptics among you then I think I should stop quoting studies and tell you about what ordinary people like you and me think about games. Searching the Internet for what people have to say about videogames and their effects on them or their family members yielded a very interesting blog among others.

One mother acknowledges that her son is crazy about videogames and there was a time that she thought games were "mindless, non-physical and zombifying." But she now admits that games are more than that. Games that tell the story of World War II, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor "have pushed my son to learn more, on his own, about military history. The games serve as an entry level, graphically exciting introduction to World War II--much more so than those black-and-white newsreels that seem to run on a loop on the History channel. When my son wants to know more, he has to seek it out in books and other materials. That's what he's done." Moving on, she also writes that her son is also into sports games such as NCAA 07 and MLB Baseball because of the fact that they allow you to do more than just play the sport. In MLB Baseball "you have to acquire a team and a stadium, set parking lot prices, ticket prices, concession stands and how much it costs for a stuffed animal or jersey. You have give-aways, which cost you money but brings up attendance and you can lose your franchise if you do badly." In NCAA 07 you have to assume the character of a college player on a scholarship. "You pick your degree and subject but if you don't have a grade point average higher than 2.0 you don't play…. Once you choose your topic facts in your topic pop up on the screen and you have to memorize them. If you flunk, you can't play, and if you can't play your popularity on campus goes down. Your goal is to be the greatest in school history."

And now I present to you my final argument. The largest selling and most successful game in the world is The Sims by EA. This is a game, which has no violence in it whatsoever. The reason it is so popular is that teaches the gamer many things among which are; how to interact with people, how to balance your resources, how to take care of kids and pets and even how to socialize, to name a few. Besides The Sims there are numerous other games that teach gamers more than how to shoot and kill people. For example, the Civilization series, the Age of Empires series and the Age of Mythology series teach gamers how civilizations function and also give gamers a lesson in history and mythology. Games such as Gran Turismo featuring 700 cars and the Need For Speed series give gamers information on various cars and the latest culture that is in. Then there are games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon and SimCity that teach gamers how to run business or city with limited resources at your disposal. It provides you an open-ended environment and encourages the gamer to make decisions according to ones own intuition and experience. These are but just a few examples of games that do more than make gamers into mindless killing machines.

Finally, reading all this, gamers around the world can rejoice. Of course this does not mean that you stop living your normal lives and start playing games all the time. This all means that, games if played for moderate amounts of time actually don't harm the person or his/her brain but in fact teach the gamer a thing or two. So what are you waiting for? Game on!
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