Alienware 18 Review

If there’s one laptop that deserves to be called the most powerful, it’s the Alienware 18. Dell has done a great job with the construction and customization of this laptop. It’s made out of metal materials for durability. Everything from the chassis to the hinges is strong. You can open and close the lid up to 20,000 times before the hinge starts to wear out. The components and technology are powerful and advanced enough to keep you gaming for years.

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With an 18-inch display, you’ll be able to see plenty of background when playing games and watching videos. There is also the option to connect the Alienware 18 to a larger display that has 3D capabilities.

All of your multimedia will run smoothly thanks to 4th Generation Intel processors (quad-core). They are made even faster with overclocked technology and turbo boost, which can get up to 4.3 GHz. The hyper-threading technology can handle up to 8-way multitasking so you can run more applications in the background without using too many system resources.

The AlienTouch provides you with plenty of touchpad customization. It is designed for virtual scrolling. Horizontal and vertical scrolling gestures can be customized by you. It’s up to you to decide how much sensitivity you want the touchpad to have.

How much memory would you like your dream laptop to have? This one can handle up to 32 GB (dual channel) at 1600 MHz. The base option is 8 GB, but you can go up to 16 or 32 if you need more.

As far as the graphics go on this laptop, you couldn’t ask for more. It comes with dual NVIDIA GeForce graphics.for gaming and 3D software. The dual graphics will be able to handle any game you throw at it, no matter how advanced and detailed the animation is.

The audio is just as advanced as the video technology. The laptop comes with standard HD 5.1 performance audio, and it can be upgraded to an even more advanced system.

If you plan on using this machine for a long time, you’ll need plenty of storage space. Think of all the games and other files you’ll be downloading and saving over the years. You can choose 1000 GB or 1500 GB SATA (7200 RPM). For the optical drive, you can go with a standard DVD writer or a Blu-Ray reader.

To put it simply, the Alienware 18 is the best laptop money can buy. Not only do you have some customization options, you can also personalize it thanks to the AlienFX system lighting technology. Apply dozens of different colors to different zones. There are so many color combinations available that your laptop is guaranteed to have a unique look. It comes with everything you need, and it’s engineered to last.

You’ll never find a better gaming laptop than this. You can find it at a low price online thanks to exclusive Alienware 18 discounts. Dell usually gives out promo codes to help online shoppers save on computer and accessories.

Nadav Snir operates a website which includes coupons and discounts for Dell laptops and desktops. To get those discounts, visit GripBuy.com. You can find more information about GripBuy.com on Google+.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria – Is it a Good Expansion? What About the Changes and New Content?

Blizzard has seen a small decline in subscribers in recent years, mainly due to the fact that many WoW players were disappointed in expansions – especially Cataclysm. Those who have been playing since the very beginning didn’t like some of the changes to their favorite zones and dungeons. However, that sentiment changed after the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. It’s been dubbed by some as the best expansion yet.

There were those who were skeptical about it. They groaned over the thought of the Pandaren race and didn’t understand what the Padarens had to do with Warcraft lore. What the naysayers didn’t realize was that Pandarens HAVE been mentioned in the lore before. Their continent, Pandaria, is even home to an evil race of trolls, the Zandalari.

The graphics and character animation is the best that Blizzard is offered yet. The new zones in Pandaria are stunning – particularly The Jade Forest. Some of the classic dungeons like Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery are now available in heroic mode for level 90s.

Those who don’t like the idea of the level cap being raised to 90 will be happy to know that the questing on the new continent is an enjoyable experience. The new dungeons and raids also offer a lot of fun. The Looking for Raid (LFR) and cross realms systems give people on low populated servers the chance to join in raid groups – something that they might not otherwise get the chance to do.

While there are critics of the new LFR and cross realms systems, most players seem to be happy with it. In fact, many former players who canceled their subscriptions after Cataclysm are coming back to give MoP another shot since raid groups are easier to get into now. Serious players who still prefer the old way of raiding can still do so.

The Pandaren is a playable race now. Monk is the newest class. It’s a hybrid class that offers a tanking spec, DPS spec, AND healing spec. Players who want to make a Panda character get to choose whether they want to be Horde or Alliance. Blizzard did a good job at designing the appearances and combat animations of male and female pandas. Monk is a playable class for any race – not just Pandaren.

Speaking of Horde and Alliance, the PVP system has gone through a few changes. It’s now easier for casual players to get decent PVP gear and weapons. While serious PVP players don’t like this, the fact is that most Blizzard subscribers are casual.

The patches are mostly Horde-centric, as the Warchief himself, Garrosh Hellscream, is set to be the final boss in this expansion. Even other Horde leaders are turning against him due to his tyranny.

Is World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria really the best expansion yet? A lot of people seem to think so. It is just as good as Burning Crusade, if nothing else. Unlike Cataclysm, there really aren’t many changes to the zones that players have come to love. The layout of the two main continents hasn’t been altered. Where the new expansion really shines is its end game content. It’s a lot more fun to be a level 90 now than it was to be a level 85 before MoP came out.

If you’re a returning player, get your new copy of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria at GameStop. Go ahead and give it a shot – you’ll be surprised at how good it actually is. If you’re a new player, you’ll need the original World of Warcraft game as well as this expansion. Keep in mind that you’ll need new copies since the pass code that each copy comes with can only be used once. GameStop offers the best deals by far.

 

About the author:

 

Nadav Snir operates a website which includes coupons and discounts for games for PC and other consoles. To get those discounts, visitGripBuy.com. You can find more information about GripBuy.com on Google+.

Coolest Computer Game Inspired Cross Stitch Patterns

Space Invader Cross Stitch

Cross stitching and computer games are not two things that many people would immediately th

ink go hand in hand, however the sprites from older computer games make particularly good cross stitch patterns.

Using pre-existing stitch patterns

There are already plenty of websites offering cross stitch patterns, including several for computer games. Spritestitch.com has a wealth of tried and tested patterns to choose from, and an active forum full of people both posting patterns and requesting patterns that others may already have. The great thing about using a pattern that somebody else has already tried and tested is that it is likely that the thread colours can be relied upon to look good.

There are some pretty cool computer game inspired cross stitch patterns freely available on the internet. Websites with forums, along with social networking sites such as Facebook and Pinterest are full of people who are more than willing to share the creations that they are so proud of. Whilst simple patterns of just one character are fairly easy to come by, and not too difficult to generate from scratch, these sites are full of more complex ideas, such as an underwater Mario scene.

Mario map cross stitch pattern

Creating a pattern from scratch

Whilst it may sound difficult, creating a pattern from scratch is not as hard as it sounds. There are many images around on the internet that can be turned into a cross stitch pattern with the help of freely available tools and software. Spriters-resource.com is a great resource as it has many sprites to download. Whilst these haven’t usually been created with cross stitching in mind, it is easy enough to turn one into a pattern.

Sprites will usually come as part of an image, showing the character doing a number of poses, whilst other images obtained online may come with additional characters or background features that you do not want as part of your cross stitch pattern. It is easy enough to use a free piece of software such as Paint, which comes preinstalled on most computers to crop an image, and then upload it to a website such as myphotostitch.com which has an easy to use tool for converting an image into a cross stitch pattern.

Mario icon cross stitch pattern

Creating a cross stitch without a pattern

Sometimes simple ideas work really well, and it is not always necessary to have a pattern if the design is easy enough to transfer. An example that works really well is anything relating to the game Tetris, as everything is rectangular. Tetris inspired cross stitch magnets are great fun, as creating several of them could allow for a mini-game of Tetris to be played on any magnetic surface, for example a fridge.

Sometimes several patterns can be used side by side to come up with something unusual, such as the Space Invaders belt, which is made up of lots of sprites next to each other. Whilst it would be necessary to find or create the individual sprites, the overall design on an unusual shape such as a belt can be customised.

Score cross stitch pattern

Paying for a cross stitch pattern

Whilst many people who come up with cool, video game inspired cross stitch patterns are willing to share them for free, others come up with designs as a way of making money. Esty.com has a number of cross stitch patterns for sale at a low price, including a comic book inspired Sonic the Hedgehog pattern and an alphabet of computer game characters.

Why turn video games into cross stitch patterns?

Scenes and characters from computer games are made up of pixels. These are particularly noticeable in retro games. Each of these pixels is very similar to one cross stitch, so characters and scenes from games make ideal templates for cross stitch patterns. These cross stitches are not only fun to make, but are a great gift for any computer game fan. The internet is full of inspiring ideas and people willing to help make ideas become a reality.

This article was written by blogger James, he loves knitting.

Watch the first gameplay footage of GTA V

Rockstar Games have released the first gameplay football of the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 5 set for release on 17 September 2013.

GTA V will be the 15th game in this very successfully franchise and Rockstar have promised us this will be the biggest one yet.  The game world expected to be better than GTA IV and GTA: San Andreas combined!

New to GTA V is the ability to explore the world in a range of planes and even a submarine.

The story will be focussed around three individuals – Michael, Trevor and Franklin.

Michael is a successful former bank robber who turned himself into the FBI and is now missing the criminal life.  Trevor is an ex-military pilot and now drug addict and Franklin is a repo man of an Armenian luxury car dealer.

The trailer for the game promises everything from the “sublime” to the “ridiculous”!

Each of the three main characters have their own special skills – Michael has bullet time, Trevor has a ‘frenzy’ mode for extra damage and Franklin can drive in slow motion.

What’s even more special about GTA V is that each of the characters will live their own lives and continue in the game even when you’re not playing as them.

One thing you will notice in the trailer below is the advanced customisation options – clothes, cars and even sports to play (including golf, hunting and tennis).

A series of heists where your decision on which tactics to employ will affect the game’s outcome.

See the first gameplay footage released today:

[youtube id=”N-xHcvug3WI” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Borderlands 2 Review for Xbox 360

The premise of most first person shooter games is simple – shoot the bad guys, complete the missions and you are done. They are games that can get very boring, very quickly. Although Borderlands 2 does have elements of first person shooters, it is a game that stands out from the crowd.

Set five years after the first Borderlands, the second game in the series kicks off with a cut scene that involves the games protagonists traveling on a train to an unknown location to start their search for the Vault. However, it turns out that they have been set up by Handsome Jack; the same character as the previous game’s antagonist.  And he still wants anyone who is trying to find the Vault, dead.

Known as the Vault Hunters, the four main characters in Borderlands 2 are instructed to head to the city of Sanctuary to meet and team up with a gang of ex-soldiers known as The Crimson Raiders, and defeat Handsome Jack.

I find that sequels are very rarely better than the original due to a non-existent story or the premise has become stale and dull. However, I for one feel that Borderlands 2 is a vastly superior game than the first Borderlands. The reason for this is that first person shooters are not my normal choice of game but the storyline of Borderlands 2 kept me hooked from the moment I started to the very end, with some very funny moments along the way.

In most video games, once you have beaten the main story line there are usually a few little bits to do afterwards, these normally include trying out the new weapons you have unlocked and an extra mission or two, and that is usually about it. Borderlands 2 lets you complete the side missions that you may have missed during your first play through, as well as an extra game mode called ‘True Vault Hunter Mode’ which lets you replay the game at a much harder level but with the same skills, levels and weapons that you had at the end of your first play through.  Much more challenging.

Character customisation is an important part in the Borderlands 2 experience. Not only was I able to change the skins and heads of my characters, there was also an option that allowed me choose the skill of my character so that it suited my play style. Furthermore, the game ensures that the enemies’ levels are scaled to be close to yours, which makes the game more of a challenge. So if your character is at level 5, the level of the enemies’ will be at level 6.

Borderlands 2 is a unique game in terms of game play and the aesthetics of the game. The layout and design of most first person shooters is quite dark and mysterious, whereas Borderlands 2 is a very bright and colourful game which for me, made the game much more enjoyable.

Verdict
I feel that the developers have created a very entertaining game and one that I would highly recommend to any gamer.

About the Author:

My name is Callum Smith – I currently work behind the counter at a Cash Generator store in Luton.  This allowed me first to purchase a pre owned Xbox 360 and then I am able to buy cheap 360 games before I go home after finishing my shirts.  One day I hope to become a full-time game reviewer.

Bioshock Infinite for Xbox 360

Bioshock Infinite – the third instalment in the series takes place in a sky city going by the name of Columbia. You play the role of Booker Dewitt – a former Pinkerton agent sent on mission to find a girl to wipe away his debt. Columbia is as I mentioned a sky city – and unlike the previous two Bioshock games where they have been set underwater, the sky city is beautiful in its own right, from its inflatable buildings and barbershop quartets. But everything isn’t exactly what it seems…

Bioshock’s graphics are for what some people have said to be considered a piece of art; not quite realistic enough and not Disney-ish enough – but a good balance in-between. The gameplay of Bioshock is simple and easy, and looks so good when you pull off the right attack. You can play the game in many ways – some people prefer the run and gun technique, whilst others like to mix it up with combos using “vigors”. Vigors are abilities that you can use in the game as you go through finding new ones along the way. Some of these included are a murderous flock of crows pecking your enemies (giving you time to shoot them in the back while they are distracted), to a giant tentacle that can whip and grab enemies as if you was a Kraken of the sea.

Storyline-wise is where the game really comes into its own. Just like its predecessors, Bioshock Infinite does things with a story that will make you think and want to continue playing. The charters that you meet along the way are all fleshed out and given unique and wonderful personalities. One of the most standout charters is Elizabeth – not only does she help you out in battles by chucking you ammo when you need it (and a bit of coinage to spend on upgrading), she also has a few other talents up her sleeve.

Along the way you are able to upgrade your weapons and find gears to upgrade your clothes with. Some of these clothes include different buffs, one of them making you to be invincible when jumping off a skyline. “A skyline” I hear you all cry?  “What is that?” Well it’s a new fighting aspect of the game. At the beginning, your character Booker is given a device called a sky hook it. Basically it lets you cling and ride along skylines in the sky city.  With me so far? This makes for some interesting combat situations and epic set pieces.

The only thing I will say about the Bioshock Infinite is that its original “shock” value has been taken away from it a bit that’s only because ammo is everywhere and it’s not all dark and gloomy. In fact, it’s all bright and colourful which sets a completely different tone to the previous versions.

Verdict
Bioshock Infinite is up at the top in its amazing storytelling that sometimes you forget it’s a game at all. Getting sucked into the game you won’t want to put it down until the fantastic ending. I won’t spoil it for you.  Everyone is talking about this game and its story and it’s about time you did too – this is a definite purchase!

About the Author:

My name is Callum Smith – I currently work behind the counter at a Cash Generator store in Luton.  This allowed me first to purchase a pre owned Xbox 360 and then I am able to buy cheap 360 games before I go home after finishing my shirts.  One day I hope to become a full-time game reviewer.

 

Top Five Strategy Games

Strategy games have held a special place in the heart of gamers for decades, celebrated as some of the most creative and thought-provoking games of any genre. But while many other game types see constant releases, fans of strategy games are sometimes left waiting years for another solid entry in their favorite genre, creating a small pool of strategy games truly worth playing.

All the same, below are five of the absolute best strategy games around – both new and old.

  • StarCraft. Blizzard’s epic strategy masterpiece, along with its sequel “Wings of Liberty” released in 2010, has spawned competitive clubs on college campuses, tournaments held all around the world, and a massive fan-base for the esteemed game developer that is arguably unmatched. Pitting three species against one another, StarCraft is a real-time strategy game that has gamers building bases, armies, and economic resources with the intention of dominating foreign game maps of varying terrains and climates… in addition to completely obliterating their opponents.
         
  • Age of Empires. Microsoft Game Studios made something completely medieval refreshingly new with its real-time strategy cult classic, which took a seventh-grade history lessons on world cultures and transformed it into a massive, action-packed battlefield of warring countries like Great Britain, France, and Spain, perhaps providing a strategy experience even more expansive than Blizzard’s StarCraft series.
         
  • Shogun: Total War. A turn-based strategy game set in Japan, Shogun can be considered akin to Risk in its presentation, with in-game action being more comparable to that of Age of Empires. Largely considered to be unmatched in its great presentation and unique take on strategy, Shogun is a cherished franchise that remains one of the best games in the genre’s history.
         
  • Final Fantasy Tactics. Originally released on the PlayStation, “Tactics” is Square-Enix’s landmark moment in Final Fantasy spin-offs, cultivating an engrossing storyline and turn-based strategy gameplay that mimics – if not exceeds – the level of depth its main Final Fantasy titles proudly boast. The series has since seen well-received sequels on the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, and iPhone.
         
  • Advance Wars. Though based on Nintendo’s other strategy series “Fire Emblem,” Advance Wars takes the grid-based elements of Fire Emblem that made the series so fantastic and puts them on steroids. With loads of upgrades, “CO powers,” and a base-building concept not unlike that of Age of Empires and StarCraft, Advance Wars stands tall as one of the leading portable strategy games.

 

About the Author

Big Fish allows people to download and play games online. Games ranging from strategy to time management games to puzzle games, Big Fish provides an easy way to find entertainment anytime online  for just about people of all ages.

The Best Ski And Snowboarding Console & PC Games

Whether you’re an avid fan of taking a board or some skis up a mountain and hurling yourself down the slopes, or you’re really more of a bedroom boarder and skier, there are some great ski and snowboarding games out there that can help you hone your skills – or just pretend that you have some. The advanced technology of today’s games means that you can play on real courses, using realistic equipment and step into the shoes of some of the most famous players in the ski and snowboarding scene. There’s a whole range of different ski and snowboarding games out there, but here are a few of the best.

SSX (Snowboard Supercross) is a snowboarding game that uses real locations, such as the breathtaking Himalayas or the Antarctic. The content for the game was created from satellite data, which SSX manufacturer EA Canada borrowed from NASA to make sure that the mountain ranges and slopes that are featured in the game are as real and accurate as possible. The game has both male and female fictional characters, including Zoe Payne, Eddie Wachowski and Ty Thorse, alongside the option of boarding as real life snowboarding champ Travis Rice. Players can choose to race down the course of their choice – complete with challenges such as ramps, rails and jumps – or take part in a competitions to perform various snowboarding tricks. The game has consistently received high ratings and was described as the best launch title for the PlayStation 2.

Ski Challenge was one of the first ever virtual ski world championships and since it was launched in 2004 has gone from strength to strength. Ski Challenge is available as a free download for Mac or PC and providers gamers with the chance to test their skills against others from all over the world. There are a number of different courses available, including Whistler Mountain, Kitzbühel and Beaver Creek, and manufacturer Greentube has created a game that integrates TV content and user generated content, making it quite a unique experience. During the week participants can train in offline mode, with online races taking place at the weekends to compete for the championship titles.

Shaun White Snowboarding is a game that has been designed for the Nintendo Wii and bears the name of real life boarder and legend, Shaun White, who holds several Olympic gold medals and in 2011 at the Winter X Games was the first person to score a perfect 100 in the men’s Snowboard Superpipe. The use of the Wii balance board means that the gamer gets to physically play the snowboarding game, making it one of the most realistic experiences on the market (except without the snow…). The game includes 75 different challenges, such as a half pipe in Times Square in New York, and participation in major tournaments in locations such as Japan, Canada and France.

Whether you want to participate in an online championship, practice some neat competition tricks and tips, or simply get to know a simulation of some of the world’s best ski and snowboarding courses, these PC and console games are great entertainment. Who knows, with enough gaming practice, you might even find that a Double McTwist 1260 comes quite naturally to you when you’re actually out on the slopes…

Amy is a skier and gamer working for Alpine Action in Meribel, France

Top 5 Military Video Games of All Time


cc licensed flickr photo shared by wilvbcfc

Video gaming has revolutionized the world since its inception. Within this revolution the genre of military gaming has gained a unique foothold that will not be easily relinquished. Within various publications the rankings of the top 5 military video games of all time may differ with the exception of one or two. Fan popularity in combination with the overall gameplay has been compiled to formulate the rankings. Below is a listing of the five best military video games of all time based on this criteria.

5. Call Of Duty: World At War

This Treyarch production set on the Eastern Front as well as in the Pacific was released to coincide with the 64th anniversary of D-Day. Two campaigns merge to form one plot. In this version of Call of Duty players for the first time engage the Japanese Imperial Army. Beach heads, jungles and ridges mark this video game which is rife with ambushes. This game earmarks the term “casualties of war” as countless losses are inflicted.

4. Medal Of Honor

1999 proved to be the year that war-based video gaming would never be the same. This foray into war games was directed by Steven Spielberg and was first introduced on Sony’s Playstation became a long standing series for game maker EA. This first person shooter game is set towards the conclusion of World War II with the imaginary Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson at the helm of the OSS squad with the intent purpose of annihilating the opposition’s position while destroying as many opposing forces in the process.

3. Modern Warfare 2

Infinity Ward’s first person shooter game is the 6th installation of the Call of Duty series as a continuation of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The thoroughness of this multi-player game received extremely high praise not only from critics but from the public as well whose contributions helped to make this the 2nd highest selling game of all time. With almost 5 million copies sold within the first twenty four hours of release, a variety of characters are used during this campaign. Goals are accomplished in a wide range of fashions which vary from arriving at checkpoints to the defense of strategic positions. Co-op missions some of which require two player support while others can be accomplished alone enhance the gameplay.

2. Men Of Valor

This first-person shooter is a simulation of Vietnam War infantry combat. The storyline is set in 1965 at Da Nang and rich in historical content for which it received high praises. From the onset this video game is filled with intrigue as the military base comes under heavy military fire. Plots which include the extraction of hostages as well as secret missions which require the capture of top VC commanders give this game the feeling of witnessing history as it unfolds.

1. Modern Warfare 1

This franchise has entered the niche of war video gaming and never looked back. Fourth in the Call Of Duty franchise, this marks the beginning of Call of Duty’s foray into present day military campaigns. Infinity Ward hit a home run with this Call of Duty, releasing versions for all major gaming systems in addition to the PC. Intermingling plots which play like a film place this version of Call of Duty at forefront of war video gaming. Set in the Middle-East and Russia, complete with modern weapons and technology, Modern Warfare has been unanimously named the best war-based video game of all time by critics and fans alike.

Don Ramsey is a retired U.S. Army officer and co-author of the guide to the most service friendly colleges at MilitaryEducation.org.

State of Console Gaming

Gaming is, undoubtedly, the most popular form of entertainment with younger generations and the older members of society are keen to take it up too. For some people it’s even becoming a way of life, with gaming competitions offering thousands of dollars prize money.

New developments in technology mean that gaming is becoming even more widespread, entering more aspects of our everyday lives – like our phones and mp3 players. However, this modern interpretation of gaming is killing the traditional console market.
The Games Console

The history of console gaming as we know it today goes back to 1967 when the Brown Box was introduced to the world by German television engineer Ralph Baer. However, the games console didn’t really kick off in the mainstream until the eighties, when the Gameboy was launched. Ironically, this handheld console could also be the reason for the current crisis in traditional console gaming, as it showed that gaming could be portable.

Despite this potential danger to their business, the development of portable consoles was generally controlled by the main games console manufacturers, so any threat was always in their hands. It may have been this that has led to the slow development of the games consoles themselves. It has become quite normal for cycles of games consoles to take in advance of 5 years, which by modern technological standards is crawling pace, especially in comparison to smartphone technology.

Life time sales figures for the current generation of consoles in the market are still impressive though, and it is a very competitive market. Figures for the Xbox and Playstation 3 are 67 million and 64 million respectively, while 96 million units of the comparatively cheap Nintendo Wii have been sold.

However, figures show that there has been an arrest in sales figures since the console gaming high between 2009 and 2010. In 2010, the PS3 hit its highest sales figure since its release in late 2006, reaching over 2 million sales in the 3rd quarter alone. Since then, however, sales have started to decline and have now plateaued. Similarly, the Wii reached almost 4 million sales at the end of the final quarter in 2007, before suffering a steady decline – and sales have now reached an all-time low; this has prompted a reaction from them with the announcement of the Wii U. Smart phone sales on the other hand read differently; they are turning the games console industry on its head.

Changes

The idea of the smartphone has been knocking about for a while but it wasn’t until 1997 that the term was officially coined. It was in this era that Ericsson unveiled their concept smartphone, the GS88. Since then, the technology in smartphones has improved dramatically – as have its sales. In the fourth quarter in 2011, figures show that 157.8 million smartphones were sold worldwide, bringing the number up to 491.4 million units for the year. The best-selling smartphone in that year was the iPhone with over 20 million units sold in 2011 alone – this equated to a year-over-year increase in sales of 142%.

Compare this to games console sales figures and the disparity is stark. Of course, it would be right to say that they are too different platforms but owing to apps, the smartphones’ answer to discs and cartridges, the two platforms cross over more than the games console industry would like.

Although in 2011 video games sales figures were higher than those of apps, apps sales were increasing whereas video games figures had slipped from the year before. This may be because apps are cheaper but it also shows that gaming on the move is becoming more and more popular and it is something the games console industry is going to have to address. So what’s in store for the future of console gaming?

Integration

The console gaming industry is already trying to react by increasing the development of its own handheld consoles. But figures of these don’t compare favourably with top selling smartphones. The top selling handheld console, the Nintendo DS, peaked in the first quarter of 2007 reaching around 9 million sales. Since then nothing has even come close to this, including the 3DS. But even advancements is handheld devices won’t solve the problem for static games consoles, which are the companies’ main source of business. So how will these types of consoles have to adapt?

It could just take the release of a new generation of games consoles to give the market the injection of sales it needs, but it is still likely that these machines will be the last of their kind. Developers are already looking into integrating games consoles into TV sets, which would mean you would be able to stream games with streaming services such as Gaikai and Onlive already available.  It would also mean that companies would be relying more on digital games distribution than the physical hardware. This will obviously help console companies do away with another threat to their business – the second hands games industry.

By musicMagpie where you can sell your games, dvds and cds

Top 5 Video Game Cover Songs of All Time

If there’s one great thing about video games, apart from the games themselves that is, it’s the music. From the very first days of home computers and consoles games have been making us hum along with often simple – yet unforgettable melodies. With the advent of video sharing sites and webcams people all over the globe have been able to perform their very own tributes to their favourite gaming inspired ballads, and here are our top 5!

5. Tetris Drum Cover – 3000 Views

Launching way back in 1989, Tetris came pre-packaged with the Gameboy – so if you had a gameboy you played tetris! But if there was one thing more awesome than having a console that you could carry around with you was the timeless sound track of the game – no matter how many times it repeated (and that was quite a lot) somehow it never got tiring.

One person who was obviously not put off, and in fact obviously became quite a fan was YouTube user MooseHeadStudios – a keen player of the drums, he’s drummed along with the tetris theme tune, giving it that really punchy drum beat and bass that was somehow missing from the gameboy’s mono speaker.

[youtube id=”5dGBCVHWfTs” width=”600″ height=”350″]

 

4. Super Mario World – 200,000 Views

As anyone who owned a Super Nintendo during the 1990’s will tell you one of the best and most memorable games was the one that was actually packaged with it – Super Mario World! This 16-bit reboot to the classic plumber’s sideways scrolling adventures not only brought with it improved graphics but also a more melodic sound system, which is something the designers wasted no time in using!

A duo/quartet (depending on how you look at it!) on YouTube have given this classic tune a work over – SongeLeReveur (guitar) and Trudbol’s One Man A Cappella Quartet (vocals) have re-mastered the theme song in their very unique style! Starting off slowly but building up to the punchy main theme these guys have really captured what made this song a true classic!

[youtube id=”uUSFFQNbjzg” width=”600″ height=”350″]

 

3. Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past – 20,000 Views

Another SNES stalwart, a link to the past was Zelda’s first outing on the 16-bit system, and what a game it was! A really deep and immersive adventure that was complimented by its rich and playful colour pallet and of course its unique music. Anyone who even came close to completing this game will have some of these songs imprinted on their sub-conscious whilst they battled their way through the game.

YouTube group SwarfieldMusic have created a play-along to the first twelve minutes of the game, with a screen showing the actual game in play as they go! Quite an achievement to not only keep in time but remember the whole score. Featuring drums, guitars and even a violin!

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2. Angry Birds – 3,800,000 Views

Angry birds was an instant hit when it launched on the iPhone in December 2009, selling over 12 million copies of the game in Apple’s App Store alone. The simplistic yet addictive game play was a huge draw for everyone, but let’s not forget that trademark music! Just hearing that music somewhere in public still makes me want to get out my phone and start playing.

It wasn’t just me who was a huge fan of this original score, YouTube group PomplamooseMusic have amassed a huge number of views with their amusing take on the theme song. Featuring drums, guitars a girl singing acapella and even a harpsichord! They’ve even released the song into the iTunes store.

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1. Super Mario Bros – 1,400,000 Views

There is a reason why there are so many Nintendo songs that have made it into this top 5 – their signature light and fun game soundtracks have endured for years, and have millions of fans worldwide. At number one in our list is the original Super Mario Bros theme tune. In a time where video game audio systems were limited, Nintendo still managed to come up with one of the most iconic game soundtracks of all time. Quite a feat when you compare it to the buzzing and beeping of the competition of the time.

So even without the biggest number of views, we have still decided to make YouTube user Jimmy’s take on the original Mario Bros theme tune our no. 1. A fully one-man production Jimmy has really hit on what made this song so great in the first place! He’s even managed to human-beat-box in some original sound effects such as jumping and going down a tube. Awesome work Jimmy – we salute you!

 

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This top 5 comes courtesy of arcade machine supplier Liberty Games, who sell a range of refurbished classic arcade machines for your home.

Video Games: ‘Do the Mess Around!’

Normally the reason to play a video game is to try and complete it. Sure you might get stuck or bored part way through but you were always trying to reach the end. But occasionally a game is released where the goals and overall storyline become irrelevant. These games all have fantastic stories and there’s always something new to achieve, but what we really want to do is the mess around…with these titles it’s all about having a laugh.

Grand Theft Auto

The Grand Theft Auto franchise is the daddy of all sandbox games. The series is so ground-breaking that the term ‘Grand Theft Auto Clone’ is now used to describe any open world game that features weapons and vehicles.

Of course completing the missions in any Grand Theft Auto game is enjoyable, but it’s nothing compared to the fun you can have tearing up the city on a violent rampage that achieves nothing towards the overall objective. Everyone will have their favourite in the series but GTA IV is arguably the best for causing havoc.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a strange one, because the best part of the game comes before it even starts. In all the games in the series Croft Manor is a kind of training arena. To complete the game you don’t have to ever visit it, but there’s so much fun to be had around the house and its grounds.

The manor is in its finest state in Tomb Raider II. There’s a swimming pool, an indoor and outdoor obstacle course, a quad bike track and a shooting gallery! Why would you ever want to play the main game when you can just stay home and trash the house?

Assassins Creed

The first Assassin’s Creed title was released in 2007 and completely refreshed the open world genre. All the games are entertaining but the first title in the series does seem to get a lot of stick as the missions are pretty repetitive. Not to worry, because messing around is just as fun.

What could be more enjoyable than free-running around the Holy Land in the 12th century? You can run up walls, jump from ridiculous heights and assassinate anyone you come across in a number of ways. The only problem is that the storyline just gets better and better, so there are not enough hours in a day to play through the missions and make the most of the mess around free for all!

When he’s not messing about on his Xbox Jack Roberts works for Find Me A Gift, where you’ll find the best novelty gifts around.