Different Types of Video Game Platforms Popular Today

Video games are the most common forms of electronic games today. These provide human interaction with the help of user interface, input and output devices. Video games are played with the help of different devices namely the input controller, main console and a visual display unit. The users use a certain input device also known as game controllers to generate a visual feedback on the video device and all this is controlled by the main console.

The platforms via which video games are played have been evolving since the beginning. From simple pin ball machines to arcade machines, they have been played with different units. There are several platforms available for playing electronic games these days. The popular ones are namely: Personal Computers, Video Game Consoles and Mobile Devices.

Personal Computers

Personal Computers are one of the most convenient types of video game platforms available today. They can be desktop PCs or Laptops with special hardware configuration that helps users load up and run these games on their system. The hardware should include a powerful main memory and also a graphic processing memory known as GPU. Powerful GPUs are considered better for generating excellent output. Together with these and other common hardware of PC such as a display monitor, keyboard and mouse games can be easily played.

Personal Computers can also be configured with additional devices like joysticks to make the experience better. The experience can also be improved by connecting computers to big TV screens with the help of cables like HDMI or VGA cable that the TV supports. Together with all these, Personal Computers serve as a great gaming platform.

Video Game Consoles

Video game consoles are devices that are specially created just to play video games. They normally come with input devices such as a joystick and a main unit that does all the processing work. They usually are connected to TV screens in order to see the visual feedback of the consoles.

There are several types of consoles available in the market today. The popular ones are Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 for example. These have become a handy name for electronic game consoles. There are also handheld consoles such as Nintendo DS and PSP Vita. These handheld consoles are light in size and feature their own display unit. So, the video game consoles are another popular platform which is widely available these days.

Mobile Gaming Platforms

The rise of mobile devices introduced mobile gaming to the scene. Mobile games are played on cell phone devices or handheld tablets. These two are the main platforms for playing mobile games. Mobile games are available in various forms. The mobile games are normally built for the operating system that the phones have. Today the popular ones are Android Mobile Operating System and iOS for iPhones. There are also other mobile operating systems such as Windows Mobile and Firefox OS.

Thousands and thousands of games are available on the mobile platform. This might be due to the fact that the mobile devices are getting really popular every other day. Games are available for free or for a fee, they can be simple or even be filled with complicated high graphics. Whatever the types of games there are, they are available on mobile devices. Hence, mobile devices seems to be a promising gaming platform.

Expert Witness: Games Console Forensics

Introduction:

In today's average home there exist many potential sources of digital evidence, from the obvious home PCs and mobile phones to the less common 'pen-drives' and PDA's. All have been subject to comprehensive scrutiny from people involved in the legal process and academics since their properties have been shown to have forensic value. So far comparatively little evidence of investigation into the forensic properties of modern gaming consoles exists, if we consider how they can be utilised in an increasingly 'PC-like' manner, this is an area capable of proffering considerable amounts of data with evidentiary value in criminal or civil court proceedings.

Computer forensics is a relatively new discipline combining elements of law and computer science to collect and analyse data from computer systems, networks, wireless communications and storage devices in a way that is admissible as evidence in a courtroom. Gaming consoles now provide the kind of data which can undergo forensic analysis because of the addition of memory (both internal and external) capable of 'storing' data beyond mere computer game information.

With the addition of storage capabilities beyond simple game data (ie hard drives capable of storing music, video, pictures etc.) gaming consoles are able to utilise 'web' functionality and therefore will likely generate both 'persistent' and 'volatile data' with forensic value. With an increasing amount of media functionality gaming consoles are becoming 'entertainment hubs' within the average household.

The machines most likely to provide usable forensic data are the Xbox360 and PS3 and due to their prevalence in homes (combined sales figures for the UK are around six million units) these are the machines where a pattern of use would be similar to more readily accepted sources of forensic data (ie home computers).

Microsoft Xbox 360:

This gaming console can support external memory cards for game data and media storage, however these are infrequently utilised because of small size (both physically and in terms of data capacity). The most commonly used memory for the Xbox360 comes in the form of a detachable hard-drive ranging in size from twenty gigabytes to two-hundred and fifty gigabytes (allowing vast amounts of saved music, videos, photos etc.) and is essential in allowing online functionality on the machine. On an unmodified machine this online functionality refers to 'Xbox live', the online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service operated by Microsoft. This service allows users to:

• Download content from Xbox live
• Log onto and update social networking and media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Zune and Last.fm
• Add people to 'friends lists' for gaming and / or communication
• Send (unsolicited) text / picture / voice messages to other users

Many of the functions performed on the console have a time and date attributed to when the function was performed (or at least when it was last accessed or altered); this could potentially provide corroboration of a defendant's location at a specified time. The communication possible through use of the Xbox live messaging system can provide evidence of illegal activity as messages are automatically stored for up to 30 days before deletion from the system, however all messages sent via Xbox live are retained on Microsoft servers and recoverable on any console the user profile is signed into, therefore any mention of a crime in a text or audio message would potentially be retrievable by a skilled investigator.

The functionality of the Xbox360 can be extended by modifying the internals to allow the playing of illegally downloaded software (piracy) or an operating system such as Linux could be installed and allow an Xbox360 to have almost all the functions of a PC (and associated data records of activity)

• Full access to the Internet (beyond mere Xbox live)
• E-mail
• Chat logs
• Pirated games

One important detail to note is that, at least from the outside, a modified console and an unmodified console can look exactly the same. While it is true that some members of the 'modding' community opt to apply various case modifications to their consoles, many do not, and therefore the console could be mistaken for a standard device.

Sony Playstation 3:

The PS3 is similar to the Xbox360 in terms of potential forensic viability. Large amounts of digital media can be stored on its hard drive, and the PlayStation Network (similar to Xbox live) allows users to send messages much in the same way as with the Xbox360.

There are two key differences between these consoles, firstly, the PS3 has full internet browsing capability 'straight out of the box', even an unmodified PS3 would contain more usable data in terms of Internet search history, downloads etc. on both the hard drive and the system 'data cache'. Secondly, it was possible to install third party operating systems on the PS3 without any modification to the system to enable it; this is currently in dispute in the US courts as this feature was removed by Sony to help prevent software piracy on the machine. Regardless, installing a second operating system (for whatever purpose) is still possible, now requiring some hard drive modification to enable this function, allowing the PS3 almost all the functionality of a PC.

Motion Control – Move & Kinect:

In the final months of 2010 new functionality was added to the PS3 (Move) and the Xbox360 (Kinect), 'Motion Control'. Using cameras and motion tracking software the console is able to interpret user body movement and replicate it 'in game'. From an evidential point of view, this provides another type of data to be collected from a gaming console, practically this expands the scope of what data stored on these machines can be used for. The cameras are actually used to record the user of the motion control software at certain points of game activity this can be stored, this could be abused and used to send videos of underage children or obscene videos via Xbox live. The videos could also be used to capture suspects involved in criminal activity, with the videos having a date and time attached, analysis could determine a location, thereby corroborating or disproving the validity of a defendants claim as to their location at the time of an offence .

Nintendo Wii:

The Nintendo Wii currently boasts higher sales numbers than the Xbox360 and PS3 combined. It is seen as a gaming console for 'non-gamers' and has lower technical specifications than both of its competitors, as such it is less of target for modification, although data with forensic properties can still be extracted from it. The Nintendo Wii can utilize a first-party Opera-based web browser; bookmarks are retained, and may be worth noting. The Wii also retains a basic, daily log of system usage, and also keeps a contact list of added friends, as well as the messages those friends have sent. Also worth noting is that images may be sent over the player messaging system, which are then saved to the system flash storage or to an external SD (memory) card. As is true of most modern consoles, various distributions of Linux have been ported to the system (Wii Linux), meaning that it could be utilized in the same way as any desktop PC and should be treated as such.

Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP):

A portable game device can be defined as a gaming system that is small enough to be carried outside of the home and runs on batteries. While not as powerful as a console, portable game devices have made significant advances in power since their early days, and may now incorporate functions similar to PDAs. The PlayStation Portable may be used to access the Internet, store images and movies, and can be modified to run 3rd party operating systems, therefore forensic data is recoverable from the memory and 'data cache'.

Nintendo DS / DSi / 3DS:

All Nintendo DS units can establish ad-hoc wireless connections to other units to utilize a player to player chat program called Pictochat. Pictochat has been used in the past by predators to lure children to them. The DSi incorporates an SD card reader, which may be used to hide illicit materials. The DSi also incorporates a 0.3 megapixel camera which can store images on its internal flash RAM or SD card.

Games Console Forensics in the Real World:

For illustration purposes here are a few real world instances of crimes involving gaming consoles, hopefully illustrating the need to investigate gaming consoles just as thoroughly as more traditional computer forensic targets.

An example of gaming consoles being used in the same manner as a PC and providing usable forensic data would be an incident that occurred in August 2010 in the USA whereby an Xbox live user based in Florida was discovered to have been soliciting naked pictures of a 10 year old boy also using the Xbox live messaging service. Officers recovered the defendants Xbox 360, two computers and a flash drive and discovered sixteen child-pornography images of various boys.

Folsom Police Detective Andrew Bates stated that "parents should realize gaming systems like Xbox and PlayStation, when connected to the internet, can be used as other technology, such as a computer or telephone; users can speak to one another, text, or send photos , thus making these systems another potential threat. "

Useful data recoverable from Xbox live was found in a case where a man surrendered himself to police after threatening a witness against him in an on-going criminal investigation, he was charged with tampering with a witness, intimidating a witness and two counts of second- degree harassment.

There are documented instances of unsolicited indecent images being sent via Xbox live and PlayStation Network, here a couple were sent a message from an unknown user account, upon opening it discovered it contained an indecent image of a young boy and immediately contacted the police. An investigation would be able to determine the time and date this image was received and whether or not it was solicited by the user receiving the image by retrieving previous communications.

N another incident a PS3 user persuaded an 11 year old girl to email him nude pictures of herself (which he subsequently forwarded on to contacts in other US states). No other devices were used to commit these offences and would potentially go undiscovered in an ordinary investigation.

On another occasion a man is accused of grooming several young girls over Xbox live; this was uncovered by the discovery of a mobile phone and recovery of Xbox360 data.

Of the myriad , Considering ways in Which gaming consoles can now Provide Investigators with usable forensic data it is Crucial That the Potential or rewards of forensic investigation of gaming machines are On fully comprehended, and Furthermore, lawyers That -whether Prosecution or defense – the find an expert the witness with the necessary skills to support their case. It is possible to commit the types of offences typically associated with a PC on a gaming machine and it possible to retrieve data of equal significance from a gaming machine. Therefore correct seizure and investigation into of these devices should have equal priority alongside other digital storage and communication devices.

Expert Witness: Games Console Forensics

Introduction:

In today's average home there exist many potential sources of digital evidence, from the obvious home PCs and mobile phones to the less common 'pen-drives' and PDA's. All have been subject to comprehensive scrutiny from people involved in the legal process and academics since their properties have been shown to have forensic value. So far comparatively little evidence of investigation into the forensic properties of modern gaming consoles exists, if we consider how they can be utilised in an increasingly 'PC-like' manner, this is an area capable of proffering considerable amounts of data with evidentiary value in criminal or civil court proceedings.

Computer forensics is a relatively new discipline combining elements of law and computer science to collect and analyse data from computer systems, networks, wireless communications and storage devices in a way that is admissible as evidence in a courtroom. Gaming consoles now provide the kind of data which can undergo forensic analysis because of the addition of memory (both internal and external) capable of 'storing' data beyond mere computer game information.

With the addition of storage capabilities beyond simple game data (ie hard drives capable of storing music, video, pictures etc.) gaming consoles are able to utilise 'web' functionality and therefore will likely generate both 'persistent' and 'volatile data' with forensic value. With an increasing amount of media functionality gaming consoles are becoming 'entertainment hubs' within the average household.

The machines most likely to provide usable forensic data are the Xbox360 and PS3 and due to their prevalence in homes (combined sales figures for the UK are around six million units) these are the machines where a pattern of use would be similar to more readily accepted sources of forensic data (ie home computers).

Microsoft Xbox 360:

This gaming console can support external memory cards for game data and media storage, however these are infrequently utilised because of small size (both physically and in terms of data capacity). The most commonly used memory for the Xbox360 comes in the form of a detachable hard-drive ranging in size from twenty gigabytes to two-hundred and fifty gigabytes (allowing vast amounts of saved music, videos, photos etc.) and is essential in allowing online functionality on the machine. On an unmodified machine this online functionality refers to 'Xbox live', the online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service operated by Microsoft. This service allows users to:

• Download content from Xbox live
• Log onto and update social networking and media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Zune and Last.fm
• Add people to 'friends lists' for gaming and / or communication
• Send (unsolicited) text / picture / voice messages to other users

Many of the functions performed on the console have a time and date attributed to when the function was performed (or at least when it was last accessed or altered); this could potentially provide corroboration of a defendant's location at a specified time. The communication possible through use of the Xbox live messaging system can provide evidence of illegal activity as messages are automatically stored for up to 30 days before deletion from the system, however all messages sent via Xbox live are retained on Microsoft servers and recoverable on any console the user profile is signed into, therefore any mention of a crime in a text or audio message would potentially be retrievable by a skilled investigator.

The functionality of the Xbox360 can be extended by modifying the internals to allow the playing of illegally downloaded software (piracy) or an operating system such as Linux could be installed and allow an Xbox360 to have almost all the functions of a PC (and associated data records of activity)

• Full access to the Internet (beyond mere Xbox live)
• E-mail
• Chat logs
• Pirated games

One important detail to note is that, at least from the outside, a modified console and an unmodified console can look exactly the same. While it is true that some members of the 'modding' community opt to apply various case modifications to their consoles, many do not, and therefore the console could be mistaken for a standard device.

Sony Playstation 3:

The PS3 is similar to the Xbox360 in terms of potential forensic viability. Large amounts of digital media can be stored on its hard drive, and the PlayStation Network (similar to Xbox live) allows users to send messages much in the same way as with the Xbox360.

There are two key differences between these consoles, firstly, the PS3 has full internet browsing capability 'straight out of the box', even an unmodified PS3 would contain more usable data in terms of Internet search history, downloads etc. on both the hard drive and the system 'data cache'. Secondly, it was possible to install third party operating systems on the PS3 without any modification to the system to enable it; this is currently in dispute in the US courts as this feature was removed by Sony to help prevent software piracy on the machine. Regardless, installing a second operating system (for whatever purpose) is still possible, now requiring some hard drive modification to enable this function, allowing the PS3 almost all the functionality of a PC.

Motion Control – Move & Kinect:

In the final months of 2010 new functionality was added to the PS3 (Move) and the Xbox360 (Kinect), 'Motion Control'. Using cameras and motion tracking software the console is able to interpret user body movement and replicate it 'in game'. From an evidential point of view, this provides another type of data to be collected from a gaming console, practically this expands the scope of what data stored on these machines can be used for. The cameras are actually used to record the user of the motion control software at certain points of game activity this can be stored, this could be abused and used to send videos of underage children or obscene videos via Xbox live. The videos could also be used to capture suspects involved in criminal activity, with the videos having a date and time attached, analysis could determine a location, thereby corroborating or disproving the validity of a defendants claim as to their location at the time of an offence .

Nintendo Wii:

The Nintendo Wii currently boasts higher sales numbers than the Xbox360 and PS3 combined. It is seen as a gaming console for 'non-gamers' and has lower technical specifications than both of its competitors, as such it is less of target for modification, although data with forensic properties can still be extracted from it. The Nintendo Wii can utilize a first-party Opera-based web browser; bookmarks are retained, and may be worth noting. The Wii also retains a basic, daily log of system usage, and also keeps a contact list of added friends, as well as the messages those friends have sent. Also worth noting is that images may be sent over the player messaging system, which are then saved to the system flash storage or to an external SD (memory) card. As is true of most modern consoles, various distributions of Linux have been ported to the system (Wii Linux), meaning that it could be utilized in the same way as any desktop PC and should be treated as such.

Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP):

A portable game device can be defined as a gaming system that is small enough to be carried outside of the home and runs on batteries. While not as powerful as a console, portable game devices have made significant advances in power since their early days, and may now incorporate functions similar to PDAs. The PlayStation Portable may be used to access the Internet, store images and movies, and can be modified to run 3rd party operating systems, therefore forensic data is recoverable from the memory and 'data cache'.

Nintendo DS / DSi / 3DS:

All Nintendo DS units can establish ad-hoc wireless connections to other units to utilize a player to player chat program called Pictochat. Pictochat has been used in the past by predators to lure children to them. The DSi incorporates an SD card reader, which may be used to hide illicit materials. The DSi also incorporates a 0.3 megapixel camera which can store images on its internal flash RAM or SD card.

Games Console Forensics in the Real World:

For illustration purposes here are a few real world instances of crimes involving gaming consoles, hopefully illustrating the need to investigate gaming consoles just as thoroughly as more traditional computer forensic targets.

An example of gaming consoles being used in the same manner as a PC and providing usable forensic data would be an incident that occurred in August 2010 in the USA whereby an Xbox live user based in Florida was discovered to have been soliciting naked pictures of a 10 year old boy also using the Xbox live messaging service. Officers recovered the defendants Xbox 360, two computers and a flash drive and discovered sixteen child-pornography images of various boys.

Folsom Police Detective Andrew Bates stated that "parents should realize gaming systems like Xbox and PlayStation, when connected to the internet, can be used as other technology, such as a computer or telephone; users can speak to one another, text, or send photos , thus making these systems another potential threat. "

Useful data recoverable from Xbox live was found in a case where a man surrendered himself to police after threatening a witness against him in an on-going criminal investigation, he was charged with tampering with a witness, intimidating a witness and two counts of second- degree harassment.

There are documented instances of unsolicited indecent images being sent via Xbox live and PlayStation Network, here a couple were sent a message from an unknown user account, upon opening it discovered it contained an indecent image of a young boy and immediately contacted the police. An investigation would be able to determine the time and date this image was received and whether or not it was solicited by the user receiving the image by retrieving previous communications.

N another incident a PS3 user persuaded an 11 year old girl to email him nude pictures of herself (which he subsequently forwarded on to contacts in other US states). No other devices were used to commit these offences and would potentially go undiscovered in an ordinary investigation.

On another occasion a man is accused of grooming several young girls over Xbox live; this was uncovered by the discovery of a mobile phone and recovery of Xbox360 data.

Of the myriad , Considering ways in Which gaming consoles can now Provide Investigators with usable forensic data it is Crucial That the Potential or rewards of forensic investigation of gaming machines are On fully comprehended, and Furthermore, lawyers That -whether Prosecution or defense – the find an expert the witness with the necessary skills to support their case. It is possible to commit the types of offences typically associated with a PC on a gaming machine and it possible to retrieve data of equal significance from a gaming machine. Therefore correct seizure and investigation into of these devices should have equal priority alongside other digital storage and communication devices.

Where to Buy Video Games in Hong Kong

When travellers visit Hong Kong, most start thinking about what they want to buy before they even reach the city. Shopping is everywhere in Hong Kong, and quite often the price of what you're looking for is cheaper here than in your home country.

One of the most common questions I see on the internet about Hong Kong shopping is "Where can I buy video games in Hong Kong?" That's a very good question, and I'll explain why.

If you've ever been to Hong Kong you know there's no stores like Wal Mart or Gamestop that have large displays of video games for sale. And if you visit a big mall, like Cityplaza, Pacific Place, or Times Square, you probably will not find a store selling video games in there either. You might get lucky and find games in somewhere like Toys R Us, but they'll be for sale at full price.

After searching around for a while, visitors might wonder how a city famous for cheap electronics has very few places to buy video games. Even street markets do not sell video games.

If you're looking to buy video games, consoles, peripherals, or electronic devices in Hong Kong, you want to visit the Wan Chai District in Hong Kong Island. Here you'll find a mall called the Oriental 188 Shopping Centre.

The Oriental 188 Shopping Centre is a shopping mall dedicated to video games, movies, anime, toys, electronic devices, and all sort of other goodies.

The mall itself is quite small when you compare it to other malls in Hong Kong. The hallways are narrow and shops are crammed into the limited space inside. The shops consist of mostly independent shop owners who sell any of the items listed above. The prices inside these shops are cheaper than what you would find at chain electronics stores like Broadway and Fortress. And prices for games are cheaper here than what you'd find them for in stores in Hong Kong that sell video games.

There are a few things you need to know when buying video games in Hong Kong. And since most shop owners at the Oriental 188 Shopping Centre do not speak English, you'll need to know these things before you go.

1. Some video games consoles have region locks on them. Meaning you can not play games from Asia on a North American or European video game console. These consoles include: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and XBOX 360.

2. Game consoles without region locks on them include: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS. You can play any game for these consoles no matter where it was made or where your console is from.

3. Getting to the Oriental 188 Shopping Centre can be a bit difficult since the MTR does not stop anywhere near this mall. The best way to get here is by bus. Look for a bus that stops at 298 Hennessey Road (at Kwong Sang Hong Building) or Wan Chai Road and Heard Street.

4. A computer shopping mall, called 298 Computer Zone, is found in the same building as Oriental 188 Shopping Centre. If you're looking for Computer products, give 298 Computer Zone a look. You will not have to walk very far at all.

5. This mall is packed with young people on the weekends. Go to 188 on a weekday to avoid large crowds of people.

This is just some of my information on the Oriental 188 Shopping Centre. Here the Click for more information on this mall and shopping : other Centres in Hong Kong.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Multiplayer Online Games

Online gaming nowadays is indeed very popular especially to the youth of today's generation. Thousands of online games are now wide spread at the circles of the World Wide Web. An online game only requires a computer network, which is the internet, through a personal computer or a video game console that can be linked into other players on the web. This proves that typically, online gaming is a means for linking players together instead of the usual pattern of playing games. As what have stated, one of the benefits that online gaming offers is to connect to multiplayer games.

Multiplayer games are games played by more than one person by means of a computer and an internet connection which allows players to play in similar game setting at the same time. It serves as an avenue for players to benefit from interactions with another person by either as forming of a joint venture or competition. This also allows them to have a form of social communication.

Advantages of Multiplier Online Games

· Promotes Association

Multiplayer games allow players to build their own networks of alliance. This promotes interaction within the players since they need to support each other in order to win the game. This will also allow players to build teamwork in order to attain victory.

· Boost Self Reliance

Multiplayer online games will also contribute in boosting one's self confidence since this type of gaming not only limited for forming groups or teams but as well as in developing competition within each player. This will entice each to do better as reward points are still given individually to those players who show off throughout the game.

· Improves Social Interaction Capacity

Since this permits alliances and competition, this will surely improve a player's social interaction capacity as it allows supervision of co-players activity, resources and skills. Players will also be required to communicate with one another in order to achieve a common goal or have a good fight.

· Most exciting game experience

Multiplayer gaming will promise you to practice a more exciting game experience since you are now dealing or fighting with other individual unlike in a typical one-player game which only put up a fight between you and the computer. Having an alive competitor or partner will entice you think of strategies and techniques to achieve your goal.

Disadvantages of Multiplier Online Games

· Requires long hours of playing

Since you are playing with multiple other players, you can not just stop from playing because this will affect the network. Typically, this will require you to play in long hours depending also o your co-players playing the game.

· Incurs health hazards

Due to the long hours of playing, numerous health problems may be acquired such as eye or carpel tunnel syndrome, poor postures and severe stress on joints and nerves. Everybody should be aware that there are real health hazards involve in spending too much time in front of the computer.

The modern technology truly makes twists on typical online games which are, as what can be observed, widely accepted by this generation. With the advantages and disadvantages stated above, it is now for you to decide whether you would like to engage in or practice multiplayer games.

Overwatch Review

Overwatch is the first new IP from developer Blizzard Entertainment and the first time I can recall them ever releasing a console counterpart of a new game the day as PC. This game flew under my radar until I played its beta, along with millions of other gamers. Actually playing Overwatch for the first time, it gets its hooks straight into you. No matter what play style you have or what character you play as, there's fun to be had. I've only played a handful of hours of the final release, but it has not disappointed in the slightest and I can not wait to see how the prestigious Blizzard supports this title over the course of its initial release and the foreseeable future.

I'm not going to sugar coat anything here. There is a small cutscene when you boot up the game that gives context to the characters you will play as during your time with Overwatch, but I can not say I even spent time to watch it. I'm sure it is an interesting couple minutes, but I'm not investing my time and money into Overwatch for a story. Thankfully the game knows that and that's the last you get from any kind of story.

What takes the place of a story would be 21 very detailed and different heros. These heros are the core of Overwatch and they are what make the game stand out from other first person multiplayer games. Each one bring specific abilities to a match and can really meld well with other characters during combat. But not one character feels vital for a team to succeed. I would say a whole team could play as the same character and still have a chance of winning a match, albeit a small chance depending on what character.

In the same vein though, there is not a character that stands out as a must play every match type. Each character has their own weakness and strengths, it's up to the player to use them to their fullest potential. Each of the 21 characters has a few abilities up their sleeves that suit their play style and class type. Some characters admittedly feel a bit bare compared to others, but in the end, they all feel nice to play as.

The maps in Overwatch are very fun to play on. They serve the characters more than anything and setup specific choke points that beg you to work as a team to overcome. They look nice and stylized, but more importantly they do not take away from the characters inhabiting them.

Game modes are very standard. You have capture and defend type matches, along with escort missions. These are both thrown into the same quick play option. You can also play against AI and create custom matches.

There is also a leveling system in place. It's very standard and moves along at a brisk pace. It will be interesting to see if people stay around after the presumed level 50 cap. I'm sure it will be raised after a few months though. Customization comes in the form of character skins, emotes, voices, and sprays. They are fun to collect, but they are definitely not the reason I will be hanging around to play the game.

My only minor complaint would be that there is not a bunch of content in the game. Sure you have a crap ton of characters to choose from and some decent apparel to collect, but there's nothing to keep someone like me who's used to unlocking weapons and attachments in Battlefield to stick around hours on end. Though hoping in for a couple hours a day has been extremely satisfying.

One thing I would have liked to see is during a match your abilities can be upgraded to do more damage or last a little longer, maybe a shorter refresh rate. Something other than just the bare bones we have now.

Also, Overwatch costs an affordable $ 40 on PC, while console players will have to fork over some extra cash for the $ 60 version that is the exact same thing. If you're into first person shooters or character driven gameplay, I could easily recommend Overwatch if you are interested in it. But I do not know if there's enough to satisfy most gamers for the asking price, on the console that is. Luckily I'm having a blast playing Overwatch and know my money has been well spent. Not only do I have a very solid game on release, Blizzard will continue supporting the game until nobody is playing it anymore. That makes purchasing the game easier to do.

Overwatch deserves a 3.5 out of 5. It has an extremely solid foundation to build from and has the potential to be a huge game over the next year depending on how the developer wants to support it.

Effects of Video Games on Heart Rate

Video games have been in the market for the last 35 years. They are a unique form of leisure because they encourage players to be part of the game’s characters. This, however, has both positive and negative effects on the player. Several studies have been published that explore the effects of video games on heart rate.

In this article, I have tried to summarize the research conducted into the effects of video games on individual’s heart rate.

In a study conducted by the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, it has been found that playing violent video games affects heart rate variability not only during game play but also when you are sleeping at night. A group of boys, aged between 13 and 15, were told to play two different games in the evening, one focused on aggression while the other had no violent features.

Fifteen boys were exposed to violent video gaming, playing for no less than three hours a day. The remaining fifteen were asked to play nonviolent cartoon games – no more than one hour per day. The boys played the games at their homes, on two evenings.

Heart rates were observed during the game play and also while sleeping. The study seems to show that effects of gaming don’t just stop when you switch off your system, but they have a continuous psychological impact without the player even being aware of it.

While the boys were sleeping later that night, boys that were exposed to highly violent games had faster heart rates compared to the night after playing nonviolent games. Boys who were exposed to violent games also reported poor quality of sleep on the night after playing an aggressive game. They also reported increased feelings of sadness. The violent game seems to have elicited more nervousness and stress at bedtime.

This suggests that frequent exposure to violent computer games not only increases stress and aggressive behaviour, but also increases anti-social behaviours. Other studies have also indicated that violent video games can cause an adrenaline response. In other words, they can affect your blood pressure, breathing rate and pain tolerance.

Violent video games usually tend to be more thrilling and obsessing than their more peaceful counterparts. As a result, they are bound to see heart rates rise. It could also be the increased excitement level which is causing increased anxiety. However, not all individuals may be affected by exposure to violent computer games, but most individuals are affected.

SNES Reproductions – The Resurrection of Retro Gaming

Super Nintendo (SNES) Reproductions are the new sensation among retro gaming collectors. These SNES reproductions are games that have been reprogrammed and recycled to have and play a new game that has either, never been released in the United States, is a prototype, a fan made game, or a hack of an original game. The process of making a SNES reproduction is quite complicated; you have to be really tech savvy in order to pull off one of these beauties. Luckily there are online sites that do all this work for you.

Collectors who are crazy about Super Nintendo games, often learn how to do SNES reproduction because they enjoyed playing Japanese import games on a computer emulator (PC software that plays ROMs, SNES games), but the feeling of retro gaming was not quite there yet. They prefer to play Japanese import games on the actual console and in English. Research is a principal factor to be able to know all the technical aspects of a SNES cart and understand them. Once you learn the SNES specifications you can recycle old unwanted SNES cartridges, which are called donor carts, and turn them into legit Super Nintendo reproduction; you won’t really know the difference between a repro and an original game! Only games that can be legally made into reproduction are as mentioned before are: fan made games, never before released in the US, and prototypes that never made it in the market. Some of the best titles of reproductions include:

• Secrete of Mana 2

• Legend of Zelda BS

• Clock Tower

• Megaman and Bass

• Terranigma

• Dragon Ball Z RPG

The cons about Super Nintendo reproduction carts, is that all the information to learn how to make them is free online. Anybody can learn how to make games, and can start making illegal copies of games that were commercially released on the U.S. This is a great issue for collectors because it will be harder to recognize between a reproduction cartridge and an original cartridge of a rare/expensive game online. Most of the reproduction cartridge makers, are collector who are well-intentioned and will not sell any illegal copy of a game. But, there are people that buy from repro makers, and re-sell this games on eBay, or other sites as “VERY RARE” games at ridiculously high prices.

The prices for a reproduction cartridge can range from 55 dollars to 100 dollars. The price depends on what kind of parts are needed, the quality, and whether the game includes a reproduction box and reproduction manual, or a universal game case, or just the cartridge.

If you plan on collecting reproduction cartridges be very careful, and research the place where you are buying them from. SNES reproductions are helping bring back memories to collector, but can bring bitter experiences if the buyer/collector is not well informed.

Different Types of Video Game Platforms Popular Today

Video games are the most common forms of electronic games today. These provide human interaction with the help of user interface, input and output devices. Video games are played with the help of different devices namely the input controller, main console and a visual display unit. The users use a certain input device also known as game controllers to generate a visual feedback on the video device and all this is controlled by the main console.

The platforms via which video games are played have been evolving since the beginning. From simple pin ball machines to arcade machines, they have been played with different units. There are several platforms available for playing electronic games these days. The popular ones are namely: Personal Computers, Video Game Consoles and Mobile Devices.

Personal Computers

Personal Computers are one of the most convenient types of video game platforms available today. They can be desktop PCs or Laptops with special hardware configuration that helps users load up and run these games on their system. The hardware should include a powerful main memory and also a graphic processing memory known as GPU. Powerful GPUs are considered better for generating excellent output. Together with these and other common hardware of PC such as a display monitor, keyboard and mouse games can be easily played.

Personal Computers can also be configured with additional devices like joysticks to make the experience better. The experience can also be improved by connecting computers to big TV screens with the help of cables like HDMI or VGA cable that the TV supports. Together with all these, Personal Computers serve as a great gaming platform.

Video Game Consoles

Video game consoles are devices that are specially created just to play video games. They normally come with input devices such as a joystick and a main unit that does all the processing work. They usually are connected to TV screens in order to see the visual feedback of the consoles.

There are several types of consoles available in the market today. The popular ones are Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 for example. These have become a handy name for electronic game consoles. There are also handheld consoles such as Nintendo DS and PSP Vita. These handheld consoles are light in size and feature their own display unit. So, the video game consoles are another popular platform which is widely available these days.

Mobile Gaming Platforms

The rise of mobile devices introduced mobile gaming to the scene. Mobile games are played on cell phone devices or handheld tablets. These two are the main platforms for playing mobile games. Mobile games are available in various forms. The mobile games are normally built for the operating system that the phones have. Today the popular ones are Android Mobile Operating System and iOS for iPhones. There are also other mobile operating systems such as Windows Mobile and Firefox OS.

Thousands and thousands of games are available on the mobile platform. This might be due to the fact that the mobile devices are getting really popular every other day. Games are available for free or for a fee, they can be simple or even be filled with complicated high graphics. Whatever the types of games there are, they are available on mobile devices. Hence, mobile devices seems to be a promising gaming platform.

Top 5 Advantages of Playing Video Games

Contrary to the famous belief, video games can be more than just a form of addictive entertainment and diversion activity. There are a lot of people who find video games as a hindrance to function as a responsible and productive person. In reality, we can always find ways to prove that this is a beneficial activity.

Many believe that video gaming brought tendencies to human beings to become violent in our society nowadays. However, this is not all true. There are several elements in the environment that contributed well enough to man’s behavior.

The discussion of the benefits and advantages of video gaming should be brought into light. It is undeniable that the generation today consider surfing the internet and playing video games as part of their everyday life. Apart from being a great form of diversion activity, you’ll be surprised to know that playing video games has a lot to offer.

  1. A new way of teaching. Almost all children have access to video games as they study in school. There are many educational institutions nowadays that use video games as a teaching methodology. This approach works best in teaching these children to improve their academic skills. There are many video games that were specifically made to develop their cognitive and creative thinking skills.
  2. It improves hand and eye coordination. Experts agree that people who play video and computer games have better hand and eye coordination. Players have to move at a great deal of speed along with other heroes of the game. This can be helpful with children and adults as well in applying this skill in other activities that require better hand-eye coordination.
  3. A remedy for certain health disorder. There are many medical institutions that utilize computer games as a form of physiotherapy. This kind of games help people recover fast from physical injuries and help them improve their motor and coordination skills as well. Distraction is the best natural remedy for pain, and what other things loaded with so much fun as video games?
  4. Imagination booster. In the world of computer games, the possibilities are endless. Video gaming is packed with a lot of adventure that forces your mind to think in a completely new and different way. You’ll be amazed to know how far your imagination can take you.
  5. Improves your problem solving skills. This type of game requires problem solving skills. You are the heroine of your own game, so you should have a good decision making skill. Most games inspire players to strive and reach more difficult levels presenting challenges at every stage.

Playing computer games have positive as well as negative impact on you and your society. Everything in excess is bad. Parents should be able to set rules on how much and what kind of gaming is only permitted to their children. In addition, this type of diversion activity is expensive so parents must be strict and teach their children to learn to save money by buying items such as cheapest console for their video games. Engaging in this game should not be too expensive because game developing companies come up with the newest and better video games regularly as a response to the growing competition.