The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Games With Gold [Xbox]

Quick post today (yes, I know I don’t post often enough) because I’d hate for you to miss this. One of my favourite games is out on Xbox Live’s “Games With Gold”. You can pick it up for free until the 15th of November. You get to keep it after that, but the chance to get it will be gone.

monkey-island-title

Oh yeah, what’s the game? The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition! It’s an Xbox 360 title, but backward compatible on the Xbox One as well.

You can see details, and details of what’s coming next on Games With Gold by clicking here, or check the Xbox store on your console.

Seriously, don’t miss this. I’m still convinced it’s one of the all-time greatest video games 26 years after its 1990 release!

Pixels: so bad it could be good?

Pixels the movieI’ll be honest; when I watched the trailer for Pixels I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. Even now, I’m not sure whether it’s going to be absolutely brilliant, absolutely terrible, or that strange mix of the two where a movie can be so bad it’s actually good.

Anyway, here’s the idea: Aliens misinterpret humanity’s attempts to contact them… seeing our video games not as entertainment but as a declaration of war. The result? They come to earth to attack us with the very games we played!

It looks like they’re all ’80s classics, which really appeals to my nostalgic side, but will it actually be any good? I guess there’s only one way to find out :)

Have a look at the trailer below and then hit the comments. Will you be watching this? Is it just a terrible idea? It is the best thing you’ve ever seen? Let us know what you think.

Anki Drive – video games in the real world

When I was at school in the late 80s and 90s, you would sometimes see people in the playground playing with or trading Micro Machines. These were tiny toy cars that, if I remember correctly, were part toy and part collectible.

A video game soon followed; a top-down racer that had you zooming round locations like your bedroom floor, a pool table, and the kitchen counter.

What if you were to take the fun of the physical Micro Machines toys and, while still keeping that physical nature, introduce the video game element? Well, I think you’d end up with something like Anki.

Anki Drive CarsAnki is a system of little toy cars that you race on a mat. But they’re more than just toy cars… you control them using and iOS or Android device which acts as the brain of the game. From the mobile device, you can fire weapons, drop mines, steer and control the speed of your physical car. While each player does require their own mobile device, if you find yourself wanting to play alone you can set one of the cars to act as an AI opponent.

The cars apparently learn as you drive as well. Whether that unlocks new features on your own car, or whether that’s about the AI getting better as you do I’m not quite sure, but it certainly sounds interesting.

A starter set is available that includes two cars and a track, while additional cars and tracks can be purchased later as addons. Each type of car brings it’s own set of abilities and weaponry and the different tracks lend themselves to different driving styles.

While it could be argued that this is nothing more than a high-tech version of Scalextric, I think the inclusion of the video-game-like combat elements makes this a really cool and innovative product.

If you’re hungry for more information, check out the video below:

If you’re looking to make a purchase, the Anki range is available from both the Apple Store and Currys in the UK.

What do you think of Anki? Do you already have a set and want to share your thoughts? Say your piece in the comments :)

Cyberbullying: When online gaming goes wrong

This is a guest post by Dexter Bishop. Dexter is a mobile programmer from LA who also happens to be a die-hard gamer.

Game controller in hands, against a screenThe digital universe is an environment where four out of five users agree that cyberbullying is easier to experience than face-to-face bullying, even for gamers. The world of virtual gaming can sometimes be a hostile space fervent with bullies and victims, and the effects of online bullying can be just as detrimental as face-to-face. Kids can suffer into adulthood, explains TIME Healthland, and children will suffer from low self-esteem, experience trouble in school and have health problems. TIME further mentions that studies have shown “higher rates of anxiety and panic attacks among victims of bullying,” creating mental health problems for later in life. Help dissuade and curtail bullying among online gamers by being a team player, reporting abuse and avoiding antagonism.

Do Favors

One of the most famous anecdotes attributed to Benjamin Franklin is his mantra to turn an enemy into a friend. Politely asking a political enemy if he could borrow a book, Franklin received a positive response along with the book. Upon returning it, Franklin delivered a note expressing his thanks, and the two men would go on to be lifelong friends. Vertabase suggested the moral of this anecdote can help “build powerful bonds.” Even competitive online gamers can build bonds while enhancing the joy of gaming. Instead of going for the best weapons in a competitive shooter game like Battlefield 4 by Origin, help team members get better armor, weapons and supplies to win the day.

Be a Team

Typically, an online game dissolves into name-calling and threats when a team cannot come together to complete an objective. Aggressive game playing can occur in online arena games (MOBAs) like DOTA 2. Teammates need to work in specific roles like “Carry” (those responsible for victory later on), “Lane” (those responsible for maintaining the integrity of an attacking channel) and “Pusher” (those who need to initiate a strong attack). Acting as part of a team instead of trying to be the single glorious hero helps minimize verbal attacks and a hostile environment when one player refuses to work with others.

Report Abuse

Online video gamers can report aggressive and harmful behavior, whether it is verbal, written or implied. Both Xbox Live and Playstation Plus allow users to report particular player gamer tags for all types of alarming behavior, such as spam and abuse. Gaming victims can even document the case using video and audio recording features. Players who take to MMOs can report player behavior to game managers (GMs). The GMs lock down an account whenever a player breaks the game’s rules.

Don’t Fight Fire With Fire

Nothing will escalate a heated online argument like someone going tit-for-tat on insults and threats. As an argument starts to progress into verbal assault, whether it is directed toward you or another person, resist the urge to retaliate. Diffuse the situation with calm words (or text) to demonstrate that you won’t participate in a shouting match. Try to calm the other player down by explaining your point of view. Refrain from name calling, taunting or mocking how they lost or died because of a lack of skill.

What do you think?

Have you experienced cyberbullying in a gaming environment? If so, how did you deal with it? Are the tips here helpful, new, just plain common sense, or completely off the mark? Why not share your thoughts in the comments and tell us what you think.

The best of vintage gaming chic

This guest post is by Oliver Archibald on behalf of Home Leisure Direct – UK suppliers of home gaming equipment, including arcade machines, pool tables and air hockey machines.

A genuine culture change; it is hard to pinpoint when retro and vintage gaming evolved from being a little nerdy to being classed as something chic. Gamers all over the globe are ecstatic about the huge range of vintage gaming hardware, software and peripherals widely available from home stores as well as the expected specialists. Naturally, the internet is the perfect home for enthusiasts and sellers alike to converse and conduct business.

Even the most jaded thirty-something can barely restrain a smile from breaking across their face when they see a classic pinball game, arcade game or home games console from their past being played in front of them. What follows are some of the best examples of vintage gaming chic waiting for you to snap them up and plug them in.

The Classic Pinball Machine

Is there anything cooler than having a full sized classic all bells and whistles pinball machine in your home? Not for the fervid follower of vintage gaming chic. The rich history of pinball machines has touched many aspects of culture and was immortalised in The Who’s famous rock opera Tommy, which told the story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid who could still play a mean pinball. In fact, Data East released a themed pinball machine in 1994, which featured 21 songs from the hit musical, which an enthusiastic collector can pick up online for £2,250.

But what is the most popular pinball machine ever made? What is the Golden Fleece of vintage pinball chic? That title proudly belongs to the kooky, ooky, spooky film tie-in pinball machine for The Addams Family released by Bally in 1992 with full speech by the movie cast. It remains the best selling pinball machine to this day and this iconic piece of games history will cost you around £3,000.

Vintage Arcade Machines

Everyone remembers the classic arcade games they grew up with. Whether in their local cafe or in the seaside amusements, the arcades provided vivid memories. While some specialists sell retro stand alone versions for a princely sum, innovative new products like the Golden Arcade Classics which has the authentic retro cabinet and comes with no less than 80 classic titles are now available on the market for around £4,000. The ultimate in vintage arcade chic, unforgettable games include Asteroids, Space Invaders, Mortal Kombat and Paperboy.

If you want vintage arcade chic, for less than £1,700 you can buy a table-shaped set up called Arcade Mania Sit Down, which allows you to sit and face off against another gamer on any one of 150 built-in games, which include classics like Street Fighter, Excitebike, Spy vs. Spy and Gradius.

While there are emulators available for PCs to play the retro games of yesteryear, all real followers of vintage console chic will settle for nothing less than the original consoles themselves. The king of vintage console chic is the Atari 2600 or Atari VCS, which was released way back in 1977. Classic games like Combat and Pac-Man etched their names as the pioneers of gaming architecture. An Atari Flashback 2 console was released in 2005 with 40 in-built games, but the original console with those paddle controllers is the Holy Grail.

Classic Consoles

Next to the Atari 2600, the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), released in 1995, is the vintage games console every gamer wants next to their TV. Voted the greatest console of all time by IGN, the combination of classics like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out brought the arcade into your home with cool peripherals like the light gun now being incredibly collectible.

From pinball, to arcades and home consoles, vintage gaming chic is here to stay. It appeals to those of us who grew up through the development of games technology, and allows us to relive the “good old days” of gaming yesteryear.

Do you remember your first introduction to gaming? Did you cut your teeth in the arcades, on a console, or a home computer? Share your story in the comments.