MineCraft Murals…

With the rise of different gaming systems and the surge to be a gamer, many parents, doctors, teachers, and so on believe that gaming isn’t healthy and doesn’t encourage the use of imagination in children.  Well we have a theory and a story that may say otherwise.

   In downtown Denver, Colorado there is a Boys and Girls Club that is frequented by many children before and after school, ranging in age from elementary to middle school.  Here they can do their homework, hang out with friends, and play PG rated games on the assortment of gaming systems that were donated this past fall.  A favorite game among many kids there is MineCraft.  MineCraft is a game that teaches children to use their imagination and creativity to build anything from, farms to cities to railroad stations and basically entire communities.  They use tools that are purchased with in the game, and other building materials.  They can acquire animals such as pigs, ducks, cows and so forth.  

Colorado Signs, which is a well known sign and imagery company in Denver, decided to donate their time, materials, and services to the Boys and Girls Club and create a MineCraft mural to be enjoyed by those that attend this Boys and Girls Club!

Continue reading “MineCraft Murals…”

In-Game Purchases!..

If we all know one thing it is that the gaming industry makes a ton of money.  With popular game prices starting at around $60 dollars a game, accessories always being updated and sold at a pretty healthy cost, there is money to be made.  However games, equipment and accessories are not the most profitable for the gaming industry.  Nope the industry finds most of it’s revenue in In-game purchases!  That’s right, buying extra lives, more in-game money and other trivial things as such, has the gaming industry profiting immensely.  Notice how I said in game purchases were trivial?  Well to a true gamer and those with an especially competitive nature, the little boost in lives, or money to buy things within the game become important.  So what do we do? We spend really dollars to purchase the games dollars.  Now not only have we bought the hardware, purchased the game(s) but we have also spent money to profit while playing the game.  It is a continuous cycle that is bringing billions into the gaming industry.  With more games being developed, and more people jumping on board to play these games there is no end in site for the revenue the industry of video games will rake in.

 While in the game store last week I overheard a converstation between a kid and his parent.   The kid who was probably about thirteen was purchasing a gift card for a friends birthday for the game Grand Theft Auto.  His mother was asking him what exactly the gift card would buy his friend.  The kid told his mom that his friend needed more money in the game to be able to purchase a Lamborghini for the game character to drive.  The mom starting looking at the gift card prices and exclaimed she couldn’t believe someone would pay $100 to have 3 million dollars in game money.  Her son then asked her to purchase a $40 gift card for himself so that he could use the in-game money for FIFA.  He wanted to be able to draft Lionel Messi onto his soccer team in the game so he could win the cup!  His mom just stood there telling him she couldn’t believe that he wanted to spend money on that but in the end helped him purchase both gift cards!  And so the process begins.  One more consumer ready to spend actual money to buy game money.  It is a genius additive to an already lucrative business , but also a endless money drainer for us consumers!  Be careful not to fall to deep into the trap!

 

The Parental Viewpoint

Usually in our blog we have some cool new things to talk about regarding the Xbox gaming systems.  From new controllers, to Xbox360 vs. XboxOne we have the dish on everything.  However we have decided to go a different route today and share with you a guest post from the mother of an extreme gamer.  A middle school 12 year old who loves his Xbox and Xbox live.  What is the gaming world like from the parents point of view? Welcome Sophia…..

My 12 year old son is addicted to his Xbox..but I don’t necessarily think it’s a completely bad thing!  Let me explain… It’s started as a reward for doing well in school and keeping his grades up.  My husband and I decided after struggling with our son to get his homework done we needed another avenue then just getting upset and taking privileges away.  We needed something exciting and positive for him to look forward to.  Introduce our offer of buying him the Xbox 360 that all the kids were talking about.  In order for him to get it he had to keep his grades to a’s and B’s.  he had to do his homework every night and have no excuses of I forgot it at school.  If he could keep this up for the entire quarter he would get his new Xbox.  He was ecstatic and tried his hardest and succeeded.  He had a Wii and a Playstation, but the Xbox was different.  It was the coveted of all gaming systems.  After getting the Xbox 360 he continued to do well in school otherwise risk losing valuable playing time with his friends.  Next though he needed to stay caught up on his chores.  He is a lazy one if you don’t get him up and moving when it comes to helping with the pets and around the house. Next deal was do your chores every week throughout the month and you can have a monthly subscription to Xbox Live.  This was even better in our sons eyes.  Now he could consistently play with his friends and chat with them too!  Slowly after the Xbox One came out his friends started to upgrade to this new gaming system.  In order to play on Xbox live you need to have the same gaming system to interact.  This was his new coveted need to have gaming system.  Again in order to be able to get it he needed to work towards it.  And being the determined child he his he once again succeeded.

While I agree that too much time on gaming equipment or technology in general is not good for kids or any of us for that matter, I do think it opens up a window of communication especially when kids can’t go over to their friends house or bored at home.  When the game MineCraft came out I was especially happy because it encourages kids to use their imaginations and build things they are proud of.  My son and his friends built towns and designed their own houses and farms.  They made a treasure map hunt and aspired with their friends to build cool things.  I do agree that some of the games out there such as Grand Theft Auto are bothersome and I myself wanted to shield my child from the profanity and crudeness of the game, but there are games out there that are some what educational like Minecraft.  All in all the world is continuing to grow with technology,  when once few had cell phones to now kids carrying around iphones of their own, it is inevitable that kids are going to be attracted to gaming.  However if you have them work towards getting these expensive systems it also teaches them to work for and appreciate things.  Just my thoughts!

         

Waterproof Controllers?

The luxury of playing xbox while chillin in a hot tub or pool….uh yes please. Well a waterproof controller is in need if that will go down.  It may not seem to be a necessity, but having the option to play while your kicking it the pool doesn’t sound to shabby…right?

Well we got word from friends in Colorado that a local company was giving out “waterproof controllers”. We had to get the info on what this was about.

Patio Splash Hot Tub & Spas in Fort Collins, www.patiosplash.com, recently gave away 2 xbox controllers with a purchase of a hot tub over the holidays….and even better, included were waterproof cases! This seemed crazy being we hadn’t heard about any type of waterproof cases, and we would be in the know, or so we think.

Guess what? Water proof case= a box of zip locks. So yep, this “Hot Tub” Special included two controllers, and a bag of ziplock bags, with any new hot tub purchase. They did include a disclaimer

* Xbox controllers are intended for dry use with your xbox. The zip lock bags offer protection against knicks, scratches, and damage while your controller is not in use. We do hope you enjoy your new hot tub, and do not recommend using electronic devices in or near the water.

Pretty brilliant marketing strategy, and it worked. People were throwing down a 5-6K to recieve two new xbox controllers and a box of plastic bags. Nifty Patio Splash….quite niffy.

On a serious note, although this company really did offer this deal at one one of their store location, the controller needs to evolve into a waterproof one.  Not only so you can soak in a hot tub or pool, but just in case there are any major spills that happen near, or on your controller. They have controller skins, and ways you can wrap your controller to offer some protection, but why not take it all the way and make sure water damage can’t occur.

Cell phone have water proof cases, why not make them for controllers?

The way technology has evolved, you would think that this may be underway and in development.   If it’s not it needs to be. Hmmmm. any angel investors reading this:)?

To make your controller temporarily water poof we found a video that may helpful. If you were the ones to be fortunate to be the new owners, or kids of the owners of a new hot tub, 2 new xbox controllers, and some plastic bags, this video may be helpful for you too.

Please keep in mind that we are not responsible for any loss or damage that may happen to you or your controller if you chillin in any size pool of water. We just want to  make sure you have a few resources.

Until next time.

These guys make sure you know how to properly encase your controller.

The Buzz On Kinect

 

What’s all the buzz in the Xbox 360 Kinect!? Furthermore what exactly does it do, and how does it enhance game play?  Is the Kinect cost friendly?  So many questions for this Xbox 360 add on, but we have the answers, all of the answers.  

The kinect is a peripheral camera that attaches to the usb port on your xbox 360 console.  Once connected it allows players to use a combination of body movement and verbal commands to control games without the use of a controller.  It essentially allows players a broader range of movement and versatility while gaming and just watching TV.  Microsoft has said that it is the next big thing for gaming and is more than just the cameras and microphones that it is made up of.  In fact it’s a type of sci fi technology with its ability of facial and voice recognition. The Kinect is made up of a horizontal bar that houses a RGB camera, Multi array microphone, and depth sensor.  The bar is connected to a motorized base which combined allow for a 3D motion capture.  With facial and voice recognition it allows the player to either play video games or watch TV without the use of a controller.  You virtually don’t have to lift a finger.  

 How does it feel playing a game without a controller? In general you seem to need a lot more space when playing Kinect games.  As well as, some Kinect games feel as if they would be better played with the use of an actual controller.  It is a unique experience to go remote free using body movement and voice command instead.  However this being said the Kinect does come at a steep spend of $150 dollars.  Some are questioning whether the fee is worth it for this piece of new technology.  While the 3d cameras are definitely something awesome and voice recognition is pretty cool, some may say that this new gaming piece makes the xbox 360 similar to the Wii.  Not to mention do you have to have Kinect specific games in order to use the device?   Yes there are Kinect specific games that are available to be purchased aside from the device.  However the Kinect and its $150 cost do come with a kinect game, Kinect Adventures.  So what games were launched that are compatible for the Kinect?

 

  • Adrenalin Misfits
  • Deca Sports Freedom
  • EA Sports Active 2
  • Fighters Uncaged
  • Dance Central
  • Dance Masters
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
  • Zumba Fitness: Join the Party
  • The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout
  • Game Party: In Motion
  • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: part 1
  • Kinect Joyride
  • Kinectimals
  • Kinect Sports
  • Motion Sports
  • Sonic Free Riders

 

What it comes down to outside of the facts on this device created with the latest technology, is where you want to go as a gamer.  Are you interested in this out of the norm concept that may enhance your game play, or perhaps change the dynamic of it.  If you are willing to shell out the cash, why not explore the new side to gaming technology!  

Controller Skins

Controllers Evolved-

Yes the Xbox has evolved into what it is today, from the original Xbox, to the Xbox 360, and now to the Xbox One. Gaming has never been so good. To make it even better, more individualized, and aesthetically pleasing, you can actually customize your controller with a new skin, and be in control of what your Xbox controller looks like. With the availability of materials and the digital age we live in, controller customization is brought to life in a whole new way. No more resorting to your dad’s spray paint cabinet for new colors, or using stickers, or even bedazzles to customize your controller. You can now take any image online and make a skin that you can use on your controller. Whether you want to add commander chief, my little pony, or Pokemon to your controller it doesn’t matter. Don’t quote me on the copyright law, but as long as you have no intention to resell the controller, you can use whatever character, brand, sports team or design you like.

Beyond customizing the look of your controller, this vinyl skin is a durable laminate that will also protect it from scratches, nicks, peeling, and discoloration. Crazy huh? Even crazier is the what you can turn your controller into.  This is not dipping, you do not have to send your controller off to be dipped, like in a past post we wrote. This is an actual film that you apply to your controller. There are several online sites that you can choose from, and a variety of controller skins that you simply order and you are good to go. After you purchase the custom vinyl, it will be sent to your home and you can easily apply it to your controller. You’ll want to make sure your controller is clean and dried before you apply the vinyl, but beyond that adhering it is pretty straightforward. If you ever decide that you don’t like the vinyl or want to switch it out for a different design it easily removes, and does not leave weird residue like that dumb bumper sticker on the back of your truck.

They have several hundreds of design options to choose from typically….but even better is customizing your own. Either throw down a design on photoshop or consult with a graphic artist. Or if you like an image on the internet just grab it. But keep it G rated, or else the company might not send you the vinyl.

Phantom Wrapz, www.phantomwrapz.com, a Dallas based wrap company, is beginning to provide custom controller wraps, amongst other things. The software they will integrate on their website will allow you to fully customize whatever images, graphics, logos and colors you want applied to your controller. They will then print and ship the skin directly to you to install on your controller. Even beyond controller wraps, they also will offer full Xbox One skins, that are also completely customizable. What is very cool about their particular services is the ability to customize multiple wraps or skins, so that you may interchange the wraps when you are in the mood for a new look.

Turn your controller or your Xbox into an original and unique console with a customizable wrap. We were able to explore the textures, and finishes available to choose from…so sick. Textures ranging from matte wrap, to satin, chrome, and even velvet, plus way more options.

Make your console and controllers one of a kind and check the different vinyl options available today.

 

 

 

 

 

Xbox 360 vs. Xbox One

Over time the Xbox Gaming System has evolved and been upgraded and changed to provide a better game play for the user.  With heightened technology, and clearer graphics the gaming systems continue to get better and better with each new design.  With the edition of Xbox Live these gaming systems have taken gaming to another level.  With many competitors out there such as the makers of the playstation and newest addition the PS4, xbox consoles are ever changing to surpass its competitors.   

 This being said the real question now is, should you upgrade your 360 to the Xbox One?  What are the pros and cons as well as price points?  First let’s start with what kind of 360 you have.  Included in the Xbox 360 family is

 

  • Pro/Premium- These bad boys have only about 20-60 GBS of storage on their hard drives
  • Elite–  These elite systems come with 120 GBS of hard drive storage space
  • SlimThe latest addition to the 360 family, this system is able to play games from the previous gaming systems with no problem.
  • Arcade–  The mini version this system only has 4GB of hard drive storage space.

 

Overshadowing all of the 360 gaming systems is the Xbox One.  With its release date in November of 2013, it is the first system that is able to play it’s own games as well as the ones from any of the xbox 360 gaming systems. This makes it a easy and smooth transition from one console system to another.  With the release of the Xbox One, Microsoft the maker and inventor of these popular game systems, stopped making any new hardware for those still owning a 360.  With that being said a lot of people had trouble with The Red Ring Of Death. This software virus affected almost all of the first Xbox owners.  What exactly was this software virus?  It was known to create a lot of internal problems within the console.  Because of this many Xbox 360 were or have been refurbished.  

Now what are the stand out qualities of the Xbox One?  It has been the first gaming system to be released in China.  This gaming system that competes with not only the PS4, but also the Nintendo Wii U,  has enhanced cloud computing, a better program guide, split screen for multitasking, a redesigned Kinect sensor, better motion tracking and voice recognition.  Not only that but it also boasts the ability to let users post short video clips from live streaming.  The controllers have been redesigned from those meant for Xbox 360.  The fact that it is able to be directed with voice recognition is a feature that most love. Continue reading “Xbox 360 vs. Xbox One”

Open post
xbox_live_evolution

Xbox Live

There once was a time in which gamers were secluded to lonely campaign missions and and the only pvp action was with friends corralled around a single tv to play against each other. Although it was great kicking the snot out your friend over and over, you always felt like something was missing. Huge maps with only you and your friend playing against each other resulted in limited action, plus your friend kept screen peaking since you guys were playing on the same tv. There was an obvious evolution of multi player game play that was necessary, but nobody quite expected how revolutionary it would be.

Multiple player limitations aside, lets not forget you were forking over $50+ every couple weeks after you had scoured every square inch of the solo campaign and all its difficulty levels, and got tired of playing your friend 1 on 1 endlessly. The game ended up being like a movie, you just kept it around for your collection, you didn’t plan on playing it again. Who wants to play something, when they know everything that is going to happen, where’s the surprise? So like your collection of your favorite movies, games would just collect dust as you went looking for your next campaign thrill.

Fast forward to November 2002, when xbox live originally launched. After countless campaign missions you are finally able to take Captain Chief beyond the confines of your solo missions. In fact you are able to play endlessly again friends, new acquaintances, and nasty little entitled kids, on new multiplayer landscapes endlessly.

As the xbox live gaming experience enhanced over the years and gamer tags and achievements became available, you could now brag about your achievements and not just the fact that you beat Halo on legendary over summer. Now your skill level was displayed for everyone to see. Also, gaming became less about you, and more about the team. Plus all your games that you had beaten and were essentially worthless got resurrected in a whole new way. In fact, you would play the same game now endlessly for months without any desire to purchase a new game, until of course the sequel came out.

These advancements in gameplay didn’t just change the lives of gamers, but also developers. Now with an internet connection, developers could install patches, and update the game after it was already on shelves. This was revolutionary, since there was no need to recall a game that had errors, they could fix it with a patch. This has increased the speed at which games hit the shelves, since developers can now fix bugs after the fact, and continue to expand on a game that’s already in stores.

All in all, xbox live has been the biggest evolution in xbox history and what has brought in so many new players and also what has kept some endlessly playing in their parents basement (no shame).

Just as no one quite saw how “game changing” xbox live was going to be, it’s hard to say what the next evolution of the xbox will be, and how it will effect gameplay. I’m sure it will have something to with VR, but to what lengths, it’s hard to say.

 

Thanks for read, until next time.

 

 

 

Evil Controllers

There has been an evolution of the gaming controller that has effected game play dramatically. A controller mod company by the name of evil controllers designed a controller for the xbox and playstation back in 2007 that has evolved game play as we know it. Perhaps not a natural evolution, and more of a synthetic one, but an evolution nonetheless.

The evil controller is modded controller that allows for 9 mods to increase user performance. (Mods Below)

  • Rapid Fire
  • Akimbo Rapid Fire
  • Tactical Rapid Fire
  • Fast Reload
  • Drop Shot
  • Auto Scope
  • Auto Run
  • Auto Spot
  • Adjustable Rapid Fire

The above mods give the user a distinct advantage and edge on players who are limited to the normal firing rate, speed, reload, etc of the standard controller. Essentially an evil controller makes you the Neo of the gaming community.

Are these undeserved powers though?

I think god like agility and ability could go to a teenagers head and create some undeserved entitlement, and everyone knows how frowned upon entitlement is.

But I guess if everyone is doing it, then you either have to join them or try and take on a team of juggernauts as a mortal.

Not impossible, but definitely a disadvantage to not be quipped with an evil controller.

Have no clue what I’m talking about, check out their video.