Thursday, December 5, 2013

How To Play Poker

Lesson 1: The Basics
There are really two different things you must learn when you want to learn how to play poker. The first is the basics of the game and the second how to bet in poker.
To begin with, poker is a classic gambling game played with a standard deck of playing cards. The object of poker is to arrange groups of cards together into sets commonly known as hands. There are so many different variations of poker that it is difficult to go into to much detail when discussing poker in general. If your looking to learn how to play a particular poker variation check the other poker courses offered.
A hand of poker is won by the player with the highest-ranking hand among the players who are still in the game at the end of the betting. The goal of playing poker isn't simply to win a lot of hands. The goal it's to win as much money as possible! Over a series of many deals, successful players will be ones who maximize their winnings on the deals they win while minimizing their losses on the deals they lose.
The highest-ranking hand in poker is five cards of the same value or five of a kind. However, a five of a kind is only possible in a game with wild cards. The highest-ranking hand in a poker game without wild cards is the straight flush. The hand rankings from highest to lowest are as follows; five of a kind, straight flush, four of a kind, full house, flush, three of a kind, two pair, one pair, high card. When two hands are of the same rank, the tiebreak depends on the type of hand. For a detailed description of each hand see Poker 112: Poker Hands.
For straight flushes, flushes, straights, and nothing, the hand containing the highest card wins. Thus, the straight Q-J-10-9-8 beats the straight J-10-9-8-7. It would also beat 5-4-3-2-A, because the ace is being used as a low card in this case. If there is a tie between high cards, the second-highest cards are compared, and so on downward, until one card is higher than another. For example, the flush A-10-4-3-2 beats the flush A-9-8-7-6 because the 10 is higher than the 9. If all five cards are identical except for suit, the hands are equal and the pot is shared equally between the winning players. For example, a royal flush in spades would tie with a royal flush in diamonds.
For four of a kind and three of a kind, the hand with the higher ranking matched set wins; 7-7-7-3-2 beats 6-6-6-A-K because sevens are higher than sixes. Unmatched cards matter only if the sets are equal; K-K-J-3-2 beats K-K-9-8-7 because the jack beats the 9.
For full houses, the highest three of a kind determines the winner. If the three of a kinds have the same rank then the higher pair wins, otherwise the ranks of the pairs are ignored. For two pair and pair, the hand with the highest pair wins.

How To Play Slot Machines

Lesson 1: Slot Machine Basics and Strategies
There is at least one slot machine for every eight people living in Las Vegas. They tend to take up the majority of the floor space in your average casino.

So what's all the hype about? Well, in 2004 a lucky software engineer from Los Angeles won $38.7 million on a single spin of the reels. How's that for incentive?

There are many different kinds of slot machines, single-line slots, multi-line slots, progressive slots, video slots, and online slots to name a few. They all work on the same principle.

RNGs and Payback Percentages

Each slot machine is governed by an RNG or Random Number Generator, which determines the combination of symbols that you see when you spin. This combination of symbols is based solely on math and is predetermined as soon as you hit the Spin button or pull the Arm. It has nothing to do with how often you spin, how much (or how little) has been paid out, if it's your birthday, if you use a player's card, or any other condition you can control.

So if slots are random, how do you play slot machines and win? The hard truth is; there's no way to guarantee consistent winning when playing slots. However, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of winning. It all starts with understanding how slots work.

Each slot machine has a predetermined payback percentage. The average payback is around 90%. What does this mean? A machine that has a 90% payback rate will return 90% of players' money throughout the life of the machine.
If 10 million dollars are played on this slot machine over several years, you could expect it to payback 9 million dollars over this period. This does not mean that every time you sit down at the machine it will return 90% of your money. If you've ever played slots before you'll know this isn't what happens. Most of the payback occurs when the big jackpot combinations are spun.

Maximizing Your Chances of Winning

Payback percentages typically vary anywhere between 80% and 98%. The higher the payback percentage the better chance of return you have. Unfortunately casinos don't post the payback for each machine.

The good news is that there are ways to find these high payback machines, known as "loose" slot machines.

1. Try Machines in High Traffic Areas

Casinos like people to see winners. For this reason the higher payback machines tend to be located in higher traffic areas such as near aisles, cashiers, and restaurants.

2. Play Higher Denomination Slots

If you have the bankroll, higher denomination machines tend to have higher payback percentages than low denomination penny slot machines. If you're looking for a higher payback you'll have better luck trying dollar machines than nickel machines.

3. Avoid Progressive Slots

You should also avoid progressive slots if you want to play slots with higher payback percentages. It's true that you aren't going to win millions on one spin at non-progressive slots, but these machines have a much higher payback in the short run. In general, machines with smaller jackpots payout more often.

4. Play Progressive Slots

Wait?! Didn't I just tell you to avoid progressive slots? Yes, I did. But there's an exception with online slots. More specifically, the Random Progressive Slots at Winpalace Casino. Their slots have good-sized jackpots (sometimes $20,000+) that hit randomly.

Here's the key though: You can qualify for the progressive regardless of how much you're betting per spin. That means on a 20-line machine, you can play as little as $0.01/spin and hit the jackpot. I like to play at least $0.20 per spin on these in order to have a better chance of hitting free spins or a bonus round. But either way, that makes those progressives well worth playing and affordable for any budget.

5. Read and Understand the Payscale

All right, so now we know where the looser slot machines are located, but don't just down and start spinning those reels. Make sure you read the slot machine instructions before you start to play. Even machines that look the same may have different play rules. Many machines pay special bonus jackpots when you play the maximum coins. Standard slot machines will often allow you to play 1 to 3 coins at a time. A machine may pay different level jackpots for a good combination like "777". For example it may pay 100 coins for a 1-coin bet, 200 coins for a 2-coin bet, and 500 coins for a 3-coin bet. If you were playing this slot you would always want to play the maximum 3-coin bet. When in doubt always play the maximum bet.

6. Take Advantage of Comps

 Remember, even if you're playing low denomination slots, you're still a valuable player to the casino. That means you need to take full advanage of all the free stuff you can get. Comps are complimentary (free!) items like food, giveaways, and rooms, given to players as an incentive to play at that casino. You can earn tons of comp points while playing slots, regardless of whether you're winning or losing. Before you start playing slots, make sure you sign up for a player's card with the casino and always use it when you're playing.

7. Know When to Move On

At most casinos you will find a large variety of different types of slot machines, both in denominate and play. Your choices may run the gambit anywhere from penny video slots to high stakes slots. Which one you decide to play is ultimately up to you, but remember to move on if you're not having any success. Sometimes all it takes is a new machine to turn your luck around.

How To Play Roulette

esson 1: The Basics
Roulette is not a very difficult game to learn how to play and it can be very fun and rewarding. In roulette the players play against the house by betting on the outcome of colored numbers on a wheel. The casino is represented by a croupier, also known as the dealer or banker, who spins the roulette wheel and handles all wagers and payouts. After you place your bets, the dealer spins a small white ball in the opposite direction of the turning wheel. When the ball comes to rest in one of the slots, the dealer will call out the winning number and settle all bets. To win at roulette a player must predict where the ball will land at the end of each spin.
The roulette wheel itself has 37 or 38 numbered slots, numbered 1 through 36, zero, and sometimes double zero. The double zero is only on American roulette wheels. Even numbers are colored red and odd numbers are colored black. Zero and double zero sections are green. The house advantage is 2.7% for single zero tables (European wheel) and 5.26% for double zero tables (American wheel).
A roulette table usually accommodates 6 to 8 players at one time. Each player is assigned a different color chip to place bets with. This is done to keep track of which player is placing each bet. When you initially put down your money the croupier will give you a corresponding number of chips in one color. Each colored chip represents one betting unit for the denomination roulette table you are playing on. If the table is a $1 table then each chip in worth $1. When you win you will be paid in colored chips until you are ready to collect your winnings and move on.
If you're just passing through and you want to place a quick bet on a certain number or on one of the other areas of the layout, you don't have to ask the croupier for a color. It is perfectly acceptable to put the house's chips, or even cash, down on the layout. If you win you will be paid in casino chips. However, if you're planning to play awhile it's best to sit down and get a color.
There are several different bets in roulette. There are bets on individual numbers or groupings of numbers, called "inside bets". There are also more general bets on large sets of numbers, called "outside bets". These are discussed in more detail in the next lessons.
As you play you will need to meet the posted minimum bet requirement. If the minimum bet is one dollar and you are playing 25-cent chips you need to play at least four chips bringing your total bet to $1. Many tables separate the outside from the inside when meeting the minimum bet requirements which means you are not allowed to split the minimum bet between the inside and outside betting areas. If you chose to play both you must meet the minimum both inside and outside. For example, on a $1 minimum table you must play at least $2 if you want to play both the inside and the outside betting areas, at least $1 inside and at least $1 outside. Also, each individual outside bet must usually meet the minimum requirement. If you want to bet on Even and Red you must bet at least $1 on each bet.
Players place their bets on the roulette table themselves before each spin. A few moments after the croupier starts the spin the ball will begin to drop. At this point he will call "no more bets" and wave his hand across the table. No more bets can be placed and the bets on the table cannot be changed in any way. If you try to touch your bet after this point the croupier will not be very happy with you.
When the ball drops onto a number the croupier will place a plastic marker on the winning number on the roulette table, collect losing bets and pay winning bets. You must wait until the croupier removes the plastic marker before picking up any winnings or placing the next bet. Not being patient and waiting is another good way to get on the croupier's bad side. Roulette tends to be much slower paced than most casino games.
Always remember that roulette play is completely random and has nothing to do with any previous spin outcomes. Just because red came up the previous six times doesn't mean black is "due" to come up. The roulette wheel is completely unbiased, has no memory, and no target payout percentage.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Best Ways to Win on Slot Machines

Are you a slot gaming fan but do not win enough? What can you do to turn the situation in your favor? Try the tips that we have for you and you will be on your way to winning huge amounts.

Set a maximum betting limit for yourself. While this does not let you win, it does ensure that you do not lose money unnecessarily. Once you reach this limit, you should stop playing. The next time that you play, try choosing a different machine or a varying betting style.
Play a game that offers huge bonuses and promotions, because they can make a significant contribution to the overall amounts that you earn.
You win a jackpot only if you place a bet with maximum coins and if the symbols line up. The latter of this can happen anytime, but until your bet comprises of maximum coins, you would not win the jackpots.
Winning chances with smaller jackpots are much better than large ones. The bigger jackpots may seem very impressive, but you would be able to win them only seldom. The smaller jackpots can be won often and the overall earnings can be quite impressive.
If you really want to win big, opt for those slot machines that have higher denominations because they usually have better payout rates. Do this only if you can afford it, otherwise, just try your luck with the smaller denomination slot machines.
Thoroughly go through the rules of your chosen slot game. This would provide you with information on bonuses and winning combinations.
There are many winning strategies for slot games, despite the fact that these games require luck. Learn more about them and utilize them to improve your chances.
Participate in slot tournaments so that you can win better prizes.

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Online Casino Games Information

About Online Casino Games
The online casino industry was born in the mid 1990s with the rise of the Internet. Gambling – taking risks – is a natural human instinct, and many of us love to play. This fact is proven by the epic success of online casinos the world over; online gambling is now a multi-billion dollar industry.
People love it for many different reasons. Gambling is fun and exciting, and being able to play online from the comfort of your own home gives easy access to that entertainment, where you'd otherwise have to travel many thousands of miles to indulge in it.
Beyond the sheer pleasure of playing, there's the mysterious lure of wealth and prestige that go hand and hand with online casinos. Playing online is as real and as rewarding as playing in a land-based casino. Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker having only ever played poker online, and the payouts in online progressive slots and Bingo are some of the highest in the world, with the current record online Jackpot being close on $8 million.
Playing at an online casino is in some cases even better than the real thing. You get to place your bets and chat to interesting new friends, but without the cheesy music or the cigar smoke being blown in your face.
Here are some of the kinds of online casino games you can expect to find.
Slot machines at online casinos work exactly as you've experienced them in the real world. You place a bet and pull a virtual lever, and a number of drums spin around.
When they come to rest, the images on them line up, and different configurations of images result in different prize payouts. What's really exciting about playing slots online is that the progressive jackpots get insanely high, routinely reaching the millions.
Learn more about slots »
Video Poker
The aim of a game of video poker is to assemble the most powerful poker hand possible. You place a bet, and the machine deals you five cards.
If you like the look of any of them, you press buttons under them to hold them. The computer ditches the cards you didn't keep and gives you new ones – and that's your final hand.
If it's any kind of decent poker hand at all, the computer pays out at odds that get increasingly higher the better the hand is – low for a pair, huge for a straight flush.
Learn more about video poker »
This is a classic table game that originates somewhere in Europe. The object of the game is to draw playing cards whose face value adds up to – or as close to as possible – 21. All royal cards are worth 10, and the Ace is worth 11 or 1, it's up to you.
You get two cards, and you may call for more until you go bust or decide to stick. Then the dealer plays, continuing to draw cards until they hit 17 or go bust. If you win, you get paid out at 1:1 odds.
Learn more about blackjack »
This game is often referred to as the King of Casino Games, and is based on pure chance. The game has a wheel with numbered slots on its inside ring, coloured red or black. You place your bet on what number you think will come up – or if you're just beginning, what colour.
The dealer spins the wheel and drops a silver ball into the wheel, which bounces around as the wheel slows down until it comes to rest in one of the slots – and that's the winning number. If it's the one you chose, you win big.
Learn more about roulette »
In a game of craps, you roll a pair of dice trying to hit a 7 or an 11 to win while you and your friends place bets about whether you'll succeed or not. Rolling a 2, 3 or 12 is Craps and you lose the round. Rolling anything takes the game to a second round.
Interestingly, bets are paid out at odds based on whether you correctly predicted the roll, not whether you were successful in making it. It's fast, fun and very social game.
Learn more about craps »
The technical object of the exclusive game of Baccarat is to draw a card hand whose face value is as close to 9 as possible. You draw two cards and add their value – if it's 10 or higher the first digit is disregarded, and you play this game against the dealer.
Like Craps, the winner is not determined by who actually has the better hand. Rather, you place your bet on who you think will win a round: you or the dealer. If you guessed right, you win and get paid out at odds – even if you lose the hand.

Slots Info & Guide

Introduction to Slots
Slot Machines are the most games at any casino. Everyone knows and loves the slots. Slots have been around for years and have undergone huge changes with a lot more electronic equipment being used in them over the years.
Slots start off with the three-wheel versions that have a simple single pay line and three spinning reels. These are generally the highest-paying, and best to win, but they do lack some of the extra features that the 5 and more reel machines are coming with these days.
Online slots are just as much fun as real life slots, with some of the online slots being more realistic then some of the electronic versions that are available in the casinos today.
Slots Rules
Slot Machines are the most games at any casino. Everyone knows and loves the slots. Slots have been around for years and have undergone huge changes with a lot more electronic equipment being used in them over the years.
Slots start off with the three-wheel versions that have a simple single pay line and three spinning reels. These are generally the highest-paying, and best to win, but they do lack some of the extra features that the 5 and more reel machines are coming with these days.
Online slots are just as much fun as real life slots, with some of the online slots being more realistic then some of the electronic versions that are available in the casinos today.

Roulette Info & Guide

Introduction to Roulette
Roulette came to casinos from France where the game started, and spread throughout Europe. Roulette is a fun game to play and is easy to learn. In its most basic form, all you have to do is bet on the numbers.
Roulette comes as either European Roulette (the original version) or American Roulette (which has an additional "00" on the wheel). Both games are played exactly the same way, with the 00 in American roulette being the only difference between the two.
Roulette is popular because it has some of the highest payouts of any casino game. Roulette is the only game that pays out at up to 35:1 for a single bet!
Roulette Rules
When betting is open, players can place bets on any of the numbers on the board including the 0 and 00, as well as being able to bet on doubles (two numbers side-by-side), corners (a corner of four numbers together), rows (a row of three numbers across the board) and sixes (two joining rows of three numbers). Players can also place Outside bets. These bets are Red/Black, Odd/Even, High (1-18/Low (19-36), dozens (1-12, 13-24, 25-36) and columns (columns of twelve numbers).
Once all of the best have been placed, the croupier spins the wheel and releases the white ball in the opposite direction to the way the wheel is spinning. When the ball drops into one of the numbers slots, the game is finished.   The croupier takes away all of the loosing bets, and then pays out all of the winning bets. After this, the game is open for the next round of betting.

No Deposit Bonuses - Free Money Bonuses

Ever since the early 2000s it's been common practice for an online casino to offer their players bonuses, both for spending money playing at their casinos, and for signing up in the first place. While these bonuses were initially a marketing leverage, the have become standardised, and players now expect them.
The most common type of bonus out there is the Match Bonus, typically granted for signing up a new account and depositing money into it. The online casino matches the dollar value of your deposit, effectively doubling your starting bankroll, and this can be a very powerful attractor to new players.
But what if you're interested in playing at a new online casino, you've tested their freebie website games, but you're not sure enough about how they work to actually deposit cash with them? To draw on this market, and turn tourists into customers, online casinos began offering No Deposit Bonuses.
But isn't that Free money?
It really is. The casino is giving you a stack of cash, on the house, so that you can engage in play at any one of their premium games and see for yourself what it's all about.
The online casino's expectation behind the No Deposit Bonus is that the experience of playing their games using real money will be enough of a draw to get you to add real money to your account once you've blown through the free stack they give you.
But isn't that just a ploy then?
Not at all – because in nearly every case the casino will let you keep your winnings if you strike it lucky while playing with the free No Deposit Bonus money. Realistically, though, the online casino usually does attach a few caveats to the free money to encourage you to play, but they aren't the sort of strings that necessarily cost you money.
The most common structure for this kind of bonus places either time limit in which you must spend it, usually an hour. Another is to set a minimum number of bets you must place with it in order to qualify to either keep the change (free money) or the winnings it generates (really free money).
This bonus goes by a number of names; if you're looking for online casinos that offer it, you might also encounter it being called a “Free Play Bonus” or a “Free Spin Bonus.” Remember to read through the terms associated with the No Deposit Bonus to understand how that particular online casino implements it.
Example of a No Deposit Bonus
Suppose that you sign up at a new online casino that offers a No Deposit Bonus of $500. You read the terms and conditions, and they state that you need to place 100 bets inside of an hour.
You decide to go for it – what have you got to lose? You choose to play a brand new Slots, and since you're feeling reckless you wager $5 per spin.
You have a great time blowing through the free money, and in the process learn a lot about how the slots game works. And on your last spin, with minutes remaining, 3 cherries come up ...

Online Casino Tips

Below you'll find online casino tips which will hopefully be of some help to you in your online casino gaming.
  • Always remember to claim every deposit bonus that you can. You'll get some easily, and others not quite so easily, but unless you clam them, you'll never be in the running to get them.
  • Whenever possible, play European Roulette instead of American roulette because the additional "00" in American Roulette almost doubles the house edge compared to European Roulette.
  • Don't ever take insurance bets in Blackjack because the odds of winning these are more then twice the house odds of other bets and you're just throwing away your money.
  • Don't keep any cards in a video poker hand that does not have anything that pays out. The worst you can do is get another five cards that don't pay out, and you're just as well off as you were before.
  • The longer you play, the more chance the casino has of winning. Casinos always have the long-term advantage, so quit while you're ahead.
  • Take your time! One of the biggest advantages of online casinos is that there is no time limit and no one rushing you to make a decision, so sit back take your time and really think about what you are going to bet on.
  • Make sure that the casino that you choose has 24/7 live help available. You may never need it, but if you do, you'll be thankful that it's there.
  • Don't chase after losses. Make sure you set a budget and stick to it!
  • Make sure that you see gambling of any sort as entertainment and not a sport or a way of life.
  • You will almost always play in a different way when you play play-money games and when you play real-money games. Remember that no matter what you are playing for, the games are the same and the odds don't change.
  • When you win a bit, put that away and save it for later.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

GTA V sets 7 world records

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Before GTA V was released everyone knew it was going to be a massive hit. So far every game in the series since GTA III has been a big deal on consoles and PC. But GTA V really was a massive success, and has already set not one, but seven world records.
Confirmation of the world records comes from the only source that really counts: the Guinness World Records. Six of those records relate to sales, the seventh is related to the game’s trailer being viewed. Here’s the full list of which records GTA V now holds:
Best-selling action-adventure video game in 24 hours
Best-selling video game in 24 hours
Fastest entertainment property to gross $1 billion
Fastest video game to gross $1 billion
Highest grossing video game in 24 hours
Highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours
Most viewed trailer for an action-adventure video game
Those records were achieved by managing to sell 11.21 million copies of the game in the first 24 hours. That equates to revenue of over $815 million in the first day, increasing to over $1 billion by day three. Such massive sales and revenue hasn’t just knocked games off the world record list, it’s also affected movies.GTA V has surpassed Call of Duty, Avatar, and The Avengers in its quick rise to the top spot.
Will GTA V retain those records for a long time? Well, there’s a new multi-format Call of Duty game on the horizon, but I doubt that will achieve the same highs of previous titles. Avatar 2 isn’t arriving until 2016, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron won’t release until 2015. Is there any other movies or games that could potentially beat GTA V’s figures? Gran Turismo 6 is going to be popular, but then it’s limited to a PS3 release.

Five great games like Minecraft

Minecraft may be the most popular game to have ever come from the voxel-based genre that it invented, but it is far from the only game out there offering block-building fun. Whether you’ve grown tired of running red stone throughout your house for lighting or you’ve decided you’ll never be as creative as the people who replicated Game of Thrones on their Minecraft server, there are plenty of options available to you if you’re looking for a change of pace.
We took a look at some of the lesser known but still incredibly fun games like Minecraft, and broke it down for you to check out for yourself.
Games like Minecraft

Synthetic World

The open world feel to Minecraft is part of what makes it so much fun to play. Knowing that you could wander for days and create an entire world if you had the time is what keeps skilled creators playing day after day. Voxel games like Synthetic Worldby StaudSoft, which add an whole new layer of realism to this style of game was bound to happen eventually.
Synthetic World is an open environment game with build rules that are vaguely similar to Minecraft. You have a base inventory on the bottom of the screen, and you use that in constructing objects all around you. Just like Minecraft, you can cut down trees and change the landscape to suit your needs. Where the big difference comes in for first time players will be the look of the game itself. Unlike the blocky MinecraftSynthetic World has rather realistic textures and landscapes. On top of this, the shadows and lighting are all incredibly realistic compared to the more popular Minecraft.
You can find Synthetic World on IndieDB on for Windows and Linux, as well as a forum for users to submit bug reports and feature requests. Synthetic World is described by the creator as a0.1 release currently, but the game is already very interesting and visually appealing.


FortressCraft may look a lot like Minecraft, but it’s only available on the Xbox 360, and supports multiplayer via Xbox Live. It ditches the 8-bit pixelated textures for smooth surfaces, and while the objects, blocks, and buildings still have that familiar blocky appeal, they’re more detailed when you’re close to them.
FortressCraft was built by ProjectorGames, and has many of the same elements that Minecraft does: you can build anything, harvest resources from a huge, open world, set up a home for yourself, deck it out in items that you’ve created or objects you’ve encountered, and of course, battle enemies bent on taking your resources.
FortressCraft - 001
FortressCraft is available for 80 Microsoft Points, or the equivalent of $1. Though MineCraft is now available on the Xbox 360, FortressCraft provides a cheaper alternative.

First eight Dragon Quest games being ported to Android, iOS

Square Enix has surprised gamers today by announcing that it is set to port and re-release the first eight games in the mainDragon Quest series for mobile devices. So Dragon QuestDragon Quest IIDragon Quest IIIDragon Quest IVDragon Quest V,Dragon Quest VIDragon Quest VII, and Dragon Quest VIII will all be getting a mobile outing for both Android and iOS devices.
So far the ports are only confirmed as heading to Japan, but it seems likely Square Enix will release English versions of the games in other territories. Why wouldn’t they? A lot of the translation work has already been done from previous releases of the games.
It’s not just the main Dragon Quest series that is heading to mobile devices, though. Square Enix has also announced Dragon Quest Monsters: Super Light is in development for iOS andAndroid. Monsters is a spin off series of Dragon Quest, which sees the focus put on capturing and breeding monsters that are then used by the player to fight.
This decision by Square Enix to port so many of the games from a key series demonstrates the growing importance of mobile to game developers/publishers. Where as before we’d expect Dragon Quest releases on dedicated games consoles and handheld devices, now the focus is switching to smartphones and tablets. Sure, these are old games, but Square Enix wouldn’t spend the time re-releasing them if it didn’t think there was a healthy profit to be made.
The latest title in the Dragon Quest series–Dragon Quest X hasn’t seen a release outside of Japan on either of its launch platforms: the Wii and Wii U. And that seems unlikely to happen now as Square Enix has turned its focus to getting the game running on a tablet instead. That combined with the publisher’s new focus on free-to-play could mean the next new game developed in theDragon Quest series may end up appearing on mobile devices first.

GTA V’s beautiful in-game world captured in time-lapse

The scale and beauty of modern video games is staggering when you look at the state of things just a few years ago. There is more to see in these virtual worlds than ever before, and this video from YouTube’s The Despicable Channel illustrates that fact perfectly. It’s a time-lapse montage created from photos of various landscapes and streets, but none of it is real — it was all captured in Grand Theft Auto V.
It took a full day to assemble from raw footage of the game, but it looks remarkably realistic. Rockstar should probably take as much credit for that as The Despicable Channel — you would think a time-lapse of a video game would expose some repetitiveness or flaws in the engine, but it looks remarkably normal. You might even think for a moment that the video is real as it starts.
There are so many little details that Rockstar got right in this game,that you might never take note of watching it play out at normal speed. Look at the way people walk around, for example. They don’t follow the same paths or stop in the same places. The waves are also believable and non-repetitive as the tides ebb and flow. The wind even vibrates the power lines in GTA V.
The hardware running GTA V is nearly a decade old right now. If a dedicated developer can make a huge game that looks this real now, what’s going to happen with next generation gaming hardware in the PS4 and Xbox One?

Nintendo so angry about Pokemon X leaking they flew someone out to get it back

On October 12 Nintendo is set to release Pokemon X andPokemon Y for the 3DS worldwide. The reason for the worldwide launch is to stop any game spoiling leaks happening, imports from being necessary, and the inevitable slew of images and videos appearing on the web before everyone can play it.
A worldwide launch certainly helps, but the game still managed to leak last week. One gamer in particular, known only by his Instagram name of kosthedin, has been sharing images and videos of Pokemon X regularly. However, that all stopped yesterday as Nintendo took action.
They figured out where the copy of the game had been leaked from–it turns out a game shop had received stock of the title and someone who worked there had sold it to a friend. That friend being kosthedin. Nintendo was clearly angry over this leak, so they flew someone out to the store to reclaim the game. Kosthedin found out about this and decided to hand the game back so his friend could keep his job. It’s unclear whether that was enough to save his job, though.
To have Nintendo fly someone out to a local game store to recover a game shows you how serious they are about this worldwide launch. Kosthedin also states that “heads were rolling” internally at Nintendo, which he heard directly from the Nintendo rep. I’d imagine that’s because someone shipped the games out too early, and I can’t believe this is the only copy of the game that has slipped through the cracks.

Watch Dogs on PC requires a quad-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 64-bit Windows

One of the key launch games for the next-gen consoles this November is the open world shooter Watch Dogs. But Ubisoft isn’t just bringing the game to consoles. PC gamers get the chance to experience it too.
As ever, PC hardware isn’t a set platform, so Ubisoft had to figure out what the minimum spec would be to run the game. And you won’t be surprised to find it’s relatively high compared to some other games we’ve seen announcing specs recently.
At a minimum you are going to need a quad core processor, 4GB of RAM, a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card with at least 1GB of video RAM, and 20GB of hard drive space. If you’re running a 32-bit operating system then you will need to upgrade as Watch Dogs only “officially” supports 64-bit versions  of Windows.
As an example of a minimum spec, Ubisoft gives the following example:
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q660 or AMD Phenom X4 9750
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD 5770
  • 4GB RAM
  • 20GB hard drive space
  • 64-bit Windows Vista (SP2), Windows 7 (SP1), or Windows 8
That’s the minimum spec taken care of, but if you want to run this with all the settings turned up to maximum you’re going to need some better-performing components. Ubisoft recommends the following to play the game as they intended:
  • Intel Core i7-3990K or AMD FX-9370 8-core
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 or AMD Radeon HD 7990
  • 8GB RAM or more
Watch Dogs is set for release for PC on November 19, giving you about six weeks to get your rig up to spec. If you’re thinking about upgrading your PC anyway, and money isn’t really a concern, maybe consider buying yourself a Nvidia GeForce GTX Battlebox to play the game on.

Nvidia awards top gaming PCs with GeForce GTX Battlebox seal of approval

If you’re looking to invest in a new gaming rig in time for the holidays, Nvidia has decided to make sure you can select a PC that has its seal of approval by branding select systems as GeForce GTX Battleboxes.
That’s right, GeForce GTX Battlebox is now a thing manufacturers will be vying to get added to their top-of-the-line PCs. Nvidia saysit has decided to implement this program because of all the great games that are coming to PC in the near future that benefit from having all their settings turned up to 11.
Key titles mentioned include Watch DogsBatman: Arkham Origins,Call of Duty: GhostsSplinter Cel: Blacklist, and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
So far four system builder brands have managed to achieve GeForce GTX Battlebox status. They are: Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and Origin PCs. Others will surely follow.
In order to qualify, a PC has to use either a GeForce GTX 780 or Titan graphics cards in 2- or 3-way SLI configurations. The processor has to be an overclocked Intel Haswell Core i5 or i7 chip, DDR3 memory (16GB or 32GB) and a fast SSD storage solution must also be in use. Not only does this ensure you can play the games as the developers intended, but both Nvidia and the system builders can claim GeForce GTX Battleboxes are “4K ready.”
As you’d expect, these systems will not be cheap (think $2,000 to $3,000), but then again if you are looking to purchase the ultimate gaming rig the Battlebox seal of approval is guaranteeing you a seriously powerful machine. It just comes at a premium price, probably with part of that premium being applied because it is a Battlebox.

Valve has 47 people working on Half-Life 3

Last week saw Valve release three official bits of news relating to the future of where it saw gaming on the PC. They includedSteam OS, Steam Machines, and a Steam Controller. Such news may excite some, but it’s the unofficial news coming out of Valve this week that’s really grabbing people’s attention.
Yesterday it was revealed that Valve had filed for the Half-Life 3trademark–you know, that game just about every gamer has wanted to exist since they finished playing the second game in the series launched back in 2004. However, a trademark on its own doesn’t mean much, but an internal software leak at Valve has confirmed Half-Life 3 is most definitely in development.
There’s a piece of software Valve uses internally called the Valve User Picker. It is used for project management and bug tracking, and splits employees into their active teams. It is not publicly accessible, but someone managed to gain access to it yesterday and revealed not one, but two Half-Life 3 teams.
The first of those is called Half Life 3 Core and consists of 10 people. The second is simply called Half-Life 3 and has 46 people listed. So in total, Valve has 56 people 47 people counting overlaps working on the game right now. It seems likely the Core team is focusing more on actually getting the game up and running as well as finalizing the (core) gameplay and story line. Interestingly, the first name listed on both team’s pages is Adam Foster, who produced the Minerva mod for Half-Life 2. As for what the other team is doing, I’d guess most of them are on content creation duties . So level modeling, character modeling, texturing, and scripting the levels in their basic form.
There’s no clues given as to how far along the project is, and I’d suggest 47 people is still a pretty small team. Valve is either taking its time with a small team, or has yet to ramp up to full production on the project just yet.

How to play Grand Theft Auto Online today

Today is the day that Rockstar flips the switch, turns all the servers on, and allows GTA V players to start enjoying Grand Theft Auto Online. But how exactly do you gain access to the online world?
Rockstar says that access to GTA Online will be decided based on where you are in the world. But for simplicity, GTA Online became available to play at 7am EST this morning, so if you are in the US and reading this, it’s already available. Logging in, however, requires you first download and install a software update (about 60MB).
Both PS3 and Xbox 360 owners should see this software update appear for download. Once installed, GTA Online will appear as a menu option in GTA V. Selecting that, and then selecting the bottom slot on your GTA V character wheel, will connect you to the online world.
Of course, how successful you are at managing to connect depends on how well Rockstar’s servers are coping with demand. The developer has already warned players they expect teething problems initially as they have never done this before. So if your connection fails, or the game is unplayable due to lag, it’s going to be best if you log out and try again later. Frustrating, yes, but there’s not much you can do about it.
As for what to expect once you are playing the game, we’ll start with the story. It’s actually set a few months before the storyline followed in the core GTA V single player experience. So there won’t be any overlap, at least initially. Content updates may change that in the future.
Rockstar has also come up with solutions on how to manage millions of potential players and all that violence in a finite-sized world. For example, you may end up owning the exact same property as another player. But that’s a planned feature. You will just see a different instance of the property and it will remain just yours.
GTA Online is also aimed at up to 16 players working together, so it seems likely you will want to invite friends over to your house. In order to avoid any possessions being stolen or violence happening, accepting an invite to visit a property blocks any stealing or violence while you are there. So all parties know they and their possessions are safe.
A big area of concern for players is the use of real money in the game. Rockstar announced last week that you will be able topurchase cash cards containing GTA$ using real-world money in stores. However, Rockstar has limited the usefulness of such quick cash by ensuring access to goods goes hand-in-hand with Reputation Points. If you have a low reputation, you will only be able to purchase a small subset of the available products the game offers. And to up your reputation you need to play the game, not spend a lot of cash. You can’t cheat the system if you’re rich.
Finally, there’s jobs. The gameplay and fun comes from carrying out jobs, and therefore Rockstar has included a lot of them to keep you busy. However, it has also been revealed that they intend to add the ability for content creation by players, meaning in the near future you will be able to create your own jobs. For example, custom races and deathmatches.
As this is day one, the main tasks for players are going to be installing the software update, managing to connect to Rockstar’s servers, and creating your character. If you get that far then I think you’re doing well, and hopefully by the weekend millions of players will be keeping the servers humming and teaming up to carry out jobs.

Star Fox mod fits perfectly into Team Fortress 2

Star Fortress
If there has ever been a character known for being extremely annoying and unlovable, it’s Slippy Toad from Star Fox. If there has ever been a cast of characters more beloved than the lovable goofballs from Team Fortress 2, then we haven’t seen it. While Slippy Toad may ever join the ranks of cartoon-smooth men, Star Fox and Team Fortress 2 have met in an unlikely mod available on Steam.
The mod, created by Steam user NarryGewman, is currently in a pre-alpha stage, so as you can see by the video below, it’s missing a lot of little nuances that really make a mod soar, such as an environment and details.
So far, it appears as though the mod simply allows you to fly and shoot in a sparsely populated map, though the players do seem to have individualized jet streams. Similar to the PS3′s Starhawk, this mod puts the Arwing and TF2 character models on the same map, allowing the ships to speed by the humans.
If you think the pre-alpha stage looks a little rough, don’t worry, as NarryGewman noted that the mod “will be optimized and stuff.” As for a Star Fortress release timetable, Gewman notes it’s “coming whenever it’s finished,” so you can expect a swift release, and full of optimizations at that.
Though there isn’t much detail on the mod, the version does look fun, and if the human characters get anti-air weapons, the mod could take off. Maybe we’ll even get Slippy Toad wielding the Heavy’s minigun at some point.

Rockstar confirms Grand Theft Auto Online lets you buy cash for instant gratification

Rockstar has posted an update regarding the upcoming launch ofGrand Theft Auto Online and what players can expect to experience from day one. There will be plenty of content to keep you busy, but also a warning about overloaded servers and the inherent issues and bugs that come with the launch of any online game.
Rockstar has also confirmed a feature that was hinted at earlier this week in an XML document related to the game. Grand Theft Auto Online will contain microtransactions and the ability to use real-world money to buy in-game cash.
The suggestion that Rockstar was going to do this didn’t exactly get a positive response from the gaming community. However, Rockstar has been quick to point out that you do not need to purchase GTA$ in order to enjoy the game. It is balanced in terms of the economy and gameplay design to never require you to purchase cash. You can make all you need from doing jobs, winning races, and stealing to name but a few ways to generate GTA$.
If that’s the case then why include the ability to purchase cash at all? Rockstar says the microtransactions are there to allow players to “attain the cars, guns, clothes, flash and style of a high-roller in Los Santos” all the more quickly. It’s a shortcut. They also point out that generating cash in GTA Online will happen much more quickly than it currently does in GTA V.
I don’t think it matters how much reassurance Rockstar offers that you don’t need to buy cash to enjoy the game. It is there to generate more real-world cash for the company, and therefore it is expected to be used by at least a subset of the people playing the game. There’s surely also going to be a certain amount of pressure to spend if you are working in a team with other players and could really do with a better gun, car, or whatever else in order to be more useful during missions.

GTA hack reveals Google Glass’ true gaming potential

If you could take the HUD from your favorite game and move it to just inside your peripheral vision on Google Glass, would you do it?
Google has been spending a lot of time recently working on explaining how Glass could be useful to the average user. Sure, you can check your email and social networks, and you’ve got an OK camera at eye level that could be capable of taking a photo faster than you could pull your phone out of your pocket, but for many that’s not enough. We know that native Glassware apps are on the way, which will help a great deal with these explanations of value. It seems likely that the biggest untapped market for Glass is to behave as a second screen for the things going on when watching TV or playing games. One Glass developer took matters into his own hands — he fired up a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3, and decided to try something new with his wearable tech.
Mike DiGiovanni is no stranger to writing native apps for Glass. Mike is the developer who first figured out how to let Glass users take a photo with a blink, and has been working hard on other apps ever since. This latest concept pulls the map from GTA 3and places it on Glass as a head-up display. It’s not ready forGTA V just yet, but the concept is incredibly cool.
Right now the app keeps the display on the whole time you play, so Glass’ battery life becomes a concern. DiGiovanni explained that if the app were to behave more like the current GPS system, where it wakes the display when something important happens, battery life would be significantly longer.
So, how about it? Would you slide Glass on when sitting down to a gaming session? If you could use Glass as the motion tracker inHalo, or even as just the ammo counter in your FPS of choice, it’d be a whole new level of interaction for most users.

EA will shut down Warhammer Online on December 18

World of Warcraft continues to be the most popular MMO on the market, and that’s despite losing over a million players this year. Other games have appeared carrying popular names includingStar WarsLord of the Rings, and Warhammer Online. They didn’t do so great as subscription MMOs, so made the switch to a free-to-play model. That may still be working for some high-profile online games, but for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning the end is now in sight.
On December 18 the servers for Warhammer Online will beturned off after five years of service. At its peak the game counted 800,000 subscribers and 1.2 million copies sold, but less than a year after launch that number had dwindled below 300,000 subscribers and continued to fall. Switching to F2P gave the game a lifeline, but clearly only short term.
The decision to shut down the MMO came when it was time to sign a new agreement between Mythic and Games Workshop. Both companies decided not to continue the relationship, and therefore the game can no longer be offered to players. EA has already started taking action by turning off subscription auto renewals and removing three-month subscription codes. Hopefully some kind of world event will be held in December for the remaining players to experience before everything goes dark.
There won’t exactly be a lot for EA and Mythic to actually shut down on December 18. The initial 76 servers the game had at launch in 2008 were reduced to just 13 in 2009, with that total continuing to fall to just 3 by December 2011.

Three men face year in jail after posing as cops to cut in line for GTA V

If you happened to be out around midnight on Monday evening/Tuesday morning you may have noticed long lines of people outside game retailers. It was of course GTA V launch day, and while many gamers went home happy with the game in hand, one got stabbed, and now three more are going to be prosecuted due to their initially successful attempt to cut the lines completely.
Frank Santanastaso, Matthew Kirsheh, and Kirolos Abdel Sayed came up with what they thought was a brilliant plan to purchaseGTA V as early as possible. They dressed up as cops and turned up at the Staten Island Mall in an exact replica unmarked police vehicle they had apparently acquired at a police auction. It was even outfitted with flashing lights and a siren for good measure.
The trio proceeded to bypass the long line of gamers that had formed outside the mall’s GameStop outlet and spoke with the store’s manager. Flashing badges and proclaiming they were NYPD, the manager agreed to let them purchase copies of the game and saw them on their way. Until that point the ruse had worked, but they didn’t count on a real copy being in the area.
As the trio pulled away happy in their unmarked car, they passed a real officer in an unmarked car who got suspicious and followed them. He eventually pulled them over outside Kirsheh’s house and the true story was revealed. Now all three are facing counts of second-degree criminal impersonation and could face up to a year in jail. Santanastaso is also going to have a hard time at home as his father is a retired cop, and Abdel Sayed is an auxiliary NYPD officer, so this is going to have serious repercussions for him.
Waiting in line for a few hours to buy the game probably sounds like a great idea right now to all three of them I’d bet.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sony announces thinner, lighter PS Vita with better battery life

Last month Sony took the much-needed decision to cut the priceof the PS Vita to $199 while promising to significantly reduce the price of the handheld’s memory cards. But that wasn’t the end of the PS Vita announcements as Sony has just revealed a brand new model, the PCH-2000.
From October 10th a new thinner, lighter PS Vita will be available to buy that comes with a range of advantages over the existing model. It’s 20 percent thinner at just 15mm thick, and 15 percent lighter weighing in at 219 grams. The battery life has also been extended by one hour taking the time between charges to around 6 hours.
There’s also good news for those who still think the memory card pricing is too high–you will no longer need one. Sony is including 1GB of memory as standard in the revised Vita, so save games and smaller download games can be played without a memory card inserted. At the same time, a 64GB memory card is being introduced for users who want to carry a lot of games around with them. It’s also thought that lower memory card pricing will happen alongside the launch.
A thinner, lighter PS Vita is great news for gamers, but also a cost saver for Sony. However, there is one cost-saving change gamers may not appreciate. Although nothing is changing in terms of screen resolution, Sony has swapped out the 5-inch OLED panel for an LCD unit. We’ll have to wait and see how good that looks compared to the original unit.
The new PS Vita arrives on October 10 in Japan, but other regions don’t have a release date at time of writing. It also looks like there will be six color options available from day one.

Xbox One UI Leaks, unsurprisingly resembles Windows 8Xbox Music heads to Android and iOS with free web streaming Sony announces thinner, lighter PS Vita with better battery life

Last month Sony took the much-needed decision to cut the priceof the PS Vita to $199 while promising to significantly reduce the price of the handheld’s memory cards. But that wasn’t the end of the PS Vita announcements as Sony has just revealed a brand new model, the PCH-2000.
From October 10th a new thinner, lighter PS Vita will be available to buy that comes with a range of advantages over the existing model. It’s 20 percent thinner at just 15mm thick, and 15 percent lighter weighing in at 219 grams. The battery life has also been extended by one hour taking the time between charges to around 6 hours.
There’s also good news for those who still think the memory card pricing is too high–you will no longer need one. Sony is including 1GB of memory as standard in the revised Vita, so save games and smaller download games can be played without a memory card inserted. At the same time, a 64GB memory card is being introduced for users who want to carry a lot of games around with them. It’s also thought that lower memory card pricing will happen alongside the launch.
A thinner, lighter PS Vita is great news for gamers, but also a cost saver for Sony. However, there is one cost-saving change gamers may not appreciate. Although nothing is changing in terms of screen resolution, Sony has swapped out the 5-inch OLED panel for an LCD unit. We’ll have to wait and see how good that looks compared to the original unit.
The new PS Vita arrives on October 10 in Japan, but other regions don’t have a release date at time of writing. It also looks like there will be six color options available from day one.

Xbox Music heads to Android and iOS with free web streaming

Xbox Music
In their continued attempts to be a player in the digital entertainment industry, Microsoft has announced plans to open up Xbox Music to almost everything with a screen.
While the world has no shortage of decent music delivery services right now, the one thing nearly all seem to have in common is that they aren’t available on one platform or another. If you’ve given your music library to the cloud, or just prefer streaming audio as your music discovery method, it can be frustrating to find that you can’t replicate that experience on every screen you use.
Apple’s services are only available where Apple says so, and that is not a particularly long list. Google Play Music All Access is a great service as long as you don’t plan on a great experience outside of Chrome and Android. Microsoft is trying for the hat trick with Xbox Music, by making it available on their console, iOS, Android, and the web.
Xbox Music
Microsoft’s musical history hasn’t exactly been amazing, as anyone with a Zune collecting dust on a shelf will tell you. Xbox Music is an attempt to fix that by making the music service available on nearly everything. This way, subscribers will be able to take their playlists from device to device, no matter what that device may be.
If you’re not sure you want to subscribe yet, Xbox Music on the web will allow for unlimited free streaming for anyone. It’s not a new plan, but one that has yielded positive results for those who have tried it in the past.
This all-inclusive strategy from Microsoft, which is similar in deployment to Xbox SmartGlass, shows that the company is willing to play nice with others if it means their users continue sitting in front of the Xbox at the end of the day. Music playback has been a popular feature on the Xbox consoles for a long time, but not until now has Microsoft decided to wield it as a feature important enough to become its own