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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

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It's been one year since we got involved in #GamerGate

It’s been a year since we were pulled into #GamerGate.  A lot has happened since then.  We’ve been around since 2000 and were quite accustomed with people poking fun at our reviews and sharing them on various forums for a laugh.  Parents and Christians still found them useful, so we pressed on and grew thicker skin over the years.  Throughout our existence on the internet, we have received a lot of good constructive criticism to which we have taken to heart and have implemented into our current review standard and quality of reviews.  While some people still poke fun at the moral score or objectionable content we point out, the quality of the reviews are often noted and praised.

With that being said, on October 15th I woke up to ten or more people tweeting about us (@divinegames) and suggesting that Intel consider advertising with us. At first I thought it was sarcasm until I read more comments where people were actually PRAISING our review standard that so many have poked fun at in the past.  In fact, Kotaku once re-posted a blog post about how our Portal 2 review lacked references to Jesus.  People were also comparing our Red Dead Redemption score to Bayonetta 2 (we own the discs but have yet to play and review this game BTW) and liked how we did not dock the game’s score if we did not agree with it in a political or religious manner. 

Our goal always has been and will be to point out objectionable content in a neutral manner to allow our readers to know what is in a game.   We want them to make their own buying decisions without talking down to them.    We respect that our readers have different convictions and gaming preferences. 

My gaming horizons were expanded a little bit this year as #GamerGate arranged for us to review games like HuniePop and Hatred.  That HuniePop review was tough to write, but very well received so despite my eyes needing some bleach afterward, I guess it was worth it.  #GamerGate was also generous enough to help fund a Snowball microphone after some negative feedback on the mic I was using for the Hatred gameplay video we did.  The new microphone works great, so thanks again for that!

Besides indiegogo, we have set up a patreon site which has some nice folks helping us out monthly.  We’re thankful for that too.  This year we became a 501 C 3 non-profit and record all of our earnings and expenses on our www.christcenteredgamer.org site.  

So what’s in our future?  We’d like to continue to grow.  To do that churches and gamers have to continue to hear about us.  Sadly, whenever I call a church to introduce myself and our site, I have yet to get a call back.  After talking with a marketing person (that we can’t afford to hire), I was told that this is pretty commonplace.  In order to reach out to churches we’ll need to save our funds and hopefully attend a big conference where pastors will come to our booth to reach out to us instead of the other way around.  That’s one goal that will cost us a few thousand dollars to achieve. 

In order to be considered for review aggregation sites like OpenCritic we’ll need over 50,000 followers on any given social network which we are nowhere close to achieving anytime soon.   We have grown a lot in that aspect in the past year though.  Many of our followers are #GamerGate supporters and we’re thankful for them.

When we get enough traffic and support to cover our minimal operating costs, we hope to hire other reviewers to eliminate our review backlog and ensure timelier reviews.  Until then, I think we’re doing great with where we’re at and I couldn’t have done it without you fine people.  Thanks for the love, kindness, and support to everyone who we have interacted with in #GamerGate, on twitter, reddit, 4chan, 8chan and everywhere else on the interwebs.  God bless you all!

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Recent Comments
Cheryl Gress
Thanks!
Sunday, 25 October 2015 15:16
Cheryl Gress
Thanks for the support!
Sunday, 25 October 2015 15:16
Cheryl Gress
I have tried contacting youth pastors hoping that they would be more receptive. Will have to make another round of phone calls no... Read More
Sunday, 25 October 2015 19:54
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If you read this, I'll give you a dollar.

Hi, all! I'm Trip.

I just thought I would give a quick introduction as the newest member of the CCG blogging team. I've been involved with the site for almost seven years and have been a moderator in the forums here for several years now. I joined the site seeking a safe online community that shared some of my interests, and that's exactly what I found. The funny thing is, I'm not even a huge gamer, but I liked the people here so much that I never left. If you're reading this, you've found a good place.

Things you should know about me: I've spent over half of my life in Asia. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean I can speak any cool languages or anything. I know, I suck. I'm an avid book reader and film viewer, so the majority of my blog posts will probably be things that I've most recently experienced in that realm. That being said, I might throw in a music review in there every once in a while. I play guitar like 263 other people that you know. I can eat an entire box of CTT (Cinnamon Toast Crunch for you casuals) without breaking a sweat. Like my log-line says, I'm currently a senior English and Writing major at Houghton College, without a single clue what to do after this semester. I joined the blogging team to test a little more of the journalistic waters and to publicly hone my craft; ccgr graciously let me on-board.

Things you shouldn't know about me: I never wear un...hey, wait a minute. Moving on.

Feel free to drop a comment saying hi if you'd like, or don't, whatever. I sincerely hope that you enjoy my blogging contributions!

- Trip

P.S. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of Raising Hope and Kick-A** 2!

P.P.S. Just kidding. I have no money. None. 

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A divine dish - The Grilled Cheesus!

Today we got our Grilled Cheesus from http://www.grilledcheesus.com. It carries a $40 price tag, but some of the profits (not sure how much exactly) go toward charities that feed the hungry.  Here's what the unit looks like:

Operation is pretty straight forward; you have to let it heat up a bit.  If you want to have a sandwich with Jesus' face front and center, it can make one at a time.  If you don't mind a half blessing, you can cook two.  We pre-buttered our bread and put on our cheese and waited until both lights had an orange light to let us know it was done.  I'm not sure why the green side has an orange bulb in it, but it works.

Here's what the inside looks like.  It's pretty easy to clean; we just wiped ours off with a soapy rag.

Hallelujah!! Here's the finished product:

The kids and hubby approved of the look and taste of the sandwiches.  I'm sure we'll be blessed with many more Grilled Cheesus meals in our future.  

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Compromise

Compromise


According to Wikipedia, compromise is when you give up a demand in order to make a deal.

The Bible does not really indicate whether compromise is good or bad, but warns us of the consequence of compromising the wrong things.

1 Chronicles 10:13 ESV 

"So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance."

Saul compromised for sure, and he paid for it.

I think we need to realize that throughout our lives, we compromise many of our personal beliefs in order to satisfy other people.  It's the way of freedom and democracy.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbor, so we try to accommodate non-Christians by only living by some verses and ignoring the more hardline stuff like "Jesus is the only way".  Through education, we learn to respect other cultures, but in the process, we actually don't realize our responsibility towards others.  We often act as Christians only in Church or with other Christians, instead of being Christians 24/7.

I see it like this: we compromise something of our own in everything that we experience.  When I think of gaming, movies and music - "OMG" and "Jesus Christ" are "okay".  We try to ignore these obvious remarks in entertainment in order to enjoy the content, and that sounds like compromise to me.  I for one am very gullible.  I'm not a very logical thinker.  I'm a feeler, so I make decisions according to how I feel - which ends up being a catastrophe every time.  Thus, it's important for me to read the scripture and listen to friends/preachers often, so that I can align my emotions to Jesus, instead of the world's temporary satisfaction.  I see the same problem in many people.  We are subjected to worldly ideas every day, and after a while, things that are not really in line with the Word, are accepted as fact.  That's why it's important to reevaluate yourself on the decisions you make according to how you feel and also why we have the Holy Spirit, which guides us in the right direction, even when we want to listen to the flesh.

John 14:6 ESV 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus's words are uncompromisable.

One does not want to be deemed as a "Christian Zealot", because that would completely destroy the goal intended for us - spreading the Gospel, but one does also want to stay true to Jesus' teachings.  So it's a very profound topic, one which can have a liberal outcome such as "It's just a game"/"It's just a song"/"It's just a movie", or on the other side "From today on, I'm going to abstain from playing violent video games."

That's so far what I've experienced. 

One verse that hits me like a rock every time is of course:

Mark 8:34 ESV 

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me".

 

 

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Thoughts on cheating

Cheating is a topic that has perhaps been thoroughly discussed in most social gaming groups, but still stays a very controversial topic for some. As a "rehabilitated" cheater I try to understand this controversy in the gaming world in a more liberal way.

Just the other day, my nephew(14 years old) exposed the "cheater" I once saw in myself.  It was interesting to see how he looked up cheats(just like I would) even before installing the game.  It seemed innocent to me.  After all, I had grown out of the cheating habit quite easily.  The rate that games are becoming more "arcadish", is astonishingly fast.  Big titles like Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon have been humbled down to a very easier difficulty level, and are appealing to a lot of casual gamers.  That's why it seemed cool to me, but after a lot of thought, I've come to another outlook point.

Cheats are immediate.  In fact, you could complete a lot of games by typing a "win mission" cheat.  Therefore, it's also understandable that people are quick to demand things these days.  You skip that effort = reward system, which especially makes up core game parts in RPGs.  So in real life, one would be more prone to demand things.  You would also expect things to happen in a very short time - with the minimum effort.  That could be why we misunderstand the more profound things in life. 

Would we be Christians if God had given us cheats?  I don't think so.  I mean, prayer especially requires time.  Emotional wounds also need time to heal.  Everything needs time, and that's what cheats try to bypass. 

I still think it's okay to cheat in a game.  However, one must realize that you're like a sponge, absorbing everything around you.  That which you absorbed, will be released or accounted for at the end of the day. If you incorporate a cheater's mindset into your own, you might face difficulties ahead.

All in all, it depends on who you are and whether the game is fun without cheats.  That's just my opinion.  I've used cheats in some games, just to avoid playing the whole day and to achieve something worthy.  Over the past few years, I've just lost total interest in cheating.  I've learned to work for my rewards even when it gets tough.

 

 

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The quest for the perfect avatar

Having beaten Skyrim and not thinking too highly of Benny Hin, I found this youtube video absolutely hilarious.  

I thought to myself, that would be an awesome avatar.  So I downloaded the movie using http://keepvid.com/

I then added text to the movie using Windows Movie Maker.  

After the text was in place, I converted it to a gif using this free program: http://evanolds.com/movtogif.html

And now I have this:

Those still on dialup will hate me.

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3DS Bible Study

Lately I've been playing with SwapNote and it's been fun sending notes back and forth between my husband and members of this site.  As fun as this system is, it can be abused by sending crude drawings or recordings containing profanity.  On the flip side, this can be a great way to share the gospel and uplift believers as well as sharing a verse or two with complete strangers.  I struggle with memorizing scripture but actually taking the time to jot it down helps rather than just reading it alone.   If you'd like to be a member of our 3DS Bible study post your friend code and let us know! 

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Courageous

Saw Courageous with my Youth Group Saturday. Great movie! Great message! More people need to see it. When we went, it was my Youth Group, and about 10 other people.

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Have a nice gaming pc? Make some money with it!

This is not a get rich quick scheme but many people have made good money mining bitcoins.  What is a bitcoin you ask?  Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions. These tasks are managed collectively by the network.  New coins are generated by a network node each time it finds the solution to a difficult mathematical problem.  There will be a maximum of 21,000,000 generated bitcoins and because of this limit, bitcoins are divisible to 8 decimal places.  In other words you can send fractions of bitcoins to people.  Like many currencies the value fluctuates.  As of this blog entry its between $13 and $14 USD.

As of July 2011, there are just over 6.8 million bitcoins in existence.  New coins are slowly "mined" into existence by running a program that searches tirelessly for a solution to a very difficult math problem. When a solution is found, the user may tell everyone of the existence of this new found solution, along with other information, packaged together in what is called a "block".  Blocks contain 50 bitcoins at present. This amount is an incentive for people to perform the computation work required for block generation. Roughly every 4 years, the number of bitcoins that can be "mined" in a block reduces by 50%.  In other words, while the bounty is still 50 bitcoins, hop on this gravy train!

You have two options when it comes to mining for bitcoins.  If you have a good video card, you can try going solo and crunch numbers for weeks or months for a big payout. Or, if you prefer a steady payout, you can join a mining pool and equally share the bounty for your share of work put into it.  If you have a slower video card, a mining pool will be the only way you can stand a chance at finding the blocks before someone else does.

The better the hardware, the better the hash rates you'll get.  ATI is taking the crown here.  Here's how my systems fare at my house.

My hubby and I have quad core 860's with 5870's getting 346 Mhash/s
Our kids dual core with a 5570 is 67Mhash/s
Our myth tv pvr front-end with a 4650 gets 21.6Mhash/s 
Lastly my dual core laptop with a GeForce M230 gets 8 Mhash/s (I don't bother mining with this one)

The higher the hash rate, the more my video card contributes to solving the mathematical problem and thus giving me more of the reward.  Overclocking can increase those numbers but it will also increase the heat generated and the electricity needed to power the system.  The next hurdle is seeing if this is worth jacking up your electric bill.  With those systems in place I can get a bitcoin every 4 days.  With a bitcoin value at $14 I can make $105 a month doing this.  How much of that will get sucked up by a higher electric bill is to be determined.  For those who leave their systems on 24/7 anyway, why not have it make money for you in the process.

Once you earn a bitcoin you'll have to decide what to do with it.  I converted mine to USD using Mt. Gox. There was a .0005 fee to send my bitcoin there and then Mt. Gox took .30%.  Once I had it in USD I sent it to my dwolla account for .25 and then sent it to my bank account.  All said and done I got $13.70 of my $14.

Here are some helpful links to get started.

Bitcoin client
Python GUI Miner put this in the extra flags section: -v -w128
Slush's mining pool

 

sources: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Introduction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin

 

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Sending bricks to Ninendo a DRM protest

Nintendo has threatened to brick 3DS devices that have been modified by hardware or software. To protest, Defective by Design will be sending bricks with a note to the chairman of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime.

What do you think about this?  Does Nintendo have a right to render devices we purchase as useless?  Last time I checked, 3DS's are still selling for $250.   Once we buy the device isn't it ours to do as we please? Is it wrong for me to put a sticker on my DS? Can I change the casing if it cracks or scratches?  We have replaced the scratched screen on our DS Lite, we have cleaned the broken trigger buttons in an attempt to repair them.  If the repairs fail it's our own fault, I don't blame Nintendo.   I can understand this tinkering voids the warranty.  If the system broke while it was under warranty I would have send it back to them to fix.

I understand that people modify the hardware beyond standard maintenance. Perhaps for these individuals their system should be blocked from the Nintendo network so they don't interfere with "vanilla" systems.  I think bricking the device by rendering it useless is going too far. Here's an quote from the Terms of service (chapter 3).  I think they mean business:

"You understand that the Nintendo 3DS System specifications and the Nintendo 3DS Service are constantly evolving and that we may update or change the Nintendo 3DS System or the Nintendo 3DS Service in whole or in part, without notice to you. Such updates may be required for you to play new Nintendo 3DS games, enjoy new features, or continue to access the Nintendo 3DS Service. After the Nintendo 3DS menu is updated, any existing or future unauthorized technical modification of the hardware or software of your Nintendo 3DS System, or the use of an unauthorized device in connection with your system, will render the system permanently unplayable."

What about software modifications?   That's awfully vague.  Chances are the DS Cart system I'm using is violating the terms of service.  The kicker is that I am not using it to pirate games.  I use it so I have all my games with me and don't have to worry about losing them.  Have you seen how small these DS cartridges are?  Again I don't agree with hacking the system to ruin the game play for other people.  I think Xbox has taken the proper approach to block non standard systems from the network.

Has Nintendo gone too far?

 

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What's with all the language in games these days?

We just posted our Crysis 2 review today. As fun as this game is I was taken aback by all the language in it. It's not just this game but a trend I'm seeing in many games we've been reviewing lately.  What gives? Yeah I get it, in stressful situations people swear, it may add some realism but to me I think it's exaggerating a bit.  I hang around non-Christians and they don't drop the F bomb every 3 minutes.  I miss the options to disable swearing and blood, can we have those back please?  Or should I say "Can we have those *#&$^'n options back please?"

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Site upgrade is finished!

It took a lot of preparation and patience to get this new site up and running. I hope you like the new look and if you have any suggestions, feedback or encouragement, I'm all ears!

God Bless!

Cheryl

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Whoops! I fixed the RSS feed

I'm sure not many people were interested in a feed of our seldom updated FAQs and Walkthroughs.  The RSS feed now points to computer reviews.  Enjoy!  When we migrate to the new site, the console and PC reviews will most likely be merged.  Yay!

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Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

In the presence of arms, the law grows silent.

 

Since I haven't posted yet, I'm going to inaugurate this with a bit of Science Fiction fanaticism. Namely, I'm going to take you through my favorite franchises and such. At the end, I'll include a top 5 list with my favorite Science Fiction shows is order.

 

The title of this blog, the translation for which is in italics, is the title of an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, my favorite Star Trek show. Why is it my favorite? For starters, it has deep, convincing characters and incredible plot arcs. It dives into Trek mythology deeper than any other show has, especially with the Cardassians and the Bajorans. It is also one of the few shows where the status quo changes after every episode. If there was significant damage to a runabout in the previous episode, odds are you won't see it, and will likely hear Chief O'Brien complaining about it.

Next up, we have the Stargate franchise. Their have been 3 shows in the franchise, Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and Stargate: Universe. SG-1 revolves around the adventures of the titular team, SG-1. SG-1 has various lineup changes along the way, but the mainstays are Teal'c, Samantha Carter, Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson. Other noteworthy members include Jonas Quinn, who took the place of Dr. Jackson during season 6, And Cameron Mitchell, who commanded SG-1 during seasons 9 and 10. Sadly, Richard Dean Anderson, who played O'Neill left show show after season 8. SG-1 starts off as a fairly episodic show, mainly getting the audience used to the idea of the Stargate. Then it starts dragging plot elements in: The Ancients (The Race who built the Stargate) the evil Goa'uld, and the friendly, if reserved Asgard. The show becomes more arc-based as the show progresses, with seasons 9 and 10 involving a series of arcs involving a malevolent race known as the Ori.

Atlantis is a different deal altogether. It deals with the Atlantis Expedition, who journeyed to the distant Pegasus galaxy to explore the lost city of the Ancients, Atlantis. Right off the bat this show is different. A different gate, an almost-new set of characters, different wormholes, different everything. The Atlantis Expedition finds the Pegasus galaxy to be victim to a race of aliens called the Wraith. Starting with the first episode, the show takes a very serialized turn.

Then we have Doctor Who. The good Doctor has been saving time and space since the 60's, but the show went off the air in the early 90's. It was rebooted in 2005, with the ninth incarnation of the Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. After one season, the Doctor regenerated into his tenth incarnation, portrayed by David Tennant. This incarnation was the best-received incarnation to date, and my personal favorite. After 3 seasons of saving the universe, the Doctor regenerated once more into his eleventh version, played by Matt Smith. Doctor Who is known for being a quirky show, and the new series is no exception.

Then we have a show that defies cliche. This show has the best acting of any Science Fiction show, some of the best effects of any science fiction show, the best characters, some of the best plots, and above all, highly serialized. Ladies and Gentlemen, this show is Battlestar Galactica. BSG ran for 4 seasons, has 2 movies and a miniseries pilot. The miniseries sets the stage, the show enacts the greatest television drama in Science Fiction history. The movies, while secondary to the plot, add more depth to the already-grand universe. The narrative can drag at times, and some episodes aren't near as fulfilling as others, but some flukes cannot drag down such a show.

 

The top five:

5. Doctor Who

4. Stargate: SG1

3. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

2. Stargate: Atlantis

1. Battlestar Galactica

 

Honorable mentions include Babylon 5, which I have sadly not seen enough of to judge properly, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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