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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

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MENU: An Homage to Game Title Themes

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

Many video games are known for their great soundtracks and some catch your attention at the menu screen before embarking on your adventure. MENU: An Homage to Game Title Themes is a collection of over fifty theme songs and menu tracks from various games in the past three decades. Most of the songs are true to their origins and others like the Mega Man 2 and Minecraft themes have rap and/or lyrics added to them. While I didn’t mind the “enhancement,” the rest of my family preferred the rap-free songs.

Not surprisingly, this collection has five songs (nearly 10%) from Final Fantasy games. There’s music from Final Fantasy Tactics, IX, XIII, XIII-2, and XV. There are three songs from the Mario franchise including tracks from Mario Kart 64, Paper Mario, and Super Mario 64. Elder Scrolls fans will enjoy the songs from Oblivion and Skyrim.

Belmont Overture from Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is probably one of the oldest tracks in this collection as this game originated in 1989. Listening to this song brought back pleasant memories from my childhood and my NES. Other familiar songs include Geralt of Rivia from Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Doki Doki Literature Club, Main Title from Deus Ex, Happiness from Sims 3, and Myst’s theme.

There are so many songs from games I have yet to play including Limbo, Celeste, Cuphead, Horizon Zero Dawn, Stardew Valley, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Katamari Damacy, and FTL: Faster Than Light. Although I haven’t played Ninja Gaiden II, I really enjoy its menu music now! Mass Effect: Andromeda has good title music too and that series is on my bucket list.

Even if you haven’t played many of the songs in this collection, it’s exceptionally made. The asking price of $16 on Bandcamp is very reasonable. If you order it through there you can get the files in MP3 or in lossless formats like FLAC.

 


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What Are the Rules One Need to Follow in Order to Pass CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 Exam?

The CompTIA Security+ certification the vendor-neutral certification that allows you to work on the overall cybersecurity field. The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam is a worldwide recognized endorsement of foundation-level safety abilities and comprehension and can be employed by companies and security professionals around the world.  The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam will ensure that the successful candidate has the knowledge and techniques required to set up and configure systems to safeguard applications, networks, and devices; execute hazard analysis and response using proper reduction techniques; engage in hazard reduction actions; and run with an awareness of related policies, laws, and regulations. The successful candidate can conduct these jobs to encourage the principles of ethics, confidentiality, and accessibility.  The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam is aimed at an IT security professional with prepaway Security+ Practice Test - SY0-501:

  • A minimum of 2 years' expertise in IT management with a focus on safety
  • Day-to-day technical data security expertise
  • Broad understanding of safety issues and execution, such as the subjects in the domain

Which are the modifications in CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam compared to the previous exam?

When there are lots of changes, possibly the most important is a heightened demand for hands-on abilities. Information technology has had a severe impact on the growing world. This trend will grow and continue because the SY0-501 exam is supposed to comprise endorsement of hands-on abilities. This means functionality based questions about the exam, though CompTIA hasn't supplied information about any new exam design. Several types of research indicate a foundation of 90 multiple choice questions, together with multiple choice questions being swapped out to every single performance-based query the candidate experiences about the exam. Although enforcement could be hard, CompTIA indicates that hands-on labs ought to be strong and compulsory given the new exam requirements.

Benefits offered by the CompTIA Security+ certification

Boost Your Employment Prospects

Many occupations require Security+ certification.  Moreover, many public-sector businesses realize the need for safety aware workers. The CompTIA Employer perceptions of IT Training and survey reported 91 percent of managers to imply CompTIA certifications are valuable in supporting experience. It shows an understanding of key safety concepts.

Expand Demonstrate Continuous Improvement & Your Expertise

Among the highest advantages of the Security+ certification is the fact that it provides you with a better comprehension of security fundamentals that are important. Additionally, it shows improvement. IT employees can't manage to stay stagnant if they wish to proceed in their career. The Security+ certification demonstrates your capacity to build your expertise and find out about current security issues.

Boost Your Value

Security+ certification is a fantastic method stick out in an aggressive business and to raise your worth. The value that you gain from the certification provides you an advantage when compared to others who haven't confirmed their understanding. It makes it possible to get in the doorway when following a job or marketing and assists you progress toward a career in safety and IT system management.  Security-conscious workers help reduce vulnerabilities. Organizations appreciate Safety employees recognizing they help them mitigate safety hazards that are costly.  Also, many organizations need to comply with a variety of laws, regulations, and guidelines. They utilize this as a technique and guarantee that a number of workers have certifications.

Suggestions to pass CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam

Utilize CompTIA Approved Content

Begin by buying a study manual using the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) seal. This will make certain you're currently analyzing not just with the ideal material, but using the ideal material backed by CompTIA itself.

Produce a Research Plan

Preparing for the Security+ test whilst maintaining with your livelihood as well as other engagements can be quite the balancing act. Hence you can structure your total data and work accordingly

Prepare in Small Chunks

Choose bite-sized classes over all-nighters; the ideal research time for a lot of people is 30-45 minutes. Assessing in smaller openings can allow you to stay engaged and keep the info.

Use Video Content

Oftentimes, seeing and hearing with an explanation is much more memorable than studying a definition. This is particularly true with exams including CompTIA Security+, which cover a huge landscape of theories that intertwine and overlap.

Practice to Pass

Mock exams are essential since they train one to defy the length, breadth, and depth of the Security+ certification. They also permit you to set your strategies, like crossing off choices or highlighting key phrases.

Cover All Concepts

There will be regions of the test material which you find intriguing, and you'll likely excel in them. Make certain you're proactively not concealing out of -- your flaws while capitalizing on your strengths.

Review Repeatedly

As soon as you've finished a mock exam, reevaluate the questions that you answered incorrectly. Along with noting the right replies, dissect the rationale supporting the wrong choices. Look at making flashcards to enhance your practice exams, which means it is simple to mix up the sequence of the queries. The more ways you exercise, the more queries and theories you may recognize on exam day.

The internet may also prove to be a great source for study materials. You may either purchase these study materials from the various websites or from markets. However, if you want to get the best dumps then you I personally suggest you to choose PrepAway.com, however, you can even go with another dump provider but this is of the best place to get it.

Conclusion

You'll have 90 minutes to finish the 90-question Security+ certification exam (SY0-501). A score is 750 from 900 points that are possible. Passing CompTIA SY0-501 isn't a major deal. The SY0-501 CompTIA Security+ Certification is the written exam that's essential for the candidates to maneuver to input in the IT marketplace. It's the requirement and there is a demand for CompTIA Security+ certified professionals are there in most companies, government departments, small businesses, communication, and care.

 

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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part - 4DX Theater experience

Thank you CJ 4DPLEX for sending us to the movies!

As more and more aspects of the theater experience can be reproduced (or are simply better) at home, the movie industry continues looking for ways to encourage movie lovers to make the trek out of their houses and into the local cinema, while also offering value-adds that make it all the more memorable. Being one such enthusiast with a theater in my basement, I know this struggle all too well. Do I see the latest superhero movie when it's new in the theater, where I have to deal with other people and (usually) inferior video, sound, and comfort, or do I wait and watch it in my home theater with 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos surround and a 125" projection screen? (I told you I was an enthusiast.)

Well, 4DX can now safely say they offer something that no home theater ever will. All 4DX movies are in 3D, with a supported 3D glasses being offered. Unlike some theaters, this theater screen was more than bright enough to handle 3D properly. I was also pleased with the theater's sound system; while it wasn't quite as loud as I may have liked, the positional separation of the sound, from the clear center positioning of the voice, to the easy to locate side and rear speakers worked quite well. I did not note any ceiling speakers at this location for Atmos, though.

Each seat has rumble (this can be replicated at home with ButtKickers or other similar bass shakers), but what's really special is the tilting, fans, spritzers, and even scents that can be added to the movie experience. That's right - Smell-O-Vision is back! I'm sure you can imagine my surprise when I found out that, as of February 2019, there are only 12 4DX theaters in the USA, and one of them is just a few miles from my house - and the only one in the Midwest! Pretty cool, eh? Fortunately, they are expecting to have as many as 85 locations within a year or so, so hopefully there will be one near you soon.

My son and I were fortunate enough to watch a 4DX showing of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. This starts just a few minutes after the first Lego Movie, but not long after that there is a time shift to five years later. The kids who own the Legos play a much more prominent role in this one, and their tastes, and what happens in the house, have an impact on Emmet, Lucy, and their friends.

Emmet, Lucy, Batman, and all of the gang seem to live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, called Apocalypseburg. The movie calls it a 'heckish place to live'. Many people are hard and downtrodden, with fighting in the streets, and so on. Emmet is one of the only ones to seemingly not allow himself to grow a negative attitude - he even listens to upbeat pop music, while everyone else seems to be a victim of their surroundings.

Strange space aliens capture Emmet's friends right in front of him, and he rushes off to save them in his newly created spaceship. In the process, he meets up with a new friend Rex, and goes on a daring chase reminiscent of an action movie to save them.

This is hard to talk about without spoiling the movie, but one of the things that I wasn't a huge fan of is that a theme of the movie is that becoming a powerful man - the kind that action-hero fans love - can lead to pushing people away and hurting the people you love. This unfortunately reminds me too much of the 'toxic masculinity' concept that anti-men culture warriors are pushing. This viewpoint was further solidified by some of the cameos in the movie, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course there is nothing wrong with her cameo, but it gave this viewer pause since I know how important she is to those who often hold a similar anti-men viewpoints.

My son and I really enjoyed the 4DX experience, and I recommend you check it out as soon as you can. We also enjoyed The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. It's just a shame that the 'lesson' the movie pushes is in some ways the opposite of what we want our young boys to learn. Teaching boys to be masculine men will not lead to them hurting other people, but instead protecting our most treasured people and values. In fact, our society needs more men like that - not less.

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Nature: Super Cats

Thank you PBS for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Cats are fascinating creatures and truly show God’s handiwork in their design. This series covers cats of various sizes and from around the world. In total, there are three parts that are an hour long each. The first episode is Extreme Lives and shows how ferocious and daring various cats are. For example, you’ll get to see a jaguar take down a caiman crocodile. It’s well known that cheetahs are fast, but I had no idea that the stress they put on their body during a chase would cause a human’s bones to break! Out of all of the cats in the world, the leopards thrive in the most environments. Sadly, that’s not the case for other cat species like the tiger and the Iberian lynx, which are in danger of extinction.

Episode 2, Cats in Every Corner, features felines thriving in unexpected environments. Many house cats (mine included) hate water, but the fishing cat literally lives in it and spends its life in a swamp environment living up to its name by hunting and eating fish. Swamp tigers also don’t mind getting wet. The bay cat has very little footage and information on it and there’s a scientist who has spent over a decade of his life researching this elusive animal.

The last part, Science and Secrets, shows how technology has been aiding in studying the lives of cats and even saving them from extinction. Out of all of the cats, lions are argued to be the most intelligent since they are social by living in prides. It was neat watching a female lion figure out how to open up a box with meat inside while having another female watching in the distance and learning from her experience and opening the box faster.

As cool as the big cats are, seeing some of the world’s smallest felines hunting is truly a sight to behold. The rusty-spotted cat is only 3 lbs and is every bit of a killing machine as its bigger relatives. The desert native Black-footed Cat is around 4 lbs and has a 60% success rate when it hunts, which is pretty impressive.

If you find cats fascinating, Nature: Super Cats is worth checking out. The visuals look great in the Blu-ray version, and it’s worth the extra $2 on Amazon. The series can be yours in high definition for less than $19.



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Illumination Presents: Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

Thank you Universal for sending us this 4K Blu-ray to review!

The story of Dr. Seuss’ Christmas-hating Grinch has been told many times before. Those who are familiar with the tale will already know that his heart is three sizes too small and that a girl named Cindy-Lou Who will get him to change his views. But this movie develops the characters further and even shows how awesome of a companion the Grinch’s dog, Max, truly is.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch begins with the Grinch and Max running out of food and a trip to Who-ville is necessary for their survival. As his name suggests, The Grinch is a misanthrope and despises socializing with the people of Who-ville. However, during Christmas time he really does not want to be near them with their caroling and joyous celebration of Christ’s birth. Though the town is decked out in candy canes, wreaths, snowmen, and Christmas trees, Christ is clearly mentioned and honored in the Christmas carols (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night) sung by the villagers.

There are many funny interactions between the grumpy Grinch and the overly cheery townspeople. Out of all of the villagers, Cindy-Lou and her family get the most screen time. Cindy-Lou is the oldest sister of twin baby brothers. There is no mention of a father figure, and as a result, the mother is working a night shift and struggling to attend to the needs of her children during the day. Unlike other children who ask Santa for toys, Cindy-Lou wants to talk to Santa in person to ask him to help make her mother’s life easier. Unfortunately, her method of reaching Santa isn’t exactly orthodox.

I like how the Grinch’s background is shown and how he comes to hate Christmas. It’s easy for him as an outsider to detect the greed displayed during the Christmas season. To pay back the town and to take away their fake joy he plans on stealing their Christmas from them, but in the end discovers what it’s really about: kindness and love.

Though I’m familiar with the book, I haven’t seen other film renditions to give a comparison. I will say that the voice acting by Benedict Cumberbatch, Angela Lansbury, and Pharrell Williams is well done. The visuals are astounding and vibrant, especially in 4K! The computer animation by Illumination is top-notch. The three mini-movies are worth checking out too. One of them, Dog Days of Winter, further develops Max’s character and devotion to the Grinch. The other two shorts, Yellow Is The New Black and Santa’s Little Helpers, feature the Minions and their typical silliness. There is some potty and crude humor which earns the PG rating awarded to the film.

In the end, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch is worth watching with your family around Christmastime. It just might be a new yearly tradition for us.

 


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Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

Thank you Fun Academy for sending us this DVD to review!

Sergeant Stubby is the most decorated dog of World War I and is also the only canine to be promoted to a sergeant through combat. Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero is based on his heroism and legacy that saved many French and American lives on the Western Front.

The story begins with Stubby being an ever-hungry stray dog on the streets of Connecticut. During a march through town, a newly enlisted Robert Conroy takes notice of Stubby and throws a cookie his way and the dog follows the soldiers back to boot camp. At first, the higher-ups are not keen on having a dog among the ranks, but once Stubby learns how to salute them and shows his dedication, they allow him to stay by Robert’s side. Stubby became the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry Regiment.

When the soldiers are dispatched to France, Stubby sneaks onboard and again is welcomed for his perseverance. The film depicts Robert having nothing to do with Stubby’s travels; however, internet sources claim that he was the one who smuggled him aboard. In the end, it’s good that he was there because many lives were saved as a result. On the battlefield, Stubby helped locate wounded soldiers along with warning of incoming artillery shells and gas attacks.

Since this ninety-minute computer animated film is geared for children, the violence is toned down quite a bit. There is no blood shown and many of the close combat encounters end in surrendering and not death. The battlefield is still depicted as grim with many soldiers being shown as sick and/or wounded. There is a death towards the end of the movie that brought some teary eyes among my family. Yes, I was one of them.

Overall, my family enjoyed watching this movie together. Though it’s based on a true story, some artistic liberties were taken. I’m not really sure if Stubby really got to meet George S. Patton, but he did get to sniff presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. Sgt. Stubby was quite the war hero and I highly recommend this movie for any dog or history lover.



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Music Box Classics: Mario

Thank you Materia Collective for sending us this digital album to review!

I have been enjoying the Mario Bros. series since the Atari and Super Mario Bros. series on the NES. While the Atari 2600 version of the game lacks music, the NES version has quite the memorable soundtrack and it’s great to see it get the lullaby treatment in the Music Box Classics: Mario collection.

This digital album has ten tracks from various games through Mario’s 30+ years in existence. The first track is the Super Mario Bros. overworld music and is the slowest of the bunch. I honestly think it could have benefited from higher beats per minute. The rest of the tracks are a little bit more upbeat. The underwater music from the first Super Mario Bros. game is a welcome addition as well.

The most represented games are Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy with each having three tracks dedicated to them. You’ll find the following Super Mario 64 songs: Inside the Castle Walls, Bomb-Omb Battlefield, and Dire, Dire Docks. The songs from Super Mario Galaxy Include: Rosalina’s Observatory, Luma, and Gusty Garden. The overworld music from Super Mario Bros. 2 brings back pleasant memories as does Princess Peach’s Theme from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. I wish that Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario Sunshine had tracks included in the collection, but they’re absent.

Overall, this is a great collection of classic gaming music in music box form. It’s great lullaby music so make sure you’re not too comfortable when listening to it or you may find yourself sleeping before you know it! The total length of this album is a little over thirty-one minutes. It sells for $8.99 on Amazon or for $7 on Bandcamp which provides the tracks in MP3, FLAC and more.


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The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Thank you Universal for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

The House with a Clock in Its Walls takes place in 1955 and is about a 10-year-old boy named Lewis who loses his parents in a tragic car accident. His closest relative is his uncle Jonathan who lives in a haunted mansion in Michigan. The previous owner of the house was a warlock named Izard. This warlock is responsible for placing a clock within the mansion, and Jonathan, along with his best friend and neighbor, who is also a witch, are trying to find and destroy the clock within.

Lewis is out of place in his new school and the goggles that he wears all of the time are not helping matters. There is a girl who is fascinated with insects that takes a liking to Lewis, but he is more interested in impressing a popular boy named Tarby. His uncle Jonathan is pretty lenient and lets Lewis eat whatever he wants and go to bed whenever he feels like it. His only rule is to not open the locked cabinet. If you’re familiar with Genesis 3, you know what happens when humans only have one rule to follow.

Without spoiling the story too much, I must say that this movie is very anti-Christian and heavily promotes magic use. Lewis wants to become a warlock like his uncle and that involves studying various texts, runes, and spells. There are many occult symbols like pentacle, pentagrams, and upside-down crosses shown throughout this film. Some of the spells require the castor to offer their blood in order to complete the ritual. Necromancy (while frowned upon), is also practiced. One of the characters makes a pact with a powerful demon in exchange for some forbidden knowledge. The occult issues aside, there is also language (hell, d*mn), and gross humor involving puking jack-o'-lanterns' and a topiary griffin that refuses to use a litter box.

If it wasn’t for the heavy-handed occult content, I would have enjoyed The House with a Clock in Its Walls. I haven’t read the book that this film is based on so I’m not sure how descriptive it is with the spell casting and symbolism. It’s a shame since the acting by Jack Black and Cate Blanchett is exceptional and the characters and story are well done. If you’re a Christian and interested in seeing this film, I recommend renting it first.



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God Bless the Broken Road

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this Blu-ray, soundtrack CD, pot, and toy car to review!

God Bless the Broken Road is about Amber Hill, a wife and mother who tries to make ends meet after the loss of her husband in the Afghanistan war. Before his death, she was very active in church and led their worship ministry. Two years after his passing, her house is behind on the mortgage payments and working 7 days a week is straining the relationship with her daughter, Bree.

A dashing young racecar driver named Cody arrives in town and is instantly told that Amber is out of his league, but that makes her all the more appealing to him. After wrecking his racecar in the big leagues, he’s sent back to this small town to learn from one of the greats, Joe Carter. One of Cody’s first assignments from Joe is to work with the children at the town’s church. Bree takes a liking to Cody and enjoys making a pink camouflaged go-kart there.

While Bree is getting more active in church, her mother is becoming less so. Though Amber is working many hours at the diner, she’s still unable to make ends meet and resorts to pawning off possessions instead of pursuing a job offer from her mother-in-law. The relationship with Bree’s grandmother is strained and Bree wishes that she could spend more time with her. Amber’s walk with God is also deteriorating as she is relying on herself and not Him during her times of financial hardship.

One trait that Cody and Amber share is stubbornness. This film teaches a good moral lesson about listening to and relying on God. It’s Dove approved for all ages and there is little to be worried about morally. In fact, the war violence is bloodless which is contrary to most war films I’ve seen recently. The overall story is moving but predictable at times. While I’m not in a hurry to see this film again, I did enjoy it.



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Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

Thank you Screen Media for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

There are many Christmas songs about Santa and his hard working reindeer that fly his magical sleigh. Unfortunately, Blitzen suddenly retires and favors running a juice bar instead of helping deliver presents to well-behaved boys and girls around the world. With only a few days before Christmas, the elves are scrambling to find a suitable replacement who can win the North Pole tryouts, which lasts three days.

In a warmer climate is a petting zoo that is struggling to pay its bills and its former minor-league baseball owner is considering a sales offer from a woman that seems more interested in eating the animals than caring for them. However, if their promising reindeer, DJ, makes Santa’s team, they may not have to sell.

There’s another hopeful at this petting zoo named Elliot. The only problem is that Elliot is a pony and not a reindeer. I’m all for having dreams and aspirations, but this movie is promoting the agenda anyone can be anything and that’s not necessarily a message I want to instill into my children. I believe that there is a place for boys and a place for girls which is contrary to today’s society that lets “transgender” boys compete (and unfairly win) on girls’ athletic teams and even partake in Miss Universe competitions.

Aside from the obvious agenda, there’s not much to say about the story in this 89-minute movie. Santa and some of the elves are cast in a negative light or even as villains in this film. The voice acting is top notch and has some notable cast members including Josh Hutcherson, Martin Short, and John Cleese. There are some positive messages about putting your friendship first and being selfless. A lesson is also taught about cheating. Given the overall moral of the story, I would still give this film a pass or recommend renting it before purchasing it for your family.


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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day Collection

Thank you PBS for sending us this 4 DVD collection to review!

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran from 1968-2001 and has 895 episodes (excluding specials). It’s hard to select just thirty episodes from such a large collection, but this sampling is pretty good. My only complaint is that they’re not sequential, so the trips to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe are not always coherent as they often have multiple segments that need to be played in order to get the complete story.

The last disc has the very first episode which is in black and white. Mr. Rogers looks so young and his hair was mostly dark back then. Some of the same actors appear in the colorized episodes, but there were many changes since then. The later episodes still have the same puppets in Make-Believe, the same house set, and even the same fish tank. It's great to see that some of the final episodes are also present in this collection.

Many great memories returned when viewing these episodes again later in life. I wish that this collection was available when my kids were younger. The positive and encouraging messages and lessons are timeless. Kids should definitely know that they’re loved just the way they are.

Throughout the fourteen-and-a-half hours of content, you’ll get to see many famous writers, musicians, and singers showcase their talents in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I was impressed with the musician who played Amazing Grace on a saw! You’ll also be able to accompany Mr. Rogers on many exciting field trips. During a trip to the zoo, Mr. Rogers gets to help feed a panda.

With the way Mr. Rogers encourages and talks to your kids through the television screen, your child will be engaged and feel good about themselves. Programs this wholesome are few and far between these days. The normal price for this set is $19.99 but I have seen it on sale on PBS’ website for $12.99. Amazon sells it too for even less.



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Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Fire and Dew is the third installment from the Anne of Green Gables PBS movie series. It picks up a year after the previous movie where Gilbert vowed not to speak to Anne again after she chose her friends over him. Anne is not pleased with his behavior and finds it difficult to ignore him as they are academically equal and both selected to attend an advanced class to prepare for and apply to Queen’s Academy.

Anne is quite studious and applies for the Avery scholarship along with Gilbert and her friends hoping to earn it as well. Though Matthew and Marilla have budgeted for Anne’s education, they did not plan on their bank with all of their funds to be investigated and in danger of closing.

At Queen’s Academy, Josie is flirting with all of the boys and especially with Gilbert. Other emotions come into play as a character dear to Anne dies in this movie. All of us watching the movie got misty-eyed during that part.

As a result of the loss of a loved one, Anne has to make some difficult choices regarding her future education and employment. Anne is growing up fast and has many accomplishments to be proud of at the tender age of fourteen. I like the theme of forgiveness and sacrifice and hope to see more installments from these classic books. If not, I’ll have no choice but to read all nineteen of them to see how it ends.

Like the other movies, Anne of Green Gables - Fire and Dew is available to stream for free for Amazon Prime members. The DVD is also available to purchase from the PBS website for $14.99.


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Anne of Green Gables - The Good Stars

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD to review!

Anne is settling into her new life and is acclimating to school and her household chores, though she’s not too fond of geometry or chickens. Out of all of the girls in school that Gilbert tends to tease, he seems to fancy Anne the most. She’s not too keen of his antics, but eventually she warms up to him. As she spends more time with Gilbert, her friends are a little upset and feel neglected.

Upon turning thirteen, Anne feels that she has some difficult choices to make and seeks the council of the adults in her life. Marilla urges Anne to be sensible while Matthew wants her to pursue romance. Anne also learns that loyalty is more important than honor and makes a difficult decision as a result. Unfortunately, the movie ended before we could see the impact that it made. Thankfully, there’s still one more movie left in the series for us to watch.

It’s pretty safe to say that my kids and I are hooked on this series. So much so that we’ve decided to do like Anne did and bake an apple pie from scratch for Thanksgiving this year. However, we’ll be mindful of the time and not let it burn. Like the previous movies, there are several funny mishaps that Anne must learn from. As usual, most of her mistakes are innocent ones and she tries to right any and all wrongs that she has done.

This film is family friendly and even has some Bible stories told by the newly married pastor’s wife. Forgiveness is a strong theme in this ninety-minute film. Like the rest of the entries, it’s only available in DVD format. It’s a shame since this island is so beautiful and can really benefit from Blu-ray visual enhancements. Either way, it’s still worth checking out for free on Amazon Prime or buying for $15 on PBS’ website.



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2019 Gaming Calendars

Thank you Abrams Books for sending us five calendars to fight over…I mean review!

2018 is coming to an end and with the new year fast approaching we must decide on a calendar to use for next year. Gamers may want to look into the following calendars from Abrams Books:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Pokémon
Splatoon
Super Mario
Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Each calendar has four mini-calendars from September-December of 2018 in case you want to swap it out a little early. Holidays are noted for various countries around the world. I now know that Australia Day is on January 26h and observed on the 28th. Australia, Canada, and New Zealand will be celebrating Mother’s Day with us on May 12th. Australia and New Zealand don’t celebrate Father’s Day until September though. Religious days like Diwali, Kwanzaa, Purim, and Ramadan are also shown. All of the Christian religious days are accounted for.

Many of the holidays that my kids' schools shut down for are also listed along with various bank holidays that are observed in other countries. The beginning and end of daylight saving time is also noted so I can adjust my clocks accordingly. The only thing missing that my current calendar provides are the phases of the moon. I can live without that feature though.

The calendars are nice and big with smooth glossy pages. The artwork is exceptional and any gamer will be pleased with the images chosen for their gaming calendar choice. My family was debating on who should get which calendar and the samples that were sent to us made us do some serious decision making. As the writer of this review, I get first dibs.

The calendars sell for $14.99 on abramsbooks.com which is a reasonable price. They’re still selling similarly themed 2018 calendars so make sure you’re getting the 2019 version of the Pokémon, Splatoon, Super Mario, or Zelda ones. Whichever one you decide on, I’m sure you’ll be happy with it.

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8 Interesting Uses for Drones in Society

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

If you think that drones are just a quick fad or gimmick that makes a fun Christmas present, you're very much mistaken. They've actually got tons of uses in big industry that you might not be aware of. The drone industry has exploded in recent years, with growth in many different areas. There are industrial drones, public service drones, commercial drones and much more.

We're going to look at eight different drones you might not be aware of. Each of these could have a big impact on a number of different industries.

  1. Ambulance drones

These have been trialed in The Netherlands recently. While they can't offer emergency care on the level of a trained professional, they can help professionals carry out their duties. They can also deliver supplies and equipment much more quickly than an ambulance that has to beat traffic. As well as that, they can relay real-time video back to someone in an emergency call center, who can provide expert advice to the public before a real medical professional arrives.

  1. Security drones

Allowing the police and other security professionals the ability to get an aerial view is a huge benefit to them. While surveillance planes and helicopters have been around for a while, they are expensive and are therefore out of reach for smaller police forces or security companies. With the right surveillance drones, your neighborhood can be made much safer. Dronethusiast.com has more on home surveillance drones.

  1. Delivery drones

You might have seen the trials Amazon has been running for these recently. But they aren't just for books, you might soon start seeing pizza delivery drones. You can get the items you want quicker and cheaper than when using traditional delivery drivers.

  1. Internet drones

If you live in a remote area that's hard to reach, you might have had to rely on satellite Internet. Companies like Google have started looking into hovercraft-style drones that sit in the sky above areas which have previously found Internet access difficult. They act as Wifi beacons that send the signal down and allow people in remote areas the chance to get online. This type of drone could be helpful to you if that's been an issue in the past.

  1. Window-cleaning drones

Getting up high-rise buildings to clean the windows has often been an unsafe, difficult and time-consuming job. With the right drone, window cleaning companies can now take a controlling role rather than actually getting up a ladder or pulley.

  1. Traffic analysis drones

Again, this is something planes and helicopters have done for a while. But again, these solutions are very expensive. Now you can get more up-to-date information in smaller areas, and at a fraction of the cost, with the right drone.

  1. Farming drones

Drones are starting to change the way farms work. They've made it much easier to spread pesticides and water crops, and much less labor-intensive.

More and more industries are starting to see the benefits drones can bring. If yours hasn't yet maybe it will soon.

  1. Drone gaming

Drones have also had quite a big impact on the gaming industry. Not only are there real-life drone competitions, there are also more and more games that incorporate drone use as part of their gameplay. Whether you want to fly your own drone or enter a virtual drone environment against others, drones look to have lots of new gaming applications over the next few years.

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Puppy Star Christmas

Thank you Air Bud Entertainment for sending us a screener to review along with a stuffed bear, an apron and hat, candy for a ginger bread house, dog treats and toys!

Puppy Star Christmas begins with the wedding of Tiny and P.U.P. and puppies arrive several months after that. In total, there are four puppies who could not have fit inside the mother without being born premature or delivered via C-section. The three female puppies take after their mother in appearance and the boy pup, Brody, looks just like his dad. Brody and his sisters, Charlie and Rosie, tend to get in trouble while Cindy tries her best to stop them to no avail.

With some of the trouble the puppies are getting into, Tiny and P.U.P. are wondering if they are being neglectful parents. In an attempt to spend more time with them, they put together a Puppy Star Christmas show and have managed to book Santa Claus as a special guest. News of this spreads like wildfire and catches the attention of the mischievous Bark and his co-conspirator, Kano. Roland assists them in their plan to take over Christmas as long as he gets to fly Santa’s sleigh.

Bark’s objective is to monetize Christmas further and make every family pay for the privilege to receive gifts and not coal. Not only does this provide a lot of income, it nullifies the penalty for being on the naughty list. As long as you have money, presents are guaranteed.

With Christmas in danger, everyone wants to re-kindle the Christmas spirit of love, forgiveness, and selflessness. Christ’s birth is not mentioned whatsoever in this film. I do like the aspect of forgiveness and not carrying a grudge against those who have wronged you.

Puppy Star Christmas is ninety minutes long, rated PG, and has some comedic violence. There is also some gross humor as a character discovers that reindeer poop tastes like toothpaste. Many of the same characters and actors are back in this film, including the effeminate Shep, though he does manage to find love in this movie.

If you enjoyed the silliness of the previous films, then you’ll probably like this one as well. My kids and I enjoyed watching it and it’s now available on Netflix.  Though it's listed on Amazon, it's not yet available for purchase.

 


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Dark Souls 2: When Less is More

box art

Most modern games seem to put a huge emphasis on amazing, jaw-dropping graphics, intensely fun gameplay, and a riveting storyline that may very well rival the stories written by our friends in Hollywood. These components are often deemed to be the recipe for a great game.

And well, the formula hasn’t led any games astray. If you think of it, most of the greatest games of all time have two of these three things sorted out. So, it would seem to be the highest degree of tomfoolery if one were to create a game without at least trying to get all three right. In fact, most games strive to get these three things done.

Then there’s Dark Souls 2.

It’s a game that isn’t exactly impressive when it comes to today’s standards. The gameplay isn’t that refined as some of the more popular titles, and the storyline? It’s barely even there.

And yet, I’d proudly say that it’s an amazing game and it’s definitely unique. Why do I say so despite having just said that it has none of the things that makes a video great? Well, it’s really just one word -- experience.

That’s right. This second installment in the masterpiece series from From Software is a great game because of the experience it thrusts gamers into. On the title screen, you’re greeted (or not greeted, rather) by something strange -- there’s no difficulty setting. Not only that, but the beginning of the game already makes you feel that you’re playing on hard mode.

And while this may discourage most casual gamers, those who brave the cruel, unforgiving world of the Dark Souls universe are in for a treat.

In all honesty, even the early enemies you face will kill you if you aren’t skilled enough of a player. There are so many traps, some even posing as chests when they’re in fact mimics that cause instant death to beginners and even those who’ve been playing the game for at least 10 hours. The bosses are not only resistant to the damage you deal, but they also hit like trucks, often killing even high-level players with just two blows.

And the terrain, don’t get me started on the perilous terrain. There are so many areas in the game that make it feel like a horrible copy of a platform game, and well, of course, you die if you fall off.

But that’s not all. The controls are wonky and the honestly feel a little robotic at times. Also, the PVP matchmaking is unbalanced.

But all of these make for a unique experience. And because it’s such a unique experience, this video game is a great game.

Most games will make you feel powerful, they will hold your hand and they will praise you as you play the game.

This game, and the other titles in this series? They will mock you with each death by stating the obvious. Red text appears on the screen saying “You died”. It even tracks the number of times you die in the game as if to add insult to digital injury. It forces you to learn, to adapt, and to overcome.

This game is notorious in the sense that it’s greatly contributed to the spike in the search for services like “game console repair near Detroit, MI” where many controllers and consoles have been destroyed out of frustration from the game.

BUT.

This game is great because it teaches you something most games don’t -- true hard work. The strength to accept that things are going to be difficult, and at times the odds may even seem impossible. Sometimes you may fight as hard as you can and still fall short by one swing of your sword.

And the experience of being able to surmount difficult and nigh impossible odds is one that keeps players coming back to this game. You may even say that this game is a rite of passage of sorts between boys and men in the gaming community.

 

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Anne of Green Gables

Thank you PBS for sending us this DVD set to review!

Anne of Green Gables was written by L.M. Montgomery and published in 1908. The book has sold over fifty million copies and has been adapted into several films. PBS first aired Anne of Green Gables on November 24th, 2016. This 90-minute movie stars Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert who lives with his sister Marilla on a beautiful farm called Green Gables. They’re not getting any younger and can use some help with their chores and seek to adopt a boy to live with them.

Instead of a boy, Matthew and Marilla are greeted by a chatty redheaded girl named Anne Shirley. Matthew is more welcoming than most others that Anne meets, but even the meanest people are nicer than those that Anne dealt with growing up. She was physically punished in orphanages and lived with a family that had a drunk and often violent husband.

As rough as her past was, her future is looking bright at Green Gables and Anne gets to experience many firsts while living there. Her first friend, prayer, church service, school, and even ice cream! There are many humorous moments that my family enjoyed while watching this film together.

This movie is the first in a three-part series and I look forward to watching the rest with my children. The visuals are stunning, but are limited to the DVD format. I wish it was available on Blu-ray for even more vibrant colors. The acting is superb and there are many likable (and unlikable) characters that I look forward to being further developed in this series.

If you’re a fan of the book or for some wholesome family friendly entertainment, you should check out this film. Amazon Prime members can watch it for free as part of their subscription. PBS also sells the DVD on their website for $14.99.



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2018 Christmas Buying Guide

Christmas Buying Guide 2018

Here’s a quick breakdown of the most family friendly games we have reviewed in 2018. More reviews can be found on ChristCenteredGamer.com! Each game is given a gameplay score for the overall gaming experience and a moral score for how suitable it is for younger gamers. The Amazon and Humble Store links will benefit Christ Centered Gamer by giving us a small % of the sale.

System Game Game Score Moral Score Buy it!
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
The Alliance Alive 82% 81% $29.09
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Block-a-Pix Color 72% 100% $7.99
Nintendo 2DS/3DS
Nintendo 3DS
Link-a-Pix Color 72% 100% $7.99
Switch
Switch
Freedom Planet
(PC, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Switch)
88% 94% $14.99
Switch
Switch
Happy Birthdays 84% 94% $29.97
Switch
Switch
Lost in Harmony
(Android, iOS, PC, Switch)
88% 92% $6.99
Switch
Switch
Semblance
(PC, Switch)
88% 96% $9.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Candleman: The Complete Journey
(Android, iOS, PS4, Xbox One)
90% 92% $14.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Tyler: Model 005
(PC, Xbox One)
90% 96% $9.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Staxel 90% 91% $19.99
PC/Mac
PC/Mac/Linux
Tracks - The Train Set Game 94% 100% $19.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
de Blob 2 
(Nintendo DS, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, PC, Xbox 360/One)
84% 93% $18.51
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4

Forgotton Anne
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)

92% 89% $19.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
GRIP: Combat Racing
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
92% 90% $39.99
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4
Railway Empire
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
82% 92% $34.44
PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Vita
Word Sudoku by POWGI
(Android, iOS, PS4, Vita)
72% 100% $7.99
  While we have reviewed other Vita games this year, they
are not on this guide because they are not family friendly
enough to be included. You can read our other Vita reviews
 here.
     
Xbox One
Xbox One
Crayola Scoot
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
82% 92% $39.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Octahedron
(PC, PS4, Xbox One)
86% 96% $12.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
Overcooked! 2
(PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One)
88% 94% $29.99
Xbox One
Xbox One
RGX Showdown
(PS4, Xbox One)
80% 96% $9.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
ARK Park 74% 95% $39.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Pinball FX2 VR Universal Classics 78% 84% $19.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
Throw Anything 76% 83% $11.99
Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality
TSA Frisky 70% 100% $6.99
Hardware
Hardware
EWin Calling Series Ergonomic Computer Gaming Office Chair with Pillows N/A N/A $220
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hephaestus P1 RGB Surround Sound Gaming Headset N/A N/A $55.79
Hardware
Hardware
Gamdias Hermes P2 RGB Optical Mechanical Switch Gaming Keyboard N/A N/A $76.41
Hardware
Hardware
ZMI PowerPack 20000 Portable Power Bank N/A N/A $69.95

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Pixar Animated Shorts: Volume 3

Thank you Disney for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Pixar movies are great and they always have the added bonus of a wonderfully made short to precede them. Sometimes they’re funny and other times they’re insightful. Volume 3 contains eleven shorts, two mini-movies, and some bonus features that are exceptionally made. While I have seen some of them, many of these shorts were new and thoroughly enjoyed by my family.

Here’s a breakdown of each one:

Bao – An eye-opening tale about a mother’s love for a rebellious son.

Lou – Lost toys come together to teach a bully a lesson and the benefits of forgiveness.

Piper – Teaching a baby seagull to feed himself, and overcoming the fear of the ocean waves.

Sanjay’s Super Team – Mostly based on a true story. Sanjay is trying to watch his superhero TV show and his dad is trying to meditate by their family shrine. After Sanjay loses the battle over the television volume, he joins his father in worship physically while mentally he daydreams fighting bad guys alongside some of his gods.

Riley’s First Date? – Inside Out characters in the minds of the boy, parents, and Riley. The mother tries to pry information from Riley with “hip talk” while the father attempts to intimidate Jordan.

Lava – A Hawaiian-themed musical short about a lonely volcano looking for love. Will he meet the “lava” of his life?

The Radiator Springs 500 ½ - Stanley Days is interrupted by some young punks looking to challenge Lightning McQueen to a race. Unfortunately, they’re given some bad directions and have quite the adventure.

Party Central – Mike and Sullivan save a lackluster frat party at Monsters University by stealing food and students from another one.

The Blue Umbrella – In a city full of black umbrellas, a bright blue one stands out from the crowd and takes a liking to a vibrant red one. Eventually, they go their separate ways, but will they meet again?

The Legend of Mor’du – A witch shares the tale about a king and his four sons with different skills. When the king passed, the eldest son wanted to rule the kingdom by himself and not share it as his father had decreed. War ensued and resulted in a stalemate. The oldest son enlisted the help of a witch who gave him a spell of choice: great strength or to restore his bond with his brothers.

Partysaurus Rex – The characters of Toy Story gang up against Rex who ruins their fun. They call him Party Pooper Rex. Rex meets some new bath toy friends and introduces himself as Partysaurus Rex. Since he has arms he can draw the bath water to keep the party going after bath time.

There are also two mini-movies:

Marine Life Interviews – A bunch of fish and a couple of seals recall their time with Dory. This one is shorter than most of the shorts.

Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool – The bus from Cars 3 has an infomercial that is pretty intense. Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez are her most recent graduates.

Lastly, there are two bonus features:

Making Bao - Bao means steamed bun or precious. It’s neat that the whole crew learned how to make dumplings from the director’s mother. I didn’t realize it until this behind the scenes that the short takes place in Toronto.

Caricature: A Horrible Way of Saying 'I Love You' – A look into mean caricature night at Pixar. I’m glad I don’t work there…

Despite that a couple of the shorts don’t align with Biblical teachings, but they’re all family friendly. I do like the theme of forgiveness and making things right in Lou. This seventy-six minute collection can be yours for less than $25 on Amazon.

 


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

 

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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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