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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

So what have you kickstarted?

There have been a lot of Kickstarter funded games getting heaps of publicity lately.  Have you backed any of them?  I like the concept provided that the good are delivered.  My husband and I backed the Shadow Run and Double Fine adventure games.  We passed on the Leisure Suit Larry and Ron Paul projects.  Have you backed a project?  If so, which ones?

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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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Why they named it that: the Wii

April 27, 2006: Nintendo has just released the name of their newest console, codenamed Revolution. April 28, 2006: The entire internet bursts out laughing, jokes about the “Wii” (pronounced “wee”) abound and fans of the big N let out a collective groan. Why, of all the possible names, would Nintendo choose a name that’s a joke? And it only went downhill from there. Once the Wii was released, there were endless “do you wanna play with my Wii (wee)?” jokes. Nintendo fanboys everywhere were giving the big N dirty looks while trying to convince people that it was cool name. But everyone was still wondering, why did Nintendo name it that?

 

            Fans were excited about the “Revolution”, the first pictures showed a sleek, black tower of awesomeness with blue light from heaven emitting from the disc drive. And why else would Nintendo codename something the “Revolution” unless it was something huge?  Sure, Revolution wasn’t the best name either; it’s a bit too long and hard to translate, not to mention presumptuous, but it was cool. But for the love of Mario, why the Wii? Why use a name that they knew people would make fun of?

 

 

            Well, let’s get one thing straight; they knew what they were doing. For years, Nintendo has beaten the competition, despite first appearances, because they know their audience. In fact, they probably know us better than we know ourselves. Despite some missteps (I’m looking at you Virtual Boy), Nintendo has always come out on top, despite the odds. Think about it for a second, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) reignited the games industry, the Game Boy made it easy to own a handheld console, and the DS helped popularize touch controls. Each of these systems had stiff competition from consoles that were technically superior, but each one prevailed with sales that rocketed past the competition. And as we know, history repeats. At the time of writing, the Wii has sold about 95 million units, compared to the Xbox 360’s 66 million units and PS3’s 62 units. So the question remains, why did they name it the Wii?

 

            No, it wasn’t because they thought it was funny (at least I hope it wasn’t that). They wanted something short, universal and meaningful. If they kept the name Revolution, people would most likely abbreviate it anyway, and translating it to other languages would be problematic to say the least. Wii never needs to be abbreviated, can easily be translated to other languages, and is meant to sound like the English word “we”.

 

 

            Let’s focus on that last point. Nintendo wanted this new console to be a family thing. By removing the traditional controller, something confusing to newcomers, and replacing it with a familiar object, the remote, they were hoping to involve people who wouldn’t normally even consider playing games. Now Mom, Grandpa, and even your crazy aunt wanted to play bowling.  People everywhere enjoyed the simple gameplay of golf, bowling, tennis, baseball and boxing. Even without ever having picked up a controller, anyone could play the simple games the Wii offered. Then factor in online play and classic games available through the Wii shop, and Nintendo had one of the most social consoles ever.

 

            Despite the numerous jokes, Wii describes the console well. Not only does it emphasize playing together, the unique spelling is meant to appear as if two people are standing next to each other, or the Wii’s unique controller. Sure, it’s not the best name, and it’s likely going to be the butt of jokes for some time to come, but it’s different and memorable. Nintendo’s never been known to go with the grain, and neither do their products. They’re different, and what some would call inferior, but that’s why Nintendo has succeeded. By consistently providing experiences different from all the others out there, they’ve amassed a rabid following of both hardcore and casual gamers. Once again, time has proven that Nintendo knows what they’re doing, even if we don’t.

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I Am Alive

I'm fine with people having their own opinion, but this one borders on outright trolling: http://xboxlive.ign.com/articles/122/1220061p1.html. This is the reason people think you're biased IGN. http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/i-am-alive

I love IGN, they're my main news source, but I plan on taking their opinion with a grain of salt from now on.

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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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Gaming awkwardness

I recently beat a game that had a questionable but unique love story.  I'm going to try and be vague so I don't give away spoilers in the game I'm talking about here.  The main characters in this title are two teenagers that are adopted siblings.  As the story progresses, they grow closer and are comfortable in each other's presence even in mixed gender bath houses. While they never begin a romantic relationship, they are encouraged to do so by many other characters in the game.  I'm all for a good love story but I found this one a bit awkward.  Perhaps my convictions stem from this verse in the Bible:

Leviticus 18:9 says Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

What do you think?  Do you find this relationship natural or awkward?  Granted genetically there no foreseeable issues here but I still find it going against God's law.  

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God loves gamers, reaching the Xbox generation

 Like many Christians gamers, I feel a twinge of guilty when severing heads in Skyrim, or unleashing destructive magic from my palms.  It's easy to think we're just having meaningless fun, but this anxiety is proof enough for me that we should start to take games more seriously. 

 

However, I don't feel called to quit gaming, so how does a Christian proceed? We all believe games have such potential in telling stories yet we're left to live with tug-of-war raging inside us: one between questionable morality and edifying messages.

 

By morality I of course mean the stuff you don't want your grandmother to see: violence, sex, swearing etc.

 

And by quality I mean excellent production values and thoughtfully crafted messages that ask big questions of the world.

 

So the question becomes, can graphic violence and questionable morality still be waded through for quality story telling and thought-provoking themes?

 

I like to use the Bible as a guide when navigating entertainment because it is full of graphic violence, sex, cursing and spiritual forces, both good and evil. But in everything is a good and trustworthy message: Sin will bring destruction while God offers redemption.

 

Some might argue it might even border on hypocrisy when Christians condemn a potentially thought-provoking entertainment based on violence or sex, and there are strong redemptive themes throughout.

 

So, here are four questions I found helpful to start thinking more critically about games: 

 

1. What are video games to you? 

 

Are they mere entertainment? Escapism? Or do you find a deeper meaning or connection? Do you find yourself admiring the heroism of Link, descending the depths of darkness to purify and bring light? Do you suddenly feel like championing the cause of the down-trodden, just as your character goes out of their way to help the innocent?

 

2. What affect do videogames have on your soul? 

 

Do you feel spiritually uplifted after the credits roll, or do you feel sick to your stomach? What did the game teach you? That living by your own rules makes life easier? Killing and stealing is the quickest way to victory? Or that the most meaningful side quests were done to help out a stranger?

 

3. Does God care what we play? 

 

 Have you every prayed and asked God to show you something through a videogame? Do you think God can use games to reach others? If so, have you ever considered that God may have a heart for gamers?

 

4. Where should we draw the line? 

 

Is there a danger in pushing through too much garbage to get a small nugget of goodness?A guiding verse might be Philippians 4:8 Whatever is true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy... think about these things.

 

 

I believe we have been called to love videogames because it uniquely qualifies us to speak the language of a growing digital generation.

 

 And there are millions of gamers out there who will never seek Jesus out in a Church. But they are captives in darkness, without hope. And every night they bring their tired souls to the computer screen or Xbox and find some solace there. We are the soldiers tasked with the rescue of this digital generation. God has put the passion of gaming in our hearts to reach these people, and it is a high calling.

 

Our battlefield is here on the internet, using our love of games to connect with this lost generation. Let's point them to Christ with thought-provoking discussions on sites like Christ and Pop Culture and CCGR. Let's train other Christian gamers to discern the truth in the games we play, and reveal how Christ is at work in all our Red Dead Redemptions.

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Looking back at 2011

Man, this year was a great year for video games. There were lots of comeback games such as Sonic Generations and Rayman Origins. This year also marked the releases of LittleBigPlanet 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

This year also had a lot of great movies such as Captain America, The Muppets, and Courageous (can I get an amen?).

And to think, 2012 is going to have The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Wii U and other great movies and games.

What do you think? Was 2011 one of the best years of gaming and/or movies?

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Digital Religion

I have been running ChristCenteredGamer.com/CCGR.org for over ten years.  In that time we have had our fair share of scoffers and trolls who don’t understand the purpose of this site.  It is not our place to tell people what to play or not to play, but rather to inform them of what is in a game so they can make an educated purchasing decision.  Last night I was having a blast playing the casual RTS game Fate of the Pharaoh.  Given the title I was expecting references to the Egyptian culture and gods.  Not surprisingly, I did discover references to Ra the sun god and was able to earn achievements for beating his times in each level.   No big deal, I don’t mind a bit of a challenge.  While I was playing through the levels, I saw some of my villagers worshiping their idols.  I had no control over it and wasn’t asked to participate, so I continued to play on.    When I reached level fourteen, the tables turned.  Instead of gathering materials and gold for my villagers, I had to gather these resources and give them as an offering to the goddess Maat to progress to the next level.  This is where I have stopped playing the game.  Why?  Because I feel it breaks the first and second commandments.

Exd 20:2 I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.   4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:  5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God…

 Will every Christian feel the same way?  Probably not.  However, those that will agree with me will be thankful for saving themselves $7 for this game.  For all of the non-Christians that visit this site, here’s a question for you:  Would you be equally upset playing a game not labeled as a Christian game but require you to acknowledge and worship Jesus to continue?  I bet the developers of that game would get a few complaints.  I understand that it’s not real and it’s just pixels and 1’s and 0’s etc, but so is pornography if you want to use that excuse.  If you get busted by your spouse for looking at indecent pictures I bet the 1’s and 0’s argument won’t work out too well. 

Digital or real, I don’t feel comfortable breaking the commandments of my Lord.  I refuse to play any game that forces me to pay homage to a god other than my own.  I hope you can better understand what we’re about and where I’m coming from.

In Him,

Cheryl
-ccgr-

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Learning to be like Jesus in Skyrim

 The snow is white like my blind eye peering through a horned helmet. The distant howl of a wolf startles me, prompting a knee-jerk response to unsheathe my two-handed battle-axe. I stand motionless on the mountain path.

 Waiting.

 I hear his ragged breath through the trees before I spot him, a flash of teeth seeking flesh. I bludgeon the beast's skull with a grunt and chase his hide before it slides down the mountainside.

This is Skyrim. And my mountain path is a sacred meditation marked by stone tablets, laying out the history of the land, the people and our religion.

This is a spiritual moment. Not in the game, but here on the couch I've been sitting on for the last four hours, sipping noodle soup and green tea, (I have a cold ok?). I had a spiritual encounter sometime between clothing this 300-pound Viking in leather and magic rings and climbing this ancient rocky path.

The Voice. Greybeards. Gods. Demons. Yes, they are overtly spiritual, and I'll admit, the pilgrimage to the sanctuary of High Hrothgar all smacks of borrowed mysticism.

But that wasn't my spiritual experience. No, it was here on a mountain clearing overlooking the village I left a few minutes ago, that I met God. It started with an urge to leave my comfy couch, my soup and even my green tea. It was an urge to go outside, to explore.

It was like my slumbering soul suddenly jerked awake, like my wife after sticking my ice cold feet between her warm calves. I wanted to be in nature. I wanted to feel the sharp, cold wind on my face, freezing the juice around my eyeballs. I wanted to be on that peak of Skyrim. And that desire also conjured up sadness. Not because I couldn't afford the ticket to the Rockies, but because somehow I knew even if Skyrim was a place I could visit with my own fleshy body, it wouldn't be enough. I was longing to be in the place that Skyrim reminded me of; the jagged peaks of the Throat of the World are only a postcard from somewhere I can’t go.

Skyrim reminds me of heaven.

Sermons and hymns (unless sung by a choir of Nords) just don't convey the wildness, wonder and the sense of purpose I imagine heaven offers. There are no golden, fleecy clouds and harps to... uhh harp on. There are no white bathrobes and soft-spoken angels with nothing better to do than star in cream cheese commercials. No, this is the heaven I want to spend the rest of eternity in; an untamed world of unexplored mountain caves, warm cottages, cold mead and big beards.

Unlikely afterlife? Maybe. But my soul just tried jumping out of my shirt, so I think there's something to this place.

Besides, the characters we're creating to conquer this northern province of Tamriel sound a lot like the description of Jesus,

...and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelations 1: 13-18 NIV)

A man with golden clothing, white beard, glowing eyes, voice like the sound of rushing waters, (not unlike the dragon shouts?) with seven stars in his hand (dual wielding destruction magic?) and a double-edged sword in his mouth.

Awesome character build, and no, I'm not being facetious here.

This is a truer picture of Jesus than the skinny brown-bearded hippy we immortalize in stain glass. That was the old man, Gandalf the grey, a pilgrim hooded and cloaked. Not the all-powerful being unleashed: Gandalf the white.

This is his true nature. Sword-in-tongue and stars in hand.

Not a churchy image. Yet the image millions of young men are embodying in Skyrim.

        

 

        

         

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Skyrim lacks style, too much class

 

 

Skyrim reviews are beginning to pour onto the internet and it sounds like Bethesda has delivered on all the dragon sized hype.

 

So the question for me isn't should I play, but how should I play?

 

While Skyrim looks like there are tons of ways to play via multiple classes and skill trees, the question becomes, will I be able to do everything I want in my first playthrough?

 

Can I become as proficient as I would like in both the bow, axe and destruction magic? Will I feel cheated trying to be a jack of all trades, l forced into specializing?

 

 

If so, I have narrowed my personal play styles down to three: the Imperial race, a paladin tank in heavy armor, complete with sword and shield with restoration and destruction magic thrown into the mix.

 

I imagine travelling the lands as a righteous crusader, taking from the rich and giving to the... me. Gold and weapons go to me. My valuable time spent doing the poor's quests is my gift. Also the appeal of giant coat of burnished steel glinting in the torch light is hard to deny.

 

A second choice is the Bosmer Wood Elf character, a sneaky rogue specializing in archery, breaking into locked chests and with a knack for alchemy.

 

I can't believe it took until my third outing in Oblivion to fully explore the bow. While it borders on nonsense, zooming in with the bow is better than chocolate. Add in the sneak damage? Chocolate wrapped in that gooey marshmallow spread.

 

My final choice is the hardy Nord, a viking-esque warrior carrying the biggest two-handed axe or greatsword I can find. I am curious to try out the Smithing skill and see what kind of weapons can be concocted from the ingredients I find along my path through Skyrim.

 

Basically, I'm modelling the Nord after Chris Hemsworth's depiction of a dethroned Thor. But instead of falling in love with Natalie Portman on modern day earth, he kills dragons and forges Mjolnir. By himself.

 

How about you guys, what kind of style are you looking forward to on your first playthrough November 11?

 

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What I'm playing

Here's what I'm playing currently:

PC: Almost done checking out all of the classes in Dungeon Defenders.  I have a youtube video if you want to see what the game play looks like.    I'm half way through the adventure game Tales From The Dragon Mountain: The Strix, it's kind of a dud, avoid it.  I have Skyrim on pre-order, can't wait!

Wii: EA Active 2 I picked this up for $20 it's great so far, I feel half robot with the glowing accessories that monitor my heartbeat and movements.  It's giving me a good workout and after I'm done with the 9 week challenge, expect a review!

PSP: Worms Battle Islands

3DS: Currently collecting dust, waiting for Mario 3D to arrive.

DS: When time allows, I'll be firing it up and playing Final Fantasy 2.  

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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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The best use for an Ipad yet..the ICade!


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Happy 12th birthday Sega Dreamcast!

I never owned one of these consoles but it was truly ahead of time and died a premature death at only 18 months on the market. It sported many innovations present in modern day consoles including multiplayer gaming, a web browser and portable hand held support.  The 480p resolution was impressive back then too.   Many of the popular Dreamcast game series are still popular today including Unreal Tournament, Phantasy Star Online, Resident Evil, Soul Calibur, Quake and Dead or Alive.  At last many of the games have lived on, I wonder what console will go extinct next?

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution makes Pacifism boring

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a satisfying game. It scratches my sneaky Metal Gear itch, a frothy mug of root-beer to quench my thirst for Mass Effect's interactive conversation, and eases the ache for Elder Scroll's open world exploration, though on a small scale.

 

Deus Ex even weaves an intricate and poignant narrative, exploring questions like,  "What is it to be human?" and "Should arms be replaced by gatling guns?"

 

But 10 hours in and I am bored. Well, not bored, but restless. I am tired of sneaking around in the shadows, tranquillizing mercs and dragging their unconscious bodies into the shadows. 

 

I want to shoot folk in earnest, but it seems Deus Ex was designed with sneaking in mind because a fragile health meter makes firefights extremely dangerous, with the option to "go loud" only viable when things really fall apart. Normally I would just change my play-style and relish the  challenge but the game does such a good job of making your actions feel weighty. When you use the stun gun, an icon indicates the enemy is sleeping and awards you the "merciful soul" experience bonus. This feels the Christian way to play video games. And yet, I am restless. Is this an urge to fight against, a battle for morality, or do I just need a different game to scratch this guns-blazing itch?

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Multiplayer Etiquette and My Witness

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can be a better witness when I’m on the Internet, specifically when I’m playing a multiplayer game. While the opportunity rarely comes up to share ones faith during a death match or an epic quest, we should always be ready to answer those who ask. In Luke 9:26 Christ has some strong words for those that know him but don’t tell others: ‘For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.’ This is an area that I struggle with all the time, feeling I should say more than I do about my faith. The best thing I know to do is to keep studying the word so that I will be ready when an opportunity presents its self. And when it does I trust that God will give me the courage to speak up, remembering Paul’s words in his second letter to Timothy Chapter 1:7 ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’

But until they ask there is another way I can silently let my light shine: through my behavior. Even though I may never see the real faces of people I meet in games I still a responsibility to live my life in a holy manner. The Apostle Peter, in his first Epistle, gives us an idea of what that means in I Peter: 1:13-16:'Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.'

Holiness is a matter we should always take seriously, even when playing a game. But what does that mean on a practical level? How can I be holy while on the game grid? I think the first thing thing that’s important to remember is the “golden rule,” found in Matthew 7:12: 'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.'
While the in-game persona may be an orc or a faceless space soldier, on the other side of the avatar is a person that I should treat with the same respect that I would want to be treated with myself – even when we’re trying to frag each other.

It mostly comes down to common courtesy and politeness, traits that are scarce enough on the web as a whole. People seem to feel that, just because they have a certain anonymity, that they can act however they want, without any thought to others. But it is my duty as Christians to be different from the world, as Romans 12:2 says: 'And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.'

Since most of my communication with other players in games will either be written or verbal, one way I can set myself apart by not using profanity or insulting other players. For I am an ambassador of Christ, no matter where I am, and a dirty word can soil a good witness - which is why Paul gives us this command in Ephesians 4:29: 'Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.' And also in Colossians 3:8: 'But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.'

But even if I don’t use any “bad” words, I can still be in the wrong if I reply to an insult or nasty comment in anger. Remember the wise words of Solomon, in Proverbs 15:1: 'A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.' Often just ignoring a “troll’”will make them get board and move on. But if I must speak I try and keep it civil to defuse the situation as best I can.

However, I think there is more to it than just being nice (or at least not being rude). Often times new players are scorned and excluded because of there inexperience. But ignorance is not the same thing as stupidity: just because a player doesn't know where the flag capture zone is, or that clicking on the glowing stone obelisk is a bad idea, doesn't make them dumb. It can be hard to remember what it's like not to know things that we take for granted. Experience will cure ignorance in time, but I can help it happen faster. In Matthew 25:45, Jesus says: 'Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye diditnot to one of the least of these, ye diditnot to me.' The verse here is referring to physical needs, but I think the principal applies: if you see someone in need, can fulfill that need but don’t, you displease God. I'm not saying that we have to hold the hand of every noob we meet. But it wouldn't hurt to help someone along that is struggling, so that everyone can have more fun in the long run.

“I’m not a teacher,” I hear myself say. Well, that's what wikis are for! Most every major online game has a wiki these days. Giving a new player a link to one is easy enough and gives them access to the combined knowledge of dozens, even hundreds, of players. Or I could just quote from it whenever they ask a question and look really smart. Either way, a little display of kindness can go a long way towards opening doors.
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What is the most amount of time you put into a game?

I have over 35 hours into Dragon Warrior VII and I'm still on the first disc.  I think I will have to sink 100 hours into this game before I finish it.  It's really a shame since this great game is riddled with swearing, quite a difference from the Nintendo versions I have been playing until this point.  I'm not exaggerating that every time I load up this game I encounter a swear of some sort.  da*n, bas*ard, son of a......, and hell is thrown around pretty casually too.  "Get the hell out of here" etc.  The Nintendo versions may have had 1 or 2 da*n in it max.  :\ 

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Sonic's 20th Anniversary

I am a huge Sonic fan who loves playing the blue blur's games despite their critical reception. I love the fast-paced action, catchy music, and great graphics of the series. I know that some of his games have had weird gimmicks such as the werehog in Sonic Unleashed, but I found most of his games enjoyable. Actually, the only Sonic game that I officially hate is Sonic Labyrinth. Still, games like Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity made me think that the blue blur could do a lot better. Once Sonic Colors and Sonic 4 came out, I knew that the blue blur was done with gimmicks. For Sonic's 20th anniversary, SEGA is giving us Sonic Generations and Mario and Sonic 3, both I think look excellent. Sonic Generations features both Classic and Modern incarnations of Sonic, while Mario and Sonic 3 features both series' iconic characters and party games based on the London Olympics coming next year.

2011 is actually not only Sonic's 20th anniversary, but also Mario's 30th, Zelda's 25th, and Halo's 10th! Weird huh?

Reviews to Sonic Colors and Sonic '06 coming soon.

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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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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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