6 Positive Effects of Video Games

Many people have been criticizing video games for a long time for one reason or another. Video games are huge cultural institutions now, and yet many cultural commentators still refuse to acknowledge any of the 6 positive effects of video games in anyone. However, since video games have been around for so long, many of the positive effects of video games come with documentation attached, which makes it that much harder for the detractors to make arguments against them in this day and age. Almost all forms of new media went through a phase in which the detractors swore up and down that they would manage to destroy society, and those forms of new media became old media that were soon accepted by nearly everyone. Video games are now going through the exact same process.

#1 – Better Problem Solving Skills

The people who have to learn how to play video games are going to need to develop more advanced problem solving skills in many cases just to play the games. Video games will present complex new situations for the people who are playing them. In many cases, there is not going to be some predetermined set of rules involved when it comes to figuring out how to get out of a tight space. The people involved are just going to have to rely on their own brains, which is ultimately going to promote the development of better problem solving skills.

#2 – Better Improvisational Abilities

Video games demand very specific sorts of intellectual skills. One of the most important intellectual skills involved with video games is the ability to think on one’s feet. People can use different strategies in order to win at video games, but in many cases, they’re going to have to cope with all sorts of unexpected obstacles. Their responses to those obstacles are going to make all the difference, and that is where the ability to improvise comes into play. Being able to think quickly and develop strategies quickly can make all the difference in terms of whether or not someone is going to win at a particular video game. As such, the more people play video games in the first place, the more they’re going to be able to succeed at improvisation.

#3 – Better Storytelling Skills

Video games have changed quite a lot in recent years. Many of them have now become part of very complex narrative arcs. The people who are playing video games are no longer just going through the motions of a game. They are now bringing specific characters to life in a way that will allow them to more or less complete a story. People who embody these characters and these roles are bringing a story to life, and in many cases, this is going to inform their choices as game players. While playing video games is not an exercise in storytelling to the same extent as role playing, it still manages to fall into that category. Naturally, the people who design and create video games in the first place are going to develop and improve when it comes to their own storytelling skills. There are more opportunities for everyone to get involved in the video gaming world in a world where the freelance designer has arrived on the scene, which should make it that much easier for people to use video games for their own self-education.

#4 – Opportunities for Bonding and Socializing

While video games are extremely competitive and lots of people get very emotional about their results, they can also present all sorts of great opportunities for bonding. Plenty of people get together specifically to play video games, which can make them the foundations of friendships that can really develop into something more. The act of playing video games in its own right is more social than a lot of people believe today, particularly older people. All games are competitive to one degree or another. Physical outdoor sports are certainly competitive, and yet people have been able to bond over those for years. Video games are the same. The extreme entertainment value of video games in their own right really cannot be dismissed, even though many of the detractors have tried to do that for a long time. However, the social and personal benefits of video games only manage to add another layer of appeal in that regard.

#5 – Shared Cultural History

People from all across society can discuss characters like Mario. The extreme popularity of video games has managed to create a shared cultural history that now manages to span generations. People who were born decades after video games of certain generations can now enjoy playing them. Individuals who have been playing video games for decades can try the new ones and feel more connected to the young people of the day. There is a certain value in the creation of nearly any sort of media that has managed to have such a broad appeal, since it can be used to unite disparate groups of people as opposed to dividing them. Video games were once the domain of young boys. Today, the gender divide and the age divide have disappeared, since these divides were completely artificial to begin with, given the broad appeal of video games.

#6 – Improved Hand-Eye Coordination

Few people are going to be as dedicated to hand-eye coordination exercises as the fans of video games, who are often in a position in which they’re going to be playing their games for a long period of time. Video game players learn to react to everything on screen very quickly and easily, making it that much easier for them to get the different parts of their body in sync in a way that would be very difficult otherwise. Video games are now used in formal training exercises in order to give people better hand-eye coordination. They can certainly help give people the same advantage casually. Even learning how to use the controls of video games requires advanced hand-eye coordination skills, as well as excellent fine motor skills.

Top 10 Auto Racing Games: Part 2

#5 – Need For Speed: Undercover

The twelfth installment in the Need For Speed line up, this 2008 game features exciting open world gaming that can make the player feel as if they are in a new environment. Users can see a map of their new hometown and drive freely through the vast landscape. This game is like the Grand Theft Auto of racing games. It is a fun digital experience. Users can speed in fast cars and follow the story line as they travel.

#4 – Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6 Screen Cap
Gran Turismo 6 Screen Cap

This video game was released in 2013 and had many excited to play the new installment of the Gran Turismo line. This is also the twelfth game in this series and had won many awards. It features a host of exotic cars to choose and customize and has a wide variety of adrenaline rushing race tracks to choose from. This is for the gamer who adores stylish cars and fun tracks to explore.

#3 – Project Cars

This auto racing game is one of the newest as it was released in 2015. It was developedSlihtly Mad Studios and can be played on most of the newest game consoles today. This auto game challenges the player with sporadic weather conditions and aggressive motorsport paths. As the game starts off, the user is vouchsafed to explore all of the race tracks and vehicle options. This is a great feature for those who simply want to race and have all options available to do so immediately.

#2 – Grand Turismo 4

The fourth installment, Grand Turismo 4 allows the player to speed across exotic race environments in expensive cars. This game offers a long list of cars to choose from and multiple racing events to earn points. There are also driving missions that help increase the points earned. A great game to challenge one’s self and test different driving levels.

#1 – Forza Motorsport 5

Forza Motorsport 5 Screen Cap
Forza Motorsport 5 Screen Cap

Turn 10 Studios developed this auto racing game and it has held a high position for gamers who enjoy race car games. It has an abundance of vehicles the user can test drive, 200 cars from over 50 manufacturers, and gives the race car gamer what they want, variety. Every simulation is backed with quality scenery that makes the user feel as if they are in the game. Also, the controls boast realistic motions and each car is suited with its own great benefits the user can take the time to explore.


Every game listed can offer exciting story lines, great cars, and simple fun.

Top 10 Auto Racing Games: Part 1

When it comes to thrill and excitement, racing games offer the amazing benefit of competitive fun. Whether a person is playing against the computer or real players, it can easily make for a stress relieving fun time. Auto racing games have advanced over the last few years dramatically, visuals more intense than ever. The cars have become equipped with multiple speed enhancing features and controls. It is amazing to see how far the gaming car has come.

Derived from real race cars featured in magazines with a bit of imagination thrown in, these cars each sport their own persona. With different speed settings, strengths, and weaknesses, a person has a wide selection of detailed cars to choose from in each game. Users can enjoy the sunset and beautiful backdrops as they race along the dangerous, intricate race track or road. Different terrains to excite and many reward points to achieve. These are the top 10 auto racing games on the market.

#10 – Shift 2

Shift 2 is a PC game that boasts real action. For individuals looking for the most realistic elements and graphics, this may be worth the deeper research. This game eliminates the common method of racing by not only making the controls feel realistic but using the view capabilities to mimic that of what is seen outside of the digital world. Users can utilize the enhanced viewing technology to help them excel in other racing auto games. For example, the game shows the player, without being overbearing, what they should be focussing on. If a car is catching up to the player, objects that are farther away are blurred. This is an excellent feature because this is how everyday visuals work. This helps the game to be more realistic, besides the smooth ride of the vehicles in this game.

#9 – Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Screen Cap
Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Screen Cap

This game was brought to market in 210 and was developed by Criterion Games. It can be played with PlayStation, Xbox360, PC, and a number of other options that can be located in its description. There is also a version for Wii that was developed by Exient Entertainment. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is an excellent example of a high thrill game that boasts graphics and purpose. Users can race against friends or run from the law as they steer through dramatic race environments. Players can also be the police driver and have levels of their career, giving the gamer goals other than winning a race. This game has been no stranger to the market being the 16th of its kind in the product line. The game is full of exotic cars and is simply fun gameplay.

#8 – Real Racing 3

A 2013 game, Real Racing 3 offers its users simply that, an accelerated racing experience. The game was developed by Firemonkeys Studios and has been a popular option for simple fun since. When players start out, they are pushed to accomplish wins to get new cars, as they are limited to a Nissan Silvia S15 or a Ford Focus RS. These are great cars in the game but it still motivates players to see what other options they have. The game is divided into many adrenaline rushing series where users should not tire out easily.

#7 – Need For Speed: Shift

Another Need For Speed game from the collection, this game is an exciting rush of amazing features. The product line always features new exotic cars and even though this game is from 2009 it still hosts a slew of beautiful graphics and fun cars. This game is the 13th installment and still offers new and old users great auto gaming. Although this race car game doesn’t have a storyline, it can still motivate the player as they can move up in career mode, enhancing their skills and driving the best cars. This is a great game for those who simply want to race.

#6 – Test Drive Unlimited 2

Test Drive Unlimited Screen Cap
Test Drive Unlimited Screen Cap

This 2011 auto racing game can be great for those who want more freedom to roam in this style of gaming as it is open-world style. It lets players drive through exciting racing with a story line attached as they do so. To enhance, players must earn experience points. For more options, the unnamed avatar can be slightly adjusted to the users liking. A great gameplay if players want to do more than race.

Why Video Games Should Not Be Censored

Everyone knows that video games contain some violence and sexually suggestive content. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, http://ncac.org/resource/a-timeline-of-video-game-controversies, the first game with violent content to be pulled off the shelves was “Death Race”, released in 1976. Although it was little more than grainy black and white images, with no discernable graphic gore, the creatures that were killed make a little “eek” sound, which alarmed the censors and it was taken off the market.

Today, little has changed when it comes to video game censorship hysteria. Yes, there are better color graphics and extraordinary sound effects included in today’s games, however, it is no worse than what you would view on prime time television in shows like “The Walking Dead”, where brains are routinely splattered and people are shown being eaten alive by decomposing zombies.
One of the most erroneous claims by the pro-censorship lobby is that viewing and playing video games with violent content drives young people to commit violent acts. The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary not only energized the gun control agenda, but also brought the topic of video game censorship back to the forefront.

Apparently, Adam Lanza, the Connecticut shooter, was described as an “avid gamer”. Although police found after the murder/suicide that his hard drive was destroyed, and that there were no direct links from video game content to the crime, the media harped on the fact that he loved playing video games, in particular Dance Dance Revolution, a game that revolves around physical dancing and music, that has actually helped teens get fit. The content of the games he played did not seem to matter. They cited “gaming” as a precursor to his violent acts. Other mass shootings have been attributed to “game addiction” which stimulated aggression.

A study by Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media, documented in Grand Theft Childhood, http://www.grandtheftchildhood.com/GTC/Home.html, shows that there the correlation between violent video games and violent crime is a fallacy. So many other factors, like parenting, childhood mental illness, child abuse and other experiences hold more sway concerning what a person will or will not do, given the right circumstances. If there were no violent games, they would find a trigger in something else like comic books or graphic novels.

Do vid games cause violence?
Do video games cause violence?

Before video games, the Beatles’ White Album was blamed for Charles Manson and his family committing brutal murders in 1969. This does not take into account the millions of people who enjoyed the album without thinking that it contained hidden messages about a violent race war directly from the fab four. A twisted mind can take anything from a TV commercial to a song and think it has a satanic or violent message.

Japan has produced the most gory, violent content in video games to date. Conversely, they have a much lower crime rate than the United States. With the number of “avid gamers” among Japan’s population, and the extreme content of some of these games, it would hold true that they would have mass murders and other acts of aggression occurring on a daily basis.

An agenda to censor video games takes the focus off of more important needs of society, like mental health treatment and assistance for families in crisis. As long as society has video games to blame for tragedies beyond comprehension, the underlying sources of these violent acts will not be properly addressed.

Mad Max: Post-Apocalypse Gaming!

A Mad Max review (2015 video game) should always make a note of where this game exists in the overall continuity of the series, and how it compares to many of the other pieces of entertainment that came before it. This is definitely a game that makes a favorable contribution to the franchise as a whole, and the long-standing Mad Max fans are definitely going to love it. This is a franchise that had fans technically before it even become a video game, since it is based on the Mad Max films of the 1980’s. Mad Max has quite the legacy and history behind it, which puts a certain amount of pressure on the games that are going to be released today. Fortunately, this Mad Max game has managed to honor the legacy.

Mad Max Screencap
Mad Max Screencap

Overall, the reviews of this Mad Max game have been favorable, even from the game critics. Video game critics have a tendency to be much harsher than the general public. However, there are also going to be instances in which the critics actually love a given game and the general public doesn’t for whatever reason. Critics are people who have, on average, played more video games than even the most dedicated game players, which can potentially make them jaded and receptive to any novelty in a way that a hobbyist will not be, which can lead to some miscommunication among game players. Fortunately, the audience reaction to Mad Max and the critical reaction to Mad Max were around the same, which should help illustrate the quality of the game.

Mad Max is an extremely exciting game that has managed to impress people with its graphics. This is not a game that is going to be especially earth-shattering in its originality, of course. Post-apocalyptic stories are as old as time, and they have been extremely popular in video games for a long time as well. The Mad Max game of 2015 strikes many of the same notes as the other games that have helped fill out the post-apocalyptic gaming genre for a while.

Mad Max Screencap
Mad Max Screencap

Some people want video games to expand beyond the confines of fighting, and they’re not going to find that here. However, there is a reason why fighting games have been popular for years, and they are still here to stay. Many of the worst fighting games fail to time things properly and do not provide a plethora of interesting obstacles for the players. Mad Max manages to avoid falling into those traps, giving players all sorts of obstacles and forcing them to devise new strategies on the fly. They’re given everything that they could possibly want from games of this sort, and the fans of this genre are going to be able to play it over and over again.

Fans of the original film are going to feel that the game was faithful to the film in all of the right ways. They definitely both feel like they take place in the same universe. However, this is a universe that people can join.

Is Your Car Totaled After a Flood?

In the past, when a person asked questions like, “Is your car totaled after a flood?” Most people would probably say a resounding yes. We thought so too after a storm made the Delaware River overflow its banks, totally dunking our two cars.  Our house was pretty easy to deal with.  We called a great Trenton-based water restoration business and it was fully covered by insurance.  However, the insurance with the car was a little different.  Since many business practices have changed over the years, insurance companies are doing everything to hold on to that extra dollar. It is also important to note that the decisions being made today are not always in the consumer’s favor, especially because of the huge impact that Katrina had on this industry (i.e. yielded over 200,000 flooded cars). Therefore, the answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. With this being said, here’s some facts about insurance estimates as they relate to car flood claims.

Hidden Damage Not Part of the Estimate

In some cases, a car that has been in a flood may not be automatically totaled by the adjuster. In fact, when the adjuster looks over the car, they may intentionally overlook water damage that is not visible to naked eye. Therefore, they may write up their claim based on only the things that they can identify quickly with their assessment. Unfortunately, this practice can leave the vehicle owner at a big loss in the future since some problems may not appear at all until after the claim has been settled. For instance, if the water damage flood was severe enough, it could impact the vehicle’s entire electrical system. When this occurs, the vehicle owner may have to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars out of pocket for their repairs.

Cars Being Sold All Over the Country with Flood Damage

When an individual purchases a used car today, it is important that they do a thorough job of researching the vehicle’s history. This research can be done in numerous ways, however, the most accurate way of getting the facts is doing a search on the vehicles vin number. With this research, the information that the prospective buyer discovers can be used in their decision to make the purchase. Since the situations for each search can vary, the actions taken after the search may result in the person making the purchase or moving on to another used car for consideration. For those who want to make sure that they are making a smart decision, it is essential for them to eliminate any potential car purchases that involve any type of flood damage. This is because the number of cars being sold with flood damage has increased greatly over the years. Many of which are due to insurance companies not totaling the vehicle when it has sustained flood damage and other reasons. Therefore, if an individual is trying to buy a used car, many professionals in the industry will say do not buy a used car that comes from areas that are known for having floods in their areas. In specific, cars that have crossed borders and are being sold in other states.

When Are Cars Totaled?

Based on comments from numerous resources on the Internet and other creditable resources, some people are having to fight for their cars to be totaled when they have been involved in a flood. So, it is essential for people who have these situations to understand the practices of an insurance company if these situations do occur. For instance, it is important to note that a car may be totaled automatically by most insurance companies when:

  • The vehicle is swimming in mud and there is no possibility of cleaning it up or even estimating the extent of damage to the electrical system
  • Vehicle is no longer functional because the water damage is too severe
  • Water reaches the bottom of the dashboard
  • Cost of repairs more than value of the car

These decisions are also made based on the type of water involved in flood. For instance, a distinction for damage is made based on salt water flooding, blackish water flooding, or clear water flooding. With salt water flooding and blackish water creating all kinds of expensive problems, the insurance company may total the vehicle right away.

As stated previously, the response to this question is not always as simple as one may think. With business practices changing dramatically in the insurance industry over the years, and so many cars being affected by flooding in certain geographical locations, the decisions to total the car can vary greatly from one insurance company and claim to another.

Death Race 2000: A Movie Review

“Death Race 2000” is a cult classic that was made by cult film maker Paul Bartel; some feel that this film is superior to the film “Rollerball”, which came out around the same time as this and features a dystopian setting. It stars David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sandy McCallum, and a pre “Rocky” Sylvester Stallone as “Machine-Gun” Joe Viterbo.

The film is about racers who try to earn the most points by hitting people in their cars, with a different amount of points being awarded depending upon who the racers hit. Babies and the physically challenged are two types; hitting these two types will also give the racer more points. The race is broadcasted through homes throughout the United States. The whole idea for the races was thought up by the American dictator known as “Mister President”. It features racing characters who are just replaced (sort of like on soap operas) once the current racer has reached the end of the line.

Some of the characters include Frankenstein, Matilda the Hun, Calamity Jane, Herman the German, Nero the Hero, and “Machine-Gun” Joe Viterbo. Joe is dressed like a gangster from a James Cagney movie, Frankenstein is dressed in a helmet and body suit to cover his large injuries, and Herman the German & Matilda the Hun are Nazis. Not only do these characters have great names, but they have great costumes to match. Joining these racers are their navigators who help them through the course, telling them where the best place to go is.

This is a film that is a B movie, but that does not mean that it is bad, not by any stretch. It has cheesy characters and dialogue, but it does not matter. The idea that there is a show (essentially a reality show) in the future that has racers going across the country running different kinds of people for points that is watched by just about everyone, is interesting. I have always been fascinated by people enjoying watching a show with people killing each other. At the time this movie came out, the United States having people kill each other for sport was not done to death like it has been now.

However, this is a film that is not to be taken too seriously, and really only to be watched for the humor that is evident in some of the comedic scenes and the hilarious commentary provided by the “Real” Don Steele, he provides many one liners throughout the film that will keep you laughing. It’s great to watch too, all these racers with their ability to carry a character and be a driver, all at the same time.

The film holds up pretty well, for being over forty years old now. When you want to see the origin for all of these films being made about dystopian worlds made up of bloodthirsty people wanting to watch real people kill each other on their tvs, this was one of the first. And one of the best.

A Brief History of the Video Game “Carmageddon”

The two founders of Stainless Software, Patrick Buckland and Neil Bandam decided to try something new after they had gotten sick of all the racing games coming out. They wanted to turn the cars around and smash the other cars out of the way. They wanted to do a combination Banger racing and Demolition Derby game and put together a rough demo for publishers. There were no takers, until SCi found out about the game.

Originally, SCi wanted to try to do a game based off the “Mad Max” series of films, but did not know who the owner of the rights was. It was decided, after they found out about “Death Race: 2020” which was to be the sequel to “Death Race: 2000” was being made, to do a game based off “Death Race”. The movie was eventually scrapped and so the developers would later change the name by combining the words car and Armageddon to form one word.

Carmageddon Screen Cap 1
Carmageddon Screen Cap

Once the game got started, they did not really know how to actually develop a game. They settled on the idea that if it sounded like it was fun, they should try and do it. One of their models for the game, Tony, was run over (for research, of course) and smacked with a pool cue for Prat cam.

When it came time to rate the game, things stopped being so easy. The ratings board in Britain was given the game to rate, the developers wanted an eighteen rating and failed to get one. This was because of the fact that in the game, you are given points for running over pedestrians (with more points depending upon whether or not they are handicapped or babies or old).

Carmageddon Screen Cap 2
Carmageddon Screen Cap

It was thought that it would ruin the nation’s youth. The developers had to censor the game by replacing the people and cows with zombies (in Germany robots were used). The board would give in after almost a year’s worth of appealing to them.

10 Car-Based Vehicular Combat Games: Part 2

6. “Twisted Metal: Head-On” (2005)

This game is the seventh installment in the highly acclaimed “Twisted Metal” series. Calypso is holding yet another tournament of vehicular combat called “Twisted Metal” with the prize for the winner getting whatever they ask for.

7.”Vigilante 8″ (1998)

Vigilante 8 Screen Cap -1998
Vigilante 8 Screen Cap -1998

In this game, you can pick from different ballistics type weapons (auto cannons, mortars, mines, homing missiles, and rocket pods); there is a special weapon that comes with each car. Machine guns are equipped on all cars. You can perform certain button maneuvers, fighting game style, that will take more of your ammo to “Total” other cars and score combo hits called Whammies.

8. “Carmageddon” (1997)

Carmageddon Screen Cap - 1998
Carmageddon Screen Cap – 1998

Inspired by the cult classic “Death Race 2000” that pits the player against A.I. competitors with different maps that vary from industrial, mine, and city settings. You only have a certain amount of time to complete each level, but you have the ability to gain more time by picking up bonuses, running over pedestrians or damaging your opponent’s car. You can either complete the races like other normal races by finishing first or you can waste the other racer’s cars and kill all pedestrians in the level.

9. “Badlands” (1989)

The setting is the aftermath of nuclear war where you race around the wastelands that have many hazards. The races include you and two other cars that are armed with guns, with the goal being to win prizes throughout the games. You can get better tires, more speed, more acceleration, and cannons. Between levels, you have the option to add missiles to your car to destroy your opponents’s car.

10. “Twisted Metal” (2012)

The most recent entry in the series (and on this list), you can now take all the things that the old games had and play with other people from around the world with multiplayer. You also have the ability to play as three different characters that each have a different story arc. The game is mainly a multiplayer game with different multiplayer modes that allow you to play in either four player split screen or sixteen players online.

Note that this list is not a best of list, but simply a list of ten games that are vehicular based combat games.

10 Car-Based Vehicular Combat Games: Part 1

Though not made very much anymore, vehicular combat racing games used to be made quite a bit, especially in the 1990s. The games feature either a demolition derby style contest or races where you can try and destroy your other racers’s cars before they have a chance to cross the finish line. This is a list of ten such games.

1. “Twisted Metal” (1995)

Twisted Metal Screen Cap (1995)
Twisted Metal Screen Cap (1995)

The very first game in the series featuring Calypso’s vehicular based combat tournament. This game allows you to use different weapons to battle your opponents.

2. “Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense” (1999)

Released the very next year after the first “Viglante 8” game, this game is almost the same as the first, but added in is a two-player cooperative mode and Grand Melee Deathmatch mode. The game introduced a Salvage Points system that allows players to collect points from the cars they have destroyed to be able to upgrade their vehicles for the next race. The cars, when fully upgraded will have a completely different outer appearance.

3. “Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012” (1998)

Rogue Trip Vacation Screen Cap -1998
Rogue Trip Vacation Screen Cap -1998

A demo derby game that allows the use of ballistics weapons. This game is just like “Twisted Metal” (it uses the same engine and concept). You hijack different tourists and show them the sights. You can also make money by destroying different parts of the scenery, which can be spent on upgrading health and weapons.

4. “Twisted Metal: Black” (2001)

In this, the fifth installment in the series, you have the ability to use ballistic projectiles. You can choose the vehicle and the arena that you want to use to do battle with your other competitors. Throughout the stage, there are different weapons and upgrades that you can pick up throughout the level to help you. The winner is the one who is able to be the last one standing throughout the level. Calypso is running another contest with it’s same first prize of whatever the winner wants. This game is set in a city called Midtown, and most of the competitors coming from the local mental asylum known as “Blackfield”.

5. “Wipeout” (1995)

The first game in the series, “Wipeout” is set in the year of 2052, racers compete in the F3600 anti-gravity racing league where you pilot a craft that you get to choose on different tracks around the world. At the time, the game was unique for it’s futuristic setting, and the weapons used to slow down or destroy your opponents.