GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 5: The New PS4 Owner Edition

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So you’ve got yourself a PS4 and you are now faced with a huge collection of games to consider. Fear not, I’m on hand to recommend the best in class for a few different genres/game types.

Have a look below to find something you’re interested in and some titles to explore!

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REMASTERS

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The Last Of Us

One of the best remasters out there, Naughty Dog did a great job on bringing the PS3 smash to the new generation of consoles. Telling the story of Joel and Ellie as they make their way across a post-apocalyptic America, this is a must for those who haven’t played it previously. Another good shout would be Naughty Dog’s Uncharted Collection, which contains the first three Uncharted titles, all remastered.

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ACTION ADVENTURE

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Speaking of Uncharted, if you’re looking for an exciting, gun toting adventure then A Thief’s End might be the one for you. One of the best looking games I’ve ever seen, coupled with some great voice acting makes for a memorable experience. If treasure hunting isn’t your thing I’d really recommend the latest Assassin’s Creed title Syndicate, which for me was the best game in the series for years.

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WITH FRIENDS

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Destiny: The Taken King

A new breed of online gaming has begun to shine on the new consoles, one in which you play with friends cooperatively rather than competitively. Destiny is one such title, much better with a few friends as opposed to playing solo. It’s a space shooter with character based special abilities that allows good flexibility. The Taken King expansion adds some extra content and is worth picking up. Alternatively, The Division does the same thing in the more realistic setting of a post-virus New York.

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DRIVING

Game Awards 2014 Graphics

DriveClub

Despite a troubled launch DriveClub grew into one of, if not the, best driving games around. There are tons of single player tournaments to race through and lots of options for online play, from setting challenges to racing face-to-face. If you prefer a more ‘pure’ driving game I’d also recommend Dirt Rally, which is more simulation and less arcade based.

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HORROR

Until Dawn 2

Until Dawn

For horror lovers the first game that comes to mind is Until Dawn, a title in which you control a group of teenagers and try to get them to survive the night. The most interesting aspect of the game is that none of them can die or all of them can die – it all comes down to the choices you make during the game. If you’re looking for something more tense, I’d really suggest checking out Alien Isolation – especially if you have any interest in the films. It’s a bit too long but a great experience nonetheless.

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ROLE PLAYING GAMES

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Dragon Age: Inquisition

If you are looking for a sprawling, lengthy campaign of around 50 odd hours (or more!) then look no further than Dragon Age. Create your own character and then enter a world of Elves and Mages, submerge yourself in archery or magic. It’s completely up to you. It’s like creating your own version of Lord Of The Rings. If fantasy isn’t your bag then consider Fallout 4, which is the exact same thing but set hundreds of years in the future after a nuclear war!

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STEALTH

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

For those of you looking for a more well measured and sneaky experience, it has to be Metal Gear Solid V. While it’s certainly possible to play the game as an action hero this title has some of the best stealth gameplay ever to grace the PlayStation 4. You take on the role of Big Boss, assigned missions ranging from hostage rescue to larger, more complex infiltration scenarios. For those of you that are comic book fans, Batman: Arkham Knight will also tick this box.

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STORY

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Life Is Strange

Some of you might be looking to ease into gaming and a title that is based around story with reduced gameplay could be an option for you. In the first instance I’d recommend the awesome Life Is Strange, the tale of a college student who discovers she has the ability to rewind time. Aside from that, despite the occasional performance issue, I’d suggest checking out any of the Telltale games; The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us or Tales From The Borderlands in particular.

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FUN

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Rocket League

For pure unadulterated fun, it has to be Rocket League. It’s football with cars. Quite possibly the dumbest game I’ve ever played, it’s also the most fun by far. With friends is best but even alone with random strangers online is great. There is certainly a skill to the game but it’s the pick-up-and-play-factor that makes Rocket League stand head and shoulders above other games.

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COMPETITIVE

Overwatch

Overwatch

I’ve gone for Overwatch here, mainly because I’ve spent most of the summer addicted to it, but you could switch it for the faster paced Call of Duty or more military focused Battlefield depending on your taste. Overwatch is a glorious 6v6 character based shooter in which you battle over objectives – its the characters that help make it memorable, you have 22 to choose from, all with various skills and abilities.

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TACTICAL

Invisible Inc

Invisible Inc.

If you’re looking for pure tactics then seek out Invisible Inc. It’s a turn based cyberpunk adventure, in which you race against time to prepare your agents for their final, high stakes mission. You’ll take control of numerous members of the team and coordinate attacks on various bases around the globe. Another excellent tactical title is Transistor, which is also turn based and has some fantastic artwork and music.

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So there you go a few suggestions to get you going, let me know if you pick any of these up and whether you enjoy them – or if you guys have any other suggestions of titles people new to the PS4 could pick up. Drop a comment below or tweet me @greghorrorshow.

 

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GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 4: The Parent Edition

Guide Vol 4 Parents Main

So your kids are getting bigger, becoming small people with personalities and tastes of their own 🙂 All of a sudden they are asking about games… all their friends are playing games… can we get a console… can I play on the iPad… and so on and so forth. There is a hell of a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding out there with regards to games so we are going to discuss some of the stigmas around games and bust a few myths while we are at it.

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PEGI RATINGS

Guide Vol 4 Parents Ratings

So first things first, the most basic of all the information I have to share but also the most commonly misinterpreted. Most games aren’t made for children. That’s the best thing to get your head around. The average age of gamers is now 31. Unless it’s a game aimed at children, presume this was intended for adults to play. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) are the game equivalent of the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) for films. The age rating on the box of a game is the same as it would be for Film or TV. It is NOT a guide to the ability of your child like a puzzle or board game. These ratings are content based, not skill based. I once overheard a lady in a shop who had made this mistake and was considering buying her 10 year old son a copy of an 18+ rated game because ‘he is really good at games.’ Thankfully the shop assistant explained. So always check these ratings before allowing your child to play a game. Of course there is nothing to stop you allowing your child to play a higher rated game if you feel they are mature enough to handle it, that’s your call – my 4 year old daughter often played Skylanders with her bigger sister which was rated as 7+ and we had no issues. However, it should be a decision you make rather than just getting whatever game they ask for.

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PLAY TIME

Guide Vol 4 Parents Time

Gaming is no different to any other medium; a child should not be sitting down and playing their console all day. To be honest, adults shouldn’t be doing that but they are old enough to look after themselves! I wouldn’t recommend a child sits and watches TV all day, or just sits in a room reading a book all day. I’d also strongly advise against having a console in their bedroom so you can keep an eye on what they are playing but again that’s a personal parental decision. Most things in moderation are ok and gaming is no different. Make sure you explain to them what time you’re allowing (45 mins or an hour etc.) and then stick to it. You should allow a little leeway; say 5 minutes to get to a suitable stopping point. Most games now auto-save very regularly so don’t let them fob you off with tales of having to get to a save point. If they insist try googling the game to see if doesn’t have auto-save, just in case.

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IPAD / TABLET GAMING

Guide Vol 4 Parents IPad

My area of expertise is console gaming and I don’t have a lot of experience with iPad/Tablet games so my main advice is to be super vigilant. On consoles you would need to have a credit card linked to your PlayStation or XBox to buy anything. On phones it’s a lot easier for kids to accidentally rack up costs (often without realising it). Sadly the mobile gaming space is full of titles made with the aim of getting you to pay money. Beware of Free To Play titles, they are specifically designed to prey on people susceptible to gambling/addiction by making the game ramp up in difficulty or locking things behind a timer – “Wait two days to play again or just pay 79p to jump straight back in.” These games can be very dangerous to the wrong personalities (adults included) and can often be as bad as fruit machines. Best thing to do would be to check around online and see which games are rated highly for kids. Having said that even that can’t protect you from the stream of ads running alongside the game… a well-known kids app called Talking Tom (with a cute speaking cat you interact with) hit the headlines for running hard-core porn video ads in the game while children were playing. This thing is mainly avoidable on consoles as most products don’t have random ads running in the background.

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CONSOLES

So you’ve been beaten into submission and now you’re looking to get a console! But which one? Well fortunately you only really have three choices and two of them are very similar.

Nintendo Wii-U

Guide Vol 4 Parents Wii U

Nintendo are often kid’s first game experiences as they are very family friendly. Games like Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Legend Of Zelda have great heritage and with new titles like Splatoon, they are still delivering solid kids content. The only issue you may have here is that a lot of other companies have stopped making games for it so it is mainly just those Nintendo games you’ll be playing.

XBox / Playstation

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For younger kids you might be able to get away with giving them the older consoles (XBox 360 and PlayStation 3) which both have a wealth of back catalogue games and, while not quite up to the standard of the latest titles, will be great for playing lots of awesome games. However as they get older and need to keep up with the Jones’s, you’ll be looking more at the XBox One or PlayStation 4. These two are fairly similar and it will probably come down to what your kids friends are playing on. I’ve always preferred PlayStation, which also has the benefit of being market leader and getting the best versions of most games. Also there’s LittleBigPlanet, but more on that later!

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TOYS TO LIFE

Guide Vol 4 Parents Toys

There is a new kid on the block in terms of games for youngsters – Toys To Life. This genre encompasses heavyweights like Skylanders, Disney Infinity and the newly announced Lego Dimensions. These games are played like others with a gamepad but the difference is that they come with a little portal. You pop the toys on top of the portal and then they appear in game for you to control. It’s pretty awesome actually, I would’ve loved this for my He-Man or Ghostbusters back in the day! My (gentle) warning on these games is not the content – they are definitely kid friendly – but more the fact of knowing what you are investing in. These games are full price (usually with a toy or two) and then further toy figures are around £10 each. Some (optional) areas of the game can only be accessed by specific characters and as you can imagine the cost can escalate quickly, especially if your kids have more than one of these titles!

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SUITABLE GAMES

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There are hundreds, if not thousands, of games out there that your kids could play. Make sure you research titles before allowing them to play. Here are a few titles that I’d recommend.

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Under 5’s

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  • Joe Danger
  • Super Rub A Dub
  • Katamari
  • Skylanders
  • Disney Infinity
  • Octodad (this is actually really difficult but the kids love the comedy element)

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These games should always be simple and not too complicated so the child doesn’t get too frustrated – I’d strongly recommend Joe Danger (video above) and Katamari from this list as they can be played on a basic level with just one or two buttons. And both are great fun!

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5-12 Years

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  • Skylanders
  • Disney Infinity
  • Minecraft (more on that below)
  • FIFA Soccer
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Various Lego Titles (Batman/Avengers etc.)
  • DriveClub
  • Child Of Light
  • Tearaway

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There are some wonderful games in this list – LittleBigPlanet is shown above but Tearaway is also amazing and for something a little deeper Child Of Light is unbelievably good. These are games that both children and adults can enjoy (together if you’d like!)

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The ‘Teens’ .

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  • Destiny
  • Uncharted
  • Need For Speed
  • Mass Effect
  • Journey

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So included here are a bunch of game series that are higher rated age-wise and deal with violence but with a more sci-fi slant that isn’t going for realism. Another series in this vein is Uncharted, which is more like Indiana Jones than anything else. Also worth noting that Mass Effect contains (non-explicit) sexual content as you can romance a member of your crew, just in case that influences your decision.

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BIG NAMES

Guide Vol 4 Parents Minecraft

And now we come to the big names, the ones the kids will be begging to play.

PLEASE NOTE SOME OF THE VIDEOS BELOW CONTAIN EXTREMELY VIOLENT GRAPHIC CONTENT – I AM EMBEDDING THEM BELOW TO HIGHLIGHT POTENTIAL GAME CONTENT BUT CLICK AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION. .

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Minecraft

Minecraft is great for most children, it encourages building and exploration. Some of the enemies might be too much for very young children but I’d say this one is generally ok for most age groups.

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Call Of Duty

Call Of Duty is a huge franchise in which you play as a soldier killing other people. There are two elements to the game, single player and online. The online multiplayer is where they will likely be playing, in modes where killing the other players is the name of the game (literally, it’s called Deathmatch!). This tends to not be too graphic, although bear in mind you will be shooting and stabbing people. The other issue is online chat, although I’ll go more into that below. The other side of the game is the campaign in which you would play through the story. Known for its shocking violence these can sometimes be tough to watch as an adult – for example an interrogation scene in which you put glass into a man’s mouth and then crush it by punching him in the face. It’s probably most infamous for its ‘No Russian’ that sees you take part in a terrorist attack at an airport, shooting civilians. Footage below so you can see for yourself…

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Assassin’s Creed

The Assassin’s Creed games all take place in different eras of history (1400’s Italy, 1700’s Paris and 1800’s London for example). This means they can give a feel for those places at that time and you can visit recreated landmarks and go inside (Notre Dame was particularly impressive!). However, as the name suggests you will be tasked with killing targets as part of an overall Templar/Assassin storyline. Usually using blades, although guns do feature, this is probably the least graphic of the biggest games but still I wouldn’t really recommend for kids younger than 15, depending on the child of course.

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Mortal Kombat

And now I’m afraid I’m going to be really hypocritical. Let me explain. The original Mortal Kombat came out in 1993, when I was just 13. And we played it for hours at friend’s houses. While not quite as graphically impressive as games nowadays it still allowed you to perform brutal finishing moves on opponents and was, no doubt, not suitable for a 13 year old. Having said that it didn’t seem to do me any harm but I digress… The latest installment of Mortal Kombat is the tenth in the series and the games have leaned even more into the gross-out over the top finishing moves than ever before. As an adult I can differentiate between this type of ‘video-nasty’ horror/violence and real life, knowing that these moves are displayed tongue in cheek. However parents should be aware that although this verges on satire, they are still extremely, graphically, violent. Again, here’s a video showing a few of the moves in the latest game.

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Grand Theft Auto

Ah Grand Theft Auto – the bane of game headlines around the world! First let’s bust a few myths.

‘This game makes you sleep with a prostitute and then kill her to get your money back’

While this is possible in the game it is never requested as part of a mission nor are you asked to do so. The logistics of that statement are correct but this is player agency, you aren’t asked to do this.

‘Playing this game turned this kid into a killer.’

From all of the research I’ve read there has never been a proven link between games and real life killing. I strongly suspect playing GTA all day every day is going to do the player no favours, in the same way sitting and watching video nasties would potentially warp someone’s perception of the real world.

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The Grand Theft Auto games are violent, involve crime and come with a lot of baggage in terms of cultural experience. This means a whole lot of swearing (including the c-word) and possibly the most racial slurs/slang I’ve ever heard in a game. The most recent game also includes a torture scene in which you select which ‘instrument’ (pliers, wrench etc.) to use for most damage. Here’s the scene below, again it’s a tough watch but you should know what you’re letting your children get involved in.

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The irony of all this is that Grand Theft Auto is a superb game. It has furthered the media in so many ways. For all of the above negative points it is unrivaled in creating a lifelike vibrant city with an endless stream of things to do for the player. You can go to the cinema, play golf… even get a haircut or tattoo. The radio stations in the game allow players to discover new types of music and bands they may never have heard before. This game, all of the games in this section are great games. I’ve enjoyed playing them but as an adult. Not a child.

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ONLINE GAMING

Guide Vol 4 Parents Headset

Another thing parents should be aware of is online gaming in general. Gamers are able to communicate with game headsets so that they can talk to other players while in game. This can be a good thing, socially especially, and is a helpful feature when playing with friends. However you need to bear in mind that if your child is using a headset to talk to other gamers they could, literally, be talking to anyone. They could (and sadly probably will) hear abusive phrases thrown around casually. Racist slurs, homophobic slurs. It’s the same as being on the internet – if you let your child visit whatever sites are available and talk to people they don’t know there is a chance they could end up talking with some quite unsavoury characters. This isn’t a reason to panic but try to ensure they understand the dangers and, if possible, only use a headset to talk to people they know.

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So that’s pretty much it, I know it’s a *long* piece but I’ve been asked by enough people that it felt something like this could be helpful to fellow parents who aren’t as aware of games.

If you do have any other questions feel free to drop them in the comments or, of course, e-mail or tweet me. In the meantime feel free to share among fellow parents and anyone who might appreciate a heads up.

The main takeaway should be that games are not made exclusively for children but that they aren’t inherently bad for kids either. Be aware of what they are playing and monitor their progress.

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GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 3: Titles To Start With (Single Player)

Everybody has to start somewhere and gaming can be one of the tougher pastimes to get started with.

Of course you’ll want to hit up the latest and greatest games. No doubt your buddies will be quick to shower you with games you ‘have to play.’

Often people recommend you games that they love forgetting that you might not have quite the knowledge of the genre or know your way that well around a gamepad.

Below are some titles that I’d say are worth a shot for new players – if you’re completely new to gaming it might be worth sticking them on Easy as well until you find your feet.

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MAFIA II

Mafia II is a well produced, easy to get into, gangster story set in the 1940’s and beyond. It’s a third person action adventure game in the same vein as Grand Theft Auto. However the main reason I suggest this as a starter title is that it is extremely linear. You can just stick to the story without getting bogged down in side quests/open world stuff.

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JOE DANGER

Joe Danger is simple, unadulterated fun. Taking on the role of motorcycle stuntman Joe Danger, you’re tasked with revving your way through various stunts, tricks and races. You go from the left of the screen to the right rather than the world being three dimensional but this is a great game to get yourself familiar with the pad.

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CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 3

The Modern Warfare franchise has been taken to task over the last few years for providing a rip roaring rollercoaster of a ride in it’s single player campaign. The issue most people have with that is that a lot of the game is ‘on-rails’ and linear. Perfect for folks looking to get to grips with their new console.

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MOTORSTORM: PACIFIC RIFT

For me Pacific Rift has been the pinnacle of the Motorstorm series. This is pick up and race at it’s very best. Choosing from a whole host of vehicles: Trucks, Bikes, Jeeps and more, you’ll be landing massive jumps and outpacing the opposition in no time.

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UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES

Nathan Drake is the poster child of the PS3 – all three of his games have been a blast from start to finish. The original game ‘Drake’s Fortune’ suffered from a few issues in terms of difficulty spikes and shooting mechanics. So I’d recommend starting with ‘Among Thieves’ instead. While there can be a lot going on with different buttons etc, the developers do a great job of guiding you through it.

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LITTLEBIGPLANET 2

Another of Sony’s marketing stars is Sackboy, whose adorable little face can be found plastered all over the place. At it’s core this is a sandbox of fun in which you can create levels or whatever you want. Luckily the game also comes with a story mode in which you can make your way through plenty of pre-created levels. Simple but addictive, this is great fun on your own or with a friend as the game supports local co-op.

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HEAVY RAIN

David Cage’s Tour De Force does have the odd hole here and there but overall this is a fantastic gaming experience. Taking control of four characters within the story, you will be doing your best to nail the Origami Killer, who has kidnapped another victim. Not played in the orthodox style of gaming, Heavy Rain will get you used to where the buttons are on the pad in no time.

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DIRT 3

One for the more serious racers out there, Dirt 3 has a touch more realism than the Motorstorm series but is a lot more forgiving than something like Gran Turismo. With a mix of rally racing and some more stunt based stuff, this is a great game to get started with if you’re interested in driving/racing games.

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So there we go, a few suggestions of titles that are worth checking out if you’re new to the world of Playstation or just looking to start playing beyond FIFA and Call Of Duty online.

Will be interested to see what you guys think and what games you would recommend to get people started?

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GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 2: Gaming Tips

So following on from my breakdown of gaming terms in Part 1 (see here) I thought it might be worth also sharing a few basic tips that may help new PS3 users or folks that are looking to get into gaming.

They might seem obvious but I would’ve liked someone to give me a heads up on a few of them before I learnt the hard way!

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INVERT THE Y AXIS

This is the first thing I do before starting any game but it’s really down to what suits you. Essentially when you play a game like Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption the right stick on the pad controls the movement of the camera. By default it’s set to look upwards when you press the stick forward and look down when you press the stick backwards. I just can’t control the camera with it set up like this and the Invert option reverses that (so pressing forward looks down etc). Handy tip for those gamers who keep looking at the floor instead of up at the sky 😆 This can usually be found in the OPTIONS menu under CONTROLS.

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RUN A BACK UP SAVE

Wherever possible you should create a second save file when saving your game and then alternate between them when you save. For a start it means if one corrupts you can use the other without having to restart the game (a nightmare scenario in those big 20+ hour games) and it also means if you wanted to experiment in games where there is story choice you can do so and then jump back to the other file if you don’t like the outcome. This takes seconds to do but is really worth it.

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DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY EASY

Players shouldn’t be scared to tone down the difficulty if they are struggling.

It sounds crazy but some people seem to think that dropping below Normal setting is some sort of crime. There are a few games I definitely wouldn’t have finished without dropping the difficulty down (Hi Bayonetta’s last boss 😆 ). Most of the time Normal is fine but I would rather finish a game than stop playing out of frustration and never see the end. There is no shame in just blasting through a game on easy and enjoying it.

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YOU ARE LIKELY TO SUCK ONLINE (AT FIRST)

It is not very realistic to expect to jump online and start topping the leaderboards. Be prepared for a hard slog of dying quite a bit while you get used to the weapons and maps on offer. Even us regular gamers have a tough time when getting used to a new game. You are likely to die, a lot. This part isn’t fun but believe me after a few hours you’ll have got your bearings and the enjoyment will arrive in spades.

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75% OF ONLINE GAMERS ARE FOOLS

I’m sorry but someone had to say it. Whether it’s people disconnecting on purpose from FIFA when they are losing, using exploits to be invicible UNDER the map to kill people in Uncharted 2 or attempting to blow up their own M-COM Stations in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 you can guarantee someone unsavoury will be in your game. You will also find one or two people shouting abuse over their headsets. Don’t let them ruin your experience. Almost all games allow you to mute people’s headsets to shut them up. With the people who like to mess up the games just finish the round, leave the room and find another one. Sometimes you’ll find a game with no idiots in, which also leads me on to my next tip…

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MAKE, AND PLAY WITH, FRIENDS

                                                                                Expand your friends list by adding people you have good games with.

You’ll probably already have a few friends on your list of people that you know in the ‘real world’ but if you have a good, enjoyable game against someone don’t be afraid to ‘Add’ them as a friend. Just pop a quick message in the box saying ‘good round of Killzone 2’ or whatever so they know what they played with you and if they accept you’ll have another member of the awesome 25% of online gamers to play with.

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SWITCHING FROM HD BACK TO STANDARD

More of a technical tip than anything else but hopefully it may save someone somewhere some grief. When going back to a standard definition TV from a HD one the PS3 will not display at all because of the HD settings. To remedy this and get your PS3 back to it’s original SD settings you’ll need to have the console switched off. Press and hold the power on button (on the console itself, not on the controller) until it beeps repeatedly and you should then be greeted with the start up screen.

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USE AND ABUSE THE PLAYSTATION NETWORK

By abuse I mean grab as much of the free stuff they put up as possible. The Playstation Network has a wealth of free (and paid for) content that you can login and download. The main draw is the demos, almost every game has one nowadays and it gives you a real chance to try out some games you’re not sold on or a game in a different genre to what you usually play. I wrote about it in more detail (here) but you definitely should take advantage of this great service.

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DON’T QUIT TOO SOON

As mentioned earlier it often takes time to get used to a game and that applies as much offline as online. There are games I loved playing that I came close to quitting early on for one reason or another. My recommendation now is to give a game at least two hours of single player before you consider switching off for good. A lot of games have a tutorial section and can often start slow so it’s worth giving them a chance to see what they can really do before putting down the pad and taking the disc out.

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BACK UP YOUR SAVES AND DATA REGULARLY

You don’t *need* to do this but as someone who had a PS3 freeze up and die on him I would wholly recommend it. All you need for this is an external USB device (or something with a memeory stick, like a PSP). Connect it to you PS3, highlight your game save and press triangle, then copy. This means if you PS3 does bite the dust you can at least restart your games from a recent save. Some games, such as Red Dead Redemption and Modnation Racers, use your save game for your online profile so would also require you to start from the bottom again in multiplayer as well if you haven’t backed them up. It takes about 5 mins but is worth the hassle.

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So there you go, a few basic pointers which will hopefully be helpful to some people. If anyone else has any tips to add please feel free to leave a comment below.

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GregHorrorShow’s Guide To Gaming – Part 1: The Terms

I’ve often wondered what someone who doesn’t play games would make of a conversation between myself and friends about gaming.

Would they consider it mainly a foreign language as we threw abbreviations and gaming terms into the mix? Or are a lot of the terms self explanatary?

Well, as part of a new feature of basic (but hopefully not insulting :lol:) gaming tips and recommendations I’m going to break down exactly what us gamers are going on about 🙂

Each entry is followed by a Reference Point, which is a game that you can use to see that term in action first hand.

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AI – stands for Artificial Intelligence and refers to the level of intelligence shown by the game’s NPC’s (or Non Playable Characters – see separate NPC entry). If a game is said to have ‘bad AI’ it would mean the NPC’s act, or react, in an unrealistic manner. Likewise a game with good AI would show human-esque response to your actions. (Reference Point: Killzone 2)

Analogue Stick – a thumbstick on the joypad that is used to control movement/direction within the game. Offers 360 degree movement as opposed to the slightly more restrictive D-Pad. (see separate entry for D-Pad)

                                      The Analogue Sticks on the PS3 Pad.

Class – a specific type of character, usually found in online play. These roles usually come with different abilities. For example a Medic can heal other players whereas an Engineer might be able to repair vehicles. (Reference Point: Battlefield Bad Company 2)

D-Pad – short for Directional Pad, this is the part of the joypad that is often used to control movement. Although recently that role is now usually taken by the ‘Analogue Stick’ (see separate entry for Analogue Stick).

First Person – this refers to the viewpoint of the character you control. You view the game from the protagonists point of view. (Reference Point: Mirror’s Edge)

                              Mirror’s Edge: A First Person View.

FPS – stands for First Person Shooter. Normally a warfare game in which you’ll be required to shoot weapons and kill enemies to proceed. (Reference Point: Killzone 2)

Grinding – to ‘grind’ is to repeatedly carry out the same action over and over again to gain XP (see separate entry for XP). Often the domain of RPG games Grinding is usually possible in any game where you are collecting a form of currency to level up (see separate entry for ‘Level Up’) or buy new weapons etc.

HP – Hit Points (or simply Health) is the remaining amount of damage your character can take before losing a life or dying. Can be represented in a number of ways, for example by a decreasing energy bar (Reference Point: Street Fighter IV) or blood splats on the screen (Reference Point: Red Dead Redemption).

HUD – stands for Heads Up Display and refers to the overlay on your screen with information such as your score, remaining health or weapon ammunition. (Reference Point: Bayonetta)

                          Bayonetta: The HUD here shows lots of information for the player.

Invisible Walls – the term given to areas in a game where the character cannot move to but nothing seems to be obstructing them. For example a cliff edge where the character is unable to walk off and instead continues their walking motion but stays on the spot. Usually to help guide the player in linear games they are often seen as breaking the illusion of the game world. (Reference Point: God Of War 3)

Kill Cam – a device activated when you die, usually in an online FPS (see separate entry for FPS) which allows you to see the player that killed you, often giving away their location on the map.  (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Lag – a problem in online games where the various users internet connections don’t quite match up. This can result in a frustrating delay, or ‘Lag’, for one party where the button they press doesn’t register with the game for a vital few seconds (meanwhile they have usually been killed/beaten by the opposition 😉 )

Leeroy Jenkins – As in ‘I’m gonna go Leeroy in a minute’ or ‘I Leeroy Jenkinsed that.’ To rush headfirst into battle without caring about the consequences. Inspired by the below World Of Warcraft video:

Level Up – to ‘Level Up’ is to increase your characters skill or reputation through play. Usually levelling up will lead to increased skill or bonuses. It is also a badge of honour for your time spent playing the game and a way for others to access your skill level. Tied to XP (see separate ‘XP’ entry) and similarly whilst previously linked to the RPG genre, levelling up is now included in most multiplayer game modes, regardless of genre. (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Melee – a Melee attack is one carried out at close quarters and usually involves using your weapon as a club as opposed to shooting with it or using hand to hand combat to take down an opponent.

Motion Control – brought to public attention by the Nintendo Wii, Motion Control is a way of controlling the game without using a traditional joypad where the game will base the character movements on the movements you make in real life. Sony and Microsoft have their own versions incoming shortly.

Noob – Someone new to playing games. Often used as a derogatory term for somebody acting stupidly within an online game.

NPC – stands for Non Playable Character, someone in the game world that you have no control over. Usually reserved for single player games, this would be any character in the game world you can interact with but that you do not use as part of the game. (Reference Point: Grand Theft Auto IV)

                                   GTA IV: Roman would be classed as an NPC.

Owned / pwned – to be ‘Owned’ is to be beaten convincingly by an opponent. As in ‘I’m getting owned by this guy.’ Pwned is actually just a typing error as the O key is next to the P key on the keyboard. Resulting in people typing too quickly and putting ‘Pwned’ instead of ‘Owned.’

PSN / XBL – Playstation Network and X-Box Live are the two main format holders online networks. These are the hubs of online play for each console. Here you will log in to play online, download demos and take advantage of various benefits.

QTE – stands for Quick Time Event, whereby the character you control will have their usual control method disabled and you will instead be required to press the corresponding button icon that appears on screen to trigger the next event. Has become a staple way to finish off a boss battle. (Reference Point: God Of War 3)

                                                                                    God Of War 3’s QTE System in action – you must match the direction on the Analogue Stick.

RPG – stands for Role Playing Game. A genre of game where your character begins as a blank slate and as the game progresses you choose the skills your character becomes proficient in. These games normally take up a huge amount of time as they require a big investment in the character. (Reference Point: World Of Warcraft)

JRPG – simply a Japanese Role Playing Game. These are often different from Western RPG’s in terms of story and feel. They have the same general aspects but are usually easy to tell apart from RPG’s. (Reference Point: Final Fantasy 13)

RTS – stands for Real Time Strategy. A genre of gaming that often requires great thought and strategic planning. Often involves war or invasions but is played from the viewpoint of a commander, giving orders etc rather than someone on the battlefield. Not all of these are combat based, some are business or economically based. (Reference Point: Civilisation IV)

Sandbox – a Sandbox game is one that takes place in an environment in which you are free to explore and do whatever you like. This would be opposed to more linear games where the story and levels are played out in tightly designed situations. (Reference Point: Red Dead Redemption)

Spawn (Or Respawn) – to put your player into the game world. This can be when the game starts or following death. Usually following a short time penalty in online play (often between 5 and 10 seconds). As in ‘Hold on, I’m just respawning.’ (Reference Point: Battlefield Bad Company 2)

                                                                             Battlefield Bad Company 2 also gives you the option to respawn at a teammate’s location.

Spawn Camping – To camp, or wait, outside the specific spot where the opposing team spawn back into the game world so that you can kill them immediately. Frowned upon by most of the gaming community but is a big problem in a lot of games. (Reference Point: Modern Warfare 2)

Third Person – a viewpoint whereby you can actually see the entire character you are controlling. (Reference Point: Grand Theft Auto IV)

Trophy – an achievement unlocked by performing a specific act within the game world, set by the makers of the game. These vary greatly from game to game but are recorded all together on your online profile so others can view what you have and haven’t unlocked compared to themselves.

XP (Or EXP) – Experience Points. Most commonly found in RPG games as a way of ‘levelling up’ (see separate ‘Level Up’ entry) your character. Has recently crept into the other genres via multiplayer, where you will now often find yourself being given XP for competing in online modes of the game. (Reference Point: World Of Warcraft)

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So there we go, a look at some of the commonly used gaming terms.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any to add, any you would like explained that I’ve missed or if you’ve spotted any mistakes in the above.

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