The Poker Phenomenon

Recently, Poker has become quite a respected and popular sport throughout the world, especially in the United States. With the proliferation of Poker websites, both for playing and simply for information, the wave of Poker has consumed many Internet users, and lots of people have encountered something Poker related online. And with Poker games and tournaments being broadcast on many major networks on television, the word of Poker has been spread even further.

In the United States, playing Poker online with real money is illegal, because of the law recently passed by Congress. Therefore, Poker-related activities are not expected to gross as much money as past years, but there is an increase in the Poker playing population, so the industry will make money from offline games (particularly in casinos and of course in homes), merchandise (such as chip sets and tables), and even clothing items. Educational Poker devices such as books will be in demand, as well as Poker software. In particular, Poker computer games purchased will go up, while Poker calculation software will go down (as that was used mostly for online games, and without gambling allowed, there is little use for it).

A lot of people think that Poker is just a fad, but Poker has been successful for a very long time (centuries), so it is unlikely that Poker will ever fade away. Each game is always different, and because the game takes skill and chance and there is always the possibility to win a lot of money, it is never unexciting.

It’s not for nothing that you find dozens of people at a casino trying their hand out at blackjack or poker because these two are arguably the best forms that you can find that keep getting better with the passage of time, a primary reason for why poker online terpercaya was launched.

Basically all of the Poker playing community agrees that the ban on online Poker (in the US) is unfair. Online Poker is fun and even was a good source of additional income as well. Of course, there are a good amount of people who have lost thousands with it to, but that is there fault, and it is no reason to ban online Poker because of that With any large gambling phenomenon, there are always people who blow all their money on it, albeit the number is extremely low in comparison to all players. Therefore, it was not justified for Congress to ban online Poker.

It will not be long until online Poker is unbanned, because there are lots of people petitioning to get it back, and the emotions run high on this issue. It could be a few years before online Poker is free to be played, but it is just as possible that online Poker will never get unbanned (which would disappoint a lot of people).

Do You Know MonkeyPaw Games – The Video Game Publishing Company?

Monkeypaw Games is one of those companies that many of you know of their projects, but may not know of the company itself, what it represents, and is all about. In short, Monkeypaw Games is a digital publishing company bringing fun, unique, and even crazy games into your living rooms that may have never otherwise found their way there. You might have played card games on websites like Judi Online but with Monkeypaw games you will see a fun version of all those games that you can enjoy with your family members. 

As of right now, their titles have been solely downloading titles for Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, and DSi. That is not to say they will not consider it in the future, (as there was once a Kickstarter campaign in hopes to make a Deluxe Box Edition of Class of Heroes II) but Monkeypaw Games thus far has focused only on download titles.

Their earliest and probably one of their craziest titles they have brought to the states is Chou Aniki. Other games included on their publishing list are great RPG titles such as Alundra, Arc the Lad, and Vanguard Bandits.

Do some of these sound familiar to you now?

Their most recent release, on June 19, 2012, was Tomba!, a platforming adventure.

But there’s more to Monkeypaw Games than just their niche and crazy titles they bring. What makes this company, really special?

At E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2012, I got the opportunity to speak with John Greiner, the President of Monkeypaw. We chatted on what MonkeyPaw Games was all about, their games, their future projects, and what impact they made on the Playstation Network.

On the Company, MonkeyPaw Games:

If there is anything one can know about MonkeyPaw Games is that it is a fan-driven publishing company. Not only do they want to bring life back into a niche, fun, and interesting titles but, they also listen closely to their fans and what they want to see.

In the interview, John Greiner goes on to explain this:

“I think the basis of the company is built around fan eccentricity. Because one of the reasons we started this is because we knew so much about the Japanese games that haven’t seen the light of day. So we started listening to what people were talking about, what games they wanted, what kind of crazy stuff is out there. By crazy I mean, just wacky Japanese stuff that we kind of like to brand ourselves with. Things like, Chou Aniki or Tomba! or any of those games that are like wow, that’s weird, that’s cool, a little bit different. I think that one of the strengths that we have acquired over that time is being able to get people to talk to us…

“Everybody wants this and that, or whatever, but they don’t always convey that well or bother to contact the publisher. We have a lot of people contact us directly, whether that be through Facebook or Twitter, or our website. That’s really important for us because that’s how we communicate with our fans, and that’s how we go after our licenses. So, when we hear, people want this license or that license, I’m going to drive that and go to those publishers and talk to them about those deals. And I can sometimes even show them letters that people have written…

“A lot of that is driven by fans. It doesn’t always work out but we always put those games on the list and then talk about them with the perspective publishers in order to gain that kind of deal…

“The reason why we brought over Chou Aniki because Sony said when we were discussing the import store, they said, ‘Bring over the wacky stuff, the crazy stuff, just go hard. Anything that’s different, that’s not the same, that hasn’t seen the light of day in America, that’s what we want’. And that was a good suggestion because you don’t want 100 games that are ‘me toos’. You want 20 that are solid, that people will say, ‘Ok’, and I think you see that in all of our games. We really try to choose, really really good games. They might not be well known, but they all play really well, they all have something unique and something different about them…”

About Their Import Games on Playstation Network:

Essentially there are three categories that they publish at this time: direct imports, classics, and re-envision of titles. An example of each would be Chou Aniki for import, Arc the Lad for Playstation Classics, and Burger Time World Tour as a re-envisioned title.

If there’s anyone to thank for bringing import games to the Playstation Network, it would be MonkeyPaw Games and Sony working together with them.

John Greiner on the import store:

“Sony has been great, they’ve done everything, bent over backward, to really give us this ability and reach. So if you go to Playstation and go under PS1 and then you’ll see Imports, front and center, almost all those games are ours. We created that category basically. They’ve allowed us to do something very unusual, which was to put out games without a translation. Because a lot of these games are too small, you couldn’t translate them. And so, you know we have a little ‘buyer beware’ at the bottom of the game description so you know it’s going to be Japanese. It’s not that hard, you can get through, but if you have any problems come to our website. Here at our website, we have a big explanation of every game and what to do and have some cheats. But we have never had a complaint that the games were in Japanese.”

Future Projects

Though as of right now it seems that everything is still under wraps because no official deals have been made, John Greiner was able to tell me this much:

“We have three games that are in the works that we haven’t said anything about yet because we still have to sign contracts, but pretty close. I think it’s all from one publisher. So if we get that deal it’ll be pretty big. You’ll know all the games, that’s for sure.”

MonkeyPaw Games brings to the table what you don’t often see from publishers in this day and age. They don’t thrive solely on mainstream titles. They search for those hidden gems, titles you may have never heard of, or just simply have forgotten about because they were buried deep below the sea of games. MonkeyPaw Games wants to listen to the fans, fellow gamers, and bring that unique title that plays well, is fun, and perhaps even a little insane back to life.

Though the company itself has only been around since 2009, they have already created a huge fan base, helped create the Import category on PSN, and brought great titles to the Western markets that otherwise wouldn’t have been seen. If you take anything from this article and about Monkeypaw Games, it’s that they listen and interact very closely with their fans. So, if there’s a title you’d like to see, don’t be shy and let MonkeyPaw Games know about it. If you want to see big-name titles as well, the best thing to do is to spread the word about them and contact them directly.

Sleeping Dogs Review

Given Sleeping Dogs’ history, it would have been understandable and maybe even forgivable if it had turned out poorly. Originally an Activision-published reboot of the forgettable True Crime series and cancelled after delays for being “just not good enough1”, Square Enix rescued Sleeping Dogs from the brink of death and rebranded it as a new IP. With such turmoil and turnover, you might expect Sleeping Dogs to be a mediocre GTA rip off, but not only is it good, it’s one of my favorite games of the year.

As undercover police officer Wei Shen, you are tasked with infiltrating and ultimately bringing down the infamous Triad crime organization. This dynamic of a good guy doing bad things is a nice twist on the sandbox genre, and is reflected in duel Police and Triad progression points that you’ll earn throughout the campaign. Police points are lost by destroying property and harming innocent bystanders, whereas Triad points are earned by violently dispatching of your enemies, so there’s incentive to stay within the hazy limits of your undercover duties, even as you’re flying down the streets of Hong Kong trading bullets with rival gang members. These restrictions only apply to the missions themselves though, so you are free to destroy, steal and pillage as you please while roaming the city, which does take away from the immersion somewhat that you are always an undercover cop who must abide by the law.

Hong Kong itself provides a different backdrop than we’re used to seeing, and it’s refreshing to not take another trip through New York or Los Angeles. Kung fu movie junkies will love bombing through food stands and across rooftops with the game’s excellent freerunning mechanic, and hand-to-hand combat takes center stage with the player rarely even touching a gun for the first half of the story. You can also visit their page for more information. This will allow you to have an idea on how sleeping dos actually work. 

Fighting is similar to Arkham City and very tight, with light/ heavy attacks, counters and grapples mapped to the X, Y and B buttons respectively. Contextual environmental kills add an extra level of mayhem to the fisticuffs, and glow red when you initiate a grapple. These range from phone booths and electrical panels to swordfish heads and ice chippers, and you’ll find yourself constantly looking for the next interesting thing to throw your enemy over, into or through. When the guns do come into play, Wei can vault over cover and enter a slow-motion aiming mode a la Stranglehold or Max Payne, which adds to the cinematic feel of the whole experience and takes some of the tedium out of gunfights that has marred some sandbox games in the past.

What is most striking about Sleeping Dogs is the excellent voice acting, highlighted by Will Yun Lee’s standout performance as lead protagonist Wei. Wei’s history is revealed through cut scenes and unlocked police reports throughout the game, and it becomes apparent very quickly that he has a personal stake in his mission. Lee’s portrayal of Wei as a damaged hero is outstanding, and by the end of the story I was more invested in his personal journey than I have been with most video game leads in the past.

Grand Theft Auto IV has become the golden standard for action/ adventure sandbox games, and Sleeping Dogs takes a lot of queues from it. There are safe houses to unlock, street races and collectables scattered around the city, and even a cell phone that you use to call friends and activate certain missions. They might not be original concepts, but Sleeping Dogs provides enough twists and turns that I never minded coming across a few recycles ideas. And while GTA IV offers a more expansive world with more to do, Sleeping Dogs’ tight combat mechanics and engaging narrative are well worth the price of admission.

Video Games – the Good and the Bad

Video games have been enjoyed for many years since the early days of Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Children, teenagers and adults alike all enjoy playing video games and even for those who don’t enjoy them, they still know of them! But have you ever wondered about whether video games are bad for us? Or good for us? Let’s have a look at the reasons why many of us play video games to begin with.

“We play Video Games For Our Own Entertainment.”

The good side of this is that as long as they keep producing fun, enjoyable games, people will never become bored as long as they keep buying new games or can still find enjoyment in playing the old classics over and over. People buying new video games all the time is great for the video game industry as well.

However the negative side is that as soon as you become bored with one game you have to go out and buy another one to amuse yourself, which can become expensive over time, depending on how hard you are to satisfy. After buying a new game a few times when you’ve been bored it may naturally develop into a habit or “urge” to always want to buy or try a new video game whenever you become bored. At this stage you know you have an addiction!

“Video Games are great for When we have Parties.”

The Upside of having video games around at a party is that it will keep your guests entertained and stop them from becoming bored. Ever if they aren’t playing , at least it will give them something to watch or talk about. Video games can be a fun group activity and can also help start conversation or liven up a dull atmosphere.

The Downside of having video games at a party is that it may encourage guests to hide away from everyone else, or encourage anti-social behavior. People may also argue over who gets to play next, or who gets to be player one etc. As childish as this may sound it can be enough to ruin a great party if things get out of control, especially if alcohol is involved.

“Video Games are a Way of Socializing.”

Many online games are strongly based around working as a team to achieve a goal. These games require players to communicate with each other either via a keyboard, or microphone to achieve the best possible teamwork. While this can teach people teams skills it can also be a very enjoying social activity and people can make new friends, or meet new people from all over the world.

However many other games don’t have such a strong emphasis on communication and teamwork. If the games is a challenge and is addictive, players may isolate themselves from their normal everyday lives and become immersed in their new-found hobby. Team work skills may also diminish because of this and be replaced by a “One-Man Army” or “Lone-Wolf” approach to things, especially among males. Although it is a very dramatic exaggeration it is not far from possible at all.

“I like to sit back, relax and play video games.”

Video games to a lot of people can be a way to relax after a hard day’s work and for others can be an exciting or thrilling experience of live baccarat online with a UX graphics user interface because of the processor which has 64 bit of architecture. If video games help to relax you then they can have many positive effects towards your overall well-being, where as if video games give you a rush of energy and adrenaline they can be a good safe place to release your powerful inner feelings, perhaps by shooting at enemy soldiers or slaying evil monsters?

However over-indulging in either of the above, relaxing or releasing inner feelings can lead to you becoming physically unhealthy from relaxing too much or becoming psychotic and aggressive from getting one too many headshots.

All in all, like everything in life there are the good and the bad, more than often it is just a matter of how we deal with things. It’s always best to have things in moderation, including video games.

Risk: Factions PlayStation 3 Review

Risk: Factions is a PSN game based off the popular board game Risk. If you’re familiar with the board game then you’ll feel right at home with the video game version and enjoy the additions. If you’re not familiar with the board game, Risk: Factions is easy to learn by way of the single player campaign which also acts as a tutorial and the “How to Play” instructions.

Basics of Play

For those of you not familiar with the board game of Risk, the basics of play consist of up to five players battling for control of the world. Games of such feature have been released many time in Pkv format and have a loyal following of gamers who love to play them. Each player starts with the same amount of territories and troops, and then take turns attacking other players. Attacks happen by the both players rolling the dice, the higher dice defeating the other troops. The defending troop always wins a tie. You get additional troops depending on how many territories you own and controlling a continent gives you bonus troops at the start of your next turn. Winning is achieved by owning the entire map, although in Risk: Factions there is the option of playing where the winner is the first person to complete three random objectives and have control of their capital, similar to the new 2008 Risk rule set.

Single Player Mode

The single player mode of Risk: Factions consists of five levels each played on a different map and each adding an extra computer player to play against (up to five total players). The maps start small and get larger as you play through the levels. These maps aren’t the traditional world map used on the board game but are completely new maps made for the game.

There are objectives in this mode, ranging from controlling your enemies capital to taking over 10 territories in one turn. There are also map elements that can be earned, such as controlling three barracks which lets you freeze any territory for one full round of turns, stopping anyone from attacking to or from that territory.

The story is done exceptionally well, with fully voiced over cut scenes for each level. Each one introduces you to the faction you will be playing as for that level: humans, cats, robots, zombies, and yetis. The cut scenes are stylized and funny. My only complaint is that they’re so good I was left wanting more!

The battles are also graphically nice. Each faction has its own stylized dice ranging from furry for the cats to black and red for the zombies. The characters and their attacks for each faction is great fun to watch. If you’re in a hurry you can choose fast battle which will skip the animated battles and the dice rolls, but doing so also means you can’t retreat mid-battle.

Local Multiplayer

For people who are fans of the board game playing local multiplayer may be a big deal. It’s good news that Risk: Factions is a great alternative to playing the board game with your friends. My gaming group actually prefers the video game version now!

You can play with up to five people provided you have the controllers. You can either choose automatic game set up where the computer chooses your starting territories or go the traditional board game route and do that manually taking turns.

You can play on any of the maps you’ve beaten in the single player mode or the classic world board game map. You also have the option of playing classic Risk where you get the classic cards and without objectives and where winning is done by taking over the whole world, or you can play the Factions way with objectives, where winning can be either world conquest or the first player to complete three objectives and have control of their capital.

Online Multiplayer

Online multiplayer is where the real fun comes in. I haven’t had any trouble finding a five player game online over PlayStation Network. Playing against random people presents new tactics and strategies that you’ll have to take into consideration.

When setting up a game or searching for one to join, you have the option of choosing either manual game set up where players select their starting territories and place their troops, or automatic where players only get to place their starting capital. I have yet to play a game online that requires players to set up the game manually. As a veteran board game player I was worried about this at first, but now I see it actually works better as you never know what territories you’ll end up with, and this adds to the needed strategy to be used, adding to the fun.

If a player gets eliminated (all of his territories are lost), they can exit to the main menu and the game will still count it as a game played (and lost), counting the stats you earned (you can see your stats from the main menu’s War Room).

If another player leaves the game before their territories are eliminated the other players will keep playing and will still have to attack the remaining territories owned by the player who left. However, the computer will not take control of them. That player no longer gets a turn, it is just skipped over until all their remaining territories are eliminated. I haven’t run into to many quitters online, although there have been a few.

There is not a time limit online, so players can take as long as they need. Of course, this could be annoying if a player purposefully takes forever. I haven’t come across anyone doing this yet, but it is a possibility that it will happen by someone eventually.

There is mic chat, although most people don’t use it. I have only ran into one person online using voice chat so far in my many games online. There isn’t a way to chat by text on screen, but players can message each other via the regular PSN messages. However, you don’t need to communicate much during Risk anyway.

Overall, Risk: Factions is a great addition to the Playstation Network. Any fans of the board game should pick it up right away, and anyone not sure should try out the demo on the Playstation Store.