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If you are like me you like free things. What’s better than free video games? (Don’t answer that, wiseguys, there’s plenty of things if you get creative enough)
Regardless, free video games are awesome. Thanks to a little business model called free-to-play we can play computer games all day for free. No borrowing games from your friends required.
What is free to play?
You can play the game for free but not everything is unlocked at first. You can (usually) unlock everything by playing long enough, but you can unlock things faster with micro-transactions of real money.
Here are some of the hottest free to play games out on the market that you need to check out! (Yes, I am a noob at most of these games, but it doesn’t take an expert to know a good thing when he sees it.)
1. League of Legends
League of Legends is the first on my list because it is the one that I am currently most addicted to. The game lets you choose from 97 different characters and duke it out in an arena in team-based matches against another team.
The point of the game to take out the opposing teams base using teamwork and maximizing your character’s unique skills. No two characters play the same and their is a great deal of strategy to the game. Even so, the game does a great job of matching you with players your skill level and I’ve had tons of fun as a noob.
The community has been quite nice so far, the graphics are nice, and the stories surrounding the characters are surprisingly fascinating. It’s nice that, with enough time, you can unlock everything without money.
Check out Legaue of Legends. It’s definitely worth the $0 I paid.
2. Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 has aged well with time and is now free. Awesome! One of the top class based shooting games in existence (that’ll we’ll ever be able to afford) is a delight to play.
There is the perfect amount of skill required and just plain fun to be had in TF2 to keep you busy for a long time. As a new player you will be wowed by the fun art and hilarious deaths, and as an experienced player you will enjoy the deep class balances and powers and the coordinated strategy required by any winning team.
Sure, some people gripe about the hats and the ridiculous amount of weapons that have been released in the game. But they’re missing the point: TF2 is fun and well worth what we paid.
3. TrackMania Nations Forever
If high-octane races against a community of registered players that nearly rivals that of World of Warcraft, then TrackMania Forever is for you. The free-to-play game isn’t as robust as the full game, but it is free and still a heck of a lot of fun.
TrackMania Forever is the most popular PC racing game for a reason.
- The graphics and music are very slick for a free game
- You can design your own car
- You can play on and offline (solo)
- 65 awesome tracks
- An editor to make your own tracks
Shooters can be incredibly fun, but they can just as easily be a stale genre. Tribes takes the shooter formula and spices it up a notch. The player has the ability to rocket quickly across the map and everyone is fitted with jetpacks. This makes fire fights furiously fast and unpredictable.
The maps are large and the graphics are great, especially for a free game. The real star of the game are the capture the flag matches that can take some incredible skill but dish out equal amounts of fun regardless of your skill level.
The last time I played a Tribes game was on Playstation 2. I’m glad to see the awesome series back and better than ever. Tribes Ascend positions itself as the fastest shooter ever. See if you agree.
5. Tie: Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, DC Universe Online, Age of Conan
Like MMORPGs but hate the costly monthly fees. Me too. Then hop right into one of these huge online titles that used to have monthly fees, but are now completely free to play. You don’t even have to buy the game!
Which game you choose is really up to your interests. Like Lord of the Rings best? Play Lord of the Rings Online. Want to fight alongside Batman? Play DC Universe Online. Are you rolling a D20 right now to see which game to play? Then Dungeons and Dragons Online is clearly for you.
Heck, if you really wanted to, you could play them all; they’re all free!
Each of these titles has a massive community for you to join and enjoy and spent years in development and updating. These are quality titles that just couldn’t compete on a normal pay model with giants like World of Warcraft. The good news is that we get to enjoy them for free!
Note: Minecraft Free-to-play servers just ended late last month (April 2012)
This is sad, but Minecraft can still be purchased for just $20 and is now available on Xbox! Xbox users can also play with PC users at the same time. It’s not free anymore but you should try it out! Fill that cube sized hole in your heart. Build a shrine to your favorite fantasy character today!
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Just these games alone could keep you busy for a long LONG time (seriously, who has time for things like jobs and eating?), but there are so many other great free to play games. Rant about your favorite free to play games below so that we can all check them out!
A couple of nights ago I had the good pleasure to watch my friend, Casey Drummer, set the record amount of hot dogs eaten in a single hot dog eating contest at the Purdue University bar, Jake’s.
Casey is a rightfully proud man having pounded down 18 hot dogs in eight minutes, winning him the nickname of, “Holy crap, that guy just ate 18 hot dogs in eight minutes! Guy”.
Casey Drummer: Better at eating than you.
I hung out with the proud and sickly Casey after the contest. In between his second and third trip to the bathroom to vomit an idea hit me: there are a ton of video game records just as awesome as this! (Probably less vomiting involved too!)
Check it out; here are some of the craziest video game world records that I could find.
Highest score in Mario Bros (NES)
The record is 2,727,840 points and is held by Phil Timmons. After setting such an impressive record Timmons can have any princess in any castle that he wants.
Lowest score in Super Mario Bros. (while still managing to beat the game)
700 points. This record was set by Bryan Singh as he set out to prove once and for all, that yes, he is better at being worse than everyone else.
Highest score in a Tetris game
Rodolpho Gargaroj earned 1,178 points in Tetris. He was promptly named the greatest engineer in the universe.
Tallest tower in Minecraft (more like a pillar, it’s only one block wide)
Held by Simon Hoke at 256 blocks tall. See if you can break his record! He just broke the previous record of 194 that had been set earlier this month.
Longest time an arcade game was played on a single token
Fastest time to solve two Rubik’s Cubes while playing Guitar Hero
Highest scoring word in Words with Friends using four tiles
Most video game consoles played in one minute
Ryan Sullivan played 13 different video game consoles in one minute. In order for the record to count Sullivan had to make forward progress in every game that he played. Well done achieving my eleven year-old dream, sir.
Most barrel rolls in Star Fox 64 in a minute
75 barrel rolls in one minute set by Brandon Roudebush. Even as he set the record Peppy kept screaming “DO A BARREL ROLL!”
Fastest speedrun through The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Skyrim is a massive game that many people sink dozens if not hundreds of hours into. Bethesda Softworks QA tester Sam Bernstein beat the game in just two hours, 16 minutes, and ten seconds.
Each year a competition is held at Bethesda to see who can beat the newest game the fastest. Sam is the fastest QA tester at beating both Skyrim and Fallout 3.
Almost all of these records were found on Recordsetter.com. The website shows you current world records and tells you the rules to break the record. Maybe you’ll be on my next list!
The website has world records for just about everything, not just hundreds of video game records. Try not to get too famous!
Did I miss any of your favorite video game world records? Share your favorites in the comment section below.
Many games have more than one ending. Take the newly released Mass Effect 3 for example. The series has always prided itself on giving the player many decisions, and as a result of the players choices they will be rewarded by one of seven endings. In fact, some gamers are so upset at the potential seven endings that Bioware is creating an eighth ending as a DLC.
Eight different endings is quite a bit for a game, but it Mass Effect 3 isn’t the game with nearly the most alternative endings. Here’s a list of some of the games that I found with even more alternative endings than Mass Effect 3.
Shadow the Hedgehog – 10 endings – (2005) Who knew that a Sonic the Hedgehog third-person shooter could be wrapped up in just 10 endings?
Psychic Detective – 12 endings – (1995) A short game that uses live action actors. It’s about a psychic detective.
Bible Black – 12 endings – (2000) Gotta hand it to this erotic content game for having the stamina for 12 different endings. (No I have not played it… Unfortunately.)
Heavy Rain – 18 endings – (2010) Almost all of you will be familiar with this acclaimed game about tracking down a serial killer. The endings range from uplifting to some of the most depressing ever seen in the industry.
Mortal Kombat (Playstation 3 version) – 28 endings – Each character in the reboot of Mortal Kombat has a different ending. The Playstation version has one more ending due to having an exclusive character. Every other tournament fighting game boasts many endings as well.
Princess Maker 2 – 74 endings – (1993) As a game about raising a girl that you have essentially adopted as a daughter from age 10 to 18, it proves that there are only 74 potential futures for all daughters.
Star Ocean: The Second Story – 86 endings – (1999) As far as I know, this one takes the cake. The massive amount of different endings are due to the dating relationship sim in the game that was rather advanced for its time. Have a different ending for every possible couple pairing and well… I guess we know just how many endings that can result in.
There are plenty of other games with tons of endings. I know I missed lots of them, so rant about your favorite(s) in the comments below!
It’s almost spring break. That means it’s finally time to take a break and hang out with friends. …online.
If you’re anything like me, many of your friends live in far away, awesome places that you’ll never be able to visit on your budget.
Ta-da! Online gaming to the rescue.
Let’s take a brief look at the stats of services that have enabled millions of gamers like us to stay in touch with friends states or countries away.
Amount of players
- 40 million Xbox Live subscribers
- 77 million registered members on Playstation Network
% of time playing on console spent online
- 33% Xbox 360
- 16% Playstation 3
- 8% for Wii
How much money do they make?
- Bloomberg estimates that Xbox Live made over $1 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.
- Xbox Live arcade titles made a combined $144 million in 2011.
- As of Sept 24, 2009 Playstation Store had 600 million downloads.
- Use of Playstation Store increased by 60% in inbetween 2010 and 2011.
- Nintendo eShop is the newest of the services but has earned $11 million in its first 7 months.
Xbox 360 games played most often online 2011
Shooters with a pepper of sports
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
- Halo: Reach
- Battlefield 3
- Gears of War 3
- FIFA 12
- FIFA Soccer 11
- Madden NFL 12
- Grand Theft Auto IV
Be sure to hang out your friends in the top virtual playgrounds. If you ever get bored on Xbox Live look up Hu1k Logan. (That’s me!)
Information from Wikipedia.org and complied statistics from Factbrowser.com
Many gamers (and exasperated parents) are aware that the Wii U is slated to launch in the 2012 holiday season.
Many gamers know some of these quick and dirty facts about the system:
- The controller has a built in touchscreen
- All older Wii controllers will be compatible with the system
- The system is HD
- The CPU is an all new microprocessor designed by IBM
- The system is toted to be up to 6 times more powerful than that of Xbox 360 or Playstation 3
What many gamers aren’t aware of are some of the great titles that are scheduled to come out for the Wii U. Some of the titles are surprises to me. Here is a list of some of the series already either confirmed or heavily rumored to be coming to the Wii U.
(Title information comes from ign.com Italics denote that this is the first time that the series has appeared on a Nintendo system. Bold means that the title is rated mature.)
- Super Mario
- Assassin’s Creed
- Mario Cart
- Madden NFL
- Rayman Raving Rabbids
- Batman: Arkham City
- Super Smash Bros. Next
- The Legend of Zelda HD title
- Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge
- Pikmin 3
- New Super Mario Bros. Mii
- Aliens: Colonial Marines
- Darksiders II
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online
- Dragon Quest X: The Five Awakening Races Online
- LEGO City Stories
- Marvel Pinball
- Metro: Last Light
- Killer Freaks from Outer Space
- NewU Fitness First Personal Trainer
In addition to some awesome sounding Nintendo staples’ sequels, there are 12 series that are totally new to Nintendo. Many of the titles are also slated to a hardcore crowd. At least 6 will probably be rated Mature.
Naturally there will be a small army of motion sensor themed casual games that I did not include in this list.
Nintendo is trying in a hard way to win back developers and gamers of hardcore games by providing the hardware to play such games.
So long as these title sell well, we can only guess that even more developers of famously Mature titles and hardcore titles will begin developing games for Wii U as well.
Heck, look at this screenshot of Ninja Gaiden III: Razor’s Edge.
I know that this list is pretty persuasive to me to pay more attention to Nintendo as more than just a company for casual gamers and little kids.
How do you feel about the system and these new titles? Share your rants with the world in the comments section!
Two Purdue students were finalists earlier this week in an entrepreneurship competition for their idea to build a large video gaming center at Purdue.
Jason TenBarge and Ah Young Park hope to create a gaming center that would be called Gamers’ Esc. The gaming center would host 30 computers and 30 consoles. All major consoles would be found at the center. Gamers would pay by the hour to play at Gamers’ Esc.
The idea was a finalist in the Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition. If enough interest for the idea is shown then TenBarge and Park may be able to raise enough capital to start the business.
You can fill out the interest survey for Gamers’ Esc. here.
Personally, I think that a gaming center like Gamers’ Esc. could be an awesome hang out at Purdue.
Do you think it would be fun? Would you go there? Do you think it is a good or bad business plan to charge gamers by the hour to play there? Ring off your comments below!
Auditions are being held this weekend for a new web series drama about a group of friends trying to run a video game development company. The webseries, called Developement Hell, is written and produced by a group of Purdue students.
The project is currently looking for acting tallent and will be accepting open auditions in Stewart Center G84 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Don’t panic if you don’t have all of the Stewart Center room numbers memorized. The group has promised to put up signs to lead auditioners correctly to the basement location.
The episodes of the series are expected to each run 10 to 12 minutes in length, according to Will Kioultzopoulos the project lead. Production will start in either late March or early April.
If you have any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to make it to the auditions on Sunday myself! I hope I see everyone there. Let me know if you got sent that way by my blog. But DON’T you dare steal my spot in the cast!
Just kidding. May the best geek win.
Merry Black History Month! Black people from Africa or otherwise (not everyone fits the description of African American) are getting some of the respect that they deserve in February here in America. The only question is: Are they getting the respect they deserve in the video game industry?
I don’t think it will come as a surprise when I say, no.
African Americans are starting to appear much more commonly in video games than they previously did, and that’s awesome and shows signs of progress. However, black characters are rarely ever the main character of a game. Check out this article claiming that by of 2006 only 11 video games had a black protagonist that you played as.
I think the list may be a little negligent, but it does raise an important point: black characters are not who you play as. Black characters are generally your headstrong, violent, lower than average intelligence, oftentimes criminal companions.
Let’s just look at a few popular black video game characters.
Barrett Wallace – Final Fantasy VII (1997)
- The first Black playable character in a Final Fantasy game.
- Appears in one of my favorite video games.
- A terrorist
- Speaks in broken slang
- Violent (He has a gun arm. I have to assume it’s for shaking hands.)
- Parody of Mr. T
Augustus “Cole Train” Cole – Gears of War (2006)
- A nice guy liked by all
- Never been a criminal
- Too be fair, no one in this series has a personality
- Brash, curses, speaks in Ebonics
- Stereotypical black athlete
- Only character in series that raps
- Little personality beyond being a violent sports star
Balrog – Street Fighter II (1991)
- Sweet name
- Doesn’t look or act very intelligent
- A parody of Mike Tyson
Challenge – I challenge you to find a black character in a puzzle game or any game without much violence. Now I challenge you to find a recent fighting game that doesn’t have a black character. I think that stereotypes are a little at play here.
Luckily, there are some positive examples of black characters in video games that ALMOST make up for the awful representations in most games.
Admiral David Anderson – Mass Effect (2007)
A decorated war hero that now spends his time as an eloquent politician. Anderson is a tough character but he is slow to anger. The admiral is wise, selfless, and serves as the mentor of the hero of the series. He is also voiced superbly by the awesome Keith David.
Alex Vance – Half-Life 2 (2004)
Technically Alex is half Asian, her mother was an Asian woman, but she is a great example of a strong female minority character. Alex is actually one of my favorite video game characters ever because she manages to be hot through being charming and smart while wearing clothes that aren’t revealing at all. Alex is the very intelligent computer hacker and programmer daughter of a black scientist. She can kick some serious alien butt with her mind and built a giant robot dog. I think I’m in love.
Redguards – The Elder Scrolls Series (1994-2011)
Redguards are the depiction of black people in the Elder Scrolls series. Sure, black people are a different race than white people, but so are blonde and brown haired people. I will also concede that Redguards are generally more athletic than some other races. These things could be seen as racist; they are the defining features of a race in a video game, after all.
But what impresses me most about the depiction of black characters is that they never have speak in slang, they aren’t less intelligent than other races, they hold their own kingdom that is equally powerful as any other races kingdom.
What is best about this depiction of black characters is that they have never been the victims of widespread racism in the game series. The elder scrolls always tackles racism, but it is almost never turned towards the Redguards. To force gamers to face racism, but not marginalize one of the races that are so often marginalized in video games is brilliant.
Conclusion – It’s no coincidence that my examples of positive examples of black characters in video games are from more recent years. Gaming will hopefully become less and less stereotypical and racist in their presentation of black people. We can only hope for more Admiral Andersons and less Sazh Katzroy from Final Fantasy 13 (2010). (Sazh is the only other black playable character from a Final Fantasy game. He is unfortunately shown below.)
In an earlier post I said that I was going to be live tweeting from a video game programming class hosted by Allegro Dynamics. Unfortunately, I can’t attend because the event sold out early. I apologize to everyone that I can’t live tweet the event. I’m really bummed that I can’t be there, but I’m glad that the program was so well received.
Because this blog is currently being used as a class blog as well a ranty personal blog, I have to live tweet this week. In light of this, I will be live tweeting tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. about the Black History Month speech delivered at Purdue by Dr.Bettye Collier-Thomas.
“Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas is a historian of African American history with particular expertise in the areas of civil rights, politics, religion and women’s history. She has established the only repository in the country solely devoted to the collection and preservation of materials relating to African American women in America.” – Purdue Agriculture Multicultural Events page
What does this have to do with video games? Nothing yet, but in the next couple of days, I will relate her speech to the video game industry with some facts about African Americans and gaming. How are they portrayed? How do they contribute to the creation of video games? Is Hideo Kojima secretly an African American? All of these questions will be answered soon!
In the meantime, follow my live tweets about Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas’ speech tonight at @LoganLampton !
Woo! My post yesterday was a doozy! Let’s both take a break from ‘words’ and let a picture (with words) do the talking for once.
Blockbuster video games make a lot of money in their opening weeks: sometimes even more money than the biggest films of the year. Pray your browser loads this interesting infographic or this post is about to get a lot more boring!
2011 3 opening week sales update to this infographic:
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 – $738 million
Battlefield 3 – $300 million
Transformers Dark Side of the Moon – $149.2 million
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $226.1 million
Unfortunately, Twilight Saga (really saga?!?) Breaking Dawn Part I came in second place overall for the year with – $179.1 million
Results: Harry Potter had the second best opening weekend in Hollywood history (Dark Knight #1 at $238.6 million), while COD 3 had the best video game opening week of all time.
COD 3 makes about 325% more money in its opening week.