Category Archives: Gaming

Game reviews, news, and latest trends

New & Free Online Games at Playberry!

GAMING: Fresh offerings from Playberry

As a games critic, I have to say that I am hugely impressed with the quality of both free online games and mobile games. There are of course hundreds of really unimpressive free online games, but if you know where to look, there are many gems among the rough that are certainly worth giving a bash.

One new website that offers some quality free online games, is Playberry. Described as a “social gaming website dedicated to bringing great gaming content to your browser”, Playberry both develops and handpicks some really great games. It is made by gamers, for gamers.

Playberry Website – Free Online Games

Playberry - Free Online Games

There is a great range of freebies on Playberry, from zombie shoot-em-ups such as In Death We Rise to off-road speedsters such as Renegade Racing. Games are also voted on by Playberry users, providing a user-generated list of the most popular choices.

Playberry covers every major genre of games – from action, adventure and shooters to puzzlers, sports and strategy. Best part is that all these games are free to play and require no registration of any kind. Just visit www.playberry.com and dive right in!

There are of course benefits to registering with Playberry, which is free and can simply be done using your Facebook account. You’ll receive updates of new releases, and I see that they are creating a forum whereby users can make suggestions for new releases. A great feature for any online gaming site.

Playberry is building up a steady following on Facebook, and if you register with your Facebook account, you’ll also have the option of sharing your gaming awesomeness and progress with your friends.

So if you are a gaming enthusiast and are looking for the latest offerings of free online games, check out Playberry and get your game-face on! These games are so nice and small – making them perfect for playing while waiting around or whenever you can sneak in a few minutes of quality playtime.

Dear Esther Game Review (PC)

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** This review is spoiler free! **

Dear Esther,

I happened upon fragments of washed up letters found amongst the rubbish that the sea brings. Soggy parchments bring word that those on the mainland speak of my lonely plight as some sort of game.

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Steam rises to power

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STEAM: And the future of the video game industry

DIGITAL distribution giant and gaming platform, Steam, has fast become the Google of the gaming world – reaping in an estimated US$468 million (roughly R3.1 billion) in revenues through June 2011, according to mygaming.co.za. This attests to the fact the gaming industry has become one of the fastest growing industries in history.

Using Steam has become compulsory for ardent PC gamers, who are forced to use the platform to buy, install and update several of the latest gaming titles. According to Wikipedia, as of July 2011, Steam had over 30 million active users and offered over 1 300 game titles. It is estimated that Steam has a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games.

The Steam platform
The Steam gaming platform

The idea of creating a centralised online platform to distribute games and related media online was, in part, a move towards combating software piracy – specifically pirated games. To play a store bought game that is powered through steam requires one to register a Steam account. One then has to be logged into Steam to install the game, update the game, play the game and be offered a host of promotional adverts upon exiting the game.

In bandwidth-stricken countries such as South Africa, one can imagine what a schlep this can be. In my experience, if a newly released game if bought through Steam, it can take up to two days to download and install. Thereafter Steam automatically updates your newly bought game, which can take another day or two. If your bandwidth hasn’t run dry by this point, you then have to log into Steam before you can play your new game for the first time.

The benefits of Steam

One can understand the benefits that gaming platforms such as Steam offer. They have made it extremely difficult for impoverished gamers to play pirated titles; it automatically patches and updates your game collection, and it offers you downloadable content for your favourite titles. It does also offer a lot of specials and promotions, whereby one can easily transfer and convert your money into US dollars and buy games via the web for cheap. In fact, purchasing games through Steam is so simple that it can be dangerously addictive.

This is not to mention that the Steam servers are often running at full capacity whereby one is put on a waiting list to play. I was once informed that my newly installed and updated game would launch in approximately five days. Bearing all this in mind it’s fair to say that Steam is having a negative impact on many game consumers who don’t necessarily want to play multiplayer.

Market research

Anti-piracy aside, Steam most certainly uses its cleverly crafted platform for market research purposes. A Steam user’s page includes some brief personal information, details of any games owned, as well as the number of hours played in each game. Steam admits that it collects and reports anonymous metrics of its usage, stability, and performance and uses this information to justify implementing new features.

However, a lot of this information is collected without notifying the user or offering an opt-out. Some of these metrics are also available publicly, such as what games are being played or statistics of a player’s progress in certain games. Last year, Steam announced that they would begin collecting a list of the user’s installed software as well.

Steam critiques

Steam has been criticised for allowing developers and game publishers to change prices and restrict game availability depending on the locations of users. Despite the reduction in manufacturing, packaging, design and distribution costs, this can cause some games to cost more than their retail prices. Steam has also been heavily criticised by European users for pricing games much higher in Euro-zone countries.

Furthermore, according to the Steam Subscriber Agreement, “Steam’s availability is not guaranteed and Valve is under no legal obligation to release an update disabling the authentication system in the event that Steam becomes permanently unavailable.” – www.gamefaqs.com

Ardent PC gamers can argue for or against the value of Steam. However, with Steam now being in the position of power that it is, has implications for gamers worldwide. In our liberal and democratic age, I suppose the biggest concern is a lack of choice.

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Fallout New Vegas DLC: Honest Hearts and Dead Money

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FALLOUT NEW VEGAS DLC: Honest Hearts and Dead Money

Hopefully by now all the bugs in the first two Fallout New Vegas DLC have been stomped out. If you haven’t yet played Dead Money or Honest Hearts here’s a quick review of each.

Fallout New Vegas Dead Money Review

Dead Money was a little disappointing in my opinion. It almost seems like Bethesda were trying to make a zombie shoot ‘em up expansion for Fallout New Vegas. The scenery is dull and eerie and the bad guys mostly consist of bright-eyed ghosts with multiple sclerosis. They have been cleverly named the “Ghost People.” There is a lot of dialogue if that’s your thing and, in the case of one companion, none at all. There are a few new weapons on offer, which is nice, especially in the melee department.

So if pawning zombie-like creatures with melee combat in close quarters is your thing, Dead Money is for you.

Fallout New Vegas Honest Hearts Review

Honest Hearts, on the other hand, is something of a marvel. Fresh and expansive canyon scenery will have you immersed into a newly crafted section of the Fallout universe named Zion. Honest Hearts also ties in nicely with stories told back in New Vegas. The legendary Burning Man, who shall not be named according to Caesar, is looking for vengeance. You have the choice of either teaming up with the macho mummy or siding with a soft-hearted evangelical soul on missionary work.

The landscape in Honest Hearts is home to three different tribes who live off the land and have much to teach an adventurous courier. Will you team up with the Burning Man and wipe the White Legs off the face of the planet? Or will you help evacuate the Dead Horses before they fall victim to the same fate?

  • Both Fallout New Vegas DLC are available through Steam for $10 (roughly R70).

Fallout New Vegas Bobblehead Locations

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FALLOUT NEW VEGAS Bobblehead mod and locations

Fallout BobbleheadFans of the Fallout New Vegas game will be please to know that there is a Bobblehead mod available for download. Bobbleheads add another dynamic to the game, which is particularly useful if you play the game in Hardcore mode. Download the mod via the link above. Below are their locations.

Fallout New Vegas Bobblehead Locations Revealed

1. Agility

The Agility Bobblehead is found Near Chance’s Grave – near a Fiend camp where Chance slaughtered them all. In the center of the camp is a log where you’ll find this bobblehead resting.

2. Barter

The Barter Bobblehead can be found southwest of Bitter Springs in Cap Counterfeiting Shack. The Bobblehead is on a workbench in the basement.

3. Charisma

The Charisma Bobblehead is inside the Gomorrah Suites building – in a large room with two circular beds. The bobblehead is on a shelf near the red bed.

4. Endurance

In Quarry Junction is a cave near a Deathclaw mother and her demonspawn. The Endurance Bobblehead is being grasped by a skeleton at the back of the cave.

5. Energy Weapons

The Brotherhood of Steel are holed up in a place called Hidden Valley, which is near the NCR Correctional Facility. You have to complete a few quests to gain access inside. Once you’re done, the Energy Weapons Bobblehead is under some stairs at the back of the fortress.

6. Explosives

Look in the first aircraft hangar at Nellis Air Force Base. The Explosives Bobblehead is on a shelf at the back of the hangar.

7. Guns

Inside Vault 34. At the very last floor, at the very bottom is the Armory. The Guns Bobblehead is lying on a table next to a missile launcher and some armor.

8. Intelligence

The Intelligence Bobblehead is inside a building called Allied Technologies near downtown New Vegas. Take the first door on the right after entering the Interior Offices and you’ll find it on a desk along with tons of Sunset Sarsparilla Star caps and bottles in the corner. Score.

9. Lockpick

The Lockpick Bobblehead is inside the NCR Correctional Facility – Prison Block B. It’s underneath a rusted bunk bed at the back of the cell. Lockingpicking is essential for playing Fallout New Vegas in hardcore mode.

10. Luck

Where else but the Lucky 38 Casino! Check the check-in counter for the Luck Bobblehead.

11. Medicine

The Medicine Bobblehead can be found right at the start of the game, inside Doc Mitchell’s house. It’s on his desk next to where you (probably) swiped his glasses and magazine.

12. Melee

Near Legate Lanius’ Camp is an area with a bunch of training dummies and what looks like a weapon forging area. The Melee Bobblehead is sitting on a table next to a grinder, Anvil and a stack of machetes. Fallout New Vegas has taken melee combat to a new level and is a lot of fun to master in.

13. Perception

The Perception Bobblehead resides at a place called “Sniper’s Nest” – west of Cottonwood Cove. The bobblehead is sitting on a shelf next to a bed.

14. Repair

In the New Vegas Strip is a building called Michael Angelo’s Workshop. The Repair Bobblehead is sitting on a bench next to a blueprint for a billboard.

15. Science

The Science Bobblehead is in a place called Fortification Hill Weather Station, located near The Fort. There are some panels on the floor that lead to a secret basement, which in turn leads to a massive Securitron Vault. The bobblehead is near the back of this vault on a desk with a broken radio and toolbox.

16. Sneak

Inside the Hoover Dam Power Plant is a bunch of wooden crates (one of which contains a suit of Chinese Stealth Armor). The Sneak Bobblehead is hidden behind the top crate on the right.

17. Speech

Nipton Town Hall is where you want to look. The Speech Bobblehead is on a table at the back of the room on the left side.

18. Strength

The Strength Bobblehead is on the top floor of Blackmountain Radio, which is on Blackmountain Summit. The bobblehead is sitting on top of crazy Tabitha’s radio.

19. Survival

The Survival Bobblehead can be found on Scavenger Platform, which is right in the middle of Lake Mead. You’ll have to swim to get across. The bobblehead is sitting on top of a footlocker.

20. Unarmed

Another bobblehead coveted by the Lucky 38 Casino! The Unarmed Bobblehead is in the VIP Lounge – right in front of a golden pair of boxing gloves.

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