Tag Archives: Take2

Games for Christmas: PC on Earth

PC GAMES: A quick look at some good game titles this Christmas

IT is the most exciting time of year for retailers and children alike as we are bombarded by adverts from all directions and the kiddy winkles are putting their finishing touches to their Christmas wish lists.

If your children are as demanding as most they’ll probably be nagging for the latest and greatest gadgetry goods this year. I imagine it must be tough having to explain what a recession is to a young child and argue that Apple iPads and Xboxes just aren’t in Santa’s budget this year.

But, if you already have a workable PC installed at home, games as gifts are the perfect solution to making everyone happy this Christmas. PC games are not frightfully expensive these days and I can assure you from experience that there is nothing more exciting than being given a new game to play for Christmas.

I have compiled a list of a few great PC games that cover several genres and are suitable for a variety of ages. It is also useful to know that most PC games today are not gender-specific. What may have once been considered as boys’ games are now being played considerably by the growing number of girl gamers.

Civilization V (ages 16+): R360 (PC)

Civilization VSid Meier’s award-winning Civilization series is a treat to the mind that will appeal to strategy gamers who enjoy turn-based games. Civilization takes one back to the beginnings of time where you can play as one of the great leaders from history. Discover new technologies and lands, build great wonders, forge alliances and sign treaties as you lead your people through time.

Civilization is a challenging game that promises hours of unique gaming. The previous release (Civilization IV) is now available for only R66 and includes three expansion packs.

Fallout New Vegas (R18): R350 (PC)

Fallout New VegasIn a post-apocalyptic world set in the not too distant future, you are one of several survivors who were preserved in underground vaults. After humanity emerges from living underground for generations, they have already begun to form tribes and allegiances. Conflict is inevitable as different tribes compete for clean water and survival, but one city has mysteriously been preserved from complete destruction. That city is New Vegas.

Stunning visuals and complete immersiveness make this game a personal favourite of mine. Outcomes differ depending on how you play the game and engage with its moral choice system. Just a warning: Fallout does have a gambling component and suggestions of prostitution — hence the age restriction.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (ages 16+):

The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionThe Elder Scrolls places the player in the fantasy realm of Cyrodil — set in the Middle Ages. Made by the same company as Fallout 3, this game is equally stunning and immersive. Players are given endless quests which may see you fighting in the arena or battling mythical creatures with both magic and steel.

The Elder Scrolls is a great example of a sandbox game, whereby the player can literally venture where he or she pleases until the edge of the map. Like Fallout 3, it also features a weather system­, whereby players will experience rain, snow or shine and changes between day and night.

The game is not excessively violent or naughty, but perhaps a little complex for younger players.

Zoo TycoonZoo Tycoon 2 (ages 3+): R309 (PC)

From Railroad Tycoon to Zoo Tycoon — these games are great educational simulators. Players will learn the fundamentals of zoo upkeep and design in a fun and visually stimulating way. Zoo Tycoon is available with four expansion packs, namely the Zookeeper collection, the Marine Mania collection, Endangered Species and the Extinct Animals expansion pack.

Need for Speed Hot PursuitNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit (ages 12+): R303 (PC)

If your offspring are into fast cars and adrenaline rushes (i.e. racing games) you need look no further than the Need for Speed series. Hot Pursuit is one of the more popular releases that will make car fans drool at the well-rendered graphics and sporty cars they get to drive.

Fifa 2011 (ages 3+): R308 (PC)

The ever successful Fifa series is back with Fifa 2011 released this year. Football games are a lot of fun with a lot of effort put into their design. Players look like the real deal, stadia are modelled­ accurately and the roar and buzz of the fans creates a high-energy atmosphere.

Fifa 2011Fifa 2010 is a good choice considering that the World Cup was hosted by our country this year. Unfortunately this release is currently out of stock; but if it becomes available again before Christmas it is selling for just R129.

GAMES BARGAIN BIN:

(these are games I haven’t personally played, but have certainly heard of. Suitable for all ages):

  • Ultimate Monster Trucks R14
  • Football Manager 2007 R14
  • Winter Games R14
  • Puzzle Quest R90
  • Zoo Tycoon (stand alone) R66

NOTE: All PC games mentioned here are available at www.take2.co.za which is also offering free shipping this festive season on all orders over R350. Games may be available in stores or on other shopping websites, yet prices may differ.

Happy gaming and Merry Christmas!

Best Games of 2009

A look back at some of the best games of 2009

2009 was a great year in gaming. Titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Wolfenstein and Fallout 3 are quite simply some of the best games ever developed. Period.

So if you’re still struggling to keep up with the new 2010 game releases, then why not catch up by playing the following, highly recommended 2009 releases (which are also a lot cheaper now than when they were first released):

Best Games: Fallout 3

Fallout 3 boxBased on the idea of a post-apocalyptic world in the near future, Fallout 3 is without a doubt the best game I have ever played to date. The game not only has a riveting storyline and an amazing graphics engine, but also has the most sublime explosions you will see in any game. Being able to create custom-made weapons from Wasteland junk and choose from a library of unique perks whenever your character levels up, are just a few pleasures that make this game a must-have.

Best Games: Wolfenstein

Wolfenstein boxYou are super-spy BJ Blaskowitz and your job is to singly-handedly put a stop to those naughty Nazis and end WWII. The earlier versions of Wolfenstein still fill me with nostalgia and give me a tingly feeling in my fingertips. The latest Wolfenstein is a treat to the eyes and is one of the most intense war games in my collection. The game has a real solid feel and explosive effects, and being able to move in and out of the veil is certainly a unique gaming element. There is a great selection of upgradable weapons and is awesome if you’re a fan of the rifle. Capping Nazis has never been this fun!

Best Games: Call of Duty 5 – World at War

Call of Duty 5 World at War boxGranted that this game was released at the end of 2008, it is certainly in the same league as 2009 war games. It is fast-paced and intense, and in my opinion the best Call of Duty title released. This is one of those titles that gamers can play time and time again whenever the urge to kill kicks in. My only gripe is that Captain Price is off the scene (I understand that he was busy auditioning for a place in Modern Warfare 2). Nonetheless, the American and Russian campaigns are a blast.

Best Games: Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5 boxI was never a fan of the third-person Resident Evil games until I played this one. The Direct X 10 version of the game is both spectacular and intense. Even on normal difficulty, Resident Evil 5 is a desperate challenge to find ammo and cap zombies. Having a hot sidekick follow you around is a very welcomed element and she is far more than just a well-rendered face. Resident Evil 5 is also by far one of the longest games I’ve ever played (perhaps too long), but no doubt it will keep you entertained for months. Keep clean underwear nearby.

Best Games: Assassin’s Creed

Assassins Creed boxBeing a huge fan of Assassin’s Creed, I bought the second installment this year and was rather disappointed. Although ’Screed 2 is far better looking than its predecessor and offers a few more gaming elements, it still does not match up to the story and immersiveness of the first game in my opinion. Nonetheless the Renaissance environment in which you play is rather appealing. The controls for ‘Screed are by far the easiest to learn and nothing beats leaping off a clock tower into a bundle of hay. Bundles of fun!

All of the games above are available at Take 2 for reasonable prices. If the prices have not yet come down, it may be a good idea to simply add them to your wish list. Take 2 will then notify you when the prices drop.

Happy gaming!

Related Post: Fallout 3 Tweaks & Tips

Links:

Online shopping guide

TAKE2: A great place for safe & secure online shopping

CHRISTMAS has once again come and gone like a seasonal fling — leaving an empty feeling deep down inside, next to the leftover turkey that was for lunch. If you were one of the many that left your Christmas shopping to the last minute, I don’t think anyone needs to remind you how hellish it was driving to the Present Store. All Christmas spirit seems to dissolve away the minute you get on the road. It may not have been the best idea to leave the shopping so late, but if it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would ever get done.

There’s also a good chance that we were disappointed with what we got for Christmas this year — again. All those letters to Santa seem to be in vain sometimes. He must get more hate-mail than wish-lists I reckon.

Nonetheless, we are all adept at acting happy around our loved ones and consider that perhaps it is not the gift that counts but being near a fir tree … Or is it family? No no, it’s the thought that counts; that’s it. But great gifts would have been nice too.

There is a solution to fighting your way through traffic, struggling to find what you want and disappointing family and friends with “thoughtful” gifts that you managed to find at the last minute. The solution lies in the joys and wonders of online shopping. There are many ways to go about ordering goods online, but I have found one specific website particularly pleasing to use.

take2 logo

Take 2
Take 2.co.za is a South African website that offers a very similar experience to using Kalahari.net (among others). They have their headquarters in Cape Town, but they will happily deliver ordered goods anywhere in the country.

They also charge a flat-rate deli­very charge of R30, which is the same if you order one item or 20. This is by far the cheapest delivery fee I’ve ever experienced. Take2 will also deliver right to your door and have a very efficient e-mail service to keep consumers posted.

Signing up
Signing up is as simple as saying “silly season”. Simply visit take2.co.za and click on “sign up”. You’ll need to provide a name, contact number and e-mail address.

The next step is to create an address list. This could just be one address (presumably your own address) to have any products delivered directly to you, or you could include the addresses of family and friends to have items delivered directly to their doors instead.

The next step involves divulging banking details, which is where people often get itchy. However, you do not need to give out credit card numbers; in fact you don’t even need a credit card! Rather, you provide banking details such as your account number and branch code and they link your account with theirs.

Paying is as easy and stress-free as performing an EFT.

Email notifications and wish-lists
Something that I particularly like about Take2 is their speedy e-mail service that keeps you in the loop. They send you an e-mail when you place an order, a confirmation e-mai­l once you have paid the required amount, an e-mail to say that your products are being acquired, and a final e-mail once they have shipped your goods with the courteous line, “your products have been shipped and will be arriving shortly”.

Another great feature of most online stores such as Take2 is the wish-list. Any products that you come across while browsing around can be added to your wish-list to be ordered at a later, perhaps more prosperous date and time.

If the products in your wish-list are currently out of stock, Take2 will also e-mail you as soon as they become available to order again. They also let you know if any price reductions occur.

What’s available
Take2 is in the business of home entertainment and deals in DVDs, games, electronics, books and music mostly. They also constantly have specials on offer as well as a clearance stock section, which acts as a sort of electronic bargain bin. I have found goods there for half the price that they are labelled with in stores.

The service also has a fantastic sorting feature which allows you to sort products by price, sales rank, release date etc. This is great when you have a budget in mind or want to see what everyone else is buying. Other features are “monthly best sellers”, “top 40 viewed” products, “top rated products” and “current top sellers”. All specials are also clearly marked in red, making them easy to spot.

Customer network
To give you greater assurance that you’re not being scammed into buying cheap crap off the Internet, Take2 offers user reviews and an easy-to-use rating system. Any member can rate a product from one to 10 and an average score is displayed next to each rated product.

People who have purchased or used any of the products available on Take2 are encouraged to write short reviews, which will then appear beneath the products when people are browsing the website. There are often differing views and experiences of the same products, but consumers generally point out the pros and cons — invaluable information to new buyers.

Click click. All done
All that’s left to know is buying. Each time you click on an item an option to “add to cart” will appear (alternatively you can add the product to your wish-list). Once you’ve added all your desired items to your virtual cart, you can “proceed to checkout”, select the address where you would like your goods shipped to, transfer the right amount of cash due (calculated for you) and you’re all done.

Each product also gives an indication of how long it will take to ship the product. In all the time that I have spent using Take2, they have never been more than a couple of days late.

There was one case where an order that I had paid for went out of stock and I phoned Take2 to find out what was happening. They offered to either refund me in full or to place the amount into a credit balance (which has since been used).

And that’s really all you need to know about online shopping (or perhaps where to go). Happy shopping and remember that everything is cheaper online!

*** Visit Take2 now ***

If you have had any positive online shopping experience please feel free to leave a comment, and let’s do our bit to promote good South African service.

Related posts: Online shopping tips  The Simple Life (online)

Online shopping tips for the festive season

IF you’re tired of mad dashes to the shops for that last forgotten item, manic searches for parking, tussles with strangers over the last turkey, and queues longer than the Nile, then shopping online is the way to overcome your festive season shopping nightmare.

Online shopping is fast and convenient, making it incredibly easy to shop around for a better deal. You can find almost anything online, from groceries to discounted flight tickets, and best of all, Internet shops are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Here are a few tips from Mweb to ensure that your online shopping experience is safe and hassle-free this festive season:

Secure your computer
Your computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software installed. Security software must be updated regularly to provide protection against the latest threats. A good Internet security package is vital, but can be expensive.

Mweb subscribers can download Mweb Total Protection from McAfee online for free. This is a state-of-the-art package specifically designed to protect your computer against malicious software and hackers, and will automatically remind you to perform any updates.

Software such as this will also give you warnings when the site you’re working with may be insecure.

Check if the site is safe
When buying online, look for signs that the website is secure before entering your personal and financial information. This is indicated by a closed padlock on the browser’s status bar or by an “s” at the end of http (e.g., https://www.onlineshop/bargains.com).

Shopping @ homeOnly buy from trusted merchants
Only shop at companies that you have heard of or that have been recommended by a trusted source. If you have not heard of the company before, but are keen on its merchandise, why not look for its contact details and give its people a call.

Know what you are paying for
Always read the seller’s descriptions carefully and note that name-brand items at greatly reduced prices could be counterfeit. Ask for proof of authenticity if necessary as you can’t scrutinise items like you would if you were in a store when shopping online.

Online Payments
Online payments are usually made with a credit card. When given a choice, rather use a credit card instead of a debit card because credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard protect you against unauthorised purchases.

Remember to keep your passwords safe and don’t save them on your computer, even as a separate file, just as you wouldn’t keep your credit card’s PIN number in your wallet.

Log off from your web browser after shopping
When you’ve finished shopping online, log off from the website and close your web browser. This will end your session safely, and will keep your personal information protected. Also, be wary of entering personal financial information at an Internet café or public access spot.

The cyber-world is not that different from the real world and similar rules apply. Trust your instincts and be street-wise. Happy shopping, and may you receive many happy feelings this festive season 🙂

A great place to start a safe and secure shopping experience online is Take2

Related post: Your online shopping guide  The Simple Life (online)