Computer Games for Everyone - Volume I

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The concept of computer gaming has been around long before computers became omnipresent in our lives – one of the first computer games was developed in the early 1960’s! What is relatively new is the big way in which computer and video gaming have come into homes and lives, their incredible audio and graphics capability and previously unimaginable levels of complexity.

Studies have linked the violence content of many videogames with aggressive behaviour in youngsters. Consumers concerned about this should check video and computer game ratings provided by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), for age appropriateness and nature of content.

Some recent games suitable for all players are:


Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

The Call of Duty series consists of action warfare video games involving first person and third person shooters. Initially set in World War II, the recent (and aptly named) additions to the series – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 – have adopted a more contemporary setting.

Call of Duty 4– Modern Warfare is set in multiple theatres of conflict. It was the first game to receive a mature rating from the ESRB. Released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 along with download and retail versions for Mac OS X, this has been the most successful game in the series, having sold over 13 million copies.

Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 2 is the direct sequel to COD 4. It continues the same storyline featuring several of the same characters, and takes place five years after the first game. The game was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.


Tony Hawk: Ride

Ride is the tenth edition of the Tony Hawk franchise, and has been developed for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360. Ride differs from its predecessors in that instead of a traditional controller the player uses a skateboard shaped peripheral to simulate the riding of a skateboard in the game. The peripheral is equipped with infrared sensors which detect movements. The game is meant to be intuitive – the player’s character on screen will move and gain speed by just brushing a foot along the ground next to the board. Variations and complex tricks just require the player to twist the board, or lean forward or back. There are three levels of difficulty.


The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

This is the fifteenth instalment of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, developed for the Nintendo DS handheld game console. The protagonists are Princess Zelda, ruler of the twentieth century kingdom of Hyrule and an apprentice railroad engineer named Link. They set off to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of the Spirit Tracks that line the kingdom and keep the Demon King at bay. En route they battle the forces of evil, even losing Zelda’s body for a while in the process. Three possible endings depend on the player's response, when Zelda asks Link what he will become when their journey is over.


Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts is an emergent puzzle action video game developed for the Nintendo DS. Its catchphrase "Write Anything, Solve Everything" refers to the player's ability to summon any object during the course of play by writing its name on the touch-screen with the stylus. Objects that can be summoned include animals, weapons, forces of nature, real and fictional famous people and vehicles, among other things. The objective of the game is to complete puzzles and collect "Starites", helped by the objects summoned. The game helps promote emergent gameplay by challenging the player to solve puzzles through multiple solutions.  A homonym system shows the player possible choices between similar-sounding names of objects, and a spellchecker suggesting close matches for misspelled words.


New Super Mario Bros. Wii

New Super Mario Bros. Wii has been developed by Nintendo for the Wii video game console, and is currently the sixth best-selling game on the Wii. It includes simultaneous multiplayer gameplay for up to four players. Players can choose to play as Mario, his brother Luigi or one of two Toad characters.

The main story can be played in either single-player mode or in multiplayer mode. There are two additional dedicated multiplayer modes.  In multiplayer mode, a player's character who loses a life will re-emerge trapped inside a bubble, and can only resume play once another player frees him by touching the bubble.

Need for Speed: Nitro

Need for Speed: Nitro is an arcade style racer, and like all the previous Need for Speed games, emphasises speed and excitement rather than realism. The Wii version allows up to 4 players to race, and can be played in either the Career mode or Arcade Mode. Drivers have to contend with cops who attempt to stop the racers, ramming into them and causing damage that affects speed and amount of nitro available. Power up icons allow racers to immediately repair their cars and increase the heat of competitors’ cars. The game includes three classes of cars ranging from family cars to supercars such as the Ford GT and the Nissan GT-R.

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