GAMES

Forza Horizon 3: The new benchmark for arcade racers

The thrill of the open road comes to Xbox One and PC – and it’s better than ever

Let’s get one thing straight: Forza Horizon 3 is not a normal racing game. Instead of tracks, Horizon 3 throws you on the open road, the beach and even the rainforest. Instead of a driver’s championship, it gives you… a festival. From the opening titles to the ridiculous first race, Forza Horizon 3 sets itself apart from its sim-heavy counterparts. And although I love incredibly realistic games such as Assetto Corsa and Project Cars, it’s hard not to love Forza Horizon 3 for what it’s trying to do.

If Forza Horizon 3 were a film, the main character wouldn’t be the driver. It wouldn’t even be the cars – it’d be the location. Rather than giving you pristine, artificial tracks, developer Playground Games gives you a decent chunk of Australia – twice the size as the previous game – and it looks incredible. Whether you’re racing on sunlit beaches, rain-soaked tarmac or open dirt roads that stretch for miles, Forza Horizon 3 matches the best graphics we’ve seen from any racing game.

Frame rate is capped at a solid 30fps, but because of the dense details on the roadside, Forza Horizon 3 offers an incredible sense of speed. Shadows, dense foliage and other cars fly by, and it really does feel like you’re eating tarmac when you approach silly speeds. Take time to slow down however, and you’ll be rewarded with cutscenes at certain places on the map.

In the same way, you’re given more than 350 examples of the most exotic machinery in the world today, and Playground Games has done them all justice. Forza Horizon 3 may not be all about realism, but it benefits from the relationships, models and sampling used on the Forza Motorsport games. That means cars are painstakingly rendered inside and out – and everything from roaring V10 engines to flat sixes sound as guttural and aggressive as you’d hope.

But there’s another thing that makes Forza Horizon 3 great, and that’s the music. Sure, soundtracks aren’t everything, but Forza has consistently put out some of the best gaming soundtracks you’ll hear, and Horizon 3 continues this trend. The game features eight diverse radio stations offering everything from drum and bass and house to old-school hip-hop, and regardless of your musical preferences you’ll find something to speed to.

Of course, the final part of the puzzle is the content itself, and it’s ridiculous in all the best ways. In Horizon 3, you’re in charge of the Horizon festival in Australia. And for some reason you’re able to sign drivers by racing them in the fastest cars around – with seemingly no regard for the speed limit, or your own safety.

And your first proper race? It’s against a Jeep, attached to a helicopter… because, who cares? It’s ridiculous, charming, and sets the scene for a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But that’s not to say it isn’t well thought out. As you’d expect from Playground Games, Forza Horizon 3 gives you a range of things to do, and always gives incentives and reasons to dip back in for another session. Whether you want to play for ten minutes or have a three-hour binge, the game doesn’t penalise you for playing casually, giving you a fun experience regardless of its time slot.

Pretty much everything you do earns you points, from side-swiping to drifting and speeding – and it’s all displayed on the screen at breakneck speeds. Sometimes you’ll have to challenge racers on a stretch of road, other times you’ll be racing in a loop – but the challenges are always enjoyable. When you aren’t sure what to do, you can even use a digital assistant called Anna to look for other races, new challenges or online matchmaking. Yes, Forza Horizon 3 adds multiplayer gaming, although I haven’t been on it enough yet to fairly judge it. I’ll add my thoughts at a later date.

As with any modern game, there’s also an XP system for finishing races, but because Forza Horizon 3 gives you so many different things to top up – from XP points to festival audience capacity, it’s hard to know what you’re actually achieving half the time. Either way, you know that your all of your efforts are doing something – and that’s a good thing.

As for the handling? It’s important to remember that Forza Horizon 3 isn’t trying to be Forza Motorsport 7, so handling isn’t super-realistic – but it’s not painfully easy either. Each car handles noticeably differently – even with a controller – and getting around fast bends and sharp corners often requires a fair amount of driver skill. Of course, you can also remove driver aids such as traction control to make things more challenging – and the game rewards you with more points for it.

So, should you buy Forza Horizon 3?

If you like games such as Need For Speed or Burnout, you’ll love Forza Horizon 3. It’s the spiritual successor to those early days of arcade gaming, given several new ideas and a thorough lick of paint. It looks amazing on a normal 1080p TV, but it’s HDR-compatible too. Its vivid sunsets and landscapes will look even better through an Xbox One S and HDR-compatible screen.

But here’s the interesting part: if you’re a fan of racing-simulation games, I’d still say Forza Horizon 3 is worth checking out. Sure, it doesn’t have the spot-on physics, setup options or real-world tracks of other games, but what it lacks in realism it makes up for in sheer adrenaline. Where other games give you downforce, rebound damping and tyre pressures, Forza Horizon 3 gives you a stereo, the open road and some of the most-wanted cars in the world. Getting a near-perfect lap in Assetto Corsa is one thing, but drifting a Mustang around Byron Bay with DMX blaring through the speakers is quite another.

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Some Amazing Fact about Contra Game

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In the mid-to-late ’80s, Konami found itself in the midst of its golden age. These were the years where the creative powers of its designers seemed to have reached their peak, with games as varied as Gradius, Track & Field and Metal Gear all proving sizeable hits either in the arcade or on home systems. But Contra was one of Konami’s biggest console hits of the era.

First released in Japanese arcades in 1987, Contra is a run-and-gun game inspired by the hit American action films of the day—most obviously the Rambo series and Aliens. In it, two soldiers stormed an alien base hidden on an island off the coast of New Zealand (or the Amazon for the Nintendo Entertainment System—or NES—version). The combination of side-scrolling and pseudo-3D action, together with its then-unusual co-op mode, proved to be a major hit, particularly when Contra hit NES in America in 1988. So to salute the game which kicked off a long and much-loved franchise, here are 11 surprising facts about the mighty Contra. Contra was very popular at that time, later when solitaire free games began to be integrated into windows, it became quite popular.

1. ITS TITLE WAS SEEMINGLY INSPIRED BY THE NICARAGUAN REVOLUTION.

While Contra sees two muscle-bound heroes, Lance and Bill, take on the might of an alien invasion force dubbed Red Falcon, the game’s title appears to have been inspired by real-world events that were unfolding throughout the 1980s. In Nicaragua, rebel fighters called theContrarrevolución (or Contras) were fighting against the communist Sandinista Junta, and the whole notion of guerrilla fighters seemed to seep into the game designers’ imagination; one of the games describes a Contra as a “superior soldier […] excelling in guerrilla tactics.” One of the tunes on Contra’s soundtrack even references the Nicaraguan Revolution—it’s called “Sandinista.”

2. LANCE AND BILL WERE ALIENS-INSPIRED AMALGAMATIONS.

It’s widely noted that the various creatures that screech across the screen in Contra were inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens, which appeared in cinemas a year before Konami’s game hit arcades. But there seems to another connection to that classic movie: Contra’s heroes, named Bill Rizer and Lance Bean, have been taken from actors’ names in Aliens. Bill Rizer is a combination of Bill Paxton and Paul Reiser, while Lance Bean crosses Lance Henriksen with Michael Biehn.

3. THE ARCADE VERSION HAD AN UPRIGHT SCREEN.

Although by no means the first run-and-gun game, Contra was unusual for its two-player simultaneous action—a relatively unusual addition for the time—and for its upright screen. Usually reserved for vertical shooters like Galaga or Konami’s own Twinbee, the upright screen was an unusual choice for a game with horizontally scrolling platform action. But the configuration came into its own in Contra’s pseudo-3D levels, where players fought their way through alien-infested corridors, and also gave some of the huge bosses an even greater sense of scale. Needless to say, Contra’s levels had to be redesigned to fit standard TV sets when it was ported for home systems.

4. THE ARCADE WAS NAMED GRYZOR IN EUROPE.

When Contra first emerged, it coincided with the Iran-Contra affair—a political scandal which embroiled the Reagan administration in 1987. Because of the political charge surrounding theContra name, its title was changed to Gryzor in Europe and Oceania.

5. BOB WAKELIN’S ARTWORK FEATURES SOME FAMILIAR FACES.

When it came to videogame artwork in the 1980s, there were few better artists than Bob Wakelin. His depiction of two battle-hardened soldiers wading through an alien nest was so successful that it wound up appearing on the boxes for the American NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) version of Contra as well as the British home computer versions. It’s not difficult to see where Wakelin got his inspiration from when he painted the artwork; the soldiers are clearly modeled on some publicity shots of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action flick Predator. “A Predator /Aliens rip-off is what the game appeared to be, so I supplied aPredator /Aliens style pic—with ripped Arnie Predator poses,” Wakelin later wrote.

6. THE NES PORT WAS NAMED PROBOTECTOR IN GERMANY.

In Germany, Contra underwent some far more drastic changes. There, the NES version was called Probotector (a portmanteau of “robot” and “protector”), and the game’s content was considerably toned down to get it past Germany’s strict laws regarding the sale of violent games to children. Super soldiers Bill and Lance were changed into humanoid robots, while the characters they fought were also given a more mechanical look. Because Germany was such a major market, Probotector spread and was also played by other kids in Europe.

7. KONAMI RELEASED AN LCD HANDHELD VERSION OF THE GAME.

While the NES version of Contra retained its original name in America, later handheld releases were given different titles. A port for the Game Boy, called Contra in Japan, was retitledOperation C in the U.S. and Probotector in Europe. An LCD handheld version of the game came out in 1989, and while part of the old Gryzor name is still partly visible in its artwork, it was given the pithy title C.

8. THE NES VERSION POPULARIZED THE KONAMI CODE.

Released to rave reviews in 1988, the NES port of Contra was a big hit in America. Its success was such that the Konami Code—a string of button presses which grants extra lives—is closely associated with Contra. In reality, the Konami Code was first slipped into the space shooter Gradius by programmer Kazuhisa Hashimoto two years earlier. But Contra was the bigger hit in the U.S., and the link between it and the Konami Code stuck in the mind of a generation of gamers.

9. THE JAPANESE NES VERSION OF CONTRA FEATURED ADDITIONAL CUT-SCENES.

In Japan, videogame manufacturers used to create their own cartridges for the Famicom—that country’s version of the NES. This allowed them to add in their own custom chips, which, in the case of Contra, meant that Konami could add in story-building cut-scenes and fancy background effects. Because cartridges were manufactured by Nintendo themselves in the U.S., using the company’s own standard chips, the cut-scenes and other frills had to be cut to fit the game in the cartridge’s smaller ROM.

10. MINT COPIES OF THE EARLY CONTRA GAMES ARE HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE.

The fan affection for the Contra series is such that early entries in the series are now highly sought-after by collectors. A copy of the Japanese Famicom original in good condition could set you back around $75 or more on eBay, while Japanese copies of Contra: The Hard Corpson the Sega Mega Drive—one of the rarest of the sequels—could cost upwards of $400.

11. IT INSPIRED A VAMPIRE WEEKEND ALBUM.

In 2010, the indie rock band Vampire Weekend released an album called Contra, and lead singer Ezra Koenig has made no secret of its geeky connection to Konami’s ’80s classic, as well as its allusions to the Nicaraguan Revolution.

“Look, I was born in 1984, so I’m not going to name an album Contra and not think about that video game,” Koenig told MTV. “I did have a moment where I stopped and thought, wow, everybody my age, when you say ‘Contra,’ thinks of the video game, and everybody my parents’ age thinks of the counter-revolutionaries in Nicaragua.”

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Fun facts you might never know about Pac-Man game

Pac-Man, one of the most common gaming icons of the 20th century, turned to its 35 years old last year. Pac-man, coming with the icon features on many objects such as belts, mugs, shirts – even shoes, was definitely a part of many people’s childhood. Did you play Pac-man when you was a child? Here are some great facts about the game for you to see:

  • In 1980, Toru Iwatami wanted to create a game to introduce women into Japan’s arcades. He imagined they didn’t want to play games about aliens – bet he didn’t bet on the trends that appear now! Originally going to be about fashion and shopping, he settled on food. Whatever he made would have neutral colours that symbolized the most popular food of his time.
  • Still not sure on his game, Iwatami went to lunch. He ordered pizza. He took a slice, looked at his food and Pac-Man was born (or Puck-Man as he was originally known in Japan).

pacman-game

  • In Japanese the name means ‘pakupaku’, which translates as to the sound of eating or munching. He imagined the pellets that Pac-Man would eat would be big cookies.
  • The aim of Pac-Man is to survive many levels of puzzles whilst not being eaten by ghosts. The ghosts are an integral part of the gaming experience, moving at different algorithms to surprise the gamer.
  • Blinky is the red ghost. After eating him, he takes you to the shortest route, but immediately follows you.
  • Inky is the blue ghost. He is unpredictable and dangerous.
  • Pinky is the pink ghost. He likes to take you to roundabout paths to surprise you.
  • Clyde, not only breaks the rhyming pattern, but is the last ghost. He is orange and is the least threatening, as he often wonders off on his accord. He also guest stars in the Disney film Wreck It Ralph (2012), as a villain. He is voiced by Kevin Deters.
  • In 1980, when it was introduced to America it sold over 100.000 units in its first year of game-play, leading to another equally successful game Ms Pac-Man (1981).
  • 1982 saw the release of the Pac-Man cartoon on television, attracting fans of the games in wide numbers.
  • In 1984, Pac-Man introduced the first side scrolling game in the series, which is the game everyone knows today.
  • When you control Pac-Man, you not only come across pellets, but special fruits and objects which give extra points such as: Cherry – 100 pts, Strawberry – 200 pts, Orange – 500 pts, Apple – 700 pts, etc.
  • Pac-Man lands itself into the Guinness World Record books as ‘the most successful coin game’.

Hope that all the facts above are great for you. For more game facts and game review, you can check out this review online site for useful information.  

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Interesting facts about Nintendo

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and software company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Nintendo is the world’s largest video game company by revenue. What started out as a manufacturer of card games in 1889 (that’s right, 1889) is now one of the most influential video game companies with a market value of over $85 billion! What else should you know about this giant in the game industry? Here are some greta facts about Nintendo for you to see!

  • Nintendo 64 was a groundbreaking console, being the first to feature 3D graphics. It was also the last major console to use cartridges.
  • It has previously been reported that the Game Boy was the main influence and inspiration for the BMO gadget in Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time series.
  • The Game Boy console was the second handheld system released by Nintendo. The Game & Watch was released in 1980 but didn’t have any outstanding success.
  • Shigeru Miyamoto, legendary video game designer, who’s also the author of Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, has had games on every Nintendo console; his earliest work appeared in arcade games in the late seventies. Time has called him the “Steven Spielberg of video games.”
  • Nintendo attempted to become LEGO greatest competition at some point by building its own brick system called N&B Blocks. Judging from the fact that not many people (if any at all) know or remember anything about this should tell you about its lack of commercial success.
  • As of March 2016, all models of Nintendo DS combined have sold nearly 160 million units worldwide. This makes the DS the biggest-selling handheld console to date.
  • The company’s first venture into video games came when it secured the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey console in Japan in 1974
  • Nintendo’s global revenue has surpassed an astonishing $5.5 billion according to Forbes.
  • Miyamoto’s first NES game never came to the United States because of its demonic characters. Devil World was pretty much a Pac-Man clone and was banned because the protagonist killed demons with the power of the crucifix and the Bible.
  • Nintendogs were inspired by a Shetland sheepdog named Pikku. For the record, Pikku belonged to who else? Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s famous game designer.
  • Nintendo had the same president for more than fifty-five years, longer than any other videogame company in history. The late Hiroshi Yamauchi was president and chairman of Nintendo from 1949 until 2005, during which time he became one of the richest men in Japan with a net worth of $2.7 billion.

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Top mind-blowing facts about Minecraft game world that you probably don’t know

No matter if you love this game or not, you must have heard the name of Minecraft somewhere. Why? It’s just because this game is very, very popular all over the world. Now, let’s check out some quick facts about Minecraft!

  • How Many People Play Minecraft? According to Minecraft.net, there are 17,076,695 people have bought thePC/Mac version of the game (in 2014)
  • Microsoft Bought Minecraft: In September 2014, Microsoft purchased Minecraft for $2.5 BILLION. That’s no chump change!
  • Minecraft Was Originally Called “Cave Game”. The creator of Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson originally referred to the game as the “Cave Game.” The game was then named “Minecraft: Order of the Stone” – finally landed at just “Minecraft.”

games facts

  • A School in Stockholm Requires Kids to Play Minecraft: A school in Stockholm has made headlines after introducing compulsory Minecraft lessons for 13-year-old students, with teachers hoping the Swedish computer game will encourage the children to develop their thinking. read more
  • Enderman Sounds: The Enderman sounds are actually audio or words reversed and distorted.
  • The number of 820 Hours, what does it mean? Well, walking to the end of a flat Minecraft world would take 820 hours.
  • Minceraft in Opening Screen: Have you ever seen the opening screen say MINCERAFT rather than MINECRAFT? There is a 1 in 10,000 chance that you will see it!
  • If Minecraft Were Real: If Minecraft were real (it’s not people) – 1 Minecraft block in real life would equal 1 meter cubed. That means the Minecraft world is bigger than some planets.
  • Cows in Minecraft are Female, why? All cows in Minecraft are female, since they can all give out milk.

For more facts, games reviews and other information about latest apps and games, you can check out this review journal now.

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Spider Solitaire Card Game

5 fun facts about online Solitaire card games

Have you ever tried Solitaire card games? Well, I bet you have since this type of game has been available in the computer for more than 25 years and at least one time, most of us once tried this game.

Spider Solitaire Card Game

Spider Solitaire Card Game screenshot

Here are some of the most interesting facts about these games that are sure to surprise you a lot. 1. Solitaire was developed in 1989 by … an intern? Wes Cherry adapted the popular card game for Microsoft during his internship with the company. The game was included in Windows 3.0, which made its debut in 1990. It’s safe to say that any ’90s kid knows the familiar sight of the rounded, glass screen of the early Windows PCs, accompanied by the call of the glowing green game that could occupy hours of time. Microsoft Solitaire was a way to get people relaxed and excited about using the computer at home – and look where we are now! (Bonus fact: Solitaire has been pre-installed on every Windows operating system since Windows 3.0 – except Windows 8!) 2. There are five main variations of Solitaire: Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks and Pyramid. And that’s not all! There are many variations of these Solitaire games, all customizable based on how many decks and suits you play with, how many cards are dealt from the top left deck and how the cards are arranged. In short? You can get bored of regular old Solitaire, but you will never run out of ways to make it more interesting. 3. The highest score you can earn in the standard version of Microsoft Solitaire is 24,113. You get 10 points for each card added to an aces pile (aka “home stack”) and five points for each time you move a card from the deck to a column (correctly). There is a time bonus for games that last longer than 30 seconds (faster ones are not considered for scoring) based on the formula: 700,000 divided by the total time (in seconds) it took you to finish. 4. Winning is more likely than you think. Many tech-savvy people have made it their mission to analyze the game of Solitaire. According to Usman Latif of TechUser.net, 1 in 400 Solitaire games are unsolvable. 5. It’s not all luck – you really can increase your chance of winning. By keeping the runs (that vertical line of visible cards) evenly distributed instead of focusing on completing one at a time, it enables you to make more moves elsewhere and can improve time dramatically. Focus on unlocking the face-down cards so you know what you’re working with, instead of moving cards just because you can. Finally, don’t be too eager with the stockpile. Only play a card from that pile if there are no other options available within the other stacks. Playing all three cards in the dealt pile is also not the best idea, as you want to be able to see as many cards as possible in that deck to know what options you have there and playing all three will keep them all in the same order. Source: http://www.fromthegrapevine.com/ See also: Football games for kids Amazing facts of science

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