Author Archives: Fanatyk

About The Author

Fanatyk
All posts by Fanatyk are listed below

I am a co-founder, admin and manager of this site. From time to time I also write articles here. In real life, I am doing my Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Management at the University of Edinburgh. Besides gaming I am an avid cyclist, fountain pen enthusiast and windsurfer.

Texas Hold’Em Poker: an ace in the Wii’s pocket?

A wistful look back at Nintendo’s fascinating foray into the world of online poker

A wistful look back at Nintendo’s fascinating foray into the world of online poker

Remember all those smooth and sophisticated adverts promoting online poker, the ones that used to feature suave-looking male models filmed in black-and-white strutting around with packs of cards while an American- sounding voiceover talked about how cool and grown up playing card is?

Nintendo clearly didn’t or at the very least chose to ignore them and it’s a good job too, because otherwise a game like the addictive, yet predictably-titled Texas Hold’Em Poker would never have been made.

By now you are probably well aware what the game revolves around – the world’s most popular poker format – but what you maybe don’t realise is just how much fun playing cards can be on Nintendo’s activity-focused magic-wand-waving console the Wii. That’s because this particular incarnation of poker for the gaming generation got somewhat lost among the other big releases of its time – and the growth of Full Tilt poker among others – and it’s a crying shame too.

Debuting in retail outlets way back in September 2009, Texas Hold’Em poker promised to deliver gamers an arcade simulation of the game that captures all the intensity of a real tournament. Whether it achieves this particular aim is debatable – I for one have never found myself waving a white-coloured remote control during a session at the green felt – but one thing is certain: it’s a fun way to play the game.

If variety is the spice of life, then consider Texas Hold’Em Poker as the gaming equivalent of a very, very good chilli con carne chocked full of different gameplay options that are sure to have everyone from newcomers to seasoned card sharks salivating. Whether it’s getting involved in a high-stakes tournament, playing a cash game or opting for the special Heads-up mode also available, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll probably win a few dramatic hands here and there to boot.

Those new to the world of cards are happily catered to as well, with special tutorials available on everything from the rules of the game and betting to bluffing – that’s right, they’ve really covered everything! 

What I love most about this game is the imaginative venues players travel to within the virtual reality world that the various characters occupy. These include everything from the James Bond-inspired casinos of Monaco to the bright lights and big city sentiment of New York, with each ‘venue’ adding to the fun and excitement of this arcade outing. You can choose from one of six preset characters on the game, or better yet import your very own Mii character to use in this most fascinating of settings. Throw in the presence of ‘real’ competitors who will look to gain any mental advantage over you (as is the norm in the world of cards these days) and it’s easy to see why the less-cynical poker fans out there could fall in love with this understated classic.

And I haven’t even gotten to my favourite element of this game yet – online mode. This canny addition to Texas Hold’Em allows you to play against up to five friends from the comfort of your sofa. Then it’s just a choice of either organising your own online tournaments or joining one of the many bigger games taking part online. At the time it represented the dawning of a new era for online poker play, but ultimately this was one deal that many fans opted to fold on.

If only they had persevered, then perhaps now we would all be enjoying internet poker from the comfort of our very own living rooms. Oh wait, I forgot about Full Tilt

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review

It’s safe to say that if Ubisoft was intent on making a cybernetic-in your face, raunchy, violent yet strangely humorous game, they have succeeded with Blood Dragon.
I acknowledge wholeheartedly that if blood, guts and gore combined with fantasy are not your thing it is perhaps best to steer away from this game and stick to more light hearted entertainment such as exciting slots games found at BookofRaspiel.de. But if you want unadulterated 80’s VHS style entertainment Blood Dragon is a winner.

Discover colors never meant to be seen without a black light.

Paraphrasing Psy: “80’s VHS style”

Blood Dragon is pretty much only really related to Far Cry 3 in name and in gaming engine but aside from that everything has been changed. New enemies, new graphics and a new storyline all make Blood Dragon vastly different, and it can be hard to tell that you are actually playing on the same map and using the same engine as Far Cry 3.

The game is set in a visually stunning, futuristic 2007 and the premise seems to be based on the fact that in the 80s people thought that by the next millennium cars would fly, cyborgs would rule the world and aliens would attack at any minute. Your character in Blood Dragon is a cyborg-human who is trying to save the human race from an evil dictator who is somewhat, predictably trying to take over the world.

The retro future of the game rocks, but overall its let down somewhat by the missions. All the missions seem to be very much stock fodder from the era, with avoiding being eaten by a Blood Dragon, infiltrating a base or blowing up weapons of mass destruction a prevalent theme. Storyline wise it’s incomparable to Far Cry 3 but you do get to use some of the more exciting vehicles from the main game to complete your quests.

The humour in Blood Dragon is intentionally cheesy and whilst the game manages to pull off a serious side it seems Ubisoft was hell bent on portraying a total parody of 1980s sci-fi films. The voice acting is rather average but the soundtrack is pretty awesome and could come straight out of a stereotypical 80’s film.

Overall, in comparison to its big brother Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon may be a little lacking in game play, but its great theme makes it mind blowingly appealing and will get you hooked-fast.

Rating:8.5/10
Pros:Hilarious parody,
Fun action,
Multiple ways of handling a given situation
Cons:Basically just Far Cry 3 with a different face,
Blood dragons are more trouble than they’re worth
Game producer's website:Ubisoft
Official website:Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Game available at:

No More Room in Hell. Weapons – hard numbers.

Zombie ammunition

Tested on zombies – approved for human use!

WriterX has already covered the use of all the weapons in No More Room in Hell in terms of practice. But this time, we will do it my way – focus on numbers. Some of you asked for those, to get an objective benchmark of the performance of each type of weapon, so I spent a couple of hours testing each of them – and recording the results for you. I have also added some comments, where additional explanation was necessary, and one or two tips.

For melee weapons, this article includes a similar table, better suited to describe this type of weapons.

This article is a supplement to our series of No More Room in Hell guides.

Virtonomics giveaways from AlterGamer!

Today we’ve got a Virtonomics giveaway! For those of you unfamiliar with that Free to Play MMO, it is a business simulator. If you’ve enjoyed Capitalism, Monopoly or games and books from Robert Kiosaki, or enjoy being a businessman, give it a try! You can even earn real money!

Our Virtonomics giveaway:

(also called contest for managers winning pack)
Virtonomics

Start your business now! Try and see, how succesful you would be as a businessman

In order to make things a bit easier and give you a bit of a competitive advantage, here is our giveaway. If you subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page or follow our Twitter or StumbleUpon accounts, we will give you 50 000 000$ (and yes, the zeros are fine here). For comparison, in Virtonomics you initially get 5 000 000$ in assets. This should enable you to win the contest for managers – and winning it is a huge advantage later on!

To make it easier for you, here are the magic buttons:

  

JIT (Just in Time) production – Keep resources low, revenues high!

JIT – what it is and what does it mean for your resource management?

Just in time

Just in time – the theme of the day

Remember, that storing means losses? And those couple of lessons carried out from process optimization? Today, I will discuss matters that put these two issues in more practical sense – JIT (“Just-In-Time”) production.

The whole idea originated from Japan – this nation is quite efficient, as you probably know… More precisely from Toyota – a company you hear of a lot, when taking management classes. And even more, if you do automotive engineering as well.

How to be an efficient gamer?

The Guild 2

The Guild 2 is all about process optimization. One of the most important issues here is minimizing the distance travelled by yourk work-in-progress goods. You want your farms close to your mills! The same goes for production in the Settlers series!

How to become an efficient gamer?

In every game there are some processes. You start at A, go through various steps and arrive at B. Between these two states is a “blackbox” – you know, where you are, you know where you want to get, but the real question is:  “How to get there?”. What I would add is: “How to get there efficiently?” We want to optimize these steps – and hopefully simplify them as well. Where does it lead us? Into the realm of process optimization. What does it make you? An efficient gamer.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here.

On spending, googols and inflation in games

So what the heck is that gaming inflation about?

Googol - a number (10^{100}). According to current knowledge, the number of particles in the universe is much less than that. The trademark “google” was derived from this number to reflect the amount of data google was supposed to index.

Inflation in germany - burning money

This picture, taken in Germany after WW I, is quite similar to what happens in most of games. At some point, you simply do not care for something you would consider a fortune at the beginning

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of the articles here.

RPG games

You start a new game, say: Skyrim. You have something like 100 gold pieces, a rusty dagger, and a rugged pair of pants. Your gear is worth much less, than what you can gather in a typical garden. You see all those mediocre armors and weapons, costing 100 times more than everything you have, wondering how much the really good stuff costs. And you start losing hope.

The clock is ticking! – On the importance of player’s time.

"Whatever" wall clock

You might think like that. But you are wrong. Time is much more, than simple numbers on your watch – it is the resource required for your actions.

Time… It is the most important resource in your life. Ok, so let’s get straight to the point instead of wasting it for my phylosophical discoveries and …’ing you to death, emo style, thinking it makes my writing more poetic.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of the articles here.

So… Ok, I have to admit it is the most important resource and it rules them all. You need time to build up your economy and to produce anything. But what the most important factor is the player’s time. It is a non-storable resource, with extremely high demand. In a complex game (economical or not), everything screams to get some of your attention. Your cities in Civilization V, beautiful views in Skyrim, or your empty clip in Call of Duty: MW3.

Hey, I am the energy magnate! – On non-storable resources

Wind turbine

Energy grid manager’s nightmare. Not only demand is unpredictable, but you haven’t got any idea if it’s going to be windy today.

Non-storable resources are bad. You can’t store them. You can’t get independent from them. If you lose them suddenly, you don’t even have any reserve to depend on. Therefore your approach to these has to be slightly different.

A good example of non-storable resource is the energy (although there are some exceptions like storable energy cells in X3: TC). You either use it all, or waste what is remaining. This means excess production is really bad. You are not only freezing resources you have used up to build your facilities, but sometimes also resources you use to run them, like coal for example.

But don’t worry! This article is not only about energy. There are other non-storable resources out there, and another great example is work. Read on to learn a bit more.

This article is a part of our series “Gamers, get your suits on!” on application of management skills and common sense in computer games. You can find the rest of articles here.

Steam alternatives – price comparison

Steam train

Steam, with over 40 million registered accounts, is the locomotive of the games industry train. But is it the best choice for gamers? (© Charles&Clint)

Steam is a wonderful creation. You buy a game, download it without leaving your room and play it. After a while, you delete it and get a new one instead. But you’ve still got it, somewhere in the cloud.

For me, this is the whole point! Freedom! I travel a lot (for the past couple of years I move between different countries at least 3 times a year), and the games are always with me. I love Civilization IV, bought a DVD shortly after release. But at some point I have lost it, and bought another one on Steam. No more worries, it’s always there, whenever I have access to half-decent internet. Sure, there are lots of drawbacks – long downloads, not being able to re-sell games or borrow them to a friend. But let’s not dwell on this.

The question I am asking today is: Are steam prices competitive? How do they compare to other similar platforms (yes, Steam is not the only one of its kind!) and to, say, amazon? You still get it without leaving home – and mind you, that Amazon also has downloadable versions of many games.