Nintendo Holidays

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To kick off the very first news report on this page I’d like to start with something close to our hearts – the holidays. So from this perspective the very first piece of info we have regarding this period of the year are the sales figures announced by Nintendo for America. I know it might seem a touch harsh to talk sales and holidays in the same paragraph but it does connect if you think about what you will be getting as a present.

In 2011, Nintendo consoles reached a new record breaking sale number when the Wii and DS combined sold over 1.5 million units. Between the 21st of November and 27th of November, 600,000 Wiis were sold while the sale of the DS console reached 900,000 units. Reggie Fils-Aime, US director for Nintendo stated that “US shoppers bought about 9,000 Nintendo hardware systems nonstop for every hour of every day during the week of Black Friday”.

This shows the importance the holidays have for Nintendo as their deals on the new red Wii and DS console bundles sold out quicker than anyone expected. Until now neither Sony nor Microsoft published their figures for this period of the year but for October the Xbox 360 sold over 350,000 units thus becoming the best sold console for the month. These figures really came to back up Fils-Aime’s recent statement in which he said that the importance the holidays have for Nintendo products is a lot larger than for the competing consoles and game systems offered by Microsoft and Sony.

In 2010, over half of the total sales Nintendo reported were during November and December while according to Reggie Fils-Aime Sony’s and Microsoft’s sales from the same time period represented only 40 percent of their yearly sales. This really shows that the general concept and marketing campaign behind Nintendo products is the fact that it is more of an entertainment system for everyone while the other consoles aim to a much more hardcore fan base.

Remaining in the news department and taking a look at the competition of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, we face a new marketing strategy from the two giants. Although sales of the Kinect and Move add-ons haven’t been what the two companies hoped they are still claiming that the products will be in short supply during these winter holidays. Both companies have the ability to make sure that there won’t be a shortage of their products yet they are using this as a way of influencing end-users into buying their products. Sony for example shipped over 2.5 million units to the US and Europe but their sales figures are nowhere near those numbers so this again is rather a sneaky move in order to get us buying their addons.

Microsoft on the other hand is keeping the supply low but still making sure that the eBay price of their add-on will not go over the 300 US dollar mark. According to retail sales analyst Michael Pachter “Sony are trying the same strategy as Microsoft with Kinect, making sure that there are plenty of bundles, but controlling supply of the standalone controllers.”

Despite the rather bleak news I brought with myself today I still hope you got your console “fix” and won’t be amongst those still standing in line hoping to get any of the aforementioned devices. Until the holidays are upon us, have a good one!

Evolve Gets Two New Maps Free

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Turtle Rock Studios, the team behind the next-gen cooperative shooter, Evolve, has just announced the first new maps in its controversial DLC plan. Despite being able to play on all new maps and alongside (but not using) all new hunters and monsters, without purchasing any of it, Evolve has been under fire in recent news due to an extensive DLC plan. This plan includes skins and character packs. Although this is similar to many PC game models, the possibility of spending over $100 on DLC for a game has unsettled many. The first two free maps to release under this plan are Broken Hill Mine and Broken Hill Foundry, and will both have their own unique Evacuation map effects. Both maps are available for Hunt, Nest and Rescue modes, through Skirmish, Custom matches and Evacuation campaigns.

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The Broken Hill Mine map is filled with tunnels and mines, taking place largely underground. The 4 main components of this map are the rock quarry, a venom hound nest, a large conveyor belt and the drill chamber in the center. Like many other maps, there will be destructible doorways, which will allow the monster to cut through the map. Because of the confined nature of this  map, close quarters combat and stealth will be of the utmost importance here. If the hunters win this map in the Evacuation campaign they’ll obtain drones that have been converted to shield drones. If the monster wins then tremors will shake the map, startling birds and confusing tracking hunters.

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The Broken Hill Foundry, which is geographically above the mines (hence the similar names), features a 3-story warehouse and streets littered with bohrium, which will be edible to the monster. Out of the Shear wilderness, this slagtown is much more urban and features multiple buildings and rooftops to play with. The bohrium in the streets may seem like free meals, but breaking the crates to get at the chemicals inside is noisy. If the hunters win an evacuation round here energy-dense bohrium is used to supercharge the Hunter’s jetpacks. If the hunters win an evacuation round here destroying the foundry engulfs the Monster in bohrium gas, making its melee attacks even more powerful.

The Broken Hill Mine and Broken Hill Foundry maps will be available for free, and are coming first to Xbox One on March 31st, followed by PC and PlayStation 4 on April 30th.

Winning at Titanfall

When Microsoft decided to shake itself free of Xbox Studios it couldn’t have chosen a better game to return to the market to announce its seriousness with then Titanfall. It is bundled with all new purchases of the Xbox One and the dedicated controller system and upgrade advances make this an ideal home entertainment game. Titanfall is also available on many of the other game platforms and doesn’t suffer in the least for the transition. The battles are furious and the complexity of building, maintaining and customizing your Titan will keep you deeply involved.

The first thing you do, after you have completed the tutorial level, is to begin building up your Titan. There are several ways that you can do this, the slow and sure way is to just show up and play to gain points and money. You can also purchase premium upgrades. That can really help out if you are planning to leap into tournament or league play.  You can begin buying and trading to outfit your Titan to increase your skill and power levels immediately. You can also engage in a variety of different combat forms, each of which can either wipe out your character – or get you faster gains if you succeed.

Tournament Play

Tournament play is hugely popular. It is a moderated combat lane with a set of criteria for declaring winners of the tournament. You can enter as pairs, teams or an individual. The tournaments are staged throughout the real time year to allow you to build up your Titans to stand a better chance of advancing. You can always set your stats to pull your Titan out so you can preserve your gains too.

League Play

League play is structured much like the fantasy sport games. You can bid on players and build your team and then compete against others through points and scores to declare an overall winner. If a league doesn’t fill, the players are given an opportunity to roll over into another league. You can also host multiple Titans in different league competitions.

Independent Challenges

The most popular of all the combat forms remains the individual challenge. This can occur in one of two ways. Either you can roam your lanes and engage in battle against AI or other players, or you can schedule challenge matches against another player. These independent challenges do not have to be played to the death so you can preserve your main Titan and return to fight another day.

Even if you have played Titanfall for a while it is important not to forget to check the updates and blogs to find out about releases, patches and changes. Some of the mapping systems work to reveal hidden levels or have multiple levels of solution. You may need to build yourself up enough to go back down several maps to solve it again, but in a different way, to get even more out of the world.

Bow & Arrow

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I’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft on PvP servers, especially using the Archer kit which features the bow and arrow. I’m getting pretty good at aiming with it, but I can’t seem to hit anyone farther than 20 blocks away. I also played Hunger Games and pulled a Katniss on a guy sitting at the top of a tower, and the arrow actually turned around due to gravity, hit him in the head, causing him to fall off and die.

They were one of the earliest weapons and was used durng the Stone Age for both hunting and warfare. All bows work on the same basic principle: the power comes from drawing the tightly strung cord and bending the bow. When this energy is released, the arrow is shot a considerable distance.

The self bow is madeof a single lenght of tough, springy wood (such as yew). An example is the medieval longbow. The English longbow with its long arrow could sohot faster and pierce armor better than the complicated crossbows which shot metal bolts, or “quarrels”. The longbows usd by the English and Welsh at the battles of Crecy and Agincourt were as tall as a man and shot an arrow 1 meter (3 feet) long. The longbow’s range was about 270 meters (300 yards). In Asia the composite bow was preferred. This was made of strips of wood, horn, and sinew bound together, and could be fired easily from horseback because it was shorter than the longbow.

The crossbow was a more complicated weapon. It was wound up with a handle, and shot stubby metal arrows called bolts, or quarrels. An ancient kind of giant crossbow was the Roman catapult.

Craftsmen who made bows were called “bowyers”; those who made arrows “fletchers”. Bows and arrows were not much used in war after the 1600s, but are still made and used in the sport of archery.

Labyrinthes and Mazes

In the stories told by the ancient Greeks, the labyrinth was a large tunnel built by Daedalus, a great inventor, in ancient Crete. It was built for the Minotaur, a fierce and cruel monster with a bull’s head and a human body, whose favorite food was young men and girls. The labyrinth was a long path with so many twists and turns that no one who entered it could ever find his way out again.

The Greek hero Theseus was sent to Crete to kill the Minotaur. He persuaded Ariadne, the daughter of the king of Crete, to give him a long thread. He tied one end to the entrance of the labyrinth and then entered and killed the Minotaur. He was able to find his way out by following the thread.

Any passageway that is full of twists and turns is still called a labyrinth. Many still use the word “maze” and “labyrinth” interchangeably, but the biggest difference is that mazes are designed to be difficult to navigate through, like in Maze Runner. In Pan’s Labyrinth, all the main character had to do was follow a one way path until she reached the destination.

Mazes have many paths that branch off, which may not necessarily lead back to the center. In the Scary Maze Game series, there is a single path that leads to the end. Technically it’s a scary labyrinth game, but I do agree it’s easier to just call it a maze game instead. No one seems to know what labyrinths actually are, and just assumes everything that resembles a labyrinth is a maze.