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What S Up With Xbox 360

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 570)
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A Guide of What's Available for Microsoft's XBox 360 System

The XBox 360 System. The new Xbox 360 console ($399.99) brings Microsoft technology to the gaming industry like never before. This new toy sports new Internet connections to social communities and puts the gamer in ultimate control with goo-gobs of fun accessories.

This article describes some of those accessories and the games available that (almost) everyone can enjoy.

XBox 360 Accessories. For such a powerful system, it should be no surprise that this system takes full advantage of accessorizing. We can start by saving games on the $19.99 512MB memory unit or with the $29.99 64MB memory unit. To keep the power going, we can look at the $29.99 Quick Charge Kit or the smaller $19.99 Play & Charge Kit. On the go, you can carry and use the $11.99 Rechargeable Batter Pack while re-powering you controller with the $29.99 charge Station.

Increase connectivity with the $99.99 Wireless Network Adapter and keep your system "kewl" with the $19.99 Intercooler. But that's enough about maintenance. Let's look at the fun.

Get a $39.99 Wired controller or $49.99 Wireless Controller to play your games. Unless you want feel like getting behind the wheel. In that case, you can try on the $149.99 Wireless Racing Wheel for size.

Want a little multimedia action? Get a $199.99 HD-DVD player (don't forget the $19.99 remote) - a $39.99 Live Vision Camera or a $59.99 Wireless Headset (wired headset available for $19.99). Then jam your way onto the $89.99 Guitar Hero II.

Of course if you want to get down with your PC, check out Xbox's $19.99 Wireless Gaming Receiver and user your Xbox 360 controller on the computer!

XBox 360 Games. Looking for games? We've separated this part of our guide into two sections: one for children and one for adults. Use caution when purchasing XBox 360 games for players under 18 years of age.

FOR CHILDREN:

Xbox's UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 $59.99

Xbox's Viva Pinata $29.99

Xbox's Fuzion Frenzy 2 $29.99

Meet the Robinsons $49.99 (by Disney Interactive Studios)

Xbox's Star Trek Legacy $39.99

Konami's Dance Dance Revolution Universe $49.99

COMING SOON:

Forza MotorSport 2

FOR ADULTS:

Xbox's Halo 2 $29.99 (rated 10 by GameInformer)

Xbox's Gears of War $59.99 (rated 9.5 by GameInformer)

Xbox's Crackdown $59.99 (rated 8.5 by GameInformer)

Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition $59.99

Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion $59.99

Xbox's Rainbow Six: Vegas $59.99 (rated 9.5 by GameInformer)

D3 Publishers' Earth Defense Force 2017 $39.99

Activision's Cabela's African Safari $29.99

Activision's Marvel: Ultimate Alliance $59.99 (rated 9.25 by GameInformer)

Activision's History Channel: Civil War $39.99

Ubisoft's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 $59.99 (rated 8.75 by GameInformer)

Sega's Armored Core 4 $59.99

NOTE: A lot of Xbox 360 games exhibit the RP warning. Please remember to follow the guidelines set by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) when buying games for children under the age of 18. Here's a handy reference to what the ratings mean:

C = Appropriate for Early childhood

E = Appropriate for Everyone

E 10+ = Appropriate for Everyone aged 10 and older

T = Appropriate for Teens

M = Appropriate for Mature Adults

RP = Rating Pending (NOT appropriate for children)

The following games sport ESRB's RP rating:

Mass Effect

Shadowrun

Blue Dragon

Tenchu Z

The Drakness

Bioshock

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Hour of Victory

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This Game Sucks

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 584)
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A Guide To Giving New Games a Chance

It's hard to get into a new groove once we've settled into a favorite pattern of doing something and that includes playing new games or trying a new game system. It's important to remember however that just because you're not used to the way a new game plays or the way that a new system runs - it doesn't mean that there's something wrong with it. The following offers some advice on how to get over the hurdle of giving new games a chance.

1. Accept the errors of your ways. Nothing is perfect and that includes video games, the system that it plays on, and dare we say - even you! While trying a new game, you're bound to trip all over the place and make even some of the most goofiest mistakes that anyone could ever make. Try to remember that flaws are inevitable and the even the master of all masters (that's you) can blunder your way through a new game. Mistakes don't make you a terrible player. On the other hand, they don't make the game stupid or dumb. In fact, it's quite the opposite. If you find yourself making mistakes during a new game, it's time that to slow down and give this game a second and more serious look. If something in the game tripped you up - you, the master of all masters - then the game couldn't be as bad as you first thought.

2. Play a new game when you're "in the mood". What a fast-paced world we live in! So fast, that we mistakenly expect to understand a game within the first 5 minutes of putting into the console! Then when we're not sure of what to do, the game becomes confusing, or just dumb. Never try a new game when you're not in the mood to or when you're in a rush. New games require patience and a thorough read of its manual.

3. See the positive. There's something good about every video game - even the more violent ones (although we're not prepared to defend violent video games). While checking out a new game, think about what you like about the game as opposed to what you can't quite figure out what to do yet. A positive attitude will carry on to other aspects of the game and before you know it, you'll be encouraged to carry on with it and make some real progress.

4. Don't be such a know it all. In other words, don't be blinded by your own conceit or skills in a particular genre of games that you close yourself off to new ways of accomplishing tasks. The biggest room is the room for improvement and your room is no exception. Understand that the game you're playing may have something new to teach you about gaming as a whole. Then revel in it.

5. Continue to play. It's highly doubtful that anyone will like a new game in one day. Keep playing a new game until you're absolutely sure that you don't ever want to see it in your console again.

6. Play by yourself. It's quite possible that if you play a new game with a friend, you'll be vulnerable to accepting your friend's feelings about the game as your own. Play a new game by yourself so that you can interpret your own feelings about the game and not anyone else's.

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Getting New Ideas For Video Games Part 2

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 581)
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A Springboard for Video Game Developers

Creating video games is an art, no doubt. The problem is that it isn't easy to come up with ideas for video games. And even when we do get an idea, it doesn't seem as fresh or exciting as we want it to be. The following offers a few ways you can generate some creative ideas to keep your video game as fun to play from beginning to end.

7. Play the video game before it has begun development. That sounds crazy, but it can be done and it's an excellent way to get the plot down. To make this work, relax yourself and visually imagine that you're playing the game from start to finish. Let your mind suggest scenes, characters, plots, and strategies. Write down the game as its being played before your mind, and then repeat for each twist that you'd like to see implemented in the actual game.

8. Throw the plot into the mixer. There could probably be nothing more challenging in a video game than plot twists. As long as it's not too confusing to the point where players complain and quit playing, rearranging its plot could lend to some fun mind-bending twists that no one would ever predict. Try putting the game's beginning in the middle, or introduce all the subplots in the beginning of the game and have it all start to make sense toward the end (Think, "Pulp Fiction").

9. Look at the game with someone else's eyes. You may already know how you want your game to play, but so may everyone else. To inject some real creativity into your video game, design it as if it were presented from the eyes of a child, a lizard, or an inanimate object like a television. This exercise will not only keep the game intriguing for it's players, it will also keep its development challenging and interesting for you! Don't be surprised if your newfound view changes the game throughout its development. A new perspective has an interesting habit of creating new purposes and new solutions.

10. Challenge the rules. Try to remember that most advances in anything (not just video games) came about from challenging the rules. To make this work, think of the rules imposed on video game developers in the past and just break them! Do the opposite. Where they say you can't or you shouldn't - go on and do it. As long as your rule-breaking spree causes no harm and doesn't jeopardize the integrity of the game, try it!

11. Don't call your project a video game. Sometimes when you change the name of something, you start to view it differently. This is because different words move a line of thought into a different direction - a different direction that sparks new ideas.

12. Combine ideas. We're often told to ditch the first, second, or even third idea that we come up with for a project in favor for a much stronger idea. But instead of ditching these ideas, why not combined them into one. Combining ideas is one of the easiest ways to come up with new ideas and you can do the with your game. You could combine life forms, scenery, and all kinds of things. The end result would be nothing short of amazing and all the while, your players will wonder, "How did they come up with this stuff?!"

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Playing Old Games On A New Computer

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 639)
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It's a Hoot!

Admit it - you still crave a good game of scrolling Super Mario or Dig Dug just like you did "back in the day." We all do because playing them brings back some of the fondest memories. But it isn't easy to play these games the way we used to. Unless we've kept the systems and cartridges of the past in good working condition, our only trip down this jagged pixel lane is through a little known gem called emulation.

Through emulation, you can play some of your favorite games from the past including games made for Commodore, Atari, and Nintendo. Emulation refers to the ability of a program or device to imitate another program or device and it tricks the software into believing that a device is really some other device. It is also possible for a computer to emulate another type of computer. For example, there are programs that enable an Apple Macintosh to emulate a PC. 1

All that gobbledy gook doesn't really mean too much until you discover that with the right emulator, your computer can play all your old favorite games. And the news gets even better. You can download emulators from the Internet - free. You can download Amiga, Commodore, GameBoy, Playstation 1, and Nintendo emulators plus you can download the games (ROMs) that these machines play.

Our favorite emulator is the ZSNES Emulator. This particular program emulates the old Super Nintendo console and you can learn more about it yourself by visiting http://www.zsnes.com. This program comes with an extensive help file and walks you through the process of setting up a copy on your own PC. At the very least, your system needs a 486/100 processor, 14.5MB of RAM, a VGA card, and a Sound Blaster or 100% compatible sound card. However a system with a fast P200 or higher Pentium processor, 32MB of RAM, VGA card, and Sound Blaster 16 or 100% compatible sound card yields the most realistic results.

But don't think that just because a console is on the computer - you can't enjoy your favorite gaming accessories. The ZSNES Emulator let's users maneuver around games with the keyboard and a joystick. But enough about the emulator - You probably want to know what kind of games you can play, right?

Called ROMs, you can play any game on your PC that you played on the Super Nintendo System including:

* Bomberman 5

* Super Battleship

* Beavis n' Butthead

* Bustamove

* Clue

* Dragonballz

* DreamTV

* Final Fantasy 4

* Frogger

* The Great Waldo Search

* Inspector Gadget

* Jeopardy Deluxee

* John Madden Football

* Mariokart

* Marvel Superheroes

* Megamans Soccer

* Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

* Monopoly

* Mortal Kombat 2

* Pinocchio

* Power Rangers

* Race Driving

* Carmen San Diego

* SimAnt

* SimCity

* SimCity 2000

* Super Mario RPG

* Sonic

* Space Football

* Starfox

* Streetfighter 2

* Super Black Bass

* Super Ninja Boy

* Super Punch-Out!!

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

* Themepark

* Troddlers

* Utopia

* Vortex

* Wacky Race

* Wheel of Fortune

* Wings 2

* Wordtris

* World Soccer 94

* Yoshis Island

* Zelda 3

* ... and tons more.

Downloading these games is a simple matter of finding them online and there are plenty of websites that host them. Try http://www.everyvideogame.com for starters.

Be aware that there's an issue with downloading these games and it's a legal one. Basically, you're not allowed to download and play any game that you don't already own on a cartridge. If can abide by this law, you can revisit the past, in the present, on your brand new PC.

PPPPP

1 Source: Mecklermedia Corp.

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Keeping On Top Of Gaming News

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 610)
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The gaming industry is a huge industry that consumes as much news space as any other widely known enterprise. It's so large in fact, if you take a walk down the aisle of any store that sells magazines, you'll find at least two or three gaming magazines to select from - and this includes stores that you would least expect to find them in, like the Walgreens Drug Store for Pete's sake.

What's even better, is that regardless of what your skill level with games is, you can take advantage of this news coverage and use what you learn to improve you knowledge, your equipment, and your play. You can additionally find out about gaming events that you can attend or even participate in.

To start, take a trip to your local game shop. Game Crazy and Game Stop are two popular gaming stores that regularly carry related magazines (although you may discover that your local game shop carries only one). One of the things that you'll want to do while looking over these magazines is to compare prices of both games and game systems. The Gamer Informer magazine shows no preference, and provides a one to two inch thick critique of the newest stuff out there. Inside this resource, you'll find commentary on the Wii, EA games, the PS3, the Xbox 360, PC games, the PS2, the PSP and the DS system.

As a no holes barred manual to what's hot and what's not, gaming magazines show you how news in the mainstream media affects game production and how it can affect not only your purchase decisions, but the type of games you play as well. It isn't uncommon for a game to experience a rise in sales just from being mentioned in the 5:00 news hour.

You could learn what's happening with new and competitive gaming businesses before investing in their products, however if you dig a little deeper, you can even find out what's influencing the market that you're a part of.

Here's an example of what we mean:

"Today, professional gaming took a giant leap forward. DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading digital service provider and key partners are taking the professional gaming industry to the next level with the creation of a new video gaming professional sports league that will be the standard for the industry and redefine the consumer gaming experience."1

You can also discover what influence the news has on gaming within an international level:

"The British Academy of Film and Television Arts today announced that its 2007 British Academy Video Games Awards will be held on the evening of Tuesday 23 October at Battersea Evolution in London."2

Interested in console specific information? How about Nintendo:

"Nintendo plans to boost Wii production (AP via Yahoo! News) Nintendo's president acknowledged Friday that the shortage of the hit Wii game machine was "abnormal," and promised production was being boosted to increase deliveries by next month."3

Of course, there's always the chance that you'll find out things you're weren't exactly supposed to find in the first place:

"Halo 3 gameplay leaked online (The Inquirer) A VIDEO HAS has appeared online showing seven minutes of fresh, crisp Halo 3 gameplay."4

From these few, small examples, you've learned about the creation of a new video gaming professional sports league, the Academy Video Games Awards, a boost in Wii production, and the leak of a "certain" video from a "certain" game. Just imagine what you'd find out with a monthly subscription to GamePro (www.gamepro.com), Computer Games Magazine (www.cgonline.com), or GameSlice (www.gameslice.com)!

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Word count 596

1 Source: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070426/20070426005950.html?.v=1

2 Source: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/content_page.php?aid=24562

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Dealing With Teen Video Game Obsession

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 560)
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Games can be addictive - But obsession is something else.

The following article is meant for parents of a teen who might be obsessed with video and/or computer games. While in some of our other articles we may sound as though we encourage obsession, we share a concern over teens who tend to shun other interests in life in favor for gaming activities to the point where they withdraw from society. We would never encourage this kind of behavior, and that's why we've taken time to describe some of the signs of game obsession and offer some advice on how to deal with it.

Recognizing the signs of teen game obsession isn't as easy as one thinks. It always starts off as first, an interest, and it then starts to grow into an addition. The problem with identifying the beginning stages of game obsession begins with the teen. By the time our children are 15 and up, they've learned some rather impressive debating skills. So when we question their motivations for repetitive game play, they may rebut our concerns with logic and even make it a point to question our own flaws as parents.

Since no parent ever really wants to admit a flaw, we can sometimes cave in and convince ourselves that maybe 4 hours in front of a video game isn't that bad. After all, we spend that much time at the computer, on the phone, or transmitting data back and forth between our Palms, Blackberries, and Cingular cell phones.

Be careful not to fall prey to the logical teen. Video games can be addictive and if the time spent playing them is not carefully monitored, they'll consume everything that a teen used to care about.

The moment you notice your teen's grades falling, homework missing, or social life starting to drop off, nip that game time in the bud. If you wait too late to restrict game time, you may experience pre-adult temper tantrums that you aren't prepared to handle correctly (cursing, breaking things, stealing, running away from home, etc.). At this point, the child is obsessed and will do anything to get his or her hands on a game controller.

Another sign of obsession is a behavioral change. A child obsessed with gaming will lose patience with things and with others, be quick to anger, and react to situations without fully thinking of the consequences. If you've paid any attention to video and/or computer games, you'll notice that they require this kind of behavior to win or to advance to a higher level.

It's unfortunate, but a teen obsessed with this kind of violent gaming is literally being trained to react in the manner described above. That's why it's pertinent that as an adult, you restrict access to this kind of entertainment and replace it with activities that slow thinking (such as art, music, theater, etc.) and expose your child to other non-violent pleasures (swimming, dance, skating, etc.).

There are a lot of debates circulating around about the impact that video games have on today's youth and some of it might warrant paying closer attention to. As a mother or father of a teen, you will do well with your teen's desire to "get his game on" by keeping a close eye out for undesirable changes.

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Playing Nice

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 573)
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A Few Suggestions for Gaming Etiquette

No, it isn't Ms. Manners to the rescue, nor is it Polite Polly knocking at your noggin. We just know how easy it is to get frustrated or even angry while playing a difficult game, but if we're not careful, that anger and frustration could lead to some butt-ugly moments during a time that's supposed to be amusing. The following is offered in an effort to keep everything fun and entertaining during a session of group play.

1. Encourage each other. Even if you're competing with each other in a boxing match or car race, take time out to congratulate another player for making a smooth or cunning move. There's no need to be a kiss-up, but when tensions are high, and the desire to impress is high, you can help relax any stress just by throwing out a few compliments here and there.

2. Be patient. Your gaming comrades may not be as fast, as coordinated, or as smart as you. So when you notice your regular game pace slowing down, don't criticize. You could quietly plan your next move or you could offer to help if you notice that your buddies seem lost. This will encourage cooperation and relive some of the stress involved with playing a difficult game.

3. Take some breaks. Permitting that your group finds appropriate places in a game to pause, take advantage and get up to stretch, snack, use the john, talk about school, or catch a few silly commercials on television. A long stretch of game play is tiring and stressful at the same time.

4. Play an inclusive game. By that we mean to make efforts to ensure everyone in the group contributes to the game's completion. You never want to make another person feel left out or just hanging around to fill the space. Create opportunities for everyone involved to participate and help play.

5. Listen to others. You may think that you know all the answers about a game or game system, but listen to what others in the group have to say. You just might learn something new.

6. Invite the "weird guy." This bit of advice of course comes after the horrid Virginia Tech massacre. Tales circulating this news event indicate that the young man responsible was a loner and the victim of bullying during his teenage years as well. Sometimes, all it takes to prevent things like this is a simple effort to reach out to someone. We're not suggesting that an invitation to a gaming party would have saved the lives of 33+ college students, but we are suggesting that making an effort to make others feel welcome and wanted is a huge step towards eliminating the isolation known to cause these kinds of senseless acts.

7. Vow to keep the voice level and cursing to a minimum. That almost goes without saying, but to prevent arguments, agree beforehand to not cross the line when it comes to debating about a particular strategy or selecting a game to play. Some of the most serious fights stem from the silliest arguments. But you can prevent a flare up within your group just by maintaining a cool composure during the entire session.

Now see? That's not too bad a list. All the things that we suggested are certainly "do-able" and they really do work to create a calm and enjoyable environment.

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A Video Game Environment Of Your Own

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 627)
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Keep out Ma'

Have you ever fantasized about building a video game environment of your own? A place where you and your friends could spend hours and hours playing your favorite games without interruption? Or how about a place that really shows off your game fetish? It's really pretty simple to create such a place and you don't need to rent out a video game hall to do it. This article will introduce a few ideas you can use to build the ultimate gaming center.

The first thing that you want to do is maintain a happy household if you're family member. Trying to play a mean game of Super Mario Tetris or Halo 2 can be impossible with kids running around the house and screaming bloody murder. You won't be able to enjoy the latest role-playing game when the wife's nagging you about bills or undone chores too. Keep a happy home, keep a happy marriage, and your time spent playing video games is heaven away from heaven.

It's no secret that some games require as much concentration and focus as when studying for a calculus exam - and there's nothing more frustrating than when you can't figure out how to get through to "the next level" of a game. This is no time to be distracted and if home life isn't what it could be, you'll never be able to concentrate on your game. Strive to make home a place to unwind first - then work on enjoying your games.

You can next dedicate a place in your home as your exclusive game room. This will not only emphasis the importance that gaming is to you (and to your family members), it will also become conducive to the mentality that you need to play a fun and relaxing (albeit, serious game). Budget permitting, decorate the room with all the amenities that you want. You could add a recliner (or two for your friends), a small stand to hold snacks, a bookcase for your games, and you could even add a small refrigerator and microwave (just in case). Your intent here is to declare the space as yours and that it serves only one purpose: pure gaming pleasure.

What you're after is a place that's completely and totally pleasing to you, both aesthetically and functionally so that you'll enjoy your time there.

With your own space dedicated to gaming, you'll want to do what's necessary to maintain it and keep it in a condition that's inviting not only for yourself, but for others as well. Keep your equipment and games clean. Take care to keep wires from tangling and organize your magazine subscriptions, books, or Internet cheatsheet printouts. Maintenance is a task that doesn't have to burden you as long as you make a daily routine of it. The advantages of keeping a regular maintenance schedule shows that this space is important to you and that you have a right to keep it that way.

But take special care not to alienate yourself from the rest of your family. We all can have a favorite hobby and we can even dedicate a special area of the home to that hobby. However it's extremely important to regard this place as a haven - not a hide out. It's not an area to hide from the kids, it's not a place to shun home responsibilities, and it's not a place to live. If this special space is approached in the latter manner, you'll soon discover it as a place of resentment, uncontrollable habit, or even depression. Be careful, schedule time with the family, and enter your playroom at appropriate times. Cooperation from others will then come naturally.

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Getting New Ideas For Video Games Part 4

(category: Computer-Games-Systems, Word count: 581)
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A Springboard for Video Game Developers

Creating video games is an art, no doubt. The problem is that it isn't easy to come up with ideas for video games. And even when we do get an idea, it doesn't seem as fresh or exciting as we want it to be. The following offers a few ways you can generate some creative ideas to keep your video game as fun to play from beginning to end.

18. Don't finish developing the game. Wouldn't that be a hoot! Instead of developing a video game that has a beginning and an end, design a game that continuously loops with challenges (levels) that increase with difficulty on every round. Winning a game like this would be a matter of racking up points and to satisfy game play, you could have the game post the name of the player with the highest points to a community website. (Hey, it's a thought!)

19. Exaggerate, Exaggerate, Exaggerate. One way to generate ideas for a video game is to exaggerate the characters, scenes, plots, and strategies that you already have down. This is how 'nice" turns into 'cool' and how 'cool' turns into 'awesome.' The trick is to know when you're crossing the line and going from "possible" to "impossible." You always want to keep a sense of possible reality in a game, however on the same token, you don't want to make the game so possible that it's predictable. There's a delicate balance and as a game developer who wants to stand out from the crowd, you've got to know how far you can stretch this balance without being offensive, silly, or stupid.

The basic point that we want to stress throughout this guide is that your game development doesn't have to follow the status quo. If you stick to what's been done before or what's been played before, you'll find that your games will collect dust on the shelves and that all your time and efforts will have been for naught.

Break established customs or doctrines and you'll get noticed. Get noticed and you'll gain a reputation for developing the most outstanding games around. Being able to get good ideas for your video games ideas is a gift - especially since good ideas can be hard to come by. But stop and think about what you have so far. Is it the best? Could it be better? Would a different approach help you obtain the fame that you crave?

Take a look at each strategy we've introduced in this article and see if you can't implement just one or two of them. Implementing ALL of them would certainly be a challenge, but so would the end result: your game.

Today's gamer craves the unknown, he craves something new, different, and original. If you're suffering from the "blank page syndrome," just pull up our article and consider each strategy as the answer. Expand your current ideas to the point where they excite even you - the developer.

And always remember that your video game is an extension of you. It deals with self-expression, creativity and communication. Don't underestimate yourself or your capabilities to do the unthinkable. And whatever you do - don't underestimate your players. The advantages of following our suggestions far outweigh any doubts you may have because once you step out of the realm of expectations, you make a wonderful contribution to the world.

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