Civilization VI – How Will They Improve on the Previous Version?

Civilization V was released in 2010 and went on to be a big success story. The franchise has sold over 33 million units over the years with Civilization V being the best-selling version having sold around 8 million units sold worldwide.

And the gamer reviews for Civilization V were pretty good too. G5 gave it 5 out of 5. PC Gamer gave it 98 out of 100, and Game Informer 9.75 out of 10. And Civilization V took the ‘Best Strategy Game’ award at the 2011 BAFTA Games Awards.

That’s not to say there weren’t a few gripes with Civilization V though. One major quibble was the quality of the AI game opponents and their lack of smarts when conducting negotiations and diplomacy.

So how have Firaxis Games tried to improve on the success of Civilization V?

The latest version, Civilization VI, is due for release on October 21 2016. The same team that developed Civilization V have also worked on its successor. And it’s already been named ‘Best PC Game’ and ‘Best Strategy Game’ at the Game Critics Awards.

So what’s new? Well, the developers have suggested in various interviews that research found many gamers had come to find playing Civilization V one-dimensional.

The big aim with Civilization VI has been to create a game that makes gamers think on their feet a lot more. A more reactive experience is what the developers have tried to achieve.

And with that in mind they’ve made some big new changes for Civilization VI. For a start city development has been overhauled. Now when you’ve built a city centre you have to specialize the function of that city. It can become a specialist military, industry or science city, say – but it can’t contain elements of everything.

And that means terrain is much more important than in previous games. You have to think through and match up the function of your city with the landscape around it now for the best results. If you’re building an industrial city you’re going to need natural resources, for example.

That will impact on how you have to think about strategy too. There will cities that you’ll need to identify as being vitally important to your opponents’ infrastructure that you can attack, and cities that you’ll need to place extra emphasis on defending yourself.

The AI opponents have been upgraded too. So the historical figures like Gandhi and Teddy Roosevelt that you’re playing against will be more intelligent and cunning. Each has their own particular personality for you to read and monitor, but also hidden agendas that you’ll have to work hard to decipher.

And unlike in previous Civilization games there are much greater rewards to be had for developing the culture of your empire. In past versions of the game you will have found it much harder to succeed with an emphasis on cultural development compared to, say, science or your military. So for the first time developing drama, philosophy and poetry could be your route to victory.

How to Get Better at Stacraft 2

The best way to improve at Starcraft 2 is to play a lot. It sounds silly, but it’s simply true. When I started playing, I was originally placed in gold league and stayed there for a full three months. Then, slowly but surely, I rose up until I was in the top 50 Grandmasters in America.

Obviously, not everyone can become a Grandmaster (it requires, amongst other things, exceptional reflexes, reaction time and coordination), but I firmly believe that, with practice, everyone can become a master at Starcraft 2.

The first thing to work on is understand the game mechanics, namely: armor vs non-armored, range, attack speed, damage reduction, hidden bonuses, splash damage, etc. For instance, one thing that makes the Terran siege tanks so powerful is the fact that they might hit not just one unit, but up to 8. Obviously, the 70 damage they can quickly become 300-400, making them one of the highest-damage units in the game.

Every unit has its particularities and becoming intrinsically familiar with them will greatly improve your play. Any Protoss player, for instance, knows how to individually blink their stalkers to save them as they are about to die. Likewise, a Zerg player knows not to group their mutalisks during a raid if the enemy has air splash damage, such as a Thor.

The second thing to improve on is your knowledge of group battles. Almost all Starcraft 2 games are decided by one large confrontation, where the loser will be left on the defensive, rolling back, while the victor will keep pushing and destroying the economy and production capacities of the loser. It is better, in my opinion, to retreat from a battle that is clearly lost rather than lose every single one of your units in a lost defense. There are such things in Starcraft 2 as pyrrhic victory, where you somehow manage to hold a magnificent defense, but lose so much time and resources in the process that your other bases are left defenseless.

Another key trick to improve at Starcraft 2 is to utterly master the art of macroing, i.e. producing units, mining bases and, most of all, expanding. If you watch professional games, you’ll notice all of them expand very quickly, sometimes dangerously fast. While risky, an early expansion can bring him double the amount of minerals and gas you’d grab on one base, giving you a decisive advantage in the mid-game.

Lastly, take the time required to define and improve your style, whether it is micro-aggression, economy or turtling. Learning which race suits your best will also help you develop as a Starcraft 2 player and slowly grind up until you reach master. In my mind, with one or two hours per day, any player can become a master within 6 months if he practices correctly.

4 Steps to Get Started in Hearthstone

So, you’ve decided to get into Hearthstone. Maybe you’re a World of Warcraft fan who wants to experience the card game based on the series, perhaps you are a card game fan who wants to try something new, or maybe you just came across this article and I’ve enticed you to play. Regardless, welcome to the club.

There are several things that you will need to do as you get started. If you go through the following list, you’ll learn the first actions to take as you begin your Hearthstone adventure. With that in mind, let’s learn:

4 Steps to Get Started in Hearthstone

1. Complete the Tutorial: Assuming you’ve already created an account at battle.net and logged into the Hearthstone game, your first move is to fire up Hearthstone and complete the tutorial. You’ll play five simplified games as a mage, during which you’ll learn the basics of the game, like how to play the cards, monitor your mana, and see what minions on the board. If all that sounds tricky, don’t worry, the tutorial makes it nice, simple, and pretty entertaining to boot.

2. Unlock the Other Classes: When the tutorial is over, you’ll be in the game itself, but can only play as the mage. If you want to play as any other classes, you’ll need to unlock them first, which should be your first step regardless. The easiest way to do that is through the Practice mode. Just click Solo Adventures, then Practice, and then Normal, and you’ll be able to select your deck and which opponent you want to fight. Complete a battle against each class to unlock them, and when you’re done with all the battles (including one against another mage), and you’ll be able to play as any class, plus get the Ready to Go! Achievement and 100 gold for your trouble.

At this point, you’ll unlock several new modes of play, including the Arena and Adventures. We’re going to hold off on those for a while; they cost gold/money to get into, and you need more experience with the game before you hope to do well. First, you should rank up your heroes to (at least) level 10, by:

3. Beat the Expert Level AI Opponents: With all of the heroes unlocked, you can try to take on the Expert level opponents. They are, as you can guess, much harder, but yield more experience to your novice heroes (when they aren’t below level 10; you’ll need to switch to a new hero at that point when facing AI opponents to gain more experience). You can (and should) create custom decks for these battles; while the basic decks can hold their own against Normal opponents, you’ll need to improve your holdings when facing harder opponents. When you defeat all the Expert level opponents, you’ll complete the Crushed Them All quest and net yourself another 100 gold.

4. Fight Human Opponents in Play Mode: By this point, you should have all the basics of the game down, so it’s time to try your hand against some human foes. Go into the Play section and you can select Casual or Ranked to choose your preferred style of play. In Ranked, each victory will get you a star and improve your ranking, while each loss (when you are at rank 20 or above) will cause you to lose a star. Casual doesn’t, although don’t let that fool you; the players can be just as rough, especially once you get over rank 20.

A good approach for new players to take is to play Ranked until you are at Rank 20 (since you can’t lose any ranks until that point), then switch over to Casual mode; you’ll get plenty of practice, plus, getting to level 20 gives you a new card back each month. You’ll achieve the First Blood quest (and a pack of cards) for your first battle against another human, and The Duelist quest (and 100 gold) for winning three victories against real people.

Play each of your characters until they get to level 10 and you have all the basic cards in the game. The first character you get to level 10 will net you the Level Up achievement and a pack of cards, while getting them all to level 10 will achieve the Got the Basics! achievement (since you have all the Basic cards that you earn by leveling up) and 100 gold. You’ll also get 10 gold for every three victories you get in either Ranked or Casual mode, which can add up pretty well.

At this point, you should have a fair amount of gold, a few card packs, and a decent understanding of how the game works. Where to go from here will depend greatly on what you hope to accomplish in this game, but hopefully, this has helped you to get the ball rolling on your smashing Hearthstone adventure!

The Top 5 Reasons We Love Retro Gaming

#5. Games Were Simpler Back In The Day

Video games have unquestionably become more ambitious and impressive in recent years. When you look at the likes of The Last Of Us, it’s impossible to overstate just how far video games have come since people were playing Pong forty-odd years ago. But for all the innovations within the medium, and for all the new fangled ideas and increasingly elaborate control schemes, there’s something to be said for how much more straight forward things were in the games we played as kids.

Gaming today can be difficult for people without the muscle memory that comes from years of dedicated gaming. Give your mum or dad a PS4 controller and if they’re anything like mine they’ll spend half the time playing the game looking down, attempting in vain to remember where all the buttons are. Use the left analog stick to walk, hold X to jog, or tap X to sprint. L2 is aim and R2 is shoot, but R1 becomes shoot if you’re driving because in a car R2 is the accelerator. R3 (that’s when you click in the right analog stick) let’s you look behind you, and to open the menu you need to hold down the touch pad. And that’s just part of the control scheme for Grand Theft Auto 5, one of the best selling games of all time.

Even for seasoned veterans the increasing complexity of games can become a turn off. Super Mario World is still as intuitive as it was back in 1990 because the inherently simple design and pick up and play nature of the game made it timeless. You can give a kid who’s never played a Mario game the controller and within seconds they’ll have worked out how to play. This simplicity is an attractive concept, which is almost certainly part of the reason that retro games like Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge are so popular today. The simpler a game is to play, the more inclusive and immediate the fun. Retro gaming has that in spades, and that’s the reason I’m still playing Super Mario World twenty-six years after release.

#4. Retro Games Have Better Music

As gaming production values have increased over the years, we’ve seen the medium change in many ways. We made the jump to 3D, we now have voice acting, and elaborate cut-scenes tell complicated stories that rival those seen in television or on the big screen. Games today feature fully orchestrated scores or soundtracks featuring popular music that are every bit as impressive as what we’d see in other mediums, but it feels like we’ve lost something along the way, too.

I can still hum the theme music to Treasure Island Dizzy on the Commodore 64. I was playing that game nearly thirty years ago and I haven’t played it since then (and I’ve still never beaten it, damn it) but I can still remember the theme music that plays in the background in its entirety. I played games last week and I couldn’t even tell you if they had music at all.

Because of the simplicity of early games, and without voice acting to tell a story, the music had to be good. Other than a few crummy sound effects, the music of the game was the only aural stimulation that the games provided. There are still great game soundtracks today, but they seem few and far between when compared to the games of my youth. Mega Man, Castlevania, the early Final Fantasy games, and iconic titles like Zelda, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog – these all featured highly memorable tunes that stick with us long after the last time we played them. I still remember how the music for Commodore 64 classic Prince Clumsy changes when you save the princess at the end of the game like I was playing it yesterday. We can’t really say that about Shadow of Mordor, can we?

#3. Games Used to Work Right Out of the Box

One thing that games from yesteryear unquestionably did better than the games of today is that they, well, worked. You’d think that it should be a pretty fundamental aspect of any product released to the market, but it’s truly staggering how many games in 2016 ship broken, requiring either days or weeks of server tweaks to get the multiplayer working, or enormous day one patches to fix all of the bugs that made it onto the disc. Today, if you don’t have a decent Internet connection in your home, some games are genuinely unplayable, and many others severely hampered.

Street Fighter V released earlier this year, with Capcom promising that the single player Arcade Mode, a staple of the series, would be available to download in July. What if you don’t have an Internet connection? Well, then you’ve got half a game. That’s not a problem we faced when Street Fighter II released on the SNES in 1991. Back then, we had no Internet acting as a safety net for developers. Games had to work right out of the box.

Going back and playing Global Gladiators today is as simple as popping the cartridge into your Genesis and turning on the power. It works now as it did then; exactly as it should, and without any fuss. This is one of the many great things about retro gaming; if you’ve got the game and the hardware you’re pretty much good to go. You don’t need to download drivers, or updates, or patches. You put in the game, and then you play. Just like you should.

#2. Games Used to Be More of a Challenge

Today, anybody who keeps up to date with the latest trends in gaming will likely know of Dark Souls and Bloodborne, and the reputation these games have for punishing difficulty. Gamers flocked to the Souls series in droves, excited to play a title that challenged them and refused to hold their hands. There’s no extended tutorial sections. There’s little in the way of help. You can’t pause. And every enemy can make mincemeat out of you unless you learn their attack patterns and act accordingly. It’s exciting for a game to provide us with an uphill struggle like this, but then, I’m old enough to remember a time when every game was like this. And worse.

Modern games have a tendency to spell things out to the player, often to an almost insulting degree. Popping a disc into a PS4 in 2016 means waiting for the install, then the day one patch, and then when you finally get a controller in your hand you spend the next two hours being walked through the early stages of the game like a kid on his first day of school. Everybody likes a bit of help now and again, but there’s something to be said for just being thrown in at the deep end and being told to sink or swim.

#1. Nostalgia

Nostalgia might seem like a cop out answer; after all, looking back on the past with rose tinted spectacles is often what fans of anything retro are criticized with. It’s easy to dismiss nostalgia as a way of justifying the opinion that everything was just much better in your day, but the truth is that nostalgia is an immensely powerful agent and it shouldn’t be ignored.

Today, we watch rubbish movies and bemoan the use of obvious CGI, but we’ll happily sit through Raiders of the Lost Ark and not bother mentioning that the melting Nazi at the end looks like he’s made out of plasticine. We listen to the appalling pop music of our youths with a reflective smile on our faces while turning our noses up at Justin Bieber’s latest video. And we’ll talk about Final Fantasy VII as though it were second coming of Christ, completely ignoring all of the flaws in the game that we’d hang a modern game out to dry for. Nostalgia is a strong enough influence to make us believe that Sonic the Hedgehog was actually ever good. Now, that’s serious.

The reason a lot of us like playing old games is simply because of the feeling we get playing them. I’ve played hundreds, if not thousands of games in my time as a gamer. And I’m smart enough to know that in that time video games have improved in almost every way. But that doesn’t change the fact that if I load up Street Fighter II I remember the days of playing it during the school summer holidays with all my friends. I remember the day I completed Toejam and Earl with my brother every time I hear the first few bars of its ridiculously funky theme music. And I remember the giddy thrills we got when we first got the fatalities working on Mortal Kombat II.

Playing old games, just as with watching old movies or listening to old albums, transports us to a time in the past that we like to remember. Whether it’s memories of old friends, loved ones, people we may see every day or might have lost touch with, every old game we load up is a window to the past and that’s special. The latest Call of Duty is never going to compete with that.

Enjoy Your Life With Latest Games

Online gaming is one of the remarkable inventions that is ever made by modern science. The total number of games that are being played across the globe is truly uncountable. This entertainment resource is one of most popular choices of entertainment among the children as well as teens. Not only an online game serves as a high-class entertainment, it is also a good medium to meet other online players from different places or countries. Most of latest games are made on the flash platform.

Online gaming is not only the source of enjoyment for the game enthusiasts all over globe, but is also growing to be one of the most lucrative businesses. The websites which provide plenty of latest games get gigantic amount of hits and therefore they become fabulous advertising tools for most marketing campaigns.

There are numerous types of latest games available on the Internet, such as shooting games, adventure, fighting, racing and many more. The shooting games are sub-genre of action frolic because shooters get the opportunity to take part in most adventurous actions. Under the category of shooting games, the player usually views the events from behind the eyes of the main character, normally a few feet behind the shooter. They are based on high-end features and most of the times they are based on popular films. These are the favorite tools for doing time pass for the shooting enthusiasts. These games have been favorite among the kids as well as teenagers. The shooting games either require you to fulfill one particular mission and in some cases, just let you to kill the enemies without any proper mission. There you just have to clear the game stages.

Free online games also include space related games, wherein your aeroplane just goes on shooting meteorites and other targets, which come in the way of your space craft. In the middle of the game, you can also get some surplus power that can add extra strength to the players’ plane, such as power missiles, protecting rings, multi way missile and many more. Therefore, these are considered as great stress relievers.

Innovations have always been a rife part of most of the new types of activity conceived by mankind and hence the facet of invention is also a part prevailing in the world of online gaming. These inventions are quite absorbing in terms of their game-play and hence increase the pleasant experience of playing the latest games. An individual who is playing an online game can chat with his antagonist in a real time multi-player game and he can also win money.

Latest Games Entertaining the Masses

When it comes to the latest games online, people have hundreds of options as there are so many websites that are offering free gaming options to the gamer without charging them any money. Thus, with the availability of such sites, people now have unique and wonderful opportunities to avail free entertainment. When downloading entertainment stuff from the websites, one has to make sure that the site from which he or she is downloading should not charge money, rather it should offer free entertainment games to the players.

What is the most special about these websites is that they offer a wide range of games to satisfy the different needs of the players. Hence, the individuals can choose any of the latest games from them depending on their choice and requirement. Some of the latest thrillers that are creating a great deal of uproar in the gaming industry include some popular names such as Helicopter Games, Bump Copter, Alpha Bravo Charlie, PS3 games to name a few. If you want to know and read about these gaming options in detail, just visit some entertainment portals where you would be able to search lots of latest options of fun and the entertainment.

It is said that the latest games are one of the most sought options after thrillers in the modern days because they have an edge over traditional methods of gaming. It is believed that they are one of the best sources to spend your quality time and relax during the leisure time. The gamer accept the fact that the latest thrillers are highly useful for the individuals who suffer from the mental stress and depression in this hectic and monotonous life where one hardly find time to stand and stare. It is, due to this, the latest games are getting more and more popular throughout the world and making great impact on the minds of young generation, though they are not meant only for the young generation.

It is a fact that those who are in the gaming industry are making huge profit by providing various kinds of latest thrillers to the masses all over the world. Today, different companies hire highly efficient technical people who are able to think of new ideas and based upon those ideas they design some unique and special entertaining thrillers for the gamer to satisfy their urge for gaming. These days, the gaming designers are making exciting games using a technology called ‘flash’. In fact, flash is a wonderful technology that is most widely used by gaming companies.

The modern entertaining thrillers offered by different websites can be of any type like adventure, shooting, flying, action, puzzles and racing. This is so because these websites cater to the need of millions of gamer who have different interests and needs when it comes to entertainment. Hence, one can say that latest games are one of the most sought after options to gain amusement and fun to pass our time in good manner. If you are looking for them, they are available free of cost from so many gaming portals. They can also be easily downloaded with the help of various data transferring devices such as Bluetooth and USB.

Latest Games Give New Meaning to "Green Thumb"

Everyone is raving about several of the latest games in social media sites like Facebook that are farm-themed. However, not too many know of a better alternative. The “Hobby Farm” is an online game that features better graphics, few possibilities of computer glitches, more player interaction and no streaming required. Once downloaded, you can click on the shortcut on your desktop, and continue playing where you left off. Farming has never been made easier with the Hobby Farm.

Grow Crops Online

In the real world, there are people who are born to be farmers. These are the individuals who have been blessed with a green thumb. Unfortunately, others don’t have the same gift. If you don’t have the gift of a green thumb, don’t worry because online farming games are the nearest farming experience you can possibly have.

Hobby Farm is one of the latest games that is centered on an island where you have to grow your own crops in order to survive. Aside from the crops, you also have some free roaming animals to manage as well as some farming machinery to work. Of course, you can’t get anything tangible from farming online but the thrill alone, the joy as you harvest your crops or the disappointment you feel when you realize that your plants have withered are enough to want to play more.

Reap the Rewards

Latest games like this teach you two things: patience and time management.

In order to level up, you have to be able to harvest your crops on time. Each crop grows at a certain rate and needs to be harvested at the right to stop them from withering. If you log in late, then you will not be able to sell your crops because they’re already withered. So you have to patiently wait for your crops to grow and if you log-out, be sure to resume your game on time so as not to miss out on any harvest.

Since you still have a dozen of other farm chores to do, you have to manage your time. Aside from your crops, you have some animals to attend to and new equipment to purchase. On top of that, bear in mind that you have an ‘offline’ life to live; don’t let the game own you 24/7.

Constant exposure to this game ensures that you are getting wonderful benefits in return. The lessons and skills you learn will be slowly embedded in your subconscious and will eventually show in the way you interact with other individuals.

The game also provides you with a means to communicate with other players if you want. You can share trade secrets and help each other out and so on. Although you can’t play this game in your windows, it does not require a lot of specs in order to have it running on your computer after you’ve downloaded it. Besides, all of the latest games found in the site are secured and virus-free so your computer is safe.

So the next time you think about farming, try Hobby Farm. If you want to learn farming’s every nook and cranny but can’t afford to do experiments on real crops and animals, try this latest game and you won’t regret it.

Gaming Computers

A gaming computer, gaming rig or gaming PC is specifically designed for playing demanding and complex video games. They are quite similar to regularly conventional personal computers; specific differences include the inclusion of components that are performance-oriented towards playing games, and video cards. The term ‘enthusiast computing’ is often used in association with gaming computers as there is overlap of interest and the genres described.

However, for a layman to understand differences between gaming and enthusiast PCs, it is important to know that gaming PCs are put together to achieve specific performance outlays in actual video game play while an enthusiast PC is simply built to maximize and optimize performance using gaming as a benchmark to achieve it. The cost of the two systems also amplifies the differences between the two; while gaming PCs can be extended over a wide range from low, mid and high range segments, enthusiast PCs are always high-end in definition and are quite expensive.

There is the popular myth or misconception that computer gaming is intertwined with expensive enthusiast computing; however, it is interesting to note that gaming video card manufacturers earn maximum revenues through their low and medium range PC offerings.

Gaming computers are widely different because of the complex variety of parts that go into assembling them; they are invariably custom assembled than pre-manufactured. Most gaming or hardware enthusiasts put together the computers; some companies that specialize in manufacturing gaming machines also do this. They create an interest among computer enthusiasts by producing ’boutique’ models that allow the enthusiasts themselves to complete the design by aesthetic choice in conjunction with the hardware in the machine.

Although gaming computers are distinctly different from conventional PCs, the evolution for better output began with improving graphics, color fidelity, display systems etc. in producing them for the mass market. Another particular move that has since been integrated into motherboards is the adoption of the sound card which is an all-visible component in today’s PCs.

Gaming movements began aggressively in the 1980s with several non-IBM PCs gaining popularity due to advanced sound and graphic capabilities. At that time, game developers, in particular, video game manufacturers and developers started out on these platforms before porting the usage to more common PCs and other platforms such as Apple.

Custom-built gaming computers became increasingly popular in 2017 allowing more flexibility in budgets, controls and upgrading advantages. Several basic components that are required when assembling a gaming computer like motherboard, memory cards, video cards, solid-state drives, CPUs etc. are maximized for performance outputs by gaming enthusiasts by turning to independent benchmarks during hardware selection. Such benchmarks include ratings for PC components to ensure protection of equipment and safety from in-built hazards like heat output etc.

5 Tips to Follow While Buying Computer Games

Computer games are extremely popular these days. There are so many choices out there for us to select from and this makes it all the more difficult. However there are certain tips that you must essentially take into consideration in order to nail your purchase. Below are some important tips that you must never fail to consider.

1. The demo of the game

There is a very large majority of computer games that are releasing and with these games the demo also releases. Thus it is only wise if you try out the demo game before actually going ahead and buying the entire full version of the game. This will obviously give you a great chance to know the game better and make good decisions in future while playing it.

2. Your system requirements must be cross checked

The latest computer games that are releasing these days have a lot of requirements as far as the system is concerned. In case you feel that your computer is in no way successful in meeting these requirements, you must give up on the game or at least purchase a new computer for yourself.

3. Multiplayer options

This multiplayer is obviously similar to the mass multiplayer options. You should know that these types of games allow the players to play with more than one player. No matter what, these are still very fun and exciting games and are games in which you can either shoot or frag the other players. You can also come together and develop another online character.

4. The piracy of the game

The piracy of a software is unfortunately a very common occurrence in games these days. Thus it should not be considered at all. The gaming piracy has become very difficult in recent times. The users who pirate the games may any time be forfeiting the great ability to play with any of their friends online. It is anytime better to go for an original game rather than a pirated one.

5. The rating of your game

All games are judged on the basis of an ESRB rating. It determines how violent the game has pronounced to be. Always pay attention to the rating of the game as it can affect your overall experience. You might prefer a violent game over another non- violent game but this is not the case for everyone. It is one of the important things to remember.

3D Games Online – Why You Should Let Your Children Play Them

New digital technologies have simply revolutionized the world of gaming. These days you can even play 3D games online. In most cases, you will not even need any special graphic cards to enjoy the gaming experience.

The graphics of 3D games are crystal clear, where the characters, cars, buildings, and other objects look almost lifelike. They come with better picture resolutions, and easy user interfaces. You will be able to follow the simple instructions, and understand the game in a matter of minutes.

Parents on the other hand, are usually apprehensive about their children spending long hours on gaming online. They fear that extensive exposure to digital games, could impact their social behaviors and psychology in negative ways.

Instead of completely restricting your children from playing 3D games online, what parents can do is fix a proper timetable for them to enjoy the games. Stopping them from playing completely might not be a good idea, because there are many benefits of gaming that you might want to know about.

Improvement of cognitive skills:

While playing the games on computers, you will need to have fast moving fingers and eyes. With time, you will see a significant improvement in your hand and eye coordination.

In most of the games, you will have to remember a lot of things in order to make the decisions that can help you in completing the missions. Such skills will help you in improving your reasoning and memory power. They are the very skills that can help your kids in learning mathematics, engineering, science, and technology.

Gamers are comparatively more relaxed:

Most of the games will get you on the edge of your seats, but over a period of time, you will learn to handle the stress in a much matured way. You will be more relaxed when facing even the toughest situations in the game. This attitude can help your child in various aspects of life as well. It will have them in staying cool and composed, while making sound decisions.

Doubles your enthusiasm:

Contrary to the popular belief that gaming makes you physically and intellectually lazy, it actually works the other way around. Studies have shown that kids who indulge in gaming are never short of enthusiasm and energy. Moreover, it makes them better strategists and problem solvers.

Makes them the go-getters:

Some of the missions in the online games are really tough, and sometimes it may more than 10 to 20 attempts before cracking them. The gamer will have to be fully determined, because the frustration of losing so many times, can make you want to quit. Good gamers are normally the most determined people, and they never rest kill they achieve their goals.

Our advice to parents would be to let your children play 3D games online, but you will need to monitor them closely, so that they cannot neglect their studies or health.

Have Fun and Enhance Your Skills With the Latest Games

Fun is necessary for every human being on this earth. This is a must, because without fun a person feels tedious which might affect him badly on his work. To get the dose of relaxation or in order to finish the boredom or to pass the spare time and for many other things we seek refuge of this option. People get involved in various activities to accomplish this purpose. Some play sports, other play small games while some other get engaged in other activities.

But, as the technology has become advanced, there are some more modes of fun which have been recently introduced. Some of the most prominent among them are the video and computer games. These frolics on one side become an excellent source of fun and on the other hand they create a lot of excitement in the minds of the people. Video games are actually played by connecting the gaming devices into the television sets. Computer games are basically played in the computer with the help of a keyboard, mouse and joystick etc.

A lot of eagerness can be witnessed among the people who always remain eager to know about the latest games. Two types of computer frolics are famous nowadays – online and offline. Online games are played on Internet whereas offline ones are stored in the hard disk of the computer. In the later case, you won’t require the connection of the World Wide Web. The Online ones are available on many websites. Most of the sites and portals offer them free of cost whereas some of them charge a little extra charge for them. You would just require the flash software on your home PC which too is available of some websites of World Wide Web totally free of cost.

Some of the latest games are Conflict, Toy Warz, Slam Day, Lord of War Chapter 2, Formula 1 Champion. These frolics are based on different themes and are made for the people of all types of interests. On the surface, these themes can be categorized as adventure, fighting, castle, car or bike racing, etc. If we go in detailed classification, then many more sub-categories can be made. For instance, conflict games which are a type of fighting frolics. War of toys, in which the fight between different toys are displayed and many others. Many of these are liked mainly by children.

Some of these frolics are available for download on many websites. You can download them without paying any extra charge. Whereas, a few of these provide them after charging a little extra amount. You can download immediately by paying them via credit or debit card online. On the contrary, some of these gaming activities are also available online which can be played any time at ease.

Definitely, these frolics have proved to be a boon in the area of fun activities. With the support of these activities people can enjoy and relax even while sitting at home in front of the computer. Moreover, they have proved to be very helpful in increasing the concentration and exercising the brain of the players. That’s why, these days parents like them too. Many of the latest games are specially meant for education purposes. For example, you can see several games which help the students to enhance their typing skills. Hopefully, in near future we shall find some more like these which we can not imagine as yet.

Common Problems Playing Games

1. “THE GAME WON’T PLAY!”

When it comes to playing PC games this is probably the biggest and most frustrating problem someone can run into. I have bought games before that wouldn’t play correctly and I had no idea why. When I have this problem there are a few things I do to help me figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.

A. The first thing I do is go the site systemrequirementslab.com which has a very helpful computer application to tell you if you can run the game or not. This will do a scan of what hardware your computer has and compare it to the minimum and recommended specs of the game you want to play. This can be extremely helpful because it is difficult to remember exactly what specs your computer has, and can help pinpoint what you should upgrade if you need to do so.

B. Check the drivers on your computer or graphics card. Sometimes computer peripherals will have a driver update, if you do not have the proper drivers installed it can cause issues with running certain games.

C. Check the in-game settings. Some games are very good at optimizing the setting to what will run best on your computer, but they do not always get it right. If a game isn’t running correctly in most games you can bump down the graphical settings to see if it will run correctly.

D. Reinstall the game. Sometimes it is possible that a file got damaged when installing the game or over time. If this is a problem it can be resolved by uninstalling and reinstalling the game. Most games can be installed through the Control Panel of your computer, but if not sometimes you can uninstall the game from the launcher of the game itself.

E. Sometimes unfortunately there are random issues with games that are very hard to pinpoint. If this problem arises you can contact the game company. Many companies have help lines or forums dedicated to helping people that have problems running their games. Usually they are quick to reply and will do whatever they can to help solve your problem.

2. “The game runs choppy online!”

This is another common problem when it comes to gaming, and this is not just reserved for PC gaming. Sometimes your PC or gaming system will run perfectly but you have a lot of problems when it comes to online gaming, thankfully there are some ways to try and fix this.

A. The first thing to do is check to make sure you are getting the correct speeds from your internet provider. You can run an online speed test at speedtest.net which will help you identify your download and upload speeds. If the speeds are slow or not what you are expecting there are a couple things you can do to try and remedy the problem before you call your internet provider.

B. If you have speed problems the first thing I recommend doing is checking your router. Sometimes speed problems are because of an old or faulty router. I recently had some problems with my internet dropping and decided to check on my router. I was using an old router with old wireless technology but I did not think that it was causing any issues. I ended up purchasing a new AC router and it doubled the internet speed I was getting beforehand with my N router. N routers have been around for awhile and AC is newer technology that provides more bandwidth and better signal strength than the N routers. With so many devices hooked up to household WiFi I think it is well worth the upgrade to an AC router as everything will run better.

C. If you discover that the problem is not the router and only your computer has speed issues you can check for any obstructions that might block the wireless signal. Sometimes it is completely random as to what causes interference and I have heard of people who had terrible speeds, moved their computer just a little bit in a different direction and everything worked fine. You can also run a malware scan on your computer to ensure that a virus is not eating up your bandwidth.

D. There is also the possibility of a faulty wireless card in your computer. I had a desktop computer that had a wireless card that randomly stopped working, it took me a long time to identify what the problem was but when I did it was fixed by simply buying a WiFi USB adapter. They are not very expensive and got my computer back online quick and easy.

E. If your problem is not remedied with any of these solutions you may have to contact your internet provider. Unfortunately sometimes there are just issues with the inbound line and it requires a technician to come out and fix it. Sometimes the IP can identify a problem over the phone and figure out if the problem is on their end or if they need to send a technician out.

3. Other Quick Tips To Help PC Performance

A. I highly recommend everyone installs a SSD on their computer. A SSD is a solid state drive that can replace your existing hard drive. The traditional hard drive is a moving part hard drive that spins and reads and writes data, while a SSD does not having moving parts and everything is stored on flash memory chips. Because of the way the data is stored it is accessed much quicker and more reliably than the standard HDD, they are more expensive at the moment but the speed increase is well worth the money in my opinion. I recently swapped my computer over to a SSD and it changed my boot-up time from minutes to seconds. Everything seems to load much faster and I can’t imagine ever going back to a regular HDD.

B. RAM Memory upgrade

A. Sometimes upgrading the amount of RAM in your computer can improve performance. You need to find out what kind of RAM you can use first though. To do this you can look in the System Information of your computer which gives you a system summary. In the summary will be a System Model, I used this to look online for how much RAM my computer could support and what kind I should use.

Struggles of Getting to “PRO” in League of Legends

Getting to the idea of “last hitting” can be tough to comprehend at first.

League of Legends can be observed or viewed as a simple minded game from the outside. Objectives seem normal when it comes to destroying enemy turrets, minions, champions and ultimately their Nexus. Yet, blindly just doing these acts without proper mechanics can turn you into a fool. First time I played, I assumed I just needed to hit the creeps and go full out confrontation with the enemy champions. Yet, there was this important concept that others kept referring to as “last hitting”. Initially, I had no relevant clue as to what that meant. However, once explained it seemed to be something that was easy to grasp. However, I was mistakenly wrong. Not only is “last hitting” considered a basic mechanic in this game but there is a required number of creep scores that every gamer of League of Legends should hit within a specified time span. Achieving an average of 20 or 30 creep score per minute can seem straightforward, but accomplishing this takes practice. I started playing this game, 3 years ago and I have yet to reach the 20 creep score mark within one minute. There is something about timing when to hit the minions till the very last drop of their health that requires time and patience.

Knowing the proper item build on your champion and skill order

Often those that you play with in this game will ask you what items you have bought. Higher skilled players have the tendency to judge certain items that you build throughout the game. At the same time, whats skills your rank up first or second will be looked by others. First champion that I had played was Ashe, an archer with ice based skills. First time playing, I built items that stacked ability power when apparently this champion was attack damage based. For beginners, the struggle seems to be in identifying what the strengths of the champion is and at the same time, the skills that need to be maxed first. While playing this Ashe character, I maxed out my passive first for some reason, although it had no incremental increase in damage outputs. However, over time you learn to adjust as a beginner. As a beginner, make sure you take advice from those of higher skill level in League of Legends. They may be harsh and critical towards your mistakes, but the recommendations they give are relevant.

What Are The Best Retro Games Ever Made?

Are you an enthusiast of retro games? Would you like to know what the best retro games ever made are? Then this piece of information is for you, because I have gathered some of the most remarkable retro games ever made in here.

Some retro games are still very popular to this day and were even adapted to mobile devices, and some of them are not popular anymore and were forgotten in the retro classics archive. However, some of the forgotten games don’t really deserve to be forgotten because they are truly awesome, so I will make sure to introduce not only the games that are still popular today.

Here are some of the best retro games ever made:

Frogger – Frogger is a 1981 arcade games developed by Konami. The idea of the game is to direct frogs to their homes one by one by crossing a busy road and navigating a river full of hazards. The Frogger coin-op is an early example of a game with more than one CPU, and it was definitely the first game of its type.

Space Invaders – Space Invaders is an arcade video game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado. It was released in 1978 and was originally manufactured and sold by Taito in Japan. Later on, it was licensed for production in the United States by a different company. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games that were ever released, and the mission in the game is to defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon and score as high as possible. This game was a huge success in its time and it formed the basis of the entire shooting genre.

Star Wars – Star Wars was released in 1983 by Atari Inc. It was highly popular back in time and is still considered a cult game and has many loyal fans all around the world. The game is a first person space simulator that simulates the attack on the Death Star from the film Star Wars (which was released in 1977). The game is composed of 3D color vector graphics and it was developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games. It is considered the fourth most popular game of all time according to the readers of “Killer List of Videogames”. Star Wars is one of the old classical video games that are very big and popular even nowadays, after more than two decades.

There are many amazing retro games that should belong in the list of the best retro games ever made, but since I couldn’t list them all, the three that are mentioned above definitely represent this category very well.

How To Play Pyramid Solitaire

Pyramid solitaire is a fun solitaire game that’s quite different to normal solitaire- in most solitaire games you build up cards onto a foundation, but in Pyramid solitaire you remove cards! Cards can only be removed when they add up to 13. With it’s easily recognizable layout (shaped like a pyramid), and requiring a combination of luck and skill, it’s a popular solitaire game played by many.

The basic rules are…

  • You win if you can remove ALL cards from play
  • Cards are removed in pairs, when they add up to 13
  • You can deal from the talon at any time
  • You get 2 redeals of the talon
  • Only a maximum of 2 cards are visible from the talon at any time

You can only use cards that are completely uncovered( If a card is in the pyramid but covered by another card, you cannot select it)
For example, if a part of the pyramid looks like this…

... K...  
... Q.7...  
..2.4.7.. 
.5.8.K.J.

Initially you won’t be able to pair the Jack with the two (because the two is covered by the five and the eight cards). Start by removing the five and eight. Now the 2 card will be uncovered, and can be paired with the Jack card.

The possible pairings in Pyramid Solitaire are…

King 
Six Seven 
Five Eight 
Four Nine 
Three Ten 
Two Jack 
Ace Queen

Kings are a special case, that are removed on their own.

Pyramid Solitaire Tips

  • Don’t just automatically combine any cards you see. Knowing when to match and when to hold off is usually the difference between winning and losing.
  • Always remove Kings as soon as you can. There is never any reason to keep them in play.
  • Look for cards “trapped” by other cards underneath. You may need to remove specific cards in a certain order to get to them

Here is an example of a “trapped” card…

... 2...  
... 5.3...  
..8.8.4.. 
.7.8.6.6.

Notice the five has 3 eight’s underneath it. Fives are removed with eights, so we’ll need to pay special attention to this inversion. That 5 can’t be matched with any of the eight’s underneath it. Wherever the other 8 is, we will need to keep it for THIS five. If we use it on another five, then we will never be able to remove this one, and the game will become unwinnable.

That might sound a little complicated but don’t worry too much about it- you’ll start picking it up effortlessly the more you play.

Pyramid solitaire can be quite hard sometimes. In fact some deals are actually impossible to complete. You can still win quite often though- data collected from Dailysol show that you can win approximately 60% of games- so make sure you don’t give up to early!

Should Games Skip Cutscenes Altogether?

Videogames as a medium for storytelling have often taken cues from movies, and the clearest example of this is the use of cutscenes. Pac-Man is quite often said to be the first game that used cutscenes rather than transitioning directly from level to level with no intermission. After the player beats each stage, it would play a short vignette depicting simple scenes of Pac-Man and ghosts chasing each other.

Whilst these little scenes are quite obviously a long way from how modern cutscenes are used in games, the core concept is the same.

The game takes away control of the character from the player for a sequence to introduce some sort of new information. The duration of these sequences can vary widely – Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series is infamous for having lengthy cutscenes, with Metal Gear Solid 4 clocking it at more than eight hours of cutscenes – and can be used for a wide variety of purposes.

They are used to introduce characters, develop established ones, provide backstory, atmosphere, dialogue and more.

However, despite their ubiquity in modern big budget games, cutscenes are not necessarily the best way to tell a story in a game. There have been many highly acclaimed games that used few cutscenes, instead preferring to allow the player to control the character throughout the whole game.

Half-Life 2 by Valve Software is currently the all time highest scoring game for PC on review aggregation site Metacritic, and it only has one cutscene at each end. Control is rarely taken away from the player for more than a few moments – excepting an on rails sequence towards the end – and much of the background information that would be shown in a cutscene elsewhere is instead shown through scripted events or background details in the environment.

But are Half-Life 2’s unskippable, scripted sequences that different from cutscenes? After all, the player often cannot progress until other characters finish their assigned actions and dialogue – so why not just use traditional cutscenes and be done with it? To get truly unique experiences, we mustfirst look at what makes video gaming unique as a medium for storytelling. Unlike film, where the viewer has no control over the action, or traditional tabletop games, where players actions have verylittle in the way of visual outcomes, video games provide an unique opportunity to merge interactivity and storytelling. Games like Gone Home, Dear Esther and other games in the so called ‘walking simulator’ genre have been lauded as great examples of the sort of storytelling that can be unique to games.

However, to some gamers, these games are presenting an entirely different problem – although they rarely take control away from the player, they also offer very little in the way of gameplay themselves. Indeed, Dear Esther has no way the player can affect the world around them – the only action that can be taken is to walk along a predetermined path to the end of the game. There is no way to ‘lose,’ no interaction with the environment, just what amounts to a scenic tour with some overlaid narration. So, despite the lack of cutscenes in the game, the almost complete lack of player control and interaction in the first place means that there is little to differentiate it from an admittedly quite protracted cutscene.

As video games are currently exist, there seems to exist a sort of dichotomy between traditional storytelling and gameplay. For a game to tell a story to a player, there must be some degree of limitation in what the player can do – either a temporary one in the form of a cutscene or scripted sequence, or by limiting the players actions for the course of the game. Perhaps future games will be able to integrate a great deal of player interaction with compelling storytelling. But that won’t be accomplished by taking the players control away and forcing them to watch a short movie instead of letting them play the game.

Latest Games – Gaming World Never Felt it Better

If you are looking for the online games then you will be amazed to know that the world of Internet has enough options to take care of all your needs. In addition to that, the game titles offered on the Internet are far more exhaustive than those offered in the traditional market.

The Internet offers numerous and never-ending choices when it comes to the latest games. It allows the gaming enthusiasts to enjoy games of all genres such as action, arcade, kids game, puzzle, racing, sports and word. If you are looking for some of the most acclaimed online games then Sea Jewels, Bosozoku Fighters, Christmas Adventure, Angel Fighters, Beat The Meter and Battle City are excellent options.

A prospective customer of the online games must exercise complete caution while making payments since the Internet is vulnerable to fraudulent websites. A complete and comprehensive market study is required before any payment can be made. This will ensure that your hard-earned money does not reach the fraudulent hands and you will not be deprived of the ultimate gaming experiences at any point of time.

If you are not sure whether to purchase a game or not, you can play a trial version of the same to make your decision easier. This will help you to get a better feel of the game so that you do not relent the purchase at a later date. After all, these online games are meant to enhance the fun and enjoyment levels associated with them and not to make things worse for the users.

One thing that is often ignored by the parents and guardians is the theme on which a game is developed. It is highly recommended that a parent or guardian must not allow a child or teenager to indulge into dangerous, sexual oriented or anti-social gaming since these themes have an ability to stimulate the young minds in a negative manner.

Thus, it can be easily concluded that the world of Latest Games has immense prospects for the gaming enthusiasts. The only thing to be remembered is caution and if this can be done, nothing can come between you and ultimate gaming experience.

Latest Games – Scale the Ladder to Experience Great Entertainment

There is a high craze for latest games, as they provide the players an enhanced entertainment option. This is the only reason that they attract large number of people, especially the youth who believe in this new form of entertainment. There is the facility to play online games in various websites that are launched. This can be done free of cost in certain cases.

The latest games are good for everyone including children, adults and old ones. There are coding games that come with a number of codes to solve coding problems. They enhances the problem solving skills of the people and thereby increase mental ability. Thus, the individuals can develop good problem solving skills. This is why the gaming is becoming very popular these days.

With the introduction of some latest games like Tetris, Mario Bros, Ping Pong, super Mario and many other interesting games, the gaming has become more popular. All these games are a good source of entertainment for the individuals. These games can be directly downloaded from the internet. Apart from this, players can enjoy other games that are based on thrilling, shooting, war, car, cards, billiards, boxing, military and so on.

The gaming also include flash games. They are designed using flash technology. According to a survey these games are developed to remove the tension and the stress of individuals. They satisfy your different interests such as adventure, shooting, flying, action, puzzles, racing and many others. They are very good for sharpening the IQ level of people. Some of the popular flash games include Helicopter Games, Bump Copter, Alpha Bravo Charlie, Heli Attack and so on.

Some other popular online games include the likes of Sea Jewels, Bosozoku Fighters, Christmas Adventure, Angel Fighters, Beat The Meter and Battle City etc. They are excellent option for players as they offer great gaming experience to the individuals. They are getting very popular in the market, as they are considered a big stress buster. So, visit the internet and take the advantage of various online games provided by different websites.

So, if you are looking for gaming, do a market study and find out about various available options. For detailed information about gaming, one can visit internet that provides a complete guide about games and helps the users to choose the best game. Enhance the fun and enjoyment level by availing some latest games.

Video Games – The Perfect Escape?

Why oh why did you say yes to that last shandy? The kebab seemed like a good idea but your mouth now resembles the inner lining of Phil Jupiter’s underpants. And to top it all off, you’re stuck in a lava filled dungeon and some b*****d has kidnapped your princess. Where did your life go so horribly wrong?

I’ve got news for you, it’s much, much worse. It’s not that you’re hungover playing Super Mario Brothers, it’s that you spend your life “working” at a computer located in a sterile office surrounded by drones. Your only escape? A Friday night binge drinking session down in Clapham, tonsil tennis with a rather suspect femme fatale and bouncing around 8-bit levels crushing the skulls of Goombas with your immense chubby Italian plumber girth the next morning (she didn’t come home with you).

Computer games started out as something completely innocent. I remember my cousins having a version of Pong that despite being an absolute nightmare to plug into the telly, was good fun for ten minutes. Bouncing the ball around with the paddles was hardly Wimbledon. What was, was the 8-bit version of the AELTC’s prestige tournament which was one of the first games I played on the Master System. Still to this day the game mesmerises me, with added career mode, I can’t help but feel I’m there on Centre Court. Especially as I couldn’t play tennis for toffee.
These days, games such as the Grand Theft Auto and Halo franchises take escapism to whole new levels, allowing you to explore entire cities and indulge your wildest fantasies whilst piping hordes of bad guys. There’s a magazine on my desk right now emblazoned with the word “hero”, if only. And whilst escapism is almost at its absolute peak (barring virtual reality), it started way back in the 80s and had as much of an impact then as it does now.

Adult life fundamentally, hasn’t changed much in the last thirty years. Despite numerous advances in technology, supposedly to make life easier, for most of us it’s the usual 9 to 5. Slaving away to line someone else pockets only to come home at some ungodly hour completely exhausted. Eat your dinner, stick on the telly, sleep, repeat. Rather crudely, I hypothesise life requires five different needs: achievement; relaxation; emulation; competition and belonging. At the moment, sitting here in a non-descript office I feel tense, bored, lonely and as if this is just another day to kill on a road that is seemingly going nowhere. No need is being fulfilled, I want to be at home playing video games.

Achievement is the easy one. Those who are successful in life and who feel they are living a good life can point back to a string of achievements. Whether it’s continual progression through the ranks at work, bringing up offspring or jumping out of a plane, nothing beats feeling a sense of achievement. For those starved of such events, video games offer up an easy alternative and its impact is almost immediate. Going back to early arcade games such as Pac-Man and Asteroids, you’re instantly rewarded with level progression and score accumulation (sometimes to reach the feted leader board). Home entertainment systems such as the ZX Spectrum brought games like Manic Miner to the fore. This rise raises the other point that these needs don’t just relate to adult life but to children as well. For kids growing up, a sense of achievement can be gained from doing well at school, well at Physical Education, being praised for good attendance etc… How often would this really happen? Sometimes at primary school, I would feel a greater sense of accomplishment after nailing a few levels of Sonic than at anything I’d done during the day. With the xbox360 console, Microsoft brought the “Achievement” points system based on unlocking hidden secrets or even just by completing levels. Why did they do this? We all love rewards, even more so when they’re obvious. As unnecessary as this development was, it adds another level of achievement to the subtle one already existing.

This brings me to the next “need” – relaxation. Or should I say, Relaxation through detachment. There is no point in me going home to play a computer game where the protagonist is a Customer Service advisor who has to answer the phone and respond to emails all day. They say that during lunchtime it’s advisable to have lunch outside of the office, so that your mind is taken off work and relaxed accordingly. Video games work on the same principal as in they can take you out of work, out of your home life and into something much more wondrous. The aforementioned Super Mario Bros is a great example. I believe it’s the first true example of an ethereal world where you can explore and unlock hidden rewards at whim. Earlier consoles and computers had games containing hidden levels given, but the graphics and memory available pre-1985 struggled to do anything on this scale. Throw in a hero story where you’ve got to rescue a princess and you’ve got the whole package. I could talk about detachment all day long but the upshot is that video games take you to another world at the flick of a button where you can easily forget what your life is really about.

As I mentioned previously, I was bog awful at Tennis when I was a kid. Someone who was not awful at tennis was Stefan Edberg. Although Wimbledon on the MS was licensed, it contained no real players’ names. But my word, did one of the characters look like the Swedish maestro himself. When you’re growing up, role models are important. That seems like a rather obvious thing to say but how many kids lack the proper role models in everyday life? We look up to people and we want to emulate them. We see them achieve great things and we want to achieve them ourselves. When we can’t do something, video games (especially sports titles) are an easy way of emulating our heroes. I played World Cup Italia 90 on the Mega Drive way more than I should have purely because it was the only way of recreating the tournament that I had available. Emulation even boils down to just wanting to be said Italian plumber hero (one was also rather useless with the ladies) or a spiky blue hedgehog thwarting an evil genius.

Emulation follows on to competition. There is nothing like beating a game. All that coding and you’ve still beaten the CPU. Have that Edberg. It’s also great to prove you’re the best at the something, that you’re better than your peers. At work, I have few peers simply due to the mediocrity of my work. Do I want to be better than them? The feeling is hardly tangible. Competition is good for the human spirit. Constantly being challenged is how people get better and successful people thrive on it. The rewards are sometimes obvious, a big trophy, a big pay rise – but sometimes they’re not. Video games offer competition on all levels. Beat the CPU, beat your friends, beat the world. Video games offer a challenge when life falls on its backside. Want an arena to prove you’re better than your mates? Hold a Days of Thunder on the NES competition (not all were impressed… ). Multiplayer games existed in abundance from the days of Pong and now video game tournaments have evolved into a multi-million dollar industry of their own.

That brings me to my final point – belonging. Sega or Nintendo? If you’re into retro gaming that question alone is probably stirring something inside you. Why? Because choosing a console isn’t just about choosing a machine to play with, it’s about choosing a gang, a way of life that’s got be better than its counterpart. Kids and adults alike feel segregation on a daily basis. I was lucky at school as I had good friends with whom I still socialise with to this day. Others were not so lucky. When you move into the professional world it’s only natural that you want to work for a company where you belong. In your personal life, it’s only natural to want to live somewhere in a home with people you love and where you feel you belong. Even before online gaming with its vast communities and friendship came into existence, simply by saying in the playground whether you were a Mega Drive or SNES guy started positive chat about Sonic or Mario alike. They weren’t just consoles, it was who you were.

As much as a holiday might satisfy your relaxation needs or going to a football match satisfy your need to belong, there is nothing as complete as video games to provide the full package after a long day at the coalface.

What Is a Game?

We probably all have a pretty good intuitive notion of what a game is. The general term “game” encompasses board games like chess and Monopoly, card games like poker and blackjack, casino games like roulette and slot machines, military war games, computer games, various kinds of play among children, and the list goes on. In academia we sometimes speak of game theory, in which multiple agents select strategies and tactics in order to maximize their gains within the framework of a well-defined set of game rules. When used in the context of console or computer-based entertainment, the word “game” usually conjures images of a three-dimensional virtual world featuring a humanoid, animal or vehicle as the main character under player control. (Or for the old geezers among us, perhaps it brings to mind images of two-dimensional classics like Pong, Pac-Man, or Donkey Kong.) In his excellent book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster defines a game to be an interactive experience that provides the player with an increasingly challenging sequence of patterns which he or she learns and eventually masters. Koster’s asser-tion is that the activities of learning and mastering are at the heart of what we call “fun,” just as a joke becomes funny at the moment we “get it” by recognizing the pattern.

Video Games as Soft Real-Time Simulations

Most two- and three-dimensional video games are examples of what computer scientists would call soft real-time interactive agent-based computer simulations. Let’s break this phrase down in order to better understand what it means. In most video games, some subset of the real world -or an imaginary world- is modeled mathematically so that it can be manipulated by a computer. The model is an approximation to and a simplification of reality (even if it’s an imaginary reality), because it is clearly impractical to include every detail down to the level of atoms or quarks. Hence, the mathematical model is a simulation of the real or imagined game world. Approximation and simplification are two of the game developer’s most powerful tools. When used skillfully, even a greatly simplified model can sometimes be almost indistinguishable from reality and a lot more fun.

An agent-based simulation is one in which a number of distinct entities known as “agents” interact. This fits the description of most three-dimensional computer games very well, where the agents are vehicles, characters, fireballs, power dots and so on. Given the agent-based nature of most games, it should come as no surprise that most games nowadays are implemented in an object-oriented, or at least loosely object-based, programming language.

All interactive video games are temporal simulations, meaning that the vir- tual game world model is dynamic-the state of the game world changes over time as the game’s events and story unfold. A video game must also respond to unpredictable inputs from its human player(s)-thus interactive temporal simulations. Finally, most video games present their stories and respond to player input in real time, making them interactive real-time simulations.

One notable exception is in the category of turn-based games like computerized chess or non-real-time strategy games. But even these types of games usually provide the user with some form of real-time graphical user interface.

What Is a Game Engine?

The term “game engine” arose in the mid-1990s in reference to first-person shooter (FPS) games like the insanely popular Doom by id Software. Doom was architected with a reasonably well-defined separation between its core software components (such as the three-dimensional graphics rendering system, the collision detection system or the audio system) and the art assets, game worlds and rules of play that comprised the player’s gaming experience. The value of this separation became evident as developers began licensing games and retooling them into new products by creating new art, world layouts, weapons, characters, vehicles and game rules with only minimal changes to the “engine” software. This marked the birth of the “mod community”-a group of individual gamers and small independent studios that built new games by modifying existing games, using free toolkits pro- vided by the original developers. Towards the end of the 1990s, some games like Quake III Arena and Unreal were designed with reuse and “modding” in mind. Engines were made highly customizable via scripting languages like id’s Quake C, and engine licensing began to be a viable secondary revenue stream for the developers who created them. Today, game developers can license a game engine and reuse significant portions of its key software components in order to build games. While this practice still involves considerable investment in custom software engineering, it can be much more economical than developing all of the core engine components in-house. The line between a game and its engine is often blurry.

Some engines make a reasonably clear distinction, while others make almost no attempt to separate the two. In one game, the rendering code might “know” specifi-cally how to draw an orc. In another game, the rendering engine might provide general-purpose material and shading facilities, and “orc-ness” might be defined entirely in data. No studio makes a perfectly clear separation between the game and the engine, which is understandable considering that the definitions of these two components often shift as the game’s design solidifies.

Arguably a data-driven architecture is what differentiates a game engine from a piece of software that is a game but not an engine. When a game contains hard-coded logic or game rules, or employs special-case code to render specific types of game objects, it becomes difficult or impossible to reuse that software to make a different game. We should probably reserve the term “game engine” for software that is extensible and can be used as the foundation for many different games without major modification.

Clearly this is not a black-and-white distinction. We can think of a gamut of reusability onto which every engine falls. One would think that a game engine could be something akin to Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Windows Media Player-a general-purpose piece of software capable of playing virtually any game content imaginable. However, this ideal has not yet been achieved (and may never be). Most game engines are carefully crafted and fine-tuned to run a particular game on a particular hardware platform. And even the most general-purpose multiplatform engines are really only suitable for building games in one particular genre, such as first-person shooters or racing games. It’s safe to say that the more general-purpose a game engine or middleware component is, the less optimal it is for running a particular game on a particular platform.

This phenomenon occurs because designing any efficient piece of software invariably entails making trade-offs, and those trade-offs are based on assumptions about how the software will be used and/or about the target hardware on which it will run. For example, a rendering engine that was designed to handle intimate indoor environments probably won’t be very good at rendering vast outdoor environments. The indoor engine might use a binary space partitioning (BSP) tree or portal system to ensure that no geometry is drawn that is being occluded by walls or objects that are closer to the camera. The outdoor engine, on the other hand, might use a less-exact occlusion mechanism, or none at all, but it probably makes aggressive use of level-of-detail (LOD) techniques to ensure that distant objects are rendered with a minimum number of triangles, while using high-resolution triangle meshes for geome-try that is close to the camera.

The advent of ever-faster computer hardware and specialized graphics cards, along with ever-more-efficient rendering algorithms and data structures, is beginning to soften the differences between the graphics engines of different genres. It is now possible to use a first-person shooter engine to build a real-time strategy game, for example. However, the trade-off between generality and optimality still exists. A game can always be made more impressive by fine-tuning the engine to the specific requirements and constraints of a particular game and/or hardware platform.

Engine Differences Across Genres

Game engines are typically somewhat genre specific. An engine designed for a two-person fighting game in a boxing ring will be very different from a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) engine or a first-person shooter (FPS) engine or a real-time strategy (RTS) engine. However, there is also a great deal of overlap-all 3D games, regardless of genre, require some form of low-level user input from the joypad, keyboard and/or mouse, some form of 3D mesh rendering, some form of heads-up display (HUD) including text rendering in a variety of fonts, a powerful audio system, and the list goes on. So while the Unreal Engine, for example, was designed for first-person shooter games, it has been used successfully to construct games in a number of other genres as well, including simulator games, like Farming Simulator 15 ( FS 15 mods ) and the wildly popular third-person shooter franchise Gears of War by Epic Games and the smash hits Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City by Rocksteady Studios.

What on Earth Was Wrong With Retro Game Makers “Flying Edge”? Quite a Lot As It Turns Out

Something troubles me, and it’s been troubling me since the early nineties. I sometimes awake in the middle of the night, skin cold and damp, screaming. Badly coloured, badly animated sprites, collision detection non existent, arrrggggggh! I compose myself and reach for the paracetamol. Surely it was all a dream?

NO! Flying Edge really did happen!

The Mega Drive and Master System were both supported at their fullest from around 1991 to 1994 – hence why later MD games are so rare (except Ballz, please, please go away… ). The list of third party contributors to both consoles is lengthy and many still exist today, albeit in a different form (Domark are now Eidos for example). One that you think wouldn’t exist is Flying Edge. Even in my late Primary School/early High School years I knew that if I saw that logo it meant trouble.

It actually didn’t start off too badly. The first FE (as I’m going to refer to them from now on as) game was Arch Rivals, which at the time seemed a stupid idea, a 2 v 2 basketball game where you could only play as one of the “characters”. Although it doesn’t play great, the reduced number of sprites on the screen and slightly violent dynamics made it a relatively fluent and pleasant experience compared to the dross Basketball games about at the time. It also laid the foundations for something truly special, which you’ve probably already guessed.

So, FE were on the cusp of being pioneers… not quite. The games that came afterwards reads like a who’s who of complete and utter tosh. If you ever have the opportunity to play George Foreman’s KO Boxing on the MS run, run as fast as you can. It looks like someone threw up over it and is actually less fun than staring at one of Mr Foreman’s grills. It’s rushed, plain and simple. This theme continues with Smash TV. Smash TV was an immensely popular arcade machine whose main draw was the two-joystick system where you could shoot in an opposite direction to which you were running. The SNES version works pretty well (the 4-button acting as the second joystick) but the graphics and collision detection are horrendous, on both 16-bit and 8-bit versions. Don’t get me started on the sound and control systems on the Sega versions, we’ll be here all day… The laughable Crash Dummies, RoboCop 3 and Double Dragon 3 are just a few more games that no respectable developer would ever be associated with.

FE were just another bad developer with no one else to blame but themselves. Wrong! Now here’s the twist in the story, FE were actually a subsidiary of Acclaim. Apologies to those who already know this, but I bloody didn’t! There is a clue in the aforementioned SNES version of Smash TV, Acclaim are there quite proudly in the opening sequence but they left FE to the Mega Drive version… How can a company responsible for making gems such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam (see what I did there) have any part of Flying Edge? I just simply had to find out.

Acclaim itself had been established since 1987 with much of its focus on games based on licenses it acquired from comics (Spider-Man games aplenty), TV/Sports (WWF) and movies (Alien 3). It also forged a strong “partnership” with Nintendo despite titles such as Rambo on the NES being pretty poor, Star Voyager on the other hand was considered revolutionary. You will never see Flying Edge on any Nintendo game (if you do, it’s dodgy, throw it out) as they were created specifically to “produce” Sega games. Apologies for the many speech marks already used in this article.

Information on the contractual wrangle between Nintendo, Acclaim and Sega is so sparse I’m left clutching at straws as to how Nintendo persuaded them to do this. In fact, the only conclusion I can come to is that Acclaim were happy for FE to be the sacrificial lamb in order to preserve their relationship with Nintendo. This appears logical given Nintendo’s dominance in the home entertainment sector and the gradual decline of arcades. Looking at FE’s back catalogue it’s easy to assume that the developers/programmers in this division weren’t very good in comparison to Acclaim’s. The reality is that for every Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam there were several stinkers. Forget what you know about Acclaim, the reality of it is that they really weren’t that good, period. If it wasn’t for Midway, Mortal Kombat wouldn’t have existed. Acclaim’s back catalogue around the same time reads: Double Dragon 2; Krusty’s Fun House; NFL Quarterback Club; The Addams Family etc etc… It isn’t good!

Flying Edge was dissolved in 1994, which clearly must have provided Acclaim with a get out clause for all those bad titles. What did they back it up with? Again, mainly hit and miss. The Turok titles proved popular on later consoles and some of the Spider-Man games were good. They was also Virtua Tennis 2 which is still a joy. However, rubbish… sticks. The poor licensed games continued – Batman Forever, Paris-Dakar, Gladiator, Fantastic Four. Acclaim were made bankrupt and defunct as of September 2004, ten years after the demise of Flying Edge.

There is a reason that the big guns (Sega, Nintendo) and some of the smaller guns (Domark as Eidos) still exist. Evolution. Acclaim, in amongst all its glory, never deviated from their primary aims – buy licenses, tack on games around them, seek the assistance of other willing developers.

Acclaim (or the name) was purchased by Acclaim Games who were one of a few companies in the early 2000s who focused on online gaming. Sadly, their games were unpopular and they were subsequently bought and dissolved by Playdom games in 2017. The Acclaim name now only appearing in the footnotes under “What Could Have Been”.

How to Understand, Start and Run a Successful Home Based Travel Business

Why this is such an excellent choice for a home based business, and How To Get Started

Are you seeking information on a Home Business, or possibly you’ve read a whole lot and now you are trying to sort out what might be the BEST home based business? This is a long article, but stick with it all the way and we’re very confident you’ll have your answer(s).
Are you looking for the Best Home Based Business ? Recent polls show that over 70% of people who search the Internet are looking for such an opportunity. But does something like this really exist?

Here’s the problem: if you asked ten different people what the “best” home business was, you would probably get ten different answers. The truth of the matter is it really comes down to finding the best one for YOU.

We are all coming from a unique background. Each of us first has different wants and needs, and a want or need will determine what is best. Then we all have different abilities, and yes.. your abilities DO match up to what might be the best for YOU. What’s best for a friend or neighbor and might work for them might be a total mismatch for you. This article will give you a good instigate and provide a direction on what is one of the most universally agreed upon as a “Best” business.

We all have different interests and personalities, interests , abilities, and personalities. We have different strengths and weaknesses. We also come from all sorts of different circumstances. So it makes sense that not all of us are going to be interested in the same home based business model.

If there was truly ONE business that was for everyone, can you imagine how competitive that field would be? It would be VERY difficult for anyone to make any money!

You have probably seen advertisements all over the internet about THE #1 income making opportunity. Don’t get fooled by all the hype and so-called ways to make easy money. There is no such thing.

That’s where this article comes in. This article is NOT a comprehensive list of reviews of the thousands of home based business ideas out there. It’s an article that tells you some parameters of a good home based business, then discusses the travel industry. We give you the pros and cons both of a job and being in business; we tell you the history of our industry, and then why it’s so good and the place to be right now as it rides two major trends: Travel and the Internet.

I have researched and tried (sometimes failing miserably) many home based businesses, both online and in the real world, BUT, I have found and chosen something that is a legitimate way to make a great income from home. That’s what this is about. It’s a great fit for me, but because you are NOT me and probably have a different personality (thank heaven!), it may not be for you.. and that’s ok. But if you see things as I do, and as is presented here…

The best home based business for ME is a HOME BASED TRAVEL BUSINESS. I know it will also be for many of you.

But other than the fact that I’m just a normal, ordinary guy with no special talents.. and in fact, I’m probably older than most readers at 69 and I started this just last year, this article is not about me. It only points out that about anyone can easily get involved in the home based travel business. This is about YOU and what YOU want from life and your “working hours”, whether you are a stay-at-home-mom, a retiree, or any other category.

So the question becomes, out of all the various choices: Why start a online travel business?

We are going to discuss first the “Why”, then a little about the various types, and then the “how”. This will take some time, so grab a beverage of your choice and read on. In fact, I suggest you print this out while the coffee is brewing so you can really digest it. Mark it up. Pencil in questions.. and let’s get going!

First and foremost, when choosing a home based business, it’s really important to ask yourself “Why” are you doing this, and are you prepared to take it seriously and treat it like a business? That means regular hours of commitment of time and a commitment of money as any and all businesses you own are going to require some degree of investment.

This is probably as good of a time as any to differentiate between a JOB and a Business. ..

A job, including a home based “job” is one where you are going to essentially be trading time for money, and the assumption is that you have an employer of some sort who is going to pay you either on a dollar value per hour spent, or some dollar value for certain production. That production could be sales production as it often is; it could be manufacturing production, or it could be service production.. so many envelopes stuffed; so many calls made, so many of about anything done. That person is going to pay you for that, but you know that person or company is only doing this because they are going to make a certain amount of money on you. You are essentially paid what the job is worth; what the employer could get a replacement for you for. Regardless of your skills, you are not being paid what YOU are worth, but what the job is worth. For accepting this, you get some degree of security knowing that if you do “the assignment” or “the job” you are going to receive a certain, predictable amount of money. You may even receive some benefits. But the “security” is a joke because everyone knows that there is very little security. First the employer must remain in business. He must have a market for whatever it is you are doing, and markets change.

Next, your value is relative! Maybe that employer has a cousin who would like to do your job, or maybe someone comes along willing to do your job for less money. How secure are you? People tell me every day, “I don’t want the risks of a business.” Guess again everyone! You certainly have RISK as an employee as well!. And as to investment… well, many businesses have employee borne expenses, and even the IRS recognizes this. It’s just that there are SOME “out there” that don’t require any CASH investment, but don’t kid yourself.. you ARE making an investment, only it’s hidden in the fact you’re paying it in work and in the sense that you’re not being paid as much as you might if you absorbed certain expenses yourself.

In contrast, a BUSINESS, including a home based business, is one where you choose and control what ever it is your business makes or does. It could be virtually anything, and probably the best business is one where you control the product or service. Here on the internet, Information products are tops; these are followed by service products. Then comes those things you manufacture or make, and finally, there’s the category of items someone else controls but makes available to you for resale. Affiliate programs fall into this category. But you really need to be aware that if you are going to have a BUSINESS you are going to have business expenses, even a home-based business. These are the expenses of the office first, and then you may need to have some product or have been a user of some of the service so you truly KNOW what you have and can do business from a credible point. The product or service should be one of value that if you were the buyer, you’d consume it yourself at retail. Watch the line though… you don’t want to is get into a business where you are required to purchase X dollars amount of product every month, whether you can use this or not. That’s not a legitimate business.

Depending on your philosophy, you’ll probably agree that it is very important to choose a business that interests you. Pick one that you will enjoy doing, ideally something you are passionate about. Think about it, if you are going to start a business from home, it makes sense to choose something that you will enjoy. And if you enjoy it, then you’ll probably learn more quickly and have your heart more into it when the going is tough.

But we’d put just a couple things ahead of this and put “enjoyment” as a luxury. Those things are market size and market growth. Where is your business product or service in terms of life cycle? Is your market expanding and you can ride a wave, or is it declining. And what is the market size and potential. Will there be a business available for you in 5 years? Ten?

Then lastly, we’d probably mention that the business should be ethical and compatible with what you believe. Many people who research businesses, particularly Internet businesses, know that the porn and gambling industry meets the criteria of growth and market size. You may be tempted to look in those areas, and if you are, kindly close this report or article and tear up you paper copy. This is not a part of the business world we want anything to do with. Money and income is just not that important to us.

After evaluating many, many, many businesses and participating in several since 1969, including an early successful involvement with Amway, then Free Life, and a couple others, including a few that just didn’t “go” for us, we became aware of the opportunities in the online travel business. This is a business model that has just evolved over the past few years, and is now in full momentum.

It is also important to be a part of trends. Fortunes are made by riding trends. Currently, travel is a trend to the tune of 6 trillion dollars a year! By 2010, that number is estimated to be 14 trillion dollars!

Think of all the baby boomers that will be retiring in the coming years. And what do people like to
do when they retire? What would you like to do when you retire? If you’re like me, travel is probably very near the top of that list.

That is why the travel industry provides the perfect business for opportunity seekers. It is simply taking advantage of a trend that is just starting to gain momentum. When looked at as a home based business, it rides the second trend: the growth of the Internet as a business medium.

Let’s look at how and why this has evolved into a viable Internet Based Travel Business.

People “booking travel” for others has evolved possibly in three stages. We also should consider the two major market segments: Business travel and personal or leisure travel, and in the later category, we’d include as a very close association, travel and leisure and recreational activities and lodging. We are going to focus on personal leisure travel and recreational travel market.

STAGE 1: Probably dates back about 75-80 years when the primary mode was train and ocean liner. There were no condos, few motels, and little air travel. But there were many lodges and luxury hotels. We’ve all heard of the Baltimore and others. And there was some degree of business travel, but not to the extent we had a few years ago before travel (particularly sales meetings) became so expensive. Other than those vacations to places like Atlantic City, travel was really more in the hands of the more wealthy part of the population, and most of THOSE people just did not want to be bothered making their own arrangements, or even checking places out. A small cadre of “travel agents” was born, although they probably had many more duties along the line of concierge, personal assistant, etc. In large companies, specialists were brought on board to do those arrangements… and seek out bargains and discounts for their companies.

STAGE 2: Now we have more cars, the DC-3 and early airlines are starting to emerge. We have reliable telephones; we have some early forms of fax but the telegram was the primary means of communication on short notice as mail took longer, and people are becoming aware that they can earn money booking travel for others. Providing essentially two services: Knowledge of destinations and Administrative tasks such as actually buying the travel arrangements on behalf of a third party. That third party could be a business or an individual.

Natural business evolution follows and at first small partnerships were formed because now two people might have the knowledge and experience of two different travel destinations, but as a single entity (the travel agency) be able to offer clients more options. Then this single agency could bring more volume to a travel provider such as an airline, hotel, etc than a single person, and hence negotiate better discounts, or as more often was the case, better commissions as not all discounts got passed on. Everyone benefited.

Airline traffic was particularly challenging to book, and in the late parts of Stage 2, computers began to come more and more into play, although they were both expensive and highly specialized. The affordable home computer had not yet really evolved and there were limited travel networks. Travel agencies could afford these computer systems and gain access to the various vendors, which at that time were mainly airlines, and book travel conveniently and easily. This was about to change!

STAGE 3: Change took place almost over night. The airlines deregulated as one part, and competition evolved to a point where commissions were almost non existent to the agencies. The Internet and access to travel databases within the airlines and hospitality industry literally exploded into being, and now EVERYONE had at least almost nearly equal administrative access to the services and could bypass the agencies which started going out of business at an alarming rate. The one thing certain agencies DID retain was a cadre of people who HAD traveled and did have personal experience with various providers… resorts, cruise lines, etc. But as profits to the providers themselves started to decline, so did the availability of FAM trips, and there were fewer agencies.

But along with this evolved another trend! The population is growing and there’s more travelers available, particularly in the leisure market than ever. And many of these travelers just don’t have the time to really do the research, or even to truly shop for the best and lowest costs.

But individuals devoted to and loving to travel such as stay at home moms in travel find that they can provide the same services that the old large agencies did!

All they needed was a vendor willing to work with them, and at this time, new vendors started to emerge.

The emergence is primarily in the area of recreation and resorts as unlike the airlines which have cut back and in many cases have a SHORTAGE of seats and product, resorts (and cruise lines) have continued to build and expand where today, they have an excess or surplus of inventory except for very limited times of the year.

The question becomes: How do we fill these empty rooms? These empty staterooms? These empty golf courses? These unused campsites?

The answer is: Through You!

But you don’t know where they are, or how to negotiate the pricing.. but a newly evolved list of consolidators do! Currently there are three major consolidator groups doing business in the USA, and one stands out above the other two as it has more contacts, more experience, more inventory, and essentially a better pay plan offering the customer more options. What YOU have is a list of contacts or the knowledge and time to introduce the traveling public to these options. Because you are working with the suppliers of SURPLUS inventory who is willing to fill these vacancies at deeply discounted rates, you can pass these rates on, if only you knew how to get your hands on them.

Actually, about anyone can get their hands on any one location at any time at a discount, and many people have been doing that using services such as Orbitz, Travelocity, and others But these are very sharply targeted and focused, and deal much more with just hotels, car rentals, and to some extent, airline travel. One can pick up a major magazine or metro newspaper and find condos for rent from owners, at discounts. But again, this is very limited.

How Do You Get Started?

First, you learn about the 3 major consolidator firms offering travel, and if you just let the word out that you are looking for a homebasd travel agency or company, you’ll find that these people find you very quickly. Or you can do an Internet search using terms like that and find them. Most of the firms have a fairly similar makeup in that they are offering an entire travel package or membership for a fee. This entitles the purchaser to the inside track on deeply discounted travel services.

If they are essentially all the same, what do you look for? We focus in a legitimate business first on product, so we look for product value. We look for a company with flexibility and a product mix. Not all people want to travel internationally, so is there just a domestic package? What is offered that you or your customer can do when they get to a destination? Are there name resort and theme parks? Golfing? How about great meal discounts, as we all “eat out” when we travel? We know cruising is “big” but we know the cruise lines vary from very family oriented to “swinging singles”. Is there a good mix? How about time limitations on the travel package?

As a business, what kind of support tools are available? Training is a must, and is it real, and in real time, with real live people you can talk to and ask questions of? A solid, reliable web site is a must. Does the firm you are looking to join provide one? None will do a good site free, but is this a fair and reasonable cost?

Will you have access to a personal mentor? Can you become a certified, card carrying travel agent as well if you want?

These are but a few of the questions.

The “How Do You Get Started” in the home based travel industry is best summarized by 3 words: “Do Your Homework”

Well, now that you know some of the history, let’s look at a couple more things, starting with some of the advantages of this, particularly in comparison to other options you may have selling nutritional products, informational products, skin care, diet products, or many others.

Aside from the money making potential in our industry, there are many other advantages.

It is easy to start. This facet never ceases to blow me away With the invention of the internet, businesses that have traditionally always been brick and mortar establishments are now available to all of us. The internet makes it easy for everyday people like you and me to start a small business online. We can reach people all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the comfort of our own home. People can be checking out your business while you are sleeping, on vacation, or whatever. Phone services like Skype let us actually talk to people all over the world (one of us might be sacrificing some sleep due to time zone differences, but technically, it’s possible!)

Your business is relatively inexpensive to start, particularly compare to a more standard travel agency business. Because you no longer need a regular office, insurance, and employees, businesses. In fact, if you set up a legitimate IRS qualifying home office, many of the costs you have at your current home now become tax deductible (see your accountant, and if you don’t have one.. get one. Maybe you can even barter some travel services for HIS services).

Your potential clients include almost everyone. Who doesn’t like to travel or need a vacation? And if the economy slows, your business grows! Previous travelers who thought nothing of paying full price now start to look for discounts.

You can save a lot of money on your own travel.

What’s the point of owning a business if you don’t get some fringe benefits? With a home based travel business, you become eligible for some incredible discounts. And because you are your own boss, you will have more free time to go on vacation and take advantage of these discounts.

Is there a downside to a home based travel business? Sure, there is in any business.

Travel is a very competitive industry.
In order to have an edge, you have to differentiate yourself from the rest by branding yourself with a superior product. Those who read this article and find a specific interest and contact us as the author will be given some very specific knowledge on how to do this and succeed.

Other than that, I have not come across any other disadvantages to a home based travel business.

We hope you have found this article to be greatly helpful and look forward to seeing a few of you join us in this exciting industry soon.

Gold Watch – The Perfect Gift For Your Valentine

Are you thinking of what to gift for your Valentine on this Valentine’s Day? How about giving him or her the best and the most memorable gift? A gold watch would be the perfect gift to anyone from their loved one, wouldn’t it? And if your hubby loves jewelry or likes to have a collection of watches, they will surely be more than just happy to add this to their collection if they matches their taste.

Such a watch encompasses everything anyone would love to have. Precious rocks and rubies can be embedded in the watch to show the time as presentable as it can be and make it more than just a watch. A gold watch can be more than an ordinary watch when you wear it; it can be an accessory.

Gold watches usually make a clear statement of style and class for those wearing them. It does not matter where you wear it, whether in your office or with your friends, this watch can surely make you look special and set you apart from the crowd. And all that gives this watch the special aura, is the gold which is specifically used for this purpose. If you do not have one of them yet, go out and get one. However, have a look at the price tag first before you actually hand over your credit card to pay the bill, because price is important when buying expensive watches.

Gold is one of the most precious elements which of course also makes such a watch precious and expensive. However, apart from the gold, there is more to those expensive watches, such as the expert watch craftsmanship.

Ladies also love gold watches, and no doubt, they would make brilliant gifts for any special occasions. Be it your girlfriend or your mother or sister, anyone would love to have a beautiful watch regardless of their age. You can find cheap watches or very expensive ones, but the bottom line is that they make for a gift to remember!

Gold watches look great when worn with expensive dresses or designer suits and these watches last very long if maintained well and with care since gold is very durable. So, remember to take good care of that watch from the minute you put it on!

Effective Roofing Technique

Roofing techniques are not only useful for those who actually put on the roof but also those whose houses are being outfitted with roofs. Outfitters who put this on can sometimes short a homeowner if they think the home owner is not as knowledgeable as they are when it comes to it. There are several layers to a roof and it is important to know these layers in order to have an inkling of how it provides protection to a home. The following common technique is applicable for both new and old roofs and starts with the lowermost layer from the top of the roof in description.

Sheathing

This is the initial layer that basically separates the ceiling from the other roofing layers. In some cases, the sheathing may actually be the ceiling. In other cases, they may be sheets of wood that are attached to the rafters of any roof. For houses with attics, these can be seen in the rafters. These need not be made up of sheets of wood or sheets of plywood; these days, many different materials are used for the sheathing.

Underlayment

This layer of the roofing technique is a necessity which is emphasized by the state law. Usually roofer’s felt is used for this layer but there are various materials available for this as well depending on the needs and preferences of the home owner or the building contractor. The underlay gives some form of protection for the house against the different elements that may besiege the home that are first met by the roof.

The Roof

The last layer that is usually placed is the roof itself. The home owner also has various styles and materials to choose from for this layer. Metal sheets now come in various patterns and thickness. Some mimic classic patterns such as shingles, while others are more true to the metal roof pattern of bumps or indentations. These are actually quite inexpensive when compared to the other materials used for roofing. The problem with this variety is that they easily rust and may dent, warp or deform when branches fall on them, or if exposed to extreme elements, like hail, snow, and the like.

Asphalt or concrete surfaces may be sturdier than metal but they are also prone to leaks when they are not placed properly. The contractor needs to be familiar with this type of material and have people who are adept at the application. These may be heavier than other varieties and may need a sturdier base to bear the weight. The contractor should be able to see if the house has enough mass to bear the additional weight if it is a reroofing project.

Other materials such as slate and wood are basically the same as asphalt and concrete in terms of application. These need to be placed properly to make them last longer. Wood is prone to plants or moss growth due to its organic composition. These need to be cleared as soon as possible to avoid damage to the wood shingles or the wood slats.

Natural Beauty Cosmetics – Enhance Your Natural Beauty

Nothing can enhance a woman’s face, beautiful or otherwise, better than the right make-up. Today, the beauty industry is a billion dollar business and the choice of Beauty Cosmetics available, is mind-blogging to say the least. While buying them, one has to keep certain things in mind. Some of them are the skin type, allergic reaction to a certain product if any, night or day wear etc.

How to buy Beauty Cosmetics

Before buying beauty products one must keep in mind to buy not the right beauty product, but the one most ideal for them. Buying them is a very individualistic exercise, as what suits one may not suit another. Hence, one should do some basic ground work before venturing into the shopping exercise. Cosmetics include facial make-up, perfumes, Nail-polishes and so on. People prefer buying branded cosmetics as there is always the safety issue to be considered.

Preference for Natural beauty cosmetics

Today, women are better informed than their counterparts a few years ago. They know the harm some ingredients used in manufacturing cosmetics cause; for e.g. lead. Similarly, there is also a growing sentiment among them to go for products that have not been tested on animals. Herbal and Natural Beauty Cosmetics have become the order of the day for many women. Natural cosmetics are popular these days as their long term benefits are preferred over the short term benefits that could be potentially harmful in the future. Natural beauty products use a lot of natural ingredients as opposed to synthetic ones.

Buying Beauty Cosmetics Online

Nothing can beat buying branded cosmetics from the comfort of one’s home. And if they are available at better or discounted rates, there is nothing quite like it. Nowadays, online beauty products sites offer a variety of cosmetics at the click of a mouse. One can chose the ones they like and need and order the same. The payment is made securely and the package is delivered to the door-step in a matter of just a few days. Nothing can beat that surely.

Urban women have gained financial independence in ways, not even thought of earlier. They like to be groomed and look their absolute best at all times. They have changed the way they shop for their cosmetics. These days it is just a matter of using a mouse and a keyboard and a credit card. The rest as they say is her story.

Advertainment is Sneaking Into Music, Movies, TV and More

The very name “advertainment” sends thrilling vibrations up the spine of anyone with marketing in their blood or communication in their genes. And it produces a strong shiver of disgust from many of my colleagues in the music industry.

“I don’t want my songs to be involved in advertising,” they say, forgetting entirely that by wearing branded running shoes, a t-shirt hawking Fender guitars and a baseball cap emblazoned with the Peavey logo, their very lives are involved in advertising. Plus, if they attend an awards show, they happily state the brand and designer names of everything they’re wearing.

They further ignore the fact that radio itself is a form of advertainment. What gets played has little to do with musical accomplishment or artistic merit, but is directly related to the backing of large corporate distributors. I have been told to budget anywhere from a quarter of a million dollars to $350,000 in promotional costs to obtain national radio play on (the appropriately-named) commercial radio stations. Is it any wonder that corporations are seeking ways to build a little brand awareness into the songs?

Turn on any rap, urban or hip hop station and you can start counting the product mentions in the lyrics, some paid-for, some just happenstance. In the electronic-pop field, I have done it myself. On my “Electro Bop” album are songs such as “Paranormal Radio” (which begins as a documentary about American Technology Corporation’s HyperSonic Sound system), “Sheena Sez” (about talk radio host Sheena Metal), and “Check the Tech” (about the joys of watching the TechTV channel).

Has this advertisement hurt acceptance of the album? Not that I’ve noticed. Many e-mails from around the world cite “Paranormal Radio” as their favorite track. Not one person has complained about the ad messages, I assume because the audience for my dance-oriented music is pleased to receive information about technology and a far-out rock-talk jock such as Ms. Metal.

Ads and entertainment go hand-in-wallet in many other ways, some pretty strange. In music alone, we have all wondered about Bob Dylan’s “Love Sick” in Victoria’s Secret commercials (not to mention Mr. D himself smirking between shots of the lovely bodies wearing the lingerie). But don’t overlook Keith Richards in the “Cover Girl” ad while “Honky Tonk Women” plays, or Willie Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger” in the Herbal Essence spot, or Iggy Pop’s liquor/drug/sex-soaked “Lust for Life” blasting throughout the Royal Caribbean commercials. (Love to work with the Account Executive who was able to sell that concept!) By contrast, Sting crooning from the back seat of a Jaguar seems a very model of demographic compatibility.

And that’s the point: ads and public relations are routinely dismissed as silly, annoying, intrusive or a waste of time right up to the moment when they are delivering facts the reader or listener wants. Then, suddenly, the sponsored message is viewed as helpful and instructive. Therefore, the trick is to achieve the right match between audience and message.

One problem is choosing your media. Just listing advertising outlets can be daunting: TV, radio, outdoor, newspapers, magazines, transit, direct mail, Internet banner. Many of these have subsets: paid inserts (advertorial) in newspapers and magazines, sponsored “newsbreaks” and infomercials on broadcast media, static or animated announcements at stadia, those dreaded ‘Net pop-ups, brand names on sports uniforms and equipment (can you say NASCAR?), etc.

One of the most enjoyable categories for producers of both music and advertising is viral ‘Net marketing, which has had some notable success stories such as BMW Films, the Seinfeld AmEx campaign, and of course, Burger King’s Subservient Chicken.

We haven’t even considered cooperative advertising, which can be anything from myriad logos at the bottom of an event poster to the branded music tones and flashing-light Intel trademark that ends every other commercial for someone else’s computer products.

But it extends further. Consider: Magazines that sell cover stories; product placement in movies and TV (and yes, live theater); branded clothing; bumper stickers; even fliers stuck on parked cars. There are ad messages on private automobiles (and those anti-humanistic trucks that some insist are called SUVs). Pull up behind a vehicle in traffic and you can read an ad for the car dealership on the license plate frame, plus another piece of public relations for the state on the plate itself. (Come on, you don’t think it’s hype to put “Land of enchantment” on every vehicle licensed in the state of New Mexico?)

You might think that this plethora of options makes it easier for firms to get their messages across to their targeted demographics, but a good case can be made for the opposite view. TV audiences are turning to Tivo and pay-per-view. Radio audiences are discovering XM and Sirius Satellite Radio. Newspaper readership is becoming an oxymoron. Motion picture audiences can be heard groaning, mocking or booing the pre-feature commercials.

This means there are a lot of people working on new ways to get the product benefits into the brains of the consumers. I do it with humorous radio scripts and subliminally seductive music, but there are going to be some innovations in our industry, and at the risk of appearing foolish, I’m going to make a few predictions. Within the next few years, we’ll see:

* Debit card scanners in TV sets, so you can order during a commercial with the flick of your remote.

* Barcodes in songs, so you can download from iTunes by swiping your XM or Sirius player with your Visa or MasterCard.

* Credit cards built into wristwatches, so your “plastic money” is always close at hand.

* Links to product sites in every scene of DVD movies or computer games. Do you want the shoes in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater game? Click-click-click and they’re on their way to you via FedEx (note product placement for the big competitor to United Parcel Service).

* Broadcasts of infotainment and advertisement will pop up everywhere: in public restrooms, at the Starbucks, at traffic signals, at the gas pump, on your mailbox, in the packages you purchase, in the parcels that arrive at your door, etc.

* Captive broadcasts. Just as you can preview the music on packaged CDs (available in EU now, but coming soon to the USA), the product benefits, price points and warranty information will play as soon as you lift up a product in the store.

* Digitized logo placement in the rebroadcasts of syndicated TV shows (“Hey, we can sell the product placement another three times!”)

* Branded ingredient lists on menus.

* Corporate artwork that takes you on a virtual tour of the company.

* Interactive ads, where you get to play Jerry Seinfeld and/or Superman (or the driver of the BMW) in a five-minute escape from reality (and from reality TV).

* Holographic projections of commercials from postage stamps, car and house keys, magazine covers and ad pages, etc.

And these are just the changes we’ll be seeing in the next few years. We’re not even discussing the opportunities for advertisement once we move beyond traditional broadcast methodology; when microchips are embedded under your skin, YOU will be the receiver for TV, radio, satellite, telephone, and global positioning system signals. And at that point, the possibilities for marketing communication via advertisement are going to become truly mind-boggling.

Are these prospects exciting, frightening, or both? My view is positive. After all, a lot of these new forms of communication are going to need my scripts and my music.

Use Specialized Mental Health Treatment Training – Build Your Private Practice

How to use specialized mental health treatment training is an important area for you to explore. As I opened a recent SAMHSA newsletter, this headline stopped me in my tracks. “New Nationwide Report Reveals That More than One in Every 10 adults Experienced Serious Psychological Distress in the Past Year”!  After close to 30 years as a practicing professional counselor and Mental Health Treatment Trainer, I knew there were many folks who were in emotional pain we never reached. I read the full text of the article looking for clues to who these potential clients were and how we might reach them.

When I think back to my counselor education programs at the master’s and doctoral levels, I know there was no time to educate new therapists to work with specialty populations, especially to the depth needed to build a private practice niche. Therefore, it is a given that any therapist who wants to go beyond a generalist practice must seek Mental Health Treatment Training in their specialty area of choice. How does all this relate to the SAMHSA article?

Most therapists and counselors look at specializing in a selected diagnostic area on Axis I disorders, for example, anxiety or depression. What is often neglected are specialty areas on Axis IV issues like domestic violence treatment, sex offender treatment and child abuse treatment.

These are often the clients who most need Mental Health Treatment for dysfunctional family issues. And, this is the best time in their lives to obtain this type of specialty treatment to interrupt the dysfunctional family cycle. Mental Health Treatment Training is available to address Adult Children from Dysfunctional Family issues. Use this specialty area to build a successful private practice. You can be the leader in your community to provide Mental Health Treatment to this population and become the “go to” person for other therapists in your area as well.

Start your specialized mental health treatment training now.

Legal Advice – Great Help In Times Of Need

Many a times, it so happens that we really are in need of something, the longer it takes. This is so true when it comes to getting the real legal advice. So then, how does one get the right advice?

There are a number of legal firms which have 24 x 7 service. Depending on the severity of the case, the fees may vary. There are legal advice experts appointed by law firms who also offer free advice.

With the advancements in the field of technology, identifying attorneys who will provide you advice is not very difficult. You will come across many websites who advertise their list of legal advisors and you may want to select from among them. the laws may vary depending on the country or the State and hence it is important to state the right pin code when you are seeking legal advice.

Many law firms put up their advertisements in business directories. Some sophisticated legal advisory firms which have a hotline facility or a toll free number also provide free legal advice and also the next course of legal action. Based on this advice, you can proceed accordingly.

Another very good way of seeking the right legal advice is to check with friends and relatives. If any of your associates or known people have sought such a help and have found it satisfactory, then you can rest assured of the credibility of the legal firm.

Internet is undoubtedly the best way to identify the right legal firms who will provide you legal advice. With the click of the mouse button, you will get access to a plethora of law firms. You will have to fill in the questionnaire or the online form and provide all the details and submit the same. These are not for free and based on the answers replied by you, they will advice what needs to be done next.

Some companies may not offer legal advice for free and you may have to enroll for their prepaid legal advice. Once the time limit is completed, you will have to again pay for taking the advice and seeking their services.

It is advised that you hire the services of an attorney or lawyer who is close to your place of residence or workplace, so that you do not end up spending time and money visiting their office. A good lawyer who is far away may not be of great help if he or she is not able to provide the information when required.

There are law firms who specialize in certain fields like accident claims, driving offenses, divorce, financial disputes and so on. If you intend taking legal advice for trusts and wills, then you need to seek a law firm which deals in this niche. You will be greatly benefited if you seek the right advice from the right people. Hence, selection of the right law firm is very important.

The lawyers will help you with the entire documentation. Just make sure you provide the complete details so that they are able to present your case perfectly.

3 Great Reasons To Get On Board A Party Bus

You are planning your partner’s 30th birthday party and you want to do something different, something unique. You want to plan something that he and your guests and family will remember for years to come.

Let’s take a look at 3 great reasons why you should host this 30th birthday party on a party bus:

More room for all your friends

You have the option to book a party bus to suit the number of guests you wish to accommodate; so if your party is a small group, get a small bus, but if you’re inviting everyone he’s ever known, there are party buses big enough to handle them all.

You can arrange for the bus to pick every one up at one designated place. Then when the party is over, the professional chauffeur will return everyone back to their pick up point, safe and sound with no need to worry about anyone drinking and driving. No matter the size of the group, there is a party bus available to suit any size party.

Move around and see the sights as you party

Let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put into entertainment for your party guests at your home or at any other venue, it can get stale and then the party goes dead. All good parties have had this happen and you can avoid that problem by having that 30th birthday party on a party bus!

With a party bus, you, the birthday boy and his guests can party on while the professional chauffeur drives you all around town. Enjoy the bright lights and night life as you enjoy your own party on wheels cruising around. You can even arrange for the party bus to make a stop at the birthday guy’s favorite club or restaurant and treat everyone to dancing and dinner. When that’s done, it’s back on board the bus for more partying.

Delight and impress your friends

With a party bus, your friends and guests will enjoy a fabulous decked out venue with a night club atmosphere that includes surround sound stereo with your choice of music and strobe lights to give it a festive touch. A professional DJ would give it extra pizzazz! You would possibly have previously arranged for refreshments and appetizers just as if you were hosting this party at home and your guests will be delighted as they mingle together and enjoy each other’s company.

Yes, there is room for everyone to sit comfortably with plenty of leg room; space to get up and move around too and maybe even dance if they feel so inclined. Your guests will get so wrapped up in the party going on, they’ll forget they are on a bus!

It will be a smooth ride with a professional chauffeur taking them from point A to point B without having to worry about private cars and designated drivers.

Make his 30th birthday party bash a night to remember!

6 Surprising Truths About Tax Preparers

Choosing the right tax preparer for your business is a decision best not left until April. A former tax preparer and small business mastermind offers insights into the secret world of tax preparers.

1. All tax preparers are not created equal.

It stands to reason, somewhere in the country is the Worst Tax Preparer. The bad news is you may have already booked your appointment with him. Preparing taxes is a complex activity. So complex that many of us simply throw in the towel, pack up our receipts, and head for the nearest tax office. When you arrive at the office, you fully expect our tax preparer to be highly competent and completely vested in getting you the best deal in town.

Back in my tax preparing days, I worked for one of the big name tax preparation franchises both as a preparer and as a tax return editor. I worked with seasoned professionals and total neophytes. I well remember the first time I stepped up to the plate as a new preparer. I was terrified. Terrified the customer would know I was inexperienced. Terrified I’d make a huge blunder and the customer would pick up on it. Terrified the more experienced preparers would laugh at my mistakes.

I quickly realized that as inexperienced as I was, I still knew way more than my clients did. And because the franchise had great systems, others would be checking and re-checking my work so my mistakes and oversights would be caught before I did any damage to the client.

As a tax return editor, I saw and corrected more mistakes than you would feel comfortable knowing about. Which brings me to a very important point, tax preparation is not a cut and dried, read the manual, do the formulas, follow the instructions, and poof! you’re done kind of activity. The tax codes in this country are complex and open to interpretation.

Tax preparers have a wide range of experience from none to grizzled veteran. They also span the continuum from ethical to completely fraudulent. The more complex your return, the more you need a veteran preparer. And if your preparer tells you about this great deduction that you can take and it sounds suspicious to you, listen to your intuition. It’s the difference between paying a little bit now or paying a whole lot later.

2. Tax preparers are not business experts.

The only business experts in the world are those who are running successful businesses. Tax preparers are trained to understand taxes. They’re trained to know the proper forms and deductions. They’re trained to help you with tax planning. They are not trained to understand how business works.

Now, you may have a tax preparer who is also a successful business owner. Many CPA’s, accountants, bookkeepers, and tax preparers do run their own businesses. They’re in a much better position to help you with your taxes because they understand the day to day challenges of running a business.

Understand that having your taxes prepared by a big name franchise, although it does ensure that your return is accurate, does not mean that your return is prepared in a way that is best for your business. Only a preparer who understands business can prepare a return that works for your business.

3. Hiring a tax preparer doesn’t mean you’re excused from understanding taxes.

I’ve seen it so many times. I sit down with a client to talk about finances or taxes. As I talk, the head is nodding, the mouth is saying, “uh huh, uh huh”, but what they’re really focused on is the pen in their hand. They don’t want to understand, they just want to sign off on the paperwork and be done with it. “That’s what I hire you for”, they say.

Big mistake. I could be sentencing them to time in a federal prison. Trusting someone else to the point where you abdicate all responsibility and have no knowledge of what you’re signing or what is being done in your name is a recipe for a big fat slice of disaster. That’s how embezzlement happens-I trust Mary completely. Bob always takes care of that. And it’s also how business owners end up in trouble-What do you mean he took a deduction for my Chihuahua as a guard dog? Hey, why didn’t I get a deduction for my new computer?

You have to know enough about taxes to be able to read your return intelligently so you know what you’re signing. You also need to know enough about taxes so you know what your tax preparer needs to know to prepare your return accurately and to your best advantage.

And don’t get your education from your buddies. I heard a lot about these “special deductions” you can take. Usually the information is not based on facts or tax codes. It’s a conglomeration of bad information that can get you into tax trouble.

4. Your tax preparer shouldn’t be the one telling you how your business is doing.

It hits them hard. They couldn’t be more shocked if you’d hit them upside the head with a dead fish. “I owe how much!”, they gasp. “How can that be? I don’t have any money!” Then the desperation sets in. The tax preparer is accused of not doing a good enough job. “You must have missed something.” Or, they dig deep trying to think of anything, anything at all, that can lower their tax liability. “Did I mention that vacation, I mean, business trip I took to the Caribbean? That’s deductible right?”

If the only time you know how your business is doing is on April 15th, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. If you’re not tracking your tax liability and making plans to satisfy that liability, you’re in for a very long, painful, tortuous lesson delivered at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service. You will pay. You will pay way more than if you’d planned ahead. And it will take you forever to get caught up.

5. Why getting your tax return prepared shouldn’t be an errand you run on your lunch break.

I was in a client’s office one day getting her books closed out for the year so she could have her tax return prepared. I overheard a woman in the next office telling someone, “I’m just going to run out and get my taxes done.” I was horrified. Having your taxes prepared is not something you just “run out” and get done like an oil change. Good tax preparers are like good hair stylists. They have followings. People pre-book them.

If you just “run out” and have your taxes done, who do you think you’ll get as a tax preparer? The best and the brightest? Hardly. You’ll get the first year preparers who haven’t built up a following. The ones who are fresh out of tax class and generally have no experience preparing tax returns or running a business. The ones who don’t have the expertise to know the ins and outs of interpreting tax codes to your best advantage while still keeping you within the law. Sure everyone deserves a chance to gain experience but do you really want to be the first patient a surgeon operates on?

6. Procrastination is your worst enemy.

It’s April 14th. You think you probably should get your tax stuff together pretty soon. So, you work late into the night, gathering receipts, pawing through stacks of paper, digging under the seat of your car until finally you’ve got everything you need. Off you go on your lunch break on April 15th to get your return prepared. Your tax preparer, who has been working at a feverish pitch for weeks, has deep circles under her eyes, her hands are shaking from lack of sleep and too much caffeine, and you notice a small stream of drool running down her chin. “Oh look,” she exclaims laughing maniacally, “Another return!”. And you think to yourself, “What’s her problem?”.

You, my procrastinating friend, are her problem. Now she’s got to frantically race around trying to keep you out of trouble because you didn’t have the courtesy or forethought to be prepared well ahead of the deadline. And then she’ll have to listen to you whine because now all of a sudden you have to come up with thousands of dollars that you didn’t know you owed.

Do yourself a favor, get your return done early. If you owe money, you don’t have to send it until April 15th. At least you’ll know that your return was prepared by a tax preparer who wasn’t fatigued, you’ll know ahead of time what you owe, and you’ll have it off your mind so you can focus on other important things. Like getting your oil changed on your lunch break.