Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Three: Rhythm

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Music! It enriches and enlivens our lives. Its presence in video games makes the experience of playing them all the more engaging. That comes down to rhythm, melody, harmony, sometimes rarely dissonance, music. Rhythm games involve musical cues that demand unorthodox inputs from the player, often with a unique controller or button pad. The simulation of playing musical instruments or of dancing may seem awkward, but the beautiful thing about the Rhythm/Music genre is it allows players to connect with music in ways they may never have tried before, if they thought themselves musically disinclined. A gamer may never choose to sing in front of an audience or learn guitar or take dance lessons or play a cello in a symphony orchestra, but video games, in their diverse transportive ability, allow anyone to see what playing music is like instead of just passively listening to it. As someone who plays…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Two: Puzzle

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What are our brains for if we don’t use them? Video games are often associated with “vegging out”, an insult to vegetables everywhere, but today belongs to a genre that’s meant to exercise that soggy, salty bit of gray matter upstairs: the Puzzle genre. Conundrums, riddlers, brainteasers, puzzle games are all about solving limited problems with easy rules and easy controls. These games will put your problem solving skills to the test and stretch your ability to reason, use logic, recognize patterns or sequences, or make leaps of intuition. Impress your friends! Be the talk of the party! Play more puzzle games for a smarter gaming community!

Here are the enigmas of our partiality. *pushes up glasses*

FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle was my white whale. It took me years to beat this game. I recently came across a stickynote I had full of all of…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-One: Party

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So you and your friends are sitting around. Looks like your gig turned out so boooooring. What do you do? You could either tell them that joke you know or… you could get your awkward on with any number of Party video games! Spend too much time over explaining the rules! Dominate your loser friends since you own the game! Ruin any chances for a serious relationship with that cute girl because she’s put off by your unchecked braggadocio! Make sure everyone goes home on time when you insist on playing another round!

Party games are diverse. They can take on board games, quizes, motion controls, game shows, collections of mini-games, the goal being to engage as many people as possible and conjure up that elusive concept we call “fun” with a group. You really have to play these with the right people. If so, they can be gold…

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Elemental Challenge Day Twenty: MMOs

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Ready to get addicted? Today we’re talking about massively-multiplayer online experiences, or MMOs. More often than not MMORPGs, MMOs involve tons of players, tons of grinding, tons of looting, tons of raiding, and tons of walking about huge digital worlds. These are some of the biggest games you’ll ever find and some of them have been played my millions for longer any other games have. Love ’em or hate ’em, MMOs were the natural step in the progress of video game technology once the internet came to fore. They’ve become an animal all their own, always enticing but be wary if you fall desperately into their wily traps, for ever. When MMOs attack, they attack hard. Avoid or tread lightly.

These are just a few of our more or less favorites…

FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

Guild Wars. Don’t care for it now, but I loved it…

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Elemental Challenge Day Nineteen: Racing

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Life in the fast lane. See you at the finish line. Put the pedal to the metal. I got a need and it just so happens to unironically be a need for speed. These and other familiar phrases evoke today’s genre at hand: Racing. Racing games, admittedly, are not my forte but I recognize their existence and the appeal of their high-speed antics. I’m particularly interested in those racing games which add a little something extra to the general structure of “drive from point A to point B”. Throwing items, seeing some combat, customizing vehicles, driving as the characters from beloved franchises, these are all things that push racing games a little further down the road. When can we get a Final Fantasy Kart? That’s what I wanna know.

Catch these favorites if you can…

FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

By far Mario Kart 8 is my favorite racing…

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Elemental Challenge Day Eighteen: Sports

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This is what happens when national pastimes collide. Today we’re talking about Sports games, what are essentially games about games. Several of us do more than our fair share of contributing to the stereotype that gamers are nerds who don’t like sports, but the fact is that video games based on football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and so on have been around since the dawn of gaming. For many people, these are gateway games into the digital universe with rules they already know and understand. For others, these are just reminders of a lack of athletic ability and general disinterest in the sports scene.

Regardless of what faction you personally fall into or if neither boot fits, the fact is that there are a lot of similarities between hardcore gamers and hardcore sports fans: generally speaking, both are extremely dedicated, both look down on the other, both are interested in…

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