Monday, March 26, 2012

SCX Slot Cars are manufactured by a company called Tecnitoys. The brand SCX was first started in Spain in the mid 1960's. Current cars are built to a 1/32nd scale and incorporate all the latest technologies such as, real scale modelling, the latest electronic devices and modern tampo printing. This means that the current crop of cars are realistic copies of the real race cars they represent.

Todays cars are produced in China, using ultra modern production facilities. The current range of cars include models that represent the following categories of racing;

American Nascar

GT Sports Car

German DTM Touring Car

Formula One

Vintage Slot Cars

Rally Cars

The modern cars are produced for two different operating systems. The original Analogue system and the new Digital system. I will explore both these systems in detail, in the following paragraphs.


Using this operating system, racers drive their cars around the track, staying in their own lane. Each driver has a hand throttle used to control their cars speed. The skill involves racing the car as fast as possible, without de-slotting from your lane. The driver who can lap quickest, without coming off wins the race. This system is simple in terms of electrical complexity and is easy to maintain. Another benefit of the analogue systems is that it is usually about half the cost of a Digital system. This system provides a good entry level for people just starting out in model car racing.


With the digital system up to six people can race on a two lane track. This is achieved by modern electronics. Each car is fitted with a digital chip, which is tuned to the drivers digital hand throttle. Special lane changing track sections allow cars to change lanes. This is accomplished when the driver depresses a lane changing button on his digital hand throttle, as he approached the lane changing section. As you can imagine, this adds a lot of extra excitement to the racing, as you can change lanes in order to overtake your opponent. Other digital accessories like, digital lap counting, pit stop fuel box and digital chronometer all add to the racing spectacle. The cost of a digital system is about double that of an analogue system.

SCX also produces a wide range of system accessories, they include various track sections, barriers, lap counters and chronometers. The company also produce a lot a spare parts for their cars, which include electric motors, various gearing components, pick up guides and racing braid.

In Summary, the SCX Racing Car Systems provide wonderful entertainment for both children and adults alike. Modern innovations such as the digital system, combined with other quality products, offer exciting slot car racing potential.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Worst Case Scenario Game

The Worst Case Scenario Game is a really fun game that I enjoy playing, and it's something that people of all ages can play.

It is created by University Games, a company that creates board games in both the US and Europe.

The Worst Case Scenario game was released in 2002, and features hundreds of survival scenarios. Players take turns reading survival scenario questions. First, the player whos turn it is rolls a die. Each question gives multiple-choice answers. The player whose turn it is listens to the question and tries to guess the answer. If the player gets the answer correct, that player moves forward the number of spaces he or she rolled. If the player gets the answer wrong, the reader gets to move that many spaces forward. The first player to the end wins!

The game sounds quite simple, but it is actually really entertaining. My wife and I play lots of board games, and this one has stuck around for quite a while even as we have quit playing many others out of boredom.

We usually play several times in a row, as the games can sometimes be quite short. Here are some example questions from the game:

    How to survive a tornado when in a car
    How to survive a kidnapping
    How to proceed if your car breaks down in heavy fog
    How to detect a letter bomb
    How to consume moldy food

As you can see, there are some really useful questions, and some that are a bit loopy or funny. I must admit, it can at times get a bit repetitive if you play many games in a row. If you take depend on this for example on a camping trip, be sure to bring other games as well to break things up.

This game was published around 2002 by University Games. University games sells board games in both the US and Europe, and has been around since the 80's. Here's a sample of the instructions, showing how to play the game:

Playing The Game

1. The youngest player's team goes first. Roll the die but do not move the playing piece.

2. The other team (Team 2) to the right of the youngest player's team (Team 1) picks a Worst-Case Scenario Survival Question Card from the Card Box and reads the question and the multiple choice answers to Team 1.

    If Team 1 answers correctly, they move their playing piece ahead the number of footprints shown on the die.
    If Team 1 does not answer correctly, they do not move their playing piece and Team 2 moves their playing piece ahead the number of footprints shown on the die.

3. Play passes to the left.

(NOTE: Many Worst-Case Scenario Survival situations have more than one correct answer, but only one possible correct answer is presented on each card.)

-I have much more information on the game at my website, The Worst Case Scenario Game, including instructions, example questions, pictures, and more!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The War on Used Games

As we prepare for the coming wave of next generation systems, we should be anticipating improvements on all the good things we associate with the current crop of systems. Moving forward we expect: better graphics, faster processors, more engaging games, you get the idea. But not everything that we're anticipating will be a progressive movement for gaming. At least, as far as Sony and Microsoft are concerned, you can wave goodbye to playing used games on their systems. Although these are just rumors at this point, it wouldn't be surprising if they came to fruition. It's very plausible, especially when taking into consideration that several game publishers have already fired shots at the used game market.
Most notable is Electronic Arts(EA), who became the first publisher to institute the practice of charging gamers, who bought used games, a fee to access codes that come with the game. To elaborate, Downloadable Content(DLC) codes are included with new copies of a particular game and only with those codes, can that content be accessed. EA expanded its project to include playing used games online. Gamers would now have to pay $10, in addition to the cost of the used game that they purchased, in order to have access to the online components of their game. Ubisoft has since followed suit, requiring an online pass for its games as well. You can identify the games which require an online pass as they bare the,"Uplay Passport", logo on the box.
Ubisoft decided they'd take things a step further and implement Digital Rights Management, a practice more often associated with DVD or CD anti-piracy efforts. Assassins Creed 2 was the first game to be effected by this practice. In order to play the PC version of Assassins Creed 2, gamers are required to create an account with Ubisoft and remain logged into that account in order to play the game. This means that if you lose your internet connection, the game will automatically pause and try to reestablish the connection. However, if you're unfortunate enough to be unable to reconnect to the internet you'll have to continue from your last saved game; losing any progress you may have made since then. This will be the case for all of Ubisoft's PC titles, regardless of one playing single-player or multi-player. While Digital Rights Management has been used to combat DVD and CD piracy for quite some time now, this will mark the first time it's been used for a video game. In light of Ubisoft's implementation of DRM, Matthew Humphries of, cautions that it's feasible that eventually even console games will require online registration in order to play them.
So what's the reason for all of this? According to According to Denis Dyack, the head of Silicon Knights, the sale of used games is cannibalizing the profit of the primary game market. He also claims that the used game market is somehow causing the price of new games to rise. His proposed solution is to move away from physical disks and embrace digital distribution. Essentially he'd like to see services like Steam or EA's Origin replace traditional hard copies. There are even rumors that the X-Box 720 will embrace the exclusive use of digital downloads and not use disks at all. Whether Microsoft will actually follow through with that plan remains to be seen.
One could argue that Sony has already laid the ground work for preventing used games from functioning on their future system. At the very least, they've already made quite an effort to make used games significantly less desirable. Kath Brice, of, reported that the latest SOCOM game for PSP, SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3, will require customers who purchase a used copy to pay an addition $20 dollars to receive a code for online play.
I'd like to see some quantifiable evidence to support the claim that used games are in fact hurting the sales of new games at all. Without some actual facts, it sounds to me like a whole lot to do about nothing. Case in point, within 24 hours Modern Warfare 3 sold 6.5 million copies, grossing $400 million dollars in sales. Correct me if I'm wrong but you haven't heard Infinity Ward complaining about the used game market and it affecting their bottom line. That's likely because they're too busy counting their money earned by creating games that people actually want to play. Imagine that. Maybe the problem isn't that used games have a negative impact on the sale of new games but, the problem is instead that game developers need to make better games that gamers are willing to pay full price for.
In my opinion, not every game is worth $60 simply because it's the suggested retail price. Looking at things objectively, not every game is created equally, therefore not every game is worthy of costing $60. Whether it's because that particular game failed to meet expectations and live up to the hype or because it lacks any sort of replay value. It's ludicrous to argue that gamers should pay top dollar for every game especially when they all too often turn out to be horrible disappointments, like Ninja Gadian 3, or they're riddled with glitches like Skyrim.
I suspect that the War on Used Games is nothing more than a money grab by developers, upset that they're unable to cash in on a very lucrative market. To put it in dollars and cents, in 2009 GameStop reported nearly $2.5 million dollars in revenue from the sale of used consoles and used games. And not one red cent of that profit reaches the pockets of game publishers. Greed as the motivating factor for the declaration of War on Used Games is transparent. Especially when you consider that when GameStop began separating their revenue from new games and used games in their financial statements, EA thereafter instituted their $10 dollar fee for used games.
In the absence of empirical evidence, I'll have to settle for anecdotal. I'll use myself as an example. I'm planning to purchase a used copy of Ninja Gaidan 2. I've never been a huge fan of the series. I didn't play the first one because I didn't have an Xbox and at the time it was an Xbox exclusive. And I never played the original version. Needless to say, I was never clamoring to play Ninja Gaidan 2. However the innovation in the second incarnation of the game, which allows you to disembowel your enemies, is enough of a novelty that I'd like to play through it at some point. I can buy it now, used, for about 10 dollars. If it was only being sold at full price I would more than likely pass on playing it altogether or maybe rent it. My point is that game developers are not losing money because of used games; you can't miss money you weren't going to receive anyway. They're simply not getting money they weren't going to get to begin with.
Unless you have a significant amount of disposable income and a considerable amount of free time, you're probably like me and you prioritize which games you plan to purchase and how much you're willing to pay for them. You decide which games are must haves and which games you'd like to play but are willing to wait for a price drop before getting them. Then there are the games which you're interested in, but they tend to fall through the cracks because they're not all that high on your radar and you'll maybe pick them up several months later, or even years after their release, if you ever pick them up at all.
I find it ironic that the looming death of the used game market could likely spell the demise of GameStop who, ironically, push their customers to pre-order new games and purchase them at full price. One would think that game publishers would be appreciative about this service and not detest GameStop and treat used games with such scorn. Pre-orders not only help promote their games but they function as a forecast of potential sales as well. Even Dave Thier, a contributor for Forbes Online, who describes GameStop as, "a parasitic bloodsucker that doesn't do much besides mark up discs and sit in the mall", recognizes the folly of passing the burden of the used game market onto the consumer.
I've only once pre-ordered a game myself. At the behest of J. Agamemnon, I pre-ordered Battlefield 3, which is ironically a property of EA. I paid full price for this game and was happy to do so. In large part because I was granted access to several weapons and maps that I would have had to wait to download had I not pre-ordered it. I propose that instead of punishing gamers for wanting to save their hard earned cash, the gaming industry needs to learn to incentivize gamers into wanting to pony up to that $60 dollar price tag.
I titled this article The War on Used Games in an effort to be tongue-in-cheek and poke fun at how whenever the government declares war on drugs or terror or whatever it may be, they only succeed in exacerbating the problem. It should come as no surprise seeing as how the government tends to take the most asinine approach possible trying to "solve" problems. The end result is always the same; precious time and resources are wasted, and the issue is that much worse than it was before they intervened. If the gaming industry does indeed go down this path; they'll only hurt themselves in the long run, fail to share in the revenue they so greedily covet and worst of all, hurt their customers, who keep the gaming industry abreast with currency.
It's very ironic and actually very fitting that it's EA who are spearheading the effort to attack the used game market when they themselves are one of the largest beneficiaries of used games. Chipsworld MD Don McCabe, told that EA has what he referred to as a "franchise software house" in that they "upgrade their titles; FIFA, Madden; all of these are effectively the same title upgraded each year. And people trade in last year's for this year's." He went onto say that those titles are the ones which are most often traded in. Shutting down the used games market effectively destroys a tried and true method in which fans of EA's franchises keep up-to-date with each of EA's annual releases. Aside from nostalgia, what would be the point of holding onto FIFA 11, when FIFA 12 is right around the corner?
Don McCabe, an executive at Chipsworld, explains that, "consumers won't prosper under this new system, as copies of the game will lose their resale value". He goes on to say that retailers will "just readjust [the price] bearing in mind you have to buy the voucher." The CEO of SwapGame cautions that "customers who trade in for cash or credit do so to acquire new games they could otherwise not afford." This means that ultimately it will be the publisher who ends up losing money because when retailers adjust their prices to reflect the increase in cost for used games, the resale value of the game will drop and new games are less likely to be purchased.
I'm a fan of several EA franchises, I enjoy Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and I'm a die hard Sony PlayStation enthusiast. As their customer, I'm outraged and offended by their current practices. I fear for what future methods they may use to further stifle or even kill the used game market. That said, I'm hopeful that these companies will be receptive to the outcry of their customers and adhere to our wants. I implore them to discontinue punishing their customers in an effort to capture what they perceive as missed profits. They risk not only alienating their customers but they risk finding themselves with significantly fewer customers and substantially less profit. And at the end of the day, that's really the bottom line.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Video Gaming Chairs: An Essential Element in Video Gaming

Whatever is your purpose of sitting, you need to sit comfortably if you are going to sit for a long time. This is why most serious gamers use gaming chairs. Though there are many different types of chairs designed and marketed by a number of companies, they all serve the same purpose and they all offer the same elements of comfort, durability, and good looks.

When it comes to comfort these chairs are designed to fit the gamers' body shape in order to provide the right kind of posture when one sits on one of them. Their cushions are made of high quality materials such as memory foam and the covers are made out of mesh to make them breathable. They are offered either with or without pedestals. Most of these are rocking chairs that offer more comfort to gamers.

When a gamer sits on one of these chairs, he does not need to use wired earphones as these chairs have either wireless speakers or ports to connect earphones. The chairs could connect to audio sources wirelessly and they have volume controllers and bass/treble controllers most often. Some of the chairs provide storage pockets also.

Durability is also a common feature with most of the gaming chairs. One of the reasons is the material with which they are being made. Another is the shape and their designs. When a gamer sits on one of these chairs, he never needs to move around the chair to make himself comfortable. Therefore, the chair will last a long time. The other reason for the durability is that when one of these chairs is not in use, there is the possibility of stowing it away until it becomes necessary to use it again.

Gaming chairs are attractively finished. Most of them are offered in attractive colors. Cushioning also has been done to make them attractive. The shapes also give them good looks. Both ones with and without pedestals are designed to make them look nice. Many of the more expensive chairs are cushioned with faux leather to create a rich look. All these factors contribute to provide the good looks these chairs have.

When you consider all these common properties gaming chairs offer, it is not difficult to figure out the benefits of buying one for yourself if you are a serious gamer. In case you have kids, it is a good idea to buy one for them.

Gaming chairs are an essential element in video gaming. Therefore, it is necessary for you to choose the right gaming chair.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tricks in Playing Scrabble

Do you want to learn the tricks in playing Scrabble? This word game needs two to four players who will draw seven letters randomly to create words. Whoever player who get the highest point will be the winner.

Successful players have a great plethora of words which they use for their advantage. But for a beginner, it is important to study and memorize first a list of words to gain an advantage in playing this game. The goal of this word game is to earn the most number of points.

It is very crucial for players to make use of high scoring letters to gain high score. If a player manages to make 7 letter words in a single turn, the player will be given an additional 50 bonus points. There are also some tricks that work well in this game to help you achieve a higher score.

When playing word games, it is important to know the list of words that have a high value points like letters X, Z and Q. These letters seem invaluable and awkward for players to use because there are hardly words available with these letters. However, X can be utilized in two-letter words like ox and ax. There are a lot more word lists to memorize that can be help in improving your points.

In fact, if you know how to use the Scrabble Solver, you can identify 124 two-letter words that are found in the English Dictionary. It is also helpful to note that blank tiles should only be used carefully because it will cause you to lose your turn.

In addition, you have to make use of the S letter wisely. Do not use it in low scoring words because you need to save the S letter when you have an opportunity to use a high scoring word. If you place it in an adjoining bonus square, you will get additional points.

If you want to succeed in this word game, you need to cleverly use high scoring letters. You also need to target premium squares because it can help you to multiply your scores. There are also many online tools which you can use to get a list of words that belongs to a particular cluster.

Playing word games is fun and easy if you know how to apply these tricks. Word games will help you to increase your vocabulary and to sharpen your mind, as well.