Before we begin – Get one thing straight – I BOUGHT this dog. It is mine forever. It is not a 7 or 14 day trial. Yes, it’s expensive. No, it’s not a toy. It’s the most advanced artificial intelligence available to a regular consumer. It is different from Furreal friends and Zoomers and Teknik and similar toy robot dogs. Why? The reason why Sony Aibo is so expensive and so unlike any other robot dog on the consumer market today is thanks to impressive Artificial Intelligence. – That’s the claim anyways. Now I’ve only had mine for four days so I’m not sure yet how impressive that AI really is.
For those following my blog, you might already know that I’m a multimedia content creator – not just for this blog here – but as a fulltime living for a real client in the real world. I do everything marketing related for them, from print advertising, video production and editing, online advertising, tradeshow events, email marketing, social media management, and so much more.
Pre-Covid I used to work in the office, and so all the equipment I needed was right at my fingertips and provided by the company. I didn’t have much say or choice in what I used. When it came to drawing tablets we had a very small Wacom tablet. The old-school kind without the screen built-in. It wasn’t bad, I graduated undergrad college in 2006, and my MBA around 2012 or so, and so I was familiar with and used to using Wacom. Even back in my childhood, my stepdad who was the one who first bought me Corel Draw and started me down this career path back in the 90s, at some point bought me a REALLY old-school Wacom tablet, an off-white color, big heavy thing with a DONGLE. They don’t make those anymore. This was a dinosaur – but that proves that Wacom’s been around for ages… and well yes, certain things have changed, they now have better pens, and a nifty ergonomic standing base and even some very pricey Wacom that are self-sufficient stand-alone units – for a cool $3,000+ dollars.
I recently purchased Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio from Bestbuy. The highest end model here. It’s awesome when it works… but after just a few days my pen died. I tried changing the batteries. I know how to charge it. It sits under the laptop near the track pad. It will not light up. My device settings say the batteries are at 100%. I read about unpairing and repairing the pen, so I tried that. I was able to unpair it, but not able to repair it back to the device. For $3,000 for the laptop and $100 for the pen, I expected more…
Gamepads are typically the preferred controller when playing video games. However, taking a look at the benefits of opting for an arcade stick, also known as a fight stick, it makes sense why one would want to make a switch.
Video game streaming has blown up in popularity recently. More and more gamers are not only watching streamers online, but becoming video game streamers themselves! Video game streaming is a great way to connect with other gamers and the gaming community and you can even make money streaming your playing! People are quick to judge gamers, saying there’s no way to make money by playing video games. Recently, that’s been completely turned on its head. Streaming is a massive industry, with thousands and thousands of viewers and streamers alike! If you’ve been wondering how to successfully start streaming your video games, this guide is for you.
But largely, console gaming was the highlight of my childhood. That’s where all the anime games or JRPGs or story rich games were, especially in the 16 and 32 bit eras, which still remain my favorite gaming period of all time. Genesis, Sega CD, SNES, Saturn, PS1, PS2, and Dreamcast, the majority of my favorite games, still to this day, lived on one of those great consoles.
But nowadays, I barely play console games anymore. Occasionally there may be an exclusive that catches my eye, such as Persona 5 on PS4, or Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the Wii U. I even bought a Wii U just for that game in fact.
But now, so many games are cross platform, and so many people like me, who grew up in the 16 and 32 bit eras are making their own indie games now such as To the Moon, Always Sometimes Monsters, Rakuten, Undertale, etc. This completely changes the gaming landscape. Now PC is by and far my preferred gaming “platform” of choice.
And where once, JRPGs reigned on Consoles, they now thrive on the PC or even on mobile devices, and in the past 5 years we’ve seen a huge explosion of visual novels and Otome games as well on both PC and mobile – and barely any of those have been released (at least in English) on consoles.
Where once the PC had almost no games that appealed to my tastes, now suddenly, more and more each year, I find the PC to offer so many games I want to play that I don’t have the time, nor money, to possibly play them all! I have over 700 steam games already (and a handful on Origin, and about 50 more on GOG, and then of course my old CDs from the 90s which have yet to get released digitally.) And that’s not taking into account the PC’s ability to emulate the console games I own (probably around 300+ games there too). And emulation is perfectly legal as long as you own the original games, which I still do.
This puts the number of games I can play on my PC right now today, without buying a single thing, at well over 1,000 games! — How many of those games I’ve actually played, is probably around 25%, and how many I’ve beaten to completion / all endings etc, is probably like 5%. lol. But the point is, there has never been a better time to play girl games on your PC. If you’re a girl, there’s plenty of games that you should check out on PC. This wasn’t the case 20 years ago; my how the landscape has changed!
Here is a list of games due out in 2018 that are on my radar! I’ve selected these games for one of the following reasons: Decisions Matter, Branching Plot, Multiple Endings, Cute/Kawaii Graphics, Excellent Story, Innovating (or at least really fun) Gameplay, and Customization. If you look for the same qualities in your games, check out the list below. Warning, it’s long.
This list is not in any order – largely it’s sorted by release date, because that’s how I was browsing the games while researching this post.
Our first recommendation reminds me of Horizons New Dawn, one of my all time favorite super nintendo games.
This visual Novel Has Some Beautiful Graphics
Til the Dawn, Waiting
This looks sad, and also features animals, a powerful combination to tug at any heart strings
Franky the Bumwalker
Super cute and colorful adventure game that probably doesn’t take itself too seriously.
This indie RPG features an extesnive crafting system and city building aspects as well as cute retro graphics.
Stunt Corgi VR
If you’re lucky enough to have a VR headset you might like this title that lets you create obstacle courses and watch a cute corgi try to navigate the courses you create.
If you like rhythm games, you might like this one with cute anime artwork. Plus it’s free to play.
The Mind Hero
An anime visual novel where you help 8 different characters overcome their trauma. It aims to teach psychology inside a video game. It’s also free and features a comic book style.
This looks to be a very emotionally engaging and beautiful pixel retro style RPG. The developers have said that the game uses real-life world war 2 letters that were written by soldiers to their families.
The ability to customize everything about your mechs and the appeal of mecha genres from decades of anime such as macross, robotech, go lion, voltron, evangelion, gundamn, etc, make this appeal to me, despite the more dark realistic graphics. The gameplay looks fantastic. And who doesn’t love giant robots?
In The Valley of Gods
Explore pyramids in this narrative adventure.
This game aims to balance the skills and economy of its players so that they are forced to work together. Sounds promising. Let’s see how that works once the game releases.
This just looks so utterly adorable!
With a name like Boyfriend Dungeon, how could this not make our list? It’s an otome dating sim and hack n slash RPG adventure, where the boys are weapons.
The Iron Oath
I am beyond excited for this game! True, it doesn’t have the visual aesthetic that I like, but nearly everything about the gameplay appeals to me greatly! Decisions matter, the guild management sounds fun, every character has a back story. Characters die / perma death, you recruit new characters, I’m ready to play this awesome looking tactical RPG.
Living the Deal
Business Management and Life Simulation Game. This one is high on my wishlist (despite how hideously ugly the characters look lol).
Play as cute wolves chasing cute sheep in a game which promises unlockable content and character customization.
Freedom Planet 2
Furrie fans and fans of old school Sonic games still love the original Freedom Planet, and soon the wait is over for the much anticipated sequel.
The Forgettable Dungeon
Co-op Action RPG that you can play with up to 15 friends.
Next Up Hero
A DDoS Attack or Distributed Denial of Service Attack, is a strategy which attempts to shut down a network by flooding it with traffic. The traffic often comes from a group of systems which has been infected with a virus or trojan. These attacks typically happen due to the gaming server having outdated, misconfigured, or conflicting security settings which the hackers can then exploit to execute their attacks.
Everyday more than 150 million people around the world play online games; online gaming has soared into a multi-billion dollar industry with players from North America, Asia, Europe, and all around the globe logging in and connecting simultaneously. The game servers are usually tested to withstand a certain threshold of activity, and new servers added or closed as the game ages and audience and traffic changes. However, a gaming server can easily be over taxed by sudden spikes in traffic, making it a juicy target for DDoS attackers.
Often times, single player or competitive teams are also targeted by DDoS attacks when it comes to online gaming tournaments. Some players use these attacks to get an unfair advantage, while others use it as a ransomware attack where in the player must pay money to remove the threat. We even see these types of attacks on Twitch and similar streaming services where a group will flood a user’s twitch stream to interrupt their gameplay and live stream. Since many people are “professional gamers” and earn a livelihood by streaming or competing in gaming tournaments, these attacks cause lost of wages as well as frustration.
Gaming is a prime target for DDoS attacks because so many games require online connectivity, and so many gamers have an emotional connection to their favorite games which increases frustration and havoc when the attack hits. Gaming servers are also easy to disrupt, because you do not need to fully take a server offline to render it unplayable. Attackers can simply disrupt the server to the point where lag renders the controls unresponsive and interferes with gameplay.
In the case of Sony, gamers took the company to court and won a class action lawsuit costing Sony millions of dollars. This proves that Gaming networks are liable and responsible for delivering uninterrupted service and taking appropriate precautions to help mitigate such attacks.
Also, as Sony has proven, it’s not just PC games which come under DDoS attack. Console games and even mobile games are also at risk.
Gaming servers often require special consideration when it comes to implementing security measures to help mitigate these attacks. Since many DDoS bots are becoming more sophisticated and mimicking human player behavior, many gaming companies are forced to decide between stricter security measures which could trigger false positives and block access to the game for many legitimate players, or to lower their defenses and make the game widely accessible to players all over the world, but at the risk of also being accessed by bots and attackers.
There are three basic types of DDoS attacks:
Volumetric Attacks are the most common type of DDoS attack. They work by throttling the bandwidth causing the servers to shut down by flooding them with high volumes of constant traffic.
Protocol Attacks target the infrastructure and resources of a server, such as the firewall and load balancers.
Application Layer Attacks target security vulnerabilities in Apache, Windows, and OpenBSD. These attacks mimic human behavior and perform a slow and steady string of seemingly innocent requests that overtime will cripple the server.
How Can You Protect Your Server from DDoS Attacks?
You can help protect your gaming servers from DDoS attacks by implementing additional security software or services such as those offered by KODDoS. KODDoS protects you from DDoS attacks by detecting and blocking the attack in less than milliseconds ensuring that your servers remain online and without interruption of service. You also have access to a team of DDoS experts 24/7 who work to monitor incoming attacks and implement solutions in real time or on demand giving you around the clock DDoS protection.
KODDoS works to protect against all types of DDoS attacks by using many layers of filtration to mitigate the attacks. They have a large 400Gbps network, which once the traffic hits their network, they apply ACL rules to block malicious traffic at the edge of the network.
The traffic then reaches a scrubbing center and is filtered based on different signatures and predefined traffic patterns. Each packet is analyzed to ensure no malicious traffic reaches the client’s servers. These methods work to protect against layer 3/4 attacks as well as layer 7 attacks which are harder to detect and which target applications and web servers using only a small amount of bandwidth.
They have a full range of DDoS solutions ranging from plans for web hosts, VPS networks, remote servers, or enterprise dedicated servers. With pricing starting at just $39.99 a month.
You can also contact them for a free consultation to help decide which of their services are the best fit for you.
Check them out at https://koddos.net/
Please Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am not being compensated by Best Buy to write this. I did receive an email from Best Buy wanting me to complete a survey (for a chance to win a gift card) regarding my recent purchase. But then I thought, the comments I made in the survey, might make for a good Blog Post for my readers here, especially if supplemented with some info about the Laptop itself.
It’s tax refund time. Like most Americans, instead of saving, investing, or putting this money to good use, it’s time to go have FUN! (yes, I know, not smart or responsible of me lol.) My last laptop was purchased at Sam’s Club for around $750 back in 2013. It was just a “mid-range” “budget” laptop. In no way was it a “gaming” laptop, except that I researched and selected a model with a dedicated graphic card and enough RAM to play most games at the time back then on “medium” settings.
Prior to that laptop, I did in fact have an Alienware and it did last 7 or 8 years, compared to 3 to 4 years, being able to play newly released games on medium settings. However, I paid over $2000 for said Alienware. So then it occurred to me, that I could just buy “throw away” laptops, for less than half the cost, and just upgrade (to another “throw away” or “mid-tier” laptop every few years as needed.).
So when I got my tax refund, I set out to find just such a laptop. a mid-tier “throw away after 3 years” “gaming” laptop. My goal was to stay below $800. I was not expecting much in this price range. I was not looking for a “true gaming laptop”, just something that could “play without crashing” on medium settings.
What I got for under $800 is so much more than a “throw away” laptop. It’s actually a legit Gaming Laptop!! Not only can this system play a 2016/2017 AAA gaming title on “medium settings” without crashing; it can even play them on high settings.
I purchased this item as an open box (former store display) from my local Best Buy. Here is the same model available online – and where you can check to see if it’s available as an Open Box either online or at your local Best Buy. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-rog-gl502vt-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i7-12gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/5090905.p?skuId=5090905
I would say, keep an eye on Best Buy’s pricing even if you do purchase this item and after bringing it home. Here’s my little Best Buy story. I purchased the Asus ROG Strix on 3/28/2017. At that time, the price on the “Satisfactory” Open Box model at my local Best Buy store was listed at $806. When I went to checkout, the associate working at Best Buy told me that the price was actually $899 (still before taxes, etc. After taxes it was actually $960 (which yes, was over my expected budget.)
I still thought $899 was a good buy for a $1200 gaming laptop with great reviews all over the internet (some of which reviews I will share with you later in this article). So I didn’t give too much push back on that price and just accepted it as is.
The associate had tried to tell me it was the same computer / same model / everything, but that they had 2 or 3 in the store and had sold the one listed at that price. But my receipt still said “Satisfactory Open Box”, and that’s what the pricing on the website supposedly reflected – for my specific store location even. I felt somewhat jaded but still happy to save $300.
The next day, I was once again reading the reviews about the laptop on Best Buy’s website and I discovered the item was on sale now, and as such, the price on all models, new, or open box, had been lowered.
I called and asked if they would be willing to price match the newer pricing. I was told “yes” but I was still skeptical because they wouldn’t even honor the original supposed price on the website (it was not a website price; it was for my local store “In-store only” price for an open box model available at my store marked as being in the same condition as the one I purchased.)
It is a 45 minute drive to my nearest Best Buy, so after work, I made the journey back to my Best Buy. This was yesterday, on the 29th of March 2017, with hopes that they would in fact honor the new lower pricing. It did take a bit for them to lookup whatever they needed to in their computers, and I could sense some resistance, but overall, both the manager and cashier at customer service were polite and professional. And I walked out of it feeling respected and valued as a customer, and with a refund of $201.69 to match the new lower pricing.
Now today when I view the item, it’s up to $765 instead of $711.
So that’s why I’m saying, keep an eye out for this. I guess their prices change every day??? It’s strange to me, and kinda shady, but you can’t deny the awesome savings you get by shopping at Best Buy.
If you print out the website pricing for your local store, as well as show them your order history on their own website/app on your mobile phone, there’s little they can do to argue (IE they can’t tell you it’s a different model or part number, because it’s right in your order history on your phone, etc).
Overall, I would shop at Best Buy again, especially for Open Box products. I also was in a few months ago and snagged a Sony HDTV open box model for under $120 and have been very happy with that purchase.
One thing I absolutely love about Best Buy is their return policy. They let you take home any product in their store for 15 days, try it out as much as you’d like, and return it for a full refund within 15 days (or 14 days for cellphones). This is amazing when buying a gaming PC, because you can actually make sure your games are going to run the way you expect!
Per Best Buy’s description this model features the following gaming specifications:
Nvidia Geforce 970m Graphics Card
6th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ mobile processor
1TB Hard Drive to store all your games
And best of all, it weighs less than 5 lbs!
I know this laptop is NOT “future proof” — The Nvidia 970m graphics card now ranks at number 11 overall according to http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/ — making it well on its way already to becoming a “mid-tier” gaming rig. But for the price I got the open box Asus ROG Strix for, at just $711, it still blows anything else in that price range out of the water.
Here is a look at the Nvidia 970m performance when comparing to the newer Nvidia 10xx cards. This information is from http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=2981&cmp%5B%5D=3595&cmp%5B%5D=3548
And according to Notebookcheck.net which I always heavily rely on when looking at new laptops, the 970m is still considered to be a “high-end” Graphics card. – So while it is in no way as powerful as the Nvidia 10xx cards, it can still hold its own on nearly any game out there right now. Interestingly enough, the benchmarks on Notebookcheck.net show the 970m performing on nearly equal footing with the Nvidia 1050 Ti.
Notebookcheck.net also lists the FPS (frames per second) for popular 2016 and 2017 games for the Nvidia 970m in the following chart. This chart shows that Nvidia 970m can play many 2017 games on high or even ultra graphic settings while achieving 40+FPS.
Notice on some games, you’ll want to lower the graphic settings to medium to achieve 40FPS. While on other games, you can play in high or ultra and attain 60+FPS. It’s subjective as to the type of game. Not all games “need” 60FPS.
For example, if you play a lot of First Person Shooters or Action games, especially ones with PVP against other players online, you will want higher Frames Per Second so you can out perform your competition. But, if you mostly play RPGs – which I assume is true for my readers here, 40FPS is a perfectly acceptable frame rate without any lag or choppiness. Anything below 30FPS will be noticeably laggy and possibly unplayable.
We all know that processors are not the main thing to consider when shopping for a Gaming PC. Intel is getting ready to launch their 8th generation of Intel Processors, deemed Coffee Lake later in 2017. This follows up Kaby Lake which was released last year. However, my ASUS ROG Strix has a chip from 2015 called Sky Lake. But according to Networkworld.com, “Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors: No performance gains The new chips are pretty much even with the last generation.” – Source: networkworld.com http://www.networkworld.com/article/3155403/computers/intels-new-kaby-lake-processors-no-performance-gains.html
Still my ASUS came with the Intel I7 Quad Core, compared to the similarly priced Dell XPS that I was considering which had less RAM and only an I5 Processor (but a slightly better graphics card):
Editor’s Note: Today’s Guest Post comes from one of our readers, Marie Miguel, who shares with us some awesome prices for “gaming” laptops. Not all of the laptops on her list are suitable for “Core” gamers because some of them have intel integrated graphics cards – however, quite a few on her list do have Nvidia or AMD dedicated graphic cards – and all of them on the list would be suitable for casual gamers who enjoy indie or retro games. Check out her suggestions below, and leave a comment about your gaming rig – or about other great deals for affordable gaming laptops – in our comments section below.
Already they are offering up some pretty sweet deals for geeks and gamers. I recommend bookmarking and checking back as often as possible. I’m hoping for a PS4 Bundle or Console to go on sale. I have enough already to purchase, but since it is that time of year, saving some money never hurts, and I’ve waited this long already to get myself the newest consoles, so might as well hang in there a few more weeks and see what happens!
Last year, amazon had amazing black friday and cyber monday exclusive gaming bundles for all three major game systems including Xbone, PS4, and WiiU. This year the savings should be even greater since the technology continues to age and the market gets even more competitive with new consoles such as the Xbox Scorpio, PS4 Pro, and (soon to be released) Nintendo Switch, which means the standard Xbox One, PS4 Slim, and possibly Wii U will need to discount their inventory to see a strong finish this year.
PC Gamers are not to be forgotten, RIGHT NOW amazon has awesome Black Friday deals on headsets, lightup keyboards, game controllers, gaming mice, and more. There are some great deals such as headsets for 65% off, hot new release games for both console and pc at up to 75% off and many more.
Amazon even has a page set up specifically for gaming deals here: http://amzn.to/2evLcYi
or a general one for Electronics here: http://amzn.to/2evMYZH
I’m also needing a new gaming laptop, and Amazon has a page for PC and Laptop deals here: http://amzn.to/2elLmON
Video Games not your thing? Maybe you want some boardgames, legos, cute plushies, dolls, or figures? If so amazon also has a page for you here: http://amzn.to/2fp9ssJ
And the sales will continue into cyber monday as well and Cyber Monday has it’s own page for deals which will be located at http://amzn.to/2fk9JB3 once it goes live later this month.
Per Amazon’s site:
“Black Friday Deals–The Party Is Just Getting Started!
Black Friday 2016 will be here soon, but we didn’t want you to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to save on Black Friday deals, so we are counting down to Black Friday 2016 with exciting deals today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and…you get the picture. Stop by each day through November 24 for early Black Friday deals, including sales on electronics, low prices on DVDs, magazine subscription specials, toy bargains, and fashionable deals for women, men, kids & baby, and more. You’ll find our best Black Friday deals, and Deal of the Day bargains you won’t want to resist for holiday gifts.
Something else to be excited about–at Amazon, Black Friday 2016 isn’t just a day to us–it’s a whole week! We’ll kick off Black Friday Deals Week early with Black Friday deals and sales all day every day that week, including Black Friday, with those big after-Thanksgiving sales you’ve been waiting for. Trust us, if you love a good deal, you won’t want to miss it!
To continue the excitement, we have made Cyber Monday 2016 a whole week too! We’ll be kicking off Cyber Monday with a week’s worth of cyber deals, just in time for you to get back to work after Thanksgiving … and shop online. Shhh … we won’t tell your boss! You’ll find more great deals every day during Cyber Monday Deals Week.
So stop by any day, or better yet, every day. We’ll be here with great deals!”
There’s laptops and desktops on sale for the next 24 hours only.
My pick for all of you gamers is the Inspiron 15 7000 Touch which comes with a 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor, 8GB Memory, and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5 for just $799.99 which is $200 off Dell’s regular price. It also has thermal cooling and benchmarks pretty well on the latest games on high and ultra graphic settings. All this power in just a tiny 6 pound package. The touch screen is nice too especially if you enjoy casual games – My current laptop (which is now about 4 years old and in need of an upgrade) has a touch screen, and it really comes in handy for a lot of games and graphic art programs.
Check out all of the great deals and get your Christmas shopping done early, or buy something for yourself 🙂