Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: DRM

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is DRM what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: DRM = A copyright protection system for digital media, including games, films and music.

Why You Care: DRM is a catch-all term for any number of anti-theft technologies that prevent players from making copies of games they own. DRM is a thorny topic in video-game communities. Though it is ostensibly intended to prevent piracy, DRM attempts are often implicated in game-breaking bugs, and there have been a number of scandals in which DRM technology is used to implement planned obsolescence, to selectively “curate” player communities, or to install spyware onto player computers for “research”/corporate espionage. Thus there are many factions in the debate over DRM, including both camps who object to any kind of DRM on idealogical grounds, and those who agree with the spirit of DRM as a measure to protect the livelihood of games creators, but are wary of its misuse. Intrusive DRM often cited as a reason for pirating games, with a significant number of players going so far as to legally purchase a game, then download a hacked “DRM-free” copy instead of their actual purchase. “DRM-free” is a selling point for many players, who will actively seek out marketplaces which offer legitimate DRM-free versions of games and boycott companies or services that have persistently been implicated in DRM related scandals.

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Words Worth Knowing

New Entries: Slither.io

We see a lot of iterations on the classic game of Snake pass through the GameHub offices and we are pretty OK with that, because Snake is a good title for families. It’s familiar to gamers of all ages, and this gives it a “pick up and play” appeal to a wide range of people, from both die-hard gamers to cautious casual players to complete first-timers. And Slither.io is a Snake game with a really quite innovative twist.  Its what’s properly known as a MMO, a Massively Multiplayer Online [Game,] meaning that you don’t just play against the computer, or against yourself, but against thousands of other people, online, from around the world, all at the same time!  The screen quickly gets hectic as players duck, dive and weave around one another, but, as with almost all multiplayer games, there are some social aspects of the game which parents may wish to make themselves aware of.

Click the icon below to read our parental content report for Slither.io:

slitherio

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Boss Fight

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is a boss fight what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Boss Fight = A challenging fight against an unusually powerful enemy.

What It Means: Boss fights are the most challenging fight sequences in a game, testing the player’s skills. These fights often have a secondary function of dividing the game up into chapters, with the boss battle signalling the end of an area or level and heralding a new section of the story. Though not always the case, boss battle enemies are often much physical larger than the player’s own character. Completing a boss fight nearly always earns the player a useful in-game reward, but they long-winded to play, requiring precise timing and complex moves, and represent a bottle-neck to player progression. Struggling to complete a boss fight can cause a player to become very frustrated and irritable as they are forced to retry the segment over and over again.

Why You Care: A traditional component of game design, boss fights have fallen out of favour amongst some creators and critics, though it does vary considerably from genre to genre. Experienced gamers will often find they have played boss fights with the same “solution” in multiple games, eg tricking the enemy into running into a wall and becoming dazed. Boss fights often require the player to react quickly and accurately in order to win the day, with even one wrong move requiring them to start the long sequence all over again. Players need to concentrate deeply at these times and may become bad-tempered and snappish if disturbed. If stuck, it is usually beneficial to take a break and return to the challenge refreshed.

New Entries

New Entries: Open Bar

Open Bar is exactly the kind of game that shows a need for services like GameHub. Open Bar is  a cerebral and strategic puzzle game, created  by developers who had previously worked on titles in the Assassins Creed franchise. But it’s themed around bars and alcohol, which may well have put many players and parents off choosing it. Yet a close analysis of the content and gameplay reveals the boozy content is only skin-deep. This could well be a game that is suitable and entertaining for the young gamers in your family.

Click the icon below to read our parent-friendly game guide and report:

openbar

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Skins

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What are skins what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Skins = The appearance of the player’s character.

What It Means: In games which permit a player a character or avatar to represent them on the screen, the appearance of that character is referred to as it’s “skin.” The word skin is a useful one to know, as it gives non-gamers and gamers alike an interesting insight into the “magic behind the curtain” of games creation. The appearance is referred to as a “skin” because when it is saved by the game, all the layers of clothing, accessories, colours and illusions of shapes are saved down as a completely flat 2D file, a literal skin. When that skin is used in the game, it is exported and wrapped around the 3D “mesh” that forms the body of the character.

Why You Care: Many games allow players to customise their character with new outfits, facial expressions, skin tones, accessories and more and this is referred to as customising the “skin.” Players will often enjoy creating skins for the characters of their favourite games and downloading the creations of other players. A word of caution: parents of teenagers may wish to perform a cursory check to ensure that any downloaded skins are wearing an appropriate number of items of clothing…

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Minecraft’s blocky art style makes the concept of “skins” easy to grasp. Like folding up a box from a 2D paper template, these skins start off flat and become 3D images in the game.

croftskin

New Entries

New Entries: Marco Polo Ocean

It can sometimes be hard to find suitable titles for your youngest family members. Marco Polo Ocean, our third game for the month of November, is specifically designed for curious tots, and offers a fun, safe digital place to explore the seas either alone or with the help of a parent/elder sibling.

Check out our report for this game by clicking the icon below:

marcopoloocean

 

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Bundle

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is a bundle what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Bundle = A package of  games sold together.

What It Means: Bundling is a the term for multi-buys on games. The consumer receives multiple games in one purchase for a reduced price.

Why You Care: Bundling is a great way to get lots of games for a reduced price. Games bundles allow players to make big savings, and encourage them to try new titles they might not otherwise have bought. We recommend bundling deals as a good way to save money, particularly around festive holidays.

Admin

New Entries: Deus Ex Go

Our second game for the month of November is another entry from the Square Enix “Go” franchise. This smart range of mobile games reimagines violent, story-driven action games for console/PC into challenging puzzle games with a more family-friendly presentation. We love this range, as it allows players to interact with popular gaming franchises in a new way. The Deus Ex “Go” offering is the most challenging one yet, and will certainly get everyone’s grey matter working!

Click the icon below to read in detail about the specifics of this game:

deusexgo

 

 

Words Worth Knowing

Words Worth Knowing: Speed Running

One of the most challenging aspects of video-games culture for a newcomer, especially for a busy parent, is trying to learn and understand the many, many acronyms and specialised terms. GameHub HQ entries are jargon-free, so you can get the information you need as easily and painlessly as possible, but there are still some words worth knowing. Every Monday, we break down one Word Worth Knowing from the world of gaming.

What is speed-running what do you need to know and why do you need to care?

What It Is: Speed Running = Playing a game through from start to finish far faster than it was originally intended to be played.  Speed-running is a public entertainment performance, broadcast online by talented individuals as well as at large-scale sponsored entertainment events.

What It Means: Speed-running is when a player utilises known bugs, glitches, shortcuts, console commands and tricks in order to play a game through at high speed. Games which would take an ordinary player many hours to complete can be “completed” by talented speed-runners in mere minutes. The Games Done Quick events are the most famous example of an international speed-running event and, as with most gaming events, has a strong element of community and charitable giving, with money raised for cancer charities, autism charities, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières and for emergency relief during the aftermath of the 2011 Japan Earthquake.

Why You Care: Speed-running requires an expert level knowledge of the target game, delving deeply into the code, theory and structures of how the game is put together, in order to rip it apart and find new paths. This meticulous research and play-testing takes hundreds of hours, and can appear obsessive. Speed-running is a public entertainment form – a sort of “magic tricks with video-games” – and often with a competitive or faux-competitive angle. When speed-runners are online, they are performing under immense pressure. If the young people in your life want to take up speed-running, they will likely need a level of support from you to ensure they take regular screen breaks and are able to channel their stress effectively when on camera. Good speed-runners become celebrities within their own communities, who recognise the hard work and talent required to execute the most impressive speed-runs.

New Entries

New Entries: Twinkle

Our first game for the month of November is a Mandarin Chinese language learning game called Twinkle. Players tap on the twinkling words in order to form sentences and phrases. The game is simple, and perhaps a little rough around the edges, but is a straightforward and effective way for learners to drill their grammar and vocabulary.

Read our report about this game by clicking the icon below:

twinkle