Playing Games Is Better with Friends

I can enjoy a good single player game as much as the next gamer. In fact, being by myself can sometimes be cathartic. But only sometimes.

Hotacularity! Having an added interactive personality or two to spice up the time you spend with your favorite pixels? Why, who could resist? Friends, and people in general, make gaming multidimensional. They point out things you may have missed, spend joyous hours entertaining you, share the journey of your characters from one point to another, and make you feel like not so much of a geeky gamer freak because hey – you’ve got friends who play too, so spending twenty hours a week or more on an activity atypical to most people in society isn’t quite so lonely an affair.

My personal favorite? Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions during PvP combat.

Playing video games with your friends has been revolutionized by the widespread use and acceptance of the Internet. Nowadays getting everyone together for a game or two can be a whole lot more frequent than once every one to two or more weeks, depending on lifestyle.

I can’t tell you how glad I am for that fact. I see my friends congregated for an evening once every four months. What a lonely gaming life that would be if connectivity weren’t so readily available.

Friends bring so much to the table, all of which is based on their own personality.

You may have a strategist who thinks up imaginative plans to defeat a boss or event, a jack of all trades who can supply you with necessary information on that secondary profession you’ve always hated and couldn’t stand to level, the organizer who plans dungeon crawls and leads everyone through, or a joker that will always manage to get a laugh or two. Perhaps you’ve got all types.

Or maybe you’ve formed a dynamic duo. Here’s my tribute to you – so activate those wonder twin powers. Pairs in games create well oiled and much more easily mobile machines.

Friends are there to share the good times where you reach the maximum level, the bad times when the boss refuses to drop your shiny new armor, and the worst times when the Game Masters accidentally turn your toon into a boy. Yech.

She got hit by a CAR. And sometimes you’ll find that it’s not just friends who lend amusement and more enjoyment to a game, but also any random players you may meet in persistent worlds or the game chatrooms.

I will never forget the day I walked into the great foyer of a game’s hardest instance with a raid ready to tear apart the most difficult boss, to be greeted by a group of individuals reciting poetry.

Yeah, I have no idea either.

While I do enjoy NPCs being totally off their rockers and bickering incessantly with my character as in many RPGs, real humans add the elements of surprise and change.

I certainly have my share of anecdotes and very fond memories. Don’t you? If you do, don’t hesitate to share them with us below.

Can Video Games Be Considered Toys?

A thing you can play with. Is that automatically a toy?

This is the thing we’re trying to answer in today’s article where we’re debating an interesting subject suggested by our readers: are video games toys?

Interestingly, many people consider video games toys. Just because you can “play games” and you can “play with toys”. But there’s equally more people who consider video games something else than toys.

Even Best Buy seems to have conflicting beliefs. According to a report from the Consumerist, when one Best Buy customer tried to use a coupon that was intended for the purchase of toys to buy some video games, he was not allowed. However, the company lists video games under the “Games & Toys” category on their website…

So how is it, in the end? Can we consider video games part of the toys category or vice-versa?

For those who consider games part of the toys category, there are a few arguments that we’re listing below:

– the term “toys” is extremely vague nowadays and it basically refers to a means of playing a game. The actual game itself can be considered a toy since we’re talking about physical products (consoles, discs for the games – even though these are starting to lose popularity).

Those who consider video games to be more – or at least something else than toys – have, among others, these valid reasons:

– Video games let you play. They are not toys, as other games like hide an seek and so on can’t be considered toys, even though you do play these!

– Toys are simple tools. In order to turn them into something entertaining, you need to use your imagination or operate them somehow. The toy – the physical object – doesn’t mean much without the human component, but it’s still easy to identify it as one. Toys are obvious.

– Toys rarely come with goals. Some have pointers, some have obvious goals, but most toys don’t have goals like video games do. Go there, achieve that, level up your character, follow this route.

I personally believe that considering video games toys is wrong. Video games and toys are very different. Even though they sometimes meet the same requirements and seem to provide for the same values or needs, they are still extremely different.

Video games are media, in the end. They offer entertainment, more like TV does – but to a greater level of interaction.

What do you think about this, though? Should we consider video games toys or not?

I Will Always Choose Wooden Toys over Plastic Ones

Wooden toys are the best! And in this article, we’re going to find out why.

You probably never thought about the fact that some toys are better than others – at least when it comes to the materials they’re being made from. But the truth is that this matters as well and wooden toys are by far the best possible type of toys you can buy for kids today. If you still don’t believe me, read on to find out why.

First of all – and extremely important for us all, especially if we don’t have fortunes to spend, is the fact that wooden toys are generally more durable than plastic ones. For this reason alone, wooden toys already win the race: they’re more durable and they’ll last for longer, at least in their initial form.

Some people are concerned that wooden toys affect the environment greatly and maybe even more than plastic does. In the end – you have to cut down trees in order to make these toys and that can’t be good, right?

Well, that is true under the right circumstances. But did you know that plastic needs about 500 years to decompose? That is a lot more than wood, which only requires a maximum of 13 years. It’s till a lot, but not 500-years lot.

Also, companies are starting to be extremely responsible when it comes to the sources of wood they use. More and more companies are now using wood provided from sustainable sources, meaning that the impact over out planet is reduced to a minimum. So definitely those who love the planet should never consider wood more dangerous than plastic!

Plus, the added bonus is that wood can be recycled – and you can even teach your kids about recycling when it comes to this material, which benefits the planet in the long run even more.

Wooden toys are also considered generally safer for kids. The paint used on wooden toys is usually less toxic (if toxic at all) for kids. This is especially important when it comes to younger babies, but in the end nobody, no matter the age, should add extra chemicals and poison to their bodies.

It’s true, not all paint used on plastic toys is toxic, but some is. You can never really know, especially when it comes from toys imported from countries where information like the toxicity of the paint used is difficult to be found or double checked.

How many times have you heard the news of various plastic toys being recalled because they were considered dangerous to the health of babies and kids? It happens pretty often and you can only wonder how many dangerous toys were missed by health inspectors.

So even though plastic toys are cheaper than wooden ones, it’s the long term costs that matter the most here. Staying healthy for as long as possible is the main goal here – you don’t want to spend fortunes on doctors, pills and hospital visits later on in life because you were too cheap to buy slightly more expensive toys!

Wooden toys are also believed to increase creativity and help our children become more creative, according to various studies.

It is often said that the best toy for a kid is a toy that does nothing. Some of the older folks still remember playing with sticks and stones back when they were young and turning them into monster and princesses, soldiers and fairies and so many amazing things. You definitely get a lot more creative when it comes to toys that are not already built to overstimulate one’s imagination. And this helps a lot in the long run.

And, in the end, there’s also this nostalgia feeling that you can get from wooden toys. Most of us had few plastic toys when they were little and many of our toys were wooden.

There are still wooden toys that we have since when we were kids, and some are even passed on by our parents. This gives wooden toys a lot more value and makes them so much more awesome. Having a thing last for years or even generations – now that’s definitely something impressive.

How many plastic toys that are still functional do you have from your parents or grandparents? Not too many, and that’s not happening just because there weren’t many plastic toys back then to start with anyways.

In the end, it’s up for everybody to decide what type of toys are better for them or their children. I personally believe that wooden toys are the kings and nothing can get better than having a bunch of wooden toys to play with.

I won’t lie and say that I don’t own or would never buy plastic toys. There are areas where wood can’t be as amazing as plastic is (I’m looking at you, LEGO, you addictive thing!) but generally and whenever possible, it’s a lot better to try and go for this material. At least this is my opinion – and that of many experts in the field.

Wood beats plastic. Do you agree?