It happened on a Wednesday night in a modern urban battlefield. Lights were flashing. Smoke filled the air. Sounds of explosions and machine guns were drowned out by thumping bass and aggressive shouting. Bodies were everywhere. I lost my wingman to a grenade earlier that evening and I vowed not to become another victim. Little did I know, my life was about to change forever. I was about to become a statistic.
I’m not sure if it was a flash off her sequins dress or the black-lit glow from her green-laced Chuck Taylors that first caught my eye, but it was the way her body swayed to the beat that locked me in. I was pulled to her like a magnet. No, it was stronger. More like a moth to a burning white light. I was enchanted and completely powerless to the roll of her hips and the grace of her footwork. Right to left, left to right. Forward and back, back and forward. Forward then right then left then back. This girl had all the right moves.
I couldn’t hold back. I needed to be a part of this moment. I jumped up next to her, and like Dennis Reynolds, I began to demonstrate my value. You see, I happened to be well versed in this particular dance and I knew if I could keep up with her then maybe we could make it off the battlefield together. She shot me a dismissive look at first, but I was not deterred. And soon I would make this beautiful skeptic a believer. She watched as I hit my moves perfectly. Rights, lefts, fronts, backs, hops, crosses… I tore it up! I could tell by the slight curving of her pretty pink lips that she was impressed. For the next 30 minutes this angel of the battlefield and I mashed the floor. We were in perfect unison and this fusion caused bonus points to flash before both of our eyes.
At the end of our run the crowd that had congregated around us cheered. The smoke cleared and the lights came on. The bass abruptly stopped and an announcement came over unseen loud-speakers: “Last call for alcohol. Dave amp; Buster’s will be closing in 10 minutes.”
It was 8 years ago when Tricia and I set the D B; “Dance Dance Revolution” points record. A record that amazingly still stands! Even more amazing is the fact that I met the love of my life playing an arcade game. I guess it was a case of not looking for love and just letting love find you. For years I downplayed my love of gaming in front of women. I was embarrassed and afraid. Afraid that I would never find a girl who would fall for a man with such a so-called childish and nerdy pastime. But here’s a case where being yourself and doing what you love lead both of us to each other.
Tricia and I are expecting a child and are about to embark on a new –gasp– responsible adult chapter of our lives. So I know the question is ‘will gaming continue to be a big part of our lives?’ Well, we no longer frequent D B;’s Wednesday night discos, but you can still find us on the battlefield. Only now the battlefield’s our couch and the game is Call of Duty.
Zynga’s Castleville on Facebook: The Game You Cannot Stop Playing
There are many games on Facebook, a major part of Facebook’s appeal. I’ve played a broad range of them since joining Facebook over two years ago, everything from Zoo World to Wedding Street to Pet Society to Restaurant City to Birdland and beyond. Yet none of these other games compare with Zynga’s recent addition to their broad library of Facebook games: Castleville.
I first learned about Castleville through “Good Morning America” when they aired a special segment about the game-and offered a Castleville freebie through the GMA Facebook page: a flowered flag pole with pennant. Upon receiving my flagpole, the first non-player character encountered in the game, The Duke, walked me through the game’s initial tutorial covering how to construct your personalized avatar and helping you through the first quest or two which are all about building your first houses to tax, your first castle walls (which contribute to your castle score) , and learning how to cultivate resources like wood and stone from your kingdom.
Unlike most of the games I’ve played on Facebook, Castleville presents a realistic experience to its challenges. Buildings are built with supplies the player obtains through a combination of social networking with other Castleville players (in the form of wall posts which neighbors click on to send to you) and resources gleaned within the game. Early play allows you to build with raw wood and stone from trees and boulders the game provides, but soon requires you to purchase and build crafting buildings like workshops, kitchens, and studios and crafting support buildings which generate finished resources like stone blocks from the quarry, diamonds from the jeweler, meat from the butcher, bread dough from the bakery, and flour from the mill. Animal products like milk, eggs, wool, meat, feathers, and mink oil are generated by raising calves, chicken chicks, lambs, piglets, peafowl chicks, and baby minks respectively to adulthood. Once an animal is an adult, it produces without killing the animal all of the aforementioned animal products which are then utilized in crafting projects. Gardens offer crops that must be planted as seeds, and then harvested according to a specified schedule before being available for use.
Unlike restaurant city, it is not enough to simply harvest the raw ingredients. A gold brick, for example, is made of alchemy powder (obtained as a reward for visiting neighbors) and stone blocks. Stone blocks are made from raw stone which have to be mined by the player. Spaghetti is made from tomatoes, wheat, and flax seed oil. Flax seed oil is made from raw flax in a separate step from cooking the spaghetti. Leather is made in the studio from cow hide (a more rare product from feeding adult cows) and flax seed oil made in the kitchen. If a gamer wants to improve their performance, then they download Console boost at PS4. The control of the mods can be done through the players.
This multi-step process makes the game believable; we all know that it’s rare we can produce anything from something else in its purely raw state. Produce must be cleaned, pealed (in many cases), chopped, and so forth before we can cook it. Metals must be extracted from ores. Yarn must be spun before we can knit something. In emulating this real life process, the game takes on a very realistic feel-even while our characters are attacked by villains!
Yet for all of this, it is perhaps the customized avatar that makes this game most personal and engaging. Avatars in Castleville are far more customizable than in any game I’ve ever seen. Hairstyle, face shape, eyes, body shape, upper body clothing, lower body clothing, even headdress are all customizable to help the player create an avatar that truly looks like oneself. Some default clothing choices are available from the beginning, but most styles are purchased by the players using either game coins or real money (in the form of purchased crowns). Once obtained, each article of clothing offers customizable primary and secondary color choices. Styles readily mix and match according to player taste. It is a truly personal and dynamic part of the game.
Put together, Zynga’s Castleville game is one of the most interesting and believable fantasy role playing games I’ve encountered since playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition with my college pals using pencils and dice. As a purist to the old pencil and dice, I find Castleville to be a refreshing online gaming experience-one you ought to try if you have not played it yet! The gamers can make a visit consoleboost.com for better understanding of the game. Different hardware mods will establish a good contact on the websites.