Getting Ready for Call of Duty Modern Warfare

This years Call of Duty game has been announced. With the most recent installment in the 16 year franchise, Activision announced the return to the Modern Warfare series releasing later this year with Call of Duty Modern Warfare.  It has been 8 years since Modern Warfare 3 released in November of 2011 and 12 years since the original game in the series, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, was released in 2007. With this new installment in the series on the horizon, why not play through those old games to get yourself up to speed on the newest game coming this fall? I am here to help you do just that.

The Davenport Public Library has all three of the original Modern Warfare games for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. But, if you don’t want to have to break out your old consoles to play these games, there are some alternative options. The Xbox One allows for backwards compatibility play for some of their games.  Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare (COD4) and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) are two of the games that are currently on Xbox’s backwards compatibility list so all you have to do if you own an Xbox One is put those Xbox 360 disks into your console and you are ready to go! Sadly, Sony has not implemented a similar feature for playing PS3 games on your PS4 so if you want to play the original PS3 games, you are going to have to use a PS3. With Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) , however, you will have to play the disk in the original console that they were intended for on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

The Modern Warfare series is a military-style first-person shooter that spans the globe following Sergeant John “Soap” MacTavish and Captain Price among others as they fight against Russian agents and rogue terrorist groups around the globe. Each game has a campaign that follows the story of these characters in bombastic Micheal Bay-esque, explosion and action-filled fashion. Each level is filled with excitement with each game upping the explosions and over-the-top action with the 3rd game culminating in the player experiencing the destruction of an entire city while fighting through it.

Both MW2 and MW3 offer cooperative play options for if you want to play with your friend. MW2 has a spec ops mode where you play through levels with a partner. MW3 also offers a spec ops mode similar to MW2 as well as a Survival mode where you and a partner fight off waves of progressively harder enemies to see how many rounds you can make it before falling. I would be remiss if I did not mention the Multiplayer modes for these games as well. All three of the Modern Warfare games have great competitive multiplayer options. It might take you a little bit to find a lobby now that the games are so old but they still have active communities so getting a few games in should still be possible.

If any of this sounds fun to you, or at least makes you feel nostalgic for when you played these games before, feel free to stop by the library to check one of (or all) of these games out to play!

Mario Switch Games

Guest post by Wesley B.

If you own a Nintendo console, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t playing any Mario games – the mustachioed plumber is Nintendo’s mascot for a reason. The Switch is no exception to this rule, and we have several Mario Switch games available here at the Library!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Party likely need no introduction. Either can be played alone, but they shine in their multiplayer modes (which the Switch is perfectly suited for). While Super Mario Party fails to fully recapture the magic of some of the earlier games in the series, it’s still a great way to spend an evening battling, betraying, and bickering with your friends – and laughing uproariously the whole time. Mario Kart 8, on the other hand, is probably the definitive Mario Kart game ever made. Chock full of courses, characters, and karts, there’s enough content here to last quite a while, and it’s customizable enough to be just as fun and accessible to newcomers as it is to series veterans.

Unlike the previous two games, Mario Tennis Aces might have flown under your radar. However, it’s just as strong a candidate for game night with your friends as the other two. You can play singles or doubles, one-off matches or tournaments, and with conventional or motion controls. Plus, unlike Mario Party and Mario Kart, it has a robust single player campaign!

And then of course we have the more traditional single-player platforming experiences: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Mario Odyssey. Mario Bros. is classic 2D Mario at its finest. It starts off a little slow, but before long the levels start to get fiendishly difficult. Odyssey, on the other hand, is the latest 3D Mario entry, and in many ways the culmination of all the games that came before it. With over 900 Moons to find across its 16 worlds, it should keep you busy for quite a while.

Last but not least, I want to leave you with a recommendation for a strange game whose very existence is surprising, and that has no right to be as good as it is: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. This game is actually developed by Ubisoft, not Nintendo, and is a new genre for Mario: turn-based strategy. While some people may be turned off by the Rabbids, strange creatures previously relegated mostly to background roles in Ubisoft games, they’re depriving themselves of a shockingly great game. You’ll eventually unlock eight characters, from whom you choose three to make your battle team. Each character has customizable skill trees as well as a variety of weapons to choose from, lending a surprising amount of depth to this bright and cartoonishly stylized game.

Lego DC Super-Villains Video Game

Lego DC Super-Villains is a Lego game from Traveller’s Tales. If you have played Lego games in the past, this one should seem familiar to you. You break stuff, get studs, solve puzzles, and build stuff, all while playing as some of your favorite characters. This coupled with the Lego game’s signature coach co-op means that you can play through the game by yourself or with a friend. This game shifts the focus away from caped crusaders to the nefarious super villains of the DC universe.

There are over 170 playable characters, both villains and super heroes, for you to play as. These range from characters that you know and love such as The Joker, Lex Luthor, Batman and Aquaman, to more obscure DC characters such as Clock King and Condiment King.

This game is unique because of how it integrates the character creation feature into the story. Usually in Lego games, you play as your favorite characters and get to play as them throughout the game. In Lego DC Super-Villains, however, you get to make your own villain named The Rookie that you get to play as an upgrade as you progress through the game.

Another fun game for the whole family to enjoy from Traveller’s Tales. Lego DC Super-Villains is available at the Davenport Public Library for both Xbox One and PS4.

 

Fallout 76 Video Game

After the incredibly rocky launch in November of last year, Fallout 76 has received a number of updates and has been getting a lot more praise than it was just a few months ago. A lot of the lag and server side issues have now been patched to a reasonable level, the addition of new modes like Survival and new dungeons and questlines throughout the game world have also served to change a lot of people’s opinions about the state of the game. I think with all of these improvements in mind, it might be time to check the game out if you haven’t already or were turned away by it’s rocky launch back in November.

Fallout 76 is an MMORPG released by Bethesda Games Studio in November of 2018. It is the 6th Fallout game in the series and the 3rd Fallout title made by Bethesda Games Studio. It is the 1st Fallout game to allow multiplayer and that multiplayer is the central focus of the game. As with all Fallout games, you are placed in a post-apocalyptic wasteland tasked with scavenging, questing and looting to survive and thrive in the nuclear wastes. The familiar tongue-in-cheek cold war aesthetics can be seen throughout the game, from the soundtrack to the look and feel of the game world, this what you would expect from a Fallout game.

The gameplay is clunky, which isn’t really anything new for a Fallout game, and that clunkiness is further accentuated by the online nature of the game. That being said, the many server glitches have been remedied in recent months and the game is now in a relatively stable state to play and fight irradiated mutants throughout the wasteland with your friends. This game is at it’s best when playing with others. Even if you don’t have friends that already own the game, fear not, you can run across other players in the wasteland to play with. And if playing with people isn’t your thing, you can run it solo just like any other Fallout game and just ignore other players when you come across them. The game is very versatile and customizable in terms of the experience that you as a player want to get out of it.

You can focus on making settlements that you get to build and customize to your liking, you can focus on questing throughout the wastelands like in any other Fallout RPG, you can focus on getting nuclear launch codes and destroying a section of your server with it, or you can even focus on the photo mode and become a photographer for the West Virginia wasteland. There are tones of options in terms of variable gameplay for you as a player to experience and the game is largely about what you make of it. After the months of updates and fixes, I think Fallout 76 is in a state where players can now start really enjoying the game without having to worry about it crashing every 15 minutes.

If this sounds interesting to you, feel free to swing by the Davenport Public Library where we have Fallout 76 available on both PS4 and Xbox One!

Red Dead Redemption 2 Video Game

Guest post by Wesley B

In the first Red Dead Redemption, the protagonist John Marston is coerced by the feds into hunting down and killing his former gang leader and surrogate father, Dutch van der Linde. After a long and bloody search, John finally catches up to Dutch in the mountains. “Our time is passed, John,” he says, before stepping off a cliff to his death.

He’s right of course; the only problem is he realizes it about a decade too late.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a prequel set 12 years before the first game. It shows the final days of the Van der Linde Gang through the eyes of Arthur Morgan. It is the finest expression of the video game medium I have played to date.

The game opens in media res, as the gang deals with the fallout of a botched robbery job. They’ve fled into the mountains, where they’re beset by a brutal blizzard. Their caravan trudges through the already deep snow as it continues to pile up. Members are missing, dying, already dead. Folks are cold, tired, exhausted. They finally reach an abandoned mining village where they can set up camp. Dutch gives the group a pep talk before setting off with Arthur to meet up with the scouts that had been sent ahead.

It’s at this point that the game switches from cutscene to gameplay, and upon assuming control of Arthur it becomes apparent that this isn’t going to be your typical video game experience. Ludonarrative dissonance is a concept that refers to the conflict between a game’s story elements and gameplay mechanics. A common example is the Uncharted series of games, whose protagonist Nathan Drake is portrayed narratively as a lovable rogue with a heart of gold, while over the course of the game the player controls him as he kills hundreds of enemies without thinking twice. There is no such disconnect in RDR2. The caravan’s slow movement through the snow wasn’t simply an atmospheric affect; Arthur moves just as slowly under your control, and if you have controller vibration turned on, you can practically feel the horse struggling through the snowdrifts.

Before too long, Arthur and Dutch meet up with one of the scouts, Micah, who says he spotted a house with people in it. Micah leads the way, with Arthur bringing up the rear. Here again we see – or rather, hear – the game’s dedication to realism. The wind is howling, so Arthur and Micah can’t hear each other, relying instead on Dutch in the middle to mediate their conversation. When the trio reaches the house, Arthur and Micah hide while Dutch knocks on the door to ask the occupants for any supplies they could spare. As it turns out, a rival gang has gotten to the house first, and a firefight soon breaks out, giving you the first taste of the game’s cover-based shooting system. Like Nathan Drake, Arthur will drop hundreds of bodies before his journey is done; however, the game’s story makes it clear that Arthur is a hardened criminal. While he is likable at times, even charming, the game never lets you forget he is a thief and a stone-cold killer. Even Arthur himself is well aware of this fact. After all, he wouldn’t need to seek the titular redemption if he was already a good man. As for if he actually does redeem himself, well – that’s up to you. The story has four possible endings based on the choices you make throughout the game.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch

Guest post by Wesley B

Nintendo Switch games have arrived at The Library! We now have 40+ games for Nintendo’s new portable console available for checkout, with more on the way. I have thoughts on lots of them, and they’re all worth playing, but I have to start with what has become one of my all-time favorite games.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is aptly named, as it breathed fresh life into what is perhaps gaming’s most storied franchise. Since the release of A Link to the Past in 1991, Zelda games have followed a familiar formula: the hero Link adventures from dungeon to dungeon, finding a unique item within each that you use to solve its puzzles and slay its guardian, before finally fighting the final boss, rescuing the titular princess, and saving the kingdom of Hyrule from the forces of darkness.

Breath of the Wild marks a radical departure from this formula. Within the first hour or so, Link already has every item he’ll need for the rest of the game. More importantly, after clearing the initial tutorial area, the entire map opens up to him. He is, as Sartre wrote, “condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to him to give life a meaning.”

In real life, the concept of radical freedom can be a curse – hence Sartre’s use of the word condemned. Fortunately, life in Hyrule is a lot less complicated, and so exercising your freedom is an unadulterated blessing. The developers at Nintendo have crafted a vast, beautiful open world for Link to explore, filled with rolling plains, verdant riverlands, lush rainforests, vast deserts dotted with oases, snow-covered mountains, and more. Best of all, Link’s paraglider and ability to climb basically anything he sees make traversal a true joy, uninhibited by the pitfalls of invisible walls and insurmountable terrain so common in every other open world game.

Of course, there’s more to the game than sightseeing (although admittedly I’ve spent a large portion of my playtime with the game’s camera feature). Hyrule is not just vibrant but vital as well; there are settlements teeming with colorful characters to meet, and the wilderness is filled with outposts manned by enemies who will test your mettle. I could go on endlessly about this game, but ultimately its true joy is to be found in exploration and discovery, so rather than spoil any more of that experience for you, I’ll simply suggest that you check it out and see for yourself.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World (DVD)

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World is a documentary DVD that explores the influence of the internet on human life.

It begins by following internet pioneer Leonard Kleinrock into a room on the UCLA campus where the first internet communication took place at 10:30pm on Oct 29, 1969, between UCLA and Stanford Research Institute. Kleinrock describes the moment he began typing the very first internet message, “Login.” Before he could complete it, the computer system crashed, and the first message transmitted by the internet turned out to be “Lo” – thus the movie’s name.

Danny Hillis, an American inventor and computer scientist, describes the phone book he owned back in the early days of the internet. It contained the names of everyone on the internet. Can you imagine a directory of everyone on the internet today? It is estimated it would be 72 miles thick.

Director Werner Herzog takes us to Stanford Dept of Robotics, where we learn how the discovery of biomolecule patterns was enhanced by the creation of a crowdsourced video game called EteRNA. Crowdsourcing, as defined by Wikipedia (itself a famous example of crowdsourcing) is “to divide work between participants to achieve a cumulative result.” In this case, a videogame played by a multitude of interested laypeople -“lawyers, grandmas, students, bedridden people” contributed in useful ways to the collective knowledge base about RNA (Ribonucleic Acid), which is present in all living cells. Crowdsourcing has been used in a variety of other ways for the common good. In addition to Wikipedia, another well-known example of crowdsourcing is crowdfunding, the collection of funds from a crowd (for example, Kickstarter). If you would like to learn more about how you can be similarly involved in contributing to the universe of knowledge (sometimes even by playing video games!) see this list of crowdsourcing projects.

While at Stanford, Herzog takes us to Professor of Computer Science and director of the Artificial Intelligence Lab, Sebastian Thrun, who is designing self-driving cars. He addressed the concern for safety of self-driving cars by saying, “When a computer makes a mistake, it learns from it, along with all the other computers (in use and unborn.) When a human makes a mistake, just that one person learns from it.” He shares a fascinating anecdote about a certain class he taught to 200 students enrolled at Stanford. He was able to offer the same course online to interested members of the general public. Over 1000 people signed up for the online class. When he tested them, he found that the best Stanford student ranked 412th among all the students combined. From this he said he learned that for every one great Stanford student, there are 412 better out there in the world who couldn’t or didn’t go to Stanford.

Then, we are presented with some particularly dark sides of the internet. The family of Nikki Catsouras shares their story, explaining why they no longer use email or the internet. Nikki died in a car accident in 2006 when she was 18 years old. Gruesome photos of her decapitated body were posted online shortly after the accident. Then, the family began receiving anonymous emails containing the photos, one with the caption “Woohoo Daddy! Hey daddy, I’m still alive.” The Catsouras family deeply lamented the lack of accountability on the internet.

What would today’s landscape be like without the internet? We find out more about that by visiting Green Bank, West Virginia, home of a telescope 100 meters in diameter that picks up radio waves from outer space. To eliminate interference with the radioastronomy project, all wireless transmissions are disabled within a 10 mile radius. The area has become a haven for people who experience severe physical reactions to being in the presence of radio waves. Diane Schou and Jennifer Wood describe their lives before they moved to Green Bank. They spent all their time inside Faraday cages –  boxes named for the 19th century scientist Michael Faraday, designed to shield their contents from electromagnetic fields. Some regard their condition as a supersense. They regard it as a nightmare.

We visit an internet addiction treatment center near Seattle, Washington where we hear the personal stories of some clients. We learn about a South Korean couple who were imprisoned for allowing their newborn daughter to starve to death while they were consumed with playing a video game. Ironically, it was a game in which they were nurturing an electronic baby.

Adler Planetarium astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz tells us about large solar flares called Carrington Events, which have the power to disable communications and create widespread power outages, and how we could see the next powerful solar event soon. We are given a glimpse of what that might look like from footage of a recent, relatively small-scale blackout in New York City. Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss warns “if the internet shuts down, people will not remember how they lived before that.”

Famous hacker Kevin Mitnick is interviewed about the methods he employed to gain access to secured information. He goes into detail about how he manipulated weaknesses in cybersecurity systems, noting that he always found them in the people, not the systems.

In the final third of the documentary, the possible future of Artificial Intelligence is explored. Entrepreneur Elon Musk, who made a fortune through PayPal, talks about the rockets he is launching into space, and his goals of creating a colony on Mars in case Earth becomes unlivable.

Marcel Just and Tom Mitchell, brain scientists at Carnegie Mellon postulate on whether or not it is possible for computers to dream.

The Wikipedia Emergency Project is described. It is a plan that people should print out hard copies of the information found on its website and store them somewhere our heirs can find them should a catastrophic planetary event occur.

The documentary prompted much thought, and left me with so many questions the first time around, I eagerly watched it a second time a couple of weeks later, after I gave myself some time to let the ideas rattle around in my mind for a while. If you like to explore multiple sides of issues relating to the past, present, and future of technology I would recommend you watch Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World.

 

 

 

Pokémon Go: A Guide for the Late Adopter (Updated)

Pokemon-Red-2-Blue-2Unless you’ve been living inside a red and white ball, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go. The original Pokémon RPG (role-playing game) video game was released way back in the ancient times of 1996. Beginning as a game for the original Game Boy, it quickly expanded into card trading games, TV shows, movies, more video games, and even a Monopoly board game.

If you happen to be like me and only just now catching up (or you want to know what all the kids are doing) here are some questions and answers.*

So what the heck is/are Pokémon?

The name is a combination of the words “pocket monster.” Players – called “trainers” – find and collect wild Pokémon, and help them evolve into new Pokémon. Trainers also battle their Pokémon, using their Pokémon’s unique characteristics,  gaining experience points, to become Gym Leaders and ultimately, the chance to become a tournament champion.

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a “free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game.”

IMG_0387
Eevee in the large print section!

Eh?

It’s a game that you can play on your phone or other mobile device that places you (via your avatar) within the game based on your location, superimposing the game world onto the real world.

The company that created Pokémon Go used location data (landmarks, photos, etc.) from another of their games, Ingress, to create the world within the game. So, if you happen to be standing outside Davenport Public Library Eastern Branch, then that’s where you are in the game.

 

Why are all these people standing around outside staring at their phones? It’s a little creepy.

Right?

That’s the augmented reality part of the game. While you see people glued to their phones in an empty field, outside a building, or wherever, they’re actually experiencing the location within the game.

Lots of public places have been made into important locations in the game (more on that later). Players must be within a certain distance to interact with whatever is at the location. And since the game is so popular, some locations have experienced very high traffic. For some businesses (and libraries!) this has been a boon. For other locations, not so much.

Just be glad you’re not this guy.

IMG_0400Isn’t this game dangerous?

It’s true that there have been some horror stories – true and not – about people getting hurt, lost, or finding some terrible things while tracking Pokémon. The most important thing to remember when playing is to pay attention to your surroundings. Believe me, it can be hard. But, the game offers vibration and sound alerts so you can keep your phone in your pocket while you walk. USE THEM  – or be eaten by Gyarados!

And it should go without saying, don’t play and drive.

I heard that Pokémon Go is reading players’ emails …

Not exactly. The concern is that players who created their accounts by linking their Google/Gmail accounts were granting very broad access to their accounts. That has since been fixed, but if you’re still concerned, sign up with a Pokémon Trainer Club ID – it takes a little longer, but you won’t have to worry.

Do I really have to walk?

Yup – that’s the “go” in Pokémon Go! If you want to get cool new Pokémon and hatch eggs you will be walking. The game can tell the difference between riding in a car or even biking fast. But it’s a good thing! You get to experience new places you might never have seen before! Meet new people! Exercise!

Unless you have a Roomba, a turntable or a cooperative pet, that is.

OK, so how to I start?

Firstly, down the game from the App Store or Google Play. Once it’s up and running, sign in using you Google ID, or get a Trainer Club ID.

When you choose your trainer name and appearance, be careful! You CANNOT change either after you confirm!

UPDATE 7/31/16 – An update for Pokémon Go! (1.1.0) now allows trainers to change the appearance of their avatars!

IMG_0411
Capturing the wild Venonat

Now what?

After Prof. Willow’s introduction, you’re dropped into a fairly sparse map. Your surroundings should reflect major aspects in your surroundings, like roads, rivers/lakes, buildings and so on.

On the screen, you’ll see what looks like green confetti or leaves nearby. Those are Pokémon! Once you get close enough (your trainer’s radius is the pulsing purple circle around you) the Pokémon will reveal themselves. Tap on them, and you’ll go mano a Pokémon. 

Tossing the Poké Ball correctly takes some practice. If you find the “virtual reality” setting too distracting, you can turn it off by sliding the AR switch at the top.  The higher the Pokémon’s CP (combat points) the more difficult it will be to catch. The rings around the Pokémon will give some idea how where and when to toss the Poké Ball. When it’s large and green, toss! Yellow rings mean it will be more tricky, and orange even more so. Pokémon with higher CP (100+) will often break out of the Poké Ball and you’ll have to catch them again. Sometimes, they’ll grow weary of your attempts and run away.

Pokémon can break out?

Yes, once you catch one, it tries three times to get out. If they can’t escape, you get to keep them.

That’s … a bit grim.

Yeah.

IMG_0401
Eastern Avenue Branch / Gym

What’s up with PokéStops and Gyms?

PokéStops are where you can pick up more Poké Balls, and an occasional bonus item, like reviving potion, eggs, razzberries and so on. PokéStops are usually located at some kind of landmark (although the term “landmark” is used loosely). You have to be within a certain distance to interact with them.

Sometimes, you may see a PokéStop surrounded by pink confetti or petals. That means that some kind soul has set a lure and, hopefully, more Pokémon will come close enough to catch.

Gyms are where trainers can pit their Pokémon against each other in battle to win the Gym, earn points and train up their Pokémon. You have to reach level 5 to enter and view a gym.

What Team should I pick?

That’s entirely up to you! If you have friends playing, you might want to choose the same team so that you can gain and keep control of Gyms. Or, if you live near a Gym that is consistently held by one team, you can join them and help defend it.

<cough>Team Mystic <cough>

How do I identify and keep track of all the Pokémon I’ve caught?

In the game, tap on the Poké Ball icon, then tap “Pokémon” from there you can see the Pokémon that you’ve caught, see how much CP they have and evolve and power up. The Pokédex is like a Rolodex (GET IT?) for the Pokémon you’ve seen and collected. It gives descriptions, strengths and weaknesses and each Pokémon’s evolutionary pattern.

Where are some places that I can go to catch Pokémon?

The Davenport Public Library Main and Fairmount Branches are PokéStops , and Eastern Avenue is a PokéStop and a Gym.

If you’re over 21, you can participate in the Quad Cities Pokémon Go Pub Crawl.

According to David Heitz,  the downtown Moline riverfront, Rock Island arts and entertainment district, the Village of East Davenport and Avenue of the Cities are good places to find Pokémon. In Davenport, Vander Veer Park is a very popular place!

You can also check out the Pokémon Go QC Reddit for tips and maps.

IMG_0408
Tracking … not so much

What about the tracking thing in the bottom right hand corner?

That is supposed to tell you what Pokémon are in the area, and allow you track them. Unfortunately, the tracking feature does not work well. But it’s nice to see what’s in your vicinity.

UPDATE 7/31/16 – An update for Pokémon Go!(1.1.0) has removed the footprints from the “Nearby” menu, presumably until they can get it work properly.

What the heck do I do with all these Rattatas, Pidgeies, and Weedles!?!

Even though it can get annoying, it’s worth it to keep collecting the common Pokémon. The more you have, the more candy and stardust you get (which you use to evolve your Pokémon). If you have too many, you can transfer them to Prof. Willow and get one Pokémon candy in return.

The game isn’t working, and/or my battery is dead.

Yeah, you’re not the only one. Pokémon Go  has been plagued with slow and broken servers since it was released. It also uses up wireless bandwidth, so slow internet connections are also to blame. If you’re wondering if it’s you or the game server, try here: http://cmmcd.com/PokemonGo/.

The game also has some battery saving settings, too. But remember that you must have the game open if you want alerts and to count your steps. Bring a charger!

I need more information!

Anything else you’d like to know? Would you like to show off how awesome you are? Let us know in the comments!

* I’m not an expert, but I am a librarian, playing as LibbyLibrary!

Back in Time

back in timeThis year was a big year for fans of the Back to the Future movie trilogy as we finally catch up with the future timeline in the films. Buzz has been all over the internet with folks comparing the movie’s predictions of life in 2015 with what has really happened. For the full list of movie comparisons versus reality, click here.

What seemed to get the most attention was predictions the movie made about the 2015 baseball season. According to Back to the Future II, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in a sweep over Miami on October 21, 2015. Fast forward to the real 2015. With the start of the baseball pre-season, fans of both the movie and team began posting on Facebook that the Cubs were going to win the World Series this year. Considering the Cubs have not played in the World Series since 1945, let alone won since 1908, this seemed like more than a long shot. But…what if?  As the season went forward and the Cubs were looking better and better, more and more started to believe. When they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, even I started to believe (just for a tiny second). In the end, they couldn’t quite do it, but there was definitely some kind of magic in the city of Chicago during the 2015 season.

The Back to the Future franchise was ready for what they knew would be a great year to revive the 80’s trilogy. A  Back to the Future Anniversary Trilogy DVD set was released earlier this year and the entire Back to the Future cartoon series. Let me just say, I loved that show! Also out is a Back to the Future PS4 video game.

Hollywood has followed up on this hype by releasing a brand new documentary about the making of the movie trilogy. Cast, crew and fans are featured in this 30th anniversary tribute. Back in Time stars Steven Spielberg, Micheal J. Fox, and Lea Thompson. For those of you that love the franchise, this is a must see. Back in Time along with the other anniversary items are available at the library.

 

Zoo Tycoon

zoo tycoonWhen I was younger, the Tycoon series of games was really popular. Everyone seemed to be playing them and after several months of begging, I was finally able to convince my mother to purchase a copy of Rollercoaster Tycoon. As I was looking over the videogame section at the library, imagine my happiness when I found Zoo Tycoon, a build-your-own-zoo game put out by Microsoft Studios for the Xbox 360 in 2013.

Looking online and also talking to other gamers results in a wide variety of definitions for the term “tycoon games”. In tycoon games, instead of just controlling one character, you are acting instead like “the manager” who is in control of a wide variety of people or animals, as well as the place where all of the activity is happening. That is very true in Zoo Tycoon. Here the game offers you tutorials, so you aren’t flying blind into how to operate and run your zoo. As the over-seer of the whole zoo, you need to remember to play smart because the guests who visit your zoo, as well as the animals, will ultimately decide just how well you are doing as a zoo tycoon.

This interactive game lets you design your zoo, build, and then manage it to make sure more and more guests keep coming and visiting. Once you build your zoo, you then get to have face time with all of your animals. You are allowed to adopt and care for your animals with the ultimate decision for you to then release them into the wild.

This game was interactive for me and definitely brought back memories of the older tycoon games that I had played. Check it out and let me know what you think!