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Infographic: How Game-based Learning Can Support Strong Mathematical Practices

"How can we get students to not only engage in math, but also go deeper in the mathematical thinking and practices described in the standards?"

Infographic by MIND Research Institute.


Standards-based Math in Game-based Learning Infographic

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The Dangerous side of Gamification

Gamification is something we here at Blendedgaming like quite a bit, something we talk about as being a good thing for everyone. But we have never really talked about the bad sides of it and I don’t mean how it gets people to spend hours playing games. Gamification is a powerful tool but with all powerful things when used wrong it can do quite a bit of damage.

Today, December 16th, 2015. Extra Credits put out a video on just this topic. Speaking on a new system the Chinese Government is trying out. A system that uses gamification in a scary way and a way that will most likely not been seen as bad by the uses of it. A system that promote falling into line and being an obedient citation. I stand in the same boat as Extra Credits and hopping that this new idea is being miss understood or is going to be stopped before it becomes mandatory.

Please check out there video on the topic and decide for yourself what your feelings towards this use of gamification.

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Habitica - You're Life the RPG

Habitica is a free online Role Playing Game where doing your habits and daily routines or making new ones helps you level up, get rewards and battle monsters. Habitica is meant as a way to build good habits or break bad ones in a fun and game like manner. As you complete your habits and daily goals you earn gold, experience points (XP) and gear. Allowing you to level up your character and suit them up with weapons, armor and more. You also have the option to join groups and battle monsters. Completing your habits and dailies now not only benefits you but you’re entire group by helping damage the monster you’re facing. So if you slack off it could hurt the people you’re working with and that’s not something you want in a game like this.

If you’re looking for a way to build some new habits or just keep track of them or just a fun game to play. Habitica might be for you, with its fun leveling up and rewards that help you advance in the game while you advance in real life. It just goes to show what powers elements form games can have on our daily lives when used to enhance our enjoyment of the little things.

Here is a link to a video on how to use Habitica by Collage Info Geek. His video is a good introduction to the system and how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxxKm7tSL6I 

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First Time - The Forest

So the second episode of my new YouTube show First Time is done and should be live later tonight or tomorrow.

First Time is a show in which I take friends into game they have not played or played little off. We then talk about the game while playign it before closing off with a few final thoughts. In this episode of First time I ventured into The Forest with my good friend Richard. Due to some problems with the recording not found out until I went to watcht the fotage we lost audio part way though. Which means this episode took a bit longer then I would haved liked since we had to get a bit more fottage and re-film the ending. Even though I hope you all enjoy it.

First Time can be found on our YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/user/blendedgaming

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What if they made learning – gasp! – fun?

What if they made learning – gasp! – fun?

In his new book, The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter, Greg Toppo, the national education and demographics writer at USA Today, pulls back the curtain on the history and promise of educational games.

Toppo takes readers inside classrooms, labs and startup companies to meet the people who are the driving forces behind the movement to bring digital games into our schools. The book comes at a time when school leaders are spending more money on high-tech tools, and more teachers say they believe that games are effective tools for teaching and learning.

Along with many scenes that are amusing and illuminating, Toppo also weaves in meaty bites of public policy and academic research. The book provides an accessible account that policymakers, teachers, parents and students can all use for an informed – and lively – conversation about digital games in the classroom.

The Hechinger Report caught up with Toppo recently to talk about games and learning.

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Let’s talk about the Wii U

Let’s talk about me feelings on the Wii U Nintendo’s newest home console following the Wii and building upon the ideas already in place. First released in 2012 the Wii U has not seen optimal sales figures with many people not really fans of the system. It’s true that it doesn’t have the ‘hard core’ games like the other two big systems, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But does this mean that the Wii U as a hole is just not as good or do the other options it brings to the table add up?

Game, games are what a console is all about since well it’s what they started out doing before branching to more of media devices. While when the system was first released I as a game didn’t see much there for me, I was not a fan of many of the games it has and while its tablet gameplay looked interesting only one game really had my interest in it. Though that all changed once Mario Kart 8 hit the shelves. That was the start of what I feel is the wave a great Nintendo games. Adding in all the great looking games announced at E3 2014 really put the Wii U head in my books.

One of the great things about the Wii U is its ability to act as a party system. With a game like Smash Bros which allows 8 players play at a time. As well as the option to use a 3DS that has the game as a control makes it more accessible and fun for a large group. Though not all games on the system offer the same options, Smash Bros is special.

One of the nice things about this generation of home consoles is that they are media machines allowing anyone to enjoy things like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or just the internet on their TV without having to own a computer or other media device. This also allows the whole family to sit down together and enjoy there favorite shows. Now keep in mind that the Wii U is older and lacks the power of its competition so things might be slower if you chose to use this console. Another downside depending on your view it is that there is no Ethernet port on the system, meaning that if you don’t have a wireless connection you’re out of luck.

The Wii U’s tablet ads and interesting addition to games which make use of it as well as another place to play when the TV is occupied. While some games don’t really tack advantage of what the tablet offers some do in small ways or big ways. I personally use it to play on over my TV as that way nothing other than cats can get in my way, most of the time. I’m also able to move around with it so I can keep playing even if the living room is being used for something.

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Q.U.B.E Game Review

QUBE, Physics based puzzle game, developed and published by Toxic Games is a wonderful gaming experience. With challenge and struggle in its puzzles it really makes you think about what is needed to be done. But also allows you to restart at any time if you are stuck or mess up. The game is only single player so you can’t rely one a second player showing you the way past each puzzle, unless they are sitting on the couch next to you. First released in 2011 on Desura a platform for games on the Computer it was later brought to Steam in 2012. And then in 2014 it the game was added to consoles and IOS devise for more peoples enjoyment.

Q.U.B.E is a wonderful puzzle game where you must push, pull, roll, switch and many more. If you want to get though one of the games puzzle rooms you better be ready to do try and try again. Just when you think you have it figured out you move one block to are and bomb you messed up and have to start over. Or maybe you panic and send the ball you had to roll down a slope into a hole flying over the slope and landing next to the hole. But with nothing to move it you can’t get it into the goal five feet away. Well to bad looks like you are starting over form the start of this puzzle again, better luck next time.

Puzzle games like Q.U.B.E help the player build problem solving skills with their large focus on well puzzles. Having to really think outside the box when it comes to moving the walls of a room around in the right order and at the right time, while spinning in place to move other blocks can be a hard task. Let alone having to get the timing right so you don’t miss the goal. But if you can’t get to that point then you won’t need to worry about the spatial awareness needed to remember just how far you turn to the left to hit the right spot. Beating a puzzle in Q.U.B.E not only feels really good but it always help you build on the skills you used to best it. Being able to see problems form different angles is something sometimes needed when it comes to tackling a big problem or task.

Over all Q.U.B.E is a wonderful puzzle game with fun and interesting challenges for those who enjoy that. If you’re not the puzzle game type this game might not be for you, but hey you never know so why not give it a shot? You might find this game to be the start of a wonderful relationship with puzzle games.

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The Long Dark Early Access Review

The Long Dark is an early access first-person open world survival simulation game. In which you play as one of two characters trying to survives after your plain is brought down somewhere in the Canadian wilderness. To make matters worse something has happened to the planet a global disaster. So you’re unable to just walk up and knock on the first door asking for help. You must survive in the wilderness with only what you find and your mind. The game will offer a story mode later on but right now there is only a sandbox mode that tests your skills. How long will you be able to make it in the frizzing north that is Canada?

The main thing to look out for is not people, or animals though keep an eye out for wolves. But hunger, thirst and temperature are all out to get you and if you’re not on top of them you will die. Starting with next to nothing you must make your way through the snow and ice as you try to find shelter and food. A cabin and be a good sign but it can also hold nothing helpful and only provide with a slightly warmer resting place. The game won’t respawn anything other than animals. So after a while hunting will become your only way to get food. You can start with something easy like bunnies or dear all while watching out for the wolves. While the game offers different modes to play on it still makes for an intense atmospheric experience.

A game like The Long Dark really hammers home choice and consequence with its game play. You have to decide if using your last bit of food to distract a wolf Is worth it over starving to death. The dream that more food is waiting nearby, if you should drink the dirty water even though there is a risk of getting sick. In a game where your only goal is to stay alive as long as you can making the right choices at the right time makes the difference between life and death. Though there is no story in The Long Dark as of yet there is still the story you as the player make, stories of your victories or near death situations. Stories you can share with your friend who might also play the game.

While it’s still not finished The Long Dark is a very fun and fulfilling game if you are into the survival style of gameplay. Seeing how many days you can last is stressful as well as fun as you manage your resources and fight off the cold. If you have been thinking about trying The Long Dark I say go for it. In my eyes it’s worth the money right now.

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Hyrule Warriors Review

Hyrule Warriors is a hack and slash action game set in the world of the wildly popular Zelda universe. While not being part of the universe main cannon or story it’s a fresh new feel to this RPG franchise. Releasing in September 2014 for North America finished the games world wide release. Hyrule Warriors was developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja and not by Nintendo since it was not a core Zelda title and more of a fun experiment. The game is really a Dynasty Warriors game set in the Zelda world. Is this a bad thing? I think not as it makes for one fun Zelda game.

The game opens with the Kingdom of Hyrule under attack by evil forces. It’s your job to push back the enemy and defend the castle. Fighting alongside you are well known heroes of the Zelda universe. Zelda herself joins the battle along with her trusted guard Impa and as always you play as Link. Throughout this game you have the option to play as any of the many characters in the game. Taking advantage of their special moves to crush tons of bad guys under your mighty sword swings or magic attacks. Hyrule Warriors fast paced and hectic gameplay is quite enjoyable and is a nice change for the style of the normal Zelda games.

While it might look like just a hack and slash Hyrule Warriors offers more than most people might think. The way the game handles the larger boss, forces the player to think about their assault and not just mindlessly hack away at them. While doing so might work it would take forever and you mostly end up dead. Making the player watch the boss and read what moves are coming next and how to react is a skill that players of MMO’s are used to but players of games like shooters are not. Patience and a clam help will help you overcome anything this fun title wants to throw at you. Add in that to pull off your characters big hitting combos you need to know just what button to press and how many times you have pressed it. Helping build your memorization skills as you hack away to save Hyrule.

While at its core it’s not really a Zelda game it still adds quite a bit to the name and gives players who don’t enjoy the old dungeon style of gameplay a way into the wonderful world. If you enjoy Zelda games or hack and slash one this might be the game for you. With it’s fun and compelling gameplay it just might hook you in.

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Star Wars the Old Republic Review

Released in December of 2011 and developed by BioWear Star Wars the Old Republic or SWTOR for short is a massively multi-player online role playing game or MMORPG. In which players pick a side either Empire or Republic before starting off on their grand quest. SWTOR delivers a wonderful Star Wars experience akin to the older Knights of the Old Republic. With fully voiced dialog though out the entire game it was unlike any MMORPG when it came out and this really helped to bring players into the world it created. SWTOR’s class storylines are as interesting as they are fun to play though giving the game a lot of replay ability.

After you pick your faction, race and class in SWTOR you are thrown onto a planet where your story starts to unfold right away. Training to be a Jedi knight or a Sith or just trying to get your ship back as a smuggler. You step right out of character creation and into the rich story the game offers you. Though out the story you Are given dialog options letting you pick how your character really acts in this world. Be the nice guy, the bad guy or the smooth smuggler charming his way out of any bad transaction. Like the Mass Effect games SWTOR has morality built into it as well. Though out the quests you do there will be options. Light side and dark side options allowing you to dictate how the story moves forward and letting you act good or evil. As you act more good or more evil your light side points or dark side points move up and down.

With its dialog options SWTOR gives the player a good look into morality and what it’s like to act a certain way. While it’s all fun and games to act like the evil master mind in a video game doing so in the real world would not end well. Having to make constant choices shows the player the outcomes of their actions quite a bit. So playing though a game with this kind of option really helps with understanding of consequence since you can see the outcome of your actions almost right away. There is no waiting around wondering if you made the right choice. MMORPGS are a wonderful way to meet people and make long lasting friendships since a lot of the game is group based activities. You must work together if you want to overcome the obstacles the game will though at you. While you might not get alone with everyone being able to put that aside and work together is a wonderful skill games like this one can teach you.

Star Wars the Old Republic is a wonderful Star Wars game and well worth the time if you are a fan of the Star Wars. Since it’s free to play you have nothing to worry about if you want to pick it up and try it, even if you only want to play for the personal class storylines.

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Heroes of the Storm Alpha Review

Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is a new MOBA (Multiplayer online battle arena) game form Blizzard entertainment the minds behind Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft. The game blends the heros and villains of all three game worlds into one game, much like Super Smash Bro’s dose with Nintendo characters. HotS answers the age old question every blizzard fan as been asking who would win in a fight, Arthas or Diablo? Well if you wish to find out then hope you get into the Alpha or you will be waiting until beta or worse the games launch which has yet to be announced.

Much like other MOBAs HotS follows the lains with minions running down them to endlessly fight the other team’s minions. Though unlike other MOBA’s each one of the five maps in the game so far have something the teams fight over. Be it golden doubloons so you can hair a ghost pirate to bombard your enemy’s base or seed so you can grow and control a giant plant monster. The maps are made with something in mind that makes it more than just the normal lains and jungle. The teams have to work together or fall behind and get crushed under the firsts of a giant golem the other team as summoned.

Like all MOBA’s teamwork is needed if you want to strive and come out on top but with the added objectives in Heroes of the Storm it turns things on its head. Having to coordinate team fights with event timing can be hard. If you lose a fight right as the raven lord’s tribute summons you lose the tribute and possibly gain his curse. Communication is key if you want to be the winning team and harassing your teammates will get you nowhere fast. Learning how to interact with others in a friendly and cooperative manner is something many people need refreshing on as far too often do you run into people who don’t understand it. Games, online ones at that help teach this well as you are thrown into team after team with people you don’t know. Being able to adapt quickly and treat there’s with what you expect to be treated with helps in the long run of a game.

Heroes of the Storm is a wonderfully fun take on a MOBA game with a fun cast of characters all different and interesting to play. If you are lucky and get into the Alpha I hope you enjoy your time and get the most out of yet another wonderful Blizzard game. But keep in mind that it’s an Alpha and they tend to be buggy so don’t get mad if you find a bug or game breaking problem it will be fixed.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Review

Dragon Age: Inquisition is the newest action role-playing game developed by BioWare in the Dragon age franchise. The game takes place after the events of the first two games, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, realised on all major platforms like the ones before it Dragon Age: Inquisition allows players to pick the way they wish to play. With the history of older games and how they played out it’s safe to expect that this Dragon Age won’t be much different. Players can expect to be able to have and lead romantic relations with every party member available.

Dragon Age: Inquisition starts off with an interesting story point with you at the center of it and moves forward as you see fit. Like other BioWare games you have some choices when it comes to the way the world’s story plays out. Be it though small choices you make in conversation or who you chose to treat some none player characters. The game also offers a vast world for you to wonder around and get lost in. It’s easy to spend hours wondering around a zone finding every small hidden quest or hunting the local bunny population to next to nothing. The choice in a game like this is completely up to you. You have the freedom to play at your on pace and enjoy what is given to you.

A game like Dragon Age: Inquisition is a wonderful look at how choice effects outcome and how every choice you make has a reaction. Choosing to ignore something or not help someone can end up with that character dying or coming back to get revenge on you. Something to also keep in mind is that if you have them your choices in the older Dragon Age games come back. With some people showing up again or events that you put in motion long ago still going on. So like most other BioWare game it makes you think about your actions and how they will not only effect you but the world you are a part of. With the choices given in dialogue though out the game you can really decide how your character will act they can be the best person ever or the most evil guy around. Playing one way or the other will have effects on your world so if you want you can really see how your actions affect the game by playing like that.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is a wonderful game which I feel lives up to the expectations of the player. Allowing you choice and freedom with in the world as you move though it as well as fun and challenging combat. If you are a fan of a good story or enjoy BioWare games you should give this one a try.

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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Multiplayer Review

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Multiplayer Review

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is the latest game in the Call of Duty series making it the eleventh primary game so far. The game was release on November 3rd for the Xbox506, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and the PC. Keeping to the run and gun style of first person shooting that Call of Duty players are used to Advanced Warfare ads in exosuit that give the player more movement options for getting around the map.

The run and guns style of gameplay holds up well with the added exo movements as they allow you to make larger jumps, dashes in almost every direction as well as improving your sliding. Good use of the new movement is key to coming out onto in a firefight but be careful as using the boots makes a lot of noise. So a more sneaky player might build there soldier in such a way where there exo boots are not shown on the map or really quiet. As other Call of Duty games your load out is up to you. Take any thirteen things with you into battle to help you win. The customization of your soldier is something we are starting to see more of as the years go on. Call of Duty Ghosts had some customization but Advanced Warfare blows it out of the water.

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Outlast Review

Outlast Review

Since today is October 31st I thought I should do a spooky game, enjoy.

Outlast is a first person survival horror game where you wonder a psychiatric hospital with nothing but a camcorder. Released September 4th 2013 for PC, February 5th 2014 for the Play Station 4 and June 19th 2014 for the Xbox one. Out last follows the idea of run and hide horror games where you can’t fight. You don’t get the big guns you don’t even get a pipe to hit thing with you get your legs. Using this hide and run style Outlast and games like it play off a different kind of fear then a lot of horror games, there are still jump scares because we need that in a horror game, when done well. Your camcorder acts as your flashlight with its night vision mode but be careful as it runs out and you need batteries to recharge it.

You are a journalist who is investigating this hold rundown hospital all on their own. No camera man other than yourself and in the dead of night. Sneaking your way into the building that has been clearly roped off but you don’t care as long as you get the big story. Once you get inside you start to see what has gone on here, patients wonder the halls most not caring you are here as they deal with their own problems. Computers just left on and guards dead all over that place. It’s not until a little bit into the build that you find someone still alive who clues you into the idea of leaving. But the game won’t let you and your way out is stolen form you as you are thrown down into the main floor, all doors leading out our locked. Not you must find your way out while avoiding the more insane members of the hospital family.

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Gamification and Game-based Learning: When to Use Them

“While gamification and game-based learning are buzzwords in the training realm, and are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different. Incorporating either one of these elements into your training is a sure way to catch your audience’s interest and teach them your material.”


Gamification and game-based learning are both buzzwords in the education and training industry. Although both are innovative ways to train your learners, they aren’t actually interchangeable. While both may relate to education and training, how they relate varies greatly.

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    Infographic: How Game-based Learning Can Support Strong Mathematical Practices

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Thursday, 10 March 2016

    "How can we get students to not only engage in math, but also go deeper in the mathematical thinking and practices described in the standards?" Infographic by MIND Research Institute.

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    Infographic: How Game-based Learning Can Support Strong Mathematical Practices

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Thursday, 10 March 2016

    "How can we get students to not only engage in math, but also go deeper in the mathematical thinking and practices described in the standards?" Infographic by MIND Research Institute.

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    Infographic: How Game-based Learning Can Support Strong Mathematical Practices

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Thursday, 10 March 2016

    "How can we get students to not only engage in math, but also go deeper in the mathematical thinking and practices described in the standards?" Infographic by MIND Research Institute.

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    The Dangerous side of Gamification

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Wednesday, 16 December 2015

    Gamification is something we here at Blendedgaming like quite a bit, something we talk about as being a good thing for everyone. But we have never really talked about the bad sides of it and I don’t mean how it gets people to spend hours playing games. Gamification is a powerful tool but with all powerful things when used wrong it can do quite a bit of damage. Today, December 16th, 2015. Extra Credits put out a video on just this topic. Speaking on a new system the Chinese Government is trying out. A system that uses gamification in a scary way and a way that will most likely not been seen as bad by the uses of it. A system that promote falling into line and being an obedient citation. I stand in the same boat as Extra Credits and hopping that this new idea is being miss understood or is going to be stopped before it becomes mandatory. Please check out there video on the topic and decide for yourself what your feelings towards this use of gamification. {media id=67,layout=blog}

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    Faitak updated an existing blog post, Habitica - You're Life the RPG

    Habitica - You're Life the RPG

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Sunday, 13 December 2015

    Habitica is a free online Role Playing Game where doing your habits and daily routines or making new ones helps you level up, get rewards and battle monsters. Habitica is meant as a way to build good habits or break bad ones in a fun and game like manner. As you complete your habits and daily goals you earn gold, experience points (XP) and gear. Allowing you to level up your character and suit them up with weapons, armor and more. You also have the option to join groups and battle monsters. Completing your habits and dailies now not only benefits you but you’re entire group by helping damage the monster you’re facing. So if you slack off it could hurt the people you’re working with and that’s not something you want in a game like this. If you’re looking for a way to build some new habits or just keep track of them or just a fun game to play. Habitica might be for you, with its fun leveling up and rewards that help you advance in the game while you advance in real life. It just goes to show what powers elements form games can have on our daily lives when used to enhance our enjoyment of the little things. Here is a link to a video on how to use Habitica by Collage Info Geek. His video is a good introduction to the system and how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxxKm7tSL6I 

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    Habitica - You're Life the RPG

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Sunday, 13 December 2015

    Habitica is a free online Role Playing Game where doing your habits and daily routines or making new ones helps you level up, get rewards and battle monsters. Habitica is meant as a way to build good habits or break bad ones in a fun and game like manner. As you complete your habits and daily goals you earn gold, experience points (XP) and gear. Allowing you to level up your character and suit them up with weapons, armor and more. You also have the option to join groups and battle monsters. Completing your habits and dailies now not only benefits you but you’re entire group by helping damage the monster you’re facing. So if you slack off it could hurt the people you’re working with and that’s not something you want in a game like this. If you’re looking for a way to build some new habits or just keep track of them or just a fun game to play. Habitica might be for you, with its fun leveling up and rewards that help you advance in the game while you advance in real life. It just goes to show what powers elements form games can have on our daily lives when used to enhance our enjoyment of the little things. Here is a link to a video on how to use Habitica by Collage Info Geek. His video is a good introduction to the system and how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxxKm7tSL6I 

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    Faitak created a new blog post, Habitica - You're Life the RPG

    Habitica - You're Life the RPG

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Sunday, 13 December 2015

    Habitica is a free online Role Playing Game where doing your habits and daily routines or making new ones helps you level up, get rewards and battle monsters. Habitica is meant as a way to build good habits or break bad ones in a fun and game like manner. As you complete your habits and daily goals you earn gold, experience points (XP) and gear. Allowing you to level up your character and suit them up with weapons, armor and more. You also have the option to join groups and battle monsters. Completing your habits and dailies now not only benefits you but you’re entire group by helping damage the monster you’re facing. So if you slack off it could hurt the people you’re working with and that’s not something you want in a game like this. If you’re looking for a way to build some new habits or just keep track of them or just a fun game to play. Habitica might be for you, with its fun leveling up and rewards that help you advance in the game while you advance in real life. It just goes to show what powers elements form games can have on our daily lives when used to enhance our enjoyment of the little things. Here is a link to a video on how to use Habitica by Collage Info Geek. His video is a good introduction to the system and how it works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxxKm7tSL6I 

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    Faitak featured the blog post, First Time - The Forest

    First Time - The Forest

    Posted in Blended Gaming on Friday, 15 May 2015

    So the second episode of my new YouTube show First Time is done and should be live later tonight or tomorrow. First Time is a show in which I take friends into game they have not played or played little off. We then talk about the game while playign it before closing off with a few final thoughts. In this episode of First time I ventured into The Forest with my good friend Richard. Due to some problems with the recording not found out until I went to watcht the fotage we lost audio part way though. Which means this episode took a bit longer then I would haved liked since we had to get a bit more fottage and re-film the ending. Even though I hope you all enjoy it. First Time can be found on our YouTube page https://www.youtube.com/user/blendedgaming

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