4 Reasons Why Gaming Isn’t A Wasted Hobby

We are living in a time when gaming no longer has the stigma it used to. Sure, there are still media reports blaming video games for crime and corruption in our country. There will still be parents telling their children to get outside for some fresh air and into a more useful hobby. And you may have people in your life telling you to stop wasting time playing games on your laptop or console. But as a rule, and to the relief of many a gamer, gaming now has a more respectable image than it used to. In short, gaming is not the wasted hobby it was once thought to be.

As a gamer, you will know the value of playing video games. Sure, you may need to put down that gamepad occasionally – there are other ways to spend your time – but we’re not here to nag. We are gamers too, and in this article, we will remind you of some of the some of the reasons why playing video games is okay. Use these reasons to convince any skeptics in your life.

#1: Gaming is wonderfully escapist

Not many of us have the opportunity to drive a high-end racing car. Very few of us have the chance to live out life as an action hero. We are never going to be part of an interstellar space battle. And unless we are really really good at sport, we aren’t going to get to play for an NFL or NBA sports team. It sucks! But this is where games come in. We can lift ourselves from the mundanity of our everyday lives, and engage in all kinds of game experiences. We can get behind the racing wheel playing driving games. We can engage in action heroics playing games such as the latest Spider-man title. And we can pick up the annual sporting release and play for our team of choice. We can do all of these things because gaming allows us too!

#2: Gaming is a fun way to make money

The next time somebody tells you to “go and get a job,” remind them that gaming can make you a sizeable income. From starting your own YouTube channel to taking part in gaming tournaments, there are a number of ways to make an income. This is great news if you are looking to make money from the hobby you love, as you won’t need to spend a lot of time away from your gaming passion if you take up one of the opportunities available to you. And if you commit to gaming, you can make the big bucks. It is predicted those who take part in eSports will soon be earning more money than our top athletes! That’s something to throw in the face of your old gym teacher who berated you on your lack of sporting prowess or motivation!

#3: Gaming can bring people together

A common argument against gaming is that it is anti-social. And this is true to a degree, or at least it used to be. Thanks to the popularity of online gaming, this is no longer a solitary hobby. Whether you play games with people you know or with those from another country entirely, you can engage in conversations, have a laugh, and play games in the company of others. Sure, they may not be sat with you in your living room, but thanks to the power of online games, they don’t need to be. And unlike those friends you have in your ‘real life,’ you don’t have to kick them out of the house when you’re tired of them. You need only say goodbye and unplug from the game. Still, if you prefer the physical company of others, you can play games together in your living room. With games such as Mario Kart on the Switch and Rock Band (across a range of consoles), you can have fun with both friends and family, and bond together as a result.

#4: Gaming offers stress relief

Sure, there are those times when you are tempted to throw your joypad through the television screen, especially when playing mega-difficult games such as Dark Souls (game developers can be so cruel), but according to studies, gaming is a guaranteed way to relieve stress! This flies in the face of the detractors who claim gaming can cause aggression and violence. Of course, you, as the gamer already know the de-stressing power of video games, but have a read of the linked article to help you back up this argument should anybody criticize you for choosing to play games in your downtime. Of course, if you have just been ‘killed’ for the 1000th time playing any of the Dark Souls titles, you might want to calm down first before engaging in a discussion!

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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The Inner Image: Taking The Best Family Pictures

Do you find that family outings are not visually captured as well as you’d like them to be? If you’re an amateur photographer, or you like a selfie or two with your kids, taking a good family photo is a fine art. After all, people have dedicated their entire lives to the endeavor of the perfect photograph. And while you don’t need to be Robert Capa, are there any fundamentals you can take on board to ensure that you don’t, at the very least, have your thumb over the lens?

Get The Focus Locked

Either you need to have the steadiest of arms, or you can go for the simpler option and get a tripod. You might consider this to be a bit bulky, but when you’re looking at capturing the perfect family photo, what have all the great portraits got in common? The camera has focus, and the subjects are still. So, making sure that the focus on the camera is locked, either by using the back button focus or manual focus, it will take a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Getting Action Shots

It all depends on the subject, but it’s much easier when you’ve got kids that are more than willing to mess around for the camera. You can get an abundance of action shots, but don’t feel that you’ve got to be static in these situations. In fact, if you’re looking to get various types of family photos, not just the still portraits, you may want to go a bit left-field and get a drone. On myrctopia.com there is a list of the best selfie drones, which adds another angle to your experience. And, if you want to get those really fantastic aerial shots of you and the family running on a massive beach, a drone is the best way to do it.

Get The Light Right

One of the most difficult tasks for any photographer is to get the light right because we can’t control it. And if you can’t drag piles of lighting equipment around with you, the simplest approach is to choose the right time to take these photos. Lighting is such an expansive topic, but the golden rule when getting a family portrait is that you get light into the subject’s eyes.

Undertake Your Own Education

Who are your favorite photographers? Do you admire anyone at all? For any budding photographer, getting into the work of one specific artist, whether it’s Pulitzer prize winner Kevin Carter or Vivian Maier, finding the right people to inspire your work and to go beyond the usual family portraits means you can create some amazing photographs that remain true to the subject. Your own education can begin right now, and sites like creativelive.com show some of the most common photography terms, so this can get you started.

We can all take a photograph, but the greatest photographs take the subject and show them in an honest and human light. When taking pictures of your family, you may know them inside out, but you can always benefit from learning how to get the camera to reveal their inner self.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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How To Make Your Video Game Obsession More Affordable

Anybody that’s a video game enthusiast will tell you it’s an expensive hobby. The average price of a new release on consoles is about $60. With so many great new games coming out, it’s easy to end up with a pretty sad looking bank balance. When you’re paying that much, you’re always taking a risk because you might end up spending a lot of money on a game that you don’t really like that much and don’t get much play time out of. If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend $60 on a game without worrying about it, you can buy all of the games you like. But most people aren’t that lucky and can’t afford to keep up with all of the latest releases. You can always hold off and just carry on with the games that you’ve already got but once you’ve finished them all and you’re bored with them, what do you do?

The good news is, you don’t have to spend loads of money on buying brand new games every time, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy video games without emptying your bank account every month. These are just some of the easiest ways to make your video game obsession more affordable.

Play Through Old Games Again

You’ve probably got a load of old games that you haven’t touched for ages because you’ve completed them already and you don’t think that there’s anything else to do with them. But if you enjoyed them the first time around, why not play through them again? Most games these days have plenty of extras like things to collect or side missions to complete. If you’ve played through the main story of a game but you haven’t completed all of the extras, why not pick it back up and see whether you can get to 100 percent completion?

You could also play through old games on a harder difficulty setting. A lot of games these days are slightly different and you’ll have a new challenge playing through it on a harder setting than you did the first time. It’s also worth looking at any games that let the player make choices which affect the storyline and give you different endings. They essentially give you a bunch of different versions of the same game so if you’ve only played through once, there is still plenty more to get out of them. There’s no point spending loads of money on new games if there is still playability in the ones you have already.

Free Games

The big blockbuster games come with a hefty price tag but there are plenty of places that you can get games for free. If you’re playing on an Xbox or Playstation, you get a bunch of free games every month included with your online subscription. Not all of them are great but there should be at least one or two that you enjoy and when you’re getting new ones every single month, you’ve probably got more free games than you can handle. There are also a lot of games that are free to play all of the time so it’s worth looking at the store and seeing what you can find. You’d be surprised how good some of the free games are.

Downloading games on your phone is another great way to get loads of free games which will keep you entertained for hours. They’re not going to be as in-depth as the games you’re playing on console or PC but the technology on phones is always improving and there are still some great games you can get for free. 

Sales

If you’re playing on a PC and you’re downloading games from Steam or another similar marketplace, there’s no need to pay full price for any games. They’re always having sales on those platforms and the games on there are incredibly cheap. If there’s a game that you want, don’t buy it as soon as it comes out. Wait a few months and it’ll probably go on sale at some point and you can get it for half the price. You can also find game bundles online where you’ll get a collection of games for next to nothing.

As well as looking for sales, you should keep an eye out for discount codes. You can often find discount codes for the online stores that will give you a bit of money off games. It’s not usually that much (around 10% most of the time) but if you combine that with the sales, you can make some pretty big savings.

Get Paid To Play

There are quite a few different ways that you can get paid to play games and then you can use that money to buy more new titles. You could try playing games where you can win money; for example, if you find a trusted online casino and play a few games, you might be able to win enough to buy some more new games. Just remember to be sensible and don’t end up spending too much money. Esports is another way that you can win money just by playing games but there is a lot of stiff competition out there so you’ve got to be good. If there is a game that you play a lot and you think that you might be in with a chance, try looking for local teams and see whether there are any competitions you could enter. The prize money is pretty big in most competitions and you never know, you might just be good enough to get first place. You can also earn money by streaming on sites like Twitch and asking for donations but again, there’s a lot of competition so you’ll have to spend some time building a good fan base before you start making any real money.

Second Hand Games

This is probably one of the easiest ways to save money on video games. If you buy a game brand new when it’s first released, it’s going to cost you about $60. But the price of games drops pretty quickly so if you just wait a month or two, you’ll be able to pick up a second hand copy for a lot less.

Your video game hobby can easily be expensive but it doesn’t have to be if you find games in other places rather than buying them brand new every time.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Great Ideas for Your Kids’ Midweeks Rewards

As a parent, you know very well that the best way to encourage good behavior is to give them rewards for good deeds rather than punishments for when they’re acting out. Children tend to learn when they get incentives – and we all need something to motivate us, after all.

The only problem is that children want the one thing they can’t always have in the middle of the week: candy, chocolates, waffles, pancakes – the list goes on. Anything sweet is a great reward, in your kids’ eyes, but not always the best choice of reward according to parents.

Luckily, there are a few other ideas which you can both agree about. Show your kids that you care about their hobbies and interests, first of all, and you should be able to come up with a ton of ideas for rewards. Here are a few just to get you started.

Movie night with popcorn

Sure, this one does include some snacks but popcorn is considered to be quite healthy, in any way. Just don’t drench it in salt and butter and your conscience should be clear. A movie night with mom and dad might just be the perfect way to end a gray and gloomy Wednesday.

Let your kid know before a big test or something challenging that, if they do good, you can all watch a movie of their choice together over dinner. Naturally, you’re not going to deprive them of this if they come home crying about not doing as well as they thought, though, as any effort should be good enough.

The trick is to give them an incentive to do their very best and make it clear that their best is always good enough for you.

Boost their gaming goals

Do you have children who would sit in front of their computer games all evening if they could? While your role may be to tell them to get off the computer, in general, you could always take advantage of their interest and make them work a bit for it.

Let your kid know that they can be allowed to buy osrs gold, for example, as long as they put in a bit of extra effort with their homework and chores this week. It’s a great way for your kids to see that you’re not always working against them, and that they can enjoy their hobbies undisturbed as long as they take care of their responsibilities first.

You could use it as a surprise reward as well, by the way, to encourage good behavior. Seen your kid being extra sweet to their siblings lately or helping our mom and dad with something without even being asked? Treat them to a little something as a surprise – you’re guaranteed to see the same kind of behavior again and again.

The best kind of gifts come after hard work or good behavior. You want your kids to understand that as long as they try their best and their intentions are right, they may be rewarded – not every time but at least once in a while.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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