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‘Console Wars’ Review: A Fascinating, Fundamental Chronicle of the Innovative Battle Between SEGA and Nintendo

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Console Wars Review

Though Atari was the first massively successful home video game system, a flood of terrible games, including the infamously awful E.T. video game, brought the industry crashing down in the early 1980s. But in 1985, the world of home video gaming was brought back from the dead thanks to innovation from Japan in the form of Nintendo.

What followed was a massive behemoth of a video game company who dominated the entire market. Nintendo was raking in the dough and made it so that no other game system could even come close to challenging them, not even the return of Atari. But just as the Nintendo Entertainment System and Mario rose out of Japan to reinvigorate home video gaming, so too would SEGA and Sonic the Hedgehog.

In 1989, SEGA was the new, cool kid on the video game block that mixed slick American marketing with traditional Japanese business, literally changing the game and sparking what pop culture would come to know as the Console Wars. It’s all chronicled in the new fascinating and sleek feature documentary of the same name, available today on CBS All Access.

Console Wars, based on the book of the same name by author Blake J. Harris, who produces and co-directs with Jonah Tulis, begins with a breezy but informative opening credits sequence that sets up the brief history of home video gaming. They move quickly from the rise and fall of Atari to Nintendo’s revival of home video games and their total domination of the market, something that the company was rather cocky about. But their complacency would be their downfall.

Disclosure: Console Wars author Blake J. Harris is a contributing writer to /Film.

Enter the origins of SEGA of America, the United States sector of the Japanese video game company. But at this time, SEGA was on shaky ground, so they brought in the American marketing mastermind who made kids loving taking vitamins with a little help from The Flintstones and breathed new life into Barbie by inspiring the fashion doll to become anything she wanted, from an astronaut to a doctor and anything in between. His name is Tom Kalinske, and he’s the man who would challenge Nintendo’s empire.

Through a series of in-depth and revealing interviews with key executives and personnel, the rise of SEGA is entertainingly detailed. Vintage commercials, archival footage, and news B-roll beef up the proceedings, cleverly spliced in-between the talking heads to help illustrate their memories and even interact with the recounting of video game history. You’ll even spot some familiar faces in these old commercials, such as Paul Rudd and Ethan Suplee. Anecdotes are also jazzed up by video game style dramatizations presented in the classic 8-bit and 16-bit pixelated imagery, turning executives into video game characters and adding pixelated effects to old photos and videos. And there’s also a rousing nostalgic soundtrack featuring the funky fresh jams of the late 1980s and early 1990s, not to mention an impressive array of home videos of kids opening up game systems and losing their minds. This may sound like an echo of Netflix’s High Score documentary series, which gave us an abridged chronicle of the Nintendo vs SEGA battle with similar stylish touches and is exceptional in its own right. But Console Wars is able to dig deeper and tell the full story, adding much more insight into familiar cornerstones.

All of this keeps the documentary from feeling mundane and formulaic, especially since what’s being chronicled here is purely business. Thankfully, it’s the business of entertainment, and people have been fascinated with it for decades now. So Console Wars has no problem being captivating, though the structure can initially be perplexing.

The first half of the documentary is all about SEGA, praising their innovative marketing strategy that was geared towards being the “cool” video game system for teens and directly challenged and even mocked Nintendo. They hyped the fast-paced nature of their games, including the newly created Sonic the Hedgehog, and their superior 16-bit technology. Hearing the marketing tricks and brilliant chess moves SEGA used to take on Nintendo is truly engrossing, including a commemoration of the famous “SEGA!” scream from their commercials (and Nintendo has their own strokes of genius too). No one is shy about taking shots at Nintendo’s desperate and shady attempts to stave off SEGA, easily turning them into a villain, even though both practiced ethically questionable tactics. At times, Nintendo is made to look especially foolish, such as when they try to lean into their family friendly image by removing the blood from their version of Mortal Kombat, a decision that actually blew up in their faces and allowed SEGA to outsell them 5-to-1. It’s a fun celebration of SEGA’s stone-throwing at the Goliath that was Nintendo. Then the documentary switches gears.

After reveling in the huge success of the SEGA Genesis, which was not only able to fend off the Super Nintendo, but was bolstered by the massive launch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Console Wars flashes back to the beginning of Nintendo and the path they charted that made the rise of SEGA possible. At first, I was frustrated by this narrative decision. The documentary had a smooth flow and energy to spare, and then it suddenly screeched to a halt and threw it into reverse to focus on this sect of video game history that already seemed to be succinctly covered in the opening credits. But this segment serves a larger purpose in the overall film as the Console Wars continue.

Console Wars frames the battle between Nintendo and SEGA as a historic business battle. But no matter who came out on top in the end, their efforts to outdo each other are now merely stepping stones in the larger history of video games. Whatever success SEGA had, they owed a fair share of it to Nintendo. Their fight paved the way for PlayStation, which would then go on to battle with Microsoft’s Xbox. The two companies have gone head-to-head ever since, with another round coming up as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are poised to go on sale in November. And they owe a substantial amount of their success to SEGA.

Though SEGA is now gone as a player in the console game, Nintendo still innovates and holds on strong, giving us three video game giants competing for their share of the market, each forcing each other to take video games to the next level. Whenever there’s a documentary about the next generation of Console Wars, SEGA may be relegated to being an opening credits footnote like Atari is here. But in the first Console Wars, SEGA was victorious, and this commendable documentary is a tribute to the innovation and ambition that fueled their video game dreams.

/Film Rating: 8 out of 10

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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