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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Have you pre-ordered a PS5 or Xbox?

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Xbox Series X retail box packaging

Have you pre-ordered one? (pic: Microsoft)

GameCentral readers share their experience of pre-ordering a PS5 and Xbox Series X/S – or explain why they never bothered.

Now that the pre-orders have started for both the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X/S the question for this week’s Hot Topic was pretty straightforward: have you pre-ordered one and if not why not?

Everyone had their own reasons for choosing to jump in now or wait till later but surprisingly few reported having being prevented from pre-ordering because of a lack of stock or technical problems.

All that matters
Well, after all the excitement of the last few weeks I pre-ordered a PlayStation 5 and an Xbox Series S. I am looking forward to the reductions in loading times and haptic feedback and swanky new sound. After a few days consideration I asked myself why do I want two new consoles?

The main reason is, of course, to play games and looking at the games coming up in the next couple of years I decided to cancel the Xbox Series S, as I don’t think I will use it much. The lack of exclusive titles in the short term plus a lack of time now I am older means it doesn’t make much sense at the moment. I will probably wait a few years and get an Xbox Series X if it has some must have games by then.

I did not get an Xbox this generation and opted for the Switch as my second console, as the line-up was stronger in my opinion. Hopefully Microsoft splurging the cash will result in some great titles in a couple of years and in the meantime there is plenty on the PlayStation 5 to keep me going.
BOB1972PSN

2020 goals
Pre-order the newest console? Nope. I’ve been looking forward to the newest line-up of hardware for my PC and I think I will be using it as my primary source of entertainment, followed by my Xbox and PlayStation 4, as I still have a pile of games to finish.

It’s probably going to cost me more than a PlayStation 5 to do what I want to do with the PC (new CPU, GPU, monitor) so I will do as I always seem to do with a console and wait for a price drop and a slimline or smaller version. Although by this stage Sony might let me play the newest God Of War on the PC anyway, so if that is the case then I can skip the console altogether.

The goal for this year is 4K and 60+ fps single-player or 144Hz multiplayer or both if possible. More research is needed.
bobwallett

Games before consoles
I’ve not pre-ordered a new console yet and I wouldn’t imagine I will get one for some time.

I’m not that au fait with what Sony and Microsoft are offering but from what I understand Sony are basically giving you the chance to pay £520 to play a Spider-Man or Ratchet & Clank sequel, and Microsoft are offering you the chance to spend £430 or £250 to play games that you can already play on formats you might already own, but with better load times.

I know that’s all a bit flippant but when you get past the marketing that pretty much seems to be what’s going to be available, and the whole situation has got a huge whiff of Emperor’s New Clothes about it.

Other than for people that work in the industry and have to keep up with the latest developments, I really just don’t understand the logic behind paying the absolute most money you will ever have to pay for a console, to own it at a time when it’s software catalogue is going to be the weakest it will ever be.

Ultimately, gaming will always be about the games for me. I usually buy a console when a game comes along that I feel like I just have to play. I bought an Xbox 360 for Oblivion (I didn’t have a PC that could run it), a PlayStation 3 for The Last of Us, a PlayStation 4 for Bloodborne, and a Switch for Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. Nothing I’ve seen yet for either of the two new consoles looks to be anywhere near as essential as any of those, and until that changes I’ll be keeping my money in my pocket.
Charlie

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

An expensive day
Managed to snag myself a full-phat PlayStation 5 and without too much trouble too. Took an early lunch last Thursday, strolled right past a block-long queue outside GAME and walked straight into Currys PC World and was their first of the day apparently.

I’ll probably pick up Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon’s Souls, and Godfall too (I actually really like the look of Godfall regardless of the internet hate… it looks like a co-op God Of War 2018 so, take my frikkin money!), though I’m still making my way through a backlog which has never been this big.

As it stands, its well over 100 games yet to be played, some of which are PlayStation 3… I’m currently alternating between a PlayStation 3 game followed by PlayStation 4 and back to PlayStation 3. So if the PlayStation 5 games I mentioned are sold out it’s not as if I haven’t got anything to play.

I haven’t pre-ordered any peripherals but I will probably pick up an extra controller and the headset if they’re not sold out, so it’ll be a pretty expensive day but new console releases are pretty rare, so why not.

Back to the backlog then, by this rate the remaining PlayStation 3 games should be done by next March.
colonelkilgore69

No pressure
It’s certainly been a week or two of revelations, console wars are not dead no matter what people say.

I’m still unsure if I’m going to get either a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. The Switch has been my go-to console since its launch and I cannot see that changing, as 80% of my gaming is handheld while watching TV and chatting with the family. Well kind of, it’s more successively one then the other as I really cannot multitask.

As a second console, Game Pass makes an Xbox the obvious route. I wouldn’t have to worry about buying 100+ hour epics and not finishing them. I would be subbed in and have no buyers’ remorse if I hardly gamed on the TV for a month. I have an iPhone, so handheld Xbox isn’t an option for me, yet! I mean, I still wouldn’t finish them and I would still be paying a subscription, but if I moved on to other games 20 hours in I wouldn’t beat myself up over a £70 outlay like I would on the PlayStation 5.

I also prefer Western role-playing games over Japanese ones when I do go all in on something, Monster Hunter aside, with Bethesda publishing many of my favourites over the decades.

However, I suspect the people I game with the most had made their mind up on getting a PlayStation 5 years ago. They see the Xbox as something that would taint and corrupt you, you all know who you are! Given I’d only play the odd game intensively on anything but the Switch, playing the odd game we all enjoy together and keeping the Switch for everything else may be the best option, who knows.

Thankfully, I’m under no pressure to choose either service right now, even if I could, so if I do jump in I can decide once the dust has settled and I have a clearer view.
Antony White

Impulse purchase
I pre-ordered an Xbox Series S, kind of on a whim as it was so cheap. However, looking at the launch line-up, it’s kind of pathetic compared to PlayStation 5 and there is nothing that is really going to show off the new hardware. However, there are a fair few games on Game Pass that I want to play, and it was cheaper than getting a new graphics card for my PC, so it made sense for me.

I will get a PlayStation 5 eventually, but since a lot of PlayStation 5 games are now coming to PlayStation 4, I’m not in a mad rush. So the Xbox Series S is a bit of a stop gap for now, and hopefully should keep me entertained for a little while.
Acidmouse

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

The road to launch
I haven’t pre-ordered a new console yet because my experience of picking up consoles on day one has been limited to the Wii and the 3DS. Neither of those convinced me it’s not much better to wait a while.

That said, I think the PlayStation 5 does have the best looking day one and year one line-up that Sony (or probably Microsoft) has ever had. Even discounting the games I’ll be able to get on PlayStation 4, it looks like Demon’s Souls plus a new Ratchet & Clank and God Of War at the very least will represent a good start.

Much has been made of a few bumps in each console’s road to launch but the main thing that matters is always the games. As such, the only thing that’s changed in recent months is how early I’ll pick up a PlayStation 5, as I never expected some of the most appealing games to be available so soon.

The main reason I’m not getting one at launch is the £70 games. Once I can get the ones I want for £60 max, preferably physical versions, I’ll probably get on board. (That may be even sooner than anticipated given all the copies of Demon’s Souls that’ll get sold by rage-quitters but I think I’ll wait till retailers bring down the general prices for new copies.)

When it comes to Xbox and Game Pass, I’ve yet to see anything that convincing. Value for money is nice but it’s not a driver for my gaming excitement and I don’t think Microsoft throwing money at us until we buckle is going to be the best way of ensuring the best possible games in the long run.
Panda

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

MORE: Games Inbox: Microsoft beating Sony, SSD expansion prices, and Nintendo buying Bandai Namco

MORE: Games Inbox: Microsoft buying Sega, Xbox All Access success, and Xbox Series S stock problems

MORE: Games Inbox: Xbox Series X pre-order success, Bethesda Xbox exclusives, and PS5 cross-gen confusion

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.

Entertainment

Things to do in Temecula for Families

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Temecula is a popular resort town in the south of California. Located in Riverside County, the destination is known for its wine and golf courses, but did you know it also makes a great family vacation spot? The beautiful town has a diverse range of activities to entertain the young and young at heart, so consider heading to Temecula for your next family vacation.

Why Temecula makes a great family vacation destination

Temecula is a laidback tourist town that is extremely family friendly. From its various parks and playgrounds to the many interesting attractions, Temecula is sure to offer an experience that the whole family can enjoy. It is also considered to be extremely safe which will make parents feel at ease during their stay.

How to prepare for a family vacation to Temecula

Temecula is sure to provide a fun vacation for the whole family, but as with all trips, you will want to do a little planning beforehand to ensure everything goes smoothly. This is especially important if you are travelling with little ones who may have less patience for any delays or travel mishaps.

USA residents are likely to have a relatively easy journey getting to Temecula. Depending on your location, a short domestic flight might be required. Some families might simply be able to pack their bags and drive there. For international travelers, preparations become a little more complex. You will have to think about time differences, currency exchange and entry requirements.

Entry requirements are one of the most important considerations when travelling to an overseas destination. If you do not have your paperwork in order, you may be denied entry to the USA or even prevent from boarding your plane. Imagine how devastated the whole family will be if you do not even manage to leave the airport?

Most people entering the USA will require either an ESTA America or a visa. An ESTA takes the place of a visa for eligible travelers (i.e. residents of countries that belong to the visa waiver program). If you are not a citizen of one of these countries, you will need to apply for a visa and address any other entry requirements that apply for you.

If you are eligible for an ESTA, the process is straightforward and completed entirely online. It is worth applying for an ESTA a few weeks before you travel to ensure everything goes through smoothly and avoid unnecessary stress. You can monitor the status of your ESTA using the ‘check my ESTA function available on the portal, which will notify you when your ESTA has been approved.

Things to do with kids in Temecula  

Temecula is a great family destination with a heap of fun activities to do with the kids. We have put together some of our favorite attractions to help you plan your days.

Museums in Temecula, CA    

  • Temecula Valley Museum – Now a museum might not be your first thought when considering kid-friendly attractions, but Temecular Valley Museum is great for all ages. The whole family can learn about local history in an engaging way, with interactive exhibits providing great entertainment for children. They can play in the General Store, General Store or even the Ride-A-Pony Station.
  • Pennypickle’s Workshop – Another fun but educational museum is Penny pickle’s Workshop. This hands-on museum is tailored specifically for children and is all about science. Each area explores a different scientific theme and productions are ran on certain days for extra excitement.

Temecula Parks     

  • Ronald Reagan Sports Park – With a playground, 2 football fields, picnic tables and barbecues, Ronald Reagan Sports Park is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. The kids can run around while you cook lunch, and everyone can enjoy some fresh air.
  • Pala Community Park – Is your family really into sports? Head to Pala Community Park. It has football fields, volleyball courts, basketball courts and tennis courts, as well as great on-site facilities.
  • Get Air Trampoline Park – A slightly different sort of park but worthy of a mention nonetheless is Get Air Trampoline Park. This indoor facility has a heap of trampolines, a dodgeball section and basketball courts that will tire your kids out and ensure they have a great time doing so.

Water Parks in Temecula

  • Dropzone Water Park – This water park has something for individuals of all ages. There are 3 large water slides for the big kids, a kid’s zone completes with smaller water slides for the younger kids, and a lazy river for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Lake Skinner Splash Zone – This splash zone is a great place for the little kids to cool off on a hot day. Plenty of water fountains and even a playground nearby.
  • The Wave Water Park – This park is a great family-friendly option. With a lazy river, 4 main waterslides and a wave machine to try out your boogie boarding, the whole family will enjoy it.
  • Legoland Water Park – As the name suggests, everything in this water park is Lego-themed! There are slides, a lazy river, and a huge wave pool!
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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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