In the Card Game of Life Joy Trumps Worry!

I have card playing on my mind these days. Eric Baldwin, a young guy from my hometown was recently named card player of the year! Quite an honor and he is a very nice young man to boot.Maybe that is why I keep thinking about poker and card playing. I was thinking about card playing today as I drove around town doing some errands.My goal this year is to focus on having more joy in my life. A noble goal indeed if I say so myself. As I turned a corner near my house…it came to me…in the card game of life joy will always trump worry. I love that!I laughed and envisioned being in a big card game tossing down joy card after joy card while those who were tossing worry cards just sat and complained.How can I translate my big card game for life where I am? Here is how:We all have things to worry about. Some of us may have more than others these days. So the worry cards can come easy. Its the joy cards that we may be having trouble with. The answer is just to plan ahead.Here are 2 ideas to get those joy cards ready to play the greatest hand of your life this year.The first idea is to make a list of the things that bring you happy and bring you joy. Maybe you have forgotten because life has been hard lately. That can happen. Just start making a list of things that make you happy. Maybe its your partner, maybe your dog, maybe chocolate! Your list…your joy.Once its done you hang it up where you can see it. Or better yet make several copies. One to hang up and one to fold up and carry with you. Then when worry pops up you simply put your focus on your list. For every worry card you pull out a joy card.The second idea is to pick a symbol so that when you see the symbol it makes you smile. I decide my symbol this year will be a monkey.I love monkeys. They seem happy sitting in trees and I believe they would be greater huggers though I have no real experience with that. Its just what I believe.Monkeys make me smile and that brings me joy. I saw monkeys in nature when I traveled to Sri Lanka and worked with people who were living in refugee camps after the tsunami. Monkeys were living in the trees by our hotel. So this year I chose monkeys for my symbol (last year it was a sunflower) out of respect for all that experience brought to me and besides they are cute!So what happened today, the first day of the year? I saw monkeys all over! Every place I went I saw monkeys. I even picked up a dog collar and guess what was on it? Monkeys!!! I saw so many I just started laughing at the last store. And joy follows laughter every time.So when you are playing the game of life go to the table prepared. Make your list. Pick your symbol. Then remember the number one rule in the game of life…joy trumps worry each and every time!

Board Games For The Family Game Night

If you are planning for a family game night, then you have to plan it well for best results. Remember the main purpose of game nights is to spend some quality time with the whole family. Although it is just a game night, it can already create a big impact to your family’s bond. If such event will just be held at home, then one of the most important things that you should include in your planning is the games that will be played. Basically, this will be the highlight of the night when everyone can have fun and enjoy. Think of some popular indoor games that are suitable for different age groups. You can look into some of the awesome board games that are really intended to be played by the whole family.If the time allocated for the family game night is very limited, then you can take a look into simple and short board games that are still fun to play. This is also ideal if your family prefers to play a game that can be done in a short period of time. In this way, you and your family can play a lot of games during the game night. In this case, you can consider the game “Blokus” or “Gobblet”.Aside from simple and short board games, you can also consider the type of board games that classified to be strategy games. From the name itself, these games do not just offer fun and enjoyment for the whole family; these types of games will also test the thinking skills and risk-taking abilities of the players. The player has to come up with a strategy or plan in order to win the game as well carefully make decisions. “The Settlers of Catan” and “Puerto Rico” are just two of the games that belong to this category.All of the games mentioned above focus more individual victory which is actually fine. But if you want to explore some other options, you can consider he types of board games that involves cooperation. Basically, this refers to the games that allow the family members to work together as a team in order to win. Each family member will have to play a specific role when playing the game and this is really perfect for big families. If your family prefers to play these kinds of games, then you can look into “Pandemic” and “Diplomacy” game.Aside from the board games that were earlier mentioned, you can also stick with the classic and popular board games like “Scrabble”, “Monopoly”, “Trouble and Taboo”, “Corn Hole Game” and many more. You can’t go wrong with these games because they have been very popular for quite some time now. So if you and your family are not familiar with some other types of games, these classic board games would just be fine. As long as the all the family members are present, everything will turn out great and everyone will surely have fun during the family game night.

Video Game Streaming – The New Frontier!

Video gaming has always been a competitive sport. Arcade boxes earlier had their pixelated high score charts, and every kid wanted to be the one with the top scores in his neighborhood. With the internet explosion and the release of iconic first person shooter games like Doom and Counter Strike, players from all over the world began to come together. In 1997, one of the first e-sports organizations, Cyberathelete Professional League was established. Since then the gaming world has leaped forward to online gaming and streaming. Let us take a closer look at the phenomenon.The Rise of Online Gaming and StreamingIn the past four decades, online gaming has become one of the world’s biggest entertainment industries. According to reports from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global online gaming industry in 2010 was worth around $56 billion! This is bigger than both the magazine or the music industry and about two-thirds the film industry’s size. According to a 2011 report by Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a gamer in the United States is 37 and 42 percent of these gamers are female.One of the biggest trends today, in live streaming is not music (as you might have previously assumed), but competitive gaming. e-sports today, attracts thousands of viewers. A number of sites today, catering specifically to gamers and their fans stream e-sport events. Several e-sport websites have exploded all over the internet as live webcasts take competitive video gaming to a completely new level, transforming it into a sport that is viewed by millions from one which was limited to just insiders.Video Game Streaming: The Big PlayersAmong the big players in video game streaming today are Own3D.tv and TwitchTV. Own3D.tv began online video game streaming in 2010, and at present, the website gets over four million unique viewers a month for video game live streams. In March 2011, Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest gaming league, broadcasted the Intel Extreme Masters event, which is among the most popular gaming tournaments of the year, through Own3D. With $400,000 as prize money, the gaming tournament drew 75,000 simultaneous live viewers on single event days, while the overall audience reached several million gamers. June 2011 saw over 200,000 concurrent viewers watching a Dreamhack contest (which is based around League of Legends, another popular game) on Own3D, with about 250 GBps of traffic through the event.And live video streaming vendor Justin.tv witnessed e-sports video streaming grow at such a rapid rate that they dedicated an entire website to it. In June 2011, they launched TwitchTV after video game streaming reached around 3.2million monthly unique views on its main website. TwitchTV now engages over 12 million unique viewers each month. Also it has had a steady month over month growth rate of 11 percent since it was launched. Besides that, TwitchTV has over 1,000 premium partners. It has also received over 80,000 downloads of its iPhone mobile app in less than a month of the app’s launch. Between October 10th and October 16th the website received massive traffic as can be seen from the following figures:Total Hours Watched: 6,737,250Weekly Unique Viewers: 4,214,057Total Hours Watched per Unique Viewer: 1.6Weekly Unique Chatters: 309,220Peak Concurrent Viewers on a Single Stream: 125,862Peak Concurrent Viewers on all Gaming Content: 165,250Video Game Streaming: Popular GenresHere are some of the most popular genres in live online video game streaming:Adventure (Assassin’s Creed II, Lego, Lost Planet)
Strategy (StarCraft II, Total War, Worms)
Sport Games (FIFA, NBA 2K10, MLB 2K10)
Shooter (Modern Warfare 3, Bad Company 2, Left 4 Dead 2)
Role-Playing (Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age)
Racing (Need for Speed: The Run Playthrough Part 1!, GP2 Asia Series 2011)
Simulation (The Sims)
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game – MMORPG (World of Warcraft, Hydra 9)Streaming Games Online: The Legal SideBy now you might know or at least heard about the new bill related to anti-streaming video – S.978. At present, it is not illegal to stream, for instance a walk-through of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 online as it is considered to be a public performance. However, a bill like this would make such videos illegal. This bill might seem like a great thing at first glance as it helps curb piracy, but as parts of the bill are quite vague, it could lead to a few issues for members of the media/gaming enthusiast communities.However, it is also possible that game developers and publishers may decide not to prosecute streaming gamers, thereby leaving things quite the same way as they are now. Given the huge number of such videos available on the web, it would be rather optimistic to actually think that game developers and publishers will have the time and money to pursue users every time they break this would-be law. Besides online video game streaming has generated a win-win scenario for all parties involved.Game Streaming: A Win-Win Situation for EveryoneWebsites like Own3D.tv and TwitchTV witness most of their traffic around gaming events. However, these websites feature live video feeds of gamers playing popular video games any time, as well. Some of these gamers are just amateurs who like to show their gaming skills to other gamers while some actually belong to professional gaming teams, and are preparing for the next tournament.Besides, gamers today are increasingly monetizing matches as live video game streaming offers them another way of earning money and making a living. Live video game streaming websites like Own3D.tv and TwitchTV have revenue sharing deals with professional gaming partners. The most common types of monetization include ads, subscriptions and pay per views.TwitchTV for instance, has a revenue sharing plan where they sell ads on the gamer’s stream and the profits earned are split between them. TwitchTV also includes automatic transcoding, where viewers can flip between a variety of quality settings, based on their connection. Besides that partners also get early access to latest technology from Twitch as well as the ability to test out new features.The companies are also on the winning side. Zvetan Dragulev, Own3D.tv CEO explained that they get 90 percent of their video views from pro-gaming teams and events that pull in higher CPM rates as compared to traditional user generated live video streams. Besides that, advertisers also love the fact that they are catering to a well defined audience. So everyone’s happy – well, no one’s happier than the gamers would be my guess!