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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update

Welcome back again.  As you can see, we are starting to populate the site with new content.  There are few new writers and contributors waiting in the wings with new content.  If you are interested

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Site Update, GaMExpo, Nerdvana Con, Life Updates

What to Watch: You Tube

Top 5 YouTube video’s of the past week (with one blast from the past). Each week, on Tuesday, I am going to post 5 videos I think are worth watching on YouTube.  I’d love to hear what you

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What to Watch: You Tube

Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Bac

Welcome back to Killer Betties! It’s been over three years since I’ve made a post, but I am back. Before I get to what I’ve been doing for three years, I want to talk first about The

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Rosethorn’s Ramblings: Welcome Back, TWD, The Bar, and Other Random Thoughts

Football Manager 2017 Review

Football Manager 2017 is a football management simulation video game for the PC developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega. Gameplay: In terms of gameplay, it is really fun. You can create

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Football Manager 2017 Review

Volunteers Wanted

Killer Betties is going through some growing pains and we need more bodies (and pens) to keep up with it. If you have any interest in writing video game reviews, previews, interviews or editorials, p

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Volunteers Wanted

Zynga Slingo

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by on April 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Okay, I admit it. I’m a Facebook game snob. I look down on most Facebook games. The few in the past that have captured my attention, like Packrat or The Sims Social, were the exceptions to Facebook games, not the rule.

The times, they are a-changing.

Facebook games are, more and more, stepping out of the Mafia Wars and Farmville mold. It’s getting to the point that if it’s a game, it CAN be on Facebook. Nothing is proving this fact more than traditional casual games, with titles like AdventureWorld or Hidden Chronicles being very popular. Zynga Slingo is another of those games.

For those not familiar with Slingo, it essentially combines Bingo (which I do play IRL) and Slots (which I do play IRL.) There’s a limited number of spins and players have to fill up a card of numbers by spinning slot reels for those numbers. There’s a variety of power-ups that will help fill the board, like one that marks everything in a line or wild jokers that will allow the marking of anything in a line (or my favorite one, anywhere on the board.) Objectives include completing a pattern, achieving certain high scores and filling a complete card.

Zynga Slingo takes all the best parts of Slingo and puts them on Facebook. It adds in help from friends and a limiting element. And all that comes together into a very addictive game. I feel like I can never get enough. I bought a full day’s worth of energy (something you can do with Slingo Cash, which you can purchase with real life money or earn by completing various offers) and thought by the time that day was over, I’d be done with my addiction and be able to move onto something else. I was wrong. If anything, I’m more addicted now.

Players start out with basic boards and a small amount of energy, and as they complete objectives, they will gain medals. These medals are essentially the leveling system. I currently have 226 and am number one on my friends list! *gloat off* To play a board, it requires energy and energy replenishes automatically, one every three and a half minutes. Energy can also be purchased in small increments or unlimited supplies for a limited time.

There’s a certain number of free balls a player gets when they purchase the board (using energy) and when those balls are gone, four extra balls that can be bought for two energy each. After that, players may have free balls they can use or they can purchase additional balls, either by spending coins, which are gained by filling up the coin bar, or by spending Slingo Cash. They can also spam all their friends and ask them to send additional balls (sorry friends!) and that’s where the social aspect comes in. Friends can help out by sending coins or balls or energy and players can return the favor.  There’s also something called Play With Friends, which is ‘coming soon’ and I can’t wait to see what that ends up being.

Zynga has separated the game into stages, with each stage having nine cards. These stages have unique and interesting artwork. The higher a player goes in stages, the more complicated the cards and patterns get, and the more energy it requires to start the game. Right now, I have six stages unlocked, with titles like Sugar Rush and Shooting Stars. I thought there were only five stages, but when I got to a certain point in the game, Shooting Stars just appeared.

I played the heck out of the Slingo games on the PC, although by the time I got to the last few, they had become tired and worn out. The developers tried to change things up by adding in an adventure element, but it ended up just annoying me. Zynga Slingo takes the Slingo format and puts it on a friendly platform. It hasn’t gotten tired yet, probably because I can only play it a limited number of times before I have to stop and wait for my energy to replenish, or choose to spend some money on it.

I need more Zynga Slingo friends. My current friends are great at sending me balls, but in this game, there’s no such thing as too many balls. So feel free to friend me for Slingo purposes.

Do you play Zynga Slingo or other Facebook casual games? What keeps you going back to a specific game day after day?

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Tiny Tower – The Tower Sim That Sucks Your Life Away

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by on April 10, 2012 at 1:17 am

I’ve been playing Tiny Tower, a Tower Sim I’ve downloaded on the iPad. It’s available for Android as well. It’s one of many apps from developer Nimblebit, one that I keep logging into day after day.

Let me make a few confessions before I talk anymore about this game. First, I hate Farmville and all the other ‘sim’ style games on Facebook. I did play The Sims Social for a while, but even that got boring pretty quickly for me. Second, I have a short attention span with games in general and once I step away from one for a couple of days, that’s it. It would be a rare thing for me to go back to a game I’ve stopped playing. Third, I played Sim Tower like a mad woman when I was in my twenties and I still think it’s the best Sim game ever. EVER.

The first few floors are built pretty quickly.

I downloaded Tiny Tower on a whim, because I was applying for jobs in casual games and, truth be told, the iPad was new to me and I hadn’t played too many of the games on it yet. On all the sites I applied to, every single one of them was raving about Tiny Tower, so I figured …

Sorry for the interruption, I had a VIP sitting there waiting for me. It was a realtor and I had some open spots in one apartment, so I wanted to get her to that floor. What was I saying? Oh, right.

I downloaded the game, and like most of the downloads on the iPad, it was quick. In seconds, I was up and running. I walked through the basic tutorial and it explained the elements of Tiny Tower. There are essentially four: build floors, construct businesses, stock inventory and move people (Bitizens) up the elevator. There’s some extra features that are fluff, like the Bitbook that is essentially Facebook for the Bitizens, and missions, which reward Bux, one of the two currencies in the game. Bux are used to upgrade systems in the game or take quick shortcuts, such as immediately stocking inventory or moving someone into an apartment. Bux are pretty easy to obtain by keeping shops stocked and by working the elevator. The entire point of the game is to build the next floor and the next floor and the next floor and … you get the point. If there’s an endgame, it’s not obvious.

As the Tiny Tower gets built up, and becomes not so tiny, everything starts to cost more coins (the other currency). But coins also become easier to earn and it evens out. My tower is currently at forty-nine levels and I’m itching for my fiftieth. I think there’s an achievement at fifty. I currently have eighty-nine Bitizens (I keep evicting anyone who doesn’t have at least one nine in their stats–I know, I’m terribly mean!) and twenty-nine businesses. I check my stock first thing in the morning, then periodically throughout the day, then make sure everything is as stocked as I can make it before I go to bed. I’ll also sit here while watching TV or even writing (this article) and pop people up to the floors they want to go to intermittently. I’m definitely hooked.

Keep at it and eventually, you'll be as big as me!

When playing Sim Tower, I wanted to build the biggest and broadest tower I could manage. That level one hundred tower was a thing of beauty. A part of me is hoping that when I get to one hundred, there’s some big fireworks show and then I can move on with my life. Another part of me hopes it’s the tower that never ends. It will just go on and on my friends. Some people started playing it not knowing what it was. And they’ll continue playing it forever just because this is the tower that never ends…

It’s also interesting to note that I spent the weekend at a convention (ChimaeraCon, which you can read about my weekend on my other blog) and didn’t have much time to just chill at home with my iPad and yet, I am still playing it. Meaning I put it down for a few days and came back, just as hooked.

If you are an overachiever who likes to take people up and down elevators all day long, then check out Tiny Tower. Huh. Maybe I missed my calling. Instead of a writer, I should have been an elevator person…what are they called anyway?

You can see my Tiny Tower at this link. Feel free to add me as a friend on Gamecenter on the iPad as well! I’m rosethornii.

Guardians of Magic – Amanda’s Awakening Review

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by on June 21, 2011 at 12:19 am

Guardians of Magic – Amanda’s Awakening falls into the strict adventure game category. The focus is on the story, puzzles and inventory items. There are no hidden object scenes. It falls on the short side, but the puzzles and fun gameplay do make up for that a bit. It feels more like the first episode of a game than a whole game itself, akin to what Telltale Games does. For the price, it’s a solid adventure experience, and one we can only hope will see another release.

Amanda finds herself suddenly alone after her grandfather passes. She goes to his home and starts to investigate, discovering more about the world of magic she didn’t know. She was aware magic existed and her grandfather practiced, but she chose science over magic at an early age. By the end of the game, she’s decided to devote herself to her grandfather’s cause – as the title suggests. The story involves a conflict between the worlds of magic and science, with her mentor smack dab in the middle of this battle. This title ends with Amanda embracing her heritage and defeating the evil scientist, although because of the wonderful job the writers did with the backstory, we feel for the scientist and can somewhat understand his point of view.

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Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby Review

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by on June 12, 2011 at 4:16 am

Most people who would play hidden object games are likely familiar with The Great Gatsby. In fact, we’d wager that a significant percentage actually read the book by famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Turning this book into a hidden object game sounded like a stretch when we first heard about it, but having actually played it, we wonder why more classic novels haven’t already had a hidden object adventure devoted to them. Not only is Classic Adventures: The Great Gatsby fun, but it really does relay the important scenes from the book in a way that is understandable. The game also presents hidden objects in a couple of innovative ways.

For those not in the know, The Great Gatsby is told from the point of view of a character named Nick, cousin to Daisy and neighbor to Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is popular for throwing great parties and having a huge house, but other than that, few people seem to know anything about him. The one thing we learn very quickly is that Gatsby and Daisy used to be a couple, but he went off to war and Daisy married an egocentric jerk, one who was also cheating on her as we learn in the first few scenes. The story is a tragedy and will not have a happy ending, so for anyone who hasn’t read the book and doesn’t like those types of stories, this may not be for you. Although there is a lot of dialogue and explanation left out of the game that players can get from reading the book, it still does a solid job relating all the important points of the book.

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Youda Survivor 2 Review

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by on June 8, 2011 at 6:01 am

Youda Survivor 2 is a time management title where the player has to save the world. It’s a sequel to Youda Survivor. In the original, we only had to save a primitive civilization, but all that has changed, thanks to those nasty pirates. They’ve stolen something important that puts everyone in danger. This is a long experience with plenty of gameplay that never really gets old. In addition, there is an extra mode that adds even more to the game, something that wasn’t in the first release.

In Youda Survivor, the player is shipwrecked on an island occupied by a primitive tribe. The player is hailed as the stranger who has come to save them and has to go through several trials to, first, prove he’s the chosen one from the prophecy, and second, to defeat the pirates. There was only one choice for a character, a male. In this second title, that savior of a civilization has moved back to society, met a woman, gotten married and had an adorable baby. All of a sudden, a nasty storm hits and the stranger is contacted again by the island dwellers. This time, though, it’s not just the island that’s in danger from the pirates. They’ve stolen an important artifact that keeps balance in the world and the player has to get it back. Unlike the first game, we get to choose whether we want a male or female avatar, but it makes no difference in the story or the gameplay what we choose.

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Amanda Rose – The Game of Time Review

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by on June 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

Amanda Rose – The Game of Time is a hidden object adventure initially set in the modern day, but which involves a bit of time travel, as the title suggests. The gameplay is fairly good, but there’s some issues with the storytelling, both in the way its presented and in its confusing path.

The story begins with Amanda Rose’s father leaving after an urgent call from Arizona. The next morning, she receives a package from her father saying to disregard the call she’s, about to get about him going down in a plane crash, and to get on a plane herself and travel to Arizona to retrieve an object. After this point, things get a little confusing. It appears she goes back in time, but in a latter scene, she’s back in the present (which we assume because of the plane in the scene, which didn’t exist during the time she went back to). But in reality, she’s still in the past and the plane is never really explained. The way the story is being told is frustrating as well. It’s in comic book style pictures, with some subtitles, but it’s a slow telling with minor animations in some of the pictures. The story can also be read in the journal, but even that doesn’t clear up the inconsistency in the time travel storytelling.

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Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi Review

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by on June 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Midnight Mysteries: Devil on the Mississippi is the latest Midnight Mysteries title to be released. It’s a hidden object adventure title that looks at famous historical authors and uses their literature and their real lives, along with some literary license, to craft a mystery around their life and death. Devil on the Mississippi uses Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemens), William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe as its inspiration. The game is a lot of fun, although not quite reaching the stellar caliber that Midnight Mysteries: Salem Witch Trials did.

The story begins with Mark Twain, who goes by Samuel Clemens almost the entire game, since this isn’t about his pen name, but his real life, appearing to the player and asking for help. He’s being chased by some evil presence. After serving Mr. Clemens some tea, we are whisked off to a world inhabited only by ghosts, some who were real and some who were fictional creations. The story really revolves around Clemens’ claim that Shakespeare did not write his own works, and of course, there’s some deals with the devil involved in the whole conspiracy. However, the entire game does not take place on the Mississippi, as the title might mislead players to believe. Instead, in addition to looking around Clemens’ own life, we travel back to Shakespeare’s life as well, searching for proof that Shakespeare did not write the plays he’s credited with. There is a lot of truth and fact dispersed among the game, but it’s so mixed up with the fictional bits, it can be hard to determine what is true and what isn’t. For example, Samuel Clemens did, in fact, outlive most of his family. But one of his daughters was still alive when he succumbed, surviving him by more than fifty years.

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Hidden Mysteries: Notre Dame – Secrets of Paris Review

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by on May 31, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Hidden Mysteries: Notre Dame – Secrets of Paris is a hidden object title that allows players to explore Notre Dame while solving a mystery. The art style is nice and the hidden object aspect is well done, if not terribly challenging. There are several puzzles, none of which offer any sort of impediment to completing the game, since they fall in the easy category. The story is fine, although there are a couple elements that aren’t explained well and the twist, which we didn’t see coming, is a bit far-fetched for what the game was originally set up to be.

The story begins at Notre Dame, as the clergyman who is assigned to walk the rounds discovers that the most valuable treasure the church holds, the Crown of Thorns, has gone missing. He calls in the police and the player steps in as a female detective who is glad to have the cover of night because she has some unorthodox investigative techniques. We suppose this to mean that she sorts through piles of junk strewn about Notre Dame (a very unlikely scenario in itself) to find clues and solve puzzles, since there wasn’t actually anything interesting about her investigation, other than her illegal breaking and entering techniques, which could also be what she meant. The story jumps the shark about halfway in. We’re going along, discovering other missing artifacts and inching closer to finding clues to the burgler when we encounter a ghost. Yup! A ghost. We didn’t see it coming and if you play before you read this, you won’t either. If you read this first, sorry about the spoiler. The story ends up being about the supernatural and a thief whose motive isn’t all that suspect, when you get right down to it.

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Echoes of Sorrow Review

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by on May 28, 2011 at 4:44 am

Echoes of Sorrow is a good hidden object title. It has an interesting story with a couple of twists and turns we didn’t see coming, although it ends abruptly, a trend we’re seeing more and more of that needs to end. We’d like to see developers at least put The End at the end of a game so we know it’s coming. That’s not too much ask for. The hidden object aspect is fun, although very easy. Even with it’s simplicity, no one squeamish or underage should probably play it – the story is very dark.

Through an accident, a woman finds herself in the hospital. She’s in a deep sleep she can’t escape until she unlocks her memories, which involve the deaths of people very close to her. She finally figures out what tires all the deaths together and is able to escape her dream and confront the killer. All along the way, we were intrigued and couldn’t wait to see what piece of the puzzle would unravel next. When we learned her relationship to the killer, it was both surprising and fulfilling. We just wish the ending had a little more meat to it – ending the story abruptly and sending us back to the title screen was a let down. It wasn’t a ‘to be continued’ ending, though, so the story was finished and for that, we were grateful.

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Faded Reality Review

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by on May 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Faded Reality is a hidden object title that is really confusing. The story isn’t developed very well or told in a way that makes sense, and it ends up abruptly. The hidden object aspect is good, but very simplistic. It has a unique feature that gives it an innovative twist, but doesn’t really elevate the game.  And the mini-games, for the most part, are tedious. It’s not a great game, but it could have been.

The story involves a woman who recently had a cornea transplant, giving her back her vision. Along with the new sight, she also sees visions – of the past and – maybe the future? It was hard to understand what was going on beyond the initial concept. The story was told in a sentence or two every new scene and most of those sentences were pretty nonsensical. She was travelling from location to location – places she saw in her vision – trailing behind a murderer killing people who seemed to have something odd about them. It ends quite suddenly and without any explanation or resolution to the story. We suppose it’s a cliffhanger, but we honestly couldn’t care less to learn what happens next, so they didn’t succeed in keeping the story entertaining enough to want to play another round.

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