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Video Games: from Cheats and Tricks to Reviews

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Games
You know, nobody likes a cheater. But when it comes to discovering video game cheats, "cheating" isn't what you're doing. I prefer to think of it as "discovering shortcuts, tips and tricks," or video game hints.

Video games have gotten so complex, since the days of Pong and PacMan, that the game authors have purposely thrown in some back doors and other shortcuts to aid the weary player. The problem is, most of these back doors are so well hidden that these same authors have to leak the game cheats or no one would ever find them on their own.

And it's not only the blood and guts video games that offer cheats. Take the perfectly bloodless "Finding Nemo" for the GameBoy Advanced. Who'd ever guess that there were at least six video game cheat codes hidden there?

Don't make the mistake of thinking that it's just the handhelds either. If you play a video game online, like XBox Live, for example, there are a whole slew of video game hints available.

Of course, video game cheat codes and game hints are sort of useless if you don't own any video games. And that's where video game web sites come in...

Any web site worth visiting will not only have video game reviews and cheats for you to peruse, but they will also have game walkthroughs. Video game walkthroughs differ from cheats in that they actually "walk you through" the process of achieving some goal. Video game cheats, on the other hand, are often cryptic one or two liners like "Enter xx312 in the password field."

There are different types of video game reviews. Each have their good and bad points. Professional video game reviews are typically written by paid reviewers who work for video game magazines. These are generally well-written, in depth, and definitely worth reading. The other most common writer of video game reviews are the actual end users. While an end user will generally have spent a great deal more time actually playing the various video games on the most popular video game systems, you'll often find that they are men and women of little words. It's not unusual to see a review that says "Wow! Kick Bu man. I love it!" Now, that's probably actually saying quite a bit about a particular video game, but -- your mileage may vary.

The key point to remember is that you don't want to invest in a video game until at least a couple of people have taken the time to write a review of the game. Of course, if everyone took this advice then there wouldn't be any video game review on any game web sites, because everyone would be waiting for someone else to write the review.

Right up there with video game reviews are video game previews. A video game preview is a lot like a movie trailer. They bundle all of the really exciting parts together and give you a fast and furious glimpse hoping that you'll believe that the entire video game is actually as cool as the 90 seconds of video game previews that they let you get a peek at.

The video game industry is at a crossroads. With more and more people clicking the play game online switch, and video game systems like XBox Live and all of the XBox video games out there, it is quite possible that the days of jamming your joystick alone in your room are slated to become "back in the day." As more and more video game systems opt for Internet connectivity, you're likely to find that you never have to play video games alone again.
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