The Witcher: Wild Hunt Review

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt can be considered a crowning achievement for studio CD Projekt Red. The game concludes Geralt of Rivia’s epic tale, while it somehow propels the next gen RPG experience into new unrivaled territory. But this doesn’t mean The Witcher 3 is without it’s flaws.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt begins very swiftly, throwing you into the grand adventure without hesitation. There are a few interesting story quest and side quest early on in the game the are quite effective. You meet a slew of characters and most of them are likable. Between the training section, prologue, and these early quest last about 10-15 hours depending on play style. Sadly though the story begins to get a bit muddled the rest of the first act. You began a pretty simple enough story that turns into a spider web of fetch quest and throw away side characters. Only a few quest stand out the rest of the first act and It’s very disappointing. I found myself trying to get through this part fairly fast. It took about 50 hours to reach act two. The story so far was filled with ups and downs, mixed with mostly bland quest. Only a handful of quest actually stand out.

Luckily act two and three focus in on the main quest and this is when the game shines. You’re going on quest that actually matter and that you are actually engaged in. It got quite brilliant in fact. The game make you prepare for one last hoorah and just when you think you’ve reached the end, you realize you still have another chunk of the game. You can and on another 20-25 hours gameplay. Act three ends the game in epic fashion and there are a couple twist (at least in my playthrough). Right before the credits roll, I got a huge surprise and a Pirates 3 type ending like when Captain Jack pulls out the map to find the fountain of youth and says ‘drink up me hearties yo ho’.

The world this story takes place in is a beautiful one. It’s an absolute highlight of the game, it’s masterfully crafted and feels like a real living place. When you leave the game and come back to it, it feels like things have happened since you were last there. Citizens seem like they are actually doing things, living their life. Locations vary from peasant villages to large cities and all feel very different from each other. Traveling by feet or horse is also a joy. The wildlife and foliage is jaw dropping, mixed with the wonderful lighting and dynamic weather it looks even better. Character models and creatures also look very nice. It’s amazing what was accomplished in a world this huge.

My biggest problem with the game has to be it’s movement and combat. It’s very mediocre and is on the verge of being bad. Moving is fine when you’re out in the world running around in forest or riding your horse, it’s perfect. As soon as you get into close quarters you might want to take it slow though. I found myself getting stuck on doors or completely missing them. If you just flick the analog stick up, Geralt will go into an animation where he takes a couple steps. This is a huge problem when trying to loot things, since the icon doesn’t appear unless you right in front of the object looking at it. So it’s all a bit floaty. Combat also suffers from this same floatiness. Not only are you fighting enemies, you’re also fighting the controls. Dodging and rolling can be very rewarding when the game allows you to do so. Striking down enemies is also fun. But ideal battles are in an open area with a couple enemies. Early on in the game you come into contact with groups of enemies and the just swarm at you. This is cool and realistic, but with the messy controls and crappy lock on system, I found myself dying a lot. After getting used to the controls, combat system, and learning how most enemies fight, I had much more fun.

Variety in swords and armor is nice and you can alter the way Geralt looks throughout the game. You can also customize your horse throughout the game by buying saddlebags, saddles, armor, and putting trophies on him. There is also a decent skill tree with four different section. I decided to go with a more combat centered loadout. I really couldn’t justify pouring my skill points into signs or alchemy. There is a general branch, but it doesn’t contain anything worth while.

Signs are a mixed bag. In some combat situations they come in handy, but most times they are just there. I found it was easier just to focus on hitting the enemy with my sword than to try and incorporate signs into the fight. Alchemy was useless to me as well. I just couldn’t grasp their system. Get all these ingredients to make potions or weapon buffs that barely change the way you play. I completed the game without making anything other than what’s required.

Overall the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a massive game that delivers a huge fully realized world with an epic story that get’s a little too padded for it’s own good. But no matter how great the game got, it’s severely dragged down by the sloppy movement and combat. If you’re at all interested in The Witcher 3 or open world RPG’s, pick it up. It’s definitely worth $60 and you can easily get 100 hours out of the game.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt earns an 8.3 out of 10.

VR Box Review – Google Cardboard Headset

The Google cardboard headset is sort of a do it yourself kit that has been introduced in the year 2014 by Google. The kit has been sold by Google recently through its play store. It is available for $15 and is easy to get assembled to resemble a headset of virtual reality. It is a simple viewer technically, mainly because it is easy to use and is a standalone device. It requires iOS or an android phone to gather its display and processing power. It is also simple to be used, once the cardboard kit is being delivered, users would have to simply fold it, slot it in the phone so as to explore a variety of cardboard games. This virtual reality or a VR box is available both at Apple’s App store and Google play store and it is now possible to try the basic VR demos free through the Google cardboard app for both iOS and Android. The setting of the cardboard is to be managed through the cardboard app.

VR box overview: The VR box is a solid plastic version of the Google cardboard headset featured with completely adjustable eye lenses.

Lenses: the lenses look just as children’s binoculars and it is possible to adjust their position in the dimensions, depth and width depending on the video or the application. Every application on the Google cardboard features a different field of view and users might have to adjust the headset for different applications.

Comfort: These headsets are to get rammed against one’s face hard and thus are required to be comfortable. The VR box feels so comfortable compared to the original cardboard headset and if needed additional padding could be used in the surrounding area for those with a ridge nose.

Phone holder: The phone holder has padding on both its sides where the phone gets held in place. The holder has holes on both its sides to allow the user to add charger and headphones, so that when the device is in use, there would not be many disturbances to with power and user could get immersed in the VR box much longer. The slider fixes into the headset with a click and it does not slide out on its own. The VR holder has a line marker to help users center the phone and thus offers a high quality to the set with nil clumsiness.

More than playing games, the headset works wonders in watching movies. Users have found it stunning to watch 3D movies with the set, which is much, much better than the cardboard set. The head strap is absolutely comfortable and the padding around the eyes helps to use the set for long hours in watching movies.

Ghostbusters – The Review So Far

Well, for all of you out there on Ezine, Thanks for taking the time to read my very first article. I am excited to have joined the activity here, and hope to continue writing for you all to see.

Just to warn you though, I am a complete nerd. Maybe not your smartest nerd, but I play loads of video games. I own an Xbox 360 and a Laptop, so that should tell you enough right there. Haha.

Otherwise, If your into the button mashing, and screen watching, then this is the article for you 🙂

I’m a little late for a review on this game, but I have waited so long for it, considering it’s been out almost an entire month!

Hello gaming nerds (haha jk). I have decided to conduct a little review for one of the games I have awaited so entirely long to play. I have constantly drove by my local Blockbuster and begged and pleaded for this game. It finally came in yesterday as I decided to take one more check on it and it turned out pretty well for me in the end. The game I was searching for was the new game entitled: Ghostbusters. Of course, we all know about the Ghostbusters and the two hit films they produced back in the mid-80’s. That was part of the whole reason I had been waiting to give this game a try. I also read the review on IGN.com which also added to the anticipation. Of course, as most gamers know, most of the time, the true fact behind “movie” games are that they completely suck. Most of your top ranked titles are games that were based off of a book series, such as Halo, or they were just purely thought up of and turned out to be amazing. Movie games just never seem to make the cut. This one, however does, well, at least so far.

Just to warn you, I have not completed the game. I am just reviewing what I have played, and so far, it’s really good.

I started off last night playing till almost mid-night after the lack of brightness in the game made me sleepy, but it was great, especially if your an achievement craver. I don’t want to spoil too much for you gamers out there who are interested, but I will tell you that if you’re wanting a quick and easy 6-8 achievements in the early-game, then you might want to play this for half an hour.

The gameplay is really good. As most movie games are fairly simple and don’t require much attained effort, this game is actually quite difficult. (Unlike most gamers, I start off on second highest difficulty when starting a new game, so maybe that might have some things to do with the reason I am having a little trouble) You WILL die some, and mostly because of your partners. The A.I. for your allies is not that good as they need reviving A LOT. You will often have to risk the last little bit of life you have left just to save your friends. Not to mention a blurry red screen that makes things twice as hard to see, especially in dark rooms. You will also find that, actually capturing the ghosts can be extremely difficult, but fun at the same time. Overall though, the gameplay is really good and is also a third person shooter. If you’re used to seeing tons of display on your screen, you don’t have to worry about it in this game as the health meter is on your proton pack, as well as your overheating status. The current objective is usually the only text that flashes on your screen, plus you can go back and check it whenever you want. Also, there is good news for you Gears Of War lovers if you decide to check this out. Remember the active reload?? Well, Atari has produced something similar in this game. Your Proton pack can overheat many times through the course of battle, so you sometimes have to cool it off with the RB button to prevent the pack from going into Auto-Shutdown mode for a few seconds. (You will find that this game is sort of similar to Gears Of War, combat-wise, but most of all has it’s own taste which makes it so unique) Enemies are extremely smart and clever as well, obviously considering the amount of times I have died. Haha. Aside from the actual gameplay, there are frequent times of lag, but the game usually adjusts itself. That’s about a wrap on gameplay.

Next, is the Audio and Dialogue. Your ghostbuster friends try to help you in mostly anyway. They tell you what to do if you seem to be lost or stuck. (Which is a big plus in my books. It’s actually helped out a lot) On the downside though, during battle, characters seem to say some of the same things constantly. Which sometimes gets pretty old, but doesn’t really hurt the game at all. Just something to throw out there. Sound effects from dark places are really great though. If your playing in a room with a very limited source of light, the game might get a little creepy as well. (Especially the library level) The game isn’t meant to be all that scary, but it has it’s moments. Also, this game is one of the first I have seen to actually have a bright side of dying, well that is, if your a huge fan of the Ghostbusters theme. Each time you die, it plays the beginning of the song as the game loads up your checkpoint. haha. It’s great if your a fan of the song like me. I’ll admit, this game will make you download the song if you haven’t already. Really good 80’s music in this game. Me likey! 🙂

The game sort of follows a movie sequence. It takes place in 1991, which is 10 years after the original Ghostbusters film. It shows cut-scenes that are much like the Ghostbusters movie itself, which I thought was really cool. Basically the only negative about the scenes is the lack of sound Dr. Venkman has in most parts of his dialogue. I remember I had to turn my T.V. volume up halfway just to hear him at times. There are also some frequent character shakes when a character is in motion throughout a scene.

Overall, this game is definitely worth the 8 bucks I paid to rent, but it’s still in progress to find out if it’s worth the total buy. I still haven’t had a chance to check out the multi-player yet, but have heard that it’s really good. And as i mentioned earlier, achievements are polite to you in this game giving you a nice 20 points per level. Who doesn’t like that? Plus, a good 15 points for just purchasing all upgrades for different types of equipment.

Well for all of you who took the time to read this premature review of the new Ghostbusters game, Thank you. You don’t know how much I appreciate it. And for those of you that decide to pick this game up, remember one thing: DO NOT cross the streams!! (You WILL be reminded)

Thanks!!

-Kiefer

Facebook Game – Bejeweled Blitz Review

It is rare that we hear a Facebook community that have not heard of Bejeweled Blitz before. Bejeweled Blitz is a great puzzle game that was made by Pop Cap, the same developers that brought you the 2009 award winning game Plants vs Zombies.

Gameplay

First thing I noticed in Bejeweled is that the gameplay has changed a bit after a few months never playing it. With the new added feature as earning gold coins and buying boosting for power ups.

Now we look at the basic gameplay. Bejeweled Blitz is like any typical puzzle game found in Facebook. However, what makes it most interesting here it that the game was originally made for home PC by Pop Cap and was brought to Facebook as a promotion to their company and other game lineup. This is a good strategy as Bejeweled is a game that is highly addictive and fun to play with. Rarely people will get bored with it, only frustrated and hair pulling at times.

The game works like any other puzzle game you know of. As your main goal to this game is to score as high as possible in just 1 minute under 1 round and yes, it is only 1 round. The game usually consists of various color gems around the screen and you need to get the gem in either 3 to 5 lines together to score. As you destroy the current gems, new one will be drop down for you to destroy.

With the given time of 1 minute the game started really slow at first, but once you reach to half the time provided, players will eventually start to panic and try to complete as many combination as they can. Along the way special power up will be available for the players and this is depending on players’ effort as well.

For the power up, players will need to combine at least 5 gems with the same combination in under 1 line, vertical or horizontal depending on the situation. There are 5 types of power up available for the game.

Flame Gem will make a big explosion to an area around it and destroy any gems around the area of explosion. Very useful if you have at least 2 to 3 of this gem together. To gain this gem one must get 4 gems in a line.

Star Gem, this is created by matching 5 gems in an “L” or “T” shape. The effect of Star Gem is to unleash its power by removing one column and one row of gems from the board.

Hypercube is the power up which players find it most useful. This is one power up that unleashes its power by destroying one color gem in the game. It is most useful feature is to combine with Flame Gem and Multiplier Gem, this allow player to get a lot of score points and also credits depending on the gem that you destroy.

Multiplier Gem is a gem that provides boost of score when use. Either comes with 2 times up to 4 times, depending on luck.

Gold Gem is the newest collection to the game. This gem allow player to get gold credits which allow players to buy extra boost to assist in this game.

After each round, players will be presented with a result of how they perform in the last game. Beat your high score and you will be rewarded with a medal that will allow you to show it to all your friends. Credits earn from previous games can be brought forward to purchase new power up (Boost)to be use in the next game and this boost will last at least 3 rounds before it is being reset.

Players are advice to use mouse for this game as it is more responsive and easier to navigate then using the touch pad.

Graphic

Bejeweled is a very colorful game as the gems are display in various shapes and color. Animation in this game is also very good as you will see explosion and lightning effects depending on the power up that you used.

Sound

Bejeweled Blitz has a very good sound in this game, but lacking on the music part a bit. Sound make by exploding and destroyed gems is very fun and once your counter reach to the last 10 second, players will be pressured to score as much as possible before it hits 0.

Conclusion

This is a very addictive game that will keep anyone playing for hours. Furthermore with score trees provided by the developers, this game will push players to beat their previous high score and also to get to the top of the ladder of top 10 players in the game.

Personal score to this game is 5 out of 5, well done Pop Cap.

Bowling Balls

Bowling balls are available with a wide range of options. Such options as coverstock, weight block, top weight, and pin location to name a few. With so many variables, how do you choose the right one for you? Many factors, should be considered when making a decision on your next bowling ball purchase.

Let’s briefly breakdown what each of the above mentioned terms mean in reference to bowling balls.

-Coverstock is essentially to outer surface of the bowling ball that creates the shell. Typically, the coverstock can either be dull or shiny on a bowling ball.

-A weight block is the core of the bowling ball. Depending on the shape and density of the weight block, it can influence the reaction of the bowling ball.

-Top weight is the core variation within the bowling ball. If the core is higher in the ball, it produces a higher top weight. If the core is lower, then the bowling ball will have a lower top weight.

-Pin location simply designates the location of the top of the weight block in a bowling ball.

These definitions simply apply to the bowling ball itself. What factors not related to the make/model of the bowling ball? For this we are referring to factors such as your bowling game itself. Things such as ball speed, track flare, axis tilt, etc all play an important role in bowling. Each person has their own   unique  way of bowling. Knowing your game and style will make it easier for you to make the proper selection when buying a new bowling ball.

Below is a brief breakdown of a few key definitions.

-Ball Speed is simply the speed at which you roll your bowling ball. Many of the newer scoring systems measure the speed of your bowling ball. However, not all are 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of what the speed is.

-Track flare is the “oil rings” that appear on your bowling ball after you throw it. These rings show the progression of the rotation of your ball as it is rolling down the lane and the ball changing its axis of rotation while seeking its preferred spin axis.

-Axis tilt is the angle of rotation of the bowling ball.

Depending on your style and lane conditions, making the right decision can be tricky at times. The easiest and best way to decide which bowling ball is right for you is to visit your local bowling pro shop. Many pro shop owners have been around the game of bowling for quite some time. With their knowledge and experience, as well as watching you bowl, they can give you strong recommendations on which bowling ball will suit your game.

However, not every bowling center has an on-site pro shop. Luckily the internet provides a plethora of information regarding bowling balls. Many of the manufacturer sites provide in depth analysis of reactions and characteristics and even a few videos with the bowling balls in action. Customer reviews found on various bowling ball message forums can also provide real life insight as to what a particular bowling ball can do on certain lane conditions. There are even a few retail sites that provide bowling ball reviews, which are customer reviews for various products.

As you can see the internet can be an excellent resource in helping you determine which bowling balls will take your game to the next level.

The Secrets Hidden in Braid

Tim has screwed up big time. A mistake so bad that now he has to rescue his princess from an evil monster. But of course he has to traverse many different worlds, risking life and limb for the sake of his love. Once you have completed a world new, worlds open up. The story, told through a series of books as sort of story pusher before each of the six worlds, relays Tim’s inner thoughts and struggle eating away at him.

In the Xbox Arcade game Braid you play as this saddened but ever true hero Tim. In this primarily puzzle action game there are many puzzles that are just as hard to implement as they are to solve.

Most of these games don’t have cheat codes because as soon as you figure out how the puzzle works a new puzzle forms in how you plan to execute getting through it. But there are things you can do to see more of the story.

Unlock World 1 and the Epilogue

In the house in the beginning of the game where the level select area is, there is a broken ladder that leads to the attic. This needs be fixed. To repair this ladder, you must find all 60 puzzle pieces that await you in each level, and assemble each world’s jigsaw puzzle in the puzzle mini-game. Once this is done, the ladder will be restored. Now you can climb up. When you go through the door to you will be in World 1. Beat World 1, and you will be taken directly to the Epilogue. You can now return to at any time after its finished by walking left from the title screen, into an off-screen alcove.

Unlock Final Star and secret ending

Throughout the game, there are 7 secret stars. If you collect them all, the 8th and final star will appear in the last level; when this happens, some of the switches in the level will become immune to time manipulation, allowing you to reach the star as well as changing the outcome of the chase.

Hidden Texts in Epilogue

Aside from the last, each room in the Epilogue has at least one object that you can stand behind. If you have the red book on that screen open and the text of it is displayed in the air, standing behind these objects in the proper location will cause a sound to play and the text to change, revealing more information. If you open a green book, the red book will close and the text will disappear, so you will need to use time manipulation to see all 4 of these secret writings.

Now that you know what you need to do and want to find out how to go through the game, and suggestions of how to get all of the puzzle pieces, or how to find all of the secret stars to access the secret ending, but you can find walkthroughs, forums and other hints at: xboxcheatcodes.

Music of a Life (Book Review)

A story with relatively few words but full of meaning, The Music of Life is the life of a frustrated musician. The story is told by a narrator who meets the musician in a train station probably in Siberia and in a snowstorm. The narrator in the middle of many stranded travelers looks for a chair when the sound of soft music beckons him to a deserted part of the train station where old furniture is stored. There he meets this musician and tells us his story as coincidences bring them together, on and off, several times.

During the Stalin Era, Alexei Berg, the pianist, escapes from Moscow just before his first public recital. As he does so, he finds out that his parents are arrested, soon to be sent to exile. After quite a few incidents where people hide him and he narrowly escapes from harm, he finds his way to a battleground where Russians fought Germans in World War II. He dons the identity of a dead Russian soldier who looks like him and manages to fight in the war to later become the driver of a general whose life he saves during the war.

While working for the general, the musician falls for the general’s young daughter who proves to be a callous and frivolous girl. When Alexei’s mask falls, he is sent to Siberia for several labor-hardened years. This tragic story does not end with a disaster, but it is bleak throughout resembling the work of the older Russian masters, Chekhov and Dostoyevski.

What captivated me was author’s use of selective language with intense economy, which reminded me of poetry. This story was originally written in French, then translated into other languages; although, in spirit, it always stayed Russian. The translator Geoffrey Strachan, too, deserves high praise for this successful translation.

The author, Andreï Makine, was born in Russia in Krasnoyarsk in 1957 and was granted political asylum in France in 1987. In 1995 his novel Dreams of My Russian Summers won the Goncourt Prize and the Médicis Prize, France’s two most prestigious literary awards.

His works are:

A Hero’s Daughter (1996), Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer (1996), Once upon the River Amour (1996), Dreams of My Russian Summers (1997), Crime of Olga Arbyelina (2000), Requiem for a Lost Empire (2001), Music of a Life (2003), The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme (2005), The Woman Who Waited (2005)

This book is in hardcover, copyrighted in 2003, and with ISBN: 1559706376 and ISBN-13: 978-0743475600,

Music of a Life, although only 109 pages, is an epic in essence, since it is about love, loss, music, war, and political upheaval. It would make me very happy to see this wonderful writer win the Nobel Prize someday, only because (in my opinion), his work warrants it.

Joe Rocket Motorcycle Jacket Review

Joe Rocket motorcycle jackets are some of the most popular in the industry. But are they worth the money? This article will give you a detailed look at Joe Rocket motorcycle jacket features in terms of the criteria you should be using to decide which jacket you’ll purchase.

Styling

Okay, this is a pretty vain criteria, but let’s be honest. This is usually what attracts a buyer to a particular motorcycle jacket. If you don’t like the way it looks, you probably aren’t going to buy it no matter how good it is, right?

Few would argue that the styling of a Joe Rocket motorcycle jacket is second to none. From the classic black motorcycle jacket to the race team look, Joe Rocket has got you covered. There is a jacket for you no matter what your taste.

Protection

A nice looking jacket is all fine and good, but above all else, you are buying a jacket to protect you, right? You want to know that your injuries will be minimized in the event of a fall.

A Joe Rocket motorcycle jacket will protect you as well or better than any other jacket on the market. Most models include reinforced elbow/forearm and shoulder sections. This high level of protection, however, comes at a price…a high price tag and compromised comfort.

Price

These are some of the most expensive jackets on the market. A Joe Rocket motorcycle jacket will set you back between $100 and $500. You can usually find good deals on Joe Rocket motorcycle jacket online.

Comfort

Joe Rocket jackets are typically a little bit stiffer than other jackets. This is done to maintain the high level of protection that many riders desire. Most riders find this a little bit uncomfortable. With time, they loosen up a bit and become more comfortable, but still remain somewhat stiff. This is the main complaint about Joe Rocket motorcycle jackets.

Being somewhat thick, you can also get a bit warm inside these jackets. Fortunately, most models come equipped with a removable liner and air vents than channel outside air. Even with this feature, the jackets can get somewhat hot.

Conclusion

We are talking about a sizable investment in your protection, no doubt about it. For your money, you get top quality protection and styling and decent comfort. You can find cheaper jackets, but be prepared to sacrifice some of that styling and protection. Understand where your priorities are and you’ll know if a JR riding jacket is right for you. It is difficult to put a price on piece of mind when you are riding. In the end, each rider must decide for himself. Most riders (including this author) who have purchased one are glad they did so for the reasons stated above. Will you join this group of confident riders?

Waterproof Digital Camera Review

So you’re looking for a reliable digital camera you can take with you on your next vacation AND use for every day living? As a member of the ever-popular overworked-and-underpaid arm of society, I am very particular when making purchases of this kind. I like to do my research and find the best product to suit my needs, for the best price, from a reputable seller. In this case, my choices depended mainly on quality, brand, price range, features, and the specific application for the camera itself. Keep reading, and I will offer you a glimpse into the decision-making process of a real consumer in the market for said reliable digital camera. But first, a little background into why there is a need for a waterproof digital camera in the first place!

An underwater camera allows you to capture parts of the world most people only see on screen savers. The photos taken from below the water line (or AT the water line) make for a great photo album, scrapbook, etc. They add tons of color, depth (literally AND figuratively!), and spark a whole different level of nostalgia in the memory when recalling the   unique  experiences shared in marine situations. But since most cameras you’d have on vacation can’t handle more than a few drops of sea spray, why should the whole poolside/underwater/starboard-side portion of the trip settle for living solely in your mind’s eye due to your existing non-water-compliant camera’s technological shortcomings?

If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to carry as little around as possible when going on a vacation, especially one where a lot of time will be spent by the water. Many people usually lug around a digital camera for pictures above the water and a separate underwater camera for capturing shots of the beauty below the surface. In most instances the underwater camera is bulky and awkward, and takes up lots of unnecessary space. Price and quality are reflexive properties too for these specialized cameras, and pictures taken with disposable cameras are very poor quality. This doesn’t have to be the case!

There are several finalists in the search for an underwater camera that doubles as an everyday digital camera. These cameras perform well underwater and are the same compact size as your traditional digital camera. I am very particular in choosing a reliable waterproof digital camera, and have done the legwork for you. After all, I want to make sure the photos from MY vacation are as high in quality as my memories will be, without spending next year’s vacation money on the camera itself! I ended up purchasing what I believe to be the best camera for wet and dry use: the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000.

I was drawn to Olympus for the reliable brand name and competitive pricing their cameras offered. Personally, I have had luck with this brand, and I am more likely to trust electronics that come from more well-known brands, as they tend to have better customer satisfaction rates -and better warranties.

There were many reviews available on the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000, which is the predecessor of the Tough 8000. All the reviews I read on the Tough 6000 seemed to be much better than what I read about the other all purpose, underwater digital cameras. Why did I not go with the Stylus 6000? Well, other than the fact that the Tough 8000 was newer, shinier and more recent, the 8000 had something to offer that its papa didn’t – DEPTH!!

While sounding like an amazing camera, the Stylus 6000 is rated to a depth of 10 feet. This is perfect for many average vacations involving water, like playing in the shallows at the resort pool, or puddle-jumping on an ATV tour. It’s also great for kayaking, general swimming, shallow snorkeling and taking pictures in the rain. As an avid snorkeler & free diver I needed something that could go deeper. The Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 is capable of going down to 33 feet with no special case or underwater housing, just the camera itself, AS IS! Most cameras with this capability are much larger and bulkier, which brings me to the next deciding factor for my purchase: SIZE!

Having an all in one camera was essential to my decision. I did not want to have to lug around two cameras, nor did I want some giant beast of an underwater camera. After all, I’m not filming a National Geographic special; I just want a compact camera that takes quality photos above and beneath the surface. Size-and-specs-wise, Stylus 8000 suited my needs just fine. The camera itself is 2.4×3.7x.85, and weighs 6.4 ounces. Photo image quality can be set up to 12 megapixels, which offers a lot of versatility, depending on your intended use. (Note: At 12 megapixels, you will have the opportunity to blow up that once-in-a-lifetime-I-can’t-believe-we-saw-this shot to poster size and show it off withOUT any blurriness or loss in detail!)

Also, the lithium-ion rechargeable battery is majorly impressive in terms of long battery life and short recharge time. It was used in and out of the water repeatedly throughout each day with no low battery problems. A major improvement from typical AA battery cameras. Also, the low battery level indicator gives you plenty of warning, so you have a chance to either get to a charger or become picky with when to turn the camera on so you don’t miss out on the most special shots.

A final but VERY important factor I feel I should mention when talking about owning a reliable digital camera, whether intended for use above or below the water, is ease of use for others. Yes, this camera has a great timer for self portraits – even a self-portrait mode – and the owner will usually be the photographer, but it’s nice to have the option to hand that camera over and say cheese once in awhile. With the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000, point and shoot is easy to do with little technological background. The screen is a nice size for previewing (2.7 inch LCD display), autofocus is effortless, and the shooting button is right on the top! For more ambitious portrait-takers, the 3.6x optical zoom is easy to maneuver, and there are many picture modes, including Portrait, Sunset, Indoor….even Panoramic. There is even a Face Detection function that will autofocus figures in the picture – just in case Aunt Ruthy had a few too many when she was lining up the family table shot at Thanksgiving!

The camera is crushproof to 220 pounds, shockproof to 2 meters, freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and waterproof to 10 meters.

So you see, when lining up all the amenities I wanted in a reliable digital camera, the Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 Waterproof Digital Camera blew the competition out of the water (no pun – ok, small pun – intended).

– It might just blow you away too.

10 Unique Anniversary Gift Ideas

Anniversaries always add a special chapter to your life; it is the day when you became one from two. Make sure you do something special this anniversary with the following unique ideas. It promises to add an interesting angle to your married life. Are you ready to spice up things in your relationship?

1. It is always a very interesting thing to re-enact your first date the first time you met, maybe at the same restaurant, the nervousness, the shyness it’s a lovely thing to walk through the memory lane.

2. Play a very interesting quiz game; place a question placard that reads the question, “What would you like to do tonight?”

A. Restaurant Dinner

B. Watch your Favorite Movie

C. You like surprises.

3. Wake up early in the morning make every preparation necessary for the day to be special, make a note of all those places she visits after she wakes up in the morning, it could be see looks in the mirror, then goes to the bathroom and then she moves to the living room and then to the kitchen. So strategically place a note at all these places with some special message and when she comes back to you in the bedroom, surprise her with a special gift.

4. Introduce your partner to an interesting alphabet game, where each alphabet holds a memory lane of things you might have done or from your previous memory, it is a loving present it could be with an image or some crazy video.

5. She loves chocolates, hide them all over the house in every place, let her discover them and enjoy.

6. Give her a personalized calendar that consists a unique thing you might have done for her in the previous years in those specific months or a day, with some photos on them.

7. Get a pair of customized personalized T-shirts for the both of you with some interesting lines written on them that defines the both of you. Go out wearing them.

8. Make her a special dinner, and treat her as if she were a queen, with all the comfort and care.

9. Amuse her by indulging in some cute role-playing. Enact out an interesting scene from your favorite movie.

10. Write a crazy song for her, that involves interesting and original lyrics by you, and in the parts where you would gift her present her those gifts, like a perfume or a wrist watch or a stunning dress.

The above ideas will make sure you have a wonderful anniversary this time and of course apart from all this don’t forget to bring cakes.