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Retro Games For Newbies

With all the new releases, it’s easy to get caught up in the appeal of shiny graphics and fast online multiplayer. However, re-releases and eshops are also great for giving newer players access to beloved older games. For those who are looking to take a dive into history, here are a couple of games to check out.

Earthbound

EarthBoundAn RPG classic from the SNES. Players take on the role of Ness, a young boy woken up by a strange event from space. From there, he must set out on a journey across a parody of America, collecting friends and defeating strange enemies in ultimate pursuit of ridding the world of the frightening Pigmasks.

Ultimately, the most lovely part of the game is its balance between humor and heart. The game has a childish sense of humor, with everything from piles of barf to cultists obsessed with the color blue. Through it all, though, it has a childish heart, in the most lovely sense of the word. At the beginning of the game, you leave behind Ness’ mother. Through the game, he gets homesick, and must touch in with her every once in a while. The notes you form on your journey string together to make a mother’s lullaby, which ultimately pacifies an upset child. When all is said and done, you get a post game that is quiet and sweet.

Earthbound is available for the SNES and Wii U virtual console.

Suikoden II

Suikoden-IIA cult hit for the PS1, Suikoden lets the player take on the role of a hero who rises to have an entire army under his command. After surviving a near-death experience in which the hero’s entire brigade is wiped out, players must collect party members and eventually oppose the evil prince responsible for the deed. That is a mighty task, considering there are over one hundred potential party members scattered about the realm. The whole thing is connected with a wonderfully well-written story about the pursuit of peace, with a surprising amount of the cast very well fleshed out.

Also, you get to be an Iron Chef.

Suikoden II was recently released on the PlayStation Network. The first one (which isn’t needed to enjoy the sequel) is available for download for PS3/Vita.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

the-legend-of-zelda-ocarina-of-timeA timeless classic for the Nintendo 64, one of the most beloved of the long-running Legend of Zelda series. Players take on the role of the future Hero of Time, more commonly known as “Link” (the Zelda of legend is in fact the princess of the land). Tasked with a great destiny, he is pushed out of his childhood forest home and finds he must defeat the king of evil, Ganondorf. In his journey, he comes across the Master Sword, which enables him to explore the land of Hyrule in two different time periods.

Through it all, players explore many a dungeon to gain the tools to save the realm. Most important is the ocarina of the title, whose songs spark magic changes in the environment.

Ocarina of Time is available for the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and 3DS. The GameCube version is a direct port of the N64 original, but the 3DS is a full remake, which includes some tweaking, including an alteration of what was once a famously annoying water temple.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Majora's-MaskAnother famous Zelda title, this is a sequel to Ocarina of Time. Missing his fairy guide from the first game, Link, still a child, ventures into the land of Termia. The land is in its last days, as a giant moon hangs ominously in the sky. In three days, the moon will crash into the land, killing everyone. As you explore the doomed land, you meet the Happy Mask Salesman. His wares can help Link by allowing him to transform into other creatures. You travel through the five lands, encountering many troubled characters.

The sequel is less heroic than its predecessor. It’s very focused on grief. Each land you encounter has characters dealing with grief, in different ways. There is no kingdom to save, but fulfillment comes through helping the characters you come to care about.

Majora’s Mask is available for the Nintendo 64 and Wii. Like Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask is going to be released on 3DS soon.

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All about PayPal’s Bill Me Later Feature

If you have a PayPal account (if you don’t, you should) you might have already heard about their credit feature. It’s known as Bill Me Later, or simply PayPal Credit. It’s a line of credit offered based on your credit history and approval and it offers you a way to purchase items just like you would with a credit card. The only difference is that it’s all through the PayPal website, and because it ties into the site it’s easy to select it as a payment option when you’re paying for something online. We don’t have to go into the dangers of buying too much on credit when you don’t have the money to pay it back here, but it’s important to be mindful of it. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. You should be aware of Bill Me Later as an option, though, because it’s a great way to pay for things online if you have the credit to get yourself approved for it!

Where You Can Use It

Even people who have PayPal’s credit program sometimes aren’t aware of just how many places accept it as a payment method. Most people know that eBay takes it as a payment method for certain sellers, but stores like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Sears also accept it, so if you were looking to catch a great deal on any of those websites that just happens to be online only, Bill Me Later is a great thing to have. If you were looking for a present for your kids but don’t want to go and brave the store, use Bill Me Later on the Toys ‘r’ Us website to space out the purchases you make for something like Christmas presents so you can manage your money well. Even sites like Fandango, Barnes & Noble as well as the online stores for a variety of different clothing brands like Adidas and Under Armour accept Bill Me Later. If you don’t want to use your regular credit card for a purchase, Bill Me Later is a great thing to have!

Why You Should Have It

The more payment method you offer the better

The more payment method you offer the better

A better question would be: why shouldn’t you have it? If you can get a line of credit approved, there’s no reason to say no to having an extra payment method, especially if you’re the type of person who likes to keep your regular credit card for emergencies. This way, you can still shop with credit without tying up a card for something you didn’t want to use it for. In addition to all of the places it’s accepted as a payment method, it’s a good idea to have it because it has some attractive payment options that aren’t offered through many of the other major credit card providers. It has some of the same no interest offers that are offered, but it works a little different than some of the lines of credit that you might be used to. Because the feature is entirely online through PayPal’s services, the site is streamlined and easy to use, incorporating the latest and greatest in security technology to make sure that your money and personal information is safe. Lots of people think it helps them manage their money better because they have a credit card for in-store purchases and an online line of credit for online shopping. It’s good to differentiate because it helps to keep purchases separate and allow a better understanding of where your money is going when you’re spending it.

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5 Top Technology Gifts for the Holidays

What do you get for the friend who has everything? Something new! If you know someone who’s into technology – or into something that can be improved by adding a new, higher-tech upgrade – tech gifts are the way to go for the holidays. Here’s five of the newest, coolest technology gifts to choose this year.


3D Printer

3d-printerWhat can you do with a 3D printer? The question is, what can’t you do with a 3D printer. Some of the newer models, such as the DaVinci 1.0 AiO, even offer 3D scanning functions as well, allowing you to copy objects and reproduce them. This is as close as we’ve gotten to building real working replicators. Especially if you’re looking for a gift for someone who has a knack for design or a crafting habit, you’ll find that a 3D printer will open entirely new vistas for building their own creations.

Even for those who aren’t design-savvy, the number of designs available online – many free or low cost – means that they’ll get immense value from a 3D printer. Don’t forget to include a selection of the appropriate filaments or cartridges for the printer. Just like they can with ink printers, consumables get expensive.

FitBit

The FitBit tracks movement, heart rate, and more

The FitBit tracks movement, heart rate, and more

The perfect gift for a data-loving fitness fan, the FitBit is a comfortable, unobtrusive silicone wristband that tracks data on movement, heart rate, and more continuously throughout the day. It networks via Bluetooth with an app on your phone that will organize and present data on your exercise habits and your levels of exertion. When you’re trying to get the maximum value from a workout, that data is invaluable – and outside a gym, in a variable effort situation (like a pickup basketball game) it can be hard to track.

Using the FitBit means you’ll have real, solid data about your exercise habits for the first time – data you can use to make sure you’re getting real value out of the time you spend exercising, and also use to help you develop better habits for the rest of your day.

Smart Cooking Scales

><p class=Smart Cooking scales are the perfect gift for bakers” width=”300″ height=”171″ class=”size-medium wp-image-176″ />Smart Cooking scales are the perfect gift for bakers.

The “Perfect Drink” and “Perfect Bake” apps coordinate with scales that plug directly into your smartphone in order to help you mix the perfect batter by weight or pour a bar-quality mixed drink in your own home. Ingredient trackers and easy-to-follow on-screen directions make the task even simpler. Are you looking for a gift for someone who’s a home baker or who keeps a nice bar? These can help them up their game!

Both apps allow you to add your own recipes, as well, customizing the available selection to perfectly fit your tastes.

Programmable Lights

Programmable-LightsNow you can have the “smart home” of the future. Bluetooth-enabled LED lights allow you to remotely control the lighting throughout your home. Do you want to dim the lights after dark? Turn them off automatically when you leave the room? Change the colors and patterns? The options are limited only by your imagination. Try installing them throughout your house, and work up some programs to change and vary the lights – you’ll love the possibilities.

Phone Case with Cardholders

Joggers Love Phone Cases With Cardholders

Joggers Love Phone Cases With Cardholders

Sure, it’s the least “techie” thing on the list, but if you’re buying for someone who’s really into technology, let’s be honest: they have a cell phone, and it is a cell phone they put real effort into choosing for themselves. It’s rarely a good idea to buy phones or computers for someone without their input, because personal usage makes so much of a difference in what kind of design and capacity is ideal. Instead of making that mistake, try getting the gift of a custom cell phone case. There are a number of designs available with pockets that can hold an ID and/or credit card. If you’re buying gifts for a jogger, or just someone who likes having their most vital information close to hand, a phone case with built-in cardholder is ideal.