Top 10 Video Games of 2018

Throughout the year, many video games have been created and given many entertainment and a relief from everyday life. This list contains just a few of the amazing games that have been created this year.

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1.  Red Dead Redemption 2

After 8 years, Red Dead Redemption has finally made a sequel and it’s a detailed masterpiece. This game is set in the vast landscape of the American wild west of 1899 toward the end of an era. You control the outlaw and gang member, Arthur Morgan, making choices and exploring the world. I mentioned that this game was detailed and in my opinion that is an understatement. The game seems to have not missed a single detail that would make it more realistic and visually impressive. It was worth the 8 year wait!

2.  Celeste

Celeste is a platforming gem. It is a challenging game that sucks the player in as you help your character, Madeline, on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain. It’s an intense challenge that is very rewarding once you finally complete a level. After you beat the game, you get another set of challenges that are even more difficult than the main game levels. There are many techniques you can use and things to do in this simple but visually appealing 2D platformer.

3.  God of War

God of War features the relationship of father and son with Kratos being a mentor and protector to his son throughout the game. Featuring a new setting, characters, monsters, and gods in the gameplay of the game. The story within this game is masterfully crafted and allows the player an enjoyable experience.

4.  Marvel’s Spider Man

In this game, you play as an experienced Peter Parker balancing his life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and as Peter Parker. This game has hours upon hours of content allowing you to experience the story, explore, and fight. The swinging through the city is more than satisfying. It is visually appealing and has expertly crafted boss fights. Insomniac Games brings the world of Marvel and Spider-Man beautifully into your hands, making it worth for this list.

5.  Dragon Ball FighterZ

This 2D Dragon Ball fighting game follows up the success of the Xenoverse series. It has endless spectacular fights with high end anime graphics. The gameplay is easy to learn yet difficult to master. The amount of entertainment due to the endless nature of the fights and the incredible anime graphics created in a partnership with the talent at Arc System Works earn it this spot on the list.

6.  Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

Although it has not released yet, this game deserves a spot on this list. With 71 characters and 103+ stages, the possibilities are endless. This game has so much hype around it that the hype alone makes it a top game of the year. Story mode of this game will not be the end with the multiplayer of this game testing the limits of Nintendo’s new online service. The only thing that could make this game better would be Waluigi.

7.  Dead Cells

This action-platformer is tough yet fair game where you explore a large ever-changing castle. There are many ways to build your character and choice the path that best fits you. This game has the personality and the hours of entertainment. The speedy combat, amazing system for progression, and great music make this game worthy of being called one of the best of the year on this list.

8.  Pokémon Let’s Go: Eevee and Pikachu

Many seasoned Pokémon players were skeptical about this game from before its release. The main worries were that this game would be too easy or the new Pokémon go style catching mechanics were not the same as the wild Pokémon battles of the past. This games main plot is in fact easy, however post game and player created goals create a larger level of difficulty. With master trainers sprinkling the land and shinies to be found this game is enjoyable with a large amount of time to be spent in the Kanto region. On top of all of this, the game is just flat out ridiculously adorable.

9.  Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party takes its mechanics back to the days before Nintendo introduced the car that bused players around the board. The boards are not as imaginative as they potentially could be and the online component is fairly underwhelming. However, the team boards are interesting and add a great addition to this party game. It is a great game to play with friends and family over the holidays or just in general. The simple mechanics make it easy for anyone to understand and the minigames included in this title are fun while maintaining the awkward nature of motion controls.

10.  Return of the Obra Dinn

This mystery game is set in 1809. You play as an insurance claim agent investigating a bit that washed up to shore empty one day. Throughout the game, you make insurance claims of the boat while piecing together the story of the boat and what happened to the crew. The story of this mystery game is has an incredible narrative and surprising art style. This game is a true surprise and thematically wonderful earning it a spot on this list.

Top Movies on Netflix – December 2018

The holiday season is a great time to kick back and watch some movies. Here are the best ones coming to Netflix in December!

*All descriptions are taken from the IMDB website which you can visit yourself here or from the Netflix website here.*

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2019)

A local scientist is often regarded as a failure until he invents a machine that can make food fall from the sky. But little does he know, that things are about to take a turn for the worst.
Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Director: Edgar Wright

District 9 (2009)

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology.
Director: Neill Blomkamp

8 Mile (2002)

A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.
Director: Curtis Hanson

Cautions For Using Professor Review Sites

When I go to create my class schedule for the coming semester, I tend to look for a few things. The required classes for my major and minor, the time of the class, and the professor that is teaching the class are the top three factor I take into account when choosing my classes. The one thing I have found the most problem determining is which professor I should take the class with. Enter professor rating sites.

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Sites such as ratemyprofessors.com are a staple to students choosing classes in today’s college environment. However, are these sites really accurate?

Extreme Posts: These posts on this site are very much in the fashion of sites like yelp and other review sites. Many of the posts I have found on my professors have been subjective and seem to be mainly written from the extreme ends of student opinions. This lends itself to extreme reviews either highly praising or critiquing the teacher.

Outdated Reviews: While using these sites, the date that the review was created is also important to take into account when deciding the validity of the review. The professor’s curriculum can change very frequently in the college world as well as professors changing their teaching styles to try and reach their students in a more effective way. This means that a review created in 2008 will likely not be as reliable as one created in 2018.

Relying solely based on reviews of professor rating sites is not recommended, as this information can be a hit or miss in accuracy. Here are some suggested actions in addition to using review sites:

Email the Professor: It’s possible to email the professor and as them questions personally or even get a copy of the syllabus if they have taught the class before. Although these sources are convenient, it does not always provide the best information on the professor.

Ask Others: Check around with students you know to see if they have taken the professor you are checking. Because it is a student you know, you can better understand and trust their advice.

What are the benefits of getting used textbooks?

Used textbooks are a great choice for students looking to save money on their path to graduation and finding a great job! Here are a few reasons why used textbooks are so great:cash-coins-money-259165

Cheaper option: Used books are almost always cheaper than new books! Aside from regular wear and tear from being used by other students, there are no content differences between a new book and a used book.

More books in the market: There are way more used books in the textbook market than new books, which makes finding a great deal on the book you need easier, faster, and cheaper.

Can help save time with studying: A pre-highlighted word here and a pre-underlined word there might just make the important information stand out easier!

Won’t affect your buyback price: If you plan on selling your book at the end of the semester, you might as well purchase a used book. Normally, bookstores will buy books at the same price, even if you bought it new. The only time the price may change is if there’s minor damage on the book and the bookstore isn’t willing to pay the full price.

Lower Negative Environmental Impact: Everyone loves the smell of new books; the paper, the ink – and maybe even the glue…but it’s no doubt that mass production of books and paper products require a lot of lost trees. When you purchase a used book, it’s just like reducing, reusing, and recycling!

3 Reasons Why College Textbooks Are So Expensive

We all know college textbooks are expensive, but why is that the case? Here are a few reasons for the growing textbook costs we see today:

Publishers only make money when new books are sold

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Publishers create the textbooks and make money based on how many new books are produced and sold. Because of this, they want to see more new books bought and fewer used books bought.

“Since the publishers don’t make any money off used-book sales, their business model is to make the old editions obsolete and force you to buy a new book.” (NY Post)

There are a few different tactics we have seen publishers use to try to sell more new books:

Marketing new editions of textbooks to professors. Marketing reps are trained to hook your professor into selecting a new edition of a textbook without really mentioning the price of the book. These new editions often contain only minor content changes. As soon as the new edition is selected by the professor, the old edition often is useless for their class.

Creating custom editions. Publishers will create university specific book editions (custom editions) with no named authors, which makes it hard for students to find cheaper alternatives. These editions also frequently are minor revisions, with some being a simple of a difference as a different title page in the book. It is basically impossible to tell the difference between a custom edition of a book and the edition of the book that it is based on without purchasing copies of both and comparing them.

Packaging books with access cards. Due to increased use of online homework programs that require access cards, there have been increased amounts of textbooks being bundled with the access card. This makes getting all the materials you need for your class very easy, but it often comes at a high price. These access cards can often be purchased individually from the publisher for a lower price than the package, but it is difficult to identify exactly what access card you need for your class. Because of the difficulty of this process, many students will choose to just buy the package and spend more than they should.

Textbooks are chosen by people who aren’t paying for them

The process of choosing what textbook is used for a class is part of what drives textbook prices up. Textbooks are typically chosen for a class by the professor who is teaching the class. These professors are visited by publishers who try to convince the professor to use their book. The professor evaluates their different options and selects a book that is best suited for their class.

So what is the problem with this? The textbook is selected by someone who won’t have to pay for it. When evaluating which textbook to choose, many professors do not consider the price of the book and what impact it will have on their students. Because they will not be paying for the book, there is little incentive for professors to include price in their ultimate textbook decision.

Lack of Competition

There’s just not that many publishers! The textbook market is dominated by five major players, and none of them are willing to make room for small publishers with better prices. These major publishing companies are able to hike up new textbook prices without fear of market competitors.

“According to the National Association of College Stores, more than 77 cents of every dollar spent on textbooks go to publishers. Of those 77 cents, the publishing company makes about 18 cents in pure profit, while spending 15 cents on marketing, and roughly 32 percent to cover costs (paper, printing, employee salaries, etc). At the same time, the author – the person who dedicated hundreds of hours of research to write the book – only gets about 12 cents on the dollar on average.” (Business Insider)