Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Other Golf Games - Alternative Golf

Most people are barely aware of alternative golf games. If you're a golfer or have some interest in golf, you pay attention to the Professional Golf Association (PGA) and maybe even watch the Golf Channel.

The golf game we know is played according to the rules of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland (R&A). However, there is, shall we say, an underground of golf games played by millions.

These golf games are called alternative golf. They can be classified by:

- Change in golf courses
- Change in golf rules
- Change in equipment
- Miscellaneous

Change of Golf Courses

The typical golf course - called a championship course is roughly 7,000 yards usually peppered with hazards such as woods, narrow fairways, bunkers, and water hazards. However, we have golf courses that are less difficult to play, such as:

Executive courses which can vary in distance and difficulty, but they usually have several holes with pars of 4.

Par Three courses are much easier than executive courses, and all the holes have a par of three.

Distances that you easily reach the green with a nine iron characterize pitch and Putt courses.

There is also a category of golf course called a short championship course. These courses are usually fairly difficult, but the overall distances are much shorter such as 5,000 yards.

A primitive golf course can take on a number of forms, including pastures and parkland. The grasses may be cut short, but the greens can take on any number of forms. They could be sand or well-manicured greens.

Perhaps the most well known alternative golf game is miniature golf or putt-putt golf. Of course, miniature golf is a drastic change in the golf course.

Change in Golf Rules

Less know are golf games that have made significant changes in the rules as administered by the USGA and R&A. Most were created to make the game of golf easier for the recreational or casual golfer. Two such golf games are:

TeeGolf is a game characterized primarily by the use of tees anywhere on the golf course except the green. Players may improve their lies and take Mulligans without penalty. There are no restrictions of what type of golf clubs or golf balls that a player can use, giving the recreational golfer a better chance of hitting the ball farther.

SortaGolf is a golf game characterized by the player being able to improve their lies plus take one Mulligan per 9-hole round. As in TeeGolf, there are no restrictions on golf clubs and golf balls.

Change in Equipment

The major golf game where the equipment is changed is disc golf. The Frisbee-type discs are thrown at a basket-type apparatus. The game is scored by the number of times you throw the disc to reach the basket.


There are several miscellaneous golf games that are hard to classify.

Speed golf is played on any regular golf course where the players play by USGA rules, but they run the course. The score is obtained by combining the number of strokes and the running time.

Extreme golf is played at a ski resort where the players start out at the top of the ski lift. They then hit the ball to the start of the lift. The number of strokes it takes to run the lift 9 or 18 times tallies the score.

Snow golf is played on any regular course in the snow. Rather than hitting the ball into the hole, the players have to get the ball into a circle usually 6 feet in diameter.

While this is not a comprehensive list of alternative golf games, but these cover the primary golf games that we play other than what we commonly call "golf."

Go out and try an alternative golf game. You'll enjoy it!

The Risks of Playing with Your Nintendo "Wii"

Is the Nintendo Wii the most dangerous computer games console of all time? Well, you've no doubt heard or seen some of the news stories that suggest it probably is. The physical danger factor stems from the way you use the game controller that comes with the console.

In an attempt to create a more natural way of affecting the onscreen action, Nintendo have given you a controller that you swing around as you play. So, for example, if you were playing a computerized game of tennis, you would swing the controller as if it were a tennis racket in a real game of tennis. This introduces much greater interactivity and most players have reacted very favorably to this.

This novel way of using the game controller is certainly unique to the Nintendo Wii and makes it stand out from the current crop of computer gaming consoles, but it has caused problems - and even physical injury - to a minority of users who've failed to exercise the proper level of caution.

Injuries caused by the use of the Nintendo Wii fall mainly into two categories:

1) Injuries to players themselves straining muscles etc. that they aren't used to using, and

2) Injuries to innocent bystanders who've been whacked in various parts of their anatomy by flailing games players and flying controllers.

If you want to prevent injury to yourself from playing games on the Nintendo Wii then you should use a warm up routine similar to that practiced by an athlete. Don't laugh! Maybe it does sound rather silly to be warming up physically before playing computer games but, seriously, a regime of stretching exercises before playing will ensure that your body is warmed up properly and will help prevent strained muscles, ligaments and tendons.

To prevent injury to yourself if you're in the vicinity of a Nintendo Wii player, the best thing you can do is to stand as far out of harms way as possible. If you're the player and there are others sharing the room with you then just exercise reasonable caution. A modicum of common sense is usually all it takes to prevent accidents.

On of the commonest causes of Nintendo Wii injuries is failing to make sure that the strap that goes around your wrist from the games controller is properly secured. An unsecured Nintendo Wii games controller can easily slip out of your grasp and hit someone.

You should make sure to check the games controller wrist strap at regular intervals and get a replacement if the original shows any signs of wear and tear.

As long as you follow the above tips and exercise due caution when playing with your Nintendo Wii, your computer game playing should be as enjoyable and safe as possible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What Version of the Xbox360 Console is Right For You?

Currently (Dec. 2007) Microsoft has three basic versions of the Xbox 360 console: the Xbox 360 Arcade, the standard Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Elite system. The base system is the same for each with added benefits to enhance gameplay and media enjoyment for each different console bundle.

The Arcade version has limited storage for arcade games. It would not be gamers first choice for a video game console. The standard Xbox 360 has a 20 Gb hard drive, which is sufficient storage for games and a few songs and a video or two. The Elite has 120 Gb of storage and comes included with a HDMI digital audio-video cable. This is for those users who expect downloading and storing many video, photos, game data or music. The HDMI cable is convenient for those that need that type of connection for their home theater system. The Elite is the only system that is all black as well.

All the systems have Silver Xbox live memberships and a wireless controller included. Game compatibility is the same for the regular and Elite consoles. They are compatible with all Xbox 360 games plus over 300 original Xbox games. The Arcade version is compatible with all Xbox 360 games.

Obviously the prices for the consoles are different. The arcade machine can be had for around $280. The standard sells for around $350. The Elite goes for $450.

The Xbox console is not that large when compared with the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3. It is sleekly designed and has interchangeable faceplates that allow it to be fitted into a home cinema rack. The wireless controller is really cool and wonderfully convenient. The Xbox console supports four wireless controller devices.

The Xbox 360 has amazing graphics. All the games are optimized for high definition output. In addition, it has USB 2.0 ports for attaching accessories. Accessories include a steering wheel for driving games and a chat messenger that allows you to send instant messages to your friends while you are playing. These accessories are not included with the console bundle and must be purchased separately. The Xbox 360 console is HD ready for games and has Dolby Digital sound to give players a complete surround sound gaming experience.

The console will play on any television, high definition or not. You just need to have the video and audio inputs for the TV or home theater system. The Xbox 360 console plays audio CDs, as well as DVDs, stores photograph and will play mp3's. The Xbox 360 truly represents a big leap forward in next generation gaming technology.

Inside the Sony Playstation 3 Console

Have you ever wondered what's packed underneath the Playstation 3 console's sleek jet-black design? Now's your change to take a peek for yourself!

The Playstation 3 Console's Cell Microprocessor with its streamlined design is perhaps the hardware's most important artificial brain; the strength in floating point kernels as of today is still unrivaled. The brainchild of STI (Sony, Toshiba and IBM), it is the newest microprocessor technology and it allows data flow on several instances, example when one core is exclusively guiding the main sprite, the other core for the environmental special effects and another core could work to deliver the most realistic ballistics on projectiles. The Playstation 3 console's cell microprocessor engine is clocked at 3.2GHz having 1PPE and 7SPEs

The Blu-ray Media Format - the technology Blu-ray has already been licensed by Sony, meaning their games will be running on optical drives that support this cutting edge format as well as DVD and VCD formats. This is needed for a system so intricate in detail that it has been rumored that Metal Gear Solid 4 not only takes visuals as experience but also the other senses. Sonic booms from nearby explosions are among the added factor. And for that a Blu-ray technology with its storage capacity of 50GB is needed.

The RSX GPU (Reality Synthesizer, Graphics Processing Unit) definitely plays a more critical role in the Sony Playstation 3 game experience. This RSX GPU is co-developed by NVIDIA for Sony, and NVIDIA, whose familiarity in making graphics chips is well established and deserves an acclaim for bringing realistic cutting edge graphics of Playstation 3 console titles such as Fight Night: Round 3.

The Online Experience with the Playstation 3 console has also been equipped to deliver the ever-increasing demands of online gaming, with its Playstation Network. It is a free service where every Playstation 3 console gets to connect automatically. And whether it is for online gaming using the Xfire Client or just downloading media and demos from the community site, all is there for just the reason of a functionality that allows users to choose a game of their preference as well as a preview of the next big game. Another perk of the site is the availability of past Playstation titles (1 & 2) for download prices around $10 - $15 a pop.

All these new technologies made the Sony Playstation 3 console well ahead of the competition. Perhaps another line will be written next time but at this moment, the Xbox 360 just really can't compete, much less the Wii, with the Playstation 3 console. It's fairly expensive than the other two but that's expected. And the better part of having a Playstation 3 console is the already present crop of good games available.