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I grew up on NES, SNES, Genesis, Playstaton and N64. Wanting to try something new I made the Jump to Xbox after I saw it the 1st time at CES and played Halo for the first time, the culture and games reminded me for old school Sega for some reason and I was hooked. While I did still play my PS2 I had a special connection with my original Xbox. Then the 360 only cemented my connection further

Virtual reality still seems a thing of the future, like a mini holodeck from a Trekkie's dream. However, tech companies are jumping on VR technology with aggression like they are in a virtual arms race and promising all kinds of spectacular results. Up until now, the VR technology has been little more than a novelty. With drastic improvements over recent years, the industry has seen major names, like Samsung, Sony, and Google, pushing VR prototypes toward market for mobile platforms and gaming purposes.

The Major Players

When new technology is up for grabs, it's typically the major players looking to make major strides in their industry. It doesn't come as a surprise, then, that the major gaming, social media, and technology companies are all vying for a spot at the VR table. Those who can bring solid products to market first will likely take the lead in this technologies race.

Google Cardboard

Many companies are creating pricey headsets to match their current technology, but Google has taken a decidedly different path. The Google "I/O Cardboard" is literally made out of cardboard in a cut-and-fold style VR headset capable of working with any android phone through the Cardboard app. The kit costs less than $20 and uses your phone to create the visual reality screen, putting simplified VR technology in the hands of the masses. Where this might lead, no one knows.

Samsung Gear VR

For use only with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, the sleek VR visor from Samsung features a 96 degree viewing angle and is powered by Oculus. The Samsung VR Player provides 3D spatial sound through earphones. Technology has also enabled the Gear VR to adjust for both nearsighted and farsighted eyes.

Facebook Oculus Rift

When Facebook acquired Oculus technology for $2 billion in March, it wasn't exactly a surprise. The VR technology is just the kind of innovation and creativity Facebook prides itself on pushing as a social media platform. The Oculus Rift supplies two 1080p Samsung OLED screens, providing a 110 degree field of vision. The VR screens are also paired with technology that measures depth through an infrared camera. When paired with the Leap Motion controller, the Facebook Oculus Rift can create an intense sense of immersion for users.

Sony's Project Morpheus

A polished VR product created by Sony, the Project Morpheus prototype boasts two 1080 HD LCD display screens, providing a 90-degree field of vision. Because Sony offers the PS4, the headset is more limited than the Oculus in scope, focusing on the gaming industry over other platforms.

Microsoft FOVE

Though Microsoft is motivated to bring eye-tracking VR to its Xbox One platform, it is lagging behind the other companies with late development. The eye-tracking feature sets the FOVE ahead of the pack, and major gaming companies, like Vertigo Games, have expressed interest in supporting the venture. The technology has worked to replicate the depth of field that humans see in everyday life into the virtual reality world. The name "FOVE" comes from "field of view" and "fovea" (a part of the human eye responsible for focusing). If Microsoft were able to fast-track FOVE to be first to market, they would likely steal major thunder from the competitors' prototypes.

Who's the Favorite?

The different VR options will each have its own pros and cons. A big concern is product weight, since wearing a heavy headset for more than 15 minutes could result in headaches and sore necks. When it comes to market differentiation, some companies are much more focused than others, choosing to work toward a gaming audience or social media application. Microsoft might be bringing new technology to the table late, but Facebook and Samsung have provided lustrous prototypes that are getting reviewers revved up.

While no release dates have been dropped for the major VR equipment, everyone is waiting with anticipation. Some have even pre-ordered their versions of the future product -- whatever it may be. With great potential comes the responsibility to fulfill great expectations. Will VR be the next big thing for technology-savvy consumers?

Just about anyone who grew up with a video game console around the turn of the millennium spent some time playing a game, in the pitch dark, that gave them nightmares for a few weeks straight. Since the introduction of the survival-horror gaming genre in 1996 with the first installment of the Resident Evil series, game developers around the globe have attempted to cash in on fan's love of horror, zombies, and third-person shooters. Here are a few of my favorites that will never go out of style.

Dead Space

Via ign.com
When the creator goes on record stating they are trying to "make the most terrifying game we could," you end up with Dead Space. Set in the 26th century on the resource gathering ship, USG Ishimura. This third-person shooter follows the journey of Issac Clark as he battles off "Necromorphs,", basically another name for space monsters/aliens. Early in the series, weaponry was limited to repurposed power tools, but as the series progressed, a wider selection of firearms became available. Among survival horror fans, Dead Space peaked at the sequel, and seemingly a lot of these games get pressured to do, took a turn to being much more action oriented in the third game straying from its horror roots.

The Last of Us

Via destructoid.com
As the ceiling continues to rise to new heights in the survival horror genre, The Last of Us, developed by Naughty Dog, seems to have taken its place as the most remarkable game to come out in the genre in the past few years. Incredible maps, graphics, and gameplay are lead by an amazing AI system, called "Balance of Power." With this AI engine, “runners”, “clickers” and human enemy alike are able to react to the situation in the game. For example, if you run out of ammo, you will get swarmed by the diseased who hear the "click" of your empty gun. The game is also one of the first in the genre to offer multiple multiplayer game-types, which was actually done well. The Last of Us received universal acclaim upon release, so good and realistic you'll want to buy firearms for your self for the seemingly inevitable end of society as we know it, so good, it receives an average score of 95% and a perfect 10/10 rating from Destructoid.

Resident Evil

Via lparchive.org
Making its premier on the PlayStation in 1996, Resident Evil showed the gaming world that the horror survival genre was here to stay. Gamers take the role of a member of the S.T.A.R.S law enforcement task force either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentime, whoever you don’t choose becomes the prisoner of the game’s villain Wesker, who was planted with the S.T.A.R.S. unit by the Umbrella Corporation to destroy the unit from within. The game takes place in a Manor on the outskirts of the fictional Raccoon City. With a generous amount of zombies to battle throughout the game, players uncover clues and solve puzzles while on their quest to rescue their partner.

The game birthed an entire franchise of Resident Evil, leading to 6 main franchise games, with several spin offs, seven feature films (with an eighth to be released in 2015), seven novels written by S.D Perry, and is the game accredited to launching the what we know as the modern survival horror genre, which lately has been seeing a resurgence with the aforementioned “The Last of Us” and the upcoming games like “The Evil Within” “Alien: Isolation” “OutLast” and a newly re-mastered HD Resident Evil for the current and last gen consoles
Just reading through this list of games hopefully gave you the chills, but they aren't the only games that will have you on the edge of your seat. Feel free to leave a comment below with the game (or games) that you feel deserve some recognition in the survival horror gaming genre.

These days, video game companies are bringing the in-game experience out of the television and into smartphones through engaging apps.

This trend is quickly gaining momentum due to the accompaniment of new features and added storylines. In some ways, a companion app is a direct extension of the video game itself. This allows dedicated gamers to stay fully immersed in the game during short lunch breaks or long commutes after work.

If you're wondering what all the buzz is about and how you can get in on the action, below is a compilation of the 5 best companion apps for AAA games.

5. MyNBA2K14

FPS and action games aren't the only ones equipped with companion apps. MyNBA2K14 is a complete app for users who can't get enough of the video game. Using their smartphones, players can seamlessly connect to both PC and video game consoles. Managing one's NBA 2K account in real-time is the highlight of the app, with access to leaderboards and multiplayer records. As an incentive, users can earn over 2,000 virtual currency points on a daily basis through MyGame mode.

4. Battlefield 4 Commander App

The Battlefield 4 Commander app brings in-game features to smartphones, allowing users to launch attacks and create complex strategies instantly. The free app puts players in the frontlines through a detailed map. From there, users can send out supplies, deploy missiles and plan for elaborate missions. Overall, the app adds hours of extended gameplay due to integration with both console and PC gamers.

Using remote joining, players have the choice of playing with a private group of friends. Alternatively, users can also join random servers to test their skills with other players around the globe. For added motivation, the app provides access to leaderboards and real-time stats. There is also a news section for updates, fixes and new releases.

3. Assassin's Creed IV® Black Flag Companion

Image via Flickr by BagoGames

One of the highlights of the Assassin's Creed companion app is how well it syncs with the actual game. Apart from basic tracking and monitoring features, the app lets users invite their friends to help them on missions. Through the interactive world map, players can get a clear overview of what's going on in the game. With the Kenway's Fleet feature, users have the advantage of looting consistently without using a console.

2. Call of Duty: Ghosts

The Call of Duty: Ghosts companion app brings an array of customization and clan management features to the video game. Users can watch battles and monitor live stats from their smartphone. Character customization is highly detailed, allowing players to virtually change everything from head to toe, including weapons. Most diehard Call of Duty fans use the app for tracking their in-game progress and checking how their friends are holding up in the virtual battlefield.

1. Watch Dogs ctOS

Image via Flickr by bagogames

Watch Dogs is one of the most breathtaking games of the year due to the gripping storyline and never-seen-before gameplay. The official companion app takes the game to a whole new level by incorporating new disruptive elements. Users of the app have the ability to wreak havoc using timely explosions and barricades. The objective of the app is to stop other Watch Dog players, by all means possible.

Equipped with a map generator, users can setup their own challenges for other Watch Dog players. The Quick Match Mode allows ctOS users to test their skills with random individuals through the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Uplay. The app is available on major mobile platforms, including Android devices. Setting up a profile takes less than 5 minutes and will seriously enhance the experience

To conclude, app developers have barely scratched the surface when it comes to companion apps. Although already impressive in the early stages, there is still plenty of room for new features and creative video game integration. Based on the current release of companion apps, players may need to grind out extra hours on their smartphones to stay on top of their game. More energy drinks anyone?

Which companion apps do you have installed in your smartphone? Let us know what you think.

Now that Xbox One’s first major exclusive AAA game, Titanfall has arrived this week, what are Xbox One’s next most anticipated games for 2014? Here are my top 5:

Quantum Break
This upcoming third-person shooter game, developed by Remedy Studios, features a story that deals with time travel and science fiction. The game will blend live action sequences with regular gameplay. Quantum Break focuses on the idea that time as we know it could collapse. Through time slowing or time stopping, which occurs because a failed science experiment, the main characters manipulate time to solve challenges. The narrative promises to deliver an intense story-line with action-packed trials.

Sunset Overdrive
Insomniac Games' upcoming title promises to take advantage of Microsoft's cloud computing capability to create an ever-adapting open world environment. The premise of Sunset Overdrive is to battle mutants in a post apocalyptic world, but the actual gameplay is dictated by the whims of the individual player. Along with the open-ended gameplay, Sunset Overdrive has a tongue-in-cheek irreverence that's sure to appeal to those who enjoy games like Grand Theft Auto.

The Division
This multiplayer role playing game is the latest in the Tom Clancy video game franchise, where players undertake missions in a post-apocalyptic version of New York that has been turned into a ghost town following the release of a deadly virus. The open world format enables users to progress through missions at their own pace, provided they can always keep their characters supplied with plenty of food and water.

What makes this game unique is the introduction of a companion app that's played on an Android or iOS tablet device, enhancing the gameplay on the console while adding a new cooperative social aspect to the game experience. 

Watch Dogs
Slated for a release in the second quarter of 2014, Watch Dogs lets you play as a hacker on a mission in a fictionalized version of Chicago. This open world game provides you with a smartphone that's capable of hacking almost anything. For example, break into a bank account to steal funds or disable important aspects of the city's infrastructure. Set traffic lights to malfunction while evading police and civilians. There is a multi-player and a player-versus-player option.

Elder Scrolls Online
The latest incarnation of ZeniMax's popular franchise gives new meaning to massive multiplayer online games. The open-ended gameplay of ESO takes place in the fictional world of Tamriel, which is similar to the other games in The Elder Scrolls franchise. Because of this, the storyline will be indirectly connected with the other games. This game is set a millennium before The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and 800 years before The Elder Scrolls II: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Most of Tamriel will be playable, and players have the chance to join one of the three factions that are battling for the throne of the Emperor of Tamriel. 

Since this is a massively multi-player online role-playing video game, you'll need a fast and reliable Internet connection from a service provider like CenturyLink. That way you'll ensure that you never miss a beat (or lag). 

With a variety of content and intriguing storylines, Xbox One has an impressive library of games ready for a 2014 release. The ability to connect to more friends online through Xbox Live and collaborate on games will keep the content fresh and exciting.