Autistic Gamer: Pets

So, the second most important question regarding Autistics. What do you get your autistic for a pet? Well, it depends but I personally feel that Cats and birds are particularly desirable. I mean, I happen to like both. I would have to impose this limit here: You need to establish first if an Autistic can handle the responsibility of a pet because more often than not, you will be taking care of it. High Functioning Autistics like myself can have pets, but that’s due to a level of maturity that keeps me from smothering pets to death. Autistics really have a hard time of picking up on other people’s emotions but animals are a little easier. Still, like the proper saying in D&D, “Never consume an energy source bigger than your head.”, you should never get a pet that is more than twice the size of the owner. Its a very unwise thing to do.

Dogs are good if you get one of those Autistic Trainer dogs. They are similar to blind people dogs, in that they help you ought. Those with little control can get trainer dogs, but if there is more control than you can have other kinds of dogs. I would not be inclined to get a dog personally, but it may work for you. Just remember, more often than not, you are going to be cleaning up after it rather than your autistic, who may completely forget about doing it sometimes.

Birds are nice because you can get talkative ones. Some are also kind of small and so easy to hold. When starting out, get Budgies or other such small birds as they are good trainer pets for bird owners. If you can’t handle the small birds, then you won’t be able to handle the larger ones. Larger parrots like African Greys or Amazon parrots are very close to a human child in terms of their mental abilities which is their thought processes and emotions. You should check the studies done with Alex, an African grey parrot. Also, be sure you can handle the dropping and loose feathers since there will be some of that to deal with. Birds lose feathers at times and so you will need to do some cleaning as well as with the droppings.

I like Cats a lot. They are usually cute, the source of much entertainment and they can be really good companions. They can be also extremely dangerous so you should think hard and read up on cat behavior to help you out. A cat is a fairly independent creature when it doesn’t want food or to play with you, while it should want to play, always feed it properly. Cats are easier to play with/interact with people, since they don’t have a bunch of issues as much as people due. People are filled with lots of stress and what have you, then they decide they need to share that someone else even if the person really doesn’t care. I know I usually don’t.

I don’t think any other kind of pet is really good choice because it requires more from the parent/autistic than can be safely handled. The exception would be mice/hamsters/rats(maybe) because they can have cages with exercise materials put in to let them do self-play.

The main argument against dogs is this: They can tend to freak out when you aren’t around more so than birds or cats will. This is the result of extensive human breeding which makes dogs considerably more docile. Some breeds are more laid back and relaxed and make the better dog pets.

Still you should choose this on your own, and if you want the most easy pet, then get a goldfish. Just don’t get a cat as well.

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Game Reviews: Star Wars Dark Forces, Jedi Knight, Star Wars Rebellion

So more game reviews for you peoples. We shall be covering Star Wars Dark Forces, Star Wars Dark Forces Jedi Knight (Dark Forces 2), and Star Wars Rebellion.

Star Wars Dark Forces

This game is a Star Wars version of Doom, but is way much better than that game. The first mission involves stealing the Death Star plans. This is then followed by other missions where you go to interesting places then board Vader’s ship, on which you hitch a ride. This is all to solve a case and destroy a secret Imperial superweapon. This game has cut-scenes with a narrative and it works really well. I would suggest getting this game and playing it somehow, you would be glad you did.

Star Wars Dark Forces Jedi Knight

This is a sequel to the first game and takes place shortly after Return of the Jedi. It involves the main character, Kyle Katarn, learning about his force connection and going after his father’s killer who is looking for a jedi burial ground. This game features live action cut-scenes between levels and it is rather interesting in that this works with the gameplay in a seamless fashion. You don’t really need to get this, but it is still worth playing.

Star Wars Rebellion

A rather not good adaption of 4X strategy games for Star Wars, Rebellion tried to be a good game but it really doesn’t work. The control setup is bad, and there is little of the gameplay that is good. Being able to send characters out on missions is nice, but more often than not, the characters will screw up the missions and get stuck spending time getting home. Another really annoying part is that the space combat simulator is not good. There is simply not enough good traits about this game for it to work. The idea of running the Star Wars civil war between Empire and Rebellion is nice, but the game suffers from bad implementation which removes most of the joy from it. From my personal experience, I have lost while playing easy and even from reading the material provided it is hard to get into this game. The game tries but there are better games that do the 4X better, plus the user interface is way better in some of those.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother with Rebellion unless you have already played it. In my humble opinion, this game needs to be designed before being acquired to be played. With a better interface and less hassles, it could turn into an actually enjoyable game.

Game Reviews: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Myst, Diablo, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands

So I am reviewing a few games here. These are ones that I have already played and I may have covered them before, but doing so again anyway.

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

My first computer game would have to be Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. I played it on an old-school computer when I was young. I wasn’t any good at it, but I made some attempts. It was fun though and summoning demons was great. Most of the gameplay would get replaced in sequels but its worth playing for anybody who wants to get where World of Warcraft originated from.

The game was a strategy game, where you had to gather resources, construct buildings, and produce units. After that was done, you had to take out the enemy. This game streamlined or set up some standards for it that would be followed by many other games in the same genre. It does look aged but still is fun.

There were two sides to play as with unique units on both sides. Most of the units were just copies of the same unit, like a unit to gather resources, or a mounted unit. The game did the same with buildings. The main differences between the sides were what spells the magic units had and what units the summoning spells gave you.

The missions were fairly linear and progressed well. There were special maps that had you fighting underground or gave you units but no way to make more. This game did work really well though.

Diablo

The first Diablo was my second real game that I played. It happens to be an Role-playing game, and it is quite bloody. You get to play one of three of classes and you spend your time fighting monsters. The second and third games give you 5 classes, while there are expansions for both Diablo and Diablo 2. I know I keep saying it, but you should always pre-research games before buying because you will be able to decide before whether you would allow the game to be used before you get it and find out how impressive it is. There maybe mods available for these games, but I would have to find them to actually know.

This game had an expansion which added a small dungeon, a couple of classes and a few quests for the expansion. It can be replayed some, but it eventually does become less interesting if you do so. There are a lot of quests, but you should get all of them after 2 or 3 play-throughs.

Myst

Myst is a point-n-click adventure that I would suggest strongly because it involves no combat and the entire gist of the game is about solving puzzles. I would encourage patience for this game as some of the puzzles are rather difficult. However, the simply amazing story makes up for that and the worlds explored are very nice looking and will cause you to spend time exploring without solving puzzles. If there is any game that is completely worth getting, this happens to be one of them. After you finished the game, you could keep exploring, although this is if you get a certain ending.

Dark Sun: Shattered Lands

Shattered Lands was AD&D 2nd edition and it played pretty well. I still have the disc plus copyright sheet and I may try playing it again at some point. I moved from 2nd Edition to 3rd Edition though, and so I don’t remember a whole lot about it. The game had you control a party and you helped out slave villages. There were some areas to explore and you had a good number of quests that you could perform. It was a pretty nice game and was quite enjoyable.

Autistic Gamer: Time

How long should someone be allowed to play that is Autistic? I would say that it depends, but a good standard should be as follows:

1) Limited to the number of days with a set number of hours each day

This provides the most control over game time and I would suggest that weekdays get set to a maximum of 4-5 hours since I am assuming that time is spent for other things like school, work, etc. Also, make sure that there are bathroom breaks and some walking about in there. This means getting up and taking a bit of a stroll, you can always pause the game and come back to it. Well, usually as I know of a few that might have special saving and pausing modes. On weekends, you can allow for up to 8 hours and it should be fine, but do increase the amount of breaks and have time taken out for food.

One caveat for all this is the following: That school homework or job work gets finished before any play happens. For Parents, I would say check from time to time on the games if it happens to be one that you have concerns over. I will say it even though I assume that it would likely occur anyway.

Make sure that life is being lived and time is spent interacting with others. A good balance of this with gameplay should help out, by you should always adjust things as you feel needed. And per usual, always pre-research anything you buy before you get it. It will save you a lot of hassle.

Autistic Gamer: Games to avoid

There are some games that are worth avoiding, this games have either a bad plot or contain a lot of violence. I have played them at the very least and there are some I would suggest being available after the required maturity is reached. Still, parents should take the time to learn about the game, what rating it has since you should probably not buy Mature games for a kid, and check out some gameplay videos. Having some idea of what to expect from a game helps you make choices regarding them and lets you be fully aware of anything that could happen. There are also mods available for games, so you should become aware of what is available here by using Google to search for game mods as some are slightly adult in content.

Also, make sure you understand the game rating system, you should take the time to check it out. It will help in your purchase choices.

The following games are either ones that should be avoided or should be held off in getting them until the Autistic is older. Some can have mods added and I will mention what some of those mods are and why they are a concern.

1) Call of Duty Series

These games are realistic military shooter games, or as much as can happen with games. Think of them as being like Hollywood action films, as that fits closely into their play style. Being a First Person Shooter series means that these games are all about combat, but the games rarely have any kind of plot of any value, the exception being Call of Duty 1 and 2 as they take place during World War 2. The other issue is that the games are mainly bought for the multiplayer. I personally don’t really bother with these games as I don’t find as fun as others.

2) Halo Series

I really like the Halo games, but it does contain a lot of animated violence and does have blood splatter. Despite that, the games have very good plotlines about the player being a super-soldier who fights aliens. Some of the aliens are pretty funny, while some might induce nightmares. This game has a rating that applies really well, although you should at least pre-research it before you/your autistic reaches the suggested rating age. With enough maturity you can handle this for the most part. The multiplayer modes are quite larger than the Call of Duty games and it allows for more fun than what multiplayer for Call of Duty games offer.

3) Warcraft series

Warcraft Orcs and Humans is the first real game that I played. It is actually rather fun, but being a strategy game it does contain fighting. The units used in-game can be killed and have little death animations. These games require taking the time to manage an economy, build units to fight with, and then control those units to defeat the enemy. This is one that should be waited on and pre-researched. These games can get some mods or interesting maps for use.

4) Diablo series

The first Diablo was my second real game that I played. It happens to be an Role-playing game, and it is quite bloody. You get to play one of three of classes and you spend your time fighting monsters. The second and third games give you 5 classes, while there are expansions for both Diablo and Diablo 2. I know I keep saying it, but you should always pre-research games before buying because you will be able to decide before whether you would allow the game to be used before you get it and find out how impressive it is. There maybe mods available for these games, but I would have to find them to actually know.

5) The Elder Scrolls Games and Knights of the Republic 1 and 2

First I will cover why I am listing Kotor again: because there are nude/naked mods available among all the other mods you can get. I also know or think that is also the case with Kotor 2. So this is mainly a heads up of awareness.

I have played at least 3 of the Elder Scrolls games; Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim. For all three I would say that they allow players to become thieves and killers (you can join an Assassins guild in Oblivion and Skyrim). While you complete quests, you will be spending a lot of your time killing things, stealing things, or possibly committing assassinations (if you join the required guilds). In Oblivion, you can buy a house in every city and that is actually kinda fun. These games can have mods added in and some of those mods include naked/nude mods. You should pre-research as usual because foreknowledge of what to expect to see happening can and will help you in determining if these games are acceptable.

I will cover time issues next, like how many time I would think ought to be used or allowed. Following that, I will be doing some reviews of games from an Autistic perspective.

Autistic Gamer: Games for Autistics

I figured being an Autistic person, that I should encourage other Autistics and their parents of games that are very worth picking up. These are games that I feel are worth spending the money to buy and happen to be very acceptable with a limited amount of blood/gore and a limited amount of Swearing/Various Parental concerns. I am a fan of FPS games, RP games, Point-n-Click games, Strategy games, and various other ones. FPS means First Person Shooter; RP is for Role-Playing; Point-n-Click works by using the mouse to point at something on screen than clicking it usually to solve puzzles.

To start the list as my top selection for other Autistics like me is the following:

1) Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic or KotOR/KOTOR/Kotor

Made by Bioware, this game is somewhat old but it still happens to be a pretty fun game. Set in the Star Wars universe, this RP game has you traveling to a few worlds and interacting with different NPCs. The game has a good numbers of quests, which are missions for the player to perform, that can involve helping people. There is no blood, not even simulated blood really, although there is a decent amount of combat.

Where this game really shines is in its story which happens to be really superb. It is also fairly easy to learn and encourages helping others. While you can be mean to people, it usually takes, in my experience, more effort to do so. The game features nearly everything the original trilogy movies had.

2) Myst

Myst is a point-n-click adventure that I would suggest strongly because it involves no combat and the entire gist of the game is about solving puzzles. I would encourage patience for this game as some of the puzzles are rather difficult. However, the simply amazing story makes up for that and the worlds explored are very nice looking and will cause you to spend time exploring without solving puzzles. If there is any game that is completely worth getting, this happens to be one of them.

3) Bejeweled

This game has to be gotten online, but it is completely violence free. The game is basically about putting together groups of gems and the gems make fun noises when the got removed from the board. It is also strongly prone to induce you to simply playing since it is simply that enjoyable. A definite must have game, since it is mostly free to download.

4) Plants vs Zombies

This game can be gotten as a trial, which you should do first and then try it out before buying the full game. The game features placing plants on a lawn where the plants will fight off zombies. There is animated, toon-ish violence here, but it should be fine. Like Bejeweled, this game can quickly get you to lose time playing it.

5) SimCity 2000

This game is an older game, being nearly as old as Myst is, but it happens to be a rather good game. The main premise of the game is building a city by putting up space for residential areas, business areas, and municipal areas. The main appeal is watching your city grow as you add more to it. One in-game feature allows you put up signposts that you can type what they say. This game has no violence, unless a natural disaster strikes, and it can keep attention for quite a bit, although it does lose its luster and thus your interest after a point.

As I find or play games myself that I think other Autistics might like, I post them up so others can check them out. One thing for parents: Always research a game before you get it and find some reviews for it from PC Gamer magazine as well as some videos on youtube of gameplay since that will help you decide if you want to have it played.