ARK: Survival Evolved

ARK: Survival Evolved

Summary

Learn to survive on an island full of dinosaurs. Hunt creatures, gather resources, craft items, and build structures. You can also tame, breed, and ride dinosaurs in this open world sandbox game.

Review

ARK is an Early Access Game, but it already feels like a complete game. It has a huge community of players, gets updated very frequently, and can keep you entertained for hours upon hours. There is even an alternate play mode called Survival of the Fittest, which is essentially The Hunger Games in a world with dinosaurs.

My biggest complaints are that it is a resource hog (the developers are actively working on improving the game’s performance) and that the world is a fixed map and not destructible (not a big deal, but it would be nice).

I was really skeptical about ARK at first, but it’s a lot of fun. Highly recommended!

Taming Penelope
Taming my first dinosaur, Penelope the Parasaur
Character Screen
The character screen
Riding a Trike
Nick riding Timothy the Triceratops

You might like this game if you like…

Want to play?

$29.99 on Steam (Early Access)

Hunger Games

Last month, The Google Play Store had a great deal on the Hunger Games trilogy – all 3 books for $5. We liked the Hunger Games movie and I had heard the books were great, so Nick and I each picked it up (it would be nice to be able to share books with your spouse, Google!).

Nick started to read the trilogy right away, but I was in the middle of The Great Gatsby and then Snow Crash, so I just added it to the long list of books I want to read. By the time Nick got to the second book, Catching Fire, he was completely engrossed and dying to talk to me about it. So, I dropped Snow Crash and started to read the Hunger Games trilogy.

The Hunger Games (Book #1)

Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games is a young adult science-fiction adventure novel that takes place in the future post-apocalyptic nation of Panem (formerly, North America). The districts of Panem are controlled by the Capitol, which is a wealthy, technologically-advanced metropolis where citizens are preoccupied with fashion and entertainment — while the people in the districts live in squalor.

The districts once rebelled against the Capitol, but failed. As a result, the Capitol created the Hunger Games, in which each of the 12 districts must send one young boy and one young girl to fight to the death each year in a televised battle.

If you’ve seen the movie, it actually follows the book pretty closely. Some details were left out of the movie (like Madge Undersee, Katniss’s hearing loss, Peeta’s lost leg, etc.) and parts of it felt a bit rushed, but I thought they did a great job. One interesting aspect that was omitted, though, was the avox subplot. An avox is someone who rebels against the Capitol and gets their tongue cut off as punishment. The avoxes then serve the Hunger Games tributes and Capitol citizens as domestic servants.

Catching Fire (Book #2)

Catching FireSince The Hunger Games wrapped up after the Hunger Games ended, I wasn’t sure where the story for Catching Fire was going to lead. Like its predecessor, though, it focuses on the Hunger Games… but this year is special because it’s the 75th Hunger Games. Every 25 years, there is a “Quarter Quell” edition of the Hunger Games that involves a twist to the game rules.

In the 25th Hunger Games, districts had to vote to choose their tributes (rather than being chosen in a lottery). In the 50th Hunger Games, the number of tributes from each district was doubled. I’m not going to spoil what the twist is in the 75th Hunger Games, though. 😉

Catching Fire was every bit as good as The Hunger Games and I can’t wait to see it in theater this November. A teaser trailer for the movie was just released yesterday (see below).

Mockingjay (Book #3)

MockingjayMockingjay was a bit different than the other two books in the series, largely because it wasn’t about the Hunger Games. Instead, it centers around the districts’ rebellion against the oppressive Capitol. The mockingjay has become a symbol for the rebellion and is used as a propaganda tool to unite the districts. I’m not going to say much more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil it. 😉

Apparently, Mockingjay is going to be split into two movies, which I’m not thrilled about… especially since Part 1 and Part 2 are going to be released a year apart. Bummer.

In sum, I loved the Hunger Games trilogy and highly recommend it. Even though I had already seen the first movie, I found myself glued to the story and I finished the trilogy in a week and a half. 😛