Atari Games for the Nostalgic Gamer

Atari may no longer be a major player in the video game industry, but its contributions in gaming is undeniable. Not all of us were born during the years Atari was still active, but there are titles that you can still play today if you know where to find them.

Space Invaders (1978)

The game is one of the earliest versions of the shooting games in which the objective is simple; defeat as many enemies as possible and earn as much points as long as you can. The player controls a laser cannon, which can be moved from left to right and vice versa.

Pitfall! (1982)

Pitfall! is probably one of the earliest types of addictive games in which the objective is to collect items within a limited period. In the game, you only have 20 minutes to find the 32 treasures in the jungle while avoiding different obstacles.

Pac-Man (1982)

The player controls Pac-Man in a maze while avoiding ghosts and consuming the wafers scattered on the screen. If one of the ghosts touches him, the character is allowed to respawn only according to the number of lives left. One the extra lives run out, it’s game over.

Asteroids (1979)

Another space shooter, the player controls a spaceship in Asteroids and will try to navigate the vehicle in an asteroid field while avoiding both the asteroids and flying saucers.

Pong (1972)

Considered as one of the earliest video games, Pong is inspired by the sport Ping-pong or table tennis, in which the objective is to return the ball using the paddles on the left and right of the screen.

Breakout (1976)

The objective of this game is to destroy a wall of bricks using a bouncing ball. The player must make sure not to let the ball drop to the bottom of the screen by using the movable paddles.

Donkey Kong (1981)

One of the earliest forms of platforming games, Donkey Kong allows the player to manipulate Mario/Mr. Video up a set of obstacles to rescue Pauline/Lady from the ape.

Adventure (1979)

The goal of the game is quite simple; find the magic chalice and return it to the castle. But the character must traverse a world filled with enemies and obstacles, including three dragons.

Pole Position (1982)

This racing game features a race circuit based on a real race track. Pole Position has an F1 race car that the player controls to complete time trials and qualify for the F1 race.

Dig Dug (1982)

In the game, the player must try to eliminate the Pookas and Fygars by making them explode or by crushing them with rocks. The player controls Dig Dug, the protagonist who has the ability to dig tunnels in the earth.

Why is Blood Typing Important?

Blood typing is important in the hazardous blood transfusion procedure, but what are the blood types and how are these determined?

Blood Types and Genes

Your blood type is determined by your genes, specifically by the combination of the alleles you inherit from your parents. If you can recall from your biology class, alleles are the forms of the gene within one chromosome which are responsible for the codes of enzymes that create the A and B antigen. Possible combinations include, A, AB, B, and O which make up the ABO blood group. You might be surprised, however, that there are at least 20 blood group systems today including the Rh (rhesus) factor blood group, which is characterized by the presence of Rh antigen in the blood. This then makes up a total of 8 blood groups in humans.

Mixing Blood Types

How did people know that using a different blood type on a patient is fatal? You guessed it. Failed experiments in blood transfusion that resulted in deaths happened until 1901 when the human blood groups were finally identified by Karl Landsteiner. Mixing two different blood types will result to agglutination or clumping, causing cracks in the red cells, releasing toxic hemoglobin. The response is triggered by the body’s immune system which produces antibodies against the foreign blood cells. As a result, the blood vessels will clog up and stop circulating.

Finding Your Blood Type

To find out a person’s blood type, a blood sample must be taken to a laboratory and mixed with three reagents of three antibodies for A, B, and Rh. The laboratory technician will then observe what will happen with the mixtures to determine which one has agglutinated and are not compatible for the person’s blood type. The sample that shows no indication of agglutination is considered compatible. People with Rh negative blood can receive donated blood from Rh positive donors, but the next time he/she receives another set of Rh positive blood transfusions, there could be a problem.

Compatibility Issues

Even between a pregnant woman and her fetus, there could be some problems in the blood compatibility, if for example, a father is Rh positive type and a mother is an Rh-negative blood type. Their combination will result in a fetus with a positive Rh antigen. The result could be fatal for the baby and may result in hemolytic disease caused by the mother’s antibodies attacking the fetus’ red blood cells. Thankfully, this can be prevented with injections of Rh immune globulin during pregnancy and after delivery of the newborn.

Blood, Tissue, Organ, and Marrow Donation

Blood transfusion might be recommended in the following cases: severe anemia, bleeding during surgery, injuries and blood loss, cancer, and bleeding disorders, but careful testing is always done. Even when receiving tissue, organ, and bone marrow from a donor, both the recipient and the donor should be tested for compatibility before transplantation. Blood typing and HLA testing are done to ensure that the donor and the recipient match.

Four Easy Ways to Help You Improve Your Posture

Having great posture goes a longer way than simply staving off a slouch and making you look tired or unconfident: great posture is also about keeping your body, and more importantly, your spine, aligned correctly in order to minimize strain. With proper posture, you will not only experience far lesser pain in your neck, shoulders, and back, but you also help strengthen otherwise weaker muscles, and even improve your overall breathing.

Here are five easy ways that will help you improve your posture:

Lifting

Maintain a straight back when carrying a load. Ideally, you should be lifting items with your core engaged and your heat upright while your knees are bent and taking most of the weight. As you lift the object towards you, position your shoulders and bend only at the hips and knees.

Sleeping

Maintaining proper posture when sleeping is just as important when you’re awake. Whether you’re lying flat on your back or on your sides, keeping your spine straight is a great way to reduce back pain and guarantee more, and better, sleep. To do this, be sure to maintain your spine’s natural posture by keeping only one pillow and let your head rest on it, rather than your shoulders on your neck.

Standing

Slouching when you’re standing not only gives other people the impression that you’re unconfident, but also add more stress to both your feet and your spine. To avoid this, it’s important to keep in mind that standing properly involves positioning your pelvis and your spine to take that stress, rather than the spine and the feet. Aside from wearing flat shoes for better support, be sure to follow these steps in order to stand upright properly:

  • Keep your head upright and center (chin must be parallel to ground)
  • Pull back your shoulders gently
  • Draw in your stomach slightly
  • Unlock your knees
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width
  • Center your weight on your feet

Aside from appearing more confident, which is a definite plus wherever you go, standing straight also gives you the boost of energy that you need to get through the day.

Sitting

When you’re facing a computer screen all day, it can be difficult to maintain proper posture when it’s much easier to simply slouch. However, this has the cost of straining your back muscles and ligaments, as well as adding unnecessary pressure to your spine.

Aside from choosing the right chair that accommodates your height, it’s also important to keep your arms bent to ninety degrees and allow your back to rest on the chair’s lumbar support, which you can do by standing straight.

Additionally, be sure to prevent unneeded neck strain by making sure your computer screen is within eye level.

Five Crucial Ways to Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

Unlike other types of health conditions, having a high blood pressure isn’t always something you can see or feel, and you don’t usually know you have it until it’s serious enough to cause significant problems and increase your chances of getting other complications.

However, the good news is that you don’t always need medication in order to improve the symptoms of hypertension. In fact, there are many lifestyle changes you can adopt in order to keep your blood pressure in check, such as the following:  

Decrease your salt intake

Sodium is the easiest way to raise your blood pressure, and if you notice that your heart rate is up after eating a hearty meal, then you need to change your dieting habits. While you can’t eliminate all sources of sodium from your diet (you still need to consume a small amount for your body’s daily needs), you can shift towards a cleaner and healthier diet with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Watch your waistline

The bigger the number on the weighing scale, the higher the blood pressure also tends to be – but that’s not the only thing you need to be looking out for. Aside from a high blood pressure, having a high body mass index in proportion to your height can lead to conditions such as sleep apnea, which can also further raise your blood pressure. Losing a small amount of weight can be really helpful here, as well as keeping an eye on your waistline.

Take deep breaths

When you have high blood pressure, means that your system is compensating for not having enough oxygen by trying to get it as quickly to your entire body as possible, and this is where deep breathing comes in. The best way to inhale is by imaging your stomach as something like a balloon. Take a deep breath slowly and allow that balloon to inflate, and exhale slowly.

Sleep early, wake up early

Not getting enough sleep is another big factor that contributes to stress, which in turn contributes to higher blood pressure. To make sure you get enough sleep, you can try setting your alarm to make sure you go to bed early at night and early in the morning for a full seven to eight hours of sleep.

Learn effective stress management

The most important thing you need to know when you have high blood pressure is that you not only need to minimize getting into stressful situations, but that you also need to know how to handle them better if you do encounter them.

This includes, but isn’t limited to, balancing work and life in a way that lets you get the most out of both. If you think you’re focusing on work too much, it’s best to allow yourself to take a break to focus on your loved ones and your health.

5 Ways to Ensure You Actually Relax on Your Vacation

Have you ever come back from a holiday feeling tired and stressed? You may have to re-evaluate your approach to having your vacations.

The goal of vacations and holidays is to unplug you from your busy life, make you feel relaxed and refresh your body and mind from the stress of your everyday life.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind to help you tune out of your hectic office life and plunge into the relaxation of your vacation.

  1. Escape Your Phone Service

Put your phone’s “airplane mode” to good use by using it throughout your vacation, or better yet, turn it off. And if you are going outside Singapore, don’t go out of the way to upgrade your data plan. Do not even call your network service provider to ask about it. Just put your phone in airplane mode and only use it for taking photos.

  • Keep Off the Social Media

Thanks to the online world, we seem to have the fear of missing out on something. Who cares if your ex is getting married or your college classmate is going to Canada for good? Live in your own moment and stop worrying about what’s going on at home. Every time you’re about to check your Facebook or Twitter, ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?” or “Do I really need to post that now?” Get everyone envious by posting all your vacation photos when you get home.

  • Plan a Vacation Your Bank Account Can Actually Afford

It will be more stressful if you constantly have to worry whether you have enough to support yourself during your holiday. So, travel within your means. At the same time, know that it’s okay to treat yourself once in a while. Make peace with the fact that you will see some of our hard-earned money leaving your wallet and know that you deserve the treat.

  • Let Your Co-Workers Know

If you’re going on a week-long vacation, there will likely be times when your boss or co-worker will have to reach you. But you can minimize the possibility of this and enjoy an uninterrupted holiday by preparing your co-workers to help you pick up the slack. Letting your co-worker know of your scheduled vacation and formulating emergency exits for them will give you a better shot at truly relaxing during your vacation.

  • Remind yourself that you deserve it

People tend to feel guilty for taking a break. But don’t! The fact that you are physically and mentally unable to relax during the week can take a toll on your overall health. We need to occasionally take a break from our work life in order to recharge and comeback in full health.

Ultimately, feeling a bit stress when you come back to work is inevitable. Integrate pleasurable activities into your day-to-day life, so you are not reliant on travel and holidays to de-stress.

Common Bedtime Habits That Could Be Sabotaging Your Life

If you often feel anxious and tired, you’re likely looking forward to getting into bed at the end of your every day. However, what you probably didn’t realize is that some bedtime habits that you think are harmless could be the reason why you feel so crappy and sloppy the entire day.

From the quality of sleep to the food you eat, here are five bedtime practices that could be sabotaging your life.

  1. Trying so hard to resolve conflicts with your partner

The famous saying “never go to bed angry” could not be so good after all. Staying up late trying to resolve an issue will not only cut your sleep time, but also make you feel too hyped up to doze off. Instead of trying to solve an argument, agree to disagree for the meantime and get yourselves some rest for a refreshed feeling in the morning. When you wake up and the frustration doesn’t go away (though in most cases, it does), try talking once again. At least, you’re a lot calmer now and you’ve had enough sleep. 

  • Relying on wine to wind down

While alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it negatively affects your quality of sleep. Specifically, alcohol affects the cycle of your sleep, causing you to wake up more often and experience less deep sleep. Rather than drinking alcohol before bedtime, go for warm milk or green tea to relax.

  • Eating late night snacks

Snacking on something sweet or salty before going to bed means more calories will be stored as fat. That’s a recipe for unwanted weight gain and disrupted sleep. When your body is working to digest food, it won’t be able to rest properly. Late night snacking will not only affect your quality of sleep, but also a problematic digestion the next day.

  • Lighting up a cigarette close to bedtime

We can’t stress enough how smoking is bad for the health. But if you insist on doing it, try to avoid lighting up a stick close to your bedtime. Remember that nicotine is a form of stimulant. Therefore, smoking before bedtime can make it difficult for you to fall asleep, which means irritable and groggy the next day. Give yourself at least two hours cigar-free before hitting the sack.

  • Using your phone, period

The blue light from your phone’s screen contributes to keeping you awake. And if you need more compelling reason to keep your phone away from bed, know that it can also hamper your intimacy with your partner. When you have the habit of answering emails when on bed, you are setting up the vibe that your bed is a place for work and not for resting and lovemaking with your significant other.

We’ve all experienced the consequences of lack of sleep. Since we don’t want to endure these awful situations at work and in school, make sure to keep your sleep at all time high by avoiding the aforementioned habits.

The Rise of eSports and What It Means for Gamers

Following the announcement of eSports being included as a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games, the industry has been gaining more and more attention. This made possible the launching of the first ever eSports Academy in Singapore through a collaboration between Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association(Scoga) and streaming website, Twitch. 

In addition, a diploma program has also been launched by Informatics Academy. It aims to impart skills on game development and design theories, live-streaming production, eSports knowledge, and coaching/team management. It is also supported by some major developers and companies namely, Riot Games, ESL Asia and Twitch.

It’s true that the eSports scene is definitely flourishing, but what does this really mean for gamers and eSports enthusiasts alike?

“It’s not just a hobby”

Generally, this means that players won’t have to waste money in internet cafés to play/hone their skills anymore because there is now a proper place where they can learn and practice. By being enrolled in an academy, players can showcase their abilities and talents while also learning scholastically. So those who alternate schoolwork and play don’t have to worry too much anymore. This also helps parents to be more accepting of gaming to not be just “a waste of time” but as a legitimate career that their children can pursue. We should then be able to acknowledge eSports as a career path that can be both academic and/or vocational.

Not just for players

eSports is not just about the gamers, it’s involves a lot of different fields in the industry. This is why the academy also includes lessons on live-streaming, shoutcasting (live commentators), and etc. Tournaments are one of the reasons why there are so many gaming enthusiasts around the world. If people can’t make it to the venues (e.g. it’s abroad), they can simply watch broadcasts. And broadcasts would also not be possible without live-streaming production teams. Schoutcasters also contribute to a lot of hype in tournaments. They can be especially important when the game becomes fast-paced and there is a need for analysis and live commentating. Learning to coach teams could also prove to be a worthy career. Even coaches like kKoma of three-time League of Legends world champions SK Telecom T1, has become as popular as his players.

Revenue

Because there is a legitimate demand in the industry itself, sponsors and advertisers have invested in a lot of eSports teams and players. This also isn’t the only way team organizations earn money. In the 7th iteration of the major DotA 2 tournament, The International, the total prize pool was a whopping US$24,787,916. Singaporean DotA 2 superstar, Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang also already has above one million dollars in overall winnings in his pocket. League of Legends developer, Riot Games, has a different approach on the other hand. Riot provides professional players with salaries instead of directly raising the prize pool.