PS Vita Games: Tons of Great Genres to Pick From

Best VIta Games

Uncharted is one of the hottest Vita games on the market.

I’ve enjoyed investigating and playing PS Vita games over the past few months, and I’m happy to bring you information about the best Vita games available.

The best part is, you don’t have to take my word for it!  My experience has often been that professional reviewers will honestly reveal a games true perks and flaws, but that those reviews don’t necessarily help you pick which games are the best for you. In addition to doing my own research, I also gather votes from visitors to my “best Vita games” sites to get a consensus before I recommend a game. There will always be things in games to nit-pick, but sometimes you need to look beyond the pros and cons to find the games that you’ll really enjoy.

Best Overall PS Vita Games

Well, the vote for this category is a little skewed, because I somewhat prematurely added LittleBigPlanet to the list. It’s currently ranking at the top, although that makes it the “most anticipated game” as opposed to the “best game.”

Of the games that have already been released, Uncharted easily makes it into the #1 slot. The graphics of this game are intensely crisp on the Vita’s OLED screen, so much so that I preferred the “realism” of it over Nintendo’s 3D effect. The environments are fully realized, and the touchscreen and touchpad add an interesting gameplay dynamic.

Check out 10 Best PS Vita Games for more info.

Best Fighting PS Vita Games

I love this genre on the Vita, in part because of my early memories of playing Street Fighter on the Sega Genesis at my friend’s house, and in part because fighting games are so well-done on this handheld. The top two contenders for the title of best fighter game are Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Blazblue. The former has a roster of characters that is well-known to a Western audience; the latter, although somewhat less well-known as a franchise, is entirely worth a look, especially with its current 5 star Amazon rating.

Check out Best Vita Fighting games for more info.

Best Action PS Vita Games

The “action” genre is often seen as a supergenre that includes games in the shooting, adventure, and fighting realms, but for this list I’ve focused on action titles outside of those categories. The two frontrunners at the moment are Ninja Gaiden and Dungeon Hunter Alliance. Koei has really done a great job at porting Ninja Gaiden to the Vita, which is evidenced by the fact that the Vita title is outdoing Ninja Gaiden II on Amazon. As for Dungeon Hunter, it’s full of handheld dungeon-y goodness, but the fact you can get a DH app for much less has been a thorn in some player’s sides.

Check out Best Vita Action Games for more info.

Best Racing Vita Games

Handheld gaming and racing go together like rubber and tarmac. One of the great things about this genre is that there are already plenty of Vita titles available. Another great thing is that there’s a clear winner here: wipEout 2048 has easily pulled away from the pack in terms of gameplay and graphics. What you’ll be lose out on as far as sexy real-world cars goes will be made up for with sexy futuristic cars that handle in fun and interesting ways.

Check out Best Vita Racing Games for more info.

That’s enough for one post, although I do have plenty of other genres for you to check out. Best Vita Games (by Genre) provides a full list if I haven’t gone over you favorite genre here.

Click here to read more about these games on Amazon.

Squidoo Earnings: December 2011 Payout (Received February 13)

So I’ve mentioned record-breaking months before, but this one puts them all to shame. The Squidoo-only total amounted to $1,372.36; with Commission Junction and Amazon Affiliates added, the total goes up to $1,901.98.

Here are some of the basic stats for December 2011 performance:

Tier 1: 4 lenses, $57.35 per lens, 7% more than last month, 85% more than last year.
Tier 2: 10 lenses, $9.75 per lens, 7% more than last month, 68% more than last year.
Tier 3: 49 lenses, $0.49 per lens, 11% more than last month, 82% more than  last year.
Lower lenses: 58

Total Lenses: 121

Tier payments continue to rise. There’s always a lot of discussion in the Squidu forums over whether tiers should be expanded, in order to allow more lensmasters to enjoy tier payments; but for the time being, Squidoo is sticking to its system. Besides, most successful lensmasters make the majority of their earnings off of affiliate products, so it makes more sense to focus on that aspect.

Speaking of affiliates, here’s how I did:

Amazon Modules Earnings: $1,019.80
Amazon Affiliate Earnings: $477.23
Commission Junction Earnings: $52.39

The Christmas season really is a great one for sales, at least for the products on my pages. Kinect games especially were a hot product this year. I think that my sites did well because there aren’t a whole lot of other sites out there comparing Kinect games, and people really want to know which ones are good, and which ones are duds.

Part of my success was due to a large volume of views (77,350 total for the month), and part of it was due to featuring products that people really wanted to buy. That’s one of the keys to doing any sort of sales (and internet marketing is basically working as a salesperson, in many respects): sell things that people actually want!

Going forward, I want to try and maintain my income by diversifying my niches. I don’t expect that Kinect games are going to hold strong forever, so I want to make sure that I’ve got something else in place when those sites start to decline. I’m also interested in seeing how I can explore options outside of Squidoo.

You can find detailed information about this and previous payouts on my Squidoo Earnings and Payouts: Making Money on Squidoo page. Or, click here to compare this month to my write-up of August’s payment.

Planning Outdoor Weddings

Wedding Flowers

Over the course of helping my sister to plan her fall wedding last year, I learned a lot about everything involved in the process. It was certainly an eye-opening experience! I decided to document what we went through in hopes that it could help others with planning their own outdoor weddings.

First up is growing the wedding flowers. Yep, you read that right! My parents have plenty of outdoor space, so we decided to plant some seeds and see what happened. These flowers were a little trickier than the ones we’d grown before, because we wanted them timed to bloom in late September. Luckily, the flowers turned out well, especially the zinnias. Having the wedding outdoors in our backyard meant that we could use a lot of the plants we grew in pots as decorations.

The outdoor wedding tent was something we wanted to make sure we had arranged early in the process. Not only did we know that it would create a sense of ceremony and festivity in my parent’s backyard; we also knew that it would let us have some or all of the ceremony and reception outdoors in case of inclement weather.

Decorating for an outdoor wedding isn’t necessarily much different than decorating for an indoor wedding, but there are some things to keep in mind. The damp morning weather made it difficult for us to use the crepe-paper streamers we’d intended to hang around, but the moisture didn’t cause any problems for the tulle fabric we’d selected. We made use of some terrific battery-powered paper lanterns to provide light as the sun went down.

Many costs for a wedding are the same no matter where it’s held, but there are some unique aspects to figuring out a budget for your backyard affair. For example, you’ll only need a tent if you’re having an outdoor wedding or reception, adding a cost if you decide to use one. Then again, you won’t have to pay to rent out a space.

Finally, one thing to think of doing if you’re having an outdoor ceremony or reception is to throw in some fun, creative idea like having a wedding bonfire.

For more information, check out my resource How To Plan a Backyard Wedding.

My Favorite Harley-Davidson Gear: Calendars, Gift Ideas, and More

Harley-Davidson Gear GiftsEver since I was young, my dad has worked to instill in me a love for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle brand. His first bike (that he used to take me for rides on when I was six) wasn’t a Harley, but he dreamed of one day getting one made by that coveted brand.

For years, he’d wish for a new bike every holiday season. Now that he finally owns a Harley-Davidson, it’s given the rest of us a great opportunity for thinking up presents for him that don’t cost thousands of dollars. He loves his yearly Harley-Davidson calendar, proudly wears a whole closet full of Harley-Davidson shirts, and smiles every time he sees our cat Magic wearing his Harley-Davidson collar.

But I’m not planning on stopping there. With so many different types of things to choose from, I know that I’ll never run out of great ideas for presents to give. For example, just looking through all of the different types of Harley posters can provide inspiration for years to come. You can get posters that show various models of bikes, posters that focus on one (historic or modern) model, or posters that showcase the brand logo. Alternately, your recipient can display his or her loyalty on a coffee table or in a bookshelf with a selection from this list of Harley books that span the range of subject matter from brand history to maintenance and repair to even recipes (seriously!) And if that’s not enough, I’ve compiled a collection of various other top Harley-Davidson gift ideas, including mugs, clothing, and stuff for kids. I mean, how adorable is the idea of a kid playing on a themed motorcycle wooden rocker?

If you’re looking for other motorcycle gifts that aren’t necessarily Harley specific (and I’m big enough to admit that not everyone who loves bikes has Harley in the #1 spot), check out my list of gifts for motorcycle riders.

Man, now all I need is to find more people who are into motorcycles…

Squidoo Earnings: August 2011 Payout (Received October 13)

Another record-breaking payment from Squidoo this month: $162.68. Record-breaking for me, that is; not quite enough to live off of yet!

Here are some of the basic stats for August 2011 performance:

Tier 1: 2 lenses, $47.68 per lens, 10% increase over last month, 83% increase over last year
Tier 2: 3 lenses, $8.11 per lens, 10% increase over last month, 83% increase over last year
Tier 3 : 37 lenses, $0.41 per lens, 10% increase over last month, 86% increase over last year
Lower Lenses: 39

Total Lenses: 81

Tier payouts have been increasing fairly steadily. I think that it’s not bad that payments for each tier have increased more than 80% in a year. My personal earnings have increased more than 300% in a year, which isn’t too shabby.

Amazon Modules Earnings: $35.68
Amazon Affiliates Earnings: $24.08 (not included in above total earnings)

My Amazon (sales) earnings continue to be bouncy, going from $37 in June to $20 in July to $60 in August. I expect this to definitely pick up going into the holiday season (which starts late September for me with the Halloween lenses).

I had a total of 14,576 views this month. I started using Google Analytics instead of using the Squidoo traffic counts; Analytics consistently shows a higher number for visits. No creation this month, so not much to report on that front.

Also just updated my formatting on my Squidoo Earnings site so that visitors can more easily see the numbers. That is, after all, what you want, right?🙂

As always, check out Squidoo Earnings and Payouts: Making Money on Squidoo for a detailed breakdown of my monthly earnings.

Image by me!

Squidoo Earnings: July 2011 Payout (Received September 15)

I was very happy to receive my most recent payout from Squidoo, as it’s my biggest one yet! $127.20 in my pocket, to be exact. And while it won’t exactly pay the rent, it’s better than a kick in the teeth (as my Yorkshire-bred dad would say).

A lot of my continued success has to do with the Squidoo tier system. I’ve been very lucky to consistently have one of my lenses in the top tier of earnings. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Squidoo pay system: the money earned by ads on the site is distributed to users based on a tier system, in addition to other methods.) And recently, another lens has moved up into that tier. The tiers can be very fickle, especially around holiday seasons, when there is a lot of lens movement. It’s not really a reliable way to make money, unless you have lenses that get a ton of traffic, or that are very highly rated by other users on the site. These earnings should be considered a bonus.

That being said, there has been some interesting stuff going on with the tiers. The top tier has increased by about 20% from last month, which is much more than the usual 5-10% increase. This is mostly due to the change from “Infolinks” to “Text Link Ads” as one of the sources of ad income on Squidoo.

Anyway, the real way to make money on Squidoo for most of the big earners (and the way that is most scalable) is by getting people to buy things that you recommend. Of course, you should only recommend things that you really have faith in, and preferably that you’ve experienced yourself. I didn’t have a ton of Amazon earnings this month, and it’s definitely something I need to work on. Commission Junction (an company that helps you to become an affiliate for a variety of different online shopping sites) is another site I’ve been working with that can potentially create great earnings; I’m still figuring out how best to leverage it.

To learn more, such as how earnings are made on Squidoo, check out Squidoo Earnings and Payouts: Making Money on Squidoo. And feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!

Image source: Flickr.

Finding the Best Kinect Games (Continued)

No matter what kind of Kinect games you’re looking for, I’ve got something for you. I’ve been working hard in my “best Kinect games” niche, after all!

First up: games that get you in shape! This list of the best Kinect fitness games will have you loving (almost) every minute of working out. Track your progress as you lose pounds and inches, and play a variety of different games that will make you sweat. Several games even have built-in trainers to make sure that you’re doing the moves right; this helps you to avoid injury and work the right muscles.

Next is another list of games that’s great for getting you moving. It’s no surprise that there are plenty of dance games for the Kinect, what with the revolutionary recognition of your whole body. This list of the best Kinect dancing games will help you pick a game that has the right combination of fun moves and songs that set your feet tapping and your hips shaking.

When you’re just starting to buy games for a new system or controller, cost can be an issue. That’s where this list of the cheapest Kinect games comes in handy. If you’re trying to save money, you’ll be happy to know that some great games can be had for not a lot of cash.

Finally, if you want games geared towards your little tykes, you’ll find what you need on this list of the best Kinect kid games. The Kinect has a whole host of family-friendly games, but these are specifically geared towards younger children.

All of these lists are voted on by Kinect owners and users just like you, so you know that the best games have passed muster with the crowds!