Haunted Motel is a VR Horror Game For Android (Google Cardboard)

Virtual reality horror games have quickly gained popularity among gamers after Google introduced their first VR headset prototype, the Google Cardboard, back in 2014. Now, for the past two years developers of vr horror games have been busy working on their projects and we can already enjoy some of the most insanely terrifying games like Silent Home, 11:57, House of Terror and Sisters, just to name a few.

These games, coupled with my overall fascination in virtual reality technology, have inspired me to start developing my own vr horror game for Android phones. The game is called Haunted Motel.

VR Horror Games Haunted Motel Android Cardboard

Haunted Motel – A work in progress

I don’t remember the exact date any more, but I think it’s safe to assume that I started developing Haunted Motel somewhere in the second half of May, 2016. I know this because, earlier that month, I had published a very basic how-to guide on virtual reality game development.

On a side note, I didn’t intend to give the game a lame name (wow) such as this. At first, I was considering a fancier name like the Lakeview Motel, but because it’s a demo, I figured Haunted Motel will work just fine for the time being.

That, and I was just too eager to publish it on the Play Store to bother with the tedious name picking process.

horror games vr virtual reality haunted motel screenshot

Why do I say the game is still a work in progress?

Because I don’t plan on ending the game any time soon! In fact I’m hoping to get enough feedback and NEW ideas from gamers themselves and implement those directly into the game as we move forward.

I think it would be epic if this project would turn out to be a kind of social vr horror game where anyone can add a piece of their imagination.

Of course I am going to add more content to the game on my own as well, but that requires time and being “in the zone” which is, unfortunately, kind of rare to happen these days. Come to think of it, adding other people’s ideas will require the same amount of work, if not more. Damn. Anyone willing to lend a helping hand?

At this point, I am still unsure where the game will “end up” as I am planning to, eventually, leave the building altogether and get the player on the streets. You know, Silent Hill style, but as a vr horror game.

Haunted Motel’s Storyline

As of right now the game doesn’t have a decent storyline. Instead it’s meant to kind of show off my skills as a game developer in general.

The only real story that I have added into the game so far is the note which you can find under the main staircase. In the note the motel’s administrator briefly welcomes a newly appointed janitor.

Short walkthrough

That said, the game starts after you’ve entered the motel building. To your right you can see the administrator’s office (locked) and to the left there’s a small storeroom with a bloody newspaper on top of some shelves.

As you move forward, you’ll eventually find yourself in the center of the building with stairs going to the 2nd floor (unfinished) and two narrow corridors leading both left and right.

virtual reality vr horror games android haunted motel cardboard headset

At the end of these corridors, on both sides, there’s a small room where people can hang out and smoke a cigarette, for example.

Each corridor leads to two additional apartments so on the 1st floor there are a total of 4 apartments. But since it’s a demo, you can currently only enter one of them.

It’s up to you, the player, to figure out how to enter that room. All I can say at this point is that you will first need to enter the administrator’s office where you’ll find (surprise surprise) a key. It’s not really that difficult.

The hauntings

In the demo the player has a chance of meeting a ghost. Well, sort of. While you can’t interact with it directly, it is supposed to scare you from afar. For those afraid of jump scares, you’re in luck because right now there aren’t any. Promise.

Haunted Motel vr horror game virtual reality cardboard android

While not directly hinted throughout the game itself, the ghost is in fact a burned man who died in a fire a few years earlier. The 2nd floor is still unfinished, but *spoiler alert* there will be a room completely burned down. This is where the guy used to live. Anyone care to tell his story?

Future plans

For the more observant bunch, I’ve added a few subtle clues on the noticeboard in the main hallway. These should give you an idea on what to expect from the vr horror game in the future. You will have to actually play the game though. I’m not going to reveal anything else.

And, as I said earlier, I am eventually hoping to be done with the motel building and put the player on the streets where they can wander around and enter other, more interesting houses.


Why hoverboards explode and how to choose a safe hoverboard

The Self-Balancing Scooter, or more widely known as simply the hoverboard, has quickly become one of the most popular toy-gadgets for both kids and adults alike. It’s fun, promotes outdoor activities and is an excellent alternative for public transport in the city. However with hundreds of seemingly identical hoverboards for sale on the internet, how can we be sure that ours is indeed safe?

In this article I will explain why most hoverboards have exploded so far as well as share a couple of tips and tricks on how to avoid buying a potentially dangerous hoverboard for yourself or your family.

Why do so many hoverboards explode?

Why can a hoverboard explode Ever since hoverboards caught the attention of mainstream media, there have been countless of reports of hoverboards either exploding or catching fire.

While most of the time these faulty self balancing scooters have ended up causing just minor damage to people’s homes, there have been some, more extreme cases where people have gotten seriously hurt because of these expensive toys.

So what’s the deal? Why are these things so prone to spontaneously combust?

Short answer: It has to do with the Lithium-Ion battery packed inside.

A faulty battery

When a piece of technology becomes popular enough, other, smaller companies will eventually build cheaper knockoff versions of said product in order to make a quick profit from the hype.

However the lower price isn’t an act of kindness on their behalf. Nope! The low price comes from using lower quality parts within the gadget itself and the vast majority of exploding hoverboards have had a bad battery stuffed inside of them.

Battery Cathode Anode SeparatorHow Lithium-Ion batteries work?

Generally speaking, all Lithium-Ion batteries work the same way.

When you charge the battery, the positive electrode (cathode) gives up some of its Lithium Ions to the negative (anode) and when it’s discharging (when in use) the Ions move back to the positive electrode.

The ions move through the separator between a cathode and anode and its purpose is to keep the two electrodes apart to prevent electrical short circuits.

Low quality batteries can cause short circuits

In cheaper batteries the separator could be misaligned or it may have small micro holes due to the impurities of the materials and therefore electrical short circuits can occur.

When this happens a lot of heat is generated inside the battery cell which leads to electrolyte boiling, the rupture of the cell casing and eventually (surprise surprise) a fire.

How to avoid buying a bad hoverboard?

Unfortunately there is no sure way of telling whether a board will explode or not because you have to actually use the device for a little while in order to “wear out” the battery.

That said, there are still a couple of things you can consider:

  • It’s a good idea to choose a reputable manufacturer who isn’t trying to hide the source of their batteries.
  • Another recommendation is to avoid anything that costs less than at least a couple of hundred bucks.
  • While you don’t necessarily need the IO Hawk that goes for more than a thousand dollars (unless you’re a show-off), you should still avoid cheap Chinese replicas that sell for just $100 on ebay, for example.
  • From my own research I can say that $300-$500 seems to be a reasonable price range for a safe hoverboard scooter.

*HoverBoardScooters.net is a reputable source for various self balancing scooters and hoverboard accessories. Their office is located in California and you can ask for more information simply by dialing this number: (323) 617-3657


Silent Hill 2: Who was Maria and what was her purpose in the game?

Silent Hill 2, despite being more than 15 years old, is arguably one of the best old school psychological horror games ever developed with a solid, well written and highly engaging storyline. I could go on for hours at a time trying to dissect every aspect of the game’s twisted plot and I’d still be merely scratching the surface!

Below is a spoiler filled article which mainly talks about Maria and her role in the game. Bare with me as I try my best to explain who she was and, more importantly, who she was to James, the main character of Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2: Introduction

Silent Hill 2 Director's Cut CD Cover For PC

The game begins with the main protagonist, James Sunderland, 29, arriving in a town called Silent Hill after receiving a letter from her wife who apparently has been dead for the past 3 years.

In the first scene we can see James talking to himself in front of a mirror in a run down public restroom. Naturally he is confused about the letter he got from his supposedly dead wife, but at the same time he’s hopeful that perhaps Mary (the name of James’s wife) is in fact alive thanks to some sort of a miracle. And so James begins his journey to find out exactly what happened.

Maria from Silent Hill 2Who is Maria?

Maria, a 25 year old former dancer at a club called Heaven’s Night, is the second most important antagonist in the game alongside James’s worst nightmare, the Pyramid Head (more on that later).

When James first meets Maria in a local park, he is stunned by how similar she looks to his late wife, Mary.

At this point it’s worth noting that the town (Silent Hill) draws upon the psyche of its visitors and ultimately creates alternate versions of itself for every character.

The fact becomes more clear later in the game when James meets a runaway teenager, Eddie, who experiences all of the same creatures that James sees as horrific monsters, as people laughing and taunting him towards violence.

Maria’s personality

While Maria is almost identical to Mary in every way (physically speaking), she has a much more sexually extroverted personality. She dresses in bold and revealing clothing and is found flirting with James throughout the game. She’s sensual, caring and more dependent than Mary.

Silent Hill 2 Maria Sensual Pose

In fact the game’s instruction manual describes her as being the complete opposite of Mary: a more fun, energetic and overall cheerful woman, albeit with a more clingy and intrusive personality which eventually leads James to reject her later in the game, at which point she tries to kill him by transforming into the final “boss” monster.

But… is she even real?

When you consider all of these personality traits in Maria and the fact that occasionally she seems to possess Mary’s memories of James and her being together, it becomes apparent that she is in fact a manifestation of Jame’s lonely subconscious mind that is desperately looking to fill the void left behind after his wife passed away.

In many ways Maria seems to be a “better” version of Mary, at least from a guy’s perspective, as she is much more easy-going to downright slutty, for lack of a better word.

Furthermore, we never actually see her around when James interacts with other people who are also lost in Silent Hill and coupled by the fact that she is desperately trying to remind James how “real” she is, all confirm the theory that Maria doesn’t exist in the first place.

For example when James first meets Maria in Rosewater Park, she says: “I don’t look like a ghost, do I? See, feel how warm I am”.

And then later, after being killed in front of James and then miraculously resurrected, she tells James that “It doesn’t matter who I am. I’m here for you, James. See? I’m real.”

She also happens to know James’s name almost immediately after meeting him for the first time even though he never told her his name. Of course James, being completely engulfed in his own delusion, doesn’t seem to notice it.

Not your typical “monster”

Silent Hill 2 Maria Smiling EerilyMaria, even though considered to be one of the two main antagonists in the game, is not necessarily malicious towards James (except for the part where she tries to kill him in the end), but she is definitely trying to keep James from leaving Silent Hill.

For example, in the Rebirth ending (yes, the game has multiple outcomes depending on your actions throughout the game) Maria says to James:

What?! But I’m what you wanted! Mary’s dead. Don’t you understand? She’s not coming back! But I can be yours… I’ll be here for you forever… I’ll never hurt you like she did! So why don’t you want me?!

Is she trying to keep James from learning the truth?

In the beginning of “Born from a Wish”, a prequel to Silent Hill 2, she mentions that she’s scared of being left alone and afraid of being in pain and in the main game seems to be highly bothered by the fact that James is more interested in finding out what happened to her wife instead of protecting and taking care of her.

At one point she lashes out to James and accuses him of being rude and selfish for only caring about his dead wife and not her by saying:

Why didn’t you try to save me? All you care about is that DEAD WIFE of yours!

Maria’s purpose in the game

Before we can start to understand the purpose of Maria in the game we have to dig a little deeper and figure out exactly what’s going on with James because, believe me when I say, It’s not all what it looks like!

James’s guilt

As James ventures deeper and deeper into the “rabbit hole” he eventually comes to terms with the fact that he was directly responsible of Mary’s death by suffocating her using a pillow some time after the doctors said there was nothing they could do to cure her illness.

Pyramid Head Abusing and Raping Two Helpless MannequinsSo he’s a hero then? No. James didn’t do it out of compassion. Instead he killed his wife mainly due to sexual frustration. There are subtle hints about this throughout the game, for example the infamous scene where Pyramid Head is seen abusing two mannequins.

Another reason for killing his wife was, of course, the sickness itself as it gradually changed Mary’s personality. In the end she was having constant mood swings and she would lash out at James in bursts of anger for no reason.

As Mary’s illness progressed, James started to resent her in almost every way, yet he still felt love towards her which in turn lead him on a downward spiral of self destruction and self pity. It took James 3 years to finally snap and end Mary’s life.

James’s delusion

After losing his wife, James’s life took a turn from bad to worse as he was now in complete denial of having killed Mary and so he created a story in his mind that she had been dead for 3 years because of her illness.

It’s very likely that the letter he received, which led him to Silent Hill in the first place, was just a hallucination and because of his numerous irrational and reckless actions throughout the game, it’s safe to assume that James was, in fact, suicidal and went to Silent Hill to kill himself.

Maria’s purpose becomes more clear

When you consider all of the above, it would make sense that Maria, being a figment of Jame’s imagination, was there mainly to provide comfort.

I guess, deep inside, James knew that he had killed his wife, but because what he did was so awful, he chose to ignore it and instead created Maria in the image of Mary so he could be together with her, oblivious to reality.


A safe and non-toxic push and go truck set for kids

Both Ebay and Amazon are without a doubt two of the most popular destinations on the internet for parents who are looking for fun and educational toys for young children. But with the ever increasing trend of utterly useless, if not downright dangerous, crap being sold on these marketplaces every day, how can we make sure that the toys we purchase for our kids are indeed safe for them? This video, while not about children’s toys, is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that the internet is filled with cheap, useless and harmful junk.

Not every toy is safe

Every now and again we get to see news reports and articles on how yet another batch of children’s toys made out of cheap and toxic materials gets pulled from the local supermarket or an online store. And while the safety inspectors are doing the best they can in order to keep our children safe, there are just way too many of these items being sold to us everywhere making it virtually impossible to regulate or control them all.

You can make a difference

At the end of the day, we, the consumers, are the only ones capable of actually making a difference if we only cared enough about our children to stop supporting the fake merchants out there who are not interested in our children’s safety and care only for their own quick profits at the expense of others.

push and go truck set for kids ynef.net

Friction powered toys for kids (3 set)

ThinkGizmos is a professional provider of children’s toys for all ages and one of their latest listings on Amazon is a cool, colorful and extremely fun friction powered toy set consisting of three different vehicles: A cement mixer truck, A street sweeper and a Harvester truck.

The “push and go” truck set for kids

friction toys for toddlers ynef.netWhen looking for a gift for your toddler this Christmas, you should definitely consider this fun and educational toy’s set consisting of three casual every day machines because all of ThinkGizmos’s toys are made out of a non-toxic and recyclable plastic that isn’t harmful for a toddler.

And although the manufacturer has labeled the product suitable for children as young as 18 months and up, it’s still advised to not leave your kid unsupervised when playing with any of these toys due to the potential of a choking hazard because of smaller bits and pieces that can come off from the toys.

Friction toys for toddlers: teach ’em about physics!

While your 18 month year old toddler probably wouldn’t understand the concept of kinetic energy, a friction toy can be a great subject matter around kids a little bit older.

For example as you’re “pumping up” the vehicle you could tell them that the flywheel inside the car stores some of the kinetic energy of the initial acceleration and propels the toy forward after you release it. (source).

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Kids love big machines so why not get them this friction powered dump truck?

When I was around 5 years old, my uncle, who used to own a farmhouse and a huge piece of land far away from the city, invited me along one beautiful late summer morning on a ride in his harvester to gather the crops. Because I had never actually been inside one of these things before, I was naturally fascinated and excited to learn just how that piece of heavy machinery worked.

He showed me what each lever, switch and pedal were used for and even though it felt somewhat uncomfortable sitting on top of his metal toolbox (there was no passenger seat), it didn’t really bother me that much because being on board of a beast like this made me feel extremely “big” and powerful as we continued to ride into the horizon.

Kids love huge trucks

If you’ve got kids, you’re probably already aware that almost every one of them will want to stop and take a look at how a huge machine is doing its business. Perhaps you’ve seen your kid stare at a dump truck as it beeps its way behind the dumpster or maybe you’ve seen them standing and looking at a tractor or an excavator with that deep and thoughtful look in their eyes?

Kids love these kinds of machines because when they’re younger, they can’t really comprehend the fact that there’s a regular human being inside each and every one of these and so they genuinely believe that the machine is working on its own somehow like an intelligent being.

Speaking of which, automated machines are becoming more and more popular nowadays and there’s already a completely autonomous tractor in the making so in the future when a kid looks at a dump truck, for example, it will probably be operating without a human driver. How cool is that?!

ThinkGizmos friction powered toy dump truck ynef.net

Friction powered trucks for kids

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your child this Christmas, you can’t really go wrong with a construction or other type of heavy machinery kind of toy such as this friction powered truck that’s for sale on Amazon at a relatively low price of just around $40 bucks.

Push and go trucks are actually nothing new

“Friction powered” is such a fancy word for a regular old toy that you push a couple of times and then let go to watch it drive on its own for a little while. I used to play with toys like this all the time when growing up, but I can say that there’s definitely been some improvement in push and go toys in general.

Trucks for kids have been getting better

Over the years friction powered toys, like pretty much everything else, have been improving as more and more features are being added to make playing with toys as awesome as possible for young children.

My mother always used to tell me just how lucky I was to have a wide selection of toys available and how she had to play with wooden sticks all day long. And while it’s true that I had the privilege to play with some rather fancy toys, they are still becoming more advanced as time progresses.

Toy dump truck for kids that makes realistic sounds and has working headlights that are battery powered

For one, I never had a toy that could make realistic sounds or had working headlights. These kinds of small details, while not significant for us, grown ups, will make all the difference in the world for a young kid who sees the awesome toy for the very first time. Trust me.

So if you’re still not sure what to get for your kid this Christmas, perhaps a toy truck such as this is exactly what they are hoping for? Have you already asked them to send a letter to Santa Claus? ;)


The build your own toy car kit that’s a perfect gift for your little mechanic

Over the past few days I’ve been writing about a couple of interesting DIY toys and kits for young kids that help them develop their construction and engineering skills early on in life and I have covered quite a few useful gift ideas for Christmas as well. For example you might find that this remotely controlled excavator or perhaps a more complex LEGO-like do-it-yourself RC robot kit may just be the one gift that you’re looking for for your kids this season.

Construction kit for kids

Construction kit for kids

Speaking of build your own remote control toy kits, I would like to quickly go over a particular car building kit that consists of 30 different parts, all of which can be removed and reattached in order to build a fun and colorful sports racing car that can be controlled using a remote.

While the numerous build your own toy car kits on the market are nothing new, this Do It Yourself RC racing car by ThinkGizmos is in a league of its own thanks to its realistic sound effects and actual working headlights. Not to mention the fact that you’ll get a fully functional toy drill powered by two AA batteries along with the set making it a great toy for young mechanics to learn the most basic aspects of building a car.

Fun construction toy for kids

It’s a dream come true for any child, whether boy or girl, who is showing increased interest in cars, sports cars and remotely controlled vehicles as a whole and more importantly, it’s perfect for kids who enjoy assembling together their own toys instead of playing with boring static trinkets built by someone else.

Build your own car kit: what’s in the box?

construction toy for kids user manualWhen fully assembled, this racing car will measure 7.5 inches in length, 3.5 inches in width and 2.5 inches in height which in centimeters would be 19 x 8.9 x 6.4 respectively.

Like every other ThinkGizmos toy, it comes with a complete manual written in the English, Spanish, German, Italian and French languages.

There are a total of 30 different and colorful parts with distinct shape and size so your child can figure out which part goes where rather easily. Still, there’s enough room left for the more creative thinker, meaning that some parts in the set can be used to modify the aesthetic look of the car.

The manufacturer has set a fairly wide recommended age group for this toy ranging from toddles as young as 3 years old to someone who’s about to enter school for the first time.

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Boost your kid’s cognitive development with the help of this RC excavator

I recently read an article online about the positive impact of playing with sand on young children. The article covered a total of eight reasons why encouraging your kids to go out and play with sand was a good idea. These reasons included the obvious like how they can let their imagination run free and how playing in a sandbox helps to develop social skills for young kids, but the article also pointed out some of the not-so-obvious aspects of sand play. For example it’s proven that the activity promotes cognitive development.

While the sand, especially wet sand, alone can provide a day’s worth of fun and excitement for kids of all ages, it can get even more entertaining with the help of various toys meant for sand play. In this article I will talk more about a realistic 1:45 toy excavator model that can be operated using a remote control.

remote control excavator for kids cool toy digger

Remote control excavator for kids

Setting you back a measly $50 dollars, this 1:45 scale remotely controlled excavator toy for kids is a great gift idea for anyone, regardless of their gender, ages 3 and up although the manufacturer has advised consumers to keep a close eye on children younger than 6 years old due to various smaller parts.

It’s suitable to be used in both indoors and outdoors, but it’s not waterproof so make sure you don’t accidentally leave it in the rain or drop it in a pool or in the sea. It will probably work again after it has thoroughly dried, but eventually rust and corrosion will surely start to mess things up so it’s best to avoid water altogether like with most electronic devices and toys.

remote control excavator for kids cool toy digger remote controllerToy Digger for Kids: Features and Specs

It’s ready for action right out of the box as it comes with all of the batteries already included. Additionally there’s a detailed user’s manual written in English, Spanish, German, French and Italian languages.

The remote control is very comfortable to hold in hand and can be used to turn the excavator’s cab for up to 680 degrees.

You can also move the digger toy in every direction and raise or lower the arm which can be used to dig in sand, for example.

The full length of this excavator toy is about 14 inches or about 35 centimeters and it’s made out of a non-toxic recyclable ABS plastic material.

This excavator toy is great for kids

Almost every other kid out there will stop to look at a tractor or some other type of heavy machinery’s work in action so why not get them a great toy such as this? Not to mention that in these modern times, it’s now more important than ever to encourage your kid to go outside and play with other children instead of staring at the smartphone screen all day long.

And when you go out to the beach or in your backyard to play with your kid in the sandbox, be sure to remind them the awe inspiring fact that there are more stars in our universe than there are grains of sand in all of the beaches in the whole world combined.

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