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    Spelunky (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Sep 20th, 2014 at 07:34:33)

    This game is HUGE. I really like it, but I'm giving up on it (for now) because it's painfully difficult by the end and it's crossed my threshold for how much time I'm willing to put in for perfectionism.

    In my previous entry, I had reached the Ice Caves once or twice and was working on unlocking Tunnel Man's shortcut there at the end of the Jungle. Well, I successfully did that (2 bombs, then 2 ropes, then a shotgun for the Tunnel Man), and then breezed through the Ice Caves. It's weird how easy that world is compared to the others. The 4th world is the Temple, which kicked my ass every time I saw it. But the ICE CAVES! That's my favorite world so far. It's got yetis and wooly mammoths that turn you into a block of ice. It's got UFOs and psychic alien lords. It's got mines and other things that blow blocks up. And it's an abyss! So there's no real floor at the bottom, which is sometimes tricky to deal with.

    I also discovered the Worm in the Ice Caves. You can also get to it in The Jungle, but my discovery was an accident. There are these pink blobs on the wall, usually in place where you would fall pretty far, and if you fall on it, you stick to it. It's good because it breaks your fall, and you can then jump off of it safely. Enemies and other objects get stuck on the pink blob too. So one time I had a damsel and threw him off the ledge and he landed on the blob. Then I jumped off to grab him from the blob. When we were both on the blob, after a moment the screen began shaking and the blob turned into a giant worm's mouth and ate us! I went inside the worm's belly, where there is a whole new level with new enemies and environmental elements. So. Cool. Inside the worm, there is tons of treasure, but the worm is very large. I never made it to the bottom of one before dying.

    There are many other secrets in Spelunky. I read about most of them after deciding to quit, but discovered some on my own. The other one I was most pleased with was figuring out what Kali's sacrifice tables do. If you bring a humanoid or a damsel to the bloody altar, it dies. Bring enough and Kali rewards you with an item. Bring enough yet, and Kali rewards you with a special item that you can use to increase your health. Cool. There are apparently more secret levels and items that sound pretty neat.

    So, why am I retiring Spelunky even though I like it so much? In my quest to unlock Tunnel Man's shortcut to the Temple, I had to bring 3 bombs, then 3 ropes, and then...the Golden Key from the Mines. What?! I don't know how to put this quite in perspective. I sunk 6 hours into Spelunky and made it through 3 worlds. The Mines probably took me 3 hours, The Jungle 2.5 hours and the Ice Caves maybe 30 minutes to finally figure out. The Golden Key is an item that spawns somewhere in The Mines. So to unlock Tunnel Man's shortcut to the Temple, you have to (a) find the Golden Key in The Mines (b) get the Golden Key (c) bring the Golden Key ALL THE WAY through The Mines, The Jungle and the Ice Caves WITHOUT DYING. Now, I died 176 times in Spelunky so far. The chance of me going through 3 entire worlds without dying is about the chance I have of winning the lottery. Just...No. Not right now.

    Looking forward to starting a new game this weekend. What'll it be?!

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    Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)    by   jp       (Sep 19th, 2014 at 11:40:43)

    The scene I decided to replay was the one where Jodie is invited to a teenage birthday party. I was curious about the alternate versions due to a cue you get near the end: you can choose "revenge".

    The party, as you would imagine, goes south with the teens being really mean to her. The first time I played I was "nice" (shy, innocent, etc.) and didn't choose revenge. I wanted to see what the other end of the spectrum was...

    I was disappointed that:
    1. Apparently you can't choose the correct music, you get dissed regardless.
    2. You end up dancing anyways.

    I could be wrong about the above, but that was the feeling I got. As for the revenge part? It was a bit fun to let Aidan run wild and break a ton of stuff.

    ...and the house caught fire.

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    Contra 4 (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 19th, 2014 at 10:32:30)

    I've been playing on easy, but it's still quite hard for me. The game is pretty unforgiving in that when it's game over - you have to start all over from the beginning.

    I set myself a goal of making it all the way to the 3rd stage. And, success!
    It took me a while, and I was definitely getting better. For me, the biggest issue is that the game relies a lot on memory, you need to remember what enemies will appear where in order to avoid them. As usual for games of the day, everything is pretty much laid out in patterns. So, playing over and over means that I have gotten better in terms of skill but also I have more insight for what's coming. I still die a lot (especially in the aliens-themed part of the 2nd level) and its fun, but its started to feel a little like a slog.

    I'm happy to have made it this far, the 3rd level is a tunnel level which was a nice change of pace, but I'm not sure I'm up for playing all the way through levels 1 and 2 again.

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    Contra 4 (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 15th, 2014 at 21:47:40)

    I suck at Contra. I always have, and perhaps I always will. We'll see.

    I probably picked this up for a song, but I'm not sure. This game has been on my to-play pile for a long time now. A really long time.

    Anyways, I booted this up today and played for maybe 15 minutes or so. On easy. I'll admit it. It was going ok until I had to get off the bus. I guess I was surprised that this seemed like regular Contra. Not Contra 4. I guess I was expecting a sequel of sorts? I'll have to do a little online research to see if I'm off-base here or not.

    In any case, and this may sound weird, I'm sort of hoping to be able to practice and get better. I've never been any good at it because I never had the opportunity to really practice this. I mostly (rarely) played in arcades or with friends (on their consoles).

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    Beyond: Two Souls (PS3)    by   jp       (Sep 15th, 2014 at 21:29:23)

    Finished this over the weekend.

    I'm glad I saw it all the way to the end because a lot of the questions I had have been answered. Story stuff pretty much. I then went back and played an earlier scene I was curious about. That was a mistake.

    I peeked behind the curtain and saw how much more linear the game is. A lot of the choices I thought mattered, don't. Some things end up happening anyways regardless of your choice. I understand the problem (branching grows exponentially), and to be honest I'm not surprised. Just a little let down.

    I wasn't intending to re-play any of the earlier scenes (the same philosophy I applied when I played Heavy Rain), but I was, I'll admit, taken in by the allure of a few extra trophies. Way to shoot yourself in the foot! For this kind of game, where you don't really want to encourage replayability, why not tie the trophies (which I understand are a compulsory requirement by Sony) to simple advancement in the game? The Walking Dead implemented them this way, which I thought was great. The trophy system should enhance the game, not detract from it, no?

    I recall that David Cage was really opposed to trophies in Heavy Rain, but ended up putting them in for binary choices anyways. Sigh.

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    Random

    Goldeneye 007 (N64)    by   Barcalounger

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Monday 28 January, 2008
    Classic Second Gamelog Entry

    Gameplay
    Playing this game a second time, I chose to play the multiplayer version. The screen becomes split either in half or in fourths, and the goals of play can vary. The fact that in the multiplayer setting you can do more than just fight each other, allows for more interesting gameplay. You are offered games like capture the flag, or team battles and can work against or collaboratively with the other players.

    I found that playing against “real” people was far more difficult than playing against the computer. For one you get people cheating and looking at their opponents perspective/screen, and gaining advantage by knowing where the opposition is. Secondly the computer players don’t seem to be as talented and agile as the “real” players. In the first person mode I felt pretty confident and comfortable playing the game, this changed though when playing the multiplayer version.

    Design
    I mentioned before that you were able to move in a direction while also “turning your head” and I thought that this was an interesting and innovative aspect. However when in stressful situations, I found myself getting lost in the head movement. I would get stuck staring at the ground or ceiling and lose my spatial awareness, resulting in getting killed. This frustrated me, however after more play I am sure that I could become more accustomed to it.

    I really appreciate in this game, the amount of freedom of movement that you have. You can jump over things, you can duck, you can side step, and you can run. Many games have played have a much more limited range of movement. This array of movement means that the environment we are in must also accommodate for all these options, which it does. The avatar is able to crawl through small spaces, and jump over walls, which gives the game a much more realistic feel. I enjoyed playing this game and feel as though it sets a standard for first person shooters.

    [read this GameLog]

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