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    Pokemon X (3DS)    by   jp       (Mar 31st, 2015 at 15:09:27)

    Ok, this entry is long overdue. Good news is that I can now say that I have, for the very first time in my life, finished a Pokemon game in the main series. Another way to put that is that it's taken this long (20 years?) for them to refine the design of the game to a point where I've been willing to put in the hours to play, rather than (mostly) put in hours to grind.

    I must say that it was fun, and I appreciate ALL the weird little extra things there are to do in the game, but I appreciate more being able to get a "vanilla" experience with the full story. Well, sort of vanilla, trading Pokemon was fun and definitely made the game more interesting.

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    Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (DS)    by   jp       (Mar 31st, 2015 at 14:48:26)

    I played a bit more the other day and, oddly enough, was able to clear the mission I had been struggling with for so long. With that out of the way I decided to explore a little bit and try out some of the side quests.

    This was when I realized that I wasn't that enthused with the game experience so far. The puzzle parts are fine, maybe a bit too random, but I wouldn't say they're that much "worse" (for me) than most other match-3 type games I've played. It's the rest of the game that doesn't quite gel. I realize that this may be a platform issue - the lower (puzzle) screen feels a bit cramped on the DS and the stellar map is neat (on the upper screen) but could benefit from being "touch", the text also seems small (though readable) and spreads out across multiple windows, and more. I guess it wasn't until I realized that I had to farm (mine) some materials from an asteroid in order to build a ship upgrade AND that I had to remember what planets had asteroids you could mine, AND that not all asteroids have the same raw materials, etc, that I thought - hmmm, I'm not sure this is that interesting or exciting to me.

    So, I'm now moving on to another game....

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    SolForge (iPd)    by   jp       (Mar 27th, 2015 at 16:03:13)

    I friend introduced me to this and I must say I've been enjoying learning it quite a bit. It's a digital CCG whose "twist" is that each card has different levels. When you play a card, it "levels up" with the new (stronger/improved) version) added to your discard pile. Every 4 turns the player levels up and the discards are shuffled back in to a new draw pile. It's a cool mechanic that obviously benefits from the digital side. I guess you could do it with regular cards, but it would be a bit onerous.

    The other simplification it has from regular CCGs is that there is no resource management. Every turn you can play two cards. That's it. You also draw five and the ones you don't play get discarded. It's quite a simple system (there are also 5 lanes you place your creatures in), so games generally move along quite quickly.

    It's a free-to-play game with micro-transactions. Actually, they're more like "regular to macro" transactions. I think they're store model is a bit broken because you have to spend a fair amount of money to get "packs" with cards (they have premium packs and treasure chests with super rare cards), while being quite generous with regular packs/cards. You can basically get 3 packs a day for free for playing enough games. You also earn silver which you can use to buy more cards. So, I feel like I have tons of cards and it doesn't seem worth spending money for a handful of premium cards.

    I still spent $5, but mostly because I was feeling like I wanted to contribute towards the company (I have no idea if they're swimming in cash or not), since I've been having fun with the game.

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    Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (DS)    by   jp       (Mar 27th, 2015 at 15:48:28)

    I knew what I was getting into when I bought this (for very little), but it's been such a long time since this game came out that it's been fun to rediscover, in a certain way, a game I thought I knew, but didn't really. I guess I'm not being fair, I played PuzzleQuest a long time ago and I recall enjoying it a fair amount. I was surprised when Galactrix did poorly in terms of reviews, because I thought it was essentially the same game but re-skinned for a sci-fi setting. Sort of, I knew the match-3 puzzles where with hexes - but other than that it was the same thing. No?

    The funny thing is that it's been such a long time that I'm not sure I can remember enough to compare them. As such, I've had fun sort of discovering this game even if it's been a bit frustrating at times.

    In a nutshell, it's a match-3 with a catch. The catch is that it's a shared board and you take turns against an opponent. Depending on what you match, you can fill up some energy bars, your shield, etc. OR damage your opponent.
    It works well except for the difficulty inherent in setting up a plan when your opponent messes the board up for you when it's your turn. It also means that you're often victim to "lucky" board changes that benefit your opponent (and vice versa)

    Other than that, there's a campaign that allows you to find upgrades and special powers you can use during matches. There are also other play modes - such as a mode without opponents where you're supposed to make as many matches as possible before the board locks up.

    I guess it's ok so far. I'm enjoying how new things are becoming available and how they enhance the game. But, I'm not sure the main game is that enjoyable. It feels a bit too random so far. It doesn't help that I've been stuck on a battle for a while now (7 attempts and counting). It makes me wonder if I need to "grind" some side missions in order to be better prepared? I hope not.

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    Defcon (PC)    by   gbayles       (Mar 19th, 2015 at 19:56:46)

    Well, I still don't love the game, but I can at last say that I beat a computer. I don't know if I just had a better strategy going into it this time around or if I was benefited by the distance between our countries or what, but I felt like this time around was super easy. I was Africa (which apparently now has nukes?), and the enemy was (you guessed it) Russia, as usual. I guess I realized this time around that bombing runs are one of your best bets, because you can use the bombers over and over. I wiped out all the air defenses with my nukes, and then my airplanes had free rein of the place. One thing I noticed in terms of the computer's gameplay is that it will often group 6 subs together and then let loose with nukes galore after they get past my defending fleets. I think I'll maybe try that next time.

    I guess one thing stood out to me more than anything this time, and that was that the scoring system takes into account how many nukes you have left at the end of the game. I don't know how I got to the end with 25 nukes (realistically, carelessness), but it rewarded me for NOT nuking the crap out of Russia, and I thought that was kind of interesting. It seems like the game kind of encourages the whole death and destruction mentality, but here it was rewarding me for killing a lesser number of people. I really like that, and it made me think that maybe there are tons of things like that that I'm just not seeing because I'm still new to the game. I mean there's the wailing and crying in the background, and that's okay I guess, but I still don't feel like this game made me see anything in any new ways. Anyway, I guess I'll keep my eyes open next time to see what else I might have missed.

    That being said, I feel like this game is supposed to have some kind of big, meaningful message, but I just don't get it. Maybe if something like this had been out in the 1960's, it would have resonated with people more, but I think it came too late to really impact people in a meaningful way. On the contrary, the fact that it is decontextualized in being released nigh on 50 years after the climax of the Cold War makes the game seem almost inappropriate, as if it were released simply because the idea sounded fun--you know, blowing people up and stuff... I guess it probably makes more sense to others, though. I'm somewhat of a pacifist, so even if the game is successful in conveying a no-war/nuclear disarmament message, it comes across as kind of "well duh" to me. Anyway, I'm willing to give it another shot, I guess.

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time (PS2)    by   crichton1701

    Very interesting game....great story line, not too difficult to play, lots of puzzles
    most recent entry:   Friday 13 October, 2006
    Something interesting has begun, now. The Prince's costume has begun to change. Slowly but surely, parts of his shirt are being ripped off. Either he does it himself or it is torn off in a battle, but as he grows more desperate to find his enemy, he loses clothing (comical as it may sound, I think it is saying something about his state of mind...that descent into madness I mentioned in a previous entry). Also, since the princess now fights along side the prince, the prince often has to watch out for her in battle. This creates tension, since more than once the prince is struck by one of her arrows. His "visions" also provide brief flashes of the future, and seem to give little glimpses of how he is starting to fall in love with her. I'm not sure what to make of this long dream sequence that seems to suggest a sex scene, though.

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