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    The Last of Us (PS3)    by   jp       (Oct 4th, 2015 at 09:52:44)

    I've hit the 80% completion mark and I'm really surprised by a few things. Really surprised.

    Generally speaking videogames rarely include depictions of graphic violence where kids are the perpetrators or victims. In most cases of violent videogames kids are either non-existent or somehow immune. While I can think of a few examples where this is not the case, it's quite unusual.

    So, I raised my eyebrows the other day when the young black kid "turned" (and was then shot by his brother/cousin(?). This wasn't unusual and while it was sudden and violent it reminded me more of Walking Dead Season 1 (the game) when Duck(?) turns out to have been bitten and ends up dying as well. That was sad, and it wasn't sudden. And it was unusual, but fine. Great even, in the sense of making the game more meaningful, etc.

    So, Last of Us was doing something similar, and that was fine. Now, however, I've been playing as Ellie (because Joel is wounded and needs to recover) and wow, I've been kind of shocked by how violent she is (when stabbing/killing human enemies). Ellie is obviously no sweet innocent child but seeing her clamber up behind a man and stab him repeatedly in the neck with a switchblade isn't something I'm quite accustomed to. It kind of drives the point home more deeply - this is a post-apocalyptic setting and we're not in Kansas anymore.

    I've also started to wonder a bit about all the killing of other humans that happens. Ellie met an old man who, as far as I could tell, was from a settlement that had suffered tremendous losses at Joel and Ellie's hands. It kind of drew the point home that maybe killing shouldn't be the go-to option? (as opposed to knocking them out or otherwise disabling them temporarily).

    I wonder if that will come up later on and be a part of the story or not... Right now Ellie is simply running away (and leaving a trail of bodies in her wake).

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    Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2 (DS)    by   jp       (Oct 4th, 2015 at 08:51:24)

    I'm now at the beginning of Chapter 5. As the game has progressed, the over-the-top drama of the characters and the storyline have also taken a sharp upwards turn. It's part of what's enjoyable in the game: it kind of feels like a hyper-dramatic soap opera at times. If things can go wrong - they will, and everything is a major emergency that needs to be solved right away.

    I'm still surprised by how they've managed to keep the whole experience interesting by mixing the cases/operations up (in fact, there was one that was quite literally a puzzle) and changing the conditions - I recently did one where I couldn't use an anti-biotic gel more than X number of times.

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    Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Oct 3rd, 2015 at 00:02:05)

    *Sorry for flooding the home page with entries! I saw the site was back up and so I pasted everything I'd been keeping track of since the summer.

    Fun little game with a silly story. What the hell is this genre called? It’s those games where you fly a plane or a helicopter and the camera looks down from above you at the ground, and there are other enemy planes and crazy weapons and stuff firing from the ground and bullets flying everywhere as the screen scrolls upward. I haven’t played a good one of those in a while, till now. Jamestown is short, took just 2 or 3 hours to beat the campaign and a bunch of challenge levels. Also, I beat 3/5 of the campaign twice because once you get to level 4 (of 5), you realize that it is locked until you beat the previous campaign levels on Legendary difficulty (that’s difficulty 3 of 5). I had beaten levels 1-3 on Normal (…difficulty 1 of 5 ) so I had to re-do them. It wasn’t that hard though. Even level 4 on Legendary wasn’t too bad. I might have tried it 2 or 3 times. But level 5, my god. I spent an hour alone on that level, and I died to the boss twice before beating him. Tough, very challenging in a great way. I felt like a god when I finally beat the boss, and even when I would pass certain parts of the level.

    The boss, by the way, is a Spanish Conquistador. Why? Because the Spanish and the Martians are allied against you, the British, duh. You’re fighting over the Jamestown colony on Mars. What, you didn’t know Jamestown was on Mars? Yeah, that’s where the British founded it. I told you it had a silly story, thoroughly entertaining. Play a bunch of challenge levels and extra map packs for longevity.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 3rd, 2015 at 00:04:33.

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    Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Oct 2nd, 2015 at 23:58:36)

    Enjoyed this one. You play as a little space ship trying to navigate your way through this labyrinthine planet (the titular “insanely twisted shadow planet”) in order to destroy whatever alien parasite thingy has corrupted it. It plays like a twin-stick shooter with a controller, where the right stick aims various types of gadgets. You can map 4 gadgets to the ABXY buttons to select them, and then use them with RT. There was an upgradeable machine gun, a laser beam that can reflect light, a tractor beam, a buzzsaw, a scanner (used to determine which type of gadget works on different objects), a guidable missile, a shield, and a couple others.

    The game itself is relatively simple. You just fly your ship from puzzle to puzzle, killing/avoiding enemies along the way. There were some more challenging parts at the end, and I really liked the final boss battle. Story is practically nonexistent aside from your goal, although there are collectable artifacts that seem to tell pieces of how the alien infested the planet. The clips are literally like 3 seconds long, so it’s not substantial at all. I liked the music, and at the end I realized that one reason is because the theme is an orchestral Dimmu Borgir song.

    I rarely say this, but the game could have been longer. There are like 8 gadgets, and I didn’t feel that they were all fully utilized. For example, the only time I ever used the shield was on the last boss battle, where it was super handy. I rarely used the missile, except for little missile-specific puzzles where you have to guide it through tight spaces to hit a target to open a door. The laser beam was pretty much only used in the level it was introduced to solve some puzzles where you have to reflect light off surfaces. It would have been nice to have like one, giant final level with puzzles that put all the gadgets to use. The final boss sort of did that, which is one reason I liked it so much (hint: laser + shield is amazing here). The boss requires some quick gadget swapping, which you never have to do in the rest of the game.

    Anyway, fun little game, not very long, probably took me 5 or 6 hours.

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    Always Sometimes Monsters (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Oct 2nd, 2015 at 23:55:10)

    Well, there is no way I can endure 10 hours of this. I made it 1. It’s a To the Moon style RPG set in some modern city, maybe New York. You’re an artist or some shit, broke, doing odd jobs for money. You can talk to all the stereotypical NPCs on the block – the club kid, the drug dealer, the construction worker, the bouncer, the old lady apartment neighbor who needs your help, etc., etc. I think that the goal is to pay rent because your asshole landlord (and aren’t all landlords assholes, really?) is such an asshole that he is going to take your key and kick you out if you don’t pay $500 by today. Life sure is hard, womp womp. So I went to my friend’s show at the club and my ex-girlfriend/his ex-girlfriend showed up with a bag of heroin for him (how edgy!) to calm his nerves before the show. I set his gear up all wrong and he only paid me $25. What a jerk. But, hey, I can still work the coat rack or choose to go help my elderly neighbor clean her apartment for more cash. I did try and steal $50 from a safe earlier that led to game over, so it looks like you can only earn money through legal means, even though other characters are drug dealers. Oh, I did swipe $25 from a girl by buying her fake drugs. Man, isn’t life crazy?!~ This must be like the lives of indie game developers. They must all be hardened heroin addict musicians or something. So cool. So hip. So jaded.

    The coolest thing about this game is it seems that you can sort of choose the main character by whomever you talk to first in the opening. I happened to choose a lesbian, so go gender equality! Seriously, I’m all for that. But everything else has been laughable. A Humble Bundle bomb.

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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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    1 : dkirschner's Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony (PC)
    2 : dkirschner's Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (PC)
    3 : dkirschner's Always Sometimes Monsters (PC)
    4 : dkirschner's Dustforce (PC)
    5 : dkirschner's Dust: An Elysian Tail (PC)
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    1 : jp at 2015-10-04 09:39:00
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    10 : jp at 2015-02-06 11:27:24
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    Katamari (PS2)    by   dreamalot2007

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Saturday 26 January, 2008

    Katamari is a single player puzzle like game. It is very unique in that it has an adventurous feeling but is more of a puzzle in that there is very little conflict. The goal is to roll the katamari around the level in order to reach a certain size. In the higher levels there is a time limit. The player can only pick up objects based on relative size.


    I was very annoyed with Katamari. Very Very annoyed. It was too easy to get stuck and not be able to fix the mistake in time. The player needs to feel like it’s still possible to win up until the very end otherwise there is less incentive to play. I also found the music annoying. It was a nice score but the addition of words to the music made it seem that much more repetitive. Were there no lyrics I would have really enjoyed it.

    I enjoyed the story a lot. The actual storyline wasn’t extraordinary, though it was original. What I really enjoyed about it was the dialogue. There was a lot of it and I’m sure that after a couple times playing this game it would start to wear on me, but it was funny and held my interest long enough to read all of it. This definitely deserves applause as most gamers, myself included are in the game for the action, not the introduction.

    I liked the animation in the game because it was simple. The characters were mainly shapes without a lot of intricate detail. Their movements were basic and predictable. Sometimes in-depth animation can be very visually aesthetic however it can get in the way of playing the game. In Katamari the characters were simple but very cute, helping the player to identify with them, but not become overwhelmed by them.


    I was much less frustrated this time as I played my way through a few levels. I definitely mastered the controls more and was able to steer more accurately as a result. However, now that finishing a level was actually a dim possibility it was more frustrating when I didn’t make it.

    The story was less involving this time and I became more aware of the puzzle aspect of the game. In that way everything looked less foreign but also less intriguing. I still enjoyed the game but it felt as if I could have been playing any other puzzle game and it wouldn’t have made me miss Katamari.


    The game has a very simple concept by design. The makers therefore made the navigation of the game easier and the actual completion of the game harder. This is a quality of a puzzle game. The effort is more mental. Remembering where certain objects are and how big you have to be to pick them up. In this way the game is more systematic than challenge requiring mastery of difficult skills very quickly and randomly. This is a very effective game design because it makes it playable for all levels of gamers. They don’t have to spend a lot of time training after which they lose interest in the game itself. Instead they can jump straight into the game and let the levels improve their skills.

    What’s interesting about the game world is that like most videogames it gives the illusion of many choices and lots of open space. However they very carefully control your movement by only letting you pick up objects relatively smaller than you. So at first you spend your time in the area with the small objects and then move progressively into the areas with the bigger objects. Without even realizing it the makers are guiding you through the game. They very effectively simulated a choice for the player.

    My main objection to this game is the view at which you sometimes see the game. When going under a table of behind a pole you lose sight of the katamari and the character. I know that this creates more of a challenge but I see this as unnecessary. By keeping the character and katamari in sight at all times the game makers would cut out a lot of the frustration that first time players could become discouraged by. If this were cut out it would not change the difficulty of the game drastically but it would lessen feelings of ill will by players just trying to make it through the lower levels.

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