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    The Muppets Movie Adventures (VITA)    by   jp       (Jun 22nd, 2017 at 10:17:10)

    This was sort of a "palate cleanser" - I was looking for something that wasn't about military dudes shooting things in a dark sci-fi future. As a palate cleanser it really worked!

    I appreciated the brevity of the game as well as it's variety (within a theme). The Muppets are making movies and the game has 5 levels, each featuring a different character, each making a different movie (theme/setting/etc.).

    The game is short enough that I finished it in 4 hours (or so?) over two days and, while I really didn't like the first level (Kermit and pirates), the remaining four where much better. And, curiously, demonstrated some nuance in character control and mechanics for platform games. I felt that each of the 5 characters (well, Kermit twice) controlled a little differently - both in their movement as well as jumping and the variation in these controls led to different play experiences. Such that I hated the first level, really enjoyed the 2nd and 5th, and felt the 3rd and 4th were ok. It got me thinking of a design/analysis exercise game that could showcase these sorts of things? (ala Steve Swink's game feel which I think are no longer available?)

    Anyways...the main variations (in terms of gameplay) were: single/double-jump, with/without shooting, and...nothing else really!

    The game is also an interesting example of the little things that make a big difference in the overall experience. Little things...but they all go to that design polish..for example:

    a. When you die you get a black screen with a message (a movie "director" making a comment and then asking to go back to "action"). There's three messages, and they're cute and fun. But, you get tired of them really quickly, can't skip them and it makes the re-start process annoying. I have no idea if they're being used to hide the loading, but still...

    b. The end credits trigger when you defeat the last boss on the 5th level. You can't skip them and they're REALLY , REALLY, long. (btw, the game was developed by a Spanish team, yay! using Unity...)

    c. The loading bar progresses very un-uniformly, so you feel like it gets stuck on some parts. Once it's done, the screen goes to black for a few seconds and you wonder if the whole game crashed...

    d. When you turn, the character often takes a step forward - I died a lot from this, and the controls felt imprecise as a result

    e. Some dangerous objects were really hard to see (rakes on the floor in the cowboy level (3))

    f. There was an area in level 4 (vampire castle) where there are steps going down...but you can't go down because you die (drop off). Who puts steps going down when you're not supposed to go down?

    g. You're supposed to collect stars and objects in the game, but the game deliberately forces you to play each level twice to get them all. They're not hidden away, really. They're just not available until you're on the 2nd play through (they might be faded out, or behind a locked door). The idea is fine, it's just the execution felt a bit cheap.

    To be fair there's also quite a few examples of neat little good design that I appreciated (including a few uses of touch controls). Overall, glad I played it - helped me think about good game design - glad it was short. And on to the next game!

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    Killzone: Mercenary (VITA)    by   jp       (Jun 21st, 2017 at 13:16:27)

    Finished this yesterday. The ending is basically working with the Helghast to prevent ISA from getting their hands on a terrible bio weapon. In a nutshell, both sides want to use it (to "end the problem once and for all")... so, you go ahead. Weirdly, the character you play is silent on the whole issue and it isn't until a rogue mercenary bursts into your comms to tell you that mercs need the war to go on...so much money in it for everyone, that the bio weapon is destroyed (well, half. It's a serum and a boy who had something injected. Thankfully you don't kill the boy). It all feels kind of dirty, actually. Your character is essentially a bad person who doesn't care and has surprisingly little agency. Ugh.

    I guess you get a feeling from this from the "interrogation". Each mission has a certain amount of "intel" to find. Sometimes you get it from terminals you can connect to, other times you have to sneak up on an officer and then, via screen swipes, slap them around, beat them up, threaten them with a knife and, once they've coughed up the intel, you kill them by snapping their necks. It's quite brutal and...uncomfortable. But in a not so good way, because there's no sense that it's been designed that way for any purpose other than... showing some on-screen violence? There's no real reflection for the player and the rest of the game's context doesn't really support your actions or behavior.

    I guess I'm glad I played it?

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    Doom (PS4)    by   jp       (Jun 20th, 2017 at 13:54:30)

    Doom's battles get harder. Much harder. New enemies appear and all the rest, and although my weapons are better and I've increased some stats, the pace is slower than the enemies. I'm worried I won't be able to make it to the end (before frustration sets in). I'm not playing on "easy", which I guess I could...but...oh well, one mission at a time. I've just finished the first(?) hell-dimension mission. Really cool (and creepy) stuff. I wonder what's next...

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    Killzone: Mercenary (VITA)    by   jp       (Jun 20th, 2017 at 13:44:51)

    Huh. It's taken me a bit to get used to the rhythm of combat in this game (as well as my perceived slowness for aiming - I mostly fire from the hip now and aim via strafing)...but it's been a surprisingly compelling experience so far. I'm a little confused as to where in the timeline the game is - I think it's supposed to run parallel to Killzone 3? (which I did play, so maybe I'm just going to whatever is/was familiar). I haven't played the latest console one (4?) so maybe I'm wrong.

    In terms of the storyline, it's surprising how much trust and responsibility the ISA is putting on a mercenary to carry out super-critical missions...but I guess it wouldn't be clever to have you "guarding a remote outpost" or doing random non-central missions in backwater places. In any case, the ISA have just betrayed me (left me to die) and I've been picked up by the Helghan! So, who knows how the rest of the game will go on...

    In terms of gameplay, it's interesting that the mercenary-side is "enforced". You get paid for kills and little objectives, as well as from picking up ammo drops. You have to buy all your equipment from these mercenary chests (that are surprisingly common and available for warzone). You even have to buy your ammo re-supply (unless you can scavenge enough, I've had to buy re-ups a few times).

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    Stick it to the Man (PS4)    by   jp       (Jun 20th, 2017 at 09:09:58)

    Wow, what a pleasant surprise. I bought this game blind while I was in the UK. I think it was cheap. Actually, I'm pretty sure it was cheap because otherwise I wouldn't have bought it blind. :-)

    It's super short (4 hours?) but tight, and enjoyable.

    In a nutshell it's an old-school-style adventure game where you pick up objects/things and deliver them to where they need to go (that's the core nature of the puzzles). The conceit however is that you can read other people's minds (because there's an alien) and, because the world is sort of a 2D-cardboard cut-out (think Little Big Planet), the objects you can pick up are stickers! And you can place them (in pre-determined locations) to solve puzzles. It works REALLY well. It also helps that the devs clearly did their homework with the UI and it is, for the most part, really easy to figure out where you can go (there's a great map with key people/things marked out) and try things out. It's not really a game about solving puzzles, but rather about interacting with the characters, learning about them, and the crazy world they're in. There's some platforming, but again, it's not really the point - even though there are sections where you need to avoid guards that can be pretty annoying.

    One of the coolest things (I wish more games used/did): when you read characters minds, you hear their thoughts through the speaker in the PS4 controller! You have to do this a lot, and it really sets the tone - hearing them think is louder and closer to the player, kind of like hearing the thoughts in your head?

    I'm surprised by how little attention the game got? At least I don't think it got all that much attention. It's genuinely funny, the art style is wonderfully realized, and the gameplay is also resonant with the aesthetic and all the rest. I'm really glad I played this little gem.

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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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    Recent GameLogs
    1 : jp's The Muppets Movie Adventures (VITA)
    2 : jp's Stick it to the Man (PS4)
    3 : dkirschner's The Cat Lady (PC)
    4 : jp's Overcooked (PS4)
    5 : dkirschner's Pony Island (PC)
    Recent Comments
    1 : jp at 2017-06-20 09:01:19
    2 : dkirschner at 2017-06-17 22:14:15
    3 : dillon.young at 2017-03-19 18:38:10
    4 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:24:46
    5 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:19:25
    6 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:17:46
    7 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:15:56
    8 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:14:35
    9 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:11:16
    10 : Jeff_Nay at 2017-03-10 14:09:10
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    Random

    Ruzzle (Other)    by   dkirschner

    Awesome word game. Very quick bursts. --------- May pick up again, but went over 1 month out of the country not playing it and just don't want to get back into it! Sure is fun though.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 3 October, 2013
    Another game my stepmom insisted I play, which I LOVE. I like QuizCross, but I love Ruzzle. It's a word game like Boggle or something. You get a grid of letters, 4x4, and you have to swipe to make words out of the jumble. Words can be made from letters next to one another in any direction. There are three rounds in each game. In the first round there are like 2 double letters or low point bonuses on a couple letters. In the second round, there are a couple more, and in the third round I think there's always a triple word so you can land huge scores. You get two minutes per round. You can play against random people too, which I do a lot. There are also a bunch of achievements, and I've been working on getting a bunch of those. I recently got the winning streak, win 10 in a row. I also recently got one where I used only 4-letter words. The game is also fantastic for if you just have a couple minutes to wait on someone or whatever. I love focusing intently on Ruzzle and getting a massive score. You get bonuses for longer words, which is a great incentive for thinking about the letters on the board instead of swiping as many 3-letter words as you possibly can. Fey Tey Hey Mey May Tay Fay...some of those are words but some aren't, who cares?! Nah, the bonuses for big words and the triple letters/triple words and other perks reward you for thinking. I've learned to immediately hone in on the triple letters/words and just play those letters to death. Great game. And FREE. Play!

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