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    Oct 29th, 2009 at 14:47:22     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I did not complete columbine today, far from it. I did however enter hell after massacring the entire available population. I cannot fathom the intention and tone of the game's creator. After clearing the library and committing the paired suicide, there is a montage of post-columbine images, here I feel maybe is the point of the game, awareness perhaps, maybe the game is finally taking sympathy with the victims. This seems to hold up when I get to hell, and Dylan is alone. I fought my way over, noting that the enemies are much tougher in hell than the schoolchildren I'd been previously facing. Perhaps I was indeed being punished, as enemies actively sought me out. But then I met up with Eric, and the dialog revealed the two's true perspective. That they had been enjoying hell. This is something I would have expected back in the earlier phases of the game, where I felt the game might just be being contrary for the sake of it. However, compared to the mellow montage mere minutes ago, it was an absolute about face. I then proceeded to fight through hell with no real goal. I think this game might actually be unwinnable after hell. I'd killed every available human being in the game for experience, but even then I was not strong enough, being wiped out by gradually diminishing health.
    I don't know quite what to think of this game, every aspect seems to want me to hate it, and I begin to think that might be the point, the unreadable text, the artifact ridden images, the low quality midi music, all of it makes me pay less attention to the game itself and more to its contents, which made me somewhat sick to consider.
    I did not enjoy my time in Columbine High School, and I highly suspect that I was never meant to. The game has succeeded in making me consider the events on a more personal level, and has done so effectively.

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    Oct 25th, 2009 at 13:18:52     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I resumed playing Super Columbine RPG! today, playing for closer to an hour this time around. Again, I find myself rather uneasy with the game on some level I can't quite describe.
    I feel that I am not supposed to enjoy this game, or be fulfilled by it in any way. My roommate tells me that after you clear the school and commit suicide, you do not finish the game, but enter hell, and that in order to progress, it is smart to kill as much as you can to gain experience. However, I feel a certain dissonance between my own expectations of an experience/level system and what is presented before me. In my experience with JRPGs (which this is most reminiscent of, the old 16 bit SNES final fantasies come to mind) experience is granted based on a number of factors, difference in levels between yourself and the opponents, damage taken, time taken, and other such things, but most boil down to 'the harder the enemy, the greater the reward'. That does not seem to be the case here, I note that the Jock Type is one of the more dangerous human opponents to be found in the school, he gets two attacks, and early on can survive even firearm hits. Yet he gives between 8 and 14 experience. While in comparison, the Cherubic Bumpkin, a smaller enemy with no attacks and low enough health to be killed with a single melee attack grants 24 experience quite consistently, almost half of the 50-52 you can get from taking on a group of two jocks and two preps. The impression I get is that the game wants to reward the player for killing the helpless.
    Another dissonance is the enemy encounters. Stereotypically, your typical rpg will have random encounters, times where you will be wandering the map and just simply stumble upon some unseen enemy to inconvenience you. In Columbine, all the enemies are already there, you need merely chase them down and hit a button. But this becomes frustrating, your fellow students are inhumanly agile, switching directions every few frames, making it very frustrating to deal with some of them. This is especially true with the cafeteria, where you cannot assault anyone before pulling the fire alarm, which causes everyone to run around at insane speeds, making it very aggravating to kill them.
    I am not enjoying my experiences with this game, I feel sick, conflicted, and somewhat uncertain of my actions, and I feel that that might in fact be a purposeful design choice.

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    Oct 24th, 2009 at 23:41:17     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I started playing Super Columbine RPG today, beginning from the start of the game and working my way to the beginning of the massacre. I did not enjoy this session of play. Not only is the typeset hardly legible, but the hideously artifact-ridden images and midi files of recognizable tunes (Smells Like Teen Spirit and Creep were notably recognizable, but they both took a second or two of play to recognize, and felt rather jarring) make me feel like I am playing something with a surprisingly low level of polish, not only that, but they seem to draw more attention to the subject matter of the game. I feel very uncomfortable with the subject matter, considering that I knew what I'd be getting myself into. The game's tone is just so contrasting with my own attitude towards the subject matter. The game gives us dialogue between Eric and Dylan, the overall tone seems to glorify their actions. As I began combat in the parking lot, this felt even more reinforced with the action text. Eric and Dylan 'dodge matrix style' and when rewarded, the end of the sentence is 'brave boys'. Knowing what I'm doing, the rewards system only serves to be discomforting. I felt uncomfortable during my playthrough, and the minimum time limit added to the feeling that I was being forced to watch something distasteful.

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    Sep 23rd, 2009 at 21:06:04     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    Played for half an hour today, I have mixed feelings on this session.
    On the one hand, I feel I'm making less headway with missions and such. I only completed two missions today, and failed another.
    On the other hand, I feel I'm beginning to accrue enough 'toys' that I can begin to enjoy the game more outside the context of missions, and make use of the sandbox. I have access to enough money and weapons that I can wander about and do what I please. Though I've yet to get hold of such things as rocket launchers or assault rifles, I can start massive firefights with the police, or rival gangs. On the down side, Missions are becoming longer and more tedious, and are moving out further from the hub that the Grove street cul de sac began as. So the game is becoming more tedious, but at the same time, more possibilities are opening up and the game is becoming more fun.

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