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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:52:58     -    Super Mario 64 (N64)

    For my second entry I will discuss some aspects of the game play that expose themselves after more then an hour of play.

    First most, I realised that there is a considerable amount of puzzle solving. I felt like the first few stars I recieved were based just on my ability to control Mario, for example the race with the Koomba in level 1.
    Now, I need to determine where the additional stars are and its starting to force me to think.

    # How does the game create conflict?
    In my first log most of the conflict was between me and the controller. I found the hardest part of the game to be making Mario do what I wanted such as avoid falling rocks and jumping. Now that I have become better at controlling Mario the trouble is finding the stars.

    # How does the game keep the player interested?
    I am still very interested in the game because I really want to unlock the next levels so that I can play and experiance the new worlds. I know there really fun because I played this game years ago but I still am eager to try them again.

    # What would you change about the game? What was frustrating?
    I honestly think this game is nearly perfect. If I was to change something I think I would add the ability to selected more then one Characters for game play. I would like to be able to play as Luigi or Toad. Also I would like it if Yoshi played a larger role in the game. I like how Yoshi was involved in Super Mario for the SNES.

    # What ideas does this game give you for your own game project?
    This game reminds me of how fun it is to just play with a game rather then always be pursuing your goals. Im my own game I think I am going to work on and give the players more of a ability to play with the mechanics of the game rather then be so bombarded by enemies that they have no time.

    # How did you respond to the game's reward structure?
    I really enjoy the reward structure of the game. Not because I wanted to get more stars. I really do not care about the stars. I enjoy being able to access new levels. I also really want to gain the ability to fly and I know I can do that If I keep playing.

    # What kind of social interactions did you have with other players? With bystanders?
    No other people played the game with me and so I did not experience any social interaction. This is one aspect of the game I dislike. Its very much a single player game. While Mario 64 achieves this very well I think that if It was a split screen 2 player game then it would be much more fun.

    # Your thoughts on the game's use of cutscenes
    I felt like the cutscenes were just a way of showing off the N64s 3d graphics and so I ignored them.

    In the end this is a great game that I will continue to play. 2 hours of game play is not enough to fully enjoy this great game.

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 10:41:29     -    Super Mario 64 (N64)

    After watching Super Mario 64 being played in class I just could not resist the temptation to try the game out for myself.

    # our thoughts on the characters in the game
    The first thing I noticed upon playing the game is that in the introduction menu there is a large 3d image of Mario. This image is animated and appears to show off the N64s 3d capabilities while also allowing me to feel some kind of connection with Mario. As the game play went on I noticed that I really wanted to avoid injuring Mario. Not because I didnt want to lose life but because it just seemed wrong. I guess I care about Mario.

    # Your thoughts on the game's story, and narrative progression
    I sort of ignored the story although through the interactions with Toad I was able to discover a little bit. I think the game presents the story in a nice quite way that does not burden the player with having to understand it.

    # Your thoughts on the gameplay
    The game play is amazing. The court yard area infront of the castle entertained me for the first 25 minutes of game play. The phyics of the game are realistic and yet still fun. I love just jumping around and making Mario do tricks. I also like swimming. In the levels with in the game I found the gameplay to be so fun I was a distraction from level completion. I honestly have as much fun making Mario jump around and shoot out of the cannon as I do gaining a star.

    # Your thoughts on innovative elements of the game
    As I mentioned before, an interesting aspect of the game I found enjoyable was the cannons. There is just something cool about being shot out of a cannon. I also liked how the game allows you to aim the cannon in a special view. Its funny becuase everything in the game is fun to me because I have alot of experience with the Mario series. The game presents features such as Goombas and Toad in a nice 3d way and this is really cool.

    # What design elements make this a good (or bad) game?
    The open ended way the game is played to be makes it a much better game. I really enjoy playing games where you have the option of doing almost anything. Linear game play from level to level such as that in Super Mario Brothers 1 is much less fun then the open ended style exhibited in Mario 64.

    # Your thoughts on the level design in the game
    I suppose level design is where the game really shines. It is in fact a platformer and this becomes appearent from the level design. Some aspects of level design seem unrealisting such as floating islands but I forgive it. Its a Mario game after all.

    And so after a solid hour of game play I have just scratched the surface of this complex and very enjoyable game.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 04:54:15     -    Galactic Civilizations II (PC)

    Well I went back for another round of gameplay. I was going to just do another skirmish mode when I noticed there was a Campaign Mode.

    I gave the campaign a try and this opened up a new level of gameplay.
    This introduced a story to the game and the univerise it takes place in.

    It seems there is an evil empire battling with the good one and you as a human are somewhere in the middle.

    The campaign mode is basically alot like the normal game except now you have some kind of story driven goal. For the first mission I needed to conqure an enemy planet by force to gain some item that has imporance in the story. The interesting aspect of the campaign mode is that it limits the players options for research. This forces the player to play with less advanced weapons and tactics.

    This brings up something that often happens in games. Often times there are many weapons to choose from but one weapon is generally always more effective then another. This is a sign of bad game balancing. Well this does occur to a degree in Galactic Civilizations. This game is basically very good at balance as there is only a select number of attacks and they each have an equal defense. For example shields block lasers, armor blocks guns, flares block missles.

    The aspect that is more difficult to balance is the democracy and cultural research options. These give the player to take control of the galaxy with out any weapons at all.

    In this game to prevent these options from cause a imbalance in the campaign mode they simply made them unavaliable. This is extremely common in most rts games.


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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 03:49:21     -    Galactic Civilizations II (PC)

    I am quite excited to write this first log on my experience of playing the Game Galactic Civilizations II. This is a truely a game of stratagy.

    The game spawns from a rather rare and under appreciated class of games. It is basically a turn based civilization type of game based in a space setting. The game is very open ended but there are some methods of winning. The game employes resource managment and tons of complex stratagy and multible levels. Be forwarned the learning curve for this game is intense. I have logged nearly 40 hours in games such as this and I am still only a beginner.

    Well, my first experience of the game which in real world took about 2 hours was set up in a map size of tiny and with 5 other races of space civilizations with their AI set to simple. I knew that I was new at this game and I do not really want to lose to hard.

    I started out the game with a colony race to capture all the avaliable planets. This is reminacent to Civ III games in which in the beginning everyone would race to build settlers.

    After I did that then I decided I would take a nice gentle democracy approach to the game as this is what my race the Humans were best at. Well after a while I discovered that Democracy is boring and I want blood. So, what I did was convince using my high democracy skills and exploited the computers low AI setting by convincing them to all give me money.
    After I did this I boosted my weapon research to the max. After a few turns my weapons were much better then ever other race.

    It was now time to engage in warfare. As a leader I love to exploit the enemy and so after some friendly trading I decided to move all my troops and ships up to another races planet and launch a full scale assault. This was proved to be way too effective. In no time I managed to conqure half of the universe.

    By this time I got bored with the game as it seemed to easy and I quit the game.
    For my next log I will attempt to play the computer with the difficult set much higher.

    The Good:
    Great features such as custom ship design, planet control, interactive discussions with AI. Nice graphics.

    The Bad:
    Very steep Learning curve.
    Game play can get boring.
    Game borrows much from the Civ series.

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