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    Feb 22nd, 2007 at 00:28:47     -    Mario Party (N64)

    Okay, second round of playing solid, and I had forgotten how much fun this game is. Perhaps with a full set of players, I was right when I said that it is easily some of the most fun you can have with a party game, at least in the realm of videogames.

    I feel like I'm repeating myself on a lot of the elements as to why this game deserves the title of "classic" but those are truly its shining elements in the game.

    An easy interface and overall simple design allows for a wide variety of gamer demographics to pick it up and play it within minutes of slapping the cartridge into the system. That is perhaps the single most powerful reason to call this a classic game because it has NO learning curve, just like a good party game. The rules are pretty obvious, the controls are beautifully simple, and the game naturally focuses itself on the interactions between the players and the frenetic pleasure of the minigames therein.

    There is no storyline, there are no complex characters, and there is no angst. This is not your story-driven epic game; this is a boardgame like Candyland, only without the creepy characters that you only find funny as a kid. This is a game that is meant to be played with a huge group and with tons of player interaction, and this game ROCKS.

    I think that's all I really CAN say..

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    Feb 21st, 2007 at 01:14:18     -    Mario Party (N64)

    I started playing with my friend and roommate on this game today, and unfortunately because there weren't four players, things got...frustrating.

    But what makes this classic is a topic of heavy discussion. There are many elements that offered gamers a radically new element to gameplay, especially in the realm of multiplayer. This is absolutely the most multiplayer-oriented game on the Nintendo 64 gameset aside from Super Smash Bros. and for a reason--you can't play this sucker without someone else, otherwise you will throw this game away and quickly.

    I digress--it fuses the "fun" elements and immediate gratification of a boardgame with the wild fun and cartoon-like graphics power and extra-physical capabilities of a videogaming system like the N64. It is a true testament to Nintendo's tendency to think outside the box and provide gamers with an instant classic.

    This was the intro for many gamers into the multiplayer set on a 3-D console, and thus it had to be easy to pick up--the controls were almost too simple: press A to hit your diceblock and use yo control stick to determine direction at crossroads on the gameboard, while using B occasionally in the minigames. The only game I can think of that has more intuitive and simplistic controls is Katamari Damacy. Because it is so easy to pick up, it offered gamers an entry into a multiplayer game that offers so much fun for friends to go head-to-head in healthy competition and is, as the title suggests, a great party game.

    The fact you are playing what is, in essence, a virtual board game, you have many elements of fun with multiple players, such as the frenetic minigames, the strategic ways of dealing with bad dice rolls (which happen frequently) and moment after moment where players can converse and admittedly trash talk quite a bit.

    The problem with the game is that unless you have 4 people to play with, you are stuck with the badly programmed CPU-controlled characters who seem to conveniently win every minigame and get ALL of the good rolls. This is a side-effect of a multiplayer game such as this, because all of the focus is on actual multiplayer gameplay as opposed to single-player.

    Really, that is all I have to say right now...in a few hours, my views should solidify more on this classic.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 15:03:35     -    We Love Katamari (PS2)

    Okay, finished playing a bunchload more of this game, and here's my promised analysis of the atmosphere.

    I don't advocate use of controlled substances, but lemme tell you--this is one of those games that just seems like it was meant to be played under the influence of cannabis or LSD...it's THAT psychedelic.

    With "royal" rainbows transporting you to areas where dogs wear t-shirts and you roll up a sumo wrestler so he gets fat, this game is not your normal game at all. I found myself asking "Why is that.....oh bloody it all, I won't question this." when it came to the various elements of the levels, or the way the King of All Cosmos speaks in a collective reference or recounts his journey to becoming King, or why he loves his chin. It's just FUN.

    I love this game for that reason--it's just plain fun, and it has something resembling a storyline this time--how the King of All Cosmos went from a half-pint Prince who couldn't do anything right into the flamboyant, cryptically talkative, star-creating-and-destroying King that we have grown to, er, love(?)

    Oh, another thing--the multiplayer was fun (We spent awhile figuring it out) but it got old rather quickly--the objective system reduced the crazy fun of just collecting more stuff than your opponent.

    Really, I think this is all I can really say about it...if anyone wants me to say anything else, just say so in a comment.

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    Feb 9th, 2007 at 02:08:06     -    We Love Katamari (PS2)

    Well, in hindsight, I should have taken more breaks in the middle of this game than playing it for an hour solid. BAAAAD idea...

    The psychedelic masterpiece that was Katamari Damacy got its rebirth in We Love Katamari, and true to the title, I love the game because of its gameplay elements.

    Normally, I am one of those gamers who would be content to watching an "interactive movie" style game with in-depth story, beautifully designed and multi-dimensional characters, etc, with very little real gameplay. Games like We Love Katamari challenge me to break out of that norm with its quirky, challenging and horribly addicting gameplay.

    It's amazing that such a simple and unassuming concept--roll around stuff into a growing ball in a time limit--could grow into such a phenomenon. I'm not done with the game, but I'll attempt to relate what I've played so far, and look at it from a more professionally-oriented standpoint.

    The level design is perhaps one of my more favorite element of the game. The atmosphere of the game is quirky, funny, seemingly random, and psychedelic at times, so it catches you off-guard at how carefully designed each level was.

    The people who made the game really knew what they were doing by way of placing the right object in the right place at the right time to maximize challenge and minimizing frustration. This allows the gamer to think of multiple ways of achieving the goal of the level and maximizing replayability.

    The controls for We Love Katamari are much more forgiving than KD, and for that I am thankful--or maybe it's because I've finally risen above the learning curve of how to accurately and effectively manipulate the dual analog sticks. It's made it less frustrating than its predecessor and thus successful from a designer's standpoint.

    I'll talk about the tone, mood, and atmosphere of the game next post--it deserves its own post...

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    2Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)Playing
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