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    May 29th, 2012 at 00:37:27     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    I was hoping to beat this game first time through killing everyone, since Iím kinda OCD about that sort of thing, plus I wanted to grind for xp in case a tough battle was near the end. After that, I wanted to play through again, but without killing anyone, but as it stands, it is taking way too long on the first run through. The game has only gotten more tedious. The characters are getting less and less interesting. Initially, I was hoping for ďmisunderstood anti-heroes,Ē wherein their side of the story explains their behavior. However, the game developer doesnít understand the slightest thing about subtlety, even if these are taken straight from the real peopleís mouths. A major problem with this game is its attempt to present a fair, objective look at how people are driven to such a drastic action such as a school shooting. These kids are socially tortured, but coming from a young life of ridicule myself, from understanding loving parents (as they mentioned they had), I consider these kids immature, whiny, and frankly psychotic teens. Would if I could, before the killings, I would say ďsuck it up, because youíve got it WAY better than so many people in the world right now. First world problems you stupid dinguses.Ē I mean, the psychotic part is a given (despite their claims otherwise in the game). The problem with presenting them as anti-heroes lies in the game developers inability to show ANY redeeming qualities WHATSOEVER. In essence, the game fosters more hate than understanding in my opinion. That being the case, I feel my time wasted, wherein I could have learned much more and been a better person for it if I didnít waste the time grinding through these ďenemiesĒ and spent more time actually learning about the events and actual people from a more reputable source and format. This breeds more contempt (from me at least) since itís only making the game communityís image look worse. The game brings up the teensí obsessions with movies, music, and games, the stereotypical ones that are to blame in situations like this (Doom, Marilyn Manson, Apocalypse Now, etcÖ), but uses these as the characterís motivations. It puts across that these spurned their actions on.
    Oh, and the IRONY. I CANíT STAND THE IRONY AND THE HIPOCRISY. The characters keep making mention of how people talk too much, so they deserve to die, or how they work mindless jobs and deserve to die, or far worse, theyíre bullies and deserve to die. Iíd like to focus on that last one. Now, Iím not quite sure of the actual demographic of victims in the shootings, but it seems that my characters gun down both jocks and innocent children alike, as they keep mentioning how they are in the process of shooting everyone in sight (something Iím unfortunately abiding by for some arbitrary devotion to the pitiful story). Upon capturing jocks in the process of bullying another child (apparently blissfully unaware of the gunshots ringing out), my characters blow them away. The child theyíre bullying? Allowed to leave, with gratitude and all for killing the bullies. My characters apparently donít realize that shooting people is by far a much worse version of bullying, and furthers my RAGE for this game. It shouldnít exist. Not because itís irreverent, but because itís badly made and does no good to anybody, even the experimental game crowd. It serves its sole purpose as a topic for ethical game design, though I feel the main problem isnít the content, but the attention paid to it and how it wastes the individualís time which could be spent on more productive sources on the topic or more entertaining games. Well, more tomorrow. Hopefully I can finish this game in the next playthrough, because I almost fell asleep during the last hour or so playthrough.

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    May 28th, 2012 at 23:09:34     -    Super Columbine Massacre RPG (PC)

    Before my first time playing the game, I read an opinion of the Super Columbine Massacre RPG and what it truly meant to stand for. According to this review, the game was apparently not meant to be playful, or inherently a game. Instead, itís seeks to achieve a sort of interactive retelling, placing the player in the mindset of the characters. Unfortunately, from the get go, I believe this backfires.
    For one, the game isnít fun. Granted, thatís exactly what this review says itís not supposed to be. Unfortunately, the reason it fails to be fun isnít its nature as a game involving the massacre of innocents by two mentally inept, sociopathic teenagers. It fails because itís tedious. Possibly at the time of its release, the shock value was greater, the ďenemiesĒ killed evoking more emotions in light of the then more recent events. However, the level design involving the cameras and the ai of the pedestrians breaks the illusion of the story it seems to be telling. If the real duo were caught in the hall as many times as I, then Columbine wouldnít have been a problem as the perpetrators would have been caught in any real world situation. On top of this, the hallways all look similar, and the directions for what Iím to do are quite vague up until the shootings. Granted, the breaking of the illusion could be chalked up to my ability to be the best ďsnakeĒ (in this case the two teens), and my failure in these endeavors, resulting in my consistent failures.
    This brings me to my next point: the actual battles. I have a love hate relationship with jrpg style games. I love turn based games, but many jrpg style games tend to be lack luster, and the threshold for tedium lies on a razorís edge. Unfortunately, this gameís combat failed to be enthralling. This reveals an inherent flaw. Allow me to explain, for the actual murdering of these people comes off as bland, even blasť. Now, this might seem odd, to make killing these individuals fun, but hear me out. The game supposes to place one in the mindset of these killers, who might very well have handled human life as callously as one might an enemy in a game such as this, or any for that matter. By making the killing of the ďenemiesĒ boring, it neither achieves player satisfaction, nor does it place one in the mindset of the killers. The intro seems to set them up as impassioned believes of their cause, and that doesnít show through in the gameplay. It feels like a 9-5 job, though this might be due to having played through most of it killing everyone I see. Iím about to continue, to see if things change, but I donít have too much faith as it were, and in fact gives me less respect for the event than the game seemed to aspire to raise.

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    Apr 19th, 2012 at 13:20:04     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    Upon my third venture into the game, I decided to actually buy some clothes (since I had ignored Smoke earlier and stuck with my whitey tighties and my birthday suit). Browsing through the choices, I came upon a ďjoke maskĒ and some green track pants. These combined together along with my bare feet, chest, and afro/beard combo, to form a new persona to play. I embodied an amalgamation of the Green Hornet Bruce Lee meets Game of Death Bruce Lee, and with a touch of a 70ís Blaxploitation action hero. No longer was a knife my weapon. My fists and my feet were my weapons. With the newly unlocked gym, I pitted my skills against the boxers inside.

    Upon getting my behind handed to me, I decided to turn back to the story since punching random bystanders gets old quickly. In todayís episode, my irreputable fat friend and I needed to load up on guns from a very tweaked out man. Apparently, these guns are ďolder than something youíd find in a museum.Ē (I canít attest to the accuracy of that quote what with all the slang thrown around) This little detail reminds me of a point I wanted to make about this game. Due to the hardware limitations (and even the story limitations), in the first few hours of this game, Iím already noticing a trend of details pulled out of nowhere. The guns function just as any other pistol or gun used in the game so far (including the firearms the police wield) yet theyíre supposed to be accepted as old and therefore terrible from the characters tones. In terms of story, Smoke (I think. The fat one) mentions the leadership skills of CJ, my character. I was completely lost on what he was getting at, since for the most part, CJ had come off as someone who just followed the orders of those around him. Yeah, heís a skilled driver (well, assumedly they donít know that Iíve killed them on several rides home in explosions resulting from my terrible driving skills) and has a proficiency for being cold-blooded, but those traits donít necessarily translate into leadership.

    This makes me wonder what the developers think of their audience when they implement details such as these without thinking about how the rational stacks up. Should I be expected to just accept it and move on? What more can I do than just complain and keep playing? Well, I could stop playing, but what if I were needed to keep playing for other reasons than enjoyment (not to diss the assignment, but this homework is a case in point)? Would this moral dilemma be on the shoulders of the game makers who made the game or the teacher who assigns it? Perhaps itís my own problem, as opinions of the game are relative, and from what Iímí reading in other gamelogs, itís a generally appreciated game among the others. Are developers responsible if they disappoint a gamer who may have paid for the game and doesnít find it enjoyable? (granted, I didnít pay for this one, but I have paid for games Iíve regretted) Should they have to please a minority, or just ignore it and cater to the fans? When it came to this game, making money most likely wasnít going to be an issue as the previous iteration was a high selling one, and this one was much anticipated. As such, they probably didnít need to cater to all crowds just to increase revenue. I guess in the end, the game is not for me, but I can see how others would find it enjoyable.

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    Apr 19th, 2012 at 02:36:20     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    Second Entry, and I wish the game physics applied to real life, for I would blow my brains out numerous times over for how bored I am playing the game. This stems from the game being SOOO dated, it's ridiculous. Loadtimes are atrocious. The graphics and engine make it a level of difficulty that wears on my nerves. Essentially, I have been driven to resort to my own imagination, as the main story stands shrouded in slang and banality. It's the reason I became Irony Jack (as mentioned in my last post), but with the gameís engine, even that became tiresome over time.

    As a result, I've gone straight, attempted to drive through the story (literally and figuratively) and I found out that abilities can be leveled the more you use them. Driving and bike skill increases actually make your character suffer less ramifications from crashing and provide much more control in steering (at least from how it felt). One of the main troubles Iíve been having still revolves around the long arm of the law. I can drive on the sidewalk, disobey traffic signals, crash into cars, destroy property, and sometimes even get away with murder as long as the cop shows up AFTER the person is 100% deceased, lying bloody on the ground next to me as I brandish a knife/gun/shotgun I stole from a cop. However, if I murder 3 people in a little grotto behind some buildings, the police departmentís omniscience kicks in and I receive a star when no possible witnesses are around to see the secret murder spree. Itís odd that Kantís ethics need not apply in terms of destruction of property setting off alarms for GTA San Andreas. The only time Kant applies regards the hookers who are the ďpropertyĒ of their respective pimps (as one has confirmed of having at one point). On top of this, any business establishment appears to house the ancient rites of sanctuary. I even committed genocide in the Binco store to steal their money so as to afford a neat shirt. Receiving one star, I walked outside. I immediately walked back inside to the same store. The friendly register woman and patrons were again alive and well. My wanted level had disappeared. Even if I had 6 stars, Iím wondering if the cops would even dare to enter the shirt store. The gameís mechanics and programming mess with its inherent sense of morality.

    In regards to morality as it pertains to the story, CJ and his friends are deplorable people. Theyíre no good degenerates, seemingly afflicted by death only when it befalls their mother. However, one could blame it on their surroundings, which is likely a huge reason, so itís hard to fully hate them. What strikes me as strange is their aversion to hard drugs, as if they advocate some pseudo version of the DARE program that allows weed. On top of this, they are just as lazy, showing distaste in actually holding jobs or contributing to anything other than their hood. Even then, the Ryder character shows distaste in a pizza store that presents itself as clean, so they donít even want whatís best for their hood either. Theyíre essentially living their lives just as lazily and drug-filled as the crack fiends Iím tasked with beating up except theyíre even worse since they arenít in the mind altering throes of crack, and thus have a slightly worse excuse. Itís apparent from CJís backstory that itís possible to escape the hood. Something about these characters has them willing to overlook their horrifyingly bad living situation solely based on friendship and a sense of community. Itís something Iíve never felt, and is certainly the strongest emotion felt from the story, but that alone struggles to keep my interest. For my next playthrough, Iím probably going to adopt another strange playstyle, another persona so as to make the story more bearable as well as devise means of creating moral quandaries on my own terms.

    Before I wrap this up, I will say that I donít quite get a racist sense from the game. I canít speak from experience, but the major flaws and horrible personalities of these characters donít quite fit stereotypes despite them being harshly negative role models (such as one of the characters detesting chicken, voting for a taco dinner instead). If anything, I have a problem with the humorous portrayal of the fat character whoís too busy eating his several orders to care about a life or death situation occurring in the car at that very moment. It seems a bit mean, but I guess one could say this helps define the characters in a cultural relativistic sense, wherein they are just that used to drive-bys.

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