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    Dec 10th, 2012 at 18:25:16     -    Hotline Miami (PC)

    You donít need to know what you are doing in a game to enjoy it. Some of the most memorable parts of games are the parts when you are not quite sure whatís going on, how you got here and why this is all happening. Valve is good at this. The beginning of Half-life 2 is a whole pot of confusion. You end Half-life 1 in hiatus and begin Half-life 2 in what seems to be a completely different world. Portal right off the bat has you doing tests for a computer you canít see. These moments set up the feeling of the game and place the character, or the player, in their place. Makes their role in the world known. I recently picked up an indie title called Hotline Miami. From the start menu you have no clue whatís going on. You only hear noise, grant it the noise sounds great and fits the aesthetic of the game, but it make the whole thing feel dreamlike. The start of the game has you talking to people in animal masks and does not give much insight to the story, but after the encounter you quickly learn one thing: youíre going to be killing a lot of people. Now Iíve played about two or so hours of this game and I still have no clue what is going on, but Iím enjoying the hell out of it. Part of this is the great, challenging gameplay, and the other part is being left in the dark on what exactly is going on. It makes the world feel alive. It gives the feeling that there is more to the world than we are seeing, and make you feel very small, bat at the same time impactful. You donít know how your actions ripple throughout the world yet, and until you do you feel like a king.

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    Dec 8th, 2012 at 14:06:23     -    Saint's Row: The Third (PC)

    The biggest complaint among many gamers today is linearity in games. While at times linearity can deliver a rich story, like with the Uncharted series, it can reduce a game to nothing more than a movie that requires you to press a button every once in a while. These games tend to be the triple A modern military shooters such as Call of Duty and one of the worst offenders Medal of Honor. Many people are becoming fed up with linearity and its starting to unfairly be coined as a bad quality in a game. Gamers are wanting the ultimate freedom in their games. Weíve had freedom before in sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto and MMOs offer great freedom such as World of Warcraft. However I recently picked up a game that has given me the most un-linear experience I might have ever experienced in a game, Saints Row the Third. This game has no hold on what the player can do. I right off the bat gives you the ability to make whatever character type you want. I for example made a black cross dressing fat man with a Latino girlís accent named Charity. Charity has her goals in mind as the leader of the most prominent gang in the world. Killing everyone in sight. I couldnít even begin to tell you what the story is because Iíve only done three missions, yet I still have 15 percent of the game completed. Itís nice to have a game that does not put any restrictions on you, that truly is an open world game. A world that I can hop in and mess about in for 20 minutes then leave feeling like I did something. It certainly shows the appeal of the non-linear form of gaming.

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    Dec 7th, 2012 at 14:16:30     -    Journey (PS3)

    The only thing in video games that are the highest quality it can achieve right now is music. There is enough space in the disk to allow the music quality to only be limited by the quality of the speakers you are using to listen to it. What really counts now is what it sounds like, how it is composed, and if it fits the game. In days long passed music in games consisted to simple bleeps and chirps that formed a melody as simple as the game mechanics. They were memorable, even if they were bare bones, but fit the game very well. Come to think of it, most older games all had fairly distinct soundtracks. Grant it, I was not alive in the 80s and early 90s to experience all the gaming world had to offer, but Iíve played a fair number of games from the past and canít think of one that I could not hum the tune of off the top of my head. The funny thing is, is that I donít think I could do that with most games now a days. Dot want to get into the argument of Ďthings were better back then and are trash now so we should take a step backí, because thatís not what this is about. This is about how many soundtracks in newly released games can come off for the most part a little bland, and that when a game is released that has an exceptional soundtrack it really stands out.
    The game Journey was released a while back and is in my opinion one of the beast games released last year, with one of the beast soundtracks ever recorded. The soundtrack, unlike many games out on the market, is not there because a game needs music, but partners with the game. The mix of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Western motifs in the game set the world as something new and exotic, while showing through echoing melodies that it is a world that is past its prime. As the character makes his journey up the mountain, so does the soundtrack. Itís hard to describe without playing the game as they both work with each other so well, but if I were to now listen to the whole soundtrack, I get the same feeling I do as I play the game. I go on a journey, and thatís what makes good music.

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    Nov 16th, 2012 at 10:21:22     -    Blacklight: Retribution (Arcade)

    Multi-player shooter only games are a popular subgenera on the PCs, and have been for quite a while. With the business model shifting to free to play games, these shooters need to stand out from the other free to plays, and from triple A titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield. How fun the game is to play is definitely a factor in keeping a player attention, but MMOs and their infamous grinds have showed us that fun gameplay is not always what keeps a player coming back. Developers for arcade games used to time rewards such as checkpoints and items to occur right before the player dies. Over time the player becomes conditioned to expect a reward, and will keep putting in coins to get to the next reward. This strategy worked great for arcades, and more and more developers are implementing this feature into free to play games.
    I was recently playing Blacklight: Retribution, which is a free to play FPS, and I was wondering Ďwhy do people spend all their time playing this game. What makes this the shooter for some people and not othersí? Then I shot someone in the head, and it hit me. This game gives you mini-rewards. These range from the sound you hear when you get a head shoot, to being able to deploy your mechs. These do not happen too often though. The game is not very easy, and it take some work to pull anything off, which makes victory even more memorable. Like the arcades of the past, you become conditioned to these tiny rewards. You know roughly when theyíre coming and how to achieve them, which makes you want to keep playing to achieve them.

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    Entries written to date: 15
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Black & White (PC)Playing
    2Black Mesa (PC)Playing
    3Blacklight: Retribution (Arcade)Playing
    4Civilization V: Gods and Kings (PC)Playing
    5Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)Playing
    6Dishonored (PC)Playing
    7Guild Wars 2 (PC)Playing
    8Half-Life (PC)Playing
    9Hotline Miami (PC)Playing
    10Journey (PS3)Playing
    11Rayman Jungle Run (iPd)Playing
    12Saint's Row: The Third (PC)Playing
    13Spec Ops: The Line (PC)Playing
    14Specter Spelunker Shrinks (PC)Playing
    15To the Moon (PC)Playing

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