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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 19:58:19     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    World 2 is themed very differently than World 1. The second world has desert theme and adds pyramids and sand to the level design. It's almost like playing a different game now; though the ruleset stays the same (you can get the same power-ups just like in World 1) your interaction with the level changes due to the varied game mechanics inherent in World 2.

    The game utilizes big black blocks that limit the path that you can take at any given moment; if you get a hammer power-up, you can use it and smash the block. This usually opens a path to other levels, or sometimes it takes you to a special item. Again, this is something that you kind of learn on your own from trial and error, but since I played this game when I was a child, I remember it vividly.

    At the end of the World you always fight a boss by entering the castle. There is a routine to these boss fights: first you must traverse your way through the myriad of bullets and flames that shoot out at you on top of a flying boat. Second, you must go down a pipe and then fight the area-specific boss. The boss usually attacks the same way, but they get incrementally harder. Every boss takes 3 hits, and then they're done.

    Super Mario Bros. 3 is such a fun game for several reasons, but probably its greatest attribute is its size; it has 8 massive worlds (massive for its time, anyway) that each have their own theme. It makes the game feel like it's enormous. In some cases, it feels like a different game. Its scale sets it apart from most other games of its genre on the NES.

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    Feb 23rd, 2007 at 19:53:18     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    Super Mario Bros. 3 is quite obviously an infamous game. I would go as far as saying that most people living in a developed nation know about it and have probably played it. So my goal out of playing this game again was to look at it in a more critical style.

    The first thing I noticed from the game is that it is gorgeous. Compared to previous NES games, Super Mario Bros. 3 just blows them all out of the water. The Nintendo programmers must have really gotten the code of the NES down by the end of its lifetime.

    The second thing that stands out is that there is a World Map. I don't know how many games before this one used this, but this is a very nice feature that connects the otherwise-completely-disconnectedness of the levels in the game. What I mean to say is, Level 1 in World 1 looks very different from Level 2; though there are themes, they do not physically connect to one another. This hub world (the World Map) acts as a connection between the levels in order to immerse the player in the levels better.

    One of the beautiful things about this game are the hidden power-ups. Amazingly, I don't recall learning these; I haven't played this game in years, yet I still remember where to jump to hit an invisible box. It's really quite surreal.

    I made it to the end of the 2nd World by the end of my 45 minutes. More on the game as I continue.

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    Feb 8th, 2007 at 17:47:07     -    The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (Wii)

    So I've played another hour or so, and I've just gotten to the Twilight world. I've turned into a wolf and am exploring around a bit, finding the ins and outs of this world. The neatest thing I can tell so far is that, as a wolf, my skill set is changed yet my execution of my skills stays the same. For instance, pressing the A button to attack as Link works the same way as a wolf. This is great because it makes transitioning from Link to the Wolf much easier.

    The game has very strict rules that you must adhere to in order to further the storyline. For instance, since it is a story-driven action RPG, you must "trigger" an event to further the linearity of the storyline. That is to say, you must speak to person A, or enter building C in town B, etc., in order to progress the story. This is both a negative and a positive. I say this because the game itself is massive, and wouldn't quite easy to get lost. Yet, part of me wants to get lost. So having the linear storyline in such a massive world is a double-edged sword; either way, there are ups and downs.

    The game uses the same cardinal ruleset that the previous Zelda games use; in particular, you have a sword, shield, hearts that represent your life gauge and of course, rupees to purchase commodities in the game world. The storyline is so far pretty minute; I have seen Princess Zelda once and she has said very little regarding my quest. So far the person furthering the narrative the most is a Twilight creature named Midna: her advice is typically where to go and why. Pretty small stuff, but this type of game typically unfolds its storyline over time.

    Since I am playing this on my Wii, the game utilizes the semi-motion control set-up that the Wii-mote affords its games. All-in-all it is a welcome addition to the game. I say it is welcome because I was skeptical but once I started playing I really found no issue playing with the Wii-mote apart from the fact that it drains batteries like no other. However, that is a hardware limitation so I really don't hold it against Twilight Princess. The only thing that I consider a disappointed with the Wii-mote conversion is that the motion control is really not as great as it could be. It is nice to be able to "aim" the remote like it's a bow and arrow or a slingshot, but swinging the sword leaves a lot to be desired. You swing the Wii-mote like it is a sword in order to make link attack, but Link's attacks do not correspond to the motion that you, the player, makes when you swing the Wii-mote.

    More on this game as I progress.

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    Feb 8th, 2007 at 17:39:18     -    The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (Wii)

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is an infamous game. I do not say this to hype the game up, and I say this without a hint of fanboyism. In fact, I say it in a pejorative sense. Everyone knows Zelda and that's what makes this game so massive; they are practically obligated to make it bigger and better than the previous incarnation. It's just too bad that not every game can be as grand in scale and executition as this game, because it really shines in almost every way.

    I started a new game and watched the opening cutscene and then took control of Link. I tried to set aside all of my expectations from the game and simply play it like it was a game I had just gotten and knew nothing about. I find this to be a very good way to play a game because it gets rid of the fake hype that you build up in your head, and hype is almost always a sure way to let you down.

    The game starts you off as Link in the town of Ordon. Very quickly you are able to take control of him and walk around the town talking to people if you choose. There are very simple puzzles at first that require you to acquire specific items and use them in very specific ways. For instance, an early puzzle was using the fishing pole to get a fish, and then you give that fish to a cat. This makes the cat go home, which pleases the cat owner, who gives you a shield, etc. There are many puzzles like this, and I believe if the game was comprised of this solely, the game may not be as fun. Fortunately this is not the case, as more fun things are starting to pop up.

    These small puzzles at the beginning of the game serve a very important purpose: to train the player in the ways and methodologies of this specific game. It's like a very nonlinear training stage, which is very welcome. After you have done enough of this training stuff, you are actually allowed to explore outside of the town a bit. This is typical fair so far, where you smash things with your wooden sword and backflip around off high platforms. But around an hour in, a hint of story begins to rear its head.

    More after I play a while longer.

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    1Final Fantasy XII (PS2)Playing
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