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    Mar 21st, 2016 at 04:04:18     -    Chrono Trigger (SNES)

    The video game I choose for my video game analysis is Chrono Trigger made by Square Soft and released in March 11, 1995 for the Super Nintendo. It was also later released on the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo DS. Chrono Trigger is a traditional turn based role playing game in which each party member takes a turn after their “Turn bar” has reached full. Once the bar is full, each character can ether perform a standard attack, special attack (which consumes magic points), or use an item to heal, buff up defense, etc. During these wait times, enemies can attack any character, probably once their turn bar fills (in which we can never see). Over time, characters within the game can increase their statistics such as maximum health and magic limits, perform more special abilities, and gain a significant increase on attack and defense. Also in such a traditional role playing game, as the adventure goes throughout time, characters can equip more powerful weapons and armor in which somewhat boost the statistics of each character. But what if we change the way we play the game? What if we do not follow the standard path that the developers intended for us to follow?
    During the first standard session of the game, I tried to play the game without upgrading any equipment (Keep in mind, to test such a variable, more than 10 minutes is required to see any change in gameplay. This is an RPG after all). Now, playing Chrono Trigger without upgrading a single weapon or armor is definitely achievable but, this is probably a “hard mode” version of the game that many “hardcore” video game enthusiasts enjoy doing. Throughout the session, I undoubtedly had trouble defeating the beginning enemies in the game (which are the easiest) and probably will have an even tougher time throughout the game. Although I do not recommend this play style to first time players, Chrono Trigger enthusiast will have some form of enjoyment and challenge by using this play style (and probably Dark Souls players, I guess).
    The second session consisted of just using magical abilities. This is nearly impossible feat to achieve at the beginning of the game but, easier to perform later once the characters are upgraded with enough magical abilities and MP (Magic points). This play style makes the game somewhat easier in the sense of that the magical abilities are significantly more powerful than the regular attacks. Although you can “spam” magical attacks, it does take a special strategy to constantly conserve MP and use ethers (MP restoring potions) in order to use these attacks in succession. I only recommend this play style if the player has already completed the game. Again, this play style somewhat changes how you would normally strategize in the game.
    As much as I enjoy Chrono Trigger, some of the gameplay aspects were irritating at the time and recent playthroughs have reminded me that this is a not so perfect game (although no game is). First starting off with the turn based system, I know that “back in the day” turn based systems in role playing games were “the thing” (after all, this is the same developer of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series) but, it is a pretty boring gameplay mechanic. I’m not faulting the game for not being different at the time but, something new and fresh could have been tried. Second, Chrono Trigger’s turn based system is somewhat broken. I’ve seen enemies take two turns while my characters were still waiting on the one turn and also spam magical abilities all the time. This kind of made the game cheap in a way. Finally, some of the bosses were downright cheap at sometimes. I will always remember the two golem fight where both of them had a special attack that pretty much killed a character in one turn. The strategy for this fight is to simply stun them with lighting attacks but, you only have one character (Crono) that can do lighting attacks and combined with enemies taking more turns than you, you pretty much had to have the “right timing” and a little bit of luck. Basically, take one golem down as fast as you can. Also, there was the Giga gaia fight with an ancient mystical bat robot thing that was pretty much annoying. There’s Giga gaia, his right hand, and his left hand. The strategy is to take out one, or both, of the hands before he can perform one of his special attacks which can almost kill all of your party members in one turn. The problem with this is, he does a special attack EVERY time the fight starts before even one party member can get their turn bar filled. Going back to where enemies can take more turns than you, he does it as well.
    Chrono Trigger is indeed my favorite video game of all time when it comes to the overall story and gameplay mechanics. I do enjoy how each character has his/her own story and how you are able to change their timeline, and many others, by using the time shifting gameplay mechanic. I do not too much care for time travel stories because they usually proceed into paradox territory and indeed make the story much more confusing. Chrono Trigger made it so that it was an easy story to follow in which the player could easily understand what specific event was going on and how it was affected by time. The gameplay mechanic is also pretty neat. At a certain point in the game, your party members gain elemental abilities, which opens up a entire new way to strategize against enemies. It basically turns into a Pokemon game in which you try to figure out which enemy is weak to which element. Coincidentally, a game named I Am Setsuna has just released in Japan at the time of writing this paper and it takes inspiration from Chrono Trigger gameplay wise. I am defiantly excited to play this game once it has released in the United States. As for Chrono Trigger, it was one of the defining gems of that era and will continue to go down in history as a classic RPG.

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    Feb 11th, 2016 at 05:15:52     -    Magic: The Gathering (Other)

    Magic the Gathering is a multiplayer, card based game that can usually played in 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, or 3 vs 3 players. The game is based on different elements such as fire(red), water(blue), forest(green), light(white), and dark(black). These elements are usually used in combination with creatures, spells, and equipment. Card decks can be made out of these items and the minimum is 60 cards in a deck. Usually these colors have themes associated with them. Red decks are usually used to destroy, blue decks are usually used to counter spells, green decks usually can bring more creatures out in a turn, white decks usually are associated with gaining life, and black decks are focused on destroying or poisoning.

    ----Game Setup----

    A basic 1 vs 1 game (in which how the sessions were conducted) starts with each player having 20 life. Each player draws seven cards for their first hand and if the hand is bad, they have one free draw and each draw after that, they draw one card less. Each player then rolls a dice for the highest number to see who goes first. The player with the highest number usually picks to go first or second. If the player goes first, they get to make their first play. If the player goes second, they get to draw a card on their turn. Each player draws a card from their deck on each of their turn. Before a player plays a creature, spell, enchantment, or equipment they have to put down a land. A land acts as "mana". If a player wants to play a creature, spell, enchantments or equipment, they have to have enough land or mana to play that card, which has the cost of the card in the top right corner of the card. Also, they must have the right land to play that card (ex: A card may require a white land and a blue land to play). Each player is only allowed to play one land each turn, unless they have a special card that allows to play more land or have more mana. Mana is reset at the beginning of the players next turn. Basically, each player is supposed to play creatures, spells, and equipment in order to deplete the opposing players life. If a player plays a creature, they will be able to attack on the players next turn because that creature has summoning sickness unless they have an ability called haste. Haste is apart of many abilities that are included in Magic the Gathering in which haste can bring in creatures without summoning sickness.

    There are abilities such as deathtouch(which if a creature has this ability, it can kill any creature of any power), lifelink(creature that does damage can gain the player life which is equal to its power), hexproof( creature can not be a target of spells) and etc. If each player has a creature out, whomever turn it is, that player can choose to attack or not. The opposing player can choose to defend or not. Creatures usually have a power and toughness in the bottom left corner of the card. If the defending players creature has a toughness higher than the power of the attacking players creature, they can defend their life points and keep their creature. If their toughness is lower, they will lose their creature but, still not have their life points affected. If the player chooses not to defend, they will lose as many life points equal to the attacking creatures power.

    Creatures can have different types of abilities as mentioned above which can change the strategic planning in each game. Flying creatures can't be attacked or blocked by non-flying creatures. Creatures can also be enchanted with different abilities and/or power and toughness increments. Spells can be played against another player in order to stop a certain effect. Instants can be played at anytime before a player does a spell which can cause the opposing player to do something before the other player does anything. Counters can be used to stop spells. Equipments are like enchantments but, can be moved to another creature and do not require a creature to be on the battlefield. Once a creature dies, it is sent the the players graveyard and can not be used again unless the player uses a spell to get that creature back. If a creature is exiled, it is permanently out of the game. Spells, equipment's, and enchantments can be destroyed at anytime.

    ----Game Play----

    First session: I played with an experienced friend. He had a mixture of red and green cards while I played my main black deck. We both put down land on each of our turns until I was the first one able to put out a creature. On his turn, we both had three lands and he was able to play a creature on his turn. His creature had an ability that caused him to attack me and I could not use my creature to defend. He attacked my life points for 4 points and i was down to 16 while he was at 20. I then drew land on the next two turns as he put out another creature (which allowed him to draw an extra card on his turn) and he enchanted that creature to make it stronger with 2 power and 2 toughness. He hit me for 8 more points and my life was now at 8. I then drew a creature that had a power and toughness equal to the number of lands I have, which was 6. I put this creature out on the battlefield. On his turn HE EXILED my creature and he attacked again with both creatures. Since the one creature I had out had 1 power and 3 toughness, I was able to block his 2/2 (2 power, 2 toughness) creature but not the 4/4 once again. I was down to 4 and it was my turn again. I drew a land and was able to put a seven mana cost creature out on the battlefield which was a 6/6 creature. On his turn, he put down an enchantment that prevented my 6/6 creature from defending or attacking on my turn. In turn, I wasn't able to block is unblockable creature and I lost on the next turn.

    Second Session: I changed to my white and black deck while he changed to an exclusive white deck. We both drew our hands and just like the first session, I was able to put out a creature first. He then put out a 1/1 creature that had lifelink while I had a creature that was flying and was a 1/2 with lifelink. While we exchanged attacks on each of our turns, I was able to put out creatures with the ability to extort (any spell or creature I play, I can pay one land to gain a life and make the opponent lose one life). I basically put out 4 creatures with extort and used the ability to my advantage by extorting the extort creatures I put in the game. Meanwhile, he puts out an enchantment that, on his fifth turn, he can make all his creatures stronger by plus 5 on power and toughness, which is crap. At this point of the game, he had a two 1/1 creatures and one 2/2 creature while I had three 1/2 creatures and two 2/2 creatures. His life was at 3 and mine at 28. This was the fifth turn and he used his enchantment to power his creatures and then he gave two of those creatures lifelink. At this point, he gained 14 life while i defended with my weak creatures and they died to protect my life. On my turn, I put out an enchantment to destroy every creature on the board on my next turn. On his turn, he attacked again while I blocked and killed off the rest of my creatures to protect my life. On my turn, he pulled out an instant that protected his creatures from dying from my enchantment and I basically lost since I had no way to defend for the next turn.

    ----Overall----

    Magic the gathering can be a fun quick or long game depending on the situation. The game can be severely broken by basically having an opponent who spends a lot more on the game than you, thereby, having better deck and better cards. Sure, strategy can work in most outcomes, but there are MANY magic cards out there that can break the game easily. Also, counters can be abused since a player can build a deck out of mostly counters and basically stop you from doing anything in the game, which is boring.

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