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    Mar 29th, 2018 at 18:12:46     -    Firewatch (XBONE)

    For my final playthrough, I was able to finish Firewatch. I played far longer than I intended, but I really wanted to get to the ending of the game. The ending proved interesting, but also seemed to squander a lot of the setup that led to it. I definitely think things could have been more satisfying, and things tied together in a neater way. I also felt like more resolution to Henry's and Delilah's past would have been very satisfying, especially if it included a strong conclusion to their relationship. Overall, I really related strongly to both characters, even with them making some poor decisions. I played Henry as a little more levelheaded, balancing out some of Delilah's more impulsive tendencies. For example, when Delilah suggested starting a fire to cover up for something, I suggested that was probably a rash decision. I am curious that if I had said otherwise, if we would have actually set the fire. Either way the fire is set, so it would have been interesting. Like I mentioned in my last Gamelog, the game really dives into the choices we make, especially under pressure. There's the hint of them being in a social experiment which ends up not being the case, however the narrative still focuses heavily on the choices the main characters made in the present and the past. This particularly focuses on the choices we make when under duress, when it is the most difficult to make the "right" choice. I think a lot of it involves our natural tendency to seek out happiness for ourselves, and sometimes the choices we make to maximize our happiness do not do so for everyone involved. It will be interesting to dive into this more, perhaps from the Utilitarian approach, where maybe one person's happiness outweighs the misery of someone else. There's definitely many interesting lenses for this, and I think the game gives a lot of good material for exploring this. I look forward to writing up something over the next week that explores these ideas.

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    Mar 29th, 2018 at 18:07:28     -    Firewatch (XBONE)

    For my second playthrough in Firewatch, I got the majority of the way through the game. Things escalated quite a bit with Delilah, with a strong relationship developing between her and Henry. This relationship developed very fluidly, through the well-written dialogue. I like the system the game uses for dialogue, and it all flows very well. A lot of seeds were laid in the portions I played for the game, I learned about a boy named Brian and his dad Ned who used to have the same job Henry does now. We learn that they abruptly left, and Delilah had not heard from them since. You get the feeling that there is definitely more to this and that it will pop up later, particularly as Delilah seems to have a good relationship with the boy and did not care for his father. Not only that, but a conspiratorial thread started with a potential research site that is potentially monitoring Henry and Delilah. Overall, I have really enjoyed my time so far with the game. The game seems to take a deep look at people, and the choices they make, and how sometimes the best choice for one person has a lot of consequences for other people. There's this heart-wrenching notion that even good people can do the wrong thing, and that this can cause a lot of pain. You see this in the backstories of both of the main characters, with Henry's wife, and Delilah's ex-boyfriend. Delilah's ex had a family member pass away, and Delilah did not want to deal with the aftermath and be there for him, and selfishly chose to focus on her own life-goals. This left him to deal with it on his own. The ethics of these kind of situations is super murky, particularly since you feel for the characters and see them as good people, despite the poor decisions they have made. I believe my paper will try to wrap up some of this into an interesting ethical dilemma.

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    Mar 28th, 2018 at 23:04:38     -    Firewatch (XBONE)

    For my first gamelog I played approximately the first hour of Firewatch. Overall the game really impressed me with the quality of storytelling, as well as just a general level of polish I was not expecting. The game is super fun too, and has a nice explorative aspect to the gameplay. There is a map and compass which enable you to navigate through the environment. I did find the coloring and terrain to be somewhat confusing to navigate. It would have been nice if this was more naturally easy to navigate through rather than constantly checking my map and compass. This was exacerbated by the portions at night where visibility was reduced. The game constantly gives you little choices along the way, both in dialogue and action. For example, in the first day you go to tell some campers not to set off fireworks. Along the way you find a mess of beer cans they left behind, optionally you can clean these up. Who knows if this has consequences, but it's a cool mechanic to make the world feel more livable and interesting. The general premise of the story was also interesting, with the primary character's girlfriends struggles with early onset Alzheimers. Alzheimers runs in my family so it is definitely something I relate to, and early onset of the disease can be extremely heartbreaking. I'm interested to see where they go with this, particularly after the main character's choice to run away from his problems in the beginning.

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    Feb 16th, 2018 at 19:41:04     -    1979 Revolution: Black Friday (PC)

    In my last play through, I got introduced to Ali who exemplifies the violent aspirations of the revolution. He rejects the fact that violence should be avoided, and shows a lot of hate for the people who work for the current regime. While Babak, on the other hand, shows sympathy for the works of the regime calling them oppressed as well. He notes that they have to do whatever they can to support their families. It will be interesting to see how their rivalry and differing viewpoints advance in the story.

    As I said in a previous log, the game leans on the same mechanics as Telltaleís adventure games. This includes the moral side of things, where you are given choices and told that other characters will remember it. One thing I noticed is that a lot of the time these choices have very little short-term effect. For example, dialogue often results in the same response line or action no matter what, giving you the illusion of choice. Iím sure these will cascade in the end though as you get different endings depending on the results of previous chapters. That said, this does kind of feel weird as a player.

    This play through had a lot of focus on violence and its place in revolution. Personally, I think it is good to minimize this as much as possible. Revolutions often criticize those in charge for their cruelty and insensitivity to otherís lives. However, if the revolution resorts to murder and heavy violence, in many ways we just replace one tyrant with another. One who just emphasizes different qualities in his government, but with the same authoritarian flair. I think if a revolution instead relies on changing peopleís minds and hearts, it will do better. This can be seen in the game where some of the military refuse to use lethal force or exert much force at all due to them disagreeing with the government. The government can be overthrown for this, as it only has power in so much as it has support. That said, violence in response to violence from the governmentís military could be required or important as a government lashes out before dying. Iím excited to see how these issues evolve in the story going forward.

    Another portion of the game returns you to the interrogation. Here you are asked what you know about Bibi. She is a character that is part of the revolution working with Raza, who was betrayed in the last section. While interrogated, you watch your brother be tortured in order to force answers out of you. This represents another interesting moral dilemma, as potentially the information could be damning to the revolution if shared, and that could have far-reaching consequences. But in order to not share it you have to watch your brother be tortured, causing him immense pain. This pits the wellbeing of everyone against the wellbeing of those close to you. This is an interesting situation, and would definitely be a difficult choice for many people to make. In my play through I avoided giving as much info as I could, but as a player Iím far removed from having that character actually be my brother.

    This brings my game logs to an end. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with this game. I do plan on putting a lot more time into the game in the next week to prepare for my OPA. I donít feel that I have played enough yet for that, but I do have a good feel for the game and the themes it will explore. I really liked this game so far.

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