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    Feb 15th, 2018 at 01:31:28     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    Continuing today with the main story I thought about a few things regarding racial stereotypes and the like that we discussed last week. I've read a something that mentions the murder to be more or less justified because they are orcs. The orcs of this world are a sentient race, corrupted and misguided, but still have a fair amount of intelligence. I personally really enjoyed the character of Ratbag, who was meant to be a comic relief character in this game of intense violence and generally serious overtones. Ratbag is the one orc that I wouldn't put as much into the orc stereotype I would expect coming into this game. Caveat being I don't know much LoTR lore, so maybe they have more variation in them then I have been exposed to. Yes, the game needs its evil to deal with, but maybe it will end up exploring more shades of grey in the coming hours. It would be an interesting spin on things in the long run. Though I suppose Ratbag so far is the exploration of the shades of grey, though he isn't a particularly benevolent orc, just an incompetent one.

    This also brings up a side thoughts on what stock do we actually put into these entities. It makes me wonder how much of a disconnect is there between player and actions in a game. I know some games have tasteless forced sequences, but how much does it affect us as consumers? How much should it affect us? Should games be made to be more or less impactful in spheres such as these, rather than continuing to desensitize us? My current, although not extremely thought out, stance is that there is plenty of marketspace for games that fall all over on those scales, and let it be a buyers market for what they want to do with their leisure time.

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    Feb 14th, 2018 at 04:54:42     -    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)

    This morning I started playing Shadow of Mordor, which is an interesting game. But what it makes me wonder about is the overuse of of this formulaic style of open world. Where you take a sizable map, litter it with respawning enemies, sprinkle it with collectibles, draw out some "zones" and inside each zone put a tower of some kind to unlock the previous information on the minimap. While I understand this game is a little bit older and probably before that concept of the open world formula was intensely popularized and overused, it is still a turn off initially. The combat for this game is also nothing new, in my experience it has been referred to as Arkham combat, after the Batman games. While the system is good, and in my opinion a bit more entertaining in this game, possibly just because the aesthetics are more appealing personally, it is still basically heavily reusing a system.

    We had discussed utilitarianism recently and I have a few thoughts that are jumping around in my mind about that. I personally do not agree with that moral stance, but looking at it through that lens makes me think that this is one of the kinds of games that are good for the average game consumer. This model I would believe tends to offer a large amount of entertainment for those more casual consumers. It has plenty of objectives to side track the player and those environments are constantly repopulating with enemies. This is a good base of giving them a challenge while they explore and complete these collectibles and side quests. My initial assumption is that this will be the main entertainment value for them. It occupies time in a more or less meaningful way, I do appreciate that the collectibles in this game enrich the experience with well voice acted backstory. The main quests I have not delved much into, but I expect that to be a fairly short experience in comparison, but the main allure of these games to most people is value per entertainment hour. It is using tried and well received systems as a foundation, and throws in a unique mechanic, which I haven't made it to yet, in order to provide what they want with a new twists for the people who can maybe only afford one game every month or so and need to get all they can out of it.

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    Jan 18th, 2018 at 02:58:15     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    I would've liked to have spent more time on my final play session, but between being tired and having a busy schedule yesterday/today I couldn't make that happen. I will leave more time for it next time, I didn't realize the first game logs were due this week.

    Maybe it was because I was so tired and ready to just be done for the day, but I couldn't even get through chapter 4. This tutorial level just seemed to drag on. I am looking forward to jumping into the sandbox mode in the next few days, but it does not have any particularly obvious ways to compare it to class in its play. The only things I can relate it to are story content.

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    Jan 17th, 2018 at 21:35:53     -    Prison Architect (PC)

    My second look at prison architect was finishing a couple more of the tutorial based chapters and seeing the intro to the next one. It shows you some of the more dire situations that can occur when attempting to manage a prison within the game. It also covers some real world topics that can be cause for concern, and starts to touch on ones that could be cause for alarm in reality. I would say they definitely range into sensitive subjects, although I don't think they are really meant to be statements, but more a just a good way to give more substance to the tutorial and make it more interactive and maintaining its touch on reality, which is important in a sim game based on something we have a frame of reference for. Subject material could get hamfisted in and used in less than tasteful ways, but the game handles it well in the context of itself. Which would at least keep them from unjustly alienating people who had an interest in playing the game based on that.

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