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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 16:14:16     -    Guitar Hero (PS2)

    Gameplay:
    After playing Guitar Hero for a second round of forty-five minutes I came to realize that it is a far different game than I have ever played before. It does not involve violence or athletics, which are two extremely common themes throughout the videogame industry. The game really reaches out to those of us who perhaps are looking for something a little different, and it is effective in that. And while I feel slightly ridiculous simulating playing an instrument (not well) instead of actually learning how to play the real thing, it is evident that the game is not really about playing the guitar. It is about playing a game, and if you let go of the idea that you are trying to play an instrument it becomes a lot more fun.
    I have to admit that although I am not the most talented gamer, Guitar Hero was especially difficult for me. In my opinion it requires a much different set of skills than most other games. Doing well at this game depends greatly on hand-eye coordination and simply the ability to remain calm and complete a task without being overwhelmed. This is not something I am great at and I easily become frazzled before I even complete a song. I cannot see any strategy that would help me improve accept for simply practicing. While I understand the appeal of successfully finishing a song (the excitement and accomplishment) I do not see myself practicing enough to be able to do this.
    Design:
    Guitar Hero is a game about challenging yourself. Unlike a Mario game or a racing game, you do not complete levels in order to get to a final stage; you get to choose the difficulty of the song and the specific song you want to hear as well. This is a really good aspect of the game because enables a lot f different people to play together. I can easily play an easy song, right after a friend of mine plays an expert-level song and it does not in any way disrupt their personal progress.
    The aesthetics of Guitar Hero are very special and important to the enjoyment of the game. While you play the game you see the image of moving guitar strings with colored buttons that move towards you. Behind the guitar is the player that your chose to be standing on a stage as if he/she were playing for a crowd at a venue. This may have to be my favorite part of the game. Watching the character rocking out looks almost alien-like and can be quite entertaining. However, watching this unique show can often distract me from my own guitar playing, and staying focused is key to succeeding in Guitar Hero.
    One thing lacking in Guitar Hero is a goal or reward. While it is true that the goal of the game is to play a son to the best of your ability and thus get a high score, because you play one son at a time it never feels as though you are reaching any sort of objective.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 16:13:25     -    Guitar Hero (PS2)

    Summary:
    Guitar Hero is a game in which the players either play alone or as a team (of two people) and attempt to complete a song while making as few errors as possible. The players are able to choose the level of difficulty of the game as well as which song they want to play to. The game is very similar to “Dance Dance Revolution” in that the players follow a moving track and try to keep up.
    Gameplay:
    Playing guitar hero is a much different experience than playing any other game. From the graphic design to the social interaction it is a new experience. The first aspect that I noticed was the choosing of the characters at the beginning of the game. While it is nothing new to be able to choose which character to play as in videogames, these specific characters caught my intention. The game presents the most stereotypical looking rockers from hard-core looking chicks with leather pants, heels and pink hair to intimidating giants with Mohawks and studded jackets. It was not an option to be a simple looking musician that looks like one of your friends. While this certainly adds an aspect of excitement, after playing a couple of rounds it would be nice to have a more varying selection of characters; people who could possibly appeal to a broader demographic.
    The other most interesting and exciting part about playing Guitar Hero is the social interaction. Whether you are playing solo with a group of friends cheering behind you or you are playing as a team with another player, people are no less than enthusiastic. Perhaps because the songs are all familiar tunes that everybody can relate to or because the players appear as if they are actually jamming along with the music, Guitar Hero is not a game to be played in the background, it is the main event.

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    Jan 25th, 2008 at 16:04:59     -    Super Mario World (SNES)

    Super Mario World – Part Two
    After playing “Super Mario World” for a second forty-five minutes I came to notice all of the little things that made it so enjoyable to play. Not only is the actual character of Mario sweet and endearing as a mustached hero with an Italian accent but also I remembered all of the “secrets” about the game. The pipes that you can slide down into alternative universes filled with uncountable gold coins and the invisible question mark boxes that you can only find with luck or experience are only two of the game’s many subtleties. The greatest part of this aspect of the game is that you never know everything; each time you play you discover new secrets.
    Another awesome aspect of “Super Mario World” is the social interaction that comes along with it. After playing for two rounds of forty-five minutes I came to see that whether I am playing on the single-player mode or the two-player mode there is a lot of social interaction. With the two-player mode you do not compete with your friend, you work together to save Princess Toadstool. And even if you play in the single-player mode with a room filled with people there is a tremendous amount of yelling, jumping around and general helping out. Other people predict the next obstacle or level and you definitely do not feel like you are playing a solitaire game.
    The design of “Super Mario World” is simple but affective. The bright green grass, white clouds and perfectly red Mario bring you back to your childhood. Without the modern graphics and details I am not distracted from the goal of the game. Playing “Super Mario World” is all about the task at hand, and perhaps at one point the graphics were cutting edge, however now it is simply about getting from one level to the next.
    In addition to being aesthetically pleasing the game has a very straightforward and predictable design in that each level is relatively similar with a few additional challenges or dimensions. Each level has you jump over obstacles, jump on “bad guys” and face a harder “boss” at the end. Whether you are underwater, in a dungeon or in the sky it follows a predictable scheme pretty well. With its increasing difficulty, this design is fairly effective and allows the player to improve their skills by easily getting through the already mastered levels and working through the more challenging ones. And with the extra feature of the world map that shows you all of the levels from a glance it is reasonably easy to keep up with what is occurring in the game, which is not so easy for non-gamer with more current games.

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    Jan 25th, 2008 at 16:01:12     -    Super Mario World (SNES)

    Super Mario World
    This week I played “Super Mario World,” in which you play as Mario or Luigi and work through a number of levels. The goal is to save Princess Toadstool and in order to do so you traverse through levels grabbing gold coins, fireball abilities and jumping on mushrooms, flying turtles and dinosaurs.
    Playing “Super Mario World” on the Super Nintendo tends to bring positive nostalgic feelings to the player. At age eighteen, playing video games such as Mario, Duck Hunt and Sonic the Hedgehog is a common past time for many. Simply setting up the system, blowing on the oversized, plastic game (for reasons I still cannot grasp) and listening to the elementary background tunes brings back memories for everyone. I tend to think back to annual Thanksgivings in Washington D.C. where I would spend hours playing this game with my brothers as a fundamental family escape tool.
    “Super Mario World” is a straightforward game that lacks the uber-violence and intense graphics that are so common today, making it all the more enjoyable (especially for the female demographic). The storyline of Super Mario is that our Italian hero Mario is attempting to save his Princess Toadstool and has to overcome many obstacles in order to do so. But the game is much less about the princess and more about Mario and his adventure. Each level has something different and special about it, increasing the difficulty each time. The first level is quite basic with coins and mushrooms, while the following levels have more dimensions such as flying turtles, a Yoshi to ride, underwater, etc.

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