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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 18:00:40     -    The Sims 2 (PC)

    Entry #2

    Gameplay: I am not going to lie, as each hour passes playing this game, the more I feel myself becoming hooked on this game. There seem to be infinite features to explore. To go through all the possible combinations of furniture and houses and rooms would take more time than I have in college I think. For two hours of straight play, the second was much more meticulous than the first. Each piece of furniture had to be placed just so...and I started color coordinating. It made me hope I was very rich in the future so I could do this to my house. I started getting fancier too, not just adding furniture, but buidling onto the house and changing the floors, doors, and windows. Luckily its all perfect and you do not have to build technically. You just click, and bam, new door. I love it.

    I really am addicted to building though. The point of the game is to play as the Sim and with the other members of family and community, however 2 hours is not enough to even start the game. Without amenities such as showers, toilets, kitchen appliances, and beds, the Sims will get sick and start to complain. Without TV or entertainment, they will get bored and start to be destructive. So, even in two hours, I was only able to create a family, build a new house, start to furnish it, and barely start to learn how my Sims will act in this environment.


    Like I said previously, the most fascinating feature is this God-like status you are given. Sort of like a scientist doing a social experiment on people living in a bubble.

    The controls are made so you can rotate 360 around the house and neighborhood. You can zoom in and out as well. However, I would have made them a bit differently, because not only are they sometimes hard to use because of the restrictions, but I would like a "Sim's eye view" of the house. Playing as the Sim would give a whole new dimension to the game. Just looking at the house and watching the Sims intereact is a bit boring at times.

    As far as computer game design goes, this is not the most advanced looking game by far. The people are shaped like people and move mostly like people do, however, sometimes they appear rather flat and disinterested looking. Their faces do not hold much character. As for the neighborhoods, from a distance, it looks a lot like the original Sims game, and up close not much different, except maybe slightly more detailed. With all the feel of advancedness that eminates from this game's goal and mode of gameplay, the art design leaves a bit to be desired. It is no Doom '95 but it is not that interesting to look at for a game released in 2004, almost 10 years later. Though by no means would I call the design "simple" it does make the player focus more on the goal of the game rather than the outward facade the game offers.

    The 4 discs included in the Sims 2 set offer tons and tons of gameplay and my hours spent (now totally around 8) have not been enough to scratch the surface of the game. It is hard to sit around playing for hours on end because its all about perfection and, being a perfectionist myself, if you do not stop in a timely fashion, you could end up playing for hours on end a night.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 17:14:07     -    The Sims 2 (PC)

    In this game, The Sims 2, you are back in the Sim world to live your life as a bachelor, bachelorette, or as a family in one of three locations. You interact with other Sims, get married, expereince deaths, buy homes, and do other life imitating activities. Like in real life, the Sims can speak to other Sims, though their language is not understandable. The goal of this game is to meet all your Sims's needs and keep them alive and well, both socially and physically happy.

    For the Sims 2, I have one word: addiction. This game was extremely fun to play. I made a family, bought a home, and started to furnish it. However, I found that I ran out of money in a very short time and was unable to play the game fully, so I solved this by getting a cash bonus cheat. This gave me $50,000 per cheat and was infinitely usable. After using this I was able to pimp my house. I found it to be entertaining not only to make my own dream house, but to live the lives of these little Sim people who have their own loves, wants, needs, and lives.

    Since this simulates real life, it was interesting to see how the characters acted or did not act as if they were real people. Mostly everything was extremely sterotyped. The teen boys would be mean to little sisters, the smaller children would be hyper or shy, but overall very sweet to their parents, giggling a lot (which got annoying), while the parents and adults alike had goals that were mostly sexually driven, with flirting and kissing being happiness motivators. It was almost too much to see how stereotypical the game portrays certain age groups, and like I said, it got sort of annoying. Luckily, unlike real life, if you do not like your family grouping, you can change it (either by letting one die, as horrible as that sounds, or by creating a new family altogether).

    This is another interesting aspect of the game. It is completely fantasy. You get to play God. Other than raising Sims from the dead, you have complete control over the lives of these fake people. You can make them happy or sad, live or die. You can execute your dream house or make the Sims live in a shack. That is the most interesting part of the gameplay experience to me, the God-type of control. It is rather exhillarating and i think it brings you into the magic circle of play very very quickly. Once you master the controls, it is easy to see why this game is so addictive.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 02:51:59     -    Marble Mania (Wii)

    Gameplay 2: In my second hour of play I found myself much much more frustrated with this game. The music was so fun and silly sounding, it started to drive me crazy (yet the marble penguin made such cute sounds!) It made me realize more that when designing a game one must put in varying music, lest the player want to chuck the console out the window. There are a lot of songs on marble mania, however, when on random, I seem to have gotten a lot of the same songs repeating, thus causing my distress. But on an exciting note, I got 15 green bonus crystals and unlocked 5 secret Kororinpa levels! most thrilling.

    Also, I do not have much experience on the Wii, so playing with the remote control in the way this game requires was difficult. There is lost of wrist contorting (thus the challenge) but it really impaired my gameplay and caused a lot of frustration.

    Design: On the note of frustration: I found that this game was designed so amazingly, yet so frustratingly challenging. It is not a game that a typical "video game person" would be good at. Nor would it be good for someone who was particularly good at sports (like some sports games are for knowledge sake; except maybe someone who played tennis with exception wrist strength). Point being, it is a very unique game that is so addicting, yet so maddening, it is difficult to play.

    I have gotten to level 31 and have found each and every set of levels (in 3s or 4s) to be unique and inspiring. From artistic design perspective, this game has so much to look at. Each level has intense ammounts of color and extreme details in the background as well as on the puzzles themselves. All the backgrounds light up and move in some way, some even have things walking across the surfaces. The puzzles each have details as well. The "toy" level is mostly made of wooden things, and the wood looks so real! The skyscrapers are made of roadways and have little yellow divider lines going down the centers of the roads. No detail goes overlooked, and even when you turn the puzzle upside down and view the sky, the sky has little realistic details (as does the underside of the puzzle). As someone who is interested in the art perspective of video game design, this game is extremely appealing because it has so much to explore in one level, let alone 50. However, the bonus levels, though cute, (and i only have 5 so far) were not nearly as complex as the regular levels, which was sad, however, they had such an intense amount of crystals (70 in one level!) it was so much fun, and extremely visually appealing.

    It is most amazing how the game is set up. It is 3D, which in itself is cool because then it has to apply all sorts of pysics to make it actual work with gravity. Like I said in my gameplay, I found that I could make my own path of play in which I tip the puzzle and make my marble land in a spot on the path below, skipping ahead to a later place. I found this especially helpful once you fall of as a way of moving the level along more quickly. Though that was one complaint I had on some of the more difficult levels. The checkpoint spaces did not come soon enough (if at all) on some of the really hard levels, proving the game much more difficult to play on that level. I would have designed it in a way that there were more checkpoints in the longer levels and at least one on the difficult levels.

    Note to player: If you get frustrated by the game, just walk away! If you keep playing, you will find your time just gets worse and worse. This game is best played when stress free!

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 02:37:02     -    Marble Mania (Wii)

    Summary: The goal of Kororinpa: Marble Mania is to guide a marble through a labrintine puzzle suspended in mid air while collecting orange crystals that unlock the exit portal. After collecting the required number of crystals and making it to the exit, you unlock other levels with light-hearted, yet challenging themes.

    Gameplay: In my first hour of gameplay I found this game to be extremely challenging, yet satisfying in a way. Unlike a sports game where there is a set goal (ie- touchdown, basket, etc.), this game's goal can be achieved in many ways. It was satisfying mostly because I could find the fastest way to get all the crystals, checkpoints, and goals in my own way. I did not have to follow a set path. I could tip the marble over the edge and make it land on a lower platform that it was meant to travel upon later.

    However, though I was excited to get through so many levels in the first hour (19!) I found my times getting slower and slower as the game went on (most of the time). This was very frustrating, however, it made me glad that the game was presenting real challenges in the levels and not the same boring, repititious puzzles. I was also frustrated by the bonus crystals. Though they were a good challenge in the beggining, towards later levels I found their locations to be absurd and impossible to get to without falling off (which is not the worst thing since you just start over, but it does take up time!).

    My favorite thing about playing was choosing the marble ball you got to play with. Penguins are my favorite animal in the world, so when I unlocked the penguin (with cute sounds and all!) I knew I had my favorite marble. However, I decided to try other marbles and see how they worked. I found that the "easy" ones were in fact easier (what a concept!) to play with, where as ones such as "galaxy" marble and "soccer ball" marble are much more difficult. It was extremely impressive that all these marbles had such different rolling "personalities" if you will. The animals make adorable sounds while the sports balls bounce. I can't wait to unlock more! It is an awesome reward for me :)

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