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    Mar 2nd, 2008 at 18:38:06     -    Break O Mania (Web)

    Gamelog #5
    Entry #2
    Gameplay:
    It took a while for me to realize that the levels are timed. It does not seem to matter if you eliminate all of the bricks or not, the goal is to gather points. However, the more bricks eliminated the more points. The level ends when the time is up, whether there are still bricks or not. In my first round, I scored just over 600 points. Round two gave me about 40 more points, but I still died on the same level. I was able to clear several levels of bricks within the time limit though, which I had not been able to do my first time through the game.
    I really liked it when I discovered I was able to start on any level. Therefore, I was able to start on that particular one that was very troublesome where I continuously died. It was not necessary for me to spend all of my lives (balls) on it, but I had the option. From there I was able to go on to higher levels. It was nice because I got a chance to experience all of the levels without having to spend the time to beat them in order. I can now go back, try the game in order at my own pace, and not get frustrated at the prospect of never seeing a level because the previous one is too difficult.

    Design:
    At first, I thought that some of the levels had too many solid objects. There were solid walls that spanned almost the entire screen and it was very difficult to get around and eliminate the bricks behind it. It occurred to me though that this is where skill comes into the game, and it is no longer based on just luck. If you use the cannon balls and other power-ups to eliminate the close bricks, then it should be possible to angle the ball so it goes further back in the screen where the power-ups cannot reach. Trying this method out, I found that I was much more likely to eliminate all of the bricks in a level before the time ran out.

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    Mar 2nd, 2008 at 00:55:21     -    Break O Mania (Web)

    BreakOMania
    Gamelog #5
    Entry #1
    Summary:
    Break O Mania is a remake of the classic arcade title BreakOut. It has the same basic goal of destroying all of the bricks in each level by hitting them with a ball while controlling a paddle. Once you cleared a stage of all bricks, you go on to the next level. This version has many different power ups, such as the fireball that you can cause to explode several bricks at once, but there are also negative effects that can harm the ball.

    Gameplay:
    Because this game is similar to the traditional Break Out and I was familiar with its basic concept, I did not read the directions before my first round. I discovered that this game has key renovations from the original that kept me on my toes. I was shocked when I received power-ups and was able to do things, such as cloning balls, launching cannonballs, and shooting missiles. Other rewards included gems that lead to points, paddle speed up, and double barrel guns for the paddle to help destroy bricks. It also threw me for a loop when I ended up with one of the games punishments: reversal of paddle direction, paddle slow down, or completely stopping the paddle. However, there were still the basic loss of a ball and loss of the game. All of these new features gave the game a little bit of unique spice to set it apart form the traditional game. I did not like a few of them, but as a whole, I think they present new and interesting challenges that I enjoyed trying to overcome.
    I was shocked when I was actually able to complete five levels before dying. It is the best I have been able to do for any game I have played for this class. Even when I did die, it did not give me the same discouraging feeling that other games have given me. I was able to last much longer (time wise) and get through more levels than any other game (my previous record was level three). I have not been able to figure out what it is about this game that I seem to be missing in other games, but I actually want to play my next round of this game.

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    Feb 11th, 2008 at 13:22:58     -    Gradius (NES)

    Gamelog #4
    Entry #2
    Gameplay:
    My second time around with Gradius was slightly better than the first. Instead of trying to advance through the playing field, I set up my own goals. I selected a two player game (even though I was the only one playing) and compared my score results through several rounds with player one only able to shoot and player two able to shoot and maneuver. To my surprise, and probably no one else’s, maneuvering does help. However, when I play it does not help that much. On average, my scores were so close that the difference is most likely negligible. On multiple occasions, I actually did better when I did not try to maneuver. I cannot even imagine the volume that speaks about how poor my skill level is.
    I lost interest in comparing my own scores fairly quickly since they were relatively consistent. After that, I was able to convince my roommate to play with me. She and I are at very similar skill levels; she only has a little more experience with video games than I do. Although neither of us did very well (with very little improvement), it was nice playing with someone just as bad as I was. There is no way I would have been able to stand playing with our other housemate. She is just too good; it would have been a futile effort on my part.
    For the most part, Gradius was much better the second time around. Unfortunately for the creators, this is not a game I would ever by for myself.

    Design:
    My score comparisons reinforce my previous point of needing different levels of difficulty. I know other games have this feature, but I think all games need it. Games may have plenty of the first seduction, the design of desire, but if they do not have enough of the second seduction, the design of pleasure, then the players are never going to continue to play. If a player dies three times within the first five minutes of playing a game, there is not enough design of pleasure. Players will become discouraged and will not be willing to reenter the magic circle. I believe that with difficulty levels, players will not be discouraged when they start out, and when they progress to a higher level of difficulty the pleasure of being successful will be all the greater.
    A downside of using an old system like this is that when I finally did want to play with my roommate we were actually just comparing scores after we had each taken our turns. Two players do not actually get to play at the same time in a team (like in the class demo for the PS2) or against each other. This greatly limits the kinds of interactions players can have with the system, which I assume is why later systems changed this. In the few games I have played, I always enjoyed them more when my friends and I could team up against the game. I much preferred fighting a common enemy than fighting each other. This version of Gradius does not allow that type of play, a very disappointing feature.

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    Feb 10th, 2008 at 14:18:23     -    Gradius (NES)

    Gamelog #4
    Entry #1
    Summary:
    Gradius is a classic horizontally scrolling “shoot ‘em up” game where the player controls the spaceship Vic Viper and must battle waves of enemies. Throughout the game, collection of power-ups enables Vic Viper to better engage enemy ships in combat. Once through the multitude of waves, the player faces off with a boss, a giant craft, which takes more effort and time to defeat.

    Gameplay:
    I was able to notice a link between my gameplay and the section of the book that talks about flow. The book discusses a balance between the player’s skill level and the challenges presented by the game. If the skill is high and the challenge low, the player experiences boredom. If the challenge is high and the skill low, the player experiences anxiety. Only when both are high or both low does the player experience flow. I would have to say that I fall into the Anxiety category. I felt as though I had no control over the game. Whether I tried very hard, weaving around, or simply sat and fired, I consistently got the same distance before I die. It felt as though the attacks were never ending and I was unable to get my bearings straight before the next attack (and usually death) occurred. The power-ups also did not feel effective enough to actually increase my fighting ability.
    I really think this game would benefit from letting the player choose a difficulty level. As a novice to this type of game (and in general all video games), it started out excessively strong. More than half of my deaths can be attributed to concentrating on the enemy ships so much that by the time I saw missiles from the ground bases it was too late to evade. The game was a complete sensory overload. I was so frustrated with it that I could not wait for my 45 minutes to end. I have to find some way to make the next session flow better or it will drive me nuts. This is also a perfect example of what not to put into my own game. My game is being aimed at young and inexperienced players, so it will need to begin slower and gradually increase the difficulty, not start out so demanding that the player dies within the first minute.

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    1Break O Mania (Web)Playing
    2Gradius (NES)Playing
    3Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)Playing
    4Mario Party (N64)Playing
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