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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 23:48:58     -    Half-Life (PC)

    GAMEPLAY 2

    The game got exponentially more intense as the levels advanced and Gordon gets closer and closer to the surface. The levels also got more complex and required an expanded sense of puzzle solving and incorporated both stealth and guns blazing approaches to getting through the levels. The weapons even got diverse, as I was able to use alien technology and some top-secret handheld teleportation devices. One level I was required to shoot down a helicopter with a laser guided missile from a recently acquired rocket launcher. I loved how the nature of the weapons themselves play a role in accomplishing the objectives. Well, there actually are no objectives - thats another very compelling aspect of Half-Life. Just as there is no cinamatics or cutscenes, not any voice acting on behalf of Gordon Freeman, there are no set objectives. This made the gameplay more realistic because in a real life scenario, you wouldn't have your work cut out for you so simply and it certainly wouldnt be written down for you. It also gave the game a sense of freedom, and the storyline had such an impact on the gameplay that I really felt like a fugitive scientist just trying to get out alive.
    Some levels even take Gordon to the depths of space to annhilate the alien threat - each rendered hauntingly beautiful. Despite the limited graphics capabilities, the alien planet (Xen) has an immense sense of depth to the point of oblivion. The developers were incredibly successful in setting the tone for the game.

    DESIGN

    Half-Life is considered to be one of the best games of all time, for very apparent reasons after playing it through again. Gordon's identity is so mysterious that it becomes open-ended for the player - the lack of information about him leaves it open for my own imagination to take the role of Gordon Freeman. The storyline is also incredibly immersive - I can't help but think of how feasible the sequence of events is.

    Half-Life raised the bar in terms of AI as well. Enemy soldiers work in teams and used what appeared to be real military tactics - flanking, taking cover, throwing grenades almost too accuratley. The aliens come in all shapes, sizes, and have a variety of killing styles. The scientists all have brainy personalities and give essential background information on whats going on. The audio component of the game is very effective in creating the fearsome and uncertain atmosphere of Black Mesa.

    If I could change anything, I would want to give some kind of explanation why Gordon is so proficient in shooting, killing, and surviving. As dynamic and immersive as the game was, I never understood why a nerdy MIT grad could take out squads of Black Ops or mince giant alien spiders with a crowbar. For all the implications and little mentions in Half-Life to explain the enviornment and circumstances, this was the one aspect that had me stumped. But hands down, this is one of the best games I've ever played and would reccomend it to any gamer.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 20:12:58     -    Half-Life (PC)

    SUMMARY

    The story of Half-Life begins on a dark tramride through the secret research facility of Black Mesa, located in a remote region of New Mexico. You play as Gordon Freeman, an MIT graduate with a Phd. in Physics, and are sent to the Anamalous Materials lab in sector C to participate in a seemingly simple experiment. However, by pushing a metaphysical force crystal into an electromagnetic pulse wave, teleportation portals are opened between our world and beyond. Aliens start teleporting out of nowhere and attacking Black Mesa personnel - and its up to you to survive. Fighting waves of a wide variety of both alien monsters and government Marines and Black Ops sent to clean up the mess, Half-Life is a revolutionary first-person shooter with an gripping storyline to set the pace for the action.

    GAMEPLAY 1

    The facility of Black Mesa was very fun to explore, especially since the developers but quite a bit of time in giving you a real feel for what a secret science facility is like. There are plenty of scientists to interact with and even vending machines that dispense soda. Obviously the controls and movement were fluid and the game takes about one level until the actions starts. After the disaster, Gordon is able to collect a crowbar to fight off the measely Head-Crab aliens, then picks up a pistol from a fallen security guard, and finds a shotgun in the security room armory. I liked how the weapon advancement system, or the games sense of facility, was realistic to the story. The narrative progresses through what I would like to call in-game cinematics - that is, the game doesn't pause and go into third person perspective and preform a cuscene, you actually see events and plot twists happen right in front of you. A scientist will make futile attempts at banging on a glass window after an alien gets teleported in his office, and fallen security guards will flag you down and give a tip. The best effect of this is that you are never removed from the initial gameplay experience - there is a constant flow of interactions and events happening outside of your influence.
    A real turning point in the game is when help does arrive - the scientists were able to get a signal to send to the US government, however, they do not want word of this alien outbreak to get out, so squads of battle-hungry grunts are sent to eliminate the alien threat and silence the research teams. Gordon is now up against both alien and man alike, which adds an entirely new dynamic to the gameplay and storyline. The Marines and Black Ops work in teams and implement squad tactics against you.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:43:16     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    GAMEPLAY 2

    After my second gameplay session of Super Mario Brothers 3, I reasoned that the game was far more engaging and innovative than I had first made it out to be. It began when I realized that the raccoon suit actually had the power to increase my time in flight – an ability worth a great deal in enemy dodging. I was able to soar through levels and time my jumps according to the enemies on the ground. As I covered more terrain and marked each completed level with the M, I was satisfied with my imperialist methods of conquering, as the entire map was now scattered with Ms, M for Mario. I also looked at the map of all the levels and saw a castle far in the corner at the end of my path, with a blinker reading “HELP!” I then learned that it is a princess I am saving, and gained a further understanding of my goals as Mario.

    The levels got increasingly harder and incorporated new aspects of the gameworld, such as water, lava, and rotating platforms. There was even a level that took place in the sky and was focused on timing and precision of movement. I was relieved to find that not every single level consisted of hopping and running; the game progression got much less linear and more complex.

    The game got very frustrating when I ran out of lives because it meant that it was “Game Over” and I had to start all the way from the beginning. Tedious. I played for about an hour but after realizing I had nearly beat the game (or the stage, I am not sure) and now had to start from the first level I shut off the NES right then and there. The limited lives system did, however, make the game more intense because I had to rely on my skills alone. I soon became emotionally invested in the game when my chances fell short.


    DESIGN

    Super Mario Brothers 3 takes the platform game experience to the next level. Seemingly dull at first, the designers incorporate gravity, resource management, and time limitability to create what can quickly become an intense gameplay experience. When the player really gets into it, the level design even has an effect on the experience. For instance, after completing a sunny, grassy level, I was thrust underground in a large green pipeline into an almost hellish environment. It was very dark, there were lava and spikes and fireballs, even skeletons of previous enemies. I wont lie – it was the slightest bit scary. When I got to the surface, I was relieved. I would never have thought that such an outdated game could have such an effect.

    The game makes great use of both space and time. There is a time limit to each level, encouraging the player to control Mario both to avoid enemies and the clock as well. One level moves on its own, and its up to the player to not let the edge of the screen push Mario off a cliff. This particular sequence also involved jumping on timed logs that would soon fall once landed on. Once again, timing of jumps and landing was key in staying alive and completing the level.

    If I could change anything about Super Mario Brothers 3 it would be two things – easier attainment of 1 Ups, and a predictable direction of mushroom movement. I found myself cursing at the NES for making me start all the way at the first level after slipping off the edge in the last one. However, the limited lives made the game much more intense, as all my progress was on the line. I think it would be better if getting 1 UPs was easier, but unlimited lives would make the game boring. Additionally, the player must jump below a cube labeled with a question mark and receive either a coin or a mushroom, which will give Mario an extra chance if he is hit by an enemy. The mushroom pops up, then scurries in an random direction. Many times the mushroom would scurry away from me and I died chasing it. A small issue, but it could have made the difference between a Game Over and otherwise.

    My experience with Super Mario Brothers 3 gave me a lot of ideas for my game. Overall, learned that platform games don’t have to be just run and jump. Elements such as space, time, and powerups can play a key role in making the game more engaging for the player.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:39:48     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    GAMEPLAY 2

    After my second gameplay session of Super Mario Brothers 3, I reasoned that the game was far more engaging and innovative than I had first made it out to be. It began when I realized that the raccoon suit actually had the power to increase my time in flight – an ability worth a great deal in enemy dodging. I was able to soar through levels and time my jumps according to the enemies on the ground. As I covered more terrain and marked each completed level with the M, I was satisfied with my imperialist methods of conquering, as the entire map was now scattered with Ms, M for Mario. I also looked at the map of all the levels and saw a castle far in the corner at the end of my path, with a blinker reading “HELP!” I then learned that it is a princess I am saving, and gained a further understanding of my goals as Mario.

    The levels got increasingly harder and incorporated new aspects of the gameworld, such as water, lava, and rotating platforms. There was even a level that took place in the sky and was focused on timing and precision of movement. I was relieved to find that not every single level consisted of hopping and running; the game progression got much less linear and more complex.

    The game got very frustrating when I ran out of lives because it meant that it was “Game Over” and I had to start all the way from the beginning. Tedious. I played for about an hour but after realizing I had nearly beat the game (or the stage, I am not sure) and now had to start from the first level I shut off the NES right then and there. The limited lives system did, however, make the game more intense because I had to rely on my skills alone. I soon became emotionally invested in the game when my chances fell short.


    DESIGN

    Super Mario Brothers 3 takes the platform game experience to the next level. Seemingly dull at first, the designers incorporate gravity, resource management, and time limitability to create what can quickly become an intense gameplay experience. When the player really gets into it, the level design even has an effect on the experience. For instance, after completing a sunny, grassy level, I was thrust underground in a large green pipeline into an almost hellish environment. It was very dark, there were lava and spikes and fireballs, even skeletons of previous enemies. I wont lie – it was the slightest bit scary. When I got to the surface, I was relieved. I would never have thought that such an outdated game could have such an effect.

    The game makes great use of both space and time. There is a time limit to each level, encouraging the player to control Mario both to avoid enemies and the clock as well. One level moves on its own, and its up to the player to not let the edge of the screen push Mario off a cliff. This particular sequence also involved jumping on timed logs that would soon fall once landed on. Once again, timing of jumps and landing was key in staying alive and completing the level.

    If I could change anything about Super Mario Brothers 3 it would be two things – easier attainment of 1 Ups, and a predictable direction of mushroom movement. I found myself cursing at the NES for making me start all the way at the first level after slipping off the edge in the last one. However, the limited lives made the game much more intense, as all my progress was on the line. I think it would be better if getting 1 UPs was easier, but unlimited lives would make the game boring. Additionally, the player must jump below a cube labeled with a question mark and receive either a coin or a mushroom, which will give Mario an extra chance if he is hit by an enemy. The mushroom pops up, then scurries in an random direction. Many times the mushroom would scurry away from me and I died chasing it. A small issue, but it could have made the difference between a Game Over and otherwise.

    My experience with Super Mario Brothers 3 gave me a lot of ideas for my game. Overall, learned that platform games don’t have to be just run and jump. Elements such as space, time, and powerups can play a key role in making the game more engaging for the player.

    add a comment Add comment  -  read this GameLog read

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