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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:47:23     -    Defence of the Ancients (PC)

    GAMEPLAY:

    During the second play of this game I decided to play with some friends to see if the gameplay was changed at all. There were some pluses and some minuses in doing so.

    Primarily, my friends all knew how to play the game well so there was a definite advantage while playing. Basically we would "pub stomp" and completely dominate every single game. Although this would be fun in the beginning it gets old very fast. The game then become very fun to play primarily but then later on became quite boring. We quickly found a solution to this problem by facing another group of five friends on the other team to evenly match our skill level.

    One thing that I did notice while playing with friends is that it brought a completely new kind of gameplay. It was no longer focusing on what items to get or how good your hero is, but on what heroes to pick to work well with your friends heroes and having good combos. The teamwork aspect of gameplay was greatly increased when playing with people that you know.

    This game also seemed to bring a new wave of social interactions between the players. When you play with someone you know, it is harder to "act tough" online and you start acting more or less like yourself even though there is still a slight change. Not to say there is no smack talk, but it definitely is less when playing with friends.

    DESIGN:

    The design of Dota is quite interesting to analyze because it is not really a commercialized game, yet it has become so popular with at least one hundred thousand players at any given time. The game was designed using WarcraftIII's custom game creator so the tools and resources were limited, but the game design was still a success. This proves that you do not need crazy graphics to make a game successful, although they do help.

    The hero design was basically ripped straight off of WarcraftIII and they were given different names and different abilities, but most of them were seen already in WarcraftIII. As the game became more popular however, the creator started programming his own abilities and his own heroes in the game which attracted even more fans. It basically became a whole new game.

    The items are also taken from the original WarcraftIII game but tweaked in some way to make them original and inventive. There are all types of different item designs. The three basic item types are strength, agility, and intelligence items for the respective type of hero. There are also damage items to get your hero to do more damage. But these basic items are not the main event in dota, it is the combining items that was the designing achievement. Items can combine to do things such as hex opponents, make images of yourself, heal your whole team, and to get an insane amount of damage.

    With so many variables the design of the game is very difficult to keep error free, and therefore the Dota creators release a new patch almost every week. The nice thing about this is that in these new patches they are able to add more items and more heroes which make the game basically ever growing.

    I have been playing Dota for years and it has still never disappointed me and is definitely a game worth playing for anyone interested in starting a new and innovative RTS.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 00:58:56     -    Defence of the Ancients (PC)

    SUMMARY:

    Defence of the Ancients (DOTA) is a custom game created on WarcraftIII that is basically the only reason people play the game nowadays. The basic premise is you control one hero, there are two teams, five on five, and you have to push a constant stream of creep spawns through a series of towers to the other teams base and take control of it.

    GAMEPLAY:

    DOTA's gameplay is quite unique because it involves a great deal of teamwork and a large amount of dependency on the individual players as well. There are basically two things to go for while playing the game, levels and items.

    As in WarcraftIII it is possible to gain experience by killing either heroes or the other teams creeps. When you kill one of these creeps or a Hero you get gold as well. This gold can be used to buy items for your hero.

    One of the main gameplay aspects of Dota is the fact that you can combine your items to form a vast variety of items. This brings an array of possibilities and variables in each game. Many say that it might get repetitive since you start at level 1 at the start of every game but there are so many heroes, 104 to be exact, and so many item combinations that each game is fresh and new which makes it so fun to play.

    The interactions that I noticed during gameplay were those that are normally seen in these online PC games. A lot of verbal conflict like smack talking, and a large range of players from skilled to completely newb. The problem I see is that Dota has an extremely steep learning curve and the only way to really learn how to play is to watch someone play and have them behind you teaching you while you play.

    Overall because I know how to play the game, and am pretty experienced the game is fun almost every time. There are so many variables and outcomes that the gameplay is amazing and I definately recommend Dota to anyone who is willing to learn.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 23:49:22     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    GAMEPLAY:

    During the second hour of gameplay I decided to analyze more of the multi-player aspects of the game rather than the single player. I decided that the single-player mode is good for a one time thing but after that the majority of gameplay will be in the multi-player mode.

    When I play with friends, first of all you know the game is good when you suddenly realize that you have been playing the game for 5 hours straight. The lasting value of the game is incredible. Even though the characters are the same and there are only a set amount of levels, the outcome is variable each time we played another game.

    The characters of the game being Nintendo favorites, also had a tremendous appeal to the players as well as the viewers. Such favorites such as Mario or Fox or Link, make the game more engaging to those loyal Nintendo fans who have played the games previously. These characters form a strange type of bond to the players and more often than not the player will choose the same character over and over again.

    The best part that made the game fun to play was the fast paced action and the cool moves that each of the characters can perform in order to completely blast the other players away. All five hours of gameplay were just as entertaining as the last which made the game amazing.

    DESIGN:

    One of the most prominent design features of this game was the mood of the game. Here you have a bunch of characters beating the crap out of each other, but instead of having blood and guts, the game has successfully made it appealing without making it excessively violent. The mood is a kind of happy Mario type world mood.

    However, this does not take away from keeping the player entertained and into the game. There are fun animations from each of the characters when they smash you away that keep the player interested. Also there are many uses of items such as the pokeball which realeases a pokemon to do your dirty work for you. The combination of items and special moves create a vast array of animations that are able to grasp the player.

    One interesting design aspect was the controls. It is surprisingly harder to perform a smash move than it is to do a special move. They brought in the notion of just tapping the controller in a direction and then pressing the A button to smash. The specials on the other hand are very simple and can be done with any directional button and the B button. The designers however made the smash moves significantly stronger than the special moves to make up for this. Any experienced player would tell you that you should only use the special moves to save yourself from dying.

    That brings me on another interesting design concept, the game world. The world, or each of the levels is built as just a platform with certain variations based on the characters, and they have made it so if you fall off the platform, you die. However they have also created many ways to get back up if you are blasted away, making the game last longer since it does not necessarily end if you are blasted away.

    It also depends on how much damage you have taken. The designers had put in a very interesting take on damage. Instead of having a certain amount of HP, it is recorded as a percentage or how much of a chance you have of dying from the next hit. The more you get hit, the higher the percentage goes up. Usually if the percentage reaches above 100% then one smash should take care of you if you are on the ledge.

    All in all, they have made an incredible design that is both engaging to the player and entertaining, as well as not too serious of a mood making it a truly fun game to play.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 20:28:49     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    SUMMARY:

    Super Smash Brothers is a single-player or multi-player fighting game with a cartoon-like look and feel with classic Nintendo characters. The objective of the game is to basically win against your opponents in each round. There are also a wide array of items and characters which makes the game unique.

    GAMEPLAY:

    Super Smash Brothers has some interesting gameplay. There are two basic modes, the single player and multi-player.

    In the single player mode, the basic story, or what I presume is the story, is that a child is playing with his/her toys, and fights them with each other until in the end you have to fight the player's hand itself.

    The gameplay is interesting because it is complicated enough for there to be different levels of players, but it is not that hard to learn all of the abilities to become a decent player. There are basically two types of moves, special moves and smash moves. The moves are variant for each character.

    The goal of the single-player game is to defeat each level until the Master Hand, which is basically fighting every single character in the game. Once the opponent receives enough damage, there is a possibility of being knocked off of the course, resulting in a victory. To beat the game you must defeat each of the characters on one of four difficulties.

    There is also a multi-player mode which is where I believe the game gets most of its pizazz. It is not emotionally engaging to continuously beat the crap out of a computer, but when its another human being, the game adds on another touch that makes it feel as if you are actually fighting the other person. The basic premise of the multi-player game is four people beating the living daylights out of each other until one of them remains to be the victor.

    I believe this game was very fun to play because of its cartoony Mario feel as well as the idea of your favorite Nintendo characters beating each other up with no consequences.

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