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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:42:57     -    Warcraft III -- Frozen Throne (PC)

    Gameplay: While playing the game for the second time around with the gamelog mentality I noticed several different things about my experience. For one, I noticed that the gameplay interaction between players varied greatly from game to game and was very subjective towards the outcome of the game. For example while playing a free for all game between four players, I found on numerous occasions that if threatened and antagonized player both verbally and physically, they would be more prone to change their focus from winning the game to killing me instead regardless of the overall outcome.
    This is an example of conflict created from challenge. The user is challenged with defeating all players of the game, and makes it personal based upon actions and events enacted during the gameplay. I also found it very interesting how customary and common it was to antagonize players during and before online play. It seemed to me that the game revolved around degrading one's opponents and making them feel inferior to your presence. I am curious if this is the case with most head to head computer games, or this one in particular.

    Design:

    Innovation: Unlike most real time strategies and contradictory to what others have said about this game while reviewing it, I found Warcraft III to be very innovative. Sure it is based upon the same principles of any RTS, managing resources and defeating opponents, but it has several different key elements that differentiate it from games of the past and present.

    For one, the game utilizes the function of a hero unit which has been scarcely seen in RTS games. The hero unit is not dependant on the player's survival, but acts as a cornerstone piece and integral part of the game. Warcraft III successfully combines the elements of an RPG with a real time strategy by making the skills, attributes, and abilities of the hero unit scale with game progression.


    Another key and innovative feature that warcraft III introduced to players upon its conception is the process of micro-managing units. Games of the past were generally based upon a macro scale of building mass amounts of units and sending them towards enemy units for battle. Warcraft III takes this several steps forwards and requires the player to make instantaneous reactions while engaged in battle to manuever individual units to best defeat their opponents. This is performed in a game of offensive tactics and evasive survival.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:52:07     -    Warcraft III -- Frozen Throne (PC)

    Summary: Warcraft III The Frozen Throne is a real time strategy game based upon the hit series Warcraft, by Blizzard Entertainment. The primary mechanic of the game is building units via the use of resources gathered and the leveling of hero unit(s).

    Gameplay: I am a long-term veteran of this game having played it since its conception to the present and consider it mastered. That being said, I have never taken the time to step back and consider the game for what it is: at neither the game play or the level design. Having played numerous other real time strategy games, I find that Warcraft III is both original, innovative, and standardized. Original in that it has its well developed campaign and plot line, innovative in that it utilizes a hero unit who gains experience as units are killed (as seen in RPGS) while at the same time maintaining the RTS experience, and finally standardized because it meets the requirements and standards of the common RTS that relies on the building of units and buildings via the management of resources.

    When finally taking the time to analyze the game for what it is in my gameplay experience I noticed several things. For one, while playing the game I found the intensity and stress level of the game to be very high. Every action I took had to be as efficient and effective as possible, otherwise I would mentally penalize myself for my mistakes. Furthermore, I noticed the expansive emerseivness of the game. For each game played, there were always countless strategies and possibilities to be used and I always found new and interesting ways to handle the challenges/conflicts that confronted me.

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    Feb 22nd, 2008 at 12:43:12     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    This installment of gameplay will focus on the multiplayer aspects of Super Smash Brothers.

    Gameplay: So I decided to kick things off in the morning with a good old fashion roommate brawl in a friendly game of Super Smash Brothers. Myself and my three roommates all sat down on the couch, grabbed the n64 controllers and prepared ourselves for one of the greatest tests of male dominance and masculinity: FREE FOR ALL! Needless to say, the game was an instant hit, and our competitive nature began to show as we immersed ourselves in the game's magic circle.
    I found my roommates and I bantering back and forth to one another each time a significant attack or death was made, heightening the gameplay experience. Emotions were invoked in our gameplay experience, causing us to cry out in pain and earnest as our avatar was pushed off a cliff to die, or cheer with glee, basking in the glory of victory.
    One interesting aspect of the game was how despite playing the game in its make believe context, real life stakes were made throughout the gameplay. For example, players would strike deals with eachother based upon the state of the game, and justify those deals based on a player's real life actions. For instance, my roommate Scott would say to my other roommate, "Matt, attack Travis not me, remember how he broke your ipod?" Also, players would make alliances with each other to gang up on another person, adding a sense of real life insult and unfairness, since no one likes being ganged up on.


    Design:

    Innovation: The first of its kind to my knowledge, combining a 2D fighting style game with 3D and adding multiple player compatibility, to create a unique and multiplayer based game.

    Creation of Conflict: Conflict is created in several different ways. For the single player, conflict is created during the game progression as the player escalates from level to level with a noticeable increase of difficulty at each stage. The designers created the game in such a way that the player would feel that they are escalating towards something epic by the end of the game, much like in a 2D shooter. One thing that the design of the single player campaign lacks however, is both depth and variety. The amount of stages are limited, and the levels all have the same basic principles of, seek and destroy your enemy using the same moves. This isn't to say that all the levels are the same, because they are not and each have their own unique feel, but rather that the levels all share common characteristics and don't challenge the player's intuition. The second way conflict is created is by the players themselves, in response to the gameworld rules. Depending on what the limitations of the game setting is in multiplayer (time limit, amount of lives, amount of hit points, etc) determines the type of conflict the players create. For instance, in a game with time limit for the most kills, player will be frantically rushing to defeat their opponents as fast as possible. In quite a different manner, if players are given a set amount of lives, they will be much more reserved, and avoid fighting with eachother in order to preserve themselves until the end.



    Reward Structure: The reward structure is designed very well for this game. The single player campaign allows the user to unlock certain special avatars (and levels) that can be played later in the game, depending on the user's performance in the campaign. I found this aspect of the game to be very rewarding, as earning the right to play a "secret" character who just happens to be another one of your favorite nintendo characters is very satisfying.

    Changes, Frustrations, Thoughts: Overall this is a great game to play with friends, maybe not so much for single player though. Single player is still fun beating one or two times through, but due to its brevity, I found it a little boring after running through it multiple times. The multiplayer is designed fantastically, constantly creating new forms of conflict and new elements of emergence needed to defeat your foes. If I could change anything about the game, the only thing I would change would be to add more depth to its single player, that is all.

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    Feb 22nd, 2008 at 03:37:18     -    Super Smash Brothers (N64)

    Summary: Super Smash Brothers for the Nintendo 64 is a crossover fighting game and is the first of a three part series. The player or players choose between one of several different familiar Nintendo characters, and battle it out in multiple settings and scenarios. The game utilizes both single player and multiplayer alike, with a particularly large appeal towards multiplayer. Furthermore, the single player is brought into

    Gameplay: I decided to break my playing experience into two separate sections, one involving the single play aspect and the other involving the multiplayer aspects. This gamelog will focus on the single player and the latter will focus on the multiplayer aspects.

    For starters, I think that this is a great game. The single player scenario depth and level progression is somewhat lacking, but the gameplay experience by far makes up for it. There are about ten or so levels on the single player mode, with a scalable difficulty. Each level takes about 5-10 minutes to complete resulting in a relativlely fast game completion if played well. Despite the limitations of AI gameplay and built in scenarios, It is very enjoyable to be able to play as your favorite nintendo character and kick some 3D butt.

    I particularly enjoyed the diverse abilities that each character has, as well as the multiple characters classes to choose from. During my progression I found that various tactics and strategies could be used (very close to exploits) to defeat the computer AI. This is most likely due in part to the limits of the current technology at the time the game was produced; and I didn't seem to mind it much while playing the game.

    Another aspect of the game that I particularly enjoyed was the break in mission types that occurred in between fight scenarios. As I progressed through the game, I would be challenged with these intermission games that would test my skills over various different levels. For instance one trial would test my ability to jump from platform while another would test my ability to run quickly while evading obstacles. I particularly enjoyed this breaks from the all out brawl of smashing my opponents into oblivion and it added a nice aspect to the game progression.

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