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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 23:40:13     -    Reservoir Dogs (XBX)

    Summary: Reservoir Dogs is a third person shooter game based on the film by Quentin Tarantino. The player is trained to rob a bank.

    GamePlayI: This game had potentially good ideas but the structure was no good. I attempted to play as long as I could but the game was pretty horrible. The fact is Reservoir Dogs should have stayed a film. The beginning of the game is a sequence of three training sessions before the actual game begins. The player can skip the training and go directly to the game but I chose to do the training. The training sessions allow the player to get familiar with the controls particular to this game. The game is based on the film's narrative. You are being trained to rob a bank. In the training you learn that how to crouch and roll, how to capture a hostage, how to neutralize security guards and cops, and how to get a banker to open a safe. These are great ideas but overall the actual game play was not interesting. Once the training sessions are done, the first level begins inside the bank and the player must get downstairs and out the front doors using the tactics from the training. You are given weapons and the control layout is basic to a third-person shooter. You can aim, reload and fire. The player can also hit the Left trigger to lock onto the target. There is also an adrenaline scale, kind of like your health. There is a button which the player can go into Bullet Festival mode and this just slows everything down (slow motion) and you shoot as many people as you can, then there is a cut scene showing everyone you shot falling down dramatically. There were also too many cut scenes. The player can skip them, but even so, there were too many. I think this game depended purely on the film and the cut scenes of the film to build a narrative for the game, but it made the game boring and not fun to play. Reservoir Dogs is one of my favorite movies and playing video games is one of my favorite things to do, but the two did not fit well together.

    Game PlayII: I had to force myself to play a second session because I really did not want to. As the game proceeded the levels were not linear at all and did not really relate. In one level you have to race against one of your friends and the player learns how to shoot people from the car. Again, the linear structure, the objectives, and the game play was all just depending on the popularity of the film, but the game itself was not created with good and unique challenges. There was not a defined and clear goal. There were not too many rewards and the mechanics were not very appealing, just mediocre. Overall as I played I was not interested in progressing through the game and I cannot think of anything about the game that makes it unique and interesting. Again, I could tell that the ideas behind the game had some potential, but the game reflected the film by placing too many cut scenes and then the player just shoots people. The cut scenes were more interesting then the actual game play itself.

    Design: The graphics of this game were also pretty simple. I enjoyed the camera angles and movement very much, there was great movement while the player mobilizes around the game. The settings were diverse, which semi-made up for the horrible game construction. The graphics were overall really good, but this proves that the graphics do not make game play good at all. I was just staring at the cool graphics and movement of the AI, but the game play was boring. Also. the warehouse was accurate to the film which was cool. In the film the warehouse is pretty much where the entire film happens, and the graphics of this area were set perfectly to look like the actual warehouse. The characters looked like the actors, but again this all goes back to what was wrong with this game. They had the graphics and movement of a third person shooter, but with no good game goals, challenges, conflict or linear progression.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 23:49:40     -    Super Mario Bros. All Stars (SNES)

    Super Mario Brothers is a platformer game. You are Mario, the main character and you move through different worlds and must rescue the princess.

    Game Session 1: I definitely was excited to play Super Mario Brothers because it reminded me of my child hood. I am sure most people had some kind of Super Mario Brothers experience in their childhood that changed their lives at that time. The cultural impact this game already has on so many generations made me anxious to play. My goal here was to really analyze why Mario Brothers is so popular as a platform game. I noticed very quickly how much the game world creates the challenges. This platform game really utilizes the Platform to create a challenging environment. The first world is very simple. There are six levels in this world and each level has a different setting. There are colorful platforms you can jump onto as well as many blocks you can hit from underneath which hold prizes for you that make you stronger. As each level proceeds the game world gets more difficult. Level six in world one really forces the player to use the platforms as a tool to stay alive because there is no ground in this level only platforms you can jump onto which are in the sky, so if you miss one you die. An important element of this game as a whole, are the fun games you are rewarded with as you beat levels within the different worlds. Every world contains these games. One game you have to match a picture as three different sections of the picture move very quickly. Then there is the game where you must match the cards (very classic). Lastly there are mushroom huts which provide three chests and you can only choose one which reveals a special prize, most familiar are the mushroom, flower, and feather (which all allow you to have special characteristics. These fun games are separate from the levels and contain no enemies. I think this taps into children games and childhood. Most kids learn how to play card match at a young age and this definitely has a huge influence on the familiarity of the game in Mario Brothers. Every world contains a small castle and the big castle which must beat to move onto the next world. The small castles generally all have the similar design layout. There are enemies only particular to these castles. The main castle in the first world was very easy and gives you a feel of how the game will proceed. There are cannons flying around and the one characteristic particular to the main castle is that the screen moves and you are forced to move in that direction or you will die.

    Game Session 2: As I proceeded to World Two I noticed the variety of the enemies but most important the variety of how the platforms and enemies interact to create conflict. This is what really makes Mario Brothers a great platform game; timing and platform elements combined with enemies among these platforms creates a great challenge. The second world introduced new enemies. Enemies consist of turtles which you can stomp on and use as a weapon yourself (very clever), mushrooms (flying ones also), turtles throwing boomerangs, fireballs, ghosts (only in castles), etc. The new enemy I would like to mention that was introduced in world two are the jumping blocks which are camoflauged with the platforms you jump onto. This is a very great game element move on the designers’ parts. What are the elements that make a great platform game? Mario Brothers really captures this because the platforms are used as tools to survive, as enemies that can kill, and they even have prizes stored inside them. These blocks have little mushrooms inside them and they try to jump on you when you get close to them. You are forced to use platforms and avoid them depending on the situation. As the worlds proceed the mini castles get harder and again the use of platforms to create conflict arises. In this case there are spikes on top and on the bottom of the platforms and the platforms are moving up and down. So you cannot let them touch you. This brings in another amazing element of Mario Brothers; timing. Not only can you run out of time on every level, but timing as you actually play is important. At times there are platforms that are in the air moving and you must jump from one to the other right on time in order to not miss it. Also, there are times when enemies are very close to your only way out and the platforms you are on or under cause a little bit of difficultly for you as you try to avoid enemies and get to the end of the level. There are also water levels as well as water worlds. The water levels contain their own challenges. The tunnels that you can go into are now used as obstacles to get past because they shoot bubbles out and force you down while you are underwater. There are jellyfish and water plants that can kill you also. They are usually stationed near prizes you need. This creates a challenge. There are levels which combine platforms above water but there is water below with fish and flying fish trying to kill you. As the levels get harder the platforms are more difficult to interact with because they are moving quickly while more enemies with stronger characteristics are surrounding you. Overall, Mario Brothers is a perfect example of a great plaformer game because of the many different states the platforms are in, how you can interact with them, how the enemies interact with them, and the timing you must have at certain point in order to stay alive.

    Game Design: The game design of Mario Brothers fits into my Game Session paragraphs very nicely. The level design of a platform game is going to strongly depend on the platforms themselves and how these platforms create a challenge. The graphics in Mario Brothers is very basic but what makes this game fun to play is the design of game world. The levels are designed for the player to really utilize action such as jumping, flying, and running. The game is very colorful and attracting. Platforms are different sizes, shapes and come in different forms. Some are not even large platforms but skinny and thin sticks that stay still for a few seconds, then spin very fast to knock you off. The platforms are set up at different heights and this is very important element in Mario Brothers. This allows the player to get to places very high up in the game world, thus providing the sense of a spacious world to explore. There are not just platforms but other object you can interact with, like the tunnels. There are platforms that you cannot get to unless you obtain a feather and fly up to them. These design elements are what make the game fun and this attracts people to keep playing. The design never gets old because there is so much variety in the level design, I cannot even discuss all the elements because as you proceed in the different worlds, one cannot imagine the many different varieties that the platform actually take. Mario Brothers has definitely proved that a platform game can be taken into so many generations and so much gameplay can come out of it, all because of the different states the platform can take.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 23:22:14     -    Goldeneye 007 (N64)


    GamePlay2:As I kept playing GoldenEye 007 I noticed some frustrating things about the objective layout. The objectives were very interesting and fun, but there were many time when I thought I had completed all objectives and then I missed one. There were times I got stuck and played the level about 5 times to get the last objective which should not have taken me that long. I followed the clues they gave but it seemed at times there was too much abstraction to some of the objectives, but overall it was still pleasurable to play this game. I could see how this might discourage many players though. I still enjoyed it and got through these challenges. I also noticed that there are rooms placed in some levels that are completely irrelevant and are there just to kill you. On one level there is a room in which the you think you need to go into the room and do something important to fulfill and objective, but once you go into the room and shoot some of the barrels, there is no way to get out alive. The doors shut and lock you in and poisonous gas is released, killing you within a few seconds. I learned the hard way that you can beat this level without ever going into this room. I liked this tactic so much. This was tricky and it worked. Also, towards the end of certain levels a huge amount of enemies attack you. I think this is also a good challenge technique especially when you are about to beat the level. I noticed on one level when I got to the end and had to fight about 30 to 40 guys in a span of about 5-10 minutes, I could only use my pistol. The game was actually programmed to not allow me to use my other guns during this 10 minute period, when I was using all my guns right before. This was also an interesting restriction. The pistol (as many of us who love FPS games know) is usually semi difficult to use when you have many enemies. The pistol is always a good gun, but definitely takes more practice using then a machine gun.

    Design: I noticed at the end of every level the game gives you statistics on your accuracy, your weapon most used, and how many body shot you got. I liked this a lot and I think this also feeds replay value. One small downfall I noticed was that the design of the difficulty levels was a little off. For example I can say that there were parts in Mission One which got really challenging and difficult, but then there were parts in Mission Two which were too easy at times to beat. There was not a clear linear progression of difficulty. I think as one progresses in levels the challenges should always be a little bit harder then the previous ones. That was not the case, only sometimes did this happen. Overall I loved the design of the level and how I had to interact with these levels to get to my goals. The designers truly made it a challenge and a puzzle to get to the end result and to find and complete objectives throughout each level. I think this game is great and especially for what it was at the time, was very impressive. The fact is I played for hours, kept wanting to play, and enjoyed playing. Although this game is a bit older, the design of the game created a good FPS tone.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 23:05:42     -    Goldeneye 007 (N64)

    Summary: First person shooter game. You are a secret agent and are given missions which come between three to four parts. These missions entail that you gather certain information, destroy enemy computer systems, eliminate enemies along the way, and you must complete every element on the list of objectives to move on. You are van expert and the best, you are expected to not fail.

    Game Log I:

    GamePlay: To be honest I never played N64 too much when it came out. This was my first time playing Golden Eye 007. I started playing first person shooters on the first Playstation and on newer consoles like XBOX. I have to say that it took me a good 20 minutes to get used to the N64 console, but another interesting challenge was to adapt to an older game console. I am so used to the XBOX controllers, so this was a great opportunity to change my hand-eye coordination and get different practice. I enjoy FPS so I was excited to start the game. The first mission was an outside setting and I started with a pistol. The first few things I did was played with the aiming and movement. I noticed that the aiming on this game was created a little off, making the shooting action challenging but fun once I got used to it. On newer consoles when you aim a gun the cross hairs usually will go directly on the target and turn red. GoldenEye 007, you must aim your cross hairs a little to the bottom right or left corner in order to be on your target. This was a very interesting aspect of this older console and its design framework. I liked it, but it definitely took me time to get good at it. The sensitivity on the gun movement is very high and this is something I usually change on newer consoles, but I could not find that option (I could have been looking wrong). So I was forced to learn how to move with about a level sensitivity of about 6, if the scale was from 1-6. I personally critique the array of weapons that a game offers, the difficulty of objectives, and the storyline. The first hour of gameplay was mostly getting used to the controls and checking out the guns. I liked how every gun had particular characteristics to be somewhat realistic. All the scopes on the guns had different ranges depending on the weapon. The second part of mission one was in a chemical warfare facility. There were four objectives and the first two time I played I missed certain rooms and would complete only 2 of the 4 objectives causing me to start over. This was a form of replay value to me. There were certain objectives I would miss and then get the next time, so it made me want to keep playing to achieve all the goals. About this time I stopped (I had been playing for a good two hours or so.)

    Design: I really liked this game. It allowed me to experience an older, yet classic console. The N64 graphics are of course out of date at this point, but I think for what it was at the time, this game is wonderfully designed. The graphics are derived from very distinct shapes. The buildings, towers, cars, etc. are created as large squares, rectangles, and circles with some details and colors to make them be actual objects. It is very interesting. The level design was exceptional. Each level was in a different setting and this game had great complexity in the level design but it also allowed the player to get used to the level layout and know the map of the levels after playing a couple of times. The first time I played any level, it was confusing and very much like a puzzle. There were many rooms and many ways to keep circling your same path. I got used to this quickly though and would soon move about a level fast. A great design feature was also the use of colors. The enemies were very difficult to see in certain levels. They blended in well with the background thus making it challenging in certain areas of the game. Of course you are given weapons that correspond to your setting at the beginning of every level. For example when I was in doors I would be given pistols and machine guns, but in Mission 2 Severnaya part one, I was outdoors and given a sniper rifle. I think this is an important design move to really get the best out of the weapon selection. The fact that each mission has about three parts is also a good tactic. This creates replay value. Again, the level design was the best. The use of many identical rooms, stairways, and buildings created obstacles on top of typical obstacles like enemies and sub-goals.

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