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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 03:15:20     -    Star Wars Empire at War (PC)

    Game log #2

    Gameplay: In playing the game a second time I realized the repetitiveness of some levels. Although the main levels are fairly different and vary slightly, missions in which you must take over a planet can get very repetitive. There are times when you must conquer 2 or 3 planets before reaching the necessary level. These missions can get fairly boring, there is no big difference between planets, simply just landscapes. However, this is only a minor nuisance and is sometimes beneficial. A player can use these as practice or as a means of generating more resources. Still the main interest in the game is in the main story line planets. In these planets the player will faces varying challenges and receive new weapons and vehicles. The space battles also get extremely repetitive, yet there is always some sort of difficulty in these levels and they are set in a relatively smaller area so there is no needless wandering, its all a battle in space.
    Receiving a new character is also an enjoyable experience. Characters like Darth Vader or Obi Wan all have great abilities that make land battles more interesting. After countless waves of soldiers failing to subdue an opposing force, it is fun to see Darth Vader use the force and strike down his foes easily with a swing of his light saber.

    Design: One great aspect of the game is its ability to be relatively simple, and still create challenge. The game is simple because, for one, there is only one real resource, money. With thatm you do not have to be worrying too much if you have too little of one thing and too much of another so you might have to get rid of one thing to afford to buy another, there is no haggling with that at all its simply you have the money or not. Also, upgrades happen automatically throughout the game, so there is not worry to see if you have enough money to upgrade your army. Finally, there is not an ridiculous amount of space ships or ground units. Only a few that you can really familiarize yourself with and use them more effectively. Neither are there large amounts of special abilities that one can often forget about, just simple bombing runs, ion canon support, etc.
    All of these elements create a more simplistic RTS, yet, that does not mean that it has lost its difficulty. The game is still very challenging, enemy A.I. is difficult to defeat, it also uses large amounts of strategy and a battle could easily turn out differently in the end than it first started when you thought you had the upper hand.
    Like many other RTS games, Star Wars Empire a War has a sandbox mode that allows the player to do what they wish with an army. This is a great example of emergent gameplay, you can build your army, your opposing army, choose where to fight, if you download the software you can even create your own planet. The sandbox mode is very much up to player and can be useful for practice or as a way to measure your skill.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:25:25     -    Star Wars Empire at War (PC)

    Game log #1

    Summary: Star Wars Empire at War is a real-time strategy game in which the player takes control of armies from either the rebel alliance or the evil galactic empire in order to defeat the opposing forces and take over the galaxy. The story takes place before the first Star Wars movie, and depending on which side the player chooses, gives some background on characters, settings, and plot points in the movie. For example the creation of the Death Star. The story is of course different depending on which side the layer chooses, but in general it is attempting to dominate the map by taking over other planets.

    Gameplay: As a fan of RTS games, this was a very enjoyable game to play. It has all the elements of a good RTS game and is based on Star Wars, a great combination. As with other RTS games, strategy is crucial. With that, it is easy to find one self very much absorbed into the gameplay, attempting to figure out the best attack or defense can be the sole focus of a player. I was very much involved in what my next attack was and how it was carried out. For example, I may find myself screaming at my computer because my soldiers did not do something I wanted them to do, or bursting with joy because my battle plan went off without a flaw and the enemy was utterly destroyed. In either case, the player really becomes immersed into the gameplay.
    Of course the characters are extremely familiar, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, etc. Of course if a player is a Star Wars fan, he/she will feel a strong connection with the characters. Even if a player/fan is not playing with any of the specific characters, commanding the forces of the rebel alliance or the empire can give the player/fan a great level of excitement. Character is also important in the game because often times, RTS games will completely abandon any type of character-player connection, and seeing how some of these characters are so loved, the designers did well on including them and giving them major roles.
    The game is extremely fun to play if one is a fan of either Star Wars or RTS games. For one you get some of the Star Wars mythology, this is not a game that simply takes place in the Star Wars universe. The player actually gets to control some of the familiar characters and learn more about the Star Wars lore. Also, one takes control over familiar elements of the movie. That is, ships, vehicles, and even the Death Star itself. As an RTS game, its not too different from many others. The player gets to control hundreds of troops, send them into enemy infested territory, and gain new technology in order to better defeat the enemy. The key element of an RTS game is critical thinking about strategy, and Star Wars Empire at War is no different. The A.I. can be quite difficult and its sometimes not enough to have the biggest fleet or army. Planning out attacks and keeping up defenses is key to survival in latter parts of the game. One must use each of the individual ships and vehicles abilities to their advantage. Although all are good for attacking, a player must take into account that some vehicles are good for certain things, such as destroying bases or certain other enemy ships or vehicles. With all this, the strategic element of the game is very entertaining and will keep the player playing for hours.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 03:40:58     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    Game log #2

    Gameplay:
    What makes Super Mario Bros. 3 a fun game to play is its simple gameplay. The challenges may become difficult, but there is no need of learning new things constantly. Often in recent video games the player will receive new abilities and weapons constantly and thus must learn how to use them all the time. In classic Mario games you play in the end exactly as you did in the beginning. The main focus of the game is the skill you develop as you progress. Because of this simple mechanic its very fun to play, you can go through a level as quickly as you can, trying to show off some skills. Or you can take your time and get all the coins and mushrooms you desire.
    If your playing with a friend, the game can be just as fun, compete against someone to see who can pass the level faster or with greater ease. Who can defeat the boss at the end of the world. The constant shouting and hooting over such a simple game shows just how fun simple ingenuity and creativity can be, and that games don’t have to be watered down because of graphics or dozens of features. Great fun gameplay is at the core of Super Mario Bros.3
    Design:
    One thing many take for granted in these Mario games is the high level of design they have. For example Super Mario Bros. 3 features a large number of secrets and hidden areas that can become available or accessible for those who pay close attention and have enough skill to reach these secrets. Furthermore, what makes SMB3 unique is its minigame option. There are certain levels that are purely minigame fun, such as a memory card game, or a simple roulette spin, these elements can be considered early shades of the Mario Party saga. Also Mario has the ability to have many different powers, and to collect several power ups and use them for future levels that can make it easier to pass.
    The levels are and are not varied. For one, the basic layout of the levels is the same throughout, that being a basic platform type layout. Yet the levels are varied in several other ways, such as having different enemies, perhaps a new element to the platform layout.
    The tone of the game world is vary cartoony and whimsical. It is very appealing for young children, yet, it does not deter older gamers from playing.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:49:49     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    Summary:
    In Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario and Luigi are on a mission to rescue the seven kings of the seven worlds. Each of the kings has had his magic wand stolen by one of the Koopalings(Bowser‘s children), who has turned him into a different type of animal. It's up to the Mario Bros. to enter the seven worlds, make their way to the Koopalings' airships, and take back the wands. However, when reaching the 7th level Bowser reveals his true plot, surprisingly, to kidnap Princess Peach.

    Gameplay: For me any Super Mario game has been an emotional stew of fun, excitement, and frustration. The game is a simple platformer, like its predecessors, the only real buttons you are required to know are left, right, and jump. The challenges in the game comes from its various obstacles found in the individual levels. The koopas, chain-chomps, and the classic goombas all make for a challenging level in the game. Not to mention the various platforms, moving platforms, sinking platforms, single squared platforms for those who like to speed through the game. In simpler terms, the simple game turns out a vast number of challenges. Always varying from level to level so one can always find surprises in the dozens of levels of the seven worlds. Because of these challenges, I find myself in a state of frustration, mainly because you must restart the entire level if you are killed. And many of these level can get pretty challenging, spawning newer and more difficult enemies, or more challenging platforms and obstacles. But of course this challenge does not sour the game whatsoever, in fact I find the challenges are what makes Mario a classic and continued popular game, whereas many other plat formers can get very easy and boring.
    The characters are, today, the most recognizable faces in videogames. To play them truly is an honor and a joy. These simple characters, plumbers wearing red and green overalls, have created such a culture that a person truly cares for them. Even after countless abductions, it never gets tiring saving Princess Peach from the clutches of Bowser. It’s a very simple very romantic type of story, one that resembles classic romantic stories of Knights in shining armor saving the princess from an evil doer. There is this motivation to save Princess Peach, especially after going through countless of levels of jumping and running.
    The game very much flows from level to level. Within each world the levels are very similar, they gradually change in difficulty, until you reach the next world where the challenges are different and landscape changes as well. For example in one world you may be playing a simple standard platformer, while in the next you are underwater. Although it sounds like two different games, the transitions between levels is gradual, and the gameplay remains consistent throughout the entirety of the game.

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