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    1001 Touch Games (DS)    by   jp       (Nov 22nd, 2020 at 17:02:52)

    I don't know that there are exactly 1001 games on this cart - but there is definitely a lot of stuff to play around with. How do you organize that many games in a way that makes sense and is navigable?

    Well, the games are grouped by theme (of sorts) with action-based games separated from boardgame/cardgames and puzzle games. It's actually a pretty good collection, I played more than a few (hello Mahjong! Word search! Hello terrible unplayable minigolf, hello puzzloop knockoff, hello weird driving game where you only steer). It turns out that many of these have different levels - and each level is counted as a separate game. As for distinct games (not levels) I still think there's easily 30 different games to play around with.

    I guess if I only had this game and a DS and was stuck on a long roadtrip, I'd definitely get my money's worth. But, it's kind of surprising to me that I think I'd get the most value/time/interest from the non-action games. So, the puzzle, board, card games...there's quite a few variations of solitarie for example (I wonder if each level is it's own seed/layout so once you've played it it's the same the next time?)

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    Lego Rock Band (DS)    by   jp       (Nov 21st, 2020 at 14:01:44)

    So, it's exactly like Rock Band (on handhelds, was the PSP version really the last one I played) - but with lego characters. I'm not sure I've really understood what is supposed to make it special/different OTHER than the visuals...it's Lego.

    Perhaps for some people it's fun to see the Lego version of favorite artists? (Blur, etc.) I don't know, it's not for me really - so I think it'll go back on the shelf. I've played through parts of the campaign, unlocked some venues and such.

    I guess what I'm most impressed by is the quality of the audio and the variety of songs. I wouldn't have thought they could fit all of that on the cartridge! THere must be some clever technical thing I'm not aware of?

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    Earthbound (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Nov 19th, 2020 at 19:29:02)

    Bam! Old school classic complete! I thought I had retired this forever after being bored with it on an emulator, but I found it on the Nintendo shop on my Wii U. That platform significantly improved the experience. Now after completing it, I totally understand why people love it. It'll have a special place for me too. It's so wonderfully weird and quirky, it breaks the fourth wall, and feels way ahead of its time. Like, with some updated mechanics, I would buy it today as a weird JRPG. It reminded me of Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden and I hear that Undertale is basically spiritual kin, so now I look forward even more to playing that because I understand its influences.

    Given the breadth and depth I feel I could go into given the introduction above, I don't really know what to say about the game! Gameplay-wise, it is a totally standard JRPG from the SNES era. Its quirks lie in some narrative (although the overarching story is honestly pretty stupid), items, enemy naming and art (possibly my favorite thing), and some of the settings and other characters. For example, I think my favorite enemies are the "third strongest moles." My girlfriend (whose favorite game is Earthbound) was watching me play this part. You go in some caves and have to fight five moles. I found the first mole, who said it was the third strongest mole. I beat it pretty easily, so I was like, sweet! I am doing pretty good in this dungeon. Then I found the second mole who...also said it was the third strongest mole. I didn't quite realize what was happening until the third mole said the same thing. This is how Earthbound occasionally messes with you and makes fun of itself. I thought it was really funny. My girlfriend's favorite character is Mr. Belch (who I think is a pile of vomit) because of his burp attack.

    Also, riding a bike early in the game made me so full of joy. This was a game about some kid being a hero that didn't seem like a "kiddie" game. I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. I'm very glad I found this on the Nintendo store. Now, my girlfriend says I have to play Mother 3 and Chrono Trigger.

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    Cradle of Rome (DS)    by   jp       (Nov 15th, 2020 at 17:09:42)

    Ha, couldn't help play a bunch more levels just to unlock a few more powerups, I was curious what they did...

    There's a "resource" powerup that acts like the axe, but also adds a bunch of resources (to reduce grinding I guess).

    I think I reached level 45 or so? And it turn out that sometimes the level does advance even if you don't buy a building....

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    Armello (PS4)    by   jp       (Nov 15th, 2020 at 15:27:21)

    OMG, I'm so excited to play this some more!

    Yesterday I only played the prologue - which is a really well done tutorial for each of the four characters (and character types?) you can control in the game. I was a bit confused at first because the tutorials are incremental - when you start the 2nd one, the first character is on the board taking their turn! (I had somehow not registered that this was a multiplayer boardgame)

    I think one of the things I enjoyed the most about the tutorial is that it slowly opens up - in the beginning you have to really do exactly what you're told, but towards the end (3d and 4th character), you're given much more open-ended (feeling) objectives that you might take a few turns to address and go about them almost in your own way.

    So, it felt really natural as a way to learn the game and begin to make your own independent choices. We'll see how it all pans out once I played a full "real" match.

    I'm also curious if this is a game I'll play regularly? Try the different characters? Play online? I don't think there's a campaign or anything like that, but the world seems to rich in stuff that it feels like a real shame if the amazing setup turns out to be just that - an amazing setup for a fantasy boardgame...

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    Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)    by   Rhibecka

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 21 February, 2008
    Entry #2

    GAMEPLAY
    I found that after playing for a few more hours the game controls became easier. Now I can quickly control the camera as well as the horse during the battle sequences. (However, I think that getting a grasp of camera angles and controls should take a lot less than a "few hours" ).

    In my earlier entry, I was impressed that the none of the colossi proved too difficult, or left me wanting to give up. After getting further in the game though, I feel I must change my mind. Since all the battles play like puzzles, it isn't much surprise that the player can get stuck; and I certainly got stuck. This is truly a frustrating feeling. With one of the colossi, I simply could not figure out how to bring him down. However, after about ten minutes of wandering, the game knew I was stuck and a voice from the heavens gave me a hint on what do to next. I really appreciate that the game has this built in hint system that doesn't stray from the game play. The game designers realized people may get stuck, and thought it fitting that "god" should give them some help. However, although "god" was trying to help, I found his hints too vague. Only after I accidentally stumbled upon the solution did I understand what the hint had actually meant. Thank you game designers for trying to point me in the right direction (I really appreciate it), but is it too much to ask to be a little more direct?

    More evidence against my original opinion of the game "not being frustrating enough to quit" involves a navigation problem. We can all agree there is plenty of room to get stuck during a battle, but once I found myself completely stuck before I had even reached the beast!

    [The light reflected off your sword is supposed to "guide" you to the beast's location. However after following the light, I ended up at a blank wall. After 45 minutes of wandering around and being frustrated, I decided to "cheat" and look up what to do online (I wasn't prepared to spend all night just looking for the monster). I was glad I looked it up because, wow, I would have never gotten that. (I was supposed to go completely around the map in order to reach a place far far behind the original wall I kept running into.) ]

    On a more positive note, I realized I hadn't mentioned much about the music during my first entry. During all the parts where your character is traveling to the next beast, there is no music at all. After my friend pointed this out to me, I could clearly see how this small aspect truly changed my game play experience. The lack of music created such a desolate feel, and added to the melancholy tone of your entire mission. The music only begins once the colossus is reached. This change in setting is really effective at enhancing the "epic" tone of each battle. As the fight climaxes, so do the instruments. I can really appreciate this creative addition to the game, which is very unique to this game (and also brings me perfectly to the subject of my DESIGN section.)


    DESIGN

    Simply put this game is in its own class. Many aspects of this game (the pace, use of sound, story, segmentation, game mechanics) are unlike any other game I have played (in some very good ways, as well as some more negative ways). My first observation on what made this game unique is it's lack of attention to simple game mechanics.

    I believe both the frustrations from my second game play entry are good examples of the game simply not being mechanically intuitive. It took me a second time of playing to realize that many of my initial frustrations could be linked to this problem. This game fails to address simple game mechanical issues from the very start. For example, the controls were very clunky and took hours to master. This is not a very good starting place for a game. Also there were small aspects of the game that I felt should have been conveyed to the player more openly. For example, I found out that the light reflected off your sword will also point to the monster's weak points by trial and error on the third or fourth colossi. Why did the game not tell me this in the beginning? Also the storyline drags at a very strange pace unlike any other game I have played. (Very little information is revealed during game play besides the first cut scenes.)

    It was a strange realization that this game had problems (such as terrible camera angles, clunky controls, and unhelpful hints) that most game designers have already mastered addressing. Why does such a simple game still struggle in pointing the player in the right direction, or even allowing the player to properly ride a horse?

    Another more negative aspect I found unique in this game involves the story (although I'm sure this wouldn't bother most people). The game begins with hardly any background and fails to reveal much more than what we initially see at the beginning. In this aspect, I feel the game story runs like a foreign film. (When comparing a foreign film to what we see everyday in America, there are often differences in pace or changes in formula). I have come to believe that the storyline is just not a fundamental part of this game (note: I have not finished the game, perhaps there is an amazing heap of storyline at the end that I am missing out on). Not having a strong storyline is fine, but also strange for a game of this genre (adding to my statement that this game is simply different than anything else).

    On a more positive note, I was extremely impressed at how well the game defined the colossi. I feel the designers did a great job making each beast unique (in terms of physical experience as well as the different levels of game play they provide). This really adds to the game's replay value (for example, you may have a favorite battle that you would wish to endure again). In no other game have I seen such creativity in terms of just a battle. Every battle I have encountered is extremely different, and although they can sometimes be frustrating, I can always appreciate what the game designers put me through from a creative standpoint. They test your character mentally and physically as he is pushed to swim the oceans, climb the beasts, and even fly to victory.

    So yes, perhaps the pacing is strange and the controls difficult to master, but I believe that the uniqueness of this game truly makes it a game worth playing. The feeling of solving the puzzle and defeating the colossi singlehandedly is worth the tricky camera angles and the occasional frustrations. I would suggest this game to any gamer looking for a new way to feel epically heroic.


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