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    Idle Zen (iPd)    by   jp       (Jul 14th, 2020 at 12:16:41)

    I was about to delete the game when I noticed an icon in the top-right I hadn't tapped on. It turns out there's another idle game! (same game, just different levels/areas for the balls to drop down through)

    Wow. 2 in 1!

    I think this is the first idle game I can think of that has two idle games in the same game...oh, and there is the indication that more levels will be coming!

    (but I'm done)

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    Idle Zen (iPd)    by   jp       (Jul 13th, 2020 at 18:53:19)

    I should really NOT be playing idle games. I get sucked in too fast and too hard. I'm only playing this one because its research for a class I'd like to teach, but haven't figured out all the details yet....

    And yes, it's an idle game - and I'm not sure what the zen part is other than it's an idle game where balls spawn, drop down and you get cash, so you can upgrade the balls, activate more of them, and make them drop faster...oh, and also make them drop through longer levels. I guess it's a game you can stare at and watch, but I have a hard time with that. I want to tap and click on stuff.

    What's interesting (so far) is that the prestige system is much more frequent/accessible than usual. Basically, there's a recommendation for when to prestige and it happens much more frequently than I'm used to in other idle games.

    Oh, it also seems accessible in that I might get to the "top"...but it's been getting much slower the last few rounds so I might (should) just delete it as soon as I finish typing this up.

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    Kingdom: New Lands (PS4)    by   jp       (Jul 13th, 2020 at 18:01:21)

    I played a bit more yesterday afternoon and made more progress in the game, but I can't say that I found the experience satisfying. This is perhaps less a critique of the game and more about a misalignment with my preferences and tastes. Or not? I'm not sure.

    I guess that one of the things I tend NOT to like about simulation-heavy games is that often-times there is a lag between a poor decision you make and the consequences of that decision. I don't think this is a bad thing per se, but if a game is really slow and it doesn't have a way for the player to manage that - I just get really frustrated really fast. In my mind, simulation games are interesting when I can experiment and try things out as I play - but that requires a fast/shorter loop. Not between error and consequences, but between "experiments". If it takes me 2 hrs to "understand the basics" of a game - that might be too long, and if it takes another 2 hrs to verify that understanding...well, a 3rd play-through might not be happening.

    So, my last playthrough? Well, I did pretty well in the sense that I accomplished my goal of "getting off" the 1st island. It helped that I knew that the boat would take a long time and a lot of resources and so on. So, I felt that I made progress simply because there are some deterministic things you need to know (and they're not hard to execute). Once on the 2nd island I lost because, well...the "bad guys" got me because I strayed too far and the character is too slow.

    Was my 2nd playthrough any fun? Well, I just spent a lot of time waiting around...waiting for the gold to appear, waiting for the builders to arrive and build, and more. I really wish there was a "double speed" option or "fast forward to next event" kind of functionality.

    What I don't know is if I have to start on the 1st island again or if I can start immediately on the 2nd? I may or may not play this again just because of that.

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    Operation Warcade (PS4)    by   jp       (Jul 13th, 2020 at 17:40:13)

    I don't really know where to start with this game. It has so many weird/interesting/curious design decisions I want to get down - but I'm worried about overly pessimistic given the, uh...real lack of polish this game has.

    The premise is that you're playing an "old school" arcade shooter game - the kind where you held a replica weapon and pointed it at the screen (my old fave is Operation Wolf). Now, that is taken literally in Operation Warcade because you start by standing in front of an arcade cabinet you can play at. You can also look around the arcade where there are other people playing other games. I was somehow able to teleport away from the cabinet - but not to any other games - and there's a weird guard also. I got the sense that I was supposed to only stand in front of Warcade rather than any of the other games. Weirder still, after having played a few games - I looked around and there were 3 people behind me! Cheering me on? It was unclear...they weren't really animated. Anyways, the whole thing was bizarre.

    Now, once you're in the game - the set up is sort of like you're on the other side of a window - and you can peer "into" the game. To be fair, the designers added some "matrix code" pillars (green binary code that goes up into the sky) to double down on the "you're in a game" - and, well, it plays like a really bad version of the shooters of yore I enjoyed playing. Like, really bad.

    Now, this makes me wonder - how did this game actually get published. I'm sure everyone who worked on it isn't entirely happy with the game, but - how did it come to get published in the first place? I wonder if there's some cool story of "things went south" or if it's a business story? (we bought this game from a bunch of students and decided to push it out the door to meet the terms of a deal we had with the publisher) or...what else? I honestly don't think that anyone sits down and says "hey, lets make a game that looks really unpolished and isn't that good".

    And, I say that because there are lots of little cool ideas that just...weren't developed/polished to a level or point you'd expect from a published product. So, it's clear that this wasn't a half-assed asset flip type of game (where the intention is to hopefully get some $$$ quickly by really skimping on the dev). I mean, this is a boxed product I bought (for real cheap) in a bricks-n-mortar store (rather than a fast download someone could pump out in no time at all). Also, it's a PSVR game! So, maybe the story is that it was a fast cash grab using a prototype for another platform?

    Anyways, I'm really tempted to have students play it just to see what "not polished" looks's easy to find games that aren't "good", but that have clearly been worked on/developed to a point that publishing made sense. But this game, this is not it.

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    Off-Peak (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Jul 12th, 2020 at 13:15:30)

    Turns out I didn't really want to play more Hacknet, once I finally found which service I owned it on. It only took an hour because they all had to update. I tried Drawful 2. No one was playing, so I deleted that. Then I figured I'd give Off-Peak a shot. It was another PC Gamer recommendation that they always talk about (and Norwood Suite) for being artsy, jazzy, and surreal. It is. Totally weird. I really liked it. Also it's free on Steam.

    You begin in a train station and a weird guy on a bench with a lap guitar tells you he'll give you his train ticket, but you have to find all the pieces. And so you go exploring this bizarre train station, talking to its vendors and fellow travelers, listening to upbeat jazz music, and looking at cool surrealist paintings. There's also a circus in town with consequences. You'll be done in less than an hour. I want to dive right into The Norwood Suite, the devs' next (and full) game. This is what surrealism in games looks like.

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    1 : jp's Operation Warcade (PS4)
    2 : dkirschner's Off-Peak (PC)
    3 : dkirschner's Hacknet (PC)
    4 : jp's Idle Zen (iPd)
    5 : jp's Kingdom: New Lands (PS4)
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    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)    by   DiCarloBrookens1

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Sunday 31 October, 2010
    DiCarlo Brookens
    GameLog Entry 1

    While playing “Grand Theft Auto San Andreas,” I was shot by a Ballas gang member while coming out of a Binco clothing store. That’s when I decided to wage what started out as a one-man war against the Ballas, and anyone supporting them (like the black tank top crack dealers who patrol the alley ways). I figured that getting revenge wouldn’t only make me happy, but put my gang family, Grove Street, back on the map by securing more turf. Plus, I’d make my brother, Sweet, proud of me.
    Making all of this happen, of course, meant murdering as many Ballas as I could within a thirty-minute time limit. In the heat of the battle, due to lack of ammunition,
    I unfortunately lost many members of my own gang, about twelve in total. Also,
    because I was in a fit of rage and aiming poorly, I killed many civilians, old and young (and mostly African American, since that’s the area the Ballas call home). My actions echoed the reality of gang warfare in the inner cities, and the choices members make to thrive and survive. Much like the theory of ethical egotism, as CJ, I’m doing whatever will promote my own most happiness, and so is everyone else.
    Some of the ethical choices CJ and the other characters face revolve around killing. You have to quickly decide whether to shoot (for instance, if someone innocent is in the way), and when to shoot. More often than not, we caught Ballas gang members hanging out on their blocks, or in alleys relaxing, drinking and talking. As I shot down Ballas in succession for about four minutes a trip, I couldn’t help but think how it was kind of unfair how easy it was for me to shoot them because I caught them off guard where they assumed they were safe. But when they started shooting back, I left my guilt behind and kept unloading. The choice was to kill first or be killed.
    Of course, you could just run away, but that would go against the values represented in the game, such as, loyalty to the gang family, respect, power (at least on your neighborhood turf), and even money. For example, one of the biggest benefits of going on missions for Tenpenny and Big Smoke is that you make more money, something I liked. Still, it couldn’t compare to the adrenaline rush I got from taking out “the enemy,” which reminded me of how that happens in real life. Given the choice to make a morally right decision and not seek revenge, instead I thought “how dare this Ballas dude kill me, after I spent the money from a mission on my wardrobe.” Plus, I was even more upset about having to go to the hospital where I had to pay the fees, leaving me with only about a thousand dollars in my pocket, no weapons and my customized car was gone (it was left outside the clothing store when I was first shot). So, like an ethical egoist, I (CJ) chose revenge, and did the morally wrong thing to make me the most happy.

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