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    Daigasso! Band Brothers DX (DS)    by   jp       (Feb 22nd, 2018 at 09:09:31)

    This game has way more Japanese text than I can handle - however, I was still able to play a few songs and get a general sense of how it works. It has a complete karaoke mode! (impossible for me, obviously)

    Ok, cool things:

    a. There's all kinds of songs - including traditional Japanese instrumentals (with flutes and stuff) - and it's kind of neat to play the same song a few times, with with a different instrument.

    b. Rather than notes moving, there's a "cursor" (tracker) that moves across the screen towards the notes - makes it a bit easier to follow (for me) EXCEPT for the "carriage returns" - when the cursor changes lines (there are about 3 lines on the top screen?)

    c. Apparently there's a full-blown midi-tracker system you can use to make your own music - which is way cool, but I didn't try it out.

    d. Karaoke? Really? On the DS? Wow!

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    Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)    by   AvantAveGarde       (Feb 20th, 2018 at 12:03:04)



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    Flower, Sun, and Rain (DS)    by   jp       (Feb 18th, 2018 at 14:51:12)

    I bought this many years ago because Suda51. As in, here's a weird game by a strange creative person doing potentially interesting things. If I recall, the reviews were "ok", but whatever.

    I first tried to play it several years ago while on a plane and I got to a point where the game said to look up a date in the manual. I didn't have that with me, so I put the game away and then...others games got in the way.

    I started it up yesterday and, with manual in hand, learned that you were supposed to make any date up (it's the character's birthday) and write it in the manual so you don't forget it! There's a blank space in the manual for that...sigh. I guess it's a good thing I didn't just try a random number when on the plane because chances are I would not have remembered what random number I put in and then would have screwed myself over....

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    Dungeon Maker (DS)    by   jp       (Feb 17th, 2018 at 11:28:51)

    Another game I picked up for next to nothing. That being said, the premise (from the back of the box) seemed really interesting. In a nutshell you're in charge of creating a dungeon (digging, placing rooms, etc.). The dungeon then attracts monsters (different monsters are attracted to different rooms) which you fight with in order to get money and loot. Loot consists of either equipment or food ingredients. You spend half the game in the dungeon, wandering around fighting monsters, etc. and the other half in the village buying stuff (new rooms,magic items), selling stuff (equipment, etc.) and, most importantly "leveling up".

    The progression system is different - every night you can eat a meal and rest. Resting restores your health and magic. Eating is how you "level up" - different meals (some created with several ingredients) have different permanent effects on your stats. So, you can gain 1 HP, or 1HP and 1 STR point, or some other combination of things. Initially I was pretty excited by the system because you have some flexibility on what you want to increase and such. Also, it means that you always level after a dungeon, no matter what! However, for the meals to work you need the ingredients, that means either buying some of the basic ones OR killing specific monsters and hoping they drop the food item you want. It works on paper but it becomes REALLY grindy after a while. A short while. This is because you have to spend a lot of time fighting monsters you don't really care about anymore (too easy) just for the chance of an item drop AND the progression starts to feel really, really slow. My "fix" for it would be to make certain ingredients easily purchaseable after a while, so that you focus only on getting new/special ingredients from the monsters you're currently equipped to fight.

    As you fill out your dungeon you also learn that each level has a goal - you need to build it out to a certain point (minimum number of monsters and/or enough of a certain type of monster) in order to fight a boos that appears. The bosses are obviously a significant step up in terms of challenge. The boss then leaves a hole and you now have access to a lower dungeon level.

    I played all the way down to level 3 of the dungeon and although the grinding was really grindy and starting to get really boring I do appreciate how the game has started to mix things up. First, I found a slime companion (who can help in fights). And then, a girl who used to cook meals partied up with me as well. It makes for more interesting combat BUT also makes things MORE grindy. You have to cook meals for the girl as well - which means you now need double ingredients. The slime progression is kind of cool though - when you kill a monster there's a chance the slime will try to mimic something of the monster which can provide you with a stat upgrade (or lower!). You can choose not to, but it's the only way to improve the slime, for example by copying the monsters arm it gets more STR or something like that. You have a higher chance of a "mimic opportunity" against solo monsters, which is the complete opposite of the item drops where the chances are higher against groups (up to three).

    In all, it's an interesting game but the grind was too much for me....

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    Shadow Of Mordor (PC)    by   Tevin P.       (Feb 17th, 2018 at 10:30:14)

    The first thing I did when I started the game back up was to start a brawl. I wanted to see how many orcs I could fight at once. It was something like 20.

    After I spent some time doing that I decided to move on to the story again. As I walk towards a mission area an orc called my name. He offered me info on where I could find the black and if i set him free. I found this kind of ironic seeing as orcs had kill Talions family. Talion wasn’t really sure that he could trust the orc but ended up setting him free. As I played on the orc told me about a rivalry that he had with an orc captain and that if I helped him kill the captain he would give me more information.

    At this point the game pointed out a few things. If I found the right people it would give me information on the people I was trying to kill. The particular captain I wanted to fight was immune to arrows but scared of a creature called a caragor. I thought it was interesting that the developers gave a character not known to have fear to give it to them. After setting free a caragor and watching it kill the captain, the game gave me another bit of information. The world would change as I played the game. The orc I was helping, ratbag, moved into the orc captains position. I thought this was a very interesting mechanic. It meant that every kill i make someone will fill that slot. Maybe it is supposed to imply some sort of futility.


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    1 : jp's Daigasso! Band Brothers DX (DS)
    2 : jp's Flower, Sun, and Rain (DS)
    3 : jp's Dungeon Maker (DS)
    4 : Cocochanel972's This is the Police (PC)
    5 : AvantAveGarde's Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (PC)
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    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)    by   otacon2488

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Tuesday 2 November, 2010
    Today I played with cheats, and finally got past the first mission. Instead of following my fellow gang members on a bike, I materialized a jetpack and flew above them, keeping track of their locations. I felt no guilt, nor did I regret my decision to do this. Not only was I happier, but a substantial amount of pedestrians were spared their lives by me not staying on the street.

    Storywise, though I'm still not very far, I already get a sense from these characters that they will not be changing their lifestyles very much. CJ has already decided to stay in Los Santos for no other reason than his boys are there. He has not looked back on his past activities and seen the wrong he was doing. His brother and his friends are exactly where they were, stuck in petty gang violence and tagging buildings. The lifestyle CJ has chosen does not allow the player to make correct ethical choices. He must stay loyal to his gang, and that gang is not volunteering in the community or keeping at risk youth out of trouble.

    Truly, the only "values" the game promotes are loyalty, ambition, retribution, and fitness. As stated before, the gang is where all your loyalty lies. As a player, ambition plays a role in all CJ's actions. You want to collect all the weapons, drive the best cars, have the most sexiness. It's the shallow, non-community conscious version of the American dream. Retribution seems to go hand in hand with loyalty, as getting revenge on those other gangs that are against yours seems to be important in CJ's life. Fitness is also very important, and maybe the only positive message to the youth. The more fit you are, the faster you can run and the longer your stamina can last. But in the world of the game, you are not running in a marathon or a lupus fun run. The faster you run means the faster you can escape the cops on foot. All these "values" are skewed and based in nothing. None of them encourage moral lives or any sort of service to the greater good.

    Gameplay wise, I love cheats. They are excuses to do anything. I gave myself infinite life, created a jetpack, rode around in a bumper car, and dressed up like an S & M gimp. But the wildest cheat I used was one which sent the entire city into mass chaos. Every pedestrian was brutally fighting each other, as were cops. Explosions erupted, cars were flipped over. I found it all very amusing, which I find a bit disturbing. It also excused me even more than usual from beating random people in the streets. Overall, the cheats further created the sense that anything goes in this city and there are no consequences for evil actions.

    I also found the radio stations to be extremely entertaining. While they each had their own explicit content and message, they were more satirical than they were influential. They mocked people for lewd sexual activities and idiotic life decisions. These may actually be the most relevant and positive messaged aspects of the entire games. In my next post, I'll discuss more of the specific radio commercials in detail.

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