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    King of Thieves (iPd)    by   jp       (Oct 25th, 2016 at 11:59:40)

    My son encouraged me to play this and I've been having a bit of fun. It is very much a mobile game in the free to play lets monetize this out the wazoo sense. I don't mind that all that much, but I'll admit that it seems like the game is often actively trying to get me not to play it. Some times in bizarre ways... The game has multiple economies/resources/currencies going and running out of some means you can't play that much (the main resource in that sense are keys). You need keys to unlock doors to other people's dungeons so you can raid them for treasure. A dungeon is basically a single screen 2D platforming where you don't control the movement of your thief, but you are in charge of when it jumps. Your goal is to get from the entrance to the treasure chest where you get money and (hopefully) can steal a jewel. It's a neat idea, super polished and well-executed.

    You're supposed to create your own dungeon (with traps) by choosing where to put each of the traps (which you can also upgrade so they do more damage). At first I was a bit of a skeptic because it's too easy to make dungeons that are too hard or perhaps even impossible. Won't everyone end up with the same impossible dungeon? Does the editor check to see if there's a valid playthrough? That seems like a really hard AI problem for a small platformer...but, Zeptolabs solved in a really clever way. Whenever you edit/change your dungeon you can only save its new configuration if you can clear your dungeon twice in a row. Not just twice, but in a row. I think it's a really cool balancing mechanic - the really hard levels will be made by the really good players and, when you clear your own level it's saved as an animation that others can see when they give up trying to beat your dungeon.

    Oh, and that thing where you can't play? If you start the game up while someone is raiding your dungeon, you can't play. You're just locked out of the game. Sigh.

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    Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)    by   jp       (Oct 6th, 2016 at 17:54:38)

    I booted this up yesterday and it's AMAZING. I'm speaking as a game educator mostly, as a player I had fun. But as an educator, it's AMAZING.

    When Warioware first came out I remember a lot of discussion about how interesting it was as a distillation of fundamental game elements. Here was a game that really made those basic "verbs" clear and visible. Yes, they were adorned with the slimmest of fantasy (cultural context), but in essence it was the game verbs laid bare. There weren't many verbs, to be fair, but it was interesting to see how the same verbs could be utilized so widely and diversely.

    Ultimate NES Remix takes the same idea - showing core gameplay - but does so in the context of actual games. It's brilliant, amazing, super clear and I really want to use it in class. I don't know how. But I want to. So far I've only seen a few of the games it includes, but I've been impressed.

    The way the game works is that each title has a set of challenges - sometimes these are "do this one thing" while other times you have sub-challenges. Once you've done that, you get a star rating. The rating is based on time and how you did (did you lose a few lives along the way?) For the most part the challenges are really short and they illustrate key parts of each game's gameplay.

    For example, for Donkey Kong one set of challenges required you to jump over barrels. For another you had to destroy barrells with the hammer, for another you just had to get to the top (and you began almost there). If you take all of the together - you get a really good sense of what all the little bits and pieces of Donkey Kong are AND, they are all playable!

    It's genius.

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    Jazzpunk (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Oct 2nd, 2016 at 09:26:33)

    Jazzpunk is a bizarre little game about a spy. It would fall under genres of adventure and comedy. The comedy resonated with me. It looks sort of like a Brendan Chung game. It is hard to describe.

    The Director of an espionage organization sends you on several missions. One is to assassinate a cowboy in Tokyo. When you find the restaurant he is in, you are supposed to get to the back room, but the chef is in the way. The chef discloses that he is afraid of spiders, so you collect some spiders in a jar and throw them in his face. You find a poisonous fish, and proceed to use it as a weapon, squirting poison at everyone and using it to kill the cowboy. This results in some special forces coming to nab you. As you flee, you stumble upon a side quest wherein you must swat flies in a vase shop, resulting in many broken vases and a new fly swatter. I started swatting NPCs and one time an NPC turned into a giant fly, sprouted bug eyes and wings, buzzed angrily, and flew away. So I swatted more people, and many turned into flies.

    See? It's bizarre. The next thing that happens is always unexpected. There are a ton of references to movies and old video games. There is a side quest where you help a frog retrieve something in the road (Frogger), a wedding cake you can interact with that puts you in a game called Wedding Qake (a wedding-themed Quake where weapons include uncorking bottles of champagne, a cake mini-gun, and when you kill someone the announcer says things like "Left at the altar" and "Brutal matrimony;" it was hilarious), a Street Fighter parody of that bonus round where you destroy a car, except the car talks (upon defeat one time, it said "I have brought shame to my manufacturing plant"), and more.

    And to sum it all up, the end credits take place inside an alligator's intestinal tract. That doesn't ruin anything because there is no alligator in the game until the very end and you won't see it coming because (what have I said?) this game is unpredictable and silly. Love it. Would play another.

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    Gone Home (PS4)    by   jp       (Sep 30th, 2016 at 09:32:15)

    Once again late to the party. On the other hand it's nice to play something once all the hype has died down. As expected, it didn't take me long to finish and I've since been back to pick up a few trophies and listen to the developer commentary.

    I don't really understand all the hype and accolades to be honest. I enjoyed the experience, feel it was well executed, but it would be a real stretch to say that I was "blown away". Maybe it's because I knew about the nature of the missing sister's relationship? Hmmm...

    The highlight of the experience for me was a UI issue rather than the game itself. I'm also glad that it was brought up in the developer commentary as well, because I think it's a real (small, but still significant) innovation (or, to be fair, innovation to me).

    As an exploration game, you can wander around and pick up things to examine them all the time. It's part of what makes the game interesting - being curious about the items in the game. However, most games make it really easy to make a mess - once you've picked something up it's tricky to put it back exactly where it was. More often than not you end up dropping or throwing stuff. The end result is that rather than examining a place you end up acting like a crazy looter leaving a mess as you move from room to room. In a post-apocalyptic setting this doesn't really bother me (hey, I'm scavenging), but in a game like this one - where you're playing someone who's returning home - the idea that you'd leave everything upturned and askew jars too much. So, the solution? Whenever you pick up an object there's a "return" option that lets you put it back where it was in exactly the same position! Genius!

    The developer commentary in fact describes how they realized they needed to implement this because playtesters reported feeling bad about trashing the house...

    More broadly I think the feature reflects a real interest in subtly reinforcing (or at least not acting against) the narrative situation and role-playing the player is put in: you're returning to your parents home, this is a new place for you, but people you care about live here.

    There's another moment in the game that also reflects this care. At one point you find a crumpled note in a dustbin. When you examine it, after a few seconds the player is interrupted by the character you're playing who basically closes the note up and refuses to read it - too much of an invasion of her sister's privacy. It's a small touch, but a nice reminder and nudge to the player that they're home and that the character they're playing might not really want to go along with some things. It works surprisingly well without feeling too jarring - perhaps because it's only done once.

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    The Bridge (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Sep 20th, 2016 at 18:26:53)

    Didn't realize I was so close to the end of The Bridge. This is a cool puzzle game that I played most of on an airplane last month. It's a cross between Braid (rewind time, and looks similar too) and And Yet It Moves, an old indie platformer I played forever ago where you rotate the screen to manipulate obstacles and move your character. A clever mash-up indeed.

    The Bridge adds boulders that can roll over you, phasing (you click switches to turn from light to dark, which affects the objects you can interact with), wind direction that you can manipulate, and Escher-esque levels. The game isn't particularly difficult until right toward the end, and I admit to YouTubing the final two levels. I think I would have figured out the next-to-last eventually, but not the last one. I've read over and over again that it took people like 1-3 hours to figure it out, and I'm not that patient.

    It'd be nice if there was more of a story. I'm not even sure what the context was. You're a guy, maybe a physics professor or something, and you have a house, and in your house are a bunch of rooms that are the levels of the game. Is something lost in there? No, you don't ever find anything. Are you exploring the mysteries of time and space? Maybe...I have no idea. There is some cryptic text scattered around that was so cryptic I don't even remember what it said. Something about existence maybe.

    Story or not, the puzzles were clever and I felt fairly smart figuring things out. It does rely too much on physics and trial and error, but you have to get the gist of what's going on before you can get too too far.

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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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    Recent GameLogs
    1 : jp's King of Thieves (iPd)
    2 : jp's Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)
    3 : jp's Gone Home (PS4)
    4 : dkirschner's Shadowrun: Dragonfall (PC)
    5 : dkirschner's Jazzpunk (PC)
    Recent Comments
    1 : dkirschner at 2016-05-15 18:25:56
    2 : tjazz at 2016-03-04 14:54:12
    3 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:44:54
    4 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:42:23
    5 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:40:04
    6 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:37:00
    7 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:34:27
    8 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:32:06
    9 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:30:12
    10 : jp at 2016-03-04 09:28:38
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    Downtown Drift (Arcade)    by   sandee

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Friday 9 November, 2012
    I chose to play Downtown Drift for GameLog eleven. Downtown Drift was a city racing game. Basically, the objective of the game was to defeat your opponents in a very fast-paced way by drifting around the corners of the road while speeding up and driving through the icons scattered picking up cash and opening mystery prizes. The mechanics and controls of the game were easy to follow and understand. The four arrows were used to drive, the spacebar and “x” key were used to drift, the “r” key was used to reset position, the “c” key was used to adjust the rear camera view, and the “m” key was used to mute and unmute the sound. What I liked the most was the fact that I could pick a track where I wanted the racing to take place. Also, I was able to choose a level, whether starting from a difficult or easy level. I was able to choose a car of my choice that also made the game worth playing. Also, after every win, it would automatically unlock the gamer to the next level as well as cool new cars. There was one lap at every level and the racing involved eight people including myself. The game was only available to a single player. Multi-players were not allowed and that I found interesting. The scenery were the game took place was really pretty. It looked like I was actually racing with my friends on a track. It had beautiful trees, bridges, and landmarks to it. Overall, if I were to recommend this game to anyone, I would do it without a heartbeat. I would recommend it to anyone of any age. It was fun, interesting, exciting, stress reliever, as well as pain reliever. To conclude, I encourage everyone to give this game a try because it’s worth the play.

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