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    Among Us (PC)    by   jp       (Sep 25th, 2020 at 12:22:21)

    Had fun playing this last night for a few hours with friends. While I'm not a huge fan of the "genre" (hidden traitor games) and, AFAIK, I've never played one on the computer (only played boardgames) - I think there's some interesting mechanics/design additions that make it an interesting game.

    One of the things I like least about hidden traitor games with elimination is the elimination part. So, you got eliminated and then you just sit around waiting to see how it all ends? That's not particularly fun or interesting. Here, everyone can continue to play (somewhat) even if you've been killed/kicked off the spaceship. For non-traitors, you need to continue working on your tasks and hopefully get them all completed. The team can't win if this isn't the case. If you're a traitor, you can continue to activate "sabotage" things in the rooms.

    What's interesting about the game is that it's also dependent on social management - the game sessions start with a crewperson saying "shhhh", the idea is that you don't talk while playing. But, it seems like you're allowed to talk during discussion/voting moments? I'm guessing that different payer groups will come up with their own house rules regarding these sorts of things - and I'm also curious how most people will engage in the private games - will most people have a discord channel open on the side? Zoom meeting? Nothing at all?

    These kinds of games are also hard to get into when you're playing with a group that's already familiar with the game. Over the course of the night I gradually learned where the different locations of the ship were (important for discussions during voting - I saw "ABC" leaving comms), how to do the different tasks, and generally how to move around the map. The videogame aspects of this game actually make it a lot harder to learn/get into IMO, you have to learn the different mechanics AND also deal with the social deduction part that's (presumably?) the core of the experience.

    To be honest, I would love to play a multiplayer collaborative version of this game (DLC? expansion?) where you have to coordinate/manage all the different ships' tasks and such...

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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PS4)    by   jp       (Sep 24th, 2020 at 17:33:48)

    Played a few more matches last night. I'm basically trying out all the different modes. Last night was the "battle royale mode". I don't even remember it's name - which is a problem perhaps? I'm still confounded by the menus a lot especially because there is a significant delay sometimes between selecting something and the next menu loading in. By significant, I mean 30 seconds? So, I'm often in the position where I don't know if I clicked on the thing or not, the blops icon is rotating on the bottom right corner of the screen, but the rest of the game/menus look all the same.

    I did play another pvp mode later though. Again, I don't remember the name of the mode - but you had to get kills, collect tags, and then "deposit" the tags at a special location on the map. The location moves around every now and then so you can't really camp out at any given location for too long. Also, if you don't deposit your tags and get killed, they all drop on the floor! This mode was fun and I enjoyed playing - the matchmaking might have been working better since I was able to hold my own for a little bit at least. So, get a few kills and that sort of thing.

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    Mystery P.I.: Portrait of a Thief (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 24th, 2020 at 17:17:17)

    Finished this yesterday. I was starting to get a bit bored by the end - but this was mostly because the areas in which to find the hidden objects were starting to get quite repetitive. Interestingly, the difficulty curve really drops off as well, since the environments are the same you start to learn where different things are hidden, so it becomes much easier. A lot.

    Fun, short, interesting, and surprisingly "full featured", you collect medals, you can play the mini-games separately, and you can do the "full" hidden object for each of the areas.

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    Balloon Pop (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 24th, 2020 at 17:03:59)

    Oh look - it's another match-3 type game.

    Yes, but no. I mean yes - but there's some nuance here I thought was interesting. The game has three modes, endless (which was boring), vs (which was hard), and puzzle (which was interesting). Playing puzzle is what made me realize there was more to the game - and now I want to go back and look at vs (because I lost quickly and decisively)

    So, the three things that are different/unusual (to me):

    (a) When you make a swap - the balloons you're "poppping" freeze and a timer appears at the bottom. While the timer is active you can continue to make swaps - hopefully lining up more "pops". However, you can't swap a balloon that's already part of a "pop" (in other words, that will pop when the timer expires).

    (b) You can swap with an empty space! I only discovered this because puzzle 11 was "impossible". I literally tried all the possible swaps and none worked - then I tried a swap with an empty space...and BINGO!

    (c) There are two additional buttons in the game. One is to "pop" before the timer runs out. The other button is to make the balloons "drop" (bring in another row from the top). So, you can speed up your demise, but also strategically bring in more balloons for a greater combo. Interesting!

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    Mystery P.I.: Portrait of a Thief (DS)    by   jp       (Sep 22nd, 2020 at 15:46:14)

    I was expecting something completely different from what was described on the back of the box. A game of solving mysteries, with some puzzles, I imagined having to deduce solutions, examine clues, and more.

    The game is a hidden object game - probably ported from a PC version (flash maybe?) that was played on the web. I'm only guessing that because while the publisher is Popcap, there are two developers listed - I assume one is the original dev and the other is the DS version/port.

    That being said, I've really enjoyed playing it so far - there's mostly hidden object areas and once you're ready to finish "the chapter", you solve a puzzle, and move on to the next chapter wherein more story is divulged and you know what's going on.

    What you do in the game has nothing to do with how the story is doled out...but, I'm enjoying the relaxing qualities of the gameplay. No pressure, just slowly poring over a picture trying to find two buttons, a bird, a lighter, and who knows what else. It's been fun!

    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Sep 22nd, 2020 at 18:00:11.


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    1 : jp's Among Us (PC)
    2 : jp's Balloon Pop (DS)
    3 : jp's Mystery P.I.: Portrait of a Thief (DS)
    4 : jp's Chicken Blaster (DS)
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    Random

    Aerox (iPd)    by   fanwar3

    I found out about this platformer on the app store a few days ago. It was a platformer game called aerox. In fact, it is an interesting tilt-controlled platformer that boasts clever physics and intuitive controls that challenge my skills. This game is packed with many physics-based puzzles and platforming action. The tilt controls are automatically zero based on how I am holding the device at the time each level starts, which is great when I am ready for it, but can cause some issues of calibration if I am not steady. Once in the game, the ball will sharply and quickly roll, turn and slide in the directions I tilt in and touching the left side of the screen “breaks” the ball from rolling and touching the right side of the screen allows me to lock the camera for precise movement of the ball. There are 30 levels to beat and things quickly start getting complicated. When things start to get complicated, I have to manipulate the environment and make use of the ball’s odd and unique physics in or to continue my path. The visuals in the game are bright, with soft modern platforms and designs that are on par with the ball’s shiny surface. Shadowing in this game is great as well as the tiles. This game presents an environment where the ball calmly rolls around and jumps over different obstacles. Each level is between one and four minutes long. The goal in each level is to finish in the shortest amount of time possible. There is no real rush, as the environment is calm, so is the music. So I fall off the ledge, ant the game starts me back at the beginning or at the last checkpoint. Level 1 was just very simple and as I progress through each of the levels, I see more objects and obstacles. I am on Level 13 now and it feels very difficult to move on past this level. I have to roll the ball against walls to move from one platform to the next. This is just like running along the walls to get from one point to another in Prince of Persia. What feels uncomfortable is the fact that I have to tilt my screen to an unplayable degree to get the ball moving at a fast speed.

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