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    Go! Go! Cosmo Cops! (DS)    by   jp       (Oct 12th, 2018 at 19:17:56)

    It's played (AFAIK) entirely with the DS held sideways (which is a bit trickier with my XL 3DS...) and uses the touchscreen all over the place.

    I'm quite enjoying it with one exception - the levels are all timed and also require some tricky (for me) stylus-action. These two things don't play nicely with each other.

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    Le Tour de France 2016 (PS4)    by   jp       (Oct 8th, 2018 at 18:58:25)

    I picked this up in Europe because I was insanely curious as to what this game would be about in terms of its gameplay. Was it a team management game? Would I race a bike?

    So far, it seems like its mostly about racing BUT you're also managing your team in the big picture sense. I think. I've only done the tutorials and started a race. The tutorials explain all the core systems - pedaling, braking but also managing your energy, drafting behind other cyclists and so on. There was a bunch of stuff I didn't really understand but I figured that I'd get it in an actual race.

    So, I started a race...and it's a LONG race! None of this done in 15 minutes crap. Wow. I then realized that I have no idea how to really play this game (should I try to stay in the lead all the time? when do I leave the peloton? If I stay with the peloton, is this really helping?) It was weird to feel so completely helpless and out of my element. I must have raced for 20 minutes and still had another 150km left to go in the race.

    So, here's a game that lets you save mid-race because...the races are all really long!

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    Doodle Hex (DS)    by   jp       (Oct 8th, 2018 at 18:53:56)

    The art style betrays this game in the sense that it is much more complex and sophisticated in terms of its gameplay that it would appear based on the cartoonish art (that implies it's a simple kids game).

    I remember when the DS came out and everyone was excited about the potential of the touchscreen/stylus combination for cool new gameplay opportunities. This game fits into what I'd call the "draw runes for in-game effects" sub-genre of touch screen games. It's not a real sub-genre, but I remember hearing so many student pitches/ideas in which you would sketch a rune and a spell would happen! (this got "worse" with mobile games and ipads, where stylus became finger).

    Anyways, Doodle Hex is perhaps the game I've played that best pulls of that idea - here it is literal spells and mages. As you play the game you unlock new spells with different effects and timing and you must simultaneously protect yourself from an opponent who is also casting spells.

    Where I found it got really interesting (here's the sophistication) is that when you cast a spell it doesn't happen immediately, rather a rune appears that slowly makes its way (around a circle in the middle of the touch screen) towards your opponent. Only then will it trigger (assuming your opponent isn't shielded). The trick is that different spells move at different speeds around the circle (your opponent is doing the exact same thing, so their spells are travelling around the other side of the circle towards you) AND there's a combo system where you want spells to trigger in a certain order AND their effects mean that (because there are shields), you might want some to hit first (to lower a shield) such that the later one hits harder ('cause no shield, or because it does damage but is useless on a shield) AND you can't draw/cast infinitely, because there's a mana reserve (indicated by liquid inside the circle whose level goes up or down as its restored and depleted) AND different spells cost different amounts of mana.

    So, it's a game of careful timing and synchronization - you might cast a spell and then have to wait until it reaches a certain point on the circle before casting the next. Say its a faster spell but you want to time it so that it hits first followed almost immediately by the spell you just cast.

    Then, there's a pet you can use to store a cast spell such that you can cast it whenever you want in the future AND you need to keep your shield up to protect yourself from enemy spells (you can't cast while you hold your shield up and your mana won't replenish either).

    So, there's LOTS of tricky timing and coordination things to consider in this game that seems super simple. There were a few matches I lost until I sat down and re-considered what I was doing and realized that I needed to have a strategy of both spells I wanted to cast but also the timing of these - and hopefully execute without taking too much damage.

    Really enjoyable and interesting game! Of course there are lots of different mages with different base attributes and runes and such, but I didn't explore them all that much.

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    1979 Revolution: Black Friday (PC)    by   ShaninSpangler       (Sep 30th, 2018 at 18:06:43)

    On the third time playing this game, I found it interesting that the creators made a choice-based game of of the Iranian revolution. I wished that as a player, you would have more control over the game, but the game was made to show the revolution from one man's perspective and for it to play out similarly for all players. In the 10th chapter of the game, you go to the movie theater were many people were killed but is now the headquarters for the protesters. You are then suspected for being a spy and attacking the protest leader and have to accuse someone else which is a tough ethical decision. Without clear knowledge of any of the character you have to accuse someone of murder to try to keep yourself safe. This man is killed and you are interrogated for it and if you don't do as they say, your brother is electrocuted. This game focuses heavily on sacrifice for freedom and others.

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    Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)    by   jp       (Sep 28th, 2018 at 19:17:27)

    I haven't played too much...BUT I'm really enjoying:

    a. The feeling of speed, acceleration, and motion when you swing from building to building. It feels the way Spider-Man is described/drawn in the comics and, I would say, BETTER than in the movies (where it often seems too unrealistic)

    b. I like how layered everything is - things seem to unlock/become available at a rate that I can control as a player by pursuing/not pursuing story missions.

    c. I think I like the combat system - but I'm still learning it, so we'll see how that goes.

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    Mario Party (N64)    by   serates

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Thursday 21 February, 2008
    GAMEPLAY
    --

    After continueing to play this game further this time by myself, I encountered the aspects of the gameplay without social interaction with other live people. Without other people its still fun but the game really tends to have a drag effect. That is it seems like the game goes on forever and never ends. It was like playing monopoly with people who don't say a thing. That made the game fun in the first few turns then it became extremely boring to play. That in my opinion is a very bad aspect of the game. It seems to have a requirement for other actual players in order to experience an enjoyable game.

    I also found that without the social interaction, motivation for trying hard at the challenges really wasn't there. Because of not the best AI programming, occasionally with challenges, especially if its a team battle you will find it impossible to win with an AI team-mate. This starts to turn the anticipation of playing the challenges in between turns to a dread of them. I find it astounding how different the gameplay experience is without other people playing it with you. Even just having one person is helpful because then you can laugh if they end up with all of the AIs as their team mates.

    DESIGN
    --

    Innovative Ideas in Mario Party:

    Mario Party really is one of the major innovations in games in all history. It took the idea of a board game and took it into the video game world and altered it have extra twists. It also unlike most board games made a virtual board game that required a fair amount of strategizing on the player's part. This strategy requirement was put into place with the placement of stars and the many different paths to get to that space.

    Level Design:

    Level design in the game is a major part of the game and is very well thought out. The levels are very individual and the placement of stars vary from each one. Also the levels differ by the special events each level/board has. One small problem I found with the levels and the viewing of them is the difference between playing mario party and playing a board game outside a computer. Outside a computer you are used to being able to view the entire board at all times. In Mario Party it is possible to do that but you have to switch to that view mode everytime you want to and adds a bit of a hassle to the play.

    Conflict Creation and Social Interaction:

    The level of conflict in this game is extremely dependent on the social interaction and the number of live players in a certain game. With no other live players conflict is still there and created with being able to view your opponents star and coin count and in the mini-games however they lack enthusiasm. When you have multiple other real life players involved the conflict from the same events becomes more personal and I find myself having an intense drive to out smart my opponents. The social interaction in this game really stems from its deep roots in board games. Board games bring people together in a friendly competition and just like its base so does Mario Party. Its hard to completely describe the allure of board games in general but I believe everyone has a competitive side but doesn't want to hurt others in satisfying it. Board games in general provide a non-hurtful way of satisfying that competitive need in all of us.

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