June 10/11- Tonight and for the last couple of nights I have been playing F.E.A.R. for the PS3. I had started this game before, but am just now getting back to it. I love playing survival horror games and always play them at night mostly with the lights off. I notice that a lack of music in survival horror games is creepier because it throws the player off guard. They subconsciously expect to be cued about how to feel from audio cues and it is disorienting to experience media without much score. I think that F.E.A.R. could be more focused on the paranormal though. The constant interruptions by cheesy A.I. soldiers ruins my immersion in the environment of the game.
Beat fear tonight. Kowabunga!
Playing games such as “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” and “The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie” got me thinking about video games and adaptability. Games like this equip you with a set of skill and then let you loose in the world/level. They do not really tell you how exactly to navigate a problem, thus the term game. Then I began thinking about problems from my real life and how I have used some of the problem solving skills given to me by video games and how games could be used to adapt to social problems in life. The addition of LGBT characters for example would help people understand them on a deeper level and could help the real-world problem of their discrimination.
The reading got me thinking about my experiences as a gamer and it is truly hard to put into words. I wrote a poem last semester for a poetry class and actually think that my experiences are summed up (as good as they can be in words) in this poem. Video games, for me are more than things to pass the time. They are a true lifestyle. They have changed my view of the world we live in and I could not live without them. I ponder the way they affect my world at work or in class and I try to make time for them everyday. I tried to log my experiences playing Tetris so I could capture the same emotions that the author did who wrote about Breakout, but stopped because I realized that games effect us all differently and there is no way to encompass all of the emotions or thoughts into a text. Frans Mayra hit that nail on the head a thousand times. I think that the experience of the game is multiplied ten times over from that of a movie because of the possibilities that taking an active role in the experience. Everyone has their own method of beating Pac-man. There are thousands of different ways to get the strongest party in Final Fantasy because different players have unique styles and strategies. Also, I have been theorizing that storylined games are different in their own right because the character fills their own personality into the decisions of the character. If the game fails to create this illusion it is usually not a good game because the player is restricted from making the character his/her own and are alienated in the process.
Anyway, rant over for now. Here is my poem in case you wanted to read it:
Ode to Video Games
I put another quarter in your belly
And then you whir to life in majestic grace.
Selflessly, you supply me with tons of fun.
Thank you! I owe you.
When life is hard you always give me comfort.
I slip into your hypnotic trance again.
The sun was up just a few minutes ago,
Now it’s three A.M.
Whether alien worlds or the Streets of Rage,
I pour my soul into your grand illusion.
Again I tell my father that I’m playing.
It’s fine. You’re worth it.
It’s been a week since last we met. I miss you.
You haunt my dreams and make me want to quit life,
But I must go on. Well, you’re just a fun vice.
Sorry, that was harsh.
Your wide array of experiences make
My heart flutter at their sheer enormity.
The time I’ve been allotted might seem wasted
To some. They don’t know.
If they restrict themselves to life they’ll never
Live. You give me so much more than meager joy.
I try to convince others of your greatness.
Some listen. Some don’t.
I’ve charged myself with an epic mission
To tell your story from birth to the present.
A rich history to be celebrated.
If I can, I will.
From relics of silicon to polished disks
Your life flourishes and sustains in grand style.
The annals of time will see you continue.
I love you, Video Games.
Played GTA 5 tonight. Love the open world sandbox environment. Also, the eastereggs are super creepy because the world is set in a semi-reality.
I was thinking about religion in Final Fantasy 10. An article on IGN recently talked about the anti-religion undertones in Final Fantasy 10. I think that they were overtones rather than undertones because the anti-religion message was very “on the sleeve”. However, I disagree with IGN taking this a anti-spirituality. I think it was extremely anti-religion, but not anti- god/s. This can be gathered from the way that Yuna and most of her guardians kept faith in Yevon (a deity) even when the church of Yevon failed them and went on to help build up a new following of Yevon. To me this is a pro-Protestantism game. In the new religion they were more free and did not blindly follow they ways of the old Yevonites, thus painting Protestantism in a good light. I recently played it through again and there are some jabs at religion, but it is almost all pointed at the church at hand and not the concept of Yevon itself.
Yesterday I did something I haven’t in a while. I went video game hunting at the local pawn shops. To those who don’t know, video game hunting is when you go to a thrift store, yard sale, pawn shop, etc. to find worthwhile games at a cheaper price. Anyway, I picked up a game called Hexen and played it for about two hours.
Hexen is a Doom-style game where players traverse a demon land and try to solve puzzles… while killing demons of course. The game just threw me into it which is what I like in games because it forces the player to quickly adjust to their elements and makes every little victory sweeter. Like most games of the day the 3D environment was primitive, which was cool because the world was primitive. The game mixed rpg elements such as choosing between warrior, mage, and paladin (a spell sword or red mage for FF fans) as well as a straight action game. The gore was intact even though it was on Nintendo 64. I love this particular aspect because the gore is not over-the-top and enhances the gritty tone of the world. Just imagine Scarface without swearing or James Bond without a sex scene, it doesn’t work without the gore.
I was thinking of puzzle games and the sense of fulfillment that they give me as opposed to other games. Unlike games that force players to pay attention to a story or shove guns in their hands puzzle games are about the player. They highlight the player’s ability to adapt to new challenges and test their problem solving skills. They don’t leave a trail of hints for the player either. For example, Tetris for whatever console it is on has two things to choose before you start, the music and the level. No tutorials on how to rotate the blocks or what to look for to get more points. It is a game in its most pure form.
Games like Myst give the player nothing and put the player through hell trying to figure out cryptic puzzle that sometimes take hours to fully complete. Every accomplishment the player makes is of his or her own merit and leaves them with an “A-HA” moment where everything falls into place. Puzzles, unlike other forms of play, are between the player and his or herself and their ability to notice their surroundings and take in every detail. True, there is not much action to these games, but that isn’t what makes them fun. Beating the puzzle(s) brings a much deeper sense of accomplishment than getting 20 headshots in a shooter or leveling up to the highest level from hour of mashing the A or X button against enemies you have far out leveled. That is why puzzle games give me a deeper sense of pleasure in beating them than other games.
Thinking about games in our culture, I have come to the conclusion that we are in the beginning stages of a Renaissance of game development. With game generators such as Construct 2 helping people cut some of the fat of programming and software becoming available to the public more and more games are able to be made. Indie game developers are able to program without the need for deep pockets to back them up. However, we must be careful as a culture to not over saturate the “market” lest another 1983 occur.
Just got a pleathera of video games from a Flashsale on the PSN. I used this opportunity to venture outside my comfort zone and see what other types of games I can experience. I got Cave Story a puzzle platformer, Mechiniumn and many others that I have wanted to try but couldn’t afford before. I love the video game search. In a store or online, finding new video games is like finding buried treasure. It gives me a rush completely separate from playing the game. I don’t know if I would like video games as much without this part of the experience. Loving video games on this level is a way of life with its own community and it’s growing every year. So if you have never tried video game hunting then try it. You might be surprised by the experience.
The SEGA Game Gear is a great handheld that was too good for its time. The LCD backlit screen was revolutionary for handhelds, but it’s bulky size and six battery requirement was just too much for most people. This would sadly happen to SEGA again with the Dreamcast. SEGA really could do what Nintendo couldn’t or didn’t at the time and yet Nintendo won out. I think affordability had much to do with that, because back then the majority of gamers were under 18 and therefore had to rely on their parents for money to buy the system. The lack of success led to developers passing up developing in the Game Gear for the cheaper GameBoy. I think in today’s market things would be different because according to a survey done by Statista, 39% of gamers are 36 or older, 32% are 18 to 35, and the remaining 29% of gamers are under 18. The increase in age gives the gamer more power over their purchases which would give the better system a better chance.
I recently bought Harvest Moon non the PSN. It is a good game for a farming simulator (the original farm simulator) letting you interact with townsfolk and build relationships with people. I don’t care too much for these types of games because it is literally simulating work and I would rather actually grow something if I am going to put that much effort in it. I did find the interactions with the people to be the best part. They are semi-realistic in nature and will not blossom overnight. You have to make good impressions on the townsfolk and they will want to get to know you better and will change their opinions if you do something to screw them over.
I think, like Animal Crossing, this is more of a life simulator. A way to teach people how to properly interact with other people and be an honest person and a hard worker by rewarding you for doing that and punishing you if you don’t.
The object of the game is simple. You run a farm for three years and if you turn the farm into a successful endeavor, then you are allowed to stay. If you fail then you have to leave the village. This concept is perfect for a game. It is clearly spelled out for the player do A or B will happen. There is nothing cryptic about this stipulation, which is crucial, because the three years will go in a hurry.
Fatigue is a factor in this game as well to add some extra difficulty. This also teaches the player to balance their work with play or just good ole R&R. You can’t work yourself into the ground or you will have to visit the hospital and pay good money to heal yourself. This is a very good life simulator and teaches the morals of a good hard-working nature without killing yourself. I think younger kids should play these types of games to give them a good foundation to learn from.
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