Posts about gaming (old posts, page 1)

Shared culture of Mario

Despite an increasing catalog of experience, I am always surprised to find people who don't share the same pervasive familiarity with game mechanics that I do. I've tended to play and discuss games with other people who play and discuss games. Most of the assumptions that are safe enough in such a circle aren't as universal as we think.

When was the last time that you had to explain that jumping on enemies kills them? Or that you could go down pipes? Let alone what it means to circle strafe.

What is an RPG?

I recently (re-)listened to Active Time Babble episode V, which consists mostly of a discussion of the definition of the genre "RPG." As is usually the case with this particular topic, there was no real definitive conclusion; but I think I might have stumbled on one for myself:

A role-playing game models the development of character skill as distinct from player skill such that the manipulation of this model is the primary expression of player skill.

Chrono Cross (3 September 2010)

I'm enjoying Chrono Cross quite a bit so far. The battle system is quite different from what I'm used to from a jrpg; and even though it seemed shallow at first, my first mildly difficult boss battle made me delve a bit deeper into it: the ability to take multiple actions per "turn," as well as the ability to change the active character at will, let me use the "defend" command more than I usually do (that being ever).

I was afraid that Retronauts had spoiled a major plot point for me; but while I'm still aware of the general concept, I'm no longer certain of the details. I suppose that will leave me with a bit of surprise. (I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone else, though, so I'll leave it at that.)

The accents are already starting to get to me, though. Kid's "Australian" isn't too bad, but every time the "French" clown character comes out I can't help but groan. I think my top request for a remake would be to subtle-down the dialog, even before upresing the rendering.

Radical Dreamers

I was unable to play Radical Dreamers on my DS. Absurdly enough, even the minimal audio-visual effects were too much for SnemulDS. No matter: moving to the Wii meant that Andi and I could play it together (more comfortably, anyway).

We've played through two scenarios so far. The game is amazing (in a "games are art," hippie kind of way). Its presence in the Chrono series does a lot to justify the series' classification as a classic, being so unique.

Andi was skeptical at first, but after about an hour of play time (halfway through the first scenario) she was remarking about how good it was; how it draws you in. This morning, she was the motivator behind going after another scenario.

I look forward to finding the rest of the endings, and am even more excited for Chrono Cross. (I might get it as early as Saturday!)

Spirit Tracks finished

After three days, including time spent at home, on the bus, and in the Mall of Arabia, I finally finished the final dungeon and sequence in Spirit Tracks. I've got to say, Spirit Tracks is awesome. I was excited for the game, yet still it exceeded those expectations. The dungeons were great, the final (tool) item is creative and fun, it was longer than I expected (but redeeming itself by making each step better than the last). It's not just good compared to Phantom Hourglass. It's not even just a good portable Zelda. This is a great Zelda game in the context of Zelda games, at least in the modern (post-OOT) scope of the series.

It's all in the characterization of characters. The main cast is emotive, sympathetic, and believable. There's some typical wackiness, but it's never embarrassingly over the top. It's just good fun, and it goes on for a good long time.

All that, and I've only purchased one train upgrade. I understand that there's a good quantity of sidequest content to search down. I'll probably take a break for a bit (it took me longer to get through this than it should have) but I can see tracking down the treasures and beefing up the train, just 'cause.

Next up: Chrono Cross. I very quickly judged the game as stupid years ago, but I anticipate being wrong about it. While I wait for a friend to bring it from the states for me, though, I might try out Away: Shuffle Dungeon for a bit.

New Super Mario Bros. Woo Hoo

Andi and I just finished dominating New Super Mario Bros. Wii. (I will curse level 9-7 for years to come.) We managed to get 100%, and I even purchased all of the hint videos at Peach's castle for good measure.

The payoff was a bit disappointing, though: a quick message of congratulations is all we received after obsessively clearing every exit (including the warp canons). Oh well, I suppose.

In any case, that's one more game off of my games I am playing list, even if it wasn't the one I intended to finish next. (I'm stuck on the Nu Master. Hopefully someday soon I'll work up the patience to beat him.)

Either that, or I'll switch impatiently back and forth between the two DS Zelda games I have on tab, too.

Shadows of the Colossus: Sandworm

In the never-ending task of whittling down the [list of games I'm in the middle of](link://author/janderson/games], I've been playing Shadows of the Colossus; and, in a further attempt to make sure that I don't lose momentum on it, and stall out like I have in the past, I've decided to tackle one und eben ein colossus each day.

Today was the sandworm. (That's #10, to be more precise, since I'm just making up names.)

Absolutely epic. Three times instakilled... then learning to evade the thing on Argo... then seeing the worm's glowing eyes bearing down just inches away... then noticing that, with the freedom of a beast of burden (that is, as opposed to a car) I could pull out the bow and turn around to fire.

Absolutely brilliant.

finished Resident Evil 4

In the never-ending quest to whittle down my "games I'm playing now" list, I finally beat Resident Evil 4 last night. I realize there's bonus content (I've got the PS2 version) but I'll let that slide for now: I've added it to the "next" list.

I think I'm going to try to finish Shadows of the Colossus now.