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Tag Archives: learning

Monster Hunter Freedom unite3In a previous post, I talked about how hard it was for me to try to enjoy Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite. I tried and tried to feel like all the times I died or was screwed up by some system that I didn’t know about yet were somehow worth it in order to say that I was good at the game. Ultimately, I gave up on it.

Thankfully, my brother and I later had a conversation about how he was breezing through Monster Hunter 3 and that encouraged me to try to understand the way the game worked before finally deleting it for the extra memory on my Vita. With that little extra effort I put in (along with what was probably a competitive drive, seeing as how my brother is six years younger than me), the game finally opened up to me.

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LexI rarely download word-based mobile games any more. Honestly, they’re usually such a disappointment that I just figure why bother buying yet another Scrabble or Boggle clone? Do I REALLY need to play some new version of what’s already been done to death? Turns out, yes, I really do.

Lex isn’t really the same as Scrabble or word-finds or crosswords, even though I’m sure it’s a copy of some game or other that’s out there (see my article on 2048 vs Threes). Instead of giving you the chance to mull over your words like Scrabble does, it forces you to play before each letter’s individual timer runs out. Instead of giving you a set of letters to choose from like Boggle does, it constantly replaces the letters that you make words out of, showing only nine letters in an unchangeable order at one time.

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Wolfenstein New OrderA lot of first-person shooters claim that they offer two ways to complete every mission: stealthily or with a full frontal assault. Unfortunately, a lot of games fall flat in that regard, or if they DO manage to have some sort of noticeable ability to assassinate or avoid enemies, the reward is the same as when you just unload on them (i.e. enemies are now dead or you got to the goal).

That’s why playing Wolfenstein: The New Order was so refreshing for me: the reward for spending the time avoiding enemies and sneakily stabbing them in the neck was actually a gift and not just “okay, now you can say you did it with stealth but we’ll reward you and the fighty guy in the same way.”

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super hexagon

On the recommendation of numerous video game podcast hosts, I downloaded Super Hexagon on my iPhone a few months back. I was wary but excited because of all the good things I had heard about it. For those who’ve never played it, here’s some gameplay footage. Obviously, it’s an incredibly hard game. The controls are simple but there are so many things moving around and changing direction that it’s easy to get completely lost and die after just a few seconds (like I did…over and over again). Now, there exists tips on how to beat the game (yes it’s possible to beat Super Hexagon), but after looking up strategies and tricks, I couldn’t help but think to myself: what’s the point of all this? As I dug a bit deeper, things got pretty dark.

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I never really liked rhythm games. It wasn’t because I didn’t like music; I’ve been writing and playing music for over a decade now. No, it was mostly because every rhythm game I played, whether it was Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero, seemed to revolve around a goal that I just had no interest in: getting a high score for the sake of getting a high score. Despite the history of the high score and its importance to video games since the dawn of arcades, nothing about seeing my name up there in the top 10 ever appealed to me. It’s for this reason that I always avoided rhythm games. That is, until I played Patapon.

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mario and luigi dream tream 2

I recently picked up Mario and Luigi Dream Team for the 3DS and was kind of shocked at how condescending it is. I was walked through so many menu tutorials and explanations of basic RPG elements that I almost put it down out of exasperation. To be fair, I had just come from playing games like Bravely Default and Bioshock Infinite, so it’s possible I had maybe forgotten what it was like to play a video game made for children.

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pixeljunk Monsters HD

I should preface this article by saying that I really don’t play a lot of tower defence games. I played Castle Storm on PS Vita for a while, and that was mildly entertaining, but I just don’t get it. The main problem I have with them is that, for the most part, they seem to draw out the tension of risk/reward too far. In other words, I just don’t want to play a game that drags on for half an hour only to lose on the last wave of enemies, leaving me with nothing but a gaping, half-hour-sized hole in my life. I could have done like, half a sudoku in that time.

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868-hack cap

Michael Brough has frustrated gamers before with his extremely cryptic games like Corrypt and Zaga 33, but 868-Hack is probably his best yet. Why? Because it’s easy to understand yet still incredibly complex. I’m going to be talking about how the balancing in this game makes it stand out as a simple structure that still has great depth. Many games employ some very complicated balancing strategies that are never really witnessed or understood by their players: 868-Hack is the opposite, opting for a balancing system that is bold-faced in its simplicity. It’s for this reason that I saw how much potential it has as a lesson in balance.

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Arkham City Mr. Freeze

When I think about the Batman villain Mr. Freeze nowadays, I’m thankful to say that my mind doesn’t immediately go to a frosted-faced Arnold Schwarzenegger. Instead, I now think of that amazing fight in Batman: Arkham City. That fight stands out as one of the best boss fights I’ve ever encountered in a video game for two simple reasons: pacing and Mr. Freeze’s adaptive AI. There’s a lot I learned about how to design a boss fight just from this five minute battle.

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darksydephil

I recently stumbled onto a long-running internet joke: DarksydePhil. I would link to his Youtube page, but I really don’t want to give him any more traffic than he’s already got. Instead, check out the “How to NOT play ________” videos where the blank is whatever Phil’s latest Let’s-Play-style video was about. This guy is basically everything that’s ever been wrong with video game nerds, but learning about him has really made me reflect on my experiences with the different types of gamers I’ve encountered.

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