Monthly Archives: November 2008

Games Time

I missed my Thursday deadline of my Game Journal again!
Let’s see. I bought Sonic Unleashed and have been playing that some. I’m still only a couple hours into it. The levels are pretty long. It’s been very enjoyable so far. The biggest improvement is that it’s no longer buggy. Sure, you clip through stuff sometimes after falling to your death, but the clipping no longer causes the death. Falling off a cliff and seeing Sonic clip through a tree isn’t game breaking like clipping through the ground was in Sonic 2006. The day levels are wonderful. They’re all about speed. The night levels remind me of Devil May Cry, complete with devil trigger “unleash” meter.
On the subject of Sonic, I started playing Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. I have to say, I’m very impressed. The art is very cool, the sound and music is great, and the battle system is fun. For the most part, it’s a menu driven battle system like classic Eastern RPGs. However, in order to block certain attacks or to perform POW moves (special moves), you have to tap repeatedly, hit certain spots in a certain order, or drag circles across the screen. This make the gameplay similar to Elite Beat Agents. What I really enjoy about this game though is the dialog and references to other Sonic material. I fought Swat Bots! I want to say I like the story, but so far the overarching story has been pretty simple. I just like meeting with G.U.N., not trusting Rouge, and seeing Tails act a little more independent.
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in World of Warcraft. I’ve got a lot of achievements and did some old instances for achievement and gear for William. We’re 49 now and have stopped to PVP, but I already have all the PVP gear for my bracket and some 58 pieces too.
Titan Quest was on sale on Steam so I picked that up. It’s pretty fun. The game’s basically a Diablo 2 clone. The story isn’t as exciting, but the graphics are better, and (so far at least) it’s set in ancient Greece. Knowing the mythology makes it cooler.
I’m still working on the heavy weapons in Team Fortress 2. I got the first one! Two more to go! I also played Left 4 Dead a little, but only a level or two.
Animal Crossing: City Folk is still getting play. I missed one piece of the Harvest set =/ Now I’ll have to wait for Thanksgiving!
Speaking of Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving day I played through Castle Crashers with my brother and cousin. It was a lot of fun! I played the heck out of it when it first came out and wasn’t sure I’d be able to go back to it so soon, but it was an awesome time. I think Castle Crashers has to be one of the best coop games I’ve ever played.


I think I missed last week’s update. You know, a lot happens in two weeks. I knew I played games, but when I first went to write this post, I couldn’t remember much. Well, I played a lot. I beat LittleBigPlanet, Gears of War 2, The Ship, and Azure Dreams. I’ve also been playing World of Warcraft, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Team Fortress 2, Audiosurf, and Thousand Arms.
The night I made my last Game Journal post I was able to finish LittleBigPlanet. I moved on to play some community games a bit but didn’t play too much. I wrote a full review of it here and on GameFAQs so I won’t go into more detail.
I bought Gears of War 2 soon after that and finished it after a couple days. It was really excellent. I had a lot of fun, and it showed some awesome things that fans of the first game should be excited about. I haven’t yet played co-op or horde mode yet (or the regular multiplayer, but I don’t really care about that). I’m looking forward to horde mode sometime soon and possibly attempting co-op on Insane mode with my roommate Collin.
I bought Eets on Steam because it was really, really cheap. It also wasn’t very good. Also, I got around to playing The Ship, which is a Source game in which you’re on a ship and are tasked with killing another player while avoiding getting killed yourself. It’s a first person shooter, but you have to find various weapons hidden on the ship. There are other items on the ship you have to find to take care of your various needs that are similar to the needs you have in The Sims. I haven’t yet played this multiplayer either, but the single player was very enjoyable although buggy.
I’ve been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 again. Hopefully the first Heavy weapon will be unlocked soon! I’m looking forward to getting his new weapons. I’m not sure why I didn’t put more time into this when the Heavy update was first released. I also picked up Wrath of the Lich King and have been spending some time gaining achievements and PVPing. We’ll start leveling soon (maybe).
Animal Crossing: City Folk also came out recently. It doesn’t have much new from the DS version, and I wish the camera would zoom out more. However, it did implement a few nice features such as being able to change tools without going to the inventory menu. All in all, I’m happy with the improvements even if they were minor. I played online with Gabby and Jon last night, which was fun. You still have to jump through friend code hoops to play online, but it wasn’t too bad. We didn’t get the Wii Speak microphone, but USB keyboards worked wonderfully. There’s an on-screen keyboard you can use with the Wiimote, and I was afraid that using a USB keyboard would still make the on-screen one appear. It doesn’t. Just a small chat line appears at the bottom. I’m very impressed that Nintendo was able to implement this! I’ve never used a keyboard in a console game before except to name characters in RPGs, save files, and assorted things in Viva Piñata, all on the 360. Way to go Nintendo for doing something that consoles needed before the other consoles! Of course, I know some other games have supported keyboards; I’ve just never played any. Also, I guess most FPS games on the other consoles are too involved to have a player put down the controller to use a keyboard.
Lastly, I finally finished Azure Dreams (a PS1 game) on my PSP. I’ve been meaning to finish this since middle school! It was pretty fulfilling. Azure Dreams always reminds me of another RPG I played around the same time that I never finished called Thousand Arms. In it, you date girls to increase your intimacy with them and then use that intimacy to forge stronger weapons. I put that on my PSP last night and just started. Hopefully I can finish that too!

LittleBigPlanet (PS3)

LittleBigPlanet is a fun Playstation 3 platformer created by Media Molecule with a lot of character and a great vision. It was fun and stars a memorable character, Sackboy. The physics engine is something far above other 2D platforming games. However, the game suffers from bugs and physics that, while advanced, gives players less precise controls than they had over Mario back on the NES.
If you want to know how I feel about this game without taking the time to read my whole review, I can give a quick summary. LittleBigPlanet is a lot of fun and has a lot of nice ideas, but implements many of them very badly. The game was good but not amazing and revolutionary as it may have seemed. Sackboy is a cute, fun character. I could see him becoming a mascot for Sony, but I do not see him seriously competing with Mario or even Sonic. I really enjoyed LittleBigPlanet and will definitely purchase the sequel when it’s released; however, the game was far from astounding.
The first thing I noticed about the game is the developers took it seriously and respected it. The game starts with a sort of level you play through with the level itself consisting of photographs of the developers. As you play through this first level the major credits are shown. I like to see games do this at the beginning like films do because it shows that the development team is respected.
The graphics are very cute in this game. Sackboy, as is evident by his name, looks he was hand sewn like a sock monkey. The rest of the characters in the game look like card board cut-outs. The levels resemble a pop-up book, and are designed quite well. Levels are organized into different groups with each one sharing a common theme in all of its levels. Music in LittleBigPlanet is very nice and sets the tones of the levels well. Levels have a maximum of three levels of depth. This allows the game to play as a 2D game while still allowing Sackboy to move more “in” to the television or “out” of the television. If there are multiple depths where you’re trying to do something, the game will do its best to guess which depth you’re aiming for and move you into it, but this doesn’t always work so well.
The game starts as a relatively simple platformer, but later levels involve staying out of fire, carefully timed jumps, riding various vehicles, swinging, and jumping off of moving and spinning ground. Controlling Sackboy is relatively straightforward. The left stick moves him around. The X button causes him to jump and is pressure sensitive with harder pushes yielding higher jumps. The R1 button causes Sackboy to hold on to whatever’s in front of him or the ground.
You can dress up your Sackboy with costumes found throughout the game. You can also download additional costumes from the Playstation Network. Using stickers you also find in levels, you can customize your “pod,” which is basically he menu for picking modes and levels. Some of these items are found easily in levels while others are hidden in more difficult to reach places. Some of these places require two, three, or even four players. The game is a lot of fun to play multiplayer. You can play either local, online, or any combination to include four people in the fun! The only annoying thing about playing multiplayer is that its single screen instead of split screen. When two players are playing together and separate, the camera chooses on to follow. A number appears on screen near the location the other Sackboy was and begins to count down. If it reaches zero while that player is off screen, he or she dies. The camera also zooms so far back to allow all players to see their characters for as long as possible that everything seems far too small. This reminds of me four player battles in large levels in Super Smash Bros. I’d rather have the game show me a closer up view and simply be split screen. Despite this problem, playing with friends adds a lot of fun to LittleBigPlanet.
The physics engine allows for momentum to stay with your character as he or she jumps off of moving platforms. This is a lot of fun and of course is what makes the game different than most other games of its type. The main problem I had with the physics engine was that everything felt like it stayed in the air too long. My first description I could come up with was “floaty” for this problem. By this, I mean that things seem like they’re floating. Sackboy seems to stay in the air too long during his jumps, and objects don’t fall or move as fast as I’d like. Most likely this is how the designers wanted it so I couldn’t really call it a design flaw. However, Sackboy doesn’t jump immediately when you press the jump button either. Combining the lag of jumps with the floaty feeling leaves players with inadequate control of Sackboy. Carefully planned jumps over multiple pits with only narrow walkways in the middle that would be possible for skilled players in other platformer games such as Super Mario Bros. prove very difficult and annoying in LittleBigPlanet. The game can also cause you die unexpectedly. When something falls on you, you get squished and die. I expect this. However, I also expect that if there’s a small gap under something and I attempt to walk under it, the game should either allow me to walk under it or not allow Sackboy to fit. Sometimes, LittleBigPlanet will allow me to squeeze Sackboy under something simply by holding right on the control stick (in other words, I’m not trying to force him into a small place) causing Sackboy to walk into the gap and then suddenly die. There have been a couple times when I’ve died and have had no idea why the game decided that something should kill me. As I mentioned earlier, the game sometimes has problems understanding in which depth I want to be. Overall, I understand that the game can’t read my mind. Usually it does a good job of predicting, but sometimes I found myself wishing I could turn off this predictive behavior so I could have complete control over where I wanted Sackboy to move.
LittleBigPlanet has a good variety of levels. That said, the game can probably be finished in about six hours. What’s really cool about LittleBigPlanet (and what made me so excited for it) is that you can design your own levels and share them over the Playstation Network. Players have a lot of control over their levels and can design many interesting things. There are some flaws with this too though. While the level designing is intricate and great, finding levels is a lot harder. You can search by preset tags, but I’d really like to see some sort of search box. I had imagined LittleBigPlanet to be to its levels as Youtube is to videos. I would like to be able to type what I’m looking for into a search box and see a list of resulting levels that match my search. What I could actually do was search for “cool” and see levels that other people applied the “cool” tag too. This severely hurts and limits the game. I was very disappointed by this.
I did play some interesting levels though. First I played a level titled “Little Big Colossus.” As many of you can probably guess, this was styled after Shadow of the Colossus. It was a little buggy because I played it with a second player although it clearly stated that it was designed for a single player. This isn’t anything wrong with the game or the designed of that level for I could tell that the bugs would have been present if I played alone, and a warning was clearly visible. It was a lot of fun scaling a Colossus in LittleBigPlanet and bringing him down. Next I played a recreation of level 1-4 from the original Super Mario Bros. While not perfect, it was a lot of fun too! I played a level based on Ghostbusters complete with the Ecto-1, Slimer, and the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. Again, this was quite fun. Finally, I played a game based on Pacman. My friend and I started at the bottom of a Pacman style maze and had to make it to the top to win. Unlike Pacman which allows to move in any direction just as easily as any other, this level proved to be a challenge because the maze is positioned vertically. I had to jump up shafts to move up the maze. The level even had ghosts run around that were electrified, killing Sackboy when touched. Sadly, Media Molecule has begun moderating the user created levels by deleting any level using a known intellectual property. This means that basically any level I had wanted to play would be deleted. I can understand why’d do this, but it still makes me sad.
All in all, I really liked the game. I’m looking forward to the sequel. Despite my fondness for the game, I was severely disappointed by it. While the game was fun, it could have been more. The level creation and sharing could have been amazing. It could have been something never before seen in a video game. LittleBigPlanet had the potential to allow players to make whatever they wanted in the game engine, similar to rom hacking or creating mods for PC games. This would have far made up for the errors of the game engine. However, lacking the awesome sharing it could have had brings LittleBigPlanet down from a revolutionary, truly amazing game to a great game, and the bugs brings it down farther to simply a good, fun game. If you have a Playstation 3 and enjoy platforming games, then I recommend you purchase this game. However, if you aren’t terribly fascinated by platformers or if you were considering purchasing a Playstation 3 to play LittleBigPlanet, think again.


Note: I’m dating this one week ahead of when I actually wrote it so that it’ll stay at the top of WebPageless for a week. I’ll restore the date to it’s correct value next week.
Obama won the presidency obviously. I wish I had more to say on it, but I really don’t. I wanted him to win, and I’m glad he did. But I have other things on my mind.
For instance, how the fuck did California proposition 8 pass? What the hell is wrong with people? People learn as they grow up that discrimination is wrong, but obviously people don’t really feel like that. They might decide that gender discrimination is wrong or that racial discrimination is wrong, but then we “protect families” by now allowing gays to marry? How does that protect the families they’re trying to create? I’m completely sickened by anyone who voted yes on proposition 8.
You shouldn’t steal because it’s wrong to steal. People shouldn’t avoid stealing because they’re scared of getting in legal or social trouble. Clearly that’s what’s going on with discrimination. At least in the books we have equal racial and gender rights in this country. People believe this is right because that’s what’s currently in the books. People claim they’re against discrimination because they have it ingrained in their heads that racial and gender discrimination is wrong. However, they don’t truly understand the topic. They think they do, but they don’t. If they did, how could they say that discrimination is wrong and then pass this fucking law?
Also, why is teaching gay marriage in school even an issue? First, I don’t believe they teach marriage in school at all. How come we learn about the rights movements we’ve had in this country? Why aren’t we content that we have equal gender and racial rights? I think it’s because it’s important that history doesn’t repeat itself. We need to remember our (as a nation, a people) past mistakes, even if they were before our, as individuals’, lives. Not only is it so that we make sure not to discriminate based on these qualities again, but because we’re supposedly an intelligent species, it’s so we can generalize and apply the knowledge of history to future events. Then how the fuck could we have let this pass? I certainly hope this is taught in schools! Not the concept of gay marriage. Marriage isn’t and shouldn’t be taught in schools at all. But the political fight for equal marriage laws should most definitely be taught in schools. I hope every student in every grade is learning that this piece of shit country is still discriminating in law and in social behavior.
This also brings up the confusion I have for this legal system. What if we put it to a vote and we amend the United States’ Constitution to ban gay marriage? What if that’s what the people want? The only way then to get gay marriage would be to remove it from the Constitution. Sure, we’ve removed things that we added previously, but what if the majority of the people in the country say that they want it kept in the Constitution? It would legally be in the highest form of law in this country even though it’s wrong. Clearly, someone should be able to say, “I don’t care that this is what the people want. It’s incorrect. It’s evil. I won’t allow it.” Who could do that? No one person can just strike laws out of existence. I think what I’m asking for is a dictatorship or monarchy. Clearly, that doesn’t work either, but I think this shows that a democratic republic only works as long as the people aren’t discriminating bigots who are evil.
Luckily, I do believe the time will come eventually when gay marriage is allowed all across the nation. It might take some time, but the young people are generally more allowing of it. We just have to wait out the lives of the older pieces of shit in this nation.

Gaming Recap

This past week I’ve played a substantial amount of Rock Band 2. We beat it last night actually. I also bought all the Weezer and Oasis tracks for gem and all the Who tracks for myself. I need to pick up Boston, Rush, and The Police also. I put some more time into LittleBigPlanet a little. I’m on the last level of the game and should be able to beat it tonight. I started playing Azure Dreams a tiny bit more and have been playing Ninjatown in bed and when I’m out. It’s a surprisingly fun little tower defense game for the DS. I don’t think I’d really recommend purchasing it new, but it is fun to play.
I also got back into Bioshock a little. It’s hard to play because it really stresses me out. However, I did manage to kill Dr. Steinman. I think it was a really cool scene. The fight itself wasn’t that exciting because I’m playing on easy. Still, I chose that because I’m not looking for challenging gameplay; I’m looking for the mood the game presents and to a lesser extent, the plot and message the game tries to portray (if it does indeed have a message, which I suspect it will).
Lastly, I played a small amount of Wario Land 2 and Professor Layton and the Curious Village this week. Good times!


(12:40:32 PM) Christine Keh: my attitude about people has changed
(12:40:35 PM) Christine Keh: i still hate them
(12:40:51 PM) Christine Keh: but once you realize all people suck and you just have to look past that suckiness
(12:40:53 PM) Christine Keh: it gets better

Game Recap

I’m late with my weekly game recap again, hm?
I bought LittleBigPlanet when it launched last week. It’s been pretty fun so far. The difficulty spiked at one point, but I think it was my fault. It’s a side-scrolling platformer with three levels of depth. There have been some issues with the game guessing the depth in which I want to be and causing me pain. I’ve also been squished and killed by simply walking under an object. I think if the game lets you just press right and walk under an object, it shouldn’t kill you. These are minor issues usually, but I notice them even more in heavily hyped games.
On Halloween night I got a new mask and some candy in Guild Wars by participating in the Mad King Thorn events again. I also played World of Warcraft a little just to trick-or-treat and visit the candy jack-o-lanterns in the inns of Kalimdor. I did manage to get that achievement! I haven’t yet been able to succeed at the quest in which you put out fires.
I played Zombies Ate My Neighbors a little, but it wasn’t satisfying my craving for Halloween games. I managed to get half way through level two, which is much farther than I’ve ever been. Wip3out Pure has been fun. I play it every now and then just for small amounts of time. It’s pretty fun. Lastly, today I played a little Azure Dreams again for the first time in months. It’s fun in a monotonous way. Maybe I’ll beat it someday.