Monthly Archives: June 2011

Games in June

I haven’t made a Game Journal update in a while!
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
I finished The Ballad of Gay Tony. It had been a while since I played the original campaign or the Lost and Damned, but I think I liked the original best followed by The Ballad of Gay Tony. The characters were all very entertaining. The relationship between Tony and Luis was cool, Yusuf was a fun character, and the ending mission was a lot of fun.
Portal 2
gem finished this, but with my computer down, there’s no chance at playing co-op anytime soon.
Worms 2: Armageddon
I picked this up for the iPhone a few weeks ago. It’s pretty full-featured, but I suck a lot so I stopped playing it.
Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting
Fun but short. It didn’t have any RPG elements besides being able to upgrade weapons and armor. There isn’t even any exploration. It reminds me of the Arena in Armored Core.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
I was playing this regularly for a while, but now I haven’t touched it in a few weeks. With my room off-limits, I haven’t moved it downstairs. I was enjoying it though!
Save Toshi
This iPhone puzzle game tasks you with throwing balls at platforms so that the girl standing on top falls onto the goal platform. If you hit her, you lose. It’s surprisingly fun if you turn off the terrible voice-acting. I beat this, but it was shorter than I expected. It turns out I was playing a version that was basically a demo for a longer version.
Cell Bound
Another iPhone game! It’s kind of like Puzzle Bobble except the bubbles come from all sides towards the center, and you can rotate the center. It was fun, but I stopped playing it as soon as I posted the review.
Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing
More iPhone gaming! This just came out, and as I loved the console version, I had to pick it up. It’s a little difficult because it uses tilt to steer, but it’s better than I would have expected. I haven’t put too much time into it, but I plan to play it more.
Plants vs. Zombies
I’ve been playing this more than anything else lately. With the newest update, the iPhone version finally received some mini-games. One game comes immediately, and then there are two packs of three that can be purchased with the in-game currency. I bought the first pack but haven’t made enough money for the second. The update also brought the Zen Garden that allows you to raise plants. It’s fun!
A Slice of Life
The last iPhone game, I promise! The goal is to have your character succeed in the various parts of life – job, education, social, etc. It’s like the Sims but only menu and button-driven with no direct control. It kind of sucked.
Sonic Generations Demo
The demo only features one level of the classic gameplay, but I enjoyed it. It almost seemed a little too fast, making it hard to focus, but I didn’t run into any traps, making the speed okay. The graphics seemed odd because it was clearly inspired by the classic graphics but still 3D. I liked it a lot more than the photo-realistic background of Sonic 4. I’m looking forward to playing more of this for sure!
I’ve been playing this a bit the last couple days. It looks a lot like Mega Man X, but in A.R.E.S. you can control the direction in which you shoot as well as spend recyclables dropped by dead robots on grenades, repair kits, or upgrading weapons.
Metal Drift
I wanted to play this because I enjoy vehicular combat games, but it seems odd from the tutorial. You can shoot in any direction, including shooting directly behind you while driving forward. It seems difficult to be able to do that.
Okay, last game. Nimbus is a flying, side-view racing game in which you can’t directly accelerate. You reach the goal by attempting to keep your momentum, flying into cannon-things (think barrels from Donkey Kong Country), colliding with bouncy pads, etc. I’m enjoying it so far.
Besides playing PvZ regularly, nothing is really pulling me in a lot right now. Right now I’m mostly playing A.R.E.S. and Nimbus at home, but I have to kind of push myself to do it. We’ll see. Maybe I should hook my Wii back up again.
I also signed up for a second 365 Project, the photo-a-day site. While the first I’m using for photos as intended, my second account is now for screenshots. We’ll see how it goes. It’s here

Visually Directing the Player

UCLA Game Lab » Visually Directing the Player

…one philosophy that I try to abide by in game-design is that there are no bad players-only bad designers. If a player feels stupid, cheated, or frustrated, it shouldn’t be the player’s fault. It should be the designer’s responsibility to prevent the player from feeling this way, and in order to do this, there exists the much beloved activity of play-testing.
There are many problems that arise out of a good play-test, but I’m going to focus on the aforementioned one of “visual direction,” to guide the player a specific way.

Joshua Nuernberger, creator of the fantastic adventure game, Gemini Rue, recently (or not so recently as the case may be) posted an essay on providing visual cues to direct players in game. It’s an interesting read if you’re fascinated by game design decisions. Also, if you haven’t played Gemini Rue (as it’s an under-marketed indie game, you probably haven’t) and like adventure games, you definitely should. I love the visuals in the game, and it has a fantastic mood, setting, and story.

Berkeley Dog

Berkeley Dog, originally uploaded by theuser.

I ate at Berkeley Dog today! It’s a new hot dog joint at the University Center. The food was decent but a little over-priced. Still, they had a nice selection, lots of sauces, and super sweet soda machines. I tried Raspberry Coke, Lime Coke, and Orange Coke! They were all good, but Raspberry Coke was my favorite!

Homefront Is On Sale and Terrible

Save 50% on Homefront on Steam
One of this weekend’s deals on Steam is Homefront marked down 50% to $24.99. Besides the fact that this sucks because it’s not an indie game (fine Andy, I’m a game hipster), it’s also a terrible game. Do not get it. I played through it, and maybe parts of it are a little fun, so if it ever goes on sale for $2, then it might be time to pick it up. Maybe. But it’s definitely not worth $24.99.
Also, keep in mind that when I say it is worth $2, I’m actually very biased in its favor; THQ threw an awesome party for Homefront at E3 2010 that I attended. With that tidbit in mind, maybe it wouldn’t even be worth $2 to someone who wasn’t brainwashed.

Cell Bound

Cell Bound for iOS | iPhone/iPod, Reviews, Action Games, Puzzle

I spent some great quality time with a new game provided to me by Hothead that I’d like to tell you all about! Cell Bound, their new iOS game, mixes up an old formula to create a fantastic new game. Colored bubbles are shot across the screen, and you’re tasked with connecting five of the same color to pop them. Don’t let them stack up off the screen or it’s game over. Does that sound familiar? Well, Cell Bound is a bit different than what you probably have in mind, because the bubbles come from all sides in a circle!

Circular Puzzle Bubble? Yeah, it’s pretty fun and only $0.99!