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Impressions: Ultimate Chicken Horse – PAX Prime 2015

Ultimate Chicken Horse

Original Kickstarter

There’s a lot of ways to ruin friendships when playing a game. Games like Mario Party and Nintendoland have you building temporary alliances and never-forgotten rivalries from past betrayals. Others like Mario Kart or Super Smash Bros relying solely on yourself for victory with the randomness of items to keep things interesting and forcing you to be globally aware but you still feel the anguist when victory is snatched from your grasps by a well-timed red-shell or a lucky pokeball grab.

It’s weird to find a party game that doesn’t have you building a hatred for the people that you’re with over time, but Ultimate Chicken Horse was definitely on its way there.

ultimate-chicken-horse

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Game Experiences: PAX Prime 2015 Day 1: Freshman’s on FFXIV

It’s a bit strange to have new players come into a game and expect them to be good, don’t you think? 

Let’s step back a bit. Remember when in World of Warcraft, that you can get a free level-90 character or some odd nonsense that there was an uproar? It wasn’t just nerds being elitist assholes, because yes they are but yes they are also right to be upset.

You start a game with a new class and you start with the building blocks for that new class. For tanks, it’s about building agro to make sure that enemies don’t beat on the other people in your party, then work your way up to using damage mitigation moves and finally enemy movement. Damage Dealers deal with learning a rotation and finding out the best order of what skill produce the highest damage output, starting with only a few moves in your skillset and slowly finding a place for each new move that you learn… Healers just learn to heal and cleanse at the right times while dealing with “don’t stand in the bad stuff” mechanics.

But the reason why people were upset about the free level-90 was because you now have new players come in and have all of these moves and no training in how to use them. There are no fundamental building blocks to build on-top of, just a clutter of skills and an intense memorization that needs to happen in just remembering what skills are useful for what situation. You typical “oh-shit I’m about to die” buttons aren’t second-nature and you’re hunting and pecking to find the next move that should be useful instead of being used to a particular combination that gets the job done effectively.

This matters because the Final Fantasy XIV Convention Events have and always will have this problem. PAX Prime 2015 was no different, having a group of 8 random people tackling Ravana Hardmode. Easy enough for people who are into the game, but not everyone plays the game outside of the convention, and not everyone knows the mechanics to survive.

PAX Prime 2015 FFXIV Wideshot

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Let’s Talk About: Looking at Games Individually vs Culturally

Q: Is it enough to talk about Games Individually or do we need to talk about Games as a cultural whole?

One is a tragedy, many is a statistic.

Is it possible to gain insight into the art of Video Games (the storytelling, the cinematic design, the character design, the gameplay elements that make the package compelling or not) by looking at a game by itself? There is insight to gain in a market report sense, did you have fun, where the controls buggy, were parts of the game overly frustrating, but what I mean is on a digestive-sense can we learn from games in isolation steering away from the idea that all art is a reproduction of past art

To gain insight we look at games as a comparison of others, naturally fashioning some order of which is better than another in some respects but worse in others and we can discuss why things are better in some ways than others. But a lot of elements that make up a game that make it good don’t necessarily get carried over to subsequent generations.

For many games, there is no genetic evolution for its offspring, taking the best elements of the ancestor and passing it along to the offspring. For many games, they are incestuously stuck tweaking the best elements they have disproportionately augmenting their strengths to overcompensate for their weaknesses.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: Looking at Games Individually vs Culturally”

Presented Narratives vs Present Narratives

Does a game’s narrative always need to be presented?

We play games for many reasons. To have a ready-steady shoot-em-up time, to watch over-the-top explosion filled action set-pieces, to have an emotional ride through the struggle of the human condition, to have a few minutes of escape from our current reality in a world completely disjoint from our own. You start up a game (can we really not say “pop-in a game” anymore? Is that obsolete?) and you go in looking for that game to fulfill some criteria for you. Sometimes that criteria is already known. You’re in the mood for a mindless bullet-feast or you’re looking to strum your plastic guitar to some Beetles music or whatever. Sometimes that criteria is unbeknownst to you, so you walk into a game blindly and hopefully some aspect of the game is worthwhile. But does this mean all parts of the game need to be there for you to enjoy it? Are your priorities always the same when you start up a game?

I ask this because of games like the Dark Souls/Bloodborne series approach to how it deals with story, mainly which isn’t really presented to you. The story is present but not presented to the player. The player can read descriptions and text to figure out all that’s going on but they aren’t given a mandatory lecture of the game and its world. The player isn’t even given a synopsis. But is that a problem?

darksoulsart

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Youtube Words: Markiplier – Words and Drunk Minecraft

This is MarkiplierMarkiplier - Doublefinger

Markiplier knows a lot of bad words (Post)

Markiplier - 6 - Unique, Both Word Count2

Markiplier says them a lot (Post)

14 - Markiplier - number words per series

Markiplier plays a lot of Minecraft with his friends.

12 - Markiplier - Number of videos per series

Markiplier and his friends talk a certain way when playing Drunk Minecraft.

6 - Markiplier - Word Profile - Drunk Minecraft - Uncommon Word Freq

And they also use mean words with each other a lot.

8 - Markiplier - Word Profile - Drunk Minecraft - Sentimental Uncommon Word Freq

Markiplier and his friends start off talking a lot but stop talking a lot when they play for a long time.

9 - Markiplier - Word Profile - Drunk Minecraft - Avg Word use over time

Markiplier and his friends also get more mean if they play for a long time.

13 - Markiplier - Word Profile - Drunk Minecraft - Moving Avg Uncommon Sentimental Word Use OVer Time

This makes us both happy and sad.

Continue reading “Youtube Words: Markiplier – Words and Drunk Minecraft”

Youtube Word: Markiplier – Language Per Series

This is Markiplier

Markiplier-Chins

Here is a post about the bad words that Markiplier knows.

Markiplier - 6 - Unique, Both Word Count2

Markiplier has played a lot of games

11 - Markiplier Number of Videos

Markiplier has also played the same game a lot.

12 - Markiplier - Number of videos per series

Markiplier says nice things and bad things when he plays a game.

13 - Markiplier number of videos per series, color sentiment

When Markiplier plays a game, he can talk a lot.

14 - Markiplier - number words per series

And Markiplier has something nice to say, usually.

15 - Markiplier - number words per series, color sentiment

But for some games, Markiplier can say a lot of mean words

16 - Markiplier - number bad words per series, color sentiment

And some games, Markiplier only has mean words to say.

17 - Markiplier - number bad words in worst sentiment seires, color sentiment

Markiplier can be mean sometimes.

Continue reading “Youtube Word: Markiplier – Language Per Series”

Youtube Words: Markiplier – Language Usage

 

This is a Markiplier.

Markiplier-Chins

Markiplier has a YouTube Channel.

YT screenshot 1

Markiplier knows this many words.

Markiplier - 1 - Unique Word Count

Some words are just additions of other words.

a-hole, b-street, c-sharp.

This means that Markiplier knows less words than before. (Thanks YouTube Subtitles)

Markiplier knows good words and bad words. Most of them are good words.

Markiplier - 2 - Unique Word Count, Colored By Sentiment

But Markiplier says bad words a lot.

4 - Unique, Bad Word Count

And Markiplier says meaner bad words than good ones.

Markiplier - 5 - Unique, Both Word Count1

Markiplier also knows more mean words than nice words.

6 - Unique, Both Word Count2

But that’s ok. We still enjoy Markiplier =)

Continue reading “Youtube Words: Markiplier – Language Usage”

Gaming Experiences: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Embrace Easy Mode

It might’ve been a pride thing, to show that I had gaming skill and the proper ability to play a game at harder settings, but I used to always look down at Easy Mode as the child’s setting. The be able to make the fewest mistakes in a game, to show that I had such a high proficiency in my gaming ability that making it less difficult was insulting to me. In all reality it was probably just insulting to my ego. But a difficulty setting is important. If a game is too easy, then it’s easy to get bored in the game you lose interest. If you set it too difficult, then having a lack of mastery of the game means that you’re going to get frustrated and likely drop the game at this point. Some games don’t have a means of changing the difficulty and expect the level design to test the player’s proficiency of the game. Look at any Mario Brothers game and you’re hard-pressed to find any adjustable difficulty setting, but go to Megaman or a Shmup or an FPS and they’ll lean on difficulty settings to better tune the game to the player. This is also useful for replayability where players already have an understanding of the mechanics and are returning for a deeper experience. I think we've all held right when the game started on instinct, and if you say otherwise you have some pants that should be moved from some sprinklers.

Continue reading “Gaming Experiences: How I Learned to Stop Caring and Embrace Easy Mode”

Onboarding and Recovering Progress for Mobile Games

Get Up. Take a shower. Make breakfast. Drive to work. Make Coffee. Start work for the day. Check your phone. Phone starts restarting…

Take out battery. Turn on phone. Phone starts restarting.

Google symptoms. Fiddle with phone settings. Phone starts restarting.

Factory Reset Phone. Phone looks fine.

Start setting up phone again. Download essential apps. Download non-essential apps. Download games. Load up game to restore data.

It’s at this point where one of two things can happen. You can either get your data back easily, or you can spend the next 10 minutes with your eyes engulfed in ever deeper shades of red.

Continue reading “Onboarding and Recovering Progress for Mobile Games”

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