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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.

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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”

Let’s Talk About: Absolute Drift (Actually talk about it)

Absolute Drift - Intro

So yes, I kind of talked about Absolute Drift yesterday, but not really to any analytic sense. I really only touched on the game’s philosophy and stylings. The aesthetic likeness to Japanese Sumi-e art and building up an artistic confidence that experience plus loss of self-doubt can only bring. (Post here)

This is more to focus on what the game does and doesn’t do well.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: Absolute Drift (Actually talk about it)”

Let’s Talk About: (Zen and the art of) Absolute Drift

sumi-e 2

Have you ever seen a Sumi-e painting before? There’s a distinct elegance to looking at a Sumi-e painting because of its minimalism. The use of a single color (black). The confidence in their brushstroke that this line is exactly how I want to look or even the ability to adjust when the stroke came out wrong. Being able to visualize the mystic beauty of the world with only greyed silhouettes. Able to use the void of the whitespace to your advantage, to give more meaning to the color on the page, instead of requiring color to fill all of the canvas.

sumi-e 1

This is probably why I picked up Absolute Drift in the first place.

Absolute Drift - Intro

 

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: (Zen and the art of) Absolute Drift”

Gaming on Data: Gaming Script – Who is this Written For, Third Graders!?

Gaming Scripts series:

Language and Aggressions 

Language and Aggression over time 

Word Usage and Aggression

3Number of Unique Words color sentiment

A game from the 30,000 foot view, with its intricate battle mechanics, handcrafted scenery, and illustrative storytelling leaves an impression with the player.

Over the past few days, we’ve looked closer and closer at the storytelling portion, the words and transcriptions that are used and the impression that it leaves on the game.

We’ve only previously looked the words that have been said but not about how difficult it was to hear.

42 - Easy Ready - Flesch Grade - Sentiment

So this is how a game’s script reads. At least looking at the Flesch Kincaid Grade scale, it says that even the more difficult of scripts can be read by a 6th grader; 3rd and 4th graders can manage with the majority of the script as well.

Continue reading “Gaming on Data: Gaming Script – Who is this Written For, Third Graders!?”

Gaming on Data: Gaming Scripts – Aggression over time. A long time.

Gaming Scripts series:

1 – Language and Agressions

3Number of Unique Words color sentiment

Touching back on what we found out in the previous post was that games, in general, use aggressive language considerably. Granted this is from a small sample size of AAA titles, but are titles that permeate through the gaming community. Required reiterating in-case there are new readers to this post who hasn’t read the last one, yet. (Cough, cough.)

But the last post looked at a game as the sum of its parts and not the parts that made up that sum.

6 - Game Script - Lang use over time a-g 7 - Game Script - Lang use over time h-u

And there’s a reason for that. The parts of a game’s script are a bit messy, jumbly and noisy. The above is the running average of the sentiment, the polarity of aggression where negative (red) denotes more aggressive language and positive (green) denotes more friendly language. But these graphs for the most part are bit too noisy to make sense of them aside from the general feeling that a game is. Comparing say the Call of Duty games, where there’s very little green up top but a whole lot of red underneath, makes it easy to assume that its language is more aggressive in nature than say Portal 2 where the opposite is true with its green hair and ginger public area.

Continue reading “Gaming on Data: Gaming Scripts – Aggression over time. A long time.”

Gaming on Data: Gaming Scripts – Language and Harsh Undertones

We play a game and absorb a lot of created by the developers. Gorgeous tropic landscapes; the honks, footsteps and clatter of an urban environment; the dialectic change for stepping into 1950s New York in the Bronx. The developers and artists and writers put a lot of time sculpting and crafting their environment and it leaves an impression on you. When you put down Assassin’s Creed 2, aside from the killing, freerunning, building scaling that you do, you also absorb a bit of 15th century Italy. The architecture becomes recognizable, the attire becomes familiar and you learn many of the ins and outs of getting around the city. This very much thanks to the developing teams request to keeping the game period perfect and because of that, a part of the game seeps into us and we learn from it and grow from it.

For this short iteration of Gaming on Data, I got a bit curious about the scripts behind the game, the writing for the game because gaming is just as much a visual distraction as it is a conceptual one. Much of the writing that a player comes out of the characters that interact within it, so that’s what I focused on.

For this, I scraped the internet for a few scripts for somewhat current AAA titles are prolific in that they cause a large impression on the gaming community. But finding these scripts is not easy, so I managed to only get the following:

Scripts Scraped:

  • Bioshock
  • Bioshock 2
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Call of Duty – Black Ops
  • Call of Duty – Black Ops 2
  • Call of Duty – Ghosts
  • Call of Duty – Modern Warfare
  • Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2
  • Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3
  • Curse of Monkey Island
  • Grand Theft Auto 4
  • Half Life
  • Half Life 2
  • Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect 2 (Incomplete)
  • Mass Effect 3
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Secret of Monkey Island
  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • Uncharted
  • Uncharted 2
  • Uncharted 3

1Number of Unique Words in Gaming Script

The above is a graph showing the number of unique words within each game and something obvious jumps out: RPGs and Open World games have a lot of text. Not even by a small margin, like a significant margin.

Continue reading “Gaming on Data: Gaming Scripts – Language and Harsh Undertones”

SGDQ 2015 Highlights

Summer Games Done Quick 2015 has wrapped up this morning. The event raised around 1.25 million during the week long charity stream where around 125 games and 140 players donated their time and expertise to give the gaming community an entertaining 24/7 display of gripping moments, glitched games and great commentary.

Background

For the uninitiated, the point of the Games Done Quick community is to beat a game as quickly as possible. For any given game, there is a pocketed community that devotes hours in finding the fastest path, developing the best execution and discovers the newest time savers. Completing a game can mean many things to many people. The categories are typically:

  • Any % (Complete the game with any percent of the game completed)
  • 100% (Complete the game with everything collected)
  • Glitchless (Complete the game without unintended exploits)
  • Race (Compete against other players to beat the game as quickly as possible) – used more for games with heavy randomness throughout the game.

To view the official world records for many games, you can check them out at http://speeddemosarchive.com/

This is probably enough background to understand the majority of speedrun videos and enough to understand the highlights for SGDQ2015.

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Let’s Talk About: Her Story

 

A dim lit room. A lone computer screen in the middle of that room radiating all of the noticeable light around you. Like a moth, you’re drawn to the light. You take a seat in front of the monitor where a single application is running with the text “MURDER” in the text box. Looks like a crappy search engine from a college homework assignment, you think to yourself. You click the Search button anyways. Querying Database and a green sense of progress fills up the bar. A few videos with a brunette appear. She’s been there for more than one day, as her clothes aren’t the same across the videos. It looks like she’s being interrogated. Without warning, without forced motivation, without someone whispering text in front of you face, you sit there watching each video, trying to figure out what this murder is about.

HerStory-Intro

Her Story is probably one of the better story-driven games I’ve played in a while, not because it breaks ground in storytelling but because it leaves the player in complete control of how they unravel the story.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About: Her Story”

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