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Birds and Video Games

For the first time ever, I own a smartphone. It's an HTC Evo something or other. I've found it has quite a few uses, such as checking my Facebook and email while at work. Texting my roommates about random stuff that happens at work. Reading various articles while at work. Checking Planetside 2 test server stuff... while at work.

Most importantly though, taking pictures of grackles while at work. Its uses in reducing productivity are immense. In all seriousness though, being able to check these sorts of things when I'm away from my computer and in a moment of not having much else to do, it is a very handy device, and saves me time. Run-ons don't even care! Here's a random screenshot of something!

This can actually happen.

There really are a lot of birds in DT3.

Those Extra Things
Gate 5 is almost all based on the level design with very few major things happening until near the end. It follows closer to Super Metroid's method of progression in simply letting the player figure out where their new power up would allow them to go. It's split up in 3 major sections plus a hub. The only help given is which of these sections the player should be in.

There's times when I feel something extra would greatly enhance the player's engagement, even if the extra bit doesn't really have any major purpose. For example, in Gate 5, there's a scripted scenario around getting the Morph Ball. That segment of gameplay could just as easily work with the player simply grabbing the upgrade and that being the end of it. How do you guys approach situations like this?

A Thing About This
Anyone played Fez? It was that little platform where you shift the world around 90 degrees. So the link above is a review that are my thoughts almost exactly. While the review is a bit satirical and overly hateful at times, it hits on my main issue with the game. I disagree with the bit about the music being bad though, the reviewer seemed like he was getting his hate on during that segment. I felt the ambient music fit well with the empty, shallow gameplay.

But that aside, remember Ys3? It was pretty awesome and this remix does well in reminding me of it.

And while we're on the topic of music, Smooth McGroove did this.


Kurtis Haren said...

My parents got their first smartphones recently. My mom was especially against it at first, complaining that they should just keep making the model of phone that she was used to. After all, all she did with it was texting and phone calls, so that should be all that she needed the phone to do. Thirty minutes later, she discovered that she could go online with it, and have video calls with my step-dad. Needless to say, she's still on that thing a lot.

With the question about the scripted sequence, I suppose it all comes down to if it's fun to go through or not. If it's something where I get to laugh at how the characters interact with each other, or I get a chance to get more immersed in the story, then it sounds like a great idea. If it's something where I'm going to wish I could have just skipped it and kept going, then probably not. Personally, as long as there's something pertaining to plot or the characters, I love getting little extra moments like that. Even if it's something like an enemy or something took what I was "supposed" to get, and I've got to hunt it down or use something else that it didn't decide was worth stealing, it makes the plot a tiny bit more believable because it shows that the villains are going to do more than sit in their room and wait for me to show up.

Thanks for posting the links to the different music videos. I subscribed to them after hearing a few tunes I recognized. My little brother loves the cat that shows up, and was actually singing along to his song about the cat after picking up the lyrics halfway through the song. With the Chrono Trigger song, I've played the game multiple times, but for some reason Zeal's portion of the story just didn't seem to stick with me as much. I mean, they discovered magic but didn't seem to do anything really interesting with it to make you think, and in the end, their big punishment for being too reliant on their powers was having to cope without them, and you already know how that turns out due to the time traveling. I kind of wish there was one additional time period to visit where you could see a bit more of their transition to normal life. For me, Zeal summed up to "We know this kid later on, his sister's in trouble, and Mommy's gone off the deep end. Fight the mother, watch the kid mope around for a bit, and see big sister try to fix things herself before we finish the job." Personally, I preferred the Prehistoric and Sci-Fi eras.

That reminds me, I've got to get around to playing Chrono Cross. I'll probably start that after finishing FFX-2. (I don't get all the hate for that one. Treat it as it's own game instead of a repeat of the previous, and it's not bad.)

ZephyrBurst said...

I didn't want to upgrade to a smartphone for the longest time either, and before this phone, I couldn't text. The previous plan I had was from a prehistoric time when texting would charge you, so I had it completely removed. I'd tell people not to text me because I get charged extra for it, and they would anyway, so boop, it was gone. Had it gone for years.

The cat song is my favorite. Smooth McGroove seems to be on a weekly upload cadence. That guy works fast.

Chrono Cross is pretty good, but if you try connecting it to Chrono Trigger, it becomes a mess. I recommend not thinking about its ties to Trigger at all, even with the very obvious attempts it has on occasion. You may enjoy it better.

I'm one of those FFX-2 haters, but mainly because the setting doesn't make much sense in regard to how the first ended. That and I can't stand its plot and writing. I'm also a FF13-2 hater, but I also like that one as well. I like it due to its better gameplay flow over the first and it expanding on the paradigm mechanic. I hate it cause its story is complete and utter ass, and in the end, makes the characters efforts in FF13 meaningless, which is a shame, because FF13 ended really well.

WhattayaBrian said...

I didn't play Fez due to the unforgivable hitching that occurred every few seconds when it autosaved. :(

Regarding Morph Balls and scenarios and slow time've got to understand the precarious balance between memorability and replayability.

Take Bayonetta, for instance. The AfterBurner and Fantasy Zone segments were super memorable--they had a really solid impact the first time you played them. But the replayability suffered greatly. Having to play through 2 *long* segments that were *graded* but shared little to no skillsets with the rest of the game was incredibly frustrating. Oh, you want to fight the super awesome final Jeanne fight again? Time to ride on a missile for 10 minutes...

It's a balancing act.

ano0maly said...

The character from Fez reminds me of Katamari Damacy.

ntfwc said...

I got a smart phone last year. It was actually my first real cell phone. I had a "tracfone" before that, but it got lost. I think the first thing I did was find file managers for it. I still have like four installed.

If you want even more reductions in productivity I would suggest looking at the Ur-Quan Masters port and RetroArch, which I only recently found out about. RetroArch is kind of crazy. It is an open source project that acts as a sort of unified emulator API. The android version includes emulator cores for an impressive number of systems. It has plenty of overlay control schemes. Though a bluetooth controller would be ideal, I have actually been able to get to a boss in Megaman 6 just with the touchscreen. Of course, games like Final Fantasy or Pokemon shouldn't present any problem.

ZephyrBurst said...

That sounds interesting. I'll look that up tomorrow... while at work.