Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blind firing turtle shells

You are in the middle of an online game of Mario Kart and hit an item box. Instead of getting a useful item you are stuck with a single green turtle shell. There is no one in front of you to fire at, what do you do? You carefully watch the map and try to line up a shot with the player behind you, hold your breath and fire. Hopefully you will see the other players icon on the map start spinning and your character do a little victory pose. This is what I just did 10 minutes ago and it felt great.

Motivating the player

Every time I boot up Mario Kart the first thing I see (after all of the developer logos and safety warnings) is my Mario Kart "drivers license" where I can see exactly what cups I have yet to finish and what types of medals I have been awarded. This really makes me want to get a gold medal in every single cup and I feel a silly sense of accomplishment watching the grid on my license fill up.

This is a simple yet genius way to motivate the player to get as much as possible out of the game. Much like achievements on the 360. Just look at how my license is completely filled with gold medals. I would be lying if I said it didnt make me feel a little bit proud

My scary bed time story

I have started playing Silent Hill 3 for an hour or two before I go to bed every night. I wait until its close to midnight, turn off all the lights, pull the drapes closed and put on my noise canceling headphones that I have hooked up to my TV with a 5 meter extension cord. Then its time to step in to the twisted world of Silent Hill.

In not the one to usually get scared by horror movies and games but Silent Hill gives me a really uncomfortable feeling. I have not got any nightmares from my late night gaming sessions as of yet, but I wouldnt be surprised if I wake up sweating in the middle of the night. Still it would be worth it, the disturbing atmosphere in this game is amazing and Im loving it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Leveling the playing field

I have been playing a lot of Mario Kart, both online and offline. Whats so special about this series is that Nintendo has done everything to level the playing field and made it possible for people of every skill level to still compete and have fun. Unlike a game like Call Of Duty 4 where you are rewarded with better weapons etc for doing well. In Mario Kart its the other way around.

If you are last you will have the biggest chance of getting great items that will help you catch up. If you are in first place you wont get anything other than shitty turtle shells and bananas. Not only that, you will also be the target of flying blue shells that only target the player in first place.

This is nothing new, it it how the series has always been. But it is perfect for the Wii. A system thats enjoyed both by traditional gamers and a growing crowd of casual gamers. And Mario Karts "rubber band AI" as its often called makes it possible for these two groups to play together. Even if the more hard core player will probably win most of the time the beginner will still have a decent chance. Something that isnt true in most other driving games.

A new start!

I havent been posting for nearly a year now but Im going to give it another try. The style of the blog is going to change a little. From now on Im going to tell you what games Im playing and specific thoughts I have about them. You will see what I mean once I get started.