Saturday, August 23


I must confess to having far too much fun playing SoulCalibur 4 and collecting all the trophies in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and trying out the demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

I've finished Uncharted, gaining my platinum trophy yesterday, my first. If you've read my other posts you'll know that I don't really place much value in achievements or trophies. Why then did I go all the way to get the platinum in Uncharted? (Note that the platinum trophy is only awarded once ALL the other trophies are earned). I needed a new excuse to play the game. I enjoyed it immensely and lacked reasons to play it again. I needed the trophies to remind me of why I enjoyed the game so much. Though I'm far too skilled in it now for even Crushing difficulty to provide much of a challenge, it was much, much easier than I remembered and was over much, much sooner than I expected.

SoulCalibur, as you now know, is a game that really appeals to me. I've yet to truly plumb its depths and lack any "decent" skills with this game. I don't mind so much as part of the appeal is practice and improvement. The Taki style realises the spirit magic weilding, demon hunting ninja in SC4 much better than ever before and forcing myself to master the tricky button combinations of an 11 hit combo that includes a roll, a leap and throw and an unblockable move are sheer heaven for me. Online is another matter. The patch did help, a little, but it appears that it's only worthwhile playing against locals as the lag on "international" matches is appalling by comparison. The ranked matches don't allow for region control or for some way to even the playing field against those who have greater technology or belong to more dominant regions than I do. Never mind finding the right skills, the right outfit, the right style.

The demo for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was everything I was worried it might be. I won't comment further because it's a demo and thus not complete. One thing that did stand out was the similarity the telekinetic force power has to the telekinetic power in Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy (even the names are similar). Psi-Ops was a PS2, Xbox game published by Midway that was overlooked by the unwashed masses (well mostly - I looked and I'm unwashed, mostly). A 3rd person shooter with psychic powers that were incredibly well implemented, with intriguing puzzles and a totally hokey plot that was laughable. I have the feeling that The Apprentice® can't surf on the objects he lifts like you could with the protagonist of Psi-Ops (if only briefly). I wonder if the similarities will end there?

Thus this post is something of a break. Berkeley (commenting here) and I have chatted at length about Art and Games, the cultural significance of games and of his experiences in MMOs (it was quite extensive and very personal). Our discussions made me think, I don't want to post some mangled paraphrasing of his thoughts and experiences because it would be mangled paraphrasing. That said, I have plans to discuss writing in games, whether games are ART, gender roles in games, passive versus active gameplay (with a nod toward emergent gameplay ideas), game design and much much more. As always I make no pretentions to actual knowledge, these are opinion pieces born of experience not wisdom.

Oh and what a prat I was at the start of the last post. Clearly no-one's reading this because I would have done something with it, something nasty and funny. Still, ask BRK and she'll tell you that I'm good at being a Prat. That's something then.

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