Monday, April 24, 2006

Ender's Game

This book was good. It was better than 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

I must say,

Ender's Game >= Lord of the Flies > 1984 > Fahrenheit 451

I really liked it. That's all. I don't know if Ender's Game is better than Lord of the Flies, but I liked it better.

1984 could make a movie... Fahrenheit 451 could make a movie... LotF could probably make a movie...

Ender's Game would need a whole mini-series though, it's just longer and more complex.

As far as games go,

1984 could not be a game. Fahrenheit might have more potential, but I don't think it would be suitable still. Lord of the Flies could probably make a sort of adventure/action/survival game.

Ender's Game could be a... "game" (what a coincidence...). I would see it as sort of a life sim/RPG/Adventure. You would start the game on the Battle School and you have stats and relations (e.g. Posedion 12...). You could make friends or enemies with each character and you have to work out and stuff and you have studies and skills. Then you would have the battles and practices which would be sub-games of their own with complex strategies and stuff.

Then after you get far enough in the game you go to the command school where you repeat for a shorter time. Then you win the game after the final battle and then it will be a sort of cutscene that finishes the game.

Ender's Game was good. Very good. At least I liked it.

2 Thumbs up. 5/5 stars. 9.6/10 score.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mission Impossible: 3

I beat a computer game and it made me think about stuff in computer games.

Story Pacing (with the puzzles)
I was playing CoMI (curse of monkey island), and the gameplay is divided up in a ... certain way.

Part 1 - Small puzzles with small locations: First you start off in LeChuck's ship and you do small puzzles in a small area (Fine with me). After that you land on Plunder Island and eventually you need to get a crew/ship/map. This is where the main gameplay starts.
Part 2 - A gazillion puzzles with no story progression!:
You go around solving non-linear* puzzles for maybe hours on end (or minutes) until you get everything you need to proceed to part 3. Some of the puzzles are fun, but lots of them are really, really, obscure.

*definition of non-linear puzzles: Puzzles that can be solved in any order, so you DON'T need to solve A first, then B, C, etc. You can solve each in their own right by themselves. NON-LINEAR puzzles are generally considered GOOD.
Part 3 - Fun sword battles which is a good rest from puzzling:
Then once you get to part 3, you swordfight for a short time (fun, but um...). Was this what Pirates! was like?
Part 4 - Repeat the gazillion puzzles just like Part 2!:
Then once you get to part 4, you repeat the gameplay as in part 2 style, except with different puzzles/locations/characters. I found it funner that part 2, but maybe thats just me.
Part 5 - A short location where you redo a puzzle that you did before!:
After part 4, you get captured by LeChuck and get turned into a kid to solve a small puzzle section. I had no clue what to do here so I randomly combined stuff until I won the section.
Part 6 - Another short location where you redo another puzzle that you did before!:
Then in part 6 you do the final integrated puzzle to win the game. Once again I kept doing random stuff until I realised what I was supposed to do. The end.

Now... to get to my point.
I already knew the basic story to CoMI before I played it. Elaine gets turned into a statue and you have to save her. And that's about all there is to it...

The story to me was boring and the puzzles were much more dominant than the story. I would rather have a more story heavy game than just a gazillion puzzles and the little backstory telling you what island you're heading for next. Sure, some of the puzzles were funny, interesting, different, and they involve characters and humurous scenes. (I actually liked the gazillion puzzles in part 4... they were pretty fun and i only got stuck 3 times).

But there were tons of times I was thinking: "Whaa??" after a super obscure puzzle came along and I had to use a walkthrough. Also, I couldn't figure out the logic of having to use a specific item on an object where any other item would've also worked. (I'm thinking about the crypt puzzle where you need the lantern. What? Only the skeleton arm fits through the crack? Yes?!)

In part 1, I probably figured out more puzzles by accident ( and randomly combining inventory items) than on purpose. I hardly had any clue about some puzzles and I hate feeling lost.

I would rather have more story progression and the puzzles more spaced out in between instead of huge puzzle chunks. But having tons of puzzles is ok if you do it right...

Breaking the 4th wall humor
Breaking the 4th wall humor: when games realize that they're games and they make fun of it!
Guy 1: "I thought you couldn't die in Lucasarts adventures!"
Guy 2: "Maybe they're trying something different...!"

Now... in regards to this, im not a very big fan of it. It's funny... for awhile. But to me, it just gets old---fast. The majority of the jokes in CoMI were just pop-culture references and the characters saying phrases that break the 4th wall.
I laughed... but I ended up not laughing at the majority of the jokes.

Monkey Island:
The Secret of Monkey Island. I just didn't get that feel from CoMI. CoMI was making fun of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. It was really like a joke game. MI:1 did have jokes like CoMI, but CoMI went a little overboard...
NOTE: It's been years since I played SoMI but I still think it's a better game than CoMI. But time has changed my gameplaying abilities...

And I missed that mysterious pirate feeling from MeLee Island. Going into the scumm bar... fighting pirates with insult sword-fighting... listening to mysterious tales... searching the woods for treasure... trying to buy a ship from stan... talking to crazy characters... Looking out on the dock at the starry night...
I missed that monkey island feeling.

That Story...

Okay... So you get captured by Lechuck, escape in like 5 minutes, then Elaine gets turned into Gold, you try to save her by going to blood island but your map gets stolen so you get it back... then on blood island you get the ring and the wedding band and put it on her... then lechuck decides to appear... you go to monkey island... you fight him for 30 min... the end.

I thought it was kinda boring. But in defense of the game, I already knew a ton about it before I played it, so that could've ruined it for me.


There was one scene in the game I thought was pretty cool. It was that part on Skull Island where you go into the pirate's lair. The dark cave... chandelier lighting... thunder and lightning flashes outside... all the gold piled up in the background... I thought it was a pretty cool scene. And I liked Blood Island more than Plunder, maybe because it was nighttime there.

After I played the game, I thought - Hey! KoToR 2 wasn't that bad! At least it had some potential.

So... I was disappointed somewhat

The Curse of Monkey Island: 8.6/10


Monday, April 03, 2006

Farenheit 451 vs 1984

Farenheit 451: By Ray Bradbury
1984: By George Orwell

The following contains spoilers from both books so consider yourself warned.

1984 would have to win on this one. 1984's world was described in great detail in every little aspect. From the apartments with the telescreens to the prole's ghetto streets, to the little offices in the ministry of truth? to the mysterious contents of room 101.

This one is a close call. Beatty in 451 is the equivalent of O'Brien in 1984. 1984 has more characters, such as the shop owner, all his friends at work, and his fellow neighbors. 451 has less characters but many of them are just as good. But because of 1984's great attention to detail and more fleshed out characters, 1984 is the winner here. Again.

1984: A regular citizen embarks on a search to break the rules of society and to find a way to combat this world that he lives in. In the end, there is no hope, for this utopian society cannot be stopped.
451: A fireman realizes that the books he burns hold the key to the past and the "real" world. He tries to save books and stop the firemen and gets hunted down by his government. In the end he barely manages to escape.
Winner: Another close call. Farenheit's story had better pacing, and kicked off pretty early in the book when Montag questions the firemen's motives. 1984's story however takes a looong time to start, while the author explains the world for a long, long time. Both stories are very good but I'm going to have to go with Farenheit 451 on this for the better pacing and some very good scenes. This one could've went either way.

1984 is written well. Farenheit is written in more of a loose manner where the author express thoughts, feelings, and actions in fragments of sentences. I thought he went a little overboard sometimes writing like this.
Both are well written but I think that 1984 deserves the prize here. 1984 was described in every aspect and you could picture every scene perfectly.

Overall winner:
1984 > Farenheit 451
The world-the story-the characters-everything just fits perfectly together in 1984.

Farenheit is still good though. It has more action-like-suspense scenes which makes it perhaps more "exciting" to read. It's also much shorter than 1984.

The end.