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Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Have you ever wanted to go to a nude beach, dance provocatively at a night club or wear risqué clothing, but felt that you could not express those desires in society? Is finding a romantic relationship in our culture far from your comfort zone? Well, now you can “escape” to Second Life, the internet’s largest user 3D virtual world community.

One of my assignments in my Media Theory class, taught by Dr. Lisa Falvey at Emmanuel College, is to make an account for Second Life and create a research topic on an intriguing aspect of this world. To obtain as much research as possible, students must spend extensive hours on Second Life conversing and participating in activities with avid Second Life users.

Thus far, I’ve learned many interesting theories and concepts that will help me in the future to analyze mediums in my every day life, however, this assignment has left my fellow classmates and I a bit skeptical.

Photo Credit: Videogamesblogger.com

Second Life can literally be used as an alternate existence for people who feel held back in reality. Things that could never be done in the real world are accepted in this virtual reality. It’s a place where desires can be met for those who are either too shy or just unable to find what they want in the real world.

Through my experience of creating an avatar and becoming a member, I have determined that Second Life is both strange and entertaining, although I do not prefer this virtual world over reality.

While reality can be flawed and upsetting at times, I personally enjoy what society has to offer me, but there are those who feel differently.

Is Second Life a better life? For some, no. For others, yes.

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Photo courtesy CC

Eschewing the obnoxious and clunky glasses required to utilize current 3D technology, Nintendo is changing the game with their newest hand held system, the 3DS.

The follow up to their astronomically successful DS system, the 3DS adds among other things stereoscopic 3D technology. This tech allows players to view their games in full 3D without the need of glasses whatsoever.

Though many people across the internet have claimed the system can cause some serious eye-strain due to the stereoscopic images essentially making a user’s eyes “crossed”, multiple reputable sources have confirmed that even after extended play time, the 3D tech causes no problems.

Along with the 3D visuals, the 3DS sports advanced graphics, multiple 3D cameras that can take 3D photos, internet connectivity and “AR Cards” which can turn your room or table into a Nintendo wonderland while looking at them through the 3D camera.

And apparently the public is as spell bound by this new gadget as Nintendo hopes them to by. According to Mike Sheehan, assistant manager at Gamestop in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, pre-orders are through the roof.

“We’ve been stunned by the level of response we’ve gotten for the 3DS” he said, “I think once people get their hands and eyes on the 3D tech, they’re automatically sold”.

 

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From left to right: Good, bad, weird, OK.

The Sega Dreamcast is a revered console among many gamers as a short-lived system ahead of its time. It saw many classic games like Jet Set Radio and Soul Calibur. It would make sense for Sega to release a collection of some of the systems best-loved classics.

Unfortunately, this isn’t that collection.

Dreamcast Collection brings together four games that poorly represent the system’s legacy: Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5: Part 2, and Sega Bass Fishing.

The first game, Sonic Adventure, was bad on the Dreamcast and it’s still bad on the Xbox 360. This game isn’t a classic, it’s the game that marked the decline of Sega’s mascot.

Crazy Taxi was a fun, popular game both on the Dreamcast and in arcades, so it makes sense for it to appear here. There’s still some fun to be had, but it hasn’t aged too well. It feels clunky and clumsy, even for an arcade driving game.

It’s a little confusing that Space Channel 5: Part 2 appears here since the first one was much more popular. It’s an odd rhythm game that won’t appeal to everyone. And in this day of Kinect dancing games and fake instruments, button-based gameplay feels dated.

The best game on this collection is Bass Fishing. It’s simple fun and aged pretty well. That said, it still doesn’t redeem the collection. Add the fact that both Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure are available on the Xbox Live Arcade, and there’s really no reason to pay $25 for this.

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Save your money.

Stay away from this game. Far away.

Knight’s Contract is a gory, gothic hack-and-slash game similar to Dante’s Inferno and the Devil May Cry series. Unlike those games, it’s not fun or interesting.

The player controls Heinrich, a former witch executioner cursed with immortality. He teams up with Gretchen, a resurrected witch who cursed Heinrich for killing her, to help her defeat six evil witches and their boss. Heinrich uses a giant sythe to rip enemies apart while Gretchen can cast various magic spells.

The game is one big, frustrating escort mission.

While Heinrich can’t die, Gretchen can and will. The player can’t let her stray too far, otherwise enemies will annihilate her. Gretchen’s AI has no sense of self-preservation. She’ll often stand in front of enemies as they attack rather than run away from them. And while Heinrich is immortal, he’ll still collapse or even get dismembered if he takes enough damage. The player has to tap the “X” button for a painfully long time, waiting for the knight to revive himself while Gretchen lets monsters hack at her.

It’s a frustrating experience that makes an already sub-par game worse. The combat is simple and repetitive: mash Square and Triangle repeatedly until everything around you dies. Combat can get slow and choppy when a lot of enemies are on screen, a technical problem we shouldn’t see on the PS3. The game is full of long load times, the cutscenes are painful to watch, and the poor level design results in you getting lost a lot. The graphics are inconsistent. Some of the characters look great but the environments are often ugly or boring.

While some of the bosses are well-designed, the battles themselves aren’t very fun, and end in quick time events because the developers figured “hey, they worked in God of War.” As always, Gretchen and the camera are your worst enemies during these battles.

It’s a slapped together product and no fun to play. Avoid it.

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A gamer’s dream – a parent’s worst nightmare. (more…)

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