Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Musings - 24th Oct, 2011

Hello Internet! I'm gulping down my coffee so it's about time to write some musings!

Persona 4 (PS2)

I played no games until Friday night, and then each night of the weekend, i logged 2 hours into Persona. I could play so many more games, and complete so many more games if i could make gaming a nightly occurrence. Something always seems to get in the way though, from projects, to movies, to just plain apathy. Ah well, c'est la vie .

I saved right before the boss of Naoto's dungeon. I spent a couple in game days making my way down there, and grinding the last couple levels cause the exp was so phenomenal. I love how when you first encounter enemies you may be overwhelmed (case in point, the dominating machine), but then after a couple levels and a couple fights, you have a strategy down, and while they still can be nasty (one focused hit can bring a party member close to death), you deal with them without too much hassle. I think in the case of the dominating machine however it's that the version i fought as the mid-dungeon minion had a lot more defence than the normal enemy version. Seriously, my single attack elemental spells on the minion were lucky to cause a hundred damage, yet they hit for an average of four hundred on the regular version. It made killing it a lot easier certainly.

As with the last dungeon, the music for this dungeon is amazing. I want to say that's been true for them all but i can't. Certainly the music overall in this game has been phenomenal. I haven't tired of most of the game's regularly used tracks yet and i'm over thirty hours in. It's just before the game dungeon the music in these crawls were techno-y and didn't make an impression on me. Meanwhile the game dungeon had a really cool track that built on a simple 8-bit theme, while Naoto's dungeon is a kind of a sombre, yet beautiful track. I'll post examples!

S link wise, i maxed out Nanako's and am becoming close to maxing out Kanji's. I've unlocked the Moon S Link and am about to unlock the Death. After that, i think the only link i have left is Tower (and i have an idea of how that one unlocks). Chances are i won't get them all maxed before the end of of my playthrough, but that's what the new game plus option is for someday down the road!

Escape from Black Lodge (Indie)

So last week i was looking for another indie game to write about, and my friend Robbie suggests this Twin Peaks game called The Black Lodge. I do a google search, and write about the game i found (which was what i covered in the musings last week). Well it turns out that i found a game that was different to the one he was talking about. This week i'm covering Escape from the Black Lodge which is what you might get if there was a Twin Peaks game on the Atari 2600... and the Atari 2600 was much more powerful.

You have to escape the block lodge (obviously). The exit to the room is always in the top right corner. This leads to new areas. Touching obstacles and characters will deduct points and sooner or later, Dark Dale will start chasing you. If he catches you, you have to shoot owls to stop Dark Dale merging with Bob. If he does, game over... otherwise you can continue the game.

Seeing as there is such minimal use of graphics and sound, it's kind of cool how the game creates an oppressive and odd atmosphere. It also gets kinda nuts rather quickly (although be honest, you'd expect that out of a Twin Peaks game). Definitely worth a play, and for those put off by last week's indie title, this is a lot game-like.

Final Thoughts

I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the difference between Super Mario Bros and the US release of Super Mario Bros 2. Not from any objective or academic point of view, but a nostalgic look through the eyes of myself as a kid, and why back then SMB2 was indeed the superior game.

It was 1988. A six year old Dave thinks his parents are renting him a Nintendo for the weekend. They end up surprising him with not only buying one, but purchasing a game as well. So it was that fateful year when i became the proud owner of one of the greatest consoles ever plus three amazing games for it (it came with the Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt cartridge). The game my parents bought along with it was Super Mario Bros 2.

Those first few weeks were interesting. I played SMB2 almost exclusively. I fell in love with the game and except when i felt like playing some Duck Hunt with the zapper, SMB2 didn't leave the console. None of my friends shared this love though. They would always eject it when it was their turn to play, and start up Super Mario Bros. This bored and annoyed six year old Dave.

SMB2 was more colourful. You could choose from four different characters at the start of each level. There was digging in the desert, sliding on ice, whales, rocket ships, giant mice that you threw bombs at. Doors opened up to shadow worlds and a scary face was going to kill you if you took his key. Compared to SMB2, SMB's trek as Mario through drab brick worlds just didn't compare. It couldn't!

Now a days, SMB is one of my favourite videogames. Over the years i've gained an immense appreciation for just how much creativity and genius went into it, and how infinitely re-playable it is. Perhaps my friends were clued in to something i couldn't see at that age. That's not to say SMB2 is a bad game. I admire its radical departure from SMB and again, its creativity and genius... even if it did start out as another title, and was turned into a Mario game just so it would sell better in the western market.

And then of course SMB3 came out... and we all know how many gamers revere that title. Still, i have this special place in my heart for SMB2 thanks to the wonder it captured in the six year old that i was, even when no one else was able to see it.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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