After 2 weeks and 4 projects, I am finally able to write a post again. As a quick update [‘upgrade’ get it?] to my many school projects, my water rockets both failed, we came second to a different group in biology by 2 points, were not able to fully present our hard work in History and did not receive our prize for doing well in the geography project. So, all in all, a very good end to my first year in my new school! On a lighter note, I got a terrible report for Latin, saying that I ended the year on a disappointing note, did not do well in class at all and put the least amount of effort into my work as is humanly possible (or so was the impression). Now, you might be thinking, “how on earth is this on a lighter note?”. Well, that is exactly what I wanted from the report! If you follow me on twitter, you will have seen that I have burned my Latin text books in my backyard! So now you know that I hate Latin and found every lesson of it excruciatingly painful and boring, let me justify.
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME A VALID REASON TO THE POINT OF LATIN? I have been searching for an answer for the past 2 years and have come up with nothing valid. Please do not give me “It helps when learning European languages”. Ok, if I want to learn French, I will go and learn French, not Latin and then French. I kindly invite you to send me an email or to leave a comment regarding this and I will counter your argument with astoundingly stubborn logic. Have a go arguing against my view on #pointlesslatin!
Good, now my rant has been taken care of, lets move on to the point of this post, the ‘gameplay’ bit.
If you read my previous ‘The Ongoing Pinnacle of Human Achievement’ post, you will know that I have recently been asked by my sister to set up our old PS2 to play Singstar with her. Those songs were basically the songs of my childhood, lost for years in the back of my mind. This evoked my interest in what other games we might still have in our house. I started looking around the house, in the attic (well, more our top floor), in the TV room and even in the most obscure draws I had never seen beforehand. After about 2 hours of looking, my results were astounding.
I found my old DS Lite, with the charger I had lost, about 7 games to go with it, an old Nintendo Gameboy advance SP, unfortunately without a charger, but most importantly, I found my favorite ever game from when I was 8. Mario and Luigi Superstars.
Luckily, the DS lite still plays the old Gameboy advanced games, so I stuck in the cartridge ( or GamePak as they are officially called) and started a new profile. Being perfectly honest, even after owning the game for the best part of 7 years, I have never completed it! My old profile from 2008, after I had lost it for a year in 2007, had clocked up over 50 hours of gameplay! Over a week and a half and 16 hours of gameplay, I am now back to where I was on my old profile.
The game basically involves you walking around a very well designed world [being the Beanbean Kingdom, a neighbor to the Mushroom Kingdom] as Mario and Luigi, facing enemies and using a lot of brainpower (surprisingly) to complete tasks and defeat the final boss.
Yes, its a very simple game, but its the best game I have ever played, along side the Ratchet and Clank series. There are many simply reasons and rules to make a simple, but successful game (notice the overuse of the word simple). Lets start with, in my opinion, the most important one. The actual controls. In Superstars, they are really, really easy to understand, get to grips with and enjoy using. There are countless of games that I have played, where the controls were so damn complicated that they immediately deterred me from playing.
The next is the actual world and story line. Take a look at all these 1st person shooters. There is a story and a world, but after a while, you will stop playing and be tempted into buying the next CoD, or Modern Warfare, or Assassins Creed, or whatever mind bending, twisted garbage you play, as it gets boring. The story in Superstars develops at the right pace, keeping you interested for many years (not weeks) and the world is well designed, easy to navigate without using a damn mini-map, which is fun (not stressful) to play in.
The final thing that makes this game so good is the fact that the difficulty progresses at the right pace. The challenge is, and will always remain, to make a game that is fun to play, but not too challenging. If the balance is disturbed, the game becomes too boring or too hard, putting people off. The developers for Superstars got the balance just right, as proven when I say that I have been hooked for the past 7 years!
Simple. Fun. Interesting. The three golden rules that make a game great.
Now, no CompBlog post would ever be complete without a short rant. Yes, I know that I have already done that above, but lets do another one!
Consider the PlayStation 2 [yes, its a Sony rant]. Now consider the PlayStation 3. Ok? Got it? Lets start.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?! Nothing. I still need to buy a disk, put it in, plug in the same controller Sony have been using for years and years now, and play the game with no difference to how we play it whatsoever. Do not give me this crap about online gameplay (as the PS2 could do that), higher quality, more powerful, or anything else. Those are all good, but just an evolution of the first PlayStation. Sony create a new PlayStation every 5 years? right? NOTHING EVER CHANGES! look at Microsoft [this is the only time I praise them] with their Kinect (lets keep the whole debate on hacking out this time) system. Its a completely new way of gaming. Same with the Wii. Whenever these two companies release something, Its always a revolution, not an evolution. And before any of you start talking about the Sony Move system, which by the way was a complete fail, let me say this. How is that any different to the Wii? Its the same thing, just more accurate and expensive.
To end this unusually long post, let me reiterate the 3 golden rules.
Simple. Fun. Interesting.
I ask you to go through your old games and play them. Do they fit the 3 rules or are they just another game you play in the heat of the moment and dump shortly after?
Oh, do not forget, try the Latin challenge!