Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2013

Iron Brutes Made Me Strategize

Unlike any other "Mario" games that I have played in my life, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door (TTYD), seems to be the most absurd of them all. 
When I started playing this video game on GameCube I expected the normal 2D run of the mill: jump on gumbas, use the shells of the turtles (Koopas, I believe) to break blocks, and rush to the finish line of each level. However to my astonishment, this Paper Mario has several puzzles in the games for you to figure out and it's not an all linear game. There is a lot of back tracking and running around aimlessly trying to find the clue or item that you need to continue on to the next Chapter until you fight the "Big Baddy," who is surprisingly not Bowser. 
When Mario is faced with an enemy, instead of running and jumping on it, or simply attacking like most video games, it cuts to a stage where you then choose what action you want Mario (or his partner) to take: jump, hammer, run, special move, etc. After Mario or his…

Super Metroid: Limitations, Challenges, and Progression

Largely, Nintendo's Super Metroid from 1994 epitomizes Juul's theory of progressive challenges.  In short, the game describes an intergalactic bounty hunter, Samus, and her quest to rid an alien planet of space pirates (led by the dragon Ridley, pictured on the right of the cover) and uncover the purpose of a recently discovered species, the Metroids.  Appropriately, the game state is shrouded in darkness, only to be illuminated as the player approaches a far-off, undisclosed objective.  In what Juul designates as imperfect information, the player can only uncover the constants, and thus a sense of security within the game, by traversing the dangerous, underground network of the planet, suffering multiple bouts of trial and error while doing so. Samus encounters the Morph Ball upgrade.
In tandem with this, the player may only progress by acquiring various upgrades and weapons.  Early in the game, Samus must relearn her morph ball ability in order to navigate several nooks and cr…

Paper Mario: Thousand-Year Door....Several Decades of Story Telling

In text "half-real" Juul makes the argument that rules of a game are the most important factor of a game and it's worth. Now much like Eric's opinion in his blog on Devil May Cry I tend to disagree with this idea. Rules are just the binder that makes the game a game, and gives guidelines for the social contract on the game; this is important because this is a form of honor and respect even if it is for a single player game toward yourself or toward a computer in a video game. I believe that for video games that the story is more important than the rules themselves in establishing value and importance.
Lets take for example the Mario Sagas, in this case specifically Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Now most Mario games have a similar storyline: Mario goes on an epic quest to save Peach and/or the world, and battle Boss(es) - namely Bowser. Not highly original in the video game world, but it is an important classic storyline that appeals both in game and in litera…

DmC: Devil May Cry

In chapter 1 of Juul's book, he implies that when it comes to games the rules are more important than the fictional aspects. I respect his opinion, but I feel that fiction plays a bigger role in games than he thinks. 
The best example for this is the new DmC: Devil May Cry game from Capcom and Ninja Theory. It is a re-telling of the story from the original Devil May Cry series, but with some major changes in the story itself and the characters. The rules of the game have relatively stayed the same; use the character to traverse paths that lead to a set goal in a level while encountering and defeating enemies. The final results are either winning or losing. The rules that define the combat system in the game act as the foundation, but the flair of the actual combat draws in the gamer to keep playing.
The reason I mention the new looks of the characters and the flashy fighting, in my opinion, is that they provide amusing gameplay and acts as a hook for possible buyers. From a econom…