A Defense of Easy Mode

Michael Phelps swam a lot. Tiger Woods golfed for thousands of hours. Steph Curry took a ton of 3-pointers. Practice often develops excellence but not for me.

I have played thousands of hours of video games, but I am still terrible at them. I will confidently pick the standard difficult level and then proceed to die over and over again. Most of the time, I will give up within a few hours and restart on easy. This happens so frequently that I now often just start on the easiest setting. Continue reading A Defense of Easy Mode

Nier: Automata – Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story

Full spoilers for Nier: Automata follow.

The least attractive quality a woman can have is being in to me. Too much interest is going to make me bored. Also, being attracted to me is an obvious indication something is wrong with you because clearly you need to raise your standards. I should always be the reacher in a relationship.

This is why I am attracted to girls with a bipolar personality. I want someone in my life who can be the kindest person one moment and then say psychologically damaging words immediately afterwards. Love and hate should always be intertwined1)This is not healthy..

And that is the reason I love Nier: Automata. Continue reading Nier: Automata – Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. This is not healthy.

Burnout Paradise Remastered: A Racing Platformer

Two dimensions are never enough. Plenty of 2-D video games, like Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, have exploration components. Link and Samus bomb walls to discover treasures and ascend to great heights to discover new locations. But the sense of exploration in those games is limited.

The addition of the third dimension increases the complexity of moving around a space. Your non-game-playing grandparents may look like passable Space Invaders players but may struggle to get out of a room in Grand Theft Auto V. Breaking away from a single plane of motion increases the complexity by an order of magnitude, but that difficulty increases the reward of being able to explore that space.

This was the revolutionary component of Super Mario 64; exploring a three-dimensional space can be rewarding on its own. In SM64, it was exciting to climb to the top of Bob-omb Battlefield, race to the bottom of Cool, Cool Mountain, or even just jump around the overworld castle. Continue reading Burnout Paradise Remastered: A Racing Platformer

Games Do Not Have to Be Fun

Uncontroversial opinion: Kids dying from cancer is not a fun topic. In fact, pediatric oncology may be the most depressing subject imaginable. Yet the video game That Dragon, Cancer tackles such material head on. The game is an autobiographical work primarily developed by Ryan and Amy Green whose young son Joel was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

That Dragon, Cancer can be described as an exploration game, or derisively as a walking simulator. Most of the gameplay is spent wandering around an environment while hearing voiceover from the Greens. Yet despite its simplistic gameplay, this may be the most difficult game I have ever played. Most games are difficult in the same way that sports are difficult; they require effort, fast reflexes, and a hunger to win. That Dragon, Cancer is difficult in the same way consoling a loved one through heartbreak is difficult. Continue reading Games Do Not Have to Be Fun

Whatever Happened to the Games We Loved?

I have murdered countless innocents, even children. Armies have bowed before me. I have sown genocide across worlds. Worst of all, my atrocities entertained me. Growing up, I would play video games for hours at a time, living out my crazy power fantasies.

But as the years have gone by, video games no longer enrapture me. Super Smash Bros. is the clearest example of this. While Brawl was an all-around disappointment, the recent 3DS and Wii U versions feel like Melee, one of my favorite games of all time.

But it is not Melee, and nothing ever will be. On Christmas Day 2001, I opened up a brand new GameCube and a copy of that game. I would play it with friends every afternoon during sixth grade. We heard unbelievable rumors around school about unlockable characters like Mewtwo and Ganondorf. Each of us would brag about how we were the best, and the only way to settle the debate was by throwing down on Final Destination with no items.

Continue reading Whatever Happened to the Games We Loved?

The Legend of Zelda: A Guide to Being Good

Kids are assholes. I committed so many terrible acts as a kid. When I was six, I stole a bunch of random objects from around the house and hid them in my closet. When I was eight, my friends and I bullied the same two classmates every recess. When I was ten, I wrote a fake note from my friend’s crush in order to humiliate him.

Why did I do those cruel things? Because I could. Because it made me feel powerful. Because I had no empathy for other people.

Eventually, I grew up from an immoral child into a somewhat decent adult. I credit a lot of my moral development to The Legend of Zelda series, in particular Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Taken together, they showcase the development of ethics in a young boy. Continue reading The Legend of Zelda: A Guide to Being Good