Dear (gaming) Diary: Week of Oct 19, 2008

A weekly log of the games I’ve played accompanied by some random thoughts about them

Oh boy this is late. This was a tough week to keep up on entries.
Now, on with it…

Monday, October 20, 2008
Doki Doki Majo Shinpan 2 DUO
I’m not going to say very much about this right now as this is a game I will bring up during my XABY Radio podcast and discuss at length. I will say that it took quite a while to really get anywhere in the game, so it’s a slow starter. If you’ve picked this up, “give it a while” I suppose is the best advice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008
Portal: Still Alive
This was my Unidentified Secret Game A from the week of August 24 and boy does it still kick ass. I’m pacing myself a little as it’s really tempting to blow through it and then blow through all the challenges. Not that it would be excessively short for me–I got stuck several times for a couple hours in two different levels in the retail Portal–but more that I want to savor the experience. So far, this sort of expansion has maintained the magic of the original. To be fair I haven’t really noticed if there was the same sort of hype and it seems like it’s a little bit on the lacking side. It could be due to a digital download versus a retail copy, but it’s most likely that there doesn’t seem to really be a storyline which is what engendered everyone so much to the original.

Call of Duty: World at War beta
It’s very intriguing that I keep coming back to play this and I think I’ve either come close to or surpassed my multiplayer time in this beta when compared to the full retail release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It’s even more curious to me considering that the multiplayer gameplay between the two games do not differ all that much at the foundation. I’ve found that this game so far has really been a struggle to survive long enough for a recon plane, much less calling in an artillery strike or the dogs. People around me do it, but I haven’t a clue how they can. For me (and some others) this multiplayer beta is “spawn-shoot-die-spawn-kill-shoot-die-spawn-shoot-explosion-die” or something approximating that.

I also played some Team Deathmatch on hardcore tonight and this was my first time with this type of playlist. I’m sure most of you know, but this is the game type that is basically boils down to Team Deathmatch without a HUD or radar. For me, this was almost frustratingly difficult to be fun for me as a gametype, but I can definitely see the appeal.

Regardless, I already know that I’ll be picking this title up to add to my holiday backlog.

My Japanese Coach
I picked this up in hopes that maybe, somewhere along the line, it’s going to help someone like me who knows one step above nothing learn some useful Japanese language and reading skills. I’m not expecting to get much out of this rather than a foundation that I can build off of via professional instruction, classes or textbooks. My Japanese Coach has been in the center of some minor polarized debates on message boards and on a mailing list I am on. There’s no doubt that this game isn’t for those people who are well-versed in the language already–as evidenced by the ceiling on how far into the lessons the non-game will let you start at (lesson 11) after taking their “placement test.” Others have criticized the game for using romaji at the beginning rather than throwing everyone into learning kana from the outset. I can see the reasoning behind that approach and it’s pretty solid, but as long as the software progresses from romaji and doesn’t let you return to it as a crutch, I think it can be overlooked.

I did the first few lessons, even though the placement test put me into the third lesson (colors). The use of romaji is somewhat ridiculous during some of the early lessons. A prime example occurs when the software asks you to match an english word to the Japanese equivalent and you get a word like “samurai” or “anime” which is spelled identically in English and romaji. I’ve only advanced as far as the colors, but already some interesting concepts to Japanese grammar are coming up and I’m really enjoying discovering the challenge of these new concepts.

Friday, October 24, 2008
Call of Duty: World at War beta
I hopped back on for a few more quick games just to increase my rank. I am sort of reaching a little bit of my limit with the multiplayer game at the moment. Not because I don’t want to increase in rank and not because I don’t want to have fun. More than anything it’s just a case of “I should wait for the retail game to come out.” Regardless, this beta has easily replaced anything else on my gaming shelf as the first choice for a quick pick-up-and-play session. I can attribute a good portion of that to the fact that it lives under my “Games Library” section as a digital download, because I don’t perceive Call of Duty: Modern Warfare the same way, even though the multiplayer was just as fun and addictive. I sound supremely lazy, but the effort required to replace the disc for a 10 minute session of neutralizing my adversaries seems too much. That just sounds ridiculous though, so I should just deal with it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Doki Doki Majo Shinpan 2 DUO
FINALLY. I was able to touch a witch. After continuing frustrations, again all of which will be detailed in an upcoming podcast, the opportunity to subdue a witch presented itself. After a brief and currently too easy magic fighting mini-game, I was brought to the witch mark investigation screen. Well, that was definitely an interesting experience but not without it’s difficulties. I labored to find the witch mark, but that finally happened.

Now I’m back into investigating about the next suspected witch–a rather matronly looking girl with a lion. Wait, what? Yes, a girl with a lion for a pet at a middle school. Oh my.


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