Pain

Jul. 7th, 2009 01:31 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I am in intense pain. I have DS finger.

It's because I played a lot of Super Mario DS 64 on vacation, and even more on the trip home and yesterday. I was trying to get the Wario hat. I succeeded in a final frenzy of effort (the Wario boss is tough), but ended up hurting my right index finger quite badly.

How badly? I got relatively little sleep last night; when I did finally manage to get to sleep, I could still feel the pain in my dreams. In fact, I dreamed that my fingernail was badly infected, and that I'd gone to the doctor. He injected me under the fingernail with antibiotics, several times. Rather than be terrified as I normally would be by such a prospect, I gladly accepted the shots...and then waited for the pain to go away.
Read more... )
Last night he went on a "cleaning" spree in his room to try to find the game, and ended up making it far messier than it had been. He dumped everything off the top of his bureau onto the floor. He still didn't find the game, unfortunately. We're going to have to walk him through a proper cleaning, I suspect.

Pain

Jul. 7th, 2009 01:31 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I am in intense pain. I have DS finger.

It's because I played a lot of Super Mario DS 64 on vacation, and even more on the trip home and yesterday. I was trying to get the Wario hat. I succeeded in a final frenzy of effort (the Wario boss is tough), but ended up hurting my right index finger quite badly.

How badly? I got relatively little sleep last night; when I did finally manage to get to sleep, I could still feel the pain in my dreams. In fact, I dreamed that my fingernail was badly infected, and that I'd gone to the doctor. He injected me under the fingernail with antibiotics, several times. Rather than be terrified as I normally would be by such a prospect, I gladly accepted the shots...and then waited for the pain to go away.
Read more... )
Last night he went on a "cleaning" spree in his room to try to find the game, and ended up making it far messier than it had been. He dumped everything off the top of his bureau onto the floor. He still didn't find the game, unfortunately. We're going to have to walk him through a proper cleaning, I suspect.

DS

Nov. 26th, 2008 08:31 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Teri and Sebastian have both been wanting to get Nintendo DSes for quite some time. I wouldn't have minded getting one myself, but the price was prohibitive.

Somehow, we ended up buying a DS for Sebastian last weekend. He had a $50 gift certificate to Toys R Us, and Teri made up the (surprisingly hefty) balance. I worried that he'd spend every waking moment playing it; frankly, it seemed insane to me to give a seven-year-old who watches way too much television anyway a DS.

But after a few days of initial fascination, the difficulty of the game (a Pokemon Rangers game) has ramped up enough to put him off it quite a bit. He's still interested, but he's not obsessed.

DS

Nov. 26th, 2008 08:31 am
bobquasit: (Default)
Teri and Sebastian have both been wanting to get Nintendo DSes for quite some time. I wouldn't have minded getting one myself, but the price was prohibitive.

Somehow, we ended up buying a DS for Sebastian last weekend. He had a $50 gift certificate to Toys R Us, and Teri made up the (surprisingly hefty) balance. I worried that he'd spend every waking moment playing it; frankly, it seemed insane to me to give a seven-year-old who watches way too much television anyway a DS.

But after a few days of initial fascination, the difficulty of the game (a Pokemon Rangers game) has ramped up enough to put him off it quite a bit. He's still interested, but he's not obsessed.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sebastian has a couple of GameCube games which I dislike: a Willy Wonka game (based on the Johnny Depp movie) and Scooby Doo Unmasked!. They're remarkably similar to each other, in an annoying way.

I ended up getting sucked into the Scooby Doo game. Part of the experience was so annoying that - well, let me see if I can explain.

The game is sort of 3D. You can rotate the camera view - sometimes, when it suits the designers. At other times (lots of them), the camera view is fixed.

And that's what makes the game hard. There are times when the only thing that makes the game difficult is that the designers force you to play while viewing from the worst possible angle. For example, in the medieval level there's a point where you have to jump from one hand-hold to another. There are intermittent jets of poison between some of the hand-holds, so you have to time things carefully.

Here's the problem. First of all, you need to swing Scooby back and forth to build up momentum, so you can release a handhold and fly forward to the next one. That means you need to have Scooby swinging forward when you release - and you need to move the joystick to "push" him in the right direction.

But you're forced to view the action from the side, and it's not clear if you need to push the joystick forward and back to get Scooby swinging properly - i.e. from Scooby's perspective - or left and right, which is the way he's swinging from your perspective. The controls are vague enough that even with a lot of testing and thought, I couldn't figure out which way was right. That is, assuming that ANY way was right, which I sometimes doubt!

Over and over Scooby would suddenly stop swinging properly. Or he'd swing properly, but then on release he'd fly backwards, or straight down, and die. Over and over and over.

Another issue was that because we were being forced to look at the action from the worst possible angle, I was unable to judge distance and depth. Yet distance and depth were being used to kill me, over and over.

Viewed from the side, it was almost impossible to determine where Scooby was in relation to the handhold. Height was easy enough, as was left-right, but back and forth were impossible. So Scooby would jump, but he'd be completely out of place in the depth plane - and would plummet to his death.

Which was fine by me - I've come to hate that stupid dog - but I got obsessed, and frankly pissed off. It's not right to design a game in which the real challenge is to overcome the deliberate viewing handicaps installed by the designers!

I eventually won the game, of course. After all, it's designed for children. But the experience made me think a lot about the whole issue of 3D in games and entertainment. I think I'll work up an article of sorts on the subject soon.

Oh, one more thing: the ending of the Scooby Doo game was pretty lame. Some games have great endings; Super Mario 64, for example, or The Twilight Princess. But this one was quick and dull.

There were a few neat concepts, specifically machines that gave Scooby one of three special costumes that gave him different powers. But the options were much too limited. You got each costume precisely when you needed it, and lost it as soon as you were finished doing that task. There was never an option to choose which costume you were going to use. All in all it was a limited and annoying game.
bobquasit: (Default)
Sebastian has a couple of GameCube games which I dislike: a Willy Wonka game (based on the Johnny Depp movie) and Scooby Doo Unmasked!. They're remarkably similar to each other, in an annoying way.

I ended up getting sucked into the Scooby Doo game. Part of the experience was so annoying that - well, let me see if I can explain.

The game is sort of 3D. You can rotate the camera view - sometimes, when it suits the designers. At other times (lots of them), the camera view is fixed.

And that's what makes the game hard. There are times when the only thing that makes the game difficult is that the designers force you to play while viewing from the worst possible angle. For example, in the medieval level there's a point where you have to jump from one hand-hold to another. There are intermittent jets of poison between some of the hand-holds, so you have to time things carefully.

Here's the problem. First of all, you need to swing Scooby back and forth to build up momentum, so you can release a handhold and fly forward to the next one. That means you need to have Scooby swinging forward when you release - and you need to move the joystick to "push" him in the right direction.

But you're forced to view the action from the side, and it's not clear if you need to push the joystick forward and back to get Scooby swinging properly - i.e. from Scooby's perspective - or left and right, which is the way he's swinging from your perspective. The controls are vague enough that even with a lot of testing and thought, I couldn't figure out which way was right. That is, assuming that ANY way was right, which I sometimes doubt!

Over and over Scooby would suddenly stop swinging properly. Or he'd swing properly, but then on release he'd fly backwards, or straight down, and die. Over and over and over.

Another issue was that because we were being forced to look at the action from the worst possible angle, I was unable to judge distance and depth. Yet distance and depth were being used to kill me, over and over.

Viewed from the side, it was almost impossible to determine where Scooby was in relation to the handhold. Height was easy enough, as was left-right, but back and forth were impossible. So Scooby would jump, but he'd be completely out of place in the depth plane - and would plummet to his death.

Which was fine by me - I've come to hate that stupid dog - but I got obsessed, and frankly pissed off. It's not right to design a game in which the real challenge is to overcome the deliberate viewing handicaps installed by the designers!

I eventually won the game, of course. After all, it's designed for children. But the experience made me think a lot about the whole issue of 3D in games and entertainment. I think I'll work up an article of sorts on the subject soon.

Oh, one more thing: the ending of the Scooby Doo game was pretty lame. Some games have great endings; Super Mario 64, for example, or The Twilight Princess. But this one was quick and dull.

There were a few neat concepts, specifically machines that gave Scooby one of three special costumes that gave him different powers. But the options were much too limited. You got each costume precisely when you needed it, and lost it as soon as you were finished doing that task. There was never an option to choose which costume you were going to use. All in all it was a limited and annoying game.

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