Tag Archives: inner rage

Minecraft: Real Life Review

29 Jun

creeper emblem.jpgMinecraft:

Released: 2011

Platforms: PC, Mac, and Linux (Java), Android, iOS, Xbox 360 (Xbox Live), Xbox 360 (Retail Disc), Raspberry Pi, Xbox One

Age certificate (UK): 7+

Real Life Review GirlfriendGirlfriend test:

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and to go and do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Minecraft’s performance in the girlfriend test varies depending on the context. If you have any hint of OCD the Minecraft does badly in this test, if you are a more casual gamer it is never a real problem. I am somewhere in the middle so I will treat it as such. You can save at any given moment, but the thing that stops you from shutting down is the fact checkpoints are near none existent unless you carry a bed in your backpack. The ability to save and turn off varies. If you choose to save the game and turn off then you only have to wait several seconds and your freshly mined diamonds will nice and safe when you spawn safely back in your bed upon your return. If for some reason the world demands you shut down just as you have discovered a clump of diamond ore that you discovered in a tunnel that is several minutes journey from your base and you have no way of rediscovering it then you will most likely opt to temporarily ignore the real world.

If you are given a short amount of time to play you can make some progress providing you have been storing your materials. If you want to go collect materials you are probably going to find most stuff you want is too far from your base. Creative mode allows you to make a tonne of progress in five minutes as every item is there for your use.

Sound is an issue if you play seriously. Many things in the world can pretty much instakill you, and they sometimes only use sound as a warning. The grunt of a zombie will halt you from moaning through a wall directly into an infested dungeon. The scrunch of a creeper nearly always comes too late and you often leap out of your chair one second later at the sound of the accompanying bang, but the scrunch can make the difference of survival. I for one did not mind dying as it just resulted in you wandering back to your place of demise and picking up everything you lost.

Score: 7/10

Girlfriend: “Let’s go to the shops.”

Me: “Sure, after I get all this ore. Oh wait, I’m dead. Just give me ten minutes to get everything!”

It generally does well in the girlfriend test but sometimes you literally cannot come away without suffering.

Real Life Review GirlfriendMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

If you lack patience you should probably not consider introducing an uneducated gamer to Minecraft as it will all go over their head. While you are stressing out trying to build a shelter they will be at the bottom of a 10 block deep pit. If you can play with a mate then you will have a great deal of fun. You can play locally or online, but if a mate wanders into your room and they want to hang out it is all about playing locally.

To me the main benefit of playing Minecraft locally is that your mate can witness your creations. After you have finished your castle with your lava moat and herds of farm animals you often just reflect on time wasted. If your mate says its cool then it is all worth it. Playing multiplayer locally is sort of like playing by yourself with someone else. Things can go a bit awry if you and a mate are working on the same house and monsters are not generally hard enough to require you to fight them together – until you reach the Nether and the End. It is fun to share resources or have one builder and one miner but you often just wan to do your own thing.

You do risk a mate seeing you play Minecraft consider you to be childlike, and the fact is Minecraft is childlike and that is what makes it brilliant. This is because it is virtual reality Lego with monsters. You can finally achieve your Lego based childhood dreams you could not achieve before because your parents only got you the starter set. Minecraft feels like an embarrassing habit. If you are over the age of 16 you will casually ask your friend if they play in the same sort of way people awkwardly ask strangers if they take the same recreational drugs.

Score: 4/10

Mate: “What are you playing?”

Me: “Minecraft.”

Mate: “Oh, my 5 year old cousin plays that…”

If you propose a game of Minecraft to a friend they will either emit a girlish sqeual or they will use it as reputational blackmail.

Real life review Parent TestParent test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

I do not need to say much in the parent test. The game passes with all the flying colours of the rainbow. There are few things that look remotely offensive when presented as cubes and there is not even a glimmer of drugs, nudity or swearing. There is violence, but what game does not have violence. You only kill farm animals or monsters so this is all morally right and proper. The act of slaughtering a pig is comical and ungraphic. Sure kids turn into murdering maniacs with a higher kill count then anyone in the SAS but it doesn’t matter s everything looks so cute. If your parent walks into your room at a random point you will most likely be mining… or crafting. The worse they have to worry bout is whether or not you grow up.

Score: 10/10

Parent: “Oh, 3d Super Mario Brothers.”

Me: “Since when does Super Mario contain pigs.”

Parent: “Since when do 23 year olds play games like this?”

Me: “Fair.”

The worst thing a parent can worry about is your mental age.

Real life review inner rageInner rage test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

Minecraft certainly gets frustrating, but overall it is pretty relaxing. If you are going to die it will most likely involve lava, or a bottomless pit so all your objects are destroyed or lost. These frustrating features are mitigated by the cute music and a colour palette that tries a bit of everything (which is very unusual in games these days). Creative mode allows any frustration to be removed as you have unlimited access to anything in the game. Part of the fun is in the frustration, you need to have that bit of fear in you when you go on a mining expedition to keep the game fresh. You can also get annoyed by endless traveling…

Score: 7/10

real life review overallOverall

A great game that I wish was available when I was a kid. It is still fun as a big kid but it just doesn’t quite keep me entertained long enough anymore.

Score: 7/10

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Terraria: Real Life Review

31 May

terraria emblem

Terraria:

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita

Released: 2011/2013

Age certificate: PG

the GFGirlfriend test

(This tests how much freedom the game gives you to turn it off and go do the laundry. The test considers how much the game allows you to play for an indeterminable amount of time while your girlfriend does her make-up. It also rates how important sound is – will your girlfriend’s hairdryer or music be the matter of life and death for your character?)

Terraria does well in the girlfriend test. The ability to pause and save is strong in this one. If you have to turn the game off to go and help with girlfriend issues you will not be left crying – most of the time. You can instantly save all your money materials whenever you want. The main issue with saving and coming back to the game is that when you load a game up it always starts in the game world morning, so if you are trying to complete a night time activity such as boss fights you will have to wait ten minutes for night time to reoccur. If you want to play for a quick five minutes while you girlfriend slaps on makeup you can find those minutes quite productive as long as you plan ahead and you make easily navigable tunnels to your precious subterranean ores as well as outposts where you can save.

The only real issue with Terraria in terms of time commitment comes with the bosses. You are not going to want to attend to your girlfriends needs halfway through a Wall of Flesh fight and you will literally want to book a time slot for yourself to fight the hard mode bosses.

Sound is almost completely irrelevant, so if your girlfriend wants to listen to her freaky girl music while you play it is not a problem. You will quickly mute the limited music tracks as they are on a short loop. You may fall victim to the occasional skeleton that spawns off screen and drops on your 8-bit head down a mine shaft that you would have otherwise avoided due to their off screen groaning’s, but you won’t if you are playing in normal mode as the repercussions of death are fairly acceptable.

Score: 9/10

Girlfriend: “Can you mute that annoying music?”

Me: “Gladly.”

Terraria does very well in the girl friend test. You can save any time, pause freely and you can make productive use of short stints in Terraria land. Hardmode bosses are a different matter entirely but they are not a girlfriend problem providing you book your time.

 mate emblemMate test

(You are playing the game and your housemate walks in. Apart from Fifa they are pretty much uneducated in gaming. This test is a mix of the coolness rating, pick-up-and-play-ability, and most importantly: same console multiplayer. Anything that could be called ‘gayyyyy’ loses points in this test.)

 

The reactions of your mates will vary greatly with Terraria. Many will consider it to be ‘gay’ as it looks like a happy game where you dig holes in the ground. This is mainly what it is – particularly at the start and this is what most people love about it. If your mates like Minecraft they will have no problems adapting to the 2d translation.  Initially your mates that are uneducated in gaming will scorn Terraria but if you can persuade them to play you will soon be working together to smash the hardmode bosses.

Terraria has poor pick up and playability. If a mate joins part way through your game you will spend  a good 20 minutes teaching them controls, how to fight, which ore is which, how not to destroy your perfect tunnel system and where to find you. You will then find they have accidently equipped your special armour that you put on a statue for safe keeping and that they deleted your gold reserves. You will end up playing Fifa.

If your mate learns the controls then multiplayer is quite a bit of fun. The split screen feature is sound (nothing like the Lego Pirate of the Caribbean split screen…) and you will often find yourself playing solo and doing your own thing and then coming back to share resources. You only really need your mates for the boss fights, which are way more fun together. You can have fun trying to secretly assassinate unseasoned players by placing boulder traps and lava in caves…

Score: 7/10

Mate: “That game looks pretty gay.”

Two hours later…

Mate: “Let play for one more hour.”

You can happily play your own solo game on the same screen and then join together to fight the goblin hordes. Just don’t expect much from an anyone unseasoned gamers.

 The Parent TestThe Parent Test

(Imagine you have parents that are easily offended – especially by sexual themes and swearing; and at random intervals they invade your room.)

Terraria is inoffensive. Unless your parents feel squeamish when they see you attacking a giant eyeball, they have no right to complain. To me simulated 8-bit violence does not count, even when you cut a bunnies head off.

Score: 9/10

Parent: “Why has Super Mario Brothers got a sword?”

Me: “Not all people on games are called Super Mario and Super Mario Brothers is not a name.”

I repeat. Terraria is inoffensive.

inner rage emblemThe Inner Rage Test

(You have had a bad day and you want to feel a sense of achievement. This section talks about how frustrating them game is.)

 

Terraria causes little rage – on normal mode. The game is very easy at the start. On normal mode I rarely went to much real effort to avoid death. You simply return to the location of your corpse and pick up your money or materials. The humourous phrases used on your gravestones take away much of the rage and they are very reminiscent of Worms. It becomes fun wandering through caves and remembering how you were crushed, beheaded and disemboweled.

Rage scales with your progression. Things get tricky when you reach the Wall of Flesh and after several attempts you relent and look for walkthroughs and find you have to dedicate hours to building a bridge across the whole map to defeat the boss. The difficulty escalates at an obscene pace when you enter hardmode and just when you think you are getting the hang of things you attempt a hardmode boss. This is where I gave up as when I read what preparation and grinding was involved I realized I would not find it fun anymore. I threw the controller across the room in my rage when I encountered the destroyer and I lasted two minutes.

Score: 5/10

Terraria performs averagely in this test. In normal mode it is extremely pleasant to play. In hardmode the difficulty mode increases to insane. I rarely get so frustrated I stop playing.

scale emblemOverall

(I briefly rate games on a number of factors such as graphics, storyline, entertainment and longevity irrespective of the other tests.)

Terraria was one of my favorite games, but I won’t go back to it after I got stuck in hard mode. The visuals are charming, the desire to attract more residents is strangely compelling, and you don’t get bored of killing slimes.  You will have a blast playing with mates but only if they are open minded to such games.

Score: 7.5/10

Fantastic value for money.