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Important Decisions in Telltales The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a game created to give players the option to choose their decisions that impact the overall game. sometimes the decision tis minor and sometimes its extremely important. While people can make claims that none of the decisions are impactful or all of them are, there are still some decisions that are far more important than others. When concerned with the welfare of your fellow survivors, any wrong move or wrong action can ultimately kill or save other survivors so your choice matters. Personally, the most important choices have to do with the other survivors. In many cases the player is given one of two options that will most likely kill the other person, so you must choose wisely or what you think matters the most.

One of the more outstanding decisions the player is forced to make is when Lee, Kenny, Lilly and Larry. After encountering and uncovering the cannibal family, these members of the same group are left in a food storage area. While in this area, Larry suffers a heart attack and the player has to make a difficult choice: Try and save Larry or kill him before he turns. In my play through I chose to kill Larry. Partially because I did not like him and wanted to see him gone so I took my quickest chance to rid myself of him, and to save the rest of us who are stuck in the food storage. This decision was very important because you have to chose to save or kill another person when this persons daughter is pleading you to help him. And if you chose to kill him, you kill him by dropping a salt lick on top of his head which is not pretty.

Another important decision in the game to me was when Lee is bit by a walker and is faced with the two options of either accepting his fate or trying to cut his own arm in hopes of stopping his “transformation”. I found this decision important because this is a possibility for anyone in the zombie apocalypse world of the Walking Dead. What would you do? well lets give you the options and find out. I personally cut the arm off in hopes of saving myself. To me if im already bit and am going to die, why not try and save myself.

One other important decision the player is forced to make does not really effect the game too much but is more of a moral decision that can have impacts on peoples judgment. The decisions im referring to is when the player is given the option of who to give food to. Do you feed the children? how about the women? maybe the men? the elderly? its up to you but know the others will be watching and they are not afraid to give you their opinions. I gave the four pieces of food evenly to the two kids (Clementine and Duck) then one to Carley and then one for myself. I did this in hopes of creating my own family with these four by removing everyone else (sadly that was not an option) but my plans were quickly shot down with a few quick bullets.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Anticipation and disappointment.

The Mass effect series is one of my favorite story telling series. I have always enjoyed having my in-game choices effect the overall universe and watching as my character and companions alter the course of history. In the new installment, I feel this tone has been dumbed down quite a bit. While you play as the pathfinder and you are required to make decisions that have some effects, none of the decisions seem to have nearly the weight they did in the trilogy. I am disappointed in not feeling as important as I did in the trilogy, while I realize some aspects of the originals were special features attributed to Shephard, I still wish the universe was as effected by my decisions. When an important choice is made that could have serious implications, I want to see the ramifications of this choice, not just have some character tell me it was a bad choice and then never see any result. One of the few times I felt my choices sort of mattered mostly involved the Krogan. Specifically when the character is forced to choose whether to save the salarian crew or the captured Krogan scouts. This choice is even more complicated if the player has Drak in his party which will complicate matters even further. Another impactful decision is when the player has to decide whether to inform the Asari that their previous pathfinder was left to die by the newly appointed pathfinder. This causes a whole new path with the asari depending on the players choice.

I have spent hours playing Andromeda and have enjoyed exploring the various worlds you are allowed to explore freely which is something I am glad the producers added. I am a bigger fan of the open world mechanics that are introduced in Andromeda, exploring and finding new quests is always refreshing in a video game. But I found that going to different worlds became extremely tedious with the explorative camera angles that show when traveling. I’ve never played a Mass Effect where I became tired of exploring until Andromeda. I could not stand to sit and watch the same camera swoop in and out of planets as you travel. And while I enjoy the planets we are allowed to openly explore, I would have liked for more than just five planets to explore. While all of them are unique and add their own sense of danger, there was still a lack of variety in how many there are to fully explore.

There have been many people voicing their anger on the facial features of the characters within Andromeda and I must say I am one of them. While I am not angry, im more disappointed. The overall look of the characters isn’t bad its the emotions that fall short, especially the eyes. Ive never seen a character laugh and have their eyes wide open as if in shock. The eyes seem emotionless, and this really works against the more emotional moments of the game. And on the aspect of the choices the player is given, I was happy that most of the choices I made or the options of what dialogue to say did not have me upset or frustrated. When choosing my dialogue I was almost always happy with what my character said, save a few.

Overall, I still enjoy Andromeda even though I think it fell slightly short of what I was hoping or expecting. I know its not good to get your hopes high when it comes to games, but with Mass Effect being one of my favorites it was hard not too. The characters introduced are unique and fleshed out, the open worlds and universe are as beautiful as ever, and the fighting mechanics are the best out of all previous entries. I would still recommend this game to anyone with a fancy for sci-fi open world shooters, especially if they enjoy strong narratives but not lifeless eyes.

Art Direction and soundtrack within Halo

By far, the most influential soundtrack I have heard in a video game would be from the Halo series. Specifically looking at the original game, the music associated with the game was very influential with the art direction. As I am writing this blog I am humming the opening music that plays when beginning Halo. The opera-style singing mixed with the increasing intensity of the harmonics creates a very memorable tone that can be recognized immediately to the  game it was created for.

The soundtrack functions not only to supply the player with a well-sounding piece of music that complements the game, but to also provide a more intense emotion when players are introduced to new circumstances or challenges. While playing the original Halo, any time the character is faced with a challenge the game introduces the memorable soundtrack to increase the players immersion or focus into the challenge they are currently or are about to face; but the music is also introduced to remind the player what game they are playing.

The most memorable moments I have of playing the original Halo all have the same memorable music accompanying the thought. The developers of Halo did a fantastic job in creating a soundtrack that not only complements the art direction and the overall feeling of the game, but also makes its way into the players minds when referring to the fond moments of the game. During the story line of Halo, the players are introduced to massive structures of alien technology; the structures are beyond the comprehension of either the playable character or the player himself or herself. The soundtrack created for Halo, I believe, does a wonderful job at complementing the wonder and magnitude of the structures and environments introduced in Halo.

Halo: Combat evolved is a game that expertly used its soundtrack to create a link between player and game. Any Halo fan will no doubt begin to hum out loud the opening music  for Halo, and there are no doubt other games that have done as well as Halo or even better, but I personally have a memorable attachment to the music of Halo and continue to love listening to the soundtrack to this day.

Themes found in video games: Appropriate or inappropriate

As a passionate gamer I try to be open and responsive to various types of themes. Some themes I can relate too while others can be very entertaining or thought provoking. And im not a fan of all types of themes but I accept that with such a wide audience that somewhere someone enjoys the things I don’t within video games. I view games as art and the theme helps bring that art to life so I don’t find there to be themes that should be stopped but of course there are some themes I am not aware of.

I believe the type of theme can be inappropriate when a certain age group is being targeted. So I don’t have problems with themes, its more of how the game with that theme is being marketed. I don’t think themes that revolve around sexual violence or extreme drug use should be created and distributed but if they are, make the necessary steps to ensure a mature audience is the targeted audience and I know its hard to keep controversial themes or games from the hands of adolescents these days.

As far as what themes are most appropriate I feel like there are too many to count. With video games being the art that they are there are so many creative and influential themes to be created that I wouldn’t say there are overall top themes best for video games. I can say that I prefer themes revolving around World Wars or Medieval Fantasy but I wont say they are better than anything else being provided.

I don’t enjoy all themes but I can appreciate the special artistry and feeling of the various types, whether from Post-apocalyptic to futuristic sci-fi. And as far as appropriate or inappropriate goes I believe that has more to do with the content than the theme.

Review of Museums, Media and Cultural Theory

As a history major with the goal of becoming a museum curator, this find was particularly interesting. After reading through this book and thinking on the examples provided i have come away with a much more thought provoking interpretation of Museums and how they function. Written by Michelle Henning, this book delves into the way museums affect the society and culture that surrounds it as well as discussing how things become objects once placed inside a museum. She talks of how museums can affect the way poeple view items by creating a relationship between object and person. And through adding aesthetics to help immerse visitors to time periods and objects can help solidify the experience but the experience has begun to become more important than the infromation or knowledge given. As museums must stay modern and must acquire interesting artifacts to bring visitors, they have also become their own type of media. By using virtual technology and touch based screens for interaction, museums are becoming more and more experience oriented though that is not to say that technology cannot help in the advancement of providing information. She also discusses the roles of the objects on display, saying “The role of an object as an actor which performs in a given network or cummunity”. This quote is quite interesting when thinking of any trip to a museum because that is truly what is happeneing, especially when the object is placed in a display or exhibit that has an overlying theme. Each object has its role to play. She also does a good job at introducing various points of views towards the purpose of museums. One such example is the futurist Filippo Tomaso Marinetti who claimed museums were “cemetaries for dead visions” and believed museums should showcase the future of civilization rather than its past. This book was a great and interesting read that i would suggest to any one who has an interest in museums or wishes to work in one someday.

Photographs and emotions

While I have never been very interested in photography or in taking photos in general, I cannot deny the emotions that can be conveyed through pictures. The picture I have provided can be an example. While it may not convey any emotions for some, for me it conveys a lot of emotions. Personally it conveys feelings of serenity and calmness. It reminds me of my time working on my family farm and watching the sunset with my family and always having the distant mooing from the cows in the background. It reminds me of home and the family I have there. Thinking back on the good memories I have of sitting with my father in the backyard drinking a brooskie and sharing our experiences from earlier in the day. Watching my younger siblings play tag in the low cropped fields of hay until they cant breathe from exhaustion. Seeing the combines in the distance and hearing the low hum of the machinery. Pictures can be portals to our past, can convey our happiest and saddest memories and the feelings can be overwhelming. This picture I took is that for me and whenever I look at it I cant help the rush of good memories that accompany it. But even though pictures can bring good memories, they can still evoke bad or sad emotions. Pictures are fluid in how they make people feel. One day a picture can make a person happy and the next make that person sad. When a loved one dies and all a person has are pictures, those become treasures. These treasures can amount to so much feeling and emotion. Pictures are so much more than printouts or images but emotional connections between people. And pictures can be interpreted so many ways, so many individual ways they can be perceived to allow for more personal connections. Pictures are the embodiment of emotions.

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Resident Evil 7: Genre discussion

(Spoilers)

Resident Evil 7 is a new twist on the extended and well-beloved series of action horror. Personally I have never played any of the previous Resident Evil games for the fact that I am a cry baby when it comes to horror and jump scares but the main reason being I could not get over the fixed camera angles. While I have recently come to know that later games in the franchise did away with the angles, playing it the one time was enough to keep me from playing any of the others, until Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

Now while I have no preference for horror games, after watching some short videos of the game I knew it was a change that I could come to enjoy. The horror aspects of the game have been heightened and has been joined with a very clean first person point of view. So Biohazard, like its predecessors focuses on the horror and action while also sticking with some puzzles mixed in with the suspenseful tension of walking through the dilapidated mansion. I would also call this game a thriller based on the tense interactions with the characters and the occasional chainsaw duel.

So its an action puzzle thriller horror FPS and I could tack on adventure for the fun of it as well. Not only do you interact inside of the mansion but also the many different buildings on the property and then a massive ship and then a run-down mine. While the game may keep you confined within a certain location it still allows you to move about freely within the location as long as you have the necessary items. To me the game does an excellent job of keeping the player focused on the story and giving the player free movement (to an extent).

So an Action thriller horror adventure FPS but hey lets not stop there. I would go so far as to call this game a type of mystery game as well. While this type of genre is not all that prevalent the main focus of the game is to find your wife who has been missing for three years. Then once you find her, you meet the crazy sadistic cannibal family who just wants you to be a part of their family! but I see the mystery in being how the family became the cannibals they are. While playing the game the player can interact with a multitude of items that all give tiny hints to the past of the family. If the player wishes to they can slowly piece together what happened to the family.

So Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is an action adventure puzzle thriller horror mystery FPS. Am I missing anything? whether or not I am this game has hooked me on the series and has me wanting to play through the series from the very beginning, even if they have fixed camera angles.

Tomb Raider Introduction: Establishing the game and story

As a gamer, in order for me to be invested in a game and its story it must be adequate in giving me an introduction that will give me the need to see the story through to its end. One can argue the opening of a game matters as much as the ending and when a game flat lines the introduction, it leaves nothing for the player to be invested in.

When watching the introduction to Tomb Raider: Rise of the tomb raider, I enjoyed listening to the narrator (Lord Croft) asking questions about “human experience” and facing the unknown. I enjoyed this because Tomb Raider is always about facing the unknown. Not knowing what will be awaiting you inside the catacomb or tomb and having the sense of fulfillment in reaching the goal. The whole opening sequence is describing the main character and her feats as an adventurer and archeologist. She strives for the unknown, she questions what she finds. The narrator also discusses how people “lose the capacity for wonder” and then goes on to say “but some do not”. The whole opening speech is passively describing Lara, especially when he says “seekers of truth” which is ultimately who she is during the course of the game, she seeks to uncover the truth behind the divine source and in this way uncover what her father wished to find.

During the opening speech, the narrator also says “It is these pioneers who define the future of mankind” which I thought was spot on for the story of the game. Through-out the story, Lara and Konstantine and Ana all discuss what the revelation of the divine source will have on humanity. Some want to get rid of death and disease, some want ultimate power and control the human race, and then others do not want the secret to be revealed. The game is initially a struggle to find the object, then it turns into a struggle as to what the object will be used for.

The introduction also does a good job in showing that Lara truly cares about finding artifacts and finding the truth behind mysteries. I find this helps with the story and game because when you are playing a character who sees no benefit in what the story is about, that sense wares off onto the player causing him or her to begin to lose interest in fulfilling the story.

Overall, the introduction to Rise of the tomb raider had me wanting to play more to see where the story is going. It had me invested in trying to fulfill Lara’s goal through showing me her determination and willpower.

Comparing and contrasting social networks: Facebook and Xbox Live

Comparing these two social networks would have been difficult in the past, but within the last few years Xbox live has taken large steps in becoming a more social process. The introduction of a news feed with all of the latest achievements, video clips, snapshots, even messages between friends appear for a much more interactive environment. Facebook has always had the scroll lists of all your friends recent activity, and has started to generate a news feed from popular news sites. Both networks allow people to send friend invites and Xbox live has introduced a new “clubs” feature allowing friends to create their own group with others who enjoy playing similar games. Xbox has also generated its own news feed but rather of gaming news such as certain people obtaining a very rare and difficult achievement or videos of discussions over games soon to come out. Both social networks also allow users to share their activity and send them to friends. Both have “like” and “love” features where users look at friends videos or photos and either like it or on Xbox now you can love it by pressing on the heart shaped button. Both social networks have a primary focus on interaction between users and in the case of Xbox, the changes have been staggering.

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