Thoughts on Motion Controls

Now you might be wondering why I call myself a casual gamer. If you weren’t, well I’m going to talk about it anyway. Now I was pretty off and on with videogames when I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was twelve that I got a console that I used consistently. That console was the Nintendo Wii. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember why I wanted one. All I know is that twelve years have gone by since then and they have transformed me into the casual gamer I am today. Due to having used it for a long time it is no longer with me. However, I will remember the time we spent together fondly. Well, most of it at least. Actually, let me take this opportunity to reflect on motion controls in general. Let’s start off with a personal favorite.

Now the interesting thing about my exposure to the Super Mario Galaxy series was that I ended up starting with the second installment first. I was in Video Game club in high school, yes that was an actual club, and for one of our first games we played the first few levels of the game. I immediately went to get it a few days later because I wanted to finish what I started. Now, if I being honest, I remember certain areas of the game to be such a hassle when I first played the game. Why? Well, it should be obvious since it is given away in the title. I mean, no one is ever good at motion controls when they start off even if the controls manage to read your movements properly. However, the motion controls in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and its predecessor are pretty straightforward for the most part as you can make it through most of the game without precise motion controls. The only motion control that is essential for game advancement is waving the remote which works really well due to its simplicity. The only parts of the game that were annoying were when the controls required more precision. ESPECIALLY, when they added an arbitrary time limit. In case it wasn’t clear there, having to use precise controls was not a point in the Wii’s favor. But surely they wouldn’t try to make a game using precise controls as a mechanic right? RIGHT?

Okay, so this is the part where I say before I go into a little mini rant that I have not finished this game at time of writing. There may come a day where I eventually beat it, but that will be for another time. Right now, we are going to have a nice long discussion about The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword. Now, in theory being able to swing your remote as a sword sounds really cool. At first, I was totally on board. Then I got to the first dungeon. I didn’t realize how much I could hate fighting enemies until I started fighting those spider enemies. Even worse was how precise movement needed to be to even finish off certain enemies. That would have been bad enough, if it wasn’t for the fact that the remote constantly kept going out of sync. Now the game has other things that bug me which I won’t get into here. I am trying to keep the amount of random tangents to a minimum this time. The point is that motion controls are more of a detriment to the experience than an enhancement. Having precision control be a puzzle element is something that I will never for the life of me understand. Now, before I go and say motion controls are completely useless I do want to talk about one more game briefly.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was the third installment of the wonderful Metroid Prime series of games. It would later be bundled in the collection called the Metroid Prime Trilogy where you could play all three game from the series. The previous two games having been on the GameCube were refitted to work with the same motion control setup as the third installment. Now, I never had the chance to play the first two on the GameCube so I don’t have any idea what the difference in control was between the two versions. Since it used the famous GameCube controller then it was probably fine but just know I will not be comparing the two styles. What I will say is that the motion controls work pretty well in all three games in the collection and never do I feel as though it is in the way of gameplay. Not only that, but I feel like being able to aim using the remote is very engaging and feels as though it is actually contributing to gameplay and making the most of the motion controls the system has to offer. Granted there were a couple of times I had some trouble, but that was mainly due to my terrible reflexes.

Now you are probably wondering why I decided to talk about this. Well the main reason is virtual reality, or VR for short. Now, I have used VR a couple of times in a couple of different settings and I feel that it is pretty cool technology. I want to ask this question though: Is motion controls the way forward for VR? Sure it is cool to walk up to a virtual object and pick it up, but will motion controls ever really be able to accurately read our movements? Not to mention that we all have had that moment where we were so immersed until we accidentally walked into a wall. I really feel that motion controls are a lot better for certain types of games, but it is not universally applicable to each genre. If we’re being honest we have all seen that in most adaptations of similar technology to media, we see these people in pods or machines not moving around. Instead the technology is usually synced up to their brains for real-time movement. Whether or not you think that is a good idea, I just want to make it clear that virtual reality is only immersive for as long as we can fool ourselves. Motion controls may help as a gimmick for now, but it should only really be seen as a stopgap measure. I don’t know how VR will end, but I do know as we all do that this is not its final form. I also believe that motion controls will probably not stick with VR until the end. I don’t really have any proof for this. Well, except for the Kinect. Now THAT was a choice.

The Princess Cliché

As I mentioned in my previous post, my first exposure to gaming was Nintendo’s Pokémon Silver. Thanks to that, most of my gaming experience was with Nintendo. Now, I will admit that most of their games were fun to play. However, there are a couple of things about their games that I feel need to be addressed. I will try not to be too harsh with what I say, but no promises. And for the record, I am not singling out Nintendo when I write this. They just happen to be the ones to use this cliché the most. With all that in mind, let’s talk about princesses.

Let’s first talk about the Zelda franchise. The Legend of Zelda series has spawned a good amount of titles throughout the years. I’ll be honest when I say I have not played very single one of them, nor do I have a desire to play every single Zelda game. However, I have played a pretty good portion of them and that is enough for me to understand the basic formula. Evil comes to the land of Hyrule and then the predestined hero Link has to go stop it and save the princess Zelda from the clutches of said evil. Pretty standard stuff and definitely a full on cliché. However, I am willing to give this franchise the benefit of the doubt because it at least has some bearing on the story. You see, while I haven’t played through every game in the franchise, I have beaten Ocarina of Time. This game alone shows why the princess cliché is at least tolerable despite being woefully predictable.

Now I will be honest, and say that Ocarina of Time is not my favorite entry in the franchise. Part of the reason is due to having no nostalgia with the title since I never really felt compelled to beat it until the 3Ds version came out in 2011. Part of it is also because with the exception of a couple of enemies, it never really had anything interesting to fight. As lastly, due to it being the first title in 3D, I found a good portion of the puzzles to be fairly simple. It’s not like I don’t think it is good, but I also don’t feel that it is great. All that being said, the one aspect of the game that I feel deserves a lot of praise is the story since it firmly establishes Zelda as the center of the world. You see, if it weren’t for Zelda naively believing that she would be able to overwrite destiny as a young child, the subsequent timelines would never come to be. She, albeit indirectly, is responsible for the splitting of the Triforce by sending you on that quest and entrusting you with the Ocarina of Time. However, learning from her failures and growing from them gave her the Triforce of Wisdom which made her an important piece in later games. There are other games I could mention to highlight Zelda’s importance, but I don’t want to get too far off topic. What I want you to take out of this is that the princess cliché is there not entirely out of laziness, but rather there is also the argument that the world itself considers her to be important to keeping things in balance. This is further elaborated on in Skyward Sword due to her being the one chosen by the goddess and all that, but I will talk about this game more in a later post. Just realize that her being kidnapped directly effects the fate of the world itself, unlike another popular franchise.

However, before we get into that franchise that we all know I will end up bringing up by the end of this post, I will be bluing your berries for a moment to talk about another game with this cliché that I have not played but would like to bring up. Now this game has been ported to who knows how many consoles at this point so I know I don’t have an excuse, but let’s not focus too much on that and talk about Resident Evil 4. Now since I haven’t played it I cannot praise the way it influenced the way we think about third person shooters to this day or whatever. Feel free to have your own separate discussion about that in the comments if you like. What I am going to talk about is the story since that is something I have experienced with the lovely help of plot synopses and YouTube. Now to sum it all up in a few sentences seeing as how you are all probably familiar with this game to at least some degree, the basic plot is about saying the president’s daughter who was kidnapped and having to fight some zombies along the way. I know, Ashley isn’t technically a princess, but it is such a thinly disguised princess cliché that I don’t believe it’s worth mentioning. The only reason I mention it is so that you are aware that I do have a basic idea of what I am talking about. Now, this game’s is incredibly simple with around half of it being an escort mission. The thing is that it fortunately is designed so that escorting Ashley around is not much of an issue during gameplay as she has the ability to hide herself from enemies when prompted to do so. Now the main reason why I bring this up is because again, while she is there solely for the sake of the plot, it is understandable why she is there. Whether you find escorting her troublesome or not, you understand that she is your main mission and that if anything happens to her there will be dire consequences. You see, if you are going to play it safe and base your story around this cliché, give an idea of the stakes while keeping things both simple and in accordance with common sense. Note that when I say common sense, I mean according to how the world around the game is based. It makes sense to kidnap Zelda because she is a key part of Hyrule, and it makes sense to kidnap Ashley as a means to get to the president. Easy right? Now before we move on the the final stretch, let’s go on one last detour.

Now, for those of you who are feeling like I am stringing you along for nothing, well there is a game that perfectly encapsulates how you are feeling right now. This game is part of a franchise that is older than me and can give me a run for my money in terrible ideas and atrocious dialogue. Look no further than the entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise that nearly killed it off for good. I refer to none other than Sonic the Hedgehog, more famously known as Sonic ’06. Now I have been fortunate to not have the displeasure of actually playing this game, but in my youth I naively decided to watch a full walkthrough of the game and witnessed one of the most atrocious plots for a game that I had ever seen. And that was before I actually had any background on the characters in the game. The princess Elise is the focus of the princess cliché this time, and she is a prime example of why you cannot introduce this idea into any game you like. The biggest reason is obviously that no matter what the plot is, the game has to be playable and enjoyable, since the main focus of a game should always be gameplay. Unfortunately, the gameplay is atrocious from what I’ve seen so the game shot itself in the foot right out of the gate. However, even without the terrible gameplay the plot is still terribly executed because they reuse the same cliché too many times within the same game. If that weren’t bad enough, the townsfolk do not ever seem to be concerned with the number of kidnappings. There is absolutely no sense of the stakes. In Hyrule, when evil is lurking the atmosphere changes. In Resident Evil 4, when Ashley is taken away, you get a game over. Not only do you not interact with Elise in anything other than in cutscenes, the atmosphere feels the same no matter how many times this girl is kidnapped. So that means the game itself undermines your efforts to save her by having her getting kidnapped immediately after and the game shows no reason to be concerned with her kidnapping. So why would you bother saving her? Normally the answer would be so that you could play more of the game but I think I made it clear that’s a non-starter unless you sport masochistic tendencies. At the end of the day, the game needs to keep you invested and it can’t do that with idiotic plots or terrible gameplay.

Now, I realize I have been putting off talking about the big one for a while now. The reason being, there isn’t that much to say about it. You all know which games I’m talking about here. It’s the Mario series. It is the most famous example I can think of in which a cliché has managed to turn into an expectation. And it is not as though the kidnapping means anything. Peach’s kidnappings have become such a formality at this point that there is no way the place can’t run without her and it isn’t like she is a valuable political asset. That is just what happens. Sure you can explain it as Bowser’s crush or as a challenge to Mario, but that is just a thinly disguised way of saying she is kidnapped so that the game can happen. I guess that’s fine. You don’t need to have more than just a simple plot. It’s not like it matters that Bowser can go kidnapping her one day and then go out go-karting with everyone the week after. At the end of the day, what matters is that the gameplay is fun. However, what has happened is that the series can’t really branch out from that anymore. Even in the spin-off games Princess Peach still ends up getting kidnapped even if it is not by Bowser. And whenever it isn’t her being kidnapped, someone else usually does in her place. I won’t say it is always unreasonable, but surely there has to be another way to start off a game right? It would be one thing if she were important for an evil scheme, but most of the time there is no indication of that being the case. So why rely on this cliché for so many games in the franchise? It doesn’t add anything to the story, it’s just kind of there. Now I am not saying that the gameplay is lacking in any recent Mario games. But, is there any harm in experimenting with the story as well? It’s fine to play things safe, but I feel like if I am going to go through eight different worlds for this lady, I should get something more than just some cake.

Pokémon Open World

One of the first videogames I played was Pokémon Silver when I was six years old. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very smart six-year-old and so I wasn’t able to get very far in it at the time. Fast forward a few years and I was finally able to beat it, or at least the first half of the game. Red wasn’t until much later. Of course during that time I played a fair number of the other installments in the series. More so than any other Nintendo property I might add. I didn’t even know that Italian plumber duo existed until my age hit double digits. And even then it still took me another year to figure out the name of the green one. Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that back in the day, I was a Pokémon aficionado. However, in recent years, I have been more tepig tepid when playing the latest installments. It’s not like they are bad games. However, I feel as though the formula has run a bit stale and I would like to make a few suggestions on how to improve the formula. Of course, there is no reason to listen to a random guy on the internet right now, but hear me out. I think that what is really needed to shake up the formula, is to open up the world of Pokémon.

Now I do want to make it clear that having an open world is not necessarily what I am referring to with my previous statement. Sure, it would be pretty cool to see Pokémon roaming about like they do in the wild area in the most recent installment of the series. I do not believe this is a new idea to anyone who has played these games over the years. However, that would probably take a lot of work to establish and would probably have to be done in installments. Especially considering we have around 900 Pokémon without counting the different forms some of them have now. I am not saying that this should not become a reality, but I figure it probably will not happen until they run out of ideas for new Pokémon. Considering some of the newest ones though, it is clear that they are pretty much fine with anything. So, let us shelve this idea for now and talk about other ways to open things up. Let’s start with the most important aspect to address: battling.

Battling is probably the most important part of the Pokémon series with the sole contender being looting around in NPC trash bins for potions. I kid of course. That is just what I like to do when barging into their homes uninvited. Besides, you have to really be trying to run out of money to the point when you desperately have to search trash bins for items. But anyway, back to battling. Now without battling, there is obviously no game as you cannot proceed without higher level Pokémon and the only way to do that is by battling. Battling has evolved a lot since the first game with implementations such as an experience bar, double battles, and even different types. However, in the past few games there has always been a new battle technique that is immediately thrown out in the next game for something new. These one-off techniques are presumably resting at the bottom of an NPC trash bin. That’s right! I am making that joke relevant to the topic so I can keep it in. If you don’t like it, fair enough. But it stays in, because I am stubborn like that. Now leaving aside where these new battle ideas go after they are abandoned, it should be clear to anyone who has been playing previous games in the series that they have been following this formula as of late. There is a new technique that boosts the power of a Pokémon in battle, but it never seen in subsequent games. It doesn’t really add to the battle system, but is more of an extra trump card for you to use. It does make the battle system interesting enough, but I feel it only delays the main problem of the need to redesign the battle system.

Now you are probably thinking that this task is just as difficult as doing an open world game, but I don’t think that is true. Otherwise I wouldn’t have brought this up in the first place. For more on what I mean, let’s look at some of the spinoff games for a moment. One series I definitely have to bring up is the Poképark spin-offs. These games while not perfect showed a much more interesting, if not simplified way of interacting with different Pokémon. The most interesting part about the game is that you don’t have to battle in order to befriend certain Pokémon. You can play tag with them, hide and seek, or even do platforming challenges. Now I am not saying that all of these things should be incorporated into the main Pokémon games. However, I feel like having challenges like racing against other Pokémon could be pretty interesting to see in one of the main games. Even the battling was more interesting due to the fact that it was dynamic and I felt in control. Sure the things I could in battle were pretty limited, but at least when if I had a disadvantage in strength my chances were not zero. However, this would only really work best in a spin-off setting. The point is that there are a lot of ideas in the spin-off games that I think could enhance the main entries.

Another spin-off series I would like to draw people’s attention to is the Pokémon Ranger series. I’ll be perfectly honest when I say that I have no idea how you could incorporate the battle system into the main series, but there has got to be more we can do with this idea. For instance, I think it would be interesting to have a game where you try to be the best ranger that ever was. Instead of fighting gyms, you need to resolve different conflicts in the region. If we can’t have that, maybe we could partner with them for a mission in the game. They could be so much more than a trainer to fight. Going back to the Poképark games, if we are against having those ways of capturing Pokémon work for a trainer, then we could have that be the way Pokémon rangers can bond with Pokémon. Can you tell I want another Pokémon Ranger game? No? Well let me make it clear. I WANT ANOTHER ONE! Look I get that it is not the same as the mainstream games, but being a Pokémon ranger could give use to ability to just summon and befriend Pokémon to solve environmental problems without having to force the Pokémon your raising to learn a move that you will never use in an actual battle (except maybe surf). Just saying. I feel like that would be a great team up.

Even though I say all of this, I recognize the fact that the battle system is the core of the Pokémon universe. I also understand that it would be quite difficult to shake up the battle system to such a degree. However, changing the mechanics isn’t the only way to change how battling works. You see, the additions of the new battle mechanics in recent games have served as a way to make battles more challenging. After all, the only things you need to be aware of in battle are types advantages and level differences. These one-off gimmicks just take the battle system a step further. However, the strategy still remains pretty basic. So, wouldn’t it be good to look at what we can do to make battles require more thought. I get that this series has a younger audience, but I feel as though there are ways to make things more interesting. for example, imagine if the gyms you would face did not focus on one specific type of Pokémon. What if the gyms had something like a variety of Pokémon taken from the area that they are in and show to have the best chance at fighting them you would need to know about all the Pokémon in the area and not just one type. Or what if instead of having a broader focus at gyms, we could instead shift their focus so that the gym’s Pokémon were well trained in a particular area. So one gym could have a bunch of Pokémon that focused on attacking quickly as so you might want to bring Pokémon with good defensive capabilities. Another could be a gym that has Pokémon who are tanky and store up power as the battle goes on, so you decide to bring Pokémon who have high attack power. Also, it always felt weird that the elite four had specific type focuses as well, so maybe in this case they could be all-rounders who lean in a certain direction, and the champion would have a good grasp on everything. Again, not sure how this could work, but it would be pretty cool don’t you think?

Now, battling is not the only way to make things more open. It just happens to be the most direct way. However, there all other ways to interact with the world other than just battling that are already implemented into the game. The thing is that while some of them are at least useful for getting rare items or Pokémon, some of them are just there to use if you feel like it. For instance, remember contests? They were an interesting little distraction, but they served almost no purpose in any of the games they were in. You did get a rival at least when they fleshed things out in Pokémon Omega Ruby/ Alpha Sapphire, but it was never in any way required. Now I think that not having required activities is fine, but they would help contribute to world-building if done properly. Like what if you had to go undercover at a contest to stop [insert bad group here] from making away with the winner of the contest. Or maybe you had to find where your Pokémon have disappeared to after leaving them with the breeder. Or maybe they could have it where you needed to take part in competitions for catching Pokémon in order to drive the plot forward. I think we can all agree that the plot is pretty weak in the main games. I’ll be honest when I say I have not played a lot of the more recent title, but I doubt anything has changed. So why not try to flesh out the world with a more interesting story. If I remember correctly, I can’t think of a story in a main series game, with maybe the exception of Pokémon Black/White, that was in anyway fleshed out. At this point, is it too much to ask for a story that is more than just go to gym, get badge and somehow destroy criminal organization as a sideshow during our travels. Even when world ending events transpire, at soon as we take care of it, everything goes back to normal and most NPCs don’t even seem to care.

Look, I am not saying that the games are not fun as is. I just want to address the fact that eventually there may come a time where this series will stretch itself too thin, if it hasn’t already. Competitive battling has become increasingly easier as the years have gone on. First there was EV training, then there was IV training and the huge buff to the experience share, and now you can even change a Pokémon’s inherent nature. The thing is, there will come a point where you cannot add on anything else to refine a turn-based combat system any further. So at that point, maybe when we have 2,000 Pokémon, we can at least try to see if we can make the regions we have explored feel like more than just a slog of one battle after another. Let’s face it, battling is really only interesting competitively. The main games are way easier than they used to be ten years ago, but yet it feels like nothing was done to compensate for it. Now that just feels like a bit of a waste. I threw out these ideas because I wanted to raise this question. Is it a good idea for the Pokémon series to keep developing this way? Or will we eventually lose the sense of accomplishment that comes with being a Pokémon Master? The way I see it, sooner or later, this series will need to evolve. Alright, I’m done. Thanks for hearing me out.

Thoughts on Game Experience

I have played many videogames over the years and while I do not consider myself to be an expert in any of them, I think I am at least knowledgeable enough to form an opinion on them. You can feel free to disagree with me, but since it’s my blog, then I’ll still write whatever I want. Now of all the types of games I have played, I have the most experience with platformers and puzzle games. So naturally, I will be talking mainly about RPGs. What? Did you think I would actually talk about a genre that doesn’t have an experience bar? That would defeat the whole purpose of the title! Besides, I do have a fair amount of experience with RPGs as well. Honestly though, it is hard not to these days since so many games of different genres have added RPG elements at some point. The most consistent addition when incorporate elements from this genre is leveling up by gaining experience. But what experiences do you gain when you are gaining experience? How is a level system used differently when not used in an RPG setting? It might seem like a weird topic, but here are my thoughts on it anyway.

For the first example today, I will be using gone of the most well-known games of our generation. If you have not heard of this game by now, then it is safe to assume that you have been in a coma since 2008. I am referring to none other than the game Minecraft. Minecraft is probably one of the most popular games of our generations so I am pretty sure everyone will have at least some understanding of what I am talking about. However, to make sure I don’t exclude any recent ex-coma patients who managed to find this blog, I will explain the basics of how experience is used in Minecraft. The first part is relatively straight forward. You just have to do certain tasks so you get farm experience. Two of the biggest ways to do this are: killing enemies, like in an RPG, or mining for certain items in the caves. I want to focus on these two because while there are other ways of getting experience, they tend to be more troublesome to do consistently.

First off, on the subject on killing monsters, this is the most consistent way of gaining experience since, unlike resources, monsters spawn indefinitely. For them to have stopped spawning would mean one of two things. Either the world has been switched to a creative one and spawn rates have been reduced to zero, or the entire world has been torched to oblivion. So, it is pretty easy to find monsters because even if it is daytime, you can just go underground and find some monsters in the mine. Mining itself also nets you experience in two ways, either by directly mining valuable ore, or by smelting it into something you can use to craft. At the same time mining these items allows you to craft better gear. Do you see where I am going with this? No? Well, hear me out. Mining and crafting allow you to gain experience the same way an RPG normally would, while at the same time focusing on the games core design. Since more of your time will be spent exploring mines and crafting things, you will be able to get lots of experience from fighting monsters and bringing back good loot. Then, using some tools that you have crafted, you can power up your tools and armor with enchantments to become stronger.

Now some games already have gear with bonus or enchantments already included with them that you end up unlocking, instead of you having to do it yourself. It is not a problem for Minecraft though due to the way the game was made and so these experience points get accumulated as you normally explore the game. That is, until a creeper sneaks up on you and blows you to kingdom come, causing you to lose your items and experience. Then things become a bit frustrating. The key thing I want to draw your attention to is that unlike most games, experience is a tangible object. Otherwise it would not be something that you would be able to pick up in the first place. It essentially exists as a form of alternate currency to use solely for upgrades and maintenance on your gear. However, before enchanting your gear, you would naturally want to make sure it is good. To sum it up, the way to get your character stronger in Minecraft is obviously to mine and craft, but you can pay experience points you have gathered while playing to give yourself added buffs to your equipment.

Now I realize that using Minecraft as an example was a bit extreme. After all, the game has so little in common with RPGs aside from certain game elements. For instance, Minecraft barely has any real story to it. Sure there are goals you can accomplish so that you can beat the game, but there is nothing telling you to do any of that. There are NPCs you can interact with, but there are pretty much only there for trading and do not give you anything necessary. You can technically beat the game without using your experience points at all. Truth being told, there is such a difference between Minecraft and traditional RPGs you probably wonder why I even brought it up. Don’t worry, I promise it will make sense eventually. For now though, let’s move on to another game. Now I will come out the gate and say that I have no practical experience playing this game. That is your green light to take what I am saying with a grain of salt. However, I still felt the need to talk about this game regardless because it was too hard to pass up. Not to the point where I wanted to fork out sixty bucks, but anyway let’s move to a more recent game: Assassin’s Creed Origins.

This installment came after a one year hiatus where they decided to completely reimagine the nature of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. One of the most notable elements that the have changed is the combat system. Due to the inclusion of RPG elements the game now has skill trees, tiered loot, and a leveling system. Now, let me elaborate on the different ways you can gain experience. You can get experience from doing missions, from exploring different areas, from taking over target areas, completing miscellaneous objectives, and from killing enemies. Now unlike Minecraft, the experience bar is a direct reflection of your strength as a player because even with top quality gear, anything a few levels higher than you will pose a significant challenge. Leveling up is definitely necessary to beating the game and as you level you gain skill points which can give your character new abilities. It is very clear that this is a core mechanic, but does that mean it is functionally identical to a more traditional RPG? I would say no, and here’s why. Remember how I said earlier the different ways of getting experience? Well the one that gives you the least experience by far is actually killing enemies. Even when taking over strongholds, the amount of experience gained for taking over is worth a lot more than taking out every enemy. Now why is that?

There are two reasons for it in my opinion. The first is that the experience bar is a reflection of the world instead of the character. The experience bar doesn’t really go up significantly unless you do something that has sort of impact on the world itself. That means doing side missions and exploring new areas and all that. However, killing randomly spawning enemies will not influence the world at large and so is essentially worthless to experience. So, it leads me with a theory that as your knowledge of the world grows, your experience rises to reflect that. The other theory is that the leveling system is used to control the pacing of the game since without a high enough level you cannot get farther in the main story. So you need to gain as much experience as you can while doing all of these quests while making sure everything is at a reasonable level for you to take on. After all, since enemies a few levels higher than you can mop the floor with you, your options are limited in terms of exploration at certain levels. No matter which theory you think is true, I do not think that the experience bar reflects character growth in any way. Sure the character’s level is going up, but why it is going up is because of you completing some objective in the world rather than your character. The skill points are what really changes your character’s abilities. You do get those for leveling up, but you also get some from exploring. Skill points are honestly earned just by completing enough or certain objectives throughout the game if you stop and think about it. If that is true, then why didn’t we just make skill points the rewards for doing all the things that net us experience?

I know I have been talking a lot but don’t worry we are finally wrapping this up. If any of you have made this far. The question I want to pose by writing this is are leveling systems and experience needed in games that are not RPGs? To be fair to Minecraft, experience is basically treated as a form of currency, but I have to wonder why is it even called experience? It just seems weird is all. However, I cannot understand why a level up system in Assassin’s Creed Origins was necessary when skill points and tiered loot would have been enough to base the game around. Maybe they could have added in permanent health upgrades for certain missions if they felt that wasn’t enough. As it is, I cannot see the leveling system doing much for the character’s growth since challenging yourself to fight stronger enemies is not really all that rewarding. If anything, they might actually be more of a nuisance. Again, I am not an expert on these games. So you can agree or disagree with what I am saying here. But that was the whole point. I want to throw out these kinds of questions and topics to see what people actually think. After all, you guys know more than I do. I’m just a casual gamer guy.

Introduction Post

Hello there, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. Truth be told, this is the first experience with blogging on my own. There have been a couple of times that I have done blog posts for classes in school, but I rarely found that it was something I really wanted to talk about in great detail. So naturally I thought to myself that since I have some free time on my hands, maybe I should create a blog where I can write about whatever I feel like writing.

The main focus on this blog is going to be dealing with videogames. Yes, I did create my own blog just so I could talk about videogames some more. Feel free to judge, but it was either that or talk about memes. However, memes become outdated so quickly that there is barely any point in having a discussion about them. Can you imagine how dated some posts could end up being? Not to mention that there is no way I could possibly take a conversation about memes seriously. I know my limits here. I think.

Now when I say that the focus of this blog is going to focus on videogames, I do not have a specific goal I am trying to meet when I talk about specific games or specific genres. I will say that my experiences with games are mainly from a consumer standpoint. I may have gone to college, but it wasn’t for game design so I will not pretend to be the expert I know I am not. If I ever sound like I am pretending to be an expert in the field, then please call me out on it. It is highly encouraged in fact. I hope for a discussion or questions on what I am writing about since I have a tendency to overcomplicate things. However, I am also hoping you find the topics interesting as well. Just know that you should not, by any means, shoot down what has been said without some sort of experience to back it up. Otherwise, it it is no longer a discussion, but a shouting match. And those are boring. Don’t be boring. With all that being said, I’m looking forward to finding out where this goes. For now, this is a casual gamer guy signing off. See you soon.