GGF#59: Games for all genders

[Gamer Girl Friday]

I’ve been playing the Facebook games Restaurant City and Country Story for some time. They’re something I can leave running in the background of my PC while I work, needing only to check in once in a while to feed my staff or harvest my crops.

Country Story

The cute animations make me happy to look upon them, so no matter how silly and juvenile the gameplay is, there is that appeal for me.

I like surrounding myself with games and cuteness when I’m working!

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Table of Contents

  1. Love and hate Scribblenauts
  2. Time Wasters by Swordplay
  3. The Ballad of Gay Tony
  4. Colin McRae: Dirt 2
  5. X Team recruiting
  6. Results of last week’s contest
  7. Win Grand Theft Auto t-shirts!!

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Love and hate Scribblenauts

I’m in two minds about Scribblenauts. On one hand, it’s a fantastic game. It’s innovative and fun and you can’t help but get hooked by it.

On the other hand, the clumsy controls mar the experience somewhat, which is a tad bit disappointing after so much hype and anticipation.

Scribblenauts

Scribblenauts is a side-scrolling platformer with over 200 levels to play. In each level, you get through obstacles by typing out any items (living or non-living) you can think of to help you get the Starite (the goal of each level).

There are many ways you can complete each level, which is what makes the game so fun.

Scribblenauts

For example, to climb up a tree to get the Starite, you could conjure a ladder or wings or even a helicopter.

Or you could choose not to climb the tree but, instead, lasso the Starite down with a rope. The possibilities are quite astounding.

Scribblenauts
I’m a spade-wielding, magic-carpet-riding ninja.

Many unexpected, amusing things can happen, too, if you take your time to experiment.

Like, there was this button on a wall I had to push to open a door. But the door closes when the button is released, so I needed something to push and hold onto the button while I went for the Starite.

I decided to try someone, instead. I typed “girl” and a girl popped out. I thought I could get her to push the button for me. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t quite work that way. She just stood around and did nothing.

Scribblenauts

So I summoned a rock to lean against the button, but I got a rock too small to be of any use, so I threw it at the button for the heck of it.

The rock hit the girl instead of the button and she got mad at me. (You know they’re mad when they get angry pictures in their speech bubbles.) So I conjured a flower and gave it to her and she was happy again!

Of course, all these didn’t do jack to help me get the Starite but, what the heck, it was fun.

The problem with the game comes when the sucky controls get you into trouble.

Scribblenauts

To move your avatar (Maxwell), you tap a spot on the screen where you want him to go. To pick up items in the world, you tap on the items. To do something to anything, you tap on them. Almost everything you do in the game involves tapping.

It’s a great use of the DS touchscreen interface, to be sure, but it’s also a source of frustration.

Sometimes, when you tap on items, the game thinks you’re trying to move Maxwell, so you end up having Maxwell rush headlong down an erupting volcano.

It might be good for a laugh once in a while, but if you have already spent five minutes carefully setting up a path to your goal and Maxwell ruins everything by killing himself because the touchscreen didn’t read your taps correctly, it’s infuriating.

Air navigation is also very clumsy. Magic carpets don’t hover when you stop in mid-flight. They sink to the ground. And, sometimes, Maxwell refuses to fly to where you tap, maybe because he enjoys hovering right underneath a chute that is raining hot coals.

Scribblenauts

If you can forgive the controls, Scribblenauts is a veritable treasure trove. There will be some levels in which the clumsy controls won’t matter at all, so that’s a consolation.

I would love to give Scribblenauts a 10 because it’s really quite an impressive game. But the annoying controls bring the score down to about a 7, except during the moments when I feel the urge to defenstrate my DS, in which case, it’s down to like a 0.

But I am still enjoying the game. It’s such a good game that I must play it despite the controls.

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Time Wasters by Swordplay

Swordplay is my pesky li’l bro who spends all his time playing time-wasting games. To make him a little bit more useful, I’m sitting on him and making him recommend one fun and simple web-based game each week.

This week: Higher

Higher

What a nice, relaxing game this is!

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The Ballad of Gay Tony

When the first expansion for Grand Theft Auto IV (The Lost and Damned) was released earlier this year as a download option for the Xbox 360, I was excitedly stressed.

It’s no secret that I love Grand Theft Auto IV but it’s such a long game that I will never get enough time to complete it, much less play the expansions.

And now the second expansion is coming out!

The Ballad of Gay Tony

The Ballad of Gay Tony allows you to play as Luis Lopez, a street gangster and personal bodyguard to Tony Prince (aka Gay Tony), who is ostentatiously the king of the club scene but is, in actual fact, in a lot of trouble.

You would have come across Luis Lopez in your adventures in GTA4 and The Lost and Damned, so this time, you’ll get to play some familiar scenes as the other camp!

The Ballad of Gay Tony

Here’s a video promotion of the game disguised as an actual news report from Liberty City:

The Ballad of Gay Tony is also an Xbox 360 exclusive. It will be available for download on Xbox LIVE on Oct 29, 2009.

It’s looks set to be totally explosive!

The Ballad of Gay Tony

A disc-bundle comprising The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damned will also be sold. Called Episodes from Liberty City, they can be played as standalones, without requiring the original Grand Theft Auto IV.

Watch out for the cool new features you’re going to love, such as the parachute, APC (tank) and AA-12 (automatic shotgun with explosive rounds)!

The Ballad of Gay Tony

October 29!

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Colin McRae: Dirt 2

I gave this game to the Goonfather to review because racing is his forte. He really enjoyed Ridge Racer and Initial D, plus he used to race in real life.

But it turns out that he didn’t like Dirt 2 because the game is too good, plus he claims that he’s not into racing games. Sometimes, you just can’t understand him!

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

The Goonfather reviews Dirt 2

First of all, I am not much of a racing genre fan, nor am I into rally cars. But I was forced by Sheylara to take Colin McRae: Dirt 2 out for a spin.

After a long intro (with me almost falling asleep), the game menu popped out. I created an ID and started the game.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Something I like about this game, which is unique, is that you get to choose a voice name from a long list. The game would then address you as that name throughout. Kinda cool! Ever played games where you enter your name as Tom but the voiceover is still calling you some other thing?

After the initial setup, I got into my first race. The only car available for selection at that point was a Subaru WRX STI. The race begun and I crashed myself into the last position.

Tried a couple more times and I started to hate how realistic the controls were.

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Finally gave up on my fifth attempt. The thing about me is that I play games for fun and not for realism.

Sorry for the short and unexciting review. This game made me sleepy with the long intro so I had no energy left to explore much of it. But the graphics is very good.

Don’t let my bad review of the game fool you since the rating in most gaming sites for Dirt 2 is above 8/10. It’s just not my game. Waiting for Forza Motorsport 3 and Gran Turismo 5.

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X Team recruiting

Want to be part of the X Team?

X Team

As part of my involvement with the Singapore Xbox team, I’m recruiting a volunteer to help out with online activities to reach out to local Xbox fans.

Click here to read more!

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Results of last week’s contest

Last week’s contest to win this eye-catching haversack gave us some interesting information about what guys carry in their bags when they go out!

Haversack

Thank you all for your entries! It’s nice to know I’m not the only crazy person who carries tons of stuff out with me.

Well, I have randomised a winner. The winner doesn’t carry many things out. I think this bag is too big for him! Or maybe he’s waiting to get a bigger bag so he can carry more stuff.

Anyway, it’s his.

Congratulations, Ryen! A winner is you!!

Please do me a favour and e-mail me to claim your prize. Thanks!

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Win Grand Theft Auto t-shirts!!

In anticipation of The Ballad of Gay Tony, I got some t-shirts from Rockstar to give away!

The Ballad of Gay Tony t-shirts

Three, to be exact! Size M, but the M is actually more like L or XL.

If you would like to be one of the three lucky winners, just post a comment here and tell me one thing (anything) about The Ballad of Gay Tony. No repeats, so submit your entries early!

Terms & Conditions

  1. Only one entry per person.
  2. Winners will be picked randomly.
  3. Winners will not be notified. Please check the next issue of GGF for results and instructions.
  4. Prizes not claimed after two months will be returned to the giveaway pool!
  5. Closing date is Oct 1, 2009, 11:59pm.

Okay, please post your entries now. Get the chance to wear this t-shirt before the game comes out! (If you dare.)

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Time to eat!

Restaurant City

[Gamer Girl Friday]