My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

5 Articles Tagged with “video games”

  1. Assassin’s Creed III and the delicate equilibrium

    I originally wrote this in March and have only now gotten around to publishing it. Go me.

    I’ve already discussed my mad love for the Mass Effect series, so now let’s talk about another series that captured my fairweather gaming heart: Assassin’s Creed. I can’t remember whether I got the original before or after I tried Mass Effect, but those were the first two games I played all the way through when I bought my Xbox 360. And, like the other series, I’ve followed Assassin’s Creed through its various sequels. Back in January, I finished playing Assassin’s Creed III after wrestling with whether to continue it at all. It occurred to me that I have never really set down my thoughts about these games. So, before I pan that one, let me celebrate its predecessors.

    How These Games Earned My Loyalty

    I appreciated the stealth mechanic of Assassin’s Creed, as well as its devotion to sneaking up behind people and stabbing them. Even the original game’s very repetitive and linear storyline, as well as its flat frame story, couldn’t rob me of the enjoyment of hitting that button and sending the game’s world spiralling into chaos,…

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  2. What Mass Effect means to me

    I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since I bought Mass Effect 3 on the day it came out back in March. Other, arguably more important, matters interfered, such as finishing school and looking for a teaching position for the fall. I was wildly successful in both endeavours, however, and now I am reaping the benefits by enjoying a restful summer (thus far). One thing I want to do this summer is write some more substantial blog posts. So here are my thoughts on the Mass Effect trilogy of video games and what they mean to me as a gamer, reader, writer, and all-around science-fiction fan.

    When I bought my Xbox 360, Mass Effect had just come out, and I kept seeing these intriguing commercials for it on TV. It promised an escape from linear gameplay. It promised to let me take charge of exploring the galaxy in my ship with all my cool alien buddies. My original intention behind purchasing an Xbox 360 was that it might give me something to do on the infrequent occasions when I had friends over—it did not exactly work out that way, although to this day I have only managed to get…

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  3. Let me get this straight: time goes forward?

    I intended to post this two days ago, but somehow never got around to it. You know you need to blog more when your grandparents remark on your inactivity. So let's do this!

    The past few weeks have been, for the most part, uneventful (and that's good). I worked a bit more than I would like, but there's not much to be done. I've tried to use all the free time I have as wisely as possible, mostly reading. Now that the snow is gone--even though the frost warnings are not--I like to sit outside the front of the house on the nice days.

    Having finished playing Mass Effect a second time, I tried playing Tomb Raider: Anniversary again. Unfortunately, the controls continued to frustrate me as I fell back into the rythym of "No, Lara, jump that way--oh, and you died." So I tried Tomb Raider: Legend instead. While it's the same engine, the levels are shorter and more varied, so I'm less frustrated with it.

    I'm greatly anticipating Mass Effect 2, and a few days ago I saw the trailer for Assassin's Creed 2. I enjoyed the first Assassin's Creed, although the story was somewhat…

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  4. 30 hours sacrificed to the altar of Mass Effect

    I just finished playing Mass Effect, a Bioware science fiction role-playing game for Xbox 360 (what I played) and now PC. When I bought my Xbox back at Christmas, I knew that Mass Effect was on my short list of Games I Wanted. It had received high praise and excellent reviews; the commercials made it look like the sort of game I would enjoy--I like science fiction, and I like combat as long as the game isn't all combat. So a couple of weeks ago, I bought Mass Effect at about half price on eBay and began playing.

    Many reviewers hailed Mass Effect as the best game of the year. I wouldn't go that far, but then again, I'm not a gamer, and my experience in games this year hasn't been all that much. It is definitely one of the best games I have ever played; however, it does have several weak points that prevent me from enjoying it as much as I would like. I'll cover those later.

    Mass Effect may have the best story of any game this year. As a RPG, you get to play a character and make decisions that affect the story and…

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  5. Game review time

    I've tried out all of my Xbox games now (except Forza Motorsport, because I don't do racing games), just to get a taste of what each one offers. Here's my opinion on each. Keep in mind that I haven't completed any of them, and I'm not a gamer. So my evaluations are based on different values than that of what a hard-core gamer or fan of a particular title might look at.

    t: Assassin's Creed d: I really enjoy the freedom of movement in this one. Fighting is also pretty exciting. Being able to automatically scrabble up walls and along ledges without a lot of conscious control pushing makes the gameplay more enjoyable. The tutorials provided throughout the beginning are helpful, especially to a gaming newbie like myself. However, the constant cutscenes detract, and the entire frame story is worthless. I would rather that it was actually set in the past, instead of being set in the future with a simulated past. t: Halo 3 d: I've never played any of the other games in the Halo series. The story looks easy enough to follow. I prefer FPS to third-person games like Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider, but I'm going…

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