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Part 1: Indie Game: The Movie - A game reviewer's perspective

This is part 1 of 2 of an evaluation of Indie Game: The Movie.

When I wrote about my experience with Braid after watching Indie Game: The Movie, I only briefly explained what I thought of the Kickstarter funded documentary. I prefer to avoid writing about film because there is usually a stroke of brilliance I fail to see them; an analytical and critical ability that is much more developed when regarding video games. With this documentary, the subject matter is what I'm familiar with - it's what I write about. So when I evaluate the film with criticism or praise, I feel comfortable sticking to my words, even if they represent the opinion of the minority.

Since the presence of video games in society is still very much new to most people, I approach books or films about them cautiously. I fear that people, who praise books about the relevance of video games, or people that praise films about the video game development process, praise them just because it's about video games.

Indie Game: The Movie - Sympathy and playing Braid

It was coincidence that I bought the Humble Indie Bundle and "Indie Game:  The Movie" a few days apart from each other. Although the bundle included games I already played such as Limbo, Super Meat Boy and Bastion, I've always wanted to check out Braid and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I am not a stranger in the indie game space, though not at all an expert either. I know of the process of independent game development, but the critical praise and buzz around the movie was enough to have me purchase it anyway.

I didn't want to analyze or break down the movie, that's not what I write about.  After watching the movie intently and getting a candid look at the people behind Fez, Super Meat Boy and Braid, I decided to finally play Braid. That was a mistake.

Generating content - Portal 2's "Perpetual Testing Initiative" DLC

With community generated content, I am always situated within the group that lets other people do all of the work so we can have the fun. Sure there are many who enjoy constructing levels in LittleBigPlanet or maps in Halo's Forge mode, but they are the minority. Like many others I imagine, I have briefly fiddled with the community tools and only created something that was simple. On top of being extremely overwhelming with objects available for use and alterations I could make to those objects, making a great map or level is rather difficult and only made harder by the inability to successfully manipulate objects precisely using a controller.

I am certain the PC community is significantly more enthused with the creation of content, as there is much more freedom and precision granted with a mouse and keyboard. With control aspects aside, what all user creation tools share, is an overwhelming amount of content. I can probably make a decent map in Forge or a creative level in LittleBigPlanet, but I always spend more time trying to make my blank canvas somewhat visually appealing more so than making an effective play space. Without experience or tons of patience, there will always be this huge gap between the quality of a developer's stage and community stages.

Ico/Shadow of the Colossus - Understanding the hype

It's fairly easy, as someone who had never played a game developed by Team Ico, to make fun of The Last Guardian's enigmatic development cycle with each year it fails to release. What exactly Team Ico has been doing since their last game in 2005 is very strange indeed. Sure they might have been working on The Last Guardian, but 7 years of development time is not at all ideal.

I speak of Team Ico and The Last Guardian because I understand now; I understand why there has been a constant outcry for information and reassurance with the fate of The Last Guardian. After first being shown at E3 in 2009 then later at Tokyo Game Show, a holiday 2011 release date was touted, though it never happened. So I wondered why people cared so much, was it really such a big deal that this quietly lurking Japanese studio didn't release their game? It is a big deal and you would only understand the demand if you have played both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Team Ico's two previous PS2 titles.

Changing Mass Effect 3's ending - Part 2

This article does not contain spoilers about the Mass Effect series. 

I got to a point where I was so close to seeing how Mass Effect 3 would end, that I could not stop playing until I saw it. Never mind how much I enjoyed playing through Mass Effect 3 from start to finish, but seeing that ending, seeing exactly what was so earth shatteringly disappointing, was too close to wait any longer. In some ways my impatience, and the controversial reception, sort of ruined my intentions for playing through the story, but I still enjoyed it never the less. And due to my delay to directly discuss my reaction to the ending, you have probably guessed already that I liked the ending to Mass Effect 3, that all of complaints and disappointment coming from the enamoured fans feels misplaced.

During the last half hour of Mass Effect, I was expecting the worse to happen. I could not at all fathom a scenario that would justify a complaint to the FTC or spark demands from fans for a better ending. When I finally saw this frequently discussed ending, I felt two feelings: satisfaction and confusion. 

I was - am satisfied to finally see the story come to a close, to see the time I spent with this franchise amount to a conclusion that I felt answered the questions I had. While I do think the ending successfully answered the burning questions, I left with more. But these new questions do not necessarily need to be answered. So to reference one of the complaints being thrown around, I did not need further "closure". The purpose of Commander Shepard at the end of Mass Effect 2 was straight forward, and once that problem was resolved, I saw no purpose in providing answers to aspects of the story such as, what happened to my crew members. They helped me along the way no doubt, their role was integral to my success, yet when it comes down to answering that sole question that is presented at the end of Mass Effect 2, my crew or friends I have accumulated along the way, do not factor in.

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