The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Throughout the past few weeks life's stressors have roared
loudly and effectively stomped out much of my gaming time. As a result I found myself in a gaming funk
and unable to enjoy the little game time available to me. When I chose from my current game rotation no
title was successful in pulling me out of the perpetual headaches that are
rooted in endless, hard to meet deadlines.
Instead, Batman Arkham City is a fantastic game but not the perfect
gaming experience that others enjoy, Half Life 2 was fun but I am not
particularly ready to jump into the episodes, Lost Odyssey froze my progress
when I zeroed in on collecting all 19 crystal shards in the Crimson Forest
while I lacked the wherewithal to tackle the task. But I was hesitant to place yet another game
in my disc drive.
My search for a game to pull me out of my living room for
the duration of my brief gaming time led me to two very different titles.
Doodle Jump definitely needs a coffee themed level. The monsters are overly caffeinated already anyway.
My mobile gaming experiences are essentially the free
ad-filled versions of the mobile market's AAA titles. Such as Angry Birds in all of its
incarnations, Candy Crush, Cut The Rope, Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, and
Doodle Jump all cycle through my time spent huddling under my umbrella waiting
on the city bus (it is Pittsburgh after all).
I am a cheapskate in mobile gaming because I prefer to spend my limited
gaming cash towards titles and amenities on my Xbox 360.
Many of us are gamers who began our gaming experiences with the
classic gameplay of platforming. We
leaped from rock to rock avoiding lava (a lot of lava), quicksand, swamps, or
simply nothingness. We bit our tongues
and scrunched our shoulders concentrating on timing our next jump correctly.
Fly Doodler fly! Thankfully flapping my arms is not required for the mobile device version or I would get some stares on the bus.
With my brain fried from my daily life activities, while
commuting to and from work on the bus I can hardly spare the brain function to
read my stack of unread books. I turned
to my smartphone for solace but even Candy Crush's pattern finding gameplay
required too much from me. Instead, I
became bizarrely hooked on Doodle Jump.
A simple mobile game, the Doodler is always jumping up and by tilting the
smartphone's screen we direct him in sideways directions while always aiming
for the next platform. Along the way, we
fight monsters by firing projectiles from Doodler's nose. The first missed platform results in death by
a tumble into the empty nothingness and we start again at the beginning trying
to beat our high score. Naturally as a
video game we come across power ups such as shields for protection from
monsters as well as springs and rocket packs for faster upward mobility.
A change of theme alters the game with soccer balls or
Easter eggs becoming the nose projectile.
Different themes feature new platform types from breakable wood
platforms to deadly hanging icicles to platforms that move once when jumped on.
Deja vu anyone? Same ideas, fancier graphics.
As I scanned the library of games on my Xbox 360 as we do
when looking for gaming inspiration I happened upon Doodle Jump For Kinect, a
demo I downloaded on a whim. Suddenly
feeling adventurous, I prepared for turning on my Kinect by pushing back my
coffee table and recliner. In the Kinect
version rather than tilting the television I step to the left or to the right
to control Doodler. With Even stepping
side to side, with Doodler's continuous jumping I felt the classic platforming
tension of aiming that requires holding my breath in order to play. Raising my arm fired projectiles, the Kinect
platforms occasionally shrunk, and
checkpoints saved upward progress with the goal of reaching the flagpole on the
a final platform (sound familiar?). The
familiar rocket pack was a pair of wings an by flapping my arms Doodler soared
upward. I felt silly and ridiculous but
laughed and am seriously considering the $5 purchase as a fun party game.
Gotta have "Faith" in order to make those jumps (I crack myself up).
Now refreshed, my new sense of adventure led me to pop back
into my Mirror's Edge playthrough. I
believe that the game is overall short with speed runs and time travels
lengthening the experience. However, I
get stuck and after 30 minutes in the same checkpoint area I stop and my return
to the game can take weeks or months.
Eventually, guilt makes me return because the game is a beautiful quirky
title that shines (literally) with its minimalist 3D environments juxtaposed
against its 2D cut scenes.
All too true. I complain about the button sequences in Mirror's Edge and about the one button fits all approach in Assassin's Creed. Good luck pleasing gamers (or me) developers.
On this particular day, with my appreciation for platforming
I quickly found the needed path in the Mirror's Edge sequence that previously
stumped me (climbing through the scaffolding while avoiding the helicopter guns). The nature of the game is to run very fast
while fluidly climbing, leaping, rolling, as well as the occasional punch to
the groin which all comes to a screeching halt when the jumps required are not
clear or the platforming requires a complex button mash.
At one point, my eyes scoured the environment for my next
flying leap and I was anxious to maintain my momentum. But an electric fence that I just leaped from
one building to the next to avoid stopped my progress again. I stood clueless looking for that moment of
parkour inspiration and my girlfriend suddenly uttered the classic gaming tip
(she is smart like that), "Push the button."
"What button...oh, that big red one...got it." My electric fence problem was solved.
Add a helicopter to this scene and you will see the scene of my constant demise. Also, FPS games love helicopters.
Finally feeling comfortable with the building jumping
mechanics I continued running until I was finally stumped again in combat. I can disarm and kick but there are a lot of
blues (the in-game term for guards) who all want to take me down and thus far
the blues are winning. Hopefully, months
will not pass before I reload the checkpoint.
My foray back into platforming, a basic gaming memory for
many of us gamers, reinstated my gaming excitement. During the following days I followed
Deadshot's bullet trajectory in Batman Arkham City, accidentally ran past a
very valuable save point that resulted in a nail biting boss battle in Lost
Odyssey, and spirit walked through an alien spaceship in Prey (not to nitpick
but spirits can press buttons?).
The City is beautiful and fond of solid, bright colors when the white paint is not available.
Bouncing onto platforms may be different than in years past
but essentially we still have the opportunity for the same baseline
gameplay. Time does not stand still and while our old
experiences are remade with current technology the same fun applies whether I
am Doodler with a life goal of jumping or a renegade running on the mirror's
edge of society or a plumber able to traverse the very pipes that I
Even during this past week as my gaming time eroded to work
deadlines and I cheer myself on excited for my day one purchase of the August
28, 2013 release, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. Still, remembering the sheer fun I had
returning to gaming's jumping joy puts a smile on my face in the dark early
morning hours of my bus ride to work.
My thanks to all for reading, time spent gaming and writing
about gaming are fun additions to the day.
I appreciate you taking the time, as we all have things to get done, to
Do you play Doodle
Jump or Mirror's Edge?
What is your favorite
What type of
frustrations with a game makes you stop playing and makes you reluctant to
return to the game?