Undertale – Am I good?

A few days ago, I was trying to find a new game to play in order to kill time until XCOM 2 was released.  I’ve been out of the gaming loop for a while and so was reading about the best games from the past couple years.  One title I kept coming back to was Undertale ($9.99 on Steam).  I decided to check it out and was absolutely blown away by it.

Before I bought Undertale, I read about a half dozen reviews on it.  (Hey, $10 is a big investment for a veterinary student.)  Everyone assured me that it was worth the money, but the reviews were very superficial.  They all cryptically said that they couldn’t discuss anything more than the broadest aspects of the game; that it needed to be experienced raw.  While frustrating to read, after completing Undertale I now wholeheartedly agree with this assessment.

Yet I haven’t felt an incredible urge to write about this game just so I could go over the most superficial aspects of its design.  I need to get a lot off my chest, and the only way to do that is to go in-depth about my two playthroughs so far.  So for the first time, I’m going to give Undertale its review score early into this review, after the part without spoilers.  Then I’m going to discuss my playthroughs in detail. Continue reading Undertale – Am I good?

The Best Flash Games The Internet Has To Offer

If you’re anything like me, you love video games but are short on time.  That’s why flash games have become such a welcome hobby of mine since starting vet school.  These games are usually made by one or a handful of people, take no more than a couple of hours to beat, and receive far less critical acclaim than their console / computer commercial counterparts.  I decided to write this blog because I’ve tried to search for the best flash games before, but I only find a few short articles.

Here’s my attempt to remedy that.  Below are my favorite flash games in no particular order.  I’ve spent many hours on all of these when I’m procrastinating studying for an exam or have a favorite TV show on in the background on a quiet Friday night.  Click on the titles to head on over to the game and give it a try.


Continue reading The Best Flash Games The Internet Has To Offer

Permadeath in Video Games

Death is not supposed to be the end in video games.  When you encounter a “game over” or “mission lost” you simply hit the A button and push forward. Sure, you may lose some experience points or cash, but overall death has few consequences in this medium.  That is, unless you’re like me and can’t allow yourself to simply jump back to the last checkpoint.

Let’s backtrack a bit.  I’ve mentioned before that I developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder back in seventh grade.  While I’ve shed nearly all of my compulsions in the years since, my one remnant of the disease is the inability to  continue video games once I’ve died.  Coupled with my insistence on playing nearly every video game on its toughest difficulty setting makes most games a serious and extraordinarily frustrating experience.

Of course, I don’t apply this permadeath rule to every single game.  In general, it applies to games where I can upgrade health, role-playing / sandbox games, and strategy games.  This means that I let myself die in most first and third person shooters.

Every section with a sniper in Halo 2 would have been impossible otherwise. Continue reading Permadeath in Video Games

On Mass Effect

I’ve written before about music, movies, and television that has inspired me.  Now it’s time to jump over to the next entertainment medium: video games.

It’s startling to me, but there are still people out there who claim that video games are just empty exercises in hand-eye coordination, that they hold no artistic merit.  I will never understand this assertion.  I firmly believe that a well-made video games holds just as much story-telling value as a great novel or movie.

Horizontal rectangle video game screenshot that is a representation of a game of table tennis.

Who wasn’t touched by left paddle’s triumphant come-from-behind victory over right paddle?

While I could easily list hundreds of titles that prove this point, I want to focus on the one video game series that has touched and inspired me more than any other.  This series has an incredible story, beautiful characters that you come to consider your friends, unique and action-packed gameplay, and is overall one of the best gaming experiences out there.  That series is, of course, Mass Effect. Continue reading On Mass Effect