MMC130: Ass 1

Assignment 1: Game Review

Student Name: December Medland

Student Number: s3309304

Rationale

Game Reviews, which are sometimes referred to as Game Journalism, are becoming more frequent as the Internet expands its audience and has shown huge growth in the last thirty years (Nieborg & Sihvonen 2009, p. 2). Traditional game reviews cover the elements of game play, re-playability and its ambience (RMIT 2011) whereas Gillen (2004) claims that new gaming reviews should more thoroughly explore the actual experience for a gamer and “what a gamer feels and thinks” while playing is more relevant for expansive gaming reviews. This level of enjoyment is further deconstructed by Sweetser & Wyeth (2005, pp. 5-6) into subsets to be raised in the review, including: concentration, challenges, player skills, goals, immersion and control. An alternative way to view game reviews is offered by Burton (2005, p. 88) who suggests that games need to fall into two categories first: those that use news or current affairs as a background to a game and those that do not. Burton feels that game journalism should be styled toward whichever type of game you are writing about and as such, news-based games should be discussed in a more traditional manner as this gives a stronger sense of journalism and less commercialism to a real-world problem. He states that it is the ethics that surround game journalism that should be the dominating factor when determining what style to use. Silaghi & Yokoo (2008), however, believe that games need to be peer-reviewed and should not be considered journalism at all.

With no specified ‘correct’ way of writing a game review, I have endeavoured to embrace both traditional and modern aspects to this review to provide an entertaining and engaging piece about the game I played.

Review

Terrifying! Ten minutes into Campfire Legends – The Hookman and I’d scared the crap out of myself! I knocked my computer table so hard the speakers fell over and my heart was racing! Oh boy! How long has it been since a hidden object/adventure game has done that to me?

This game is brilliantly constructed with tense, eerie music and exquisitely drawn graphics. The premise is solid too, with plausible reasons for your every move. The plot follows one of those grisly campfire stories – the ones that build in pace until you are petrified right up to the last minute. A bunch of girls sit around a campfire telling ghost stories. And you become the protagonist in their horror tale of The Hookman! You play Christine who is planning a romantic weekend with her boyfriend. But you know that’s just not going to happen. It’s going to become a weekend of hell and fighting to survive.

As with all hidden object/adventure games, your objective is to find items to help you move through a linear story until it reaches its impactful conclusion. It uses basic click motions to retrieve items and interact with additional objects. Locks and puzzles are interspersed within the storyline to add to the intensity of your search.

The puzzles are mechanically minded yet clever with a mix of familiar mini-games and tense hunting. Help is available but the game is immersive – you don’t know what’s coming up at any given moment. Cleverly, you have to search for additional hints (to a total of five at a time) and if you need to skip a puzzle, you’ll quickly find yourself using all of them up. The puzzles give you tips incrementally so you can use as many tips as necessary to solve the mini-game. Unusually, I found myself using the hints often because I needed to work my mind into the ‘problem-solving’ state rather than just the mindless clicking of some other game types. And that’s what I love most about this game. There is nothing mindless about it!

As the story builds in frightening atmosphere, you’ll find yourself more and more determined to get to the end. The game is short; far too brief in my opinion. However, what it lacks in longevity and re-playability, it makes up for with its game-play and unique approach. I can’t wait to play the next one in the series! Campfire LegendsThe Hookman has its own hook which will entice and engage you, hook line and sinker!

References:

Burton, J 2005, ‘News-game journalism: History, current use and possible futures’.

Gillen K 2004, The New Games Journalism, viewed December, 2011: http://www.alwaysblack.com/blackbox/ngj.html Newman J 2004, Videogames, Routledge, London and New York

Nieborg, DB & Sihvonen, T 2009, ‘The new gatekeepers: The occupational ideology of game journalism’, Proc. of DiGRA.

RMIT 2011, ‘Writing about Games’, COSC2480_1197 (Computer Games) Unit Text, p. 1, viewed December, 2011, <https://lms.rmit.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_116719_1&content_id=_3242926_1&gt;.

Silaghi, M & Yokoo, M 2008, The peer-reviewing game, Technical Report CS-2008-03, Florida Institute of Technology.

Sweetser, P & Wyeth, P 2005, ‘GameFlow: a model for evaluating player enjoyment in games’, Computers in Entertainment (CIE), vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 3-.

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