Mines of Memory Part 2
So here’s part 2!
26. Shooting Go (Played Year: 2001, Age: 9)
Many players, being frustrated by the mental complexity that Go demands, have found an alternative use of the Go pebbles. This involves flicking a pebble with the tip of one’s forefinger to hit and knock off the opponent’s pebbles off the playboard. Not only was this fun due to its tactility but also the aiming element gave birth to a dynamic gameplay to what otherwise be a very static, slow-paced mind battle.
27. Beyblades (Played Year: 2001, Age: 9)
Beyblade was called Topblade in Korea. Of course, unlike in the anime series, the player can’t verbally command the beyblade to his will, but there was something about the two (or more) beyblades spinning as they collided off one another that was just mesmerizing to watch. As I became more invested into this “watching” game, I customized much of the original parts with metallic ones to make it stronger. However, while this made the top stronger and resilient against incoming attacks, it also made the beyblade to slow down much faster due to the increase in weight.
28. DigiVice (Played Year: 2001, Age: 9)
A virtual pet for a gradeschool kid – a brilliant idea! One of the reasons why I was compelled to invest so much money into buying this single-purpose console was that they appear in the Anime! The player was put into this roleplaying state where one could go out and battle others’ pets. In regards to the battle mechanic, I found it ingenius how the device physicall requires contact with another for the battle to commence. In a sense this created a community in my neighbourhood where I was able to meet and battle kids that I have not even met before!
29. Crazy Arcade (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
Despite its similarity to Bomberman, I found Crazy Arcade interesting in that it allows a certain type of intricate gameplay that the arcade joystick doesn’t allow. Using keyboards, player can quickly navigate between explosions, creating a fast-paced, dexterous challenge for the player. In addition, as opposed to just dying, the players have a chance of being rescued by a teammate when hit by an explosion, trapped in a bubble. One thing I think is quite degrading the gameplay is the introduction of in-game purchase elements that allow some players to pop the bubble, a sort of “second chance.” The game is also successful in that it shows clear progression, the reach of the bomb getting longer, having more bombs to lay at a given time, and faster movement.
30. Shining Lore (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
The first ever 3D thirdperson MMORPG I’ve played. I still remember the soundtrack clearly even now. At that time, the expanse of the world the game offered was unprecedented, hence I spent majority of my time exploring places (which resulted in a lot of deaths). However, the character progression was very slow, hence I was not able to fully interact with the worlds despite having explored them. To improve myself, I remember setting up shops to gather in-game currency to buy better weapons / goods, the first time I practiced in-game transactions with other players.
31. Air Strike 1944 (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
I saw this game at every arcade I went, even at small stations set up outside the local supermarket. The daunting patterns of enemies’ attacks intimidate the player, forcing them to make rushed decision (and die, of course). I found it interesting that the game uses this visual overload to mask its predictability, giving an illusion that every replay is slightly different from the one due to different conditions of death.
32. Go (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
Classic. I first played Go with my grandfather, who was very well versed in the game from his years of serving in the Korean military (soldiers spent a lot of idle time playing it). Despite its complexity, I have not had the chance to explore the strategies it offers, perhaps because I was so little back then. One thing I remember was the feeling satisfaction I got from successfully anticipating the opponent’s next move.
33. One Card (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
The most successful aspect of the game is that it requires the players to only focus on two things: carefully observing the card currently on top and planning accordingly the hand to play on one’s turn. The majority of the gameplay is actually non-interactive, due to each player having no incentive in picking / collecting others’ cards. However, I think the required ending of saying “One card!” adds this social element at the time of most tension, which I believe heightens the climax.
34. Pencilcase Pinballs (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
Games have found their way into the mundane classrooms in Korea. There was this pencilcase that opened like a clam, a sort of storage chest. At the top of the chest was a two-sided physical pinball where the two players could sit on either sides of the case and control the bumpers with their hands. For some reason, this study-play hybrid proved to be a popular toy amongst many students, the study part being more of an excuse to buy the play part.
35. Jackstones (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
A traditional tossing game usually played by girls in Korea. Similar to juggling, mechanic of tossing and collecting tokens while the tossed token is in mid-air requires an intense focus and hand-to-eye coordination. It is interesting to see it so popular among young girls, and I believe it may be because of the design of the token itself. There are small metal bits within the tokens, that rattle every time when they are juggled. This sound provides a satisfactory feedback and rhythm to the gameplay experience.
36. Billiard (Played Year: 2002, Age: 10)
The physical feedback from hitting the ball is the main appeal of the game. I also find the practice of finding and calculating the correct angle quite interesting, and found that when I draw the trajectory lines in my head, the aim is often accurate. Also, unexpected situations also arise as the ball hits other targets, either by mistake or intentionally, which adds the element of surprise to the experience.
37. MapleStory (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
I probably spent at least an eighth of my lifetime playing this game. The game requires an insane amount of grinding for the players to progress their character, often hours after hours to level up once. And you repeat the same mechanics millions of times, pressing the same buttons! How can this possibly be successful as it is? I think it may be attributed to the social component of the mmorpg, where you can form friends and hunting parties to override the mundane, repetitive gameplay. As the game puts a huge emphasis on social interaction, the age range of the players is very broad, from gradeschool kids to middle-aged adults. Heck, the guildmaster in my guild was 47 years old! (and also very personable) The game capitalizes on its component with its assortment of in-game purchases, giving the option for players to customize their characters (and make them stronger). This all resulted in a gigantic economy where players started selling in-game currency for real money! Crazy!
38. Nova 1492 (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
Usually rts games prescribe the exact type of units you can have in the game, their stats fixed. However, in Nova 1492, the players are allowed to build and configure their own assortment of units to be sent to the battlefield. Not only does this make each game feel unique, but it also gives the players an impression that they are in total control of the gameplay. It is sort of a rts/rpg hybrid. Of course, the number of parts are limited within the context of the game, however the combinations they offer are immeasurable. I think this is perhaps one of the most unique games that I have had the chance to come across.
39. Survival Project (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
This was a game where I killed a lot, a lot of people.
40. The Sims (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
I always liked building things, and building virtual homes for virtual people is no exception. In comparison to the city scale planning found in Rollercoaster Tycoon, I was much invested in designing livable, friendly neighbourhoods for my sims to happily live ever after. It adds another layer on top of making livable buildings the consideration for social interactions and events. This was interesting for me to see the influence of social dynamics on the built environment, and vice versa. Of course, much like the Rollercoaster Tycoon, I sated my guilty pleasure, separating a perfectly happy family once in a while.
41. Uno (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
Please refer to my comment on One Card.
42. 3D Puzzles (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
3D puzzles were an interesting departure from the Lego-style way of building physical artifacts. I was first fascinated with the degree of texture detailing it offered, making them look like miniaturized copies of real buildings. However, the building strategy itself was inherently different: the pieces were first sorted out in terms of texture similarity and then assembled in “blocks” that amalgamated into larger chunks. The challenge of matching the puzzle shapes while considering the texture alignment was a head-scratching process.
43. 3-6-9 Counting (Played Year: 2003, Age: 11)
One of the most common group games in Korea, where the players usually sit in a circle. Starting from 1, each adjacent person counts up the number, and is required to clap whenever numbers 3, 6, or 9 appears in the number. The number of claps also depend on how many times they appear. A simple counting game, offset by a condition that gives rise to various scenarios as the counting pace gets faster.
44. Kingdom of the Wind (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
Alongside MapleStory, this game is a mmorpg is a masterpiece. Despite its relatively low graphic quality, it makes clever use of a gridded tile map while making it “feel” 3 dimensional (much like Pokemon). Although I have only played warrior, I believe that the game does an excellent job of differentiating the characteristic and role of each class: warriors, thieves, monks, and magicians. The skills are also very well designed in the sense it takes advantage of the grid: skills that allow you to attack multiple adjacent enemies, or skills that constantly ninja-transports you around that enemy. Most importantly, I think the excellent sound design accounts for at least half of its gameplay experience, with its tones evocative of traditional Korean music as well as satisfying sounds for hitting and hilarious, comical sounds for emotion expressions.
45. Gunz Online (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
FPS on crack. The constant rush of adrenaline from the high-paced gameplay keeps the players on their toes. The major spinoff of the game is the ability of the characters to run along the walls and flip around like in the movie Matrix. As one’s playing the game, one can observe how the environments are meticulously designed to accommodate this layer of possibility, which makes them feel so interactive and “real.” Also, there is bug, or more of a difficult technique, that was commonly used by many players, where one can hop around with the momentum of the sword swing and wield a shotgun midair, totally throwing off the opponents.
46. Sonic the Hedgehog (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
One of the hardest games. Ever. I think I spent majority of the time being frustrated with constant deaths that resulted mainly from being unable to anticipate and react to incoming danger. Although the spinning mechanic is very noble in the sense that it gives the player control over the speed, I highly doubt that many actually tailor the speed accordingly. It is simply too fun to roll around in high speed!
47. Super Smash Bros Melee (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
Everyone knows this game. Like. Everyone. Unless you are not a gamer. The thing that distinguishes the game from other fighting games is the fact that you can use external objects (bombs, etc.), to fend off your opponents. Although this may feel unfair for the mechanic-driven players, for me it offered a fresh experience to otherwise overtreaded genre. Also, in sync with the vibration feedback of gamecube controllers, the way the characters die is very, very, very amusing. Players fly out of screen into the distance, onto the camera, or burst off to the sides. I think this is what ultimately adds that epic meleeness in this game.
48. Yugi-Oh (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
Unlike the Anime, the card game in reality is fairly limited, since it depends on the individual’s deck. Hence many games could end up feeling very unbalanced, as some may have God cards (which pretty much guarantees victory), while the others have Dark Magician as their strongest card, making them feel hopeless. In theory, it is a very well designed card game, however in practice, the most fun one could have is collecting and trading the cards.
49. Capture the Flag (Played Year: 2004, Age: 12)
Being bad at sports, I never really liked this game. I think it offers an immense variety to gameplay though, being it highly dependent on the physical context. Playing on an open grass field may require agility and dexterity, but playing in a forest may bring in mechanics such as hiding and sneaking past the enemies towards the flag without them knowing.
50. Dungeon & Fighters Online (Played Year: 2005, Age: 12)
The game, at the time, pioneered the model of adventure campaign / PvP in 2D-Scrolling genre. Since the emphasis was eventually put on competitive PvPs, the campaigns themselves felt more like addons and went unappreciated by the players. With that being said, the PvP system is incredibly well designed, with its combo system that enables a range of technial skills for the players to master.
Stay tuned for more !