Throwback Thursday – Game Mechanics: Unnecessary Checkpoints

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Growing up, I lived in a valley that was hedged in by foothills and mountains. The south end of the valley featured a Border Patrol Checkpoint. Set up to combat illegal aliens and drug smuggling, the checkpoint was situated roughly 70 miles north of the Mexican border. Unnecessary? Politics aside, I think so.

Recently, I have been playing through Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen on the Nintendo DS. As the games title insinuates, DQIV is broken into chapters or side stories. The first 5 chapters focus on what turns out to be the support characters. Chapter 6 unites the support characters with the hero of the game, you.

Dragon Quest IV marks my first entry into the Dragon Quest series. While I have enjoyed the 20+ hours I have spent in the game so far, I do have a minor gripe, the unnecessary leveling checkpoints.

20 year old gameplay mechanics aside, Dragon Quest IV commits the sin of the invisible wall. Every few levels, these invisible checkpoints force players to stop and grind (level up) until they are at a sufficient level to proceed in the game. Dungeons, monsters, and bosses are some of the most common level checkpoints found in the game. While I know that this is a common RPG mechanic, I have never been so aware of it. Perhaps this is due to the age of the game? I’m not sure.

Grinding is one of those bite-the-bullet game mechanics. Properly instituted within a game’s design it can be a mechanic that one barely notices. While I am enjoying the time spent with Dragon Quest IV, I can’t help but wish that a more organic type of leveling system be created. However, I do find some sort of twisted comfort in level grinding. The old and the familiar, right? Until next time.

Unnecessary Checkpoints

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Growing up, I lived in a valley that was hedged in by foothills and mountains. The south end of the valley featured a Border Patrol Checkpoint. Set up to combat illegal aliens and drug smuggling, the checkpoint was situated roughly 70 miles north of the Mexican border. Unnecessary? Politics aside, I think so.

Recently, I have been playing through Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen on the Nintendo DS. As the games title insinuates, DQIV is broken into chapters or side stories. The first 5 chapters focus on what turns out to be the support characters. Chapter 6 unites the support characters with the hero of the game, you.

Dragon Quest IV marks my first entry into the Dragon Quest series. While I have enjoyed the 20+ hours I have spent in the game so far, I do have a minor gripe, the unnecessary leveling checkpoints.

20 year old gameplay mechanics aside, Dragon Quest IV commits the sin of the invisible wall. Every few levels, these invisible checkpoints force players to stop and grind (level up) until they are at a sufficient level to proceed in the game. Dungeons, monsters, and bosses are some of the most common level checkpoints found in the game. While I know that this is a common RPG mechanic, I have never been so aware of it. Perhaps this is due to the age of the game? I’m not sure.

Grinding is one of those bite-the-bullet game mechanics. Properly instituted within a game’s design it can be a mechanic that one barely notices. While I am enjoying the time spent with Dragon Quest IV, I can’t help but wish that a more organic type of leveling system be created. However, I do find some sort of twisted comfort in level grinding. The old and the familiar, right? Until next time.

Surf Report – 10/23/09

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Surf ReportWelcome to a Friday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

While on a Spanish trip to Puebla, Mexico, during my college years, I happened to borrow Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz from a fellow traveler.  At the time, I remember being at a point in my life where Christianity felt stale to me. Too many many people claiming to have this revolutionary Jesus and yet no one living like Him. I felt alone in a sea of hypocrisy and blandness.  Blue Like Jazz, came along at a time when I needed a breath of fresh air. The book showed me a world in which being a Christian isn’t about legalism but about truly living for God in a real way. I suddenly didn’t feel as alone as I had before.

I am unsure if Miller’s new book will speak to me (or you, dear readers) in the same way. Below you will find the first thirty pages of Donald Miller’s new book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

.: Life :


.: Gaming :

Like the ebb and flow of the tides, gaming seems to come and go in my life with regularity. Lately I’ve been playing the following:

World of Warcraft -I have recently hit level 52 with my druid Night Elf, Arclight (Stormscale server). I am also currently looking for a good casual guild. Any suggestions?

Dragon Quest IV – I am now in the final chapter of the game. This chapter is said to be the longest…and it is so far. No joke.

Dungeon Hunter – Currently on the last boss. Game has been pretty good thus far. Although I am questioning, now that I am at the end of the game, how one justifies spending $8 for a few short hours of gameplay. Gaming on the iDevice is like riding a roller coaster, short and expensive (admission ticket wise).

Wave SplinterThat is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Surf Report – 8/31/09

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Surf ReportWelcome to a Monday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :


.: Life :

Too busy. You?

.: Gaming :

Dragon Quest IVThis week I thought I would take a break from the great Pokémon experiment to instead talk about my recent adventures with Dragon Quest IV (DS).

As a gamer, I have had limited exposure to the world of Dragon Quest. My Japanese RPG experiences  to date have mostly consisted of the Final Fantasy series. Granted, I have deviated away from the Final Fantasy series occasionally and explored the worlds of Skies of Arcadia (DC), Golden Sun (GBA), and Chrono Trigger (DS). However, the Dragon Quest series is one that I have read much about but never played until now.

Dragon Quest IV marks my first experience in the world of Dragon Quest. The game is divided up into five chapters, with each chapter introducing a different character/ perspective that will eventually build into the final chapter that features the games main hero. Ten hours into the game, I have reached chapter 4. A tale of revenge, chapter 4 follows Maya and Meena on their quest to avenge their fathers death. Difficulty wise, chapter 4 seems too short on money drops and thus upgrading weapons/ armor has been a pain. Overall, I am enjoying the games simplistic gameplay and engaging storyline. If you haven’t jumped into the world of Dragon Quest, now is the time to do so.

Wave SplinterThat is it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!