Song of the Deep – Lost in the current with my son

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The search begins.

As Song of the Deep’s protagonist Merryn built a submarine to search for her lost father, Wyatt looked at me:

“If anything were to ever happen to you, I’d build a submarine and come find you too.”

Preparing to dive.

Into the oceanic abyss we dove, deeper and deeper. The couch, our submarine. Wyatt deftly piloted the helm. Until controller dexterity issues arose when we encountered electrified jellyfish. Fighting with the sub’s mechanical arm while steering was just too complicated for him. So I took over. He watched.

In the abyss.

We journeyed through a sunken city, wondering what had happened to this lost civilization. Wyatt grew bored. He didn’t ask to pilot the sub again. Song of the Deep frustrated him. This coming from the kid who can hold his own in Guacamelee and PixelJunk Shooter.

End of Watch.

Insomniac’s Song of the Deep is a “passion project” influenced by Brian Hastings, chief creative officer at Insomniac Games. Brian said that he wanted to create a heroic character to share with his 10-year-old daughter. I applaud him for that.

This game is pretty.

I had hoped that the underwater beauty and awe inspiring moments were something I could actually share with Wyatt. The movement of the submarine proved to be too much of a barrier. Dated puzzle mechanics, such as adjusting light mirrors (ugh), further threatened to sink our voyage.

I wanted Song of the Deep to be more confident in itself to be different and new. Game mechanics resurrected from the era of Ecco the Dolphin come across as hazardous underwater currents. Currents I want to avoid.

Ecco lives!

Ecco lives!

Bottom Line: Song of the Deep is challenging and entrancing in it’s beauty. I like that I can play the game in front of Wyatt. I just wish co-piloting was a tiny bit easier. But skills will improve. Difficulty will be overcome. 

wavesplinter3/5 – Great game to play with your kids. Co-piloting may prove challenging depending on your child’s skill level. 

Wave SplinterTitle: Song of the Deep
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviews on: PlayStation 4
MSRP: $14.99

*Song of the Deep was reviewed using codes provided by Insomniac Games.

Life Update: Dimensional Shifting

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So what’s up with you?

I spent this past Friday night and then most of Saturday helping my in-laws paint their new house. The existing interior pink paint was slowly transformed with different tones of blue and a splash of green for the dining room. The house is coming along (another coat of paint is needed in two of the bedrooms) and should be move in ready by this weekend. I’m excited. Nothing like new adventures.

Speaking of adventures, I keep plugging away on my job hunt. I think I’ve narrowed things down to sales, marketing, or human resources. I am definitely ready for a change out of my office manager role. Ready for a new office environment that is both emotionally healthy and challenging. Now, I just need to crack the code for receiving an application response. Could involve a U-boat in the Atlantic with Bon Jovi, who knows.

Guacamelee_Logo

I found myself telling my son the other day something I never thought would come out of my mouth, “stop dimensional shifting!” We were playing Guacamelee! on the PS4 and had just obtained the ability to shift dimensions. The boy couldn’t stop pressing the “shift” button. Which equaled me falling, repeatedly. The joys of fatherhood.

If you have a moment, I did get a chance to host the Theology Gaming Podcast last week (which you can check out here). Had a great conversation on the topic of emotional health.

One of my fellow Theology Gaming University members sent me a copy of his book to review. The book is titled 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom. Short and sweet review: Pick it up if you like a devotional that mixes nerdy topics with Biblical truth. Longer review incoming. Just ignore the book’s cover art in the meantime (my only criticism so far) as it does not represent the amazing content found inside.

Outside of getting to meet the boy’s teacher this week, not much else is going on. What about you?

Do Video Game Developers Have No Regards For Children?

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My son and I are gripping our controllers, leading our small group of Avengers to victory. But wait, even though the screen is split, the onscreen action blinds us both to our positions in-game. Lego Marvel’s Avengers fails to provide a visual indicator to note where ones character is on screen. There is no “player one” or “player two” designation. The game’s camera pulls too far out of the action for the player to be able to follow their hero.

I am frustrated; my six year old son, even more so.

Lego AvengersThe Lego games have always frustrated me. There is so much potential with the Lego properties, squandered in the name of shoddy controls and split screen mode. What frustrates me more, as with Disney Infinity, is that developers market this half-assed game design to children. We love playing videogames together. My son is able to hold his own in Guacamelee. His skills increase every time we sit down and play. But Lego games block our fun together.

I would like to say that videogame developers hate children. But that isn’t true. Videogame developers lack a certain awareness of how kids play.

Kids games need to:

  • Provide clear visual cues
  • Make it easy for players to find themselves: a simple portrait of a superhero, in the top right corner of the screen, doesn’t cut it. For a great example, check out Diablo 3.
  • Offer different camera distance so that players can see the action
  • Give players control over the environment that engages motor-skill and muscle-memory

My son and I will probably continue to play Lego Marvel’s Avengers. I just wish it was more finely-tuned to my son’s early skill levels.

Building The Perfect PlayStation 3 Library

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PlayStation 3 Logo

Just as Jor-El knew that Krypton’s days were numbered, I too can see the end of PlayStation 3 games being available for purchase. Below you will find a list of all the PlayStation 3 games I have owned/played. Are there any games missing from this list, that you would recommend, that I should hunt down and acquire? The perfect PS3 library must be built.

  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Assassin’s Creed II
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Revelations
  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Bit.Trip Runner 2
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Dragon Age Origins
  • Dragon Age 2
  • Ducktales Remastered
  • Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Flower
  • Guacamelee
  • Journey
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
  • Lego Lord of the Rings
  • Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Little Big Planet
  • Mass Effect Trilogy
  • Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • PixelJunk Monsters
  • PixelJunk Racers
  • Quantum Conundrum
  • Rayman Origins
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Risk Factions
  • Shadow of the Colossus HD
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Skylanders SWAP Force
  • Skyrim
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • Uncharted Trilogy
  • Wheel of Fortune