Monday, January 19, 2009

My Spadey Sense is Tingling!

Spades: No fun at parties.

After finally getting through Mr. Tedious Boss in the latest Castlevania for the DS, I've been spending a lot of my time as the game is FUN now! Seriously, guys, what's the deal with the crab? "Hey, let's make a boss that sits below the hero - when only one weapon that can hit something below is available!" "That's a great idea! I love it so much, let's make the battle happen in FOUR STAGES!" "Great job, everyone! Drinks are on me!"

Anyway, I've been plowing my way through in my usual bloated-level way with these games. (I suck at video games, I need the extra cushion.) Like all good Castlevania games, this one has a bunch of side quests and optional fun to pursue. Oh man... how can a spade resist? It's time to consult the GAMEFAGS! Er, GameFAQs.

For those who don't know, "spade" is a term taken from an analysis of those massive multiplayer online role playing games. (Technically, the analysis was for a primitive version, but whatever.) Some guy broke the types of players down into four classes. You can read the article here if you want.

Diamonds: These are the achievers, focusing on playing the game itself. They like to beat the game, then beat it again even harder. They don't do sidequests, chosing instead to focus on speed and skill.

Hearts: These are the socializers, focusing on interacting with the other players. They form the in-game communities and like to chat and give gifts. For them, the game is just another way of connecting them to people.

Clubs: These are the fighters, focused on besting other peolpe at the game. These are the player killers, PVP warriors and online racers. They measure success by their ranking against other people.

Spades: These are the explorers, focusing on examining game mechanics to figure out the world. They combine efforts with other players to figure out all the little things that can be done with a game.

I am a ridiculous spade. I love doing every sidequest and finding every non-standard approach to the game possible. I think it's FUN to bike back and forth in pokemon hatching eggs, slowly leveling up the hatchlings, checking their stats to see if they're good and (99% of the time) resetting and starting the process over. What do I get from it? A very minimal boost in overall performance that really is no where near worth the effort put in. But, when I pull something off, it's exhilierating. (I have bred the world's best non-hacked Rotom and Milotic!) It's the thrill of the conquest! Many times, once I've done all the sidequests and pulled of every exploit possible, I put the game aside without ever bothering to beat the game. Final Fantasy Tactics A2 is one my favorite games ever, but I never beat it. Once I managed the unthinkable and managed to create ninja tabi for my entire team, there was no other challenge the game could offer me. On to the next obsession!

Castlevania is addictive because it has something for everyone. Diamonds can play through the game, then do hard mode, then do hard level one mode, then do the boss rush, then play as another character, then try to beat the times in all of those! Clubs can go online and race with each other. Hearts can open stores online and chat on message boards. Spades have tons of side quests and minor tasks to occupy them. They figure out how to arrange enchantments and equipment just so to find exploits, such as easy boss kills and easy money. They test attributes to see what effects what, which is needed because some of the item translations make no sense. They locate every hidden area and item. Rock on!

So what have I been doing? Right now I have a rubber band holding down my up button as I absorb enemy attacks to boost my elemental stats. Every hour my power goes up like 1%! Woo! Tonight I will probably leave the game on with a familiar killing things in a room where enemies constantly respawn so it can level up, gain me experience, help the item based on my kill count and bulk up the time played to help items tied to that. Earlier I hunted down every enemy in the game to make sure I got every item drop possible from them. (I'm one short, but not skilled enough to access that enemy easily.) Later, I am boosting my treasure chest luck and hunting down rare random items I don't need. As I said, spades are no fun at parties. We are profoundly boring people.

Pulling out that rubber band did give me some ideas, though. My main characters fit nicely into the four groups. Bud is a diamond, Autumn is a club, Tiffany is a heart and Jacob is the spade. (Poor guy.) Not only can this inspire some fun bonus art down the road, but I could even turn the idea into merchandise! Gamer-appealing t-shirts? Ooh. Actual decks of cards? That is the dream, people! I would seriously love a Precocious-themed deck of cards. Maybe one day, if I ever get a loyal readership, I can justify the work and fiscal investment needed to make that dream come true...

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