Portal 2

Game Name: Portal 2
Valve Corporation
PC via Steam

For my review of Portal 2, I’m actually just going to present a link to the Zero Punctuation review. I agree with Yahtzee’s review of Portal 2 100%, and couldn’t say it better myself, so here you go: Zero Punctuation – Portal 2

One extra thing I will note is that just like Portal, a chunk of the implementation/design of Portal 2 was created by previous DigiPen students. The gel from Portal 2 came from a DigiPen game called Tag: The Power of Paint. Tag was actually quite a fun game for a student project, so check it out!

Tag: The Power of Paint download


Game Name: Terraria
Developer: Re-Logic
Platform: PC via Steam download
Cost: $10

If you thought Minecraft was good, you’ll never stop playing Terraria. Seriously, this game is amazing! I have been playing it with two of my friends for the past three days pretty much nonstop. The game trailer does a really good job of showing all the things the game has to offer, so go watch it here: Terraria Gameplay Trailer

One thing I really like about the game is the music. Typically a game like this has very repetitive music that gets annoying after a while, but i honestly never got annoyed with the music at all. From a design standpoint, I really like two things about the game: 1) The game starts you next to a guide that can help you if you need it and 2) the way that item combinations work. The game shows you everything you can make and shows you the mats that it takes, assuming you have them. One thing I would change about it is that I would always show all items that you have ever made, and just grey out the ones that you cannot make currently.

There are a few problems that I see with Terraria. First of all, the multiplayer part of the game wasn’t working by default for myself and two other tech geeks, so we had to download a program called Hamachi to get it to work (Hamachi can be downloaded here)

Also, just like Minecraft, there really isn’t a clear goal. That being said, I was constantly driven by exploration, and I never really felt like the game got boring until I thought I had everything in it, which took MANY hours.

I also didn’t like that there was no noise when your health is low. Sure, it’s annoying, but it lets you know when you be careful, or when to chug a potion.  I found that I died many times just because I wasn’t constantly watching my health.

Finally, I wish that mana was actually useful. When you first get an item that uses mana, it may seem decent, but mana using items greatly decrease in value as time goes on.

One thing this game can probably do without is fall damage. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just doesn’t really make sense to me. That being said, there is an item you can get to negate it, but I think it should have just been gone to begin with.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend buying Terraria. The cost to fun ratio is amazing!  The game only costs $10!

Terraria Item Combinations


Game Name: Magicka
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Platform: PC via Steam download

The Good

This game is full of comedic references to other classic games.  It had me laughing like crazy on the first cut scene, and it only got better from there. In Magicka, you cast spells by combining different elements to defeat onslaughts of enemies, and sometimes even your teammates, as friendly fire is always on. You may think of this as a bad thing, but after playing for about 15 minutes, the resurrection combination was almost instinctual after casting a few fireballs. Also, it’s extremely easy to heal yourself, as well as allies, but beware, you can heal your enemies too.

One thing I really like about the gameplay of Magicka is all the mayhem.  I was only playing with two other people, and it was already hard to fireball enemies without hitting my teammates.  Here is a screenshot that looks like a typical battle in Magicka:


Another design choice that I love about Magicka is that there is no mana. You can cast spells constantly without having to stop the fun to wait for mana to regen. All in all I just found the game to be extremely fun and well designed.

The Bad

One thing that I didn’t like about Magicka at first is that the controls take a bit to learn. Spells consist of a combination of up to 5 of the 8 different elements, but more combinations can be made out of these combinations. For example, if you combine water and fire, you make steam, which can then be 1 of the 5 different elements even though it is made out of 2 elements itself.

The major problem that I have with Magicka is that it is quite buggy. One of my friends that was playing it was unable to see any text while playing the game.  At one point in the game, I alt tabbed out and wasn’t able to get back into the game for at least 1 minute, and it wasn’t during a load screen. The game seemed to lag quite a bit when lots of spell effects were on the screen, and I can’t even imagine if we had 4 of us. We also found that we couldn’t play with two of us on the same network from their in game menu, though we were able to ply by right clicking on the other’s Steam name and choosing Join Game.

Another thing I didn’t like is that the best way to destroy enemies seemed to be constantly firing same spell. Beams seem to be under powered, but if you constantly cast projectiles at enemies, they will die very quickly, though there is a high probability of you hitting a teammate, or even yourself.

All in all I would highly recommend this game. I haven’t played all of it, but what I have played has been extremely entertaining, as long as you don’t get too mad when your buddy blows your character to bits.

World of Warcraft

Lately I have been playing a lot of WoW.  If you haven’t played it since Cataclysm has hit, I strongly suggest getting back into it.  Essentially every zone in Azeroth (Excluding Northrend) had something change in it (Though admittedly, I expected that they were going to change a lot more than they did).  At any rate, the new encounters in Cataclysm are actually surprisingly difficult, and I’m not just talking about the raid content.  Many of the bosses in Heroic Grim Batol are quite challenging.  A lot of the encounters are fun even after doing them a thousand times over.  Others are downright silly, but in a fun way, such as Cookie, a murloc in a vat of stew that throws food at you in Heroic Deadmines.  Here is a funny screenshot that I took when running Heroic Deadmines on an alt today:


Game Analysis: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Hello again!  Well, seeing as this is my last semester at DigiPen, I have started applying for many video game developer jobs.  As part of that, I get to write lots of stuff about video games, which is actually quite fun.  My dream job right now is to work as a video game designer at Blizzard Entertainment.  However, any job at Blizzard would be amazing, so I am applying for every position I qualify for.  Seeing as I have some video game testing experience, I am applying for the testing internship there.  As part of that, I had to write a video game analysis.  I figured it would be cool to post that here.  Here it is:

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the greatest video games of all time.  Ocarina of Time not only holds great feelings of nostalgia from previous games, but it also has amazing game play in its own right.  From the first time the player lays eyes on Hyrule Castle to their first encounter with Ganondorf, Ocarina of time is teeming with characters and locations from previous games in the series.  This gives the players a sense of nostalgia, a familiarity with the concepts being portrayed in the game.  While previous Zelda games had only been in 2D, Ocarina of Time brought a whole new dimension to the Zelda series.  Players got to enjoy the feeling of defeating their favorite Zelda enemies in 3D.  The Nintendo 64 may be arcane to today’s standards, but when it first came out, Ocarina of Time had some pretty awesome graphics to back up the already amazing game play.

The best part of Ocarina of Time had to be the boss fights.  With as many different items as were in the game, the developers could easily think up new and interesting mechanics, which gave the player a sense of accomplishment when they figured out how to use the different items to topple the boss.  These mechanics were also used to create interesting dungeons, and were even use often in general game play.  Admittedly, all the dungeons have the same recipe.  This recipe is as follows: 1) Get a little ways into the dungeon.  2) Obtain some sort of new item, typically after a mini boss.  3) Find the boss key, typically obtained using the newfound item. 4) Defeat boss using the new item.  Even though this recipe is used in most, if not all of the dungeons, the new mechanics that are created using the items, as well as figuring out locations that will eventually use an item that you have not yet obtained, was always a great deal of fun.

Another great part about Ocarina of Time is the many different characters that Zelda meets.  From Zoras to Gorons, Link is constantly running into characters that Zelda players will never forget.  Two good examples are Princess Ruto and Kaepora Gaebora, the helpful owl that helps Link on his path to defeating Ganondorf.  I will never forget meeting Princess Ruto for the first time inside of the giant fish, Lord Jabu Jabu, or her telling Link that she would marry him after they both left the giant fish’s belly.

I, much like many gamers, will never forget the experience of playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  From the amazingly fun boss mechanics to characters that make an impact on the player to the comedic attitude of many concepts in the game, Ocarina of Time is absolutely one of the best games of all time.

Robot Unicorn Attack

I want to share one of the most brilliant games I have ever played with you.  The name is Robot Unicorn Attack.  It can be found here: http://games.adultswim.com/robot-unicorn-attack-twitchy-online-game.html

Go ahead and play it, I’ll wait.

So, how much time has passed?  One hour?  Two hours?  This game is pure addiction.  There’s just something about that song and the vibrant colors mixed with explosions and the severed robot unicorn head that traps players like a siren so they can never leave.  I’ve gotten as high as 64,000, what’s your high score?

Rock Band 3

Well, it’s finally out, so I can talk about it.  The game that I spent so many hours, many of which were OT hours, testing this summer was Rock Band 3 for the Wii.  I tested it for essentially the full duration of the project.  Now, I know you’re thinking that seems really awesome,but you have to think about testing the unfinished game, not playing the finished one.  For example, before all 1000+ DLC songs and all the regular songs were in, we had to test about 5 songs over and over again for 40 hours a week.

That being said, this was by far the best job I have ever had.  The company paid well, the facilities were amazing, and I actually enjoyed the game.  Also, the people that worked there were nice and fun to talk to while testing the game.  Thanks Foundation 9 Entertainment 🙂

Here’s a site with the credits (Including me – Ctrl + F for Kankiewicz): http://www.rockband.com/credits

Here’s the picture of me from the credits:

Paul Kankiewicz

Bejeweled Blitz Fail

I’m not big on Facebook games or anything, but I play the occasional game of Bejeweled Blitz (I have my testing buddies at Foundation 9 Entertainment over the summer to thank for getting me into it).  Being a gamer and tester by nature, I was a little confused when I found a game that didn’t have any matches.  Here’s a picture:


I know programming is never perfect, but I always thought that they had algorithms in place to make sure that a game always had at least one move that the player could make.  Needless to say I was a little confused when the hint button didn’t even work.  I guess I’m just a little angry that they’re ruining my high score with poor programming, haha.