Currently Playing Update

I’ve updated the Currently Playing list. I consider the games further down the list still as games “I play”. I got in them to some point and I’m planning to finish them in the near future. In fact, I display them prominently in my flat so I remember they are there.

However, one week ago my colleague Yu-Chung Chen drew my attention on Mario Kart Wii. It wasn’t hard as I really liked the DS Version (System seller for me – even got the bundle). He and his brother were playing it regularly so I gave in to the peer pressure and joined them.

It’s awesome. Really. If you have a Wii, you want that game – it’s a no-brainer. I disagree with the review. Yes, it is simpler now in some way but they haven’t broken it or anything. Beating the staff’s ghosts on Time Trial or finishing the Grand Prix with at least one star rating still requires skill and diligence. There were some major online improvements which really make the game shine. The DS version already had a solid online play but the Wii version pushes it a notch higher where it just works like a well-oiled machine producing tons of fun with your friends by the minute. I just wish they had included Wii Speak. :-(

The gameplay tweaks and the steering wheel really make the game accessible for people with less game experience. I tried to bring my girlfriend to play Mario Kart for some time. It always failed for some reason even though it seem perfectly suitable for her. I was really disappointed the last time where I tried Double Dash to play cooperatively with her and even that didn’t work. With this version, it finally worked and I’m sure it is all about the steering wheel and the fact that you can set drifting on “Automatic Mode”. Keeping the kart on the track is difficult enough for her, no need to force her to remember to push the right button BEFORE she takes that nasty corner.

So I’ve been playing that every evening for a week now. A few days ago, I got my copy of Animal Crossing DS back and I played it for a couple of minutes with my after-dinner-coffee. I was away for 11 months so I have to de-weed the whole town now. Also, the girl I lend it to sold all my stuff and I had to get it back. On the bright side, she also bough a bigger house. The roof is pink now, though. But I must say, paying back virtual debt is not as fun when you have some REAL debt to pay off.

So, what are you playing right now?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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