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Dude was a PC gamer since many a year. Recently he enriched his gaming potential by an Xbox 360. Dude plans to get his MA in Sociology next year (In Nuernberg, Germany) and he's currently studying at Duke, Durham NC. Why does he tell you this? Well, he wants to write his thesis about the conceptualization of videogames and might bless you with his razor sharp observations and well founded criticisms in the mean time, you know, to keep you educated and stuff.

My avatar is stolen from http://udoncrew.deviantart.com/.
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Beating the crap out of your friends with minimal lag: CONFIRMED!
Beautiful graphics with retro appeal and rebalanced gameplay: CONFIRMED!
Erecting your foot in the air like a super-sized phallic extension on fire: CONFIRMED!

I should probably attempt to change my username at this point.

As indicated above, I want to steal some of your time, to improve the rest of your life:
Street Fighter 2 HD Remix is so pregnant with awesomeness it is definitely worth your
attention. Not in recent years did a title manage to suck me that quickly in it's socialty
defying vortex than SF2 does.

Or is it really? I mean sociality defying - at least in my inner eye I envision the experience
of playing SF2 in a lobby as the virtual variant of standing in an arcade and waiting eagerly
to get crushed by the guy dominating the machine since the last few hours, with your own
meager change to achieve momentous glory in beating him. The community seems pretty
grown up, not once did I hear someone screaming "cocks" over and over in his headset,
just the grumbling of deep voices and people hammering insanely on their acrade-stick's
buttons - you can literary smell the adrenaline loaded masculinity and concentration.

Which brings me to my only warning: SF2 demonstrates niftly what a major let down the
360 controller is. You're basically forced to play with the analog stick which sadly is too
slow and still not accurate enough. So, after a few hours of excitement and getting my ass
handed, I insta-bought a HORI EX2 acrade-stick. I luckily got the Soul Calibur IV
version for balance conserving 45$ over at amazon's (Which is the same thing as all the
others, as far as I know, just a different sticker). This type of investment is mandatory if
you want to take more than a first peak at the competitive multiplayer.

I have to admit, I'm new to the console scene, and we didn't have this arcade culture in
Germany - I played nothing but Virtua Fighter 3, Mortal Kombat 1-4 (on PC) and some
Street Fighter 2 Turbo. Maybe that explains my excitement. But from all of my experience
with video games, I feel this game is a stellar example of how to put a video game concept
to execution and a must buy for every one who doesn't concentrate on a particular fancy in
games.
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There is currently a lot of commotion about how L4D makes for some memorable video-
game stories. On the other side of the chasm, there is a group of people who feel betrayed
by Valve's overly simple shooter. It's comprehensible: On the surface L4D presents itself
as a shooter with a simple premise (Zombies), some neat (but not exactly worldshaking)
coop mechanisms and a serious lack of content. In this blog post I try to shed light on the
cause this divide, why L4D is to some a delightful pleasure and to others just an
overpriced, repetitive mod.

Most shooters up to today confront the player with only two modes of actorship (dead or
alive, off or on), but L4D introduces new modes in between this binary. There are in total 5
different potencies your character can be in: full health, slowed down, bleeding, dying
(black and white screen) and prone/hanging off a roof. Where in most FPS you can be
killed by a single rocket, these different modes are accompanied by a damage system
which confronts you quite plainly with your decaying life. This highly aware state of
your character slowly dying away, affects the relationship to your digital alter ego and
introduces a new quality of emotion to multiplayer FPS: hope. New hope comes along with
his friend new immersion and results in a higher emotional investment. It is important to
see this hope related to the potential agency of your character: The experience is
strongest when you're lying completely powerless on the ground and hope is virtually the
only thing remaining in your arsenal of participation. When a tank rampages through your
team, one teammate hastily limping away, another pinned down by a hunter, and you
yourself are hanging off a cliff, you find yourself HOPING to survive, however small the
chances are. Thus you are emotionally investing in a game, which will finally result in a
lasting impression.



Thanks to a clever deployment of player death, L4D excels in another part, which also
adds to the experience: The creation of group cohesion. If you have the pleasure of not
being placed in a group with complete morons, you can quite quickly observe how the fate
of the singular player fades in front of a greater goal: survival of the group as an entity
transcending the singular body. This shift in your concentration from the achievement of
your puny single player goals to the greater good, amplifies the emergence of hope. Even if
you will fall down, even if you will die, you hope at least SOMEONE will see the end
(knowing you also contributed to it).

Keeping these two concepts in mind: The emergence of hope, and its direction towards a
greater goal, it is easy to see why some people “just don't get it”. If you're playing L4D
alone, on a too low difficulty setting, a group of people who randomly swarms out in
different directions or with the simple intention to just other players in the nats – you will
soon find yourself confronted with a well made but repetitive shooter lacking content. But if
you open a bottle of beer and are willing to fight for your life, your teammates and finally
the good of humanity, you will be in for a wild ride.
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