FPS+RPG=4EVA?

There is a recent trend in first person shooters to include role-playing game elements. Once upon a time, the two genres were polar opposites: one was about brutal, raw action, pitting two teams against each other, while the other was the princess of videogames, the refined, elegant gameplay and storytelling.

I was a fan of both genres back in the day. I remember the first time I played Chrono Trigger and Duke Nukem. Both were entertaining in their own rights, but I found myself drifting naturally towards Chrono Trigger. The story in that game, while not the greatest, was a lot like reading a novel. The characters were interesting and they changed. That was the biggest deal.

In comparison, Duke Nukem was a bloody mess. It was face-paced, and all you did was shoot with increasingly crazy weapons. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun in its own right. But it felt like to me it was lacking something: why was I killing everything I saw? Yes, there was a flimsy pretense, but no rationale really, not in comparison to something like an RPG.

Now, the two genres are closer than ever. Opposites have attracted, and like the Odd Couple, two genres once at the polar ends of the videogame spectrum have been united. But is this a good thing?

Yes and no.

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Top 5 Lists: How You Found Us (NSFW)

Morality Points has been around for a little over three months. In that time, we’ve gotten 3, 736 hits (at the time of this writing). Most of these hits have come from Stumble (which if you’ve gotten here through StumbleUpon, please thumbs us up!) or from Facebook and Twitter. Those who haven’t found us that way have discovered our website through search terms. People have found Morality Points by searching for a variety of different things. I wanted to take the time and share with you the most popular search terms:

Top 5 Most Popular Search Hits

5. mass effect 2 break up

4. nba2k10 my player mode

3. bill and ted’s excellent adventure

2. assassins creed 2

1. assassin’s creed 2

So apparently, you guys love Assassin’s Creed 2 (although we’re a little uncertain about whether or not to put the apostrophe, eh?). I also got a kick that so many people want to know how to break up with their virtual booty calls in Mass Effect 2. So here’s a simple solution: in the final mission, just have him or her get killed. Sure, it’s a little ruthless, but you all seem pretty desperate to separate from your (in)significant other.

And Keanu Reeves owes this site a great deal of thanks. We’ve made him famous (arguably for the first time).

Now, for my favorite list: the Top Five Strangest Search Terms. (NSFW, folks, believe it or not)

5. mass effect 2 feels empty

Yes, I suppose Mass Effect 2 does feel empty (that was one of my complaints about the game when I reviewed it), but I wonder what the person was doing when they searched for that? Maybe they were looking for a forum to grief on, or maybe they were trying to find a support group.

4. photo of morality

This is like searching for “photo of thinking.” You can’t take a photo of morality—you can take a photo of moral actions, but not of the concept. If you could it might look something like this:

THIS IS MORALITY

Or maybe this:

Moral the Dog

Read on after the break for the top 3.

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The Evolution of Pokémon

In 1998 the first two Pokémon titles arrived on North American shores, and I, like almost everyone else at the time, was caught up in the Pokémania of the day. This was the first game that I got into the hype surrounding the title, and when I finally got the game, all I did was hunt down Pokémon and battle my friends at school. The hype wasn’t wrong; Pokémon kicked ass.

It’s been 10 years since I last bought a Pokémon title (the last being Pokémon Crystal for the Game Boy Color). Last Monday I bought Pokémon Platinum for the DS and, if you check out our Facebook fan page at all, you’ll notice that all our posts are either about Final Fantasy XIII or Pokémon Platinum. Again, it’s amazing, but I have the PokéFever and the only cure is to catch them all.

This iteration changes a lot from the old formula while keeping the addictive mechanics which made the originals so great. Now, you can battle people from all over the world and trade Pokémon with anyone over Wi-Fi. Suddenly, the whole struggle to be the very best has become realistic.

Now that I’m older, I realize that this is a deep RPG, perhaps one of the deepest as far as gameplay mechanics go. While the story in these titles has always been a little flimsy, it has never been about the story, but rather about the Pokémon themselves. Now that there are so many of them—and perhaps because I’m so unfamiliar with them—the games have become so much more challenging. Whenever I fight someone in game, they throw out a Pokémon I’ve never seen before. Suddenly, it becomes a race against time to figure out what can take down this unknown Pokémon.

Yeah, so what are these things?

When I talked to my friend about Pokémon Platinum, I told him that this was the best Pokémon title I’ve ever played, which he was surprised about. He figured I’d be a PokéPurist. But everything feels so much deeper now. All the best parts from the previous iterations return and are improved upon, and yes, there are those purists out there that believe there should only be 151 Pokémon, but let’s face facts folks. 151 Pokémon really isn’t that much. Now there are close to 500, and half the fun in the game is discovering all the new creatures.

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Chaotic Thoughts: Death to the Mini-Gamefidels!

Sometimes my mind wanders. In the deepest, most twisted recesses of my mind, my thoughts can only be described as chaotic. These are those thoughts.


I’ve recently started playing Mass Effect 2, and without getting too far into the game (review will be up next Friday, folks), there is one glaring problem that I’ve encountered. This mistake, which is such a poor design choice that I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about it, is the appearance of the dreaded, superfluous mini game.

I have a long standing hatred of mini games. I’ve played some of the best mini games and some of the worst, but at the end of the day, all mini games make me feel empty inside, almost as if I worked at the DMV. And here’s the thing: most people think that mini games, like the DMV, are a necessary evil. How would society function without the mortar of DMV holding everything together (read: sarcasm)? But we have advanced beyond that, people. You can renew your driver’s license online or through the mail, and never have to wait in line for those smiling government workers.

Look at all the happy people

In much the same way, game design has grown since the days of Pong and Pac Man. Mini games now represent a way to artificially extend the length of the game, and that’s all. They are unnecessary and should be done away with. Most mini games are tedious and poorly integrated into the actual content anyways, and let’s be clear right now: mini games are no substitution for either storytelling or game play. If you find yourself spending more time in a mini game than playing the actual game, eject the game immediately, call the CDC, and keep yourself quarantined until the men in hazmat suits arrive.

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Chaotic Thoughts: This is your plumber; this is your plumber on drugs.

Sometimes my mind wanders. In the deepest, most twisted recesses of my mind, my thoughts can only be described as chaotic. These are those thoughts.

Have you ever wondered if Mario hurts his head every time he breaks a block with his head? What does he have against blocks anyways? Maybe he enjoys bashing his head against bricks. If that’s the case, why hasn’t he been institutionalized? Or maybe he has and has just escaped and that’s why he’s always in such a hurry?

If you think about it, we never get any back story in any of the Mario games. The whole premise is that Mario is trying to “save” the “princess” but if you think about it, maybe she isn’t a princess after all. Or maybe she is, but she isn’t captured by Bowser but rather under protection.

Here’s what I’m thinking: Mario and Peach were in love, but they were forbidden to wed by Peach’s brutal king father (who never appears in the game because he is a tyrant) who views Mario’s inferior station in life as a plumber as detrimental to the family name. So Mario in his agony goes insane and starts beating his head against walls, ceilings, etc in order to escape the pain, numbing his senses with every head blow.

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