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Jenga is a game of physical and mental strength. It is enjoyed for its simplicity and this simplicity is probably the main reason for its success. It is the second most popular game in the world-after monopoly. Over fifty million games have been sold worldwide, and this game can be played with a variety of groups. People can play with friends, family, classmates, and one can even play by themselves! Both kids and adults can play this game and there’s no sense of it being categorized as a children’s game or an adult game, which is great because it makes the game universal. And for a “board” game to be universal is kind of rare. Also, on a side note, I really do not know where to exacty categorize this game. It’s obviously not a video game and it is not a board game, for board games are defined as a game in which counters or pieces are placed, removed,  or moved on a premarked surface or “board.” I am not sure what exactly to put it under. Does it have it’s own category? I really do not know (if you do know please comment!). Anyhow, this game is nothing extraordinary in terms of design or complexity. And the fact that this ordinary game is so massively popular is beyond amazing! It’s mind boggling because not many games can say that. I cannot think of a game that looks as ordinary as Jenga or has the same simplicity that has this world-wide appeal. It is also amusing to think that a game of stacking plain wooden blocks made it so big in the gaming industry. It goes to show that simplicity sells and a game does not need to be complex or fancy to sell or to be fun. Just like the game  pick up the sticks. It’s an extremely simple game, it is similar to Jenga in the way that you must remove a piece without disturbing the other pieces, but it did not gain as much popularity as Jenga. But, nonetheless, in my opinion, it is a fun and entertaining game. Now to discuss the rules and procedures of Jenga.  During the game of , players take turns to remove a block from a tower and balance it on the top. Players need to create a taller structure that becomes more unstable over time. The winner is last person to successfully remove and place a block. As stated above, the game is simple. It only contains 54 wooden blocks. Nothing else. With the blocks you need to stack them on top of each other in 18 levels in groups of three.  When you stack them up they need to be placed adjacent to each other along their long side and perpendicular to the previous level.  After the tower is built, the game begins. Players are only allowed to use one hand while pulling out a block from the middle of the tower, which makes it difficult. One cannot balance the tower with their other hand either. This is where the mental aspect comes to play. Players need to be able to use strategy to choose which block to carefully take out that would not make the other blocks fall down, and they also need to place that block back on the top of the tower, again, without making the other blocks fall down. One must be able to choose a block wisely and precisely. They must also be able to have a steady hand for if one’s nerves gets in the way, then their hands may shake a bit, and this can cause them to lose them the game.  While playing an array of emotions and feelings are present, such as nerves, excitement, and competition. People never want to be the one to make the tower collapse, unless, of course, you have a weird obsession or agenda to make the blocks fall or you just like knocking things down I don’t know (haha). 

Last weekend I went home and decided to clean out my old toy chest (anything to procrastinate me from studying! haha). As I was looking through my old toys, I came across a Rubik’s Cube. I started remembering how obsessed I was with it and how I used to get so frustrated with it and how when I would get 2 sides I thought I was the coolest and raddest kid in town. The feeling of accomplishing two of the six sides motivated me to continue on and solve the whole puzzle. I’ll never forget the day I finally got it. I was sitting in my room just playing around with it and then when I got, I jumped up with the greatest excitement and ran around my house yelling ‘I GOT IT! I GOT! I SOLVED THE RUBIK’S CUBE!! MOM! DAD! LOOK LOOK!!!” I even took it to school the next day to show everyone! I remember feeling like nothing could beat this moment and that anything was possible, which especially to a young child is an amazing feeling to have. Then, I started thinking how was the Rubik’s Cube created? And what made it so addicting and popular?! 

The Rubik’s Cube is the most popular puzzle in history. There is only one right answer and a million wrong ones. Erno Rubik, the creator of the cube, said, “”It was wonderful, to see how, after only a few turns, the colors became mixed, apparently in random fashion. It was tremendously satisfying to watch this color parade. Like after a nice walk when you have seen many lovely sights you decide to go home, after a while I decided it was time to go home, let us put the cubes back in order. And it was at that moment that I came face to face with the Big Challenge: What is the way home?” This was how the puzzle was invented. He realized the difficulty of realigning the colors and it took him a month to finally figure out the puzzle. This became a huge success. Erno Rubik became the first self-made millionaire from the communist block. Cube fans were called Cubic Rubes, and they formed clubs to play and study solutions. Competitions arose from it and today some people can solve the cube in about 24 to 28 moves. Erno did not only stop at the cube, he later produced the Rubik’s Snake and is now working on computer games. This idea became a phenomenon and the popularity of the game is ever-lasting.

The reasons for its popularity are its iconic factor. It challenges people intellectually and it’s accessible to people from a around the world. People from different backgrounds and cultures are able to play with it and having that universal factor is powerful. Also, some believe that it provides as sense of order and stability in an uncertain world. No matter how long it take you to solve it, or how difficult it is, there is indeed a solution. Erno says that the main reason why 350 million cubes have been sold since 1980 is that, “People like its beauty, simplicity and form. It’s really not a puzzle or a toy. It’s a piece of art.” I agree with this. The colors and simplicity of the architectural design is indeed intriguing and nice to look at. It sort of has the same power as the Cube in Ann Arbor. Another thing to note is that the cube itself is not expensive, and even in times of recession, people can stay occupied and have fun playing with this toy. The Rubik’s Cube also attracts an array of age groups! From 5 year olds to 80 year olds, everyone can play it, which is another factor for its popularity. The game also generates a lot of emotions. From stress, to anger, to frustration to excitement and happiness, it has it all! This game has all the makings of a great game-strategy, competition, emotional factor, worldwide acceptance, and more!

 

 

 

The game Slacker is basically about a guy named Slacky (I know such a creative name) who has a job opportunity in the Deli-Mart. He is extremely lazy and this game frustrates me a little. For one, I have no idea what’s the whole point of the game other than to show how frustrating it is to be lazy or shall I say try to help a lazy person. It is far from interesting and the only reason I continued playing is because of the feeling of frustration. I had to somehow find a way to get to the next level, which in my opinion was a bit difficult! There’s this checklist you must do before heading out of the house. In order to finish the checklist, you must click on things around the room. Slacky often give a witty comment remark or lazy comment to just about everything! things or a lazy comment. For instance, when he’s in the bathroom, which you go in because one of the tasks on the checklist is to look nice/get ready, and click on toilet, he says the toilet is for decoration, and when you click on the sink, he says my hands are clean enough and the toothbrush leads to the remark the toothbrush is very disgusting, and you need more gel and my mind is consumed with the thoughts “Are you serious?” “Oh My God this is guy is so annoying!!”  As I said earlier, this game frustrates me so much! When you venture out to the living room and click on the cassette player, he says “If I want to hear something, I need a tape.” ok? then go get one! But when you click on the neighbors house, he says that he wishes his was like that. This may be sending the message that laziness won’t give you what you want. You need to venture out on your own, work hard, and get it yourself. This is also shown in the kitchen. In the kitchen, the cereal is not edible, opening the fridge might lead to occular and respiratory pain, and the microwave is extremely old and shut. This leads to the dilemma of having to feed him. He needs to eat a good breakfast before he leaves the house, which he cannot with the kitchen he has. This game, in my opinion, sets out to tell people that laziness makes your life so much worse than it needs to be. You can never get the necessities, like food, you need, nor have lavish things, like a nice house, or do simple tasks, like brush your teeth, if you do not take care of yourself and stop being lazy. Hygiene is also represented in this game with not only the toothbrush, but also the clothes and pizza and cups all over the bedroom floor. It is disgusting and I would never be able to live in a place that messy and unorganized. Another thing that I disliked about the game is that it made it so difficult to advance to the next stage in the game! It seemed like it was discouraging lazy people from switching their lives around. If I was as lazy as the guy in the game and I was paying this game, I would probably be so discouraged from changing my life because of how difficult they made it seem. If they made the game a little bit easier, then maybe it would’ve given the message that yes changing might be difficult but it is indeed possible!

As I searched the internet for games to play and review, I came across this game, which is called “The Binding of Isaac.” The game starts off with a story of a child named Isaac, and his mother living happily in their home until the mother gets a message from “a voice above.” The voice tells her that her son is corrupted by sin and needs to be saved. In order to this, she must remove all that was evil, which includes his toys, games, pictures and clothes, from Isaac. After she has done this, the voice comes again and states that Isaac must be cut off from all that is evil in this world, so the mother locks him in his room. This however, is still not enough. The mother’s devotion is questioned and in order to prove herself she must sacrifice and kill her own son. The mother again obliges and grabs a kitchen knife to kill Isaac. At this part, Isaac is panicking and he finds a trapdoor on the floor of his room which he goes through right before the mother opens the door. The image of Isaac right before the mother opend the door is horrific. It makes the players fearful for the child. It also, in my opinion, makes religion seem negative. This game is a playoff of the biblical tale of Isaac. In the biblical tale God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice. The fear in the child and the willingness of the mother to kill her son because of a voice she heard is wrong on so many levels (in my perspective).

The game play of this game, according to its creator Edmund McMillen, is a Rogue-like shooter based on the dungeon structure of the NES version of Zelda.” Instead of using leveling system, it uses an item system. There are four sets of items and in every level (item level)  there is a treasure room, shop, boss and other secret/special rooms which might contain unique items. “Binding of the Isaac” is also quite simple. You are using 10 different keys. Letters A S D W to move up and down and left to right and you’re using the arrow keys to shoot balls of water at the enemies, which range from flies to heads with blood running down their mouths. Other weapons include bombs and some weird things. For instance, mom’s bra is used to stun enemies, and mom’s pad is used so enemies would avoid Isaac.  Poop is also used to drop poop on the ground for the enemies to slip on. They also used items that symbolize religion, like the Holy Bible. The Holy Bible is used for Isaac to gain wings and to fly over obstacles. It can kill the mother.  There is also a book of sins which spawns a random pick up.  You also use the space bar to pick up items and shift to place the bombs on your desired location.

This game is unique in its ending by the fact, that unlike most games, there are multiple endings. These multiple endings make the game distorted and multi-directional. One of the endings is God stopping Isaac’s mother when she is just about to stab Isaac. God does this by throwing a Bible off of a shelf and onto her head.  Another ending is Isaac opening a treasure chest, which contains a dead blue baby. These references an older game the creator made. The blue baby can also then be played as a character. The final ending, which is achieved after beating Satan in Sheol, shows Isaac opening the chest once again. Isaacs mouth is open and his face is frightened. The imagery in this scene is flickering through all the personas of Isaac that he has had throughout the game.  Isaac is now in his bedroom breathing heavily. It’s a disturbing sight.

Another thing to note is that whenever the player dies, a letter from Isaac’s diary is shown. The letter states, “Dear Diary, today I died.” It also shows a picture, drawn by Isaac, of the thing that killed him. This does not make any sense because how could Isaac write in his diary if he is dead? This game, in my opinion, is very weird. It scares people from religion and is very controversial.