Gameplay Blog #1 – Casual and Glorious Games of the Past

Gameplay Statistics – Week 1

Monday, September 4, 2017 – Sunday, September 10, 2017

Days of the week in which games were played: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Total number of video games played: 2
Total video game duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Communities involved: N/A

Video Game Platform Duration
Pinball FX2 PC/Steam 30 minutes
Star Wars – Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader PC/Dolphin (Gamecube) 2 hours

Total number of non-video games played: 2 (Team building games at work – improvised games)
Total non-video game duration: 1 hour
Communities involved: Co-workers
Number of supplemental game or game-related activities: 2 (Gamecube research, Dolphin emulator update)

Tags: PC, Dolphin, Nintendo, Gamecube, Star Wars

Fun at Work

Thursday was a big day at work for me.  The team I work with had a big kick-off for the implementation phase of the 3-year software project that is going to be the primary focus of my current employment.  As part of the festivities, my boss had planned to have some team-building games at the end of the day.  First, in order to learn a little bit more about the people we would be working with, we passed around a bag of pennies.  Each person took a penny and then told a story about themselves and where they were during the year that the penny was produced.  I pulled a penny from 2008.  This was a time when I didn’t really have any major plans for my life, but I was working three part-time jobs, and also doing some freelance contract work on the side.  I think people were surprised when I told them I used to be an armoured car guard, a home theatre salesman, and a hotel night auditor all at the same time.

Lego blocks

The second game we played involved forming teams.  Each team had a designated designer, teacher, and builder.  Two identical bags of lego blocks were given to each team.  The designer went off into another room and built a structure.  The teacher then had to go and memorize the structure and then return to the builder and relay instructions using only speaking.  It was an interesting exercise, and our team finished before any of the others.  My boss had other games planned, but we didn’t have time to play them.  It’s a real shame too because Fluxx is a great card game which I suggested we play as an exercise in change management (Looney Labs).  If you are familiar with the game, you’ll know that it has no set rules.  The rules change and evolve as the game develops.

Getting Back Into the Loop

If you read my short essay for the “I Player” assignment, you’ll know that I haven’t been playing video games very often as of recent (Robertson).  Lately, I’m either too busy or too tired from being so busy to find myself engaging very deeply in video games.  For this reason, I often resort to casual games which don’t require any large investment in time or energy.  Pinball FX2 is one of those games (Zen Studios).

Pinball FX2 can be expensive for a casual game.  It involves paying for each pinball table separately.  It’s a great game for casual players because you can pick it up and put it down easily, and also play it with a controller.  When I loaded this game most recently, I received a notice about the upcoming release of FX3 and thought to myself: “oh no, all my tables.”  But then I read further on that your old tables will automatically be converted to the new engine with better graphics and shadows.


Pinball FX2 Table Listing

A listing of all the tables, including those which I’ve paid for an unlocked.

For this brief gaming session, I played the Star Wars: The Force Awakens table, which I’ve shown in a video below:

I played nearly 30 minutes on my single “buy-in.”  Just like in real pinball, you only get so many lives before you have to start over.  I set a high-score on the table for myself and decided to quit on a high note.  But I wasn’t done playing games yet, despite being so late on a Friday night.  All this Star Wars music got me reminiscing…

Star Wars and Dolphin Emulator with ASTOUNDING RESULTS

Over the past couple of years, I had often found myself thinking a lot about Gamecube systems and become interested in obtaining some of the exclusive titles only available on the sixth-generation Nintendo console.  There was one game in particular that I had always wanted to complete, but never had: the Gamecube launch title, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (Factor 5 and LucasArts).  I had owned a Gamecube back in the early-to-mid 2000s which, incidentally enough, I had purchased for the sole purpose of playing Metroid: Prime, a Gamecube exclusive (Retro Studios and Nintendo).  In the past month or so, I had obtained a Gamecube system without any A/V cables or controllers thinking this would be a system I could use to play these great old games.  I had also obtained a copy of Rogue Squadron II.

I was reminded of this while playing Pinball FX2 (it must have been the great score by John Williams), so after I finished playing I decided to do a little research into Gamecube A/V cables.  Well, it turns out there are actually two specific models of Gamecube.  One of them supports component video out for 480p (progressive scan), and one doesn’t (Nintendo).  Furthermore, the Gamecube I had recently obtained wasn’t the correct model for 480p output and, since they weren’t in production anymore, the component A/V cables sold online for upwards of $150!!!

It was at this point that I remembered I had installed Dolphin emulator 4.0.2 last year for emulation of Wii games (Dolphin).  I ripped the game disc to an iso image file and fired it up in Dolphin.  It ran like crap.  The sound was out of sync, and the framerate was extraordinarily choppy.  I did a quick check on Google to see what I could do, and the gods must have been smiling upon me because there was a new version of Dolphin emulator (5.0) released earlier this year (on a side note, one of the reasons I had discarded the emulator software since last year was because I couldn’t get it to run any of the Wii games I wanted without crashing or glitching out on me, but that’s a story for the next blog post).

After installing Dolphin 5.0, I cranked up the resolution settings (it kept all my controller settings from the previous install) and fired up the game to ASTOUNDING RESULTS:

This kept me occupied for the remainder of my (albeit short) gameplay for the week!

Works Cited

Dolphin. Dolphin Emulator Project. 2016/2017. Windows

Factor 5, and LucasArts. Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. LucasArts, 2001. GameCube.

Looney Labs. “Fluxx.” Fluxx by Looney Labs, Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.

Nintendo. “Nintendo GameCube – Component Video and Progressive Scan Information.” | Nintendo – Customer Service | Nintendo GameCube – Component Video, Accessed 9 Sept. 2017.

Retro Studios, and Nintendo. Metroid: Prime. Nintendo, 2002. Gamecube.

Robertson, Aubrey. I Player. 18 September 2017. TS. Vancouver Island University

Zen Studios. Pinball FX 2. Microsoft Studios, 2013. Steam.

Edits: Turned screenshot images into media links for larger viewing; Changed title to omit redundant use of the word “Games” (Sept 22).