It is time for part two on my series of games not to play when writing a paper. The game I want to talk about today is Luigi’s Mansion for the Nintendo 3DS. I stumbled across this game for sale at a Goodwill store. It was only $30 (about 25% off of retail) and was new in the box. I knew that I had no business buying a game during a time when I had two many papers to write, but I bought it anyway. (Editor’s note: the word “two” was originally a typo but I decided to keep it in, because I literally had 2 papers to write) I logically reasoned that just because I bought the game didn’t mean that I was going to actually play the game. Right?
But there came a moment when I was sitting on the sofa, staring at my laptop, and hitting a wall. I was trying to think of something profound to say about John Locke and empiricism and how it has had an affect on the church today. Then I remembered that little game cartridge. So I broke the seal on the box and put the cartridge in my 3DS.
And oh, what joy did I behold! It has simply been too long since Luigi has had his own game. Mario has had the spotlight in every game imaginable, but his brother in green has quietly (and perhaps trepidatiously) waited backstage for his opportunity in the spotlight. There is just something endearing about the Luigi character and how he is often so afraid yet faces is his situation anyway. Isn’t that the true definition of courage? The three dimensional effects on this game look very good, and the moments have been rare that I have switched it off.
But what makes this game so good? The answer lies in the combination of excellent level design, replay-ability and a perfect difficulty curve. The game is the perfect mix of an interesting storyline (although predictable) and the ability to pick up and play the game any time and place. If I had time on my lunch break, I played Luigi’s Mansion. I played it in my car, outside with the dog, even in the library at the seminary! (I tried to look pious and pretend I was doing research) There is just something that is so much fun about going into a darkened room with a magic vacuum cleaner and using the device on every object that you can see. You can also use a special black light to discover objects that were previously hidden. Even though this game is about ghosts and haunted locations, it is not a scary game. It really handles the concept that could be frightening to children and makes it whimsical and non-frightening. Luigi seems to be scared enough for both of us. Excellent gameplay mechanics keep it from getting too frustrated. You control Luigi with precision and every button is perfectly located on the controls. Right trigger sucks in air while the left trigger blows out air. It makes perfect sense. The enemies all seem to have a weakness, and you have to take the time to figure out what the weakness may be. The puzzles have been surprisingly complex yet completely solvable without consulting the internet.
I do have to admit that I have reached a point in the game that has become quite difficult. I’m facing the boss monster of the clock tower. I have tried three times to defeat it, each time getting a little further than before. However, I am almost to the point where I, being the complete video game slackard that I am, I’m about to give up or at least take a break. One of the elements about the game that I like is that you can search for and find golden bones throughout the haunted house on H level. A golden bone is essentially an extra life – similar to a fairy in a bottle for a Zelda game. But this clock tower boss level does not seem to have any golden bone. I have searched everywhere! If anyone knows where it may be please, I am begging you to comment in the section below. If I only had an extra life I know I could get through this level. Of course I have friends and colleagues who tell me that I am supposed to be enjoying the fact that the game is difficult. They tell me that I will feel a sense of accomplishment when I finally overcome that hurdle. But I have to admit I do not feel that way .
I received a comment recently from someone who thinks that Pokemon is a game not to play when writing a paper. I have never played a Pokemon game on any platform. However, I am willing to give it a try. If any of you have a recommendation for which Pokemon to try, let me know and I will do it. Gaming platform doesn’t matter, and I should be able to hunt down the original game – not an emulation..
Stay tuned for my third and final entry in my series of games not to play when writing a paper.