I’ve Fallen Again…And Hard!

It seems I’ve done it again. I’ve fallen hard for my old friend. Snake just has a way with words and his blue eyes are so enchanting. Yes, I’m talking about Metal Gear.

This past weekend, I beat “Metal Gear Solid 3” again. Long considered my favorite of the series, I was eager to jump back in when I purchased the HD Collection last month. Finishing off my plate of titles from 2011, I immediately threw the disc into my PS3 when I had a clean slate.

That’s not the only thing I’m falling for. No, just like all those years ago, I believe I’m coming down with a case of love sickness. My recent efforts to expand my rapport at work have led me to develop a lust for one of my co-workers.

If any of you still haven’t played MGS3, then I apologize for any spoilers. Considering the game is now close to 8 years old, though, I don’t believe I’ll be including any tags. Your only warning rests here.

My first time with the game was in 2004, when I was a Junior in a brand new high school. I had trouble making friends and since I was depressed beyond reason, I actually couldn’t muster up the will to even play the title. I was content with having it and Metroid Prime 2 become bookends.

When the New Year rolled around, I began talking with my now best friend, Jim. I mentioned that I had gotten MGS3 for Christmas and his eyes lightened up. He was in love with the series and demanded I play the game.

Well, I somehow got myself to suffer through the awful camera and I became entranced. Nothing was stopping me from fully loving this title, even some of the hammy dialog. I experienced all the highs and lows that Snake did. I cried multiple times throughout the plot.

When it was all said and done, I went back to Jim and professed my love of the game. We quickly became close friends and haven’t faltered that badly in the years since. Well, it couldn’t have been too troublesome as Jim is almost as close as family to me.

During my journey, though, there was a girl I had admired at school. While it wasn’t on the same level that I would eventually have for the girl the following year, I was fairly smitten with her. Sadly, I only admired her from a far.

Every chance I went to speak with her, I would freeze up. I didn’t possess the courage to simply talk to her. I would talk to my friends about how I thought she was beautiful and I would fantasize about her during class. It was simply a voyeuristic lust.

Now, my current situation isn’t anything like this. I’ve actually spoken to my fellow co-worker, so that’s already a step ahead of my 16-year-old self. Still, the types of conversations I’ve had with my co-worker aren’t exactly what you’d call romantic.

She will sometimes mutter to one of our superiors about how she wishes she had a boyfriend or could spend her time with someone. Even today, she made some crack about being alone with a box of chocolates. I never really know exactly what to say to these quips.

When she’s busy with customers, I sometimes catch myself staring at her. I’m taken back by how alluring and magnificent she is. When she talks, I fall on her every word, though not enough to reveal my hidden interest. I try my best to brighten her day, even if my advice is often too truthful.

This makes me think back to the character of Eva from MGS3. While she doesn’t come into play until around halfway through the game, she is quickly established as a love interest for Snake. The funny thing is, though, that Eva has no true interest in Snake.

My attraction back in 2004 felt like his, but is now perfectly summed up by my current desire. Snake knows how to get Eva’s attention, but it’s not exactly for the reasons he would like. Eva will carefully listen to Snake, but only because she’s a damn triple agent looking for any details.

At one point, she even removes most of her clothing to tempt Snake. Well, forgive me for taking Snake’s side, but a man can only be pushed so far. Thankfully, my co-worker hasn’t revealed any part of herself to me (or maybe that’s bad…).

Diving back into the jungles of this game couldn’t have happened at a better point in my life. My maturation has let me see the game in a new light, but the ties to my past within my present are keeping me fully engaged.

I’m not sure if my chances are any better currently, but I do know that lust is taking over me. Just like Snake, I’m craving the attention of someone who probably won’t discern the same emotions.

For the hell of it, I’m going to re-re-beat the game. And, for once, I may finally talk to a girl about my feelings. Maybe she’ll be able to see through my rough exterior…

While I can’t say for certain that my feelings for her are strong, I can claim certainty about my love of MGS3. I will always love this game, regardless of where my life takes me.

I will always love this face paint, too!

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Technical Difficulties: Adapt to This!

Difficulty is a very subjective topic. Many gamers are going to write about specific games they found too hard or easy and they’ll get plenty of responses saying they’re wrong. While there technically is no right and wrong answer, I honestly cannot think of a game that really drives me mad with difficulty.

To further elaborate, I’m a fairly hardcore gamer. I play nearly every type of genre and I try to play them at the highest possible setting available from default. RTS and Racing games I draw the line (as I’m next to awful at them), but I typically will go for Veteran/Legendary/Realistic, etc.

To say the least, my view of difficulty is skewed. Miyamoto was claiming that “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” and “Super Mario Galaxy 2” would be difficult games and I did not find that to be true at all. It has to be my previous experience (something like 18 years) with the genre, but who am I to say?

What I would like to talk about, though, is Adaptive Difficulty. This is still a fairly new thing in video games, but it’s something that intrigues me. The prospect of doing well in a game and the game calculating your skill and increasing difficulty is something that should be ironed out in gaming.


We adapt to your skill…but really can’t calculate that because the game uses autosaves.

The first time I saw this feature was in “Far Cry” on PC back in 2004. The developers claimed they made a system where the A.I. (already fairly intelligent) would be able to distinguish your ownage from your suckage and react accordingly. That was a total farce.

I believe the LEGO series of games uses this technology, as well. I cannot tell you how much of a joke that is as the game doesn’t even allow you to die. I will say more enemies appeared in my playthrough of “LEGO Star Wars II,” but I also rarely died anyway.

“Left 4 Dead” administers this technology and it mostly gets it right. As you do better, sometimes random zombie hordes will ambush you or you’ll be facing off against a few tanks. The game even changes the layout of items based on your prowess. But sometimes you get nothing even after failing multiple times.

My question is, why does Adaptive Difficulty not work? From all the applications I’ve seen of this new feature, I’ve never once felt like the developers knew how to program it. Either the game is pathetically easy or it’s ridiculously difficult. I know “Far Cry” failed as the game used a checkpoint system, so it never really dropped from the initial difficulty you selected.

Like I said with the LEGO games, you cannot die. So, changing enemy layout isn’t going to suddenly have an impact on your experience, unless you’re an 8 year old and don’t truly grasp game mechanics.

My research into the topic only brings up “Halo: Reach” and how the A.I. will compensate for more or less partners in a Co-op match. That isn’t a true Adaptive Difficulty, though, as the game is just compensating for more people. The enemies won’t get easier if you all die.


We’ll “Adapt” to how many are here. Get it?…C’mon guys, it’s funny!

I’m not sure how to even offer a solution to this problem. What I have in mind is something along the lines of taking the stat tracking from a Halo or Call of Duty game and using that to calculate the perfect opponent. Bungie has some truly incredible stat tracking systems and I’m sure there has to be some way to sync those with A.I.

BioWare even has some kind of stat tracking for their single player games. If you can tell me exactly how many players per platform picked a Female Shepard, you should also be able to read and calculate my accuracy rating and my amount of kills. Use that information to suit the A.I. to my playstyle.

I do have faith in the term. I truly think that the perfect game could be achieved if the A.I. were able to track everything. It would be awesome if the game progressively got more challenging instead of developers just making the game harder purposely.

Until that day, though, I’ll be chugging through my games on the hardest settings possible. I live for challenge and it’s great to overcome extreme odds. Maybe I shouldn’t look for something to ease up on me, but I think it would sell games to a broader audience. That could only mean good things for our future.