Who am I and what is this blog?

My name is Anthony Zonaga. I’m an architecture student graduate. I also like video games.

My surname is a result of poor handwriting three generations ago. It also makes me very easy to Google. Unfortunately I will never claim the title of ‘Most Beastly Zonaga’, as Zonaga is also the name of a giant Gorgonoth in the MMO Wildstar.

This blog is where I intend to write miscellaneous musings. Expect to find a lot of video game related content here.

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Mistakes & Regrets in Architecture School

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They all look like ants from up here.

So I’ve finally done it. I’ve finished my long journey through the NSW educational system.  Having completed my Master of Architecture postgraduate degree I am now free to enter the fun and exciting world of full-time, nine-to-five work for the rest of my life until I accumulate enough money that I can stop working and exist in a relative state of comfort while my body slowly disintegrates. Hooray! Continue reading “Mistakes & Regrets in Architecture School”

The ingredients for an enjoyable waiting experience: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

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“Maybe if we put the creator’s name in front it’ll sound less generic.”

Nobody likes to wait. Particularly in this day and age, blah blah instant gratification blah blah Instagram likes blah blah get off your phones. You know the drill. And video games, particularly single player games, have to ensure that loading and waiting is at a relative minimum so as not to detract from the experience of the game. Multiplayer online games, however, are a little different. People might put up with waiting in a lobby for other players as they know everyone else is in the same boat. You’re not as engrossed as you might be in a narrative-driven single player game, so it’s easy to do something else while you wait. There was a period where I would wait upwards of 10 minutes just to get into a ranked match of Rainbow Six Siege, which was only even remotely tolerable as my friends were queuing with me. How can games make this experience better for the player? Honestly, I have no idea. I’m not a game designer.

That being said, I’d like to talk about an example of what I would consider a successful waiting experience in an online game: the lobby of online battle-royale shooter game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Continue reading “The ingredients for an enjoyable waiting experience: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”

Cohesiveness through style, music, colour and interface: Persona 5

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Persona 5’s distinct graphic style permeates all aspects of the game, from its menus to its loading screens.

Author’s note: This article contains a number of GIFs so might take a bit to load, and might be a hit to your data if you’re on a mobile device. Sorry, but they’re really the best way to explain how the game looks in motion!

It was a hot December afternoon in 2008 when I first played Persona 4 on a modified PlayStation 2 in my cousin’s room in the Philippines. The PlayStation had been ‘hacked’ so that it would run bootleg copies of games; a common practice in the country.

I had never played a Persona game before, and I only picked it up because it was reviewing quite well, was an RPG, and I had a lot of free time to kill. It only set me back around 500 pesos ($13.50 AUD) when I picked it up at Green Hills. I had no idea what was in store for me. Continue reading “Cohesiveness through style, music, colour and interface: Persona 5”

When playing with friends makes an ordinary game extraordinary: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

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Not pictured: the helicopter you just crashed trying to land on that plateau.

T: “Suppressors on.”
S: “Droning out. Drone’s spotted the target up ahead. Take out these alarms.”
A: “Spotting a sniper, take him out. Wait, there’s two. Can someone sync shot with me?”
S: “I’ve got the second guy. 3, 2, 1, go.”
A: “Nice.”
S: “Clean.”
A: “Shit, I’m about to be spotted. Someone get this guy.”
T: “Got ’em.”
D: “Going wide, watch the patrol.”
A: “Alright, I’ve got overwatch. Move in.”

The cliché dialogue above is reminiscent of what you might find in Ubisoft’s E3 2015 multiplayer trailer for the Division, which was intended to simulate how a group of friends communicates playing as squad of agents in a post-apocalyptic New York City. I recall cringing when I first watched that trailer. “This is so stupid. Nobody talks like that when they play games. Where’s the constant banter and in-jokes?” Continue reading “When playing with friends makes an ordinary game extraordinary: Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands”