As I have mentioned in previous weeks I have reached a plateau in Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise. I am no longer leveling with great ease. It takes a lot of grinding now to gain experience. I either have to mate the same species of piñata several times or get more exotic piñatas to mate by increasingly complex methods. While I could still do this for several weeks, it has become mundane, and I am curious about other aspects of the game. For example it is possible to feed your piñatas certain foods and creating unique variations of the typical piñatas. The problem is that I have dozens of piñata species and dozens of food options. Trying to feed every piñata ever type of food could take eleven week on its own. However if I had the strategy guide, or used a web site, I could create every variation with relative ease. This begs several questions. Is this cheating? Does this taint the game experience? Should games be made so that a strategy guide is necessary, or should players be able to achieve all goals without a guide? It is my opinion that strategy guides aren’t cheating if they are used the right way. For example when I played GTA4 I purchased a strategy guide. I didn’t use it word for word to get through every mission (which I could have done). Instead I used it when I was stuck or to learn helpful hints that only become obvious after hours and hours of play. Why spend 3 hours trying to beat a mission when there is another 30 hours of story following that? To experience everything in these massive games you need lots and lots of time. Time, I as a student and adult, don’t have time for. I think getting tips or cheats, when you are stuck, is fine. It allows you to experience more of the game in less time. In this way strategy guides (if used right) can enrich the games experience.
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