April Create: Nice Weather for Gaming

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The weather not be up to much yet, but the gaming's good

It's the first day of the Easter break and it's raining. There go my plans to try and tame the garden before it gets too wild again. So what's a gamer to do, other than play a game involving the weather.

Most of the time the weather conditions are incidental to the story however, Silent Hill wouldn't be quite so spooky if weren't for the fog and nightmares looming out of them. Arguably the best game for weather is Red Dead Redemption which features snow, rain and puddles which dry up in the sun. It even features realistic looking cloud patterns and if you see storm brewing out on the horizon you can just wait and watch and let it come to you soaking the main character, John Marsden, in the process. Along with the Magic Weather System, which randomly generated the type of weather occurring throughout the game, Shenmue even used the actual weather conditions of Yokosuka during 1986/87 the time that game was made and Mafia 2, although not in anyway affected by the weather, is much more fun in the winter. Several happy minutes can be spent just walking behind passers-by in the hope that they would slip quite spectacularly in the snow and ice.

There are several occasions when it becomes necessary to take the weather into account. In Harvest Moon the actions to be taken during the day are determined by the weather. Who needs to water crops if it's going to rain? Certain racing games require the tyres or cars to be changed according to the type of weather the race is being held in. Different weather conditions in areas in RPGs influence the creatures that appear. In Deadly Premonition most of the town, apart from the bars and hotels can only be accessed if it's not raining. Although, that's the right time time that certian missions can be picked up.

This brings me to the game I played that first day of the holiday. At a little over 3 hours of gameplay, the PSN download game 'Rain' is an oddity. With not a word of dialogue and visual clues to the story provided by watercolour paintings, the story revolves from a young boy noticing silhouettes of both a young girl and monster outside his window. Venturing out into the rainy night the boy tries to find the girl. The monsters and children are only visible in the rain, so you're always ducking into doorways or under cover. Sometimes you can only see footsteps, yours or those of the monsters, while other times you are just running across roads to find the next place to hide. The monsters can be quite helpful too, get one of them to spot you, run like mad, hide and they'll crash into a barrier or fight amongst themselves. Containing elements of survival horror and platforming, along with some very basic puzzle elements rain is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon.

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