Video Game Pool Nation (PC) (2013)

Pool Nation (PC) (2013)


Relevant Links:
Pool Nation (Steam Store Page)
Pool Nation (PC) (MetaCritic.com)

20141128:
At first I tried playing Endurance, just to check out the game. Conveniently, all you have to do is press K to see the game's controls.

Eventually, after a couple of rounds of Endurance, I decided to go through all the tutorials. They were very helpful, especially for executing trick shots.


Upon returning to Endurance, I found the majority of the tutorials useless, because they take too much time to set up. With that being said, I had felt much more comfortable with the game and the game mode felt easier.

I had also read the rules for Endurance more carefully: I learned that the goal was not to reach twenty-four balls, but to keep the number of balls as low as possible.

In the end, I spent a good solid hour to hour and a half just playing Endurance and going through the tutorials. With all the other game modes available, I'd say Pool Nation has a decent amount to offer if you casually enjoy pool.


Going off that last statement, I would definitely rather play pool in real life, but playing the video game has its advantages. One, its cheaper to buy a video game than to go to a pool hall or own a pool table. Two, the video game just takes up about five gigabytes of hard drive space, but a pool table takes up lots of physical space in a room. Three, I can pull off amazing skill shots (jump, spin, etc) with the video game that I wouldn't be able to do (at least not with significant practice) in real life.


However, let's talk about the advantages of playing in real life. One, I can get a lot better view of the table in real life. It's possible some pool simulation games might be better in this respect, but Pool Nation's view choices feel limited (overhead, rotation about the cue ball, and a limited free look). Two, having the cue stick in your hands results in a more tactile experience and helps with the adjustment of power. As a result, you can build muscle memory from playing in a real game.


Finally, I mention two differences which slightly change the game, but not necessarily for better or for worse. One, the ability to shoot a ball is independent of the player's height. Two, the conditions are perfect: the table, cue stick, balls, etc. behave in a consistent manner without maintenance. On that note, the physics is going to be consistent. Nobody can bump the table, the table is level, the cue stick never needs to be chalked, and so forth.

In any case, I'll have to try the other game modes some time soon.


20141217 AM Hours:
Tonight I actually started the 9-ball Tour, Sky Lounge Cup. I found it pretty fun. On top of just beating the AI at 9-ball, there are also challenges to meet, such as hitting two in a row or getting a skill shot. By the end of my session I completed Round 1.

20141217 Evening:
To round out the experience prior to posting my blog post, I played a bit of the 8-ball Tour, Sky Lounge Cup. While I'm getting used to the controls and understand basic concepts of translation and rotational movement, the physics regarding how the cue ball behaves with respect to impulse, point of contact, and collision are not exactly intuitive. Maybe I should give it some extra thought the next time I play.


In any case, the fact that the game allows the player to execute these sort of skill shots is a satisfying experience and I'm glad I picked this game up. I enjoy playing pool every so often with my friends and I think this video game is a good opportunity to understand some of the more complex details within the comfort of my room.

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