30 Days of Video Games: Day 28, Favorite Game Developer

Anyone who’s been following this for any amount of time will see that I am clearly a Dragon Age fangirl.  I also love Mass Effect.  What do both have in common?  They’re developed by BioWare.

I never played Jade Empire, Neverwinter Nights, or and of the Old Republic Star Wars games.  My introduction to, and experiences with, BioWare have been entirely with ME and DA.  But regardless of that, I love the work they put into their games.  There is such depth of story, character, and setting in every game.  Well-crafted writing immerses us into new and interesting worlds.  Good character development leads us to care about the protagonist (which we’ve usually created ourselves) and his or her party members.

Back in April when I attended PAX East, I had the opportunity to meet several people from BioWare.  I was privileged to meet David Gaider, lead writer for Dragon Age, as well as the artistic director, producer, community manager, and many others.  BioWare had a base in the convention center where it was all BioWare all weekend long.  They were kind to their fans, interested in our feedback and questions, and gracious about our criticisms.

I couldn’t stay for the talk about Mass Effect because I had to go check into the hotel, but everything about the Dragon Age panel was wonderful.  They let fans in costume come in early; talked with us one on one, gave us opportunities to ask questions before the general Q&A during the panel.  We got swag.  Most of all I got the feeling that BioWare was glad we were there with them.

As Dragon Age 3 becomes more of a reality and less than a hypothetical possibility, the more interested I am in BioWare and the more curious I am about what they will do with the story.  I know they’ve come under fire because of DA2’s rushed feeling, and ME’s ending, but they’ll be the first to admit where they’ve made mistakes.  They’ve seen the best of all worlds in their games, and seem to work toward doing more and more to combine the best in their games to make the next game they develop even better.

Therefore, BioWare holds the place of favorite game developer.

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30 Days of Video Games: Day 25, a game I plan on playing

As a teacher who games, I often get students who speak with me about what games are coming up and what looks good, what my gaming plans are, and the like.  Often it’s common to hear, “JayRain, you should play this!” and a lot of times I just sort of nod and say I’ll get to it.  Between a full-time job, choir and voice lessons and my time spent with Bard, sometimes gaming has to take a backseat to life.  More blasphemy, I know.  The gaming gods are about to strike me down tonight if I dare go for a third time!

I think the one game I plan on playing is one I’ve beenplanning to play for over two months now.  That would be Mass Effect 3.

I played through ME  and ME2 and loved them.  The music, the depiction of a futuristic society, the fact that humansaren’t the dominant species, and moreover, have to fight for a modicum of respect: all factors really drew me into the games.  So when the Arrival DLC came out last summer I played it on release day and loved the story and how it set us up for ME3.  When the demo went live for ME3 I played it on release day and was super excited to pick up my copy on March 6th.

Well, March 6th came, and that was a month away from PAX East.  I was heavily engaged with work on my costume, plus choir and voice lessons.  I had work to do for my job.  I thought I’d play it that weekend.  No big deal.  Well, that weekend came, and I found myself spending time with friends and family and working on my costume.  Then the following week Bard and I solidified our joint nerdery, and I added spending all spare time that was not costume, voice, or work-related on him.  Even my blog didn’t have any March entries, because I was working my way up to PAX East.

PAX East came and went and I resumed my blogging and thought just maybe I’d have time to start playing ME3, but April was full of other things that precluded my gaming.  Still ME3 sat on my shelf, shrink-wrapped and patiently waiting for me to play it.  I listened to the complaints about the ending, and not much else.  Seems that’s all people really had to say about it, so luckily the rest of the game has remained relatively unspoiled for me.

Last week, May 17th, I finally did manage to open it.  Bard wasn’t over, my housework was done, my blog entries completed, so I decided to just bite the bullet and get going.  I’ve played 1:59 of the game so far, about half of which is in the demo, so it’s not like I’ve seen much of anything new and/or different from what I already knew of the game.  And between then and now I haven’t had much of an opportunity to play it.  Heck, I was three entries behind on my blog because of some craziness at the end of this week!  Today’s the first full day of a long weekend, and I’ve had some time to game, but after all I’ve been writing about Skyrim, I busted that out after a long hiatus.

So I honestly do plan on playing Mass Effect 3, but it may not be for awhile yet.  My next four weekends are pretty filled up.  My weeknights are full, though a bit better since I no longer have choir rehearsals until we start back up in September.  We’ll see.  But I do plan to play and finish it!

The Shame Game

I really hope this doesn’t turn into a tl;dr for some people.  This is something that really hit me hard after the high of PAX and I felt I really needed to get out.

As a female gamer I’m constantly aware of the way women are presented in games.  One of my favorite panels at PAX East 2011 was about the portrayal of women in games, whether it’s as the helpless damsel in distress or the kickass heroine; the taut and toned adventure-seeker or the super-sexy femme fatale.  It was interesting, and brought up a whole lot of food for thought.  The year passed, and then this year’s PAX East got me thinking more, particularly with the aftermath of some photos posted by BioWare.  So many comments came up about how many “fatties” were at the convention, and how all the “fat gamers” needed to get off their asses or at least get a Wii Fit or something.  And it got me thinking more.

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