The Games We Play: What Are You Playing?

Brandann Hill-Mann
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DragonAge2Demo 2011-02-23 00-07-06-75

We'll never play All The Games, but we can try!

I've spent quiet a bit of time this month talking about games as I have observed them, and we've even had a little bit of dialogue about some of the more problematic ways that games are marketed to us or just tossed thoughtlessly at us, and what that means. It's been a great month so far, and I, for one, am having a fabulous time. We're not finished yet.

Gaming is interactive, and I would like to hit the pause menu and turn back to all of you, the faithful who have come 'round to engage me in these discussions (don't worry, I won't let the Deamons' Souls get you, this pause works, go answer your phone!). Consider this the cut scene before Act II or whatever.

March has been a fairly good month for game releases, which is nice, because unlike, say, the movie industry, there are dry spells where absolutely nothing comes out at all, not even bad rom-coms. As an aspiring reviewer, I tend to welcome the slower phases because it gives me time to catch up on the games that I've been excited to try. As a gamer, however, the slow season tends to make my sad face come out and pout. I've seen a slew of hotly anticipate titles hit the market this post-holiday season (or, even the post Cataclysm season, if you will).

What have you been playing? What did you finally get your gamer mitts on? What has been eating up your time? Has it lived up to your expectations? Did you, like me, anxiously await that sequel and are now swimming in canon? Did someone finally release a game you really wanted for your preferred platform?

Are you fed up with the 2 or 3 or eleventy-one on a series? Has the company squeezed the last bit of fun out of a franchise and just needs to let it go (I'm looking at you, Lego Star Wars)?

Is there anything missing, or are you satisfied with the experience? Think back on the things we have discussed so far (Oh no, OYD! You didn't tell us there would be homework!) and try to apply them to your gaming experience. What could make this game more accessible to a person with cognitive or motor function issues or who is color blind? Could this game have included more diversity in their characters, both playable and non-playable?

So, give it to me, gamers!

Let's remember to be respectful, and keep the Comments Policy in mind while having discussion.


Screen cap courtesy of Twist_Shimmy. Because I love screen caps!

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15 Comments Have Been Posted

I am not much of a gamer, but

I am not much of a gamer, but I have fallen in love with the Assassin's Creed games, mostly for the beautiful atmosphere. Also being a classicist, I was overjoyed when I saw that Brotherhood is now out for PC! I cannot wait to romp around the Roman ruins when I have some free time. However, I do wish that they would come out with a game with a female assassin protagonist.

Other than that, I'm on a nostalgia trip replaying all of the Myst series, which is a bit more my style (no fear of dying at the hand of a weapon, just from frustration at the puzzles.

I for the life of me cannot

I for the life of me cannot stop playing Minecraft. It's a neat little Sandbox game, currently in its beta phase, that lets you roam an ever-expanding map and build, destroy, and reshape anything you want, so long as you have the right equipment. I just find it so endearing, building secluded forest cottages, or scenic seaside villas. It's a charming game, and I encourage everyone to at least check it out, and if you feel so inclined, buy it; I think the running price for it right now is about $15, a very reasonable price, considering most AAA games that come out are upwards of $60.

Animal Xing

I love Animal Crossing! The original is for Gamecube and the second version, Wild World, is for DS & a few years back, they released a version for Wii. I don't own a DS or a Wii and my sister kept an iron grip on allowing me certain hours to play her Gamecube. Thanks to the development of emulators, I can play these games without purchasing the system for which it was intended, all from the comfort of my laptop.

Now that I think about it, there were no other ethnic groups represented in the main characters for Animal Crossing (at least the first and second versions, I haven't played City Folk- the third) other than caucasian for the main character. You're pigeonholed into a gender by identifying yourself as a "boy" or a "girl" in the first conversation of the game.

Animal Crossing is often stereotyped as a "girly game", because the object of the game is to pay off your loan and rack up points for your interior design, calculated by the Happy Room Academy. There is no blood or gore in this game. You live in a town with cute, furry animals, coexisting in a community based on trust (nobody locks their doors) and promoting environmental conservation by pulling up weeds and fishing trash out of the rivers.

I think this game is excellent because of its eco-consciousness, community appreciation, and its motivation to teach responsibility (and the difficulty of earning money to pay off debt) to bratty kids who are more accustomed to a game where you wreck cars or pick up hookers. I would recommend this game to anyone! Game on!

I am finishing up Fallout 3,

I am finishing up Fallout 3, and deciding where to go after that. I think I'll just dive straight into Fallout: New Vegas.

I am also really enjoying playing Sprial Knights, an online MMO that's currently in beta.

Basically anything made with

Basically anything made with Infinity Engine, but mostly Planscape: Torment and Baldur's Gate II. I wouldn't mind having sequels (no matter how many) to those games, since they're probably the best games ever made.

However it seems like they no longer make games like these; newer games seem to lack the interesting plots with endless twists; enticing stories; great balance with strategy and roleplaying.

Besides, I don't have the money to buy new hardware all the time and I run Linux, so I kinda like older games for those reasons too. My machine can't handle the cutting edge graphics and getting new games to work on Linux, while an interesting challenge, is frustrating at times.

Of newer games Humble Indie Bundle offered some interesting things like the cute Flash based adventure game. I also love StarCraft and 1st person shooters like Unreal. But yeah, those too are sort of old.

By the way, does anyone else find it frustrating to find friends to play strategy games or shooters with? Because it seems I spend a lot less time on these games than my friends do, therefore I'm much worse at them than my friends which means it's difficult to fiend gaming friends. It also seems to be a somewhat gendered thing (with my friends; by no means is this true with all people everywhere); girls having less time to play. Your thoughts?

I'm playing DA2. Games last

I'm playing DA2. Games last me a long time; I don't get tired of something easily. I played DA pretty much non-stop until not that long before DA2 came out. I also played ME1, I don't know how many times, even after I already had ME2. I'm still playing ME2. I'm waiting for ME3 (I know, a bit early). I've been nervously waiting for ME3 ever since I first played through ME2. Even the Overlord DLC couldn't ruin the game for me.

I'm also waiting for The Witcher 2 to come out.

And Star Wars: The Old Republic (the MMO by Bioware).

During dry spells I just replay all the games I have. Baldur's Gate 2 is a favourite, like the Monkey Island games, Loom, Psychonauts, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and The Longest Journey. Also Sanitarium (I know). Sometimes Black & White 2.

Right before DA2 came out I played Divinity 2, The Dragon Knight Saga a few times. I keep ending it before the last battle of part two though (no brother around to play the bits I can't handle: partner's no good). Same goes for Overlord 2 (not the DLC, the game). I also played The Sims 3 for a bit, but it has so many bugs that I keep getting violent-level-frustrated by it so I never play it for long before I go all RAGE and uninstall it. I also finally played Planescape: Torment (long overdue).

DA2 has too many bugs as well (most rushed game I've seen in years), but nothing that makes the game crash or stops me from saving the game. I have to say that I very much appreciate that they make your family look somewhat like you this time around. When I made my Hawke and jumped in, I saw that my sister and mother did not look much like me, but then my brother and me looked quite a lot alike, and my uncle looks a bit like me as well. Very nice. (I don't look much like my mother or brothers either, but I look a lot like my father, and more especially his sister).

I also tried playing Fahrenheit recently, and I did play and finish The Lost Crown (I'm a fan of horror games, but too many are shooter/action). This was a personal victory due to I deal badly with horror (fear disorder), but I handled this. Unfortunately I really like it (horror).
I'm currently subscribed to Fallen Earth (MMO), but that might change if SW:TOR comes out and I like it.
I have the Black Mirror 2 installed, but it's not really sucking me in.

I'd like to see many games have more diversity in their characters, but at the same time I have this suspicion that they wouldn't be very good at it (euphemism), so then I wonder if we're not better off not being represented. (I'd certainly rather never have laid eyes on that Overlord DLC).

DA2 keeps crashing my PS3

But I love it!

I switched from XBox to PS3 (only because we got one, not for preference), so I had to re-run my Warden transfer story to import, so it was good that our copy of DA2 took forever to arrive. I am hip-deep in DA2, and I am finding the story very sweeping. It isn't an epic "save the world" saga like DA:O was, but the character interactions are intense and take a lot of meta-gaming. These games, like DA:O, Awakenings, DA2 give and give, because I get lots of play time out of them and each play through is different, even if I roll the same character and try to do the same story. Right now my PC is about to have her world crash down around her. YAY RPG!

At least I had something to do while my internet was wonky!


I came to the realization that there are like 50 great games I'm trying to play/finish in the past year, and I might not finish all of them. I'm trying, but's hard with things like work, sleep, exercise, stabilizing my relationship, and other hobbies getting in the way! And that pesky thing called grad school preparation that I've been procrastinating for months. Forget about not having the money. I just don't have the time.

So I sacrifice. No Nintendo Wii, because I've had my fill of Nintendo games (even with Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3 tempting me everyday). No extended Starcraft 2 time until Heart of the Swarm comes out, like, three years from now. Focus on Dead Space 1 & 2 instead of Resident Evil 5 (RE5 isn't single player friendly, unlike RE4 or the Dead Space games.) Limit my time with multiplayer shooters until SOCOM 4 comes out. Only have a few Marvel vs. Capcom 3 sessions. Finish Bayonetta sometime this century. Play through Mass Effect 2 ONLY twice, even with the DLC content. Forget about Dragon Age or Fallout 3, because they'll be far too time consuming. Give up on Bioshock 2, because it's too much of the same. Why oh why did I purchase Final Fantasy 7 & Tactics the moment I got a PS3 when I won't invest the 200+ hours to finish them (where I'll be making sweet love to Mass Effect instead)? Visit the arcade at least once a week to support the only old school venue left in Nashville. Auuugh!

I need a full time job JUST to get all this finished, and to have a shot finishing the inevitably 20 other games I might buy in the next 6 months. I'm in no rush for new great games to come out. I NEED more downtime between releases.

I've never been a giant

I've never been a giant gamer, but I love the classics- anything with Mario in it, Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man.
But recently I've gotten out of the 1980's arcade, and started playing awesome games like Dragon Age, Portal, Braid, Castle Crashers, The World Ends with You, and my favourite- Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. Yes, it is a male in the role, but there is Phoenix's mentor and older lawyer female friend, Mia, who guides him through in court. It's really dorky, but addicting, kind of a puzzle, strategy-like game where you solve courtroom mysteries

I have been playing: Sims 3

I have been playing:
Sims 3 with several expansions, I really like vacation and that I can take photos now. Looking forward to Medieval Sims
Dungeon Hunter (iPad)

I miss my PS2. I sold it awhile back because I thought I was gaming too much but there are some games I would dearly love to revisit if they were on PC. I like FF even if it's just epic storytelling, I loved and want to replay Okame.

I will probably get Mass Effect now after reading about it here and on the Ravelry Feminist group. And DA:2 when I am done with origins.

It's a little embarrassing,

It's a little embarrassing, but I started playing Mass Effect.... and what finally got me into it was the romance subplots! I know, I know, so typical. :) But that is a big draw for me when I play a game. It got me to play Fable, and kept me farming in Harvest Moon until I couldn't look at another sweet potato.

Not to mention, being able to play as a female character like Shepard is amazing, too. It's really everything I could want in a game.

I really love Shepard as a

I really love Shepard as a female character (including the silly dance animations, who says all women need to be awesome dancers?). I also really love FemShep's voice.

rift! lots of rift. i

rift! lots of rift. i switched from wow earlier this month as for some reason i've found rift much more enjoyable to play. part of it's probably because i found the 'new' endgame content to be lackluster at the very least. i'm still in the leveling stages but the areas have been more interesting and i love being able to scale pretty much anything in the environment instead of limited to where the developers <i>think</i> i should be going. mountain in the way? oops, nevermind, guess it wasn't so in the way after all.

in my downtime i've been fiddling around with civ v and plants vs zombies like i used to. have to be careful with them because they hurt my hands, but it's something to do that isn't just more of 'okay, now what the hell should i do' while wandering around in azeroth.

Far cry 2

<P>I just started playing Far Cry 2, mostly because I wanted a break from Arkum Asylum, and all my gamer guy friends kept telling me it was really fun. And while I do find it both fun and challenging, I was really upset at the beginning of the game when I was asked to choose my character, because within the game there are nine different characters to choose from, and not a single one was a female character. They had nine different characters, all of whom had rather diverse nationalities, personalities and backgrounds, but they couldn't make one female character for me to play. I wouldn't even have minded if it was the token, white skined, blonde hair, Giant breasted type of female character you always see. But no I got nothing.</P>

text only

I find myself returning to the text only, adventure style games.

Even though I really like the concept of MMOs, but the quality of the worlds (graphics, scenery and story) really puts me off. I have spent a lot of time playing MUDs (text only MMORPGs). The fact that I can write a description of myself in my own words make them (the serious ones at least) much more diverse worlds where all characters have the potential to be full characters - white paladins, trans-gender vampires and cat-people alike. There are of course many types of worlds in the MUDs, but you can find many that are fully focused on role playing, and not at all favoring violent behavior.

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