My first experience with a Bioware game was Dragon Age: Origins. At the time I didn’t know much of anything about the studio, what their “return to roots” project meant to people or, really, what I was getting into at all. I just read a lot of really good things about a game — namely, the amount of narrative choice it offered players — and thought it would be worth trying out. Now, having played two Mass Effects, two Fallouts and Skyrim, I’ve gone back into the first Dragon Age with, maybe, a bit more of an understanding of how to approach these kind of massively customizable RPGs (MCRPG?) and a better grasp on how to play off their shortcomings.
In short, I’ve learned how to communicate with a videogame by speaking its own language.
Continue reading Communication Breakdown in Dragon Age: Origins
There’s a healthy amount of debate occurring in games criticism right now about how far the concept of gamification* should be implemented into our daily lives. It’s a rich topic that is as much about human psychology as it is about videogame theory — and one that much smarter people than I have already spent a lot of time intelligently discussing.
I’d rather try to look at it in a different way.
Not very long ago, sex was one of the big taboos in mainstream games. Although hyper-violent titles were slapped with an M rating and sent on their way to be readily devoured by audiences, trying to implement sex was frowned upon in general. This isn’t surprising. The North American entertainment model has always been quicker to accept violent content than sexual material, and videogames, a younger medium, have unfortunately followed suit. But as the main demographic of game players has moved away from kids and teenagers to a wider audience made up of varying age groups, the viability of sex as a game element has grown. This is just fine — except, sex in games still isn’t being handled properly.
Continue reading Taking Some of the Game Out of Videogame Sex