Category Archives: Gaming

Take Me Back to Those Chat Room Days

[Based on my news article for Kicktraq. You should give their site some love!]

 

Somebody else remembers this!

Somebody else remembers this!

Let’s take a trip back to 1998 and 12-year-old me, a girl whose room was adorned in ‘Nsync posters from Tiger Beat, beanie babies, and printed Star Wars photos. My mother used to tell me I’d make a great lawyer because I could spin a pretty persuasive argument, but I chose to instead put those skills to use in AOL chatrooms. That sounds really creepy, right? I would spend hours with people writing out blocks and blocks of text, describing my character’s feelings, dialogue, and the environment around us.

 

I still remember my first major character – Aurelie Renault. She was a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge, madly in love with Christian, who was a total dick, by the way. We created GeoCities sites (OH YEAH!) for our characters and it was a really involved storyline. There was nothing creepy or 18+ about it; it was just pure writing. A group of five of us strangers came together and created a story where everyone could play a part in figuring out the main plot and how things ended up. I played in all kinds of games, including Phantom of the Opera to Braveheart to Star Wars. Damn, I miss those days! And much like intense storytelling over long periods of time, you became invested in the story. Instead of having a bossy DM or feeling frustrated that you weren’t able to creatively steer the adventure, it became a truly collaborative effort where everyone’s input enriched the game experience. 

But as gaming evolved and my tastes revolved more around shooting bad guys in Goldeneye, I got away from storytelling. The chatrooms disappeared after becoming unsafe from random penis pictures, and I haven’t found anything quite like it since then.

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“I Should Go” – A Mass Effect Parody

Editor’s Note: Thank you for the overwhelming response! I am so humbled to share my work with all of you and sincerely appreciate your kind words and encouragement. <3 We should be shooting a video soon! Lyrics are posted on SoundCloud.

When I was little, I dreamed of becoming a singer. I was always cast as the mother or the solid alto for the chorus. I was too tall, too mature, and my voice was too deep for those leading ladies. (Blah!) I immediately became good friends with all of the sopranos in the department, who loved that I could help them rehearse their parts while I crooned the male notes. Eight years ago, I wrote my first song parody for the inaugural Queen of the Geeks pageant at GenCon. I, along with my superhero alter-ego Deodorant Dame, took home the crown with an a cappella rendition of “Why Won’t You Just Bathe? – a play on “Why Won’t You Behave?” from Kiss Me Kate. Over time, I’ve written a handful of mini-song parodies while commuting or showering, but this is the first time I’ve been able to make something happen with one.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 10.21.57 AMYou’ve probably heard “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. I know I’ve heard and sung it 200+ times, so it was really easy for me to get excited when I was driving along and accidentally sang “I should go!” instead of “Let it go.” The reaction, a result of too many hours playing Mass Effect, became a force of nature and the song was written overnight. I tried recording the song for almost 8 hours at home but by the end of it, I had torn up my voice, annoyed my neighbors, and almost thrown my Mac out onto the lawn due to latency woes. Enter Chuck and his wonderful wife Christine, two friends from my geeky costuming circle. Chuck has a band, Sci-Fried, and apparently a recording studio! They opened their arms to me for a morning of the most terrifying and thrilling fun I have experienced. Continue reading

Dragon Age: Why You Should Be A Fan of the Franchise

This fall, BioWare is releasing the highly anticipated third game in the Dragon Age franchise.

imagesWhat’s Dragon Age, you say?

Shut the front door. Seriously, drop whatever you’re multi-tasking right now and let’s talk business because if you haven’t heard about this franchise yet, then it’s time you received a little geek-ucation. If you’re into Skyrim or The Lord of the Rings, then you will probably enjoy playing these games. And lucky you, the (hopefully) best one of the bunch is coming out in just a few months so you don’t have to wait years in between like others.

About a year ago, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I decided that since I hadn’t had free time in pretty much the last three years that I was going to enjoy my new schedule and veg out with a video game just like those glorious days in high school and college. Enter Dragon Age: Origins. My husband first played DA:O when it came out in 2009. I remember seeing it advertised at GenCon but I just didn’t like what I saw of the game when he played. So when I found myself glancing over the game titles on the shelf, my hand stopped over Dragon Age and I decided to give it a try. After all, I love high fantasy and anything that involves me playing a girl who can kick ass and fall in love – well hey, I’m there.

The best way to explain my Dragon Age experience is consuming. Now that I’ve played through Mass Effect, I can safely say it’s not as life-altering, but it had me hung up for quite a long time after playing. I wanted to play for 60 hours straight, over and over again. If you haven’t picked up Dragon Age: Origins yet, then you need to get your butt to the game store and do it. It’s not expensive and it will be a really fun experience.

But this article isn’t about my adventures as a Grey Warden or accepting garden plants from a bumbling knight. It’s about why you should become a fan if, Maker forbid, you aren’t already. Continue reading

[Calling Normandy] My Mass Effect Playlist

femshep3I am an emotional gamer. I feel deeply and I connect with characters on a pretty intense basis, especially when they’re written well. I love playing through a game franchise and continuing that experience when I’m not in front of the Xbox. When I’m really into a game series, I make a playlist to keep my emotional state in the right place – prolonging that joy I get from taking in a truly epic story.

While I was playing through the Mass Effect series, most of that emotional state involved how my Shepard’s relationship with Kaidan developed over the course of the three games, but it also deals with her fragility and how the constant war starts to affect her. This playlist represents my spacer, sole survivor, Paragon, Kaidan-shipping FemShepard. The game soundtracks are also stellar and I highly recommend listening to all of them, as well. So if you’d like to renew your feelings of post-Mass Effect torture, download this playlist and hit repeat. They’re categorized in the timeline of the game but work just as well on shuffle.

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[Spoilers] Bioware’s Massive Effect on Me

 photo Kaidan1-2.gif

Take all the feels, mix 3 parts feeling & 1 part feel, explode, and top with a feel. Serve cold and you have the Mass Effect. Guaranteed to feel awful the next morning, and day, and weeks …

This post contains spoilers on the overall storyline. You have been warned.

Almost two months ago, I embarked on the journey that is Bioware’s Mass Effect franchise. My husband played Mass Effect 3 when it first came out, so I had heard of it. I even remember reading the ending just out of curiosity and not feeling particularly intrigued one way or the other. (Thank goodness my memory had mind-dumped that part!)

Despite loving Star Wars, I have always preferred fantasy based games over sci-fi ones so I didn’t think I would enjoy this at all. Aliens? BoringBut then Black Milk came out with their Mass Effect clothing line and I had to justify owning a pair of N7 leggings because #reasons.

[Editor’s Note: I had no idea about any spoilers for the three games and I am completely appreciative of my social networks for keeping everything secret until I experienced it.]

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DIY – Bringing Fereldan to My Backyard

If you’ve been following any of my social networks since February, then you know just how I feel about the game Dragon Age. Since starting Dragon Age: Origins, my love for the franchise and everything related has grown exponentially, resulting in a new spot at the top of my favorite all-time game list. That’s right, Carth Onasi, there’s a new guy in town and his name is Alistair!

Do a Google search and there’s an abundance of Alistair (the most popular character/romance option for ladies) love poems, drawings and lengthy discussions about favorite quotes, etc, etc. It’s really quite amazing just how well the female gaming community has embraced this shy, sarcastic and chivalrous stud in plate armor. But moving away from the Alistair love posts, I decided I wanted to incorporate some sort of Dragon Age decor into our geeky little house. I searched the bowels of the internet for days and came up with nothing as far as projects relating to DA decor.

So naturally, I created my own!

My finished Fereldan Herb Garden!

My finished Fereldan Herb Garden!

Since starting to cook more at home, and doing a LOT of it, I have needed fresh herbs on almost a daily basis. Let me tell you something: fresh herbs are expensive!! Even at the local farmer’s market, I was buying them often and usually having them go bad before I could make use of it all. It really wasn’t a financially savvy option for somebody carefully monitoring their bottom line. So with a little creativity, and about $80, I made a great-looking herb garden that ups the geek factor on my backyard and adds delicious (and cheaper) flavor to our meals!

Here’s how I made the magic happen …

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