Posts Tagged 'gaming'

Silly Video: Cave Johnson’s “Lemons” rant from Portal 2

I played Portal 2 last week, and absolutely LOVED it. I’m dying to play it again. I thought Valve did a great job with the story, especially with the backstory of Aperture Science. The writing was fantastic—GLADoS was back and meaner than ever, but in her own hilarious way, of course. The gameplay was great, too; I liked the lasers (sorry, the “discouragement beams”) more than the pellets from the first game, and the hard light bridges were awesome.

Overall, I thought Portal 2 was a good companion to the first game. My only complaint is that you can’t play individual test chambers—you have to pick a “chapter” of the game (there are 10) and play through all the test chambers to get to the one you want. That doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of quick, repeat gameplay of the first one. (I often replay the Companion Cube and Turret levels from Portal when I’m bored with whatever else I’ve been working on and want a nice puzzle game.)

Anyways, I loved the part of the game that’s included in that video. Minor spoilers (?) for Portal 2, but nothing… too integral to the story.

Wanted: Games with Badass Female Protagonists

The Border House: Tom Abernathy says, “We are not serving half our audience in the manner they want and deserve.”

One of my friends posted this while I was looking for something interesting to blog about. (I mean, come on, we’ve all more than enough about high-speed rail and salmon the past two days—no need for me to blog about that!)

Anyways, I was excited to read this post because it’s absolutely true, and because Abernathy explains his opinion without a lot of lofty idealism—he just wants some good games with female protagonists for his daughter to enjoy. And so do I. (But for me to enjoy. Cause I don’t have a daughter yet.)

One of the things I enjoyed about Halo: Reach was being able to choose a gender for my character and customize her. (She has purple armor, btw. And small rockets on her shoulders.) I was also excited that one of the members of Noble Team was a female, and she’s a total badass. I feel like Reach took a step towards making sure that women have someone to relate to in games, but it was only a baby step. A lot has to happen before I (and Abernathy’s daughter) have the chance to play as female protagonists in a plethora of games.

Allowing players to customize their character (including gender) is a great step. Some games do require a gendered character in order to fit the plot, but not all of them do. I mean, why did the protagonist in Psychonauts have to be male? Why couldn’t that have been customizable? Some games, though, understand that they have a female audience, and are taking care to cater to them. For example, when my friend and I were playing through Little Big Planet 2 last week, we were SO excited to see that a lot of the unlockable costumes are girly—lots of dresses, long-haired wigs, sparkly fabrics, etc. It was more fun to dress up my Sackgirl when I had more options on what she could wear, and these new options made it easier to play because I wasn’t constantly confusing my Sackgirl with my friend’s because they didn’t look almost exactly the same.

I can think of a couple of games with female protagonists—Portal and Mirror’s Edge come to mind—but neither of those seem to appeal to mainstream gamers. Portal, which is probably my favorite game of all time, is a puzzle game that requires an elementary understanding of physics, and Mirror’s Edge has that weird Urban Ninja style that can be pretty nauseating. And some of the Final Fantasy games have female protagonists, too, but those games are huge time sucks. No, I’d like to see some moderate-length RPGs or FPSs with badass female protagonists. I’ll even take a badass female sidekick or an Atlas-style narrator (and boss…) guiding you through the world if I have to.

It’s great to see developers and writers speaking up about the need not to ignore half their audience, but it would be even greater to see these ideas come to fruition in their games. A lot of people pay lip service to female gamers, or female comic readers, but not many of them put their money where their mouths are. Until that happens, though, I’ll be customizing my Purple Lady-Spartan and incinerating my faithful Companion Cube.

BioShock 2

BioShock 2: Hands All Over It

First, you know what’s obnoxious and insulting? This: “I stopped by the Access PR offices this week in New York City to put my hands under the shirt (and the bra) of the latest up-to-the-minute build of BioShock 2.” And it’s the first sentence of the article. That’s a completely unnecessary metaphor (especially when you consider that the only female characters in those games are only sexy if you like children and zombies,) and the only thing it accomplishes is to set an anti-woman tone that completely colors the writer’s complaints about the Big Sister and makes me think that you just don’t want women ruining your video games. *eyeroll*

That irritation aside, I’m not sure how I feel about the BioShock 2 this writer described. I really liked the hacking mini-game from the first game, and I hate that they’ve dumbed it down. Hacking was a nice break from the game’s environment; yeah, it got a little tedious at times, especially when you’re watching someone play, but the solution shouldn’t be scrapping it for something easier—it should have been to mix it up a little. Why not have save the easy mini-game for vending machines and save the original mini for turrets and cameras?

I am, however, looking forward to adopting the Little Sisters (I couldn’t bring myself to harvest one in the original) and seeing what the Big Sister’s story is. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get to see a LOT of new areas of Rapture, too, and that the Big Daddy is slightly less cumbersome than the main character at the end of the first game. Overall, I’m staying cautiously optimistic about BioShock 2—especially since the jerk writer of this piece couldn’t get through a piece without invoking boobies. Somehow I doubt that he and I see eye-to-eye. 😉

BioShock 2 Update

Io9 posts pictures, video, and a link to a Gamespot exclusive.

I LOVED BioShock—once I got the nerve to play through it—and I’m even more excited about the sequel. The Big Sister looks AWESOME; that character is definitely going on my Costume Wish List. (We’ll see if it ever gets made, though…)

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