Tati’s Weekly Checkup: 04.25.11

The Good:

  • My Easter weekend was wonderful! Great food, good company (family and friends) and good fun.

The Bad:

  • The weekend went by way too fast. I wasn’t nearly as productive as I would have like to have been.

The Cool:

I teamed up with a friend to help launch a new blog dedicated to video gaming gals like ourselves. Fly Girl Gamers at WordPress.com just went up last week. If you like games or are curious about them, come on and join us! I have a post up on the  blog today (I am DragonPixie over there).

The Work In Progress:

Stay tuned for more on my upcoming release, WAY OUT OF CONTROL … cover art and excerpt coming very soon!

Game With Me

I’m a gamer girl. Don’t exactly get to play every single day, but when do get on, I play hard.

Right now, on PS3 I’m playing some expansions for Dragon Age Origins and considering replaying it with a different class, before I dive into the brand new Dragon Age 2. Not a lot of plans for potential cooperative games there, but that could change.

I’m on Xbox 360 frequently to work up a sweat with Kinect or to continue exploring the universe in Mass Effect 2. Also at some point in the near future, I’ll probably join my husband in some first-person shooters (romantic, I know).

Wanna play with me? Or just watch some Netflix together? I’m GeekGoddiss on Xbox Live and Geek Goddess on the Playstation Network.

Friend me, and let’s play together sometime!

13 Games I Played This Year

So I’m a gamer. I absolutely adore video games, to the point that I really hope to create some of my own in the near future. I try to get in about a game a month. Here’s 13 that I enjoyed this year:

  1. Dragon Age – I’ve blogged before about this game. Great story + Great battles + Multiple romantic options makes this game a WIN for me. Easily one of the best games I’ve ever played.
  2. Rockband 2 – My entire family enjoys this game, including my drumming-gifted 3-year old. It’s a great party game, too.
  3. Dracula Origin – Pretty, story-driven game with lots of puzzles, a few which gave me quite a challenge. Decent casual game.
  4. College Romance – A casual, visual-novel game that’s easy to play (and to finish).
  5. Spirited Away – This casual game is a mix between a visual novel, a dating simulation, and a mini RPG. What I liked most about this game is that it offered something I don’t see very often in the gaming world – a female heroine who gets to choose amongst 9 different male characters to date and marry, instead of it being the other way around. Very simple game that I personally would have executed a little differently, but I was pleased with the concept enough to be entertained.
  6. Fable II – This is an action RPG game that in addition to kicking some major butt, allows you to chose what kind of hero your character is, and how they live their life – all the way down to what house they buy and live in, who they marry (and how many spouses they choose to have) and if they have children. My kind of game.
  7. Army of Two – This is a shooter game designed to be played as a two-player local co-op. Translation – instead of losing your significant other to hours of addicting fire-powered action on Modern Warfare or Halo, you can join him in this game and take down bad guys side-by-side. We loved this game so much, we bought the sequel. Can’t wait to play it!
  8. Borderlands – this is another two-player local co-op game. It’s also predominantly a shooter game, but also very much an RPG at its core. My husband and I enjoyed so many hours bonding with each other over this game, we bought and played two of the expansions, as well.
  9. Borderlands:  The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned – Fun expansion for Borderlands, even though my husband is terrified of Zombies!
  10. Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx – Another fun expansion for Borderlands (I personally liked the Zombie one more, but the hubby preferred this one. the big chicken)
  11. Modern Warfare –  I played the single player campaign to completion and enjoyed it a lot, but didn’t touch the online campaigns. I really didn’t want to get my a$$ handed to me by a bunch of anonymous kids.
  12. Devil May Cry – Yes, I know how old this game is, but I’d been wanting to play it forever, and only got around to it this year. It was still quite entertaining.
  13. Super Mario Wii – This game wins big points by being one of the few video games that a whole family can play together at the same time and all be sufficiently challenged and entertained – even the preschooler. The four of us were able to jump, stomp, run and laugh our way through many family game nights. 🙂

What have you played this year?

The Game of Love

Love is a wonderful thing. And I’m not just saying that because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I truly love love. I love reading about it, writing about it, watching movies about it, talking about it, being in it.

As some of you may know, in addition to loving love I also love video games. Especially adventurous, action-packed or RPG (Dungeons & Dragons) type games where I get to be a hero or heroine and beat some bad guys until they beg me to stop. Very few of these games include any romantic elements, which I try not to complain about since I can get my romance fix elsewhere. But still, I’ve always wondered why so many game developers seem to forget that love can be a great adventure too, and often a perilous one!  So when I encounter a game which also incorporates love – and I mean actually makes the romance part of the gameplay and not just back-story or an implied relationship – then I’m completely thrilled. THRILLED I tell ya!

Square’s RPG series Final Fantasy has always put a love story in nearly every game. My favorites so far are Final Fantasy VIII with the relationship between Squall and Rinoa, as well as Cloud/Aeris and Cloud/Tiffa in FFVII, and Tidus and Yuna in FFX and FFX-2.

Even the romance in these games were entertaining and  important parts of the story, they were linear and not really part of the gameplay, however. You couldn’t choose someone else to fall in love with it, or whether or not to fall in love at all.

So today I’d like to give a shout out to a few of the games I’ve played recently that were kick-ass and yet didn’t give love the backseat.

Dragon Age

What rocks about the romance in this game is that you have options. You’ll have 3 different possible love interests depending upon your character’s gender and the sexual orientations of the game characters. Other characters reacted to my chosen relationship (either with jealousy, disgust or warnings) and there were actual love scenes.

Surprisingly, the romance was intense enough to make me gush with joy but yet somehow the game remained gritty enough for my husband to enjoy without his manhood being threatened. And when I say “intense enough” I mean enough to actually invoke real emotion in the player.  Heh, at least for me anyways. I think I have a serious crush on Alistair. At least as serious as it can get with a digital dude. But let’s just say that I think this game is so nice, I”m playing it twice!

Fable II

Unlike Dragon Age, Fable II doesn’t have a written-out romance with a main character. Instead, the “romance” in this game is more like a mini-game, where you can flirt with random citizens of the towns you visit and possibly make them fall in love with you. What I thought was an interesting touch though was that you could choose a house to buy, get married and move your spouse into it. You can even buy furniture and decorations for your home, make love and have children. After a long, hard day’s work of beating and slicing bad guys to a bloody pulp you could return home to find your spouse and children waiting to greet you and offer you gifts.

I haven’t encountered another game yet that let’s you be a hero while also getting to play house. Nice!

Mass Effect

Mass Effect has a special place in my heart because it came out before Fable II and before Dragon Age. It is one of the first games I played that actually involved you in the romance instead of just having you watch it or hear about it, and gave you at least a couple of choice. Mass Effect 2 just came out. I bought it but haven’t opened it yet, and probably won’t get to it for a while. But I believe it will continue with the same kind of romantic awesomeness as the first installment, and therefore I will be playing it.

*sighs* Bestill my heart, o-wonderous-game-makers who aren’t afraid of a little romance! Keep them coming and I’ll keep playing them! (And with any luck, one day I’ll join their ranks with some romantic game creations of my own …)

Girls and Games

I was just chatting with a guy friend when the subject of video games came up.  When he discovered that I’m a hardcore gamer (or at least I would still be if I actually had some real free time), he nearly flipped.

Why is it that guys still act so surprised when I say that I love video games?  I often receive the strangest reactions when I say that I like more than just puzzle games, Wii Tennis and The Sims, and that I play games like Oblivion, Mass Effect, Halo and Everquest.  Why the shock?  Surely I’m not the only girl out there who enjoys deeply engaging, exciting and challenging games.

Thinking about it some more though, it does seem like I am always either reading or hearing women complain about their men playing games, or hearing men complain about their women complaining about them playing games.

So now I’m really curious. Why DON’T more girls play games?  It is almost as much of a mystery to me as boys and books.  There’s plenty of things for a gal to love about electronic gaming:

  • There’s TONS of sexy, powerful, hunky and heroic male characters in games
  • Good adventure and roleplaying games often have interesting characters and exciting stories (some even with romantic elements)
  • Platforming games can help improve reflexes and spatial reasoning (which just may help with the driving and parking skills that men claim we ladies are lacking  ** giggles **)
  • Action, fighter and first-person shooter games can help relieve stress (just pretend it’s your annoying co-workers you’re sniping at, or your dirty-socks-on-the-floor-leaving-husband that you’re pumping bullets into)
  • Multiplayer games allow you to interactively enjoy this pastime together. You can team up with your gaming sweetheart and take down some bad guys in a co-op game, form a virtual band together and rock out in your living room, or show him who’s bad by kicking his butt in a fighter game.  I especially recommend that any frustrated ladies out there who feel they get less attention from their men than his controller or keyboard does, try joining him.  Let him associate doing something he loves with you and you’ll never feel as invisible while he’s playing again.
  • And all that button pressing is good exercise for your fingers.  Okay, so you are probably wondering just how in the heck are stronger thumbs beneficial.  Well see, they are great for – heh, nevermind.  Some things you just have to experience for yourself.  ** winks **

I’ve heard people say that most games are only geared towards men and that is why so much fewer women play, but I’m not so sure.  Plenty of games allow you to play a female character, and I think fun gameplay is fun regardless of your gender.  I consider myself a girly girl but I still enjoy games of every genre.  The only games I don’t get into much are sports, but I’d be willing to dunk some virtual hoops with the hubby if he’ll agree to give the latest romance novel I’m in love with a try.

That’s fair game, right?