Prose & Pixels

Prose & Pixels #5: Beginner’s Guide to Video Games & Novelisations, Part 2

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Prose & Pixels is a feature that combines two of my loves: books and video games. Here I’ll discuss all sorts of things to do with the two, whether it’s recommendations, influences or just a good old chat.

Today I want to introduce some video game series, and their novelisations.

This is Part 2 of a post I did in July, and I’ll probably post on this topic several more times as there are so many novelisations! This post is mostly aimed at people who are new to video games, or those who are interested in playing but don’t know where to start. I’m listing some well-known series, as well as their novelisations, in case you want to try the books out too!

The Dragon Age series

Dragon Age Origins

[icon name=”fa-question-circle”] What is it?

A sprawling epic fantasy series, currently with two main games and tonnes of DLC plus the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquistion, where every choice you make counts. In the first game, Dragon Age: Origins, you play a Grey Warden, part of an elite force who protect the word from evil known as ‘the Blight’. You can choose from a variety of origin stories which also have an impact on the conclusion of the game, combined with the choices you make throughout. You also have the option of pursuing a love interest – ALISTAIR EVERY TIME. In Dragon Age II, you play as a character called Hawke (either male or female, but always human), who begins as a refugee in the city of Kirkwall, but gradually works their way up to become a champion. Like the first game, you have choices to make which affect your playthrough, and you can have a love interest (Anders every time!). And finally the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition promises to be bigger and better, where the player takes on the role of the Inquisitor and can explore a huge, ever expanding world. I can’t wait!

[icon name=”fa-thumbs-up”] Why should I play it?

Rather like Mass Effect, which I discussed last time, Dragon Age is a game where your every choice matters. Plus the cast of characters is just adorable and you really, really don’t want to lose any of them. Bioware are especially talented at creating something with a great narrative (you won’t skip a single cutscene) as well as a wonderful mode of play.

[icon name=”fa-book”] Novelisations

There are both novelisations and graphic novels for Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, The Calling and Asunder by David Gaider, The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes and Last Flight by Liane Merciel (novelisations), The Silent Grove, Those Who Speak and Until We Sleep by David Gaider (graphic novels).

Deus Ex

Deus Ex

[icon name=”fa-question-circle”] What is it?

The original game was released in 2000, with a sequel entitled Deus Ex: Invisible War in 2003, and a prequel (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) in 2011. I’ll just talk about the most recent game here as that’s the only one with a novelisation. Set in 2027, mechanical augmentation has just been introduced and many people have replaced or improved parts of their body with cybernetics. The player takes on the role of Adam Jensen, an augmented security consultant. The game focuses around the idea of cybernetics and control over humans through them, as well as cyber-terrorism, technology and conspiracy theories.

[icon name=”fa-thumbs-up”] Why should I play it?

Okay I have to admit, I haven’t yet played this one myself. But it’s in my Steam library and I’ve heard SUCH good things about it. I remember that we had the original on PC, and I did try it one time – but at ten years old, I didn’t really know what I was doing! It’s one of those games that isn’t afraid to explore loads of different themes, no matter how controversial, and it really makes you think. And like many amazing games, it has a gorgeous soundtrack.

[icon name=”fa-book”] Novelisations

There is one novelisation, based on the most recent game: Deus Ex: Icarus Effect by James Swallow.

The Halo series

Halo

[icon name=”fa-question-circle”] What is it?

I haven’t really played much Halo, I have to admit, so I’ve grabbed a synopsis from IMDB: Mankind is being destroyed by a conglomerate of alien races all under the flag of the Covenant. A human spaceship is under attack and has no chance to survive, and now the only hope for mankind is for the Spartan-II forged Master Chief to make sure the Covenant do not get a hold of the ship’s AI, and thus discovering the location of Earth. But the survivors of the ship are stranded on a strange alien planet called Halo, and everything is stacked against them. It becomes a desperate battle as the brave crew, lead by the Master Chief and the AI Cortana, try to survive the Covenant’s assault.

[icon name=”fa-thumbs-up”] Why should I play it?

Even if you don’t play video games very often, I’m sure you’ve heard of Halo. It’s a HUGE franchise: video games, TV shows, films, action figures and more. If you want to try out a FPS (First Person Shooter), this is the place to start. I’ve only ever played Halo with some friends, and the co-op mode was hilarious – particularly as me and one friend had never played before.

[icon name=”fa-book”] Novelisations

Novelisations include: Cryptum and Primordium by Greg Bear, Glasslands by Karen Traviss, First Strike, The Fall of Reach and Ghosts of Onyx by Eric S. Nylund, The Flood by William C. Dietz, Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten, and far too many more to list!

Are you new to video games, or have you played any of these? Have you read any of the novelisations?

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday #9: Rinn & Paola Discuss Dragon Age!

Fantasy Friday

Fantasy Friday is my own feature, posted every other Friday. It’s pretty self-explanatory: I do a feature on something to do with the genre. Sometimes it will be a book recommendation, sometimes showcasing a book or series I’ve loved and other times it might be a discussion post. You’re more than welcome to join in with this feature, let me know if you make your own Fantasy Friday post!

Today I want to talk about: the Dragon Age series of video games, and I’m joined by the lovely Paola!

Yes! For this fortnight’s Fantasy Friday, I’m joined by my lovely friend Paola from A Novel Idea. This also marks the first time I’ve co-written a post with another blogger on my own blog. You may have seen the two of us flailing together on Twitter about Dragon Age. I bought the game when it first came out, but it sat unplayed on my PC for years. Then I finally decided I needed to play some of the games that were just sitting around (my ‘to play’ list is much like my ‘to read’ list…) – and Dragon Age was first on that list. I tweeted about it, Paola spotted the tweet and well… the fangirling began. Today we want to talk about why we love the series, and also why you should play it (COS IT’S AMAZING OKAY).

Rinn: Helloooooo Paola! I’m so glad you could join me for this post, it’s actually the first time I’ve hosted another blogger too! And we get to fangirl and flail about one of our favourite things. So… tell me – why do you like Dragon Age?

Paola: Hi Rinn!! I’m so thrilled to be chatting about DA with you! (Now is when I pretend like I haven’t played both games about 7,000 times each. Errrr.) Let the fangirling and flailing begin!

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Wait, what were we doing again? Oh, right. Leading this army to probable slaughter in the jaws of the Archdemon. Okay, carry on then!

And as for why I love the series so much… BECAUSE ALISTAIR. I mean! Because of the immersive world and the ability to change it with the decisions I make! Definitely! That was my more sophisticated answer. Additional reasons:

  • Grey Wardens. Because they’re this crazy mix of tragedy and badassery and they get to say awesome things like, “JOIN US AS WE CARRY THE DUTY THAT CANNOT BE FORSWORN,” et al etc. But also because the lore behind their history and purpose in the world of Dragon Age is really fascinating. And did I mention the part where they used to ride griffons into battle?? SIGN ME UP PLEASE. I TOO WISH TO DO THESE THINGS.
  • Magic as controversy. I’m always really intrigued by the question of whether magic is a blessing or a bane. This is true of books I read, but also of games that I play — I love when magic itself is a source of conflict. In Dragon Age, magic is powerful, dangerous, and volatile. Those who are able to use it are considered all of these things, and more. Depending on where you are in the wide world of Thedas, they might be crowned as kings or kept captive in towers. I think it makes for such an interesting plot element.
  • The humor. I laugh a lot while playing Dragon Age. I especially love the banter between characters traveling with me. The games are written with sarcasm and wit, which helps to add a bit of levity to the darker themes of the series.
  • ALISTAIR. Wait, did I already mention him? Oh. Sorry, can’t help it. This man is adorable. (And awkward. But so adorable. *squishes him to death*)


“Oh, I wish. Don’t even tempt me like that, you minx. Eamon will have a heart attack.” You’re right Alistair. I am kind of a minx. Sry not sry~

Paola: What about you? Tell us what you love about Dragon Age! (Because everyone probs wants me to shut up now. Um.)

Rinn: Excellent answers! There’s something pretty damn cool about elite groups in video games, like the Grey Wardens – but only if you get to join them, of course. A mysterious force, sworn to protect – who are completely non-judgemental when it comes to picking recruits. PLUS GRIFFONS. And like you I really love certain things about the game that completely drew me into the immersive fantasy world of Thedas, like ALISTAIR AND ANDERS AND SER POUNCE-A-LOT- wait, what? I mean… the story is really good. Yeah.


It’s behiiiiiind you…

But in all seriousness, I absolutely love video games where the player makes all the big decisions – where your every action has some sort of consequence, where you can get to know these characters because their personalities and back stories are so well-built, and you actually get pretty emotional when something happens to them. Many times have I screamed at my computer whilst playing, because some enemy has gone after my beloved Alistair. Even though he was always the tank and supposed to take the hits – HOW DARE THEY TOUCH HIM??! There are not many games that make me gasp, or cry, or really laugh out loud (okay Saints Row: the Third might actually beat Dragon Age on the laughter front), but Dragon Age is definitely one of them.

As well as feeling completely in control and very invested in the story and fate of the characters, the actual plot and world built up around the player is just absolutely brilliant. So much detail and history, so many little facts that the developers have added in – and half the players probably don’t even read – that contribute towards this massive world. Plus, you know, it doesn’t help that some of the characters are pretty hot. [P: Pfffttt are they ever!]

Rinn: But, uhh… anyway… let’s talk about those characters. Who is in your dream team (or teams, rather), and why? Feel free to illustrate your answer with fanart or screenshots! ;D (you will be awarded bonus points!)

Paola: Okay, so I have a dream team for Origins and one for Dragon Age II.


Just (slow-motion) stabbing this ogre in the face. Don’t mind me.

For Origins, it’s me, Alistair (obviously [R: duh.]), Morrigan, and… THE DOG. Ahahaha. I have a pretty in depth set of commands used to control this particular setup. Basically, Alistair is programmed to shield bash the crap out of anyone who is even thinking about targeting me. If I’m surrounded by more than 2 enemies, the dog comes over with an AOE knockdown. As for Morrigan, her job is to inflict the enemy with the lowest HP with Virulent Walking Bomb (hands down one of my favorite spells ever. I can’t resist utility. And maybe also I am slightly bloodthirsty, who knows. Errrr) before subsequently killing it and thereby infecting all its friends. There are more commands, but these are the main ones for my favorite team, and it works whether I play rogue or mage.

Oh, also it’s important that I get all the cool slow-mo kills. I will do ANYTHING to get the killing blow for this exact reason. #Priorities [R: SUCH A SENSE OF SATISFACTION WHEN THAT HAPPENS!]


Okay, so maybe I only bothered to craft this potion because it makes your eyes glow. Don’t judge.

In DAII, my favorite group to play with is Hawke, Anders, Fenris, and Varric. This may be motivated in no small part by how funny the banter gets between the three guys. Last time I played DAII, I tried out Force Mage with Hawke and had way too much fun destroying people with gravity. Anders mostly does lots of healing and annoying debuffs. Fenris is for tanking and Varric is there just to be witty. LOL.


Carver doesn’t think very highly of Anders and his pro-mage propaganda.

There IS an exception to this team — if Carver is around, Fenris gets kicked out. Hahahaha. Because I LOVE CARVER FOREVER. HE IS THE BEST. I have an entire collection of Carver one-liners. Because lame. (Me, not Carver. Never Carver. The man has a secret tattoo of a mabari, for crying out loud.)

…Hahaha here is where Rinn popped into the Google doc randomly and saw that I was here:

R: HIIIIIIIII
R: THIS IS WEIRD
P: LOL
P: YES IT IS

Just so you can see how awesome we are. Ahahaha.

Paola: Your turn! Who’s on your dream team? And which character in the series so far do you think has been the most intriguing, polarizing, or misunderstood? (Or all of the above??)

Rinn: Okay, first of all can I just say your plan is incredibly tactical, which is basically the total opposite of mine. I probably don’t make quite enough use of being able to control my other party members – the only thing I make sure to always have set is that Morrigan and Anders (in Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II) automatically heal anyone with less than 25% health. I’m sure that I’ve commanded Alistair to do a few things (harharhar ;D) – time to open up my game and see what I have! Oh, and here’s my dream team from Dragon Age: Origins:

Sten, Morrigan and Alistair! My babies. Yes, even grumpy Sten.
Warning: many nerdy gaming terms ahead. Apparently I had Alistair frequently using Shield Wall and Taunt, to keep the enemies away from everyone else. Sten basically went all out crazy, using AOEs whenever he was surrounded by more than two enemies, keeping himself buffed up with Berserk, and also targeting heavily armoured enemies with Sunder Armour. Morrigan is basically a pure healer – Heal or Group Heal anyone under 25% (because of the cooldowns and also quite handy to keep rotating them), Drain Life for her own health, and keep Cleansing Aura up for regeneration.

As for my Dragon Age II dream team, well let me share with you this boyband-esque shot… [P: THIS SHOT IS INCREDIBLE HAHAHA]


The usual combination of Rinn & the Babes: Anders, Varric and either Merrill or Aveline.
I actually used Merrill more than Aveline, but the two were interchangeable depending on whether I needed more magic or brute power. It actually worked quite well without a tank most of the time. And yeah, I basically didn’t command ANY of them except Anders who had to heal heal heal! I went down the sneaky Assassin/Duelist route, Anders was Vengeance/Elemental, Merrill Primal/Dalish Pariah and Varric a Specialist/Marksman. I have also used Fenris a few times but… sorry Fenris. I prefer these guys.

And as my Hawke was a Rogue, I got stuck with Bethany – booooo, Bethany! I don’t like her. Next playthrough I’ll have to go Mage for Carver. I need to see that tattoo…

I think Sten is one of the most misunderstood. He seems really hard and cold, but he locked himself in that cage as punishment for his crimes. He was going to let himself die for his previous acts so he obviously has a sense of guilt, even if it doesn’t seem that way. As my Warden got to know him, he opened up a lot more and revealed more of his past. He also started showing great respect towards her, and even started making jokes! I think that, despite appearances, he is actually very thoughtful and loyal. I mean, look at his interactions with the War Dog! His early game insults turn to playful jokes and remarks as the game progresses, not just with the Warden but other characters too (like his dialogue with Morrigan about the two of them sleeping together AHHHH).

[P: AND ALSO HE LOVES COOKIES.]

Rinn: As you already mentioned the playful chat between the party members, let’s talk about the humour in the game. What are some of your favourite funny moments?


Guys. I am Hawke and Hawke is me.

Oh geez, this is difficult because there are SO MANY funny moments in the game… here are some off the top of my head!

Wynne lecturing Alistair on the birds and the bees. SO MUCH AWKS. I think all of their interactions are hysterical, though. Alistair is about 10 trillion times more awkward than usual. And that is really saying something… hahaha.

Meeting Anders in DA2. The fact that Ser Pounce-A-Lot gets mentioned almost immediately is just… perfect. His rage at having his cat taken away from him never fails to crack me up.

ALL of the trash loot. ALL OF IT. (Why is there so much???) I actually made a list once of the most ridiculous things I’ve looted from mobs in the game. Here are some of those things, for your edification:

  • Black Bile/Clear Bile/Any Kind of Bile – Um, what? Why would I want to have bile in my backpack? For what possible reason would I want this AT ALL? And why would you be able to sell bile to a vendor for any amount, low or high??
  • Fancy Poison Ring – As opposed to a plain poison ring? I mean, seriously, I want to know if it’s possible to acquire a plainer version. While playing Sebastian’s Act 2 personal quest at the Harimann mansion, I found no less than SIX of these Fancy Poison Rings secreted in abandoned bedrooms and cellars. Just how many poison rings does one family need?? [R: Sounds perfect for the Borgia family ;D]
  • Chant of Light – Now this is just funny. Lulz.
  • Empty Stained Bottle – Another repeat offender. I find these EVERYWHERE. What are they stained with? What could I possibly use them for? I’m beginning to think Hawke participates in some sort of Kirkwall recycling program. [R: Why can I imagine Alistair instituting some sort of recycling program as one of his first decrees as king??]
  • Lucky Rabbit’s Foot – I’m noting this one not because it’s an odd piece of loot per se, but because I found it on the body of a hurlock in the Deep Roads. It amused me to no end that darkspawn would be in possession of lucky charms, although it wouldn’t be surprising for darkspawn to requisition a rabbit’s foot by force for such purposes… (poor rabbit…) But I like to think that this charm was found on some unfortunate adventurer that the hurlock killed. Maybe he never had a trinket of his own before. Maybe it was his treasure~ (There’s a story in this somewhere, guys.) [R: His precious…]
  • Tainted Dwarven Jewelry – The perfect anniversary gift: jewelry made by dwarves and slobbered on by darkspawn! Corruption 100% Guaranteed! On second thought, this might be more effective than the Fancy Poison Ring for dealing with people you don’t like…
  • Rotted Wooden Peg Leg – It would be far more entertaining if you could actually equip this. Otherwise, finding these in such high volume just makes you question life. Why have all these crude prosthetic limbs been abandoned in Kirkwall’s back alleys? How many one-legged pirates are being forced to hop from place to place because their peg legs are missing?????
  • Small Wet Pouch of Incense – One question: why is it wet???
  • Tattered Pantaloons – I just like that they’re called ‘pantaloons’.

[R: PAHAHAH I LOVE THIS. SO MUCH WONDERFUL TRASH! And I love your little stories behind them ;D]

Paola: We’ve discussed how awesome it is that your decisions have such an impact on the story in both Dragon Age games. Were there any decisions that proved to be especially difficult for you to make? Are there any choices you’ve never wavered from? (i.e. “WELL OF COURSE I AM MARRYING ALISTAIR”)

Rinn: Good question! Obviously the matrimonial decision was a very difficult one. Marry the (virtual) man of my dreams and become Queen (okay, Princess-Consort), or don’t marry him and watch him get hitched to some skank and then live out the rest of my days as a doomed Grey Warden, never able to love again *plays sad music* So yes, choosing to marry Alistair was sehr, sehr difficult. NOT. [P: LOLOLOLOLOL THIS WAS MY THOUGHT PROCESS EXACTLY OKAY]

As for the ACTUAL difficult decisions… hmm. Sometimes there were some choices I had to make that I faltered over because I sort of guessed how the party would react, and I didn’t want to lose their favour. But you never can please them all… There was one where you had to either try and save a possessed child (Connor, son of the Arl of Redcliffe), or kill him – and I chose to kill him because… er, well I don’t really know. I don’t think all of the possibilities were open to me at the time (I just took a look at all possible outcomes). It’s not a decision I wanted to make, of course. And naturally the whole party got pretty angry at it… apart from Morrigan, I think. Oh, Morrigan.

I spared the mages in the Circle of course, and sided with the elves in the forest, although I convinced them to free the werewolves – those weren’t exactly difficult decisions. Choosing which dwarf to support for the throne was quite tricky, as one seemed like a ruthless but capable ruler, and the other fairer but a bit hopeless. I went for Harrowmount in the end, who was the fair but hopeless one – and I’m still not sure if that was the right decision.

And as for the big, BIG end game decisions (there be spoilers ahead) – OFF WITH LOGHAIN’S HEAD! And Anora imprisoned, whilst I sit on my new throne, mwhahaha!

Rinn: For fear of making this post super long, and also because we’ve been writing it for about three months now (yup, seriously), I think it’s time to wrap up! Do you have any last words about the super amazing series that is Dragon Age?

Paola: Yes: PLAY IT!!!! But Alistair belongs to us. Paws off.

Rinn: If you haven’t played the series yet, then take Paola’s wise advice. You won’t regret it. And now, my dear readers, I shall leave you with this beautiful image.


There is a quest where all your stuff gets stolen and your party has to run around like this. If this doesn’t encourage you to play Dragon Age, then I don’t know what will.

Are you a fan of Dragon Age? Do you understand our fangirlish ramblings? Do you too want to get into Alistair’s pantaloons? Or are you completely and utterly mystified? Share your thoughts on the series (or our thoughts…) in the comments!

Thoughts

Thoughts #11: Why I Love Video Games

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To me, video games come second only to books. But there are some cases where I actually prefer them over reading (gasp!), and today I just want to chat a bit about why I love them, and why I spend quite a lot of my time playing them. No matter whether you play video games regularly or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

They are incredibly immersive.

My favourite sorts of games are the ones that pull you right into the story: Dragon Age and Mass Effect are great examples. I think I actually get more attached to video game characters than book characters, because I feel more personally involved in their story through my character. For example, in Mass Effect I spent ages talking to my squadmates, helping them out, forming relationships with them and learning their back stories. So naturally I grew quite attached to these beautifully crafted characters – and if you know Bioware games or the Mass Effect series, you know one of the main features of the games. The decisions and choices you make can have huge effects on the lives of other characters, and when I lost a couple of them throughout the three games it actually hurt. And I’m not going to lie – the last scene between Commander Shepard and whichever love interest you pick (for me, it’s always Garrus) makes me cry. I actually care about the welfare of these fictional characters – a lot.

Commander Shepard

Plus there are games that are immersive for totally different reasons – games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which to me didn’t have an amazing story, but is completely and utterly stunning. It is the only game I ever play with headphones on – there is so much detail to the sound and the landscape, combine that with first person mode and I can get totally lost in Skyrim for hours on end, just wondering around, not even doing quests.

 

They are beautiful.

Video games are forms of art. As I mentioned above, Skyrim draws me in with its amazing design and landscape. Bioshock Infinite, a game which I completed only recently, is one of the most gorgeous games I’ve played. The beautiful city (at least in appearance…) of Columbia, floating in the sky, is the main setting of the game and is one of the most stunning game settings I’ve ever seen. So much work goes into designing a gameLeanne @ Literary Excursion has a feature where she discusses concept art – imagine doing that sort of thing for every character and setting in a game.

Bioshock Infinite

There are so many different art styles to video games too. Realism, like Skyrim, cell-shaded like Borderlands or Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, a gorgeous hand-painted look like Bastion, or an alternate take on a typical 2D side-scroller like Fez.

 

They tell their own stories.

The story-telling and writing in some video games can be just as good as one of your favourite novels. In fact, sometimes it’s like you’re part of this amazing novel and you get to take a much more active role. One of the most recent games I’ve played with a wonderful story is Gone Home, which is rather like a visual novel. You play a young girl, home from travelling after a year – but when she gets home, no-one is there. You have to wonder around the house (in the middle of the night, during a thunderstorm), putting the pieces together to work out where everyone is. The house was really creepy at first, but as I discovered more of the story, it became a lot less frightening – and very sad. The finale made me cry.

Gone Home

With other games, like Skyrim, you can create your own stories. The player has total freedom to do what they want, which means they can create a detailed back story for their character and act it out, making decisions that their character would make, if that’s what they want to do. And then there’s games like L.A. Noire – a brilliant crime noir story that has the player identifying clues, investigating crime scenes and solving mysteries. All these small stories weave together to make up the main plot.

 

It’s fun being able to reinvent yourself.

One of my favourite things about video games? The character create screen! I can spend hours and hours making a character (even though they tend to all look pretty similar, but I have to get things just right). Detailed character creation gives me very mixed feelings – I’m happy because it means I can make a character just as I want, but also it means I have to make the character just as I want, which takes forever, or I’m not happy. Yeah. Here’s a selection of my characters from various games:

Video games allow you to redesign yourself, add things that might not be possible in this world! Want elf ears? No problem. Want to be a hobbit? Of course! Whether you play as a super stealthy assassin, a peace loving merchant, a diplomat or something completely different, it’s up to you. For example, when I play Mass Effect I often pick the choices that I myself would never make, which generally results in hilarious consequences and a badass Commander Shepard. In Skyrim I love being able to play a sneaky assassin, dispatching enemies before they even catch sight of me. In Dragon Age II my Hawke is a rogue, teleporting across the battlefield and using tactics to deal damage and then disappear. And in Saints Row III & IV – although I can’t make many choices for my character, I like to imagine her reactions to things. She dresses in a practical way (practical for things like robbing banks, massacring aliens, taking out rival gangs… you know, the usual) yet with a feminine touch, I like to imagine that she’s a woman in control of a gang who completely respect her and are perhaps a little afraid of her. Apart from her closest buds like Pierce or Shaundi. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it’s really fun to be able to invent all these characters, with their different back stories and personalities.

Oh, and you know what else? Video game romances! Forget book boyfriends, video game boyfriends are where it’s at. You may have seen me and Paola fangirling over someone called Alistair, and occasionally Anders. No, these are not real men – they’re superhotandcoolandawesome characters from the Dragon Age series. I also absolutely love Garrus from Mass Effect

 

They are humorous.

This isn’t applicable to every game of course, but some are just crazy, wacky and totally over the top. The Saints Row series has some of the most hilarious games I’ve ever played – just take a look at these screenshots (NSFW!) –

saints row 2013-12-28_00001 2013-11-30_00008 2013-12-01_00003

Top left, was part of the Christmas DLC. You could go the easy way, or spend ages licking through the candy cane door and unlock an achievement. So of course I went for the candy cane door! Top right, you better get that reference. Bottom left, I don’t even know… and bottom right, there are twenty photo opportunities around the city of Steelport – I just happened to be streaking when I found this one, and the photographer didn’t seem to mind. The Dragon Age series also has some pretty brilliant quotes, and if you’re looking for a humorous game you can’t really go wrong with any of the Lego games out there!

 

You can socialise.

MMOs have, or more aptly were, a big part of my life for several years. I really can’t write a post about why I love video games and not include them, because they got me through a really rough patch of my life. Between the ages of sixteen and eighteen I suffered from depression, and my only happy moments were spending time with my guild on an MMO called Dream Of Mirror Online, which sadly shut down in 2009. I made some fantastic friends through the game, and although we’ve not managed to find an MMO we all like since, we’re still in contact in various ways. I even regularly play co-op games like Borderlands, Sanctum 2 (shown below) and Orcs Must Die! 2 with them on Steam. I’m super excited for the end of this year, when I’ll be FINALLY meeting up with a couple of them after seven years of friendship.

2014-01-21_00002

 

And finally, the crazy statement… sometimes I just don’t feel like reading! Are you a lover of video games? Why do you think they’re so awesome?