An Apology to the People of the Fallout Universe

I owe an apology to the people of the Fallout Universe (at least in games 3 and 4).  I have been quite judgmental as I have played over the years.  I could not understand why they could not take just a small bit of time and clean up their homes a bit.  I mean, you could hardly turn around without running into this stuff:

Fallout Abraxo

Yep, that’s cleaning powder.  I reckon it’s similar to Comet.  So why couldn’t they use the darn stuff?  Everywhere you go in the Fallout world, the interiors of the houses look like this:

Fallout 3 mess

If I lived there, I would surely try to clean it with that abundant cleaning powder, right?  I had thought so up until recently.  Now my own home looks like this:

Flooded House

It’s been that way for over a month, but have I picked up any Comet to start cleaning?  No!  Why not?  Because I know it doesn’t matter right now.  It’s just going to become an even bigger mess later as the contractor comes in and fixes it.  Not only that, but just being in the house drains all of my energy.

I assume that the people of Fallout must have felt similarly after their disaster.  Many of them probably evacuated from the worst areas.  For those who stayed, I’m sure they simply didn’t have the energy to clean up.  People of Fallout, I sincerely apologize.

girls-that-play-video-games

As a member of the female portion of our society, I feel that I’ve got some expertise in the area of girl/women gamers.  Having played a MMO in the early days of MMOs, I have probably seen it all when it comes to how women are portrayed and treated in video games.  I feel the cartoon above really sums this article up – we are not treasures to be sought and we are not fodder for trolls.  We are just people trying to have fun and relax by playing a game.  This is a two-part article.  The first is going to focus on my experience as a female gamer.  The second will focus more on how women are portrayed in video games and how that has affected me.

When I started going online and playing games, way back in 1997, it was a bit of a different world than it is today.  I usually played a female character because, well, I’m female.  I was also just fresh out of high school and a bit naive.  If I really wanted to be left alone, I would create a male character, but this was usually in World of Warcraft because that community is the worst of any I’ve seen.  Gaming was so largely a male-dominated thing that most people just assumed I was male.  The more brave of the guys would ask if I actually was a girl before they started to hit on me and try to lure me to their homes to “play together”.  Oh yeah, that was far more common than you might like to believe.  And I even went to visit a couple, but naive me thought that they were interested in the person that I was instead of my boobs.  Wrong.  Every time wrong.  Now, to be fair, I did end up marrying one of these guys and another is my longest-running friend (we have been talking online since 1996).  However, it seemed that I couldn’t play an online game session without someone sending me a message relating to sex in one way or another.

I quickly found that my place in gaming was as a sex object and that I was a rare commodity.  I didn’t really like the attention, but it was always there.  I like to think that I earned some respect through my game play, but that’s probably just wishful thinking.  Gaming for me wasn’t about my accomplishments as a gamer, but instead as my gender.  “So why is this a problem?”, you might be thinking to yourself.  This greatly affected my self esteem.  I wasn’t an equal in this community at all.  I was only there for their entertainment, and if I could play, that was just a bonus.  I don’t play online much anymore and haven’t much since I married my husband.  He is not one of those guys – he’s quite progressive and encourages me to do whatever I want in life.  We are equals and he treats me as such.

Many men that read this will likely think that I am a feminist and too sensitive.  I don’t dislike men.  In fact, I get along better with men than women.  I don’t believe that all of those guys are bad people, either.  I think the internet affords a sense of anonymity which allows them to say things that they would never say to the women that they know in their lives.  This is the same principle that applies to trolls online.  Nobody knows who they really are, so there are no consequences.  But obviously, the sentiment is most likely real and it is troubling.

nintendo-switch

I just read an interesting article on the switch.  It’s from Cracked, so be prepared for bad language.  The author brings up some interesting points about the design of the system and the reason that we play games in the first place.  It hasn’t altered my opinion of it much, but it does bring up some good points.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/its-finally-obvious-nintendo-doesnE28099t-understand-humans/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrackedRSS+%28Cracked%3A+All+Posts%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

There is a new video-game inspired movie on the horizon – Assassin’s Creed.  The games are excellent.  I was recently asked if I thought this will be a good movie, and I think it has the potential to be.  The game has a really interesting plot that can lend itself well to the big screen.  However, this usually isn’t the case.

Video games and movies have long had a love-hate relationship.  What makes a good movie often doesn’t translate to a good game, and what makes a good games really doesn’t work very well as a static movie.  There have been some exceptions – I enjoyed Doom, although many will tell you it sucked.  The Tomb Raider movies haven’t been terrible and even Resident Evil was ok.

Then there were movies like Super Mario Brothers, which was just terrible.  They tried to make a movie out of a game that really doesn’t have a story line outside of “the princess is in another castle”.  I know World of Warcraft came out recently as well.  I haven’t seen it, but I really don’t have any interest to, either.

Often times the games that are based on movies are just ok.  They are generally licensed games that are designed to make money as a supplement to the movie.  Not a lot of effort goes into them beyond that.  Pretty much every movie-game I can think of fits this – Wall-E, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.  The LEGO versions of games are usually pretty good, however.

Animated TV shows usually make fairly good games as well.  The Simpsons has a long history of decent games and the most recent South Park title was a good one.  Family Guy has had ok games.  Of course, we can’t forget Pokemon, Dragonball-Z or Naruto, either.

Many years ago, I had been into buying lots of SNES games and then turning them around and selling the individual games for a slight profit.  It wasn’t nearly enough to live by, but it was a fun hobby nonetheless.  That sure was the time to collect SNES, which I eventually sold.  I only have a few left now.

As mentioned in a previous post, this seems like a good time to collect PSP games.  I’ve bought a few larger lots and I’ve just started listing the individual games for a profit.  If I buy a lot and get the games for $2.50 each, then sell them each for $5-$7, that’s a decent little profit.  Of course, I keep the better games in my collection.  But all duplicates get sold.  I’ve looked into lots of Nintendo DS games as well, but the prices on those games are ridiculous right now.

It’s a lot of fun!  It’s not for everyone and you definitely need good organizational skills, but if you can hack it, it’s rewarding.

I have been a subscriber of Game Informer Magazine for years now.  It comes free with Game Stop’s PowerRewards program and it’s worth it just for the magazine.  This magazine features really good up and coming games and includes those indie games that we all end up loving.  Many writers tend to skip these games as it doesn’t sell as well.

The format is great as well.  The first few pages are letters, fan artwork, letter from the editor and table of contents.  Next up is their feature (cover) article, which usually spans a good 10 pages or so.  Then there are previews of upcoming games and finally reviews of current games.  I typically agree with their reviews, but there’s always a time or two when you’ll think they are off the mark.

I strongly recommend this magazine.  The artwork is superb, it’s quality writing and it’s enjoyable all around.  It is available in both digital and print.

Between games

I was really into a couple of games before I went on vacation.  I had a nice routine down and I was kicking butt.  Since I’ve gotten back, however, I seem to be in one of those dreaded times for all gamers – the between games slump.  I don’t really have a game that has my undivided attention at the moment.  A big part of this is due to my desire to watch the Olympics, which is really cutting into game time, but I also need to find that next game.

This is so frustrating to me as I have over 1000 games to play in this house.  More if you consider internet games and the GCW Zero ROMs.  But no, my brain doesn’t seem to want to latch on to any of them right now, which makes me look and feel a lot like that girl in the picture.  I do still play for maybe an hour a day, but that is a stark contrast to the six to eight I was putting in before vacation.

I just started The Witcher 3:  Wild Hunt, so we’ll see if that one sucks me in.  So far, not really.  I try to give games a few solid hours of game play before making judgement, but it’s just not cutting it yet.  Alas, I’m sure I’ll find that next one before too long.  This is also usually the time when I break out some old favorites, so I won’t be surprised if I start playing Project Gotham Racing, Diablo 3 or a city builder or simulation game.