Monday, July 8, 2013

My gamer cred, and lack thereof

Now that I'm done with the game, I'm a lot freer to read articles, reviews, etc.  And I'd like to respond to some of them, and talk about game play and game design in general, but I think it's worth mentioning the context I'm coming from.  I've mentioned how my experience of Dragon Age is influenced by Mass Effect, and the differences between those games and Skyrim.  So I think it's worth noting my RPG gaming history, because it's what everything is getting compared to.  I have played:
Various early (pre Nintendo 64) Zelda games
Ultima Underworld 1 and 2 
Diablo 2
The old Fallout games (1 and 2)
Knights of the Old Republic (1 and 2)
Fable 1 (and a little of 2)
Jade Empire
Lost Odyssey
Mass Effect 1
The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim
Dragon Age 1
Of those games, only the earliest games I played as a teenager, and the three I played most recently (Skyrim, Dragon Age, some of Fable 2) were games I chose to buy.  The majority of my gaming experience was curated by my boyfriend.  He brought games into the house, and some of them I played.  Even two of the three post-breakup games were sequels in franchises that I'd already played.  Dragon Age is the first game franchise I started on my own.  So my experience is limited.

And I haven't played a bunch of games that are probably totally relevant to the conversation:
Neverwinter Nights
other Diablo games
Grand Theft Auto
Final Fantasy Anything
Dark Souls
Fallout 3
Some of those might not be RPGs, depending on your definition, but they seem to have enough elements that they come up in discussion.  I dunno.  I've never played them.

I mention this list, because when Why I'm Bored with Bioware says
There also is a lack of the impact seen in other titles - Fallout 3 let us destroy a town, and then deal with the ramifications afterwards. The best we can hope for [in a Bioware game] is that a companion may leave us because they disagree.
I think, hey, there's totally an impact!  The world may not care if Alistair loves me or not, but I sure as hell do.  And that difference of opinion is partly because I think that the companion stories are important to my experience of the game, and partly because I haven't played Fallout 3 and experienced those greater consequences.

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