|Bioware's newest MMO: Star Wars: The Old Republic|
Who You Are Determines What You Play
By Emily Reese
Before I met my husband, I had regulated playing video games to a bro-like activity and total waste of time. Since that fateful day seven years ago, I have been slowly assimilated into the gaming community to the point of surpassing my spouse’s talent in certain games or genres. We each have our must-haves; we are known by sight at our local Gamestop and each of us has attended a midnight launch or two. Yet we play for such different reasons that our tastes are nearly polar opposite. Case in point, the Blizzard vs. Bioware discussion.
My husband, Ryan, loves developer giant Blizzard. World of Warcraft was the bane of my existence in our early years. Hell, it was so much a part of both our lives we were asked to contribute to a sociology book written to help people understand why MMORPGs were so popular. I wrote a research proposal as an undergrad for a study on how Social Penetration Theory is the opposite in MMORPGs from real life… but I digress. (I will try to keep my degree dorking-out to a minimum.)
My point is, through study and experience, I began to recognize why people play/like different kinds of games. It comes down to the type of person you are and what you want to get out of your entertainment.
|Emily's husband, Ryan, spends his time immersed in the World of Warcraft from Blizzard|
Ryan, while using video games to relax, also likes to feel like he accomplished something during his downtime. He’s only satisfied if he can look back and say, “I did this, this, and this today.” He has no real issue with repeating the same scenario multiple times, as long as he continually improves on the execution. In the WoW and Diablo franchises (both by Blizzard,) this is the natural progression of the game. Once you hit a level cap, you do the same thing again, only this time harder. Recently, the epitome of this on consoles is Dark Souls (developer From Software,) in which everything is ridiculously hard, you die often, and there’s only a shadow of a linear storyline. For me, it’s death, slow and painful. For him, completely clearing an area intact after five straight hours is something to be celebrated.
As for me, I would snort a game by developer Bioware up my nose with a twenty in front of a squad of narcotics officers. When playing through the most recent Mass Effect (Mass Effect 3) release, I cried and mourned for a character, (R.I.P. Thane.) I worried over my decisions and their long reaching effects. How much Salarian support do I need to save the galaxy? Am I the kind of person that would leave the Genophage uncured and doom the Krogan? I replay these games multiple times, not to do anything better, (I know the kind of character I want to be,) but to experience new romance options, a feat nearly impossible in real life.
|Emily prefers to kick butt and take names in Mass Effect 3, Bioware's baby|
“It’s just a game,” you say, and you are right. But the reason I play makes it a completely different experience. For me, video games are an escape; they are movies wherein I control (somewhat) the script as it unfolds. Bioware games are heavy in narrative the way teens are heavy in sarcasm (or at least the attempt to use it.) Yes, you still fight things, go on quests, etc., but the key to success is in the relationships you build with other NPCs. Get a companion character to like you and they will perform more efficiently. Get them to love you, and they receive major bonuses, (not to mention the sweet but laughable PG sex scenes.) For Ryan, this is a waste of his time. He would rather just shoot things and move on. For me, these are in depth immersions into fictional worlds where every choice has a consequence, and every interaction could be the deciding factor on whether or not you, and your team, make it out alive.
The more I think about it, the more I realize how much our video game preferences come down to who we are. I’m an author. I like to create fantasy worlds and the characters that live inside them. If I want a happy ending, it will happen. If it cheapens things, it won’t. Either way it’s my prerogative. My husband is a very driven individual; he knows where he wants to be and the steps he needs to take to get there. He executes them easily, and most of the time I envy him.
Then I fall in love with an old friend, save the galaxy against insurmountable odds, and do it all with an unscathed squad of compatriots. Not to brag… much.
Send me your pictures! At the end of this month, I will be doing a compilation of all the awesome photos I receive from fellow female gamers. If you're a girl and you're a gamer, take your picture with a sign that says you're a gamer and/or your favorite video game and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be as creative as you like, just keep it PG-13.
Don't forget the prizes! For every post you comment on this month, you will be entered into a drawing to win either Call of Duty: Black Ops II* or Guild Wars 2* (or another game of your choice of similar value). All you have to do is comment!
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