Thursday, November 29, 2012

What It's Like Inside My Brain

Last night, we were playing Red Dead Redemption.  I had successfully steered the ponypony somewhere and M was shooting some guys.  They probably deserved it.  I made some offhand comment about the game.

"Well, it is a Western," he replied.

"Maybe in a sense, all games are kind of Westerns," I mused.

"There's an article," he quipped back.

***

If my thought process resembles anything, it's probably the Molydeux Twitter account.  I tilt my brain and stuff falls out.  Sometimes it's awesome.  Sometimes it's not.  When it manages to connect to something else that's rattling around in there, it's an article.

***

"The word 'yellow' wandered through his mind in search of something to connect with.  Fifteen seconds later he was out of the house and lying in front of a big yellow bulldozer that was advancing up his garden path."

***

I'm not quite sure why I thought that all games were Westerns, but if I sat back to argue it, I bet I'd come up with a connection.  Something about the lone hero, probably, but then that would have me delving back into my film history books to define why the hero of the Western was the way he was.

***

In my self-image and self-perception, I still suck at consoles.  Despite having played a huge number of games on the PS3 this year for review and for fun.  Why was I so surprised that steering the ponypony around the not-entirely-wild-but-wild-enough-West of the turn of the last century wasn't hard for me?  After dozens or hundreds of hours of PS3 time, why am I still surprised at myself for, yes, knowing how to use the blasted machine?

***

When I came back to the blog this week, I discovered twenty-three (23!) abandoned drafts and half-drafts from over the years.  Some had their best paragraphs lifted and folded into other things; others just sit, as husks, with their careless author having long since forgotten why they were important to begin with.

***

There are notes on the whiteboard on my wall, on post-its all over my desk, jotted into the little notebook I keep tucked inside my purse.  "Kinect - class - space - McMansion - who games for" is one that makes sense.  I can remember that.  And it's written down twice, which means I thought it was important at least twice.

***

Maybe "Beyond the Girl Gamer" would be a good title for a weekly column, somewhere, that addresses topical gender issues in gaming.

***

I have a note that says "JUST LIKE Dark Souls," a game I have never, in fact, actually played.

***

This is the truest comic I have ever read.  Among many true comics.


***

I've got three separate notes on the nature of online multiplayer as the 21st century continues to unfold, two on Sherlock Holmes (the 2009 movie), and one full angry screed about over-reliance on the Cold War that, somwhere in the middle, morphed into a meditation on how the maturity of game narratives is attached to the maturity of the cinema it chose, unnecessarily, to ape.

That one about how combat is and isn't a useful mechanism for storytelling--that's one I keep promising myself to write.  I know a dozen other folks already have.  Someday, I'll have to do it anyway.


***

Today, I feel like I am out of ideas.  I am dwarfed, overawed, by the incredible things my colleagues and peers--my friends--have written.

I hate those people.

I love those people.

***

The thing is, if I wrote that column, I'd become, even more than I am, that "girl" writer.  Not that game writer.  Or that writer.

***

Until Tuesday night, I had the Omega review to hang onto.  I played it. I wrote about it.  And then it was done.  Two days, two measly days, without the anchor and already I am asking the cat if Communism really was just a red herring, and why Gandhi is always such an asshole in Civ games.

***

Everyone's wished me luck, asked where I'm going next.  I'm not being coy or teasing when I say that even I don't know; I  really don't know.  Aside from trying to convince the Commonwealth of Virginia that they are the ones who owe me unemployment, and that they can't fob me off on New York or Maryland, I really don't know what I'll be doing next week.

***

I'll be vacuuming my apartment like mad. Twice.  Each day. My cat-allergic parents are coming to town the week after.

***

I want my friends and colleagues and peers to be wildly successful, famous, rewarded with piles of cash.

I want to pay my rent.

I really hate competitive games.

***

I really, really want a Coke.  Or maybe a beer.  Maybe I can learn to like beer.

Maybe I can learn to like a lot of things.

I'd learned to like Kotaku.  A lot.  Really a lot.

***

I always said I hated BioWare-style RPGs and then 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 2 came and went and now even the people who make those games have publicly noticed my rather excessive love for them.  I still have a paycheck, for another week.  Time to get the Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition and teach myself some history.

Then I can write about the experience.

That's an article.

5 comments:

  1. Ohhhh, finally a modernized Baldur's Gate II. You're in for a treat. I hope they streamline the D&D mechanics as per Dragon Age, although I suppose that would infuriate some of the original players. For story, characters and world building BG2 will always stand alone. I remember the static background art being very beautiful too. 

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  2.  I just figure, there are so many folks out there who hate on the modern BioWare, claiming it's nothing like the Baldur's Gate era, and I suspect they're right. But I didn't think I'd like modern BioWare, and obviously I was full of shit, so maybe I'm full of shit about the classics too.  Maybe.

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  3. I didn't play Baldur's Gate II until 2008 when the mechanics were hopelessly outdated and the conversion to widescreen eliminated essential buttons. This should be a lot better. I've also heard that Planescape: Torment is a fantastic game unsuitable for modern hardware so I hope that gets updated as well. And, come on, Master of Orion II?

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  4. Baldur's Gate saga was the gold standard, and KOTOR pretty amazing in its own right. I am dearly hoping to see the enhanced edition as a holiday gift.

    Please let us know how you enjoy, or fail to enjoy, the experience.

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  5. Fantastic post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos! really scary games

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