Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Banner Saga, and living for the now

Here is a fact about me that will surprise absolutely no-one: I prefer winter to summer.

Even though it's only February, I am already hiding from the lengthening days in the chilly embrace of The Banner Saga, a tactical RPG set in a winter so bleak that the sun itself has frozen in place in the sky. Gameplay consists of making decisions for and fighting battles as a small caravan of humans and Varl, a race of horned giants who are the last of their kind because they can't reproduce (they're all male) and the god who made them is, like all other gods, dead.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Dual Wielding: Autobiography of a Fangirl

I bang on about Tomb Raider a lot because this is a video game blog, but Lara Croft actually shares the main plinth in my own personal Hall of Fandom with another 90s icon, Tori Amos.

This is why my autobiography is going to be entitled Dual Wielding, a reference to the fact that while most people are happy just using one gun or one piano at a time, the two women who will have inspired my meteoric rise to fame, fortune and international renown had mastered the art of using two at the same time.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Final Fantasy VII Playthrough: Part 19 - Cloud returns, kinda

After a nerve-wracking few weeks that have seen Tifa and then Cid try their hand at leadership while Cloud suffered a mental breakdown, fell into the Lifestream and took a journey through his subconscious only to discover that he wasn't Cloud at all, things are finally back to normal.

"Normal", of course, being a race against time to save the planet from physical and existential destruction at the hands of Sephiroth, Meteor and Weapon.

Monday, 22 September 2014

The numbers game

I recently listed my top ten games on my tumblr blog following a nomination from Stella. Because my tumblr is mostly visual I added a set of ten images to accompany the list, and saw that most of the images had women in them.

I then realised that...

...four of the games (Tomb Raiders IV and II, Beyond Good and Evil and Portal) had canonical female protagonists...

...two of the games (Mass Effect 3 and Fallout 3) gave me the option to make the protagonist a woman...

...three of the games (Final Fantasy X, The Last of Us and Deadly Premonition), while featuring male protagonists, let me play as one or more women to some extent, with Final Fantasy X featuring three female members in the central party, one of whom is the most powerful and important character in the game, both in plot and gameplay terms.

Only Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception didn't let me play as a woman, but it has three very strong female characters including Katherine Marlowe, one of gaming's most subtly brilliant villains. Ok, so it might not pass the Bechdel test, but none of the women are objectified, they don't need need saving, and they all have agency.

Games industry, do you have ANY idea how much money I have spent on video games in my life, and how much more I might continue to spend on games that interest me?


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Final Fantasy VII Playthrough: Part 18 - Over to you, Cid

Cloud is lost in the Lifestream, a giant supernatural beast is on the loose, Aeris and Sephiroth are still dead and missing respectively and a meteor is about to collide with the planet. But the party have managed to steal an airship, so I think on balance, things are looking up for Team Tifa and her merry men.

Even so, it's hard to stay relentlessly positive when staring straight up at Meteor, which is heading towards us at terrifying speed (context: Final Fantasy VII predates both Armageddon and Deep Impact by a year).