Yes, I’m sorry, but I’m writing a post that might be about women’s underwear

Every morning I do two things at breakfast: I eat a bowl of cereal and check Flipboard on my tablet. While I can hardly profess to being a news junkie or, for that matter, current with just about anything, I’ve come to enjoy Flipboard’s quirkiness in which stories it aggregates and chooses to show. I have the app set up in a way so that I can quickly scroll through my own curated topics: top stories, world news, U. S. news, business, sports, technology, celebrity, science, fashion, and food. In ten minutes, I’m informed (or “informed,” if it’s slow news day) and on my way.

But every now and again, Flipboard likes to throw in a curve ball, and they usually throw it into the “top stories” section. Things like…

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Gifting in Dragon Age: Origins

When it comes to the idea of making “friends” in a game, BioWare outdid itself with the gifting system in Dragon Age: Origins. Alright, maybe that’s me being a little fannish, but it was something different in what is, essentially, a straightforward RPG. (Actually, the game is anything but “straightforward,” but you get the idea.) In this Virtual Bastion post, I looked at this at this little trick to getting people to like you (even more) in the game.

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If you’ve played even just a few hours of a recent BioWare game, you know that one of the developer’s hallmarks is personal interaction. As a character in one of its games, players are given opportunities to interact with NPCs and teammates to varying degrees, from skin deep to much deeper. The ability to personally interact with the game world around your character turns the game into more than just a matter of winning, or getting from point A to point B to point C in one piece. These interactions can change the way a game is played, inasmuch as they can alter the outcome of the game itself. And with each game or game series, BioWare has provided different means of interaction. In this post, I’ll be looking at of the interactive tricks the team included in Dragon Age: Origins – gift-giving.

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Ac!d Commander: Leone and his…pansies?

This is my new game project: “Ac!d Commander.” It involves Metal Gear Ac!d for the PSP. Rather than being in written form, I decided to do an actual Let’s Play, making videos and everything. I’ll be posting one to three new videos every Friday from today until the game is over. I welcome any comments and discussion. Apologies in advance for any audio hiccups, video malfunctions, or other jackassery, which will surely ensue.

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Five on Shuffle, #10

Welcome to my new monthly series called “Five on Shuffle” where I attempt to reconnect with my iPod by using it regularly throughout the year and using it only and continuously on “shuffle.” Once a month I’m going to stop at a completely random interval, snap photos of five songs in a row, and then post and write about them here. The writing may be heavy or light, depending on whether or not I’ve anything remotely clever to say about any given song in the moment.

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Super Mario 64’s 120 Stars

Over on Virtual Bastion, our month-long “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” celebration continues! In this post, I waxed nostalgic on one of my most important gaming feats (if, perhaps, my ONLY gaming feat), obtaining all 120 stars in Super Mario 64. Twas a very special feat!

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When The Duck, Hatm0nster, and I were knocking around ideas for our “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” series, a big, personal question stuck in my mind.

“What are my gaming feats?”

Ye olde dictionary describes a “feat” as “an achievement that requires great courage, skill, or strength.”

Inasmuch as strength isn’t really a part of gaming, unless we’re talking mental acuity or physically holding a controller for hours on end, I overlooked that part of the definition. The same went with courage. (Although, with that in mind, perhaps my greatest gaming feat will someday be beating DOOM 3…I just…can’t…) So that left me with “skill,” rightfully a regular aspect of gaming. One needs to develops one’s skills in and with a game in order to beat it. And with the development of skills comes mastery. Have I ever harbored mastery over a game?

After thinking on that for a while…

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Ac!d Commander: FINALLY INSIDE FAR!!

This is my new game project: “Ac!d Commander.” It involves Metal Gear Ac!d for the PSP. Rather than being in written form, I decided to do an actual Let’s Play, making videos and everything. I’ll be posting one to three new videos every Friday from today until the game is over. I welcome any comments and discussion. Apologies in advance for any audio hiccups, video malfunctions, or other jackassery, which will surely ensue.

Continue reading “Ac!d Commander: FINALLY INSIDE FAR!!”

“What video games are good art?”

As bloggers, we know that our journeys on the Internet can sometime lead to unexpected places. That’s where I find myself today, at this point, answering a very innocent question posed by the kind proprietor of The Long and Short of It (a blog/blogger worth following if you’re not already) on my article “Are Video Games Art?” And that question is:

What video games are good art?

To further quote, of said question, he succinctly and brilliantly dubbed it a “storm in a teacup.” I simply love that turn of phrase; how remarkably accurate it is here. Because truly, how in the holy hell of cultural edifices does one even begin to answer that?

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Tricks, Treats, and Feats: Getting Mid-Evil in in Fable II

This month on Virtual Bastion, we’re celebrating the fun side of Halloween with our “Tricks, Treats, and Feats” posts! Join us each week as we share some of favorite game stories involving in-game tricks, special items, and grand shows of skills! In my first festive post, I offered up some tips on getting one of my favorite weapons in Fable II: the Maelstrom. It’s an evil, eeeeevil weapon for which one must complete some evil, eeeeevil deeds. (But don’t worry, is eventually forgiven. It’s only a game, after all. 🙂 )

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Image captured by Hatm0nster.

Despite its reputation as being a simplistic and middling RPG, Fable II remains, for me, an enjoyable experience. And part of that is due to the inclusion of some interesting…ahem…rewards, if you’re willing to go the extra mile to attain them. One of my favorites is a legendary weapon called the Maelstrom. And the trick to getting it involves the game’s alignment system, along with, well…setting aside one’s inherent good nature.

Fable II expanded upon the original Fable’s simple good/evil alignment system with the addition of four additional trait scales: pure/corrupt, rich/poor, funny/scary, and loved/hated. In the end, however, these additional instances really only affected the hero’s interactions with Albion’s citizenry in the game, and had little to do with any of the side quests. The only exception to this could be the path to obtaining the Maelstrom, which is done through a quest called…

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