Swooping is Bad…


Okay, so you know that I am a massive Dragon Age fan because I don’t shut up about it. (Sorry, but not really if this annoys you.) Anyway, E3 was last week (or the week before. Time becomes a weird thing when you’re unemployed.) and whilst I didn’t watch the majority of it, (not that I didn’t have time. Just couldn’t be bothered.) I did say pretty much the only thing, apart from the disturbing lack of actual gameplay for The Sims 4, that stood out for me was Dragon Age: Inquistion.

Now, that may be an obvious thing as I am kind of a huge Dragon Age fangirl. (Not rabid fangirl. Everything has flaws.) But I was really hesitant when I first heard that it was in development because of all the problems with the second game. I was also really worried when I heard that it was going to be open world like Skyrim. Don’t get me wrong, I love Skyrim but for very different reasons and I wanted Dragon Age to be it’s own game. But I was really excited when I found out that they were letting us pick a race again in the game and that the Qunari are playable for the first time ever. This is a big thing because the Qunari have always been the mysterious Other that you can’t quite get your head around in the game, especially with regards to their religion. Also it means that I can finally play as a female Qunari mage and yell ‘Saarebas!’ whilst flinging fireballs at my enemies. (Side note: Saarebas actually means “Dangerous thing” in Qunlat, quite apt considering. Yes, I am that sad or awesome depending on how you look at it.)

Anyway, I can’t really say much on the companions. I’m glad Varric is back because he was my bro during DA2 and he might possibly be the best thing about that game. For me anyway. As for the others? Eh, we’ll see. I’m curious about Iron Bull though, apparently he isn’t all solemn like your typical Qunari. I’m interested in seeing what that will be like. As for Cullen, I’m not really bothered about him, I don’t get what all the fuss is about where he is concerned. I’m glad Leliana is back (though that was obvious from the end of the second game.) and I want to know what she’s up to. Likewise with Morrigan. I really want to know what happened to the demon baby I made her have with Alistair and I want to know how integral to the plot that is going to be. (Oh and I think we’re getting a Tevinter mage as a companion too. That should be interesting…)

Um, what else? Oh yes gameplay! I like the idea of targeting the limbs of a dragon to incapacitate it rather than just swinging a sword at it’s ankles until it dies. Also, I like that they’ve introduced spells that you can only use once per battle. It adds to the tactical element of the battle. I’m glad they’ve brought the tactics back properly as that is how I play the game.  They’re also bringing it to the console versions too this time round, which is also good because the graphics whilst pretty look like they might chew up my laptop so I may have to get it for the PS3. (I hope not though. I’m a PC gamer at heart.) But yeah, I hope the tactics actually work properly this time round. I hope we get to lay traps again like in Origins, instead of just hacking and spamming fireballs. I hope that I don’t end up having to constantly babysit my companions like I did in the second game.  That would be good. Also no waves of enemies. It makes flanking difficult.

I don’t know, I definitely feel a little better knowing that they’re going back to making it an RPG. I just hope we get crafting back. They’re definitely taking advantage of Frostbite 3. I do have one question though, weren’t they thinking of including a multiplayer element to it? There were rumors circulating around for ages and it hasn’t been mentioned since. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer elements in single player games, I have to say it would’ve been awesome to be able to storm a castle with friends. But eh, oh well.

I just hope that it lives up to the hype to be quite honest. I know there will always be some element of disappointment but I hope that because it’s had a longer time in development that it’s going to be amazing. I just hope that Bioware have learnt their lesson.






Yes, This Is Another Rant…


So this may come across as something of a rant. But I got into a debate with someone (Well I say debate. It was more an argument where he just repeated the same point whilst ignoring mine. I hate people like that.) about whether or not schools and universities should stop doing English Literature courses. His argument was that the teachers spend too much time dissecting novels and poems linking them to the authors’ lives and looking for symbolism (that probably isn’t there.) instead of teaching them to appreciate the actual stories.

Um, okay. This is fine and all and he did make a valid point. But I think that English Lit should still be taught. Why? Because it enables people to read books that they would not think to pick up (I found that this happened to me a lot. I really didn’t think that I would enjoy Mrs Dalloway as much as I did.) and it helps them to think critically about the books that they read. It also teaches students to approach the stories and novels from different perspectives such as Freudian, Feminist and others as well as putting them into a historical context which helps them to better understand what the stories are actually about. I mean, Frankenstein was written during a time of social revolution and scientific progress. Shelley was inspired by the discoveries of Galvani who had managed to reanimate dead tissue and she was very aware of the moral dilemmas that scientist faced. It is one of the reasons why her novel is still relevant today.

Also, where would your cat sleep?

Also, where would your cat sleep?

As for the fact, that sometimes teachers read too much into novels and poems I think that does happen. (I have sat in lectures before wonder whether my lecturers were making things up as they went along.) But whilst a lot of poets and authors do probably just write things because they sound cool, just as many use techniques such as symbolism and unreliable narrator for a purpose. For example, in The Dresden Files, Harry knows that his pentagram necklace symbolises his faith in magic which is what protects him. In Beloved, the titular character can be interpreted in several different ways and symbolises the traumatic pasts of the slaves. And yes, while dissecting poems and novels to the death can be boring. I don’t think it is a valid reason for cancelling all literature courses. I think it just means that the way that Literature is taught (especially poetry.) should be changed so that it engages with students and inspires them to read.

Also, arguing that all Literature courses should be banned is forgetting the fact that books and poetry form a fundamental part of our culture. What kind of world would we live in if we did not allow students to access that part of our culture? We would have people growing up who will have never read a single book in their lifetime and that would be a shame. How would we be able to encourage children to learn and experience new cultures if we don’t expose them to books? Not everyone can afford to travel to far off places to understand what different cultures are really like. If we didn’t teach Literature, we would end up with a whole generation who would be ignorant of their own and other cultures; who would lack empathy and would have an extremely narrow-minded view of the world.


Besides, books inspire a lot of people not just writers. Would I be as loyal as I am if I hadn’t picked up Tolkien or Harry Potter? If we cancelled literature courses would we be discouraging a lot of potentially talented young writers if we stopped exposing them to books? Would I have started writing if I had not been encouraged to read from a young age? I don’t know. Without Alice and Harry and Matilda, I don’t think I would have been inspired to write my own stories and keep writing. I would have made things up in my head sure, but I don’t think I would’ve actually written them down. I know one thing for sure though, without books I would have had a very boring childhood.

I dunno, I just don’t understand how someone can think this. (But he thinks Tolkien is cliched. Yeah I know.)  But that’s me I suppose. I guess this is all irrelevant anyway, since you don’t need to teach people to appreciate stories. They do that anyway. A good story is a good story whether you dissect it or not. I just think books should be available for everyone and Literature courses allow that. What do you think?