Dragon Age and a Mandatory Life Update

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Okay, so I have been extremely busy for the past week and it’s meant that I have had to put my writing on the back burner. This is partly due to the fact that Christmas is coming up and I’ve had to get presents and things sorted. But also because I started my new job last week and am currently completing my training, which has been very mentally draining. (Though I think I’m starting to get the hang of it now) Also, I have been immersed in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

I don’t want to dedicate the whole post to Dragon Age because I haven’t got that far through the main quest yet and I don’t want to spoil it for those who are waiting for it to be patched or are getting it for Christmas. (and I can’t decide who to romance. Though if it goes by all my other DA romances,it’ll probably end in disaster) But I am enjoying it so far, even though the game lags on my poor laptop and I’ve encountered a few bugs, one that almost made the game unplayable. (But luckily found a work around.) It does feel a little bit like an MMO with some of the little fetch quests you have to do (I hate fetch quests) but I am getting to the point where I’ve started getting attached to the characters. (Dorian and Iron Bull are my BFFs and Varric is my bro.)

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Anyway, enough about Dragon Age, now it’s time for a life update. So, I’ve finally got a job and I am doing the training. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but now I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. The thing is that it’s full time and quite brain-stretching (in a good way) so when I come home, I’m completely tired (I am hoping I’ll get used to it though) which means that I haven’t had as much time to write my novel. Especially as I needed to focus on my training as I have had to revise for assessments for the first time in about three years. (Which I passed. So I am theoretically now fully qualified.) Also, with Christmas coming up, I won’t have much time to write because I’ll e spending it with friends and family/ keeping up my Christmas tradition of spending the day reading and waiting for everyone to fall asleep so that I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas special. (It won’t be good. The Christmas specials are rarely good.)

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But after Christmas, I should be fine. Hopefully, by then I will have gotten into some kind of routine and gotten used to my job so that I won’t feel so overwhelmed. Once I do that, I can find the time to write my novel and, who knows? actually finish it. There’s no way I am going to just let my characters fall into oblivion and I don’t want the past year to be a complete waste of time. Whilst the job I’ve got is not what I want to do, I still want to pursue my writing and I can do that now by actually having money to pay for things like electricity and food.

And I think that’s it. I haven’t got anything else left to say except that hopefully I will update my blog more often and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

GamerGate: The Reason We Can’t Have Nice Things…

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Okay, so I wasn’t going to blog about this. Partially because I didn’t want to get internet hate for it, but also because the amount of complete and utter stupid involved in the whole scandal makes me want to hit my head against a wall. Also, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold back my sarcasm and will probably end up insulting someone. But I will try my best.

*Deep breaths*

Right, for those who don’t know, GamerGate started when an ex-boyfriend (who’ll probably never have another relationship again. Just saying.) of Zoe Quinn, developer of the game Depression Quest, published a blog post accusing her of sleeping with games journalists who recommended her games. Understandably, this led many gamers to question the ethics of games journalism and whether game developers and journalists are too closely connected to be objective. (Which is fair enough) You would think that gamers would ask for ALL the people involved in these accusations to be investigated to, you know, see if there’s an truth to them.

Hahahahahahaha! No. Are you kidding? It’s the internet!

Instead, a small yet highly vocal minority of gamers decided that it was appropriate to not only to harass Quinn online, but send her death and rape threats, attacking anyone who calls them out for being misogynistic. This also expanded to the further harassment of feminist critic, Anita Sarkeesian as an episode of her web series Tropes vs Women in Video Games was released amid the scandal. All this under the guise of fighting ‘corruption’ in games journalism and claiming that the issue isn’t about gender at all.

Okay. Right. Keep telling yourself that.

You can claim that you have a  just cause and I’m all for being against corruption in not just games journalism, but journalism in general, but that does not give you the right to harass ANYONE (Not just women) or send them death threats. By only targeting the woman involved and anyone who defends her, you ARE making it about gender and misogyny. Not only that but you are not endearing people to your cause. People won’t give you what you want, if they just see you as irrational bullying extremists who are prone to knee-jerk reactions when they read something based off someone’s word. Not people you would want to deal with.

You’re harming the gaming community as a whole. You’re giving gamers even more bad press; that we’re miserable, appalling immature entitled babies that feel the need to bully and harass others when they voice an opinion that we don’t like. Worse, you’re tarring male gamers with the same sexist brush. Men who are otherwise accepting of women playing video games, who don’t really care whether the person they play with has two x chromosomes or not. You are illustrating the points that anyone has ever made about the games industry (and geek culture in general) being sexist. (Well done there guys.)

But! More importantly, your campaign of online harassment and death threats completely misses the point. Newspapers and journalists are ignoring your cause, choosing instead to highlight the appalling behaviour that you’ve shown instead of investigating the notion that maybe, yes, games journalists are a little too chummy with game devs and that maybe that isn’t right. Your actions have taken attention away from the issues that you have been trying to raise. *slow claps*

Not only this, but you’re scaring away people from the games industry; talented people who might have made amazing games. People who may have wanted to get into gaming but now won’t because they’re scared they’ll get bullied. I mean the fact that I was reluctant to write this post in case I got hate, shows that the gaming industry isn’t a safe place for anyone right now, regardless of gender.

So yeah, stop using the whole ‘we’re trying to end corruption in games journalism’ spiel as a way of justifying your misogyny. You’re fooling no one. If this wasn’t an issue of gender, then why are you targeting the only woman involved? Why aren’t you harassing the male games journalists who, if the allegations are true, are as much to blame as Zoe Quinn for all of this?

The sad thing is, it probably won’t get through to the self-righteous morons who are doing this, they’re too set in their ways to really listen to any criticism or differing opinion. They’re too busy accusing people of being white knights and social justice warriors to be open to any kind of irrational debate. (If they’re anti-SJW, what does that make them? Social Injustice Warriors? Yay for social injustice!)

As someone who dabbled, but only got into gaming in a big way in the last few years, I’ve found that most male gamers have been accepting of me. Hell, most of them don’t actually care about the fact that I play video games and I happen to be female. (Though a lot of them seem to assume I play JRPGs for some reason. I don’t. I just can’t get into them. Sorry.) I guess I’ve been quite lucky in that I haven’t experienced much in the way of sexism in gaming or geek culture in general. In fact, two incidents only particularly stick out for me; one where a guy asked me what a nice girl was doing playing violent video games (Oh how scandalous!) and one where some guy told me that I shouldn’t worry, that lots of girls these days were getting into gaming and sci-fi and fantasy. (Um, really? Thanks for that reassuring piece of information, it’s not like the majority of my female friends grew up playing video games or loving fantasy and sci-fi or anything.) It just depresses me when people who belong to a community that has been friendly and accepting towards me pull crap like this, it reinforces my lack of faith in humanity.

*Sigh*

So you may mock me and call me a fake geek girl or a gurl gamer or whatever, I don’t really care. (I have a habit of out-geeking a lot of the geeky guys I meet. Besides who gave you permission to decide on who is a geek and who isn’t?) What you’re doing isn’t really trying to raise an issue about the ethics of games journalism, it’s bullying and as everyone knows, the worst bullies are the ones who stand by and watch without ever saying anything so that’s why I’m calling you out. I refuse to let something I love be spoilt by toxic people who have to resort to bullying to get their point across.

*Deep breaths*

Thank god that’s over with. I’m sorry about the rant, but it had to be said. Here’s a picture of a funny dog to lighten the mood.

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“I Like Big Boats, I Cannot I Lie…”

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I’ve been playing a lot of Dragon Age 2 recently. Mostly because I lost my save when my old laptop, Yorick died. (Yes, I name my laptops). But I also use it as a reward for doing productive things like job hunting and writing my novel. (Otherwise I will just spend all day playing games and not getting anything done.)

Anyway, I think I’m on my fifth attempted play-through of this one. Why? It’s not because some of the characters are annoying. (Looking at you, Fenris and Anders.) Or the fact that I can’t choose the race of my Hawke like I could with my Warden. Or the fact that the game feels so rushed that I get so sick of running through the same six environments over and over and over. (And yet somehow still manage to get lost.) Or the fact that the battles go from ridiculously easy to ridiculously hard after the first act.

 Anders, I hate your face.

Anders, I hate your face.

No, it’s the fact that I could only feel engaged in the story if I played as a mage. I don’t know why.  I think it’s because mages play such an important part of the story. (Though it is weird that hardly anyone calls on you for being an apostate.) Especially, in the end with all the chaos that ensues. I think it’s because when I play as a mage, the story itself becomes more personal to me. The choices I have to make matter more. In almost any situation in the game, I will always side with the mages because my Hawke would be able to identify with their struggles. At the end of the third act, I felt betrayed by a certain cat loving mage whose actions reinforced the reasons why people mistrusted them in the first place. My Hawke ended up killing that character. Why? Because for all of his whining about the way that the mages get treated, his actions does nothing to improve their situation. He’s a hypocrite because he criticizes Merril for not realizing the dangers of using blood magic,  yet he’s an abomination and he endangers people in a way that she doesn’t.

Anyway, I digress. For all, the problems the second game has. It still got me thinking. What is it that makes people engage in a story? Is it the characters, or the plot? Both are important, the plot has to keep people gripped, but the characters have to be worth investing in, otherwise what is the point? For all the its flaws, I can see that Bioware tried to do both in Dragon Age 2. I just wish the game had been in development longer. It had so much potential to be as good as, or better than Origins. But ah well. I hope they fix those things in Inquisition. I also hope I can play as a female Qunari mage and that they put a female inquisitor on the cover art. That would be nice.