What I’m Blanking #2

Thanks to everyone who checked out my first post! I’m excited to keep up this series as well as this blog.

What I’m Playing: Dragon Age: Origins

Aeryn_100

I am the absolute worst at starting games. In that I start new games half the time I play, and I start much more than I finish. As an adult with more income and digital download sales, I have a lot more games than time. As such, I skip around. This week alone I’ve dabbled in Borderlands 2 (continuing what I was playing last week), Bioshock Infinite (which I just picked up from a very good sale) and now Dragon Age: Origins.

I’ve been paying attention to the E3 announcements this week (and jumping in on the Microsoft hate bandwagon), and watched the EA stream. The announcement of Dragon Age: Inquisition immediately piqued my interest, and then I remembered that I had a few old save files (the last when I ragequit during the Fade section), and decided to pick this up again, playing as an Elf Mage. My sister and I are both playing similar save files and chatting while we play; I may be annoying her a bit, but I think we ultimately had fun. I named my character Aeryn after voice actress Claudia Black (Morrigan)’s character on Farscape. I feel like this has to have been done a million times before, but it amused me all the same. (I also wonder how many characters have been named Vala, after her character on Stargate SG-1…)

The thing that I noticed during this playthrough (I mostly got through the back story of my character) is how different it feels. My most prominent playthroughs have been as a human noble, one of the children of a noble of the kingdom. You learned about her family, went through a tragedy, and ultimately felt really connected to what was going on in the story because of your position. It felt really connected. Here, as a mage, I had to go through the trial out of apprenticeship (called “the Harrowing”) , and then I tried to help a friend escape being a mage so he could be with his loved one (which ended badly). However, I didn’t know how I got to the Circle Tower (They said people were taken there when young), and it really felt less emotional than the human noble intro.  Further, the reasons for starting on the main story (becoming a “grey warden”) felt less meaningful; the only explanation of why I was needed personally as a grey warden was because “we need more mages.” Perhaps it’s the case of writing one backstory first and then figuring the others around it, but my experience wasn’t quite as good as the first.

This is part of why I can’t even imagine writing a review for a game like this or any other Bioware title. Or any title that drastically allows you to change events. If you choose a specific class here, you don’t get to see any of the other backstories that have been written. This is also a pretty long game, as well, so doing multiple playthroughs might be impossible. Even still, I think it might be difficult to judge the writing based off of only one playthrough; if I was writing a full review of this game, if I had started off as a human noble I’d praise the writing, and if I started as an elf mage I would say it improved over time but fell flat at first.

I’m going to continue with this file, but perhaps I might have to start yet another human noble save file, so I can experience that again.

What I’m Watching: Stargate Atlantis and Farscape

Speaking of Claudia Black! As my Amazon Prime trial is coming to an end soon (ending in a week), I’m watching episodes of shows that are Prime exclusive that I want to see. At this point it’s mostly the Stargate series and Farscape, in addition to the one episode of Warehouse 13 featuring Sean Maher and Jewel Staite because I love those two.

Have I mentioned I like slightly cheesy sci-fi yet? OK, maybe not slightly cheesy, full on cheese at points.

I haven’t been watching full seasons of either, instead watching episodes I like, and wondering if I can afford a full series DVD set of Farscape once this subscription runs out. I got into Farscape around the same time as Stargate, when I watched immense amounts of the sci-fi channel (now Syfy), when they aired lots of X-Files reruns, Farscape reruns and Stargate. It was a marvelous time for Syfy, but a tough time for me, wanting to see everything but not willing to shell out the $100+ for one season of Farscape (yes, that’s how much those DVDs cost at that time. We’ve come so far~)

One thing that makes me happy, looking back at these shows, is the great female characters on all of them. SG-1 has the tough and brainy Sam Carter (who’s not about to let you dismiss her because she’s a woman), Atlantis has Elizabeth Weir (my personal favorite character of the Stargate universe), Teyla Emmagan and Jennifer Keller (who gets a bad rap sometimes, but I love her anyways), while Farscape, among other characters (like Chiana and Zhaan) has Aeryn Sun, played by Claudia Black.

All these characters I’ve named are strong in some way or another; Sam Carter becomes a full blown colonel of the US Air Force and ends up leading Atlantis. Elizabeth Weir is the original leader of the Atlantis mission, Teyla is a leader of her people and a warrior, and Keller becomes the Head Medical officer. Aeryn was a capable Peacekeeper (military) before joining up with the crew of the Moya. Geek culture has its share of issues with women, and I don’t want to say that it’s perfect. Goodness knows the video game community has been proving this time and again for me.  But growing up as a child, I’m really glad I had Princess Leia to love. In  my teenage years, I had women like Sam, Aeryn, Elizabeth, Dana Scully, and others who were capable and strong. So while geek culture might have its fair share of problems, I’m happy with what it’s given me.

What I’m Reading: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (#1-5)

As I’m gearing up to attend CONvergence, I’m rereading what is quite possibly my favorite comic book ever, the current run of Hawkeye. This week is reading through the first trade paperback of the series (I also have the individual issues except for #3 which I really need to get on).

The reason I’m rereading these is because I’m doing my first ever cosplay as another great female character, Kate Bishop (one of the two Hawkeyes).

One of the best things about this series is just how easy it is to get into as a new fan. I’ve been dabbling in comics for a while now (just over a year), and there are still times where things fly right over my head or I need to go look up a specific name on wikipedia. It’s not a big deal, but it can be a tad frustrating.

However,  it was nice to see the intro: “Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, became the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then joined the Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That’s all you need to know.” And so far, it is all I’ve needed to know. Sure, finding out a bit more about Kate Bishop by reading the selection from Young Avengers at the back of this book was helpful, but as someone who only really knew Hawkeye from the Avengers movie (and Clint’s small bit in Thor), this introduction was very true.

Honestly, I’m really surprised that this book interested me so much. I checked it out based on recommendations and the cover art being very cool, but I had zero interest in Hawkeye after seeing him in the Marvel movies. However, that really speaks to just how strong this series is, both with the writing and the art.

The main reason I like it is just how small scale it is. I’ve always been interested in the more human interactions within superhero characters; either the characters without powers or kind of lesser superheroes. In this comic book, Clint doesn’t save the world, but wants to help out the people living in his apartment building and save a dog. Some things get a bit bigger, especially the wonderful two-issue arc “The Tape,” but even then it feels less epic. In a really fantastic way. Clint is also very much aware of his place as a superhero; he gets injured a fair amount and he realizes that he’s not quite up to being Captain America or Thor anytime soon. But that’s absolutely OK, because Clint’s more interesting.

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