Tag Archives: Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer

Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: I Beat Halo 4 on Legendary!

That’s right, suckas! I beat Halo 4 on LEGEND (wait for it) DARY!

I mean, I was all up in there, shooting bug robot thingies and monster dogs, running in for a tight melee! WHAM!

What’s that? Yes, Master Chief can punch you in the FACE!

My tendency toward Leeroy Jenkins-ing is well documented, and I will be the first to admit that I am not a patient person. Why wait behind cover, sniping at an enemy until you’re out of ammo? Just go in and get the job done! And if you fall into an impossibly deep chasm of some kind, there are benefits. That ammo you were running low on? You got it back!

There’s really no downside, here. Just keep at it until you get it done! Or until the guys you’re playing with get it done.

Me! Image courtesy of halowaypoint.com.

I suppose it’s worth mentioning that I dropped into the game via XBOX Live with my husband and our friend, John. I guess I should also say that I didn’t join until their second night of playing, and that I was used more for a spawning point than anything else. Oh, and I drew a lot of fire!

I’m helpful like that.

I like to think of myself as the wild card in these situations. They’re serious about the game, but so am I! I just play…differently. I play for the pure escapism and improbability of the situation! I’m a huge space man (Woman! I changed my avatar and everything.) with ridiculous strength and unending luck. How cool is that?

Giant aliens? No worries! Have you seen how hard I hit? I got this.

A turret? Zig-zag, zig-zag, hide, and pounce! (I totally did this, by the way. I pulled the Elite off the turret and killed it, post haste! Then, I sorta fell off the platform, but, that’s beside the point, right?)

I will confess to no skill at all when it comes to flying (Except for ghosts…I’m okay with those. But, they’re really not that high off the ground, so I don’t think they count.). Frankly, I’m terrible at it! There’s a level near the end of the game where you must fly into the Forerunner Didact’s ship. I crashed. A lot. Actually, I spent most of that level doubled over in laughter. I couldn’t help myself; I just kept crashing, and I found it hilarious!

My husband and John? They tolerated my jocularity rather well, but overall, I don’t think they cared; they were focused on their end goal, beating the game.

As was I! But, for different reasons.

For me, playing a great game like Halo 4 is about seeing where they take this beloved character and his bff/girlfriend/AI. Is Cortana finally going to freak out totally? Will she flip out and kill the Chief? Will the Chief ever learn to make friends?

That’s what it’s about. For me, it’s not about achievements and equipping your avatar with new armor and designs. (Although, I did give my lady Chief a female designation and fashionable red armor. I figured you can’t see all the blood if you’re already red, right?) It’s all about the story.

And button mashing.

There are those who disagree, and that’s fine. It’s their right to be wrong.


((Featured image courtesy of halowaypoint.com and can be found at http://www.halowaypoint.com/halo4/en-us/#!images/screenshots/ce74650a-bfc6-4126-a02d-d7db778eff25.))

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Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: Angry Birds Star Wars

That’s right, folks! Rovio is set to release Angry Birds Star Wars on Nov. 8.

My three-year-old son will be overjoyed. (Commentary? Hmmm…maybe.)

He is your father. Image screen grabbed from the preview.

Angry Birds is a fun game, don’t get me wrong. And I’ll probably be fine with my husband downloading this latest game. But, my interest started waning halfway through the first game, and Angry Birds Space, while having some keen features, just really doesn’t do it for me.

That being said, I can’t resist a Sith Bird. I have to assume they’re evil. I mean, the preview starts out with the iconic Darth Vader breathing! And check out those scary eyebrows the Bird is sporting. Seriously, these birds need to go to the Dark Side.

One look at the tumblr ruins that hope. *sigh* Here’s hoping that there will be both!

But, I have to wonder if this will be an appropriate introduction to Star Wars for my son. We take these things very seriously, you see. Malachi has been shielded from Star Wars until he is ready. Really! I don’t count the Clone Wars cartoon because that’s more of a Daddy show, anyhow. (Yes, there is a block of cartoons that are Daddy cartoons.)

When he is ready, Malachi will be introduced in a proper manner to the REAL Star Wars. I’m talking A New Hope, not those prequel abominations.

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Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: The Couple that Plays Together

My husband will take one look at the title of this article and probably snort. We don’t play video games together enough to suit him. And really (don’t tell him, though) we don’t play together enough to suit me, either.

I enjoy a rousing bout of button mashing, shooting bad guys in the face, and general mayhem as I undoubtedly rush unprepared into the fray. What’s the point of gaming if you can’t have a little fun with it?

But, apparently, there are people out there for whom strategy is a big part of gaming. (I know, right?!) You see these people deeply engrossed in snooze-fests like Skyrim and the Mass Effect games. Just how long can it possibly take to create a character? You collect stuff to make the character better? You level up stuff? UGH! GET TO THE ACTION ALREADY!

I acknowledge that I am probably in a minority with these feelings. That really doesn’t bother me overmuch, though.

So, when my dearest is up to his epaulettes in one of these games, I do my best to aid his cause. Seriously! I provide helpful tips and advice to create a better overall experience for both of us! Because, you see, I don’t like to play these games with him. Even when there is an option for two players, I opt for more of a consultant role. I particularly enjoy providing this service when he’s playing Skyrim.

“What’s that thing following you around?” I ask, secretly already knowing the answer.

“That’s Waoionstoi’xcior (I totally made that up), my (insert random beast name. I choose Cat-Beast) companion,” he says.

“So, he’s like your servant?”

You can’t see the deadly Ball of Yarn +2 attached to his belt. Image found on the Skyrim Forums.

“Not really. He’s more like my companion. He helps in fights and stuff.”

“Huh,” I say. “You should punch him in the face.”

“I can’t punch my Cat-Beast in the face!” he states indignantly.

“You should totally punch him in the face.”

Then, I’ll lose interest in the Cat-Beast and move on to other helpful suggestions.

“Where are you? A tavern? Can you set it on fire? You should set it on fire! Hey, who’s that? Stab him! What would happen if you stab him? STAB HIM! STAB HIM!”

My husband is a longsuffering man. He apparently loves me very much.

The last time I did this to him, he and his Cat-Beast had just come upon some kind of decrepit castle/tower combo filled with religious order types. I’m foggy on the details because, well, I just don’t really care. He and Cat-Beast just strolled around, looking in random chests and taking stuff.

“Don’t they care that you’re taking their stuff?” I asked.

“It’s there for me,” he said.

“Why is stuff for you in their castle? That seems questionable to me.”

Then, I returned to my fail-safe suggestion:

“You should kill these guys and take their castle,” I suggested.

“What?” He was actually a bit indignant. That pleased me.

“Do it!” I commanded.

Then, he did something that underscores why I love him so much: he humored me.

He saved his current game, and then went on a violent death rage, slicing and hacking through folks, while I gleefully looked on and offered encouragement. He totally got into it, too, and confessed that he loves shouting people off high places. (For those of you not familiar with Skyrim, there’s a power where you yell some made-up word and your target goes flying.)

Then, overcome with guilt after slaughtering the entire castle (and his Cat-Beast at my insistence!), he made his character throw himself off the tower, ending the mayhem and enabling a fresh, undeserving-death-free gaming experience.


But, lest you think I’m the only disturbed person in our relationship, let me just say that he gets an unholy amount of glee backseat driving when I’m playing The Walking Dead. It’s different, though. While I offer helpful suggestions, he just enjoys my discomfiture and general inability to keep my cool while fictional terror-creatures swarm my avatar. Oh, he does try to “help” in his way. Sort of. Mostly when I’m a shaking piece of rigid fear on the couch, and he has a huge beard smile.

“Have you tried shooting them?” he asks.

“Shut up,” I grind out through a clenched jaw.

“Watch out! They’re almost to you!”

“AAAAARRRGH! WhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdowhatdoIdo?!”

“They’re going to eat you!” he says. “Oh, no! They just got your plucky companion! Why didn’t you protect your plucky companion?”

“STEVE! Noooooo!” I screech, frantically button mashing.

“They’re coming!” he helpfully points out.

“Run away!” I yell, swinging my controller to the side in an effort to make the direction button work better. “RUN AWAY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

He smiles, and we are even.

We have an interesting and terrific relationship. We sorta game together, and we annoy the crap out of each other.

It’s pretty great.

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Confessions of a Casual Girl Gamer: Girlfriend Mode

No doubt, you’ve heard all about the hubbub surrounding the “girlfriend mode” comment made by Borderlands 2 Lead Designer John Hemingway.

Mechromancer concept art courtesy of EUROGAMER.net

The controversy stems from the design of a character referred to as the Mechromancer. Scheduled to launch about 60 days after Borderlands 2 is released, the Mechromancer isn’t totally finished, yet. However, she does have one of her three skill tree’s completed: Best Friends Forever.

And that’s where Hemingway got himself in trouble. He called it “the girlfriend skill tree” and later, “girlfriend mode.”

Here’s what Hemingway said to EUROGAMER.net:

“The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, you know what, this is actually the cutest character we’ve ever had. I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree. This is, I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone, but they suck at first-person shooters. Can we make a skill tree that actually allows them to understand the game and to play the game? That’s what our attempt with the Best Friends Forever skill tree is.”

Inevitably, the Interwebz rose up in outrage, and Gearbox Software (the company behind Borderlands 2) President Randy Pitchford was quick to deny cries of sexism and the like.

He took to Twitter with a series of declarations to set the story straight.

“The future DLC Mechromancer class has a skill tree that makes it easier for less skilled coop partners (any gender!) to play and be useful.”

Look him up at @DuvalMagic  for the whole string.

So, how do I feel about all this?

First, let me say that I’m not the greatest at FPS. My husband displays a great deal of patience when I deign to play with him. I’m a button-masher by nature and don’t have the patience to set up a shot, sneak around, or even refrain from charging in yelling every gamer’s favorite catchphrase, “LEROY JENKINS!” (Seriously, I do that. My husband is a good man.)

Really, I gotta say that I don’t have a problem with the Best Friends Forever skill tree. And, truthfully, I’m not all that bothered by Hemingway calling it “girlfriend mode.”

From a public relations standpoint, it was rather stupid, granted. But, I know guys like Hemingway; he wasn’t trying to offend women. He was just trying to relate to his audience. He was catering to the guys he thought would be reading the story on EUROGAMER.net in the first place.

That being said, however, the Internet is a very swift judge and jury, and Hemingway’s casual comment has turned into a deeper clash about women and gaming as it relates to sexism on a larger scale. But, that’s a whole other column…

What do you think? Were Hemingway’s comments sexist? Will this hurt Borderlands 2?

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