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Tue Mar 13, 2012, 05:40 PM

Video games as entertainment

Lover Boy likes video games, something he seems to have picked-up while in the Army. It's cute watching him play; part of his endearing, boyish charm. I don't know squat about video games and I don't play. However, a few weeks ago I picked-up a game called Mass Effect 2. I saw it at the store while grocery shopping; it was cheap and said, "What the heck."

Over the weekend Lover Boy installed it and I watched him play for about an hour or so before we went out to spend time with family. He thought I was just watching to waste time. Little did he suspect -- I was actually enjoying the game play.

Last night he got home before I did so he was playing just to amuse himself. When I got home I laid down on the couch behind him and watched him play while he did battle. Once he came to a stopping point he started to shut down so he could spend time with me. I told him to keep playing and brought dinner out to the living room.

He played and I watched for more than 3 hours.

As far as story telling goes its pretty darned interesting. In one of the sub-plots a member of the protagonist's crew helped engineer a genetic virus to inhibit the prolific breeding capability of a very powerful and very aggressive race. The obvious justification was that it would prevent needless wars but then they learned what lengths the afflicted race would endure to relieve the curse. Add to that the moral dimension of what was essentially soft-core genocide.

It was actually pretty powerful watching the doctor debating with himself and the protagonist the extent of his actions and his moral culpability. His ultimate sense of shame seemed palpable and was emotionally delivered (kudos to the voice actors, one of whom is lead writer/director/actor for Robot Chicken, Seth Green).

The game is also well-paced with humor and the requisite gunplay to keep the boys' attention. The various races are portrayed as unique and deeply rich in detail. They feel like they come with a sense of history and culture. Obviously there is the entire interactivity aspect: you get to decide if you want to be a Paragon or a Renegade. You decide the course of the action sequences.

I have to say I was as entertained as I have been watching a good movie, if not moreso because you aren't just a passive observer (Well, I was passive -- at least until I told Lover Boy he had to stop paying game-money to watch the blue-skinned space stripper).

For $20 we're getting more hours of entertainment than we would for seeing a movie or whatnot.

Any thoughts, comments or game suggestions? I'd appreciate them.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:10 PM

1. Got hundreds of hours of entertainment from video games...

...but there's nothing out there right now that intrigues my partner and I. We are MMORPG players who spent a long time in Dark Age of Camelot, then shorter stints in World of Warcraft, Warhammer and Rift. DAoC was the best, and most compelling, but it's on an old engine and we haven't been back for a while.

We met people who have been friends for quite a while. There was a huge social aspect to the games if you found the right groups.

Right now we are adrift but we're hoping that an intriguing MMORPG is released soon.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:15 PM

2. You might want to check out the DU Gaming group

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:35 PM

3. If you all like Mass Effect 2, I'd suggest

pretty much any other Bioware game to tell the truth...

My personal favorite is the second Baldur's Gate. It's over ten years old and doesn't have modern graphics, but it does have a good story. Primarily written in text, but still.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is a good game, too, and some would say the spiritual predecessor to Mass Effect.

Then there's Dragon Age. I'm playing it right now and absolutely love it.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 08:56 PM

4. Skyrim is one of the newest and hottest games.

It's about three times the money because it is current, but I haven't had any complaints valuewise. It's single player, with a deep storyline. Reviews here: http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Tue Mar 13, 2012, 09:54 PM

5. Try the original Bioshock, it can be found dirt cheap and it has a story you will love

Without giving too much away the game is about an underwater city which is governed by the principles of Ayn Rand, it shows what happens when her policies are put into effect and let's just say it is not pretty. The only reason the Freepers did not boycott it is that they were too dumb to figure out that the game is a major slam against Tea Party ideology.

Another great story based game is Heavy Rain, that one is not political but it does feature lots of moral and ethical choices. It is a game that is loved by non-gamers because it has a very movie like quality and is very fun to watch, anyone who does not think games can be just as compelling to watch as movies needs to see Heavy Rain because it stands beside the best suspense movies.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:09 AM

6. A coincidence of sorts.

I had a similar experience with Skyrim. Usually I play during the day, and turn it off when my wife comes home. One day I was in the middle of the main story aspect, and I wanted to finish the little mission I was doing, and my wife showed up early for work. I figured I'd finish my little quest and turn it off. My wife sat there for about 20 minutes watching me, and when I finished my mission I went to turn it off. She told me I didn't have to turn it off, and I asked her why, and she stated that it was pretty interesting and that she didn't mind watching, because it was like watching a movie/animated show. Usually my SO gives me the stink eye when I play VG's in front of her, but she really enjoyed the story/look/style of Skyrim.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:14 AM

7. You should pass on tips to Aerows,she has hit a wall in the game.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Original post)

Wed Mar 14, 2012, 12:39 AM

8. We've come a long way from shooting little crabs, squids and goats' heads inching down the screen...

I don't have much money to spend on games, so I only buy them when they hit the $10 bin, but one of my all time favorites is Alice (based on what I've seen, the PC version looks a lot better than the console version) It's probably one that you would enjoy watching him play, although if he's mostly into the shoot-em-ups it might not be his cup of tea.

Alice 2 just came out last summer- there are trailers on YouTube- looks awesome.

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