Mass Effect 3

This is not a review. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll ever have the stamina to write one; you know, with objective criticism and all that. That would be exceedingly difficult, because, see, this game pulled on all my strings so hard. Other than some minor annoyances, I’d say that everything was done exactly right. Or, to allow for some weaseling, everything was done exactly to my taste.

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Quests – Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives

by J. Howard

A bridge-building book that connects the literary genre of the romantic quest narrative (exemplified by the Arthurian legends), and the wide category of “quest games” that includes, but isn’t limited to, RPGs and action-adventure games. The parallels are undeniable and familiar to any person who enjoys playing such games, but it’s a real pleasure to see someone publish a book filled with good arguments and examples to use in debates with game critics who dismiss games as an art form and just a “waste of time”.

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Dragon Age II

I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about this game. I struggled with the dilemma for several days. The conflict revolves around the strange kind of guilt I often feel about the time I waste (or invest in) playing games. The choice of words, “waste” against “invest” is important. When I play a very good, worthy game, it’s clearly an investment and I don’t feel bad about spending such and such hours with it. When I start playing a bad game, I usually just give it up before the issue of wasting time comes up at all. But then there are games such as Dragon Age II, that simply make me feel guilty for enjoying them.

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Mask of the Betrayer

Had it been a book, I’d have read it in one sitting. Had it been a movie, I’d have watched it without blinking. As a role-playing game, the story was infused with a sense of immediacy unique to the medium, gaining much and losing nothing. There are very, very few games in my not so modest gaming experience for which I could say the same. Even in the face of considerable expectations I had, based on the surprisingly positive reactions of the RPG community, Mask of the Betrayer stood its ground as a rare and superb experience.

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