What’s New — April 2017

Well, March turned out to be a pretty amazing month for me, and now I’m hoping April will top it. =)

YjgxZjk5MDcxMCMvMU5aSXU4Z2lxdzJWRjVReHdmLVBPYlZzVE1NPS8xOTEweDEwMDAvc21hcnQvaHR0cHM6Ly9zMy5hbWF6b25hd3MuY29tL3BvbGljeW1pYy1pbWFnZXMvd2p1a3hycGJtd3JocGMyaWtpeHA2a2dkN2o3dWdmMG52cWVoanZ2Y2Last month I played Horizon Zero Dawn. It was easily one of the best video games I’ve ever played. The story, the lead character Aloy, the graphics, the scenery, the structure to the open-world questing… everything was near perfect. I’ll post something about it soon, because I’d like to discuss how it approaches an open world format and compare it to other open-world games like The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Skyrim.

Aside from that, I started re-reading one of my favorite books ever, the science fiction classic Dune by Frank Herbert. I’m actually listening to the audiobook on my commute, downloaded from Audible, so if anyone is interested in what it’s like to listen to I can review that aspect of it. You can read about my history with Dune here — it’s kind of the book that got me into sci-fi in the first place!

C7yMP1wVUAAZ6yqI also started playing Mass Effect: Andromeda last month, and I must say, it is so much better than I expected. While I tried to avoid reviews before starting, I was hearing a lot of complaints — not just about the facial animations (which honestly doesn’t phase me, that’s not why I play Mass Effect), but also about the writing not being great and the story not being very captivating. Fortunately, I disagree with those complaints. I am loving the game so far. I feel really connected to my Ryder, the protagonist of the game, because Andromeda features four tone options that really shape a unique personality for her. It’s much deeper than what I’ve seen in previous BioWare games.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll review the game when I’m done with it. In the meantime, you can read my game diary as I play it here.

In other news, baseball season is back! I went to my first game (pre-season) a couple of days ago, and I can’t wait to start watching games again. If you’re into baseball, you can read this post I wrote about the baseball team roster I would create out of Mass Effect trilogy characters. I totally want to do that again for Andromeda now!

I’ve also been working on fitness goals a lot lately. Originally I was going to train for a 10K this month, but I decided to postpone running goals to focus more on strength training and flexibility. I took my first lyra class last week — it’s an aerial sport where you perform transitions and poses in a hoop suspended from the ceiling — and am so sore and bruised, I have some work to do to get in shape for it! I’m excited to start training more heavily as I continue to take beginner’s classes.

As for writing… I haven’t done anything all month. I want to change that in April. I have been thinking about my novel a lot lately, and I miss writing it. I think I just needed a breather to focus on other things (new job, fitness, and video games!) and gain a little perspective on my story. I feel I have that now, so it’s time to dive back in.

Dragon Age OriginsI also attended a Game of Thrones concert last week which was extremely fun. You can check out my mini-review here.

This month is also my birthday, and as always, I’ll be honoring my tradition of playing Dragon Age: Origins again. I hope to complete a playthrough this year, since I didn’t last year. I think I’ll go with a male character this time, which is something I just never do…

What are you guys up to this month? What games are you playing?

— Ashley

Embracing the Surreal in “Virginia”

I recently played the Variable State game Virginia, which embraces the genre of “walking simulator” almost to a fault. Navigating a handful of environments in first-person, there is almost no exploration to enjoy; you usually have a single action you can take, which is often as mundane as opening a door. Virginia is also a narrative game — but that narrative is confusing at the best of times. There is absolutely no dialogue in the game, so you must rely on your vision — take in the watercolor palette, the characters’ stern facial expressions, the objects that take up space but don’t allow you to interact with them in any way — to comprehend the story. Or what there is of a story.

Continue reading Embracing the Surreal in “Virginia”

Inhabiting a Character: My Favorite RPG Leads

Role-playing video games are how I got into games in the first place. The ability to create a character is a liberating experience. It’s starts with how the character looks, then goes on to how the character acts in their world through my in-game decisions.

Continue reading Inhabiting a Character: My Favorite RPG Leads

5 Things I Loved about “Logan”

James Mangold’s Logan is not like other X-Men movies. While I have enjoyed the X-Men series overall, I’m not the biggest fan, I don’t know the lore well, and I’ve never cared much for Wolverine’s gruff character. But that’s exactly why I was excited to see Logan. I had heard it was different, and it is.

Saying that I “enjoyed” the movie might not be the right way to put it, but it’s a powerful film that sticks with you afterwards. It took me some time to process it after I left the theater. It almost made me cry.

But leaving enjoyment out of it, here are a few reasons I think Logan is such a special film. (Minor spoilers to follow — nothing major!)

Continue reading 5 Things I Loved about “Logan”

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, and VIDEO GAMES!