Life after Warcraft, or: games I've been up to lately

Life after Warcraft, or: games I’ve been up to lately

Finally relinquishing my MMO raid time means I have time to spend on all of the single-player games I’ve been piling up in my library for years upon years upon years. I’m a classical adventure enthusiast, so it needs to be said that GoG is a present just for me. I’ve been cycling through some Sierra classics, like Quest for Glory (whyyyy is V so ugly, you guys? CANNOT PLAY) and King’s Quest, which has the AGD Interactive updates making them EVEN AWESOMER.

I grew up on finicky parsers and point-and-clicks, and that kind of anal-retentive attention to detail has served me well in modern gaming. Y’all, for real, maintaining the kind of iron-fisted micromanaging control necessary over the notoriously suicidal party AIs in Bioware RPGs is absolutely nothing compared to trying to figure out which frigging spelling of “Rumpelstiltskin” the goddamn dwarf wants this time before he will give poor Graham his magic goddamn beans — to say nothing of trying to successfully achieve the babelfish in Infocom’s delicious textual hellscape for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

For this reason, many complaints about these later-generation Bioware games (up to and including SW:TOR) is kind of lost on me; spastically clicking ‘passive stance’ on and off because GET OUT OF THE GODDAMN FIRE CORSO JESUS GOD IF YOU WERE NOT SO ADORABLE I WOULD LEAVE YOU TO ROAST AND LOVE EVERY DAMN MINUTE OF IT is second nature. When you’re used to, say, frantically clicking to rebuild the pieces of an exploding turtle, then juggling the cover mechanics of an Operative or a Gunslinger while trying to keep your stupid, stupid companion tank alive really aren’t that challenging, and I love it.

So there’s that.

…And then there’s Mass Effect 3.

I don’t even know, you guys. I am right now at this crossroads where I am on my way to Tuchanka and yet I am cripplingly terrified to play, because I am so spoilerphobic all I have allowed myself to know is that the ending is terrible and unfulfilling and you guys the only fictional person whose happiness I am as invested in as I am Garrus Vakarian’s is Ezio Auditore’s, AND WE KNOW HOW WELL THAT’S BEEN TURNING OUT, THANKS UBISOFT. So I am stalled midway through the concluding arc of an epic story that has gripped me only slightly less than one that contains actual dragons, torn between desperately wanting to know what happens and dreading an anticlimax that would ruin goddamn everything. (Aside: NO, this is not an invitation to spoil me; I WILL get over this eventually, just … not right now.)

The fun thing is that console games (as on which I play ME3) at my house are a social endeavor rather than a single-player one; everyone in the family curls up on The Giant Couch What Eats Your Soul and we take turns with the controller and shout out our commentary and vote on choices for dialogue options like some weird democratic version of the Satellite of Love.

Some families have movie nights or going-out-to-dinner nights or whatever; we have game night, where we are all Shepard, and we all share in the story like the big ginormous nerds we are.

This is why the finish of ME3 in particular (and AC: Revelations, for that matter; AC3 may also be this way, but frankly we as a unit are right now way more invested in, say, Shaun than we are in Desmond) is so important to us, and it’s so important it be right; it’s not just a game to us — it’s a family memory, a snapshot in time as indelible as any physical journey.

Frankly if one of my toddler’s first words is not “turian” I consider it a parental failure.