Friday Fun – Open Thread!

Two adorable teacups stacked on top of each other, one blue and one pink. They both have cute happy faces on them. I am a sucker for adorable teacups and teapots.

It’s Friday again!  That means it’s time to chit chat about anything you want as long as you abide by our comment policy.  What’s new with me?  Well, I purchased Magicka on Steam and I can’t wait to go home and play it.  From what I hear, it’s a good amount of fun despite the bugs it currently has.  What about you?  What are you playing?

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
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67 Responses to Friday Fun – Open Thread!

  1. My name change went through today; so I now have a piece of paper from the court ordering my birth certificate to be reissued with my actual sex on it.

    Um… games… um… I’ve only been playing flash tower defense games lately. This is what happens when you get a new computer? You’re capable of playing like everything but you only play the stuff that doesn’t need a new computer for it.

  2. Denis Farr says:

    Likewise with Magicka! I tried the online co-op the first day it was released, but haven’t given it a go since. I already have Tami on my friends list on Steam, but if anyone else who has the game and wants to play it together, here’s a link to my Steam profile:

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/aeazel/

    Beyond that, I’m working on the sidequests in FF7, and am finally tackling all of the Prince of Persia trilogy Sands of Time started. Which is to say, I only ever played Sands of Time and am curious (so replaying that one to refresh my memory). I’ve heard from multiple people that it only degrades, but it’s a gaming gap I wanted to plug.

    • I am now actually seriously considering getting the game; does the game force you to be male though?

      • Denis Farr says:

        It’s in this weird state.

        You are in a robe, and there are no defining characteristics. Therefore, I have easily imagined what my character looks like (I tend toward imagining androgynous when I can).

        I’ve also heard no voice coming out of my character–so there’s no danger in that.

        However, it’s never definitively stated, and from the voices I’ve heard of other, NPC mages, they sound male.

        • Well that sounds worrying that there’ll be some sort of spot where they let slip that they’ve just been assuming you’re male the whole time at some point, but it’s probably tolerable. (Also the 3rd person isometric thing probably means I’m not going to start getting gender angst from playing a male character like that; so I guess I’ll try it.)

      • Lucas says:

        It does. The playable wizards are anonymous (no faces, just unisex robes that cover their body), but they are not genderless. Their death yells are male.

        I started a thread in the Paradox forums to discuss this and request more gender options (female wizards specifically, but androgyny would be a nice step too). No input from the devs yet, but they are clearly busy with other things.

        http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?518029-Feature-Request-Female-Wizards

        Warning: As you should expect, their are depraved sexist comments. Not exactly malicious, I think, but still painful.

        • Glah that’s about what I expected. (Also the screencaps make it look like their chests are pretty flat, which doesn’t necessarily give away gender, obviously, but is usually a clue that they’re male.)

          Oh well I got the game already anyway. I’ll probably want to look at single player first, though :P (And this download will take HOURS. Gluh.)

        • Matt says:

          Disappointing! From the looks of everything I was totally expecting indeterminate cute little pipsqueak voices!

          “Busy with other things” –this being the standard excuse in Killing Floor on the same subject, also disappointing! (though I suppose there really is way more to change in KF)

          Seconding Emily re: comments though. The KF forums were far more mature about this discussion.

          • Lucas says:

            “Busy with other things”

            Ah, I see how that can be a dangerous excuse. But I’ll give the Arrowhead folks a pass for now, since the game’s only been out a week and they’ve been working really hard to repair the buggy launch.

            • I would suspect that would be the ‘other things’ being referred to here. I will be greatly disappointed if the don’t add female avatars/voices soon, though. :\

      • From the advertising, all the mages are distinctly male and white, even though the game sort-of makes them featureless inside itself. The advertising trailers were also very clearly playing on the “a man in a dress is hilarious, a wizard is a man in a dress” line of thought. It really put me off trying the game.

    • Lucas says:

      I’m having so much fun with Magicka! I’ve only played the single-player campaign though. I’d love to give MP a whirl.

      http://steamcommunity.com/id/loocas42/

    • Laurentius says:

      About PoP trilogy i’m probaby in minority by saying that it’s other way round gameplay wise, imo Two Thrones is the best, fighting system is less frustrating, added speedkils make many parts smooth and it’s actually fun to have your charcter actions constatntly challanged by your “dark” alter ego.

  3. muttonchoppe says:

    Fuck yes, Magicka is awesome!

  4. Lake Desire says:

    I usually work from home on Fridays (I’m in graduate school and am an English teacher) and have been trying to read student papers, but I’m mostly watching Al Jazeera English’s coverage of the revolution in Egypt: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

  5. Jayle Enn says:

    I’ve been ‘testing’ a certain soon-to-be-released game the last few days, and generally enjoying myself with that. I also just reactivated my City of Heroes account with a cheap copy of the Going Rogue expansion, because they’ve got an ‘oh god, please stay subbed even though RIFT comes out next month’ offer for some hard-to-grind costume bits for people who are subbed for the start of February to the end of April. I’m a huge sucker for playing dress-up in that game.

    Also cleaning, watching last week’s Fringe, and making responses for play-by-post forum RPGs I’m in.

    • Travis says:

      If you, or anyone else here is interested in participating in the RIFT beta, I have a 25-use VIP beta key that can be distributed freely. I posted it to the Border House steam group earlier, but here it is again in case anyone who isn’t on Steam is interested.

      GDGK-3ZFX-7KH9-2T2Q-YTE3

      • Speaking of the steam group, now that i have a steam account is there a place I should go to request membership?

        I am emilyea

      • Jayle Enn says:

        My happily mainly-pants-wearing cleric thanks you.

      • Lucas says:

        Thanks for this! I have a personal rule against sub games but I keep hearing good things from Shawn @ Massively and Ravious @ Kill Ten Rats and I’ve come to trust their judgments. I figure it’s worth a try, even in beta phase. I set up my beta account after entering the code, but it still says I haven’t been invited to beta. Do I just need to wait?

      • Maverynthia says:

        No thanks :P

        I’ve been playing FFXIV a bit and this game doesn’t meet my criteria.

        • Glah! That screenshot made that game look really interesting until… metal bikini armor. ._.

        • Jayle Enn says:

          That’s the one thing that really baffles me: There are three female faction leaders in the game– Defiant side is pretty much run by the one in the screenshot there. One wears a metal bikini, another wears pants and a bikini top… and the third is fully clothed, though it looks like she’s wearing a metal skirt. It’s like they were trying to cover their bases or something.

          Gear for PCs seems mostly proper clothing– I had a few groans at low level when my chain pant quest rewards turned out to be legwarmers pretending to be greaves, but it’s got better. I hope those were aberrations, but I don’t know.

  6. amouravski says:

    I recently stopped playing League of Legends after about a year of playing because I got fed up with the sexist characters and the bigoted players (and community manager!) This has freed up a little bit too much time for me, so I’m at kind of a loss for an action-y game to play. A lot of my friends are playing Monday Night Combat, but I’m sick of male archetypes and the only females in the game are the pit stop women who are there solely for eye candy, it seems.

    I’ve found that adventure games are actually a lot better at portraying realistic characters, or at the very least, do not revolve directly on the exploits of a chiseled chin. I’ve been playing Time Gentlemen, Please: http://www.zombie-cow.com/?page_id=559 the sequel to Ben There, Dan That. These are really silly adventure games that pull a lot from the Monkey Island games in terms of humor and self-parody. They’re fun.

    I also started playing The Longest Journey, after years of saying that I’ll get to it. I haven’t gotten far (due to working on my master’s thesis), but it’s so far, so good. I’m so glad that in the first fifteen minutes, the lead more or less tells off a major jerk who calls her “babe” and “sexy” at the end of every sentence. Also, I’ve been reading this blog long enough that I really should go through the game that inspired its name!

    But, really, I want to go through all the old adventure games that were poorly marketed back in the day, like The Last Express, Bad Mojo, Gabrielle Knight, etc. I also need to go through the Tell-Tale Games adventures, since those look really fun.

    • Jayle Enn says:

      I will happily vouch for the Telltale Sam and Max games, and their Monkey Island season. Both Wallace and Gromit, and Strongbad rely more on familiarity with the source material, I think– as a fan of W&G, I loved it, but I didn’t care for Strongbad at all.

    • Denis Farr says:

      I really liked The Longest Journey, and have at least one more post planned about it (about The Border House, actually!).

      Will also vouch for the Telltale Sam & Max seasons. I’ve enjoyed them. Need to get to the Monkey Islands, but am taking my time going back through that series again and giggling at the jokes.

      I’ve also been itching for an multiplayer action-y game, but have yet to find anything that will scratch the particular itch of late.

  7. So I just made a steam account, and it occurs to me if I’m going to be purchasing games over steam, I am REALLY going to need a better internet connection.

  8. Lucas says:

    I tried Champions Online this week because I was itching for some superhero action. I probably spent 80% of that time in the character creator. I basically remade my mesmer from Guild Wars, but gave her a pair of handguns. I didn’t enjoy the game itself too much–the same tedium that turns me off of most MMORPGs. And the graphics don’t scale down well to my machine, so it doesn’t look too great. Not sure I’ll give it much more time. I did appreciate the versatile character creator though.

  9. no_oneimportant says:

    Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Persona 4 arrived in the mail today. I’ve been playing the former, which is terrific.

  10. Gunthera1 says:

    I am back to playing Final Fantasy XIII. I got to Chapter 11 and stopped when I first got the game. Now that I am playing again I love it and am not sure why I stopped.

    I am also playing Bully: Scholarship Edition with hopes to talk about it here once I finish. That game is like taking the stereotypes of high school and exaggerating them 100 fold. It is Stereotypes: The Game ™. Ok, so maybe it isn’t trademarked as such, but it should be!

  11. Alex says:

    I just finished watching season 2 of Doctor Who (for the first time) so now I’m just kind of sitting around and being sad for a bit ._.;

    But other than that I’ve been playing FFVII for my replay posts and chaining for shinies in Pokemon Diamond. I’ve gotten three shiny Shinx. I chained some swarming Smoochums to 40 but accidentally broke the chain before getting any shinies. I’ve tried like five times now to chain Ponyta but I haven’t gotten to 40 yet (once it broke for NO REASON at 35 and another time it broke at THIRTY-SEVEN because I made a stupid mistake, I was so angry at myself!).

    Of course this is all kind of silly since I haven’t even gotten to the Elite Four in Heart Gold yet ._.;

    I really want to try Magicka, I’ll have to download the demo and see if it runs on my computer.

  12. Kaonashi says:

    Dead Space 2. It makes every part of the original better and is the most atmospheric, scariest game I’ve played in a long time—much thanks to incredible lighting, sound design.

    The main character is male, but as far as I can tell there’s he’s fine and not macho or sexist. The main female non-playable characters are a dead girlfriend and a pilot, who both work quite well. The pilot character is well-made, she rescues you as much as you rescue her, and she isn’t there to be eye candy (there’s a lame pun here for those who play the game). Most importantly, she’s a fellow survivor above anything else, and never a trophy love interest.

    I played Dead Space 2 mostly during the day, because I got too jumpy playing it alone at night. In addition to requiring some nerves, you should also have some stomach for gore, of which there’s a huge amount. But it’s very pretty gore!

    • Denis Farr says:

      I’m curious about this one, particularly as it regards Isaac’s PTSD they kept mentioning during previews (I’m very curious how it plays out–especially since they do have an excellent eye toward level design and sound, and I could see them doing some interesting things with it). I wasn’t a fan of the girlfriend in the fridge trope of the first one, though. Contrast her with the other female member with Isaac’s rescue party, however (whom I did like–and whose name I cannot recall off the top of my head).

      Oh, and please watch out when using words like ‘lame,’ which falls into ableist language.

      • Kaonashi says:

        Isaac’s ptsd/flashbacks/evil visions are indeed well done and add a lot to the atmosphere and story of the game. His dead girlfriend is a big part of them, so you won’t get away from her I guess. There’s a number of other women in various roles, from heroes to villains to victims, though. I think it would at least get a passing grade.

        Sorry for using “lame”. I*m still getting used to the whole ableism thing. For some reason it’s not a big part of the major prejudices where I come from, which is strange because we’re pretty progressive otherwise.

        • Denis Farr says:

          I think my largest problem with the girlfriend was largely at how she only ever seemed to appear at certain times, but her story was so… muffled by everything else that it seemed to have little import at all. If she’s to play a bigger role, I’ll be more curious and receptive to the idea.

          Good to know about the PTSD. Part of me wondered if they would take the easy way out and only talk about it occasionally–though I hoped for much more. Glad to know they didn’t just seemingly slip it in for flavor text and not address the issue.

          As to the other comment, it happens to the best of us. :) I like to think everybody who’s progressive is always learning.

  13. Lake Desire says:

    So my partner and I had a MacMini hooked up to our TV that we used to watch movies and listen to music; it recently died and my partner wants a new MacMini but instead I’m thinking about getting a PC because we only have Macs in our house. I want a PC to watch NetFlix on our TV and to play computer games that don’t come out on Xbox 360. (FFXIV is the only game I want to play right now.) But I have been using a Mac for years and don’t know what is what with PCs. My geeky friends keep using jargon I don’t understand but I think they are suggesting that I get a nicer computer than what I need. I only want to spend around 400-500 dollars. Any advice? Could I get something middle-of-the-road on NewEgg for that price? My brother says I want something that will let me update the graphics card down the road.

    • amouravski says:

      Hey there potential new PC owner! Tom’s Hardware is the best site around for getting help with computer building. It has everything for the newbiest newbie to in depth comparisons of high end graphics cards and everything in between. Here’s a link to where you should start if you’re interested in building a new computer: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/288241-31-read-posting-buyer-guides-troubleshooting

      At that link you’ll find a link to a big thread with recommended builds (and they’re kept fairly up to date and include all the links you need to Newegg. That’s how I’ve built a few computers and have been very happy with others’ advice.

      Also, there are links to assembling and troubleshooting guides. I’ll guess that you have a laptop or other computer handy so that will help building quite a bit.

      Regarding something that’ll let you update the graphics card: as long as you don’t buy a motherboard that has only integrated graphics (home office PCs generally don’t need expansion slots, for example) then you should be able to upgrade your graphics card for quite a bit.
      However, even at $400-$500 you should be able to find a graphics card that’ll play any games you’ll want to play for the near future. You might not be able to turn Crysis 2 up to ULTRA settings, but that’s hardly that bad.

      Good luck, and I hope this helps!

      P.S. Tom’s Hardware is a site that knows that newbies use it, so don’t feel bad asking there for advice.

      P.P.S. Geeky friends are great for helping you fix things, but if they’re honestly just using jargon, that won’t help you, and you should ask them for good links/self-reading material rather than having them take over your project.

    • Brinstar says:

      I built the first non-hand-me-down computer I ever owned in 2005, and to be honest, it was more trouble than it was worth in the long run. I had a friend help me build it, and it was a lot cheaper than buying it from an online store or Best Buy but all of the troubleshooting I had to do over the years was not worth the cost savings. I would gladly pay more for a computer if it came pre-built with a warranty and/or technical support.

  14. Rakaziel says:

    Currently playing the Destination Paris mod for Commandos 2 http://commandoshq.net/c2dp_info.php
    It is about twice as hard as the original and requires some very amusing strategies sometimes. I can only recommend it despite the only woman among the commandos being a bit stereotypical (but still a good mix of the spy and the sniper).

  15. So I have now been playing Magicka; I’m being slightly overwhelmed by the density of pop culture references. And I’m not sure how to beat the boss I’m on.

    • Denis Farr says:

      Yeah, the game’s plot is generally light, and therefore their content is all focused on jokes and homages to pop culture (particularly in games, fantasy, sci-fi, and some Cthulu). On which boss are you currently? There are some I’ve found that are bugged, so I’ve given up until I play multiplayer.

      • I was on the Machine; I just beat it. It turns out steam + electricity + arcane does a LOT of damage :P

        • Denis Farr says:

          YES! I’ve also found that Lightning + Arcane + Fire does a lot if you can focus it at the right times (I almost always have this prepped for haste, so it was a pleasant surprise when I right-clicked instead of pressed Space).

          • Well if you do steam instead of fire it gets them wet, which makes the lightning do more damage.

            Now I’m stuck on Grimnir ._. I keep getting either wet or knocked off cliffs. Often at the same time.

            • Lucas says:

              Wow, you’ve made it a lot farther in one day than I have in a week. I only just beat Khan.

              The Machine was really frustrating because I couldn’t skip the dialog after the checkpoint. The scarce checkpoints and lack of saving mid-level are my biggest source of frustration in the game.

              I usually don’t care for excessive pop culture references (because they’re always the same ones), but this game amuses me quite a bit. The druids made me giggle loudly and call my sweetie over to see.

            • The “They’re always the same ones” still applies though. It’s mostly Star Wars, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and internet memes. (I guess Star Wars and Monty Python are pretty much internet memes too…)

              I’m just sort of awed by the density of them.

              Also my game died on me so now I have to start the level over again (so I’m back to just after defeating Khan again). Glah.

  16. 12Sided says:

    I tried playing Dead Space 1 but there’s something off about the controls on the PC and I can only play for about 10 minutes before getting a headache, which is weird because I’m not prone to motion sickness, it’s just this game. I’ve heard it’s better if you play with a controller but for me the whole point of getting the PC version was so I could aim with a mouse :\

  17. Since Champions Online went free to play I put that in and fiddled with it for a bit. I’d played in the beta, and when it was pay to play, and I’m even more upset now by how much the game is cut back. Anyone who has ever played Hero System knows what a beautiful, complex, admittedly messy, tool it is for tabletop gaming. I know that we can’t really recreate that experience in an MMO given constraints, but Champions Online feels like they aren’t even trying. If Hero System was a box of crayons and permission to use our imaginations, Champions Online feels like a single blue crayon and a mandate from on high to stay within the lines. I’m not saying it’s not a good MMO, I’m just saying that I’d be happier if they hadn’t originally pitched it to us tabletop Hero System gamers as something that would be faithful to the spirit (if not the mechanics) of Hero System.

    I’m beginning to feel like MMOs may not be for me, not in any shape or form. This isn’t set off by my disappointment with Champions Online, this has been coming for a while. I miss small-scale gaming and being able to limit my interactions with people I know personally. I miss those memorable events, the kind you can tell stories about. I’m beginning to feel like MMOs are changing gaming of all types into a grid of healer/dps/tank with little regard for the player’s storytelling ability. Maybe I’m just getting old and this is another one of my patented grumpy old gamer rants. Maybe I’ll get turned around when someone figures out how to do an Amber Diceless MMO that knocks my socks off.

  18. I am grimly determined to start making a dent in my MASSIVE to-read/to-play/to-watch pile, which has been steadily getting away from me. Installed on my compy right now, I have The Whispered World, Emerald City Confidential, Machinarium, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition, Apprentice 2, and Hans Christian Andersen: The Ugly Prince Duckling, all in various stages of unfinished. The pile of unread books I own is as tall as I am and threatening to collapse. Some of the DVDs aren’t even out of shrink wrap. This is ridiculous. This cannot stand. Damn it, NO NEW STUFF until the backlog is shrunk down to sensible.

    First on the docket: Whispered World. It’s a gorgeous game with a hero who really grew on me, and poor little Sadwick has enough problems without also being so shamefully neglected. Then I finish the library books and start in on Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint. For DVDs, I am going to watch those Kurosawas that have been staring reproachfully at me.

    Wish me luck.

    Dani vs. Stuff-pile. BEGIN. (fight music starts)

  19. Ikkin says:

    Did anyone else see the NGP unveiling? It was kind of interesting to me that, despite clearly positioning it as a “hardcore” portable, Sony’s corporate presentations still managed to be far more inclusive in player representation than their advertisements ever have.

    The GPS network features could be either amazing or terrible, depending on what kind of privacy settings they allow. Being able to see what games people are playing in your area seems really nifty, but I can see a lot of potential trouble if you’re able to use it to track people by their screen-name, especially if other players can see you’re a girl.

  20. ninjapenguin says:

    Finishing up Ace Attorney and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (my vacation games). Still have a ton on my TBP or partially finished list: Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei Digital Devil Saga, Psychonauts, Okami, The World Ends With You. But I keep eying 9 Hours, 9 People, 9 Doors, so I may end up playing that one next.

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