Friday Fun: Open Thread!

A grey t-shirt with two slimes on it from the Dragon Quest series. One is blue, one is yellow. White hearts surround the slimes, and the text "Be my ValenSlime" is printed on the t-shirt. Slimes are completely genderless, so you can interpret their relationship however you want!

Anyone who has played Dragon Quest games has a soft spot for these Slimes, just admit it.  It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another open thread.  Talk amongst yourselves about anything you’d like!

For me, life is all Mass Effect.  I finally beat Mass Effect last weekend and so I’m moving on to Mass Effect 2.  I’m trying hard to resist the pull of the new EverQuest progression server, which launches on Feb 15th.  What are you playing?  What’s on the agenda for this weekend?

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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43 Responses to Friday Fun: Open Thread!

  1. gunthera1 says:

    Oh I want that shirt!!

    My weekend will be more Bully: Scholarship Edition, some FF13 and then going back to Fallout: New Vegas. Basically extreme stereotype portrayals, then fun battle systems, and finally onto interesting storyline.

  2. TheLaquidara says:

    Hi, I’m somewhat new, (Read: Lurker.)

    Two things on my list, Dead Space (the first one) and RIFT Beta 6. For the former, I’m pushing through. I kinda enjoy, but it’s just not that interesting of a game to me. I’m in chapter 7, “Into the Void,” I’m going to complete it. I feel somewhat obligated to at this point.

    Now, as for the latter, I’m actually enjoying RIFT, which is a bit of a surprise. My only issue is that I haven’t found anyone to play along side with. If anyone would like to join me, just ask, I have a 25 use beta key that’ll get you in.

    Other than those two things… My STEAM holiday buys are still going un-played. (Curse you STEAM!)

    • Denis Farr says:

      Steam is a very clever little rascal, eh? I won’t even get into my ratio of played:unplayed. If it weren’t for the fact that I believe a fair amount of people are in a similar position I’d feel even more guilty.

      Dead Space was much the same for me. It was never fully compelling, but it was playable. It was very middle-of-the-road for me.

  3. Denis Farr says:

    Working on outlining a compare/contrast post between Farah of PoP: Sands of Time and the 2008 PoP.

    Started PoP: Warrior Within. The first thing I noticed is that I don’t like the change in musical direction. The combat feels much better, but the camera (on the PC version) is already worse. I won’t even get into how far back my eyes rolled when I met the first female they show (and how they show her).

    Otherwise, I think I’m going to try and wrap up most of FF7 so I can jump into the Mother 3 playthrough.

    • Denis Farr says:

      Also, trying to relegate my use of female as only an adjective, and still failing in places. Need to work on it some more, apparently.

      • Gunthera1 says:

        I am having a similar personal struggle. I never realized how often I used it as a noun until being called on that here. I am trying to catch myself before I do it but still failing a lot of the time.

        • Denis Farr says:

          We should probably have a system where we quietly nudge each other when it occurs. :P

          Language is such a… pernicious beast.

          • Maverynthia says:

            I could nudge people, but it might turn into nudge nudge wink wink say no more…… >.> <.<

            I know i make snarky remarks about it, I really mean it in good faith. It isn't until I read:
   with the whole break down to where it just.. hits you in the face with it.

            • Lucas says:

              I’ve noticed in my writing and in looking at how “female” is used as a noun in Katherine O’Kelly’s post that it seems to pop up when it’s used as an adjective in a noun phrase, such as “female characters,” in the same or previous sentence. When the NP is repeated, then it may get shortened to just “the females” with “characters” being implicit.

              I don’t mean that as an excuse for the usage, just as a way to check oneself while writing.

    • Brandon says:

      While I had a hard time getting into Warrior Within (it’s the one that stopped be from getting through the trilogy, sadly), I really loved the music. I felt like it really matched the darker nature of the game, but, of course, music is entirely subjective.

      Shahdee, on the other hand… ugh. I even had to look up her name, considering they hardly give her one in the game. Too busy focusing on other parts of her, I suspect. I do remember really liking Kaileena, but it might just be the mystery that surrounds her that I found intriguing. It’s been a while, haha.

  4. slickhop says:

    @OP: Oh, enjoy ME2! I finished it maybe a month ago and continually find myself noting that its the current standard bearer for immersion and can’t-put-down-ability.

    The weekend I’m re-playing some TES: Oblivion and still plugging away at New Vegas.

    For folks looking for multiplayer shared screen co-op I’d recently recommend Hoard & Pixeljunk Monsters! Been playing both with my fella the last two weeks or so and they’re pretty great in 45 min increments.

  5. 8mph Ansible says:

    Don’t like the holiday but wantin that shirt or even a sew-on patch


  6. Alex says:

    This weekend I am running around town downloading event Pokemans. And also working on my next cosplay.

  7. no one important\ says:

    After a few weeks of not having a functional computer, I have finally ordered a new (well, refurbished) one. Can’t wait for it to get here (should take a week, give or take) because using my PS3 as my internet machine has been less than ideal in a variety of ways.

    In gaming news, I have finally joined the Angry Birds party. Gawd, why didn’t anyone tell me how awesome this game was earlier?

    …oh wait, they did. I just wasn’t listening. :P

    • no one important says:

      …now that has got to be the worst typo in the history of typos.

      I mean my God, how many times have I typed that username over the years? I should have it down pat by now. I am so full of fail.

    • Alex says:

      Yay Angry Birds! :D

  8. Nezumi says:

    Could have sworn I posted to this one. Oh, well. Was reading Rogue Trader corebook, fooling around with Twitter, playing CoH. Should probably try RIFT Beta and Bulletstorm demo, also do homework.

  9. Jayle Enn says:

    Probably some more City of Heroes for me, trying to get a new alt up to 20 and see if her powerset stops being disappointing then. I think I’m done with RIFT– nobody on ‘my’ server seems to care about the elemental invasions, and that’s a -bad- sign. Plus, the lore is really thin on the ground and I’ve heard reports that the longest thread in the beta forums is for complaining that female characters are too flat-chested. Gack.

  10. On the topic of Mass Effect, I finally caved and purchased it. Well I purchased it on monday, but crappy internet at home means I wasn’t able to get it to my computer until today. I think, I’m still copying it off the external drive I brought it home on.

    So I’ll probably try playing that soon, assuming I actually judged the whole “how to download using steam on one computer and play on a different one” thing correctly.

    Not actually edit since I forgot to press submit: It appears to be working.

  11. Jamie says:

    I’m currently playing through Dragon Age, and finding myself infuriated and annoyed by it. Admittedly I’ve only just finished Ostagar, but it’s still not quite as great as I’d hoped. I’m blogging about my playthrough, though I don’t recommend reading it, it’s just that I’ve found that the only way I can actually play through the game is to write up my feelings on it. Argh it’s annoying.

    On the other hand my dog is fun to use in game.

    • Lucas says:

      I couldn’t resist checking out your blog to see what infuriates and annoys you about DAO, and what you said rings pretty true to me. Especially about most of the real action at Ostagar happening off-screen or out of combat. I have plenty of my own gripes about the game, but since you and lots of others are making your way through it for the first time I don’t want to be too negative or step into spoiler territory. I will say that as bad as I thought the gameplay was, the dialog and characters pulled me through DAO twice.

      I picked up Ultimate Edition during the DAMN YOU STEAM! sale and started Awakening, but haven’t gotten hooked.

      • Jamie says:

        Yeah, so far the voice acting hasn’t made me want to jam forks into my ears, which I think is a good thing, and I did find that Mass Effect got better, so I’m hoping that Bioware can pull DO:A off as well. I mean Mass Effect 2 started of well, but that’s because it was an action game with amusing RPG elements added on, sigh…

        But yeah, hopefully it won’t be too long before I start enjoying it, I mean I liked Icewind Dale 2 just fine, and that’s what? almost 7-8 years old now? Anyway, should get back to playing it.

  12. Maverynthia says:

    Been playing a tiny bit of Dragon Age, but mostly Final Fantasy XIV. They’ve changed a LOT since XI… they now have gendered underwear and the male sets take something extra like sheep cord while the female sets I can make with just hempen cloth and thread. Not only that, guess who gets the shorty short shorts ._. *SIGH*

  13. TheUrdnotWrex says:

    I am playing 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby) alpha and babysitting mama

  14. I’m about halfway through The Whispered World. I’ve really bonded with the protagonist, Sadwick. Normally I hate negative nelly characters, but he’s so resigned to the world being miserable and unfair, and so dolefully witty about it, that he never comes across as whiny. It’s… it’s like playing EEYORE, is what it is, and I just want to hug him.

    • Jayle Enn says:

      You’re a better person than I. After about ten or fifteen minutes spent randomly clicking on things in the hopes of discovering what it was I was supposed to do, I wanted to drown him and whoever did their UI.

    • Deviija says:

      I fell in love with the art and charm of The Whispered World. It made me nostalgic of my adventure gaming days. :) The only drawback for me was Shadwick’s voice acting? I didn’t find it a good fit for my ears and preferred playing it on mute.

  15. oddboyout says:

    This weekend I’m starting a new Shadowrun campaign with friends (playing a hacker) and I’ll try to squeeze in some time for the Rift BETA.

  16. Sharks says:

    Hey y’all! I just wanted to make everyone aware that Hydrophobia is only $5 on Xbox Live Arcade right now! It was part of their weekly sale, and I only signed on last night and saw it, but I think the sale runs through the end of Sunday.

    To give a breakdown:

    Hydrophobia puts you in the shoes of Kate Wilson, a systems engineer who lives and works on the Queen of the World, a highly advanced cruise ship/city on water. When the Queen of the World comes under attack by a mysterious faction, Kate must use her wits, strength, and engineering expertise to navigate an environment quickly being overrun by water and other dangers.

    I’ve only played it for an hour so far, but it’s totally worth the purchase. Kate WIlson is a refreshing lead in that she’s realistically proportioned, realistically dressed, and also realistically frightened and worried about her situation (anyone else get tired of always-stoic heroes who just frown and grunt at all the bad things that come their way?). The voice acting is understandably budget quality, and the game is reminiscent of an Xbox 1 title, but as a $5 downloadable game from an indie studio, I highly recommend it. It plays a lot like a mix of Tomb Raider and Metroid Prime, and the water physics are outstanding.

    At any rate, Hydrophobia totally pulled me out of the deep, blue funk I was in after the FFXIII-2 announcement. When at least some studios know how to create cool female leads and not subsequently destroy them with Sequels That Should Not Exist, then I have some hope for the game industry.

    Oh, and by the way, you can download a free demo while you’re at it, so at least give Hydrophobia a try! :)

  17. Sharks says:

    Another thing that just occurred to me:

    Wouldn’t it be great, since all the game mags and websites are doing their Game of the Year awards, for the Border House to do something similar and have a list of the best progressive games of the year? Games could be from any platform, and the list would probably be best left unordered (maybe alphabetized for organization), but I think it would be awesome to highlight games that have done things right or moved the industry forward this year. Commenters could highlight some of their own picks, too.

    Sorry if something like this has already been posted and I just missed it, but I think this would be a great way to share some cool, unique games we’ve all played this year and maybe others have missed. I’m always on the lookout for games that deviate from the same ol’ formula of bald, white hetero male space marines. ;)

    Categories would be fun, too–maybe categories a little different from the usual fare, with spots for multiple winners/nominees.

    Anyway, just a thought. Playing Hydrophobia this weekend reminds me just how many little gems are out there we sometimes forget about or just don’t know about.

  18. I spent all night last night playing Mass Effect. And part of the morning too, I think; the sun was up by the time I went to bed… *embarrassed face*

    I’m slightly bothered by how readily the game pushes you into flirting with Kaiden (if you’re playing fem-Shepard, that is). Like I accidentally picked dialog choices that were obvious flirting, because they weren’t so clearly flirting when they were listed as choices. Hello, heteronormativity.

    Though: I took probably far too much glee in responding disinterestedly to his flirting, so that conversation didn’t go all bad :P

    • Jamie says:

      Oh god I remember talking to Kaiden and suddenly having him all embarrassed when I somehow ended up saying I was interested in him or something that I thought was simply friendly. I had to politely let him down and hurry away. I wonder if that happens with Ashley as male Shepard?

    • Deviija says:

      Yeah, it is good to note (or perhaps warn) that Mass Effect’s romances can start quite easily by just picking the very nice responses. As Dude Shep or FemShep, if you are nice/flirty to both the opposite gendered romance option and Liara, you will come to a choice in the game where you have to pick between them.

      Other than that, I remember having to shut down the romance characters (rather bluntly in some cases) in order to get a specific romance person or to have my Shepard not be attached to anyone. Or else the game just assumes someone for you – even if you don’t sleep with them – and then it’ll carry over into ME2 etc.

      • Jamie says:

        Yeah, I wound up not talking to Kaiden until I’d romanced Liara enough for him to notice and ask (in a circumspect way) who I wanted to be with. Still not exactly elegant.

        The I let him die, which you know, may have been a bit extreme compared to simply saying “Sorry Kaiden I just see as you a friend” anyway…

  19. Deviija says:

    I recently finished Nier. I ended up enjoying the game a LOT more than I thought I would have. My love for Kaine as a character has grown leaps and bounds. As a portrayal of a lady character done right in many ways, she is a breath of fresh air. Now if we could just get her to wear something more practical instead of fanservicey… Particularly since I did not think the lingerie fit her character, though I did briefly wonder if it was mocking how scantily clad ladies in games generally are by turning the characterization on its head and tricking the audience into viewing Kaine with a certain expectation only to get a different response. But my cynic side won when I noticed the many close up shots and slow panning of her barely covered areas… so.

    But still. Many things done right, I think. It was also refreshing to see the Dude Hero portrayed as someone that is more emotional and sensitive/empathetic and the one having the emotional breakdowns in the game. Whereas Kaine is portrayed as more closed off and in control (as opposed to cliches like women are hyperemotional, the heart of a group, possessing heightened empathy etc.). Also great is Kaine’s backstory that tells the tale of Kaine and her grandmother — the latter a strong, independent, and non-sexualized or patronized character. And no, they didn’t spend their screen time talking about boys or love dramas. ;) So it was a nice little flip, I felt, on what gender norms and personality characteristics games usually give us.

  20. AceofOpus says:

    Hello this is my first post so I am kind of unsure but I feel you guys strive to make an excellent community so I will feel comfortable and contributing to discussion instead of just reading the posts.

    I try to recommend games to specific audiences and I think I have found a fitting game for an audience who wants a quality title, without (and I am having a hard time phrasing this) any sort of discrimination/derogatory comments (no matter how subtle they may be) to anyone. This game is ilomilo for the Xbox 360 (and windows 7 phone).

    I know that the name ilo and milo might have some gender connotation to some (at college I knew someone named ilo and another named milo) but the game doesn’t give any gender recognition (much like the slimes pictured above). Quoting from the intro:

    “Once upon a time there were two friends, one red and one blue, that lived on each side of the park. The red friend’s name was ilo and the blue friend’s name was milo.”

    Still I know this is not really enough to sell you on a game but if you let me play “pitchmaster” hopefully, if you enjoy puzzle games, you can share the same amazing experience as I did. You play as both of them as you try to reach each other in a quilt-like world (the textures are truly fabulous) of mesmerizing puzzle landscapes. The game has a real relaxing art-style and has an excellent difficulty curve in terms of the puzzle themselves as the controls could not be easier to use. There is some quirky dialogue peppered throughout the game, whether you like it or not is a completely personal thing. The production values are amazing especially when they are only charging 800 MS points/$10 for the title (as with a game as well designed as this Microsoft is know to up the price to 1200/$15). Hopefully this comes to PC as I know a lot of people without 360s (and windows 7 phones) but who knows how Microsoft will deal with their ips? The best thing I can say about this game is that it is easily approachable to everyone. I was passing the controller around to my friends and they all immediately understood how to play. I could probably play this game with my grandmother and (after I teach her how to hold a controller) I am sure she also would get the hang of it.

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone (as I really want to continue posting here) with my comments about the games inoffensiveness. I know puzzle games are not known for their problematic character designs or bad dialogue but I have read the friday fun thread hear a lot and see a lot of people asking about good games that don’t patronize the person playing it in anyway and I think the fact that this game has no real harmful content is only a small plus to an already excellent and affordable title.

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