Friday Fun: Open Thread!

Two adorable Plants vs Zombies plushies: a Peashooter and Wall-Nut, created by Arixystix Creations.

Two adorable Plants vs Zombies plushies: a Peashooter and Wall-Nut, created by Arixystix Creations.

It’s *almost* the weekend, and that means it’s time for another Friday Fun!  We’re pretty sure this weekend is going to be all Dragon Age II and PAX East, but what else do you have going on in your real life or gaming world?

Me, I’m heading off into the wilderness for the weekend to go camping with my horse and 30 other cowgirls.  It’s going to be quite the adventure and I’m not sure what I’ll do without my precious internet!  On that note, moderation may be slower than usual this weekend while Brinstar and Alex are both at PAX and I’m roughing it in the great outdoors.

Talk amongst yourselves!  What are you playing?

Note: To buy patterns for these super cute plushies and more, please visit Arixystix Creations.

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. FarisScherwiz says:

    Primarily playing Pokemon Black, but also some KOTOR2 and Portal. I’ve got Radiant Historia, Tactics Ogre and Dragon Age II waiting.

    Not sure what to do this weekend :(

    • FarisScherwiz says:

      In other news, Gearbox brought booth babes to PAX. :|

      • Beth says:

        I was so pissed off when I saw that there were booth babes at the Duke Nukem booth. Not like I was surprised, but I thought that maybe the Penny Arcade guys would check these things a little better. Way to make a girl feel welcome!

        • FarisScherwiz says:

          Yep. Yet another way for PA to say “screw you!”
          Makes you wonder why they tried to make things more inclusive in the first place.

        • Apparently they are justifying it as “cosplay”

          …which basically means game developers only need put scantily clad women in their games (which they all do) and they can ignore those rules. ._.

  2. TheLaquidara says:

    I’ve mostly been playing Far Cry 2. It’s an interesting game from a design perspective. On one hand you have all these really nifty animations, realistic visuals, and subtle interactions with the world, but on the other hand Far Cry 2 is not ashamed of showing you how it all works. Things like the spawning and re-spawning of NPC enemies, camps, and trucks is just one major instance of this, there’s also a map that shows you where your objectives are in real time, so you’ll see a helmed vehicle circling on your map waiting to be kerploded up… even though the person that sent you on this mission clearly said to stop the vehicle before reaching a certain destination… it will never reach its destination, it’ll just run circles along a set path until you take it out. Oh, and you can’t play as a woman, which is weird to me, since I see no reason why you wouldn’t be able to. There are women out in the world, and they seem to share animations with the men, so I’m not sure why they didn’t add women to the playable characters.

    So, yeah. It’s a weird mix, and I can definitely see why people were frustrated and/or conflicted about Far Cry 2. It’s both realistic and arcade-y. But I’m personally having a lot of fun with it. Not many games let you eat diamonds while watching TV high up on a cliff:

    Also been playing Braid. I’ve completed world 4. Fun, but I’m taking it a bit slow after finding out how small this game is.

  3. My brother preordered portal 2 and gave me the copy of the first one that came with it, so I played that a bit.

    Only… I’ve noticed my anxiety tends to be made a lot worse by video games. Like, the whole reacting to things under time pressure is a serious problem. And my anxiety is pretty bad. Like, getting tense from playing a video game can make me feel sick for hours afterwords.

    So that’s incredibly frustrating; although, unfortunately, if I dwell on that frustration at all I ALSO get sick. Glahhlhgtgrgrgg.

    Oh, and the new edition of Nobilis came out on Sunday which is awesome, if only sort of related to video games. (I mean, it’s a game; it’s not video) And also means I’m pretty much broke now >.>

  4. Jayle Enn says:

    Wrestling with RIFT. I wish I’d played to the mid-thirties during beta, instead of rolling alts, because the 30-35 region (Defiant-side, at least) is where my concerns about design and the player base are starting to be borne out.

    They’ve been good about fixing some annoying things, like putting a ‘porticulum’ rapid-transit gate at either end of the Defiant low-level zone, and adjusting the spawn rates on some low-level quests, but there’s still a lot of work to do. With advancement fast enough that a lot of subs will have at least one character at level cap by the end of their free month (server first on Belmont was only two or three DAYS into the headstart), and content progression being very linear, I’m concerned that only the hard-core will stick around after they’ve seen what there is of the content and lore.

    And damn it, as bitchy and frustrated as it’s made me a few times in the last week, I’d really like to see this succeed. Plus having an MMO to fool around in and not have to worry about gearscore or increasingly Byzantine theorycrafting would be really nice.

  5. Be careful if you have any criticisms of Bioware or Dragon Age 2, apparently they’ve taken to _locking players out of the game_ for being smartasses.

    Because the game requires an online account activation to play, if they decide they’re mad at you…

    • FarisScherwiz says:

      BioWare just seems to be aggressively wanting me to absolutely hate them :|

    • TheLaquidara says:

      I actually did not know they had such power, that’s really off putting as a consumer to know that they can yank the plug off of the products I’ve bought from them. Why, as a company, would they even want to do that? What do they benefit from having such power?

      Well, it seems EA redacted their ban, saying it was a mistake in their system… yeah.

      RPS has a good writeup on it for those interested: and the redaction

    • Joejoestar says:

      That seems to be a unique case, in that the user did not activate the game previously to his banning. Since you need an EA account to register it, and his is banned….
      Speaking of Bioware, I’ve come the realisation that their fanbase has always been ruled by a bunch of creeps, it’s now more apparent because both ME and DA have sold like hot cakes.

      • franzferdinand2 says:

        Back in the day I was a huge Bioware fan. Then I realized that they only have a handful of stock NPCs and all their plots boiled down to “Jedi (or Jedi Analogue) saves World/Galaxy from nebulous evil”. I realize that any game can be oversimplified that much, but still, there are just a few too many conventional plot beats that they hit every time.

        It’s one of the reasons why Jade Empire probably remains my favorite game of theirs.

        • Jayle Enn says:

          It’s really kind of embarrassing, how long and so obviously they’ve been milking the same tropes and archetypes. I mean, jeez. Jade Empire was basically KOTOR with the serials filed off and one set of annoying minigames replaced with another. It even recycled one of the bizarre little side quests (people trapped underground, transforming into cannibal monstrosities).

          I know that MMOs aren’t exactly a bastion of intriguing writing, but a pedigree that consists of ‘Sweet Jesus! Something’s going to eat the universe, nobody but you knows, and it’s up to you to destroy it because nobody believes you!’ again and again isn’t going to be doing TOR Online any favours.

          • franzferdinand2 says:

            I still give Jade Empire a little bit more credit for overall storyline of your master. It does lose points for the fact that it feels like its really gearing up, then it ends.

            But yeah, its NPCs were all the standard Bioware NPCs, and the side plots. And the morality system, while slightly interesting originally, did eventually boil down to stock good and evil…

            You know what? I think Jade Empire might just be a game that I remember better than it really is.

  6. 12Sided says:

    I found Dragon Age 2 at my rental store; very weird playing this kind of game on a console as I’ve never done so before. I’m used to the PC being letting me have so much control that it feels clunky.
    So far I’m really liking Aveline, I still have my issues with the voice actress for Lady Hawke but I can’t get over how god-awful the elves look when you see their whole body at once, like stretched children with huge heads, seeing elves in the brothel… very uncomfortable. I’m a big elf fan girl when it comes to fantasy so this hits me in a lot of sensitive spots.
    I’d write an initial impressions review and post it on the BSN but as Whineaboutgames pointed out above I’m too worried about my games being locked.

  7. Ultraviolet says:

    Dragon age 2 – a dissenting opinion. I’m playing since day 1 and finished Act 1, i.e., i’m back from the expedition. So…

    …Bioware hereby is issued an edict of beatification in my book, and with a follow through in DA3 or even a good addon it will mean canonisation and queer sainthood. Forum mods – moron schmods, that only says things about the present culture of employment and customer interaction jobs, at large. The game itself is a wonder in every way.

    For the point of perspective, i’m a woman, queer, of non-Western ethnicity and if those aren’t enough i could definitely find a few more serious kyriarchy hitlist points. Which do not truly matter for i’m egalitarian above all.

    And commited to equality is what the game is. I never felt forced along the lines of racist, classist or heteronormative presumptions, more to the point there are always clear and conscious paths to react to the oppression encountered. More to the point the game does not give textbook cases but reasonably complex ones, with amazing intersectionality and balance. Racism isn’t just elves, it’s elves, qunari and Fereldians. I definitely tend to see it the writers being progressive and trying to educate. Love the way how things are switched around and distorted – well we have a relatively bi/pan sexuality setting and mage oppression – to give some distance and a fresh look, and let people recognise that entrenched, ‘traditional’ viewpoints may look awful without upbringing and socialisation to justify them. Also the game makes a point to equally represent men and women and not force revealing clothing on women. Well, 2/1 one among the companions but it’s a start. Cute guys in it = win – and imo Fenris would totally look good with cat ears on a Visual-K gig. I’d take him with me. So – from anti-kyriarchy point of view the game is a total win.

    The above post about elves got me thinking…elves don’t have to be Tolkien canon or humans with pointed ears. Maybe unintended but there’s a lesson therein. Merrill is both older and overall more knowledgeable than you (at least where magic and Fade is concerned, lol – she has yet to learn the concept of ‘body shots’ as Isabela said), and she has a different, equally good background. She’s an elf woman. Different proportions – non-human biology sometimes does that. It may not but sometimes it does. It may not be about your human mating markers as begin-all and end-all. It might as well be about understanding elven ones or falling for personality.

    Lol and loved the brothel and variance theme this time over. Esp ‘And it’s through the bodily suffering Holy Andraste leads us to light’ and the fact that you learn about the dark-haired elf’s downthereconfiguration in an unstoppable cutscene way too late, yw conservatives ;)

    I did not like Lady’s voice per se, because i don’t like posh things that rhyme with Uranus. But i suppose her ingame background entirely justifies the accent.

    So, overall the game might not pander to certain political belief systems interwoven with PCness – but honestly i’m not fond of them either. So, high five, Bioware. May i have seconds?

  8. Sunatic says:

    Finally got fed up with playing so much Civ Revolution, so I started Settlers 2 after a long break from it. I love love love Settlers 2, it’s just my type of game. I can draw or sew while playing, how awesome is that?

  9. Overmind says:

    System Shock with mouselook and higher resolution enabled. I’m on level R and so far it is one of the best games I have ever played. Difficult, quite complex and with enormous, sprawling levels you can get lost in. It is not a railroaded simplistic game, in which you would have to be blind to lose, that they produce nowadays. Wonderful horror/eerie atmosphere.
    There is also a weird relation between the protagonist and Shodan: Shodan’s “body” is the Citadel Station so it may seem that the hacker (the player character) is an intruder in her organism and the six months that he spent in hibernation on board the station may be seen by Shodan as an unwanted pregnancy.

  10. Nezumi says:

    … After one of two friends that are holding childish, hateful, petty grudges against each other (one had previously been trying to reach a resolution, but finally gave up) blocked me for acting as intermediary, I finally got fed up and told them to stay out of my life until they resolve them somehow — they don’t have to stop hating each other, but just clinging to them is childish in the worst sense and not remotely psychologically healthy.

    • Nezumi says:

      As for games? Threw together a Nobilis 3e character. Just looking for a game to play her in. As well as a name for her and her contact/anchor.

      • I’ll let you know if I end up putting anything together. I raised the topic with one of my offline friends, at the very least.

        Can’t help with the name though.

  11. Laurentius says:

    I’ll try to dab a little with GuildWars since new update allows play with 7 heros ( i may even try to get to FoW to get obsidina armour for my mesmer ).

  12. ninjapenguin says:

    Playing some Okami, since Okamiden comes out next week. I can’t wait to get on to that!

  13. Lucas says:

    Dragon Age 2. Really enjoying it. Been progressing slowly and still gearing up for the Deep Roads. Playing a female warrior. The punchy feel of the warrior is a blast.

    One thing is making me really bitter: About every other fight, if not every fight, my foes yell, “Try to leave the pretty ones alive!” I’ve noticed I’m even gritting my teeth every time I hear it now. I’m playing LadyHawke and even had an all-female party for some time, so I don’t know whether this sound clip is situational. I’m guessing no, but can anyone playing BroHawke confirm they hear this?

    I’m playing on PC so I’m sure I can mod the sound file out or replace it with a blank…

    • Lucas says:

      Agh! I’m sorry for not putting a TW for in-game rape threats at the beginning of that!

    • Eep; bioware is like, doing everything they can to make me hate them.

      A couple days ago someone (NonCon I think) was saying on twitter that there was a plot which had a schizophrenic (or something similar) person asking you to kill them. Because apparently people with disabilities LIKE having genocide targetted at them. And then when you kill them one of your party members apparently says something about how they’re ‘broken’. (not sure the details; obviously, didn’t and definitely won’t play it, but yeah)

      …this came up after I’d spent half the day venting at someone about how I felt broken. Ummmmm.

      • Ultraviolet says:

        Well the quest was about a schizophrenic serial killer – with the options of killing him or turning him in in full knowledge that the city magistrate is his father and will get him out.

        I wouldn’t call that a statement of all non-neurotypicals being broken.

        • XIV says:

          So, basically, it’s the insane = violent narrative again. Oh, goodie. Not enough of those around I guess.

          • Jonathan says:

            This may be a little spoilerish, but the fact that there is a serial killer in one quest has already been brought up, so I guess it’s no big deal now. The guy in question serves to contrast all the “magic drives you insane!” plot lines throughout the game. You rush in expecting the guy to be possessed or a blood mage or something, but he turns out to be a mundane, for want of a better term, killer.

            I give a lot of credit to Bioware on the disability front for Sandal. He has an obvious disability, but he’s happy, highly skilled at what he does, loved by his (adopted) father and clearly smarter and more able than most would assume. My younger sister has Down’s Syndrome and, as far as I’m concerned, Bioware tick all the right boxes with this character.

      • Lucas says:

        Minimal spoiler here.

        Perhaps it’s the tranquil? They are mages who have their emotions and personality removed, and one manages a moment of sentience and asks for death. Another mage mentions how it’s a “fate worse than death.” In the end you’re still making the decision for them.

      • Maverynthia says:

        I hate the fact people see others with different mental states as ‘broken’ or ‘unfixable’. It’s that kind of thinking that lead to horrible things being done to people today and back in the old days. :( It hurts worse because I KNOW someone with schizophrenia, and they are an awesome person!

    • Jonathan says:

      The “leave the pretty ones alive” line comes from slavers and I’m mostly certain it happens even if you have an all-male party.

  14. Lake Desire says:

    I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV and enjoying it for a free MMO. The game just went down for a week because of the earthquake (which I’m surprised isn’t being discussed here), so I’ll be playing Starcraft II. I’m if anyone wants to friend me on

    • Maverynthia says:

      Once the servers come back up you can look for Misery Melana or Kakkyoi Genovera and join us(sssssss). :3

      • FarisScherwiz says:

        What server do you play on? I’ve really been wanting to find people to play with on XIV (just so long as you don’t mind me being a noob)

        • Lake Desire says:

          I’m still a bit of n00b too–I’ve only been playing two weeks. I would love to play with you! I’m on Besaid, which is well a populated server and has a big role playing community if you’re into RP. My character name is Lake Desire. I’ve been soloing, finally found where the players are hanging (the city of Ul’dur, whereas I’d started in Gridania) so hopefully I’ll start partying soon. My character is in the teens, but you can easily switch classes in the game so I can level another class up with you.

          The game should be back up on March 20.

          Maverynthia what server are you on again?

  15. Kimiko says:

    Still playing Sword Of Mana. Some sidequests are just too hard or long to complete, so I’ve decided to just finish the game. That’ll still take me a while of course. I’ve been playing for 55 hours and 55 minutes already according to the save game screen.. :o

    • Doug S. says:

      I remember playing that. There was one sidequest in which the enemy I had to kill just refused to drop the item I needed for a quest… I eventually ended up killing 255 of them and turning them black (replacing them with a super-powerful version of themselves).

  16. Sir Oliver Martext says:

    I just wanted to plug Constructoid. In a website often full of misogynist bullshit, it’s nice to see some thoughtful discussion of game characters. I loved his discussion of women in games and the cookie cutter “Ben Affleck” heroes that this post discusses (though I would have appreciated more discussion about race as well) :I normally don’t plug things, but it looks like he might drop the feature if it doesn’t get more support.

    • FarisScherwiz says:

      Yeah constructoid is nice, although I like Extra credits a little more.

      I saw in that article that the protagonist in Prey 2 is now white, that makes me sad. :|

  17. CthulhuMythos says:

    Not sure where to put this, really, but wanted to be sure y’all knew about the blog post series goign on over at Bitch Magazine about gaming! Here’s a recent one:

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