I have been shifting my gaming hours towards casual web-based games because they are generally free and there are plenty to choose from. A casual game needs to hook me within the first few minutes or I am going to peace out and try something else. This post is the story of how one casual game, CastLot, failed to impress.
I am playing the Sims Social, my favorite casual game, when I see an enticing advertisement on the right-hand side of my Facebook:
I like the advertisement because it features a female elf who seemed to be fully clothed. Presumably I could choose my own avatar, as the ad copy suggests, and play a character like the one pictured. I eagerly click the link and went to a registration page for a game called “CastLot.” The first thing I notice is a white female ranger who would be practically clothed except that for some reason her boobs are out and her pants seem to have gone missing.
Well! I like sexy ladies as much as the next gamer, so I can forgive a little impractical armor, especially if the male characters are equally sexualized, and I have no reason so far to assume they won’t be. I register and press onward.
The first thing I notice is that the lady ranger is back with even bigger and better boobs. How do they stay up like that with no discernible bra? It must be a float spell! Once I’m done gawking, I notice the game has prompted me to enter my lord’s name. Wait, I am not a lord! I look around for a box to change to “lady” or “alternatively-gendered fantasy creature” and fine none. I assume I can customize my avatar on the next page, so I name my character Callisto and choose the “dark” storyline.
Before I can do anything, a box pops up that informs me of what is going down.
Wait, so I am a chivalrous dude who loves helping the distressed damsels? I did not consent to this! Now I am really getting annoyed. What happened to my promise of a choosen avatar?
Then I meet the princess, Umbriel.
Wow, another looker! I try to listen as she chastises me for sparring with my NPC buddy Rhaine instead of immediately helping her, but I am too busy trying to stare through the sheer yellow cloth pretending to be her shirt. Apparently my avatar was thinking about some other chick named Alana, whoever she is.
Finally, I click on my avatar and it lets me change my character’s gender and select a new avatar. I scroll through a few drawings of white women until I find a blond who could serve as the face of my character Callisto.
Finally, I can play the dark lady warrior I want my promised “chosen avatar” to be. I am happy now, and click onward to play the game. I am dismayed when the original blond man reappears whenever I do anything.
I sigh and close the game and wonder if I am crazy for expecting a game with female characters all over the advertising and promises of custom avatars to actually let me play a female characters.
Just so I don’t end my casual gaming session on a negative note, I go back to playing CastleVille. I decide that if I am going to play a casual medieval fantasy game that sanitizes feudalism, I want the game where I can have the magic purple pony.