There are a handful of things I’m thinking and want to talk about today, surrounding the fact that I JUST finished Dragon Age Origins.
First of all, the important newsy news for those of you who witnessed the aftermath of my messy breakup with Alistair. I went back in time, way back to the earliest save I had, and played it again. I’m happy to report that this time I did better, I put Alistair on the throne and pretty much told him he’d be marrying me. And he fell in line, the way he’s supposed to, which is really so much more in character for him than the disaster that happened before.
I had a bad moment of deja vu there. The Landsmeet went so much better. No big battle and bloodshed in the hall, just the duel with Loghain, the other guy grabbing for power who was responsible for the death of the previous king. This time I was so badass that I hardly took any damage before Loghain yielded. That was cool.
Anyways, after the cut found me back in the same room as last time with Alistair bursting through the door. And I was like, oh no, not again! Cringing, waiting to get dumped again. But it was cool. He was like, so, we just got engaged? And he seemed pretty happy with that. So whew. That was awesome. See, real Alistair doesn’t mind me telling him how it’s going to be. Alistair likes that. I don’t know what that was about before.
“If I could turn back time
If I could find a way
I’d take back those words that hurt you
and you’d stay” —Cher
So I really loved playing it through again, not only because I understood the game better, was better at it, saw more of it, but because the going back in time part kind of blew my mind a bit. It was like that thing–okay, YOU probably don’t do this, but–where you go back in your head and do it all over again, with full knowledge of what you did wrong the first time, yet no one else has any idea that all of this has happened before.
As soon as I can figure it out, I’m totally plotting a book where this is a Talent. Our heroine, with some kind of ability to travel the timeline, must go back and do things differently. Of course, before traveling back, she will have been heinously dumped by her asshole boyfriend, whom she now despises. But when she goes back, he’s got no idea how things turned out between them. And he’s that guy again, that guy she fell in love with. He’s not the same guy who treated her so appallingly. Everything can be different this time.
Because it was really kind of fascinating to me to be playing this role, to still be pissed off at Alistair, and still charmed by him all over again. Reminding myself that this wasn’t the guy, and I can’t hold this guy responsible for what that guy said.
There’s a reason time-travel romance was a thing. It’s fascinating. Though we’ll just all agree, up front, that the Terminator will always rule.
Anyway, by now I shouldn’t have to actually tell you how epic this game is and that you should all play. And the last thing I want to mention today is an article in this month’s Game Informer magazine, an opinion column on “The Future of Media,” written by Brandon Sanderson. I wish I could find the article online to link you to it. I’ll give you the intro quote from the article:
“I remember how I felt when I first played Final Fantasy VII. I suspect my reaction was not unique–I came out of that game feeling, for the first time, like I’d played a movie.
“I think that’s the first inkling I had of what was to come, what is still coming. More and more, it seems that traditional lines between entertainment media–film, book, game, song–are blending together. I think that video games hold the future of what we might call the ‘uber-media’ form. The combination of all traditional arts into a single experience, mixed with the new art of the 20th century–the art of guided participation.”
Lest you brush off Sanderson as some gamer yahoo who couldn’t possibly know anything about books, if you follow the link above you’ll see that he was the author chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, amongst his other works.
He’s not talking about the end of the world as we know it, though. He states, “the book works as it is.” Yay for that. But it’s a really interesting view of the possibilities of telling stories to the gamer audience, both through games and beyond the games. Sanderson calls for these stories to expand on what’s in the game, rather than tell the same story over and over. He suggests, “We can release a super-package, where a fan can buy–in one download–a film, a parallel book that shows the story from another character’s viewpoint, a game that lets you play the prequel to the film, and the soundtrack.”
Sounds pretty interesting to me, especially having been totally wrapped up in my first “playing a movie” experience when I came across the article. If the subject of hybrid media and where it’s going is of interest, you might stop by a Gamestop and read it. Bring your glasses, the print in this thing is appallingly tiny.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t bought this game yet, you’re a huge slacker. What are you going to do for Thanksgiving, watch sports, the dog show? Come on.