The first thirteen minutes of Mass Effect: Andromeda has been released, and oh how beautiful it is! I’ve written about my hopes for the newest addition to the series before, and we are able to actually see the first chunk of the game. I just watched the video and it was such a smart move for BioWare to release this “sneak peak”. It did not give much away at all in terms of the storyline; however, it reveled enough to keep me guessing.
The main reason why I’m so excited is because of those freaking graphics! Human faces can be difficult to replicate in video games, and I’m impressed by how human those characters look and react. You know that face you might make when something strange happens and you make eye contact with someone else and they also have no idea what’s going on and you make that face that is kind of like an elongated frown? The Asari doctor in the video actually makes that face! I’m not sure if I made any sense with that sentence, but if you watch the video you can see what I mean!
Another great change is the conversation wheel. For those of you who have played one or all of the first three Mass Effect games, you can understand my initial appreciation for an upgrade to the wheel. It no longer categorizes responses into ‘Paragon’ or ‘Renegade’, but instead as emotional, logical, casual, or professional. I love this. I will no longer have to be stuck between playing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ character. Instead I can choose to respond in a way that reflects the type of personality my character has. For someone who appreciates character development and story I feel the decision to change the wheel was a very smart one.
Next up for discussion are the existing relationships between characters that the introduction reveals. Especially how your character’s father reacts to you. It definitely sets the stage for possible hardships in the future, like how is my character going to deal with their father’s apparent scorn. And what will happen if that father ends up dying on the first mission, which is how I think your character becomes the Pathfinder themselves. It also seems your character knows a couple of the possible party members already, and those relationships give the player a sense of continued story. In other words, these characters have a past and the present in the game cannot be disconnected from the implied lives that these characters have lived.
After watching the video a second time I am more excited about playing Andromeda than ever before. What are your thoughts on this video or the game in general? Leave me a comment below!
-Sabrina Arnold (iwouldliketonerd)
From the time I was old enough to click a mouse or hold a controller I’ve been playing video games. Freddie the Fish, Scooby Doo, Yoshi, Ratchet and Clank, Tony Hawk, Portal Runner, all of the Dragon Age and Mass Effect games were some I especially loved. I narrowed my focus down to open world RPGs because I enjoy everything about those games. I went through a phase when I was in middle school when I did not play video games very often, so I didn’t go through that exploratory stage where I tried many different types of games. After playing different genres of video games that either my parents would give me or my brother would let me borrow I just stopped playing games. When I picked a controller back up it was out of a desire to connect to something again (hard times and such), and I just so happened to pick up my brother’s copy of Dragon Age 2 and I just played it. That was the beginning of my affinity for both BioWare and RPGs, and I did not try other genres after that. I skipped a whole period of discovery!
As of recently, I have decided to play games I might not necessarily pick out as “my type of game”. My roommate has shown me Harvest Moon and Pikmin, which I has never even heard of. I’ve watched people on Youtube play other types of games as well. For instance, Seananners playing King of the Kill and Prop Hunt, Markiplier playing Resident Evil 7 and Soma, and GassyMexican playing Until Dawn. It’s just as fun for me to watch someone play a game, especially when I myself do not have the funds or time to play as many games as I would like. Shooters are the next genre on my list. Don’t get me wrong. I still play RPGs regularly and I’m stoked for Mass Effect Andromeda; however, I feel like I need to explore this world of games that I love so much. I’m playing Gears of War right now. I’m not that great even on casual, but I’m liking it. I think starting with Gears of War instead of Halo or Call of Duty or something of that ilk has helped because everyone seems to be so freaking awesome at those games. It made me feel like I couldn’t and shouldn’t play them because I’m not good. I’ve figured out that it’s alright to be horrible at a game. It’s not a competition when you’re playing for fun. Also, new worlds and stories are possible to be a part of in different genres. I was under the impression that to get new ideas and stories I had to play RPGs. Each genre has pros and cons for everyone and they differ for each individual, but it’s fun to expand ones horizons and play or watch other games. Maybe you’ll find something else you love.
Let me know which games you’re playing in the comments below!
-Sabrina Arnold (iwouldliketonerd)
Here are some ideas on how the video game industry could be more environmentally sustainable.
In my innovation class today we went around the room and presented two innovative ideas. After six people presented, the class would vote on their favorite idea. Even though several presentations involved sustainable technologies, people tended to vote for the ideas that would help them save time or money. I’d like to think that here in Portland, OR we would be thinking more about how to be environmentally friendly, but nothing is more persuasive than saving money.
For the past few years I have pondered how video games or the video game industry itself could be more sustainable. Games like Dragon Age, Fallout, Mass Effect, and Skyrim are some of my favorites and I aspire to work in some way, shape, or form with games in the future. However, after taking several classes on sustainability I have struggled with how I would be alright with working for a sector that has seemingly done nothing to become environmentally friendly. If initiatives exist out there then I would love to hear about them, because I cannot find anything substantial. Having said that, I do recognize that some companies are trying to promote a more sustainable world in-game. I want something more real world though. I began to think about video game developers and companies could create positive environmental changes.
With this is mind I continued on with my life. Perhaps companies could create incentives for employees to volunteer or materials needed to manufacture video games and consoles could be collected in a way that would be more environmentally friendly. I personally don’t have the know how, the experience, or the power to be able to implement these possible solutions. Nor, do I have the knowledge of the industry to make an informed decision on whether or not it would be financially possible for a video game company to go out of its way to do better. All companies should do this, but for some it is not feasible. Through all of these garbled, partially constructed ideas I remembered that people like to save money.
What if console manufacturers like PlayStation and Xbox no longer created a new console every few years. After the new ones come out it seems to make past models obsolete. Which means that entire consoles are discarded or just sit collecting dust while the new console is played. It becomes a cycle of throwing out the old one to replace it with the new, and even if you keep the old console they are usually replaced by the new one after they finally breakdown. If you’d like to know more about this then I recommend looking up planned obsolescence. I get it, companies need to continue to make money, so they couldn’t create one console and have that be it. The way technology is progressing that console would be replaced with new tech within a couple years. We need to rethink how consoles are made. Here’s my proposition: don’t replace entire consoles. Instead, Xbox and PlayStation could continue to develop parts of the console, and sell each piece in separate parts. If you own a console and the battery decides to die, just purchase a new battery pack instead of throwing out the entire system. It saves materials and money, but companies would still continue to make a profit. When technology makes another leap the pieces needed to upgrade the console could be sold and the owner could just replace the parts. Bam! New and improved graphics without having to buy an expensive console.
Again, I could be completely unaware of why this idea would not work. If it was a success though it could not only reduce waste but save people a lot of money. And who doesn’t enjoy savings? Let me know your thoughts! I’d love to hear them.
-Sabrina Arnold (iwouldliketonerd)
The 7th installation has changed the Resident Evil brand for better; here’s how.
Mutated zombies, incessant gore, non-stop action, and Umbrella Corporation are what comes to my mind when I think of Resident Evil. I’m a fan of the movies because of my love of anything zombie-ish. Resident Evil incorporated the idea that zombies were created by a mega company that was planning on making a profit off of selling the antidote after releasing the zombie virus. I don’t know about you, but that’s quite a difference from the usual concept of the ‘we don’t know why zombies exist’ story. I love the concept, but for some reason the video games never attracted my attention. I love rpgs and story-telling, so the hyper-action packed, hack and slash theme of the Resident Evil games were never interesting to me. Then I watched Markiplier play Resident Evil 7.
At first the game wasn’t on my radar, but some of my friends were talking about how great it was. Naturally, I had to check it out. I was expecting something akin to the past Resident Evil games, but what I watched was entirely different. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard turned out to be a thrilling survival horror game complete with a full fledged story and ever shifting environment. I won’t spoil anything, so those of you who haven’t played or watched someone play the game won’t be upset. The opening scene sets the tone perfectly: you play as Ethan, a man who goes in search of his wife who has been missing for three years. He receives an email from her asking him to come get her, and the audience sees a video clip that foreshadows that rescue mission going very, very wrong. The game does an amazing job of keeping the player in the dark, and placing tidbits of information throughout the whole game. Each section of the game brought about a situation or a new environment that would continually change the game. The main mechanics of the game never changed- you hid, fought, and searched for supplies and clues. However, the environment would shift in ways that were noticeable and purposefully heightened our sense of danger. The stakes felt like they were getting higher and higher as the game went on.
Soon after I began watching, I got my roommates to view the play through with me because it’s more fun to be scared with other people. And were we scared! The game employed jump scares, suspense, amazingly intense fighting mechanics, and creepy characters (voice actors- be praised). Resident Evil 7 kept us guessing the entire time. We found ourselves debating over what was happening within the game even when we weren’t watching it. Now, we’ve created a joke, “You’re doing better than Ethan,” when we’re having stressful days. The story and gameplay were not only scary in the sense that it made us jump, but it also freaked us out in a way that stayed with you even after you turned off the TV. It was creepy ad thought-provoking.
All in all, I’m excited about where this franchise is going. Many avenues have been opened for the continuation of Resident Evil. The 7th game ended with some questions answered, and many more to hopefully be fleshed out in the next installment. I’m surprised to say that I am eagerly waiting for Resident Evil 8 to come out. I’m in suspense, which is exactly what Biohazard capitalized on.
-Sabrina Arnold (iwouldliketonerd)