The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

I never played any of the other Witcher games, hadn’t even heard of them until a while before I bought my PS4. In part, I guess you could say that hearing about an “amazing” fantasy game on the PS4 was also part of why I bought one in the first place.

Regardless, I bought the game on the same day as I bought the PS4, even though I didn’t touch it for a while. The story itself is rather simple: You play as Geralt, a Witcher, and you’re searching for Ciri, a young woman he regards as a daughter.

If you just consider the main plot… the story itself is pretty linear. You go look for Ciri, you find Ciri, you help Ciri. But the game really isn’t about the main story, I feel, at least in comparison to other games. You’re supposed to be Geralt… doing what he would do, as a Witcher, in order to survive while working toward the ‘ultimate’ goal of locating and assisting Ciri.

When I say that you’re doing what Geralt would do, I mean side-quests. I can say with great confidence that I’ve never played a game (besides perhaps some MMOS) that has so much diversity in within the side quests and other optional missions. Not only does completing these side quests give you more information about minor and major characters, it also affects how some characters interact with you, and can change the options and goals of other quests. For example, there are several optional quests that change how your characters go about achieving your goals in the main story, which I thought was rather interesting.

My favourite part about the game, however, was how choice was implemented. Of course, a lot of RPGs these days are coming out with a lot more opportunities for the player to pick and choose the things they say and the actions they make. In the Witcher, I found myself often saving the game and re-loading it to go back and see the consequences of the different choices you could make. Usually there were quests where you had the option to kill a character or not, and how the story progressed from there depended on which you chose.

Of course, there were also sillier choices you could make, as well. There was one part of the story where you had to decide whether or not to get drunk. I chose the latter, and oh my, the trouble Geralt got into that night…

Have any of you played the Witcher III, on any system? What are your thoughts?

~Erynn

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The Last of Us

I pride myself in being a storyteller. I write stories because it’s what I love to do, and because our world will always need good stories.

When I bought my PS4, it was a bundle pack with the shooter/ apocalypse game The Last of Us. Now, I’ll be quite honest… I’ve never liked shooters or anything to do with zombie apocalypses. They really weren’t my thing, mostly because I’ve always been a fan of story-driven video games and I always had it stuck in my head that most apocalyptic zombie games were just about killing, not the story.

The Last of Us changed that for me.

I didn’t care much about the game at first. It came with the PS4, but I figured my boyfriend would end up playing it instead of me. Instead, he made a comment about the game after we bought it and were heading home. Said something about how it wasn’t your typical zombie game, that it was very story based, etc., etc.. To say the least, I gave it a shot. I’m a sucker for story-based video games.

I ended up falling in love with the game. The story was beautiful; much more than I ever expected to come out of a zombie apocalypse game. I ended up completing the game twice before getting into any of the others I bought. The gameplay was pretty solid, too, though that’s not really what I want to talk about.

As a writer, I always strive to build characters, create worlds and scenarios where the reader can truly care about what’s happening to who. Ellie and Joel are probably the two most dynamic characters I’ve had the pleasure of learning about, and I sincerely hope that I can create characters who have such an impact on readers as they did to me.

The Last of Us has increased the bar for storytelling through all mediums. I hope that even if my genre of choice is completely different, I can write something just as amazing as the story told in the game.

The game also had a huge impact on how I look at zombie apocalypse games and movies in general. I’ve realized that most add science to it (though I don’t think half it of it makes sense) and that it’s not just zombies coming out of nowhere like I initially thought. Most games and movies have a different approach to how the disease spreads (for example, in The Last of Us, the disease is a fungus that was spread mostly through food supplies. That’s not a spoiler.) and different ways to go about finding a cure or just surviving.

I’m still not a huge fan of shooters, but I’ve opened myself up to them to at least learn more. With zombies, I’m more intrigued than a fan. But it’s still a step in the right direction, and I’ve learned a lot about storytelling to boot.

What about you guys? Have you played The Last of Us? What are your thoughts on the game and the story?

~Erynn

I Bought a PS4

Hey guys, sorry for not posting much of anything this month. I’ve been rather busy and though I’ve had my blog on my mind, I’ve had to slog through other things that had me push it to the side for a bit. But, things are starting to slow down, and so I shall resume writing regular posts.

At the beginning of July I bought a PS4. My boyfriend and I have wanted one for some time, and planned to get one in the near future, but I decided that I needed something that I could use to get a break from the computer. It worked great, actually. Even better than I thought it would.

See, my problem with working on the computer is that if I’m itching to do something other than work, I hop on League of Legends and play a couple ranked matches (and proceed to scream inside at how terrible everyone in Platinum seems to be) to refocus myself before going back to work. But the nature of the League ranked system would have me playing 2-3 games in a row, which is about an hour and a half depending on the length of each match. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were able to just play one match at a time, but that really only would have been possible if I won each time because of the frustration that builds up from losing a match that should have been won.

Putting that aside, that’s where the PS4 comes in. I’m a huge RPG fan, which are easy to play in quick bursts and put down for a while to do something else. Essentially, they’re perfect for when I need a quick brain break. It’s true that I didn’t need to spend $700 on a PS4 and some games to play a good RPG, but remember that I wanted to be able to take a break from the computer, too. So, now instead of working for an hour or so and spending an hour and a half playing league, I’ve been working for about two hours at a time, and then taking a fourty-five minute break to play whatever game I’m fancying at the moment.

Since I love to talk about video games about as much as I do about writing and books, I’ll write some posts about my experieces on the PS4 as the year progresses. For now, all I’ll tell you guys is that I have The Last of Us, Witcher 3, Elder Scrolls Online, and Bloodborne. There are a couple other games I’m interested in getting (Horizon Zero Dawn comes to mind), but these will occupy me for now.

Actually, before I wrap this post up, I want to talk a bit about the PS4 itself.

Honestly, I’m not much of a console gamer. I had a PS1 a super long time ago and played the original Spyro games, I had a PS2 where I watched my family play other games like Jak and Need for Speed, and I got an original Wii for Christmas a couple years back that I never really got to use all that much.

So, I’ve never really experieced a “smart console” before now. Being able to connect to the internet and watch anime or Netflix without connecting a computer to my TV is a huge perk. I don’t see much of a use in the browser feature for anything else but watching anime (as Netflix’s selection is limited and the crunchyroll app is only useful if you have a premium sub) because a computer is much more functional. Those are my thoughts, at least. I haven’t tried much else yet.

Do any of you guys have a PS4? What are your thoughts on the machine itself?

~Erynn

Venturi

Hi everyone!

I mentioned some months ago that I was interested in getting into video games. Last summer I went out and landed a gig with some new, college start-up company that was planning on making some awesome fantasy games. But one thing led to another and that eventually flopped. Sort of. The people I was in touch with literally disappeared off the face of the Earth. Not sure what happened.

Anyway, that prompted me to keep looking. I didn’t have much of a clue where else to search, but I ended up scouring Reddit for something similar to the fantasy rpg I was all excited for. I had no luck in that regard, but I did find something else that caught my interest– a project referred to as Venturi, or the Venturi Effect.

Venturi is a dynamic science fiction rpg with a large focus on player choice, good story, and exciting combat. The project immediately caught my interest because of the key feature to travel back in time whenever you like. Luckily for me, my writing skills were enough to get hired as the newest writer on the team and get to work!

When I joined the Venturi team, I believe in late October, there were about four people on the team. Each of us were incredibly passionate about the game, but there was too much work to be done to have it completed in a reasonable amount of time without expanding. Since then we’ve grown into a legitimate company– Negative Zero Inc.– with three times as many team members, and ten times as much passion and dedication.

We’re still in the early phases of development, but you can read a lot about the game on the official website: http://www.theventurieffect.com/

Weekly blog posts are being written by me and some of the other writers about the game itself, but those alone won’t answer all your questions, I’m sure. If you have any, please leave a comment or send me an email at kisshuquiche@gmail.com and I’ll answer to the best of my ability, as well as refer your questions to the team to make sure you get the answers you deserve!

At last, if you’re interested in the project, please subscribe to the newsletter or follow on twitter/ facebook for regular updates.

Thanks so much!

~Erynn

Why We Game

Most people have a hobby, be it sports, reading, drawing, or playing video games, like myself. I pride myself in being a gamer, not because it gives me any prestige that being apart of any other ‘hobby community’ doesn’t give you, but more to appeal to others like me who enjoy games as much as I do.

Let me say it again: all ‘hobby communities’ have a level of prestige attached to them within that community; be it based off of skill, experience, or time dedicated to the craft. There are many ways to gauge this prestige factor, and truthfully, many people cannot and will not be recognized in their community as someone important or imperative to the future of that community because there are so many people trying to do the exact same thing. But that doesn’t make any member of that community any less important (unless you are, as we say in some games, ‘toxic’, then you aren’t at all valuable and you can leave. We’ll have a party after you go to celebrate the occasion).

Regardless, let’s get back on track. Why do we game?

Well, like all hobbies, there are a variety of reasons, but not everyone can say they do because of those reasons. Personally, I like gaming because it’s entertaining. It’s challenging. It keeps me thinking, using my brain, and working around obstacles that I wouldn’t be able to experience doing anything else. Though, there’s really a lot more to it than that. I’ve never really been the most social person, so activities that involve other people I’m not all that comfortable with… yeaahh, not happening. But it’s different with video games. There’s no faces but your character, you have absolute control of whether you interact with anyone else, and if you do, how you do it. It may seem like something small, but it’s that aspect of control that’s really valuable.

As I already said, everyone  has their own reasons, as everyone has their own reasons for everything. Some people value the amount of skill requires to play some games well, some people just like being able to distract themselves from life or to collect fancy armour in an MMO.

So again, why do we game?

Because like any other hobby, it’s what we enjoy doing. 🙂

Why do you game? Or if you don’t, what about your hobbies keep you doing them over and over again?

~Erynn

My Favourite Video Game: Chrono Trigger

My favourite game of all time is Chrono Trigger, and I give my cousin Chase full credit for leading me in the direction of the game. I remember the experience very vividly…

I was in grade 5, still living in the Coquitlam area. That year my grade was loaned laptops as part of our class, ancient Apple laptops that were terrible, though I was still excited at the prospect of having my own laptop. Of course it wasn’t really mine, but I don’t think my 9 or 10 year old brain quite understood that. Regardless, my cousin being a bit of a gamer, told me that I should play this game, Chrono Trigger, and being as attached as I was at the time, was eager to follow through with this suggestion.

So I was told how to emulate a game, where to go, what to do, and several hours later, voilà! Chrono Trigger was working, and I was ready to play. And play I did.

For those of you who haven’t played the game yet, Chrono Trigger is an old N64 game (I believe) that is considered one of the most beloved games of all time. If you haven’t played it yet, you should. The game was remade a few years ago using the same graphics and dialogue (just with a few add ons) into a Nintendo DS game. For genre, I would refer to it as a Fantasy RPG.

Looking back on the time I spent playing this game (I’ve played through it two or three times since I completed it the first, oh so many years ago…) there was a lot of humour, puzzles, and interesting look on magic, melee combat, politics (corruption and lack thereof), as well as position of people within a civilization, both those at the top and those at the bottom. Of course if I were to go back and replay the game again, I would probably analyse all of those aspects throughout the time I played it. But as I have so many other games to play, I don’t foresee myself getting the opportunity to do so any time soon.

One time I remember very well from my first play through was when I finally reached the last boss. I’d been trying to beat him for a long time, my cousin was kinda there watching, and I asked if they could do it for me. I recall the laptop being handed back to me several tries later with no luck, where I then tried one more time and finally beat the damned thing.

Chrono Trigger is a challenging game, both intellectually and skilfully. What’s the game actually about, you might ask? Well, I don’t want to tell you. Go find out for yourself. There are parts where you want to jump with happiness, shout in anger, and cry with sadness; aren’t those the aspects of a game that tell you it is one to be loved thoroughly? It is truly a well rounded game that anyone with a mild interest in the RPG genre will enjoy.

Again, if you’ve yet to try it, please do. You won’t regret it. And when you’re done, please come back and tell me your thoughts on it.

Have you played Chrono Trigger before?

~Erynn

Writing In Video Games

Something I’ve been interested in for a long time is writing for an actual video game. What prompted me to go out and pursue this recently was an opportunity that I saw; not one that I could take advantage of now, but one that maybe I could be lucky enough to grab in the future. That opportunity was seeing a job opening in BioWare, a department picked up by EA Games dedicated to creating brilliant RPGs and the like. If I was maybe 10 years older, it would have been a dream come true… but lacking the age and experience needed to even interest such a company, it’s something I need to pass on for now.

Just to give you a bit more perspective, they were asking for a minimum of 5 years writing experience in a similar environment (writing and developing stories behind video games), in addition to university education. While I believe I write very good for my age (remember guys, I only just graduated high school this year), I’m in no way shape or form ready to take on such a task.

However, it solidified my desire to pursue something other than novel writing, and that’s why starting yesterday, I started seeking work writing for video games. I picked up a gig several months ago where I was supposed to write the story for a fantasy rpg, but it kind of fell apart. Well, fell apart in the sense that after the guy said he wanted me on their team he disappeared. 😥 Today I got in contact with two different people managing two different projects, one very interested in having me write for them. So maybe it something comes of it in the near future, I’ll be taking a step in that direction that I can tell you guys about.

I’d like to talk a bit more about my experience with that fantasy rpg I just mentioned. While I didn’t get too far into any of the work involved in that project, it was the beginning of a whole new era of writing for me. I opened myself up to the world of script writing (something I had little interest in before), and to the world of real world development. When you’re designing a world for a novel, you only have to see it well enough to write your readers into it. You have narrative readily available to throw your readers into the story, but that’s completely gone in video games. Instead of you writing and describing everything that happens around the reader, the reader is instead a player, and is experiencing the world as the artists pictured it, and it’s your job to reflect that world in the characters.

A video game I finished recently is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I highly recommend it if you like diverse combat, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss today. I picked up the game because my boyfriend said I should try it, and he reinforced this fact by supplying me with the information that one of my favourite fantasy authors, R.A. Salvatore, wrote the story for the game. Here’s an article with an interview with R.A. Salvatore regarding his involvement in the game.

What I’ve so far learned about writing for video games is that it’s nothing like writing a novel. You need to show the player the world you’ve spent so long building in a completely different way. Each and every character within the game, whether it be a simple farmer or a merchant is significant. Your story affects everyone, everyone the player touches, and everything that you, the writer, have yet to touch on yourself.

What are your thoughts on the stories behind video games, the writing that is involved in it? Have any of you ever written for a video game before (be it dialogue, quests, or developing an actual story)?

~Erynn

 

The Gaming Rig

Hi everyone!

It’s been a few days since my last post, so I’m really sorry about that- I’ve actually kinda been all over the place. And one of the reasons for that is something I’m going to talk about today!

So, this will be the first real post for videogame Wednesdays. It’s not quite on topic, but I’m sure it’s close enough that we’ll all manage.

In any case, one of the reasons I’ve been all over the place is because I’m in the process of building myself a new computer. I may or may not have mentioned it before, but I’m going to assume that I didn’t. I ordered some of the parts in early July, and the rest of them just came yesterday.

Yay! I set off with my boyfriend and his dad to put the damn thing together. We opened up my brand new, snazzy looking case without a problem and began to feel it up. Okay. There are fans everywhere- two big ones on the top, one big one on the side, and I believe there were a few smaller ones. Remember, this is just on the case- almost every other individual component comes with their own.

Next we figure out which piece goes in first: the power supply. So we crack that box open, and oh damn! I feel like royalty for a second. The power supply came in a velvet bag, and all of the cords that came with it came in this nice, reusable folder/bag thing. With a bit of reading, we pop the power supply into the machine and move on to the next part, which is tricky.

The motherboard requires extra care. Just a little bit of static can cause severe damage to this core component of the computer. In any case, we put down some of those pop up screws (this leaves a cm or so between the case and the back of the motherboard for ultimate air circulation), and the piece clicks in nicely. Now for the processor, which just latches onto the motherboard. Simple step, or at least it’s supposed to be.

Sigh. This is where we started having issues. We couldn’t get the processor to fit. Closing the little case that held it in had a space that just looked too small. So we spend a half hour fiddling with it and trying to figure it out, of course, to no avail. We then turned to the Internet, which served it’s purpose: After some searching, we found that the motherboard and processor were incompatible.

I feel like an idiot. Big amateur mistake, I didn’t realize that AMD and Intel were assholes that have to remain so unique that they make their processors completely different from one another. What a pain in the ass! I bought an AMD processor because it was half the price of an Intel one of the same/similar stats. My motherboard is only compatible with Intel.

We ended up ordering a new processor and have plans to return the one I already bought. I wanted to return the motherboard so I could stick with the cheaper processor, but it was ineligible for returns. 😥

I suppose it’s a lesson well learnt. My new processor should be here on Friday or Monday, where I will swiftly return to building the computer. The hard part was just about done.

A bit of info on my new setup is in order. I currently run on a laptop that can hardly handle gaming at all. A couple hours of league has it burning up, most of my steam games get bluescreened after an hour max, and this is WITH game booster and low graphics, etc. Shitty deal, in other words.

This new computer is an enormous upgrade. Nvidia GTX 770 graphics card, a solid state drive, 16gb of ram, and the new processor I ordered is an i7 core. I can’t wait to finish building it (which is a learning experience on its own) and play some games in sweet perfection.

Another thing to note is that I spent about $2000 on this, which is about $200 less than I could have bought a machine with lower specs pre-made at a store. In other words putting it together requires a lot of time, but it’s significantly cheaper. If you’re in the market for a new gaming computer, I recommend that you consider putting your own together.

Happy gaming!

~Erynn