Progress! Reward. Dragon Age: Origins Replay

Re-aligning my schedule means that I’m also plotting out free time and marketing-related activities. With the weather getting colder, my work-outs remain inside the house rather than outside, and time spent with friends and family is typically holiday-or-hobby related. I had a little slip-up last week, where I delved into Whiny Mc Whine Whine Pants once again, which is why I need to acquire and cross-stitch this sign as soon as humanly possible.

However, there was progress made and a direction forward. This, my friends, is the beginning of the slow ride back up to the top of my winding rollercoaster. Though the motor be broken, the wheels rusted or bent, and the cart a little wobbly — the important thing is that it *is* moving again after a period of required maintenance. The creative life is full of ups, downs, and sideways turns; some things are in your control, some aren’t. Understand that? And you’ll weather any storm. Seriously.

But life isn’t all about blue roses (that’s a blog post for another time, by the way), one also needs to balance out work with turning-off-brain-activities. So, I’m replaying Dragon Age: Origins as a male elf assassin named Thorsgaard. (And the Mabari hound is named Loki.) I like Dragon Age because there isn’t one path to interpersonal relationships with the other characters; some are extremely faceted and the female characters DO stand out in their own right. That’s important to me for a lot of reasons, because when you treat ANY gender/sex/etc. as its stereotype, whether that view originate from your own mind or not, it makes the game/story/whatever perpetuate older viewpoints that aren’t realistic anymore.

[Insert a lament of seriously missing Kurt Vonnegut.]

We’re experiencing, right now, a cultural evolution because we communicate faster together than ever before. This won’t last, sadly, if the economics of the internet outweigh the ability to express ourselves freely — something I do think will still happen down the road if technology and methods of delivering content don’t continue to evolve faster than businesses can keep up. Sooner or later, we’ll reach the point where the two converge. After all, we have seen this sort of thing before.

Anyway, apologies for the sidebar, but I feel contemporary game design plays into that concept. Dragon Age: Origins is a re-playable game for me because of its nuanced and complex storytelling approach. It’s not the linear story that draws me to the property; it’s the facets, split plot lines, multiple origins, and the way characters approach the different sexes/races. Even so, I have a lot of freedom to get out of the game what I’m comfortable with. I know some were appalled that a male character made some advances on another male (or vice versa) to which my response is: get over it. That’s realistic and could easily happen in real life. Have you ever been hit on by a member of the opposite sex you couldn’t stand? Yeah, that can happen, too. Why wouldn’t a storyteller provide that as an option in a game — especially one that’s meant for a large audience?

I should also point out, that the ability to save at any time during a game is a huge deal for me. After all, I can break out ye olde timer and gauge playtime accordingly. I foresee a lot of words in my future. Hee.

The only trouble is, playing Dragon Age: Origins has given me other ideas for dark fantasy stories of the original, sure, but also of the Dragon Age and Ravenloft varieties. What can I say? I like my fantasy to have a little necromancy. There are a lot of dead things in the world, not all of which are human.

    Mood: It’s the Eve of Halloween. What’s not to love?
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Must. Continue. Movement.
    In My Ears: The screams of darkspawn as I slay them mercilessly.
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Origins
    Movie Last Viewed: The Raven
    Latest Artistic Project: In progress!
    Latest Release: “Fangs and Formaldehyde” from the New Hero anthology through Stone Skin Press

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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