Posts tagged ‘baldur’s gate’

September 24, 2011

The Anatomy of my Bioware Romances. Part One: Baldur’s Gate II – jsixgun

This is not an article on how I love Bioware, although in fact they are my favorite developer. If they make a game you can bet I’m buying it, neglecting something important, and putting a minimum of 40 hours into it. This, however, is an article characterizing the unique, albeit formulaic approach to the Bioware romance and why through the years I have picked or not picked certain leading ladies to venerate me throughout my adventures. So sit down (actually if you’re standing up while reading this you’re probably a freak), grab some dark chocolate (might I suggest it enveloping a strawberry?), light the scented candles (lavender mayhap?), put on some R-Kelly, and wonder whether I can put something in else in parenthesis. Here we go.

In reference to R-Kelly, “My heart is telling me no – but my body is telling me yeasss.”

Anyone who has played a Bioware game knows that you’re introduced to a host of colorful companions, some of which you can choose to profess your love or lust for throughout various parts of the adventure. (Let me insert here if you have not played a Bioware game, WHY NOT?). To understand the anatomy of my Bioware romances it will be easiest to do it on a game by game basis. Let us tackle this chronologically, as doing this chronologically is both the logical and gentlemanly way to do things, do not question this point.

Baldur’s Gate II

Baldur’s Gate II was the first game to introduce me into the world of dating computer characters, and to this day it’s the one I blame for the inefficiencies I see in modern women (this whole  sentence is a joke).  However, truth be told I found it as interesting a feature then as I do now. When developing a character created by you it really helps the immersion to add things as simple as romance options. If you want them you can go after them, if you don’t your character can husk around all day like they’re too cool for love and hate 80’s pop music. Either way, in Baldur’s Gate II you had a few options:

Meet Aerie, Jaheira, and Viconia

Each of these three characters was vastly different, and a lot of who you decided to romance kind of hinged on your own personal moral compass, however not entirely. Throughout my original play through many years ago I found my self being most drawn to Aerie. This is somewhat interesting to me though, because it seems she’s the least favored on the internet. Many people complain about her incessant whining and pity parties, but to me that was the allure with her. Understand that picking your protagonist’s love interest was never as easy as point and click. You literally had to delve into their personalities, consider their potential feelings on every decision you made, and pick the right dialogue choices whenever they confronted you. Mess up, misread their intentions, or generally fail to understand what made them tick and you would find your self being more out of place than Ryan Seacrest at an NFL game.

“Wait, so the object of the game is to get in the endzone so you can do a dancing number?”

When you stumble upon Aerie, you find her in a circus gone gaga, and by gaga I mean crazy, and by crazy I mean as bad as Gaga’s music. You, being the epitome of all that’s virtuous in said fantasy world, save the day and can then choose to bring her along or leave her slaving away in the circus. Let her tag along and you discover a lot about Aerie throughout the game that really explains why she is so seemingly fragile all the time, if not a bit of whiner, as discussed earlier.  You learn she comes from a race of winged elves who are almost all forgotten, and what’s worse, she’s spent much of her life as a carnival attraction because of those fancy pantsy wings. Unfortunately, living life in a cage did not serve her emotional health, or her wings very well and they eventually had to be forcibly removed (insert Heidi Montag joke here). If you’re thinking potential major mental issues would be the result, you’d probably be right. So what gives? Who wants to choose the emotional distraught, formerly winged girl, whose borderline manic depression has her breaking down all the time? I did and this is why:

As you build a relationship with Aerie she actually begins to round out her personality quite well. You find that she has terribly low self esteem because she doesn’t have her wings, and is surprised that anyone could actually love her. If this sounds horribly sappy, that’s because it is, but it also works to make you like her as a character. This all culminates, if you play your cards right, into the famed implied sex scene. You see at this point you’ve made obvious attempts to show kindness to her, you’ve encouraged her when she’s been down, comforted her when she was scared, and basically did the best at simulating a Nicholas Sparks novel that you could do.  Right before the dirty happens she has some apprehension because of the scars left by her wings, you tell her you think she’s beautiful and I’m pretty sure you end up hearing Michael Bolton playing in the background.  Boom you’re in.

Michael Bolton and Aerie look oddly alike...

What you find is that through nurturing her relationship in the game, you take her from being a troubled, scared little thing into a strong character. What’s cool, if not a bit creepy, is that if you put enough hours into the game she gets her own little bun in the oven. That is; you knock her up if you don’t understand baking metaphors. If you succeed in all of this you are treated to a special romance ending and a score created just for her romance- pretty cool (see below).

Ahhhh.  The sound of love.

Why did I not pick the others? Well in short… Jaheira’s husband gets murdered in front of you and who wants to step in to that too soon? That’d kind of be like someone dying on their birthday and you gorging on their Bday cake at the funeral; a bit odd if you ask me. And Viconia, well she’s just kind of a mean broad. Aerie is kind, gentle and grows into the strongest developing character, at least in this writer’s nerdy opinion. Till Next time.


September 19, 2011

The game that made me a gamer – By jsixgun

Every big gamer probably has one thing in common; they can tell you what it was like when they found “that” game.  The game that ushered them over the line from the casual “gaming is fun” mentality to the “I can do this for hours” mentality, and most never looked back.  I’m going to tell you mine. To do that, let’s take a journey back through the wheels of time to the year of our Lord, 1999.

In 1999 Bill Clinton was in trouble because he had been staining women’s dresses and I, a ripe 11 year old boy, was ushered out of the room when ever they talked about it on TV. Not that I cared, of course, because I was probably busy drawing pictures of Dragon Ball Z characters , listening to my Will Smith CD, or playing the game that introduced me into the world of party RPG’s. You see 1999 was also the year my family had gotten our first REAL computer, and I remember arguing that it must be able to play PC games; this was non-negotiable at the time.  So we set off to the Gateway store (at that time owning a Gateway computer was actually cool), and we ordered our very own family computer, and yes it could play games. So a few weeks later it arrived at our house in that customary cow box of utter glory (excuse the pun) and my gaming taste buds where about to be introduced to a whole new flavor of spice, because it also came with a copy of Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate.

Since then, cow's have become quite the marketing tool. Here's to you Chick-fil-A.

Once the game had been installed, I was introduced to something that I had never seen in a game before, and that was choice. If you could have taken my picture when I realized I got to create my own character by choosing gender, race, class, etc… I would have looked something like this:

You mean I can be an elf? That’s so cool! Of course I’ll choose a generic Human warrior instead!

I literally probably spent 45 minutes creating and recreating character’s before I even started the game.  Did I want to be a dwarf, an elf, a gnome?  To help you get on the edge of your proverbial seat, I’ll go ahead and tell you I picked a human warrior with blonde hair, proficient with a two-handed long sword because I had made up my mind my character was going to be unique.  For real, I thought I was a friggin’ genius at the time.  So my young Arian warrior set out on adventure that would have me hooked till this day.  Understand that Baldur’s Gate not only gave you choice, it gave you an actual story. For once I wasn’t rescuing Princess Peach from a fat turtle with a dragon complex just because… I was thrown into a world ripe with lore, fantasy, and a story that revolved around MY character.

I won’t give you a review of the game, nor a plot analysis because this isn’t really that kind of thing.  But I will tell you that as I first searched my way through Candlekeep with my childhood friend Imoen checking all the barrels for hidden gold (yes in 1999, games were still littered with morons who hid their life savings in barrels out in the middle of the street.  Bad for them- good for me) I never wanted to stop. It’s a good thing I didn’t either because I was treated to one of the best plots in a video game I have encountered to this day. I ended up finding out I was one of only a few mortal descendents of the God of Murder, Bhaal, who had apparently went around the Sword Coast procreating like Charlie Sheen. I had an evil half brother Sarevok, who wanted to start a war between two regions and use the carnage to take his birthright and ascend to godhood.  Only I could stop him, and I did.  I’ve never forgotten what it felt like.

And now I leave you from a quote from one of the most lovable characters throughout the game, Minsc. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, watch it! I’m huge!”

– jsixgun