Category Archives: Video Games

The day I created the Portal2Cast (this was a triumph).


When Starcraft II arrived, I marveled at the culture that accompanied:  Wikis, professional players, strategy guides and live tournaments. Some of it already existed from SC2’s predecessor, StarCraft Broodwar. But I didn’t know just how vast and popular “e-sports” would become. Nobody did.

What most intrigued me were professional ‘casters — paid to comment on games. What a perfect career! They mixed geek culture, videogames, and analysis into a savory entree for my viewing pleasure. I soon wondered whether I could have such a career. Just one problem…I’m not that good at Starcraft. I enjoy watching matches but I don’t follow the pro scene or the meta game. There’s too much I don’t know. You can hardly anchor the NFL if you don’t follow the whole league year ’round. Read More →

The day I juggled four identities.

Roleplaying an Imperial Agent isn’t easy.  You’re immediately instructed to be someone else to infiltrate an organization.

I’m a real person at a keyboard pretending to be Jelara, an Imperial Agent in the world of Star Wars, a woman vastly different from myself:

  • She IS a woman; I occasionally I act like one.
  • Incredible markswoman; I failed rifle marksmanship.
  • Fiercely loyal to the empire; I’m a libertarian.
  • Will sacrifice anyone and anything for her ambition…I’m probably not less evil, I’m just lazier.

But Jelara is pretending to be a bounty hunter to infiltrate a Hutt agency. In-universe, she’s even told to lose the Imperial Accent, so in reality the voice actress sports an American accent undercover, British when speaking to fellow operatives. (The Star Wars universe implies brits are evil!)

Later, you must impersonate a cult initiate to learn the identity of a subversive group. That particular mission is available to all Empire characters, not just agents, so completing it as an agent adds complexity: Which identity had I assumed before I was assigned the mission? Was I Jelara, Imperial Agent? The Red Blade, a good-natured bounty hunter? An imperial officer of unspecified rank? Which of these faces is now pretending to be a cult initiate?

And when I answer questions, am I answering as the cult initiate, or my main character?

This question occurs often, moreso because not all identities are part of Intel Operations. Whenever a Sith Lord issues orders, I become a spineless sycophant, to the disgust of my commanding officer. Because conversations only take place “on the rails,” there’s no opportunity to inform my superior I’m just playing toady to win Sith trust — Jelara doesn’t actually buy their mad schemes. She’s too level-headed.

Likewise, companions always react to dialog as if Jelara really believes what she’s saying. You can’t explain, “That was all bullshit to see what information he had. NOW we can kill him.” 

It all points to my skill as an operative, really. I can remember when I’m pretending to be someone else, even if my companions forgot I’m just pretending and my superior officer doesn’t understand bootlicking.

So I take pride in double TRIPLE QUADRUPLE Q U I N T U P L E-guessing every dialog option before answering such complicated questions as, “Who are you?”

I’m a good agent. How good?

The man you know as Jason is just a façade.


Star Wars, The Old Republic: The Evolution of Gaming?

We’ve seen Star Wars games by the dozens and MMORPGs by the handful. Even a Star Wars-based MMO is nothing new. The franchise alone doesn’t always sell games, which are inevitably judged on their own merit.

So what makes EA and Bioware think they can profitably challenge industry behemoth World of Warcraft and its competitors? Is the Force with them?

I tested Star Wars: The Old Republic this weekend, possibly the most ambitious game ever made. It was innovative and surprising, and takes the genre in new directions as promised.

Read More →

I’m a Jedi, like my father before me.

Greetings Lomerell,

Your account has been selected to participate in an upcoming Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Beta Weekend Test. If you have previously tested or are currently participating in an ongoing test, you will be invited again. Additional details for this upcoming test will be announced soon.

As part of this test, we will be partnering with games industry sites to distribute additional beta codes as necessary. This will help ensure we meet our population goals, so we can effectively stress test our servers in preparation for launch. Please do not acquire and redeem one of these codes as it could jeopardize your ability to participate in this test.

As a reminder, should you choose to participate, everything associated with this test (game information, process, forums communication, etc.) is confidential and may not be discussed outside of the Game Testing forum. Additionally, your participation in the Game Testing Program is subject to the Game Testing Agreement.

May the Force be with you,
The Star Wars: The Old Republic Team

What kind of “play” is more work than work?

I had to write a short sample for admission into It turned out so well, I thought I’d share it here.

My hobbies include time-travel, dragon-slaying, zombie target practice, and military command. As a child, such opportunities were afforded by books. But books, for all their greatness, have one major flaw: They are static, unchanging. I can add my own interpretation, but not my own ending. I can make the meaning personal, but I can’t determine the hero’s strategy.

This is why I turn to another art form, yet in its infancy:

They’re called ‘video games’. But I prefer to think of them as interactive books. Read More →

RIFT: The Next MMO?

I’ve had the pleasure of beta testing RIFT, a new MMO from Trion Worlds.

As a six-year veteran of World of Warcraft, I have hardly encountered another game (of any genre) which comes close to WoW in quality of storyline, world depth, intelligent game design, difficulty calibration.

During WoW’s impressive reign of the genre (and before), I have tried many other MMOs and found them sorely lacking in one or more regards. Among those discarded lie Dark and Light, EVE, City of Heroes/Villains, Perfect World International, Champions Online, and Warhammer. And while I have good things to say about most of them, they simply didn’t capture me in the way WoW did.

I bring a critical eye to the MMO landscape, an eye tempered by years of game-tweaking of my own in tabletop roleplaying, as well as endeavors into player-content-creation opportunities afforded by venues like Spore: Galactic Adventures and Neverwinter Nights.

RIFT was the first game in a long time to bring some new concepts to a saturated market: Ideas like truly mixed classes, and dynamic world-altering events.

So how does RIFT stack up to the giants of the industry? Is it worth playing? Or will it shortly be set aside? Read More →

The Proper Method of Procrastination

I’m ambitious and competitive. It drives me to be a better writer.

But I’m not always writing. In truth, I write a lot less than I feel I should (though still more than anyone else I know.)

So what do I do when I’m not writing?

Well…something ambitious. And competitive. And difficult and driven. One such example is playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero games at “expert” difficulty. Work up a sweat, pull out all the stops. When you make a critical error, hurl profanity at the screen.

For no other reason than to inflate my own ego, here follows a non-exhaustive list of my Rock Band and Guitar Hero accomplishments. Read More →