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What Are You Playing This Weekend?

An intrusion like the moon through clouds. A misplaced man, a misplaced question. The question: one of play. But what of play?

So rude, crude; a thought pre-chewed. Its exhalation an imposition, its intonation an accusation. So to play we return again. Reveal your secrets, my secret brethren.

The first time I wrote one of these weekend posts, I mentioned that I wanted to play Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. I didn’t, though: I played more Wasteland 2. I regret nothing, at least in part because it means I get to play Bloodlines this weekend instead.

I rather enjoy the old CRPG convention of a game assembling a character for you based on your responses to a series of questions. It’s a little like taking a Voight-Kampff test except that you get to play a lovely game afterwards, rather than being a bored authentic human or a dead synthetic human. More games should do this. So long as you’re still allowed to fiddle with your character build afterwards, I don’t see why anyone would object.

The first time I fired up Bloodlines I ended up with a character belonging to the creepy, sneaky, pointy-faced Nosferatu clan. This time around I’ve been placed with the brilliant but insane Malkavian clan, which so far has largely involved occasionally hearing voices and having to decipher my nonsensical dialogue options before I select them.

In an era when so much video game dialogue appears to have been written for either transparency or with recourse to excessive cliche, this is wonderful. I tried to imitate it in the opening few lines of this post. It’s… not easy to write cryptic nonsense which retains meaning. This newfound knowledge gives me greater respect for professional crossword designers.

But how about you, folks? Something old or something new? Something borrowed, perhaps? Blue? Or maybe you’ll all be playing Grim Fandango. It does rather seem like the time to do so.

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Who am I?

Shaun Green

Contributor

Writes music, book and film reviews at www.nostalgiaforinfinity.com. Writes about videogames at www.arcadianrhythms.com. Plays guitar in www.wrecktheplacefantastic.co.uk. Occasionally sleeps.

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