Doing what developers aren't
Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.
“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”
Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.
The response from other players was overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »
Nothing new under the new sun
I don’t believe that Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] is a train wreck. I do believe that it feels like a game made to spec, and is oddly soulless as a result. In singleplayer, this is to some extent disguised behind crusading dialogue and regular planet-hopping, but in multiplayer it is laid bare.
Read the rest of this entry »
We review relationships
In Mass Effect’s twin galaxies of the Milky Way and Andromeda, there’s a lot of smooching to be done, along with awkward flirting, saucy trysts and deep romantic connections with pretty alien boys and girls. BioWare’s been tinkering with its sexiest system for years, even before Mass Effect let us play out our embarrassing Kirk fantasies. And with Andromeda, they’ve promised even more junk-to-junk shenanigans, as well as deeper relationships.
Have they delivered? And, more importantly, can anything beat hooking up with Dragon Age: Inquisition’s Iron Bull and his infinite pecs? I’ve become a space Lothario to find out. Read the rest of this entry »
You don't need angry monsters to create sci-fi drama
Note: I had this post brewing in my head over the past week, while I was off on holiday, but the good folks at Waypoint ran something apparently similar before I could write it. No matter, as I’m yet to read that piece beyond the headline, I’ll write something anyway, albeit briefer, in the hope it doesn’t entirely replicate it.
Admittedly I’m ‘only’ twelve hours into Mass Effect Andromeda so far, and the main reason for not yet having made it further is that I haven’t been much intrigued by its science-fiction. Read the rest of this entry »
It's the best one!
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I know you’re supposed to say the first one’s best, but Mass Effect 2 is definitely my favourite in the series. Read the rest of this entry »
Strap in. Mass Effect Andromeda [official site] is out on Tuesday in the US, and then because EA still lives in 1987, in Europe on Thursday. I’ve played it for over 70 hours, seen the main ending, and am entirely ready to tell you wot I think. It’s well worth reading my previous piece on the first few hours, as there’s much there that’s relevant that I’ve not repeated below. Read the rest of this entry »