Gamer Girlfriend Releases: A Month in Review
I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone that October has been an interesting month, complete with some nice ups and a few spectacular downs. For me, some of the more personal ups and downs have included moving to a new apartment, joining a book club, and becoming rather disillusioned about certain aspects of my job. Other ups and downs have not been so personal. They…well, you know.
I find myself in a somewhat odd position this month, because I haven’t really been doing much gaming, and Mike (yes, I’m calling him Mike now, because anyone who’s been paying attention knows who he is, anyway) has been playing a series of violent videogames that I do not find the least bit interesting. In fact, I don’t even like being in the same room while he’s playing them, because I find all the gratuitous gunfire and shouting rather upsetting. Fortunately (for me), our new apartment includes an additional room that has been designated “my study,” wherein I might find a quiet refuge from all things unpleasant. Unfortunately (for you), this means I don’t have a hell of a lot of fun gaming anecdotes to report on this month.
I could, I suppose, find something to write about if I tried. Gaming tends to influence my life in subtle yet ever-present ways, so there’s always something to talk about. I just don’t really feel like it this month. Things being what they are, there are many other subjects I care about more right now, and I think those are the things I would rather write about.
Have no fear, though. I know that readers of my column have certain expectations, so my intention is to basically write about whatever the hell I want while making it sound as if I’m talking about gaming. I’m sneaky like that. So, gentle readers, read on for a less-than-comprehensive and somewhat biased review of the highlights and the lowlights of the past month, which I humbly present for your edification and (hopefully) amusement.
The Election Scrolls 2008: Oblivious
By far, the hottest game on the market this month has been The Election Scrolls 2008: Oblivious,which was released earlier this year by the Democrats and the Republicans, and which has been building steadily in buzz ever since. The original release of the game has two main player options. You can either play as the “Grizzled War Hero” or the “Charismatic Agent of Change.” Devoted fans will be happy to note that a recent patch to the game has added two new player options, “Respected Village Idiot” and “Hot Moose-hunter Babe.” The latter of the two has really been garnering a lot of attention lately, largely, I think, because of her unexpected appeal to certain segments of the gamer demographic that have strong feelings about either abortion or female hotness.
In the game, the character that you choose to play has a pretty strong impact on your gaming experience. For example, if you choose the “Respected Village Idiot” as your character, your game might be all over the board. You’ll have high foreign policy experience, but low diplomacy experience (leading to many gaffes that may take away from your “likeability” stats). Many other characters in the game will also inexplicably ignore you, despite your high experience level. The “Grizzled War Hero,” on the other hand, has high leadership experience, but low judgment stats. All the other characters seem to like, or at least respect, you, but your Republican Rally missions always seem to be almost deserted. Your affiliation with “Hot Moose-hunter Babe” definitely boosts your popularity stats initially, but be careful—she may betray you in favor of her own career by the end of the game.
The most interesting part of the game, apart from its intricate plot twists and amazingly overdeveloped characters, is the way it ends. The plotline of the game is set to end on November 4, no matter who purchases it or how long they have been playing. Fortunately, players do have an impact on how the game goes, so if you want to have a say in the ending, be sure to get in on the action before November 4. The fate of the world is in your hands!
Dead Economy is nowhere near as fun to play as The Election Scrolls 2008, but if you’re a fan of masochistic role-playing games, this one is for you. You play a ruthless stock market broker who takes part in the day-to-day action on Wall Street. The first part of the game reminds me a little of Railroad Tycoon, in which your hard work and smarts pay off unbelievably well, and it is not long before you are building your own little portfolio empire. Unfortunately for your character, the second half of the game pretty dramatically reverses your fortune. Your funds and stocks start mutating into monsters that try to destroy your livelihood, and you have to keep hacking off pieces of them to survive. From there on out, no matter what you do, you and the other profiteers can only watch as the stock market—and ultimately the entire world economy—go to shit. I probably shouldn’t spoil the ending for you on this one, but suffice to say that it is probably one of those endings that you will be ranting angrily about for months after you play it.
The spiritual companion piece to Dead Economy, Career Fallout is a first-person RPG in which you move through a succession of jobs that you are unable to hold onto. As you progress through the game, you slowly build up a mismatched set of job skill points that aren’t really transferable to any of the careers you find as you travel across the economic wasteland. In the end, you sacrifice yourself by walking into a highly irradiated chamber rather than face the torturous experience of one more interview. I hated this game, but it has proven enormously popular, so you probably won’t be able to avoid playing it at some point or other.
Hello Kitty: Halloween Adventure
The one bright spot in this month’s releases has been a little jewel I found in the kids games section, called Hello Kitty: Halloween Adventure. It’s basically a cute little adventure game for kids aged 9-13 that is set on Halloween night. The main character is a tuxedo kitten named Rogue, who—along with her best friend, Vesper the tabby—goes through a series of Halloween-themed choose-your-own-adventure capers. It’s a bit simplistic as games go, but it really is a lot of fun to play. As an added bonus, after you complete each level, you are rewarded with a cute little Halloween costume that your overly enthusiastic owners force you to wear while they take pictures. The developed pictures will then be posted to your owners’ Facebook pages. Links will be provided.