Monday, March 19, 2012

Soundtrack of my life

Who says that only movies get to have soundtracks?

My life has one. 

I know because I'm me, and I said so.

I thought you might be curious, so I created a playlist on Grooveshark (similar to a Pandora station, but with aspecific song list).  I limited it to one song per artist, which was sort of painful.  Also, note there are no Beatles songs on Grooveshark.

Highlights include:

Calming song:  Everything in its Right Place by Radiohead
Happy song:  Don't Stop by Foster the People
If I had to pick the last song I ever heard:  Bliss by Muse
That's Life song:  That's Entertainment by The Jam
I need to cry song:  Real Folk Blues from Cowboy Bebop
Air drum solo song:  Tom Sawyer by Rush
I'm a badass song:  Le Disko by Shiny Toy Guns
Best song ever:  Badge by Cream

Subject to my alteration (it is my soundtrack, after all) -- but please enjoy. 

Soundtrack of my life

Monday, March 12, 2012

Post-ME3 post

Intentionally vague spoilers below, but if you plan to play the game I encourage you to stop reading now.  You’ve been warned.

I play as FemShep.  Jennifer Hale's voice acting is superb.

Playing through the game took me about 35 hours.  I am not the fastest player, plus I tend to do every side quest.

Mass Effect 1 is all about learning what the threat really is (what are the reapers?).  Mass Effect 2 is about building a team and discovering the intent of the reapers (what are the reapers doing?).  Mass Effect 3 is about the galaxy at war, and what must happen for organic life to have a chance.

You know that expression you can’t make an omelet without breaking any eggs?  Mass Effect 3 makes a lot of omelets.

Death makes quite a few house calls in ME3.  I’m not going to say who is called on – if you really want that info, it’s out there, but I’m not going to post it here.  Some deaths are unavoidable.  Some people you can save. (And yeah, I cried.)

There are a lot of tough calls.  Do you save civilians, or one general who can help with the war effort?  Whole planets are left in the path of destruction.  For the first time, you have a glimmer of an idea of what the extinction of an entire galaxy of intelligent species might look like, and it’s awful. 

And the war takes its toll on every character you encounter.

Gameplay-wise, it’s a very slick successor to ME2.  The minor changes are welcome, for the most part.  I’m sure this will be a contender for Game of the Year, along with Bioshock Infinite (assuming it lives up to the hype).

But it’s the emotional investment that has me still thinking about it. 

One of the greatest stories of the 20th Century, The Lord of the Rings, requires 12 hours to watch – and roughly the same to read, depending on your pace.  And you don’t actively affect the outcome of the story.

If you have played through each Mass Effect game once, that is roughly 100 hours of your life spent in this world.  And you shape the outcome of the story intimately.  Yes, Bioware built the sandbox, but you’re the one who decides what the sand castle will look like.

The ending left me extremely unsettled.  I had to walk away and think for a long time – and then follow that up with a couple of internet searches to see if I was full of baloney – before I felt any sense of resolution. 

I’m still pondering.  And to me, that is the mark of a good story. 

I hope Bioware grants us additional opportunities to visit this world in the future.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

ME3 excitement

Mass Effect 3 releases today.

I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a game – ever.  Including that MMO that I can’t write about without spammy people making comments.

In this day and age, where almost all information is available at the click of a search engine, and movies are made from successful books, it is delightful to walk into a story without knowing where it will take you.

In Bioware games, this is doubly true, since your character’s actions shape the course of events.

This is why I am so gosh darn excited.  Well, that and finding out what has happened to the characters that I have grown to know and love.

There will be tears.  I’m only human.

Don’t fear the reapers.  Give ‘em hell.