Tag Archives: video games

20 games/series that changed me. Part 1

I’m taking this idea from Terry the Traveller, formerly known as The Traveller of Tyria, were he mentioned 20 games that changed him and briefly described how. I decided to do it in blog format because I knew I wouldn’t be able to condense how some of these games changed my life in 140 characters or less. I decided to break it down in 4 parts.  I tried to make the original list in chronological order, but then I started remembering some other games, so in the end, they are not entirely listed in order. Hope you enjoy it!

  1. Super Mario Bros. series

Super Mario Bros. was the first video game I remember playing (My mom had an Atari, but I don’t remember playing it before the NES). Back then, we didn’t have such easy access to information about games. The closest we had in Puerto Rico was the spanish Club Nintendo magazine, but since it was aimed mainly for Latin America it always contained outdated information (Puerto Rico is a US Territory), but I digress.

I clearly remember talking with friends at school about the secret 1 Ups we found, or the amazing Warp Zone someone discovered that allowed us to skip entire worlds. I was completely blown away when my brothers and I found out the princess was in another castle and we were merely beginning our adventure. I remember running like a mad man when all those Cheep Cheeps started flying out of the water in world 2-3.

To this day, I still feel the urge to play Super Mario Bros. every once in a while.

Super Mario Bros 2. Started my fandom for both Peach (Back known as Princess Toadstool) and Toad, and I didn’t put Super Mario World down until I made sure I found ALL the secrets in the game. I’ll always look fondly at Mario for all the years of fun it has provided to many different ways.

2. Mendel Palace

This is pretty obscure game I’m sure very few people will recognize. My grandfather bought it as a gift for my brother (He got 3 cheap NES games, one for each of us)

This game introduced me to the wonderful idea of playing simultaneously with another person and it quickly became a household favorite. It was also the first game we beat from beginning to end (No save points or passwords for this game!)

3. Secret of Mana

You’ll notice a trend in my list about multiplayer games. While Mendel Palace was the first game that allowed me to play simultaneously with one of my siblings, Secret of Mana let me play with both of them. It was the first text heavy game (being an action RPG). This was just the first of many games that made me grab a dictionary to try to understand what was going on or where I had to go. I can’t credit it for making me learn a completely new language, since I used to speak English when I was very little, but I forgot much of it when I moved back to Puerto Rico when I was four years old.

4. Super Bomberman series

Yep, another multipayer game. I spend countless hours playing Bomberman with friends and family. Games like these made me love multiplayer games even more, and have a blast with them? (Get it? Blast? Because Bombermen use.. oh never mind!)

5. Final Fantasy series

When  I was a kid, I didn’t know what an RPG was, even after I played and beat Secret of Mana. It wasn’t until I played Super Mario RPG that I learned what it was, and that there was even turn based RPG. I can’t really remember which FF was my first: VII or Tactics, but both turned me instantly into definite RPG fans. My English was polished enough not have to rely on dictionaries (that didn’t mean I understood most of the plot, tho) but being able to customize my characters felt awesome, and I loved each game for what it allowed me to do. As older games were re-released, I was able to play pre- FFVII games, never finished them, but allowed me to appreciate them enough still want to finish them eventually. To this day, Final Fantasy Tactics is still my favorite Tactical RPG.



One pic is not enough: Humans CAN fly!



After several attempts, I have tried to make my humans fly. Every attempt failed. It didn’t hit me until recently that that now is in the past!

Sure, they’re not exactly flying, more like falling with style… And yes, gliding is limited to the new Heart of Thorns maps.. and let’s not forget this not limited to humans

Look, just roll with it, ok?


Ever since the wing backpacks showed up in the gem store, I know I was going to be a sucker and get them. The fact that the wings themselves can be used as gliders was a nice bonus for me. I ended up with 2 winged guardians.


And while I’m a sucker for angel wings, I couldn’t pass up the bat wings for my necromancer. It turned out I loved the reaper specialization, so my collection of winged characters I actually use has grown!

Aster plays Skyforge!

While patiently waiting for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorn launch date (whenever that may be!), I started playing Skyforge to check it out

Skyforge is a game developed by Allods Team and Obsidian Entertainment, and whose open beta began on July 16, 2015 (just a few days ago from this post) and is free to play. The videos I saw of this game caught my attention, but I was curious if it would hold my attention. I think I can safely say that it has.

Skyforge reminds me a lot of Phantasy Star Online and a bit of Guild Wars 2. Players meet in a lobby of sorts where they can choose missions, and you can do them by yourself or with up to two other people. Other missions are larger maps that require 5 players (at the point I am in the game, there’s only one such map available) and then there are the Open Maps which is a large map with a lot of objectives and everyone can enter at the same time, much like Guild Wars 2 maps.

Rewards for each map changes every 40 minutes.

Combat is, in a way, simple, but not too simple. You will not have 2 or 3 rows of skills to use. Each class can perform a different attack with right and left mouse button, and then there’s 9 other skill slots you can use. The difference with these slots is that you can’t freely switch them with any skill. Some slots can have 1 of 2 or 3 specific skills, but they will remain in that specific slot.

The way the skills are set up depends on the class you’re using. You can change class any time as long as you’re not in combat.
The Lightbinder’s abilities page. Abilities in the same column occupy the same slot.

The game also reminds me of Final Fantasy X, because every stat gain and ability learned is through a huge ascension map where you fill nods with sparks. Players start in one of 3 starting points (each one a different starting class) and while abilities learned are for a specific class, any stat gained in either path will apply for the other ones. (Changing class only affect abilities and talents, not stats.)

You can use sparks in paths specific to a class, like the lightbinder…
But each class path is just a dot in the much larger ascension atlas, so you can work on your overall stats AND a class of your choice.

So, instead of levels, each node you fill will earn you prestige, which is what you would use to measure how strong a player is, and what is needed to unlock harder adventure maps.

There are many classes to choose from, but only if you unlock them. You can start as a tank (paladin), attack (cryomancer, which is sort of an ice mage) or support character (lightbinder, who specializes in light attacks and shields) Unlocking other classes seem to consume a lot of time, but you can try any class in the training area and at least get a feel or their basic skills.

Outfits don’t give any stats. They’re just for appearances. Clearing a class’ training missions will earn you that class outfit to use whenever you want.
There are also other costumes you can buy.

Character creation is pretty nice too. From the very beginning, you’ll be introduced to a stylist, so you can change everything about your character’s appearance (including gender) at any time.

There’s a cap for the sparks and any other token you can earn each week, so you can’t just steamroll your way to Godhood early on.

But what exactly is Skyforge about? Basically you live in a world with a lot of immortal people. These immortal can achieve godhood, and that is your character goal. As you get more prestige you start getting followers that you can use to do missions, and build temples that will earn you even more prestige and stat boosts. The story itself hasn’t keep me that hooked, but I’ve spent a lot of time doing missions to earn more sparks and make my immortal stronger.

Pretty early on, Aster got a statue of him made in the Hall of Greatness. Time to make my followers grow!
The equipment screen. Anything you can equip gives you Prestige.

There’s a lot about the game that I haven’t checked or done, or even learned yet, but so far it has been an enjoyable experience! I’m going to leave some early class trailers in case anyone is somewhat curious about Skyforge.

The road to Zhaitan, dancing and crying.

WARNING! There are some spoilers ahead regarding NPCs from some Personal Story Missions.

My Guild Wars 2 experience this week was rather limited, thanks to… well, equally limited internet connections. But I did manage to play around a bit.

During the last big patch, by the time we Lion’s Arch was rebuilt, Arenanet sneaked in the first trasgender character in Guild Wars 2. I’ll let her conversation with a Lionguard tell everything.

Aid Worker Sya: Lionguard Hela! A pleasure to see you and Hauser under better circumstances.

Lionguard Hela: Have we met before?

Aid Worker Sya: I helped with the relief effort after Scarlet’s attack. My name is Sya but you might remember me as Symon.

Lionguard Hela: Now I remember. We pulled some survivors out of the rubble together.

Aid Worker Sya: Seeing so many die in those weeks…it made me realize how important it is to embrace life. To celebrate who we are.

Lionguard Hela: Life’s too short to live any other way.

She can be found near the mist gates

Aedan’s quest to defeat Zhaitan continued, and this time, she found another familiar face from the human storyline. Humans can meet Priestess Rhie first if they decide to go with the Priory’s plan to contact a dead pirate/oracle Alastia Crow to find out what a mad Seraph wants. Rhie is really good at what she does as a Priestess of Grenth, so it’s no surprise when she is called to do something similar for the Pact

After finding how to cleanse Orr, Aedan took a break so Aster could help with Guild Missions. Unfortunately, not many people show up, leaving us unable to complete the challenge. A couple of us just stayed there for a while chatting for a bit.

Back to business Aedan! Now, Lionguard Mira is another character I’ve been curious about ever since she got badly injured during the attack on Claw Island. Last time we see her, she’s bandaged head to toe after being burned by one of Zhaitan’s bigger minions. In the second to last mission, she is completely healed and ready to help the Pact. But after last update, Arenanet decided to give her a look that actually reflects what happened to her in Claw Island.

I actually like all of the characters that go with you to cleanse Orr have been shown in different missions. It’s nice to be surrounded by familiar faces,

While the rest of them held the risen forces, Aedan had to help the Marshal complete his Wyld Hunt. He’s just lucky the Eye of Zhaitan held his 4 lovely Champion Risen Knights to let me pass.

His Wyld Hunt is complete, finally!

By the way, Doern Velazquez is my favorite Order of Whispers character (That’s still alive at least) I’m not sure if it’s because his last name is a latino name, or the way he looks. I hope he’s alive and well in Heart of Thorns!

Time to take the battle to Zhaitan! Except if you wait too long inside the Pact ship, and you’re not outside by the time it approaches the giants, nothing else will happen. Giants don’t attack, ship won’t fly past them. Time to reset the mission!

After a little help from another fellow guardian (who happens to be my brother in the offline world) Zhaitan was defeated, and we were heralded as heroes back in Fort Trinity. If you wait long enough during the credits, you can make EVERYONE start dancing: Destiny’s Edge, Trehearne, the masters of each Order, even Mr. Sparkles and Garm! My brother wasn’t as happy as everyone else though. You can spot him because he’s the only one freaking crying. I’m assuming he has a phobia of holographic dancing moas.

Don’t you hate when you are in Edges of the Mists and you fall to your death by accident and have to run from one side of the map to catch up with the rest? I feel that surviving the fall but being unable to get up is more insulting.

My opinion on stuff might not be too valuable since I never pay attention to the important details, and I’m really just a high level noob. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to fool around a bit with the Revenant!

At first I went for a look that sort of reminded me of that Ninja from Tekken that I liked so much for completely forgot his name and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. (Raven?)

After being stupid and opening all of the boxes in my inventory and having to throw away stuff because I was too full, I decide to start over again. This young guy with dreadlocks is what Aster used to look like when I started playing Guild Wars 2. And I’m seriously planning on having Aster being also my Revenant, unless I can come up with something else.

I’m not sure if it was just me, but the hammer and staff felt too weak. It took me a long time to kill random doylaks. Still, I like the idea of the staff as a melee weapon. I wanted a silly picture of Aster trying to read the table, but being unable to do so because of the blindfold. I actually like how this turned out.

Wings, total makeovers and poses.

After a period of mostly inactivity, I think I’m back in action with my Tyrian Defenders. This week my attention has been giving mostly to my guardians, one of which is trying to complete a couple of maps, and the other one who’s slowly working on his ascended gear.

For some reason, while playing Super Smash Bros, I started thinking it would be cool to give one of my characters a makeover that could sort of resemble Palutena. and for some reason, I decided that character would be the formerly red headed Aedan. I can’t say that besides the colors, they look alike, but I was satisfied with him!

I wanted to give Aster a more barbaric touch, so he can be on the opposite side of Aedan, so he ended up once again wearing mostly Pit Fighter gear.

Back to Aedan, since I really liked his new look, I took him out for a couple of screen shots.

But maybe this was not the right moment to stand and look pretty…

Something I like about the Pact, is that you get to find a lot of characters from previous story missions. One in particular should bring back memories for humans. Specially, if you have like 8 of them and you’re extremely familiar with most of the names from their different stories. One of the Pact missions have you teaming up with a couple of citizens from Shaemoor. Deborah will only be recognizable for those that choose the “missing sister” storyline

When I first met Tactician Beirne, he was known as Coroporal Beirne. He is the first person you meet when you make a human characters. He’s the one yelling “Everybody back to the inn!”

Meanwhile, priestress Amelia is the first face you see when you wake up after finishing the Human starting zone

Deborah is.. wait… wasn’t she blonde in the last mission? A very early mission allows you to decide where are you and your sister from: Kryta, Ascalon, Elona or Cantha, and your decision will influence how Deborah looks. Blonde one is Ascalonian while this one is Krytan. I’m still not sure why she switched nationalities between missions. Maybe she just used a Total Makeover Kit?

Once I was done with some story missions, I had Aedan try different poses.

Like the “I can walk with my sword on my shoulders” pose.

The “I should have brought a jacket” pose.

The “I Wanted a cool picture here, but that charr hoped in and refused to move” pose.

The “They didn’t let me run with scissors, so I’m doing this instead” pose.

The “If I jump, it can look as if I’m landing from my angelic flight” pose.

The “I’m at the top of a big ass lighthouse even though you can’t really notice it” pose.

And finally the “I accidentally jump out of the Lighthouse. The stupid wings didn’t work and I want my money back” pose.

Aster got his second piece of ascended armor! While Aedan was running around trying to be angelic and stuff, Aster has been slowly getting mats to craft ascended gear. The pants actually look nice, so he decided to keep their look.

He also wanted to have a “landing” pic just like Aedan, but he really wasn’t too into it when I made him jump. I’ll call it the “My jumps are more effortless than yours” pose.

The rebirth of Lion’s Arch

One of my favorite moments in Guild Wars 2 was Scarlet Briar’s attack on Lion’s Arch. I was very into the events that started with saving its citizens to the moment where I (Ok, we) ended the mad syvari’s reign of terror. All this excitement came at a cost: Lion’s Arch was destroyed

But that was many months ago, and Lion’s Arch is back and more beautiful than ever. I’ll certainly miss the charm the old Lion’s Arch had (it’s a good thing there are some remains of that charm still around), but the city was rebuilt with the intention on withstanding anything else that could be thrown at them.

I’d like to talk about some of the pictures, but I’ll let them speak for themselves (most of the time!)

The new and improved Lion’s Arch!

Continue reading The rebirth of Lion’s Arch

One Pic is not enough: Daydreamers Finery Outfit edition

For the past weeks, I have been trying to get back into playing Guild Wars 2 regularly. It has been an unsuccessful task, though; I haven’t found something to keep me logging for longer than a few minutes once every few days.

Last time, however, I saw a fancy looking outfit, and decided to spent part of my gold just to see how it looks on my band of adventurers. I’m more excited for my ranger, since I always complained medium armored class where the ones with no option to be shirtless and now he can join the rest!

Aster, guardian # 1

Aedan, guardian # 2

Kiram, the ranger.

Xendell the necromancer.

Deon the warrior.

Simael, mesmer # 1

Peach Sedai, mesmer # 2

Niko the engineer

Ifreet, elementalist # 1

Artherox, elementalist # 2

Along came Zevran: LGBT characters in modern video games

When the topic of LGBT characters in modern video games pops up, it is not uncommon to hear issues players find in them…

  • They are a minority in real life; therefore, the LGBT representation should stay at an equal ratio. We don’t need every game to have gay characters
  • I can’t relate to a gay character, so why would I play one?
  • Why must their sexuality be shouted to the four winds? You are just pandering to the LGBT community.
  • You don’t need to be straight to identify with your straight character anyway. That’s the idea of a role playing game: You are PLAYING A ROLE!

And I’m sure if I think hard enough, I can come up with a lot more, but these reasons will do for now. Of the four points I mentioned, I suppose I can totally agree with number 4. The beauty of many games is that you get to see how characters develop through the story or as they interact with other characters. You get to love them or hate them, based on their personalities and you get to understand them as you know more of their background story. Just like a book.

The way I see it, that is the point: to understand the character despite their origins, actions, or sexuality. Then, why is it so important to people like me to see more LGBT characters in game? The reason didn’t hit me until I began playing Dragon Age: Origins.

Typically, when I had the chance to create my own character, I made a female character. My Dreamcast memory cards were full of Phantasy Star Online female characters with monosyllabic names like Jay, Jo, Jess and Jinx. I couldn’t relate to them, but it didn’t matter at the time. I just wanted to live the game’s story through my avatar. Some of these characters became favorites that I tried to recreate in every other game.

Fast forward several console generations, I found myself trying Dragon Age: Inquisition. Jess, my lovable chubby mage was going to make the jump from Pioneer 2 to Thedas, and I was ready to make her a kick ass Grey Warden, and romance Alistair and all that jazz. That was until I learned there was an elf named Zevran that could be romanced by any gender. That was an option I never had in a video game, and I got curious.  Jess got shelved, and a male elven mage named Guarionex took her place. For the first time, I could identify with a character I created, and it felt nice. I wasn’t aware I wanted that; it just happened. Dragon Age is the kind of game that gives you the liberty to do what you want, and it’s these kinds of games that benefit from having more diversity for the players.

It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant that part of the population seems to the majority, the feeling of inclusion is awesome. It’s not a matter of pandering a sector of society, but of including them. My character creation process PDA (Post Dragon Age) now consist of mainly male characters, because  now I can imagine some part of myself in them.

Also, if we can just play along the role of a straight main character, we could do just the same for an LGBT one, no?