Multitasking is pretty much a given for most of us, especially if we aim to operate as functional members of society. Treading proverbial water at school or work means developing the ability to get multiple tasks done as efficiently as possible, and this rarely leaves time for leisure. So how, then, are we supposed to get our gaming fixes while still going about our lives as normal?
Idle games—that is, games that you can open in a browser tab and leave running in the background—are perfect for folks who need to squeeze some leisure time in between day-to-day tasks. They are more readily accessible than their PC and console cousins, since you can play them anywhere an internet connection is available. Thanks to this, they are easy to pick up and put down as needed. Being able to leave the games running also allows us to go off and do other things expected of a human being (activities such as “eating” and “spending time” with ”friends,” for example), without fear of having our game’s progress stunted. Indeed, it’s just a little bit more satisfying to get distracted by the real world, and then come back to your idle game to find that you’ve leveled up several times over and need to distribute those points.
Multitasking is not just the domain of those seeking to get their gaming fix, however. Idle gaming is also a great way for those with anxiety, depression, or attention deficit disorders to calm themselves and focus on other tasks (those of us who knit during lectures or while listening to books and podcasts know this far too well). These background games require just enough attention to keep us mildly stimulated, but they are not demanding enough that we feel that we can’t leave them alone.
My wife is … not much of a gamer. She thinks anime is “squeaky” and the sound of button-mashing grates on her ears. The music from several games makes her head hurt and that’s not even mentioning the sounds of combat. In a word: games annoy her, which is why I generally don’t play them much. Not to say she is making me, but I would rather enjoy domestic tranquility than fuss. Granted, this has caused some problems as you might imagine, but on the whole I reserve my gaming time for when she is busy or otherwise occupied.
Now, I do game, and since my laptop can run several games I have gotten back into the habit. She … indulges me at best. When I say I am going off to shoot people, she just smiles and wishes me a happy time. I try to mute the really loud sounds, like the Mass Relay from Mass Effect, in order not to trigger her issues with sound. So yes, there are some issues but they are not insurmountable.
Some of the problems can be categorized into a couple of areas: cost of games, time involved, sounds, and my obsessive talking about it sometimes. These issues are not just things that can affect my marriage but are also issues for anyone living with someone they are romantically involved with when their significant other is not a gamer. Just because they don’t game doesn’t mean we can’t.
When my phone autocorrected ‘or’ to ‘Orlais,’ I knew it was time I took a mini-hiatus from playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. It was either that or convert my office space into a war table, and I’m happy to report it wasn’t the latter. Thus, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to download Sunburn!, the new game for iOS that just released at the end of November. Spoilers: It’s spectacularly adorable.
While the creators of Sunburn! describe their project as “a sad, sad game,” I emphatically disagree. They’ve not only managed to handle dark subject matter with incredible finesse, they’ve masterfully blended charming pixel art, an upbeat soundtrack, and accessible mechanics all in one playing experience. I was utterly disarmed by this game within the first five minutes of play, which is saying a lot given I don’t often spare the time for gaming on my phone.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to blast yourself and your fellow crewmembers into the deceptively cute inferno that is the pixelated sun. For 50+ levels, you’re cheerfully encouraged to find, string together, and lead those on your team through space so you can … well, die together. It really is cute—just trust me on this one.
Jackie, otherwise known as That Flighty Broad, is a talented freelance illustrator and gaming enthusiast with her own Let’s Play channel. We’re very pleased she agreed to help us officially kick off FemHype‘s series of interviews with women who game. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Hello, Jackie! Thank you so much for talking with us.
I became enamored with Let’s Plays when I first developed depression and began exploring different self-care techniques that worked for me. I sometimes found that playing the games I loved triggered my anxiety, but I would still want to envelop myself in the sounds, atmosphere, and story of those games. I started by watching other people play the classic Tomb Raider games, and eventually started watching LPs of different games in the background while I got work done.
I began seriously considering recording my own LPs after watching John over at HarshlyCritical, because I really enjoy his conversational style. His videos made the whole recording process seem more accessible, and after a while I buckled down to start recording and resolved to just have fun while doing it.
At this point, it’s pretty obvious that the team here at FemHype loves to tweet. Since the sheer number of poignant, 140-word quips all but summarize our mission statement, we figured a weekly “looting” post was in order. So! Check back every Sunday while we round up the tweets we think are hella rad. As always, the best is saved for last.
Haha, BioWare has a dig at chainmail bikini armor, and gets a pun in there too (http://t.co/HLr4yd8gQO)
— Chris Priestman (@CPriestman) December 2, 2014
I really wanted to like WildStar. I also really wanted WildStar to be a good MMO, but you can’t always get what you want. The promise of a fun, cartoony sci-fi game drew me in, and while Carbine Studios delivered on two out of three of those promises, I was still let down in the end. That’s the trouble with following a major game from its early stages of development—the finished product will never exactly align with your expectations. Even so, I never imagined WildStar would turn out as badly as it did.
But before I start picking at the game’s current scabrous state, let’s jump back to 2013 when my hopes were still high. I enjoy role-playing in MMORPGs in spite of years of finding myself amongst characters with dark pasts and eyes that changed color with mood, so I was excited when Carbine’s staff actually seemed to give a shit about WildStar’s nascent role-playing community.
The game’s lore, bits and pieces of which were dropped like breadcrumbs by the devs, made me confident that WildStar would be fun. I told myself that even if the game itself was mediocre, I could make my own fun with other role-players. Here’s the point where I pause for audience laughter.
As I write this, the state of WildStar’s role-playing community is about what you’d expect for a half-dead game, with a few diehards desperately holding together what little remains. A good portion of the staff members I knew are gone now, and the rest are just as desperately trying to keep the game itself afloat.