The Biggest Missed Opportunity in ‘Skyrim’ (Cry Moar, Ulfric)

Skyrim

[Trigger warning: brief mention of abortion.]

When I first popped a copy of Skyrim into my Xbox 360, I had no idea I was about sign away the better part of five years to a love affair with RPGs. I’d played video games as a child, but I never felt like those types of games were something I’d be interested in (or, quite frankly, that I’d even be good at them). I began to realize I might have miscalculated after I checked the number of hours I’d spent just rearranging Breezehome in Whiterun.

I still haven’t stopped playing, either. For me, revisiting the snowy, winding steps up to High Hrothgar felt like coming home in a way that playing other games didn’t. I’ve found myself repeating lines like wrapping a well-loved blanket around my shoulders, familiar and safe. Sure, I took issue with the way most women were represented (or rather, rarely represented at all), but my affection for Skyrim never dwindled. It’s ultimately a good thing that I stuck with it despite the flaws, because I recently discovered a plot point so staggering you’d think I’d been hit with an arrow to the knee. (Forgive me, I had to!)

Before we proceed, I’d highly recommend that you play (or watch) the Thieves Guild quest in Riften. Minor spoilers ahead! If you have played it, did you pay close attention to Karliah? She was a dark elf, formerly of the Thieves Guild inner circle alongside Gallus Desidenius and Mercer Frey, and current member of the fabled Nightingales.

What’s so special about her apart from the obvious, you ask? Not only is there strong evidence that Karliah was directly descended from Tiber Septim (yeah, that Tiber Septim), but she could also very well be Dragonborn. Poor ol’ Ulfric. He might want to consider a career in shouting at people on the streets of Whiterun instead of taking over Skyrim. Just my two cents.

Continue reading “The Biggest Missed Opportunity in ‘Skyrim’ (Cry Moar, Ulfric)”

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It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This: Motivational Quotes From Games

The Legend of Zelda

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly needed a few reasons to push through the past week or two. When the going gets really rough, I turn to a few of my favorite characters from games for motivation, and you know what, it actually helps! So, naturally, I asked Melissa for a little extra help on this assignment. After all, I could only pull so many quotes from Dragon Age before this became a love letter to Varric. (Been there. Done that.)

From everyone’s favorite storyteller to the wise words of a former spy, you just might find that one of these quotes will inspire you to keep fighting despite what life may be throwing at you right now. Never forget: you will get through this. And if you need to reach out to someone, please take a look at these resources. They’re all free, and always available to you in case you need a hand!

With that, let’s move on to the quotes. If you don’t see your favorites here, drop it in the comments! I’d really love to update this list with your picks as well. That way, we can create something truly meaningful (and maybe even a little bit fun!) together. What d’you say?

Continue reading “It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This: Motivational Quotes From Games”

17+ Hours of Video Game Music for Writing & Studying

Dragon Age

Have you ever tried searching for new music to accompany your creative endeavors, only to come up short? Are 10 minutes of birdsong just not cutting it for that Mozart-worthy project you’re working on? Yeah, we’ve all been there. And wouldn’t you know it, video games actually provide a wealth of musical selections to suit every project! Whether you’re looking for something meditative and just a bit mysterious, or a track with a rich, robust beat, I’ve got you covered.

Each track on this list will be presented with a brief explanation as to what songs are included and what, exactly, I’m usually working on while I listen to it. That way, even if you’re unsure about where to start, you’ll have this handy guide to help you. What could be better than learning about new music and the games that were made better by it? Nothing, that’s what. (Okay, maybe cat gifs and pizza. But that’s it.)

Don’t forget to share your faves with me, too! I’m always looking for new music, and I’d love to hear what sounds psyche you up for a big project. Share your picks in the comments! With your help, I can run another post like this one curated by the FemHype crew. (You can find our follow-up post here.)

Continue reading “17+ Hours of Video Game Music for Writing & Studying”

Let It Snow! 10 Wintry Scenes to Celebrate the Season

Mass Effect
[Art by Matt Rhodes.]
It’s officially the holiday season, and some parts of the world are experiencing colder weather. For those of you who don’t want to brave the outdoors (or who live somewhere that doesn’t have chilly weather), here are a few of the best, but coldest video game environments. It also doesn’t hurt that many of them may help gamers get into the spirit of the season!

Noveria, Mass Effect

Noveria is the location for one of the main story missions in Mass Effect. When you arrive, the normally chilly planet is in the middle of an ice/snow storm. Frankly, it’s one of the most effective “cold” planets I’ve ever had the joy of playing in. When you are outside, the planet is loud, windy, and covered in snow and ice. Inside doesn’t seem much better, though. There are windows in almost every major location showing you the frozen wasteland outside. Not only that, but the lighting is dark and mostly blues, giving the feeling of being cold even inside. Bundle up before you take your crew to this planet.

Repugia, Costume Quest

“Grubbins on Ice” is the Christmas-themed DLC for Costume Quest. In it, the kids visit a world inhabited by the monsters from the main game, Repugia. The title of the DLC should give you a hint as to what to expect—Repugia is cold. The entire world is made up of snow and ice, and even introduces a few winter-themed enemies and challenges.

Continue reading “Let It Snow! 10 Wintry Scenes to Celebrate the Season”

Anxiety & Exploration: 5 Self-Care Tips for Gamers

Saints Row 4

There are nights where sleep becomes impossible and I usually end up giving up on sleeping altogether. I can feel my heart skipping and I become restless, shifting around until I can’t take it any longer and get out of bed. My anxiety is mild compared to some people I know, but I still wear my unease like a second skin—my worries crawling underneath in an attempt to get out. If I don’t do something about it, there’s a high chance that the unease will escalate to full-blown fear or panic.

I’m not alone in suffering from anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18.1% of Americans and an estimated 12% of Canadians will suffer from an anxiety disorder within their lifetime. The treatments for anxiety vary, but the most common one for self-care that I’ve run into is distraction. Listen to music, watch something familiar, and/or shift your focus from your worries onto something else. I was never able to do this before. Listening to music wasn’t enough and watching something unfamiliar put me more on edge. Past a certain point, watching something familiar wouldn’t work, either, because my brain already knew what was going to happen. I couldn’t shift my focus if my life depended on it.

That all changed one night when things were especially bad and, desperate for something to try, I opened up Saints Row 4. A sandbox crime game, Saints Row 4 is basically Grand Theft Auto with a comedy focus and, as you can imagine, there are a plethora of creative ways to be destructive within the game. I wasn’t in the mood for destruction, though, so I tried something different. I got into a car and drove through the streets while following all the rules of the road.

It was a very strange feeling and almost counterintuitive. Put a player behind the wheel of a car and the urge is to drive as fast as possible. Instead, I turned on the radio, called three of my character’s friends, and we all took a nice long nighttime drive around Steelport. After driving around for about half an hour, I realized something startling: I wasn’t anxious anymore.

Continue reading “Anxiety & Exploration: 5 Self-Care Tips for Gamers”

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