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 Some people probably know Steam had a summer sale


It was a very good summer sale. 


So many shinies. So very many shinies. I had my usual conflict - I see a shiny. I sensibly tell myself that I don't need said shiny. I don't want said shiny. I don't have time to play the shiny. So I will ignore the shiny


Then I spend the next several hours doing nothing but obsess over the shiny, staring at the shiny, checking the shiny every 5 seconds, until I finally give in and buy the shiny


This time was a little different because I rarely had to perform the last step - because Beloved had got there before me. Naturally, since he is irresponsibly buying a megafuckton of games on Steam that he will never play and this is Irresponsible and something I would Never Do, I confronted him ready to Shame Most Cruelly


He does have a good excuse - having seen my constant agonising over not buying these he has decided that I waste far more time, energy and productivity than I would actually lose if I just bought them in the first place.


He is SAVING me from MYSELF. Oh what a saint he is. And there is absolutely NOTHING self-serving about this excuse, of course


Needless to say, these excuses do not work. Especially since we know, oh boy do we know, that Beloved has absolutely zero impulse control when it comes to shinies and credit cards (do I need to mention the BBQ again? Because the BBQ is totally relevant here).


So now we have a gazillion games I do not have time to play and he does not have time to play. I haven't actually had time to play any computer game. But we have them, taking up hard drive space. And they're caaaallllling to me. 


See, for this you have to understand the Sparky brain. The Sparky brain likes - no - NEEDS things to be complete. This is why when I start reading a series of books I have to finish them EVEN IF EVERY WORD IS AWFUL. The incompleteness nags at me. As to how this affects me with computer games?

I have Civilisation V. I have played it several times. I have played as the Moroccan, Greek, Assyrian Songhai, Hunnic, German and Celtic Empires. What is the connection? Their leaders are in alphabetical order. No, really. The next one is Casimir of Poland.


This is how my brain brains. It cannot be healthy


And now I have games. Games that haven't been played. Games that need to be played. Games with Steam achievements that now need to be filled. They're calling to me...


Of course this is helped a lot by Beloved reading my Steam library aloud, reciting achievements I don't have and, occasionally, just saying "plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeeeee! Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeee!" in a ghostly voice. 


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So Beloved has, after a pause to try and lull me into a false sense of security, launched his counter strike.

Oh it was subtly done I will give him that.

I’m there working away on Vital Worky Type Stuff when Beloved saunters in

Beloved: Dragon Age 3’s supposed to be released this year

Sparky: I know, already looking forward to it

Beloved: Do you think it’ll continue the other games?

Sparky: Maybe – but even if it doesn’t I bet you can import game files that will have an effect like Origins to DA2

Beloved: Do you have game files ready? It’s been a while

Sparky: Should do.

Beloved: Ha, so long as you remember what you did and don’t have to do the whole thing again

Sparky: I think I do.

Beloved: At least there isn’t a Mass Effect 4, you won’t be disappearing for a month again.


{conversation goes of in a tangent in which chickens are mentioned, repeatedly. Because he’s never allowed to forget the chickens. Ever).  He wanders off and I’m left alone


Sparky: *working on the Vital Worky Type Stuff*

Sparky Brain: Draaaaagon Age

Sparky: I’m working

SB: Are you working on Dragon Age?

Sparky: No, work. Concentrate brain

SB: I am concentrating. On the best mage build – is it just me or is an all primal mage pointless? Sure you get the achievement bu-

Sparky: Stop! Stop! Stop! Work!

SB: Fine I’ll work

Sparky: Good. *focus focus focus*

SB: Alistair…

Sparky: Stop it.

SB: Alllllistair…

Sparky: Stop it, stop it right now. WORK damn it. *focus focus focus*

SB: I can’t believe you’re doing this when Thedas is being consumed by a Blight. How heartless are you?

Sparky: I am NOT doing a Dragon Age marathon!

SB: Bets?


Beloved: oh, Dragon Age. How long after I left did you start playing?

Sparky: You did that on purpose.
Beloved: *smug look*


I must now spend time plotting revenge again. He cannot cannot cannot be allowed to win. And yes, this will escalate. And no, I do not care if the entire world is consumed in nuclear fire, I WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH!


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Ok I have finished Mass Effect 3 and I am going to have to squee. There is so much good here. It was fun, it was rocking, the story and the side quests were great. The completionist in me loves the various options and extra quests we could do. The story lover in me loved the plot, the highs and the lows, the victories and the tragedies. And the gamer in me found the game easy to play and fun with sensible controls

I did expect to have an issue with the game dumbing down and having space bar do EVERYTHING from use to climb to jump to cover to, well, everything. And there were the odd moments when I was dodging back and forth in cover or tumbling around like an acrobat when I just wanted to check the console. But it didn’t happen as often as I expected. Still, bring back “e” please.

ME 2 and ME3 I don’t think the whole “clips” concept worked. They had a nice idea with ammo in the first game – and I don’t think the whole “heat sink” idea made a whole lot of sense the way it was implemented. And, besides, you never ran out of ammo so why bother?

I found the side quests better than previously. ME1 involved too many hours driving around empty planets (or checking internet maps). ME2 made me feel I had to ration resources so couldn’t explore every cranny. ME3 let me find everything and left me feeling that I DID find everything.

Ok, people died and I know a lot of players had problems with established characters dying. And I can see that – but I thought it was necessary to bring how just how extreme the loss of life and devastation is during the war. How many people have died, how much this fight is costing – sure we can show images of London in ruins (and yes, seeing Big Ben in the background gave me the heebie jeebies) but having someone you’ve invested in die shows it more. Flip side is, of course, that a) I saved a lot of people who could have died and b) the characters who did die weren’t my personal favourites or squad members. Now, if Garrus or Tali or Dr. Chakwas or Joker had died? I’d probably be telling a different story and be pouting mightily.

On inclusion – lots of it and I loved it. And I loved my romance with Estevan (Kaidan, alas, died in ME1 for me) but more than anything what impressed me is that Estevan is gay. I mean, even if my Shepherd is straight as straight can be, Estevan is still gay. He isn’t the gay option thrown in to placate me and hidden away if you don’t want him. He’s gay, he’s mourning his husband and he will talk about it. Similarly you can walk through the Citadel and hear a woman talk about her wife. While romancing these character is an option, there existence is not. They are there. And that impressed me.

And to describe how much I loved this? I’m tempted to do a play through of the whole series, one after the other. Yes yes I am.

And now the elephant in the room. The ending. Ok there has been a lot of comments on the ending so here’s mine with a spoiler warning

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Now I have many things to do this week, so it would be a bad idea to buy this game. A very bad idea, I’ll end up playing it and neglecting my huge to-do list, Beloved, the house, eating, sleeping and possibly breathing to play this game. I don’t have time for that at the moment, so I will be sensible and not buy it.

No, no I won’t.

NO. I will NOT.

Brain: buy it buy it buy it buy it buy it buy it buy it buy it

Sparky: NO! I have things to do!

Brain: More important than Mass Effect 3?

Sparky: Yes! I have work, we have to eat, the house needs cleaning.

Brain: That’s what sick days are for. And take away. And since when did a little dirt hurt anyone?

Sparky: I have stuff to write!

Brain: Mass Effect 3 will inspire you to write more. Inspiration! Energy! Enthusiasm. You can’t NOT buy this game

Sparky: Since when?

Brain: So say the rules I just made up. If I repeat them they’ll make sense.

Sparky: No, I’m not buying it.

Brain: Fine… oh, is this a credit card? Why, yes yes it is

Sparky: I’m moving it out of eye-line. There, temptation removed.

Brain: ok… but googling and checking the site wouldn’t hurt right? See, doesn’t it look shiny

Sparky: No! I’m closing the window! NOT LOOKING! No, look, it’ll be cheaper on Steam eventually

Brain: You want to WAIT!? BLASPHEMER! You can afford it. And if you can’t, Beloved has 2 kidneys!

Sparky: I’m not killing him for a computer game

Brain: He has 2! He has a spare!

Sparky: No. Common Sense Brain, control temptation Brain!

Common Sense Brain: You’re going to buy it anyway. Every second you delay it is a second you spend obsessing over it rather than doing something productive. The sooner you download it, the sooner you complete it, the sooner it stops controlling your life

Sparky: this… makes sense

Actual Common Sense Brain: No it doesn’t! You’re rationalising your temptation and calling it common sense!!!

Sparky: Hush you! Fake Common Sense tells me I must buy this now!

Brain: Wooohoooo
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So, I just saw a wonderful whine about the new Mass Effect 3 and apparently, of the new love interests, there are no EXCLUSIVE heterosexuals (i.e. they’re all gay or bi). Note, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have an opposite sex pairing – there are bisexual love interests and your straight love interests from the last 2 games which, in case you have forgotten, included ZERO same-sex relationships (oh you could have female bisexual flings, but no relationships).

But but but shouldn’t heterosexuals be equally represented?! Equality should be equal!!!

Yes, equality should be equal. This is correct.

So, for this to happen, I propose that EVERY PIECE OF MEDIA produced for the next, oh… 3 centuries? Better make it 5. Yes, for the next 5 centuries every piece of media produced will contain NO straight characters at all. Oh, alright, you can have 1% straight characters – but they must be servants or miserable and preferably dead by the end of the piece.

After these 5 centuries of near zero straight inclusion in the entirety of our media, we’ll talk about equality being equal.

Read More
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Ah, that moment after you get a new computer when you finally have all the settings right. Installed your skype and talkshoe and got all your passwords remembered again and your favourites lists and installed skyrim and we're allll back to how it should be.


Skyrim is so essential software. And no it doesn't break the 20th October rule. No no it does not.

Because I said so.

And since it doesn't there's absolutely no reason to tell Beloved.

Hmm still missing that 150gig partition, most annoying.
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So I've quit WoW.

Partly because I wanted the time, partly because even with 6/7 hc bosses progress before nerf still didn't seem fun and partly, with our guild going from transition with our server dying, it was looking like I'd have to go to other places with other guilds aaaand... that sounded as much fun as putting my foot in a blender.

I've been lucky in my guild. S & I have been GM of it since raiding Gruuls lair back in the day. We were insular, kept to our own and had a very strict policy – your fuckery will not be tolerated here. No boss will be “raped”, nothing was “gay” unless they were actually homosexual and no racial abuse was remotely tolerated. If you didn't like it we weren't going to argue or debate with you – we'd kick you. Get out. It didn't make us popular and we didn't mix outside of spaces we controlled (I think our guild was loathed by the server due to the people we kicked losing their shit and our unwillingness to do anything outside the guild), but it created a little island in which we could enjoy WoW without the incessant slurs.

Because, ultimately, I'm quitting WoW because I don't want a hobby that involves so much homophobia dodging. I don't want to turn an already not-very-fun experience into a “I want a to drill out my eyeballs” experience, especially not when I'm paying good money for it. And I don't think it's going to get better. In fact, after the homophobic fuckery at Blizzcon, it's pretty obvious that Blizzard doesn't give a shit. Especially given the reaction of most of the WoW community.

Oh and all you straight cis people “you're offended because they insulted the alliance” really? Really you privileged arseholes? Someone sings a rant full of anti-gay slurs and you think we give a shit about the freaking FACTION insults?! Get a clue, get some perspective and wake up. No, really it's still going on – people are still stomping their feet because they think we're angry about the insults to the Alliance NOT that Blizzard decided to endorse a song that yelled “f@ggot” “Queer looking”, “homo” and “cocksucker” around. Have we not had enough media coverage of gay suicides for you to think that MAYBE just MAYBE a song that encourages people to kill themselves while using anti-gay slurs is not ok? What, in the name of all that is holy, is wrong with you people?!

So, yeah, I'm done. I'm not paying money for this, to a company that has this little respect for me. The game already completely erased me and had a bad reputation with homophobic fuckery to begin with – and this? No-one with even a shred of PR knowledge should have done this. I refuse to pay more money to homophobic arseholes so I can try and rebuild another tiny corner on this game where I can play without dealing with constant homophobic fuckery.
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So students at MIT have created a computer game called a Closed World which is basically a GBLTQ themed game whereupon you play a character who has to run around fighting the daemons of prejudice

I don't have a smiley expression to adequately describe my facial expression. 0_o is probably closest. I'm not sure confronting homophobia is my idea of a fun leisure activity or what I'd put high on my priority list for GBLTQ friendly game. I was... sceptical

Read more
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And there is a predictable response. No, not happiness from gay people – nope, the “what does it matter?” “what's all the fuss?” “why is it necessary?” from the straight folks (and believe me, that's among some of the better responses.)

And I sigh, I really do.

Because it matters do damn much. I am tired tired tired of nearly all the media I consume. 3 quarters of the reviews I write on Fangs for the Fantasy include the words “and there were no GBLT characters. Again” and the few inclusions I do find generally leave me wishing that they hadn't.

And y'know in many ways I find erased computer games even more annoying than other erased media, especially in a game that has story content. Let's have some immersive escapism! Sure, so long as that involves escaping as a straight person.

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So I play WoW, as you know, and we're doing fairly well I'd say. After many victories, we've just stomped our 7th heroic boss – Theralion And Valiona

I blinked because I never realised Blizzard had changed the voice, I assumed he always sounded like this

There's one of those pauses and I hear a distinct “uh-oh” and a distinct impression that I'm not going to like it and absolutely no-one wants to be the one to give me a link *suspicious* cowardly guildies :P

clicky clicky for rest of post where I am most certainly NOT Amused by the old voice
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Other than WoW (my eternal obsession and addiction) I don't blame a lot of computer games. But the brief forrays I have had into gaming have convinced me that there are few things in the world as heteronormative as computer games (I think advertising and children's programmes come close).

I admit that this is the only reason I bought and played this game. It's a genre of games I like a lot, but I don't normally have time (other games mean less WoW time! Uh, I mean less time with Beloved. Of course. *ahem*) to play computer games. But a computer game with a same-sex relationship? It was so rare and special that I went out and bought it (which should tell you a) how rare and special that is and b) should tell the computer games industry something. Yes, gay gamers – ugh, do I have to use the term gaymers? It's so cutsie – do want to see games with us in them).

Post Continues on the Blog


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