December 29, 2006

Lake Desire Loves Her Wii, and So Does Her Family

Filed under:Gaming Women, Videogames, Wii — Lake Desire @ 12:00 am

My mom is awesome. On November 19, she got to the stores at 6 in the morning, and waited in the rain at Best Buy then Toys R Us. Both sold out. On a whim, she tried GameStop at Southcenter Mall. There, she bought a Wii, one of the last. She felt like a celebrity walking around the mall with a Wii–people tried to buy it off her!

And she kept all of this a secret until Christmas, when she gave it to me. She could have sold it for much more than she paid for it! At least I got her to play–and I have Nintendo to thank for that, as well, for designing the Wii with nongamers in mind. As much as she loves watching my younger brother and I game, and cheers us on, she won’t pick up a controller herself anymore. (It’s too bad, because she was the person who taught me how to play Nintendo. She could speedrun Super Mario Brothers before speedrunning was even a concept.)

My family loves the bowling on Wii Sports. My mom, always a source of Mystery Science Theater-style video game commentary, said, “”There is no reason to go to bowling alleys anymore. Bowling alleys are going to go out of business.”

She also got me Twilight Princess. I’ve never been a rapid Zelda fan–the first game and Link’s Awakening on the old GameBoy are the only ones I’ve beaten (it took me ten years to beat The Legend of Zelda, no joke), but I enjoyed Ocarina of Time back in the day (until I got stuck on the Water Temple) and make it through most of Wind WankerWaker. Twilight Princess, though, is sooooo fun. I love games where you can play as animals. And Midna is way cooler than Navi.

As if a Wii weren’t enough (I’m spoiled, I know), I got DDRMax2 for PS2 and, from my brother, Final Fantasy III for DS. Too bad I left my DS Lite back home, so I haven’t been able to play FFIII yet. Looks fun, though. I loved the job system in FF5.


December 28, 2006

That Was It? Wrapping Up Final Fantasy XII

Filed under:Final Fantasy Series, Gender, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 11:42 pm

This post is rather spoilery for Final Fantasy XII, so be warned!



December 6, 2006

What I Think About Final Fantasy XII

Filed under:Final Fantasy Series, Personal, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 4:18 pm

I’m back in my game. I got Final Fantasy XII for my birthday, and it’s been absorbing my life.

I really like FFXII because it has the gameplay style much like an MMORPG: fast-paced battle right in the field, challenging bosses, huge maps, and freedom to explore and side-quest. It stirs some Final Fantasy XI nostalgia in me (that game was my life when I was a freshman in college). Missing from FFXII is the monthly fees and dealing with racist and sexist and heterosexist players.

I’ve been taking a bit of a mental vacation by gaming lately, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking at the game entirely uncritically. I can’t help but notice every main character is blond, and the only memorable person of color I’ve encountered was a horny old pan-Eastern man with one hand in the black-market and the other on his hookah. I know this game is coming out of Japan, so the race portrayals confuse me more-so than they do in mainstream American narratives.

Although the male characters are statistically better fighters, for the most part the license system lets you take whatever characters you want down any job path. When you’re outside of towns, you can also swap out the requisite whiny teenage protagonist, Vaan, and lead with any character you’d like. I usually play Ashe, the sword wielding princess, as my party leader.

I like playing Ashe well enough. It’s nice seeing the princess as a leader with a lust for revenge. But I also find her kind of boring, along with most the cast. Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical.


Personality-wise, Fran (left) is my favorite character, but I have a hard time taking her seriously when the camera pans across her bare butt. Yeah, Vaan’s outfit is skimpy, too, but he doesn’t have a strip of narrowing fabric pointing to his genitals. Vaan isn’t sexualized. His abs show off his fitness.

The international politic stuff was interesting for a while, but now I can’t really keep the names and places straight. I think the story needs a little something else to keep me interested, but I love the gameplay so much I’m willing to sit through the cut-scenes.