Why play video games when you could play with cats?

Ever since the new year started, I’ve been helping my brother, Matt Tobias, with his classroom prep. He’s a teacher, and this semester, his school has him teaching video games design and analysis. Which is pretty groovy. Part of his preparing his lesson plans involves him playing through popular video games and analyzing them: the writing and story-telling, world building, graphics, game play, etc.

Since he knows I’m a writer-y person, he’s been seeking my help and opinions on the writing and story-telling aspects of the games he’s been playing. And oh, such excitement there’s been. Alan Wake was the most mind bending and disappointing, but Dragon Age has been breaking my soul with tedium and wtf-ery.

Allow me to share with you some of my Facebook posts documenting this experience.

Maria D’Isidoro “This game is annoyingly complicated.” – Me “This is where I say ‘gimme my Legend of Zelda’, because real men don’t level up.” – Matt Tobias playing Dragon Age: Origins.

January 7 at 5:59pm ·

  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”So, after you get all covered in the blood and gore of your opponents, you can get your dog to lick you clean.” – Matt

    “Aw, that’s so – sick.” -Me

    January 7 at 9:36pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”My stats are set to persuasion, so my character can pretty much-” -Matt

    “These are not the droids you are looking for.” *waves hand* -Mom

    “Yeah, pretty much.” -Matt

    January 7 at 9:38pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro Character: “surely our message MUST have reached so-and-so. But if they do not come to our aid, then yes, we will join your army.”

    “Didn’t you STOP that message?” – Me

    “Yes! Mwahahahaha!” -Matt

    January 7 at 9:43pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Okay, now it’s time to go up the dark and scary tower to face our doom.” -Matt

    “YAY!” -Me

    January 7 at 9:48pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Oh look! Sten leveled up.” -Matt

    “We should throw him a party.” -Me

    January 7 at 9:48pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Don’t worry. If anyone’s going to die in there, it’s going to be me.” -Matt

    January 7 at 9:58pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”She’s shedding leaves. Why is she shedding leaves?” -Mom

    “Maybe they’re just really big dandruff flakes.” -Me

    “Well, I’m sure that this will all turn out dandy.” -Matt

    January 7 at 9:59pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”So all of these books are traps. There is nothing in this library that won’t hurt or kill you.” -Matt

    “Library of death! I want one.” -Me

    January 7 at 10:02pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Oh yay! This corpse has a water stained portrait! I’m gonna gift that to someone in my party to make them like me more….You’re not going to tweet that, are you?” -Matt

    “…*types*…” -Me

    January 7 at 10:07pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro

    ‎”Why is he wearing a dress?” -Matt

    “Well, he did just come out of a closet.” -Me

    “I’ve got a crick in my neck and my bum hurts.” -character

    “O RLY” -Me

    January 7 at 10:12pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Those demons sure made a mess of everything. Like your ex-housemates.” -Mom

    “Indeed.” -Matt

    “I doubt the demons smell that bad, though.” -Me

    January 7 at 10:20pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”This guy’s a buzz-kill. I don’t want him in your party.” -Me

    “Me neither. Let’s get the band back together and have a party.” -Matt

    January 7 at 11:26pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”What’s the point of being a fire person if you can’t set people on fire?” -Me

    “You can, just not THOSE people because they are also made of fire.” -Matt

    “Grr. I cannot argue your logic, but I can disapprove of it and so I do.” -Me

    January 7 at 11:39pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Hell feels kinda tedious.” -Matt

    *snickers* -Me

  • Maria D’Isidoro “Have you heard of my new band, the Arcane Horrors?” Dragon Age: Origins with Matt Tobias again tonight.

    January 8 at 11:18pm
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Seriously?” -Matt
    “Seriously.” -Me
    “SERIOUSLY?” -Matt
    “Seriously.” -Me
    “Dude. Gay.” -Matt

    January 8 at 11:22pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”I’ve noticed that Morrigan has more glitches in her scenes than the other characters. I suspect that this is because her awesomeness is too much for the game to withstand.” -Me

    January 8 at 11:27pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro

    ‎”So where are the dragons in Dragon Age?” -Me

    “The dragons are the Old Gods in this game.” -Matt

    “Sweet! So they worship dragons? Me like-y!” -Me

    “They USED to worship dragons. Now they worship the Maker.” -Matt

    “That’s lame! Why would you worship some silly old Maker when you could worship DRAGONS?” -Me

    January 8 at 11:32pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Wait, THAT’S the order I’m supposed to quest in? SERIOUSLY? You lie!” – Matt

    “I don’t know! Stop yelling at meeeeee.” -Me

    January 8 at 11:41pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro

    ‎”So, I’m digging the blood and guts and gore and muscle tissue decor they’ve got going on.” -Me

    “They did the same thing in Gods of War. It got really monotonous.” – Matt

    “I can see that. Also, the decomp must wreak havoc on the carpets.” -Me

    January 8 at 11:46pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro Dragon Age: Origins resumes, Matt Tobias is hitting on an elven assassin, and I need a drink.

    January 9 at 8:06pm ·

      • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Aw, I think I broke his little heart!” -Matt

        January 9 at 8:07pm ·
      • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”At this point, I’ve stopped caring about helping people, ad now I just want to smash things until I can get on to the next quest.” -Matt

        “This is why we can’t have nice things.” -Me

        January 9 at 8:21pm ·
      • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Ok, let’s check those approval ratings.” -Matt

        “You and Sten are totes BFFs now.” -Me

        “Me and Sten, we’re like THIS with superglue.” -Matt, with crossed fingers.

        January 9 at 10:22pm ·
      • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Why is there singing? Was this game produced in Bollywood? WHY IS THERE A SONG SEQUENCE?” -Me

        January 9 at 10:27pm ·
      • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”There are threads discussing how to get various characters to sleep with you. One of these threads is open. On my computer. It may never be clean again.” -Me

        January 9 at 10:28pm ·
      • Maria D’Isidoro “Wait, really? You can date characters in game?” -Matt

        “And with that, America is one step closer to becoming Japan 2.0.” -Me

        January 9 at 10:30pm


  • Maria D’Isidoro More Dragon Age: Origins with Matt Tobias tonight – No. You know what? No. we’re not doing this anymore. I quit! *strikes*

    Saturday at 10:39pm
  • Maria D’Isidoro I think all the romance options are slowly breaking my brothers mind. All I know is that all my responses to this game are slowly boiling down to “What. The. Hell.”

    Saturday at 11:43pm ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro It does not help that the bisexual elf is voiced by an Antonio Banderas impersonator.

    Saturday at 11:45pm ·

  • Maria D’Isidoro ‎”Okay, I’ve corrupted a nun and am now having PG-13 sex cut-scene with said nun.” – Matt “I don’t like what this game is doing to my soul, Matt.” – Me

    Yesterday at 12:43am ·
  • Maria D’Isidoro I can’t describe the emotion this game is making me feel. All I know is that I have to watch SyFy movies to make myself feel better.

    Yesterday at 12:51am ·

  • Matt Tobias
    There are days when the nuances of game design lead us to strange and uncomfortable places. When you find yourself philandering digital paramours in order to unlock achievements for a 3 or 4-way, all in order to gather material and compare …notes on systems of virtual character interaction and the abstraction of human relationships into game systems….
    Well. Some days you just cant win for losing.

    Yesterday at 1:10am

(Don’t know what happened with the formatting in the middle. Huh. O_O)

This has been almost every night since New Years Day and I’ve had enough of it. NO MORE, I cry!

Today is my birthday and I’m going to play with my cats. Heeeeere, kitty kitty kitty!


Um…maybe not.


About Morgan Maria D'Isidoro

Morgan Maria D'Isidoro has lived in Baltimore, MD for most of her life, saving a handful of failed escape attempts. Given the murder rates, she'll probably die here too. Morgan is a writer of speculative fiction and poetry, a musician of dubious quality, cat aficionado, art history fangirl, kitchen sorceress, recovering pyromaniac, accomplished liar, and an all around person of questionable employability.
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