Angry Lesbians & White Feminism: The Problem With Sera in ‘Dragon Age’

I haven’t played Dragon Age: Inquisition yet, but this article still brings up some good points.


Dragon Age: Inquisition

When I heard rumblings that two canon gay characters would be featured front and center in Dragon Age: Inquisition, I was at the same time utterly thrilled and very, very wary. For the record, this particular post won’t discuss Dorian at all, though I certainly have more than enough to gripe about given how deeply unsettling it is that you can continue to aggressively flirt with him as a straight woman. Can we not play into the sassy gay friend trope anymore, devs? Please?

In any event, I’ll be focusing my attention on the first (and only) exclusively gay woman to enter into the Dragon Age franchise, and just how upset I am about the way she was handled, both before the game hit the shelves and during gameplay. For anyone who hasn’t read any of my past articles, I’ll repeat myself for clarity’s sake: I am a gay woman…

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Historical Accuracy & Video Games: The Actual Facts


Assassin's Creed

One of the recent issues in the gaming industry that has been at the forefront of arguments is representation, especially in terms of gender, sexuality, and race. Some developers, when asked about why there are not more women, people of color, or LGBTQIA+ characters, offer the same excuse: there were no people like that at that time and place, so it wouldn’t make sense to put them there. This shows up in games like Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher, and many others. Hearing this always sends a shiver of irritation up my spine as someone who was working on a Masters in History, focused on the Middle Ages. I can say that those developers are categorically wrong.

I think the problem lies in a few areas. One of the largest stumbling blocks in this is the white man-centric nature of the historical narrative that gets taught. When history becomes simply…

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What Is a Woman?! ‘Bloodstained’ & Koji Igarashi’s Female Characters


Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Before I jump into my feelings on this Kickstarter and how it fares for women in games, I have to make a confession: I am a certified massive Castlevania fan. By massive, I mean that I own over 50 games in the series between re-releases and U.S./Japan copies. It’s also no coincidence that my last name starts with a ‘B,’ but I’ll leave that one aside. So when I heard that famed Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi, also known as IGA, had left Konami to make his own game … actually, I was a little worried. Konami had clearly lost interest in his games, and rumors of Igarashi’s inability to garner interest in his project were floating around the internet.

This week, however, my worry subsided as rumors were squashed by his Sword or Whip teaser website and Kickstarter announcement for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Joined by development studio Inti…

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Permission to Rez: Agency, Avatars, & Gaming With Anorexia


Alone in the Dark

One of my earliest memories was being told I shouldn’t be excited about snack time. This was news to my bright, unmarred concept of identity. What self-respecting kid wasn’t thrilled by the very hint that snack time loomed? Who among our tiny, nomadic clans clawing for a turn on the sole motorized plastic car didn’t swiftly abandon their prize several minutes shy of the lunch bell? But ‘didn’t’ and ‘shouldn’t’ were two very different things, and my first lesson in Freud’s psychic apparatus was swiftly remedied. I was told I “didn’t really need” snack time like the other kids did.

That was in preschool.

While I didn’t understand the sentiment back then (I was always recklessly obstinate when it came to school authority—fuck you, I’m eating string cheese), I was well-versed in the concept by first grade. I was the dreaded monster all those old bedtime stories told you about: a…

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‘No Pineapple Left Behind’: Oh, The Humanity of Ed Reform


No Pineapple Left Behind

No Pineapple Left Behind is a simple management game painted with the timely imagery of the education reform movement. It’s a “school simulator,” to be precise, where instead of keeping track of tax rates or the number of cows, you keep a close eye on things like teacher’s salaries, grade averages, and how many students have given up on their humanity today. It’s designed by a small team, Subaltern Games, and strongly influenced by its “Captain of Industry’s” experiences as a part-time teacher. 

If you’ve played management games in the past, you’ll find the controls and mechanics to be easy and familiar. What lore exists in the game is straightforward as well, setting up and explaining only what it needs to in order to get you playing and thinking about its subject matter. You are the principle of the school, with a staff of teachers that you…

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Star Ocean: The Last Hope: July 29th – 30th, 2009: Meracles Can Happen

JULY 29TH, 2009: We returned to Triom.
It was burning. Lymle immediately ran into her grandpa’s house. The chair he sat in was overturned. Faize surmised that the bacculus patients turned into monsters and razed Triom. Lutea was there, crying at the grave of Ghimdo. She was holding a flower.
Lymle took it, as its petals fell.
“They’ll die I you don’t water them…” said Lutea. “What did I tell you…”
“I’m sorry…” apologized Lymle. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
Edge was very upset at their failure. He told Lymle that they would return to the sky to find the source of the evil that struck Lemuris.
Lymle said to Lutea, “I’m gonna become a master symbologist, ‘kay?” She promised to return.
“I’ll be waiting,” replied Lutea.
A correction: the synopsis says that Edge smashed the core of Barachiel, triggering the bizarre transformation in the lizardmen and the bacculus victims.
It seems that some items debilitate your characters, making it easier to obtain certain trophies…
Eldar is about to be killed by its own sun. They have six decades to find their “promised land”, Lemuria. I never would have guessed…
Faize surmised that the Cardianons were “forceful” colonizers.
Lymle is named after Lemuris.
“Lymle Lemuri Phi. That’s my name. I got the world’s name, ‘kay?”
Next stop: Cardianon… a planet of sinners.
But on Lemuris… Lutea saw the Calnus as she made her departure.
I think Galaxy may be too easy for an expert gamer like me.
So far, I’ve only seen the game over screen once. And that was only because I wasn’t paying enough attention.
Cardianon is the eighth system of Arcturus, or Arcturus-VIII.
I’m concerned about the lack of Faize seen in OXM’s pictures from later on in the game. He’s nowhere to be seen.
During a Private Action, Reimi said, “It’s fun if I’m reminiscing all by myself, after all.”
Cardianon looks really cool! It is much more high-tech than Lemuris. The planet itself looks like… a flat disc. It emanated a tractor beam, which pulled us in.
“Edgie, are we gonna be captured?” asked Lymle.
The Cardianon Mothership greeted us with guns. It appears that a symbologist with very long ears and an epic rack was very upset at our surviving the Cardianon welcome wagon.
Rich Cheese will literally make you richer!
Not even Fable II is that wacky with food.
After examining the central computer, Faize suggested that we sabotage a generator to disable the tractor beam.
An inelegant solution… but preferable to being chained to Cardianon.

JULY 30TH, 2009: We encountered Cardianons in coldsleep. Lymle tripped over a lizardman.
I think Lymle’s voice actress could have acted more cute and less zombified.
We had to peel the ID Card off of a frozen corpse and register it.
While examining a computer, we found a feed of a crystal like the one on the wrecked ship on Lemuris. We decided to look for the “Epiphany of Guidance” in the “Isolation Chamber”. I’m expecting another “angel” there.
I remember that the bad guys in Star Ocean: The Second Story were named after angels.
We wound up trapped inside an ice barrier, and eventually, an alien talked to us, bragging that their technology, the Epiphanies of Guidance, were blessings of the gods. A Cardianon. He called us descendants of the Muahs and implored us to stop the “steel giant”, another Muah. This giant had the SRF logo somewhere on his person.
He also had an accomplice that assisted his destructiveness.
It seemed to me that the Cardianon was talking through… something strapped to his chest.
A widescreen showed the giant shooting his way through walls to get to… us!
“Greetings. I will be brief. I am Bacchus D-79.”


This huge guy with a cannon or an arm has a duty: to destroy the Epiphanies!
I would like Achievements for acquiring new characters.
Maybe this Muah thing has something to do with how Edge can use symbology.
Chain Combos are much more useful than I’d guessed.
There was a subterranean city on top o all the rest of Cardianon’s nonsense. Cardianonsense! © vgj2008
For the first time ever, I filled up all my Bonus Board tiles!
I almost got a 100-hit combo.
I think the Cardianons are controlling the lizards. They’re probably some creepy brain trust floating in a jar, like that vagina-looking thing in the Dune flick.
Bacchus explained that the Cardianons were extremely primitive – until 200 years ago, when the Epiphanies descended upon them.
But the Epiphanies destroyed their home planet. Therefore, they are vagrants, pillaging planets with Arcturus-VIII, their mothership and temporary home base.
Bacchus is a Morpheus. The Morpheus call the Epiphanies “Grigori”. The Grigori seek to force evolution upon civilizations.

Just like the Life Fibers in Kill la Kill! OMG

Bacchus met Crowe, and admitted that he and the Aquila’s crew attempted to destroy the Grigori… until they were imprisoned. Bacchus said that Crowe may be headed to EN II, the Morpheus base of operations.
Bacchus shot the Grigori, destroying it. Then, the Cardianon leader emerged. He was very upset that we destroyed the last Grigori.
Before he transformed into Sahariel, he screamed that the Grigori was what made “all who are one!” It was the most intense battle yet.
Unocked Squelched Sahariel.
Bacchus’ Blindside maneuver is really cool! He skates around his enemies, and can shoot them while doing it.
I think his voice actor is the same guy who played Roy Mustang in Fullmetal Alchemist.

It is. Travis Willingham, who later married Laura Bailey. D’awww.
Interestingly, Bacchus is fairly “fullmetal” himself.

Sahariel crumbled to dust. For some reason, Edge wanted to save him. Lymle didn’t really understand. “But I know those rocks are badder than the baddest of guys.”
Faize called her “equally impressive” to Edge.
The Cardianon commander tried to deal a final blow with a bomb, but Bacchus absorbed the damage.
Lymle chastised him. “You big dummy…” She said he scared her with that maneuver.
Responding to the others’ worries, Bacchus explained that he was simply doing “what should be expected of a comrade.”
Edge and Faize helped him to his feet.
“You certainly are as heavy as you look,” said Faize.
“That’s the weight of our lives, Faize,” responded Edge. “Deal with it!”
Finally, we sabotaged the generator.
Or… at least, we tried. Bacchus explained that an emergency warp was activated. He said we should escape via an emergency bypass.
Lymle objected. “No, Bacchie! You’re coming with us, ‘kay?”
Bacchus said that since he destroyed the Grigori, “I have… no particular regrets.”
Since he was damaged, he called himself scrap metal that can be tossed aside with no thought.

Wow, Bacchus was hard on himself.

“Please, act rationally,” he asked Edge.
“I don’t want to lose a friend,” said Lymle. “I’d be so sad, ‘kay?”
They acted upon their final, desperate option: dragging Bacchus to safety.
“Between you and Crowe…” began Bacchus, “I’ve certainly met some outrageous people recently. Not that I’m complaining…”
Edge used his catchphrase again, telling his crew to make a dead run for the Calnus.
It was scary in the bypass when the bulkheads kept closing in front of us. The last one almost closed in on us… but not before the long-eared symbologist caused it to short out.
“Hmph. You’re not the red-haired man, after all…” With that quizzical remark, the beauty moved beyond us.
But that’s not where the exit is…
I bet she needs revenge upon the redhead. Just like Chelsea Handler!
Actually, I don’t know what her deal is with them.

I still don’t.

The mothership warped out after we reached the Calnus. Edge hated himself over how we didn’t learn anything about the Grigori.
Lymle said that what happened to the Lemurians will never happen again.
I wish I could believe that.
En II is an artificial cradle for the morphus, created when they decided to become guardians of the galaxy. Bacchus suggested that we go there to gather intelligence.
En II looks like a transparent diamond from space.
Bacchus’ rational nature can be hilarious. Upon being placed in a room on the Calnus, he basically asked “to be seen as nothing more than a piece of furniture.” The more serious characters are, the funnier the funny things that happen to them are.
This game pokes fun at cosplay with a scene where Welch’s cardboard cosplay befuddles Edge and Bacchus.
“What were they trying to leave future generations with that literature?” asked Edge, referring to Welch’s costume references books (and manga, too, no doubt).
Lymle and Welch (who is very far away and communicates through a hologram) were trying to pull a trick. But the trick was on Lymle when she tried to surprise Faize, and… accidentally kissed him.
We tried to warp to En II, but a gravitational anomaly happened! This somehow transformed into a black hole!
The emergency warp took us to a gorgeous, rustic planet with deep canyons. OK, it looks like the Wild West.
“That was fun!” said Lymle. “It was all ‘zap, boom’, ‘kay?”
Turns out it was closer to the Wild West than estimated.
It was Earth.
But not our Earth. It wasn’t as polluted as it was after World War III.
“Everyone stop being so weird, ‘kay?” asked Lymle. “Let’s go outside. I wanna see Edgie and Reirei’s homeworld.”
Only Edge, Faize, and Bacchus went out to investigate.
All of a sudden, we’re in Fallout 3!
Edge expressed shock at a dusty magazine in an abandoned garage. The magazine mentioned the development of the hydrogen bomb. Edge estimated that we were in the 1950s.
Bacchus intercepted a radio transmission that discussed the interception of the first artificial satellite by “the Reds”.
The trio decided to return to the Calnus, only to find that the Army quarantined it!
Now it’s Destroy All Humans!
“This is not ‘let’s trade theories’ time!” said Edge. “Reimi and Lymle are still inside!”
Suddenly, a shy man in glasses stepped forward: Klaus Bachtein. He invited the trio into his house.
Lmyle was already there.
The abandoned town served as camouflage for the Army base. Reimi was captured trying to protect Lymle.
Man, Bacchus’ armor looks cool.
Klaus will help us infiltrate the base… by turning us in?!
I wonder… is this Area 51?
“What kind of scientist accepts a breakthrough handed to him on a plate?” asked Klaus. He was upset that his fellow scientists’ desire to pillage extraterrestrial technology.
Suddenly, a cat jumped through the window. Klaus explained to us that Meracle, another captive alien, has ears and a tail just like the cat’s. He begged us to find Meracle and return her to her homeworld.
I’ll warn you right now. Meracle has creepy taste in clothes.
Star Ocean’s music sounds like an organ choking on a synthesizer. I kinda like it. Only the dungeons get the best of the organ, though.
What kind of fighting style could Meracle possibly have?
Klaus was given an ocarina by Meracle. “Please… get back to space… We… don’t… deserve you…”
We stumbled upon Meracle while looking for Reimi!
She fled in terror. Lymle immediately nicknamed her “Kitty”.
No, she’s not the little girl from Monsters Inc.
There are more volatile aliens in this base, which do not belong to us. They had grays, which are weird! They’re annoyingly good at stunning you.
We should be nice to all sentient lie, but we can’t even be nice to our own humans.
This game reminds me of all those great space games. Halo, KotOR, Metroid… space REWLS!
Haus of Klaus! Tee-hee. I hope he’s OK.
The Private Action system is totally different in this game. Earlier games only offered Private Actions in towns. TLH has no such option.
Today, I was a monster playing as Edge.
I love unlocking trophies easily. And accidentally.
Lymle is one of my fav characters, and she’s fun to play.
I played as Faize for too long.