An Update/Video Game Character Inspired Fashion

Hey, Internet! I’ve recently started my senior year of college; so close to the end…yet so far. I’ve decided to keep going straight through summer quarter to speed up the process. I’ve mentioned before that I returned to college to finish my final two years after several years off. I want to get back to my regular lifestyle. Not to say I haven’t been enjoying my break from various “adult” things. I do have crazy-person outbursts sometimes from the workload. I’m just anxious to focus on my future career.

No matter, on to the fun stuff. I still do find things in my free time that I must share ASAP. Thanks to the fantastic Felicia Day and her perfect version of vlogging, The Flog on Geek and Sundry introduced me to an amazing Tumblr called Console to Closet. Simply, it is a collection of video game character inspired fashion, both for the ladies and the dudes. I’m kind of obsessed with it. My first favorite I came across is inspired by Subject Zero aka Jack from Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.

It. Is. Perfect. Above image will take you to Console to Closet, which also provides an reference image of Jack from Mass Effect.

I’m also really loving the looks inspired by Leliana from Dragon Age, Garrus from Mass Effect and Night Elf from my current gaming obsession, World of Warcraft. I love how Amanda, creator of the blog, hasn’t made any of the looks too costume-y. Before that sounds like I hate costuming, I don’t at all! I actually have a secret desire to get in to some serious cosplay. I just appreciate the alternative approach to emulating a favorite game character.

Be sure to check out Console to Closet! It is already inspiring my fashion choices and is lots of fun to browse.

TRAILER: Mass Effect 3

This is no secret; I am an avid Mass Effect fan [a video games series developed by Bioware] More specifically, I’m a die hard FemShep [female version of protagonist Commander Shepard] player, fan, supporter, believer. It’s safe to say I do not stand alone. FemShep has an enormous fan base.

There has been no marketing geared towards FemShep–until now. Bioware has caught on to the popularity of FemShep and the fan demand to recognize her as the protagonist. In response, Bioware has included FemShep as a major part of the marketing campaign leading up to the release of the series third installment on March 6, 2012.

I’m not some BroShep/MaleShep/ManShep hater. I definitively get that he is some people’s Commander and he is badass in his own way. However, he isn’t everyone’s Shepard and I am so thankful Bioware isn’t acting like he is any longer.

While watching the trailer, I did in fact shed tears. It’s hard to explain if you aren’t invested. But I’m finally seeing a trailer for the series I’ve spent hours playing over the last five years.

As far as marketing and promotion, Bioware is genius to embrace their female protagonist.  It says a lot about how much they listen to and respect their fans. It would have been great if she had shared the spotlight all along, but I’m happy she’s getting her time now.

I am so happy to share the first official trailer featuring my version of Commander Shepard:

Consider yourself reinstated.

-Amy

Mass Effect Literary Analysis [COLLEGE]

Okay, so this fall I started going  back to school to finish my bachelors degree. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been a student. That is why I have ZERO HOURS to write anything not school related. I was halfway done with college already, looking for a career change and realized a college degree would be quite helpful. Anyway, I am taking a class called Video Games and Learning–basically my dream class. About 17 of us sit around and just talk about how video games help teach us how to effectively learn. Our text book was written by James Paul Gee titled What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy and it introduces some great ideas. Check it out if you have the free time.

My point in sharing all this; I wrote my first literary analysis for the class and my subject was Mass Effect. My instructor game me quite amazing feedback which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which then inspired me to share it. Check it below if you want:

Mass Effect Literary Analysis

Mass Effect is an immersive science fiction role playing game (RPG)/third person shooter developed by BioWare Corporation.  Released in 2007 exclusively on the Microsoft Xbox360, the Mass Effect series has since spawned a sequel released in January 2010 (accompanied by the option to play the game on Sony’s PlayStation3) and a third title to round out the trilogy releasing in March 2012. The series thus far has been received positively in the gaming community and has won several awards during its existence.

The main story quest follows Commander Shepard’s activation as the first human spectre, which is a group of enforcers who act outside of the law. Shepard and her team are assigned to hunt down a rogue spectre operative. During the mission, a larger threat to the galaxy is discovered, propelling Shepard and crew on a mission aboard the Normandy space craft to save the galaxy from destruction.

Mass Effect intertwines elements of both the RPG and third person shooter genres. At the start of the game, the player is asked to create their version of Commander Shepard, the central hero in Mass Effect. Shepard can be either male or female. The player must decide what class to choose, which will dictate how powers and capabilities develop throughout the gameplay. Lastly, the player is asked to choose a brief background story to round out Shepard’s personality. Along with character development, text book RPG conventions such as completing quests, earning experience (XP) from quests & combat, managing your various inventories (ie: weapons, armor, etc.), and acquiring party members who assist during missions, give Mass Effect the right to be part of the RPG genre.  The use of firearms and the “over the shoulder” perspective the player has when guiding Commander Shepard and her party throughout the galaxy is what qualifies Mass Effect as a third person shooter game.  The combination of both genres creates an immersive gameplay experience.

Much like our society, the Mass Effect galaxy is occupied by various different races. Though it’s a fictional universe, there is a subtext suggesting race dictates ones power and status in a society. The humans (in game) are a younger race and are viewed to be beneath more ancient races. The Asari, an all-female race whose main objective is to find a mate to reproduce with, are often sexualized and are frequently found in “escort” service jobs. The Krogen are a war torn, militaristic race, used as laborers and bodyguards, not considered a civilized race. It’s possible the game authors are implying how racial stereotypes can dictate one’s status in a society, much in the same way race has historically controlled people in our society.

There is also subtext of how controversial science can become when genetics are involved. The Salarian and Turian races, two highly intelligent groups, took it upon themselves to genetically alter the survival rate of the Krogen offspring in order to control what they viewed as a threat to the galaxy.  Naturally, the Krogen opposed this, causing long standing and deep rifts between the Krogen and those who are not willing to assist in finding a cure. This illustration of scientific controversy, specifically on genetics, could be a commentary on today’s highly debated topics.

The fidelity of the graphics adds greatly to the verisimilitude of Mass Effect.  The faces of some characters are so lifelike that it becomes easy to forget they aren’t real people. Glimpses of the night sky or the rising sun are familiar imagery to all who play the game. In addition to graphics, the quests provide several familiar struggles, from choosing between right and wrong, maintaining relationships, and learning how to react in difficult situations.  The game presents an emotional space that many can identify with, making the game seem very real and life like. On the other hand, the entire experience takes place in a galaxy farther than far, far away. There are made up races, space ships, intergalactic war, and futuristic weaponry which make the game obviously not realistic. Mass Effect accomplishes an emotional level of familiarity, whereas the context of the game is very much a fictional place.

Mass Effect (along with its sequel and upcoming conclusion) can become a total immersive experience, if the player is willing. The conventions of RPG games alone require a dedication that encourages immersion. Though controversies can arise during the game, it’s important to be aware that video game issues and real life issues may not be that distant from each other. What seems to be most important is the emotional familiarity the game can provide. People naturally want to be understood and accepted, and Mass Effect can provide that through Commander Shepard, her crew and the adventures they take as team.