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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I watched 'Passions' with Spike. Let us never speak of it."
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February 14 2011

Felicia Day to make Dragon Age: Redemption web series. USA Today has the scoop.

"She has also appeared in the Josh Whedon-directed Web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"

Excellent research there guys!!
Yea, I know. Maybe after the Avengers people might get his name right?

I can wish.
Anyone know if this is the secret project she's been alluding to on Twitter?
Anyone know if this is the secret project she's been alluding to on Twitter?

Yeah, I suspect it is, given her hints from earlier today.

[ edited by Xsikal on 2011-02-15 09:26 ]
Ah, Josh Whedon. I loved that show he made: Muffin the Vampire Baker. What a classic.
Ignoring the spelling, this was a really neat article. I love Mass Effect, it's a spectacle and am more interested than I've been in a while in picking up Dragon Age now. Nice.
I'm actually kinda annoyed... was looking forward to seeing the "Big reveal" on twitter tomorrow. :(
Fantastic! Congrats Felicia, can't wait to see it.
Okay, so I've never gamed. If I were to do so, what game would be the best entree?
Gotta love that Josh!
Okay, so I've never gamed. If I were to do so, what game would be the best entree?

That's kind of a hard question, but if you like Sci-Fi I think you can't really go wrong with Mass Effect.

Personally, I thought Dragon Age was kinda disappointing. The story really was just a Song of Ice and Fire-light version.
Can't wait to see this, though.
I'm a very casual gamer, but if you do like immersive storytelling the same way television and films are, then absolutely 'Mass Effect'. If you are more/also a comic book reader, or a fan of Batman, I would suggest 'Batman: Arkham Asylum'. I'm hardly either of them, but that game is bloody outstanding. The 'Uncharted' series is worth looking at too.
Bright Falls! I think that's the only other game webseries I can think of.
Personally, I thought Dragon Age was kinda disappointing. The story really was just a Song of Ice and Fire-light version. Can't wait to see this, though.

Honestly, I feel like that is giving Dragon Age TOO much credit. :P I was very disappointed in the game, myself.

Regardless, I don't play WoW, and I have enjoyed the Guild, so I'm confident this web series can be enjoyable regardless of the world it's based on. ;)
I gave up Dragon Age about a quarter of the way through, I was just hitting things with swords.
I really loved Dragon Age but my favorite is Mass Effect. Really looking forward to seeing this web series!
I don't think I could be more excited for this. For starters: OMG SHAWNA TRPCIC ON COSTUMES. And the DP from LOST is here too. I bet this is going to be a LOT of fun to watch. Yay Felicia Day! :D
project bitsy: Hahaha, Sluggy Freelance fan?
Aw, Simon, bad class choice I guess. I thought it was pretty good and definitely required more strategy from my mage point of view on the PC game (which allows you a top down view and works more like a RTS/Warcraft 3 than the Xbox game).

I didn't get all the way through at all though, either, but that was because I got busy with life and didn't have time.

I'm very excited, despite my dislike of the name flub. I was just grumpy last night.

I'm actually excited for Doug Jones, I'm sure he's playing a monster. He's from the school I got my undergrad degree, so I'm always excited to see his face about. Too cool.
Argh! I typed a very long message, mostly in response to Dana5140's request of where to begin with gaming on my phone, whilst travelling on the train back from work, but when I hit the preview button it disappeared. It took over thirty minutes to write! Oh well, here I go again. You better make sure you heed my advice! :)

Dana5140 - That is a huge question you asked there. It may not be as big as "I've never watched a film before; where do I begin?" but it isn't far off (the Smithsonian are apparently doing an event celebrating 40 years of games, which is a pretty long time.) It obviously depends on what you are already interested in.

I'll probably offer you a different advice from most on here, as I've gamed on a PC for most of my life (or at least, at my desk. The first games machine I really remember was the Amiga, although one of my older brothers had a Master System before that.) I'm guessing the majority on here probably would use a console (although I see VeryVeryCrowded played Dragon Age on a PC, which is supposedly the much better choice.) Therefore, I might be slightly biased when I say you should try out games on your PC. The simple fact of it having a huge back catalogue immediately means you can have quite easy, cheap access to a large number of game types (assuming you already own a PC, which I'm guessing you do when you are talking on here.) You won't be required to fork out the entry fee of a console.

As we are discussing this on a writer's fan blog, games that put storytelling at the forefront are probably the best to look for to begin with. For that, I would recommend the point and click genre. The kings of the genre were Lucasarts, during the mid to late 90s. The most famous is probably the Monkey Island series, so that might be your best place to start. 'Secret of Monkey Island' (the first game,) and 'LeChuck's Revenge' (the second,) have recently had remastered versions released of them, so I they should be easily obtainable. Personally, I started replaying the first of these and was a little disappointed in the rather obtuse puzzles, but there are still good examples of the genre. I also liked the third ('The Curse of Monkey Island') a lot, which was the first of these I played. The cartoon style of this one doesn't really get old too.

I would probably recommend 'Day of the Tentacle' or 'Grim Fandango over these though. They may not be the household names (or as much as games pre-GTA were household names,) but they are certainly the superior in my eyes. 'Day of the Tentacle' has a great puzzle mechanic of working from three different time periods, when college friends accidentally stumble upon a time machine, whilst trying to prevent a purple mutated tentacle from taking over the world (yes, it is slightly surreal.) 'Grim Fandango' on the other hand is a beautiful depiction of a purgatory influenced by the Mexican Day of the Dead festival. The lead character is Mani, who is attempting to earn a ticket on the train that leads to the afterlife. It has a great noir vibe to it, which is still fresh. These two are a little harder to get hold of then the Monkey Island games, but you really won't regret it. Slightly easier to get hold of, if you like Indiana Jones, then you should definitely try 'Fate of Atlantis'. For a very long time, there was much talk of this being the story for the fourth Indiana Jones film, as it really does compare well to the original three films.

Moving away from the Lucasarts games, but still in the realm of point and click, you should definitely check out 'The Longest Journey'. A fantastic mix of sci-fi and fantasy that tells a really, really great story with some genuinely excellent characters. It tells the tale of a young girl who discovers she is able to cross between the futuristic world, Stark, and the fantastical world of Arcadia, where she discovers her role in keeping the balance between these two. The creator of this game often refers to Joss Whedon as an influence, so it is definitely worth checking out for anyone here. The sequel, 'Dreamfall', tells a great story again, but the game itself is a little less great, mostly being nothing more than an interactive story. Worth checking out after you've played the first though.

One of the biggest advantage games have over other mediums, is the ability for the player to tell his/her own story. Probably one of the best genres to do this is in is the 4x (explore, expand, exploit and exterminate.) The most well known for this is probably 'Civilization'. The fourth is possibly the best starting point, as it is fairly accessible, but not simplified. Start with just a settler and end by launching rockets into space. These are pretty epic games, that suck up quite a lot of time, but you will find it hard to drag yourself away, once you get going. The fact these are turn based, means you can take your time over every move and won't require the reflexes of the real time strategy genre. For something similar, but in space, 'Galactic Civilization 2' is a fantastic game, possibly better, but is a little less user friendly. It even lets you design your own space ships, picking from quite a large range of designs and objects to add to the basic shell. Might be slightly confusing for those not in the know of the genre already, but this diary of games is a great read .

Also, always a good game to create your own stories, is 'The Sims'. I've not played the latest, but it is meant to be the real pinnacle of the series. Again, here is a great bitter-sweet story some made, whilst playing the game .

Best place to have a look for some games is probably by going on a website called (or Good Old Games) or by downloading a program called Steam. The former of these sells old games, mostly RPGs, which have been updated to run on modern operating systems. The age of these games means they should work on pretty much any computer you have, whilst also being quite cheap. Classics like 'Fallout' and 'Planescape Torment' (stunningly written,) can be had from here, but due to the nature of a lot of these games they are not the most user friendly, so may not be the best starting point. Steam, on the other hand, has a much wider range of games available from old titles, to small indie games, to mega budget mainstream releases. The downside to this is that you have to be careful your system will be able to run it. Anything from the 90s or even early 00s, as well as most indie titles should be fine, but watch out for the requirements. You can get The Longest Journey, the Monkey Island games and Civilization from here. For 'Grim Fandango' and 'Day of the Tentacle', you may need to look further afield, but you should be able to get hold of them.

I'm very much of the opinion that gaming is the most exciting entertainment mediums of the moment, hence why I've spent a long time suggesting some good entry points. There are many, many more to suggest for you, but these are a quick guideline, without really any knowledge of what you would be looking for. If you have any questions about a specific genre then let me know and I'll try and suggest something that you might be a good place to start. Handily, my favourite gaming site has just started a feature entitled "The Very Important List of PC Games." Here is a link . This particular entry is mostly geared towards the First Person Shooter genre, due to the writer of the article. If you want to read one that will probably be more geared towards storytelling in games, look out for the one written by John Walker.

As for Dragon Age, I quite enjoyed the first game, although not played it all the way through yet. I'm looking forward to The Witcher 2 much more though.
VeryVeryCrowded I was playing it on the 360. The gameplay felt very old-fashioned and reminded me of those Champions of Norrath games that came out for the PS2. Fun at the time but they don't hold up these days. I'm still holding out for a Jade Empire sequel though.
I second the recommendation for The Longest Journey and Dreamfall.

Not what I was expecting for Felicia's mystery project, but whatever lets her be badass...
Oh, and she'll have a preview of the series on Wednesday's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
RE: Games

I want to third the recommendation for The Longest Journey. *high fives Vandelay and hacksaway* It's still my all time favorite game. The mixture of a great story, philosophy, and wonderful worlds to explore makes it unbeatable in the adventure game category, IMO.

Ah, I see the Rock, Paper, Shotgun site Vandelay recommended put up a new list that rates The Longest Journey as "Vital to the Balance of the Universe." Heh.

Thanks for the link, Vandelay. It looks like a great site--by which I mean they agree with a lot of my opinions. :P
That really is a damn fine list. Reading through this reminds me to recommend Portal and World of Goo to EVERYONE, especially for people who want to get into gaming. Those two are cheap, short, have an excellent learning curve and are all around pretty much perfect.
(also, Deus Ex, the (imo) best game of all time)
And if your nerve holds, play the first three Silent Hill games. They're well over due for a HD makeover. And Resident Evil 4, because it's so well done. Plus the two Bioshock games (and the Minerva DLC), you really can't go wrong there.
The creator of this game often refers to Joss Whedon as an influence, so it is definitely worth checking out for anyone here.

Tornquist on Whedon and female characters
Yes, Portal and Deus Ex should be highly recommended. Not sure I would recommend them to someone who has never played a game before though, particularly Deus Ex. The huge barrier for a lot of people is the control schemes of these games and anything that relies heavily on you having to control with the mouse and keyboard is going to be a tall order for those with zero experience (you could play with pad, I suppose, but I personally think that is even harder.) That's why I mainly picked slower paced games, so there wouldn't be the inevitable frustration over actually controlling the game. If that isn't an issue though, any game made by Valve, namely Portal and the Half Lifes, are excellent entries to gaming. Then you can move onto Deus Ex.

World of Goo is a safer call though. As is something like Braid, which is such a beautiful game. For the slightly more adventurous indie game, something by Frictional Games, who make some great horror games. The Penumbra series really set out what they aiming for, whilst the recent Amnesia just refined it into a really terrifying experience. The control schemes in these games are so natural that it is incredible it hasn't been ubiquitous in gaming for ages. For something even more off the beaten track, the indie scene has a lot of interesting little experiments going on. Tale of Tales make some really strange little titles, such as The Path, which is a really creepy re-telling of the Red Riding Hood story. Not so much a game, as an interactive art project.

And yes, RPS is brilliant. They cover a wide range of games and always have interesting takes on stuff. It is also just a really enjoyable read, for the most part. Pretty essential place to go, for anyone that is interested in PC gaming.
Wow, interested in getting into gaming. What I wouldn't give to play "Legend of Zelda" for the first time again...

Anyway, since everyone else has had some awesome suggestions, as a long-time console gamer (starting with an Intellivision in the late 70s/early 80s), here are a few that shouldn't be missed, coming at it from a narrative side of things. Some games are awesome without (I still play Tetris, damnit! And anything pre-SNES has a marginal story at best, but some great and difficult games).

Final Fantasy VII. Not my favorite, even in the series (6, 9 or 12 for me), but there's a reason it's so iconic. The story is engaging, and a good test to see if the random encounter/turn based RPG is your thing. If it is, Chrono Trigger should follow. If not...

Grandia II. Combat is a little more engaging and fast paced, but still turn based (it's more strategy based than action based). Great story (not particularly unique, but well told) and possibly the best post-game I've ever played. III was good too, but II was GREAT.

No mention of LucasArts games should go without mentioning Sam and Max. Fantastic game! There are new games too, but I'm a bit behind and haven't started them yet. Point and click puzzle/adventure game with a fabulously surreal sense of humor.

If the idea of a first person shooter appeals to you, System Shock (and II). The narrative flow in that game is beyond belief. Half-Life gets points too, but as nice as it was, it was no System Shock!

Since Simon mentioned the Silent Hill games, I'll also toss out Fatal Frame. Probably the scariest game I've ever played. I like Silent Hill (though the first is REALLY clunky) and Resident Evil (though that's an aquired taste), but I LOVE Fatal Frame. Particularly the third, but just as much the first. If you like zombie stories, Dead Rising is a great action game with a Dawn of the Dead flavour. Again, the narrative is the highlight there.

As an obsessive Zelda fan, it would be hard to not recommend Ocarina of Time. Again, not my personal favorite in the series, but amazingly well done and every bit as good as the hype you hear.
Some of the games folks are suggesting are long. I like a deep, involved experience sometimes, but don't always have the time. If you want a short taste of gaming, trying out Ico on the Playstation 2 (it'll run you anywhere from 8 to 11 hours to complete). It's from 2001, but it's still beautiful. A work of art. If you don't have a PS2, a remastered version of it is coming out this Spring on the Playstation 3 bundled together with its follow-up title.

Its follow-up (and functioning prequel), Shadow of the Colossus, would be the next logical step if you want something in the same vein. Both games are very much about the relationship between your playable character (the boy) and your companion (Yorda, the girl, in Ico; Argo, your very realistic horse, in SotC). Environmental puzzles/exploration are the name of the game, with minimal combat in Ico and the puzzles happening on the backs of some fantastic creatures in SotC.

These games are not heavy on text (though there is some dialogue, plus a bit of backstory in the instruction manual for Ico). While I love story-rich games (especially when the dialogue is well-executed and, if there're vocals, well-acted), I think the two I've mentioned are better entry-level games than many (although the point-and-click adventure games by LucasArts from the `90s are extremely user-friendly). They both have beautiful, satisfying endings as well.

The third game by these Sony creators is currently slated to come out in the fourth quarter of this year and will likely take place within the same game world. See the debut trailer here and there are a couple more recent ones of different length out there, with different footage & score music.

[ edited by Kris on 2011-02-16 23:05 ]

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