Diablo 3’s Release Gives Hope That One Dungeon Replaces Another

I play a multitude of games that focus on dungeon crawling. From Skyrim, with its plethora of dungeons scattered across its massive landscape, to the Legend of Grimrock, with one dungeon stacked on top of the other, I live to explore and pillage damp caverns of stone and rock. The great thing about dungeon crawlers there’s always the option to quit, there’s always an exit. For the last eight months though, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a dungeon with no option to quit and no exit.

Beautiful, but I want out.

I’ve been unemployed for the last eight months. My old company could no longer afford to pay me due to the decline of print, and the recession that is quickening its death. For the last eight months I’ve been crawling the same unemployment dungeon. In Skyrim, dungeons are littered with traps, monsters and magical rewards. The unemployment dungeon is littered with poor and few good job opportunites, a multitude of other (qualified) candidates and supposedly an exit… a job.

No exit, just stairs to another dungeon.

In the unemployment dungeon I have yet to find that exit. I’ve been close, a lot. With 15 plus first round and around five second round interviews under my adventure’s belt, I’ve seen the light that signifies my escape. Three times now I’ve been, what I like to call, a semifinalist for a position. I’ve been the companion that is left behind as the hero narrowly rolls under the falling wall. Now I feel a little remorse for all those hired hands that died during my adventures in Skyrim and Diablo 2.

You didn’t know Aliza but you did know she would die.

On the horizon is the release of one of my all time favorite dungeon crawlers. A dungeon crawler I used to go to computer cafes back in the 90s to play with my brother-in-law. A dungeon crawler that caused me to drag my step-dad and mom into the home office, to show them the in-game cinematics. A game I’ve been looking forward to since its second coming in 2000. Until recently. Blizzard’s Diablo series is set to release its third iteration (Diablo 3) on May 15th, 2012 and after my most recent near escape from my career dungeon, I was looking forward to it.

After receiving another letter in the mail this past weekend, informing me that my time in my personal employment crypt is not yet over, my anticipation for a virtual crypt took a hit. Diablo 3 lost some of its luster and importance to me as I read the HR letter filled with fluff. I’ve had this disease before but found the cure. This time around it’s different. My cofers are thinning and I’ve used all the potions available to me. As I write though my excitement for a game 12 years overdue rises, just like the games protagonist and namesake. My determination to leave my real world dungeon and enter a virtual one, is reastablished.

Lets hope the exit is just ahead.

Lipstick On The Collar: Cheating Can Spice Up Your PC Gaming

I cheat. I cheat regularly. After running a game through its paces I usually look for a particular mod that frees up my in game options, and garners me a bit of an advantage. A mod is not exactly the most accurate term, more or less it’s a cheat that I am looking for. Before you raise your Cardinal crest in protest, please know I only use cheats in single player games or in single player modes-I do not cheat in multiplayer games. The cheats/editors I am after are ones that turn a very challenging game into a more casual version, or add a bit more life to a game that’s lost some of its luster. Much like how a mod adds new life to a game, whose mechanics seem tired, cheating is essentially its ugly stepsister.

The little engine that could.

After 200+ hours of roaming the mountains and streams of Skyrim I wanted to ease my burden, of carrying a burden. Using the console cheats (left behind by the developer) I changed my carrying capacity to match that of the Hulk, and increased my personal treasury to a level that would rival Tony Stark’s. In a matter of seconds I gave my character the gold and towing capacity that would of taken hours to obtain, if ever. I didn’t break the game but manipulated it into a form that renewed my interest in playing it regularly again.

Plenty of gold and a high enough carry weight to haul it.

Shogun 2 is a challenging game. It requires strategy and foresight to even attempt to overthrow the current Shogunate, and dam near perfect tactics to hold onto the title yourself. After tediously and slowly carving out a Chosokabe Shogunate, during my second attempt at conquering feudal Japan, I felt drained, but accomplished. It took hours of planning and hours of investing in my provinces to finally be able to raise an army worthy of challenging the Shogunate. It took hours of frantic troop movements and a handful of lost provinces, to repel the Shogunate army and his allies. It took every spare koku and troop, peasant or samurai, to hold Kyoto. It also helped that I could load up my prior turn if a decision to attack a castle or fleet worked against me.

Shogun 2 is, in its original form, not a casual game, but use a hex editor to boost your koku count and it can be. After my strenuous slog to Shogunate I was ready to keep Shogun 2 off my recently played list, but after doing some internet digging I found its saving grace. A hex editor allows you to manipulate fundamental binary data, in this case Shogun 2’s koku count. This simple to use editor turned a game I wouldn’t of touched in months into a game I couldn’t wait to launch again. It turned a fiercely difficult strategy game into a casual, samurai slaughtering, jaunt across feudal Japan. Cheating brought new life to a couple of old girls, and no one broke up with me because of it.

Yeah my treasury is overflowing but look at that profit margin.

Legend Of Grimrock: A Bit Of D&D, Without All The Work.

I’ve never been more excited to find a loin clothe or a pair of sandals in a game before. When I found a cloak for my rogue styled lizard man, Lando Calizardian, I actually yelled out, “Holy sh*t, a cloak!”. That is the kind of atmosphere Legend of Grimrock creates; items are not littered throughout its narrow dungeon hallways like they are in Skyrim, dead monsters don’t regularly drop magical items as they do in Diablo 3. In Legend of Grimlock, scarcity is in abundance, as is tension.

What's around the corner or down the next flight of steps? Legend of Grimrock keeps you scared and guessing.

Legend of Grimrock pays homage to the grid based movement games of the DOS era, and it does it very well. Almost Human Ltd., who run their offices out of the bottom floor of an apartment building, are the small Finnish based developers behind Legend of Grimrock. Almost Human have perfectly captured the fun of games like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master, and sprinkled in the perfect amount of modern to make it appeal to today’s gamer.

Save often, not just at save crystal locations, because you will die often.

The grid based movement reminds me of another game that dictates movement via squares, Dungeons & Dragons. Many elements of the book based RPG game can be seen within Legend of Grimrock. The roles the four individuals, positioned in a 2×2 formation, are almost identical to the roles of my party members from past D&D encounters. The two individuals leading the way are boneheads with bats (swords, axes, or maces) who dish out punishment while acting as a shield for the more fragile individuals positioned behind them – they essentially act as tanks do in many MMO games or like warriors in D&D. Behind the meat shields is the aforementioned rogue Lando Calizardian, who is good with a bow and other projectile weapons (but can also be designed to be an effective assassin who is handy with a dagger). The final character type can almost be guessed is you have any experience with D&D. My green bipedal bug mage, Gandolf the Green, has the most potential for damage output, and the most potential to perish.

Gandolf the Green is my mage and potion master.

With these four individuals (preset or completely customizable), who are pardon of their crimes once they are dropped off at the top of Mount Grimrock, you must make your way through a maze of monsters and traps on your way to freedom. If you are in need of a dungeon crawler cure then Legend of Grimrock is the perfect potion, just watch your step.

Trap doors; get used to seeing them, and falling down them.

Skyrim: Books And Wolf-Copters.


After hearing, “You know, if you have the aptitude, you should join the Mage’s Guild in Winterhold.” about 100+ times during my first play-through/character of Skyrim, I finally did so. My second character, Kegels Grip, made the journey to the Mage’s College as an aspiring young destruction mage, with delusions of grandeur and plenty of aptitude. Upon his arrival to Winterhold, the importance of books became abundantly clear. In the world of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, books are almost as important as gold.

In Skyrim, books are a source of lore that dates back to previous Elder Scroll games and provide a historical perspective of key individuals, guilds and locations. They also have the potential to provide details to a location that could contain untold riches and most importantly, the ability to increase your talent in one of the 18 skills that are tied to leveling up. Books are a pretty big deal, they are also fairly well written and interesting. Those familiar with the series will enjoy a bit of nostalgia while browsing the, at most, 10 page books. Books in Skyrim can also provide you with clues on how to unlock a tomb and provide the player with a bit more immersion to his virtual surroundings.

No other guild puts as much focus and care to their books like the Mage’s Guild. It was during the Mage’s Guild main quest line that I was introduced to new areas (Fellglow Keep) and encounters. Even after 160+ hours with Randy Stardust, my first Skyrim character, I was still being awed by the vastness of Skyrim through Kegels Grip’s eyes. What better reason to be tasked with a quest in Skyrim, a world of dragons and literature, then by the Mage Guild’s librarian and his need to have some books “returned”.

Fellglow Keep, not much to look at from the outside.

Fellglow Keep was a fortress that I had never visited, despite its close proximity to Whiterun and other key locations in Skyrim. Fellglow Keep’s exterior is by no means as architecturally amazing as many of Skyrim’s other fortresses and ancient tombs, but its contents were. There were obviously wolfs lurking within the keep’s rooms for howling could be heard bouncing off the stone walls.Also within this fortress were a magnitude of rooms, jail cells and villains. Who would be interested in books from the Mage’s College? Mages of course! Fellglow was like an alternative school for mages. It housed conjurers, raising skeletal dead, and each kind of elemental mage you can think of. Interspersed within the alternative learning center that is Fellglow Keep, were imprisoned vampires used for experimentation and most entertainingly, target practice. One thing Skyrim gets right, that everyone can agree with, is how it properly mistreats the Twilight kind improperly. In Skyrim, everyone hates vampires.

How all those who "sparkle" are treated in Skyrim.

So after killing mages in vast numbers and freeing, then killing vampires, I ran into a memorable occurrence. After 170 hours of playing through Skyrim I still have moments that cause me to laugh out loud and Fellglow Keep was not a disappointment. Upon entering a dungeon, with levers controlling the jail cell doors setting dead center, I caught a mage off guard and unleashed a unrelenting spurt of electricity his way. As he fell just short of the levers I realized his intentions. The howling I heard for the last five minutes were originating behind the cell doors the unfortunate mage was attempting to open. Behind those bars were two wolves, who would of gladly ran distraction as their master shredded me with magic.

With the opportunity to toy with my would be killers, I placed a lightning rune in front of their cell door, prepped my most powerful fire spell and then, “Open sesame.” Almost at the exact moment that the first wolf tripped the lightning rune I unleashed my dual wielded fireball, hilarity ensued. The lightning rune lifted both the wolves off their feet and my fireball  propelled them even further, causing them both to spin like howling helicopters, right at me. I had the best seat in the house and just as the flaming wolves careened towards Kegels’ face the flame killed them and they slid across the floor, still rotating.

The wolf-copters alone made the journey worth it but after defeating a conjuration mage in a hard fought magic battle, were I cheated by ending it with a sword (that’s the punishment for overdue books), I was rewarded back at the mage college with… more books. These books however, all increased magic skills after reading them. In Skyrim, books are a pretty big deal and it pays to be well read.

Mountains Of Change: Skyrim’s Ability To Vary.

For over 153 hours my Wood Elf, Randy Stardust, picked locks, sneaked and killed from afar in the world of Skyrim. Randy took the reins of both the Thieves’ and Assassins’ guild, conquered Alduin (the main foe of the main quest line) and crushed the Stormcloak rebellion as an Imperial Legate. In short, Randy was a bad ass. There was no foe, nor group of foes, in the world of Skyrim that could best him. Randy saw the blood of his enemies and sadly, many of his friends run underneath his Dragonskin boots. His heart had grown cold and dead due to the amount of death that followed in his Dragonborn wake. He had quietly been searching for an end and this week, he embraced his death.

Randy was not defeated by any virtual foe. No dragon can clam fame from his demise. Randy just simply lived too long, in my mind. I had grown tired of Randy and his exploits. I had grown tired of killing my foes with an arrow from the shadows. I was tired of serving the Imperials that had almost signed Randy’s death warrant just as he was born onto the Skyrim landscape. No, Randy met his demise because gaming is one of the best deterrents to monotony. Randy died so another could live, and overwrite his saved game files. Born is Kegels Grip.

One of the last pictures of Randy Stardust.

Kegels Grip is almost the antithesis to Randy Stardust. An Imperial with a hatred for his own kind (they were going to hang him for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time) and a thirst for magic – Kegels desires power and an Imperial to use it against. Preferring to stand out in the open rather than skulk in the shadows, Kegels would rather dual wield spells while encased in armor than pepper targets from afar. Kegels is a battlemage and one of the best examples of the amount of variation today’s games can bring to today’s gamer.

A very green Kegels Grip.

Kegels Grip not only represents my inclination towards humorous word play but my appreciation for the level of variance one can pull from well designed games. Entirely new quest lines are at my fingertips because of the path I have chosen for Kegels. Past enemies are now friends and friends are now enemies. New adventures present Kegels and myself with new rewards. Within the first hour of Kegels life new locations, within Skyrim, were highlighted to visit – even after spending 153 hours exploring the world as Randy Stardust, may he rest in peace.

Part Emperor Palpatine, part Dragon, all Kegels Grip.

The ability to reinvent yourself is not unique to PC gaming but the ability to do it so quickly, is. It may be the end of Randy Stardust but in his death, appreciation for creation and change would not be as evident. In many ways Randy’s death helped enable the creation of Kegels avatar. Randy provided a standard to completely run away from so even in his death, parts of him live on in Kegels Grip. Gaming is a platform of constant change that one embraces rather fears. The ability to change with excitement in a virtual world makes it easier to accept change in the real world and embrace it as well. Here’s to change, both virtual and reality based.

Our New Imaginary is Our Virtual Reality

As a method for me to get to sleep as a child I would imagine myself in a imaginary world. I would picture myself alongside fellow G.I. Joe, Snake Eyes. I would imagine myself as a Dark Jedi decked out in my own outfit that I would meticulously design in my head. That’s what I really spent most of my time doing, imagining what I would personally look like in these fantasy worlds. What would my shoes look like? What color would my Jedi hood and cloak be? Would my cloak fit loosely on my body and cover the majority of my face or would it fit snugly around both my head and torso? I spent the majority of my time on designing my outfit within my head rather than living out my fantasy actions. I would picture what a perfect battle helmet would look like, what best armor would go well with it and… sleep.

Thankfully today's games have much better character creation abilities than I do.

Now, I can design these characters in a virtual sense, live out the fantasies via video games and stay awake during it all. In Skyrim’s character creation section hundreds of thousands of combinations are possible and that’s a  very low estimate considering the multiple race options. You can tweek eye color, shape and positioning. You can design a perfect nose or, because mine is a little crooked thanks to my full face commitment to sports, something similar to Owen Wilson’s. The customization of character creation in Skyrim and many others games are nearly endless. You can create someone in your own image, as I usually do, or role play an entirely different gender. As a child creating myself as a hero was done within my head and also, through disproportioned sh*tty drawings that my sister made fun of. Not only can we create a character to our exact specifications but we can then take that character and live out a virtual existence with them.

Unique noses add character.

I don’t see this as taking away from our imagination but instead improving it and letting it flourish. Creativity spurs creativity and video games encompass a multitude of creative elements. Games are practices in writing through the copious amounts of dialogue and acting (see Star Wars: The Old Republic’s recent Guinness Record). The design elements for a game’s play, creatures, characters and cities take the skills of architects, interior designers and city planners. So much creativity goes in to a game it is almost mind blowing. What is even more impressive to fathom is the creativity that results from these well made games of epic proportion. Novels based of the lore of a game are numerous. Magazine and books focused on gaming. This blog ;). Games that are an undeniable benefit to society, like FoldIt and how it helped solve protein structures.

Games have stimulated my creativity and increased my hands on experience with social media, public relations and networking – all things I can apply towards benefiting me in an eye of a potential employer. Still continuing to struggle with sleep during my ongoing job hunt I have resorted back to a childhood method, with the same amount of success but with much more material.

Pressure Cooker: Gaming ingredients for better games and life.

Luke, flying in the Death Star trench, has to make an impossible shot to destroy the first Death Star. John McClane, with a gun taped to his back, has to drop Hans Gruber and another henchmen, all while his movie wife is positioned between them. Pressure situations in movies have been around since movies started and it helped make them a medium in demand. Video games have been creating tense moments, like the ones mentioned above, for a while now and gamers are taking notice and wanting more.

We may try to avoid this tense situations in life but with games, we search them out. Nothing immerses you into a game more than drama, especially drama connected to life or death. Games are creating stories on par with movies but at a much more immersive level, since you are the actor and you are playing out the script.

In Skyrim, I am a sneaky archer where each shot counts (because my frail elf body can’t stand up to a full frontal assault), so each encounter is a moment of truth, of life and death. With the added game unlock mechanic that lets archers slow time while zoomed in, the level of drama is increased and drawn out.

“Your first arrow hits the nearest target but three other bandits are on the move and closing in. So you slow time, breathe and loose each arrow… that could be your last. Just as the last bandit gets out the final words to his sentence of, “You never should have came here!” you drop him to the floor with an arrow to his head, his momentum carries him, sliding, to your feet.”

Moments like the ones above draw you into the game play and the overall story much more so than movie does. A movie lets you view the action, the life or death scenario, but it doesn’t allow you to “direct” it yourself. A game also provides you with a direct reward to your efforts you’ve put forth. The resulting death of the bandits may reward you with a successful completion of an assassination quest or you may find some valuable loot further inside the bandit hideout… or both.

What are the results of a gamer seeking, overcoming and being directly rewarded by     successfully surviving such a tense encounter? Does a gamer become more able to handle stressful situations in his real life? Is he more disappointed when his efforts go unrewarded in a dramatic experience? Would work, that provides proper rewards to stressful situations, create better workers and better efficiency?

One thing I can say with authority is a game that provides high stakes, immersive, game play that then rewards the gamer with the appropriate amount of reward/success is a good game. It is also a game that will keep the gamer coming back for more. How can this knowledge be transferred to other aspects of our lives and improve it?

If you are interested in the effects of gaming on life and how it can help shape us (and society) for the better, please check out Jane McGonigals’s REALITY IS BROKEN: Why games make us better and how they can change the world.

60 Minutes and Skyrim

I’m in the process of making 7,722 Septim (Skyrim’s form of currency) from one outing to a bandit and Corundum ore filled mine. After sneaking around and providing the hard working miners and their task master bandit bosses with arrow enemas, I returned to the trading hub of the area, Whiterun, to fence my goods. As the coin kept adding up from the sell of my goods, 60 Minutes tells a story of harsh reality in the background.

The story focuses on the Cleveland area housing market tragedy that is still playing out but a quick glance lets you know it could be Anytown, USA.

“I serve about 50 eviction notices a month.” says a sheriff from one Cleveland suburb.

“This is no future. More of the same, more of the same.” states former County Treasurer Jim Rokakis to the 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley in regards to the housing problems facing Cleveland (this part of the interview can be seen here). Standing in front of a metal stripped abandon home, one of the many left behind because the balance owed on the mortgage now far surpasses the worth of the home, the interview hits home.

I get sucked in and then return to the task of selling off my well earned shinies. As I wrap up my cash cow of an adventure I start walking Randy Stardust to his home in Skyrim. Yes, I am a home owner, clear and free. For 5,000 Septim and the dispatching of a dragon (sure it helped make that house a bit more affordable) I was allowed and able to purchase a home in Skyrim’s boom town, Whiterun. I also took over an abandon home in Markath, hopefully not because someone was under on their mortgage and left. I also plan on purchasing at least three more homes in Skyrim’s major cities, all clear and free. I don’t plan on purchasing a home in reality in the foreseeable future. Not for another five years, ten years, and on… Wonder why someone can take so much enjoyment from playing in a virtual world?

Whiterun's Breezehome, my virtual starter home.

The entrance to "my" abandon home I acquired in Markath.

Back on the television, a reporter sets at a table with a group of people who are barely hanging on to their homes, some just waiting on an eviction notice. I step away from the world of Skyrim. I listen to their stories; teachers who recently lost their jobs, sickness coupled with job loss and housing developments that went bust and put the worth of their homes on a continuous downward spiral.

I set there for a bit. I stare at Randy Stardust on my screen as he gets ready to just hit Enter, so he can sleep. I think ahead to when I will be doing the same in a couple of hours, with dread. I think about the job market, my unemployment and my financial independence, all while trying to sleep. I think about my apartment and the coming resigning of my lease. Taxes. The silly idea of one day owning a home. I wish I could just fucking hit Enter and sleep. I wished I owned a home, had a job that could bring in the Septims like Randy Stardust and go to sleep with no multiple hours of tossing and turning. I am envious of my avatar!

I look back at the TV as a women sheds tears at the thought of losing her home. She expresses her concerns about working her entire life so she could own her home and use it to help in her retirement years. She speaks to the reporter with fear and uncertainty. I instantly relate, a couple of tears roll down my face. I look back at Randy standing in front of me as “Well Rested” flashes in the upper left hand corner of the screen. I laugh. “You shit head.” I mutter laughingly at Randy’s Elven face.

I bring up his quests yet to be completed and then think of my own, find a career developing job. I reflect on my phone interview and the follow up in-person interview from that Friday. I smile again at Randy, “You glorious adventuring bastard.” I send him on his way to complete another quest with hopeful rewards. I think about my own quest with the same optimism.

Prank Me Hard: Skyrim’s Traps Are to Die For

Pranking, not to be confused with the lame meme planking, could be considered a science, or at least a skill. In your earlier years you start off with simple skill building hijinks that you play on your younger and more gullible cousins. You take that quarter proudly in your hands and roll in down the middle of your forehead to the tip of your nose. You smile with pride as you complete this monumental task and your cousins stare on in amazement and eagerness to prove they too, can pull off such a feat. You give them their own personal, prior prepared, quarter with pencil graphite generously applied to its edges and watch, with an anticipating and encouraging grin. As your overly trusting family member shows his superior quarter rolling skills you smile with him and then laugh hysterically at your marks “mark”.

That quarter prank is similar to the more common traps you see in the early quests of Skyrim. The bait, the untainted quarter, is a shade floating around a corner and your avatar eagerly following, to get that sneak attack bonus. The switch, comes when your avatar tries to round that same corner but fails to realize that shades are ethereal, but your avatar’s armored boots are not. Your boots clip the taut string strung along the ground, triggering the darts from the wall, bringing attention to your presence. As the shade turns you can almost see the younger, cousin teasing, version of yourself in its lifeless grin. You realize your are the over trusting cousin, with a line running down your face. You are the mark.

As you progress in Skyrim’s main quest line and/or explore more of its open world you start to encounter traps that mimic the pranks from your teens. The first time boulders and stones came crashing down on my avatar, after I walked through a trapped door, I instantly flashed back to my pizzeria pranking heydays. Boulders were replaced with buckets of water and the stones, with cups of flour. Instead of a bloodied Randy Stardust, leader of the Companions, I picture my boss, leader of the pizzeria.

As of this post I will be in the middle of my birthday week. Which, according to my girlfriend, means I will be getting a heavy dose of real world Skyrim traps. Did you know that workout supplements now come with extra steel? In the form of bottle caps? As of this post my girlfriend will also know that I am well trained in the art of pranking. Thanks to growing up devious, and more recently Skyrim, I consider myself a novice prankster – so I can’t wait for her birthday week.

Though the traps in Skyrim are made with the intent to harm, as will the ones to be used during my girlfriends birthday week, each new form of trap elicits laughter and memories from my past. Even when I notice a potential swinging set of spikes and announce “It’s a trap!”, I will save… and trigger the pressure plate anyways. With talk of new expansions to Skyrim already on the press’s and player’s minds, I hope they include the possibility to “fool your cousin”, in game.

The Un-Elder Globes: Skyrim

I have yet to shiver in the rivers that run through the wintry landscape of The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I have not stared down a dragon in the hopes of stilling his soul. I have, however, imagined that all the dragons sound like Sean Connery. I’ve also watched a multitude of trailers and now, game play, and what has caught my attention the most since post release?

Before I go any further and reveal my mannerism, let me put in place a preemptive apology to my girlfriend. Amanda, I am sorry, they mean nothing to me. Even when I do purchase the game and I am immersed within their world and perhaps living with them, even sleeping with them, they are not a real threat. Okay, now that is out of the way…

So what have I noticed constantly in the Skyrim videos post launch? Boobs. Large, perfectly shaped, breasts. Yeah there are dragons and dual wielding of spells and weapons, but boy did they do a job on the pixelated perkies. It seems if a women in the world of Skyrim has a low cut blouse then they must also have a before-its-time push up bra or, at least, a c-sized silicone implant… or both.

As soon as I started to regularly notice the boobzilla inhabitants of Skyrim (and trust me it didn’t take long) I instantly started to make up in world excuses for their existence:

“In the frigid northern lands, that is Skyrim, evolution has adapted to provide women with insulating chest pillows.”

“Among the possible spell paths is, the less traveled, Cosmetic Spell Caster. He/She earns his living by enhancing the beauty of the women of the north, who suffer from the harsh winters, by offering his skills for coin.”

“A side quest quest of Skyrim is to find the source (possibly a dragon), for King Weiner, that provides its women with large attractive breast so he may use it for his own shortcomings in his land of New Yorkia.”

All that was fun, but the real reason that eye cleaving cleavage is so prevalent in Skyrim is because, sex sales. I was sold on this game way before the Breastimous Magnanimous spell was ever cast on me. The game is huge and it leaves plenty to the imagination (No. Not, “I wonder what she looks like under that leather armor.”) or more importantly, exploration. It is a world you will struggle to see in its entirety, even if that is your sole purpose of playing it. The game is its own world, that you will enjoy getting lost in.

I understand the need to immerse players of a game within their surroundings by providing them with ample amounts of visual fruit (see cantaloupes, watermelons etc.) when that said surrounding is a brothel or the lair of an enchantress; I understand this and expect it. On the dual wielding hand, not every women in a hotel, tavern or farmhouse has a set of ‘dragon eyes’ the size of Duke Nukem’s ego.

What makes this more frustrating as a gamer who wants gaming to be taken more seriously; as an industry of intelligence, made up of players of intelligence (See the publication Kill Screen’s mission http://killscreendaily.com/pages/who-we-are.) is The Elder Scrolls series has been embraced by women and men alike. I couldn’t get Amanda off my old PC after I introduced her to The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. Both her and I have been anticipating the release of Skyrim and are now waiting for the right moment to purchase it. How many women gamers have been turned off by the YourTube boob views of Skyrim, passed on the purchase, and went back to playing Farmville?

Then there’s how video game news is covered. The industry must distance itself from the large breasted women trying to convince us they are actually informed about video games. What female viewer who is questioning taking up the hobby would decide that she wants to partake in an industry that covers news in such  way? Please stop insulting me by presenting your silicone talking head as an expert in the field of video game journalism. Yes, there are exceptions, where the woman is informed but they normally don’t rise to the top because of the following:

Yes, video gaming is dominated by us penis pushers and so are the themes of video games but think how much of a bigger audience a game would have it is just toned down the titties? I am in no way saying cut out the sexy that makes up 85% of females portrayed in video games but perhaps cut that down to 65-60%. In the process of cutting back on the racks, input some female characters that are more than just visually pleasing. Put some in there that are mud crab ugly. Put some in there that are attractive and intelligent. Put some in there that are as common looking as Jane Eyre and when the storyline matches, do put some in there with spell enhanced “attributes”. To their credit, Bethesda does this to some extent in Skyrim.

In a gaming economy that relies on having a large base of potential gamers wouldn’t it behoove a developer to not ostracise a potential segment? Lets take away the capitalist argument above. Shouldn’t creating games that could have mass appeal to multiple genders be done because it is the right thing to do? Because those who are playing the games are not just boner controlled morons, but evolved men and women who appreciate a fun fantasy game that doesn’t make them out to be walking hardons?