A little bit of time on my hands is a dangerous thing (and a rare thing for a junior faculty member and struggling academic), and instead of spending said time on a Star Trek: Voyager binge, I decided that I would do something that would be both entertaining and useful for my work: play a game. I think it is quite common for graduate students, academics, scholars, even artists to be so busy trying to get work done that even work that counts as play seems out of reach. Some days I have time but not enough mental energy. Some days I have desire to play but no time. And so it goes. But now that my previous work on games is finally making it out into the world, I actually need to turn to my next projects, to new work, to different texts.
So, after many conversations about various games, particularly BioWare’s oeuvre, I have broken the drought and bought Dragon Age: Origins. I made the mistake of downloading the game at night, before bedtime, and ended up playing till well past midnight. I made a male, human mage named Iain. I am definitely intrigued by the game world and the story so far. Though, I am already butting heads with the game’s narrative choices and morality engine. Sometimes the answers to questions or prompts for further information are clearly affectively- or morally-inflected, and sometimes they are not. Since you cannot “take back” an answer or choice, it makes for an uneven (if not interesting) experience. As my character as imagined by me takes shape–of course shaped by the constraints of the game–it will be interesting how I or the game resolves (if that is even possible) unanticipated or misaligned personal, emotional, political, or narrative choices.
As I work through the game, I hope to keep a plog (play log) of my experience. I intend the plogs to be more epigrammatic rather than full blown analyses (that will come later). I just want to sketch ideas, reactions, questions, observations, and provocations about playing the game, which hopefully will generate some longer writing and new directions for my work. Here goes nothing.