There’s Plenty of Dragons to Be Slain

Today, I’m going to take a stab at finishing off Dragon Age. I got really close to the end, but then I was distracted by writing and other projects, and decided to get back to it when it came up in a conversation with my buddy, Barry Green, who now dwells in Nebraska, curse him! At any rate, Dragon Age can teach us a lot about execution. Bioware has solid chops when it comes to execution. If one examines its disparate pieces, you can see a lot of familiar elements in this fantasy fare–there are demons, there is a quasi-Western medieval society, there are elves and dwarves, there are magics. At a quick glance, it might be easy to dismiss this as Lord of the Rings-style fare (which didn’t use to be  a bad thing, but is it just me, or did it loose a little of that geek shine when it went mainstream? Burger King mugs? Really?) , but remember when I said Bioware is handy with their execution? They are. They took their time and they fiddled with each and every facet of the story experience, just a little bit. It reminds me of a sneaky first mate adjusting the coordinates a quarter of a degree each day, and at the end of our journey we wind up in Barbados instead of Bimini–it’s close to what we expected on the outset, but not quite, and the whole thing makes intrinsic logic. The effort put into the characters and story are top notch, and every designer can learn a lot from the various permutations arising from the logic branch chains of your choices along the way. Even towards the end, knowing what to expect along these lines, I’m still mightily impressed with the finesse they put into their work.

In other news, I was surprised that Pathfinder has tied Dungeons & Dragons in popularity. There is evidently a shift in the wind, and who knows what strangeness shall manifest this upcoming year?

As for me, I shall return to my writing, confident the conclusion of Dragon Age is in my grasp later on this evening, so with pen in hand (figuratively speaking), I bid you, dear reader (and gamer), adieu!

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