A Shout Out to NPCs

We’ve all got our favourite video game characters. It’s very easy for me to go off on a tangent about my personal favourites, as I have many a time on my blog, you can’t read more than two posts in a row without seeing something about Link or Kratos. While lamenting the fact that I’ve probably exhausted all I can say about my favourites for now I had a particularly inspirational moment where I started thinking about NPCs: The Non Playable Characters that make up the world you’re in. Some can be good, some can be bad, some you can get weirdly emotionally attached to, they all have their place and without them the game would be very boring.
I started off writing a “Top 10 NPCs list” but to be honest with you it was all characters from the same old games I play: Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Dragon Age… Just different characters. I always talk about the same games, which isn’t a bad thing really as they’re all good, I just need to get a bit more variety going on, that and you’re all probably like “oh, Stardew Valley, wasn’t expecting that, it’s only been a week since she mentioned it”. Very aware of this, I reached out to a couple of my geeky friends (and my gamer dad) to get some of their input on theor most memorable NPCs. I thought I’d only get a couple of suggestions… My phone would not stop beeping all evening, it appeared I had touched on something they found pretty interesting. As a result I now have a diverse list with some games that I’ve not even played on it! I haven’t even ranked them because I haven’t played some of these games so I can’t really say, also I didn’t want to deal with texts from friends that helped me out with the post saying stuff like “what do you mean you ranked Shadowmere after Busty Barmaid???” so to avoid this, not only are the in alphabetical order but but I have put them in two categories: Main Characters and Background Characters. I mean, I can’t put Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII on the same list as Noober from Baldur’s Gate, even if they are both NPCs. I’ve also put who chose them in brackets.

Also, as everyone kept saying Portal and Undertale I’ve eliminated them as options because it’s wasn’t really fair to the other games.

We’ll start with the big kahunas, the Main Characters.
These are all the NPCs that have impacted the story of the game in a major way.

Alyx Vance – Half Life 2 (Gary)

“In 2004 you just didn’t have facial animations as good as hers, but she was also an audience surrogate as your character is mute so she basically talks for you and you manage to build a relationship with her even though you don’t say a word and you end up genuinely caring about her.”


Aribeth de Tylmerande – Neverwinter Nights (Me)

She may not be particularly sassy or have any memorable lines but when I was growing up Aribeth was one of my feminist icons. Seeing a woman in a leadership position in this absolutely massive game was wonderful and I was fully invested in her story. If you need more convincing just look at that armour she’s wearing, verging on impractical maybe but so fierce. Absolute Queen.


Claptrap – Borderlands 2 (Everyone)

Claptrap was a huge breath of fresh air, as was the whole Borderlands series really but everyone agreed that we are focusing on Borderlands 2 specifically. Claptrap clumsily guides you through the game sounding like he’s having a great time when he’s actually being incredibly sarcastic and kinda depressed. That’s all part of his charm though! If you knew him IRL you’d probably find him extremely annoying, as many of the game’s other NPCs do, but he really does come out with some gold:

“Well done, minion! Your ability to walk short distances will be Handsome Jack’s downfall!”

“You may wonder why I don’t just take a replacement eye from one of these broken Claptraps. Two reasons: firstly, because me and my eye have been through a lot. Secondly, because shut up.”


Hermes – God of War 3 (Dad) SPOILERS

“He is just so incredibly annoying, and finally catching him and giving him an agonising death is just so satisfying. The dark humour is great when he’s going off on a tangent about honour and betrayal but Kratos is eyeing up his boots and then you get to chop his legs off and steal them.”

Midna – Twilight Princess (Me) SPOILERS

I truly believe that Midna is by far the best Legend of Zelda companion. She is funny, she’s not annoying, she has the best storyline and character arc out of all the companions by far and she just looks amazing, in both of her forms. This is a princess that gets her hands dirty, she goes through so much trying to fight for her people, and the people of Hyrule too and when she gets mad she tries to take on Ganon herself in one of the most badass transformations ever. When she was revealed to be the princess at the end I was really shocked at the twist and so happy that she was still her cheeky self (*cough* Tetra).


Moira – Fallout 3 (Ben and Gary)

Slightly different opinions here, very differently expressed.

Ben: “Moira is an inventor, philanthropist and all around crazy girl. She has one of the most memorable quest lines in any game I’ve played, sending you to all corners of the wasteland to experience its delights, including but not limited to crossing minefields, exposing yourself to some serious radiation and exploding mole rat heads (delightfully messy), all to complete her survival guide. She has a unique charm in an otherwise pretty desolate world, and an air of positivity everyone else seems to lack. Plus mini nuke.”

Gary: “She’s a pain in the arse. The worst part about restarting Fallout 3 is her. She offers an interesting quest line but her voice is so grating. I tried to blow her up with a nuke and she was the only person in town that survived.”

Fo3 Moira
Unique charm or pain in the arse?

Mr X – Resident Evil (Gary)

“He’s a big hulking, stalking bastard who never stops following you and is completely invincible. He follows you throughout the whole police station. You love to hate him because everyone’s obsessed with him but he’s such an arsehole. He can’t touch you on certain levels but he tracks you in real time, for example if you’re on the other side of the station to him and you make too much noise he’ll hear you and track your approximate location. It was absoloutely genius the way it was all designed, I love it. He absoloutely makes the game and sets a new standard for horror in games.

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Navi – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Ben and Gary)

Another Ben and Gary one, I really should get them together at some point so that they can talk about their favourite games together.

Ben: “Possessing an expansive vocabulary (her words won’t leave my mind), Navi guides Link through his adventures in Hyrule with a series of helpful clues and tips; it’s almost certain the hero would have defeated Ganon in half the time if he’d only paused to listen. Watch our for her 10 hour loop on YouTube.”

Gary: “She’s a pain but she guided millions of players into 3D gameplay.”


Sephiroth – Final Fantasy VII (Mike)

“He’s the greatest villain ever because you sympathise with him and his motivations. He was experimented on when he was a child and made into a soldier, so you feel for him and can understand his descent into madness. I think he was the first villain I really sympathized with and it made me understand that evil is man-made. Plus he’s badass.”


Background Characters

Busty Barmaid – Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. (Wish I could say this was one of my friends choices but it was my Dad)

Her name is Alyth Eleandra, but that really wasn’t the memorable part.

“They were just ridiculous, they defied physics and moved independantly. Whoever made her obviously had a great time, they held back in the second game though.”

Baldur's gate barmaid

Lydia – Skyrim (Dad and I)

There was no way this post was happening without Lydia. She’s one of the first NPCs I thought of and when I asked my dad for his favourite or most memorable NPC Lydia was one of the first that came to mind for him as well. She complains, she’s not much in the way of conversation, she has a knack for setting off traps and getting lost, her most likely cause of death is standing in front of you when you are attacking someone else… But we love her anyway. The world of Skyrim is just a little duller without that moment where you turn around and say, “where the hell is Lydia?” and have to retrace your steps only to find her glitching into a door in a tomb you raided about 2 hours ago.

Skyrim Lydia

Letting go of Lydia is one of the hardest things in a Skyrim player’s journey as this video from TobyGames shows (about 50 seconds in):

Noober – Baldur’s Gate (Me)

You don’t know annoying until you meet this guy. He will automatically open up dialogue with you as you pass through Nashkel and say trivial stuff like “ugh, I think I stepped in something” you’ll walk 2 steps and another box opens “What time is it?” So. Annoying. You can just turn around and kill him, which is extremely satisfying, but if you tolerate him for the whole 32 interruptions you get a nice 400 XP. Noober is definitely not an NPC that anyone is particularly fond of, but he is very memorable.

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Shadowmere – Skyrim (Mike)

“Shadowmere is the greatest companion ever. He’s immortal, he can beat up Dragons, the best part is you can ‘kill’ him (knock him out) and use him as extra storage. Also, he’s cute as.”


“Look at all the arrows that are in him and he’s still trucking on.”

Shadowmere arrows

That’s the end of my list for now, who are your most memorable NPCs? Were they annoying, funny, or just super cute? Do you agree or disagree with any on our list? Let me know in the comments, it’s been really interesting to see what everyone thought of and I’d love to hear more!

A Favourite Game for Each Year I’ve Been Alive

Having had a bit of a lull in gaming this month I decided to answer The Well-Red Mage’s question to the community: Can you name your favourite game for every year you’ve been alive?

Even though this was a really nice and easy post to do I ended up finding it really interesting, I never realised how clearly you can see my gaming phases via genres and consoles throughout my life until it was all written out. First of all, the first few years I’m kind of clutching at straws as I never played any of them but I recognise them as influencing games that I played later in life, then there’s the kiddy bit with Pokémon, Disney and Looney Tunes then we get to the GameCube and PC phase where I get a little more adventurous (I always thought of myself as more of a PC gamer back in my youth but looking at my list I realised that I actually played a larger variety of games on the GameCube and the Wii than I did on PC, but I probably spent more time on the PC), then there’s the Playstation phase, which I am still in, where suddenly there’s a lot more violence thrown into the mix.

I found that choosing games from the years 1993 – 1997 were really hard, probably because I don’t have a nostalgic link to any of the games that came out in those days, the only exception being Doom because my dad played that for years and the memory of that is burned into my mind. I have played every game listed after 1997 though. Another strange revelation was that 2002 appeared to be the year where some of my most nostalgic and favourite games ever came out and I never realised that before.

1993 – Doom.

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1994 – Super Metroid.

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1995 – Worms.

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They look kind of creepy…

1996 – Pokémon Red/Green.

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1997 – Final Fantasy 7.

Never played it but so many people love it (including my other half) so it’s worth a mention.

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1998 – Pokémon Yellow

OK, now we’re getting somewhere… This is a bit of a cheat because Pokémon Yellow didn’t come out in Europe until 2000 (according to Google) so I didn’t play it in 1998, it is still probably one of my oldest (if not first) game though and I still have it with its’ matching Gameboy Colour and both of them still work!

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Honorable Mention: Baldur’s Gate.

1999 – Planescape Torment.


2000 – Donald Duck: Quack Attack

(or Goin’ Quackers, the name seems to change for some reason).

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2001 – Sheep Dog ‘n’ Wolf.

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2002 – This is the year that I properly fell in love with games. I couldn’t pick just one so I’ll list them all quickly… Neverwinter Nights, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Age of Mythology, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, The Urbz: Sims in the City (don’t judge me, it seemed cool at the time and I loved it), Duke Nukem: Manhatten Project (I didn’t play this, this was my dad’s game that I used to watch and the catchphrase “Makin’ Bacon” is burned into my brain”).

2003 – The Simpson’s Hit and Run.

Best. Game. EVER.

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2004 – The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

First LoZ game I ever finished.

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2005 – God of War.

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2006 – Neverwinter Nights 2.


Honourable Mention: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

2007 – Super Mario Galaxy.

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2008 – Mario Kart Wii.

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2009 – Borderlands.

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2010 – God of War 3.

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2011 – Skyrim

How could I say anything other than Skyrim?

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2012 – Far Cry 3.

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2013 – Dead Island: Riptide.

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2014 – Dragon Age: Inquisition.


2015 – Life is Strange

Ssh! Can you hear that? That’s the sound of my other half slowly dying inside because I didn’t say Bloodborne.


2016 – Overwatch.


2017 – Dream Daddy

To my horror I realised this is possibly the only game from 2017 that I have played so far, what a game though.

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Do you agree/disagree with any of my choices? Is there a particular year where lots of games that you love came out? Are you shocked and appalled at some of the dates here? I’m always horrified when I remember that Twilight Princess came out in 2006 and that the last proper God of War (Ascension doesn’t count…) was out in 2010, God of War 4 coming out in April though… SO EXCITED!!!

RPGs, D&D, and MMOs: Brought to You by an Old Favourite…

After many years of not playing PC games I finally downloaded Torment after many recommendations, I feel like I should love it and I kind of do but I just can’t get into it. Maybe making it my re-introduction to RPG PC gaming wasn’t the best move, after my many years of PS4 gaming I found it quite difficult to figure out and I keep getting stuck in places that have embarrassingly obvious means of leaving. Right now I’m in The Dead Nations and I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. No one will say anything useful to me, I can’t leave, I’ve done everything I thought I needed to do to get an audience with the Silent King but no, still nothing. I’m too proud to look up the solution yet, I feel like as a seasoned RPG player I should be able to figure this out but it looks like The Nameless One is going to die down there… (Is that what I need to do? Die and then wake up somewhere outside of the Nations? I feel a bit like I’m clutching at straws with that theory…)

I should have re-introduced myself to RPG PC games with something a bit more familiar, something that despite years of playing it I still have many things that I never discovered or as it’s been such a long time since I played I can’t quite remember everything about it… If only there was such a game…

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BAM! GUESS WHAT! THERE IS! Long time Dragon’s Tea Party readers (and early 00’s RPG players) may know that logo and they may inwardly groan somewhat as they realise what this means. NEVERWINTER NIGHTS RETURNS, BITCHES!!! For the record, this is entirely the fault of someone that commented on a post I did a while ago telling me I could buy NWN on GOG, so you can all blame him/her for rekindling my obsession and probably the many related posts to follow (I tried to find the comment but it must have been a while ago now because I can’t find it, if that was  you then thank you). Not only did I buy the first game but I got its’ 3 expansion packs too (Shadows of Undrentide, Hordes of the Underdark, and Kingmaker) all for a measly £7.99. I never finished the expansions for the first one so I am very excited.

I didn’t actually buy this just because I was struggling with Torment, I also started up a Dungeons and Dragons game (working our way through the Mines of Phandelver campaign) with some friends recently and while I have been playing for a while on and off now with the same group of people none of us are entirely sure we’re playing right, I guess D&D is a lot easier if you know someone that already knows how to play to get you into it. It’s pretty surprising how little explanation there is for D&D online, my instruction manual is not 100% clear on some points and my friend that wanted to be a wizard was bombarding me with questions about her spells (as I’m the Dungeon Master and the buyer of the 5th edition starter pack I am the most responsible for knowing this sort of thing, this means I spend a lot of time flicking through my manual and Googling stuff) to which all my answers were “I think you do this thing… Maybe… Wait no… Fuck it, just do it this way, that seems right”. NWN is set in the same world as D&D (the official one anyway) and uses the same rules, so for example on screen you’ll see loads of text scrolling with things like ‘Wolf attacks Tomi (5 + 3) = 8 does 8 damage’ so the 5 is a dice roll and the 3 is a strength bonus (or something) to the attack and later when you get more advanced stuff more things can be applied to these rolls. Back in the day when I used to play NWN, having never played D&D I never really understood what that all meant and I was also really nonstrategic in picking my feats and skills because I just thought “whoa, that thing sounds awesome, let’s do that one” but now, reading through everything it all makes so much more sense. I’m hoping that as I play through it I’ll be able to better understand how things work in D&D, although it’s not exactly the same of course but for basic things like attacking, spell casting, attacks of opportunities, etc it’s a pretty good base. Another thing I’m really loving is that the map that came in my starter set is the same map used in the Neverwinter Nights game in the intro video, it’s set in exactly the same universe and I’m loving picking out all the little bits that I recognise from the video game.

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Weirdly, about a week after I downloaded my nostalgia infused NWN, I got a text from one of my D&D friends (the same one who was asking me about wizard spells) who is also very into Dragon Age and the like asking me if I had tried the Neverwinter MMO. Immediately I got flashbacks to the time I did try it, I had my headset on and – forgetting I had the microphone attached – started cursing and ranting to myself because I didn’t know what I was doing. This went on for a loooooong time until I then saw a message appear on screen from another player saying “we can hear you” turns out I was connected to the area chat thing… Oops. I turned it off immediately and never touched it again in an attempt to bury my shame. Anyway, my friend said she would give it a go and then that night I got in from work and my other half was playing Neverwinter on the PS4 (despite me nagging him almost since we met to try the original game he still goes and tries the ‘new, shiny’ one rather than take my advice… Don’t know why I bother). I assumed they had both been talking and decided to try it but no they both just randomly decided to try it on the same day. So my bestie and my boyfriend are playing it… How could I not attempt it again? I picked back up where I left off with my character (the dramatically named Fade, a trickster rogue) and was surprised by how quickly I got back into it. Unfortunately there’s always just a little something that puts me off about MMOs and that’s the money, money, money element of the game (iplayedthegame recently wrote a post about this). Oh you’ve run out of inventory space? That’s OK! You can buy a new bag for £5! You’ve collected 84 Merchant Prince Lockboxes but can’t open any of them? That’s fine! Just buy the keys! I guess Neverwinter is free to play though so that’s how they make their money… Would still rather just buy the game though than have all the little bits add up. I am enjoying it though, not sure how long I’ll stick with it but my other half is pretty addicted. Again, despite me telling him for ages to try out any Neverwinter games because they have great storylines, he enjoys D&D, the characters are great, there’s no reason he shouldn’t like them, etc, etc he still seems surprised by the good quest lines in the game and the story so far (I had to hold back an ‘I told you so’ but it was very difficult so I just settled for an eye roll).

Fade the badass in all her glory
Check out my sweet ride

So there we go, the tale of how Neverwinter burst back into my life quite suddenly. Are there any games from your youth that you have an urge to take up again? Are you a Neverwinter MMO player? Does anyone know what I’m supposed to do in Torment?


The Dragon’s Return to PC Gaming


Back in my youth I used to be a PC Gamer. It was my main way of playing games, I’d spend hours and hours (I don’t want to know how many) playing games like Neverwinter Nights, The Sims, Dragon Age, Age of Mythology… I loved it. I got into consoles in my mid-teens when my dad brought home his PS2 but even then, it was never my main console until I moved out of my parents’ house and started University. I could have bought a gaming PC or laptop for my time at University but they are SO expensive and I was a poor student living almost solely on baked beans (mainly so that I could spend the money on alcohol instead, no regrets!) Now though I am living with my boyfriend and he has a gaming PC! Yay! It’s the only reason I’m with him really…

Plunging back into PC Gaming wasn’t quite as smooth and fun as I hoped, first I couldn’t remember my username/password for my Steam account. Luckily, I didn’t have that many games on my old one though (I never got to finish American McGee’s Alice though…) and I made a new account (thedragonsteaparty, if you’re interested). Once that was sorted the first thing I did was search for my one and only, my video gaming peak, my soulgame… only to dramatically howl “NOOOOO”, put my head in my hands and take several moments to compose myself. Neverwinter Nights is not available on Steam. I mean they have Neverwinter, the free to play MMO which I have tried on the PS4 but due to my aversion of MMOs and an embarrassing “oops the mic is turned on and everyone on the map can hear me raging over this game” moment I decided it wasn’t for me. I’d been looking forward to playing NWN again and re-visiting it. Nevermind, I guess I’ll just have to pick something from this enormous online gaming library that doesn’t have the one I game I had my heart set on… So, in the end what did I reboot my PC journey with again? Well, it was a choice between two very different games: Dream Daddy and Planescape: Torment. Two very different, polar opposite games. On a bit of a dating simulator high since my experience with Hatoful Boyfriend, Dream Daddy won and I started a game with new dad on the block Papa Squatts (Dan’s name idea, not taking credit for that one.)

Dream Daddy is a dating simulator where you play a dad who dates other dads. It’s been hugely popular due to its wonderful representation of the LGBT community and character diversity. Other than this,  my main motivation for playing Dream Daddy is that it’s a Game Grumps creation, and you guys must know by now that I love Game Grumps. Another big motivator is that it has really good reviews on Steam and I’ve heard great things about it (Adventure Rules did a couple of posts about it a while ago as well). I was not disappointed; this game is awesome. The best thing so far is the dialogue, and with a dating sim that is the thing that needs to be the best as that’s most of what happens. It’s really funny, I have laughed out loud a few times at some of the dad-style anecdotes and scenarios. Unlike Hatoful Boyfriend it seems like it will take more than an hour and a half to finish as I’ve played it for quite a while already and I’ve only just attended a barbecue and met all the dads that all conveniently live in the same cul-de-sac and are all single, except one who has a bitchy wife. Totally gonna steal him from her, mwahaha… But then I like the sporty one too… And the ‘bad dad’… I can’t choose!!!

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I’ll do a nice big post about this in the future because it’s amazing but until then let’s take a look at my other purchase…

I bought Planescape: Torment, mainly because it’s been recommended to me by a lot of people, it looks very Neverwinter Nights/Baldur’s Gate-esque and it’s from the same developers (Black-Isle Studios) so I’m very excited to start it. Unfortunately for Torment, at the time of downloading I was more in the mood to play something chill so Dream Daddy was more enticing. I mean, the blue dreadlock dude isn’t really my type, I’m sure he has a lovely personality though… Or… maybe not…

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I’m sure that Planescape: Torment will be getting a post or two in the future as well, I am already predicting that I will get addicted to it, much as I did NWN and all my old favourites. But until then, who should be my Dream Daddy? Mat, Craig, Hugo, Brian, Damien, Robert, or Joseph? I’m leaning towards Joseph, he makes cakes and has a mean wife that I feel like I need to save him from.

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Potential future boyfriend Joseph is the one in the middle 😉

Are you a PC Gamer? What’s your preferred game console? Have you played Dream Daddy too? How about Planescape: Torment? What were your thought? (No spoilers for either please!)

30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 30 (woohoo): Your Favourite Game of All Time

So this post is 2 days late and it’s so short that I can’t really make any excuses for it. Better late than never! Finally at the end though!!! It’s been good to do this challenge while I’ve been so busy lately and I’m pleased to say that I have a couple of proper blog posts lined up and almost ready to go so normal Tea Partying shall resume shortly.

So without further ado, the final challenge.

My favourite game of all time, well now I’ve already done a post about this! Neverwinter Nights! Check out my previous blog post about it for more info and reasons why I enjoy it! It’s an awesome game and if you’re into RPGs it’s a must game to play!

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30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 22: A Game Sequel Which Disappointed You

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. What even was this? It was so weird.

  • I didn’t like that you create your team (or some of them anyway) rather than meet companions as you play, that made it feel like the developers had given up and were like “ah I can’t be bothered, just get them to make their own team”.
  • Khelgar’s voice had changed! My best friend had a different voice! No!!!
  • Suddenly I’m on a tropical island which is really unlike any other area ever seen in The Forgotten Realms, and maybe that was the point, but it just did not work, dinosaur enemies in a world of goblins, trolls and shadow kings? I don’t know, seems a bit out of place.
  • The map! What was the weird world map where you walk across it like a giant and then get random encounters sprung on you?
  • Why am I here? What is happening? The other expansion pack (Mask of The Betrayer) continued on from the original story but this one is like “hmmm NWN hasn’t had a tropical area yet… Tropical means sea… Sea means boat… They’re on a boat…”
  • The story was about trade and sales and… I don’t know some merchant in trouble? Yawn.

Definitely not the worst game in the world by any stretch of the imagination, but disappointing? Yes.


Which game sequel disappointed you? Have you played Storm of Zehir?

30 Day Video Game Challenge! Day 10 (and a Day 9 update)

First off I would like to cheat a bit and change my answer from Day 9- The saddest game scene, because I didn’t take it seriously as I was struggling to think of something. Then yesterday I read a post by Hairless Ginger about Undertale and was reminded of when I was watching a Let’s Play (from the Game Grumps/Steam Train guys if you’re interested) of the Undertale genocide run – Spoilers ahead! During the genocide run there is a part where you have to fight one of the most beloved characters, Papyrus, and rather than attack you back he will spare you and tell you that you can still turn everything around until finally it’s just his head left and he says “I believe in you” but then, being the genocide run, you still kill him. I remember sneakily watching the Let’s Play at work (I usually just listen to them but I was hooked on the story for this one) and I got really upset and had to go to the bathroom in case I cried. It was worse as well because in the Let’s Play they played the pacifist run first so I liked the character and knew what could happen if you weren’t killing everything.


On to Day 10 – Best Gameplay

I’m going to say my all time favourite for this one: Neverwinter Nights. It’s the game that fully cemented my love of RPGs, the story is so good, the characters are great, the music is great, I love the D&D inspired play style of it, it’s incredibly immersive… I just love it. Everything about it screams “you’re off on a magical adventure!!!”. Character building is fun too, I once made a Dragon Disciple which meant she could breathe fire and had wings. I could go on about this forever, but I’ve already done a post about it so I would just be repeating it all.

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Which game do you think has the best gameplay? Have you ever played Undertale on the genocide run? If so, how?

I’m Just Too Good At This Game…

Not to toot my own horn or anything but when I play games I am good, damn good, goodness shining through my screen, bathing me in an aura of virtuous light and promising me a spot in gamer heaven… And when I say good I am of course talking about my go-to alignment, duh.

I really like games that let you mould a personality and alignment is one of many tools that can be used to do that. Despite my appreciation of the diversity gained from playing through a story as a different alignment, particularly things like different or alternative side quests or a different ending, I can never play as an evil character.

If you have been with my blog since the very beginning, back when I had been close to taking this blog in a “read about my Dragon Age Inquisition play through” direction (glad I avoided that now, if you want to take a look my first couple of awkward posts though you can do so here and here), then you may remember that I created a character in Inquisition with the intention of making her a nasty character. Her name is Shawty and she’s a two-handed weapon wielding dwarf, she’s pretty damn awesome. She started out as a total bitch, as intended, but she has gradually drifted to become the same sort of character as all my others: kind and sassy. Although she is a little more brutal when talking to bad guys.

Dragon Age™: Inquisition_20170319205311

I honestly don’t know why I can’t be evil in games, as soon as I lose influence/approval/whatever with companions that are usually my besties, or they end up upset because of something I’ve done, I just feel guilty. I realise of course that they are not real people and that the beauty of it being a game is that you can be whoever you want to be. Maybe that’s simply it: I don’t want to be evil.

The closest I ever got to being an evil character was when I was trying to gain enough influence over a character in Neverwinter Nights 2 for him to not turn against me in the final battle. I was very tactful here and would only take out a team of characters that, being of a similar evil or neutral alignment wouldn’t mind too much, if at all, when I did or said nasty things to gain influence over him. This was actually pretty difficult because the best characters (in my opinion anyway) were all ‘good’ characters so it made fighting quite hard. When he wasn’t on my team though my character would shift back to her cheery, nice self. In that game your alignment can actually shift as well depending on what you say and depending on how far you are on the good to evil scale your dialogue options can change. In that play through my character was just rolling up and down that scale like an emotional yo yo, eventually settling on ‘chaotic neutral’ at the end.

Futurama alignment chart

This can all change away from a screen though. When we play Dungeons and Dragons I wouldn’t feel bad at all about playing an evil character, in fact I find it more fun sometimes depending on where the story is going. Maybe this is because the people on my team aren’t a bunch of pixels that are programmed to react to my choices and actions in a specific way. I know that whatever I choose I won’t offend any of my friends (unless they’re taking it super seriously, but none of us are really like that), it’s more likely to get a response in the realm of “oh, you are such a dick I can’t believe you’re doing that… Ah well what’s done is done might as well join in. ATTACK THE INN KEEPER! WOO!!!”. It probably helps that at some point or another someone will inevitably say something along the lines of “I roll to seduce the goblin chieftain”, taking away any element of seriousness that may have been there before and once that’s happened stupid behaviour and poor decisions are more or less expected and welcomed. The same goes for my friend that I mentioned in my previous post about turning someone into a gamer, she can’t be an evil character when playing a video game but in D&D she can be super sly and mean if that’s what she’s decided her character should be and you need to look out for her manipulative ways.

Side note: I’ve been looking for an excuse to put this in for ages, please enjoy:

D&D critical fail

So I guess the reason behind me not being able to be evil in video games is because I don’t want to hurt my fictional, animated friends’ feelings… It sounds a bit sad put that way so let’s just say that I tactfully befriend as many characters as possible in order to get the best outcome in the game. That sounds better.


What is your go to alignment? Can you play an evil character with no qualms? If so, what is your evil secret?

Nostalgia Moment: Neverwinter Nights (1 and 2)

Recently I was reminiscing with my other half about our favourite games, he has been very keen on launching his favourites at me (Portal, Final Fantasy, Stardew Valley, etc), all of which I’ve enjoyed (with the exception of FFVIII), while he hasn’t really tried ones that I like yet. He did download Dragon Age Inquisition but stopped playing literally when the intro was over. It hurts my soul that he did this but he didn’t like the gameplay, even though he didn’t see much of it or play for long enough to appreciate any character development or story… but I’m not bitter. I got to talking about Neverwinter Nights with him, a game which I may have mentioned occasionally in previous posts. He has never played it and I got a little carried away reminiscing about it. It’s about time that these games, both the first and second, have a post dedicated to them because it is easy to say that they (specifically the second one) are my favourite games of all time.

Let’s start at the beginning and I’ll set the scene. The year was 2002, potentially the summer, I was a mere child of 8 and I was watching my dad play his latest game: Neverwinter Nights. My previous favourite games to watch him play were Baldur’s Gate and Doom (those are the ones that stick most in my memory at least, Doom probably not for good reasons). Then BOOM along came NWN with its incredible story, wonderful characters, and – at the time – great graphics. I was hooked. I can’t remember specifically when I started playing NWN myself because I used to sort of have a go, often starting from the beginning over and over as I did with most ‘big’ games in my youth, one day though I did finish it properly, it was probably the first ever ‘adult’ game I ever finished and I was VERY proud. I then went on to play the expansion packs Hordes of the Underdark and Shadows of the Undrentide, which were also very good.

NWN1 graphics
Check out those sweet 2002 graphics at work. Side note: I miss the use of artwork for character portraits.

Thinking about it, the reason NWN appealed to me at such a young age was probably the wonderful storytelling in the game and the engagement with the NPCs. NWN is based on Dungeons and Dragons, using the same fighting mechanism and the same Forgotten Realms world as a base, this is also most likely why it has such a great story. When I started playing D&D a couple of years ago I realised just how similar the two were. The text scrolling along the side of the screen in NWN for example helped me understand (sort of) how to play D&D quite quickly, or at least to improvise what I didn’t understand to create a playable game.

Unfortunately I don’t remember a huge amount of the first NWN, just that I enjoyed it immensely, I always thought the paladin Lady Aribeth de Tylmarande (pictured below in her awesome armour) was one of the coolest female video game characters ever (she looked so badass) and henchman Daelan Red Tiger was always my bro. When I come into possession of a gaming PC/Laptop I will be playing it again to relive some of my youth but until then I’ll have to make the rest of this post about NWN2.

Simply because I remember it more and spent A LOT of time on it, NWN2 will always be my favourite game. The magic of that game is just something I’ve never experienced with anything else. I connected so much to the characters (that sounds kind of sad but I really did, especially my bestie Khelgar), the story was brilliant, there are so many wonderful things added to it that give the whole world and the story so much depth, for example when you have to find each of the spirits that knew the Shadow King – the big bad guy – before he was corrupted by power and they tell you stories about what he was like before. It gives you such an unexpected connection to this creepy looking dude that you fight at the end and you feel sorry for him. Then there’s all those books that you can pick up and read but you don’t need – who writes those?! It’s actually someone’s job to write them! – If you want to you can learn about all the places, and about some of the characters, through books, NPCs and codices found in the game creating a whole history behind this world, solidifying it in your mind and making it seem almost like an exotic, medieval style country you’ve never been to but learned about in school or something.

Shadow King
The Shadow King, bit of a tribute to Frank from Donnie Darko I always thought

SPOILER PARAGRAPH Another big thing was killing off Shandra halfway through the game. While she could be a little stuck up at first she grows on you and is set as a permanent companion, like your apprentice. I remember the first time I played through it and the death scene happened and all the companions expressing how they all felt about it (the gnome broke my heart, he was so upset) it was so unexpected as I’d never played anything that had killed off a main character before (this was 2006 so I was like 12 or 13 and hadn’t experienced as many games as I have now… but thinking about it I can’t think of a huge amount that do kill off main characters like that even now), I had tears in my eyes and had to take a moment to calm down.

MORE SPOILERS Then there was another new thing I had never come across in a game before – alternative endings. Before the final battle the Shadow King will try to persuade some of your companions over to his side, and it’s pretty much inevitable a couple will go, making you try to have them feel your glare through the screen as they swagger over to his side on a cloud of betrayal. I could never get enough influence over power-hungry Qara to have her not fight against me and the only way I ever got Bishop not to fight was by romancing him (more on that later). On top of that the Shadow King will also ask you if you want to join him, and you can! Despite trying to do an ‘evil’ play through I just can never be an evil character and never did that, I feel unnecessarily guilty about committing fictional evil acts. I’ve seen the bad ending though through the power of YouTube and it’s quite nasty in places. I’m glad I never did it or I would have been riddled with guilt.

On to what I mentioned before about romancing. This was the first game (lots of firsts here) I played where romancing was something that could add to the plot, or sub-plot. I almost always play as a female character and in NWN2 you have two love interests per gender. Both are heterosexual choices (the incredible display of Bioware’s sexually diverse characters didn’t arrive until 2009 when Dragon Age was released). As a female I had the choice between “he’s a bad boy but I can fix him!” Bishop the ranger, and “your holy aura of goodness and purity is blinding me” Casavir the paladin. I found this a bit unfair because Bishop was a total dick but was as fit as a bunch of 2006 pixels could get *swoon*. On the other hand you had Casavir, who was very nice but I thought he was boring and looked a little bit like he’d been beaten with a pixelated ugly stick (or maybe this is just my taste in men). I couldn’t shake the feeling they hadn’t meant to make him look quite like that. Pretty sure male characters got the best deal here with their choice being between pure, innocent Elanee the elf and the quirky, chaotic-but-not-evil Neeshka the tiefling. Seemed easier than the female’s choice of “you can either romance Satan or Jesus”. Despite my reserves about them I enjoyed the extra stories and side quests these romance options opened up, and the romance option was optional anyway so I didn’t have to stress about who to choose if I didn’t want to.

Perhaps I have been spoiled by the ‘golden age’ of RPGs because I am really struggling at the moment to find more RPGs of the same calibre of NWN, Baldur’s Gate, and Dragon Age. It seems like RPGs at the moment are either online, JRPGs, or they’re sort of from a first person perspective (The Witcher, Dark Souls, Skyrim…). While I enjoy those I don’t get as immersed in them as I do with my classic favourites, I never really feel like I am the character, I feel like I’ve been assigned a character to play. Sometimes I like that but I largely prefer having a character I can start from scratch with and mould their personality as I play through the game. On top of that I can’t really think of any characters from games recently where I’ve been emotionally invested in what happens to them and actually really like them. I suppose Borderlands comes pretty close, they have some good characters in there but as they don’t travel with you or fight with you – unless it’s part of a quest – it doesn’t really count. You could argue that you get that NPC relationship with JRPGs, playing through FFX at the moment I’d be pretty upset if something happened to one of my team but to be honest it wouldn’t hit me anywhere near as hard as if they killed off Varric in Dragon Age, for example (they don’t BTW in case you had a brief moment of panic, it was a hypothetical example).

Do you have any RPG recommendations for me? What are your favourite RPGs? Who else played Neverwinter Nights? Also, how cool would that NWN eye be as a tattoo? (Not thinking of getting one, just an observation…)