Tag Archives: games

The Book that Flew Me Through Time

Every time I sort through the books at the charity shop where I volunteer, I come across some amazingly weird book that makes me pause and grin.

A month ago it was this book, which made me laugh because I have a friend who claims her cat is gay. The kitty would follow the hubbie everywhere, as well as perform “suggestive rubbing, doting looks, attentively pushing his anus against hubbie’s toe…”

The opening page of the book confronts you with this earth-shattering question: Have you ever found yourself pondering your cat’s sexual preference? 

The book then proceeds to painstakingly describe the many situations that would help “pet lovers get in touch with their feline gaydar”. Sadly I’m unable to refer to it now as the book has since been carted upstairs for sale, but I do vaguely recall something about stumbling across your cat strutting around the house like Lady Gaga, or catching him applying nail glitter at the vanity table. Or something similar.

Today, however, I fatefully came across this book – Position of the Day: Sex Every Day in Every Way.

Tagline: A Position A Day Keeps the Love Doctor Away.

Wow. 365 sexual positions.

This book made me smile for another reason entirely. It had me soaring down memory lane, all the way back to 1997, when I – minds out of the gutter now! – would create what would become one of my favourite characters.

He was for a MUSH, which for uninitiated is basically a text-based game where players from all over the world role-play characters with each other in a shared universe. Just think, you could be playing characters from Star Wars, Highlander, Lord of the Rings, Transformers, and dozens more!

Imagine taking on the role of a character – becoming that character – acting out their story, exploring their motivations as you describe what your character does or say to the characters of other players, in real-time. In short, you were creating that narrative together, developing your character as time goes on, and carrying them through complex, interconnected stories in ways few games allow nowadays.

This was in 1997, way before the days of World of Warcraft and other flashy, non-text, multiplayer online role-playing games of today. Even now, I could never play one of those MMORPGs. I don’t care what Richard Garriott or Peter Molyneux says. None of these games can compete with the ones you build with your imagination.

Raistlin Majere - Art by Destarian aka Antonio

In my case, my first MUSH, my first love, was with Dragonlance.

I would love to explain my passion for Dragonlance, but for now, let’s just say that over 14 years ago, I fell hard for this fantasy world of dragons and Highlords and brave, flawed heroes.

And within this world, I created a new character starting off in the bustling city of Palanthas.

His name was Eliande. And he was a professional escort.

Now understand, the Dragonlance MUSH wasn’t that sort of game. Other than two players’ occasional need to squirrel themselves away into a private room and play with each other for hours and hours and hours on end, the MUSH was a fairly clean game. Really.

But for some reason I wanted to play something different from the usual city-destroying mages or the holier-than-thou priests or the warriors bristling with weapons as huge as their egos.

Nay! I will instead play one of those rare ‘peasant’ professions. No, not a blacksmith, too sweaty. A tavern keeper? A merchant? Well, what would be fun? Exciting? Provocative?

To this day, I am still amazed the MUSH staff – the administrators who ran the game – approved my character. I did explain to them that I would not at all role play any of the ‘naughty’ stuff. Instead as a professional escort (or gigolo or whore or however you call him), Eliande is meant to be flamboyant, fun, charming, outrageous, unapologetic. Completely at ease as he provides a service just as needed in any quasi-medieval society.

(We’ll leave his clandestine spy activities for another time 🙂

And because the topic would undoubtedly emerge from lady clients hoping to ‘engage’ Eliande for the night, I actually spent some serious thought, considering my vastly limited personal experience, on the number of sexual positions my character would likely know. What would be realistic? What would be possible?

In the end after some wide-eyed nail biting, I decided on 126. Obviously after seeing today’s book, that was too low a number.

A common line, played gleefully over-the-top:

“What do you say, fair love?” Eliande says, bestowing his warmest smile upon Lilian after noting how dazed she looked. He had merely kissed her hand, after all, a brief press of warm lips over the knuckles. A gentleman does not slobber over a lady’s hand. “Which do you prefer? I dance, play music or can attempt to hold you enraptured with scintillating conversation in any subject you desire. Or if you wish, we could go upstairs to my chambers. I am highly trained in eight different massage techniques and 126 sexual positions–“

“126 positions!?” Lilian / Jenna / Lady Etcetera would sputter in disbelief.

And by then, Eliande would usually smile and flit on, sauntering through the rest of the crowd in that merry tavern, a promise here, a favour there, stealing a secret or two along the way.



Filed under Books, Charity Shop, Computer Games, Dragonlance, Fantasy, Leisure, MUSH, Writing

Procrastinating Achievement

My Old Library. Ahh, for decent shelves again...

I can’t believe I actually managed to send off my AIF submission on time, after reaching 81k words on the novel. It gives me hope because it means I can commit to the discipline of writing novels, something I struggled with due to my tendency to procrastinate!

My best friend send me this link about procrastination…which I should really open and read one of these days.

Still I’m feeling an incredible buzz for getting so far. My novel Malaysian Dark, almost done! I can see the end in sight, and even the ending has already been written. Now I just need to finish the scenes leading up to the climax. Heck, I’ve already been thinking of ways to revise and polish the novel – scenes I should add to give context and meaning – which is a good sign.

Can’t wait to get started on the writing. But I need to finish some other writing-related commitments which might(!) earn some income. That and another job application is due in early June.

Last week I already sent an application for a bookseller position at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Am a bit worried have yet to hear a reply because interviews were supposed to have started from May 22 until early June. I even sent the application early. Ah well, have to remain upbeat.

It also seems like I might have to suddenly fly to the St Albans area within the next week. What a time for the Iceland volcano to erupt! Life, always amusing, never dull.

Wow. Suddenly am feeling a wee bit frazzled. *goes to play a game*


Filed under Apprenticeships, Computer Games, Novel, Photography, Triumph, Work, Writing

Why I’m glad Dragon Age 2 (partly) sucks

I’ve got a helluva lot of games I gotta play. I mean, seriously. Each time I tell myself I will play them as a reward once I finish my book, the list grows. And GROWS.

I was especially chomping at the bit this year to play Dragon Age 2, especially after the amazing (and time sapping) experience I had with Dragon Age: Origins.

DA:O had impressive writing, plot twists, and despite its flaws that epic touch which to me very few games achieve nowadays. It’s one of those games that actually had me tearing up at the end. Man, when I was faced with the critical choice of (SPOILER ALERT) having my character sacrifice himself at the bittersweet end, thereby abandoning my character’s lover to loneliness, I actually felt depressed for days afterwards. (END SPOILER)

This, from a person with the emotional expressiveness of a turnip. Damn you, Bioware, for making me care!

I became Dragon Age obsessed. I had to try out all the origins after completing my first playthrough. It made me replay the game as a wronged female noble (progressing) AND a dick of a male mage AND a kickass dwarf thief.

It made me fall in love with my companions, laugh at their pitch perfect banter…it made me believe they were alive, each and every one of them. I even paid money to buy the Dragon Age Ultimate Edition (which includes the game and a ridiculous amount of expansion packs both crappy and not), that to me is still so worth the price.

And heck, even now Leliana’s Song still gets me everytime ;P

So when I heard Dragon Age 2 was coming out, I was excited. I couldn’t wait. I jumped nearly every fucking hoop to get free game content. I religiously scoured the forums and websites to find out which of my male player companions would be the gay romanceable character ;P

I was jealous of the players who would get to play it first (since I’m too cheap to pay full price and would prefer to wait a few months when it is much more affordable ;P )

Then came the news that the game would be ‘revamped’ to have Mass Effect’s (annoying) conversation wheel.

And I got to play the demo. After the novelty wore off, I had to concede it was stylish and intriguing, sure. But I had misgivings playing a character who moved as if s/he was on mad monkey steroids during combat.


Now in an odd way, I have this warm little buzz in my shrivelled bitty heart that fans are griping about the dumbing down of Dragon Age 2.  Because it means the price will fall faster and I can get it for a low price 😀 Yes, I’m cheap (poor, and cheap).

I also find myself amused at the huge gap between critic and player opinion. I swear half the game reviewers must have been bribed or something, or had a gun stuck to their heads. How many games, according to metacritic, has a critic review rating of 82%, while users rate it 4.3 out of 10? And let’s not touch on outcries of Bioware employees supposedly writing positive reviews to bump up the ratings.

Notice that whatever people might say, I am still playing the game.

Come on, it’s Dragon Age. I’ll buy it, keep my expectations REAL low…and will likely have a blast.

In the meantime, here’s the other games – both old and new – I want to play / have yet to play:

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Filed under Computer Games, Deus Ex, Dragon Age, Fallout, Leisure, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Witcher