Steam Sale: 7 Games for your Girlfriend

Two things I hear from my gaming male friends often are “I can’t find a girl that games!” and “How can I get my girlfriend to play video games?”. Steam is currently having a huge blow-out sale on hundreds of video games for the Mac/PC until July 4th, and with prices cheaper than a trip to the movies, there is no better time to get your lady a video game.

I’ve compiled a list of games the ladies would enjoy despite being unfamiliar with the whole video game genre. These are also the best of the cheapest, because when a game is less than $10, how can your girlfriend get turned off by the price?

In order of ascending difficulty:

1. Osmos, for $4.99

This game is the exact opposite of those “damn noisy shooters” you like to play and is perfect for the lady who has limited to no experience with video games. As the above video demonstrates, this game is as close to a yoga session for your brain as it gets. You have to be patient, flying through space in your quest to eat other orbs. The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is applicable in describing Osmos game play. You have to stay calm and move slowly, or risk colliding into a bigger orb that will eat you. Despite this games simplicity, the levels do get a bit harder as you progress through the game; there is some sort of challenge (I moved too fast and flew into the sun a couple of times).

You can play Osmos for as short increments of time as 5 minutes (a level), and feel satisfied.

2. Blueberry Garden for $4.99:

If you’re looking to get out of seeing another bizarre European indie film, get your gal this game instead. Designed by a Swede, this beautiful and quirky game reminds me more of an interactive art piece than a video game. Don’t be fooled: there is a goal in this game, not made evident by the above trailer.  If Ebert played this game he would give up his silly notion that video games are not an art form. Bobbie Johnson, from the UK Guardian, described this game as ” a dainty piece of indie magic”: “I almost wanted to put it in a ribbon-wrapped box with a kitten and cry a little”.

Blueberry Garden is more fast paced than Osmos and Machinarium.

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11 reasons why you should download Portal today

The box art for the PC version of Portal.

Image via Wikipedia

Hey all you PC gamers! Today is the last day to download Portal for free! Portal’s freeness is the MAIN reason you should download the game today, but if “free” isn’t enough to entice you, I’ve comprised my own list for why Portal rocks, in no particular order.

10. It is the most unconventional puzzle game you will ever play (well, until the rumored Portal 2).

9. How many puzzle games have you played where inertia was a key feature in solving puzzles? None! Because Portal is one of the most original games you will ever play.

8. The two main  characters in the game are female; both you and the robot who guides you.

7. The writing is insanely witty… from the dialogue to the story line. How can a puzzle game have such good writing? Play it, and find out.

6. The game is about portals!!!…. you make portals, you walk through them, you end up in a different location.  It is mind blowing.

5. Want to know where the origin of “The cake is a lie” meme came from? Portal! What other game is good enough to have a meme?

4. This ending song: [youtubevid id=”Y6ljFaKRTrI”]

3. The game only takes you a couple hours to beat, but replay value (radio transmission achievement) is high.

2. The controls are easy to figure out, even if you are not used to the first person perspective in video games.

1. Portal has won numerous awards (ahem, 70!) and received more praise than my beloved Team Fortress 2.


Surprise! Size matters in a porno video game

ESRB "Adults Only 18+" rating symbol...

Image via Wikipedia

I would first like to clarify that I did not play the entire game, just the demo (I am not about to pay for a porn video game, thank you very much). I would also like to mention that I have never played a porn video game, or an “action adventure porno game” before in my life.  We live in a world where a good chunk of our population plays video games, or watches porn, so it is only a matter of time before someone combined the two: hence,  Bonetown.

Even though the game came out in 2008, I found the cartoony ‘Bonetown’ the other day when this article was on the front page of digg. Other outlets have written about how “morally depraved”  Bonetown is, or how offensive the game is on a variety of different levels, so I am not going to go there in this post. Writes Jessica Wakeman over on The Frisky:

“Bonetown” touts itself as “the world’s first action adventure porno video game,” but it’s more like thoughts from the internet’s most ignorant trolls set to animation. You know, the trolls who think racism and sexism have been “solved” so it’s really hilarious to perpetuate stereotypes about minorities and women.

via ‘Bonetown: “The World’s First Action Adventure Porno Game

Bonetown is supposed to take place in some GTA universe, where everyone is running around drunk, stoned, or both, and you have sex right on the street. Because I was playing the demo, I was confined to this small area around a beach (here is some very NSFW gameplay in a trailer park that I did not have access to), and I quickly learned the world map. (The only building I was allowed to enter in the demo kept crashing my PC.)  I spent my time running around beating up Asian tourists or stoners and sexing up fat ladies.

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Why can't console and PC gamers get along?

Computer Workstation Variables

Image via Wikipedia

There is a popular image up on reddit as I type this, discussing the perceived snobbery PC gamers have towards console gamers. You can find the pros and cons for each gaming system in the comments, and the conversation has been enlightening.

What I believe to be the  biggest reason for all the animosity is the age difference, though no “redditer” has explicitly mentioned this. Console gamers are younger, and more prone to freaking out if they hear a female gamer or a male that sounds gay.  Console gamers are also more likely to shout profanities, behave like bigots or put up porn as their sprays, because, they are after all only 14. Why would someone in their 20’s want to subject themselves to such foolish behavior? My experience with Xbox Live has been brief, and to all the girls that do speak into their mics, I commend you, and don’t know how you do it with out a voice changer.

Reddit user beatnik11 touched on my point:

There is no denying that there are idiots and assholes who are PC gamers, but on a whole its far far far worse on console games. Really, just step into xbox live and play some MW or Halo and before you blink you are going to start hearing little kids act out the worst 4chan has to offer, but instead of being just normal people who are trolling for fun, these kids really are a cancer and are not mature enough to understand the value of respect.

I think being a PC gamer and knowing how to connect more than 4 wires and understanding what is in your machine tends to lead those who are older and more mature and these sorts of people are much more enjoyable to play with. I can go on TF2 [Team Fortress 2] all day long and never have to experience some 14 year old who thinks they are edgy and cool being a racist misogynistic bigot, got on MW2 [Modern Warfare 2] however and its a different story.

Games have been around since the 80’s, so is it really that surprising that the “aging” gaming population spends more time on their PCs? “Grown-ups” already have a computer, so why shell out additional money for a console when you don’t have to?  Every time I got a console, I got it as a gift, and I assume many Xbox Live or PS3 boys and girls also received their systems as gifts.

So, when did it become a crime to play with my age group?