One of the great things about games, and role-playing games in particular, is having a blank canvas. Essentially they are plays in which all the plots and beats are written, except, of course, for the characters. Players are allowed to fill these fantastic worlds with whomever, or whatever, they choose. It’s the ultimate game of “what if?”. Over the past few years we’ve had the pleasure of diving into some of these great worlds, both digital and print, and few have been as fun as the Deadlands.
Built around every Weird West trope you can imagine, Deadlands is the perfect blend of horror, steampunk, fantasy, and good ol’ Americana. An added feature of the books is that, like any proper campaign, they each standalone, focusing on a different aspect of this grand Western. That’s where author Seanan McGuire comes in. Combining a love of games with the ability to subvert expectations, she’s written a novel with monsters and madmen and maestros. A novel that ties in perfectly with her own love of games. Here, she counts down her favorite video games.
I do not play a great many video games, but the ones I play, I play whole-heartedly and with a horrifying intensity of focus that sometimes unnerves my teammates. I have been known to buy a console for a single game and feel that I got my money’s worth, because I’ve managed to log so many hours on whatever it was I wanted to play. So these are my three current obsessions.
- : Remember that comment about buying a console for a single game? Well, that was me and the Wii U, bought entirely for Splatoon. There was really no way I was going to let the sequel pass me by. In this cartoony first-person shooter, you play an Inkling, aka, a kid who is also a squid, and you do your very best to paint as much of the world as possible in the color of your team. Whoever wins the paintball war gets money that can be spent on new clothes and better weapons, thus improving your ability to lay down the ink and represent for your side. I loved the first game; the second is more of the same.
- : The Ultra versions of these games are probably going to come out before I can complete my Pokemon journey, and I’m okay with that: I have long since accepted that the road to Pokemon mastery is long and winding and doesn’t necessarily respect the fact that I am not eleven years old with a monofocus on this specific adventure. This isn’t my favorite Pokemon game—that honor is reserved for X and Y, which were a stunning elevation of the form, and which may not be matched for a very long time. Still, Sun and Moon take some risks and make some changes to the format, freshening something that could easily grow stale.
- : And then there is Overwatch. It is difficult to describe how much time I spend playing Overwatch, mostly because if I stopped to think about it, I would probably be deeply horrified. This superheroic FPS allows you to take on the role of one of more than two dozen heroes (and villains) and fight for a better future. The character roster is diverse and engaging; every character plays differently, forcing you to up your game if you want to get good and be an asset to your team; the game itself rewards good team composition and thoughtful choices. Every time I think I couldn’t love this game more, it adds something new and forces me to learn it all over again. It’s so good. (I play on PS4; my handle is “SeananM”; we’re always looking for new folks to roll with us.)
So what’s your favorite video game?
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