Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gamer Speak: World of Warcraft

Here are some of the more common World of Warcraft terms and shorthands that might be helpful in following a WoW conversation.

  • Alliance

I accidentally ended up in the middle of Alliance territory.

The Alliance is one of the two political sides of World of Warcraft. The Alliance is stereotyped as being the “good” people.

  • AFK

Sorry, I was AFK.

AFK stands for Away From Keyboard and is used when a player stays in the game, but leaves their controls.

  • Blizzard

Blizzard’s taking forever to fix that glitch.

Blizzard is the game developing company that produced World of Warcraft. They maintain the game and will occasionally update areas or add assets to the game.

  • Class

The character I’m working on right now is a priest, but I wish I had chosen another class.

The class a player chooses will determine what types of weapons and skills that can possess. The classes in WoW are: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rouge, Shaman, Warrior, Death Knight, and Warlock. gives a description of each class.

  • Char/Toon

I’m starting a new char next month.

Char, and sometimes Toon, are used as a shortened term for character. The player’s character is the person they play as in the game.

  • Drop

This creature only drops the item I need every 5-6 times.

When a player kills a creature (Mob), or finds a chest, they can find items. A creature drops items after they are killed, and the player searches the dead creature’s corpse to find the items left behind.

  • Dungeon

I’ll meet you I the Dungeon at 10:15.

A dungeon is an underground area in which the players can fight. The term dungeon can also be loosely applied to any area in which the players start an instance.

  • Elite

I can’t take on an elite for another two levels.

An elite form of a creature is one that is particularly strong. These creatures are more difficult to beat.

  • Grinding

I spent all day grinding and I only gained two levels!

Grinding is the process of working towards a higher level. Grinding often requires performing mundane or repetitive tasks to gain experience.

  • Guild

My guild’s name is “The Evil League of Evil,” and you can’t join our guild if you’re Alliance.

People who play World of Warcraft create guilds. These are groups of players who normally have something in common. Some guilds will have events in real life that they do together, or the guide might all play at an appointed time or in the same place.

  • Horde

This town is controlled by the Horde.

The Horde is one of the two political sides to World of Warcraft. A player chooses to be in the Horde or not. The Horde is stereotyped as being “bad” or “dark.”

  • HP

My HP is too low to start a fight.

HP measures a creature or player’s health points. When a person is out of health points they are dead.

  • Instance

We’re waiting for John to begin the Instance.

An instance is a part of the game where a group of players can play privately. This allows a group (usually members of the same guild, or friends from outside of the game) to play without being interrupted by other players or happenings.

  • Manna

After that fight, I’m in desperate need of manna.

Manna is what allows a player to cast spells. Spells can be used to attack, defend, or heal.


World of Warcraft is a very popular MMORPG.

MMORPG stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game. These are games that are played by a large number of people over an Internet connection during which players play as if they are a certain character.

  • Mobs

This quest requires me to find a certain type of mob, and it is really rare.

A Mob is an entity in the game that is not played by a person, but moves about in the game. The purpose of Mobs is to give players something to kill, usually for the purpose of gaining XP or completing a quest.

  • Pets or Mounts

At the next level I can get a new pet/mount.

A pet or mount is a creature that is associated with a character. The character usually will have to earn the pet/mount. These creatures can have various benefits based on the type of creature.

  • Pots

I’m looking for a certain Pot.

“Pots” is short for potions. This term isn’t used too often, but potions are a common part of WoW. Each potion has a different affect on a character. Potions can be bought or found, and some characters can make them.

  • PvP

This is a PvP area.

PvP stands for Player versus Player and marks areas where two players of any type can fight one another.

  • Quest

I have to go and turn in this Quest.

A quest is a task that a player completes to gain some sort of reward. The reward can be experience points, skill levels, or items.

  • Race

I chose to play on the side of the Alliance because they had the race I wanted.

The races in WoW are the types of creature/people that the player can be. There are five races for both the Horde and the Alliance. The races are: Human, Dwarf, Night Elf, Gnome and Draenel for the Alliance; and Orc, Undead, Tauren, Troll and Blood Elf for the Horde.

  • Raid or Raid Party

We need one more person for a raid.

A raid or raid party is a group of at least 6 players that complete tasks together under the leadership of a raid leader.

  • Rez

I’ll be there in ten minutes, I gotta rez.

Rez is short for resurrection. When a player in WoW dies, they have the ability to be resurrected by other players, by returning as a ghost to the body, r by a Spirit Healer.

  • WoW

I’ve played WoW for seven years now.

WoW is short for World of Warcraft which is a popular online game.

  • XP

I’m 1,500 XP from the next level.

XP is short for experience points. In Warcraft, a player gains XP by killing certain creatures or completing quests. As the player gains XP they gain levels.

For more in depth information I recommend

For the review of World of Warcraft see here.

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Afternoon Quickie: Animal Crossing: City Folk

Played on Wii

In Animal Crossing: City Folk you are the new kid in town. You gather stuff from around the village to sell so that you can buy tools to help you gather more stuff. The goal of the game is something along the lines of trying to improve your little town, but as I watched the game, I couldn't tell what the goal was.

I think that's because the game doesn't have a clear end, or at least, I never saw one. I even tried to play Animal Crossing and was bored then too. My husband loved the game. He was excited when it came out and played the game for much longer than I did. (Granted, I only played for a total of about 5 hours, and I think he did more than that in a single day.)

Overall, it can be kinda fun to watch, maybe, I suppose if you're into that sort of thing. However, I was thoroughly bored after about 15 minutes.

Good thing is there wasn't much noise involved so the game is easy to ignore.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Afternoon Quickie: Chain Rxn

Played on: PC (Facebook Application)

Chain Rxn is a game where you try to create the largest chain reaction (hence the name). You place a single circle in part of the board and try to get as many of the other balls to collide with your circle as possible.

It's a highly addictive game. The balls are all different colors and the game is fun to watch. When a ball collides with a circle the game chimes. It can be a very nice relaxing sound. However, if the player does not get enough balls to go on to the next level there is a loud buzzer noise.

The game is basically the same thing over and over again, just with more balls and collisions. It can be fun to watch, but I got bored after a little while. However, the game is very simple and can be fun for girlfriends as well. It takes very little skill and you can compare your high scores and have a little competition.

I prefer to play this game rather than watch it, but it still passes the Wifey-Watchability test.

Gamer Speak: Intro

Have you ever been hanging out with your player and his friends when you find yourself staring at them and wondering what language they are speaking? Sure it sounds like English, but you can't follow a single sentence, or even tell when one sentence ends and the other begins.

I have often been sitting in silence listening to what I can only describe as verbal alphabet soup spilling out of the mouths of those around me. Therefore, I shall embark upon the task of creating Gamer Speak dictionaries for the benefit of every gamer girlfriend out there.

Be looking for the first set this week. My first set of definitions will cover that all too familiar game, World of Warcraft. You can read the review here:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Review: Portal

Played on: PS3

You wake up in the Aperture Science testing facility. GLaDOS directs you through a series of tests, gives you a portal gun to use in completing these tests, occasionally "enhances" the truth, and promises you cake. The game is basically the result of a bunch of game developers wanting to play with Physics. You use your portal gun to shoot at parts of the testing chambers. You can then travel through your portals and must do so with some skill to complete the game. Each test chamber poses a new portal puzzle that you must solve to get your yummy cake.


The cake looks really good. You just have to get through several not-so-colorful test chambers to reach it. There aren't any movie-like cut scenes and the game play isn't always very fluid as it will take most players a few tries (or a few dozen tries) to complete the task at hand. The physics are a lot of fun to observe and as much as I love cake, I am also a bit nerdy (understatement) and was really interested in how the portals work. I have two words for you: Terminal Velocity (chocolate cake). Have your player shoot a portal directly above his/her head and one right at his feet. Have fun watching him fall through the portals over and over again as your cake bakes.


Occasionally you might come across a radio playing, but there isn't a soundtrack. GLaDOS's voice gets really creepy as the game goes on, but she doesn't top the little robots that shoot at the test subject. Are you still there? Good, because the little robots will say some really awkward things. (Don't worry little robots I don't hate you.) It gets to be pretty comical to listen to the robots and play tricks on them; no hard feelings.


Two heads are better than one, but that does mean you will have to share your cake. Some of the later test chambers will require a bit of creative thinking and you can help your player to find a way to complete each task. (And if you do get bored, or he gets annoyed that you can solve the problem first, bake him a cake!)


This is a very addictive game to play. Be prepared for your player to sit on the couch and play for several hours. (Then make him go outside and take a walk to burn off all that cake.) It can be equally addictive for the girlfriend who likes to solve the puzzles and make fun of the little robots. Warning: If your player doesn't like to receive help (you know the type, takes five hours doing the crossword because he won't let you tell him what a four-letter word for a woman's heeled shoe is), you might want to leave him alone as he plays the game. You can spend the time practicing your icing techniques so you can draw a portal gun on his cake. You can also put robot quotes on the cake, he'll like that.

Now, this might not be the game to watch for all gamer girlfriends. Some girls will simply not get into it and will be bored. Start such a girlfriend with a more appealing game and help her gain girlfriend XP so she can be the proper level for such a game.

Good-bye...Oh! and don't forget the cake!

Shutting Down.

Afternoon Quickie: Punch Out

Played on: Wii

Before anyone starts... I know it's not the afternoon anymore; get over it.

So, Punch Out, yeah. Well, Philip really enjoyed it and... uh, well, I can't really find anything else positive to say about it.

I never played the original release of the game. I didn't think the jokes were all that funny and the sound effects got pretty annoying (especially when Philip was stuck trying to beat the same guy and so he fought one person for a few hours and I heard their catch phrases so much they made their way into my dreams that night).

It's really not that interesting to watch. You punch the other guy and hope you knock him out before he knocks you out. I much rather watch real boxing, at least the cameras change angles in real fights.

So basically, this fails the Wifey-Watchability test, but Philip beat it within the weekend so at least my misery was short lived.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Afternoon Quickie: Flower

Played on PS3 (Downloadable game)

Ok, so... if you ever wanted to experience the sensation of being stoned without all the law-breaking and health-risking behavior... watch your guy play Flower. It is filled with scenes of hilly landscape and wildflowers.

Now, you might be thinking... this doesn't sound like a very manly game. Get over it. The game is incredibly addicting (my guy played for hours on end, sometimes playing the same level over and over again trying to get all the flowers) and the physics of it are intense, especially considering the type of game it is.

I'm not really sure what the premise or point of the game is, or even if it has one, but it is quite enjoyable. The player is basically a breeze that goes around and blows into various flowers. As it hits the flowers a long Pocahontas style stream of petals begins to follow it.

The game is really pretty and the soundtrack is incredibly peaceful. It reminds me of those meditation DVDs where they play soft music and show you pictures of landscapes, but so much neater. The scenery flies by as the game is played and the level where it's storming is really just gorgeous (though the lightening might cause a seizure or two). I don't think I can do it justice. Buy the game for your guy. He will enjoy the physics of the game (it is very well done) and you enjoy watching the game.

This passes the wifey-watchability test without even trying.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: World of Warcraft (WoW)

Played on: PC

World of Warcraft is an online game where players create characters. These characters can be different species and the player can choose to play for one of two main groups, The Horde or The Alliance. Players complete tasks and quests to gain levels and skills. Each expansion to the game has added more to the story line with the latest expansion adding the pursuit of the Lich King.


The game is graphically very well done. It looks like a video game, but generally plays smoothly. Some of the scenery can be quite beautiful. Due to the way the game is set up, players often have to do much of the same task, or use the same skill many times in order to gain levels and progress to the next part of the game. For some players this "grinding" can be a very positive characteristic of the game as it is a great way to waste a few hours, however, it can be excruciating to watch.


There isn't much to the game as far as soundtrack. There are sound effects that are associated with many parts of the game, but they are not necessary for the success of the player. The game can easily be played on mute.


There is no opportunity for involvement from a girlfriend who does not wish to play the game. The game's chat features can be a way to communicate with friends, but this will be done mostly by the player. Some girlfriends do play World of Warcraft on their own so that they may play a character with their boy, but I would not suggest WoW for a non-gamer, or even a very casual gamer.


There is a reason the term "WoW Widow" exists. WoW is not a good game for girlfriend watching and players tend to play for hours on end. I might find some enjoyment in watching it for a few minutes, but it quickly becomes boring. If WoW is to be played in the presence of the girlfriend, mute your computer and let her choose a movie to watch as you try to reach level 70. If your girlfriend is into games, and not just casually, you might be able to convince her to start playing, but don't push it. For most girlfriends, I would recommend leaving the WoW playing for when she goes with her friends.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Article: Meet the Gamer Girlfriend

Hi! My name is Amie. I was a gamer girlfriend for two years, now I have leveled up to gamer wife.

My husband is the definition of "gamer."

Let me explain... we own all five major game systems that are out right now. We have dvd binders full of games, boxes full of gamer related technology, a book case that is full of strategy guides, and so many collector's pieces that I find them in some of the oddest places. For example, I was doing laundry the other day and as I was putting the clothes in the washer I heard a small "thud." I looked into the washer, and what did I find? A small plastic Yoshi. Somehow Yoshi ended up in the laundry basket.

At first, my husband would wait until I went to bed to play his video games. He stayed up into the wee hours of the morning breeding Chocobos, racing go-karts, killing zombies, and trying to save the princess. This caused him to be awfully tired and cranky when he had to get up for work in the morning. (Many of the girls reading this are probably shaking their heads and wondering if there is anything that can be done. Keep reading.)

This caused us many problems. Not only was my sweetheart driving me nuts, but I was tired and cranky because I couldn't sleep through the sounds of heavy machinery taking out WWII Germany in the other room. I was left tired, frustrated, annoyed, and feeling rather hopeless. I wanted nothing more than for all video games in the entire world to be hit by one big magnet, rendering them all useless.

Then I realized something. I fell in love with a geeky, nerdy guy who spent as much time playing video games as he did working his job. Who was I to deny him his favorite pass time? Sure, now that we were together, he needed to put me first, before the video games, but wasn't there some form of compromise? He was hiding his game play like a goth girl hides her pink t-shirts, and that just wasn't right.

And so, I decided that I would make an effort to enjoy his gaming. At first, this was difficult. The first time I tried to watch him play a game, I fell asleep on the couch. All that got me was a a very sore neck.

But then, he brought home Kingdom Hearts 2. All my favorite Disney characters were there on the screen! The soundtrack even included Disney songs! All of a sudden, I found that when I would get home, I looked forward to watching him play.

As we continued on, him playing games, me watching him play, I began to joke about what games passed the "Wifey-Watchability Test." When he would tell his friends about a cool new game, I would talk to their girlfriends about how much fun I had as he played.

I realized that there were three things that could make or break a video game from the perspective of the girl sitting next to the player. These are the Visuals, the Audio, and how Involved I could be in the game. These are now the criteria I use to judge games.

Is it fun to watch? Is there an obsessive amount of blood and guts, or is it appropriate or even comical? What are the graphics like? Does the game play like a choose-your-own-adventure movie, or are you watching the player grind through levels for hours on end? (For those who don't know, when a player "grinds" or is "grinding" it means that they are performing usually mundane or redundant tasks in order to gain a level or skill. Some games require a character to be at a certain level in order to be able to continue.)

Is there a nice soundtrack or is it just a bunch of noise? Is there music, or do you just listen to the sound of guns being fired? Can the game be played quietly and still be acceptable, or does it need to be full volume? (Most gamers will argue that the game must be full volume, but this is an area that the couple will have to negotiate on their own terms. Not everyone likes to hear an AK- 47 going off every few minutes.)

Can the girlfriend get involved? When my husband got Persona 3 he also picked up the strategy guide. I sat with the strategy guide and looked up the information as he played the game. I was able to enjoy the game and help him out. This made seem as if we were both playing the game, even though he was the only one with a controller in his hand.

One final note:

To all the girlfriends of gamers that are out there: If you love your boy for who he is, let him play his game, and try to find a way to enjoy it as well.

To all the gamers out there: If you love your girlfriend (or even just really like her), you will need to put the controller down every now and then. Take her out to dinner and a movie (not a movie based on a video game). Give her a kiss on the cheek, and let her choose how to spend the evening.

Review: Ghostbusters the video game

Played on the PS3

Ghostbusters picks up where the last movie left off. You are the rookie Experimental Equipment Technician. You are attempting to capture ghosts and restore order to the world at large.


The graphics are just real enough, and yet keep a little of the video game feel. The characters are easily recognizable and much of the scenery and props through out the game are realistic. Parts of the game can play smoothly and the cut scenes are quite nice. During high activity scenes, however, the game can be somewhat hectic, and if you don't know what you are looking at, the screen looks rather messy. Players can get certain achievements from destroying property, and that can be somewhat entertaining.


Comparatively to the noise during fight scenes, the dialogue is rather quiet. The dialogue can be rather funny and is a great throw back to the movies. While subtitles are available, players will want to have the TV turned up a bit so that they can hear the dialogue over the sound of their slime gun. This poses the greatest problem with the game. The sound of the slime gun can quickly become irritating, but as stated earlier, the volume on the TV needs to be up to hear what the other characters are asking the player to do.


There really is not much opportunity for girlfriend involvement. Perhaps, if she was a fan of the movies she might naturally be more involved in the story line.


In the end, the slime gun gets on my nerves, but the rest of the game is fine. That's just it, fine. My husband is having a blast chasing down ghosts and spraying them green slime, and for that I am glad. The characters are funny, but that slime gun is just so noisy. If the slime gun came with a silencer, I would be a much happier camper.

Review: FallOut 3

Played on: PS3 and XBox 360

FallOut 3 is the story of a person from Vault 101. The player can chose to be a male or female. They were born and raised in this vault (think the 1950's bomb shelters), and when they finally leave they enter into a world that has been devastated by nuclear war. The player goes about the world fighting off mutants, feral ghouls, mercenaries, raiders, and animals that have been mutated by the nuclear waste. The player completes missions given to them by the people they meet and try to figure out the story of his or her past while attempting to restore the land.


FallOut 3 has very realistic graphics and some of the gameplay can come across movie-like. The graphics are superior on the PS3. The game can be somewhat gory. If a shot is aimed just right, the enemy will be decapitated, but there is generally not a lot of blood and guts. While it is not exactly "pretty," FallOut 3 is visually quite interesting, particularly when the game brings you to areas that are modeled after modern day urban centers. The concept of a world after nuclear war is interesting to watch and keeps the viewer's attention.


The sounds of shots being fired, super-mutants grunting, and enemies crying out is a small price to pay for Three Dog. While there are other radio stations available in the game, Three Dog beats them all. The fictional DJ's sarcastic news reports and the station's old-time songs create an amazing soundtrack for the game. If there was a Three Dog radio station in real life, I would be a faithful listener. The only downside is that during sneak attacks, the player will often need to turn off the radio, but do not fret, these moments are not usually long lasting.


Generally speaking, there are not a lot of opportunities for girlfriend involvement. During the Pitt downloadable content, she might be able to help locate ingots, and occasionally she might be helpful in finding enemies, but they are marked on the compass.


FallOut 3 might not be the best game for a girlfriend who is new to the gamer lifestyle (I found it a bit disturbing when I first saw my husband beat a giant mole rat to death, but I soon got over that. Plus, he now has the animal friend perk), but with Three Dog playing, most gamer girlfriends would find this game to be interesting enough for an afternoon of watching on the couch. The girlfriend who wants to be involved, might be a little let down by the game, but with some encouragement from her player, will find ways to help out.

Personally, I love FallOut 3. I haven't played a single second of the game, and have no desire to, but I will gladly sit next to my boy as he kills off the Talon Company and will sing-along to Three Dog.

"I'm as corny as Kansas in August, I'm as normal as blueberry pie."

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