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Growing Up When Life is Strange




(Warning: Spoilers for Life Is Strange and frank discussion of suicide and implied rape).

Growing up is necessary. It can be a hideous, confusing and disastrous mess of an experience, but it is something we must all go through. After a certain point we have to stop being children. After a certain point we have to grasp that our actions really do have consequences.

Life is Strange is one of the more famous choose your own adventures style games that gained renewed popularity this past decade. It features all the evolving genre’s standard tropes; butterflies as a visual theme, choices with impossible to predict later consequences and a suspiciously binary ending.

Its major gaming mechanic is that its protagonist can rewind time and try to make more informed choices. Does this sound like it would completely undermine a stories attempt to make a point about living with consequences? Of course it does, and for good reason.

In real life we cannot rewind time to fix our mistakes. In Life is Strange we can. Or rather, we can up until a certain point, when we will be faced with the most blatant visual representation of our choices ramifications. The game does not treat us fairly, but who ever said life was fair. Life is strange and we have to grow up.


Life is Complicated

Max Caulfield (even her surname has hipster cred) returns to the small Oregon town where she spent her childhood, Arcadia Bay, to attend a prestigious art high school. Eighteen years old and a budding photographer, she was drawn to Blackwell Academy due to one of its teachers being the world famous photographer Mark Jefferson (more on this irredeemable man later).

Shy, introverted and acutely low in self-esteem, Max tries to hide from her problems in a bathroom one day. Then a boy bursts in, starts talking to himself, is soon confronted by a blue-haired girl, pulls a gun and accidentally shoots the girl dead. This is fortuitously the moment that Max realises she can reverse time.

She saves the girl with her new-found powers and discovers she is her former best friend Chloe. The rest of the game is technically spent uncovering a mystery involving corruption, drugs and a missing girl, but ostensibly focuses on the re-building of Max and Chloe’s friendship.

And there’s also a tornado coming to destroy Arcadia Bay in four days’ time. Life is hard.

An Aside: Is an art high school really a thing? I was halfway through the game before I realised Blackwell wasn’t a college. Am I the only one who was confused? Do they really have places like this in America, or is this the result of French developers with Japanese publishers setting their game in Oregon?

Life is Choice

So there is a lot going on as this teen drama slowly spirals into the potential apocalypse, (and I have made it deliberately sound more convoluted than it actually is) but the most pertinent fact is that the game ends with a single important choice. This choice is more than a little divisive among fans, which is great news for me because I am about to tell slightly less than half of them that they made the wrong decision.

The more Max meddles with time, the more odd occurrences keep springing up. First there is snow on an eighty degree day, then an unscheduled eclipse. Before long whales are washing up on the beach and two moons are floating in the sky. As an enormous vortex threatens to destroy Arcadia Bay, Max realises it is her time travel that is causing the universe to unravel. The only way to put the world to rights is to go back in time to the moment when she discovered her powers and undo the first thing she changed.

Which means she has to let Chloe die, or else an entire town full of people will die. This is the final choice the game presents to you.


Life is Consequence

We will leave the divisive ending alone for a moment and take a quick tour through some of the horrible things that can happen in Life is Strange. Things can go wrong fast and sometimes time travel cannot fix them. Here is a list of bad things that can happen in this alternate reality that Max created when she began reversing time.

  • Frank and his dog are murdered by Chloe.
  • Chloe is murdered by Mark Jefferson.
  • As is Victoria.
  • As is Nathan.
  • Kate Marsh (I will address this in a moment).
  • David’s life is utterly ruined and he kills Jefferson in his grief (he can also be murdered by Jefferson).
  • Joyce loses her family again.

This is leaving aside the tornado that threatens to destroy the town, and only focusing on the fates of the main characters. While much of this is avoidable, some is set in stone, and regardless of the exact body count, Max will leave a trail of blood in her wake. Not that I blame her in the slightest; She is only eighteen after all, and tries her hardest to help people.

The pertinent point to take away from this is that the events of the game are not pleasant for anyone. Everyone suffers along the way. This reality exists because Max saved Chloe, and it is a realty of worry and woe. This is not a timeline worth preserving.

And I have not even gotten to the worst part of it yet.


Life is Precious

Kate Marsh.

I’m sorry Kate.

I once wrote a blog post apologising to Kate Marsh. I had to take a day off after I completed Episode 2 in order for me to come to terms with her fate. For the longest time Kate Marsh was with me as I went about my life. Despite her being a fictional character, and one I barely got to know at that, I wholeheartedly missed Kate.

Kate Marsh is a reserved girl who attracts the scorn of the popular kids when she begins an abstinence campaign. She is mercilessly bullied, her situation getting even worse after a viral video of her drugged at a party is spread around campus. At the end of Episode 2 Kate climbs to the roof of her dormitory. It is up to Max (and the player) to talk her down. It is possible to fail; In fact, it is much harder to succeed. Kate Marsh can jump to her death, and no amount of time travel can bring her back.

I did not convince Kate to step down off the ledge on my first play through. She jumped, and a kind soul was lost to the world. Yet this did not have to be her fate. She would never have been driven to the roof if more people had supported her, and more people would have supported her had those who drugged her been caught.

Which would have happened if Max had not saved Chloe. Stopping the vortex will not just save a town full of people; it will also bring Kate Marsh back.


Life is Growth

(A lot of what I have to say has already been said better here, so give that article a look.)

Chloe Price is not exactly the most selfless person in the world. While she has undoubtedly been through the horrors, that serves more as an explanation for her self-centred nature rather than an excuse. She blames everyone and everything for her problems (including her dead father for “choosing” to abandon her) without ever looking at herself.

That is, until the very end of the game when she gains some perspective and finally becomes an adult. It is her idea to go back and change things so she perishes at the game’s beginning. She urges Max to save the town, with her mother being at the forefront of her thinking.

“She deserves so much more than to be killed by a storm in a fucking diner.”

Chloe grows up at the very end of the game, but it is up to the player whether or not Max will grow up too. Will you let follow Chloe’s wishes and save the town, in full understanding of the harsh consequences of your actions? Or will you fly in the face of all reason and attempt to arrest Max’s development forever?

And not to make a false equivalence, but you know who else in Life is Strange is in a state of arrested development? Mark Jefferson.

Literally the worst person in history.

Life is Horror

Remember Mark Jefferson, world famous photographer turned trendy teacher? It transpires he became a teacher not to help mould the minds of the next generation, but rather to satiate his obsessions. Jefferson has been drugging, kidnapping, and photographing girls without their consent. By the game’s end he has also become a murderer.

Everything he does is in service to taking pictures of young girls while drugged and unconscious:

“Simply put, I’m obsessed with the idea of capturing that moment innocence evolves into corruption.

The main point of contention of the villain is the idea of girls growing up. The independence, intelligence and strength of a grown woman is a ‘corruption’ to him, a subversion of the natural order where he exercises complete control. Hmm, a villain obsessed with total control in a story about a hero with control over time itself; I wonder if the writers were hinting at something?

Even leaving aside his disgusting misogyny, everything about Jefferson screams arrested development. His appearance is a see-through attempt to look like the ‘trendy, cool, not like the rest’ teacher, a pitiful stab at holding on to youth by a man that must be pushing forty. He walked away from stardom to teach at a high school, not because he values education, but due to his need to lecture people over whom he holds sway.

Jefferson is a man that refuses to grow up. He is a terrible human being. The goal, then, should be to strive not to be like Jefferson, and the way to accomplish that is to let Chloe go.


Life is Memory

One of the most common complaints levelled at the good ending of Life is Strange is that it undoes all other choices made up until that point. History is entirely rewritten, they say, and everything that Max and Chloe did over those five days ceases to have happened. This is a complaint I have always found puzzling, because those five days did happen, even if they are erased from history.

I remember those five days. Any other player will remember those five days. More to the point, Max will always remember those five days. They are her eternal gift from the universe, five days she got to spend with the person she loves most in the world.

If not for those five days, Chloe dies without her and Max ever reconnecting. She dies without Max ever meeting her again, ever learning to miss her. Nothing can ever make those five days unreal for Max because she lived them. She will always remember Chloe now. She may have lost her, but she will never forget her.

Those five days happened for Max. And they were crucial to her growing up.


Life Is

Choose to sacrifice Chloe and the story comes full circle. A long ending scene (one the developers clearly worked harder on than the other) takes us right back to the beginning. All the villains are brought to justice. Kate never goes up to the roof. The town is not destroyed, its populace are not killed and Max has matured into a remarkable woman.

Alternatively, Max can sacrifice Arcadia Bay, kill everyone in the town (including all of Max’s friends and Chloe’s mother), a gesture so powerful it will basically force Chloe to stay with Max forever (whether she wants to or not a few years down the line), and this is to say nothing of the fact that the universe still wants Chloe dead and is unlikely to stop trying. This is bad from every angle.

Is the lesson that the universe had to kill a young woman to put everything to right? No, not at all. The lesson here is that Max did have a chance to save Chloe, but only one, before she developed her powers. She could have intervened then and saved Chloe from death that very first time in the bathroom. She did not, and Chloe died.

It is the dream of a child that they can fix everything, but that is not how the world works. In real life we only get ever get a single shot and most of the time it is only clear afterwards when our shot was. No amount of wanting things to have gone differently will make it so. Being an adult means accepting the things you cannot change and fighting like crazy for the things you can.

Being prepared to do literally anything to protect the person you love most is not the sign of a good person. It is the opposite of that, a spit in the face of morality for the sake of maintaining what you want most. There are two endings to Life is Strange, but these endings are not equal. We have to be given the chance to make the wrong decision. Otherwise we would never fully appreciate it when we choose correctly.

Real because it will never be forgotten.

All Images Courtesy of Dontnod



The Arcana is a Nice Visual Novel Experience





The Arcana is a visual novel available on mobile since 2017 developed by Nix Hydra. It takes place into a fantasy world inspired by the tarot game. It’s free-to-playish (more about this later). And you know what? It’s quite good. No really, I like to play it, I care about the characters, and I want to know what is going to happen. So I thought I will write something about it today.

The Story

In The Arcana you are the amnesic apprentice of the magician Arsa. Your master (and maybe more) is forced to leave the city and leaves you in charge of his (your) shop with his familiar, the snake Faust. Not long after his departure, two characters come to visit. If I don’t remember the precise order of their visit they are respectively the Countess of Vesuvia, Nadia, and an ‘old friend’ of Arsa, the plague doctor, Julian Devorak. Both wanted to talk to Arsa but accept a tarot reading from you. After you have given them an ominous reading, Julian leaves. Nadia asks you to come to the palace to offer you a job.

This job turns out to be helping her solve the murder of her husband, Lucio, who was murdered three years ago. The main suspect, who confessed to setting Lucio on fire before escaping his prison, is Julian Devorak. He has recently been spotted in town. You must resolve the affair and catch the perpetrator before the masquerade, the first one since Lucio’s death.

From here you will go trough Vesuvia, crossing path with other characters, and uncovering a real rabbit hole of mystery. And trust me the mystery is really catching.

Oh and you will pick a romance… that’s kind of important too.

The Characters

Of main interest in The Arcana are its story and its characters. This is perfectly normal, after all this is the point of visual novel. But even for the genre The Arcana really has a colorful, endearing cast.  You will always be happy to come back to these characters. The main trio is particularly good.

From left to right: Arsa, Nadia, and Julian.

Arsa is certainly the most stable of the three. He knows who he is, he knows that he loves and cares about the protagonist. Unsurprisingly, he is the only one who remembers what happened three years ago. One of the great things about him is that he is confident, both about his ability and about who he is. He might have some hesitation about his relationship with the narrator (but for good reasons).

However, I will say that he is a bit uncertain about the way to go forward. What “happened” to Lucio certainly concerns him, but the way you follow with him is confused. There is a lot of going back, going away, trying to face the problem, deciding not to for now… It doesn’t make Arsa’s route unpleasant, quite the contrary. I think it makes it more interesting. The way to go isn’t always straight (pun intended), and that is a good thing, as it reminds us that even confidant people can hesitate.

Nadia is a more straight forward character. Despite a facade of confidence and authority, Nadia is insecure and wants to do the right thingTM. There are multiple reasons explaining this insecurity, including an amnesia that probably allows several members of her court to take advantage of her. Her desire to be a source of authority and to be right, because she loves this facade, could lead her down a path that ends up making her cold and hard. But Nadia is a good person who cares for her people. Having a strong person that needs reassurance about her capacities and future was a really good idea for The Arcana.

Julian is a bit of a mess, and this is an understatement. He is a bit of a masochist, definitively a poseur, and genuinely lost. To the point where he ends up hurting people around him, people that care about him. He is deeply convinced that unhappiness is the only thing waiting for him at the end of the story, despite his obvious medical talent and general niceness. This leads to one of the most violent roasts that I have seen in a long time, but not underserved.

In addition, the cast of secondary characters is amazing. I can’t wait for Portia and Muriel’s route. Especially since I am convinced that Muriel knew the protagonist. But there is also Lucio… Oh Lucio… What a colossal dick… I find myself wondering why no one set him on fire sooner. (Actually, maybe Lucio got the most violent, literal ‘roast’ I have seen in a long time, but once again not undeserved.)

What a piece of shit… Even your wife threw away a ring you gave her.


One of the other great thing about The Arcana is the diversity presented in the game. As you have probably noticed, two out of the three love interests are POC. Everyone is bisexual, too. But that’s not the only thing. The protagonist lacks a canon physical appearance, so they can be who you want them to be. And I say they because the game lets you choose their gender… Or rather favorite pronoun. You have the choice between, she/her, he/him, and they/them. This is such a nice and clever thing to do. Everyone can play as they want, and it makes the experience more inclusive.

I have to give another point to Nix Hydra for design. The world of The Arcana is particularly well designed to work with this inclusivity. Vesuvia makes me things about the Silk Road—it has a Middle-Eastern vibe (and the ambiance music helps).

Unfortunately, this is the only picture of one of the backgrounds I was about to find easily.

The fact that there are characters coming from everywhere and from a lot of different ethnicities continues to enhance the Silk Road impression.

Another good thing is that the universe is tolerant. Like I have already said, all three romance option are bisexuals. But everyone in the city is okay with same-gender romantic relationship. And there aren’t any comments about anyone’s ethnicity, either. You know what? This is truly refreshing.

The Main Problem of the Game

The Arcana is normally playable in three days. What I mean by that is that any update can be played rather easily with daily bonuses. However, that only works if you are okay with being robbed of every cute moment and of the majority of the illustrations. Yeah a good part of the illustration are guarded behind a wall of “pay a certain amount of coins.” You can win coins on a daily basis, but not that much in real time. So how do you get enough coins to unlock everything?

Well you pay for them with real money. Micro-transactions are unfortunately way too common today.  And that’s why I might have made some mistakes in my presentation of the game. Thus far, I have only played everything once… Because my background refused to let me spend money on something I could do another way. It’s not that I am cheap… It is that the paying system isn’t:

Please keep in mind that this is in euros.

I don’t mind that creators make money out of their creation, that is perfectly normal. However, this is a bit much. With 2 000 coins you can buy four books, and four books is the equivalent of an entire romance route. For now. The routes aren’t over yet. And there are three of them! 43.99€ is more expensive than brand new 3DS games in my country!

Yes, Nix Hydra has considerably increased the daily bonuses recently and they have doubled the amount of coins you can buy for 43.99€. But still. I will probably only have played the integrality of The Arcana in four years. That’s okay, the game is still lovely, and it does not tempt me into spending so much money. But still, it casts a gloom over the general game experience.


My free-to-play experience with The Arcana is pleasant enough for me to recommend it to you. It is a nice visual novel and if you like the genre you will have a good time. However, if you have trouble not spending money on micro-transactions, don’t start the game because the experience will be really frustrating for you. Except if you are very rich… In that case, throw some of that sweet, sweet money toward Nix Hydra. Be the renaissance art patron you always wanted to be.

Images Courtesy of Nix Hydra

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From Alistair to Cullen—Fairytale Romances and Dragon Age

Angela D. Mitchell



Spoiler Warning for all of Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and Dragon Age: Inquisition

Cullen: The way that I saw mages… I’m not sure I would have cared about you. And the thought of that sickens me.

Let’s talk Dragon Age romance. Emotions! Chocolates! Kisses! Flowers! Not to mention those itty bitty little pieces of stomped hearts and emotional shrapnel!

Sorry… I’m still recovering from Valentine’s Day. (I would have published this analysis then, a few weeks back, but I was still weeping and locked in a fetal position…)

I heard someone say recently that RPG romances actually elicit the same reactions in the brain that real romances do. I have no idea if that’s scientifically true, but when it comes to Dragon Age, it certainly feels true.

For me, as for many, RPGs tap into emotions that can be intriguingly close to real. We play a character for what can be dozens or even hundreds of hours. We flirt with other characters. They flirt back. And eventually declare their love. We love them back. And often, not just via avatar; it’s not just my Inquisitor, for instance, who loves Solas, or Bull, or Zevran, or Anders, and all my other romanced characters. I absolutely love them, too. And in a way, that’s more personal and less remote than, say, my crush on Aragorn when rereading The Lord of the Rings. Because let’s face it, Aragorn doesn’t look right over at me and proclaim his adoration back. In an RPG romance, however? Yeah, he totally would.

And that’s where they get you.

It’s both embarrassing yet visceral how emotional that can be. And each choice in an RPG like Dragon Age further ensures that our choices will make us unique, make US worth the love and accolades from our chosen objects. No matter that thousands of other people have lived it—you can know this intellectually, yet emotionally, the game relationships still feel all too real, immediate, and personal. It’s one of the greatest lures of the gaming world, that sense that YOUR playthrough is the only one that truly matters, and it’s intoxicating when accomplished by a team as talented as Bioware, for instance, on the Dragon Age series.

Predictable Patterns

However, when you’ve played your share of RPGs, as I have, you can also kind of get jaded; lulled into certain patterns. You especially become used to the romances going a certain way: you flirt with your potential love interests, they’re charmed, bold, or bashful, and they flirt back. If you’re playing a good (or “paragon”) character, you won’t break their hearts and they won’t break yours. There’s not a ton of suspense—they will love you. It’s assured.

You then progress through the game story, and eventually there are heart-eyes and kissage, followed eventually by a scene where you finally spend the night together in pixellated soulmate bliss. Well, hey, for a moment or two.

Aaaand… Fade to black.

And, well, basically, that’s it. You got your happy ending, or, alternatively, basically, what I call, the phase that is “Welcome to the End of Your RPG Romance.”

Alistair’s romance in Dragon Age: Origins can vary from the sweetest fairytale imaginable, to a grim and cynical outcome, depending on your choices.

“Someday My Prince/ss Will Come…”

First off, there can be something really reassuring about the less complicated romances. They can be terrific fun, and a welcome change from real life.

The base template for me on this in Dragon Age, for instance, will probably always be Alistair’s romance in Dragon Age: Origins (DAO), at least, as I had played it. I’d ended up with a triumphant female elf Warden wandering off hand in hand with a Grey Warden Alistair after defeating the Archdemon and waving goodbye to a pregnant Morrigan. (Note: You can get an even happier ending if you played a female human noble, because then you can marry Alistair, he becomes King, and you ascend the throne alongside him to become his queen.)

I’d liked the Alistair romance, although it hadn’t quite been my cup of tea. It had seemed a little adolescent and predictable to me, even though it was (being Bioware) also indisputably charming. Alistair is a funny, sweet guy, he’s an exiled prince who gives a female Warden his inexperienced and vulnerable heart, and it’s all seriously adorable. The moment when he gave my poor sweet Warden a rose remains a milestone for me in my memory of my first DAO playthrough.

Or… Not…

However, Alistair’s romance isn’t actually predictable, though. That’s where I was wrong. It can end in half a dozen different brutal and tragic ways. So I was truly amused later to realize how many different choices I’d actually happened to luck into that had resulted in that bright and sunny fairytale ending!

I mean, come on, this is Bioware. I was stupid. Sunny endings, I should have remembered, are… rare and precious. Never a given.

But I was careless, and had innocently assumed my Disney outcome was the norm. (Really? Was I ever that young? Evidently I was. Once.)

But my entire awareness of that moment (and happy ending) was actually a lie, and, as I’ve noted, it wasn’t the only possibility at all. Ironically, Alistair’s romance most definitely isn’t happy-happy. It isn’t “someday my prince will come.” It can, in fact, end in incredible bleakness—with the Warden dumped, left, abandoned, or dead, and with Alistair despairing and drunk, executed, or heroically dead from his own fatal blow against the Archdemon.

Flipping the Formula

I’d had no idea of this in my first playthrough. I only began to realize its possibilities in discussions with other Dragon Age players I know.

And I’d definitely had no idea that an Alistair playthrough could be so much more complex and dark. The first time I played Dragon Age: Origins, my Warden had encouraged Alistair not to become King because she wasn’t a fan of people being pushed into roles they didn’t want, so she inadvertently ensured that they got their happy ending out of simple selfishness. Which was even more ironic because, for me, I didn’t actually think my Warden protagonist’s romance with Alistair would even last. She’d had conflicting feelings for assassin Zevran (then broke it off because poor Alistair was really difficult to break up with, honestly), and had also had a wordless if doomed yearning for Qunari warrior Sten (at least in my own headcanon).

So I got my “Disney Prince” romance even if at the end I kind of went, “Oh, sweeties… it will never, ever last,” to the couple I ended up with.

It’s All About the Formula

Still, the standard formula’s pretty timeless and proven throughout the ages. Flirt, kiss, sex, happy ending, boom. Done.

Cassandra’s romance is a charming opportunity to see the lighter, sweeter side of one of Thedas’s toughest warriors.

This fairytale type of formula means that your typical romance often takes up a fraction of the game story, while also hitting those predictable necessary romance points… the courtship, the glances, the kiss, the sex, the aftermath (if there is one). Most formulas in fact eschew the aftermath and just end the relationship there in a haze of assumed present and future bliss. This always disappoints me, because of course, relationships don’t end with sex, and they actually get a lot more interesting after that point.

Romances adhering to this formula in Dragon Age might include, depending on story arc, the following characters:

  • Alistair
  • Leliana
  • Merrill
  • Cullen
  • Josephine
  • Cassandra

However, of course, this being Bioware, any one of the above romances can end sadly and even tragically as well. It just depends on the choices you make. Alistair, Leliana, and Merrill can all end up abandoned or dead at the hand of the very person who loves them, while Cullen’s romance can also end in one of the most heartbreaking revelations in the Trespasser DLC, depending on your choices for him. Josie and Cass survive no matter what, but they may do so with some serious broken hearts.

Thank goodness, though, it doesn’t have to go that way. So if you go for the fairytale, and you make the choices that support true love and sweetness, you’ll usually get it in the above scenarios. Alistair’s, Leliana’s, and Merrill’s romances are more innocent, and Josephine’s is positively Disney Princess (and utterly adorable). Cassandra’s is lovely, and provides a glimpse of her softer side. My only complaint about hers is that it’s a bit light on content, and it’s pretty much set forth according to that formula where the story’s basically over after the sex.

Cullen’s deceptively complex romance actually explores Cullen’s journey across the entire Dragon Age trilogy, while giving him a chance at love and atonement.

Romancing the Templar

Cullen’s, meanwhile, is probably my favorite of the fairytale romances in Dragon Age, not least because it doesn’t end with the hookup, but instead actually explores Cullen’s journey across the entire trilogy. It’s especially satisfying if you romance him with a mage, since Cullen’s story back in Dragon Age: Origins began with a traumatic experience that left him with a bias that he was still working through even in Dragon Age II and on into Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI).

In DAI, Cullen is wrestling with a search for redemption based on over a decade of backstory if we’ve played the entire trilogy. His emotional inner conflicts result in a romanced relationship with the Inquisitor that can be really rich and poignant, as his feelings for her are depicted in a lovely and often wordless progression of simple, believable little moments (both funny and sexy) that genuinely communicate intimacy. As his romance evolves, we’re shown Cullen’s more vulnerable side, as well as how deep his sense of religious faith really is. I remember being surprised and moved at a simple scene near the end in which Cullen simply embraced the Inquisitor and held her, expressing for the first time how deeply he feared losing her.

There are plenty of other happy romances in Dragon Age, but they’re not as straightforward. Bull’s, for instance, is sexy, funny, and surprisingly edgy, but it’s also somewhat cynical and cold, at least at first. Solas’s romance (while achingly emotional at levels that are practically operatic) is certainly not the guaranteed happy ending most players may be going for.

The romances described here, however, meet the basic needs of the formula and provide a general prospect of romantic happiness for those who make the right choices.

If you want hearts and flowers, in other words? These romances are a good place to start.

I’ll be taking a look at some of the romances that don’t really follow that fairytale formula in the near future… and, from Solas to Bull to Zevran and Anders, which ones in that assortment that I loved most. But what about you? Do you prefer the fairytale romance formula, yourself? Or something a little more complex and real?

Meanwhile, don’t mind me. I’m heading off on my War Nug, back to camp where I can drown my lonely sorrows in a few of my beautiful and decadent Valentine’s Day chocolates. (I got them on sale!)

Images courtesy of Bioware

This article is a reprint (with minor modification and expansion) of an article originally published by Angela D. Mitchell on

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The First Female OWL Player is a Struggling Team’s Best Chance





Stage one of the Overwatch league’s left many teams disappointed with their results, but none more so than the Shanghai Dragons who finished at the bottom of the league with a devastating 0 – 10 record.

While esport castors and fans alike praised Chao “Undead” Fang and Weida “Diya” Lu for their individual skill, and for the team as a whole improving since the start of the season, many still maintain that a 0 – 40 season record is still a very real and very scary possibility for Shanghai.

In the recent signing period, the Dragons acquired three new Korean players: Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee (Tank), Gi-Hyeon “Ado” Chon (DPS), and (by far the most publicized) Yeon “Geguri” Kim (Tank).

Geguri will not only be the first female player in OWL, but one of a small handful of female players across all professional esports. Early on in her career she was accused of cheating because her Zarya play is just that good. She proved her mettle (and put the rumors to bed) by filming her hands while playing during a live stream.

General managers throughout the league had faced heavy criticism from fans at the start of the season, as not one of the twelve teams in the league recruited Geguri, a player who, statistically, was better than a large handful of male tank players that did get signed to teams. The accusations of sexism became even more damning after the Houston Outlaws’ staff cited a lack of female facilities at their training HQ as part of the reason for not taking her on.

So, Geguri got a team (and even one that wouldn’t make ludicrous excuses!) and the Shanghai Dragons got a badly needed injection of skill. Looks like everything worked out, right?

Well, yes and no.

Sadly Geguri, Fearless, and Ado are all still trying to get their american VISAs, a process that could take several more weeks, meaning they are currently unable to play.

Meanwhile, stage two has so far been equally unkind to the Dragons, losing both of their games in the first week. Many remain doubtful that the team, even with the roster change-ups, will be able to advance out of last place. Analyst Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles was notably skeptical that the addition of the Korean players will be able to have a significant impact for the Chinese team but added “I don’t think it’s going to be that bad” when asked about the prospect of a 0 – 40 season finish for them.

Until then, OWL fans will be praying to the gods of RNG (VISA paperwork is controlled by RNG, right?) that Geguri will soon be taking her long overdue steps onto the pro stage.

Image courtesy of Blizzard

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