Stealing My Heart?: Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne Review

Dragon Age The Stolen Throne CoverDespite being barely further in Dragon Age: Inquisition than I was when I wrote my last article, I felt it would have been strange to end the month with a post about another series. Instead of the video games, though, today I’m going to talk about one of the books. Indeed, many people may not even be aware that there are Dragon Age books. As of now, there are four—with various receptions from the fanbase—and I’ve only read one. The first one: The Stolen Throne. Always hungry for more information on the DA universe, I leapt at the chance to read this firsthand account of the events that lead up to the Battle of River Dane and how the groundwork was laid for the eventual liberation of Ferelden from Orlais. And I wasn’t disappointed. The book provided an interesting, compelling adventure through areas familiar from the first game (Dragon Age: Origins) while providing fantastic character arcs, but the more I thought on it, the more obvious it became that this novel, both early in the DA universe timeline and the franchise’s life, reflected some problematic elements present in Origins, and to an extent, the other two Dragon Age games.

Spoilers under the cut. Continue reading

Wanted: A New Generation of Heart-Breakers

dragon-age-500x250When it comes to video games, I’m biased. A game can have the most stunning graphics or the newest, most innovative gameplay, but if the writing sucks I’m not going to give it a second glance. It’s the writers, the perhaps more overlooked members of the video game creation process, that really steal my heart (and crush it sometimes). Because of this undying love for an art I have the utmost respect for, I am pleased to introduce you to one of my favorites, David Gaider.

Gaider, self-professed “lover of fan tears”, is the lead writer for Bioware’s Dragon Age franchise and he’s surprisingly very involved with his fanbase. So much so in fact that he recently—as in within the last month—began his very own Tumblr. Needless to say, we fans freaked.

Now, it would have been simple for him to do what most of us do on Tumblr: reblog images we like and leave a couple witty comments if the mood strikes us. Whereas there is, of course, some of that, what Gaider offers by means of his intelligence and experience in the gaming industry is the main draw. Currently he has a conversation going on called “On Narrative Design” which explores how exactly an idea for a story goes through the process of getting into the final product of a game. Not only that, but he also discusses some of the industry’s own shortcomings, such as not hiring enough females.

If you’re interested in getting a writing position in the gaming industry, or just fascinated in how this process works (as I am), I would highly recommend reading through his posts. No matter what this man may have done to your feels in the past, his knowledge is indispensable. Who knows, you may even use his own tools against him someday.