Gaming OPEN THREAD: What Are You Playing Over the Holidaze?

It’s officially the holidaze. Whatever holigay you may choose or be coerced into celebrating in a lackluster or unsettlingly enthusiastic manner, I think we can all agree that it’s a fine time for gaming. A) It’s cold outside or should be, global warming aside B) You may have time off from work or school or juvie or whatever C) It hits an acceptable middle point on the socially-acceptable-avenues-for-total-immersive-escapism scale. Unacceptable being how much small-batch bourbon I would drink, had I the foresight to travel from my Portlandish micro-paradise to Kentucky with my CamelBak. Completely acceptable being a checked-out smile and a reindeer sweater.

Artist's Rendering

Now I am home for whatever holiday I am supposed to be caring about, which I think is Christmas. And you know what? I may be a light packer (that sounds more intense/sexy than I intended), but I insisted on bringing my Xbox 360 along for the ride. When it went through PDX security, a TSA manperson with powdered gloves and a benign if unhinged smile lifted it out of my handsome duffel and told me that my 360 was a “sweet rig” and that he intended to own one. I don’t know what the fuck he was talking about, but I really hope he gets one for the ambiguous gift-oriented winter holiday of his choosing. Santa/God, are you listening? It’s not me, Margaret, because I never read any Judy Blume books.

While gaming hasn’t exactly been at the fore of my existence lately, my main gaming must-plays include Skyrim and Skyrim. I’ve only played for basically one multi-hour session that consisted mainly of obsessive character creation…and re-creation (what did you end up rolling?! I had to have a tail…I just had to!), I am on the cusp now, I can feel it.

And by that I mean a bunch of prophets and kingtypes were like “you need to go up this mountain and hear how special you are, because you are the protagonist and that’s just how it works. No really, go up this mountain…”

Beyond Skyrim, I’d love to dig into Arkham City (which I’ve been lusting after since I previewed it at E3 earlier this year), and in fact might be more likely to given that playing Skyrim is essentially entering into a somewhat monogamous liferelationship, except you don’t get laid or get pets, you just get better spells with more impressive particle effects, I can only assume.

Which brings me to my point. (It didn’t really, but Humor Me: I’m a little jetlagged, You know how it goes, being a lesser time traveler and not getting the R-E-S-P-E-C-etc. that you deserve.)

What games are you investing your blood, sweat and tears in this holigay season? Actually if blood or tears are a direct result of your gaming experience, you might want to cool your jets for a hot second or a series of hot and/or warm seconds. As for sweat, well, I’m a sweaty person…a phenomenon which tends to be triggered by boss fights, menu-based tedium and also any time anyone sends me a message on Xbox Live from that one time I made an Autostraddle gaming socialization call-out so we could all have more virtual friends.

Which re-brings me to my point:

What are you playing? Why? How do you like it? And did you break up with your ladyfriend for SW:TOR? Better yet, how do you pull off your epic holigay gaming sessions? My grandmother gets nervous when I don’t see the purported “light of day” or “eat things” for more than 72 consecutive hours, which I think is just really square. You know?

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Back in the day, Taylor Hatmaker was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle's tech sister site, Technostraddle, may it rest in peace. Now, Taylor writes about technology for ReadWrite.com and Entrepreneur Magazine. For Autostraddle, she writes essays, takes pictures of thing and draws comics on occasion too, if you ask real nice.

taylor has written 109 articles for us.

98 Comments

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    Arkham City is SO GOOD. And it’s kind of the perfect game to play over the holidays because it’s snowing in the game and it isn’t even a tenth of the commitment that Skyrim is (I finished AC’s storyline in 4 very intense days, and all the side missions within the week).

    I actually don’t have that much time off for the holidays, and my room mate actually took the XBox to Miami, so I’m breaking out the old PS2 to play Final Fantasy XII.

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    I will also be continuing my torrid love affair with Skyrim, but then again I will also be playing both Mass Effect games….

    I guess I’m in a polygaming relationship.

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    But you can get married in Skyrim! So there must be some sex going on! But from my experience, you don’t get to sex it up. At least in Fable you can, even if you can’t see it or participate. There is a part of God of War for the psp where you get to control the sex moves as a challenge, but everyone is dressed. Also, the whole sexin’ starts when you walk into a room (while everything else is being destroyed) and you find these two women getting it on. Too bad that scene is really, probably made for the male gamers :/

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    Not going to take the laptop with me so no Civilization 3 (4 and 5 don’t work on it).
    However, I have something much better: my 2 year old niece with the cutest smile and the most devilish of intentions….
    Secretly we hope that number two will make a bit of an early appearance to join in the fun.

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    I’ll be playing Terraria ( http://www.terraria.org/ … it’s like a 2D Minecraft but it has more of a combat focus) after the 1.1.1 holiday update! This is mainly because I’ll be traveling for the holidays and I also because don’t have an awesome gaming laptop or gaming console I can take with me.

    Which brings me to my next question: I’ve really been wanting to play Skyrim at length and I’m debating whether to get an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 after I’ve saved up some holiday money / gift cards. I’m more used to playing on PS3s and I was leaning toward getting one until I read this article about Skyrim doing some intense lagging on PS3 after you’ve been playing about 65+ hours: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-vs-ps3-skyrim-lag

    So it’s kind of a PS3 or Xbox debate. On one hand, the Xbox 360 is $50 cheaper, but I don’t play online multiplayer or hardcore FPS games very often. But the PS3 comes with Blu-Ray! But the Xbox 360 doesn’t lag as much with Skyrim! Anyway, any console advice from y’all would be really appreciated.

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      I believe that if you actually intend on using the blu-ray player, then the PS3 is your best bet. Otherwise, its Xbox all the way. more games, friendlier controller and community (In my experience) and also I’ve been playing lots of Skyrim on the Xbox on only minor glitches, most of which are just amusing, like watching a draugr fail to navigate a table because its stuck inside it

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        i’m inclined to agree. if blu-ray is a selling point, go PS3. i had been a loyal PS gamer through the PS2 and made the same call a couple years ago…XBL is awesome, especially with new dashboard updates, & it seems like everyone is on it…

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      The ‘friendlier controller’ really depends on what you’re used to, and in this case, it sounds like PS3.
      In console wars, I always say: look at this
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_games_exclusives_(seventh_generation)
      Unless blu-ray is a dealbreaker or all of your friends play on xbox live, what really matters is the exclusive games for each console. Personally, I love LBP and Heavy Rain, and the other games I wanted were on both…

      I played Skyrim on PS3 and only ran into one or two freezing problems, which is pretty good for a Bethesda game lol. Don’t let that be your decision maker!

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    ill be playing World of Warcraft, and around the holiday season they have some cute festive quests. and DC on-line as its now FREE tho the download is quite large and you might find yourself deleting a lot of your stored game data. i wont be on Arkham city as i finished that within a week of it coming out.

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    I’ve saved Dragon Age 2 for the week after Christmas when I finally have some me time. I loved the gameplay, characters, and story of Origins and Awakening, and I love that while BioWare is by no means perfect, they acknowledge that their audience is diverse and refuse to cater to straight white male gamers.

    Looking forward to seeing more of Anders, Isabela, and Zevran. Yeow.

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    I’m currently playing Final Fantasy XIII so I can finish it before XII-2 comes out. So far I find that it’s not as bad as many people claim it is but it also isn’t a great FF game either. Seven, Eight, and Nine are still my favorites and way more entertaining. My biggest problem with this one is that the plot doesn’t start to get interesting or fun until around Chapter 7 and it’s a 13 Chapter game. That’s fucking ridiculous. And your characters don’t really start to level up and get powerful until like Chapter 10. I’m really hoping the sequel is going to be better in those areas. There were some positives though. I did really like Lightening and Fang, two badass female characters(If a bit bitchy sometimes but that’s okay. And I liked the Battle System and use of Eidolons.

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      By the time I finished FFXIII, it was my new favorite in the series (behind 6. nothing beats 6.). I think chapter 8 was where it finally started getting really good for me, but honestly? The reason I love it is I can appreciate that the game is linear intentionally, the characters are obnoxious at first intentionally, and the whole damn game is carefully constructed in a way that I just can’t not be in awe when it’s all said and done. It definitely has the most powerful ending of any of the games for me. Your mileage may vary, but I hope you end up enjoying it more by the time you finish. (Also it blew my mind that the game’s two main characters — not Lightning, think of FFX’s set up where the main character is the narrator — are quite arguably lesbians. They have more chemistry on screen than many of the previous FF main couples.)

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        I’m currently at Chapter 10 and now that my characters are starting to get really powerful it’s alot more fun for me. And the plot is really starting to pick up too. I still can’t tell if Fang and Vanille are a couple or sisters. I guess I’ll find out by the end but they definitely read gay to me and the dialog so far heavily implies that they are. It is a really beautiful game too. Definitely the most visually striking of any FF game.

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          I think chapter 10 is when you finally get some of the gears moving in year head about the first 9 chapters of gameplay. It’s so hard to discuss this without concern for spoilers, but I was definitely impressed that they even explain things like save points and shops. As for Fang and Vanille, they’re not from the same family, they’re from the same tribe/village. If one were a man I dont think there would be any doubt to their relationship. Add to that Fang was created as a male character initially… Idk, a kiss would have been nice but I have a hard time believing they’re not lesbigay.

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    I took several things out of my luggage so I could squeeze in my phatty Playstation. Gods, I had dreams of sitting in bed plugging 66 more hours into Skyrim (and maybe a few more into Battlefield 3, too), but then I got home and remembered that my room is furnished with a late-80’s era 13-inch CRT TV. That’s right, folks, my TV has a worse picture than my laptop.

    I cried.

    Skyrim looks like a flickery, poorly cropped nightmare. Battlefield 3 gets shrunken to fit the frame, but requires some weird, buzzardlike neck craning to even see the HUD.

    I cried.
    #firstworldproblems

    Anyway, my Skyrim main is what I always roll in Elder Scrolls games: a wealthy, murderer/thief with a heart of gold, dark elf rogue. At the moment I specialize in dealing 30 times damage from dagger sneak attacks and if that (somehow) fails, chopping shit up with one hand and blasting firebolt or fast healing with the other. Firebreath is my shout of choice, although I dabble in Marked for Death and Aura Whisper as well. Throw Voice comes in handy for slittin’ throats.

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    I’ll be playing “Skyrim” and whatever my partner gets me as soon as I get back to my 360 (and civilization) in Montreal. I’m hoping for “Dark Souls,” but I’m still unclear if it’s actually fun in addition to being punishing, or just sadistic without any real rewards. Does anyone have thoughts so far?

    So long as I’m visiting my folks in the suburbs near Houston, I’m finally getting around to “Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey” for the DS, which is pretty great but also uneven-as-fuck in terms of difficulty. It’s a step up for people who enjoyed the Persona series, but it’s also a lot less endearing since it lacks the social simulation aspect that makes those games so well paced.

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    i just re-discovered the amazingness of my playstation 2. just got the “new” spiderman game (“shadows” something). I LOOOOVED spiderman 2, climbing upon the Empire State Building and falling down only to catch myself spidey-style! YEEEEAH!

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    I’ve been on a gaming hiatus for the past six months, plus I lent my consoles to people on the other side of the country, so I’m not sure what I’ll be playing over the festive period. X-Mas and gaming have been so strongly linked for over two thirds of my life though, so I know I’ll be playing something, possibly seeing what’s cheap on Steam and catching up on stuff I missed, like Portal (both of them).

    I tend to get overwhelmed and indecisive when faced with a multitude of new stuff, so I envisage spending most of the time replaying Mario 64, which I got for my Dad on the DS last year, and he gave back to me almost immediately because it was too complicated for him.

    Other than that, I will be conserving my gaming powers to better destroy my family at Trivial Pursuits.

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    So packing light and perspiring do not eject me from the girl’s club? Tell my SO who purchased stereotypes like an Xbox 360 sale at Best Buy.

    Our gaming, which probably would put many to sleep, is Scrabble. OK boring, but we can play it during a blackout.

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    Skyrim has taken over my life, and I just bought it yesterday. So you know how that goes.

    Aside from that, probably oodles of Epic Mafia (epicmafia.com), which is this really insane psychology-based game that I can’t even begin to explain. But it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out which complete strangers are lying to you in a chat room, lemme tell you.

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    I love RPGs and I just started Skyward Sword a week ago (but the cutscenes go on FOREVER. I am not a fan of cutscenes). Assassin’s Creed: Revelations would be great if I could possibly get my hands on it (I usually end up mooching off my 11-year-old cousin, who has both an Xbox and a PS3 while I have a Wii). Definitely playing Civ 5… never gets old. Watch as I destroy your city with ten little dudes with guns!

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    I’m currently slogging through Skyrim, and I fully expect that to take me through to the new year, and I am enjoying it immensely, and have even found myself a wife who stays at home and makes me home cooked meals and gives me money, what a sweety :) I have already completed Arkham city, Revelations and Driver San Francisco, and have to say, driver was better than the first two. probably just because of the story, but revelations left a bitter taste in my mouth with its ending and Arkham city just didn’t live up to its hype in my opinion. looking forward to trying saints row 3 at some point soon, and hope you all have a merry gaming Christmas!

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    A story….

    I got very excited when GameFly told me that both Uncharted 3 AND Assassin’s Creed Revelations were AVAILABLE NOW, so I hastily packed up Shadows of the Damned (which, lets be real, I wasn’t really playing anyway) and sent it off. Do you know what they sent me instead of Nathan Drake or Ezio Auditore? Mass Effect 2.

    Taylor, I HAVEN’T EVEN FINISHED THE FIRST MASS EFFECT! How am I supposed to play the -second- one?! So I sent that back too, readding it to my “GAMEQ.”

    And still, instead of Nathan Drake or Ezio Auditore, they are sending me L.A. Noire. Which isn’t exactly what I want to play, but hey, I guess that’s the hand I’m being dealt here.

    ~fin.

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    Skyrim has taken over my life. I’m spending waay to much time as a plucky Khajiit, Thieving for the Guild, Killing for the Brotherhood, and saving the world with my life partners and soulmates, Lydia and my Supple Ancient Nord Bow (not a euphemism, I swear)^.^
    It’s annoying you have to hack the console to marry her in game, since apparently it’s bugged at the moment.
    Also, Persona 2: Innocent Sin is coming soon, so I’ll probably be glued to my PSP as well!

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    I’m caught in a horrible trap. I play Minecraft in the morning, Skyrim in the evenings, WoW with my girlfriend at night, and I can’t wait to get SW:TOR. I don’t know how I can maintain this polygame relationship while I should be doing mass amounts of homework.

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    I will be catching, training, and fighting the Pokemonz in Pokemon Black. Also my sister might get Portal 2 so I may have the chance to play the co-op mode with her! Which will be fun even though I’m pretty bad at co-op and when I did it the first time it was my friend who solved basically all the puzzles.

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    Finished my last final a couple hours ago, working until 8, intend to roll a rogue-y cat-person in Skyrim this evening.

    Also maybe SW:TOR because all my friends are playing? And a couple of them will probably buy it for me for “Christmas”/excuse to buy your agnostic friends nice things they like. Although I’m torn cuz they rolled Sith and it hurts my conscience. I guess I can still be all light-side and make good-person-choices and stuff? But I feel it will be difficult to quell my desire to BE A CAT-PERSON. A SNEAKY SNEAKY CAT-PERSON.

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    SKYWARD SKYWARD SKYWARD SWORD SKYWARD SWORD

    My flatmate got it about a month ago and I’ve watched her play – she finished it and I managed to see about half. I made sure my parents got it for us kids for Christmas though, so after Christmas Eve Mum will have to move over and give us the television and we’re playing Skyward Sword and flying a great big red bird around.

    I have an essay due on the 11th though so I had to leave my DS so I would actually get some work done :(

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    I’m more of a casual gamer, but gaming becomes a family affair around the holidays, mainly of the FPS, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. variety. With friends or family functions, I even get use from the old Super Nintendo and N64– Super Mario Kart and Goldeneye 007 will always have a place in heart and under the TV :-)

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    Kingdom of Loathing! It’s a funny, addicting online game (and it’s free!). Crimbo, the Kingdom’s winter holiday, is upon us and this year we’re adventuring in the Candy Diorama collecting fudge and candy to trade to Uncle Crimbo for his elves in exchange for presents (I’m very excited to open my Tickle Me Emilio).

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    Skyrim, so much Skyrim. Werewolves and dragons and even weird cannibalism rituals, all rolled into a massive world where there’s no clear good side vs. bad side? So many levels of addicting.

    Also, I’m really hoping for MW3 for Christmas. Anyone played it yet? Any good?

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    I may or may not have bought a PS3 two weeks ago with the intention of playing Skyrim. I was so proud of myself when I went off WoW cold turkey, and oh look, another fantasy-based world-exploring situation rife with quest hubs. Good job, me.

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    I was having problems with launching Skyrim so I decided to play some Civilization V instead, so I’m now re-addicted to that (I checked and the latest patch fixed my problem with Skyrim so I will go back to it, but later). Also plan on finishing Arkham City in the near future, and I’m getting Uncharted 3 for Christmas so will be playing that as well. I actually do still need to be studying though, I have to do 400 hours research over the summer and I’ve still got a lot to do, so can’t spend too much time gaming unfortunately.

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    It’s interesting that some of y’all bounce between various games at the same time. I tend to sink into a game and don’t touch another until I’m good and done.

    A friend loaned Saints Row The Third to me and I’ve been logging in quite a few hours tearing Steelport to shreds. I’s rad getting to play a chick gang leader. The missions are wild. It’s the first Saints Row I’ve played and it’s a good time.

    But I still wish I could just play Red Dead Redemption forever. Couldn’t they just, like, keep making it and charging monthly and hook it to my veins? No? Ok then, back to Saints Row The Third.

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    With my job I don’t really get any holiday break except the 25th. Using the little time I have I’m going to try to get back into Skyrim (xbox 360) or make some progress on the Uncharted (PS3) series I borrowed long ago. In reality I’ll most likely be on Modern Warfare 3 (xbox 360) and my minecraft server.

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    I’ve devoted the past few weeks since Cyber Monday to Arkham City. It’s been an extremely rewarding relationship, but I was forced to leave the game, and more importantly, the data, up north in college-land. Fortunately, there’s a PS3 at home, so when I get back after some Disney and a cruise, AC: Revelations will be waiting and there will be an intense period of killing until I go back to the wintry hills and pick up Arkham again.

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    I’ve already hit the lag of death that plagues the PS3 version of Skyrim, so I’ve been working on Mass Effect 2 recently (so late to the party, it’s really quite sad… I blame Xbox exclusive crap), I beat the game with a Paragon BroShep and started a Renegade run.

    Hoping that Catherine and Arkham City will be in my near-future since they were high on my Christmas list, wouldn’t mind the remastered ICO/Shadow of the Colossus, either.

    Finishing Deus Ex: Human Revolution is also a goal of mine… God damn, somehow I need to find the time for all of this before class starts again. >.> <.<

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    Me and SW:TOR have a date for winter break. I love that game so much, for reasons including the fact that holy-shit-the-women-are-wearing-real-clothing. Also, it’s just a good game.

    I also FINALLY got my hands on portal. So….

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    I’m spending today with my fairly awesome maternal family. Crazy christian fundamentalist paternal isn’t visiting this year, and my brother is home and not in boot camp. This christmas doesn’t suck after all…

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    I gorged on Skyrim back in November, and now I’m back to Fallout: New Vegas. (Same company, similar style, post-apocalypse setting) I’ve played through 4 times now, and each time it’s a different experience. So. Many. Quests. ;A;

    I’ll be re-playing FF13, to get back into the mood for FF13-2, woooo!

    And I’m hoping for the PS Move, to replay Heavy Rain, fancy pants style :D

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    whats the driving game? its called: blow the cards!

    a stack of poker cards on a full bottle of vodka. sitting around the bottle in a circle, trying 2 blow 1 or more cards from the deck. who blows the entiere stack must drink a glass of pure vodka. its fun. try it. but maybe not with Ur parents….this is more 4 friends to get rid of the x-mas blues!

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    I just nabbed myself a ps3 so at current my girlfriend neglecting line is slated to be: battle field 3, gran turismo 5, the last guardian, resident evil 5, 007 reloaded and the new silent hill.

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    I’ve been playing mostly Black Ops and Reach for the past 6 months because I’ve been flat broke, but I couldn’t resist blowing some christmas money on Battlefield 3 and Halo CE: Anniversary!!! I needed a new multiplayer game and Battlefield seems to fit the bill, and I’ve been a Halo fanatic since the beginning so I couldn’t pass up this awesome game either!!! I still really want to get Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood & AC: Revelations, Portal 2, Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, and probably many other games that I’ve forgotten and can’t afford! :(

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    I have done nothing but play SW:TOR for the past 4 days. I had been waiting, WAITING for this game since KOTOR 1&2, and it lives up to the hype.

    Previously I went through Arkham City, Skyrim, Deus Ex, and all those. I love me some action/adventure and RPGs. I got my ME2 save set up for ME3, and I think it’s safe to say Bioware owns my soul at this point.

    Maybe there could be an Autostraddle guild in SW:TOR? Just a random thought.

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