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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Jo Garcia's gaming picks for rest of 2012

By Jo Garcia

Jo Garcia will be writing a periodic gaming diary for ESPN Playbook. This is her first installment.

Who am I? Well, let’s just say I’m the girl next door that happens to talk shop like a guy. My name is Jo Garcia, better known to some as Playboy’s Gamer Next Door and 2008 Cyber Girl of the Year. I was born and raised in New York City before moving out on my own in high school – which was not easy for a kid in NYC. I joined the military at 20 and served in the air force as an air traffic controller. I guess in a weird way, I gravitated toward a video game in real life. Note: Pushing Tin is no joke and should be taken seriously, but the strategy of the job is very much like an advanced flight sim game.

It wasn’t easy being a gamer in my world because, well, who would believe it, right? The term gamer has a specific stereotype attached to it that still exists in current times. But let me tell you -- in my adventures through the gaming world, I’ve learned there are some gamer ladies who can put some of the guys back on the bus with their tails between their legs. A gamer is a gamer no matter the shape, size or gender. And now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun stuff.

2012 has brought us some great comebacks in the making and great releases to be anticipated. I’m a gamer who loves a great RPG (for the non-gamers, that’s role-playing game). I love a game that has a real-time battle system where you can command your characters to act, like in Battlefield for the shooter fans out there. Except in an RPG, it’s more detailed and requires a menu of choices.


This year, selecting what game to buy is going to be difficult. There are so many games to choose from. Right now I’m playing Final Fantasy 13-2, Mass Effect 3 and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. And that’s just on my big box consoles. On my Sony Vita, which just came out this February, I’m playing a shooter title called Unit 13. I can’t begin to tell you what an experience it is to play a shooter on this device. It’s clear and accurate and gives you a new experience. With the touch screen and two analog sticks, it gives you the feel of your PS3 but with a twist. And there are some great downloadable games, if you’re new to the gaming world, such as Escape Plan and Plant vs. Zombies, which is multi-platform. Those are two great games to get your feet wet.

People often ask if I play games on my computer. I do play computer games, mostly MMOs (massive multiplayer online games) and RTS (real-time strategy) games. Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, which for me is a favorite. I love RTS games as much as I do RPGs, and due to my recent visit to Iceland and CCP Eve Online Fanfest, I’m now addicted to Eve Online. Who wouldn’t be addicted to a game where you command a spaceship? It’s a community of people that band together online and in life. It’s crazy how this one game brings real people together. And to take it one step further, the makers of Eve Online are making their first console game, Dust 514, which will allow online players to hire PS3 players to do mercenary-style missions for them. I can’t wait. That is going to take two opposite types of gamers and get them playing together. If it works, it’s going to be amazing.

There are so many great titles coming out this year, such as Prototype 2, which puts its lead character against the Prototype 1 lead character with vengeance being the main force. It’s like two rival college football teams with a score to settle. It’s safe to say this title has a lot of aggression and will leave you in shock. I’ve played the game a little bit in studio and I still can’t believe what you can do. Picture this: a human biological bomb, a helicopter in the air, with bad guys and cars on the ground, and an explosion of tentacles come out of the helicopter when the bio bomb hits it. Everything within range of the tentacles comes crashing into the helicopter. Chaos at its finest.

Then you have Max Payne 3; a guy who always knows how to show us a good time. Any game that takes shooting and slows it down so we can see exactly what damage we’re doing is great. The “Bullet Time” feature Max Payne games are known for makes this shooter more exciting. And to round out the games I’m looking forward to is Lollipop Chainsaw, a game where the lead is a cheerleader with a chainsaw. Need I say more?

I could go on forever. There are so many games and so little time in the day. I move that we shorten the work to four days so we can all get more gaming time in, sports or otherwise. That way we won’t have to pick and choose what to play!