Friday, 15 April 2016

Fandoms that I never thought I'd like (but did)

Today's 5 Fandom Friday post was enthusiastically called "Fandoms You LOVE But Didn't Think You Would!" I usually try to keep an open mind and not dismiss things without knowing them. I obviously fail at this, though, because I managed to come up with this list of five anyway!

My favourite Mass Effect character: ♥ Wrex

1) Mass Effect

I don't like shooters. I know it's not all that different from mowing someone down with a sword, but somehow the gameplay feels extremely violent to me - probably because it's made to feel very realistic. What I'd heard and seen from Mass Effect made me believe it was an action title about shooting aliens. Never had I been so wrong.

Yes, there is shooting in Mass Effect, but it's just one aspect of the gameplay. Ultimately, it's about exploring a new universe, making hard decisions with many unforeseen consequences, and battling deep philosophical questions on the way. The storytelling is absolutely sublime and on many occasions I was glued to the screen to see what would happen. The game is extremely immersive and realistic. Mass Effect has become one of those select few games that I would recommend to everyone.

The beautiful Norn region in Guild Wars 2 is perfect for exploration

2) Guild Wars 2

Just like with World of Warcraft, what I heard from Guild Wars 2 never really appealed to me: I thought of the world as random fantasy. When it comes to fantasy worlds, I'm almost exclusively a Tolkien fan; other worlds simply can't complete with Middle-earth. And then the name: "Guild Wars". Deep sigh. Does it always have to be about war? It sounded as if it was all about guilded factions fighting each other, and I prefer cooperative to competitive gameplay.

So when I bought a copy last spring for 10 euros - mostly to appease the boyfriend, who was a bit bored with the MMOs we were playing - I was extremely impressed with how good it actually was. I especially fangirl over Guild Wars 2's explorative gameplay. Even though I don't play the game as much at the moment, Tyria has conquered a place in my heart.

Contrary to what I hear from most, Christopher Eccleston is still one of my favourite doctors of all time. He shares the spot with David Tennant. (Picture from

3) Dr. Who

I had no clue what Dr. Who was about, but people in the blogosphere kept talking about it. As I shared other fandoms with these people, I figured I might like it as well. So when Conrad and I were looking for a new TV series to watch, I suggested Dr. Who, and luckily he was on board.

We started with the first season of the reboot (with Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor), but it wasn't love on first sight. Although I quickly got to love The Doctor and Rose, the series' writing was stereotypical, cheap or straight-out cringeworthy at times (I'm looking at you, fat farting aliens). There were good episodes, too, though, and we liked the lightheartedness of the series. Luckily the quality of the episodes went uphill quickly after that, especially when David Tennant took over. We are now at the current doctor and proudly call ourselves Whovians!

Playing the arcane warrior class in Dragon Age was a lot of fun

4) Dragon Age

When Dragon Age was announced, there was somewhat of a hype around the 'extreme realism' of the blood effects: contrary to existing games, blood would show on your blade after killing an enemy. This was accompanied with trailers in which a lot of blood splattered all over the screen. It basically made me roll my eyes and dismiss the game: blood and gore scares me off rather than attracts me. That, and my ex spent a lot of time playing Dragon Age instead of Lord of the Rings Online with me, the traitor.

It wasn't until I met Bioware fanboy Conrad that I tried playing Dragon Age by myself and found out that it wasn't about the blood and the violence, but about (again) exploring, making choices, gathering companions. I still need to play Dragon Age: Inquisition, so that's something I'm looking forward to!

My all-time favourite Marvel character: Rocket Raccoon.
The mere sight of him makes me go "awww... " (from Guardians of the Galaxy)

5) The Marvel cinematic universe

I know it's super fashionable to be into comics, but I simply am not. If you give me a comic, I'll look through it to get inspired by the visual art, not so much to follow the story. All those superhero movie trailers I was bombarded with in the cinema didn't really interest me. 

My boyfriend, however, used to read all Marvel comics in his childhood. When Rakuno challenged me to a Marvel marathon, Conrad got all enthusiastic and got his hands on all the movies (I never got around to writing a post about that - sorry, Rakuno!). We made a project of it to watch them all in the correct order. Conrad told me all the background stories of the characters, what they changed in the movies compared to the comics and what direction they could be taking for the underlying story... it added a lot of flavour to the universe and now I really enjoy the franchise!

What fandoms do you like that you never thought you did? Write your own blog post or let me know in the comments!

This post is part of 5 Fandom Friday, a weekly event organized by the Female Geek Bloggers group on Google+.


  1. Interesting. I will have to think about which ones that I snubbed before actually giving it a try and enjoying. For now, I will just comment on your choices.

    I too never heard of Dr. Who before the internet either. I *think* I watched one episode of it once in cable TV purely by accident. I wasn't very impressed about it, couldn't see what was the big deal about the series and failed to catch the time of other episodes to watch more just to try seeing what I was missing. I don't remember which season it was or who was the actor playing the doctor. It was way too long ago anyway. Maybe some day I will try again.

    Personally, I find all the blood splattered all over the screen in Dragon Age to be extremely silly. Bioware wanted to make a Dark Fantasy game but I think they only got it in the most superficial ways, with the all the blood, people being jerks and the silly sex scenes. Yet at the end of the day it is still a Hero's Journey kind of story where the main character gathers a bunch of people to save the world.

    To me Dark Fantasy is more about the world being screwed or doomed from the start. The main character may even try to save the world, but that is either a tragic quest or a fool's errant. Most likely though he would be either trying to get revenge on someone or trying to save the people he cares about. The Witcher (the first one, I still need to play the others. Actually I still need to finish the first one too) does a better job with Dark Fantasy. So does Dark Souls, albeit that one you could argue is more about the gameplay than the setting/story.

    I am starting to think super-hero comics might be an acquired taste. Since they can be so great and at the same time so terrible. It really depends on who is doing the writing. The advantage though is that you get a certain ability to deal with retcons and terrible, terrible phases.

    Anyway, Rocket Racoon might be my favorite character in the Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is very surprising to me since I am not into furries (despite my main characters in Everquest 2 and Guild Wars 2) and I was scared they would make him the comic relief of the movie. Glad they didn't go that route.

    1. Unlike, say, Star Trek, I feel Dr Who is not very suitable for watching separate episodes of. They do have a closed story per episode, but there's always an underlying story that weaves through a bunch of episodes as well, often having to do with social developments regarding the Doctor or his companion(s). Yup, pretty soapy! But those storylines are a big part of the attraction of the series. Unfortunately, the quality of the episodes varies greatly. Only when David Tennant played the Doctor, the episodes were consistently well written. So yeah, if you want to give the series another try, I'd prepare to battle through some mediocre episodes at the start.

      I hadn't considered the Dark Fantasy aspect of Dragon Age, but it's definitely there. The main character *is* basically doomed because of (spoiler alert!) being a warden, which means you're meeting a sad end and don't get old (end of spoiler). I don't mind that it isn't suuuper dark - I'd probably only get depressed by that. That said, I do still want to try out The Witcher at some point.

      And yay for Rocket Racoon fandom! Everyone is always going on and on about Groot, but Rocket's it for me. <3

      P.S. I'm sorry, but you're definitely into furries. It's okay, though, they're cute. :P :P

    2. I actually don't mind that. I prefer shows that have a running story during a season. Might be harder to just jump in but I think there can be more character development that way. If I do try watching it again I might just look for the David Tennant season since everybody talks so much about it. Plus it would be a nice contrast to his role in Jessica Jones. On the other hand he did his role so well in that show that I might just expect him to do something creepy and horrifying.

      Sure, the character is basically doomed from the start. But it is part of the plot to save the world. Now if the main character was doomed and the world still got screwed despite their efforts, I'd agree it is dark fantasy.

      About the Witcher, keep in mind the Witcher 1 can be pretty clunky in terms of game mechanics. That is kind of the reason I still have to finish it. From what I hear the second one is better in that area but still not perfect, while the third one is culmination of everything the developers learned from the first two games and a master piece of a game.

      Groot is cool but I think Rocket Racoon might be more interesting, character-wise. Actually, I just love all the characters from the movie. :)

      P.S.: Nuh-uh. Am not! I like monsters, beasts and even TMNT (and variants) but give me some Disney-style furry and at best you might get a raised eyebrow from me. :p

  2. I love guild wars 2. My family and I actually were beta players for it. I have one of every race, but I haven't bought the expansion yet. Doctor Who is another one of my favorites! Good choices.

    1. Wow, that's some devotion! Must be a lot of fun to play that together with your family. I haven't bought the expansion yet, either. There's still a lot for me to explore left. :)

  3. I have to admit that the shooter aspect has kept me away from Mass Effect as well. People have told me that it's not that essential to the game and I believe it, but it's still a turn-off. Plus I've been struggling to find the motivation to play single-player games anyway; I still haven't played Dragon Age: Inquisition for example.

    I still think that Dr. Who is overrated. :P I actually had a friend introduce me to it at one point, so I watched the first couple of seasons of the new run and liked it well enough, but at some point my interest simply evaporated again. It's just too goofy for me a lot of the time. After living in the UK for several years I've accepted that it's one of those "British" things that don't necessarily translate well to an international audience (even if the show does have some fans from all over the world).

    The marketing for the original Dragon Age was atrocious! I'm so glad that the things I read about it on some blogs convinced me that it was actually an entirely different sort of game. Either way, this is why I don't have a very high opinion of Bioware's marketing department to this day. :P

    I haven't watched many of the Marvel superhero movies, but somewhat related I used to not think very highly of comics until a random internet recommendation got me to buy the Sandman series. More recently I've also been enjoying a more "traditional" superhero comic in the form of Ms Marvel. I'd read so many good things about it that I finally gave in and bought the first paperback and I really liked it.

    1. Ha! I'm so happy I'm not the only one who thought the Dragon Age marketing was so different from what the game actually entails! It certainly put me off for several years.

      Then again, from a marketing perspective it may have been a success. It seems to all revolve about creating an angle that piques the curiosity of gamers. It may not have attracted *me* (and a certain segment of gamers with it), but everyone was talking about it. Even I knew of Dragon Age, while I wasn't remotely as involved with gaming as I am now.

      It reminds me of Black Desert Online. I'm sure that games entails a lot more than just its crazy character designer, yet that's what we all knew that game from before it was released. Would it have become the success it is in the west had it not created the hype? We can only guess.

      But yeah, ugh, I hate marketing.

      I'm the first to admit that Dr Who isn't for everyone. It's one of those series you either like or dislike. For me there's enough to like to suffer through the badly written episodes - in my experience the actors usually do a great job, but the plot is sometimes too far-fetched and unbelievable within the universe, or the story is cringe-worthy overall. It's a shame that the quality of the episodes fluctuate so much (especially in this last season), but I want to keep watching nevertheless because I'm hooked since David Tennant's first season.

      It's interesting to hear it's such a hype in the UK. Here in the Netherlands I do have some friends that are watching, too, but I would never even have heard about the series if not for the blogosphere.

      As for Mass Effect: I hope you do get the opportunity to try it at some point; I think we would love it. I do believe that the shooter aspect is pretty essential, unfortunately, BUT, you can play it on storymode and your companions do everything for you. I was playing the game together with Conrad, let him do the shooting and me the rest (I don't like single player games that much either, so that's why we took this approach), and that was it was a great way to spend time together. At some point I wanted to try the gameplay for myself, though (even though I knew I hated shooters), so I put it on storymode. Then, while I was still looking for the buttons, how to aim etc, my companions had already cleared the room, much to the amusement of Conrad. :P

  4. I've had the same opinion on Mass Effect. I watched my boyfriend play through parts of it and it looked really cool. Shooters are his thing, though. And I have so many games on my to-play list that I haven't had time for anything I don't think I'll like.

  5. Mass Effect is just the best. It's such a story driven game, and for me, that's what I need in a game. I have to get fully immersed in the characters and story. I also didn't expect to like Doctor Who as much as I did! I thought I'd find it too campy, but instead I loved it!

  6. Yay, I absolutely LOVE Guild Wars 2! :D The original Guild Wars game was the first MMORPG I ever played and I got hooked on the story and the world it was set in. It's made the explorable nature of GW2 so much more enjoyable to see how the world's grown and developed since the original.

    Doctor Who made my list too. I can't believe I avoided giving it a proper chance and almost missed out.

    1. I've heard from a lot of people that exploring in GW2 is extra fun because of recognizing features from the original GW. I'm a little bit jealous now! ;)

  7. I am seeing Doctor Who on so many lists that people didn't expect to like. I tried watching the first episode multiple times, but just couldn't get into it. Finally had to just power watch the entire first season in a weekend (because I am too much of a completist to skip episodes), and I am so glad I stuck it out. By the end of the season I actually didn't hate Eccleston as the Doctor, but Tennant is definitely my preference <3

  8. I haven't jumped on the Dr. Who bandwagon yet. It's not that I don't like the show (maybe, maybe not), it's just that I haven't had the time to give it chance/try yet. One day I'll get around to seeing what it's all about. Lol
    As for the Marvel universe, I enjoy watching the movies, but I just can't get into the comics. I'm more of a novel girl myself. I like more narrative and a longer story myself.

  9. I'm actually having a hard time enjoying the MCU, mainly because it is so much of an economic juggernaut. I can say that I came by my Star Wars fandom from the beginning, as I was seven when ANH came out, but the MCU feels like it is corporate from the get go, and that annoys me to no end.


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