There’s a storied history behind my reasons for not wanting to play this particular gem of a game. It’s a dark and twisted journey into the inner-most workings of my cliche ridden subconscious, but you made it this far, past the harrowing opening sentence and through the melodramatic and overly long second sentence. You even made it to the end of this paragraph, you adventurous individual, you!
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is one of those games that is celebrated for being what every RPG should be, an interesting and more importantly a deeply involved story. The RP part of RPG is often ignored by so-called RPG makers of this generation, but Bloodlines does its best to keep you involved with your choices and decisions.
The creation scheme grants you have a wide variety of vampire clans to throw your lot in with and it’s amazing how much your experience will change if you choose to play as the socially-adept toreador and then, on your second playthrough choose the path of the hideous nosferatu and you’ll find yourself playing the game like a vampiric Splinter Cell, ducking and diving from shadow to shadow to keep out of sight of humans.
Personally I went with the Malkavians, the crazy, bordering on dangerously psychotic, vampire clan where each member displays their insanity differently. For some it shows as a split-personality, while others suffer from paranoia and hear voices that are not there. The player in particular displays a failure to communicate rationally, making even the most mundane of conversations hilarious at times.
So why wouldn’t I want to play this game? It’s a classic, and I’ve been told as such on more than one occassion. In the true spirit of biased revelations, I should really point out that my interest in vampires is something that vaguely resembles a rollar coaster. When I was very young they never appealled, as in not even a little. I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was a great show, but my favourite villains were rarely vampires. I was all about the crazy-ass demons.
Then at some point, I can’t remember when exactly, I read a great Doctor Who novel about vampires. It went into the romanticism of these supernatural entities and for a time got me very interested in them. Then, as I grew up I started to believe I’d matured out of being interested in such things. Besides it was a time when ‘vampire’ meant a cross between Grandpa Munster and Marilyn Manson, both of which have their individual merits, but by the act of combining the two seemed to lose them completely. Lastly let us never forget the indignities enacted upon the undead by the invention of Twilight and all derivatives therein.
Vampires became, in my highly biased eyes, a very girly thing. There’s plenty of arguments for and against this viewpoint, but it’s what held me back. In any case I’ve played the damned game now, and it was good. I like vampires again… well… for now.