Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Mass Effect and whiny ass-fans: Why I support Bioware and the writers

(XKCD fully supports and endorses this bitchiness, whether they know/like it or not.)

We interrupt our regular idol broadcast for important Bioware-related opining.  Very and super duper important.  BTW, if you don't like spoilers, DO NOT READ!  And if you don't like them and read anyway, don't come crying to me.

I don't usually consider video games to be SRS BSNS, but this is an exceptional case.  The world not just of Mass Effect, but of art and interpretation in game stories, is under attack.  Don't think it's that big of a deal?  Think again.

I am sick to death of all the bitching and moaning about the ending to Mass Effect 3.  Did it fulfill all the fanfiction writers' dirty alien mutant baby fantasies?  No.  (*Garrus fangirl wistful sigh*)  Was it super happy fun times?  No.  Was it perfect?  No.  Was it a damn good ending to what is quite possibly the most incredible story in the richest universe ever conceived by the tiny minds of humans?

Fuck. Yes.

Now, don't get me wrong, the first time I played through the game (yes, the shiny collectors' edition with mah homegirl FemShep, lovingly designed by the AAAAMMMAAAZZZZINGGGG Patryk Olejniczak), my craving for completeness was slightly less than sated.

I played through with a character I wasn't super-invested in at first, a paragon vanguard who stayed faithful to Kaidan Alenko through the whole series.  This way, not only would I not be pissed off by any lacking in my romance scenes (TOTALLY worth it btw, Kaidan fans), but if I screwed anything up (like not finding Kelly on the Citadel before Cerberus blows it to hell, missing Conrad Verner's conversation or killing the damn rachni queen LIKE A MORON because I didn't want to risk losing my Grunty-poo), I could just fix it later on another character.

I decided to go with the blue ending first, just because I wanted to see what happened.  I'm not gonna lie, I got teary eyed and slack-jawed listening to the amazing music and watching the Reapers go bye bye as my FemShep poofed into a cloud of heroism.

I just kinda sat there and drooled for a bit, until I saw Joker in the Normandy...then I kinda freaked out.  But wait...your LI and Joker (and someone else, depending on your end choice) end up on some jungle planet?  Hooray!  Roll Well, the music is still amazing, so I'm going to wait.  But wait...just some grandpa and his grandkid out in a forest.  Nice touch, I will admit.  Nice.


My intial reaction in a nutshell.  I liked the ending, but I felt it lacked a certain completeness.  Oh well, I always have my

That aside, the games, all of them, were amazing and gorgeous and full of great music and loveable aliens and Zaeed and Jack and OM NOM NOM.

(Come on, I KNOW I'm not the only chick out there who wants some FemShep on Jack action)

Now to the griping. I can understand a little spirited debate on the perks and pitfalls of the endings to ME3, but it has gone way too far.  What, are we so stuck in das Happyend land that we can't possibly deal with the ending WE ALL KNEW WAS COMING ANYWAY?!?!?  (I mean, yes, we are, but...)

A buddy of mine mentioned that he did kind of want the picket fence, 2 kids and a retriever in the end (thanks, Raleigh :P).  And I admit, I kind of did too, but let's be real here.  That's not going to happen.  It's really getting irritating reading comments like "OMG JOKER WUZ 2 RUNZ AWAY FROM PLOTHOLES LOL" and "LOL INDOCTRINATION GRR BIOWARE" and "GRUMP I RETURN ALL THE GAMEZ TO GAYSTOP BECUZ BIOWARE IS HORRIBLE PEOPLE."

Seriously, because you're pissed off from a VERY small part of the story, you're going to get rid of all your games and take away your kid's birthday?  Seriously?  Are you really that pants-on-face retarded?

I'd really like to think not, but all evidence is pointing to most hardcore ME fans being immature doucheweasels who still think the universe revolves around them, which is one of the only reasons I think the indoctrination theory exists.

Speaking of which *TANGENT TIME*...

What is indoctrination theory?  Well, I'm sure you know by now, but I'll be presumptuous and explain it anyway.  Basically, it assumes that Shepard is somehow indoctrinated by the Reapers at some point, and still is by the end of the game, so everything is just a dream, yadda yadda...

From the Bioware forums, where it all started (Courtesy of user turtilicious):

"There are two theories for WHEN Shepard's subtle indoctrination starts, these theories will be numbered, there are two theories when his full blown hallucinations start. These are lettered. Simply pick a number and a letter, or just a number, or just a letter. This way, you can have your special theory.
theory 1 is that indoctrination is at the start of ME3 and that during the whole game every dream is more and more indoctrination. Also, there is an indoctrination device on the normandy, (supported by Vega mentioning a Hum all throughout the game) This is supported by the re-apperance of the RGC all througout the game. People disagree because people believe Indoctrination, (from now on condensed to ID) is not as subtle as that, and would not only affect dreams.
Theory 2 is that it happens on the Normandy, that the child is real in the beginning, but once on the Normandy, you start to get indoctrinated, which is supported by Vega hearing the Hum. The same reasons as above but SLIGHTLY more credible due to the poster of the missing earth child. People disagree with Theory 2 for the same reasons as theory 1.
Theory A is what I like to call the "Ilos Run" theory, that you're ID is full blown on the shuttle as soon as you leave the shuttle. This theory concludes that the shuttle was blown up at some point, that you were buried beneath rubble, and harbinger is trying to indoctrinate you to retrieve the body. It is supported by the dreamy quality of the run itself, and the lack of squadmates following you, soon as the ID gets stronger, you go full on dream mode. This is to compensate for the "Dream Trees" at the very beginning of the run 
Theory B is that your full blown indoctrination is not until you get pwnt by the laser. and that at that point you are passed out at the crucible, and Harbinger is doing what he has always wanted, (ID of Shep) This is supported due to the realistic look of the run down the hill."

This is not the full stuff of the theory, by any means, and despite my earlier rant, I do still find it to be an interesting theory, even if I myself think it is total and utter crap.  Fans have put a great deal of thought into this theory, even if it can never be proven.

But here's the catch: this kind of theorizing is what Bioware had hoped fans would do THE WHOLE TIME.  Casey Hudson said this in response to fans' strong reactions:

"I didn’t want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the ends have had with people–debating what the endings mean and what’s going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in," Hudson said at the time. "That to me is part of what’s exciting about this story. There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it’s a story that people can talk about after the fact."   source

A strong reaction to anything just means that the thing being reacted to did its job well.  This open end is the beauty of the story, of the entire Mass Effect universe.  We as fans have been given the gift of deciding for ourselves what really happened.  That is what art is about.  And this series is as artful as it gets.

Unfortunately, most of the audience in question was counting on being spoonfed a sweet ending and can't handle brain activity.  Thinking for yourself is pretty fucking scary, ain't it?

(Zaeed agrees. bleedingcrow, the fab artist behind this)

So, back on the beaten path...why do I think the indoctrination theory sucks, you ask?  Now, keep in mind, I think it in itself is a cool theory, even if I don't think it's plausible at all.  The reason I don't like it is because a lot of people who buy into it seem to be doing so because they want to stick it to the Bioware man and say "See, you guys asked for this!  NOW SHEPARD IS OURS!  And we're still mad at you so NYEH!"

Not really because it could be a possible ending--nooooo, that would just be grown-up.

A lot of people say they hope the indoctrination theory is true because "it would make up for the ending." (Real quote from about 5 billion commenters)  Dear god, why the hell would you want to believe that?  Seriously, if you guys were hoping for a happy ending and now you're hoping that Shepard is really just a dead robot and you're some sad, geeked out Haley Joel seeing the dead people Bioware didn't even know about, it's not because you really believe the theory.  It's because you're mad.

Why else would you want to believe that Shepard isn't a big goddamn hero and actually had his/her mind intact the whole time and maybe it just fucking sucks that she/he might choose to be a sacrifice and die and leave Garrus all alone to calibrate uninterrupted FOREVER WAAAAAAAH!!!!!!  *sniffle*

Ok, let me stop being a bitch and give you guys a hug.  Yes, there is a bit missing from the ending.  But it is not cause to go march on the people who created this masterpiece and forget everything they did to make the Mass Effect dream come true. Go get some ice cream.

You can get off me now.

So anyway, go check out *click meh* Epantiras *CLICK MEH NAO!!* on DeviantArt and read all her ME comics and see all of her awesome, hilarious ME art to make you feel better.  GO!  (sorry--I lurk, but I never comment, I'm a terrible watcher :P)  I know I'm not reeeeeallly supposed to do this, but I have to plug it because it's funny and I love Jack.  And plus, I can't draw worth beans, so there's no way I could have done this :D

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