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When Being Angry About A Game Goes Too Far
There comes a time where we as gamers, no, as human beings, have to take a step back and do some self-evaluation. If for no other reason, we do this just to make sure we have our heads on straight, that we’re making logical decisions, and that those decisions will lead us in the right direction.
In the case of the Mass Effect 3 ending debacle, this is one of those times.
Look, even though I don’t agree with you, you’re allowed to be upset with the ending. I’m not telling you how to think, no one can do that. I am, however, telling you that you’re being a tad ridiculous in your backlash. You want to complain on forums? Fine. You want to start a group called Retake Mass Effect and fight for a better ending? The group’s name is technically incorrect (you can’t ‘retake’ what you didn’t control to begin with) but I admire the tenacity. Hell, if anyone should be happy about this overreaction, it’s Child’s Play, who just made $40,000 because people are unhappy. Unfortunately, all of the legitimate complaints will forever be overshadowed by the egregious actions of a few zealots.
The following forum post appeared on the BioWare Social Network on Friday:
“Thread Name: I filed an FTC complaint
Against EA. After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims. This thread has a great compilation of their claims:
Clearly, none fo these were represented in the ending. If anyone else wishes to file a complaint (the more there are the more likely the FTC will take action) just go to FTC.gov and fill out a complaint form in the Consumer Protection section. Here’s EA HQ’s address and phone number:
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065
This is not somethign I was happy to do, but after the terrible ending that was in no way the product that had been advertised to me and the lack of any kind of response from Bioware/EA to address this, I felt it was one of my only recourses. I’ll be returning my copy of the game before the end of my 30 day return policy if the ending still hasn’t been addressed by then.
UPDATE: Filed a Better Business Bureau complaint as well. They can be found at BBB.org. The BBB will at the very least notify EA of any complaints they recieve, so every complaint filed is something that EA will hear about.
DISCLAIMER: Before you start debating how dumb I am, let me be clear. THIS IS NOT A LAWSUIT. THIS IS NOT SERIOUS LEGAL ACTION. This is a complaint about EA/Bioware’s advertising, filed with the the organizations that handle false advertising in the U.S. As EA is the publisher, they were the appropriate people to complain about. If you don’t think that exercising one of the few, civil, legal ways available to hold a company accountable is stupid or immature, that’s fine. If somehow (space magic?) they actually decided to do something other than send EA an email about it, there would be a miniscule fine, that’s it. There is no way that this could “tear bioware apart” or anything of the sort. If you still think I need to be called stupid or immature, then post away.”
An FTC complaint. A Better Business Bureau complaint. Over a video game that didn’t end the way this person wanted it to. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.
The only way this complaint goes anywhere other than the garbage is if BioWare didn’t deliver on making the game they advertised: Mass Effect 3. Last I checked, the box says “Mass Effect 3,” and the game takes place directly after the preceding game, named “Mass Effect 2,” so I think BioWare fulfilled their responsibility.
The BEST part of this, though, is the first line:
“After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims.”
Hold on, let me fix it:
“After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims IN MY OPINION, SO I DECIDED, SINCE MY OPINION IS OBVIOUSLY THE TRUTH, TO TAKE ACTION WHERE IT WASN’T NEEDED, WASTING EVERYONE’S TIME.”
I’m sure I’ll get plenty of comments here like the ones I got in my defense of the ending, such as the well thought out “you’re a f—— retard,” but anything you say to me does not cover up the fact that these people are being ridiculous.
I’m sure these people think they are representing the “majority” of Mass Effect fans, that they are speaking for everyone who purchased the game, because EVERYONE, in their eyes, should be angry about this. Let me make one thing clear: you may represent the majority of the forum users, but you do not represent all Mass Effect fans everywhere, and you sure as hell don’t represent me.
What you DO represent, however, is everything that’s wrong with the gaming community. You represent the people who think that their wants and needs are more important than those of everyone else. You represent the people who think they know everything there is to know about game development and can tell the actual developers how they should do their jobs. Worst of all, you represent a sense of entitlement (there’s that word you people hate) unmatched by fans of any other entertainment media.
I should be able to ignore all this. I should try and remain unbiased and objective, as one of the main tenets of journalism says I should. Thing is, I’ve only been a qualified journalist for three years, but I’ve been playing games SINCE I was three. As a proud long-time gamer, I just can’t stand for it.
You are making me look bad.
You are making ALL gamers look bad.
It’s a shame, too. There are some who have intelligent, composed, and legitimate reasons why this ending isn’t up to snuff. Those people want to be heard, but instead they are overshadowed by the cacophony of entitled bullcrap that dominates every forum and article comment thread, so their arguments will never surface. Let’s not even TALK about those who may actually LIKE the game’s ending, they have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than saying their piece. Just look at The PA Report; every time someone shows support for the ending, they get downvoted into oblivion because of their opinion. This is an excellent opportunity for intelligent, composed gaming conversation. Unfortunately, the people who will represent this issue to those outside of the industry will be the morons who do things like file ridiculous FTC and BBB complaints because a game didn’t end the way they wanted it to.
This is the kind of action that cause people like Roger Ebert to say what he does about our industry. These are the things that will make people take our industry less seriously, whether you think so or not. If we want to be on the same level as movies and music in more than just a legal sense, then we as a community must show a little more maturity in our actions. We need to think about what we say and do, and we must create an environment where intelligent discussion is encouraged and admired, rather than the typical “your opinion is different than mine, so you’re a f—— retard.” How are we supposed to grow as a community if we continue to throw stones like this?
There needs to be a middle ground, otherwise the gaming world will always play second fiddle to films and music. It’s time we treat each other with a little more respect. The entire industry will be better for it.
Jason Fanelli oozes the blood of a gamer, having played games for over 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @bigmanfanelli for more irreverent banter you may not agree with. He’s all for good games discussion.