thinking

Mass Effect 3 fans demand a Happier Ending. Nerd Culture is Funny

If you are plugged in to the gaming world, you have probably heard by now about the uproar some fans have about Mass Effect 3’s ending. Spoilers aside, (and don’t watch the video if you don’t want to know how the game ends)

So I get it, fans of the games invest hours upon hours of gameplay, they sacrifice things like a social life and having their mate pissed off at them while they go for hours building relationships and solving galactic problems that they would never have the guts to go and do in real life. You go through all this to have all that you have done mean just about nothing because your choices were so limited that you basically at the end there just have to sit back and deal with the cards you get dealt in the final round. (Making this game a real lesson in life) I get it. I mean, I play RPG’s too. So while I make fun of all this, don’t get me wrong man, I’m in there with you.

The other side of the coin to this is that I am a writer of fiction, a writer of songs, and I also understand the need for things to end the way a creator needs them to end. I need to tie things up in my own way, and honestly a lot of epics are supposed to end in a way that is sometimes bitter sweet.

A big side of the debate is that… well this is a video game. So you have to ask yourself how big of a piece of art this is. Did the writers put this out there to make a point? Did they have a grand scheme all along, and does BioWare really have to make alternate endings to appease fans who want a happier way to end the trilogy?

This leads me into a fan vs creator train of thought. I actually use movies as my vehicle of example.

For Instance:

Movies are made to appease the mass majority. This is why test audiences exist. If the movie tests well with the crowd, it’s a go. If it doesn’t the crowd is polled on what they did or did not like. So if the crowd didn’t like the way a certain character was portrayed, or the actor, the part might be recast, or if say in this case, the ending was not favorable, the studio would send it back to be reshot and edited with an ending that people liked. This is also the reason that many adaptations which were excellent books to begin with, become utter pieces of shit later… Because Joe American is simply “too busy” to read, he would rather wait for a “movie to come out” but then gets upset because the typical American goes to the movies for an escape, and doesn’t want to be hit with weighty subjects, lessons on how the world works, or a social commentary on what’s going on in the world.

Take a moment to think about what I just said and if you can’t wrap your head around it, consider these examples:

ARMY OF DARKNESS- Sam Raimi and crew were given complete freedom to shoot the movie anyway they liked (since the first two Evil Dead movies were great cult classics) However when Universal Pictures took over post production, they did not like the original ending, in which Ash oversleeps and wakes up in a post apocalyptic future, citing they felt it was negative. So they had to film a more upbeat cheesy ending for theaters. The original ending has since been added to DVD editions.

CLERKS- In the original ending, Dante informs a late coming customer that the store is closed. The incoming customer shoots Dante, killing him, and the person steals money from the register, Dante’s dead face looks past the camera and the credits roll. While some fans have gone to speculate that the ending in a homage to The Empire Strikes Back ending on a down note, Smith actually changed the ending do to a mentor telling him it’s too depressing. The original ending has since been included in DVD special editions.

DAWN OF THE DEAD- In Romero’s classic movie, fans refer to a “suicide” ending in which Peter kills himself and Fran gets decapitated by helicopter blades, the camera shows that there was not sufficient fuel to escape… The film’s ending actually shows Peter deciding not to kill himself and flying away with Fran.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS – The first ending shot by Frank Oz was loyal to the play it was taken after, Seymour feeds his love to the man eating plant, and tries to commit suicide. He then decides to fight the plant, but he gets eaten too, then spawns of the plant take over the world. This is the version both Frank Oz and lead actor Rick Moranis actually prefer… but it didn’t test well and a happier ending was made where Seymour and Audrey kill the plant, get married and live happily ever after. The ending was actually added to a DVD release, but was done badly, there is an upcoming DVD release called the “intended version” which is slated to appear.

I think you see where I’m going here. I know that customers get the final say. But I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the creators who go out of their way to put a vision the way they want to. They work at putting social commentary or a spin on something to be different, but because the typical person is unhappy with life not going for them in real life, they want a happy ending in their entertainment life. That’s why the whiny consumer will almost always win. But, if we were to say, tell that person how to raise their kid, or what they should eat for dinner, we would be infringing on their rights as a free willed person.

You know when I was a kid, there was no such thing as “nerd culture”. This shit fascinates me. When I was a kid I just liked cool stuff. There was no status quo for being an outcast, you just did. My brother and I were constantly looking to the stars because we wanted something fantastic in our lives. Something different than what was being offered here on this crappy planet. We are both still waiting for something fantastic even if we have to go create it ourselves.

I find it interesting that “nerd culture” nowadays is all about the hip cool stuff. For instance, in any of these examples I have mentioned, most people in comic or gaming conventions would have hour long conversations in line about these movies, talking about how cool the original ending is. But yet these same people want to complain how a video game ends. This leads me to the conclusion that all BioWare had to do to begin with is have a typical boring happy ending, then later release a DLC that features the way it was “supposed to end” to have everyone buying that shit up. Seems that would have been a win for everyone.

But what do I know? In my day that Pac-Man machine was a quarter.

If This Doesn’t Make You Mad, It Should

It’s been a long weekend, but this made headlines, and I can’t wait to vent… It’s OK, watch it… I’ll be right here…

I don’t even know where I want to start with this.

First, I showed this to you for a reason. I have an ulterior motive. The things I’m going to spew aren’t exactly new, but it seems to fall on deaf ears over and over again by the people who have told you this before. I showed you this video because I am sure it’s pissed you off. A lottery winner… Just sit and think about that for a second. When the video was playing the first thought in my head was “Damn, I need to play the lottery a million bucks sounds kind of nice.” I am sure, that your first thought was pretty similar. Even when she defends herself and says ” Well I WON a million but after I took the lump sum it was only like 700,000 then after taxes it was just a little bit over half” and you know… what kind of a paltry sum is half a million anyway? It would take a person who makes 30,000 a year 16 years plus change to rack up half a million bucks. This chick could have taken the million in payments like a normal person and lived very comfortably for 20 years, and if she was a little bit smart (and that’s a stretch to say) she could have saved, invested or even sent herself back to school to get a job or education she always wanted and lived off that money… for a lifetime.

Second, I love the way she looks to the side and smirks when she is asked if she thinks she deserves to stay on welfare and keep using her bridge card. She just got busted, on local television, doing a shitty and immoral thing. She knows she’s in the wrong, but she continues her shitty explanation with a shy smile because she puts the blame back on the system saying she just figured they would cut her off. I also absolutely love the fact that she thinks she “kinda” deserves it… I mean she has no income, two houses a new car… she’s really struggling.

Third, I put this on here because I knew seeing someone who is basically what I consider RICH now, was still collecting aid, (Since she made headlines the powers that be have now suspended her… but only because it made news) and people only seem to get mad at things when they see someone who has gotten it better than them. Remember last year when that 20 and 23 year brother and sister team sued their mom for being a bad parent because she didn’t put money in a birthday card, and made her daughter come home early from a school dance? Those kids lived in a million dollar home… yet.. the mother’s birthday card which had no money or check in it was apparently highly inappropriate.

… I hope you’re with me so far, because here comes the rant.

I am tired of the “Entitlement Generation”. I am tired of people who think that the world owes them something because they are born, can’t get rich with minimal effort and are “struggling”. I am tired of people who have found ways to “exist” without working for their money so they decide to stay on the system as long as they can. We are living in a country that is slowly turning into a society that will soon believe the system has to take care of them from a “cradle to grave” existence.

When America originally started turning over responsibilities that used to be our burden to the government, it was for a more reasonable cause. We were dealing with a large number of uneducated, rural farm people and communities who needed a way to educate children who had no means to do so. Of course, 160 years odd ago, the mentality was different.

You’ve heard the stories and the things your grandparents and maybe even parents used to say. You know the great American dream. But America isn’t really the same anymore (Excuse me this is going to be as little political as possible) The “Great American Resolve” is no longer around. People don’t believe in earning what they get anymore. We want to go to war with a terrorist entity but we want it over in 30 days and no casualties. We want to be famous like the Kardashians, but we don’t want to actually do anything to get famous, so the result is we get more slutty girls on TV and shows like “New Jersey Shore” to show teens that you don’t have to be good at anything to be famous, just have no shame.

Even after reading this, 99% of people are going to forget about it in five minutes and go on to other things. Why? It’s the way we are now wired. We are not wired anymore to believe what our forefathers told us. We believe the new lie and the YMCA “Everybody is a winner” philosophy. We know in our hearts it isn’t true, but we still want to be shocked when shit doesn’t work out for us.

Everyday, I get an email that some of my posts are “too negative” or that I need to “lighten up”. Maybe… some people say I make some valid points, but maybe I need to give people the benefit of the doubt. I say “no”. I lose friends sometimes, but I stand by what I say. Some people agree with me until I touch on a subject that hits close to home, then all of a sudden, I’m a jerk for “going there”.

The truth is, if this was a hundred years ago, the welfare system would be a lot different. Because the attitude of people would be a lot different. There are people who for instance, in WWII, pulled together, invested in war bonds, got us out of the Great Depression and went to fight for a greater good. Now, we can’t understand why other societies hate us, we have no follow through in anything that we say we are going to do, and we don’t want to be censored or taxed, but we expect the government and schools to fix roads, fix education, educate our kids about sex, and a ton of other things. We censor and cut money from the arts (which helped build society and inspired man throughout the ages) and we demand that the people in office fix things for us, when we don’t keep an eye on what they do after we voted the best looking person in office because all our facebook friends do. We don’t want troops in military combat but we sure as hell want someone to go to Uganda and find Kony.

So I may be accused of making a generalization, but it needs to be said. I don’t see government aid as a bad thing if you really need it. I do find it sad that some do nothing to better their situation. Every generation, the parents decide they want to make a better life for their kids. Somewhere along the lines a “better” life turned into a “lazy and easy” life, and we have coddled our kids and allowed them to think they are special and important without even doing anything. When I was a kid and got in trouble at school for being more punk rock in 3rd grade than I should… I dreaded seeing my dad come home from a parent/teacher conference. Today’s parents actually side with their kid when educators call their kid out, thinking that “no teacher is going to tell MY kid how to act” not realizing that if you aren’t teaching your kid right from wrong.. who is? This girl’s own mother even told the press that she isn’t breaking the law so people need to leave her alone and mind their own business. Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, this is probably the best time to be poor. You can blame the economy, everyone is doing it, everyone is up in arms demanding people handle their debt, and complain because big business CEO’s make money while we struggle in a bad economy built on bad credit we made ourselves. I am an artist, and a capitalist. It allows me to rise and fall at my own risk. I can sink, but if I dare to be great, nothing can stop me. IF lightning should strike and my music makes a million dollars, I know I have done that through recording, touring and hard work, but if I don’t that’s alright because I am following my dream and my heart with all the resolve I can, and when they put me in the ground the day my tired meat shell can’t handle it anymore, the eulogy they give will be the story about a guy who did not take no for an answer and marched to his own drum. I think all artists should think the same.

… So I look at this video and I look at this girl. People get outraged because they wish they could win the lottery like her, and are also mad because she was still drawing money from her bridge card knowing full well she shouldn’t have it anymore, but she smiles and says she will keep using it, I am sure not expecting she would be internet famous for a negative reason. I am ticked at it too, but also more ticked off at ourselves as a society who doesn’t see that we have nurtured this belief in ourselves.

Danger Is My Middle Name 2011-10-26 13:29:08

A  girl who works in my building passed away this morning in a car accident on the way to work. We were told it was a car wreck. The girl was 19. I did not know her. She was new. Curiosity got to me so I decided to see if I could look her up. There is [...] Read the rest of this entry »