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.
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.
Below is my tour diary… Had a good time, learned even more lessons…
I leave on a mini tour Friday. I am quite unprepared for it. It couldn’t have come up at a more inappropriate time. I’m actually trying to save money since I’ll be moving to a new residence next month, but instead of being smart and watching my finances, I am embarking on an excursion which will drag me all across Texas at close to 4 bucks a gallon with no thoughts on bedding, shelter or food. The shows are literally earn your keep, and life is random.
I am strangely OK with all that. I’m a simple person. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy sometimes. Sometimes, leaving the day job for a long stretch of days is enough. Adding to that the prospect of playing the songs that I wrote every night and telling the people in attendance where I was when I wrote them… that’s pure magic. Of course, new friends, drinks, tips, and the odd adventure off the beaten path never hurt anyone either. I’d say I’m in for quite an adventure.
I’m not stupid. The majority I can do without. I’ll be going hungry a lot. I will be sleep deprived. Most nights I will be sleeping in a car that on a couch. There will be lots of downtime, I will be forced to write down my thoughts for future lonely songs. I will have to read boring books to force myself asleep. It will be hot, sticky uncomfortable, and I will miss my home, and my friends very much.
But it’s only temporary. The lessons learned on the road will fuel me for another year, as I plan to do it again and again. The highs always outweigh the bad. I guess if I wanted to be like others, I could stay home in my comfort zone, not leaving the safety of my hometown, not seeing what else is out there, but I choose not to. In the end, I just want people to be proud of me. My folks, little Ally, my girl, my hometown, myself. Somewhere… someone is bound to be.
Summer tour: Kingsville
I left for the road as soon as I got off work last night. I was excited to go. I love the road.
About half an hour in I got a small anxiety attack. This was stupid. No plan no money just go. Then I thought of how I want to go vagabonding in a year or two. If I cant handle Texas in a week, I sure can’t walk across Spain.
Once I figured this out.. I settled down and just decided to ride it out. Once my fears were set I enjoyed the music on the road and looked forward to playing…
Kingsville was very receptive. GREAT crowd. Really nice kids and fun drinkers. I had free whiskey all night. I was the headliner last night, which is scary since I am solo on this tour. Once I played though it worked out. The kids were super receptive. I play a lot of places and sometimes some places suck more than others, last night though… Made those shows worth it. This town has kids that genuinely want to play. Mathias is a great dude for spearheading this in his hometown.
After the show, we went to an afterparty. We stayed there till pretty much 5 in the morning. It was cool to sit and hang out with some of these kids. They have a good thing going here. I’m glad they let
me be a part of it.
Tonight we head over to corpus. The club revolution show was cancelled but i think we scored a replacement show. See ya!
Corpus and the art of
One thing I can really learn from my road buddy the next few days is to just take it as it comes. If you know me at all, you know that I usually like to plan out the meat of things. It may seem strange and often when the unexpected happens it’s not too difficult but often entertaining.
Mathias literally plays it by ear. So when we traveled to corpus today it was to ask places to play since some never confirmed with us.
Long story short we didn’t play in either of the two places I originally posted.
We did spend the day driving, going to music stores and eating amazing Texacali sandwiches (don’t ask) we went to a coffee shop etc… But the show for the night ended with my doin a set at the Texan for my friends in toxic fuse. The show was nothing short of amazing… But it was never a show that we planned on doing. Of course Toxic Fuse and the Cherrybombers ripped it up but the two corpus bands Bertha and Los Sanchos tore it up! I was not expecting such energy yet different styles.
The show was free, so there was tons of people out. I’m glad I did good the night before so i can afford to take the loss. Playing is never about money. Not for me. This journey reminds me how old I really am. Wandering with no purpose is a new thing. I guess we will see how I handle it.
Time alone with the road
I woke up late today. It was good to do that. Feels good to sleep. Yesterday after waking up from the show the night before (which was fun by the way) we grabbed some cheap pizza and did some running around town before heading to Alice.
Mathias has a buddy who left during the show and no one had seen since Friday. So we went to check on him. He was alive. Apparently he was drunk and went walking during the show. He woke up on someone’s porch at about 7 in the morning and decided to get the hell out of there before anyone realized he was there when he woke. But he vividly remembers thinking there was an afterparty there. “I pulled a Robert Downy” he said.
When we left his house and continued our trek, mathias told me there’s a lot of stories about him. Including one where he rode a bicycle from a bar and woke up 3 counties away. He always wanted to have a video camera just follow him around. I smile. I’ve met lots of people the last few days. It’s been nice. And I’ve spent a lot of time with Mathias. I really feel I’ve gotten to know him better as a person. Our music talks have been really good and I’ve feel I’ve been more exposed to the workings of his music scene. There is a lot of talent in that area.
Well Alice was a bust. It was bound to happen. So instead of staying in traction for too long I decided to make a 150 mile trek to eat really good food and see my OMBG buddies to catch up over the weekend. I dropped Mathias off and headed up 77 for 3 hours. We met up at howards and caught up till nightfall. I really missed hanging out with them and not participating in the podcast this week left me feeling like something was missing so im glad to hang with the crew. It was worth it.
This trip has been nothing what I expected it to be. I’m kind of glad
The day before was pretty much spent in traction. There wasn’t too much to report. I did some much needed laundry, got oil changed (much overdue) and kind of just chilled out.
That was short lived the next day as I found myself repacking my bag with clean clothes and resetting the GPS for San Antonio.
I had to pick up something for someone special on the riverwalk (which was only a few blocks away) so I went there first. SA tourist spots are probably some o the prettiest I have ever seen. The riverwalk really is a gorgeous place. After I wandered around, I stopped in a pub for a ping of Guinness, chatted with the bartender for a minute then went on to be closer to the venue.
The japanese tea gardens were less than a mile from the venue so I stopped there. This place is beautiful and tranquil. Being close to 7pm on a Tuesday, the place was deserted. I had the whole place to myself, it was the single most peaceful moment in a while as I slowly walked through the path looking at the fish in the ponds crossing the bridges and just enjoying it. That 30 minutes killing time made the trip worth it.
After that I took the drive to GIG on the strip. Tuesday was their first ever acoustic night. They had it set up really cool. There was so much talent in that room as all the songwriters got together and told stories behind their songs. No egos no set lists just jam sessions and song circles. I can’t imagine a more fun time with people who do things simply for the love of the song.
The night was recorded. I have a copy of it. I can’t wait to hear it. I got a great sing a long to “love like yours” which is something I always wanted recorded.
After the night ended… I made plans to meet up with mathias for Austin. Made the drive to Austin and ended up at my good friend Scott Free’s place (return to cinder, apples for eyes) good to have friends. Great night.
Well, I’m happy to report that I woke up this morning in the band house. I drove in from Austin last night after making the decision to come home a day early. The whole experience was basically a choose your own adventure, and I’m pretty excited to be back home, energized to work on new songs for the band, new story ideas from the characters I have met along the way, and looking forward to getting back to school next week.
A big shout out goes to my friend Mathias Issasi who is continuing his monthlong trek down Hwy 66 for a month. I’m proud to know him, he’s a great musician and has a lot of heart. A lot of people talk about the things they want to do, Mathias goes out and makes it happen.
I think that’s what this is all about. I don’t want to be a “big fish in a little pond” tried that in the ninties with the blacklisted… it’s alright but I don’t want to stay local. My idea was to always get out there. I dont want to be famous. But I do want to be relevant. At least relevant to someone. That’s what’s important. I’m pushing 35, I don’t know how much time I got left on earth, and I want to make sure the music I leave is a testament to what I felt, thought and did.
In a way we are our own living legends. We go out and do these things, we go and play to total strangers, not just friends who will like us no matter what…(but we love ya friends!) We get out of our comfort zones and play the unknown and give it as much of our soul as someone who was playing Emo’s on a sold out tour. We have set out to write our own history. I will continue to do this until I can’t anymore. I’m not trying to be anyone other than myself. But somewhere.. someone listened. Thanks to everyone who sent good vibes my way, I promise to have more confirmations next time so I can see everyone.