Do NOT expect “Loyalty” to one game console over another. Let's just get that out of the way right now, because I don’t want to hear it. I own all three current generation consoles, plus some older systems and handhelds. The only loyalty I have is to myself, family and my very close friends. That’s how it will always be. However, I do have gaming loyalties to certain franchises. That I will own up too. And my viewpoints about them are pretty solid. (example: Zelda, Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, etc.)
Do NOT ask me anything stupid, like “What’s the point of this?” What is the point of anything? What is the point of breathing in and out? This and any other similar statements translate to “I’m bored, and I just feel like picking a fight, instead of doing something worth while for myself, so I’m going to shit on someone else.” Well, save that up for your mom.
Do NOT flame bait. You can if you want to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will answer you.
Do NOT assume. For the obvious reason of not looking like a stupid fool. If you are confused about a statement, my way of writing, or just want to know a view point of mine THEN ASK ME! It’s as simple as that, no need to make things more complicated. We’re only talking about video game and not world peace.
Do NOT re-write or email me some LONG WINDED explanation about how I got “it” wrong and your version is "right". Seriously, don't! Again, I don’t want to hear it. That’s why I’m now writing “stories” and not “articles”, I SUCK at writing articles, and I KNOW that. Writing personal stories from a first perpective, is what I do best. If some of the basic information that I've written, is wrong I wouldn’t be that surprised. I do my best to check the fact before hand, now, but I'm only human and may not catch everything. I may view the things in a sort of “Camille-o-Vision", which makes the story or situation seem 10 timer then it actually was. Which is is why I’m good at writing stories.
Do NOT remind me about capitalization. I know, that's the way I write. So suck it up and don't whine about it. If you really want to complain about something so trivial then start your own blog page, it's free.
I am a reasonable person, so if you’re cool with me, then I’ll be cool with you. If you just trolled over to be a dick.... like I stated above, save that up for your mom. We’re here to talk about a subject we all love, so let’s try to have some class.
I found this gem of a video on "Giantbomb" and had to share the stupid. I've forgotten, just how laughably bad all those paid actors use to be. Trying so hard to make video games seem cool in the 90's. What a joke, come on. Video games were NEVER "cool", we all know this. People who played games and gamers, did so because they loved it, not because they were trying to be cool. (Or in my case, didn't care what you thought.) But, back in the 90's Sony and the alike were trying desperately to appeal to a wider audience (just like they're doing now). The result being: A hokey, 90's nightmare. "Word".
Since the beginning of 2010, several "Trip-A" game titles have come out. Each title has had varying degrees of reactions, and all of them are different in there own way. Without dropping game names, I must ask this question, "So, what actually makes an RPG an RPG?" "What elements, or understanding of the genre in general, make-up what we consider to be a Role Playing Game?" I really think this is a question that needs to be addressed by everyone.
I have gone back and forth on this issue and have had many, many discussions and arguments on-line concerning this difference of opinion. I think that I've come to the deep conclusion that, "this is an subjective question". No different than, "What a makes a good game, good?". One could easily say, "Well.... clearly you have no taste. That's why you think it's good.", as obnoxious as that sounds. But another person could turn around and tell me the very same thing. So, who's right?
I honestly don't know.
For most of last month, I truly believed that many people were "lying to themselves", or making excuses because of the name on the front of the box. I believed that people were seriously trying to convince themselves of "Design Choices" vs. "Real Substance". I laughed at what I considered to be really sad and absurd behavior at not being able to differentiate between a "Classic RPG" and "Wishful Thinking".
But now that some time has passed, I see that maybe that view may have been a little harsh. Who am 'I' to say what a person enjoys and what they don't? If that's what they honestly feel, who am I to judge? I mean, nobody has appointed me as the "RPG Goddess". Determined to get to the heart of the issue, I recently talked to a good friend of mine, who's opinion I value. The two of us have very different taste in games. You could almost say, polar-opposite. I seem to be drawn to wide range of Trip-A titles or indie games, spanning various systems. She like the safe, and but sometimes obscure games -- along with one very popular franchise, which is only on the PS2/PS3.
Now, if she tells me that she is enjoying a particular RPG despite it's flaws, then I have no reason not to believe her. She, like myself, is very opinionated and stubborn. She wouldn't lie about something so trivial. If she likes something, she'll say so. And if not, she'll tell me that as well. I can't say that I understand fully, but I see now that she, like many others, is not suffering from some sort of mass hallucination. They really do like "this particular game", and are not just saying otherwise to cover-up an inner-fanboyism.
Mmm.... so now I have to stop, rethink, and then ask myself a second question? "How much do my personal expectations truly play a part of what I consider to be good?" If personal expectations play a big part, how can one change this? Should a person even bother to try?
If I may relate a story; there was situation regarding the passing of a family member, 2 years ago now. There was a woman there who I'd never met before. I could see that she was very rich and even smelled like money. During the viewing, she came up to me -- not to say, "I'm sorry for your loss" but to inform me how she and "Ron" (who died) often went the opera with her and her husband. "Um... Ok?" She went on and on, about how they had "season tickets every year to the bluh, bluh, bluh opera house, in downtown bluh, bluh, bluh."
Anyway.... stepping over how obnoxious this chick was. I just looked at her as if she was on drugs or something. Had I not been so upset about Ron's passing, I probably would have laughed in her face. Why? Because the "Ron" that I knew watched Aqua Teens Hunger Force, and Venture Bros. He played Mario Party and Zelda on GameCube/DS. He listened to Pink Floyd. He'd watch goofy chick shows, all sorts of silly movies, and would tell funny sex jokes upon occasion. So, what the hell was this snooty b*tch talking about?
Again, I simply looked at her and thought, "Wow! You really didn't "KNOW" him that well did you, honey? So what are you even doing here, and why are you telling me this?" And of course Ron is dead and can't defend himself either way.
Where am I going with this? My point being is, "expectations will burn you every time". I don't doubt that "Ron" went to the opera with little Ms. Stuck-up. Ron liked talking to people and socializing, which was his favorite thing to do, more then anything. But in the case of THIS women, she saw exactly what she wanted to see -- another person/couple, that was stuck-up like she was. That is what she expected to see, even thought that wasn't the truth or the whole story. If she knew the truth.... especially about the Aqua Teens, it would blow her whole world apart to realize that there's more then what you see on the surface.
So how much of this behavior do we bring on ourselves? How much of our own expectations influence the enjoyment of our favorite media? And is it possible, at this point, to bring down these expectations to normal levels? We gamers tend to get so wrapped up in the nuances of what the "Big 3" and every game developer is doing, almost to the exclusion of everything else in our own lives.
How do we gamers recognize the signs of this behavior before it strikes again and consumes us all?!? Like the moffa (or the darkside), "it keeps pulling us back in". For the sake of not ending up like this deeply self-deluded, stuck-up, Ms. Know-it-all, mentioned above I, for one, am going to try. Hope springs eternal, and that's a good place to start.
The two questions that I'll leave you with, my fellow gamers. 1.) What makes an RPG -- an RPG? 2.) Do our expectations influence the enjoyment of gaming?
I just wanted to put this up. The last bit of Mass Effect 2 video that I had, before moving on to another subject. Again, mad [Spoiler Warnings]. This is the Game Opening. You can clearly hear me talking to the TV.
I make these videos, because most non-gamers, have no idea what I'm talking about. Some people are fascinated and are willing to listen. Some people just give you these stupid looks, like you just blew-up there car. For those who are interested, and would like to know something outside of their "little world", I'm happy to talk to them about gaming and gaming culture.
I've even got a few people, who've come to me and say, "Wow, Camille, I'm glad you showed me this. I never knew there was anything like this. It's a whole world that I never knew existed". Which is always nice to hear. (The conversation was referring to the new Penny Arcade Web Show.)
The thought of watching the Elcor performing Hamlet, for "14-hours", would TRULY be an unforgettable experience. The video quality is not that great, all I had available to me that day was my cellphone camera. Enjoy.
The story is over, but this is just a list of reasons for some of my "bigger' decisions in Mass Effect 2. An Appendix, you might say. The thought process behind some of those decisions I made. I'll start with the most obvious one. Miranda.
Miranda: Why I didn't choose her.
Number One: What she did to Jacob was FUCKED UP! Her intentions may have been good, but the way she went about it was not. If they used to be a couple, and parted amicably, there was no reason she couldn't have forwarded the information that she found about Jacob's father to him, or told him privately about what was going on. But that's not what she did.
No. She waited until we all got down to the planet, with back packs and bazookas equipped in order for us to discover for ourselves what Jacob's father had done. The man had creating for himself a "Lord Of The Files" style situation but evolving adults --- with the results being 10 x Times worse. It was after we get back, to report what we found to the authorities so that this man could stand trial, only then she come swanking up to tell us, "It was me giving you the information about Jacob’s father". Upon which, of course, I immediately called her on the carpet about not coming forward SOONER with this information. Like, before the bullets started flying. She came back at us with some bullshit answer. But ONLY because Jacob admitted to me about his past relationship with her, I let it slide.
Number Two: More of her lying bullshit. This time about her sister, or half sister, or cloned twin that's 20 years younger then her. Whatever. She asked me and Garrus to help her save her twin sister before she got kidnapped -- only to find out during the mission, that Miranda was the one who kidnapped her in the first place! What? So... we weren't dealing with a grown woman, her husband and children. No. What, we're actually dealing with a young teenage girl and her adopted parents. Of course, the girl honestly believed that this was her real family and had no clue what was really going on. And that Miranda was like 'Racer X', the older sister who ran away from home, or something.
Had that been a REAL situation, and I'd found out about it liked that. I would have stopped the elevator and hit Miranda in the face. Turned right around and gotten back on the ship, leaving her ass on the planet, without a second thought. BUT... that's not how the game works, once you're on a mission, you're on it. That's TWICE. The second damn time she lied. WE ARE DONE. There's nothing that crawls up my ass faster than a person that tells half truths.
I actually STOPPED speaking to her. If there was a cut scene, and she said something I always gave the asshole response. I never went back to her office to talk to her or gain her "loyalty". Basically, she doesn't know what loyalty is. Loyalty first and foremost means that you don't lie to your teammates, especially over such trivial matters, because when the shit hits the fan, I have NO REASON to believe you, or put you in a position were you could easily get others killed, because you neglected to tell the "truth".
Number Three: People like Miranda get on my fucking nerves. Just because she looks like that; Big Boobs, Pretty Face, and a cool Australian accent, she feels as though she deserves 2 more favors than the one you've already done for her. Even though you've gone out of your way to help her and even though the information she told you was WRONG, because she didn't quite tell you the "Whole Story". (And, sweetheart, a lie of omission is still a LIE!) And not just once, did she do this.... TWICE! She just act's like, "Why are you mad about that?" or "Yeah thanks, but what have you done for me lately". That attitude of hers is just not gonna fly.
It was only after these two missions that I realized why I hated Miranda so much. It is because she reminded me of this girl I knew back in my home town. "Jeanine Morgan", very pretty, banging body, self absorbed, biggest bitch ever. She was exactly like this. As long as it worked out for her, it worked out. She gave little or no concern to others, or the things that she'd did, or the pain she'd caused. She was nasty, selfish teenage girl, who turned into a petty, bitter, heartless woman. And when her plots and plans backfired in her face --- we all laugh, heartily, because you reap what you sow.
Not saving the Citadel Council: Now here's a decision that came to bite me in the ass.
My original reason for not saving the Citadel Council was because there was a far bigger threat that needed to be dealt with, the Reapers. They gave me all of a nano second to think about it, but the result of that action change the course of what happened. Humans were able to basically step in and run things from that point onwards. Of course, once everything was 'back to normal', I got the blame for the council being dead, and humanity grabbing power. Which was NOT my original intent, but that is what happened.
The Reapers were poring into our galaxy though the portal that was opening, letting in their warrior fleet. Our own fleet of ships were being destroyed right and left. We were on the verge of losing, and if that happened billions, 100 hundreds of billions of people would have died. The last thing I was concerned about was the survival of 3 little people.
Three people who, from the very beginning, were a hindrance at every freaking turn. They didn't believe the threat was real. They didn't believe another Specter had gone Rogue, and was helping the enemy. They didn't do anything. But what they did do, really well, was stand in the way.
So, the invading army that you didn't believe was real, comes flooding into the galaxy to kill us all --- and NOW you want me to save you. Seriously? No. Look, you guys are in your escape ship and you have the same chance as everyone else. Good luck.
Ashley vs. Liara: Why I didn’t go with Ashley.
Because she is annoying. From the beginning, and before Liara ever got on board, Ashley’s personality is shit! She is just a xenophobic, race hating, Nazi. If you think that’s reason enough, oh wait there’s more. My main problem with her is that she acts like a 12 year old, spoiled, school girl. Come on, Ashley is supposed to be a Marine? Wouldn’t it be good if she actually acted like one? Don’t insult the word “Marine” with you Kindergarten crap.
Yeah, Commander Hottie is Hot, but he ain't yours.... honey. He’s not a “ken doll” for the two of you to fight over. Here’s a thought. Why not wait until there's a "mutual" understanding between the two of you first, before acting like a high school senior, cat fighting for a prom date? Mmmm...? After everything is said and done Ashley, do you REALLY want to “win” him like that? This isn’t Jerry Springer, you stupid ho!
I sent Ashley to fight with the Salarian Troops: And then she died during the mission.
Ok, considering what I said about her above. Yes, yes.... I hated her. No question. But, what I really wanted was for her to shut the hell up, not die. She never had anything nice to say, or added anything that was useful to the conversation at hand. She just has a smart mouth. Right up until the end.
I can tell you exactly what happened. Lieutenant Kaidan had volunteer for the job and I was going to send him until Ashley jumped up and started arguing with me and Kaidan, running her smart mouth and embarrassing the whole team in front of the Salarians. Then the Salarian Captain asked me, “Well, who are you going to send?”
I was so annoyed by that point I actually shouted at the TV, “OMG.... just take Ashley, because she is pissing me off. Seriously, I don’t want to see you right now, because you’re being a jerk. I’ll see you when you get back to the ship. Bye.” At the time, I didn’t realize what the consequences of that decision would be. And I was actually upset when she died. Like she was a real person. I would catch myself saying, “Damnit, Annoying Girl!”. For like a week.
The thing that chaps my ass the most is that she was right. She was in fact, the best person for the job. She was a soldier (despite her childish behavior), and she had no technical skills to plant the bomb. Kaidan did. No, I did not liker her, but I didn’t send her because of it. I sent her, because she was the best person for the job.
REX lived: Because I didn’t shoot him.
I had just finished having that retarded argument with Ashley, so I have to admit, I was already at a point of, “Now, what the fuck is YOUR problem?”. I can’t remember exactly what Rex was flipping off about, but I definitely remember guns being pulled. Again, I do believe I shouted at the TV, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa. Whoa. What the hell just happened?” I managed to calm his ass down, and then I took him on the mission with me. So he could work off all the anger by helping me fight Saren. (And in some bizarre double reverse chauvinism, I left the girls and my girlfriend Liara at the beach, because I didn’t want them to get hurt. Weird.)
Rachni Lived: I did not kill the Rachni
I was NOT knowingly going to commit genocide of a whole dam race, in a game or out of one. End of story.