I Think I’m Done With Video Games

I’m a life long gamer. I can’t remember a time in my life when there wasn’t a video game system of some sorts in my house. I started on the Atari 2600, got swept up with Nintendo Fever… heck I even had a Sega Saturn at one point. It’s a safe bet to say a large portion of my life has been dedicated to video games: either playing, writing about or selling them. But I think I’m done. I mean, I’m not going to ever play a video game again… but I’m just done with them being such a large portion of my life. You might be wondering why at this point. It’s no one thing and it’s not a sudden shift, but it really came to a head the past few weeks. What was the catalyst? Mass Effect 3. No spoilers are in the following.

Now before people start assuming, it’s not just the ending. Yes, the ending was completely pants. No, it didn’t ruin all of Mass Effect for me forever. Yes, this whole situation has gotten completely out of hand. Let me say that my first (and maybe only complete play through) of Mass Effect 3 took me about 30 hours. The largest portion of this time was amazing. Then came this haphazard ending that just felt like I was punched in the gut. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I took almost a full day to digest the experience and see how I felt about it. In the end, I decided I didn’t like it. At best, it was inspired by a lot of previous sci-fi works. At worst, they directly ripped off the ending of some movies, television shows and other video games. To compound the problem, the ending just wasn’t that good. It was full of plot holes. It came out of left field and really didn’t offer anything in the way of closure. A game series made up of literally hundreds of choices was boiled down to three choices in the end (or less if you happened to not play enough multi-player or complete enough side missions.) It just doesn’t make sense.

To me the worst part about this ending is that the ending is ambiguous, and it’s currently impossible to tell if it’s by accident or by design. There are currently conspiracy theories flying around that the ending never really happened. There are videos and websites that list possible clues that at some point it all became imaginary… AND IT MAKES SENSE. Like I said, I’m not sure if Bioware did it on purpose and they’re planning on following it up or if these plotholes were the result of poor writing. Then to top it off, Bioware won’t officially speak on the issue. Rather, they answer with these vague “Wait and see what we have in store…” replies.

Like I said, it doesn’t make the time I spent playing the game less fun… however… it kind of makes me feel like I wasted a lot of time playing these games. I think that’s the biggest point to all this. The people that are casual Mass Effect fans kind of shrugged off the ending, but people that went above and beyond seem personally crushed. I personally played through each game at least twice. I’ve read comics, bought hats, and browse wikis. It kind of became my new Star Wars. Then, much like Star Wars, I was equal parts angry at Mass Effect for the ending and myself for dedicating so much time to it. Having been burnt like this so many times before, I should have known better.

Clearly I’m not the only person that feels this way. Thousands of people online have said they are also unhappy with the ending. Going as far to demand that Bioware change it. I’m not sure that will happen or even if it should happen, but the point is still clear. People aren’t happy. It seems that it’s largely the hardcore fans that are being vocal about it too. To me, it seems they would be the ones you want to keep happiest. The ones that buy the $80 hoodies, or the $15 book, or the $10 DLC. And while it is slightly silly to be this upset over a video game, some people are trying to make a positive out of it by donating to charity in the name of getting the ending changed. As I write this, a group of almost 1500 gamers have raised over $36,000 for Penny-Arcade’s Child’s Play charity. So at the very least, some sick kids are going to benefit from all this.

Now you might be wondering, why this is enough to make me stop caring about games. Well, to be truthful it’s not. This is just the tip. What really pushed me over the line is the response by video game “journalist.” The same people that think that cakes or the newest Game of Thrones poster are “news” think that the fans are wrong and being immature. Not just saying they’re wrong, but mocking them and goading them to their websites merely to get a reaction for the sake of web traffic. Let me say this again… gaming websites are mocking gamers, telling them they’re immature and that their opinion is wrong about Mass Effect’s ending being wrong. That’s a lot of irony to try to pack into one sentence, so I’m sorry if it’s hard to read.

Yes, only in the video gaming industry would “journalist” be brazen enough to openly mock and belittle the very people that they depend on to create ad revenue. All for the sake of a little extra traffic (and some will say because they are in EA’s pocket, but I like to think that’s not the case), these writers and sites are calling a portion of their readership “childish,” “immature,” “self-entitled,” and more. To make it even better, many of the writers say the fans are out of line for flooding Bioware with their complaints and should use proper means to communicate their frustration… then bash the fans who organized the donations to charity. It’s really shocking behavior. I really find it hard to think of another medium where this would happen. Video game “journalism” has little credibility, even less accountability, and apparently no class.

I just don’t want to be involved in a culture where fans are treated with so little respect by people that are directly supported by fans. I have more important things I should be doing, and now I’ll have one less distraction.

**SPOILER WARNING**

If you’ve not seen the “multiple” endings for Mass Effect 3, here’s a video that puts them all together. For a game that claims 16 different endings, this is all pretty samey. I think this is a perfect illustration to one of the various points raised about why the ending is kind of terrible…

3 Comments

  1. AndyNo Gravatar
    Posted July 27, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well said, sir. Well said.

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  2. JimNo Gravatar
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yeah I’m done as well. I’m going to be 27 in about 5 months from now, I realize that I have put too much time into them and don’t really get as much enjoyment out of them anymore. I just built a new gaming pc and bought a bunch of steam games, but oh well I dont want to become 30 and still not have much of a life besides playing games. Now I just think about how I wish my life had gone a different way when sitting down to play or watch tv (another topic). I have gained weight and become out of shape, I lack social skills, and do not have much of a social life. When talking about talents my nephew says, “You’re good at video games” and my cousin says I’m a nerd sometimes, these two things just got me thinking about stuff I have put aside for too long. Things like improving my life, job, hobbies and relationships with people in the real world instead of just “hanging out” with online friends. Video games do nothing to improve your health, job, relationships, etc. these are the reasons I am giving them up and going to become active and get out more.

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  3. burrNo Gravatar
    Posted April 6, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Jim, there’s a difference between a hobby and an addiction.

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