Discussion in 'Drama Llama Holding Pen' started by sebmojo, Apr 9, 2012.
Ha! I didn't notice the link. Yes, that's what started it.
Sidd_Budd's takedown of Jose in that thread was glorious.
"Everything Podiums Are Oft Found" was the best album from Jose Liz & the Sbarros. While the production wasn't as polished as the followup album "Scratch O Muse of the DJ Heroes" it had a fresher, more heartfelt sound.
I particularly like
Bill's summary of school.
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Jose Liz was also pretty great.
Bill Dungsroman - I want you to know that your posts about psychedelics are making me "LOL" eight years later.
God bless you, Bill.
Talisker is in the throes of all his feels, he is
Windertapir just doesn't have the same ring to it.
This almost reads like Douglas Adams wrote it. I'll bet you can hear the capital "L" when the Wharton staff talk about it.
God Bless You
Some might see a fancy podium. I see two hostile snakes, attempting to lure in victim with their sexy screen.
Shit, man, they've probably named an STD after him. "The Liz", also known as "Erupting Sbarro Podiums"
I'm in the middle of watching Stargate SG1 right now, so to me this looks like some fancy new Goa'uld tech to introduce the symbiotes into human hosts.
Consider how obsolete those podiums are today.
Consider how obsolete your mom is today.
Oh wait, wrong thread.
Jose Liz never let himself realize that a BA in business from Penn isn't an MBA from Wharton.
I thought he actually was in the MBA program at Wharton? Did he just get a BA in business?
LECTERN SAYS NO.
If he did the MBA, it was later. When he started posting about Wharton and saying he would make more money than Chet he was still in high school and had gotten into Penn's undergrad program. Someone with business experience, I forget who, told him the undergrad degree wouldn't bring the same hiring advantage, and he replied something like "Um no actually it's just as good."
If anyone really wants a snapshot of why we left, you can read the last six pages of the Mass Effect 3 thread. Tom still loves to pull that "Why do you think I'm being condescending when I'm being condescending" thing he does, and this doesn't disappoint. Why anyone puts up with his shit, I've no idea.
I'm kind of tempted to post over there and flame out, but enh, it's not worth the hassle.
Wow, he's in rare form in that thread. Full on trolling his own forum; and I'm sure he's got some bans ready.
He starts out with some nice one and two-line jabs to get people riled up, but as it goes along his own posts grow to multiple paragraphs and eventually more than one screen worth. That's a sure sign he's not just trolling for fun, he is getting riled up himself. Which to me isn't trolling at all, it's just arguing in bad faith.
Agree about the bans, though. All it'll take is for one clever person to paraphrase one of Tom's own ad-hominem posts back at him and it could turn into a bloodbath.
Reading those posts make my head hurt. He's a page or two away from breaking out the real names of the people he disagrees with!
Could anyone explain the hubbub over Mass Effect 3's endings without venturing into spoiler territory? I haven't played any of the games and I know little about the franchise, I just know that the games offer a "your decisions matter" to outcomes in the game similar to, say, Deus Ex.
It's hard to pin it down without becoming spoilery, actually, but I'll have a go. The problem with it is basically that Shepard has no agency at the end. You are given a menu of someone else's choices, told to pick one, and then this someone else makes it happen. Even better, this someone else is only introduced literally moments before you are prompted to choose. The counter-argument to this is that this sort of ending isn't conceptually bad but I say it fails in Mass Effect 3 because it's in total contrast to the style of the whole series including ME3, and it's clumsily executed.
Allow me to offer further explanation by contrast with other kinds of conclusions:
Mass Effect 1 and 2 both conclude their stories with dramatic showdowns, life-and-death struggles, last-minute saves, all staples of the action genre, while maintaining the science fiction storyline throughout. You have a showdown with Saren and lay down your philosophy against his. If you're convincing enough, you can even win him over for just long enough to make a difference. In the aftermath, your decisions are questioned and your answers place the keystone in Shepard's development from soldier to reluctant figurehead in either a conciliatory or an aggressive movement to confront the Reaper threat. The second game satisfies the intellectual thread of the story by ending with your relationship with Cerberus. You're going to take a different path, that's clear, but the game (out of the box) ends by asking you again about how you stand with the shadowy organisation. ME3 could have had such an ending with the Illusive Man, which certainly has a satisfying dialogue. We could have had several very dramatically different endings, depending on how your conversation played out. Gating and varying those options with the choices you'd made through the previous games would have been particularly crowd-pleasing.
Braid did the "present concepts without drawing conclusions" thing very well, by painting themes and echoing those themes in the game play. Unlike in Mass Effect 3, the game you play through has a distinct and complete narrative, separate from the concepts that are being bandied about. ME3 could have done this by leaving the motivations of the Reapers completely unknown, only hinted at with some of the strange things you've experienced in the series. You end with a triumphant battle, destroying the Reapers and saving those races you managed to keep alive. But as the credits roll, you begin to wonder. Did the Reapers know of something you don't know about? What have you unleashed on the galaxy, now the caretakers are gone?
Essentially, I'd say the main problem with the ending of Mass Effect 3 is that it isn't nearly as good as the rest of the game, or the rest of the series. It could have been, and it should have been.
I should add that the post-choice sequence is also very problematic in its original presentation, which leaves the viewer with many questions about what is happening and why it happens. I get the impression this was a desired outcome of the writers*, but the questions you get to ask yourself are actually really dumb ones about really general, basic things rather than refinements. If you've watched the movie Se7en, imagine if it ends just after you find out what's in the box and the detective draws his gun. Credits roll. You ask yourself: did he shoot, or did he arrest? What would I have done? If I were to rewrite the ending of Se7en in ME3 style, you'd find out what's in the box. Stare in horror. Then a truck comes off the side of the screen and runs over all the characters in the scene. Roll credits. You're left with dumb questions like, "What's that truck doing on that dusty side road? Was someone we're supposed to know driving it? What did it mean, for all the effort the detective put in tracking this guy down? The only ones who know about it are dead now. Or are they? Maybe they go to hospital? I dunno."
"Idiot sheep" in one of Tom's posts for people who disagree. Something's gone wrong with him; he never used to act this way. He gets so angry, he argues by contempt, and he never lets things go. He used to be a pretty easygoing guy on the forums.
Let's be fair, here, he's calling Murbella an idiot.
There's another problem with the Mass Effect 3 ending, and it's the one that I suspect leads Tom to (quite in error, I would contend) treat anybody that has a problem with it as lightly retarded - you can't make a happy ending. There is no combination of choices and decisions that you can possibly make that turns out well for...well, really quite a lot the characters. This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the series, and really the first two acts of that very game, where if you just do what you do hard enough, you can force it turn out good. I put the fault there on the head writer, who obviously had a cool story he wanted to tell and he wasn't going to let the fact that it didn't fit with the game that he'd made stop him from putting it out there, but I'm not even going to try and convince Tom as to why making the last act of your trilogy fundamentally different from all of the previous ones is a bad call from every possible angle. My guess is that he played through the series without the underlying, overpowering drive to get the best of all possible results that makes me Lawful Good in all things interactive whether I want to be or not, and I would guess that for somebody who went through the story having a few things blow up in sad and unsatisfying ways, the ending isn't put in quite as bold relief. If you did roll that way all through the series, however, all manner of narrative and interactive discontinuities end up getting jammed down your throat in the service of Casey Hudson doing what he wanted to do.
However, since I'm complaining, at heart, that the ending is unsatisfactory because I can't make it turn out happily ever after, I am being a baby, and as such should be treated only with mild contempt and derision.
That's certainly one reason to disagree with the ending and it's something I don't like; for some reason over the past five or ten years there's been this confusion between unhappy endings and depth, which is asinine in the extreme. As if the hero surviving the climax somehow makes the narrative shallow. Honestly though even absent the lack of a happily ever after option, the simple fact is that the final twenty or so minutes of Mass Effect represent a total non-sequitur from the previous 90 hours of game in every way: from a plot perspective, game design, characterization, thematically, etc. Had Starchild simply said upon your magic elevator ascent, "Thank you Mario, but the princess is in another castle," it would not have been any worse.
It is disappointing that the end of the trilogy was aimed at a "dark" target. I think it could have worked, but it would have been a tricky sell given the way the previous instalments had worked (both pretty upbeat "we saved the galaxy" kind of things). To me, the ending fails because of a summation of problems - it's not about Shepard or the Catalyst, it's a grim-dark end instead of sad-but-triumphant end, it makes very little sense and seems to be at variance with understood principles of the ME universe, and it was badly written - clumsily written, trying to quickly skip through to the writer's desired end with little justification. Some of those problems are only problems because of where they are; in a Star Wars type fantasy sci fi you can do mystical deus-ex doo-dads without too many troubles. If it was all really well written, a grim-dark "this is the end of Humanity, but we will be remembered for all time for ending the Reaper cycles" ending could have worked. But put them all together and it's just too much for me to carry through. Sorry Tom, it's just not a good ending.
I think Toms point, underneath the vitriol, is somewhat correct, though: signing petitions and demanding the game be changed because you didn't like it is a little bit asinine and has a waft of gamer-entitlement aroma. I didn't think much of the ending of ME3, but it was about on par with what I was expecting out of a video game ending. But then, I have been known to be a little bit jaded and bitter from time to time.
I think Tom's being a bit cynical there, and so are you. It's less gamer entitlement and more that the ending legitimately does suck (in the sense that it's a total non sequitur; we can have a legitimate discussion about the enjoyability of the ending, but I think it's pretty indisputable that the final 20 minutes of ME3 are totally disjoint from the entirety of the previous experience; and that's to say nothing of the straight up narrative holes it contains), and that suck follows a game that had to that point been offering a fantastic payoff to those who were emotionally invested in the story and its characters. The petitions were silly, but they weren't born out of entitlement so much as passion and love.
Where Tom goes off the rails is taking that passion and belittling it. I have no idea why he likes to do that with posters he disagrees with; he didn't behave like that years ago and it creates a rather poisonous dynamic given his propensity to ban. A couple of years ago I bowed out of a discussion about Bioshock 2 because Tom disagreed with something I said and I was legitimately worried that if I persisted in pushing my perspective I'd catch a ban.
tl;dr: the ME3 ending sucks and Tom Chick has turned into Tom Dick!
From my point of view, especially as a videogame developer, I fully expected there to be no changes to the ending. The costs, both time and money, would be ... significant. I was very disappointed in the ending, but that's as far as my personal response went, and I'm impressed and grateful that we have a new, extended ending that at least addresses some of the issues but doesn't really deal with my primary concern.
I'm not so sure, though, that people were wrong to clamour for change. If the whole thing was terrible from start to finish, then fine: it's a bad game. Too bad. But Mass Effect was great right up to the end; it seems more like that last sequence is just buggy and unfinished, and we do demand updates for things that aren't right. Even if you want to suggest that there's a qualitative difference between narrative bugs and logic bugs, there are plenty of examples in conventional media of re-writes, adaptations and re-imaginings, new edits and re-cuts, and updates.
I think you mean
This is a really good point. It's totally uncontroversial to suggest that it's OK (and even desirable) for developers to patch games for broken functionality. It's also totally uncontroversial for developers to patch games for other reasons. E.g., MMOs are constantly patched to address balance issues; and even single-player games (or mostly single-player games) get that sort of treatment. Why it's so controversial for a patch to address narrative issues, I have no idea, other than some people got pretty well invested in their "the ending is fine" position and Bioware's patch is an acknowledgement on the part of the developer that they were wrong.
On the other hand, narrative certainly seems qualitatively different from functionality and balance, so I can sort of see the objections. I don't think they stand on their merits, but I can at least see a way to make them.
Separate names with a comma.