Mass Effect 3: Vacillation

I’m going to tip my hand about my Mass Effect 3 review by revealing that I didn’t like the ending. I played Mass Effect 3 in as close to pure state as possible – not the extended ending, just the ‘real’ and ‘original’ ending. It wasn’t a deliberate thing – I wasn’t aiming for some sort of point, I just didn’t have the DLC installed that made the ending less awful. It’s been on my mind, lately.

I wasn’t entwined in the event of Mass Effect 3. I wasn’t direclty involved in that storm of reaction, wasn’t caught up in the noise. I arrived with the status quo established: Mass Effect 3’s ending was bad, and some people had an even worse reaction to it. I am something of a pragmatist in this matter, two years on.

Yesterday, a fan’s attempts to address the endings, and hopefully fling himself into the lofty heights of Writing For Videogames He Likes went live, with Mass Effect 3: Vindication. This was then summarily ridiculed on Badass Digest.

I haven’t read the guy’s writing. I haven’t read Vindication. I expect it’s not very good. But holy fucking shit, Badass Digest! You guys realise that the people who created the Mass Effect universe are human beings, right? They’re not the Creator Class, transcendant and above. They’ve written bad things – they’ve written some bad things like, say, the ending of Mass Effect 3.

Don’t worry, Badass Digest assures you you can have your opinion. If your opinion is such that things should be different, or ask that they be changed? That’s entitlement. That’s hubristic! Your opinion can only extend so far as wanting the thing to remain the same way!

This bothers me a great deal. It bothers me because I don’t like the idea of creators as being exceptional and uncritically considered. I don’t like how someone put effort into a project, which he put out there to promote his aims and put himself forwards in an attempt to make a different to a thing he didn’t like, and the Badass Digest decided that by him having the temerity to try. It’s fanfiction, they scorn. Well, of course it fucking is. Imagine if he had done something else, they say. Jesus fucking christ – imagine! Imagine if, instead of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan had cured cancer. Imagine if instead of founding America, George Washington had had breakdancing contests! Imagine if, imagine if, imagine if. It’s a comment thread full of people who are fans of fanfiction sneering at someone’s fanfiction.

For fuck’s sake.

I have no love of this man’s work. A friend showed it to me because he thought I’d be interested in it, neither for good or for ill. But what makes me angry is how Badass Digest decided the best reaction to this man’s effort is to directly insult him for trying. I don’t have a lot of sinew at this. I just know I get angry at a site that foams itself into a lather about Batman fanfiction but resents Mass Effect fanfiction. As if there’s something special about being satisfied with the original Mass Effect 3 story’s conclusion.

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