Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mass Effect 3 And The Culture Of Entitlement

Before you get worried, there are no spoilers here since I haven't played the game, however, I am going to be swearing quite a bit, so if you don't like that kind of language, then this post isn't going to be for you.

Basically there is a group of players that were dissatisfied with the ending of Mass Effect 3 and they have been very vocal about it.

Some of them have also been, what is the word... ah, douchebags too.

Firstly, there is an individual who is bringing a claim about the game to the Federal Trade Commission because they didn't like the ending. Like the FTC doesn't have better things to do with its time and taxpayer money than investigate that. It just seems petty on so many levels.

And Amazon started giving refunds to people who completed the game and didn't like the ending. There isn't a technical problem with the game, it isn't defective... they just didn't like the narrative choices that Bioware had made for the ending of their storyline. They loved the game except for 10-15 minutes at the end. For a company whose bread and butter is selling narrative works, this is a horrible precedent to set, because basically what they are saying is, if you didn't like a movie, game or book they've sold you, you can get a refund I guess.

So spoiled assholes who feel so entitled that they can't bear to deal with any minor disappointment in their lives while experiencing narrative fiction in its many forms can now just line up after essentially renting various things for free and then send them back on Amazon's rather gracious dime.

Guess what? Everyone is disappointed by the ending of something they've watched, played or read. Most people deal with that with a modicum of maturity and just shrug about it and get on with the rest of their lives or at most (or like me) bitch about it with people in real life or online.

For example, I hated the ending of Final Fantasy VII. I mean I absolutely loathe it. Hate it, hate it, HATE IT. I am not understating it. However, after I had played the game and dealt with my abject disappointment in that ending, at no point did it ever occur to me that I should demand a refund. Or complain to the FTC that it did not meet my expectations (which it didn't).

And I didn't return my copy of Matrix Revolutions to Blockbuster because I hated the ending. I guess I could and should have.

Because maybe I have antiquated notions about buying things... that if you've bought something and you've used it and there is nothing technically wrong with it, then you really don't have cause to return it. Trying to get a full refund for a game that you've played all the way through the end of is akin to eating a full meal and then trying to get the meal for free because the restaurant didn't offer you a mint at the end.

I just think it is a childish move, and remember, this is coming from someone who defends gaming whenever he can. But I don't like this culture of whining and I don't like the precedent that these actions are setting.

Honestly, if the ending of a game or a movie can so irrevocably change your life for the negative, then perhaps fiction isn't for you.

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