The Bumble and the Backlash

I love BioWare.

There. I said it. I think they have great stories and wonderful characters, and I’ve loved every moment I’ve spent in the worlds they’ve created.

A long time ago, I signed up to be part of the multiplayer beta for Mass Effect: Andromeda. I was already signed up as part of the Andromeda Initiative online (and have a fancy Pathfinder helmet in-game to prove my dedication), and I was excited for not only my first beta experience, but also to see the lovely new galaxy that I would be inhabiting after Andromeda‘s release.

gamer-up-late

Disappointingly, about a week or so before the game dropped, it was announced that the beta was cancelled. But I said to myself, “Self, if that means that they have to fix some bugs, that’s fine. I’ll give up being part of a beta if it means a better game later.”

Then I heard that early access was going to be only a few short days before release. “Well, okay,” I said to myself. “That might not be too bad.”

…and then I realized the flood of people who would have early access and I thought, “Okay, that might be a little bad.”

And it was.

This is something I’ve been sitting back and watching for a while, and I even plunged the depths of NeoGAF, GamerFAQs and Reddit so you wouldn’t have to.

This is a bit of a thought experiment on the following two points:

  1. Is Mass Effect: Andromeda as objectively bad as people say it is?
  2. If it’s not, why do so many people have such negative things to say about this game?

A Brave Stab at Objectivity

A while ago, I wrote a first-impressions article about Mass Effect: Andromeda. I tried to be as truthful as possible. On Day One, I had some concerns, but I was optimistic about the future. I felt guilty posting the article, because I feared I was being too harsh. But I shouldn’t have worried so much, because prior to this my YouTube page was flooded with people raging against the game, saying it was besmirching the good name of Mass Effect, and basically BioWare should go crawl into a hole and die of shame.

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This seemed to be echoed across the internet, and I tried to find someone writing anything positive about the game I was going to be playing for 60 or so hours.

To be fair, Andromeda is not without its flaws. The facial animations were terrible (they’ve been fixed with patches). BioWare may or may not have hired a few people who didn’t really have the right experience for the animation department. Games crashed and folks on the multiplayer were kicked offline, which are both most definitely problems that should have been fixed before the game released. Yes, commenting on these is allowed, and I would say even encouraged, if done in a thoughtful and constructive manner.

After I wrote my first impressions, I restarted the game (by myself) and enjoyed it a little more than when I played it with my friends, because I’m apparently antisocial I could focus on the story a little more, now that we weren’t all sitting around laughing at how “dead inside” everyone looked. The game is, in my opinion, actually pretty solid, and does a lot of world-building in a fairly short period of time (for a huge RPG). Combat is stellar. Environments are beautiful, and I was interested in the story and the characters the entire way through. It has it’s flaws, like I said, but it presented an overall fun experience.

Image result for mass effect andromeda full cast

So why is Andromeda so hated?

The answer is a complex one, but it boils down to two entities: EA and us.

Early Access

Early access to a video game was originally intended to be a time for news organizations to play a few hours of an upcoming game and report on it. It’s was also  (sort of) intended as a “beta testing” period, during which the testers could offer feedback to the company. The understanding was that the game was unfinished, and this was just a “taste” of what was coming. Things have changed a little, with early access now meaning that news outlets have early access to what is often assumed (rightly or wrongly) to be the finished product, just a little earlier than everyone else. While early access has come under some critique recently for encouraging the shipping of “unfinished games,” in theory early access seems like a great idea: get some publicity, and also get some feedback before the game’s hard release.

well-done

But nowadays, who is a “news outlet,” and who deserves early access? Popular YouTubers offer reviews and game news, as do I and as do other small-time video game sites. IGN, Polygon, GameSpot, and Game Informer also publish gaming news. So, in the spirit of not being exclusionary, not only do the larger, more established organizations get press passes, but so do some of the smaller channels. Some of these are of course very professional, and some… are not.

Remember we talked about hype a long time ago? That’s what happened with Andromeda. Except it wasn’t a hype train that ran Andromeda over. It was a hype backlash – a mob mentality, accidentally curated by EA.

oh-god-why

Miscalculation

EA did a very stupid thing when they cancelled their multiplayer beta. This beta was not early access; this was beta-testing. It was a time to get feedback before the game was released to the wolves of the internet to devour. And EA cancelled it, leaving whatever flaws the game had untested and unaccounted for when they released it to all the news organizations, YouTubers, and bloggers who managed to get their hands on a copy.

Image result for facepalm
When the fail is so strong, even your facepalm is a fail

This was a terrible idea. There were mechanical failings of the game (crashing, etc.) that should have been fixed before its release, and perhaps beta testing would have caught those things. And then, in the world of eighth-generation consoles, there were the concerns about the graphics.

Okay, let’s call a spade a spade: the facial animations were creepy and awful. But they weren’t game-breaking levels of bad, but rather just a little disappointing, considering the capabilities of today’s consoles. Yet this is by far the most prevalent complaint about the game and seems to be used as proof at how horrible the game is, as if a person’s face is indicative of the quality of a game’s story and characters. Why?

Enter the Internet

In psychology, there is something called a negativity bias, which is an idea that states when two scenarios of equal intensity are presented to someone, the more negative one will have a greater impact. As an example, if a person hears two sentences (“I like the way you wear your hair” and “No I don’t like your haircut”) at an equal volume, the person will remember the negative comment about their haircut more clearly. Remembering this will impact their future actions, as they might not cut their hair like that again.

So, for the sake of this article, this negativity bias means that people will focus on “bad” news about a video game, and remember/act on it.

The second point to remember is that bad news sells. And “things that sell” bring views and subscriptions to channels.

Image result for upward graph

So, with no beta testing and a short early access period before the game actually launched, news organizations, YouTubers, and bloggers scrambled to get their ideas out first and more importantly, heard over the cacophony of all the people talking about Andromeda. They needed to stand out, make their mark, and be remembered.

Imagine, If You Will…

I have a hypothesis of what happened next. Like I said, YouTube channels/bloggers/small-time video game folks wanted to make their voices heard. And bad news sells. And what’s the number-one, most-often-cited flaw of Andromeda? The facial animations. I hypothesize that this (minor) flaw was picked up on because it was so prominent (that is, it was the easiest one to notice if you hadn’t played the game long enough to experience the technical glitches), and then was spread across the internet like wildfire as each person who wanted quick views jumped on board the hate train and blasted the game’s animations.

This is the important part. People scrambled to be heard, to stand out, and to be memorable, that they fed into our natural negativity bias. They latched onto and talked about the one “bad” thing that was always experienced when the game first opened: the characters’ faces.

As we learned with the negativity bias, people remember and act on negative ideas. So eventually, folks became so wrapped up in talking about how “bad” it was that they stopped talking about anything else. The more the bad animations were talked about, the more people tuned in, so the more they were talked about, and so on.

Image result for cycle

We ruined Andromeda. At this point, it’s hard to critique it, because any criticism is chalked up to “another” one of the game’s (implied) many flaws. Even now, Andromeda is akin to the gaming world’s whipping boy, with very few people (that I’ve come across on the interwebs at large) having anything particularly nice to say about it. And the negative comments range from understandable to just plain stupid. Here’s a summation of the critiques that I’ve found:

  1. The facial animations were bad/the game crashes
    Valid critiques, even if the first half is over-done.
  2. The game bugs out when I (fill in blank).
    Also valid.
  3. The story is far-fetched and I can’t get into it.
    You might not be able to get into it, and that’s valid, but… The original trilogy had giant, sentient space-bug robots that had to be vanquished using a colorful McGuffin. We’re starting down the rabbit hole with this one.
  4. Cora is ugly. I don’t want to f-ck that butch b-tch/Why can’t I f-ck Suvi?/Other comments regarding sexual relationships.
    I wish I was making that up. I read a few threads about Cora’s sex appeal and how her haircut was somehow indicative of the game’s quality. I read a few others about how horrible BioWare is because the gay women in the games are “too pretty” (takes deep, calming breath). Of course, that leads to…
  5. There are too many gay people. Why are you doing this to “us”?
    Sigh.

Negativity begat negativity, and so here we are. Without more objective critiques that don’t feed on a problem that has now, for the most part, been fixed, how can we expect the games to move forward? I wouldn’t be surprised if our out-of-proportion anger toward Andromeda is partly the reason why EA recently put the entire IP on ice.

liara-facepalm

But now, after all the hysteria has finally died down and the last of the vultures that had so greedily snapped at the game have finally flown away in search of another victim, we’re starting to see some people try to have real conversations about it. People are saying the story is solid, the characters are good, and it’s a solid Mass Effect game.

Yeah, the faces looked awful. Yeah, it has bugs and should have had a little more polish than it had. Yeah, those are the things we should have focused on to begin with: its merits, and its shortcomings. Because a critique is neither putting something on public blast, nor is it heaping praise on it. Crafting a fair and objective critique is hard, especially if we let ourselves succumb to hype backlash and negativity bias.

Conclusion

So what’s the solution? Well, obviously make sure your game is polished before release, EA. C’mon.

I wonder, though, if early access had been earlier (that is, if the game was released with a greater amount of time between the early access and the drop date), if that would have allowed more time for the firestorm to die down and allow the more reasonable voices of the more established or smaller-yet-reasonable gaming news organizations to be heard. It would have allowed the focus to go from “OMG the animations are so bad you guyz!” to something more objective, outlining the game’s flaws and its strengths, which would have calmed the hysteria that happened on launch day (to a point).

With great power comes great responsibility, they say, so maybe next time, we should all be less worried about views and subscriptions, and more concerned with offering a fair critique of the whole game, and not just grab on to whatever we think will sell.

hype-train

Now, all of this is my opinion. It’s based on my experience before, during, and after the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda, and on what I have read as the main critiques of the game. So I ask you:

Did we all (as gamers, bloggers, etc.) add to the conversation, or did we jump on a bandwagon that drove a good game straight into video game hell? Or is it all EA’s fault? Do each of us bear some responsibility for the Andromeda backlash? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena


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31 thoughts on “The Bumble and the Backlash

  1. The negativity may have been overboard, but if you rush out a game you run the risk of being punished. Mass Effect has a legacy to live up to and people will be quick to judge if the first impressions are poor due to bugs. Not sure if EA is to blame, but Bioware doesn’t feel like the company they once were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely. I’m not excusing the release of a buggy game at all. But I think the problem was two-fold: the game issues and then the overboard hatred. Of course the game should be critiqued, and no game should be released if it doesn’t have all of its t’s crossed and i’s dotted.

      That’s an interesting statement about BioWare, and I’ve heard a few different comments like that in the recent past. I’m not saying I don’t agree, but what do you think is different?

      Like

      1. The quality of their games seems to have dipped. People gushed endlessly about Baldur’s Gate, KOTR, Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect 2. Since then DA2 was bashed for being rushed, ME3’s ending was panned and Andromeda came out to a lukewarm reception. Feels a bit like when Square merged with Enix. Final Fantasy games no longer feel as magical post acquisition.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It would be so easy to blame EA, honestly, because that seems to be their MO. But unfortunately we’ve seen such an exodus of their original creative team that it’s no wonder the games feel like they are having to find their way again.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. All of the above, I suppose. Were there some valid concerns? Sure. Were they big enough issues to warrant an internet-wide tantrum that may or may not have killed the series? Hell no.

    People are so spoiled and quick to make knee jerk internet reactions to everything under the sun these days that I feel embarrassed to be associated with the massive troll-ish hive mind that has come to somehow represent gamers these days.

    I almost feel sorry for them if they can’t enjoy such a fun and beautiful game at all just because they can’t stop thinking about Anderson’s weird, dead eyes. What DO these people find joy in if video games are nothing but another source of misery for them? Damn kids. Get off my lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you. There are definite issues, but the backlash was way over-the-top. That’s interesting you used the word “spoiled.” I think you’re on to something… But you’re right. It does nothing for “us” as a community to be so childish and be unable to have adult conversations about things that weren’t what we expected.

      Like I said, when I played it again, I really thought it was solid. Maybe not what I expected, but not objectively *bad,* either.

      Don’t worry, I shake my cane at those kids, too.

      Like

  3. I think it’s the internet being the internet. I felt the whole facial animation issue was blown WAAAY out of proportion. Yes they weren’t perfect, but it was far from game breaking.

    I’ve been listening to alot of talks on kotaku splitscreen about why it’s in the state it’s in. The hosts agree yes it’s underwhelming but that things like the facial animations got blown way out of proportion. There are several factors in a game development that could contribute it to being the way it is that we’ll just never know. For one, they did use a new engine to make the game, and probably faced several technical challenges because of it. I think they had to build everything from the ground up, that’s a big task as it is for any project, large or small. Another, Bioware’s A team is on a different IP and andromeda might have gotten the less experienced team.

    What they brought up more recently is maybe it’s the fact that the game has a huge budget and a long development cycle, that fans may not understand why these things could have happened. I don’t think this is what fans primarily were focusing on, given the whole facial animation debacle. But my point is, alot could have happened during the 5 years this game was being made. In the end, yea it has problems, and what I’ve played of it so far, I don’t think it’s a bad game by any means.

    I personally cannot wait to get back into it once I’m over my being burned out by open world games. I’m impressed with how they are handling things, and yea it sucks that they had put the series on ice, but they have announced and are clearly committed by their actions to patch and fix the broken parts of the game. Compare this in contrast with No Mans Sky, which launched with problems, but the worst part was silence from the game makers for such a long period before saying there will be patches. Games launch with problems, I think they are just too big these days to not have some problems. Hell, all I ever saw of Witcher 3 when it launched was so many bugs where Roach flies and Geralt’s arms get stuck in weird ways, but look at how that one turned out.

    I think EA is handling this very well. They have already fixed the facial animations, and the difference is day and night. I think the future will be better, but unfortunately most will probably still hold a bad opinion of it because the damage has already been done early on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up some great points, and I wish what you are talking about was/is a bigger part of the conversation. MEA was on a new engine, with a smaller/less experienced staff, and things happened. I think BioWare and EA are handling themselves well in the wake of all the hate. Another thing to consider is that 5 years is a long time in the world of technology. Can you imagine how excited people would have been for the graphics in MEA 5 years ago? It’s hard to have/need a long dev period (I think), and still try to stay so up-to-date with every single visual element. Not impossible, but hard, and maybe not for a B team to do.

      Hopefully the final outcome isn’t an end to the series. I think there’s so much more that can be explored in the Mass Effect universe. And maybe, at the end of the day, the backlash will serve a purpose: the next game(s) will be a little more polished, and maybe the incredible hype will be toned down a bit…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. i certainly hope so. I don’t think it’s the end of ME, the series is too important for gaming for it to just go away. I think it would be foolish to do that.

        but yes to your point, in 5 years technology and expectations do change. I think Andromeda looks amazing still, despite the animation issues.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I promised myself that I’d boycott Bioware after ME3. I managed with DA:I but I have to admit that ME:A tempted me, because I’ll always hold the trilogy close to my heart. I don’t have a next gen console, however, so I avoided being sucked into pre-order culture.

    I thought I’d have time to hear everyone’s thoughts and decide for myself if it was worth getting. I’d initially heard two things; that it was going to be like ME1, and that it was going to be a glorified dating sim. The former piqued my interest, especially when I heard about the new vehicle.

    When the storm hit, however, I thought it impossible to know what I’d be getting myself into, since everyone seemed focused on graphical glitches (which are terrible but seem to plague most triple A games these days) and nonsense about SJWs and such.

    Some things, like Manveer Heir’s questionable political views, seemed understandable. Others, however, did not; there were so many people complaining about Cora being a lesbian (as if that was a bad thing, and that it was even true) or the game having too many gay characters in general (my own research never seemed to corroborate that idea).

    I tried to engage with people in comments sections, but the responses tended to be some variation of “haha kys fag” or people just making the weirdest points imaginable out of desperation.

    I’ve seen people say its unrealistic for Suvi to be gay and believe in god. I’ve seen people say its unrealistic for the Andromeda Initiative to even accept gay candidates. When I point out that IVF and cloning exist, they tend to cycle back to the first point (“Lol are you gay?”).

    I just want to know whether or not the game damages the trilogy’s continuity, not some random git’s opinion on “cultural Marxism”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I missed all the hype for ME3, and so I’m one of the few people who didn’t think the endings were particularly bad, but I can see where you’d be disappointed with BioWare and its products.

      I actually really enjoyed Inquisition quite a bit. Origins is still my favorite, but I happily sank over 120 hours into my first playthrough of Inquisition and don’t regret it.

      But back to Mass Effect. Another commenter here talked about being embarrassed to be associate with the trolls that are still seen as the faces of the gaming community, and your examples show that. It’s really too bad that people don’t want to sit down and have conversations about things…it’s more fun to spew hate, I suppose.

      BioWare – for the most part – handles its diversity well. And when they bumble it, like they apparently did with one of the trans characters (?), they fix it. But overall, each of the characters operates as a person, not a stereotype. Even straight Cora with her weird haircut and gay Suvi with her unwavering faith. And I’m glad you’ve looked into the proportions. I never thought gay characters were particularly “over” represented, either. Someone used the term “cultural Marxism”? I’m both impressed with their creativity and appalled that’s their assessment of the game(s).

      I’m going to write a “Second Impressions” post about Andromeda soon, but if you’re looking for a damage report, no I don’t think the game wrecks the continuity. From what I’ve seen, it gives little nods to the folks in the Milky Way, but nothing overt or distracting. Andromeda stands on its own as a story that takes place in the Mass Effect universe. I can see the comparison to ME1, as it establishes the new galaxy and new story. If/when you get an 8th gen console, I would still recommend picking it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t played ME: Andromeda, but from what I’ve seen, I think the backlash definitely followed the same kind of pattern as No Man’s Sky, with everyone piling on in order to get their slice of the pagehit pie (as per our conversation on your hype piece).

    Like everything on the t’internet, the reasonable tends to get lost as everybody rushes to the extremes – and then, because, like algorithms and whatnot, that all becomes a self-reinforcing situation, so more people pile on, etc, etc.

    I mean, who wants to read a fair evaluation, or have a reasonable conversation, when you can just anonymously scream about stuff at random people on the Internet for ever and ever and ever, right!?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You hit the nail on its sad little head, sir. Why be reasonable when being a psychotic jerk gets people to notice you??

      And to answer your question about who wants to read a fair evaluation and have a reasonable conversation…… Well, you’re here, and some other pretty cool people, so my faith in gaming humanity is somewhat restored haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, but you would say that wouldn’t you!? You, with your Librul bias, hating on everybody just because they like raging into the ether. Honestly, it’s political correctness gone mad!!

        etc, etc. 😉

        (I don’t know if this’ll work, but if it does, this pretty much sums up the whole Internet ever for me:)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Bahahaha! Yeah, well… You better watch out, because I will take your views into account *so seriously* when talking about social issues because I just CaNt StAnD when people aren’t treated fairly! Equality is *not* a joke, sir! *rage rage, good grammar, etc etc*
          (It’s a good summation. I rather agree with it, myself haha)

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Just seeing the sheer amount of comments here is a testament to how good people really wanted this game to be. I was a huge ME fan, 2 is one of my all time favourite games. But they already lost me at 3, it was such a drastic drop from the second one in quality.

    I am glad to hear you enjoyed the game, and I was intrigued when Andromeda was announced, but these days when I have so little time I can’t devote time to anything except what I’m sure I want to play, and there are so many other more polished games out there.

    That being said, I am itching for a sci-fi adventure with a strong story on the scale of ME2! One day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m quite a fan of ME2, as well! It seems like some folks talk about a drop in quality in ME3, but I never thought it was that bad. *shrugs* Maybe it’s the same with MEA. It’s not as character-driven as ME2 was, and not as RPG-ish as ME1, but a solid game in its own right. And I still play on an old CRT-TV, so the graphics of every game I play always look terrible (haha) so maybe that’s why I tend to be so forgiving.

      I would love another game like ME2. I loved how tight and character-driven the story was. That’s one thing I will say about MEA: it tries to have the tight characters (which I think are well done, to be fair), and the action-packed story of ME3.

      I mean, I’d still recommend it. Like all of us here, I’m pressed for time and I’m enjoying the time I spend in Andromeda, but if the lack of polish turns you off, then you have to go with your gut 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thankfully, this game will be in a perfectly patched state by the time I get around to playing it! 🙂 I think there is too much pressure on developers to get games out the door ASAP. There is just so much competition, plus the marketing departments want to cash in on all those preorders, quickly. So many games are getting released in a “broken state” and then patched shortly after (ReCore and Assassin’s Creed Unity are two other bug ridden titles that come to my mind)

    Oh don’t get me started on the hater mob! I can’t speak for BioWare related drama, but Squeenix ruined the Final Fantasy with my all-time favourite XIII Trilogy, apparently. I played the games first and then I was shocked to see all the hate for them online. Some people like to jump on bandwagons and it’s cool to think Lightning is a PMSing bitch, and that the games are “too linear” (Because you know, no other video game is a straightforward path to the end… oh wait). Don’t get me wrong – Valid critiques of the games are absolutely fine with me and i respect those opinions, even if I disagree. I just despise seeing mindless hate for things. I also have a theory that “unfeminine” female protagonists trigger the misogynist mob that lives in the internet’s seedy underbelly (i.e, not Hyper-sexualized for their sole entertainment), contributing to the hate train’s raging path. It’s so easy for anyone to get pulled aboard that train. Nowadays I ignore most forum drama and just play the damn game, if it looks fun. I’ve learned that my opinion is the only one that really matters to me. Haters are always gonna hate, so why waste my energy thinking about their opinions?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Our fast-paced society certainly has a hand in a lot of bumbles in the game industry, I think. Eventually (I hope) things will have to slow down, or we’ll be inundated with crappy games that are thrown together so devs can yell, “First!”

      I agree; valid critiques, or even stating your opinion calmly is fine. But public blast or the insinuation that *everyone* should hate it is just silly. There is no accounting for taste, as they say.

      The point you make about “unfeminine” female protagonists/characters is not one I’m going to comment on for the sake of everyone’s sanity, but even with MEA we’ve seen people saying characters can’t be one way or another because of a stereotype. Cora is “too butch” to be straight, “there’s no way” Suvi can believe in God and be gay (also, she’s “too pretty” to be gay)… ugh. Just.. everyone’s not a cookie cutter, guys.

      Honestly, I usually have in my mind whether or not I’m going to get a game and then get it (or not). The only thing that really sways me one way or another is if someone I know recommends it. Crowd-sourcing has its place, but telling me my opinion is not one of them haha

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think there were a variety of issues that led to the backlash surrounding MEA. The biggest obviously was that it was buggy and crashy. But also the fact that there is still a lot of animosity at Bioware over the handling of ME3, EA is still generally regarded as pure evil, and the surge in conservative push back against progress ideals. And lets not discount that since DAI came out the bar on open world games has risen with titles like The Witcher III, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Breath of the Wild. All of that helped create a perfect storm for hating on MEA.

    That said, I’m still enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah there’s a *lot* that I didn’t go into in this article. I still scratch my head at all the ME3 hate, too, if that means anything (other than I’ll probably be scratching my head for a while haha). You’re right about open world games and the general “hate” atmosphere, which is a shame, because, likewise, I’m really enjoying myself despite some of the hiccups along the way. I still think it’s a solid game in its own right. It doesn’t have to be “pretty” to be *good.*

      Like

  9. Despite being a big BioWare fan I have actually avoided Mass Effect in the past because I tend to prefer sword style fighting rather than guns. I purposefully avoided reading too much about Andromeda because I was thinking of introducing myself to the original games and wanted to avoid spoilers but even trying to avoid it I kept seeing stuff about it and, it actually made me want to play it more and see for myself. I hadn’t even realised people were complaining about the homosexual characters, I’ve always thought BioWare have been great for that and it’s really refreshing playing games where that is such an open and (usually) normal thing when other games kind of brush over it or avoid it altogether. It’s such a shame that some people say that the attractiveness and sexuality of video game characters actually detracts from their enjoyment of a game, I’m assuming like with most BioWare games, romancing in Andromeda is optional anyway (?) so if that’s what they’re looking for then there’s plenty more games they can play to make up for it if they really believe that’s such an issue. The whole point is that you have a freedom of choice to embellish your story with some romance if you want to but it’s by no means necessary. I could go off on one about this for ages but I won’t clog up your comments section with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Long comments are always welcome!!

      Truth be told, I actually got into Mass Effect because I loved Dragon Age so much and “oh, cool. BioWare did a thing in space, too.”

      It’s a great trilogy! I would definitely recommend playing through it, and especially if you’re going to play MEA, because there are little nods to it throughout the game that are fun to find 🙂

      Yeah, while the folks on WordPress are very open-minded, unfortunately the internet is still the internet. You’re right that romancing anyone is optional, but I’m guessing the people who think it’s unrealistic for Suvi to be pretty, gay, and believe in God all at the same time are the ones who are playing the game for the sex scenes, if you catch my drift.

      I think we’re seeing a bit of a social backlash, too, with the games being socially progressive… which might be making some folks uncomfortable. I think that’s understandable: people are seeing their “way” of life threatened, and are responding to that. But it just means that we need to be patient show that “different” isn’t “bad.”

      I obviously can go on for a while about this, too, so no worries! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll definitely get around to playing them they look great.
        Yeah, I get that they would be uncomfortable about it, I suppose I find it weird because I find it so nice to have such diverse characters it seems strange to me that people would be angry about it. Ah well, like you said maybe in time “different” won’t be considered “bad” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. So I have a confession: I definitely helped spread the facial issues without having empirical knowledge to back it up. I fell into the category of “I heard…” or “I saw…” and became one of the voices in the howling crowd. I’ve watched my husband play the game (with his headphones on of course, because I want no spoilers!), and I can say that even before the patch, it wasn’t that terrible. There were a few instances, but the overall experience of the facial movements wasn’t that bad, and it was definitely the internet blowing things out of proportion.I really need to learn my lesson with things like this.

    As for “too may gay people” ughhhhh. This reminds me of the article I shared today where (sorry to say it, but I have to say it) white dudes were complaining about the new Star Trek “catering to PC culture” because originally at some point Kirk said that no woman could captain the Enterprise, and the show takes place before TOS so now we’re going to scream. I want to point out the irony of them saying this about STAR TREK, a show that’s overall message was about equality and how humans had resolved that kind of pettiness, but I fear it would be lost on them. I have heard people complaining about “too many women” in Andromeda as well, and I rolled my eyes so hard I saw the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For shame!

      I jest, of course. At least you were saying that your words were based on hearsay, not some overblown crazy opinion that you came up with in your mad dash for views. The game definitely had/has its flaws, but I still stand by that the backlash has been out of proportion to what the product actually presented.

      I said this to The Dragon’s Tea Party above, but I can understand people who have never had to compromise feeling threatened now that “others” are infringing on how visible their “group” is. There’s PC, and then there’s imitating reality. And you’re right, it’s ironic that fans of a show like Star Trek wouldn’t be okay with the show/movies being progressive, since Gene Roddenberry practically snuck Nichelle Nichols into the cast in order to fulfill his vision of a futuristic and inclusive crew/world state.

      That statement… “I rolled my eyes so hard I saw the past.” I love this, firstly because it’s great imagery, and secondly because of the nod to the whole idea of misogyny being more prevalent in the past is just so well done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I pretend to be so cool, but I’m just as susceptible to bandwagon jumping as anyone lol. Nah, I’d never post something like that, because it goes against my personal policy of not bashing things unless those things send dangerous messages (e.g. Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey). I’ve also been burned quite often by just following the negative opinion of the crowd without experiencing it for myself.

        You hit the nail on the head. There’s a great phrase I’ve seen lately: “When you’re used to privilege, equality looks like oppression.” When you’re used to seeing yourself anywhere, not seeing yourself everywhere feels like a threat, and I suppose it it, because it’s time for other people to be present and have reputation, but if you feel threatened by that, then you should think about why.

        Hehe, I’m glad you liked that! Off the cuff :p

        Like

  11. It’s really, really hard to be objective. We naturally evaluate things against our expectations for them, and to do otherwise requires a level of detachment the most professional reviewers in the industry aren’t prepared to deliver, and would interfere with the enjoyment of the nonprofessionals so why would they bother, and is really hard to maintain otherwise. Games aren’t something you enjoy on an objective level anyways, so trying to be more accurate by being objective may be a fools errand.

    Add to that the fact that the online gaming community thrives on rampant negativity, to the point that some of the most recognizable reviewers run on an “if I don’t mention it, assume it’s fine” philosophy, and yeah, you’ve got yourself a little echo chamber that runs on hate. Negativity not only sticks in people’s minds better, it’s easier to be entertaining when you’re cutting something down than when you’re building it up, so people creating content around video games may tend to gravitate in that direction for that reason. Builds up a bit of an echo chamber. I’m not of a mind to say that only one type of comment or discussion about a game is valid, just like I wouldn’t say that only a discussion that agrees with the community-accepted ‘right’ opinion is valid, but the relentless negativity does make a lot of the online gaming community rather toxic. Luckily blogs do seem to be an area where it’s easy to find a space free from that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do agree that we shouldn’t stop a person from their personal style of disseminating information, but I wonder at some point if we need to make a distinction between entertainment and news. After all, someone like Stephen Colbert talks about the news, but he’s not the same as, say, the New York Times. And, as an aside, I find it troubling that the community thrives on negativity… Any community, and all communities. I agree that I’m glad to have found blogs that are relentlessly devoted to trying to be fair, or at least open-minded to opinions other than the ones that they are presenting.

      I think by “objectivity” I mean not putting something on blast because it’s popular to do so, the way movies and books are reviewed. Of course there is a certain amount of objectivity, but saying “I had fun playing this game” or “this game sucks because there was too much reading” is, for me, presented a little too subjectively. But I’m also willing to entertain that I am fighting an uphill battle when it comes to how games are reviewed and critiqued on average….

      Like

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