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Line in the Sand! Gamers, Make Your Choice…

Posted on August 3, 2012 AT 12:39pm

A threat had been lurking, an unknown threat that was to have significance. This threat was gamers themselves, or a minority of which who felt their opinion was strong enough to be able to change things, things they were not qualified to change. I have had endless discussions about this, so I thought it was about time I put these feelings into words and get a nice discussion going. There are two examples that stand out this year and I am certain you have already guessed one of the games.

Yes, of course it was going to be Mass Effect 3. This cinematic, emotional, action packed and amazing space fairing finale should have been celebrated. However, there was a few people who were unsatisfied to say the least. They were unsatisfied with the ending, saying the game didn’t live up to their expectations and that Bioware had lied. It is my stance that the game absolutely delivered, the right story was told and satisfyingly so. I say the right story was told because it was after all, Bioware’s story to tell; no one else but them has the final authority on how the journey ends for Shepherd and his band of heroes. The complaints forced the developers to concede and produce the ‘extended cut’ downloadable content. Here you see, the gamers who complained are very much bullies in the playground backing the developers into a corner until they give up. I hoped this would be the only time we saw this behaviour, alas it was not to be.

Not a few days after E3 had finished, people were complaining about the sex scene in Far Cry 3 and the supposed rape scene in Tomb Raider. If video games are to be accepted as a serious medium like film then surely these themes, however challenging, should be included. People saw the trailer for Tomb Raider and then suddenly attacked the developer, Crystal Dynamics. The developer told that is was not a graphic scene and only went as far as what was shown in the trailer. Well, this wasn’t good enough for some and the developer was being told to remove the scene. Now here-in lies the point of this article.

The creative process is not and should be never be open to democratic referendum. Video game developers need to be able to create what they want, then leave it up to the consumers to choose if they want play it. I asked a few female friends about the scene in Tomb Raider and they have said it’s up to them if they want to play it. Spec Ops: The Line also has scenes of graphic violence and I asked a person who had served in the army about this. He said while he thinks games should keep it as military vs. military, keeping women and children out of the violence, it is his choice whether he should play it. The developer should not need to remove it from the game.

What I mean by ‘gamers, make your choice’ is that gamers do need to decide if they want to grow up and accept that not every game will be what they want. The other option is to complain about every game, have the content be anodyne and then as an industry be the laughing stock of other art forms. We could end up with games which don’t challenge us, have boring themes and uninteresting storylines. The gamers choice is simple and that is to play a game or not play it. Then they choose if they like it or not. An opinion should not have the power to affect the creative vision of a video game developer. By all means have an opinion but once you have said it, don’t expect everyone to listen or think you are right. This article is an opinion, I know not everyone will agree and I expect that. It would be a boring world if everyone agreed with what others said.

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