Hey look, Herding Cats got its very own domain! If you have a blogroll link or bookmark, I’d appreciate it if you could update it to the new URL: lioreblog.com. Thanks a lot.
Warning: ME3 spoilers
Okay fine, I didn’t want to write about the Ji Firepaw debacle because other people have already written about it extensively and I bet y’all can guess what I think anyway. However, a few recent posts about the issue caught my eye. It seems the current popular argument against Blizzard changing Ji’s dialogue is that there is a place for -isms and making people uncomfortable in the name of characterization. Removing that element, folks say, creates a world of drab boring fiction. At its core, the argument is a defense of art.
So, here’s a story. Some time ago there was a highly anticipated game with what many people felt was a very disappointing conclusion. Eventually so many people were outraged by the ending that they rose up into internet mobs. The game developers in turn defended their game and its ending. “This is our story,” the company said, “and we hope you will all evaluate it on its artistic merit.”
“What!? Art schmart!” cried out the angry players. “It’s a damn game that I paid for so go make me an ending where my FemShep adopts a krogan baby and lives happily ever after with Garrus.” (Or, um, something like that.)
I am of course talking about the Mass Effect 3 ending outrage. It seems that gamers themselves aren’t sure of the relationship between video games and art. So why, in the general arguments on the internet, is Mass Effect 3 considered a consumer good that can be changed to meet the demands of the audience while the lines of Ji Firepaw, level 3 questgiver, should be protected as artistic expression? Hmm?
I’m pretty sure you can guess the answer to that on your own. Look, my fellow gamers, I think many of us would like some aspect of games to be accepted as art, much like with books or movies. But to do that you can’t just wave the art flag when it’s convenient and opt out of thinking about the difficult stuff.
If Ji Firepaw’s old greeting is a work of characterization worthy of protection, then so is Shepard blowing up the galaxy.