Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jessica Lugo Sucks: 5 Video Game Franchises Ruined By The Fans (Only Not)

Just to make things absolutely clear, I'm not actually talking about the games I think were ruined by the fans. Rather, this post is about why Jessica Lugo's Rant Gaming article, 5 Video Game Franchises Ruined By The Fans is total bull.

Incidentally, I briefly considered making my own list of the top 5 game franchises ruined by the fans, but I found it impossible because I'm not a corporate stooge and therefore don't think that way.

5. Mega Man
One of the defining characteristics of the Mega Man franchise was always the rock-paper-scissors mechanic of how the bosses' powers worked together. Since you could take them on in any order and take their weapons when they're defeated, you find the order that works out the best. You fight Guts Man first and take his power to throw rocks. You use that to beat Cut Man because rock beats scissors (get it?) and then you use Cut Man's scissor boomerang to beat the lightning-powered Elec Man, because scissors cut wires, and so on. Makes sense, right?

Then we get to Mega Man 6, and... wait, Flame Man? How is he different from the first game's Fire Man? And okay, I can guess how his power would work with Blizzard Man and Plant Man, but how would Knight Man and Tomahawk Man's powers work together? What about Centaur Man, or the spear-throwing Yamato Man?

Well, part of the reason they ended up with such weird robot bosses is because by this point in the series they were taking most of their ideas from unofficial fan contests and suggestions in magazines like Nintendo Power.

Except, wait, the robot masters turned dumb as early as Mega Man 2. Wind blows leaves like nothing, so why do Wood Man's leaves decimate Air Man? Metal Man's weakness is his own weapon? How the Hell am I supposed to exploit that!? And okay, even if the developers hadn't turned retarded early, how is this the fans' fault? If they couldn't figure out how to make the fan suggestions work then they could, I don't know, stop taking them? Or better yet, keep taking them but only pick ones they can figure out how to use right. Saying that this is all the fans' fault means implying that the developers had no free will.

Also, critics never really complained about Mega Man 6's stupid bosses. Most of the criticism revolved around the fact that it was basically the exact same game as Mega Man 1 through 5. In fact, the fan contests were never an issue, even for the developers. Series creator Keiji Inafune even said he loved them. So...why is Jessica Lugo blaming us?

So, there used to be this really cool real time strategy game series called XCOM. You might have heard of it. It was fairly popular for a while but then sort of dropped off the radar for a lot of years. Finally, in 2010 it was announced that the series would be returning... as a generic first person shooter. The fan reaction was immediate and killed that game as soon as it was announced. Fortunately, fans got a real XCOM strategy game in the critically acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but some fans are still a bit upset about differences between the newest game and the old games it's based on. According to Jessica this proves the fans are "unpleasable" and will "never see a new installment" thanks to their own selfishness.

Can I be real here for a second? As I've mentioned on the blog before, my favorite game of all time is the tactical RPG Tactics Ogre. If I found out tomorrow the game was being remade as a rhythm game, I'd be pissed. With that in mind, of course fans were mad when they found out that one of the best strategy game series of all time was being reborn as a cheap Halo ripoff.

Setting aside the fact that this is a series that isn't really ruined at all, is Jessica Lugo trying to argue that standing up for what you believe in is bad? Well, maybe not. Trying to turn a beloved strategy game into something entirely different is stupid, but it's not like it's a deliberate hostile action. Still, it was a bad idea and the people let the developers know that. Why does Jessica think that's shameful?

3. All of the Big Nintendo Titles
Nintendo has sort of the same problem as Square-Enix. People will always buy the latest game that has Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda, or Pokémon in the title, like that one name is somehow proof of quality. The games' developers are guaranteed a huge audience no matter what, so why innovate?

First, because fans really won't just buy anything with Mario in the title, and if you don't believe that then check out the fan reaction to Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix. But okay, it is true that they'll always be able to sell games like Pokémon: Black/White Versions 2, even to people who thought the first Black/White was bad. Yeah, I bought Black 2 and I won't apologize for it. You want to fight?

Moving on, the problem here is that logic. Yes, it's true, if we want to force Nintendo to make the next Zelda game better we accomplish that by not buying the current Zelda game. Thing is, that makes it at best partly our fault. Jessica's assertion here is that it's all our fault. Nintendo can get away with never doing anything new and therefore -according to her- they have no choice but to not do anything new. This philosophy, "we can get away with it, therefore we must do it" is literally the philosophy held by 100% of all the world's bad people, with the "it" in that statement being replaced by anything from "ripping off stockholders for billions of dollars" to "murdering my wife because I'm an enormously famous football player and can afford to hire Johnnie Cochran to defend me." Doesn't personal accountability come into play at all? Apparently not in Jessica's world.

But this doesn't quite prove that Jessica Lugo is an objectively bad person yet. Let's continue.

2. Borderlands
On the same note as the XCOM entry, how can the fans have ruined a game series that is totally not ruined? Borderlands was amazing, and Borderlands 2 is also amazing. Well, according to Jessica it's because we didn't complain about it, which led the game's developers to believe they didn't have to fix any of the game's problems, which has led to...nothing. Okay, there is an issue that I'll talk more about in a second where some people are losing their saved games, but this isn't a problem with the game and I'll explain why when I get there.

Here's the big problem with this one. Do Borderlands and Borderlands 2 have problems? Yes. Do I forgive the games for those problems? Yes. Why? Because the games are awesome. The problems don't really ruin my ability to enjoy the games, and by the way? They have fixed a lot of those problems because the game's developers, Gearbox Software, actually tend to listen to their fans. As a result even people who hated the first Borderlands liked Borderlands 2. I'm not even sure what Jessica was going for with this one and calling it "riddled with glitches" and "the gaming equivalent of jingling keys in our faces" pretty much translates as "this author clearly hasn't played this game."

Oh, and that thing that's causing some peoples' saved games to be deleted? That's not a glitch in the game's programming. It's a virus. It was created by a third party with deliberate malicious intent and spread unwittingly by infected gamers. You know, just like every other computer virus in the history of the Earth. Trying to hold Borderlands developers Gearbox accountable for it is like the ESRB threatening to give The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion a rating of Adult Only because of a third party mod that removed the underwear from character models. ...sometimes this world is depressing.

1. Mass Effect 3
If you know anything about gaming, you know about the controversy surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3, either because you played the game yourself or because someone you know did. After three award winning games and years of devotion, the series' creators Bioware finally brought the story to it's conclusion by (Spoiler Alert) completely undoing everything that happened over the course of the games, killing every single one of the characters we'd come to know and love, and deleting an entire universe worth of incredibly in-depth lore. I think I'd like to take a moment to say, "WHAT THE HELL, MAN?"

Look, don't get me wrong. I understand that in the grand scheme of things it's ultimately meaningless. It's not like I cry myself to sleep at night over the ending or anything. Hell, I hadn't even thought about it for months before this article. Still, the ending did hurt me, because it was quite literally the worst ending that they could possibly have made for the series.

What bothers me the most here, and really reveals Jessica Lugo's true colors, is this bit of logic, where she talks about how "in our whiniest, most wrongfully entitled voices, we fought to 'Retake Mass Effect' as though we somehow held a stake in the creative talent behind the game's creation." Yeah, great, except wait a minute... we did have a stake in the game. When we've devoted five years of our lives to a game series that we love, we deserve to get something out of that relationship.

See, that bit of logic, about how it's their game and we have no right to complain about it when they use it to hurt us? Yeah, that's a lot like saying that it's okay for me to stab people to death because, hey, it's my knife, so what right do you have to tell me what I can and can't do with it? When my actions affect other people it is no longer solely my own choice. That is one thing that every religion, every philosophy, and every even remotely moral person agrees on.

Also, Jessica, we weren't retaking Mass Effect from the game's creators, Bioware, which actually earned second place in Escapist's "Best Developer" contest despite the controversy surrounding the ending of ME3. We were retaking it from the soulless mega-corporation EA Games, who bought Bioware out and then ruined the game, and who were also voted to be the worst company in America by Consumerist Magazine, and if you really don't understand why then please, read this article from Cinema Blend about why EA deserved it. In fact, read that article anyway.

Jessica Lugo, you have no idea what you're talking about and every gamer who read that article knows it. Every repetition of "we gamers" comes across like an alien invader trying desperately to pass as an ordinary Earth Hyoo-Man. Hell, you wrote an article comparing free-to-play games to Socialism. You're pretty clearly either a corporate collar being paid to shout down the fans or a sniveling sycophant, desperate to sell out to the first person willing to buy you. You suck.

1 comment:

arvind kumar said...

Great blog. Your blog is interesting and so informative. Wait for your next blog post.
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