•••• Holy hell (literally), "Diablo III" finally has a release date! May 15, kids. [Blizzard]
•••• EA Sports' football titles are both in the crowd-sourcing spirit this year. Cam Newton is leading the pack for the "Madden NFL 13" vote, and eight Heisman-winning legends are vying to share the cover of "NCAA Football 13" with RG3. It is at this juncture Game Cache would like to officially endorse Ben Roethlisberger ("Madden" curse, ya’ll), and Barry Sanders (because he's awesome) with our vote. [ESPN, EA]
•••• The Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C. launched its "The Art of Video Games" exhibit. The New York Times critic thought it was good, but played it too safe. Now, when you drop money on "Assassin’s Creed III," you can tell yourself you're patronizing the arts. [The New York Times]
•••• Video games might be the training ground for tomorrow’s executive workforce. Of course, the author means this more conceptually than literally, but I think there could be a market for literally training students through games. I was once writing a review of "NBA2K10" and accidentally typed "MBA2K10" and immediately envisioned the most bro-tastic, sick networking, PowerPoint deck-owning game imaginable. [Fast Company]
Blowing Off Steam ("Mass"-ive Edition)
On Monday I linked to the story on Kotaku that has since spread like wildfire about gamers petitioning the game’s maker, BioWare, to release a new ending to replace the allegedly dissatisfying conclusion to the story’s trilogy.
I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends with this viewpoint, but this thinking is naive and deluded. Sure, things like it have been done, and it wouldn't be impossible for BioWare to create an alternative ending and allow users to download it and tack it on to their game.
But to do so would corrupt the very nature of art. Perhaps that's a bit of a dramatic statement. Let's try that again: to do so would be a total cop-out. Crowd-sourcing is good when it's thoughtful and intentional. When it's reactive, it's not crowd-sourcing, it's called pandering.
I don't recall a statement from BioWare from before the first "Mass Effect" came out saying "this is your game too, you guys! We’re going to collaborate with you all the way to the end!" Video games are an artform. There’s a creator, and there’s everyone else. At best, it’s a benevolent dictatorship. Spending money and time on a game series gives fans the false impression of "investment." The only thing the time and money gets you is entertainment. Everything else is at the whim of the creator.
You don't like how they end their story? Don't support the next thing they do. You're not a citizen of BioWare, ruled by evil despots and unable to leave. Feedback is often useful to the creator, but receiving it doesn’t imply an obligation to implement it. Artists "betray" their fans all the time by doing work that isn’t what the fans expect. However, it’s not the job of the fan or consumer to set those expectations. The market, and common sense, set those expectations. There's no honest games journalist who thinks "Mass Effect 3" isn’t a great game. It’s also currently the No. 1 selling video game on amazon.com.
It also has 237 (out of 459) one-star reviews. One star! That’s "Gigli"-levels of bad! You can also check out Metacritic, where "Mass Effect 3" is pulling a 94 out of 100 with critics (second only to "Skyrim") and a 4.9 out of 10 average with users. Vote with your wallets people, and don’t ask an artist to go back and "do-over" their work like a disappointed grade school teacher.
Really Important Video
To end on a lighter note, I bring you possibly the best video game-related flash mob ever conducted. This crew gets bonus points for finding real live girls to play Chun-Li and Jade. Also, keep an eye on the guy dressed as Sub-Zero. I don’t trust the way he moves. "MORTAL KOMBAT!"Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun