I'm not a loudly political or religious person. I have my thoughts and opinions (you can figure out where I land on things pretty easily) but I largely keep them to myself. I'm also not very confrontational. I always found it easier to just walk away than fight every stupid battle with everyone else's fevered egos and rampant insecurities. Unless I'm in some kind of physical danger, I'd rather just move on and let crazy people be crazy by themselves. So, yes, I'm a very self-contained person. I've been in a rut, personally and professionally, and was really only half aware of it.
That was three months ago.
Now I have an active Twitter account on which I act like a doofus regularly (usually only for my own amusement). I'm going out to see more and more concerts and stand-up comedy shows (alone, if I have to) and trying to interact with real human beings for a change. I'm trying to reclaim friendships that have gone to seed from getting caught up in the daily grind of work, eat, sleep, repeat. When I see something wrong, I'm starting to call it out or at least not sit quietly while it happens. I have a blog, something I haven't done in years, where I joke and vent about the things around me that I care about. The part of me that always wanted to be a writer is waking up again. I'm not very good but at least I'm making an attempt to suck a little less each time. The fact that I'm writing this at all instead of pushing it down and going on with my daily grind is proof enough how much things have changed. All because of a stupid, little video game.
If it weren't for hating the ending of Mass Effect 3, I'd still be sleepwalking along like nothing was wrong. It took caring about something and wanting it to be better to realize what I had been missing. So, in a weird way, BioWare's screw-up was ultimately a benefit. It lead me online, which lead me to the Retake ME3 Facebook page which lead me here. It lead to watching a systemic failure in the industry to react to a problem. It lead to axe-grinding journalists (giving multiple definitions to the word "hack") more interested in hitting back against comment thread trolls and high-fiving than reporting a story accurately. It lead to desperate developers trying to quell something without actually addressing the issue or taking responsibility. (Yes, Casey and Mac, this is on YOU, not us.) Fans raged against fans. Intricate fanfic theories were used to fill in the plot holes the game left which seemed to draw people in who just wanted to believe that there was some kind of order to things. That it was all part of the plan, whether it made sense or not. An entire community popped up, grew, and took zero shit from anyone. They pooled their resources and came up with some of the most innovative forms of protest I've ever seen.
Honestly, at this point, whatever is in the Extended Cut is irrelevant. I'm sure it will be fine so long as they don't over-extend and try to make everyone happy at the expense of narrative coherence. People have been desperate to strangle that old Ralph Waldo Emerson line to justify the ending of ME3: "It's the journey, not the destination." (Shut up, I'm paraphrasing.) The quote has always been in reference to life, not fiction. So I'm going to retake it (heh) and use it in the context it was meant to be used in. This protest is one moment in what I hope will be a reasonably long life. The destination is always the same in the end but my journey got a lot more interesting since I came here.
I'm always going to be quiet, aloof and stand-offish. I'm always going to be happier doing something myself rather than working as a team. But I'm learning. I'll always be grateful to BioWare (unintentional as it was) and to Hold The Line for waking me up when I didn't know I was asleep.
(However. Next time, BioWare... try not to fuck it up so badly.)
How Mass Effect Changed Me (Against My Will)
Blog entry posted by The Defenestrator, Jun 26, 2012.