Tag Archives: Mass Effect

Fox News on Mass Effect; or, Play the Darn Game!

So, according to this clip from major news outlet Fox News (which I have no overarching gripe about), Mass Effect is chock-full of graphic violence and sex and should be rated Adults Only and kept out of the hands of most gamers, since virtually all gamers are prepubescent boys. And this they know because some psychologist who hasn’t played the game, who in fact laughs at the hinted suggestion that she might ought to play the game before she rails on it, says so. Geoff Keighley tried his best to counter these ludicrous claims, but kept getting cut off before he could fully make his point. Which is, of course, that these are absolutely untrue, ludicrous claims, as anyone who’d actually, like, played the game would know.

Yes, there is a sex scene in the game. It comes after about 30 hours of play and lasts less than a couple of minutes, as Keighley points out. And there is no graphic nudity in it. In fact, it’s rather tastefully done; so “tastefully” that it’s almost funny, in the bad ’80s movie sort of way. And it’s presented as part of a long story/relationship-arc that has to be handled in a certain way to even get to it. It’s quite possible to play the entire game multiple times and never see the sex scene. Oh, and the anchor at one point, while showing a clip of the beginning of said sex scene, says “the player gets to decide exactly what happens between these two characters, if you know what I mean,” her tone intimating that you’re controlling the sex act itself, which is utterly untrue. It’s a cinematic cut scene; you control the dialogue and relationship choices that may or may not lead up to the scene, but you do nothing during it.

There are so many other little things here mostly stemming from people talking about things they know nothing about. Talking about ESRB game ratings, the anchor says you have to pick up the box and read the back to find out the rating; not true–the ratings are ALWAYS prominently displayed on the front (much more prominently than MPAA ratings are displayed on DVD cases, for example); as if reading the back were such a chore anyway. One of the other panel members at the end mentions buying an inappropriate game for his daughter because he either didn’t see the rating or didn’t know what it meant. I don’t know about all game stores, but certainly the ones I’ve shopped at have the ratings and their meanings displayed all over the store. The psychologist states categorically that most gamers are teenage boys, but the average gaming age is over 30 now. My favorite is when one of the panelists says she doesn’t understand why Mass Effect isn’t rated AO (adults only, the equivalent of NC-17 for movies) instead of M (mature, the equivalent of R for movies). Well, if any of these people had bothered to play the game instead of just condemn it, they would know that had Mass Effect been a movie, with the exact same amount of violence and sexual content, it would almost certainly have been rated PG-13.

I think that’s what really gets me; I understand the principle of not wanting sex and violence in games, but I don’t understand the double standard whereby games are vilified for having shades of things in them that movies have had for ages and very few people get unduly up in arms about anymore. No one goes, OMG, Shakespeare in Love has a sex scene with nudity, without at least considering the rest of the film and whether there’s value in it. But that’s exactly what people do with video games; forget the fact that Mass Effect has a film-quality story and script, excellent acting, incredible graphics, and groundbreaking gameplay. Nope, it’s got one sorta sex scene that we’ll blow all out of proportion and thereby condemn the game entirely. (At least the anchor does attempt to be somewhat fair by pointing out how gorgeous the game is.) And believe me, when you finish Mass Effect, the thing you remember from it won’t be the fact that your character got laid. Unless the media continues to hype it this way to the point where you can’t remember anything else.

(via Joystiq.

December 2007 Reading/Watching/Playing Recap

New record set again! Twenty-six movies this month. I love vacation time. And having awesome libraries around. And art-house theatres. After the jump, reactions to No Country for Old Men, Cars, Rushmore, Flags of Our Fathers, Slacker, The Squid and the Whale, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Underworld: Evolution, The Black Dahlia, MirrorMask, Juno, Notes on a Scandal, Interiors, The Illusionist, Mass Effect, Gears of War, and others.

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Top Five Reasons I Need an Xbox360 This Fall

So my plan for buying an Xbox360 largely involves not eating out ever. Which is saving me about $10 a week. At that rate, I can get a 360 in like three years. I might modify my plan, however, because there are a lot of really great games coming out for it, and nothing coming out for the Xbox anymore (although that does mean I’ve been able to pick up a bunch of solid Xbox games for like $5 over the past several months, which is awesome). Here are the five I’m salivating over the most, in no particular order. (Also there are trailers, which may not show in feedreaders.)

By the way, the pixelization on the trailers is introduced by my having to resize them to fit in my layout; click through to see them fullsize at GameTrailers.com if you think the graphics don’t match up to my praise of them.

Mass Effect
November 20

It’s a sci-fi RPG by BioWare, the same company that made Knights of the Old Republic and Jade Empire, but with a combat system that I’ve heard compared to that of Gears of War. So, RPG with real-time, action-style combat? Sign me up!

Assassin’s Creed
November 13

If they can make the hand-to-hand combat and freerunning work as well as it looks in the trailer, then this is going to be awesome. You get options between stealth and head-on approaches, too. I always like options.

Guitar Hero III
October 28

I haven’t played much of anything that was as much pure fun as the Guitar Hero games. I almost bought a PS2 last year just to get the first one, but I talked myself out of it in anticipation of getting a 360 at some point. Although, Rock Band sounds really sweet, too…I’m just concerned about peripheral cost with that. Oh, and finding three other friends who like video games.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
November 5

I’m not actually tired of WW2-set FPS games, like a lot of people are, but the Call of Duty series has been so great, that I’m more than willing to follow them into modern warfare. Plus, this looks gorgeous! And Game Informer named it the number one game of E3 this year.

Grand Theft Auto IV
March 3, 2008

GTA IV would’ve been my number one reason for getting a 360 this fall, but it got moved back to spring. :( So I guess this is really Top Five Reasons To Get an Xbox 360 in the Near Future. Just look at this, though. And the teaser trailer, too. The lighting effects are incredible. If it keeps the same level of gameplay as San Andreas and adds this level of graphic quality (I’m pretty sure this is in-engine, not cutscenes, but I don’t know for sure), wow.

And I’ll also probably want to pick up Rainbow Six Vegas, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Crackdown, Call of Duty 2, Lost Planet, and maybe BioShock. And Prototype looks amazing. So yeah. Oh, I didn’t mention Halo 3. That wasn’t a mistake; I’m not as huge a fan of the Halo series as everyone else is (in fact, I’ve never really bothered to play it except in co-op, because when it came out it was one of the few games that even had co-op). I might get it eventually, but certainly not at full price.