Biggest Gaming Disappointments of 2012
I love video games, but sometimes I loathe them. Because I understand the heights they can reach. That’s why it’s so frustrating when some games can’t or won’t try the ascent. Though the medium delivered much to celebrate this year — I encourage readers to vote in our Game of the Year poll — it also blundered right and left. Promises were broken. Offenses were committed. And gamers (including yours truly) were left feeling disappointed. Below, the Game Front staff chronicles some of the worst bummers.
Mass Effect 3′s Ending Retroactively Ruined The Series
Remember just how hotly anticipated ME3 was going into 2012? For the end of what is arguably the greatest – in concept, at least – science fiction universe of the last 10 years, BioWare had made a number of promises about what players could expect. Unfortunately, very few of these were realized in anything but the most shallow way. The ending itself was particularly awful, cheap looking, morally confused and intellectual nonsense. The backlash, and BioWare’s initially ham-fisted response didn’t help matters, and now that the company has lost numerous key staff, it feels likely that the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.
I was looking forward to Mass Effect 3 like almost nothing else in 2013, and had anticipated at least a couple of wonderful months, first beating the game, then going back to the very beginning of the first Mass Effect and playing through again with different decisions. Instead? I’m now incapable of anything other than fondly remembering how much fun I used to have playing it. What a waste.
The Gaming Community’s Response to Sexism
The discussion of how the video gaming industry treats women, both as characters and as creative members of the community, has really come to the forefront in 2012. That’s great — some real good seems to have come out of the discussion, and light has been shone on issues that persist in employment and marketing.
But then there’s also been dark side of the whole discussion: backlash against people bringing these real situations to light.
We’ve discussed issues like Hitman: Absolution’s sexy nun-smashing trailer, or the #1ReasonWhy discussion on Twitter, and on the whole there has been a lot of positive talk about real issues. But inevitably, there are people who react in awful ways, both in the gamer community and among those who make games. The “Girlfriend Mode” controversy springs to mind regarding Borderlands 2, for one. The issue isn’t that a developer got caught saying something that was kind of dumb — it was the way certain people chose to leap to his defense.
Online abuse against women in gaming like Jennifer Hepler at BioWare, Anita Sarkeesian and her “Women and Tropes in Gaming” Kickstarter campaign, the attacks on “fake geek girls,” and a host of other examples aren’t just bad for the discussion of gender politics in this industry and community, they’re bad for humans everywhere. We’d like to see gaming become a deeper, more inclusive community, and while it seems to be the minority of people who spout about misandry and use hate and bigotry as their weapons, they’re a very vocal — and disappointing — one.