I make no secret of the fact that when I’m not writing or researching, I’m a video gamer. As I prefer to write science fiction, it should be no surprise to you that when it comes to video games, my preference is for better than average sci-fi games like the Mass Effect trilogy. When I’m in full writing mode, taking an hour off to play is my way of relaxing. It also has the added benefit of giving me time to think a particular scene through. Some writers make a cup of tea or coffee, or maybe take a stroll to the pub for a pint to do the same thing. Not this writer…
Since my ancient PS3’s internal disc drive eventually died, fortunately for me, I was able to download all three of the Mass Effect games directly to its sealed hard drive. Doing that means that the games no longer stagger as they previously did when the disc drive laboured to keep up with the much faster hard drive. Or when the heat builds inside the PS3 (despite its internal fan system working to capacity to cool it) inevitably cracking the thin game discs, rendering them unusable.
Thinking about it, why not do away with the disc drive altogether and make all video games downloadable? After all because of the material they are made from game discs naturally attracts dust, made worse when they are spun up. Internal cooling fans create dust, meaning that the disc player sooner or later grinds to a halt because of the stuff. Have you ever tried taking a PS3 or any of the other video game units apart, to clean out the dust? It’s a total nightmare!
But that’s not the reason for this particular post. Instead what I want to talk about is the appalling writing standards of the individuals employed by the video game industry, charged with creating character dialogue.
In Mass Effect’s case, while the graphics have improved immeasurably with each new game in the series (see my current green-eyed blond heroine, courtesy of my TV below), sadly the writing has not.
The dialogue of all three games leaves much to be desired. Especially when they make the mistake of stating the obvious on occasion. What do I mean by that? Take one small scene in Mass Effect 3 as a perfect example, when a lift door is being cut through right in front of you, the writers deemed it necessary for one of the characters to state – “Look, the door!” If you want another, how about when it’s blatantly obvious to anyone that the characters are being fired at by the baddies, the writers insist that one of the characters declares – “We’re taking fire.”
No shit Sherlock, you think? Sorry about that, but there is no excuse for bad writing, especially when millions play these games! It’s bad enough that the young think text-speak is normal, without compounding the problem.
Then there is my other gripe. In this instance when characters repeat what has been said to them while in conversation with other characters. Why have the characters do it? It makes no sense at all. It’s bad enough that with practically every conversation in any given video game, that nine times out of ten its in the vernacular of one or other of the North American nations. What’s next, endlessly adding the word ‘like’ into each sentence uttered? God forbid!!!
Where does the video gaming industry recruit their dialogue writers from – the planet idiot? Perhaps they trawl the nearest kindergarten!
Commander Shepherd – a lady not to be messed with
As for the many poorly written scripts in todays films, don’t even go there!