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, despite its myriad of faults. Whenever I’m in 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 in my latest MS. 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 me…
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 inevitably builds inside the PS3, despite its internal fan system working to capacity to cool it, sooner or later the thin game discs crack 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 suck in dust from outside the unit, meaning that the disc player sooner or later grinds to a halt because of it. 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. Well partly I suppose… 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 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 numerous occasions. 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 your eyes. For some inexplicable reason 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 must declare – “We’re taking fire.”
No shit Sherlock, you think? The average gamer would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to notice!!!
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 always in the vernacular of one or other of the two North American nations. What’s next, endlessly adding the word ‘like’ dozens of times into each sentence uttered? God forbid!!!
Where does the video gaming industry recruit their dialogue writers from – Idiots Are Us?
Commander Shepherd – a lady not to be messed with
As for the many poorly written scripts in today’s films…