Mass Effect 3 and Art as Dialectic
Two weeks ago today, one of the most anticipated video games of the year, Bioware’s Mass Effect 3, was released. Planned as a trilogy from the getgo, the Mass Effect series has engendered considerable investment from fans, and expectations were understandably high for the final installment. Unfortunately, while the majority of the game was excellent, the ending left much to be desired.
For my purposes here the details are unimportant – you can find plenty of information with a Google search – but the responses to the ending are fascinating. Gamers have responded with an enormous campaign for the developers to alter or expand the ending. The gaming press and quite a few others gamers have responded in turn.
These rejoinders (at least, the serious ones) have largely appealed to authorial fiat and the sanctity of the finished product. They fall prey, in other words, to a fundamentally modernistic conception of art that is and always has been absurd. Read on, intrepid explorer →