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What's with the name?

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Mass Effect 3

It Goes Ding When There's Stuff

Time Magazine Names The 100 Best Video Games

Yeah, I chose Paperboy as the header image for this post and you’re just going to have to deal with it. Best of lists are bound to attract controversy so prepare yourself to have some opinions on Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best video games. 

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Things We Saw Today

Things We Saw Today: Power Rangers Go Pop!

Funko has unveiled their latest Pop! figures (we were previously excited about the Game of Thrones collection) and it’s the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! (via Comics Alliance)

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Essay

Pondering What Gail Simone Said About Video Games, The Three Act Structure, & Storytelling

Last week, comic writer Gail Simone shared some musings on her Tumblr about how video games are bucking the long-held three act model of narrative structure. The whole thing is worth a read (even though she tells you not to), and it poses a lot of good food for thought about how this fledgling medium could be starting to really shake things up. Most of my brainpower this weekend was spent mulling over her closing question:

…are video games training us to look at stories differently, and if so, will they affect or alter the three act structure in other media?

I can address the first part of that question with a resounding yes.

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Assuming Direct Control

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends: The Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut Will Be Here On June 26

Imagine that you have an ex that you’re still pretty smitten kitten over. They screwed up, and you know you’ve done the right thing by trying to move on, but you still go all weak in the knees when that song you shared comes on. A few months along, just as you’re feeling like life can be okay without them, they call you, out of the blue. They want to meet. Right now. They’re going to make it up to you, they say. Things are going to be different from here on out.

Now you know how I felt twenty minutes ago when I saw the announcement that the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut will be released on June 26 in North America, and July 4 in Europe.

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Consider the Following

Initiatives To Get More Women Into Video Games, Good Or Bad?

Back in March, we posted a really interesting recruitment video from video game developers Electronic Arts. They showed a video game marketer, developer, and publisher – all women – talking about how they got their start in the business. We thought it was a really great way to show young women some unique career opportunities. And then the video was removed. We have no idea why but apparently EA is still actively on the hunt for women to work at their company and for them to play their games. Why? They may finally be realizing the marketing potential, but the industry still has a long way to go and not everyone is sure actively seeking out women for programming jobs is the way to go.

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And All Was Right With the World

Stephen Fry Defends Electronic Arts Against Anti-Gay Controversy

Video game publisher Electronic Arts has been in the news a lot lately and the news hasn’t been good. Their BioWare division has been receiving a lot of flack about the ending of Mass Effect 3 (causing them to create a whole new ending for the fans who complained) and the company as a whole has had to defend itself against thousands of letters complaining about same sex relationships in their games. Now, British actor Stephen Fry has taken it upon himself to not only give a huge vote of confidence to EA, but also promote All Out’s campaign to help them combat the letters with a petition. Hit the jump for what he had to say. 

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Assuming Direct Control

It’s Official: BioWare Will Be Releasing Free Ending DLC for Mass Effect 3

It’s been one hell of a month for Mass Effect fans. Since early March, the fanbase has been seething over the widely reviled ending to Mass Effect 3, with many actively calling for BioWare to change it via DLC. Two weeks later, BioWare announced that it was working on “game content initiatives” that would address issues of clarity and narrative. Today, fresh on the heels of The Consumerist naming EA as 2012′s Worst Company in America, and just in time for BioWare to potentially avoid a bloodbath at PAX East tomorrow, we have an answer.

Yes, there will be DLC that extends the ending. And yes, it will be free.

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Assuming Direct Control

BioWare Co-Founder Promises Fans “Clarity and Closure” for Mass Effect 3

When I wrote my breakdown of the Mass Effect 3 ending kerfuffle on Tuesday, I didn’t think there’d be anything to add to the discussion for a while. It had only been two weeks since the game was released, and I figured that the very earliest we’d hear anything more concrete from BioWare would be at their upcoming panel at PAX East.

Oh, silly me.

Yesterday, BioWare co-founder and general manager Dr. Ray Muzyka directly addressed the controversy through an open letter to all players of the game. He humbly accepted criticism and acknowleged the “valid principles” behind some of the more prevalent complaints. He also promised that in April, we’d be hearing more about “game content initiatives” that would address some of the fans’ concerns, notably those of narrative clarity and closure.

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Essay

Everything You Need to Know About the Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy, As Spoiler-Free As Possible

By now, you’ve likely heard that the endings to Mass Effect 3 have made people a little bit…upset. Fan backlashes to endings are hardly a new phenomenon in the geek community, but this goes beyond angry letters and wistful fanart. A significant chunk of the fanbase is petitioning BioWare to change the ending entirely via DLC.

If that sounds ridiculous to you, you’re not alone. Many gaming sites have scoffed at Mass Effect fans, throwing around words like “childish” or “entitled.” However, this fight is far more complicated than a few fans whining over the lack of a sunshine-and-rainbows ending. The way this thing plays out could have major ramifications not only for the gaming industry, but for how we define the concept of creative ownership. If you care about gaming, storytelling, or digital media, this is a story you should know about.

EDITOR UPDATE: Bioware has, uh, actually responded, sort of. Read Becky’s response here.

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Review

Review: Mass Effect 3

(No spoilers beyond a bit of incidental dialogue and things seen in the trailers.)

So there I was, running across broken window ledges, trying to make my way to safety, while the world was ending around me. Every so often I would stop in awe and horror as the Earth I loved began to fall. Buildings crumbled. Swarms of Alliance fighter ships darted across the sky, raining gunfire upon the Reapers. Oh God, the Reapers. They were everywhere. Three years ago, it had taken an interspecies fleet to take just one of them down. And now, here they were, descending upon skyscrapers, laying our cities to waste.

I had warned them. I had warned the Council. I had warned the Alliance. No one listened. Now, it was too late. Earth was burning, and the galaxy would follow.

I snapped myself out of my daze and kept running. The Reapers’ foot soldiers were everywhere. Somehow, I pulled it together enough to carve a path through them with my pistol. I got to the shuttle. I was forced to leave as innocent civilians died below me. My heart was pounding. My eyes were watering. My stomach felt heavy.

And then the title screen came up. 

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