Listen, I'm not an idiot. I understand that 2012 is only a few months old, and that people normally save lists like these until the end of the year. But if you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed that some pretty weird things have been going down in the gaming industry. So, before we've had a chance to forget about them, let's take a quick look at the first part of 2012 through the rear-view mirror.
A Game Journalist and a Hobo Walk Into an Interview...
There are very few women on the planet who would be impressed with the personal hygiene of an average game journalist, but I've always thought that we had a leg up on homeless people. Well, recent events seem to suggest otherwise.
During this year's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, a homeless man, who purportedly reeked of alcohol, found his way into an interview with Edge Magazine and Suda 51. The man managed to sit in on the discussion for ten whole minutes before being discovered and booted out. "Eventually it became quite clear he wasn't a journalist," said a witness, "he was in fact a homeless guy that managed to blag himself all the way to the interview. PR staff quietly ushered him away and Suda seemed pretty speechless about it."
Perhaps we, as a journalistic community, should take this as a hint.
Newegg Doesn't Know How to Read
Customers who had been eager enough to pre-order their copy of Mass Effect 3 were treated to a titanic disappointment when they tore open Newegg's packaging and discovered a copy of Madden 12 instead. Usually when things like this happen, the vendor issues an apology and offers up some kind of additional perk for the affected customers. But not this time. Newegg simply overnighted the correct title and asked their customers to send back the unwanted copies of Madden.
Classy, Newegg. I may have just switched to Amazon.
Fans Attempt to Rewrite Mass Effect 3
Speaking of Mass Effect 3, there's a strange little controversy stemming from the game's single-player mode.
A growing number of fans are becoming frustrated by what they perceived to be a character assassination of Commander Shepard in the game's final moments. Without going into details, I will say that BioWare did employ a bit of a Deus ex Machina toward the end of the game, and that it seemed pretty out of character for the series. However, my literary criticism of the storyline is almost missing the point.
The central question is whether or not the franchise belongs to the fans or the publisher. Obviously, on a technical level, the game belongs to the rights holder, but if the fans can muster enough support to convince BioWare to rewrite the ending, copyrights become pretty meaningless.
Though, I will say that I don't really want to live in a world where self-important fans think that game development is some kind of democracy. A part of me wants to see BioWare put their foot down. Either way, WTF?
LulzSec's Leader Is a Traitor
Even if you don't agree with their tactics/politics, LulzSec provided a pretty consistent stream of entertainment in the summer of 2011. Well, things haven't exactly gone well for the group since they famously disbanded last July.
Not too long ago, Fox News reported that the group's founder, Hector "Sabu" Monsegur, has been working as an informant for the FBI to ferret out the rest of the group's membership. The investigation has resulted in five arrests and an internet full of hackers who now want to make Sabu's life miserable.
I'm sure there's some kind of lesson to be learned through all of this, but, for the life of me, I just can't figure out what it is.
Taco Bell Can't Be Trusted
Rumor has is that Taco Bell has been a bit manipulative with their "Unlock the box" marketing campaign. In order to enter, taco-eaters must submit an entry code via their cell phone or the contest's website. Once entered, a winner is randomly selected from the contestant pool to receive a PlayStation Vita.
Well, apparently people have been receiving a cryptic "congratulations" message from the automated system, but when followed up, the would-be Vita owners have their hopes instantly crushed. The best part is that the marketing company who has been running the promotion, Ventura Associates, has been accusing the contestants of trying to pull a scam.
Both Ventura and Taco Bell have chosen to ignore the entire situation in hopes that people will continue to shovel burritos into their stupid mouths unencumbered by the knowledge the restaurant covers their food in snake oil.