"Mass Affect" - BioWare's Upcoming Hipster RPG
February 3, 2010 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Mass Affect will offer a plethora of engaging side-quests, including bike messenger assignments, competitive coffee-brand disparagement, horrible-dancing competitions, and an interactive café-posturing minigame that involves using motion controls to keep the cover of your barely-skimmed copy of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" within eyeshot of as many cute girls as possible.
posted by griphus (70 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
A weak variation of an old joke about video games applied to a subculture everyone loves to hate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:41 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, I get it.
posted by Elmore at 6:45 AM on February 3, 2010


Ok, so a hipster walks into a virtual cafe....
posted by molecicco at 6:47 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Hate"? Really? I didn't get that at all from this. The extent of the insight makes it self-deprecation/self-parody if anything. Straight-up hipster hate-ons are hardly ever funny, honestly.
posted by griphus at 6:47 AM on February 3, 2010


Doesn't mention that the bikes are fixed gear. The key to good satire is attention to detail. I give it a 9.8 because of review score inflation and I don't want them to pull their ads.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:49 AM on February 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


Hipsters are hardly ever funny, honestly. Besides, my copy of The Idiot is more than barely skimmed. So there.
posted by spicynuts at 6:51 AM on February 3, 2010


Everyone talks about the poor fish, but nobody ever seems to think of the barrel.
posted by The White Hat at 6:54 AM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everyone talks about Donkey Kong, but nobody ever seems to think of the barrel.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:55 AM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Geek hipsters play Dostoyevsky Kong, where you try to climb a series of ladders while a gorilla throws multi-volume Russian novels at you.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:58 AM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh please… a real hipster would know it's all about Gogol these days… Dostoyevsky, pfffft!
posted by Kattullus at 6:58 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ashcroft's The Rise of the Idiots this ain't.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:58 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Doesn't mention that the bikes are fixed gear. The key to good satire is attention to detail. I give it a 9.8 because of review score inflation and I don't want them to pull their ads.

The key to good comments is attention to detail.

Your Decisions Matter

In their quest, Players will be given a plethora of choices, each one altering the game's ever-branching storyline. Do you protest the construction of an American Apparel, or do you strike a deal with the owners and allow them to build? Do you choose to ride a fixie, or do you secretly install brakes on your bike? Do you allow your party members to know that not only do you actually still like Franz Ferdinand, but you don't really care for mashups that much? Be careful! Choices that seemed clear-cut can have unforeseen consequences that seriously impact your cred.

posted by saladin at 7:00 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, some geek hipsters play Donkey Kafka. Wherein the aforementioned "donkey" throws nuclear bombs at you, and ironically due to some circumstances you found rather unfortunate, you survive.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:00 AM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think Dostoevsky Kong would be more like, you would like to climb a ladder but some faceless beauraucrat laughs at your failed attempts because you aren't from the right family and don't have the right connections and so you sit at the bottom of the ladder tearing your hair out and fretting and then in a feverish dream you kill the princess only to wake up and realize that you have actually killed the princess. FIN.
posted by spicynuts at 7:01 AM on February 3, 2010 [20 favorites]


A real hipster would be caught reading the script for Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of The Idiot in preparation for one-upping everyone else at the next come-as-a-film-character-based-on-a-novel loft party.
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on February 3, 2010


Jesus, take a gander at that parody logo. That is so lazy. That is the laziest goddamn thing I have ever seen. That is fucking lazier than somehow giving yourself severe clinical depression so you have an excuse to shit in a KFC bucket instead of getting out of bed.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:07 AM on February 3, 2010 [17 favorites]


Hipsters are still reading?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:08 AM on February 3, 2010


"Hate"? Really? I didn't get that at all from this. The extent of the insight makes it self-deprecation/self-parody if anything.

Meh, I didn't find any detail in there that I didn't already know was associated with the stereotype of hipster, and I'm like not a hipster at all. This doesn't seem like self-anything.

("April, the girl who has a car" made me laugh, though.)
posted by 23skidoo at 7:11 AM on February 3, 2010


Hipsters are still reading?

Yeah, but nothing you've ever heard of.
posted by electroboy at 7:12 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


you guys are funny. But now, will somebody actually make this game? I would play it…probably for the same reasons that I played Bully and spent hours chasing the boys and kissing them.
posted by LMGM at 7:17 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are people I refer to as "hipsters," but there are also people I refer to as "assholes" or "weirdos." Bitching about hipsters is entirely equivalent to a "mean people suck" bumper sticker.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:17 AM on February 3, 2010


Meh, I didn't find any detail in there that I didn't already know was associated with the stereotype of hipster, and I'm like not a hipster at all. This doesn't seem like self-anything.

Well, I am, and I guess the may have been wishful thinking re: the fact that my peers have gained a sorely lacking and much needed sense of humor about themselves. Let's all preserve your humble poster's emotions by not proving him wrong. Whaddayasay, team?
posted by griphus at 7:17 AM on February 3, 2010


Is this where I talk about how much I need Mass Effect 3 to release right now?
posted by Loto at 7:22 AM on February 3, 2010


If you're going to make fun of hipsters, then I think you should do it a little better than the PBR/Fixed Gear/Cobra Snake stereotype from 2007.

Basically if you're going to make fun of people whos main fault is being too trendy and too cool then you should probably make sure that you're at least on par with them, if not trendier and cooler. Otherwise you look like a neckbeard in a linux shirt sneering at all the 'preppies and heathers' who like dressing well.
posted by codacorolla at 7:23 AM on February 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


you guys are funny. But now, will somebody actually make this game? I would play it…probably for the same reasons that I played Bully and spent hours chasing the boys and kissing them.

It's not a real game?
posted by Slap Factory at 7:25 AM on February 3, 2010


Just keep heading North. That's where the real picts hipsters are. Us? We are just normal everyday celts urbanites.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:28 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this where I talk about how much I need Mass Effect 3 to release right now?
posted by Loto at 7:22 AM on February 3 [+] [!]


Is this the 5 o Clock Free Crack Mass Effect 3 give away?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:28 AM on February 3, 2010


Well, I choose to ride a fixie, but it has a brake. What does that make me?
posted by fixedgear at 7:29 AM on February 3, 2010


I would so buy this. Use the GTAIV engine, let me wander around San Fransisco. Think about how awesome the in-game soundtrack would be.
posted by seventyfour at 7:30 AM on February 3, 2010


A brakester, duh.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:30 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Uppity Pigeon #2: "mean people suck" bumper sticker

I always wonder about those. At first I thought this was ironic somehow, but then I met someone who had one of those and she didn't have an ironic bone in her body. Ironically, however, she was quite mean.
posted by Kattullus at 7:30 AM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, I choose to ride a fixie, but it has a brake. What does that make me?

Just make sure you ironically mount the brake lever someplace strange, like the down tube or seat stay, and you should be fine. Mount it on the handlebar (and, heaven forbid, actually use it), though, and you'll have to turn back in your hipster card.
posted by TBAcceptor at 7:33 AM on February 3, 2010


Let's all preserve your humble poster's emotions by not proving him wrong. Whaddayasay, team?

I don't know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway,
Whatever it is, I'm against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it. <>
posted by LD Feral at 7:48 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I met someone who had one of those and she didn't have an ironic bone in her body. Ironically, however, she was quite mean.

Perhaps she was advertising.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmm, there was supposed to be a /grouchomarx in the angled parentheses. Ah well.
posted by LD Feral at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2010


"competitive coffee-brand disparagement"

What's the point? Everyone in S.F. knows that Ritual is the best, and that corporate Seattle stuff tastes like dirt.
posted by markkraft at 7:52 AM on February 3, 2010


You do ride around in a fixed-wing aircraft in Mass Effect, so it's probably already a hipster game.
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2010


My name is Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite coffee shop in San Francisco!
posted by kmz at 8:24 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aww, fixedgear, you beat me to it. My fixies have brakes. And I wear a helmet. I feel like I've entered some sort of grey area.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:25 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this like one of those Onion articles where you only really need to read the headline to eviscerate the comedy barrel?
posted by mippy at 8:25 AM on February 3, 2010


"Bill, a corporate lackey who works in a highrise downtown but whose pressed suits hide his ironic tattoos and collection of sharpied Chuck Taylors."

That's one oddly-fitting suit.
posted by mippy at 8:26 AM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think suits with booties are going to be "in" soon.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:29 AM on February 3, 2010


Forget the lame snarking on hipsters, this would actually be a ground-breaking game. I would play the hell out of it. In fact, if role-playing games are ever going to leave the ghetto of pulp fantasy/sci-fi, this is exactly the kind of extension of the open-world mechanic that we need - real lives and situations, without a single "save the world from destruction" plot in sight. Even if the goal of the game is ostensibly a tedious pursuit of hipster cred, there's plenty you can do to pick apart and examine the minutiae and consequences of that lifestyle. A video game equivalent of, say, Slacker or Kicking and Screaming. And "Pitchfork Radio" would actually be the daily streaming Forkcast songs. You'd hear all the new music people are getting excited about just by wandering around the world. SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.
posted by naju at 8:37 AM on February 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


In game footage... seems to be you start out photo-real, then it all gets more 8-bit.
posted by infinite intimation at 8:49 AM on February 3, 2010


Geek hipsters play Dostoyevsky Kong, where you try to climb a series of ladders while a gorilla throws multi-volume Russian novels at you.

If you can't make a joke using a reference from the actual work of Dostoevsky, and you can't even spell his name correctly, then don't even try at all.
posted by xmutex at 8:55 AM on February 3, 2010


naju: this would actually be a ground-breaking game

Pfffffft… this has already been done by Bully, like, years ago… and there's this Japanese series… oh, you wouldn't have heard of it anyway…

Actually, that's a really good point, naju. There was a moment where adventure games were moving into this kind of area (e.g. Grim Fandango) but then the adventure game genre died and a lot of its innovations were forgotten. In fact, before Bioware became the only game in town this was something that American roleplaying games did regularly and pretty well (e.g. Ultima 7). I'd love to see that return. I just got a new computer and I wanted to get a new, recent RPG that would appeal to me but the current landscape just made me depressed and now I'm just gonna get Men of War (a.k.a. The Sims: World War II) and relive the thrills I had as a six-year old watching The Longest Day.
posted by Kattullus at 8:58 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related, Mass Effect Redemption is free on the iPhone, today only.
posted by misha at 9:17 AM on February 3, 2010


Bully was interesting, but from what little I played of it, it's basically GTA with a high school skin on it. The missions were action sequences with slingshots instead of guns, the story involved gang-like allegiances, etc. That's fine, but I'm thinking more along the lines of a Jim Jarmusch movie (oh shit, Coffee and Cigarettes would totally work with a dialogue wheel.) I don't think any game's ever done this, but it almost feels inevitable if they're gonna innovate in any serious paradigm-shifting way. Take a fully-explorable Mission District, replace the action sequences with a heavy emphasis on Mass-Effect style dialogue and decisions with permanent consequences, populate it with a cast of off-kilter characters, get Dave Eggers to write the script, and you've got an instant cult hit if not a best seller. The average gamer is 32 years old, so the demographic is there.
posted by naju at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Men of War is pretty sweet. I haven't played it much, but a highlight is when a friend and I were co-oping the first mission, and when we finally cleared the village our tank was dead and we only had one guy each. We looked around for something to use to clear the hill across the river, and I found a PAK-40. Hey, great, but it's way back here by the church. Well, there's a truck, can we tow it? Holy shit we can. Towed it across the river, used it to kill the crew of another, and repelled the armored counterattack with both of those. That was pretty great.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:21 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you can't make a joke using a reference from the actual work of Dostoevsky, and you can't even spell his name correctly, then don't even try at all.

You were saying? He wasn't American you know.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:22 AM on February 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, references are culturally overrated. Stopping to think and insert a specific meaning to a momentary short-circuit of the brain makes the baby Andre Breton cry.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:27 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love, love, love to play this game. Especially if it involves girls, PBR and growing curly moustaches.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:30 AM on February 3, 2010


naju: Bully was interesting, but from what little I played of it, it's basically GTA with a high school skin on it.

Sorry, the whole sentence was supposed to be a joke, I should've been more clear. I haven't played Bully to any great degree either, though it did strike me as being pretty interesting on a storytelling level. Likewise, I haven't played Persona 3 and 4 (the Japanese series alluded to in my facetious joke) but from observing an addicted friend playing it you do have to work on being a high school student, doing homework, taking tests, going on dates, keep up with the hierarchy, getting enough sleep, etc. as well as save the world from destruction.

Your Jim Jarmusch example dovetails rather nicely with my example of Grim Fandango, which sometimes feels like a Jim Jarmusch movie set in the Mexican Afterworld. There was a point in time when roleplaying games were moving in that direction but I don't see much of that in the current crop of games. I know that since it's what I grew up playing there's certainly an aspect of nostalgia to this ("they sure don't make them like they used to") but the feeling of playing in a lived world is something I miss.
posted by Kattullus at 9:44 AM on February 3, 2010


your barely-skimmedlistened-to copy of Dostoevsky's Iggy Pop's "The Idiot"
posted by infinitewindow at 9:48 AM on February 3, 2010


The hipsters I know are reading Hamsun or Bolano or both. And yes, I would play this game if it existed. I did enjoy the article's nuance of "sexual preference, and slightly-edgier stated sexual preference".
posted by redsparkler at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2010


Yeah, some geek hipsters play Donkey Kafka. Wherein the aforementioned "donkey" throws nuclear bombs at you, and ironically due to some circumstances you found rather unfortunate, you survive.

Before the Kafka Kong machine sits an arcade attendant. To this attendant comes a man who asks to play Kafka Kong. But the attendant says that he cannot play at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to play sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the attendant, “but not now.” The Kafka Kong machine stands flashing and buzzing, as always.

The attendant often questions him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him play Kafka Kong. The man, who has equipped himself with many quarters, spends all of them on the attendant. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.”

Before closing time he gathers in his head all his experiences into one question which he has not yet put to the attendant. “What do you still want to know now?” asks the attendant. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after Kafka Kong,” says the man, “so how is that all day no one except me has wanted to play?” The attendant shouts at him, “Here no one else can play Kafka Kong, since this machine was assigned only to you. I’m going now to unplug it.”
posted by ecmendenhall at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2010 [12 favorites]


Ah, sorry to have missed the joke! Both your examples are on point. Persona 3 was super addicting, though I eventually got bored with the battle/dungeon parts and just wanted to play the high school sim all the time! And I also totally miss the LucasArts/Sierra heyday, even if the "attach rope to FM radio, then lower it into the ravine to distract the pigeon" stuff got a bit ridiculous at times.
posted by naju at 9:52 AM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funny as hell!! Thank's.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:08 AM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I also found the high school elements of Persona 3 more interesting than the wandering around and killing monsters part. So yeah, I would buy and play Mass Affect in a minute, especially if we got Jeph Jacques to do the writing and art direction.

Yeah, I know, fat chance. But video games need something to break them out of this repetitive trap they're in.
posted by happyroach at 11:51 AM on February 3, 2010


I used to be worried about what cute chicks saw me reading, but I've been looking around and what they're reading so I went out yesterday and bought a bunch of James Rollins.
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:00 PM on February 3, 2010


sometime early last year, after reading what seemed to be the 500th article on the "making fun of hipsters" tip, it all jumped the shark for me, big time.

i found it all very amusing at first, because i was about as irritated/morbidly fascinated with "hipsters" as i am with juggalos, but when it dawned on me that every attempt at hipster satire was really the same article/video, using the same checklist of comedy joking points (fixed gear! crafting!), the bottom of the funny fell out. i'm pretty sure any mefite could create something of similar dubious hilarity using this template.

how about an article about hipster D&D, or a video parody of ER--but with hipsters? the possibilities are endless and you might get your own FPP!
posted by clarenceism at 1:05 PM on February 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think one of the commenters on the original blog post summed this up very nicely:

This whole thing reads like a dad joke.

I think that's generally quite prescient. Laughing at hipsters can be funny up to a certain point, but after a while it's like, "Oh, Dad, you're such a character!"
posted by threeants at 1:47 PM on February 3, 2010


Given that we're still hearing about baggy pants, I guess we can expect at least 20 more years of hipster "jokes".
posted by electroboy at 1:50 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I saw a cute hipster guy in a cafe with a barely-skimmed copy of "The Idiot," I would definitely talk to him! what is the problem? I have zero interest in RPGs but this looks hilarious.
posted by citron at 2:02 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mass Effect 2, that was just released, is amazing by the way.
posted by flippant at 2:46 PM on February 3, 2010


Ok, so a hipster walks into a virtual cafe....

Cat and Girl fans, hope me! Am I supposed to hate the girl every time she opens her mouth in the strip? I can't figure out if I'm missing something, or if she's actually supposed to be eminently hatable with everything she says.
posted by shmegegge at 3:07 PM on February 3, 2010


I think your assessment is more or less accurate, shmegegge.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:27 PM on February 3, 2010


Hey, let's all make fun of creative young people who do fun stuff!
posted by dunkadunc at 3:39 PM on February 3, 2010


Yesterday was Groundhog Day. My favorite local pub opens early, starts serving at 7 am and we watch Phil prognosticate. Out of the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a rabbi, which would have been weird in a craft beer bar at 7 am on a Tuesday morning. He had a black hat, a big bushy beard and they way his hair was situated it looked like he had payos. He stood behind my barstool to order a Kentucky Breakfast Stout and only then did I see the ring through his septum.
posted by fixedgear at 3:47 PM on February 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


craven_morhead: "Aww, fixedgear, you beat me to it. My fixies have brakes. And I wear a helmet. I feel like I've entered some sort of grey area."

When I was nine or ten (this was back in the 80s) I had a bike that didn't have any brakes. It was a fixed gear bike and it had a banana seat and everything. I used to stop it by putting my foot in between the front forks and rubbing my foot against the tire. I think that my parents finally figured out what was going on when they replaced the second pair of shoes that had a huge groove worn in the middle of the sole.

Damn, I was so hip.
posted by jefeweiss at 5:50 AM on February 4, 2010


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