I hope everyone had a good break these past 10 days, whether it was spent with friends, family, a cellmate or all of the above. As for myself, I spent a few days on the lovely Long Island before shipping up to Boston to visit a friend at the other BU, Boston University.
Between driving from Binghamton all the way to eastern Long Island, then from Long Island to Boston and from Boston back to Binghamton, I spent a lot of my time alone in my car, which gave me a lot of time to think. Unfortunately, all that thinking didn’t culminate into anything very much profound — it rarely ever does — so, I’d like to take the first half of my column to make a sort of public service announcement.
If you ever have the opportunity to travel, take it. My trip to Boston was the first time I had visited another campus since my friends transferred out of Ithaca, and I was quickly reminded how nice it is just to get a change of scenery once in a while. The University Recruitment Department may not want to admit it, but Binghamton can’t provide you with everything. There’s a whole world of people out there waiting to be met.
The trip to your destination can be just as exciting as when you get there, especially if you have people come along with you, which also saves on gas money — that is, if you can get everyone to chip in. And if you don’t have a car, don’t let that get in your way. Buses can be quite cheap with student discounts.
All this being said, trips can be quite the commitment, so start making plans to go to that campus, concert, convention or city you’ve wanted to go to before the opportunity passes you by. Usually, whatever pains you have to endure in order to get a trip going, which can be quite a bit if you’re trying to coordinate it between a number of people, will be easier to deal with than the regret of not going at all.
As for my excursion to Boston, besides just visiting my friend, we spent Friday at PAX East, a gaming expo held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center hosted by the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade. It was both of our first time at such a thing and we were amazed to find a number of booths run by all sorts of people in the gaming industry, first-time access to new and upcoming games and technology, more free stuff than we could hold and informative panels and Q-and-A sessions.
And the whole night was topped off with a huge concert.
Among these panels was one hosted by Bioware. It was regarding its series “Mass Effect,” which, all things considered, took a lot of balls on its part.
Now, I’m not an avid fan of the series myself but, for anyone unaware, Bioware has been in the spotlight recently for all the wrong reasons. Fans have been quite angry with the recent release of “Mass Effect 3” for a variety of factors, but the main gripe has been a disappointment in the different endings to what was supposed to be the culminating title for Bioware’s space epic, and the lack of diversity between them in a game that rides on the importance of player choice.
During their Friday panel, six Bioware employees faced a room full of hundreds of fans, all with varying opinions of the game. They took the criticism well, and after making a few jokes at their own expense, they revealed that they would be releasing two downloadable “expansion” packs for free, one for multiplayer and one to give some better “closure” for single player.
As I said, I haven’t played the games myself, but having read what I did on the entire debacle, it left a bad taste in my mouth. In an era where they easily could’ve charged their fans for something like this, or not even listened to the grievances, Bioware admitted guilt and plans to do something. It is a mouthwash or sorts, though I’m still a little ambivalent.
They stated that the endings were going to remain as they were and the “closure” was going to be given through mid-game additions. It’s a little too early to judge how well of a fix this will be. These sorts of “fixes” spread the idea that companies can sell unfinished/unpolished products, place Band-Aids on the product later, and still retain fan support.
Nevertheless, I realize the details of my trip aren’t exciting for everyone, so get out into the world and have adventures of your own.