Let’s talk Piracy…

Yes, the P word: Piracy.

Formerly reserved for those who prowled the high seas in search of prey to board and kill, piracy has taken a curious turn in modern times. While it can still refer to that kind of people, nowadays it’s usually reserved for those who make a habit of copying copyrighted material without the permission or authorization of the copyright holder. The original idea was to make that act equivalent to the high seas pillage and robbery of the pirates of old, lawless criminals that were often chased for their terrible deeds.

It failed.

Why did it? Because for some time, “pirates” have earned themselves an aura of, if not respectability, at least of romanticism, and are often viewed as freedom-loving rogues who serve no master but themselves in a bid for freedom from the chains that tie lesser subjects of civilized society.

As José de Espronceda put it in his “Canción del Pirata”:

My treasure is my gallant bark,
My only God is liberty;
My law is might, the wind my mark,
My country is the sea.

They are both charming and terrible, killers and lovers, they have a certain romantic angle that makes them that much more special. Or, to defer to an even higher authority, let’s hear it from Tom Sawyer, talking about (robbers) raising ransoms:

“Money. You make them raise all they can, off’n their friends; and after you’ve kept them a year, if it ain’t raised then you kill them. That’s the general way. Only you don’t kill the women. You shut up the women, but you don’t kill them. They’re always beautiful and rich, and awfully scared. You take their watches and things, but you always take your hat off and talk polite. They ain’t anybody as polite as robbers—you’ll see that in any book. Well, the women get to loving you, and after they’ve been in the cave a week or two weeks they stop crying and after that you couldn’t get them to leave. If you drove them out they’d turn right around and come back. It’s so in all the books.”

So yeah. While real life piracy ain’t much of a joke (been to Somalia recently?), the romantic view of Pirates in fiction os something that goes beyond a stereotype, it’s almost an archetype, which as you can see, dates back to the 18th Century or early 19th Century at least. A more than acceptable break from reality. There is a long, rich tradition in literature and, later, cinema, about the pirates of the high seas, and the archetype of the freedom-and-pleasure-loving, charming denizen of the high seas.

So imagine my excitement when my Inquisitor arrived to Tatoonie.

I was going to meet a pirate!

[Spoiler and Rant Mode On]
The story so far: My inquisitor, wearing a whip, a fedora, and an unnatural fear of snakes, has braved all sorts of ancient horrors to recover a collection of ancient artifacts from long-dead Sith Lords and whatnot, so that her master can betray her with them sometime soon, as foretold by damn near everyone I meet.

My Lunatic Inquisitor: Excuse me, officer, do you have the time?
Random Empire Officer: Half past three, Standard Korriban Time. By the way, do you know your Master is planning to betray you?
My Lunatic Inquisitor: Why yes, thank you [Shock him].

Pssst, Bioware, if you want to pull this kind of thing, next time have the writer read “Chronicle of a Death Foretold“, by Gabriel García Márquez.

Seriously.

Along the way, I have encountered some brilliant moments:

Iannos Tyrek: Look, go ahead–take the serum. Take it! I made it just like this datapad specified. It should give you resistance to the stuff in the vault. But there’s also a good chance it’ll kill you. I mean, it was designed for Colicoids, not humans!
My Lunatic Inquisitor: How do you know I’m not a Colicoid?
Iannos Tyrek: (In complete disbelief) Crazy… She’s crazy…

And… Less than brilliant moments:

PacMan (I mean, Khem Val, the always hungry Nom-Nom-Nommer): I followed [Tulak Hord] out of honor and devotion. I was his ally, not his slave.

1) Then why the cage?
2) I beat you too.
3) I can’t trust you.

*3*

My Lunatic Inquisitor: OMG I’m so scared! D:
PacMan: Muahaha! I will devour you!

*Conversation ends*

One day, I’d like my characters to say something that actually matches THE BLOODY FUCKING OPTIONS WE’RE GIVEN!

You know, just to sample once what it actually feels like; for fun. I bet we’ll fall off our chairs in surprise if it happens.

It’s like asking for a pony for Christmas and getting a horseshoe instead.

To the knee.

And be forced to give up adventuring.

By the way, you must think I’m kidding about Khem Val being PacMan. It used to be a joke, yes. Then I got a freaking ghost in my ship.

Grandpa ghosty warned me that…

Wait for it…

My Master will betray me.

Anyway, after eating a powerup pill and a few cherries, and enduring all the godawful clawing-inducing face-tearing dialogue, I’ve made my way to Tatoonie, where I’m supposed to meet a pirate. A Space pirate, but a pirate nonetheless.

I’m excited.

My character is excited.

My Lunatic Inquisitor: I always wanted to meet a real pirate!

No joke, real line from the game. Excitement is in the air.

I decide I have to be suitably prepared for this very special moment. I make my way to Korriban, pay a visit to the headquarters of Holoquin Publishing Corps, kidnap one of their writers, and after a week of hastily written pirate fiction, punctuated by the odd scream of force lightning-induced pain from the poor sod I have chained in the hold of my ship, I feel suitably prepared.

This is going to be awesome.

My Inquisitor feels positively electric.

Bow-chikka-zap-zap baby.

I begin my Princess-in-another-castle questchain, and after talking to a very green bartender, aided by a suitable dose of DC voltage (and by the smell of it, I should have probably lowered the dosage, bodily functions are so easy to disrupt *sigh*), the bartender points me in the right direction.

A room upstairs.

Oh boy.

I enter the room and there’s two thugs talking. One of them tells the other to take care of things because I found them, and promptly tells me to bugger off.

He must be the bouncer of the pirate.

My Lunatic Inquisitor: Excuse me, where can I find your charming, handsome pirate boss?
Andronikos Revel: No, I’m your pirate, Sith.

Wait…

That can’t be right…

THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING TO ME!!

I press ESC, make my way back to the ship, fry the Holoquin writer until he’s reduced to a smouldering pile of overcooked Sunday Roast, and while PacMan cleans up the mess I lock myself into my room to cry into my pillow for an hour or two.

On my way out I give 2V-R8 a massive dose of electricity why shouting “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT YOU STUPID BUCKET OF BOLTS!!!!”

He offers me a foot massage.

I lock myself in my cabin again.

*Sob*

After a stop in the cantina to drown my sorrows in the strongest drink they could offer (it was blue, it glowed, and it had something solid floating inside that squeaked when I chewed it, but I DON’T CARE!), I make my way back to Andy.

Even his name’s stupid.

Goddamit.

The Generic Asswipe tells me that he doesn’t have anything for me, but some girlfriend of his has some info on how to get to the guy that has my artifact this time. He’s French and stole one of my previous artifacts with the help of some local natives.

Wait, wrong film.

Unfortunately.

I take another couple of shots.

He still looks like an idiot. I start to wonder if my liver can take this.

My Lunatic Inquisitor makes a quip about Pet Rock here having a way with the ladies. It was option three in the list. It’s so half-assedly thrown in I’m sure it got to the editor’s desk with only two options and had to be put in in the last minute, because the writer had to be taken into the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

I feel for him, I really do.

I take another shot for his good health and prompt recovery.

In the meantime, my Lunatic Inquisitor makes her way to his girlfriend and she gives me a “cryptic” message and a datapad, and my Inquisitor is apparently happy with it. Moreover, I tell her that I’ll kill 8 Ball if she doesn’t give me what I want, and she tells me: “Oh please, like the script will let you, take a hike poser!”

Just F-ing great. Fuck you very much, Mr. Editor.

I need another drink. The keys are starting to go blurry. Thank goodness for touch typing training.

I finish the bottle.

Dammit, I’m not sure I can stand up and get another one.

The girl “sets up” the meeting with the guy who has my artifact with a dialogue exchange so devoid of life that I am sure it shaved two years off my old age. This *has* to be an error, the writer was sick (or, more likely, hospitalized, or undergoing detox), and they just put the outline of what the exchange was supposed to be about. And nobody noticed.

Maybe the voice actors had a massive case of dysentery and just wanted to get out of the studio ASAP.

Next time, stay away from the tuna.

Anyway, I make my way back to the… the… *Sigh* PIRATE, and he explains what the cryptic message was. His monotone voice is only punctuated by the noise of the fuses going off in his head as the neurons misfire, failing to properly relay through the synaptic gap.

He then says he’s coming with me, because a conversation with the guy who has my artifact is “long overdue”.

I tell him to get stuffed. Not just because he’s such a massive idiot I don’t want him anywhere near my character, but because I DREAD to think what a “conversation” between this digital IQ moron (digital as in “that which refers to the human fingers, which a typical individual possesses ten of”) and someone who was retarded enough to be HIS SUBORDINATE would be.

I don’t want to go there.

I *really* don’t want to go there.

The Bouncer: “Well, as it turns out, the information my babe gave me is encrypted, without me you can’t get it.”

Wait a goddamn minute.

What?

What?!

WHAT?!

I have MADE prisoners SING while interrogating them, LITERALLY, to get information out of them. I know exactly where the woman who HAS the original information is. I have the moron who knows the key to the encryption RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

I am MADE of Force Lightning for cryong out loud!!

Sing? I could pack this idiot and the girl into my ship, in the cargo hold, next to the charred-out remains of PacMan’s last meal, ship them to Korriban, and not only get all the info I need, I am quite capable of, by the end of it, handing each of them a tall hat and a cane, and have them perform a dancing skit.

Dance, puppet, dance!

Yes. Michigan J. Frog style. And make them perform in front of guests.

IF MY INQUISITOR CAN MAKE MICHIGAN J. FROG DANCE IN FRONT OF GUESTS, I SURE AS HELL CAN GET THE GODDMAN KEY FOR THE DATAPAD FROM THESE EVOLUTIONARY DEAD ENDS!

But nooooooo, my options are along the lines of:

Commander Shepard, can I punch you in the dick?

I’m not joking:

1) On one condition.
2) All right, fine.
3) If you insist.

Why yes, go right ahead and punch me in the dick!

*Wham*

*Wham*

*Wham*

I pause enough to get some ice on my forehead and wipe the blood from my Class-M keyboard (and people ask me why I use such an old-fashioned keyboard…), acquire a second bottle of… I can’t read the label… and accept his offer.

He makes a remark on how he’s going to enjoy blasting his former underling as payback, and how much he enjoys murder and needless violence.

Charming. Only, not.

You didn’t think that’d be all, did you?

I was hoping so, I really was, but it was time for Bioware to show me where the Hammer hangs (German speakers will get that one).

PacMan: What the smeg dude? You are going to trade the ever hungry servant of some Dark Lord or another for a useless lump of meat like this?

Is it some kind of goddamn trick question? Am I? AM I?

IT’S NOT LIKE I HAVE A FUCKING CHOICE IS IT?!

If I had a choice, I wouldn’t be stuck with a freaking mutated toothed frog because I needed him, once, long ago, TO PUNCH A FUCKING WALL, or a useless lump of meat unworthy of the “Pirate” moniker just because my Inquisitor suddenly forgot HOW INCREDIBLY GOOD SHE IS AT GETTING INFORMATION FROM USELESS SODS BY TORTURE!

But nooooo, here I am, stuck in the middle.

With them.

The Two Disgraces™

3) Shut up.

*3*

My Lunatic Inquisitor: I’ve had enough of you, monster.

You know what? Screw it. Just go back to the goddamn ship and shut up, I’m not even going to bother reading the options anymore.

It’s not like it’s going to make a lick of difference, is it? I’m not pressing ESC and redoing conversations anymore. I’m literally sick of it.

Chompity Chomp: The bond between us is strong, but it can be broken.

REALLY? TELL ME HOW!!

I take another drink. Thank goodness I’m Frapsing this, because I’m sure I’m going to pass out on the keyboard at any minute.

Anyway, I take the bald idiot with me…

Wait.

I take the bald HUMAN idiot with me, and we’re off to the races. The “pirates” waiting for us are none-too-happy to see us, so-

Sloth: “Right between the eyes! I love this!”

I… I never…

Stop it. Just stop it.

Right. Now.

Look, you guys have done this before. Remember this?

HK-47 – Definition: ‘Love’ is making a shot to the knees of a target 120 kilometers away using an Aratech sniper rifle with a tri-light scope… Love is knowing your target, putting them in your targeting reticule, and together, achieving a singular purpose against statistically long odds.

Remember it? Yes? Good!

Because you’ve gotten it all wrong. HK-47 is a massive sociopath. Really, robotic assassin programmed for it. We love him because of how over the top it is, and how clever and ridiculously funny his lines are.

He’s a comedic sociopath.

Andronikos isn’t. He’s a bully. Only he isn’t. He’s just a massive idiot. It’s not even a textbook bully, It’s like you went to someone who was bullied in school, asked him to describe the bully, and after he finished a, quite naturally, less-than-kind straw description of him, you stuck to it like glue.

Only, you made sure it was even worse.

And then the editor got his mitts on it.

And it went through a round of Google translate from English to Chinese, to Japanese, to French, and back to English.

Twice.

This is just bloody freaking awful. There’s just no other way to describe this wreck. The lines are flat, the dialogue disjointed, the transition terrible, the flow worthy of a river infested with beavers, Andronikos is the most godawful sociopathic lobotomy patient in the history of ever, there is absolutely NOTHING worth saving here. Not even a single goddamn line. It’s just random words somewhat related to killing and enjoyment put through Google Autocorrect.

And you had the AUDACITY of making him a PIRATE.

There isn’t even anything worth making fun of. It’s just THAT bad. It’s worse than bad. This is Star Wars Christmas Special level of bad. It’s soul-fucking-crushing.

I take a break and, after more heavy drinking, I blunder my way to the guy who supposedly has my artifact.

Dialogue ensues.

I brace for impact, making sure ice is handy.

*Wham*

*Wham*

*Wham*

The keyboard takes it better than I do, and soon I’ve regained consciousness and am on my way to the next castle, to find the princess and kill Bowser.

Toadstool: “I’m sorry Inquisitor, Bowser is working with the Bounty Hunter.”

Sand people will have to do. After following the “clues”, we find the dead body of the guy who we were after. Andronikos goes into a rant mode that they got away, yadda yadda.

My Lunatic Inquisitor: Calm down [Shock Andronikos].

Can I have a dose of that? Pretty please? I need it WAY more than The Random Bullybox™.

Andronikos goes on and on about how Sith are sick monsters and all that.

My Inquistor (THANK YOU WRITER! I hope rehab went well, good to have you back) asks the VERY obvious question, “what the hell are you doing with me then?”

It’s a lost cause. Because it’s dialogue time, and it’s my turn to get punched in the dick and take it like Commander Shepard. So I do.

*Wham*

*Wham*

*Wham*

And I’m finally out of this awful planet…

By the way, have you done the main planet questline in this planet with any other character? Yes? Remember what it was about?

That’s right.

Finding another artifact.

Holy Bantha poo on a Pogo stick, can I please get a DD pair of knockers, a massive braid, and some guns? Sunglasses optional. Because I’m starting to feel really inadequately equipped for this job.

But as I was saying, I’m out of this godawful planet.

And you know what that means.

“Welcome aboard” conversation with the new companion. I open my emergency bottle of Single Malt Scotch, take a swig or ten, and feel adequately prepared for whatever is about to come.

Some terrible [Flirt]ing ensues. I thank the Scots and the Loch Ness Monster I don’t remember any of it. But it ends with the massive failure proclaiming… Wait, that’s not exactly true. It ends with whoever is playing Brutus reading the following line:

The Strawman Bully: I’m a liar, and a thief, and a murderer. But I’m good.

I can’t resist it anymore! TAKE ME YOU WILFUL PIRATE PRINCE!!!111oneone1!

So yeah, I have met Andronikos.

He’s really something.

He’s not just badly written. Or lazily so. Or even poorly edited.

No, no, this goes beyond that. This is a deliberate and meticulous work of destruction of every single preconceived notion of fictional pirates, leaving no pebble unturned or scrap of the old pirate bandana. It makes firewood out of the wooden leg, and uses it to roast the parrot.

Only after all that, it was replaced by… NOTHING. And we are left with something I didn’t believe could be created: A charmless, uninteresting, unlikeable Pirate in a work of fiction.

I can only imagine the writer for this particular character either led a very sheltered and nearly illiterate life, away from any other work of fiction ever created in the last three hundred years or so, or went on a fishing trip to Somalia.

Either way, what a job. /golfclap

[Spoiler and Rant Mode Off]

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~ by The Sarlacc on March 7, 2012.

8 Responses to “Let’s talk Piracy…”

  1. It gets worse. Your liver simply won’t survive this…nor your keyboard.

    • I have to admit, in a way I admire Bioware’s imagination, they keep finding new and creative ways to make horrible stories. I thought Skadge was bad, but boy, is this flatline bully a soul-killer.

      • Ashara…I’ll wait til you get to that point but for me, she was the clearest sign something in the writing process went horribly wrong. I say horribly but English simply lacks the words to come close to describing how bad it had to be.

  2. Yo Walkiry, i’m not saying this in sarcastic jest: You seem to have a knack for writing, maybe you should write up a piece of work, and send it in to bioware, and say something to the effect of “If you want to see more, hire me” there’s no harm in trying…. lol
    And anything you write will be better than the godamn consular story…. holy ****.

    • *Laughs* Thanks! In a way, you can say I did it already, since I used to have stuff posted in the fanfic forum. Then it was all wiped at release…

      Come to think of it, I wonder if they nuked it so that we couldn’t compare with what had been posted already and see how much they had lifted from the forum to put in the game. Because, as I’ve mentioned before, the writing is so all over the place it really feels like it’s just at fanfic level (i.e., non-professional work put haphazardly together in an irregular schedule without editorial oversight).

      • Wow, you’re probably exactly right. O_O
        It is at the same time a hilarious and terrifying revelation.

  3. This is Akaan, just wanted to repost here to make sure you saw it, lol.

  4. Reminds me of the time I tried to play a DS trooper after I found out that being a LS trooper makes you a clone of Shepard from ME1, i.e. a boring stick in the mud with an immovable rod clenched tightly in your posterior.

    All I got to do was lick the boots of my obviously morally corrupt superiors and act like heavily armed lowlife thug with everyone else.

    Gee, what expansive and interesting choices. Thanks Bioware.

    Bleh. Air Jordan, M1-4X, and Dornes accent are the only decent things in the trooper story that I’ve encountered thus far.

    I hope you survive the Ghostbusting with your will and liver intact man.

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