Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: A Few More Words On the Column About The Ending Of MASS EFFECT 3

Hulk follows up his smashiest column ever. 

Film Crit Hulk Smash: A Few More Words On the Column About The Ending Of MASS EFFECT 3

SO LAST WEEK HULK WROTE THE ANGRIEST, SMASHIEST, LEAST-INCLUSIVE, MOST-CONFRONTATIONAL COLUMN THAT HULK HAS EVER WRITTEN. IT WAS ON THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3 AND HULK'S ANGER ABOUT SOCIETY'S REACTION TO IT. AND NOW HULK JUST WANTED TO SAY A FEW THINGS ABOUT THE PIECE, WHY HULK WROTE IT LIKE THAT, AND WHAT HAPPENED AS A RESULT.

FIRST OFF, TO EVERYONE WHO VOICED A NOTE OF THANKS OR APPRECIATION FOR THE PIECE HULK SINCERELY THANKS YOU. HULK SWEARS THAT THIS THIS COLUMN WASN'T ORIGINALLY MEANT TO BE INCENDIARY OR SLANDEROUS, BUT MORE AN EXPRESSION OF SUPPORT AND LOVE FOR SOMETHING THAT HULK THOUGHT WAS GREAT. AND MANY PEOPLE FELT THE SAME WAY AND YOUR AFFIRMATION MEANT THAT HULK'S PRIMARY EFFORTS WERE NOT IN VAIN. FOR THIS YOU HAVE HULK'S ENDLESS THANKS.

AT THE SAME TIME, HULK DIDN'T TREAT EVERYONE ELSE IN THE CONVERSATION ALL THAT KINDLY.

HULK WOULD BE REMISS TO BLAME IT ENTIRELY ON THE NATURE OF HOW QUICKLY THE COLUMN WAS WRITTEN. HULK FINISHED THE GAME IN THE MORNING. PLAYED THE OTHER ENDINGS. GOT WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO SAY AND LOVED IT. THEN WENT ONLINE TO SEE WHAT ALL THE HUBBUB NEGATIVITY WAS ABOUT AND FOR EVERY SOMEWHAT WELL-REASONED POST THERE SEEMED THERE WERE THREE HARDLINE REACTIONS THAT WERE JUST SOMEWHAT SHOCKING TO BE HONEST. THE MOMENT HULK SAW THE LENGTHS THAT SOME PEOPLE HAD GONE TO ON THE FURTHEST END OF THE SPECTRUM, THE ENTITLED NATURE, THE COMPLETE MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WERE PLAYING, THE DOWNRIGHT UGLINESS... HULK ABANDONED HULK'S GENTLE GIANT NATURE AND WENT INTO THE ALL-TOO-RARE ACTUAL SMASH MODE. AND WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DIRECTED AT A FEW PEOPLE AT THE FURTHEST END OF THE SPECTRUM WAS INSTEAD SHIFTED INTO A "LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT" MENTALITY WHICH INCLUDED A NUMBER OF THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE. THE RESULT OF THIS WAS A COLUMN THAT WAS ONLY FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LOVED THE ENDING (TO BE FAIR, IT DID SPEAK TO THEM)... BUT HULK STILL LOST SIGHT OF WHAT TRULY MATTERED.

AND AS A RESULT... HULK JUST WANTED TO CLEAR THINGS UP.

1. ON TROLLING...

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAD A VERY INTERESTING REACTION TO HULK'S PIECE, EITHER BECAUSE IT WAS THEIR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH HULK'S WRITING, OR BECAUSE THEY HAD ONLY SEEN A FEW SMASHY PIECES ON SOME VIDEO GAMES BEFORE. THEIR IMPLICATION WAS THAT HULK WAS SIMPLY TROLLING.

HULK WILL SAY THIS DEFINITELY: HULK DOES NOT TROLL.

HULK HAS NEVER ONCE HAD THE INTENTION OF TROLLING. NOT ONLY BECAUSE HULK OFTEN TRIES TO BE MEASURED, BUT BECAUSE HULK IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS SINCERE. EVEN AT HULK'S MOST BOMBASTIC, THE EXPRESSION IS COMPLETELY GENUINE.  THE IDEA THAT HULK COULD BE SITTING AROUND SOMEHOW WRITING THOUSANDS OF WORDS FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF HITS OR RILING PEOPLE UP... IT'S... IT'S JUST INCONCEIVABLE. THE IMPLICATION THAT HULK SOMEHOW CAN DELIGHT IN SCHADENFREUDE OR SOMEHOW DELIGHTS IN SEWING DISCORD... IT'S SO UNLIKE HULK'S NATURE.

HONESTLY, HULK SPENT THE THREE DAYS AFTER THE COLUMN CAME OUT IN A COMPLETE FUNK. THAT KIND OF DISHARMONIOUS DISAGREEMENT AND MISSING THE MARK BOTHERS HULK IN THE VERY PIT OF HULK'S GAMMA-IRRADIATED STOMACH. IT'S A TERRIBLE FEELING. BEYOND ALL THAT, THERE IS NO ECONOMIC, LOGISTIC, OR EVEN POPULOUS REASON FOR HULK TO TROLL AS IT IS A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE MEASURE WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT HULK IS TRYING TO DO. SO NO, THIS WAS NOT TROLLING.

HULK WILL ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH YOU.

2. ON YOUR COMMENTS / EMAILS...

THE ARTICLE SET THE BADASS RECORD FOR COMMENTS AT 888 AND HULK GOT HUNDREDS OF EMAILS ABOUT THE COLUMN. AND HULK JUST WANTS TO SAY THAT SO MANY OF YOU WROTE ARTICULATE, SMART PIECES AND SINCE HULK DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO THEM ALL HULK JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR TAKING SO MUCH TIME OUT OF YOUR DAY TO WRITE. HULK KNOWS WHAT TAKING THAT TIME MEANS. AND HULK KNOWS YOU WROTE BECAUSE YOU CARED. MANY OF YOU EVEN EXPRESSED RESPECT AND LOVE FOR HULK AND REALLY JUST WANTED TO SAY IT WAS UNFAIR THE WAY THAT HULK LUMPED YOU IN WITH A MENTALITY THAT WAS NOT NECESSARILY YOURS. SO FOR THAT HULK APOLOGIZES. TRULY. AND HULK WILL EXPLAIN HULK'S INTENTIONS LATER.

BUT IN MANY OF YOUR COMMENTS AND EMAILS, YOU ALSO RAISED A FEW GOOD POINTS THAT HULK CAN TOTALLY CLARIFY TO HELP EXPRESS WHAT HULK ORIGINALLY MEANT.

3. ON CLOSURE...

ONE OF THE MAIN THEMES IN SOME OF THE COUNTER-ARGUMENTS IS THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3 DID A HORRIBLE JOB WHEN IT CAME TO THE EMOTIONAL ARC OF THE STORY AND PROVIDED A REAL LACK OF CLOSURE. HULK ARGUED THAT MOST OF THE CHARACTER CLOSURE HAPPENS WELL BEFORE THE END ITSELF (THE WHOLE GAME IS ABOUT CHARACTER CATHARSIS REALLY) BUT HULK SHOULD HAVE STATED THAT A LACK OF CLOSURE FOR THE ENDING SCENES ITSELF IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE MAIN POINTS OF THE ENDING. THE STORY IN THIS CYCLE ENDS WITH DEATH AND THUS A NEW BEGINNING. AND NEW BEGINNINGS ARE ALWAYS SCARY, UNSURE AND REPRESENT A JOURNEY INTO THE UNKNOWABLE. THUS, A LACK OF CLOSURE IS THE EXACT POINT. THE WHOLE IDEA THAT THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS NEW UNIQUE SITUATION IN THE PROVERBIAL EDEN IS INDEED SUPPOSED TO BE UNNERVING. IT REFLECTS A BASIC TRUTH ABOUT DEATH ITSELF AND THUS SHOWS HOW ENDINGS AND NEW BEGINNINGS ARE INDEED SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT PROVIDE CLOSURE AT ALL. HULK UNDERSTANDS THE EMOTIONAL DISAPPOINTMENT THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT, BUT OUR VISCERAL INTERACTION IS ONE THAT IS MADE TO HELP US LEARN. SEEING OUR CHARACTERS EMBRACING THE UNKNOWN IN THE NEW EDEN IS ACTUALLY SUPPOSED TO BE THE COMFORTING GESTURE IN TRYING TO GET US TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF DEATH, CYCLES AND ALL THE LIKE. YOU MAY DISAGREE WITH THIS INTERPRETATION OF THOSE IDEAS, BUT TO HULK IT WAS A THOROUGH, COHERENT ARTISTIC STATEMENT AND THUS HULK TOTALLY DUG IT.

4. ON WHAT HULK MEANT BY "THE CORE TRUTH OF FATALISM..."

SO HULK SAID THIS ONE LINE IN THE COLUMN TALKING ABOUT DEATH BEING THE CORE TRUTH OF FATALISM AND HULK DIDN'T REALIZE THAT LINE MIGHT BE A LITTLE CONFUSING. WHAT IT BASICALLY MEANS IS THIS: THE MAIN CONSTANT OF THE FATALISTIC DISCUSSION IS THAT DEATH IS THE SINGLE MOST OBVIOUS CONSTANT. IT'S LIKE THE OLD ADAGE GOES "NOTHING IN LIFE IS CERTAIN BUT DEATH AND TAXES." THE REASON IT IS A CONSTANT IS BECAUSE DYING IS THE ONE THING ALL OF US WILL DO IN THIS LIFE. YOU WILL DIE. HULK WILL DIE. EVERYONE WE LOVE WILL DIE. IT'S TERRIFYING BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE A CONCEPT OF "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT" BUT BECAUSE THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS QUESTION LOOMS SO LARGE, MANY PEOPLE END UP BURYING THEIR HEAD IN THE SAND AND NOT WANTING IT ADDRESSED IN ENDINGS WHATSOEVER.

AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHY IT'S ADDRESSED IN ART SO OFTEN. ART AND STORIES ARE SUPPOSED TO ENGAGE THESE SCARY IDEAS AND CONFLICTS WE FACE IN LIFE SO WE MAY BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO THEM OURSELVES. SO ANYTIME A BIG EPIC STORY GETS INTO THE QUESTION OF ENDINGS, MOST OFTEN THEY WANT TO THEMATICALLY ENGAGE THE GREATEST OF ALL POSSIBLE ENDINGS WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY DEATH. SO WHY SHOULD THE MASS EFFECT SERIES BE ANY DIFFERENT FROM MOST FORMS OF ART AND TRADITIONAL HERO CYCLES? HULK HONESTLY THOUGHT THEY EXPLORED THE IDEA BEAUTIFULLY TOO. SHEPARD MEETS HIS END IN THREE DIFFERENT, SYMBOLIC WAYS: A WAR-LIKE ACTION THAT KILLS OTHERS AND RESULTS IN HIS OWN DEMISE, AN ACCEPTING ACTION THAT LEADS TO SACRIFICE AND THEN PEACE, AND A SYNTHETIC BLENDING AS A KIND OF PEACE AND TRANSFORMATIVE STASIS. ALL THREE DEATHS ARE ACHINGLY SIMILAR WITH EACH GOING OUT INTO THE NEW EDEN, BUT THE POINT IS THAT THE STATEMENT MADE EACH FORM OF THE THREE DEATHS TELL YOU EVERYTHING ABOUT THE KIND OF SHEPARD YOU WANTED TO BE. THE ACTION ITSELF IS THE STATEMENT, NOT THE RESULTS. THUS, THE CONSEQUENCES ARE IN AND OF YOURSELF.

THERE WERE SOME WHO FOUND THE ENTIRE NOTION SAD OR EMOTIONALLY UNFULFILLING AND HULK UNDERSTAND THAT. YOU BROUGHT THE ENTIRE GALAXY TO SAVE THE WORLD ONLY TO HAVE IT RESULT IN THE SAME KIND OF DEATH EVERY TIME. BUT WHAT MAY SEEM TRAGIC IS SOMETHING THAT HULK THINKS IS A BEAUTIFUL STATEMENT. WE ALL END UP IN THE GROUND WHEN IT'S "OUR TIME" SO IT'S THE THINGS WE DO WHICH DEFINE US, NOT NECESARILY OUR LEGACY OR AFFECTATION. IT'S WHAT WE DO WITH OUR MOMENTS IN OUR CYCLE. AND SO HULK THINKS THAT IT WAS AMAZING IS THAT SHEPARD GOT TO UNITE THE WORLD TO A COMMON PURPOSE. IT DOESN'T NEED A POSITIVE RESULT TO JUSTIFY IT. THE PURPOSE ITSELF IS ALL WE EVER NEED.

DEATH AND REBIRTHS ARE THE ONE TRUE CONSTANT, BUT IT'S HOW WE LIVE THAT SAYS EVERYTHING.

5. ON DEUS EX MACHINA/MAGIC/STAR CHILDREN...

ON BIG COMPLAINT A LOT OF FOLKS HAD WAS THAT THE END OF THE GAME MARKS A RADICAL SHIFT FROM THE TONE OF THE GAME. ONE ARGUMENT BEING THE WHOLE ENDING WITH THE CATALYST WAS A DEUS EX MACHINA MOMENT WHERE SHEPARD FLOATS UP AFTER "DYING" TO ENGAGE THE WHOLE CENTRAL QUESTION WITH THIS SEEMINGLY ALL-POWERFUL STAR CHILD FIGURE (PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK ALSO DOESN'T LIKE CALLING IT THAT BECAUSE 2001 JUST TOO DEFINITIVE IN HULK'S BRAIN). BUT THE SECOND PROBLEM PEOPLE HAD WITH THIS ALL-POWERFUL STAR CHILD FIGURE WAS THAT IT WAS SEEMINGLY ABLE TO DO ALL ITS REAPER CONTROLLING/SYMBIOSIS/ETC THROUGH PURE MAGIC AND THE THING THEY LOVED ABOUT THE MASS EFFECT SERIES WAS THAT IT WAS PRETTY COMMITTED TO HARD SCI-FI. AND LASTLY, PEOPLE HAD PROBLEMS WITH IT BECAUSE THE STAR CHILD MAIN ADVERSARY WAS THIS SUDDEN NEW WEIRD CHARACTER AND THE ENTIRE THING HINGED ON THAT INTERACTION WITH THEM.

... OKAY THIS ONE IS GOING TO BE HARD TO ARGUE BECAUSE HULK JUST PLAIN SORT OF DISAGREES WITH ALL THOSE ASSESSMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATIONS. THE POINT IS NOTHING ABOUT THE ENDING REALLY THREW HULK OFF AT ALL. IN FACT, HULK THOUGHT IT WAS RIGHT ON PAR WITH WHAT THE GAME HAD EXHIBITED THUS FAR. TO EXPLAIN:

HULK DIDN'T FIND THE MOMENT TO BE DEUS EX MACHINA BECAUSE WE WERE QUITE LITERALLY SEARCHING FOR THE CATALYST FIGURE FOR THE ENTIRE GAME. AND SINCE WE WERE NEVER REALLY GIVEN ANY SPECIFIC INDICATOR AS TO WHAT IT ACTUALLY WAS, HULK INSTINCTIVELY KNEW IT COULD BE ANYTHING. AND FOR HULK, YES, EXPECTATION PLAYS A LOT INTO HOW THE DEUS EX MACHINA WORKS ON A DRAMATIC LEVEL. NOW, HULK UNDERSTANDS WHY PEOPLE THINK THAT WAY ON A LOGICAL LEVEL BECAUSE OF THE FLOATING IMAGERY AND THE FADE TO WHITE, BUT HULK INTERPRETED THOSE MORE OF THEMATIC SIGNIFIERS AS THIS BEING A "DEATH LIKE TRANSITION" FOR SHEPARD, NOT SOME MAGIC TRANSFERENCE INTO A SITUATION WITH THE HAND OF GOD. IT'S ALL SUPER FIGURATIVE TO HULK.

AS FOR THE ALL-POWERFUL STARCHILD, HULK WAS OKAY WITH THAT ONE TOO. FOR ONE THE WHOLE MAGIC-SEEMING, ALL-POWERFUL V.I. IS SOMETHING WE'VE SEEN THROUGHOUT THE SERIES (EVEN THE PROTHIAN THAT SHOWS UP EARLIER IN THE GAME). SO TEXTURALLY, HULK DIDN'T FIND IT THAT OUT OF PLACE, NOR DID HULK FIND ITS ABILITIES TO CONTROL/END THE REAPERS THAT UNCOMMON WITH THE NATURE OF HOW HIVE MINDS HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE GAME (THE HARBINGER, ETC). AND EVEN IF THE CATALYST'S POWERS WERE OUTLANDISH OR "MAGIC" (WHICH HULK DOESN'T THINK THEY WERE), HULK ARGUES IT DOESN'T FLY IN THE FACE OF THE SCI-FI TRADITION WHATSOEVER. IN FACT, IT'S ACTUALLY A PRETTY COMMON TROPE FOR HARD SCI-FI TO GET TO THE ENDING AND SUDDENLY BE FACED WITH THE GREAT UNKNOWABLE, MYSTERIOUS POWER BEYOND OUR GRASP (ONE COULD SAY THIS IS THE REAL "ENDPOINT OF SCIENCE," BUT THE GREAT THING ABOUT SCIENCE IS YOU DON'T JUST STOP THERE. YOU BEGIN AGAIN AND ENGAGE IN A NEW SERIES OF ASKING QUESTIONS AND DISCOVERY. IT'S A NEW CYCLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC MINDSET IF YOU WILL!). AND WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT THESE UNKNOWABLE CLIMAXES IN HARD SCI-FI IS THEY OFTEN ARE A COMMON SCI-FI TROPE WHEN DEALING WITH THE SUBJECT OF DEATH. SO IT'S TOTALLY APPROPRIATE.

AND LASTLY THE STAR CHILD ISN'T TECHNICALLY A "NEW" CHARACTER IN THE IMAGERY SENSE AS ITS ENTIRE EXISTENCE WAS BUILT UP IN THE PREMONITION DREAMS THAT SHEPARD KEPT HAVING. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS IS LESS LOGICAL AND MORE THEMATIC; THE GAME BEGINS WITH SHEPARD BEING  RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF A CHILD. THE GAME ENDS WITH THE SAME-ISH CHILD BEING "RESPONSIBLE" FOR THE DEATH OF SHEPARD. WHAT COULD BE MORE POETIC IN A GAME ABOUT DEATH, REBIRTH AND CYCLES?

6. ON "BUT YOU DIDN'T LIKE LOST'S ENDING!"...

WITHOUT GOING INTO A BIG THING ON LOST, YES, THERE ARE ODDLY A LOT OF SIMILARITIES IN TERMS OF THEIR OPERATION. HERE'S THE CRUCIAL NON-SPOILERY DIFFERENCE:HULK THOUGHT THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3 BROADENED THE SCOPE AND THEMATIC RESONANCE OF THE GAME, WHEREAS HULK THOUGHT THE ENDING OF LOST HAD A WEIRD WAY OF LIMITING THE THEMATIC RESONANCE OF THE SERIES. WITHOUT LAUNCHING INTO THE EXPLANATION, CAN IT BE ACCEPTED THAT THAT IS A REASONABLE JUSTIFICATION FOR HAVING A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION? AND PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK REALLY LIKES LOST DESPITE THOSE ENDING RESERVATIONS. HULK LOVES IT A LOT!

7. ON SAYING "FUCK THIS GUY" TO JEREMY JAHNS...

OKAY, THIS ONE IS PRETTY SIMPLE. HULK SHOULD NOT HAVE SINGLED OUT A PERSON AND SAID "FUCK THAT GUY."

HULK SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT THE LINE OF THINKING HE IS ENGAGING IN IS UGLY, ENTITLED AND ACTUALLY PRETTY DANGEROUS TO THE FUTURE OF ART, BUT THAT SO DOES NOT MAKE HIM A BAD PERSON. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. SO HULK SHOULDN'T TREAT HIM LIKE A BAD PERSON. FOR THAT, HULK SINCERELY APOLOGIZES.

ALL HULK WANTS JAHNS TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS A WORLD SO MUCH BIGGER OUT THERE AND CHANCES ARE THOSE IDEAS-THAT-ARE SO-MUCH-BIGGER ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE GOOD THINGS WE SAY AND DO IN LIFE. AND IN THAT SPIRIT, VIDEO GAMES DON'T JUST HAVE TO BE ABOUT BEING INDULGED. IF WE WANT THEM TO BE ART THEN WE HAVE TO START BUILDING THE KIND OF CULTURE THAT APPRECIATES THEM IN THE SAME WAY WE APPRECIATE OTHER FORMS OF GREAT ART. WE HAVE TO APPRECIATE INVERSION, AND THE CREATION OF INTERESTING STATEMENTS OVER EMOTIONAL CATHARSIS. WE HAVE TO START STRETCHING FOR INTELLECTUAL CATHARSIS IN A WAY THAT GOES BEYOND LOGIC AND PLOT-HOLES AND ALL THAT OTHER STUFF WE UNFORTUNATELY GET HUNG UP ON IN ORDER TO GO "WOW, THIS ENDING DOESN'T SATISFY MY URGES, BUT IT IS MAKING A PRETTY INTERESTING STATEMENT ABOUT MY OWN LIFE AND DEATH. I WANT TO CARE LESS ABOUT IF IT WORKS AND MORE IF IT WORKS IN AN EMOTIONAL WAY THAT HELPS ME!"  THAT IS THE MOST USEFUL POSSIBLE WAY TO EMBRACE ART.

STILL, HULK SAYS HULK IS ALL ABOUT USING HULK'S BIG MUSCLES TO HOLD UP METAPHORICAL BRIDGES... BUT INSTEAD OF HOLDING UP A BRIDGE, HULK EFFECTIVELY GAVE MR. JAHNS "THE LOKI" ... WHICH WAS TOTALLY THE WRONG THING TO DO AND HULK APOLOGIZE.

WE HAVE TO BUILD BRIDGES... SPEAKING OF WHICH:

8. ON SOME FANS GETTING CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE...

HULK TOUCHED ON THIS BEFORE BUT HULK REALLY JUST WANTED TO REITERATE AGAIN: HULK'S CRITICISM WAS DIRECTED AT THE JEFFREY JAHNS LINE OF THINKING, BUT HULK ENDED UP DIRECTING A LOT OF CRITICISM AT PEOPLE SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE BY PROXY. HULK SWEAR THE INTENTION WAS TO OUTLINE THE FURTHEST END OF THE SPECTRUM, ADMONISH IT AND THEREBY SHOW PEOPLE JUST HOW SOME OF THEIR SEEMINGLY INNOCENT COMPLAINTS WERE REALLY CHARACTERIZING A HURTFUL APPROACH TO ART ON THE WHOLE. AND FROM THERE, ONE COULD REFLECT AND SEE WHERE THEY WERE ON THE SPECTRUM OF WHAT THEY WANT FROM SOMETHING IN THE WAY OF INDULGENCE VERSUS ART.

AND OF COURSE, HULK DIDN'T DO THAT AT ALL. MOST OF US ARE IN A GRAY AREA AND HULK HONESTLY DIDN'T MEAN TO PUSH YOU TO ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER IN A BINDING WAY. THE IDEA WAS TO SIMPLY ESTABLISH THAT THERE IS MORE OF A ONE-SIDE-OR-THE-OTHER KIND OF THINKING WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT WE WANT FROM ART. SURE, THERE ISN'T A RIGHT WAY TO INTERPRET ART IN TERMS OF SPECIFICS, BUT THERE IS AT LEAST A SEMBLANCE OF WHAT IS FAIR IN GOING THROUGH THE INTERPRETATIVE PROCESS. FOR INSTANCE, THE MOVIE BOB SO PERFECTLY ARTICULATED ONE FACET WHEN HE SAID [TO PARAPHRASE] "You can't try to get video games to be defined as art and become popular and then turn around and dictate terms." HE'S RIGHT AND THAT STATEMENT SPEAKS TO SO MANY OTHER KINDS OF BEHAVIOR TOO. THERE HAS TO BE A BIGGER SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING TO THE PROCESS AND NOT JUST THE RESULT.

BUT EVEN THEN, MOST OF YOU HAD WELL THOUGHT OUT, LOGICAL REASONS WHY THE ENDING DIDN'T WORK AND WERE THEMATICALLY INCONGRUENT TO THE SERIES. ASIDE FROM THE IDEAS HULK COUNTERED ABOVE THERE WERE SO, SO, SO, SO MANY GREAT POINTS THAT WERE RAISED. SO HULK WANTS YOU TO KNOW THIS...

HULK ACCEPTS YOUR ARGUMENTS. ALL OF THEM. HULK IS ALWAYS HERE TO LISTEN AND EVEN AT HULK'S MOST EMOTIONAL AND SMASHY, HULK WILL NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF THAT. THAT'S WHY HULK READ ALL 888 COMMENTS ON THE ARTICLE AND ALL THE HUNDREDS OF EMAILS (AGAIN, SORRY HULK COULDN'T RESPOND TO THEM ALL). BUT HULK GENUINELY LISTENED.

AND IN RETURN, ALL HULK HOPES TO ACHIEVE IS THAT PERHAPS YOU MIGHT SEE NEW APPEAL TO THAT THEMATIC THROUGH-LINE THAT HULK SAW IN GAME. AND PERHAPS JUST MAYBE YOU COULD THEN SEE THE WAY THAT HULK THOUGHT IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL, ROUSING WAY TO END THE GAME.

BUT THE PROBLEM WAS THAT IN ALL HULK'S PASSION, HULK DIDN'T MAKE THAT RESPECT FOR YOU CLEAR ENOUGH. AND AS HULK ALWAYS SAYS, ALL GOOD COMMUNICATION IS BUILT OFF MUTUAL RESPECT.

9. ON VIDEO GAMES...

PART OF THE INHERENT PROBLEM OF THIS DISCUSSION IS WE ARE STILL FIGURING VIDEO GAMES OUT ON THE WHOLE.

THE MEDIUM IS A NEW ONE AND SO OFTEN THE GOALS AND IDEAS AND MODES OF EXPRESSION AND INDULGENCE RUN SO COUNTER TO THE IDEA OF ARTISTIC COHERENCY THAT IT BECOMES DIFFICULT TO EVEN UNDERSTAND THE TRUE PURPOSE OF VIDEO GAMES AT ALL. YES, THEY ARE TRULY ENGROSSING AND HIGHLY ABSORBING, BUT THE NATURE OF GAMEPLAY HAS THIS TOUGH HABIT OF GETTING IN THE WAY OF PURE ARTISTIC EXPRESSION (UNLESS YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE A "MOVE" A 1:1 ARTISTIC COMMENT, WHICH IS... DIFFICULT), BUT THE THING TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT VIDEO GAMES HAVE EVOLVED AND GOTTEN TO THE PLACE WHERE THEY HAVE TRULY INCORPORATED OTHER FORMS OF ART AND EVEN DEPEND ON THEM:

STORYTELLING. CINEMATIC EXPRESSION. THEMATIC RESONANCE. CHARACTERIZATION.

THESE THINGS ARE BEING USED IN GAMING TODAY (MASS EFFECT SPECIFICALLY) AND SOMETIMES IT'S LIKE THEY ARE ONLY USED WHEN MOST ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE NARRATIVE AND COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN WHEN IT CAN'T BE WORKED OUT. MEANING THERE IS A LACK OF THEMATIC AND MESSAGE-BASED RESPONSIBILITY THAT GOES ALONG WITH THEM THAT ONE WOULD USE IN ANY OTHER FORM OF MEDIUM. IT'S TRUE. HULK SEES MORE UNFORTUNATE MIXED-MESSAGING, THEMATICALLY-CONFUSED STATEMENTS AND CRAZY INCONSISTENCIES IN GAMES THEN HULK SEES IN ANY OTHER ART FORM. NOT IN THE SENSE OF "CHOICE" EITHER. NOT EVEN IN THE "GAMES HAVE A DIFFERENT SET OF RULES AND CAN'T BE TREATED LIKE OTHER MEDIUMS." HULK MEANS IN THE WAY THEY ARE TRYING TO OPERATE IN AND OF THEMSELVES. WHICH IS MORE THAN FAIR. ONE OF THE REASONS HULK ADORES VIDEO GAME CRITIC TOM BISSELL IS THAT HE'S ASKING ALL THE BIG QUESTIONS AT THIS POINT.

BUT PART OF THE REAL IS THAT A GAME CAN HAVE A SHIT-AWFUL STORY OR THEMATIC STATEMENT, BUT IF THE GAMEPLAY IS ENGROSSING THEN CHANCES ARE IT IS STILL A "GOOD GAME." WHAT ARE WE TO DO WITH THE CRAZY IRRESPONSIBLE STORY THEN? DOES IT EVEN MATTER? TO SOME IT OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T, BUT HULK WOULD ARGUE THAT PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY ABSORBING THESE STORIES AND MESSAGES IN THE WAY WE ABSORB OTHER STORIES, SO WHY ARE WE ARGUING THERE IS A DIFFERENCE? THE SAME RESPONSIBILITY IS THERE. PEOPLE ARE TAKING AWAY ALL THE AWFUL THINGS THAT CAN BE SAID AND INFERRED ABOUT HOW CHARACTERS WORK, BECAUSE THE "GOOD GAME PLAY" IS JUST AN EXCUSE NOT TO CARE (WHEREAS THOSE SORT OF PROBLEMS ARE PRECISELY WHAT WOULD STOP A MOVIE FROM WORKING). IT'S ALMOST AS IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU "HEY, WAS THE MOVIE GOOD?" AND YOU RESPONDED "IT WAS GREAT, I GOT ORAL SEX RIGHT THERE IN THE THEATER!" THAT'S GREAT AND ALL, IT JUST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL MOVIE IF THAT MAKES SENSE. A GOOD GAME ISN'T BEHOLDEN TO THE SAME SCRUTINY OF ITS MITIGATING STORY FACTORS. AND HULK ARGUES WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF THAT EXPECTATION.

AGAIN, PEOPLE KEPT TELLING HULK THAT HULK WAS LOOKING AT IT TOO MUCH IN A "CINEMA SENSE" BUT NOT A "VIDEO GAME SENSE." BUT HULK HAS STUDIED EVERY MEDIUM OF ART ON THE PLANET AND THERE ARE CERTAIN OVERLAPPING CONSIDERATIONS THAT MAKES ART, WELL... ART. HULK KNOWS WE COULD ARGUE ABOUT "WHAT IS ART" UNTIL THE COWS COME HOME, BUT HULK WOULD ARGUE ONE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF SOMETHING BEING ART IS THE IMPORTANCE OF THEME OR MESSAGE, I.E. "WHAT THE PIECE IS SAYING ON A CEREBRAL LEVEL" OVER OTHER MORE PURE AESTHETIC CONCERNS (THOUGH THE AESTHETICISM CAN BE SAYING THINGS TOO). IT CAN EVEN BE A REALLY SIMPLE, OBVIOUS THING, BUT THE PIECE ITSELF GENUINELY HAS TO REALLY BE CONCERNED WITH THAT (EVEN IF THE MESSAGE IS PURPOSEFUL AMBIGUITY). SO IT'S NOT ABOUT HULK'S QUESTIONING VIDEO GAMES AGAINST MOVIES, BUT HULK'S QUESTIONING WHETHER VIDEO GAMES SHOULD BE HELD TO THE SAME STANDARDS OF EVERY OTHER KIND OF ART ON THE PLANET. WHICH HULK ARGUES, YES, THEY DO.

AND HECK, THE GAME WAS USING TRADITIONAL CINEMATIC AND STORYTELLING LANGUAGE SO WHAT IS HULK NOT TO UNDERSTAND HERE? BESIDES, HULK THOUGHT THE COMMENTS ON THE SMALL DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES OF THE THREE ENDINGS WAS A WHOLLY GAME-SPECIFIC ARTISTIC STATEMENT THAT COULDN'T BE DONE IN ANY OTHER MEDIUM. THAT'S WHY HULK FOUND IT SO REVELATORY (THINK OF IT THE SAME WAY "WOULD YOU KINDLY" WORKS IN BIOSHOCK WITH THE IDEA OF GAMING PRE-DETERMINISM). THE POINT WAS HULK TRULY WAS THINKING ABOUT IT IN A GAMING SENSE AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS HULK LOVED IT.

THE OTHER PROBLEM IS THAT RIGHT NOW VIDEO GAMES ARE MOSTLY REALLY GOOD AT THE OTHER STUFF. THEY KNOW HOW TO INDULGE. HECK, THEY ARE PERHAPS THE MOST PERFECT INDULGENCE VEHICLES EVER, BUT WE'RE STILL FIGURING OUT THE BALANCE BETWEEN TELLING STORIES AND GIVING US THE RIGHT TO ENGAGE. FOR MANY VIDEO GAME FANS, THE ENTIRE ALLURE IS THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE THAT IS OFFERED AND THUS THEY LOVE THE IDEA OF HAVING "THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE," BUT HULK HAS TO REMIND YOU THAT EVEN IN EVERY INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE THERE ARE ALWAYS RAILS TO BE SEEN AND A GUIDING HAND BEHIND IT. AND THE CARE AND INTENTION OF THAT HAND (EVEN WITH A MULTITUDE OF CHOICE) HAS TO BE RESPECTED IN THE SAME KIND OF WAY WE WOULD RESPECT AND TREAT ANY OTHER ARTIST CRAFTING AN EXPERIENCE FOR US. WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THESE THINGS AREN'T STRICTLY PRODUCTS, THEY ARE EXPERIENCES. AND EXPERIENCES HAVE TO BE HELD IN A DIFFERENT REGARD.

THE REASON THIS ALL MATTERS SO MUCH IS THAT VIDEO GAMES ARE THE FUTURE. AND HULK HAS TO BE HONEST, BUT PART OF THE PROBLEM IS SOME OF THE HARD-CORE FANBASES' APPROACH TO THE WHOLE SITUATION...

10. ON THE CURRENT STATE OF FANDOM IN VIDEO GAMES...

OKAY HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT THE FOLLOWING IS A BROAD CHARACTERIZATION, BUT THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION... HULK JUST WANTS TO SAY THAT IT'S REALLY HARD TO HAVE A BIG ARTISTIC CONVERSATION WITH VIDEO GAME FANS.

AGAIN,  HULK KNOWS THAT MOST OF YOU DON'T THINK THIS WAY AND AGAIN WROTE HUNDREDS OF THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS TO HULK WITH YOUR GREAT REASONS, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S NICE ABOUT WRITING IN A BIG PLATFORM IS THAT YOU REALLY DO GET TO SEE THE RANGE OF REACTIONS FROM DIFFERENT AUDIENCES. YOU GET A GREAT SAMPLE SIZE. AND WHEN YOU GET TO SEE THE SEAMS OF REACTIONS YOU DO GET A BETTER PICTURE OF HOW CERTAIN FANDOMS REACT TO CERTAIN THINGS.

FOR INSTANCE WITH CERTAIN MOVIE FANDOMS, IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE'S MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIE OF THE YEAR IS PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON'S THE MASTER. HULK IS SO CRAZY EXCITED FOR IT, HULK CAN BARELY THINK STRAIGHT. SO HERE'S AN HONEST QUESTION: DO YOU THINK ANYONE UBER PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THAT MOVIE WILL SEND SOMEONE DEATH THREATS FOR WRITING A BAD REVIEW OF IT? OF COURSE NOT, YET THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE DARK KNIGHT RISES AND THE AVENGERS. THERE ARE CERTAIN FANDOMS WHERE CERTAIN LINES OF BEHAVIOR AND THINKING ARE MORE TOLERATED THAT OTHER PLACES (AND BELIEVE HULK, THE ART FILM WORLD HAS ITS OWN PROBLEMS IN COMMUNICATION TOO. THEY JUST AREN'T USUALLY VIOLENT). NOW, ARE ALL COMIC BOOK FANS LIKE THAT? OF COURSE NOT. BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR THAT CAN EMERGE WITH CERTAIN FAN CLUSTERS. NOW THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS IT'S NOT IMPORTANT FOR THE OUTSIDERS TO KNOW THAT, LORD KNOWS WE DON'T NEED ANY MORE OUTSIDERS HURLING INSULTS FROM ON HIGH. THE PEOPLE WHO NEED THE AWARENESS IS THE GROUP THEMSELVES. SO THEY CAN LEARN AND MOVE PAST THAT BEHAVIOR. THE WAY THE COMIC BOOK/SUPERHERO MOVIE INDUSTRY HAS LEARNED TO EMBRACE SMART PASSIONATE FIGUREHEADS LIKE ALAN MOORE, JOSS WHEDON, ETC. WITH THEM WE HAVE TO RAISE THE CULTURAL CONVERSATION OURSELVES.

AND WITH VIDEO GAME FANS IT IS JUST ALWAYS REALLY HARD TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH SOME OF THE HARDCORE FANBASE. HULK DOESN'T KNOW WHY SPECIFICALLY. HULK JUST KNOWS THE ARGUMENTATIVE LOGIC IS OFTEN REDUCED TO A COMPLETE PRE-JUDGING BINARY FAR OFTEN THAN IS INVOLVED IN OTHER FANDOMS. PERHAPS IT JUST MIGHT BE MORE OF A LEFT-BRAINED THINKING. MAYBE EVEN IT COMES FROM A DEFENSIVE POSITION AFTER NO ONE TOOK THE VIDEO MEDIUM SERIOUSLY UNTIL OUR GENERATION GREW UP. BUT EVERY IDEA PUT FORTH SEEMS TO BE REACTED TO LIKE A PERCEIVED ATTACK. EVERY DISAGREEMENT IS MET WITH A CLAIM THAT THE AUTHOR HAD ULTERIOR MOTIVES (FOR THE RECORD, HULK HASN'T HAD AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE IN A SINGLE COLUMN HULK HAS WRITTEN. THIS ALL COMES FROM A PLACE OF PASSION. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MONEY. POPULARITY. NOTHING. IT WAS ABOUT TRYING TO HAMMER OUT A THOUGHT THAT HULK HAS IN HULK'S BRAIN AND HULK CAN'T REST UNTIL IT'S DONE). BUT STILL, WITH VIDEO GAMES IT ALWAYS COMES DOWN TO THIS WEIRD BINARY COUNTER-ARGUMENT.

HULK CALLS OUT WHAT HULK SEES AS AN ELEMENT OF SEXISM AS AN OTHERWISE GREAT GAME? HULK GETS TAKEN TO TASK BECAUSE IT'S SEEN AS AN ATTACK ON THE GAME. HULK SAYS THE ROAD TO GAMES BECOMING ART IS DIFFICULT FOR REASONS X Y AND Z? SUDDENLY HULK DOESN'T RESPECT THE GENRE. HULK FINALLY ENCOUNTERS A GAME THAT HITS THAT SPECIAL PLAY AND WAS DEEPLY UPSET AT HOW A VOCAL MINORITY REACTED TO IT? HULK IS AN IDIOT CAUSE HULK PICKED THE WRONG GAME TO FEEL TRANSCENDENT ABOUT. ALSO, THERE'S A HUGE UNDERCURRENT OF RACISM AND SEXISM THAT IS REALLY PRONOUNCED, BUT THAT'S ANOTHER COLUMN. THE THING IS THAT ALL OF THIS IN TURN SOMEHOW FUELS HULK TO ENGAGE IN THE SAME EXACT SORTS OF FLIPPANT BEHAVIOR RIGHT BACK. IT'S JUST SO EXTREME THAT IT PROMPTS EQUAL EXTREMENESS (LIKE HULK'S ORIGINAL COLUMN).

FOR INSTANCE HULK WAS READING SOME MESSAGE BOARD COMMENTS AND SAW THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IN REGARDS TO THAT ORIGINAL COLUMN:

"Sorry, but if you think any part of ME3's plot was good, you have very poor taste (Deus ex Machina + Macguffin does not a good story make) and if you think the ending to ME3, which was both thematically and mechanically contrary to the themes and mechanics of the rest of the franchise was good, or even defensible...

Well, you're either a complete and utter moron or an EA shill."

HOW DOES ONE EVEN RESPOND TO THAT? FOR ONE, A LOT OF THE GREATEST STORIES OF ALL TIME USE THOSE DEVICES SO IT'S JUST A WEIRD THING TO SAY. BUT REALLY IT'S THE BINARY THAT MAKES THINGS SO TOUGH. THE AUTHOR HAS SO RELEGATED THE LOGIC TO AN OPEN AND SHUT CASE OF BLACK AND WHITE THAT THERE IS NO STARTING POINT. EVEN HULK'S SMASHY COLUMN TALKED ABOUT THE GRAY AREA. BUT HERE, THE CONVERSATION IS ALREADY OVER. TAKEN IT AND OF ITSELF THIS IS OKAY, BUT HULK STILL SAW THIS KIND OF BINARY ARGUMENT EVERYWHERE.

AND IT BUMMED HULK THE FUCK OUT.

REALLY. THERE WAS SO MUCH OF THIS LOCKED OFF ATTITUDE AND AGAIN, HULK KNOWS THAT HULK'S ANGRY OUTBURST WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SO MUCH OF THE DEFENSIVENESS IN TURN (IT'S AN UGLY CYCLE), BUT THE WHOLE DIALOG WAS TRULY MESSED UP. HULK RECENTLY TALKED ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF A SMALL UNDERCURRENT OF BATMAN FANS, BUT AT LEAST WE UNDERSTAND HOW TO TALK TO EACH OTHER.

SO TO EVERY GAMER FAN ON THE PLANET, PLEASE KNOW THIS: HULK MAY SEEM TO COME FROM A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE, BUT HULK LOVES VIDEO GAMES. HULK IS JUST AS PASSIONATE ABOUT THE MEDIUM AND HOW WE CAN BUILD IT INTO THIS BEAUTIFUL THING. A NUMBER OF AMAZING GAMES ARE ALREADY HEADING IN THAT DIRECTION WITH BIG TITLES LIKE MASS EFFECT, BIOSHOCK, SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS AND A LEGION OF BRILLIANT INDEPENDENT TITLES LIKE FLOWER, LIMBO, FEZ AND BRAID. SEE WE EVEN LOVE THE SAME GAMES, BUT THE THING IS THAT WE HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND LEARN TO LOSE THE NOTION OF WHAT A GAME "OWES US" AND START THINKING ABOUT THE DIFFERENT THINGS A GAME CAN "DO TO US." YES, SOMETIMES EVEN BY THE NATURE OF WITHHOLDING INDULGENCE. WE HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT GAMES THE WAY WE LOOK AT THE ENDING OF NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN AND THEN WE NEED TO GO OFF AND HAVE THE BEST POSSIBLE DISCUSSION ABOUT IT.

HULK SWEARS WE CAN DO THIS, WE JUST HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE BINARY. AND THAT'S PART OF THE REASON HULK WROTE THIS FOLLOW-UP COLUMN... BECAUSE HULK WAS JUST AS GUILTY AS ANYONE.

SO HERE IS HULK STEPPING FORWARD FIRST.

11. ON THE POWER OF AGREEMENT...

ONE WAY TO STEP OUT OF THE BINARY IS IN ADDRESSING A BIG COMMENT HULK SAW A LOT WHICH WAS SOMEONE WRITING: 'THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE EVER TRULY DISAGREED WITH YOU HULK."

KNOW THIS: DISAGREEMENT IS GOOD. HEALTHY EVEN. LISTENING TO AN IDEA OUTSIDE OF OUR OWN SPHERE OF WHAT IS "RIGHT" IS EXACTLY THE WAY WE LEARN AND GROW. AND THAT GOES FOR HULK TOO. MAYBE YOUR WORDS HELPED HULK FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY OF HULK EXPRESSING HULK'S OWN POINT. AND MAYBE YOU OPENED UP HULK TO A NEW LINE OF THINKING TO ADOPT YOUR IDEAS. AFTER ALL, IF HULK WAS SO CERTAIN HULK'S COLUMN WAS PERFECT WOULD HULK BE SITTING HERE WRITING A MASSIVE FOLLOW-UP COLUMN?

HULK HAS MAINTAINED FROM THE VERY BEGINNING THAT THERE ARE TWO CORE IDEAS THAT CRITICISM GETS CAUGHT UP IN AND THAT'S AGREEMENT AND WORTH. THOSE TWO VALUES ARE NOT THE WAY TO STRETCH OUR WINGS AND EXPLORE IDEAS AND BECOME BETTER FANS OF ART.

AS SUCH, PLEASE DISAGREE. HULK IS ALWAYS HERE TO LISTEN.

12. ON IRONY...

SO AT THIS POINT THERE ARE THOSE OF YOU WHO WILL NOTE THE IRONY OF HULK WRITING ANOTHER ARTICLE TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS OF THE LAST ARTICLE IS ACHINGLY SIMILAR TO HOW BIOWARE RELEASED THE EXTENDING ENDINGS TO ADDRESS THE CONCERNS FROM THE EARLIER ENDINGS. HULK UNDERSTANDS THE DESIRE TO MAKE THE COMPARISON, BUT A GAME OR A PIECE OF ART IS INHERENTLY DIFFERENT THAN A COLUMN OF THIS NATURE. FOR ONE, HULK'S COLUMNS ARE 100% PREDICATED ON THE NATURE OF AN ONGOING CONVERSATION AND TWO, HULK WOULD NEVER DO THAT WITH AN ARTISTIC PIECE OF STORYTELLING IF HULK WAS CONFIDENT IN IT. THE FINAL PIECE WOULD BE THE FINAL PIECE.

STILL, ASIDE FROM HULK'S MISGIVINGS ABOUT HULK'S ANGER AND THE WAY THAT HULK WENT ABOUT THE COLUMN, HULK WANTED TO TAKE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RESTATE THAT HULK STANDS BY THE IDEAS IN THE ORIGINAL COLUMN. SO:

13.  ON WHY THE ORIGINAL COLUMN WAS THE WAY IT WAS...

THERE'S A CENTRAL QUESTION IN ALL OF THIS: WHY WAS THIS SHENANIGAN THE THING THAT FINALLY GOT HULK SO DAMN ANGRY? WHY NOW WHEN HULK HAS SPENT A YEAR BEING SO PATIENT, SO ADVOCATING THE IDEA OF BEING MEASURED? WHY NOW WHEN HULK WAS ALWAYS SO GOOD AT LISTENING? WHY NOW?

THE REASON IS BECAUSE UNDERNEATH ALL THIS THICK GAMMA IRRADIATED EXTERIOR AND ALL-CAPS VERBAGE, HULK HAS A PUNY HUMAN HEART.

AND TO THIS PUNY HUMAN HEART, THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE UPSETTING IN LIFE THAN THE PERCEIVED DESTRUCTION OF A BEAUTIFUL THING. AND YES, HULK THOUGHT THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3 WAS A BEAUTIFUL, MOVING THING. ITS THEMATICS WERE NOT SOME COLDLY ESTABLISHED BIT OF CEREBRALISM OR THOUGHT PROVOKING ENGAGEMENT, THEY WERE THEMATICS SO TANGIBLE TO HULK THAT THEY WERE MADE ORGANIC AND EMOTIONAL. HULK KNOWS THAT SOUNDS SHOCKING TO SOME OF YOU BECAUSE THE ENDING DIDN'T WORK ON ONE OR MANY LEVELS FOR YOU, BUT HULK ASSURES THAT NOT ONLY IS IT TRUE... BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF US. THEY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HULK ACKNOWLEDGED AT THE BEGINNING AND WROTE WITH SO MANY KIND WORDS. SMART, KIND, FRIENDLY PEOPLE WHO WERE ABLE TO TAKE THE GAME'S SYMBOLOGY AND BECAUSE IT WAS SO WELL EXECUTED THEY WERE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THAT ENDING WITH BEAUTIFUL EMOTION. TO ALL OF US, IT WAS A PERFECT SYNTHESIS OF ART, STORY AND GAMEPLAY. ONE OF THE VERY THINGS WE WERE WAITING FOR.

SO WHEN HULK SAW THAT BEAUTIFUL THING GET TORN APART BY CONCEPTS LIKE OVER-FOCUS ON LOGIC, PLOT-NITPICKING AND INDULGENCE THEN OF COURSE IT STARTED TO TEAR AT HIS PUNY HUMAN HEART. BEYOND THAT, THERE ARE FEW THINGS MORE IMPORTANT TO HULK THAN THE PURPOSE OF ART AND STORYTELLING. AND TO HAVE IT SO CALLOUSLY TOSSED ASIDE, NOT THE MOST OF YOU WHO COMMENTED IN KINDNESS, BUT THE FEW... WELL... HULK HONESTLY THOUGHT THAT CALLOUSNESS TOOK AWAY FROM WHAT ART AND STORYTELLING IS ALL ABOUT. AND WHILE MOST PEOPLE SIMPLY DIDN'T LIKE THE ENDING (AND THAT'S FINE), THERE WERE THOSE WHO TRULY AND PERHAPS UNWITTINGLY CALLED FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ART IN THE NAME OF INDULGENCE (REPRESENTED BY THE THINKING IN THE JAHNS VIDEO). SO YES, WITH ALL THOSE THINGS AT STAKE... HULK LET HULK'S PUNY HUMAN HEART GET THE BEST OF HULK, AND THUS GOT ANGRY AND DISMISSIVE.

AND THAT WAS A MISTAKE.

HULK WISHED THE WHOLE ORIGINAL COLUMN WORKED BETTER. HULK WISHED HULK COULD HAVE KEPT THAT PASSION AND DEFENSE OF THE THE ENDING, BUT HULK DID NOT MEAN TO ACCUSE. TO BELITTLE. TO MAKE FEEL SMALL. HULK WAS CERTAINLY AWARE OF HULK'S ANGER AND HULK THOUGHT THAT BY CHALLENGING YOU TO LOOK IN YOURSELF AND ASK WHERE YOU WANTED YOUR ART TO STAND ON THE SPECTRUM OF INDULGENCE VS. ART THEN MAYBE IT MIGHT INSPIRE A BIT OF REFLECTION. BUT SOMETIMES REFLECTION CAN'T BE BROUGHT ABOUT BY CHALLENGING. HULK THOUGHT HULK WAS STANDING UP FOR A GREAT MORAL INJUSTICE AND DEFENDING IT WITH THE KIND OF RIGOR THAT IS DESERVING OF ANY HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION. YES HULK SAW THIS AS AN ARTISTIC RIGHTS VIOLATION!... UGH. NOBLE, BUT TOO RIGHTEOUS.

IF THERE'S ANYTHING HULK HAS LEARNED IN THIS RACKET IT'S THAT REAL LEARNING IS BEST ACHIEVED WITH AN EXTENDED HAND AND THE WILL TO GUIDE SOMEONE WITH CARE (ULTIMATELY RESULTING IN THE WAY WHERE YOU END UP GUIDING EACH OTHER). IN ALL THE PASSION, HULK JUST FORGOT THAT TRUTH. IT HAPPENS? IT DOESN'T MAKE HULK'S ORIGINAL SENTIMENT ANY LESS TRUE. HULK JUST FORGOT HOW TO GO ABOUT IT AND IN DOING THAT HULK FORGOT WHO HULK WAS. AND BECAUSE OF THAT, MANY OF YOU HAD TO DIG IN YOUR HEELS AND FIGHT THIS LUMBERING GREEN MONSTER WHO CAME BARRELING AT YOU WITH ALL THE FORCE IN THE WORLD. IT WAS THE OPPOSITE OF MUTUAL RESPECT, SO HOW COULD IT EVER WORK?

... YOU WILL NOW HOPEFULLY REALIZE SOMETHING VERY, VERY COOL.

WE ARE NOW FACED WITH EXACT SAME CENTRAL CONFLICT OF THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3.

WE ARE FACED WITH THE HABITUAL CYCLE OF COMMUNICATION DISCORD. SO WE CAN TEAR EACH OTHER APART, DIG IN DEEPER AND BE FORCED TO START OVER EVERY TIME FROM SQUARE ONE. OR WE CAN HARMONIZE OR BLEND TOGETHER, UNDERSTAND THAT OUR GOALS ARE NOT SO FAR APART AND UNDERSTAND THAT OUR LOVE FOR THESE MEDIUMS CAN BE THE THING THAT MAKES US GREAT.

IT MAY NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE BIG WORLD, IT MAY NOT CHANGE THE INTERNET OR THE MEDIUMS, BUT IT WILL CHANGE US. IT WILL CHANGE YOU, THE PERSON READING THIS COLUMN NOW. AND IT WILL CHANGE HULK. WE WILL DEFINE THIS NEW REALITY IN AND OF OURSELVES AND BREAK THAT CYCLE FOR THE SANCTITY OF THIS MOMENT RIGHT HERE. AND WE WILL DO SO IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND HARMONY.

HULK'S ORIGINAL COLUMN WAS ABOUT LOVE, BUT IT HAD A WEIRD WAY OF SHOWING IT. HULK LOVED MASS EFFECT 3. IT WAS THE KIND OF GAME THAT TRULY GOT HULK TO RECONSIDER THE WAY THAT HULK LOOKS AT THE MEDIUM. HULK WAS ABLE TO LOOK AT THEN ENDING AND FIND AN ARTISTIC STATEMENT THAT HASN'T REALLY SEEN BE ACHIEVED BY GAMES BEFORE. THUS, HULK IS LAUDING THE INDUSTRY YOU LOVE AND TAKING IT SERIOUSLY THE WAY YOU'VE BEGGED HULK TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY FOR SO LONG NOW. THIS WAS A COLUMN ABOUT LOVE AND THE REASON HULK WAS SO UPSET BECAUSE IT SEEMED LIKE LOVE WAS DESTROYED IN THE PURSUIT OF INDULGENCE. BUT HULK WAS WRONG TO DO IT LIKE THAT. HULK HAS TO LISTEN, LEARN AND MOVE FORWARD BUT THAT WORKS BEST IF WE DO IT TOGETHER.

SO LET'S CHOOSE THE HARMONY ENDING.

... OR THE SYNTHETIC ONE IF YOU'RE UP FOR BONING.

WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS,

YOUR SMASHY GREEN FRIEND (WITH THE PUNY HUMAN HEART).

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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