5 Reasons the Mass Effect Errors List Is a Nerd Embarrassment

Senior Contributor
02.06.12 12 Comments
Nerds pick nits. It’s what we do. It doesn’t matter what kind of nit it is: maybe a TV episode directly contradicts the last one, maybe the physics are horribly wrong in a novel, or maybe something with unfortunate implications appears and needs to be called out.

And nitpicking isn’t inherently bad. One of the most important aspects of a fictional universe is that it’s internally consistent; if the author sets certain rules, he or she should not be breaking them, because it lowers the quality of the work and makes it less enjoyable. Remember all the angry “Lost” fans when, after years of insisting the island wasn’t purgatory, it, uh, turned out to be purgatory? Really dings your enjoyment, doesn’t it?

Still, the current nitpicking fest over “Mass Effect: Deception” is doing way more harm than good, and has managed to set back nerds in the media. Again. Here’s why:

#5) The Overall Tone Has Shifted From Amused to Entitled

There was a time when finding an inconsistency in, say, “Star Trek” was funny. People generated lists of Kirk’s top ten reasons to violate the Prime Directive, or moments that directly contradict another episode, and everybody had a good laugh over it.

The fact that the list opens with “We Won!” says everything you need to know. This isn’t a war, guys. It’s a tie-in book.

#4) The Aggrieved Tone Deliberately Exaggerates Research Failure Into Deliberate Malice

We only tuned into this list because we’d heard that, in addition to getting minor points of lore wrong (and the vast majority of this list are incredibly fiddly points), William C. Dietz had turned gay characters straight, and played off autism as something you “grow out of”.


Oh, wait, no, it’s just because the author, William C. Dietz, was unaware of the homosexuality and the autism. So he’s not some sort of homophobic autism-hating monster, he just didn’t know he had to write about this stuff.

#3) Mistakes In Alien Biology Are the Same Thing As Making a Character Ex-Gay, Apparently

To say that this list betrays how warped some people’s priorities are is an understatement. Along with that ex-gay and autism thing, you have such unforgivable lapses as…Krogans don’t have spines, humans in Kar’Shan, and misunderstandings about the toxicity of beryllium. Yeah, homophobia? Kind of more important.

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