It's not a simple question that's for sure. Especially when you ask it to a fan. It's even worse when you're talking to a collector. The countless number of bits of merchandise that are thrown in our faces are vast in their variety. Posters, statues, action figures, t-shirts, framed artwork, the list goes on. It can range from the inexpensive to the exorbitant. So how far is too far?
Is a shelf of merchandise too much? What about a room? Is it too far if you have a large number of objects? Or does that become acceptable if you didn't have to pay a lot to get to that stage? If you only have one or two items, but you paid an arm and a leg for them, is that too much? Or maybe this isn't about the fan, but the people and companies providing it all. Does the root of the problem lay with those who make the goods? Maybe they should know better when making a set of themed night vision goggles. Maybe it's too far when you get to the jumbo jet painted with Pokemon.
This all came to mind when earlier in the week, Bioware announced the release of yet more Mass Effect 2 Lithographs on their online store. Not only that, but these limited edition pieces, signed and numbered by the artist, increased in price from the previously normal $30 each, to $40. Sure $10 isn't much, but when both you and the company know that they'll sell out within minutes of being online for purchase, is it just a money grab? But then maybe they're entitled to that for making something that has such a demand.
As a collector myself, it's definitely a question I keep asking myself. At what point to I call it quits? Do I ever call it quits? Will I ever reach that point when I'm satisfied? Why do I even have such a compulsion to begin with? How far is too far?
Like many people out there, I'm a huge fan of the Mass Effect games and franchise. I've played the games, I've read the comics and books, I've even bought framed art from the series. Mass Effect was the reason I bought an Xbox 360 at all, and I've never regretted the purchase. When I finished the first Mass Effect game, I definitely had some things I was wishing and dreaming would be in the sequel, if they made a sequel. You see at the time we still didn't know how big of a hit Mass Effect would end up being. Luckily I wasn't alone in my love for the game and it sold like hotcakes. Finally the day came, and Mass Effect 2 was announced.
Now like I said, I had wishes for what I would find in Mass Effect 2. The first of these was to have a playable Salarian character. The reasoning for this was because we knew the 3 main Council races were the Asari, the Turians, and the Salarians. We already had played as the first two with Liara T'Soni and Garrus Vakarian. A salarian would complete the set. Well I certainly got my wish when Mordin Solus was revealed. what I didn't expect was that he would end up being my favorite character of all the Mass Effect characters. I found him likable, expressive, and most of all funny. Even if sometimes it was unintentional, he was almost always amusing. But that wasn't the only thing I had been hoping for in Mass Effect 2.
In Mass Effect we were set against the never ending assault of the blood thirsty Geth. The reasoning for their aggressiveness was explained as being a sort of self defense gone mad. Organic life had once tried to wipe them out, so now they were out to kill all organic life. My wish was that we would get a playable Geth character in Mass Effect 2. In my mind the scenario was that there would be a Geth that came to the conclusion that if mechanical life had a right to live (which is why they were fighting) then organic life must also have an equal right to live. Basically, why be a hypocrite? I figured it would be cast out of the ranks and it would become a member of our team somehow. The reveal of Legion seemed like it couldn't be real. The Geth were nothing but enemies in the first game. I didn't know how it would all work out that he'd be on your team, but I didn't really care. My dream had come true! Turns out I wasn't too far from the truth, but that I didn't even have the whole truth to begin with. Turns out the majority of the Geth population didn't care about killing organics at all. Live and let live and all that. Not only that, but they circumvented the concept of single Geth being nothing but simple machines unless many individuals were nearby to create their networked intelligence. To get around that they invented a single platform that over 1000 programs could be installed into, thus having the higher intelligence functions constantly even when "alone". Legion brought about a whole new side to the Geth and an extremely interesting character as you got a totally alien perspective on life and how odd it seems compared to what is normal for how an A.I. life form might live.
Now with news of Mass Effect 3 on the horizon, my brain is running in high gear trying to think what they might do or what we might see. Will there be new aliens? Will there be new squad members? How will the romances work out from previous games? Will we ever see the Rachni again? There are so many hooks in the previous games I can only imagine how many times I'll have to play through to see it all, and I can't wait!