2071: Mass Vexations Retrospective – Miscellaneous Odds and Ends

Title: Mass Vexations
Author: Herr Wozzeck
Media: Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect, with a dash of Heavy Rain, Dead Space, Dragon Age, and other assorted properties
Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure
URL: Mass Vexations 1, Mass Vexations 2, and Mass Vexations 3. Also, the TVTropes Page.
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello folks, and welcome to the fourth installment of the MV retrospective. Well, I think this is about gonna wrap it up here, and we’re going to go in with miscellaneous criticisms that aren’t super major, and also maybe even get into the rewrites I did throughout the series, and also some things about the series I don’t totally hate.

So yeah, this’ll be a slightly longer installment, but hey, we’re almost there! So let’s get to it!

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2064: Mass Vexations Retrospective – Mass Vexations and the Missing Deconstruction

Title: Mass Vexations
Author: Herr Wozzeck
Media: Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect, with a dash of Heavy Rain, Dead Space, Dragon Age, and other assorted properties
Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure
URL: Mass Vexations 1, Mass Vexations 2, and Mass Vexations 3. Also, the TVTropes Page.
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to this retrospective on Mass Vexations. I’m your host Herr Wozzeck, and we’re getting back into the thick of it.

And this time, we’re going to talk about a particular story element that playes most of the trilogy. And actually, this is something that kind of has a preface in something I brought up in ErtTheKing’s Subject 23 snarking, so it’s not going to be a totally new thing for any of the Librarians to hear about.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

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2051: Mass Vexations Retrospective – Gontermanesque: A Tale of Stu Aspects

Title: Mass Vexations
Author: Herr Wozzeck
Media: Video Games
Topic: Mass Effect, with a dash of Heavy Rain, Dead Space, Dragon Age, and other assorted properties
Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure
URL: Mass Vexations 1, Mass Vexations 2, and Mass Vexations 3. Also, the TVTropes Page.
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck

Hey guys, it’s your friendly Neighborhood Herr Wozzeck here, and… well, we’re gonna do something a little bit different with these installments of snark that I’m gonna be writing over the next couple of weeks. Let’s call it a hindsight commentary.

See, y’all probably have seen that it’s Mass Vexations on the snark block today. Issue is, I have no desire to snark the entire thing. And that’s for one very simple reason: word count. The whole trilogy is just too damn long for me to sustain any kind of full-length line-by-line snark, and it would be a fool’s errand to try to do the whole thing.

‘Cause let’s be real: Mass Vexations is wordy. I mean real wordy. And let’s break that down for a second: Mass Vexations, if we look purely at the fanfiction.net word count function (which admittedly includes A/Ns in this, but one set of variables at a time), the word count comes to just under 188K words. The median average of most novels is about half that, at 99K words. That’s bad enough, but it gets worse, because then Mass Vexations 2 and Mass Vexations 3 both boast a word count that totals at about 607K and 603K words, respectively. For reference, that means that both MV2 and MV3 individually are longer than Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Oh yeah, and there’s the fact that the entire trilogy’s wordcount eclipses the entire Harry Potter series by about 300K words, and Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (which is the current Guinness World Record holder for the longest novel) by about 100K words.

You are crazy if you expect me to sit here snarking that entire mass of words line by line for any amount of time. I do not have that much time in the world to dedicate to such an insane project, and I say this as the guy who wrote the thing on the snarking block. Even a summary snark wouldn’t exactly work here.

But… well, let’s face it. It’s still a fairly problematic series in a lot of ways, and looking back… well, while I wouldn’t totally call it an old shame, there are a lot of things I would change about the series knowing what I’ve written now. So this time, I’m gonna go ahead and take the gloves off.

*takes gloves off*

Oh, it’s not because I’m about to go hard-core on myself: this is admittedly going to be a more serious affair than what you normally see at the Library, mostly because I think I’m going to go in deep with real critical self-analysis here, with more of a critic’s eye than a jokey-joke eye than usual. I’ll crack a joke or two here, but expect this to be more in the style of, say, a Lindsay Ellis video essay.

Also, I’m not really going to plan on tackling this thing in chronological order. I think, for me, discussing this particular previous work of mine is going to involve going at it and talking about the broader issues of narrative. We can nitpick individual typos and silly lines of dialogue all day long (and trust me, that’s in the cards, too), but for me, it makes more sense to talk about this from a standpoint of “here’s an aspect folks criticize/I think was a problem, let’s talk about it more”.

And if you’re wondering why I’m doing this? Eh, I felt it was time. I’ve been thinking a lot about these things for the past few years, across the time I’ve done FBA fiction and also these Library of the Damned snarks, some of which were written in conjunction with the writing of MV3. And… well, in the interest of full disclosure, I also discovered recently that there’s a line-by-line snark of the trilogy elsewhere on the world wide web that got started in September. While those of you who know one of my previous snarks know I normally wouldn’t mind that happening, in this case it’s written by someone who, in Hannity-esque fashion, failed to disclose that not only is he a former “friend” with whom I had a vicious falling-out, but that he made some contributions to the Mass Vexations universe that got excised (more on that later). Also, as best as I can tell given his past behavior regarding Mass Vexations and me as a person, he’s doing it to spite me.

You’re probably going to call this a product of bruised ego, and honestly, I can understand why you might think that given what I just disclosed. But here’s the thing: snarking things out of spite means that you lose a certain objectivity when you critique it, and doubly so when you fail to disclose your previous relationship with the fiction. Thus, I’m hoping that hearing some of these criticisms straight from the horse’s mouth proves to be an exercise in greater objectivity.

So yeah. Without any further ado, let’s get started!

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2049: Friendship Is Something Or Other: The Covenant War — Chapter 4 Part One

Title: Friendship Is Magic: The Covenant War
Author:  Dragonfang33
Media: Video Game / Cartoon
Topic: Halo / My Little Pony
Genre: Adventure / Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter 4
Critiqued by: AdmiralSakai and Serketry

Hello hello all you patrons, and welcome back from our little detour down the Boulevard of Broken Bugs to Friendship Is A Thing That Almost Certainly Does Indeed Exist: The Covenant War.

I think I made a bit of a hasty decision saying I preferred this over Unity

Last time we saw something actually happen for a change as Queen Luna and Admiral Antivirus met at the Ponyville Town Hall (or just “Townhall” as it’s repeatedly called) to hammer out an alliance between Equestria and the UNSC, which basically amounts to “you want to kill the Covenant and we want to kill the Covenant, here’s a great idea let’s kill the Covenant together!”

After that a lone Phantom with a few Grunts and an Elite onboard showed up on a course for Ponyville, and predictably the massively outsized force striking from ambush took the ground troops out in, like, two seconds.

The humans thought they needed pair of Spartans and an ODST squad to take out, what, 5 guys

A pair of Spartans, an ODST squad, and TWILIGHT MOTHERFUCKING SPARKLE. And also wanton property damage to Sugarcube Corner for no fucking reason other than I guess that ODSTs compare unfavorably to velociraptors in the difficult science of door-opening.

It’s taken us 4 weeks to see the first Grunt die in-narrative. That’s… almost impressively sad. You’re mulching Grunts and Elites with the starter pistol within minutes in the first game, pretty sure.

Yeah, I believe that we’ve officially gone through the rising action, the climax, the denouemant, the falling action, and the running-out of ideas, and are now officially in the part of the classical narrative known as the Death Spiral.

Wait, if we’re on the Death Spiral, why are there still two whole chapters left?

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2039: Friendship Is Something Or Other: The Covenant War — Chapter 3 Part Two

Title: Friendship Is Magic: The Covenant War
Author:  Dragonfang33
Media: Video Game / Cartoon
Topic: Halo / My Little Pony
Genre: Adventure / Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter 3
Critiqued by: AdmiralSakai and Serketry

Hello hello all you patrons, and welcome back to yet more of Friendship is That One Thing We Are No Longer Allowed to Consider: The Covenant War.

Previously, the UNSC forces drove through the Everfree Forest to Ponyville at a sedate walking pace, allowing something that I think was supposed to be character bonding to occur between RAINBOW DASH, FFFFFluttershy, and some nameless ODST with a pegasus unit insignia. The humans arrived just in time to sneer at the Ponyville fortifications that somehow suddenly exist after like only two days since the Covenant landed, and… that was actually about it.

Despite most of the (half) chapter taking place in the incredibly dangerous, utterly bizarre Everfree Forest, yeah, nothing happened. They could have met on the steps of Canterlot Castle for all the perceived danger there was.

Typically when fanthors realize midway through a project that they have no idea what is actually supposed to happen the chapters get incredibly short and frenetic, but just like in his last ‘fic Dragonfang seems to be trying to cover up his utter lack of direction with endless padding instead.

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2033: Friendship Is Something Or Other: The Covenant War — Chapter 3 Part One

Title: Friendship Is Magic: The Covenant War
Author:  Dragonfang33
Media: Video Game / Cartoon
Topic: Halo / My Little Pony
Genre: Adventure / Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter 3
Critiqued by: AdmiralSakai and Serketry

Hello hello all you patrons, and welcome back to Friendship is Apparently Not In Fact Magic: The Covenant War.

Last time we were treated to a surprising amount of fuck all as the Battle Of Equestria raged in the background and Thel Va(n)damee sat around Covenant-occupied Manehattan angsting about war being hell (or, for him, war being mildly uncomfortable).

The ashes of the pony corpses were wreaking havoc on his thick coating of white foundation.

Meanwhile, the Mane Six dicked around in the general vicinity of Admiral Antivirus’s ship in the Everfree and finally made contact. Which required them to be blindfolded for some reason because apparently Admiral Antivirus is the LORD thy GOD or something and it is unsafe to look at him directly. We also got introduced to the rest of the UNSC command staff, namely Captain Ryan (who has an eyepatch and cybernetic arm because EDGE), Spartan Alex-201 (aka Spartan Red-and-Black, aka Edgelord Junior), and finally the chief NCO of the Marine and ODST complement… shit, what was his name?

Rhodes?

Yeah, and… wait, what was his title?

Staff… sergeant? Or was he a gunnery sergeant?

Yeah. That guy. Sergeant Rhodes. He was… forgettable.

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2027: Friendship Is Magic: The Covenant War — Chapter 2

Title: Friendship Is Magic: The Covenant War
Author:  Dragonfang33
Media: Video Game / Cartoon
Topic: Halo / My Little Pony
Genre: Adventure / Sci-Fi
URL: Chapter 2
Critiqued by: AdmiralSakai and Serketry

Hello hello all you patrons, and welcome back to Friendship is Magic: the Covenant War.

Oh, lovely.

Previously we were introduced to the feared Sangheili Warrior Arbiter Naym ‘Lessocee (who is Thel ‘Va(n)damee’s semi-estranged brother because who needs to understand Sangheili culture when you can have cheap angst!).

Who needs to understand any cultures involved here when you can stir up bullshit dramatic tension?

Anyway, the two Super Covenant Bros managed to get their carrier Fist of Enlightenment severely damaged in an ambush with the UNSC Midway and its gallant commander, Admiral McAffee Antivirus Software, and make an emergency landing on a regular terrestrial planet

-You mean crash their damn carrier on a regular terrestrial planet-

that is somehow also the magical world of Equestria.

Princess Celestia decided to personally lead the peaceful first contact delegation, and for all intents and purposes got killed offscreen in the first few paragraphs.

And given what all is surrounding the nation of Equestria, the ponies have no reason to believe anything new is friendly. At least a first. And ol’ Sunbutt was killed in the narrative, just in the stupidest and most anticlimactic way possible.

Sadly no amount of proper caution would have saved them from Covenant omnicide here, because Dragonfang33 appears to have completely forgotten that the pony military, despite being equipped with relatively primitive bows and spears, is also capable of, you know, casting magic. That thing that’s in the subtitle of the show?

Yeah, apparently this is actually a crossover that earlier, less successful cartoon about varicolored talking horses, My Little Pony: Friendship Is.

Anyway, after that Luna got promoted to Queen, Shining Armor got promoted to Commander of the Equestrian Army after some random assclown named Leonegihus got himself and his forces wiped out, Admiral Antivirus landed his ship in the Everfree Forest, and the Mane Six got sent to investigate.

Oh yeah and Derpy is Rainbow Dash’s sister for some fucking reason.

I get the feeling a fucking reason is exactly why a lot of these changes were made, seeing as Dragonfang made sure to mention that there are exactly six Spartans onboard the Midway.

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