Electron Dance
27Jan/12Off

The Mass Effect Petition

We, the undersigned, hereby demand that "HM" of the site Electron Dance play the game "Mass Effect" developed by BioWare.

It's five years old for cryin' out loud.

Please add your name to the comments if you support this noble cause.

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  1. Indeed, this is just shameful. Or perhaps just read a summary of the first game and go straight to the second.

  2. No, play both, because they’ve done such great work bringing back characters and consequences from the first game. And try to go in with a feeling of generosity; the first Mass Effect has many flaws, but there is so much lovely detail there that they can easily be forgiven, despite some silly gameplay issues.

  3. Hmm? What? No, I have no opinion on this subject. Perish the thought.

  4. Well, if he hasn’t played Torment I’d point him that way first, but I suppose this isn’t bad either.

  5. Wait, we can petition you to play games we like? How many signatures to get you into Left 4 Dead?

  6. @Jonas: Yeah, perhaps I was a bit hasty with that assertion. Though it would take significantly more time to get through both, playing the first iteration really helps you appreciate the near perfection that is the second. And the continuity is an excellent touch.

  7. Aye. And then HM must tell us if its any good, for it has indeed been five years.

  8. So that’s SIX votes out of the internet so far. That doesn’t sound representative of internet opinion to me. Tsk, tsk. What is everybody doing? Wasting time with the Global Game Jam?

    @Armyofnone: Hello and welcome! I’ve done Torment, most def. Total love for that game.

    @Switchbreak: Hah! I get to choose the petitions around here, you just get to vote on them ;) I probably should have presented multiple choice like (a) Mass Effect (b) Arkham Asylum (c) X-COM: Enemy Unknown. That would have been a riot.

  9. I have not played Mass Effect yet, but I know how it plays and what happens.

    Have Mrs. HM play with you backseat playing. Record that. Thus goes my vote.

  10. Well I don’t know – I mean, if you have time you should have a go. They’re good examples of the whole third-person shooter-thing + grand narrative. They certainly didn’t feel like wasted time to me, at the very least, though they didn’t exactly change my life.

  11. Consider this petition signed. +1.

  12. Hmm, so I am giving some thought about how to turn Mass Effect into words. I really don’t think there’s anything new I could say that could stun the internet but perhaps everyone will just be interested in how Mass Effect works out for me.

    I admit it: I’m impressed how little I know about this game. I know the game has hot alien sex, because Fox News told me. And I know the edges of a certain twist in Mass Effect 2. And of course I’ll be playing Shepherd in her natural state, which is as a woman. Please please don’t make me use the word Femshep.

    I wouldn’t expect anything on Mass Effect for a few months though as I’m knee deep in a crap-pile of interviews at the moment.

    @BeamSplashX that’s a nice idea except that Mrs. HM’s time is tight as well. She only just finished Penumbra Overture after starting it a year ago. I would never play Mass Effect if it was dependent on both of us…

  13. Don’t do it! Just go play The Witcher or something. Mass Effect really isn’t worth it.

  14. Play the game on casual difficulty. The combat is so mediocre that you’d not gain any satisfaction from doing it on hardcore or whatever anyway. And don’t mine minerals; waste of time. In fact don’t do much planet exploration at all, it’s tedious. As is inventory management. Don’t talk to Wrex either, he’s eternally boring. I don’t know why he’s a well liked character. Well, Liara is worse actually. The turian is kind of one dimensional too. Actually, there arent many good characters at all. The best is probably the one named after Bruce Campbell’s evil dead character. The one nobody likes. You know, because she’s racist, and how dare a fictional character be that! Damn you, Bioware! Damn you all to hell!

    Maybe you just shouldn’t play Mass Effect at all. And that’s coming from someone who played it seven (yes, 7) times.

    +1 no vote!

  15. @BC & @Max Cool! Now you really make me want to play it!

    Seven times, Max? Why did you play seven times? Sounds like you enjoyed your first play but then after you finished your seventh to “explore all the possibilities” you decided it wasn’t all that much.

  16. I wonder how and why I played so many times … and I come up with a few reasons. The first being that I had only owned the Xbox 360 for a few months, and it was my first heavy dose of glorious widescreen “HD” graphics on my new 42″ set. It made the cinematic sci-fi feel that much more palpable. The second reason is that I was more optimistic about Mass Effect as a saga at the time, because the second part of the trilogy was being mapped out in my head then, infinite possibilities; rather than what it actually turned out to be.

    I really just wanted to replay it to see how differently I could act. It turns out not a whole lot, but still as a singular experience I can say Mass Effect was special for me then. It feels less so now because the story has become much more defined, with the trilogy being near completion, and thus much less my own story. Pick up one of the Mass Effect novels and read two chapters. The games are co-written by the same guy, so yeah, the writing is kind of crap if you ask me. Karpyshyn and Walters do a decent job of plotting many verbally engaging conversations in the games; there are good bits and pieces, but taken as a whole their stew is a bit weak.

    Well in any case I know you to be a reasonable fellow, you’ll draw your own conclusions.

  17. I won’t disagree with Max directly, since this is a pretty terrible place to be having a Mass Effect fan argument; instead I’ll just say that lots of people have lots of opinions on how to approach this game. Here’s my advice, and then I’ll shut up:

    1) Play Mass Effect however you like to play RPGs. I jacked up the difficulty, read every codex entry, agonized over every decision, and generally min-maxed my way to galactic renown. I know people who played on casual, breezed through cutscenes, and still had a blast; the game will cater to you either way.

    2) The characters and their interactions (particularly with you) are the meat of Mass Effect. There’s plenty else to do, but this is probably where the game will succeed or fail in your eyes.

    3) Play on PC. I’ve heard horror stories about the xbox interface.

  18. I think we can get into proper stabby-in-the-face debates about the shit and shiny of Mass Effect when I post about it for reals.

    No worries about Xboxism, Veret, I am a PC-only man. I don’t even have a smartphone. (This may change as the children get older.)

    I’m actually quite sad to hear, Max, that the more content that was created, the less special it became for you. Not sad for myself, but more for you as I can empathise with that sense of loss. It’s what happened to me with BSG after the second series. The more they pumped out, the more damage they did to what I had loved. Of course, Steerpike would disagree with me, but that’s okay, that’s just part of our long-standing personal feud.

    (Also slightly playing into the idea that more fleshed-out, authored experiences are the antithesis of player agency – which in this case is, I would argue, player imagination. I have no more to say on that, I’ll just let it sit there and stew.)

  19. I’ve only completed ME1 and ME2 once each, though I’ve started ME1 several more times. They are both games that I liked a lot and still remember fondly, but I don’t feel that they offer enough to make replayability an appealing prospect. That may be a touch of bias from me, though, as I don’t tend to replay many games these days. All about the shiny-new. They’re dirt-cheap on PC now though.

    Couldn’t agree with you more about BSG. Seasons 1 and 2 were wonderful. Season 3 pitched downhill after a strong start. Season 4 was a load of quasi-magical arsewipe full of bullshit. Personally I define the show’s decline around its abandonment of ambiguity: seasons 1 and 2 managed to present the show’s almost hard-SFnal elements and the odder mystic/spiritual elements as being two sides of a coin, never fully committing to either. Then later on it descended into a farce full of SPACE MAGIC and lazy writing (Gaius Baltar, TRADE UNION LEADER). I still feel depressed about that. Best SF show in ages and what does it do? Can’t even commit itself to Enlightenment values. I ask thee.

  20. “I don’t even have a smartphone.”

    Really? I thought your Eurogamer Expo LIVE feed was updated using one. What magic is this?! I don’t have a smartphone either, in fact, my current phone (which I bought just under a month ago) was £9.95 brand new and it’s brilliant.

    OT: I have little to say other than I know Mat C gave up on ME1. Forum thread here: http://tap-repeatedly.com/forum/whats-the-frequency-kenneth/what-game-are-you-playing/page-23/

  21. Also, I’d like to start a rogue petition with Switchbreak to get HM on L4D.

  22. @Shaun: Yes, I could go into great length at the things that upset both Mrs. HM and I. But even down to the end there were wonderful little flourishes like “Sometimes A Great Notion” and “The Oath/Blood on the Scales”.

    @GreggB: That’s the work Blackberry =) I’d need my own smartphone to play games and do stuff like Twitter on the move (which is blocked by the office firewall as is RPS, Kill Screen and Gnome’s Lair).

    I’m going to continue to ignore the heretics calling for a L4D petition. See that? That’s me, ignoring. Listen to the sweet silence of being ignored.

  23. Veret is right, played on PC Mass Effect is actually a lot better because you’ve got improved performance plus the interface for the first game is best-suited to PC – even still, they tweaked the PC version’s a bit to make it more friendly. So there’s that, HM. The old-ish interface may not bother you as much. Then again, from all the odd games you write about maybe a clunky interface couldn’t possibly bother you.

    The whole player agency versus authored experience … that’s a massive discussion, but again like Veret says it’s just opinions flying left and right when it comes to a game like Mass Effect. There’s room for plenty of personal interpretation. Indeed, that’s the primary reason I got along with it.

    RE: BSG2004 … label me an apologist, but I loved the series right to the end. There were a few episodes in season 3 that annoyed me and felt like a waste, but on the whole I loved that show. I’d be lying if I said the increasingly weird religious stories didn’t bother me, and it was hard to see my favourite character from the first two seasons (Balter) turn into some prophecizing lunatic, but I tried to keep an open mind and just go with it (not saying anyone who didn’t wasn’t keeping an open mind!). I found enough to like outside of the quasi-magic stuff. It was all about Edward James Olmos and Mary McDowell for me.

    But If you, HM, or anyone else don’t want to give me that, let’s battle it out right here. I’ll bring my buddy Steerpike, we’ll mud wrestle you for the right to lip service/disservice BSG! All your Electrons are belong to us, and so forth.

  24. I enjoyed the series right until the end (well, almost until the end, anyway) too but it went from being something I respected as an intelligent, balanced, nuanced piece of television to pretentious, schlocky, skiffy fun with nice characters and explosions. Both are fine but for a show to descend from the former to the latter is a great loss. Seasons 1 and 2 had everything that 3 and 4 had plus consistency, tautness and ambiguity. That’s what I regret about BSG.

    I will fight about this, but I warn you now that I am an unstoppable killing wuss.

  25. I lied, I’m not really ready for a fight. I mean, I haven’t watched the show since the finale aired so I’m a bit rusty to tell the truth. The only great disappointment I felt was the abandoning of ambiguity: the end pretty much shredded any remains there may have been; so in that sense it felt like an answer had been given for a question not asked. Maybe that’s enough to topple the worth of everything before to some, but I didn’t take it as such.

    Yes, the whole Starbuck thing was unnecessary for sure, even if she had a few good moments left in store. That I will concede. I just felt that the closing story lines of Roslin, Adama, and Tigh, in particular, were so strong, it really made the show worthwhile for me through to the end.

    I also think the last season was done a huge disservice by the writer’s guild strike; that the two halves were aired so far apart must have unfairly raised expectations. For me, I didn’t have the sci-fi (now SyFy, *eyeroll*) channel until 2008, so I never got into the show until the summer before it ended. Being able to watch it all so close together (for the first time) aided my own sense of continuity.

  26. I really, really have to disagree with Max. I loved those characters, doubly so in ME2.

    And please do explore some planets. The gameplay is tedious but the views are spectacular.

  27. Shaun, you should read Steerpike’s defence of the ending of BSG which of course I didn’t agree with and said so in the comments. Shortly after this, I firebombed his house and he had to live in a cardboard box. And then I firebombed that too.

    Max, there were definitely things about BSG I still enjoyed right through to the end. It still had the ability to surprise like that Dualla moment (I’m putting aside ones which rode roughshod over the character and plot “why did you shoot her?” “I had a vision!”). Apollo’s epic speech at the trial of Baltar was excellent but look closer and all it really did was highlight how modern television has limitations to its realism (“why have all these people been forgiven except Baltar?” because it’s bloody TV and the audience would be up in arms if Tigh got sidelined). I suppose I should’ve been concerned when they started flagging up Cylon/human babies as being “important” and about “destiny”.

    I had my own theory for the whole Head Six thing and was disappointed I was incorrect: I had speculated that Six’s download became ensnared in Baltar’s head due to the Caprica nuclear attack – and they’d swapped chunks of each other’s personality through a bad download. This made so much more sense in terms of how Six softened and Baltar hardened and it didn’t need a chip, which didn’t quite make sense anyway. I expected them to end up as some sort of Cylon/Human symbol of being all the same underneath, more so than Helo/Athena. But no. My theory was too outlandish. Seriously, they should’ve hired me to write that storyline to a satisfying conclusion.

    And Jonas, not to worry, I’ll definitely be putting Mass Effect through it’s paces and I’ll be playing my way!

  28. HM, I wish you wrote it, too. That sounds much more reasonable to my brain than what actually went on.

    Jonas, I take back what I said about Garrus. He’s the only character, when I think about it, whose mind you can actually change on many issues (i.e. renegade vs paragon). He is interesting in that regard. I still think they built him up a bit too much in Mass Effect 2 though. It seemed more like fan service than a plausible continuation of his story. He’s cool I guess. But I’m still staunchly in the ‘I find Wrex’s gum-flapping tiresome’ corner. And don’t get me started on Liara: Worst Male Teen Fantasy video game character ever (excluding all the games I’ve never played). Again, I found her progression in the sequel incredulous.

  29. Can’t say I agree about Liara. Our Shepherd had a beautiful, funny, sexy and very endearing love story with her, and I thought it was lovely that Lair of the Shadow Broker continued that story in such a satisfying way. (My wife agrees.) I don’t think Liara’s a male teen fantasy at all. She and Shepherd feel too much like equals for that to be the case.

  30. I was talking smack too. I’ve not watched BSG in about 3 years and don’t remember it well enough to really get my nerd on. FWIW Steerpike’s defence of BSG is well argued and compelling but it’s not an analysis that gels with what I got from the show. Fair enough really; the author is dead and so are the writing team (the focus group are mostly just undead). But your comment, HM… everything in that gets a resounding yes from me. If I weren’t going to Wild Rumpus tonight I would stick 33 on again.

    People cared about the characters in Mass Effect?! Man. If there was ever an instance of an unsexy, dry bunch it would be the characters of Mass Effect. ME2 is an improvement in some regards, a step backwards in others, though at least they tried. The first game for me was all about grand, space operatic sweep and poking around through a comfortable collection of SFnal tropes. The second was about, I don’t know, gratuitous arse shots or something. (Disclaimer: I loved both games. I mean that.)

    Once you’ve played ME and ME2 and written about them I will get AR’s Walker to head over here and argue about them. The dude has strong opinions on ME, retconning, character, ethics…

  31. I just don’t like the asari in general. Of all the aliens that humanity could run into, we find a race of slender, blue-skinned, all-female (oh sorry, asexual) bipedal humanoids whose two predominant lines of work are gun-for-hire and exotic dancer. Right. (I expect no more, mind you- this is still a male-dominated industry.)

    Honestly, I’m a big fan of Mass Effect; you just wouldn’t know it by listening to me ramble!

    @Shaun, I preferred ME2’s characters to the first’s as well. Listening to Grunt is so much more interesting than hearing Wrex talk about war stories. Already heard ’em, buddy, you’re just Canderous Ordo 3.0. Also, peeling back the layers of Jack, Samara and Thane reveals some ponderous thoughts on the ME universe. Then there’s Legion; conversation there alters the subtext of the whole series and although brief, that time with Legion was the highlight of the second game for me.

    Poor Harbour Master … probably had no idea about the derailment that would grace this topic.

  32. I like the asari (and, again, so does my wife). I like that they like to enjoy themselves and are open about it (though they’re never presented as all being the same – Liara being a good example of someone different). I don’t think that makes them typical teenage fantasy material or sexist. I *especially* like the whole pureblood concept.

  33. @Max: you’re on the money with the Asari. Their backstory and fluff fits perfectly well but remove that and you have a rather unfortunate Star Trek wank fantasy. I like the Turians better: “there but for the grace of god go a bunch of total arseholes.”

    Mind you, the tough Asari matriarchs are intriguing characters, as was the concept of ME2’s Justicar, even if the latter was implemented in a nonsensical way.

    I loved Legion. Part of that is because since I was a kid I’ve always been drawn to the idea of “bad guys who turn out good”, probably because of some nascent awareness that ethnic typecasting was total bullshit. ;)

    Comment threads exist to be derailed.

    …man, I should really do some work.

  34. Maybe we should just let HM discover the game for himself…

  35. Hey, hey guys…

    BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

    I saw the pilot and that’s about it. I remember thinking you could raise its appeal with today’s youth by calling it Space Wars, or for tomorrow’s youth, ZPAZE WARZ.

  36. That just sounds like ‘Spaz Wartz’. Oh, wait, tomorrow’s youth? Yeah, that sounds about right.

    Please do a ‘Let’s play Left Survivors Dead’, Without the ‘Let’s Play’ part of course.

    (Never used the mass to great effect in alien-sex-scenes. Never watched the Battle of Galactic Stars.)

  37. In terms of derailing threads, you know you can pretty much do whatever you want on my porch. I’ve never felt the urge to delete any comments here although I imagine that day will come (you suck HM suck suck and all you stoopid fanboys Mass Effect is gr8).

    On the other hand, I think there’s nothing I can do with these comments about the Mass Effect alien races! I guess I’ll just see.

    For what it’s worth, BSG is still a good time, no matter what you think of its eventual direction and ending.

  38. Yeah, none of this was likely very helpful to your decision. If there’s one thing you do in Mass Effect, let it be bringing Conrad Verner to tears. (You’ll see…)


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