Fandom Love: Mass Effect

My apologies to you fine folks, again. I have a job interview later this week, that is requiring me to brush up on some information. As such, I’m behind on other things. I am about to rectify that though.

My second favorite fandom is the most recent for me, and it’s also the one I’ve geeked about the most in the past few years.

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I was late to the Mass Effect party. We had the game for the 360, but I could never get into playing it – mainly due to the controls. Then for an early Christmas present, my roommate bought me a copy of it over Steam since I had just finished enjoying Dragon Age: Origins. Mass Effect 1 was fun, refreshing, and dynamic. I found myself looking at creating different Commander Shepards just to find out how dynamic the choices in the game were.

For Christmas that year, my mother gave me a gift card for a game store. I immediately used that to place Mass Effect 2 on pre-order. When that game launched, that was when everything changed for me. I remember that we were cooking dinner in  our small house, and I had just finished installing the game. My husband is maybe 10 feet away from me cooking when I play through the opening sequence. My jaw drops at the end of that sequence, and I utter the words, “Game over, man.” 20101006130820!Renegade_Interrupt

It was all down hill, in the best way, from there. I devoured that game as much as I could. I remember that my husband and I actually had tickets for a musical in Atlanta that same weekened after the game launched, and I wished that I had my PC the entire time. (If my memory serves me properly, I had just finished Horizon before we left on the trip, so I was very anxious to find out what would happen next.) Once we were back in town, I tried playing the game when I could, but having a regular job was making it difficult to have any long playing sessions. I remember the first time I beat the game, I woke up in the middle of the night, exhausted but unable to sleep, so I just went back out, finished the game, and then got ready for work.

Then I got home, and started a second game with a different imported character. I was able to play through it faster the second time, and at that moment, the obsession was in place. That character was Commander Alexis Shepard, and she decided that she had to have some words in my head that had to be put to paper. I put said words to paper, and I have to date written around 60,000 words for her, in between short stories, a longer fic, and an unfinished sequel to the longer work. None of which is really viewable at the moment, but I may get around to republishing them on fansites again one day.

It was around the time that I started writing this fic that I met many people that are important to me. At that time, I was hanging out at the Kaidan Alenko Support Thread at the Bioware Social site, and I had met and talked to a half dozen or more people there that I really got along with. Over the years, those people have evolved into very important people in my life, close friends and even two who are like sisters. Without Mass Effect, that would never have been possible. This even launched an ongoing collaborative fic that is still being worked on between myself and some others. We have had some ups and downs writing it, but we had a great vision based off a joke I made one day in passing.

500px-Paragon_InterruptI will touch briefly on Mass Effect 3. I did not agree with the way that the story was written, and how there was miraculously a deus ex machina device that the Alliance finds on Mars just as the war begins. It stunk of convenience. However, I decided to just go along with it after Mars, and I just enjoyed the game for what I was given. When I got to the controversial end, I honestly didn’t listen to the star kid/god/ai, whatever he was. My goal, for my character, was to stop the reapers at all costs. I went immediately to the “red” ending, and I destroyed the reapers, my Shepard being sacrificed in the process. The “loop hole” of the end with Kaidan appearing on the Normandy did not need to be explained. When talking to Garrus, he had talked about a bar in a tropical paradise that he wanted Shepard to meet him at, should they both die. Kaidan was in my ground team on Earth, and I presumed he had died in the assualt, and based on the scenes at the end with Normandy, I figured much the same happened to my beloved ship.

It was a fitting end for my story that I saw unfold over the years. Further, I recall the very last few minutes of the game, where a man in the future is walking with a kid. They’re walking underneath the stars, and their conversation is so telling. The man had just told the kid a story – a story about the Shepard. Everything made so much sense then. The trilogy is a legend, akin to the Iliad on Earth. In all legends, facts and myths are merged, hyperbole is key, and heroes are larger than life. All the details I didn’t like, or made no sense, those are details that I can now rationalize away in my own headcannon as the exaggeration for the legend. The strange end, with the deus ex machina, something to make the Shepard something more than mortal. It’s not a perfect explanation, but it’s one I can accept. It also lets me enjoy the games still.

Those are the broad reasons why I love the series, and how it fast became my second favorite fandom of all time. Feel free to comment, ask questions, etc. I likely will not indulge in much discussion of the ending of the trilogy. I want to celebrate why I love the series.

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