There are times when you remember those lessons from teachers, and among them, there were games, about which I had written earlier. Along with Age of Empires‘ lessons in history, Age of Mythology‘s myth related classes and Tomb Raider‘s attempt to improve my puzzle solving skills to which Prince of Persia also contributed, there was always Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena to teach how to control anger by helping us blow a computer bot’s head off and shout “Head Shot”. But among these games, what Mass Effect taught was more of an endless collection of things. Here are a few.
1. It is a big, strange world, and there is the need for tolerance: You take control of SSV Normandy, a powerful spaceship as Commander Shepard, with missions and a chance to meet different species of aliens along with completing the objectives. It is not so different from being in our own world except for the appearances of the aliens and all the shooting that can happen at anytime. We are all aliens on Earth as these people are when travelling through different parts of the galaxy. Every species is different, but we can get along with most of them with some tolerance.
2. Exploration is a must and without it, there is a void: The game’s vast universe is something to be explored. There are some strange planets, and we don’t know what awaits us there. The only thing that we can confirm is about the nature of the elements there. After we get there, there is the chance to get lost in the beauty of the detail there. There are times when creatures come out of nowhere, and the sand serpent kind of things might be common. We face the dangers of the world there as we struggle with the competition in the society in the world outside gaming. It is only then that we get better.
3. Choices make big impact, not just for you, but for many others: There are many choices that we have to make in this game. Not only our actions, but also our words make a difference. It can make a hostile drop his gun, one of our allies turn against us or a friend shoot us. It can lead to the death of one of our soldiers, and there are times when we have to choose a life over the other, or the life of someone over the mission. The game is full of choices, and I had never played a game which had made me choose so much and also suffer the consequences in a few more minutes of play. Not so different from real life, is it?
4. There is always something more than what meets the eye: Mass Effect does have a twisted story, and a lot of effort has been put in there to make sure that it doesn’t end up as just another shooter with guns and blood making the rules. Even as things would eventually lead to an alien race called The Reapers who would come and harvest the developed life as they always did, there are lots of twists concerning the same, and our protagonist has to fight more than just the harbingers or the final agents of Armageddon.
5. Settle your differences before it is too late: Mass Effect is a game that thrives on relationships. There is friendship as well as the romantic relationship that blossoms for the protagonist, and displeasure is another side of the same. Just like in the game, we are aware of a possible end of the world considering the recent terrorist attacks and acts of hatred – so it becomes our duty to be tolerant of others, and hope for a better future. There was something more about this, but by memory is a little faded.
I have never played another game like Mass Effect. Most of you have watched Interstellar, but this game which came in 2007 had a lot of space exploration elements. It is one of those rare games that give so much choice. There is the movie on the same, which is a work in progress – it is going to be huge. There is already an animated movie Mass Effect: Paragon Lost, and two sequels to the game. Do you know that Mass Effect 2 is considered one of the greatest games of all time? I have a lot less idea about Mass Effect 3, but all three games were received with a lot of acclaim.
*All images used in this blog post are the screenshots of my game-play from Mass Effect.