I started this series off with a tiny, baby little allusion to Star Trek. Star Trek‘s role in my life, in actuality, deserves its own massive essay. But Star Trek is not a videogame, and so we’ll have to leave that for another time.
You know what is a videogame, though? Mass Effect.
I grew up wanting to live on a starship — to explore the final frontier, discover new life and new civilizations. Star Trek always made the future look hopeful and inspiring; it was a future you wanted to take part in, full of starships you wanted to live on and crews you wanted to serve with.
I hate to say it, but I’ll never get to live in the world of Star Trek. That much is certain, but I do have the next best thing… I have videogames.
Games — Mass Effect in particular — granted my childhood wish. Mass Effect doesn’t exactly take place in the Star Trek universe, but boy does it feel like it. Final frontier? Check. Boldly going? Check. Strange new worlds? Check. A bright future where humans and aliens work together? Check.
For that reason alone, Mass Effect will always be very dear to me. But the first one especially gave me a taste of exploring the vastness of space that I’d never experienced before and haven’t since. There are some planets so devoid of life, so far out of the path of your main mission, that you wonder why the developers bothered putting them into the game. I still come back to the specific memory of driving my dumb little space buggy across this seemingly endless, flat expanse on some frozen wasteland of a planet that nobody’s ever heard of.
While other players were wooed by the story and the characters and the romance options, I was ecstatic to just… head for the second star on the right and straight on till morning. The rest of the game is great, but what mattered most to me was that Mass Effect gave me the chance to live out a fantasy I’d had since I was young. A fantasy I’d had as far back as I can remember.
There is nothing in the world better than some good, old-fashioned space fiction. Of course, now that I had an example of how you do that genre as a videogame, it was only a matter of time before I’d want to try my hand at building a sci-fi world for my own games.
The game and the universe I’m working on at this very moment — you have Mass Effect to thank for those. You can do what you will with that information.