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Mass Effect is a science fiction role playing video game trilogy developed by BioWare featuring fully voiced acted cinematic cut scenes and 3D action sequences. The games take place in various planets throughout the galaxy reached via the SSV Normandy starship.
The Mass Effect series is set during the 2180s in a futuristic version of the Milky Way galaxy, where mankind has discovered interstellar travel and serves in an alliance at a vast space station known as the Citadel. The player assumes the role of the human soldier Commander Shepard (who can be male or female), who serves as captain aboard the SSV Normandy starship. The primary antagonists throughout the series are the Reapers: a highly advanced race of artificial intelligence machines that emerge from deep space every fifty thousand years to destroy the dominant forms of organic life.
The original Mass Effect was released by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360 video game console on November 16th, 2007. On May 28th, 2008, Electronic Arts released the game on the Microsoft Windows operating system. Mass Effect 2 was released for both Microsoft Windows and the Xbox 360 on January 26th, 2010. The final game in the series Mass Effect 3 was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 6th, 2012.
On May 1st, 2007, the science fiction novel Mass Effect: Revelation by Drew Karpshyn was released, which served as a prequel to the original video game in the series. Two mobile games for the series have been released, including Mass Effect Galaxy (shown below, left) on June 22nd, 2009 and Mass Effect: Infiltrator (shown below, right) on March 6th, 2012.
On January 6th, 2010, the first in a four-part comic series titled Mass Effect: Redemption was released, the story of which takes place two years prior to the events of Mass Effect 2. The anime movie Mass Effect: Paragon Lost is scheduled to be released on November 13th, 2012, serving as a prequel to the final game in the series Mass Effect 3.
In the game, the player often participates in dialogue with other characters and can choose which type of response to use during conversation. Shepard can be an idealistic “Paragon” or an unethical “Renegade” based on choices the player makes within the story. The player accumulates experience points upon completing mission objectives and defeating enemies, which allows the player to choose new abilities upon reaching a higher level. Weapons and armor can be swapped and customized and there are three different classes to choose from to accommodate the player’s combat style.
Fox News Controversy
On January 21, 2008, several months after the release of the original game, a Fox News segment “The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum” (shown below) erroneously reported the game’s brief optional sexual encounter contained full frontal nudity, gave the player full control during it, and potentially allowed the player character to rape their respective love interest. Psychology expert Cooper Lawrence, who was interviewed for the section, agreed with MacCallum’s views. A New York Times article compared the actual content of the sex scene to U.S. evening network television, with the most sexually explicit content being seen being the side profile of a breast.
The report was met with outrage from the gaming community. Lawrence, who admitted to never actually having played the game, had her latest book bashed with hundreds of custom reviews on Amazon, many satirically stating they hadn’t actually read the book. Lawrence later watched someone play the game for about two and a half hours, apologizing for her statements and saying she had been told the game was similar to pornography. She noted that she “has seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit”.
The Mass Effect Wiki was created on July 18th, 2007, which has accmulated over 2,450 articles in five years of its existence. The official Mass Effect website was launched along with the release of the original video game in November of 2007, and features downloadable game content, videos, images, forums and merchandise. As of August 14th, 2012, the official Mass Effect Facebook page has accumulated over 1.485 million likes, the @MassEffect Twitter account has received over 136,000 followers and there are over 5,550 fanfictions that have been submitted to the site FanFiction.net.
My Little Pony Controversy
On August 10th, 2012, the official Mass Effect Facebook page posted an illustration of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP:FiM) character Pinkie Pie dressed in Mass Effect armor with the caption “I’m Commander Pinky and this is my favourite party on the Citadel!” (shown below).
The same day, the My Little Pony news blog Equestria Daily published a post titled “Pinkie Invades Official Mass Effect Facebook Wall”, which urged readers to comment on the image showing their support for the illustration. Within four days, the post received over 9,400 likes, 3,000 shares and 3,900 comments. The replies were polarized, with many commenters praising the posting of the image while others criticized Bioware for supporting the Brony community. On August 13th, Bioware Social Media Coordinator David Hulegaard wrote a post titled “What is a Community?”, which urged those who were offended by the illustration to create something better to be featured on the page. On the following day, the controversy was reported by the Internet news blog The Daily Dot in an article titled “BioWare Responds to My Little Pony Fanart Controversy.”
On Metacritic, Mass Effect received a score of 91 for the Xbox360 and a score of 89 for Windows; Mass Effect 2 received a score of 96 for the Xbox360 and a score of 94 for Windows; Mass Effect 3 received a score of 93 for the Xbox360, a score of 93 for the Play Station 3 and a score of 89 for Windows. Mass Effect sold 1.6 million copies within six weeks after its release in November of 2007. Mass Effect 2 sold more than two million units its first week of release in January of 2011. Mass Effect sold 1.6 million copies within six weeks after its release in November of 2007 and Mass Effect 2 sold more than two million units its first week of release in January of 2011. While Mass Effect 3 received mostly favorable reviews, the game’s "ending sequence":knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/mass-effect-3-endings-reception was heavily criticized by fans of the series for introducing confusing plot elements and failing to address key player choices made throughout the series.
In Mass Effect 2, the primary antagonist Harbinger is able to possess his minions to fight Commander Shepard directly. When an enemy is possessed, the phrase “I am assuming direct control” is announced to the player. The phrase is often used to interrupt conversations in forum threads and is sometimes used to caption image macros featuring a subject with glowing eyes.
Ah, Yes. ‘Reapers.’
In Mass Effect 2, the quote “Ah, yes, ’Reapers’’” is spoken by the turian member of the Citadel Council when expressing his disregard of the threat of invasion by sentient machines.
I’m in the Middle of Some Calibrations
“I’m in the middle of some calibrations” is a quote spoken by the companion character Garrus whenever the player has exhausted all possible conversation options.
I’m Commander Shepard
“I’m Commander Shepard” is a quote originating from several scenes in Mass Effect 2 in which the player can choose to promote various merchants on the Citadel. If the player agrees, he is recording saying “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite store on the Citadel.” Humorously, Shepard can perform the same action for multiple stores in the same location. The phrase inspired the creation of the snowclone template “I’m X, and this is my favorite Y on the Z.”
Tali’s Face is a photoshop meme in which fans superimpose humorous images over the face of the character Tali, mocking the character’s masked appearance throughout the series.
Marauder Shields is the fan-created nickname for the final enemy in Mass Effect 3. The enemy was criticized for being surprisingly weak and easy to beat, and fans joked that the enemy was the player’s last defense from viewing the game’s controversial ending.
The Ending of Mass Effect 3
The public reception of Mass Effect 3’s ending refers to the controversy surrounding the epilogue cinematic following the defeat of the game’s final boss. Many criticized the ending for undermining much of the series’ established canon and disregarding fan choices throughout each of the three games. Eventually, BioWare released a modified version of the ending to address the problems many players were reporting.
Search query volume for the keywords “Mass Effect” has peaked around the releases of the three installments in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
The Daily Dot – BioWare Responds to My Little Pony Fanart Controversy
Amazon.com Customer Reviews – The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace with Your Inner Overachiever