January 22, 2010

Convince Me - Mass Effect

I am a gamer.  Through and through, from that monumental day in 1980-something when my family rented the original NES from the local Blockbuster Hollywood Video corner video rental store, the love of video games has been etched onto my heart.  Just thinking about games and gaming sometimes rushes dramatically through me like the most potent Mario mushroom.  And now that the game industry has become more of an artistic experience rather than memorizing sprites and disappearing blocks, I think they deserve even more respect and time.

But you know, even though I'm a gamer, there are some games that don't excite me, that don't make me want to save every penny to buy, that don't energize me to be early at a midnight release.  And I'm talking about big games, not those games that slip under the radar, but those games that are supposed to bring the gaming populace together.  This doesn't mean I'm anti- these games, but I just can't muster the desire even to begin to play.  I am a gamer, but sometimes I need the right persuasion to play.

Hence the title of this segment, "Convince Me."  I am asking anyone to give me some good reasons why I need to play some of the big hitters out there that I just can't seem for which to make the time, but only after you hear where I'm coming from.

My first choice I offer is Mass Effect.

Like I stated before concerning these monstrous games, I have nothing against Mass Effect.  My only beef would be the "relations" that can happen near the end, even though it is optional, but we can save that whole discussion for another time (though I will say one of my pet peeves is making extreme conclusions before actually knowing what you're concluding, especially in the video game market).  I remember hearing about some new epic sci-fi IP long ago when it was just a title reveal and that many were looking forward to it, if not only because BioWare was at the game's helm.  I was actually a little interested.

But I've never reached the point of drooling in rabid anticipation to play it.  I know it looks good, has garnered many an award and has been highly lauded, despite some technical hiccups.  But nothing drew me in when the floodgates opened to bring an effect on the world en masse.

A space saga?

"I have my Halo."

Cool weaponry and classes?

"Um, didn't you just hear me say the word Halo?  Battle Rifle, Spartan Laser, Master Chief, what weapons and classes can compete in the fall of 2007?  Boo-yah!"

Dialogue trees!

" ... "

Wait a minute, this is also an RPG.  Don't you like Final Fantasy or something?

"Well, uh ... um ... ... ... no more questions!"

It's true, I love Final Fantasy, but that's because the first FF was one of the first video games I ever owned, and those first games can make you quite brand-loyal (until they suck ... Sonic!).  Anyway, that's a different type of RPG than Mass Effect's hybridization, the Action RPG, so neh, what do you know?

Now, can I be honest?  I did play Mass Effect.  For about an hour.  Don't read between the lines yet because I made a tragic mistake.  I plopped in my borrowed ME (thanks, Jeff!) within less than an hour ... less than an hour ... of completing another epic, action-ish RPG that blew me away ... The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ... ... ... less than an hour!  If you've ever played Bethesda's massively engrossing game, then you know that it can take a long time if you so choose.  And I so chose.  So, why in the name of the Lord would I want to enlist myself into another mentally engaging, time consuming, save the universe scenario ... in less than an hour of already doing that?  I quote the book of Jeremiah 33:3:

"Call to me, and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

Someday I'll find out.  That might be question #9 I'll ask God when I get up there, right after why Microsoft still uses a point-purchase system.  But at that day and time I first stepped into Shepherd's boots, my mind wasn't ready for the bigness that awaited me as the protagonist of saving existence, again.  And I haven't found the impetus yet to reset or continue from my last save point.

I say all this because we're approaching Mass Effect 2 and it's on my mind.  My friend Jeff is excited about it, gaming websites are clamoring for it, and there's probably going to be midnight releases everywhere.  I would like to be excited about this franchise, too, what with a new "epic" launch trailer that is really stunning (below), but I just can't.

Should I be?  Convince me.

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