November 7th is just a regular day for most people and they do regular everyday things. However, November 7th is a very significant day for one group of people. It is N7 day or Mass Effect Day.
So, with that said, let’s get some information out of the way. Mass Effect, for those not into gaming, is a series of games by Bioware based on Commander Shepard, the hero that saved the galaxy many times over. The player is Shepard and chooses to be either Male Shepard or Female Shepard. You gather a team of humans and aliens and kick butt, take names, and save the day. And Commander Shepard went through the N7 program, an elite force full of other awesome space marines.
Needless to say, Shepard is amazing. And I, of course, play as Female Shepard, voiced by the wonderful Jennifer Hale.[divider]Why I Celebrated Mass Effect Day[/divider]
We all wore our Mass Effect clothing and gathered in Atlanta and hung out all day. And when I say all day, I seriously mean all day. We met up at 10 am and parted ways at 11 pm.
“But what did you do all day?” you may ask. We ate, took pictures, and talked.
We talked so much. About Mass Effect. About Bioware. What choices we made in the games and why. Who we romanced. Who we became. We joked. We made snarky comments about characters. We admitted to crying at the end of Mass Effect 3. We watched the N7 day video Bioware released with the Jennifer Hale doing Shepard’s voice one last time.
It felt like a mini DragonCon. Without the other 60,000 people.
And I haven’t had that much fun in a while. I was surrounded by people who were like me. We moved as a group. We entered a hotel full of professional young people in our N7 jackets and jeans and black boots without a care in the world.
And as we sat and talked, I started thinking. Why Mass Effect? Why Bioware? What makes this trilogy and Dragon Age, the other huge Bioware series, so popular and touching?
So, I asked a few of the people I was with. What drew them into Bioware? I knew my reasons but wanted to know others. And the answers all centered around two major themes. Diversity and strong female characters.
In Bioware games you have more than just a white, male protagonist. You can not only design your own character to look like you but other characters are different races, different species, have different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and jobs. As Commander Shepard you can romance anyone you want regardless of species, gender, or race.
You can see yourself in at least one person on that screen in front of you. You can see yourself piloting the Normandy even if you have a debilitating disease. You can see yourself as a successful, sexy assassin even though you aren’t white. You can see yourself getting the girl even if you are a girl.
And you can see yourself being the hero of the galaxy with no one saying you can’t just because you are female. And whoever you romance, they will not say, “Let me do that for you. You can’t.” Because they know you can. You’re Commander Shepard. Enough said.
Bioware’s stories work. And as much as I love Fallout and Tomb Raider and other amazing games, I will continue to come back to Bioware. Specifically Dragon Age and Mass Effect. One is sci-fi while the other is fantasy, two ends of the spectrum, both with awesome gameplay, characters, and stories.
I will not hesitate to say “I am Commander Shepard and these are my favorite games on the Citadel.”
So, if you are looking for a game to play after you finish Fallout 4 or Rise of the Tomb Raider, pick up a Bioware game. Either start with Mass Effect or Dragon Age Origins. And while those games are not as new as the others, every story needs a beginning. And once you get through that beginning, you will be hooked. I promise.
In fact, this same group I got together with on N7 day is planning another get together in December just to focus on Dragon Age. We will do toned down cosplays of characters from that set of games. We will take pictures, talk, laugh, and eat.
So, in other words, geek out.
But that’s what these groups of friends are for, right? Geeking out.
And we do it so well!
And with all of this being said, I will bid you farewell with some words from Commander Shepard.
“I should go.”