Video games and gaming

The audience fights back

Authored by: Tristan Donovan

The Routledge Companion to British Media History

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415537186
eBook ISBN: 9781315756202
Adobe ISBN: 9781317629474


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The March 2012 release of Mass Effect 3 marked the conclusion of a trilogy of games that, in game player circles at least, had come to be regarded as a science-fiction work comparable in importance to Star Wars and Star Trek (Munkittrick, 2012; Sterling, 2012). A significant part of the trilogy’s appeal was the promise that the choices made by players over the course of all three games would alter the experience in such a way as to personalize the story to them. In the first game, for example, players face a choice between executing or freeing the last surviving queen of the Rachni aliens, which is a decision that alters events in the subsequent two games (BioWare, 2007). Similarly, while all players controlled a character called Commander Shepard, they could select the gender of their character, a choice that closes off or opens up different possibilities for romantic and sexual encounters. These examples are just two of many story influencing choices available to players over the course of the trilogy.

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