Mass Effect: Take Out Those Hostiles! (SPOILERS for all 3 games)


I’ve clocked in a few more hours since my last update (er, about 6) so time to fill you in on how much of the universe Morrigan Shepard has saved so far.


Journal: I’ve been to Eden Prime, been assaulted by a beacon, made Kaidan look slightly bashful by saving his useless ass, and been Spectrefied. Filled with a new sense of universal responsibility, Shepard immediately stormed off to bum around some planets for a bit, consequently getting ambushed by a Thresher Maw and had to turn off someone’s life support (always fun). Finally remembering there’s a plot and stuff to be playing with, I zipped off to Artemis Tau and picked up the rather-more-girly-sounding-than-I-remembered Liara T’soni, and had my first proper brush with OH F’FUCKSAKE MAKO WHERE ARE YOU EVEN GOING?!


I also got Tali at some point. Did I mention that? I remember because I just had to sit through her telling me about her bloody pilgrimage in the engine room, which I punctuated with shouts of “Piss off you space fascist!” Tali is a bit of a fan favourite, a state of affairs I’ve never quite understood, and I have to admit I felt vindicated in the 3rd game where you see Quarian history through Geth eyes and realise what bastards they were. With this in mind, Tali’s insistence that they had to shut them down (i.e. kill them) before the problem got worse feels particularly callous, and if nothing else you realise that her character arc is a pretty good one after all (unless you manage to make her jump off a cliff in the 3rd game, which is mainly just hilarious). However, I have resolved to give Tali a chance this time round, and she is quite useful when it comes to making synthetics explode.


Right now I’m at the Zhu’s Hope colony on Feros, or as it’s otherwise known, Why Don’t You Ask Fai Dan About That? This is the quest that results in shooting both zombies and a giant plant anus, so obviously it’s one of my favourites, but I’d forgotten how annoying all the colonists were. All conversations go like this:


Shepard: So, that’s a nice hat. Tell me what you know about that hat.

Colonist: I don’t know really, you should ask Fai Dan. He knows more about it than me.

Shepard: Really? The hat on your head? Fai Dan knows more about the hat on your head?

Colonist: Yeah, ask Fai Dan.

Shepard: I have a fucking gun right here you know.

Colonist: ….

Shepard: I should go.


BUT, I get to shoot them all later so it’s fine.



I have missed all the random shouting your team mates do in the first game. Really, it’s not the same without Garrus bellowing “ENEMIES EVERYWHERE!” in your ear every five seconds.


Favourite Shepard line so far: “Big stupid jellyfish!” I’m fairly sure that’s xenophobic, Sheps, but it made me chuckle.


The Krogan seem faster in the first game, and regenerate health at a terrifying rate. They also seem very keen on running right at you, causing Shepard to shriek heroically “Argh, get it off me, get it off me!”


Mass Effect: In the middle of some… calibrations

If you’ve read this blog at all previously you will know that I love Mass Effect. You will probably also know that I’ve dedicated an alarming number of hours to it already, and you may be thinking, “Look, for chrissake Jennifer, what are you on about? Do we have to have an intervention again? Was the song we wrote* about your Dragon Age obsession a waste of everyone’s time?”

But, yes, I have decided to play Mass Effect again, starting from the very beginning. Yes I have. And I have decided this time round to blog about it. Why? Well, because I have a lot on at the moment…

(and here I can sense you getting quite purple in the face and narrowing your lips at me, because obviously this is a prime reason not to get involved in the best of all Space Opera RPGs, but please, my slightly goblin-faced friend, let me finish…)


 …and I find Mass Effect, with all its moral conundrums and shooting people in the face to be the most marvellous stress relief. At the moment my day looks something like this: editing and revisions in the morning, day job in the afternoon, editing and revisions in the evening, collapse in front of tumblr and drool whilst making distant whale noises. What I thought was, instead of the drooling and not achieving much bit, I could go back and explore one of my favourite and most beloved things of all time, with a mind to writing the occasional blog post about it; a little chat about the worldbuilding maybe, about the complex relationships and the building of tension, as well as the occasional gratuitous bit of Garrus worship. Let’s face it, if anything deserves to be pored over and adored, it’s Mass Effect.


 So here she is, Morrigan Shepard (named for that wily witch of the wilds from Dragon Age: Origins)



Initially I was tempted to try and make her look like David Bowie (there is just something about the “short blonde hair” preset that invites this) but in the end I went for quite a severe, bad-ass look. As is traditional, I lamented over the weird choices of lipstick – neon pink, kebab shop red and, um, black – and faffed over the haircut. I chose (for possibly the first time, I can’t remember) to make her a War Hero and a Spacer, and class-wise I’ve gone for Vanguard. Technically speaking I should have gone for Engineer because that’s pretty much the only one I’ve never played, but GAWD it sounds boring. I just can’t get behind “trained in omni tools and tech blah blah oh Christ who cares…”

Journal: Have played up until the point where Shepard lands on the Citadel for the first time. Hellooo space utopia!


I have entirely forgotten how to take cover: Kaidan got shot quite a few times before I figured this out.

I really, really miss being able to roll into cover.

The black lipstick actually looks rather kick ass in cut scenes, particularly when Shepard is wearing a helmet.

I went to the loading bay and tried to shoot the Mako but it wouldn’t let me. Damn it. 


*May not have actually happened. 


The Black Dog Does Mass Effect: Podcast Madness!



The other night I stayed up very late drinking more than one glass of wine, talking Mass Effect with the Black Dog Crew. Oh and for once they recorded it and there was a podcast at the end ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can listen to it here (please note that if you haven’t played the first two games it may be somewhat spoilerific).

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know how much I adore Mass Effect, and I am so excited about Mass Effect 3 that I may have a wobbly geek-plosion before Friday. Bring it on!

Shepard is coming to save the Universe, and she’s bringing her space hamster with her….. 

Giant Worms! A brief note on playing Gears of War 2



This last week we have been mostly playing Gears of War 2. Yes, Gears of War 2. I liked the look of the trailer for the newest game, but being all shiny and new, and given that I have no idea what these games are like, I decided to opt for the decidedly cheaper GoW2, to see if I liked that sort of thing or not.


As it turns out, I like it very much so far. It’s sort of like all the running and shooting bits of Mass Effect, with all the complicated thinking and decision making removed. I adore Mass Effect (as you can see from my previous blog post) but sometimes it is quite nice to disengage brain slightly and be taken on what is essentially a very violent Disney World ride of a game (honestly, that’s what it reminds me of).


The real fun with Gears of War 2 (or Geezer Horse as it’s now known in our house. Or Cheesy Whores) starts when you play co-op. So far Marty & I haven’t really had a game where we can both play together, meaning we’d have to take turns with the controller and try to avoid spoilers. With this we can shout at the screen together, feeling very manly and team-like: “I’m bleeding here, dude, medic me!”, “There’s a ticker behind you, yep, just there, behind the…*KABOOOOM*…  nevermind” and “IT’S GIANT WORMS!!”.


In conclusion, it’s good, explodey fun, and I may even keep an eye on the price of Geezer Horse 3.

Possibly Pointless Mini-Sulk

We watched Fanboys at the weekend; an enjoyable little film about a group of friends who set off on a road trip to steal a rough cut of the Phantom Menace some six months before it is due to come out (not knowing, of course, exactly how crap it is going to be). Hit and miss in places maybe, but there were enough geeky references to keep me happy and the beardy Hutch was entertaining enough on his own, as a sort of poor man’s Jack Black. I laughed a lot and even felt a little sad at the poignant ending.

There was one bit that did annoy me however, and it’s taken a couple of days to figure out why.

At one point their female geek friend has to rescue them from their own stupidity, and she comes into conflict with Windows, the bespectacled object of her affections. When she starts doing stuff he doesn’t understand, i.e. behaving like an emotional human being, he essentially tells her, “Look, you can’t pull this girl stuff and still want to be one of the boys”.

At first I thought I was annoyed at the character, and then I realised that was sort of the point. He was being a berk. And then I thought I was annoyed at the film, in a knee jerk reaction sort of way- “how dare you say I can’t be a girl and be friends with boys!”

But I think it was actually more complicated than that. What aggravated me, I believe, was the inference that by being a geek, she was attempting to be one of the boys.

Which is all wrong.

The majority of my friends are male, and all of them are geeks. I didn’t start reading 2000AD when I was kid so that one day, just maybe, I could hang out with blokes and know what they’re talking about. I don’t spend way too much time being Commander Shepard on the Xbox so that men will be impressed by my fairly amazing biotic slam, and I don’t know all the words to Ghostbusters because boys dig chicks that do (and I don’t think they do). I am a geek because that is what I enjoy, and I am friends with people who enjoy the same things- as it happens, most of them are male, but I’m sure this is just because I don’t know very many ladygeeks. And I know you’re out there, ladies!

Being a geek isn’t a “boy thing”. It’s a “people with intelligence and taste” thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰