This Mass is Effecting My Writing

This new story is really being uncooperative these last few days. Yeesh. Back to games and another blog post I guess. This time I’ll tackle Mass Effect.

I’ve played Mass Effect before, and I got part way through Mass Effect 2. For those who aren’t aware, Mass Effect is a series of science fiction role playing games for the PC and consoles put out by Bioware, the creators of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Mass Effect 3 came out, and so it’s time for me to finish the other two. Or to replay them as the case may be. I lost my original game data for them.

While playing through the original Mass Effect I was reminded of just how good these games are. Of course for me “good” means strong story, and that has caused me to sink large amounts of the last 3 days into playing.

The stories are rich and peppered with minor stories for variety. The characters are fleshed out and convincing, and the amount of thought that’s gone into the themes and background information on the world of Mass Effect is nothing short of remarkable.

There are flaws, of course, but those mostly have to do with the game mechanics and level design. Since I’m writing about story, I’ll ignore those. They’re minor quibbles anyway.

A part of me had hoped that immersing myself in this great story would give me some insight into getting past this part of the story I’m writing. So far that hasn’t happened, but there’s always tomorrow; who knows. I am coming up on a part of the game that I remember only vaguely from my first play through, and it does contain a situation similar to the corner I’ve written myself into. I won’t be able to copy anything from the game—the scenarios are far too different—but maybe it’ll give me an idea.

It is also striking all kinds of chords for stories I could consider later in the series, though I didn’t really need to play Mass Effect for more ideas like that. I’m planning another post some time on how the act of writing will, itself, generate more ideas than you could possibly need.

The takeaway I intended for this piece is one I’ve expressed before; don’t be afraid to look outside of the traditional world of books for examples of fantastic storytelling. Film, theatre, even television and video games can all provide fantastic examples. Mass Effect certainly does.