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August 22nd

…it the what-not-to-do lessons offered by Metroid: Other M or the complicated, messy, frustrating, but gradually positive-trending relationship between Mass Effect and queer representation.

  • ‘Metroid Dread’ owes a massive debt to a game Nintendo wants you to forget | Inverse Chris Compendio considers the design lessons Metroid has inadvertently learned from the legacy of its least-loved installment.
  • Intimate Space: The State of Queerness in Mass Effect | Fanbyte Kenneth Shepard embarks upon a longform historical overview of the role and state of queerness in Mass Effect, the influence of its fandom, and its lasting legacy on the

May 23rd

…contemporary depictions of police and police power in future worlds, here looking largely at Astral Chain and Mass Effect.

  • Los policías en los videojuegos: héroes virtuales o villanos reales | Shock Julián Ramírez narrates the history of playable police in games, from Police Quest to Astral Chain, finding that even amidst increasingly “grey” narratives detailing corruption, individualistic heroism is ultimately still leveraged to uncritically rehabilitate the image of police in most contemporary titles (Spanish-language article).
  • Mass Effect’s revival reminds us it’s time to abolish the space police | Polygon Yussef Cole draws upon the theory and literature

December 12th

…shit if games are art.

IGN UK’s Michael Thomsen, the same man who declared Metroid Prime to be the Citizen Kane of video games, writes a lucid Contrarian Corner post on Fallout: New Vegas [mirror].

Jose Gonzalez Bruno on his blog gamereader (which he should tell some people exists) writes about the “Tyranny of the Masses” [mirror] with regards to the Mass Effect 2 player data, saying:

As we have seen, publishers and developers have profoundly different ways of looking at the world, and this creates the possibility of conflict when it comes to interpreting player

Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

January 13th

…games | James Batchelor interviews Mata Haggis-Burridge about bisexual perception, performance, and erasure.

  • Sexy Medieval Men Are Waiting For You In Robin Morningwood | Kotaku Kate Gray profiles an upcoming queer indie game and contextualizes it against the recent chill on games with sexual content on major platforms.
  • To Be Gay in Mass Effect Is An Act of Rebellion – Into The Spine Kenneth Shepard re-examines Mass Effect‘s long, long road to a place for gay men in the galaxy.
  • “Getting through Mass Effect 1 and 2 with your identity intact as a gay…

    Abstract image evoking bird silhouette

    A reading list on trans representation in games

  • Mass Effect Andromeda is another failure for trans representation • Sam Greer compares the trans characters in two Bioware games, showing that a big part of representation is preparation.
  • What’s in a Name?: Mass Effect: Andromeda and Inclusion – Not Your Mama’s Gamer Lee Hibbard makes clear what the problem is with the trans representation in the latest Mass Effect game.
  • ‘We Know The Devil’ Taught Me To Be Proud – Waypoint Jennifer Unkle recounts struggles over trans pride and the helpful releases found in We Know the Devil.
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    March 8th

    …themes would map to the 22 major arcana, a series of cards which each symbolize a foundational aspect of the human experience.”

    Queer, Mad, Crip

    A trio of authors this week contemplate games large and small along vital representational axes.

    • Eliza Explores the Benefits and Imperfections of Therapy – Paste Holly Green explores how Eliza deconstructs the nature and boundaries of therapy, its human and inhuman elements alike.
    • Game Studies – Sick, Slow, Cyborg: Crip Futurity in Mass Effect Adan Jerreat-Poole critiques sci-fi Crip representation in the Mass Effect series.
    • Losing My…

    October 2020

    …Mark Brown identifies the tension of mastery against living the fantasy in action games, suggesting some ways developers can go about making their games enjoyable for both player types. (Manual captions)

  • Mass Effect Expanded What Games Were Capable of (For Me) | GTDM – First Five

    Alex remembers how Mass Effect solidified the concept of role-play and story in games for a generation that largely grew up on consoles. (Autocaptions)

  • Is The Last of Us Part II One Big Guilt Trip? – Games As Literature (21:23)

    The Game Professor argues that player agency and character choices

  • May 30th

    …cross-media inspiration.

    • Righteous Skills | Reverse Shot Holly Green delves into Disco Elysium‘s unorthodox skill progression system and its impacts on character writing, narrative design, and examinations of dissasociative identity and trauma response.
    • Larger-arc contextualization, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – KEITH BURGUN GAMES Keith Burgun thinks through approaches to synthesizing moment-to-moment gameplay and story beats in games with larger storytelling arcs, looking to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for some of the answers.
    • Mass Effect’s Choices Remain Its Greatest Success—And Greatest Failure | Waypoint Rowan Kaiser weighs choices against responsiveness in understanding Mass Effect‘s true contributions to game design and

    May 9th


    We open this week with two meditations on science fiction games, looking alternately at thoughtful stoytelling possibilities (King) and regressive and harmful abstractions (Alvey) which present themselves in the genre.

    • Returnal Is The Alien Prequel Prometheus Should Have Been | TheGamer Jade King unearths some thoughtful sci-fi horror storytelling connections in Returnal.
    • ‘Mass Effect 2: Overlord’ Should Have Stayed in 2010 | Waypoint M. Wesley Alvey revisits a fraught Mass Effect 2 DLC which strips its key autistic character of his self-determination, pathologizes and dehumanizes his neuroatypicality, and places him in a false moral equivalency