What N7 Day Means To Us
As some of you may know, November 7th is also known as N7 Day – a reference to the N7 branch of the Alliance Military in the Mass Effect universe. It’s a day when Mass Effect fans come together to share their love for the characters, the stories and the series, and when we also hopefully hear some Mass Effect-related news. For this N7 Day, we’re sharing a little about what it, and the series, means to us.
To explain what N7 Day means to me, I need to tell you a story.
When I unwrapped Mass Effect on Christmas morning, 2007, I had no idea how much that simple disc would change my life. What I thought was just a cool looking scifi shooter turned into THE BEST GAME I HAD EVER PLAYED IN MY LIFE OF ALL TIME. I was blown away. I was in love. I was obsessed. The only problem was that I had nobody to talk about the game with. So one evening, I typed “Mass Effect forum” into Google, clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky” and my life took a sudden turn toward awesome.
On the Bioboards, as they were called at the time, I discovered a thriving community of people who were just as hooked on Mass Effect as I was. I became a regular on the Bioboard, and formed a private group with a posse of fellow obsessives. We started talking about topics outside of Mass Effect; other games, shared interests, and our lives out in the real world. I grew especially close to two members in particular; members who I would eventually come to know as Tash and Jen.
That’s right, Save Game’s very own.
In time, we made the leap from online friends to real world friends. I traveled across the United States, then across the Pacific ocean to see them. I consider them to be my two best friends, and I would never have met them if it hadn’t been for Mass Effect. So on N7 Day, I don’t just celebrate my favorite video game series. I celebrate my favorite people too.
To me, N7 Day is all about discovery. Through Mass Effect, I discovered new friendships, forging relationships with people from across the world who loved the characters and worlds of Mass Effect as much as I do (almost).
I discovered new worlds, both fictional and real, travelling across seas to meet those friends I had previously only spoken to online. Mass Effect brought us together, and cemented friendships which now mean the world to me. I discovered new passions, my love of Mass Effect motivating me to create my own video game website, which remains one of the achievements I’m most proud of.
Mass Effect has had a profound impact on my life: I’ve met new friends; I’ve travelled the world and immersed myself in new cultures; I’ve discovered and nurtured new creative endeavours. By opening myself up to the world of Mass Effect, I’ve opened up a new world in my own life. And I love every second of it.
Ever since the first time I played it, I’ve always felt there was something special about Mass Effect. I can still recall being captivated by the Normandy’s approach to the relay. From that very opening, I was hooked, yet even being drawn to it then didn’t prepare me for the attachment I’d have toward the game, and then the series.
The first game had such a richly-packed universe, not only in how it presented each of the races, planets and future history of the galaxy, but in the maturity of the themes it handled. While tabloids fixated on the ample shades of azure, it was the deeper plots of the game that grabbed my interest. The struggle between organics and synthetics is obviously the biggest and one that still fascinates us to this day, yet even some of the quests handled big topics.
The shady corporations of Feros and Noveria, the genophage, the Thorian, the rachni, cerberus, politics, diplomacy and actually, ethics in military journalism – even the couple on the Citadel arguing about whether to give treatment to an unborn child brought interesting and complicated topics to the table. What’s perhaps more impressive about how all those topics are handled, is that they’re not concerned with a one right response, but often left open for the player to make their own judgement, and their Commander Shepard will back them up all the way.
The paragon and renegade system, similar to the previous Bioware game Jade Empire’s approach, made a distinction from previous Bioware games on how they handled morality. The choices made are less about a split between good and evil, but more about how we act in striving to achieve the same goal.
The other thing that continues to draw me to the setting is that it presents a future where more of humanity sees themselves as part of the same side. Our traditions, our cultures and our selves are still as distinct as they are today, but are no longer the barriers that separate us. In Mass Effect, even with the impending reaper threat, there is hope that humanity will overcome the prolonged adolescence we find ourselves in today and head out into the stars, together.
The relationships with characters, those pinnacle moments where plot threads unravel into satisfaction or heartache, they’re still the greatest source of memories, and ones that have become shared experiences with friends and loved ones. They continue to be a big part of what makes this series so important and so loved, but on N7 Day, it’s the hope of our future as one people that I think about most.