Via The PA Report comes "Why Mass Effect is the Most Important Science Fiction Universe of Our Generation," Kyle Munkittrick's exceedingly well-reasoned examination of BioWare's Mass Effect games. Ever since the first Mass Effect, I've been more or less in love with this series; while the games certainly have their flaws (like, oh, I don't know, much of the overarching plot in Mass Effect 2), what they do accomplish is pretty extraordinary. Ambitious and smart, Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 managed to pair brave, big-idea genre fiction with visceral thrills and strong characters. While the Mass Effect universe is certainly built upon a lot of preexisting science-fiction (most notably Star Trek), it's pushed a lot of those ideas further and weirder. And added explosions. To say I'm excited for Mass Effect 3 is an understatement*.
Munkittrick's observations range from the basic-but-insightful ("I don’t need to explain why the option to have a non-white, non-male, non-straight person as the main character of a blockbuster action science fiction story is important") to the grandiose ("To play Mass Effect is to consider the value of the lives of other species, the meaning of life on a cosmic scale, and the importance of individual relationships in the face of cataclysm"), and I'm not sure I 100 percent agree with his whole "Mass Effect has forever changed science-fiction" thesis, but it's well worth a read, whether you like philosophy or storytelling or just shooting aliens on your Xbox. Do so here.
*Hey, you saw that new Mass Effect 3 trailer, right? The one with the tiny little resident of the Uncanny Valley getting alien attacked, and then Shepard beating down some Husks? Here you go.