This post is tough for to write. I never got into Mass Effect but did watch my best friend play through one, two, and three. With the announcement of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, memories of him flooded back to me like being slingshot through a mass relay.
I don’t recall the names of characters or places aside from Garrus and Wrex. The internet is in love with the former but I don’t have any special connection to them. My connection is with the man who held the controller. The man who spent hours traveling across the galaxy fighting Reapers and mining space rocks. He met the characters, he piloted the Normandy, and his memory is making me want to play Mass Effect Legendary Edition. He may have been playing as captain shepherd but, to me, he was Cameron.
Cameron was my best friend. He was killed in a car wreck in 2013. He loved video games and wanted to cover them as a video editor for IGN, Game Informer, or another similar website. We both worked at the same news station – me as a producer and he was a photographer and editor. Our plans were to work for the same gaming company as well.
Online he was known as Blu FUBAR Rangr.
There isn’t just one memory I have of him playing through the games. I honestly have a difficult time figuring out what game was which. I didn’t understand the story because I wasn’t there throughout his entire playthrough. I caught glimpses and moments of Mass Effect 1 before life would get in the way. When I’d return he’d be playing Mass Effect 2 or possibly three. In this way, the story doesn’t matter. Shocking as it may be, I much preferred just watching, whether it was popping husks or taking on Saren.
I wish I had more time with him. More time to enjoy his love of video games. Mass Effect was a series he enjoyed along with Resident Evil and Halo. I know without a doubt he would have wanted to play Mass Effect Legendary Edition and so do I.
I want to so I can enjoy a game he found so much joy in. He devoted countless hours to all three games and I kept trying to think why I couldn’t get into them and it took to writing this article to find out why. Since he loved the series and isn’t around anymore, I couldn’t find joy in it. I almost found myself disliking it altogether. Hating it. Yet, I love Dragon Age. Now, I feel I am ready to dive into the series to experience what he got to. To feel what he felt.
If and when I do begin my journey through Mass Effect Legendary Edition, it won’t be just to play games I missed. It will be a way to honor my best friend’s memory. In a way it’s like time travel. I get the experience of playing something new yet old while thinking back to watching him play the original for the first time.
There’s a feeling of wanderlust when I think about it. While I won’t be able to physically travel back in time to play Mass Effect with him. I can mentally travel back to the house he grew up in and place myself exactly where my 18-year-old self was when Mass Effect first released.
Video games are a way to traverse new lands, see amazing things, and get lost for a few hours. Most everyone remembers the first video game they played, beat, or owned. They are also great memory banks. They allow us to relive our past. We see it all the time with remakes and remasters. They’re nostalgic and I’m grateful for them and the time I had with my friend. Thank you Cameron.