I just got a new video game, Mass Effect: Andromeda.
It is the latest in a series that has been out for years. It’s a great series. Literally millions of copies have been sold. It’s what is called an “open world” game. You can go pretty much anywhere you want. You pick up “missions”. They are things you have to do to advance the game’s story.
There are prime missions that take a long time and advance the plot of the game and then there are secondary missions. And then there are tasks. The secondary missions involve all sorts of different things that you have to do. Some to help a team-mate.
Some to acquire something that is needed to do something else. Tasks are something you can do quickly or you can do throughout the game as you travel from place to place.
In this game, you are the leader of an away team for a group of human and alien colonists who have spent the last 600 years traveling from the Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy.
You have to find planets to live on while trying not to get killed by various hostile aliens and humans. You interact with hundreds of folks who all want you to do something. You can say no and refuse a mission, but you don’t. That’s why you bought the game. But after a while, it gets really confusing. You start off to do a certain mission that involves going to the planet Kadara to meet a spy of the Collective Alliance.
But you have to walk through the space port to meet him. On the way there you bump into an alien who has a problem only you can solve.
ME: What can I do to help?
ALIEN WHO NEEDS SOMETHING ONLY YOU CAN DO: Oh please. I don’t know what to do. I used the last of my credits at the “Uniform Replicating and Dry Cleaning Shop” to get this stain out of my uniform. In my culture, a stain brings us great shame.
ME: So what’s the problem?
AWNSOYCD: The stain didn’t come out and the owner will not refund my credits. Please help me.
So I walk over to the shop and tell the owner to give the lady her credits back.
ME: Hey! Give the lady her credits back!
OWNER: No. Fuck you!
(Yeah they swear a lot.) I have to walk over and punch him in the face.
OWNER: OWW! Hey, OK, fine. Here’s her credits.
I have to walk back to where the alien lady is to give her money back.
Great. Now, why was I here to begin with? Oh yeah, meet with the spy from the collective. That’s when I realize he’s on the other side of the planet. I also see there are five different missions happening in this marketplace.
So I get sidetracked. Again. And again. And again. I finally get back to the original reason I came and realize I’m on the wrong goddamn planet!
I am only — maybe 30 percent — done with this game and have over 50 missions to finish. Then, it hits me. What the hell am I doing? I’m supposed to be saving the galaxy and I just spent 10 minutes mugging a laundromat owner for basically a roll of quarters. And I’m on the wrong frigging planet!
And why am I the only person in this galaxy that can get anything done!!! Let’s all pitch in! OK folks!
Also, I can go on-line and do these hundreds of chores with millions of other folks. What’s wrong with me? I didn’t work this hard when I was working! I’d say more but I just got an email in my game.
The lost Turian Ark may have been found in an unknown system! Gotta go!
I think there’s an Assari on that ark to whom I’m supposed to deliver a recipe to for Assari strudel that I got from her mother. I’ll do it on my way back.