Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Gamer's Year Part 5: September


As a child of the 90s, I owned almost all the Disney films on VHS. As anyone of a similar vintage will know, these videos always contained an advert for Disneyland. No matter how much magic you are experiencing right now, it's always possible to pay for more.

Now I am and have always been fascinated by space. I would read books about space, and imagine myself piloting spaceships. For three years' running, my Mum made me spaceship-shaped birthday cakes (my Mum is a whizz with the icing). Everyone knew about my space "thing".

So when my house finally got a copy of Beauty and the Beast (a wonderful film that has overtaken The Little Mermaid as my favourite Disney film, probably because of the scene with the library, sigh), I was very excited to see the following trailer:

I was really excited, because this looked like the film I had been waiting my whole life (9 years!) to see. I remember the moment of crushing disappointment quite clearly. I was watching the video for the first time with my family, and when this trailer began my Dad ruffled my hair and said something along the lines of "this looks like a film for Mary!"

How disappointing then, to discover that it wasn't a trailer for a film, but for a fairground ride in a theme park. 

I was so upset that I still haven't been to Disneyland. Cinderella can kiss it.

When a person is burned, it takes a while before they can love again. I don't think I was ever really able to truly love a bit of unashamed space-frolicking again until Sepember 2010. Battlestar Galactica doesn't count, it's more about philosophy and humanity and Gaius Baltar the division between church and state than it is about galaxy-hopping.

Where was I? Oh yes.

Being a role-playing game, Mass Effect is free to let you bother the hyper-drive to your heart's content, and wallow around in the deliciously-rendered clouds of space dust as long however you please. It is a truly enjoyable space-epic, and one that allows you to find your own balance between building ray-guns, exploring distant planets and doing the horizontal moon-walk (you've already used that one Mary).

It also made me think about the nature of love and relationships. If two beings truly understand and desire one-another, is interspecies sex ok?

September also saw the release of the rather excellent Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which made me extremely optimistic about the future of both downloadable games and Lara herself.


  1. Funnily enough I think one of the Star Wars offshoot book series had a couple of characters in an interspecies sexual relationship. Going from memory the theory was that there was no moral problem with it so long as both were consenting adults and there was no potential for offspring.

  2. Can you remember which it was Sean? I've read a couple of those, but I don't remember the interspecies relationship. Mind you, there were a LOT. And they were all canonical, in that they didn't contradict each other. Ever. Which is mightily impressive. And they were pretty much all better than the prequels.

    Any way, I'd be interested to read it from the Mass Effect perspective.

    Perdido Street Station features a very touching interspecies relationship, although the society in which the characters live in think it's perverted. Interestingly, it is accepted amongst the more bohemian demographics in the novel.

    The situation of two consenting parties from different species hasn't arisen yet on planet Earth, but on the offchance we meet a race of sentient aliens who happen to enjoy our earthly company, I see no reason why we shouldn't, erm, engage.

    I wonder if in a thousand years or so we'll be fighting a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for people who are attracted to this other race of beings...

    It's interesting because although a large proportion of science fiction (as opposed to pace opera) is an allegory for something humans experience, interspecies love affairs are currently beyond the realms of human experience...

  3. Looks like the relationship was in the X-Wing series, between Gavin Darkligher (Human) and Asyr Sei'lar (Bothan). I don't know the exact name of the book but it can't have been before Wedge's Gamble as that is apparently her first appearance. I would hazard a guess that it would be the next book or the one after that.

    I vaguely recall at least one of the Mass Effect books featuring interspecies sexual relations, not sure if there was much discussion of the morality thereof though. Is it sad that I've read two of the books but not played any of the games?

    I'm not sure about relations between humans and aliens not happening, clearly you must not have read the National Enquirer! Although to be fair I think a lot of those encounters aren't consensual apparently.

  4. Ah yes, the National Enquirer. And excellent source of "news".

    I think it's only right to be concerned with consensual encounters, especially since the other kind works both ways. I think maybe I'd better stop talking about bestiality in my online portfolio.