Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mass Effect Controversy

On November 20, 2007, the landmark game Mass Effect was released to the public. Met with critical acclaim, Mass Effect was sophisticated, deep, and pushed gaming in a cinematic direction that no one could have imagined (Metacritic, n.d.).

However, with progress comes controversy. Mass Effect contained a mild love scene that seemed innocent enough to gamers. It was not explicit, and was about on the same level of something you’d see in a PG-13 film. However, context is key here—video games were seen by the public as entertainment for kids, and here this video game had a love scene in it.

Fox News as well as other news outlets reported on this love scene, making wild accusations that it was much more explicit than it really was (Game Politics, 2008). They claimed it was essentially porn disguised as a video game.

On Fox News’ video segment, video game specialist Geoff Keighly attempted to set the record straight, but the Fox representatives wouldn’t have any of it. (Game Politics, 2008). You can watch the segment in its entirety on Youtube.

EA Games, publisher of Mass Effect, reach out to Fox News and requested that they correct their inaccurate accusations (Crecente, B.). Although Fox never took action, Cooper Lawrence, the psychologist who argued against the game on Fox’s segment, did. She had seen the love scene since her appearance on Fox, and admitted she was completely misinformed and made inaccurate accusations. “I’ve seen episodes of Lost that are more sexually explicit,” she said (, 2008).


Mass Effect for Xbox 360 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More. (n.d.). Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Fox News Smears Mass Effect. (January 22, 2008). Game Politics. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Crecente, B. (January 21, 2008). Keighly Sets Mass Effect Record Straight… Or Tries To. Kotaku. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Crecente, B. (January 23, 2008). EA Calls Fox Out on “Insulting” Mass Effect Inaccuracies. Kotaku. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from

Kollar, Philip. (January 28, 2008). Author Apologizes for Fox News Mass Effect Lies. Retrieved on December 2, 2011, from

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