On the latest episode of After Dark, we take on Mass Effect 3 and the now-infamous ending, share our reflections on the Mass Effect franchise, and have a spirited discussion about sexual relations. Featuring Richard Naik and Brad Gallaway, special guest Michael Cunningham on loan from RPGamer.com, plus a special appearance from Tim "Brett Favre" Spaeth.

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Richard Naik

Richard Naik

Born and raised in St. Louis, MO, Richard received his first console (the NES) at the age of six, and from that point on games have been an integral part of his life, whether it's been frittering summers away with the likes of Mario, Mega Man, and the Zerg or partaking in marathon sessions of Halo, Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead. After being a longtime reader of GameCritics, Richard joined the staff in March of 2009, and over the years Richard grew into the more prominent role of part-time podcast host.

In 2016, he spearheaded a complete rebuild of the GameCritics.com website, earning him the title of Chief Engineer.

His gaming interests are fairly eclectic, ranging from 2D platformers to old-school-style adventure games to RPGs to first-person shooters. So in other words, he’ll play pretty much anything.
Richard Naik

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14 Comments on "Gamecritics After Dark Episode 2: The Mass Effect Show"

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paynemeister
Guest
I know this is a late comment, but I only just completed Mass Effect 3 two days ago, and pretty soon after I listened to this podcast, which has inspired me to post my thoughts on the ending and how it tied in with my experience of the game. First of all I thought it was a fantastic game despite some flaws, its a game I completed in 5 days,at 36 hours. This is something I never do anymore, usaully my gaming sessions at like 2hours apiece, but this game grabbed in a way that has not been the case… Read more »
JimmyA
Guest
As above, possible spoilers so Read At Own Risk (RAOR! I wish this spelled “roar”.) I know this won’t be news to anybody but, where there’s ambiguity in something – be it a book, pop song, movie, whatever – the audience has an opportunity to interpret it as they see fit. Different people can get all sorts of different messages from the same piece of art, depending on their personal circumstances, and they might not be the ones the artist intended. I don’t think this makes them any less legitimate. I wonder if this is especially true of games –… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

Awesome I look forward to hearing from you again in the future.

Tim Spaeth
Guest

[quote=mr.pants]Also will Tim be joining the podcast on a semi-regular basis with out the responsibility of being host because I would be glad to continue to hear Tim’s opinions and even though he’s not the host anymore he still is a staple of the podcast in my mind.[/quote]Thanks! If the crew will have me, I’d love to come back as a guest from time-to-time. Mass Effect 3 is one of those games I just HAD to talk about; doing the show was quite cathartic.

Pedro
Guest
Haki: I realise that the two halves of my comment don’t really fit together – I couldn’t resist the admittedly weak and contradictory ‘joke’ about critics being fans at the end. I think that for a lot of people, the more important story was the big soap opera about your relationships with the other characters, and those stories were wound up satisfactorily during the course of the last game. Maybe that was the real story for a lot of folks and the framing story was just a generic save the universe plot to provide momentum and an eventual conclusion to… Read more »
Flo
Guest
(spoilers, obviously) Pedro: To clarify, I don’t think the synthesis option is even ethically debatable because there is no way to predict the outcome, given the very vague explanation by the catalyst. With destroy and control, you have a pretty good idea about the cost and reward and you can make whatever justification based on that information. With synthesis, it’s a gamble on the premise that life as we know it will cease to to exist and be replaced by some form of merged synthetic/oprganic life, which we know nothing about. It’s like forcing meat, wine and tomatoes to happily… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
[quote=Pedro]Anon: the clue is in the names: ‘critics’ are probably a little more detached than ‘fans’. We wouldn’t want critics to actually be fans, otherwise we’d be getting a bunch of 9/10 reviews etc. That would be silly. [/quote] I suppose, Pedro. However, if that is the explantiona, in this case that detachment has led to far more effusive praise for the game and a very conscious glossing over of the problems with the ending. I would argue that if we’re going to even entertain the notion of games as art, endings of trilogies that have enormous logical problems and… Read more »
Pedro
Guest

Anon: the clue is in the names: ‘critics’ are probably a little more detached than ‘fans’. We wouldn’t want critics to actually be fans, otherwise we’d be getting a bunch of 9/10 reviews etc. That would be silly.

Anonymous
Guest
*I don’t think there are any spoilers below but I’m writing about the ending here, so be forewarned anyway.* Hi all, thanks for the discussion. I left this show rather puzzled about two things. First, thank you to all involved. I found this discussion to be entertaining, civil and definitely worthwhile. I would’ve liked some more details on exactly what the guest wanted to see added to the ending to flesh it out. He seemed to have some difficulty articulating that — perhaps for fear of sounding corny, I don’t know. Also, I find Brad Galloway’s brushing off of the… Read more »
Pedro
Guest
Fantastic to see individual games getting this in-depth treatment, and it’s always interesting to hear the different perspectives; thanks folks. Flo That’s quite interesting, because for me the ethical choice was the synthesis option. Obviously the choice was made in the heat of the moment, but the way I looked at it was: the ‘destroy’ option was performing genocide on at least two sentient synthetic races, with the game implying that they’d rise again in any case. The ‘control’ option was the option favoured by the illusive man, who’d been corrupted to some extent and over which there was a… Read more »
aHei
Guest

So happy Tim was present for this episode.

Flo
Guest
Spoiler Alert! Since you’re talking about the ending choices, let me add my thoughts to that. As I’ve stated before, I thought the ending sucked. But the very first thing about it that I spontaneously disliked was the appearance of the starchild/catalyst. The character’s existence alone was ridiculous. Following that came the things he spake, and they weren’t any better. In fact, let me add a quick aside before I get to the choices: Brad said something about long exposition on part of the villain being a bad trope and how he was fine with leaving the reapers’ motives open… Read more »
FidgetyAcolyte
Guest

This is exactly what I wanted to hear after beating ME3–some of my favorite game dudes talking about some of my favorite games.

SPOILERS:

For the record, my favorite Mass Effect moment was in ME1, the Salarian Commander’s “Hold the Line” speech, where he talks about how before the Salarians were accepted as equals despite their limited combative abilities, they still had to be warriors. It was at that point that I realized how invested the game was in its own lore, and that investment carried through.

mr.pants
Guest

Very interesting very informative keep up the good work. Also will Tim be joining the podcast on a semi-regular basis with out the responsibility of being host because I would be glad to continue to hear Tim’s opinions and even though he’s not the host anymore he still is a staple of the podcast in my mind.

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