Now, I love Science Fiction. Specifically, the believable sci fi. I like sci fi that I feel works within the framework of what we know. Star Trek was one of the first to do that for me. Odd, I know, but The Next Generation (TNG for those who don't know) was a true representation of where I feel we, as a species could go. The science was based, in part, on popular concepts in physics of the time. Next came the Halo Series. This series was more dystopian. Humanity as underdogs slowly being eradicated as our colonies fell. Technologically inferior, and fighting back with augmented super soldiers, we were able to end the war, but lost almost everything in the process.
Then...Then something happened. In 2006, I was reading in Game Informer about a game that was being funded by EA. This game was revolutionary in size and scope. Designed from the start as a trilogy, you would play as a human commando as part of an inter-species alliance. You were given freedom to complete missions how you saw fit, and your decisions would have ripples across the galaxy. These ripples would carry over through imported saves to the second and then the third games culminating in an ending that would include all of your prior choices.
In 2008, this game was released. It was titled Mass Effect. This is a game that touched me on many levels. From the intricacy of designing the back-story to the decisions the characters made to the addition of actual eyelashes! This was truly a revolutionary game. Needless to say, I pre-purchased the collectors editions of the next two installments and all the DLC for ME2 and ME3. In the end, I was disappointed by the final 20 minutes or so. But the game is still one of my favorites and I truly think of them as all the same game. The universe is so expansive, so immersive that it feels truly like chapters 1, 2 and 3. I haven't ever followed a universe quite as deeply as I have the Mass Effect Universe. The technology, the history, the ships, the physics, small arms, space combat, politics...I can't get enough of it. What I think truly draws me to the Mass Effect Universe is that I find it believable. As far as I'm aware, the concept of a type of matter capable of altering the properties of space time by manipulating a "mass effect field" thereby increasing or decreasing the mass within the field is possible. This allows Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel, kinetic barriers, personal shielding, and other staple science fiction technologies to exist in a logical, explainable manner. It also means that should such a thing ever be created or discovered, our species could truly achieve feats such as those in the Mass Effect Universe.
There are other technologies in the Mass Effect Universe that we either are developing or have in a more primitive form. Mass Accelerators are already in use for various purposes. The United States Navy is currently prototyping railguns for future ships. Nanotechnology is in the works and AI is being developed. Some of the first people to be genetically engineered are already about 22 years old. Physicists around the world are working to understand a Unified Field Theory, or "theory of everything." Such a discovery would allow the control of gravity in much the same way as Element Zero in Mass Effect. We live in exciting times.