Throughout BioWare’s Mass Effect 3, players confront a vast array of unexpected Canadian content in narrative dialogue, settings, and identity development choices. This article examines the overall effects of Canadian content in this immersive video game series. Beginning in Vancouver and ending in London, England, Mass Effect 3 immerses players in world-ending conflicts linked with historical Canadian wartime experiences, which are creatively disguised through inventive science fiction. This game evokes ideas of colonial duty and personal self-sacrifice; players also confront cultural eugenics similar to social Darwinism during World War II. Canadian and queer identities develop in tandem as players consider humanitarian and inclusive possibilities, performing with outer space races in conflict. Players can even personalize their own Commander Shepard by customizing his/her gender, race, and sexuality. During the game, players may pursue intimate relationships with other men, women, or alien non-player characters; these choices are developed as moments of “coming out” that parallel the Canadian content revelations in the game. All of these contemporary identity negotiations create a vastly complex system of video game user-generated performances as players help their Canadian Commander Shepard reshape the universe.


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pp. 43-47
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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