Unwinnable Monthly – May 2018

This is a reprint of the Letter from the Editor from Unwinnable Monthly #103. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.

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What you have before you right now is a bit of a hostage situation.

Discussion of that old chestnut, Mass Effect, comes up pretty often in the Unwinnable Slack, particularly in regards to the romantic subplots. So often does this particular conversation rear its head that the gang started to clamor for a theme issue devoted to the mushy bits of the Mass Effect series. I told them no.

I find I have nothing to say about Mass Effect. More to the point, I don’t have much desire to read about Mass Effect. As one of the major videogame series of the previous hardware generation, complete with an industry-shaking controversy following its conclusion, the game’s got plenty of column inches at every outlet. Six years later, to my eye, the once rich vein of Mass Effect takes was strip-mined long ago.

Alas, Team Unwinnable is a surly lot, unused to taking no for an answer, so during our last subscription drive, someone, who shall remain nameless (because I don’t remember who the culprit was), floated the idea on Twitter as a reward for hitting our goal. Unfortunately, a lot of folks seemed to like the idea and, well, how can I say no to our readers?

Here, then, is your Mass Effect theme issue.

I handed over (most of) the reins to the team. “I’m just doing the layout,” I told them, sure it was going to be a disaster. When I gave them the thumbnails for the cover art, the gang went back and forth with no end in sight; design by committee is never fun. When they were evenly divided between two final options, they cut the baby in half and just asked the artist, the extremely accommodating Tina L. Collier, to lay them on top of each other. Shockingly  –  well, you’ve already seen the cover  – it’s pretty hot.

I admit, too, having read the stories, that the gang managed to find some chunks of ore left in the old Mass Effect mine. They glittered so fine that even an old grump like me enjoyed reading them.

Sara Clemens starts us off with a gob-smacking poem devoted to Legion. Yusseff Cole digs into that controversial ending to find insight into our collective fears about artificial intelligence. Rob Rich revisits the first game and finds it wanting in surprising ways. Corey Milne goes on location in the Citadel to cover some breaking news. Khee Hoon Chan laments the lack of romantic options for Urdnot Wrex. Gavin Craig expresses his relief that among a crew of child-like characters, at least Thane was an adult (sort of). David Shimomura investigates the hypocrisy at the heart of Cerberus. Finally, Melissa King devoted hours of study to create a quiz that determines who your FemShep’s 100% straight, totally platonic and not at all gay gal pal should be.

As ever, it’s an eclectic and thought provoking mix. I doubt there has ever been a mutiny in history that has produced such pleasing results. Well done, gang.

Of course, we still have our regular columnists (at least, the ones that didn’t abandon their posts for the theme). Meg Condis leads us off with a look at The Problem with Apu. Astrid Budgor delivers a hefty crop of new metal worth your attention. Brock Wilbur turns his eyes to Mass Effect’s dark hearted cousin, Dead Space. Matt Marrone has questions about Dexter. I have problems with Lovecraft (again). Finally, Adam Boffa looks at the continued, unfortunate relevance of the 2008 Ridley Scott film Body of Lies, ten years on.

I’ve rattled on long enough. Go forth! Read your Mass Effect essays! See if I care!

Stu Horvath
Kearny, New Jersey
May 13, 2018

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