A Reflection on Alien Banging
As I am writing about space on the eve of the release of “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” it’s only appropriate that I talk about the thing nearest and dearest to the collective hearts of many Mass Effect fans: banging aliens. “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” “Flash Gordon,” and many more works of science fiction have touched upon humans loving extraterrestrials. Usually the being in question is humanoid enough in appearance that the audience doesn’t question biological compatibility. For example, the beloved Mr. Spock, who has undoubtedly inspired much lust, is half-Vulcan, after all. Pointy ears, green blood, strength, and a “mate or die” mode didn’t pose barriers to some inter-species sexy, fun, times; Vulcans were just different enough to be exotic, for lack of a better word.
For design purposes, and the fantasy of the audience, it makes sense to not explore biological challenges of intercourse. But I also think there’s fun to be had, from a story perspective, in exploring said differences. One of my favorite takes on alien/human romance occurred in “Mass Effect 2.” There, in a rather humorous fashion, the writers actually noted that, however strong the attraction might be, it’s not always a perfect match.
In a conversation between Commander Shepard and Mordin, our favorite scientist Salarian notes some potential issues in Shepard having sex with some crew members. On the milder end of consequences, Shepard could develop a rash, and mild hallucinations from oral contact, in having sexy times with Thane. A romp with Garrus presents the likelihood of chafing and possible anaphylactic shock if “tissue is ingested.” And then there’s Tali who, even with precautions, will likely end up sick, but worst case she could die if she has sex with Shepard. But, hey. She’s super cute, right? Bang away! Consequences be damned!
Then there’s the bachelor party on Illium. Another funny conversation where a mixed group of male-bodied characters enjoy an asari stripper. As one of the group members point out, “Everybody likes the asari.” And why is that? Well, everyone sees the dancer differently. As Shepard, we see the asari through a human lens; the salarian sees a salarian, and the turian sees a turian. Now, given asari can mate with any species, it makes sense they’d want to be able to appear attractive to everyone. One of the group members goes so far to question if the asari might be using mind control to influence other species into liking them. All of this begs the question: What do the asari actually look like? I’m not entirely sure I want to know the answer lest my beloved Liara be ruined forever.
While humor was seemed to be the main drive in having these scenes (Mordin also had some delightful comments on the human love interests), it was still some excellent food for thought for a player on their journey. Just because you can have sex with an alien doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best idea. Yet I suspect that despite potential negative biological consequences, and possible mind control, people will still want to bang all of the aliens—myself included. Asari, you know where to find me!