Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
The original Mass Effect was one of my entry-points to RPGs, a genre I'd bounced-off-of throughout the 90s. But Mass Effect's sci-fi, Star Trek and 2001 trappings held my interest even as the indifferent combat and dull planet-exploration did their best to convince me that I should call it quits.
Mass Effect is nowhere near as good a game as what followed, yet I still think it has many of the series' absolute best moments. Not just the part where you meet a "loose cannon" security officer named Garrus on the Citadel, but an increasingly grim expedition into a derelict science lab overrun by its own creations, the bitter showdown on Virmire where one of your best party members comes face-to-face with salvation for his species… only to be told that he can't have it.
Mass Effect gave the series high stakes and a sense of grandeur that the following games profited from, but none are quite as successful as creating that feeling of wonder and discovery that characterizes the original Mass Effect at its best.