Illium (not to be confused with ileum)

Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

Quick note.  Been watching Mass Effect in one of my latest over-the-virtual-shoulder-money-saving-vicarious-gaming-experiences, so I've been soaking up a bit of the ephemera that the marketing of the game has brought about (man, do I want some action figures).  Ran across a poster that's some nice rendering of a main Asari colony.  Problem is the name:  Illium.  You would have thought a company run by doctors (please, please stop calling them The Doctors, though.  If they were medical doctors they'd be out there practicing medicine, reducing suffering and saving lives, not making games) would know that that's a term for a part of the hip bone.  Or maybe this is their private joke?
 
There's also another doctor thing that comes up, because one of the supporting characters in Mass Effect turns out to have a very real medical condition, a genetic disease that prevents the proper development of joints and bone tissue.  The problem is, as he's depicted, he doesn't look like he's really suffering from it to its full extent (as far as I can tell; I realize there's a lot of different manifestations of this disease).  You could argue that modern medical technology would help with some of the issues of the disease, but the fact is, if your joints and bones aren't developed properly in one part of your body, they aren't going to grow right anywhere.  Fixing it means fixing the joint/bone problem itself.  Sorry, I'm being cagey so you won't get it spoiled if you don't know about it, and I don't know all the ins and outs of the disease, so feel free to correct me if you know what disease I happen to be talking about.
 
I guess the point of all of this is that it's great when you put in interesting details and neat sounding names, but don't forget to read up a bit on the terms you're using.  Might actually alienate sufferers of a disease, say, when you mention it but don't accurately depict it.  
 
At least they didn't call the city "Ileum."
 
All that said, Mass Effect is one of the few OVSMSVGEs I've actually looked forward to, like I was watching a good television series.  It's not to say that it's nearly as gripping to watch as it might have been as a properly paced show;  the combat can be alternately tedious and comical to watch, with your buddies doing their best to get their asses killed and shoot at walls, and the constant expository dialog is almost painful to listen to, but this is seriously fun to watch.  What I like is that this is in their own universe, and they seem to have been reading enough from the old playbooks that they've changed things up, making some slightly more ALIEN aliens alongside the blue-skinned playthings and gruff warriors, and the disease I mention above, whether or not it's being shown in its proper light, was a real moment of verisimilitude (they could have easily made a disease up, but it's much more relevant to describe a real disease). They're also willing to recognize the laws of physics they're bending and breaking.  That's all I ask of science fiction, really, is to be sensible about the world we live in, even if it's ultimately fantasy most of the time.
 
Now, back to watchin'.

#1 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

Quick note.  Been watching Mass Effect in one of my latest over-the-virtual-shoulder-money-saving-vicarious-gaming-experiences, so I've been soaking up a bit of the ephemera that the marketing of the game has brought about (man, do I want some action figures).  Ran across a poster that's some nice rendering of a main Asari colony.  Problem is the name:  Illium.  You would have thought a company run by doctors (please, please stop calling them The Doctors, though.  If they were medical doctors they'd be out there practicing medicine, reducing suffering and saving lives, not making games) would know that that's a term for a part of the hip bone.  Or maybe this is their private joke?
 
There's also another doctor thing that comes up, because one of the supporting characters in Mass Effect turns out to have a very real medical condition, a genetic disease that prevents the proper development of joints and bone tissue.  The problem is, as he's depicted, he doesn't look like he's really suffering from it to its full extent (as far as I can tell; I realize there's a lot of different manifestations of this disease).  You could argue that modern medical technology would help with some of the issues of the disease, but the fact is, if your joints and bones aren't developed properly in one part of your body, they aren't going to grow right anywhere.  Fixing it means fixing the joint/bone problem itself.  Sorry, I'm being cagey so you won't get it spoiled if you don't know about it, and I don't know all the ins and outs of the disease, so feel free to correct me if you know what disease I happen to be talking about.
 
I guess the point of all of this is that it's great when you put in interesting details and neat sounding names, but don't forget to read up a bit on the terms you're using.  Might actually alienate sufferers of a disease, say, when you mention it but don't accurately depict it.  
 
At least they didn't call the city "Ileum."
 
All that said, Mass Effect is one of the few OVSMSVGEs I've actually looked forward to, like I was watching a good television series.  It's not to say that it's nearly as gripping to watch as it might have been as a properly paced show;  the combat can be alternately tedious and comical to watch, with your buddies doing their best to get their asses killed and shoot at walls, and the constant expository dialog is almost painful to listen to, but this is seriously fun to watch.  What I like is that this is in their own universe, and they seem to have been reading enough from the old playbooks that they've changed things up, making some slightly more ALIEN aliens alongside the blue-skinned playthings and gruff warriors, and the disease I mention above, whether or not it's being shown in its proper light, was a real moment of verisimilitude (they could have easily made a disease up, but it's much more relevant to describe a real disease). They're also willing to recognize the laws of physics they're bending and breaking.  That's all I ask of science fiction, really, is to be sensible about the world we live in, even if it's ultimately fantasy most of the time.
 
Now, back to watchin'.

#2 Edited by Bigandtasty (3204 posts) -

Naming a city after a hip bone is rather silly but isn't that big of a deal, whether or not it is intentional.
 
...But I assumed that character's disease was fictional. »_»

#3 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@Bigandtasty: Yeah, I had to look it up to be sure.  It's an alternate name for...  well, I put the link up.  It's terribly debilitating, so it's an accomplishment for him to get as far as he did.  I won't belabor the disease angle, since they may actually have an accurate depiction as far as I know.  It just felt like they emphasized his legs too much, without talking about the reality of the general condition.
 
As far as the hipbone thing, I take it as far as it goes.  But it sorta takes you out of the mood when you imagine a hip bone as their planetary flag :)
#4 Posted by RagingLion (1368 posts) -

I have no idea what disease and who you are talking about there.  I mean I did play Mass Effect about 18 months ago but it's not ringing any bells.  Glad you're enjoying it, though.

#5 Posted by GamerGeek360 (1959 posts) -

You do realize they both have medical degrees right? They both graduated from medical school and starting making little games on the side and decided they were going to start a gaming company. Anyways, I believe they know what they are talking about. Also, Mass Effect is one of the coolest games I have ever played.

#6 Edited by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@GamerGeek360: Yes, and that's my point.  I think calling them "the doctors" all the time is a pretense, since there are plenty of other people in all kinds of fields who are actually practicing medicine in addition to what they're doing, while these guys are just making games and just happen to have medical degrees.  I'm a title hound as much as the next person, but can they at least be called by their last names in addition to their titles?  It would feel less like a comic book.
 
I don't think they're the only ones writing, they're more like producers and directors.  It may not be their doing that they describe the disease in a way that isn't accurate (since it seems to only affect his legs, like I was talking about earlier, it doesn't act like the real disease, which would be the whole body), but I think it's too easy for some to assume they're right just because of their titles.
 
Mass Effect continues to be fun to watch, I only hope the space exploration gets a more attention for the sequel; that looked like one of the coolest parts, just exploring stuff.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.