Tackling the concept of dark energy is pretty difficult, but that doesn’t keep video game makers from cutting some corners and trying.
Bioware, the maker of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, has turned the typical fantasy magic into science fiction by creating something that resembles dark energy.
Even though physicists told Scientific American that the science in Mass Effect is pretty far off, they appreciate the ideas and the interest in science in general.
“I sort of like the idea of having people who could sense [dark energy] and manipulate it,” Davis says. In fact, “one of the reasons we’re studying it is to find some way to manipulate it.” One of the roles of video games and science fiction is to stretch what we know by using our imagination, she adds.
“It’s a fun idea,” Carroll says, adding that introducing gamers to even the concept of dark energy is a step in the right direction. “Someone might hear that term as part of a game and then hear it again in a more scientific context, and that might help them ultimately gain a better understanding of what it is. There’s a tremendous untapped potential in games for incorporating cool science.”
Science fiction and its affect on culture, technology and the world in general has been a topic of conversation for hundreds of years via authors like H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov and in mainstream movies since Metropolis. Scientists even say Star Trek inspired them to pursue teleportation and force field technology.
So even though the science in Mass Effect 2 is far from the mysterious universal force of dark matter, it might inspire some young whippersnapper to pursue science and make breakthroughs in real science.