An unexpected thing happened to me yesterday. I am something of a gamer - certainly not hardcore but not casual either. I like rpgs, action games, open world games, games in which you can adventure and explore. I don't complete many games either, the number of which you could probably count on my fingers and toes with one or two left spare.
I completed Mass Effect 3 yesterday, having completed the previous two and carrying forward my Commander Shepard each time. And I mourned the end of that trilogy, the passing of Shepard, who I had defeated Saren and Sovereign with, whom I beaten back Cerberus and the Collectors... and with whom I found a final solution to the Reaper purges. She lost friends, made hard decisions, sacrificed those she cared for. She fought and killed, saved and let go, laughed and cried, loved and lost. And I did those things with her.
I mourned the ending of the Mass Effect saga with the same level of mourning that I feel when I finish a books/series of books with which I have fallen in love. Erikson's Malazan series, the first Thomas Covenant trilogy, Tanith Lee's Night's Master, I could go on. Each of those and so many more, have left me bereft - the chance now gone; to adventure beyond my mind and imagination into another realm, to struggle, to live and die and compete, to be somewhere and someone else entirely. I mourn that there isn't more to discover, more to see, hear, taste and experience with all the mind's senses.
I never expected it from a game before.
Commander Shepard. My Commander Shepard.