Geekly Speaking About… “The Commander Shepard Challenge”

Does a Shepard by any other gender kick as much ass? We're about to find out...

If you’ve been listening to our “Geekly Speaking About…” podcasts, you’ve probably heard co-editor Jillian Pullara and me talking about Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series of games from Bioware. While she’s mostly played the PC game version and I rocked the Xbox 360 version, we both have a similar sensibility towards the main character in that we think she totally kicks ass. Lowell Greenblatt also loves playing Commander Shepard and thinks that he’s got a real compelling story to tell.

But the problem between us is that our Commander Shepards are different genders. And that got us to thinking: Could playing the character in the Bioware game as the opposite of your preferred gender change your perception of the game?

Reference links and show notes, after the jump:

  • Link dump ahoy! Here’s the PC Gamer editorial by Kim Richards, Kotaku’s coverage, and finally the Penny Arcade comic and newspost.
  • It’s also interesting to note that according to this newspost that Jerry Holkins has never played a male Shepard, saying: “I’ve made it pretty clear that I tend to play women in Bioware games – Shepherd (sic) is not now, nor has ever been, a man.  I don’t know who the dude traipsing around in the commercials is; a jerk, most likely.”
  • Here’s the most recent information about the Mass Effect movie adaptation. And speaking of movies, here’s the IMDB page for Doomsday, the movie that Lowell referred to when he was speaking about wooden female action heroes.
  • I messed up: Sarah Michelle Gellar originated the role of Kendall Hart, who was Erica Kane’s daughter on the AMC soap “All My Children,” for which Gellar won a Daytime Emmy. And then she became Buffy.
  • And once again, that snazzy intro to the podcast was “Roma Pt. 2” by greyguy, which I found on

Is your Commander Shepard female or male, and why? Would you be willing to play as the opposite gender for a while? Why or why not? We welcome all answers and feedback in the comments.