9 great reads on CNET this week: Mass Effect, Chromebooks, James Bond and more

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A decade or so ago, Mass Effect inspired a whole generation of gamers. Players got to help shape a galaxy-size narrative through the choices they made while playing. Then Mass Effect 3 wrapped up the trilogy in a firestorm of controversy. The ripple effects of that moment are still being felt today, and well beyond the gaming community.

But it’s not all bad. There’s enough rosy nostalgia for the Mass Effect universe — CNET’s Sean Keane calls it “the video game equivalent of the original Star Wars trilogy” — that the games’ makers have just come out with a remastered collection that includes the three games and pretty much all the downloadable content. Yes, they’ve upped their game.

Those are just two of the in-depth features and thought-provoking commentaries that appeared on CNET this week. So here you go. These are the stories you don’t want to miss:

Mass Effect’s ending changed the internet for the worse, and we’re still trying to recover

Commentary: The conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy was the catalyst for a type of online outrage that’s grown ever stronger during the last decade.

Scene from Mass Effect 3


The Chromebook at 10: How these stripped-down computers went mainstream

In honor of the Chromebook’s 10th anniversary, see how this “browser in a box” went from uninspired in 2011 to required in 2021.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebook

Sarah Tew

Being James Bond: How 007 movies got me into intelligence work

Growing up, I lived for James Bond and secret agents. Before I knew it, I was tiptoeing into the world of spies in the thick of the Cold War.

Jill St. John and Sean Connery in Diamonds Are Forever

Mondadori via Getty Images

YouTube has banned almost 40 channels that use the tactic. Disinformation experts say they haven’t seen the ploy used before.

YouTube and QAnon logos

Robert Rodriguez

Swamp Motel’s internet scavenger hunts are the most fun I’ve had all pandemic

Bored by Netflix? Done with Zoom quizzes? Try Swamp Motel’s immersive theatrical mysteries instead.

Swamp Motel image

Swamp Motel

How the homework gap may actually be the key to solving the digital divide

Schools across the country during the past year of distance learning have discovered who has access to broadband and who doesn’t.

School playground in Rockford, Washington

Freeman School District

Come to the deepfake cabaret, where AI drag performers come to play

Fun, mischief, humor and performance throw big questions about AI ethics into the limelight.

Zizi Show

The tiny details that make giant video game worlds believable

Even if you’re just there to kick ogres, an underlying foundation of lore holds it all together.

Scene from Elder Scrolls Online

ZeniMax Media

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remasters your 2007 nostalgia beautifully

Commentary: The remastered trilogy collection simultaneously makes you wistful for a bygone era and gets you hyped for the beloved sci-fi series’ future.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Eden Prime

BioWare/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

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