A newly discovered Easter egg on the Amazon Echo is a direct reference to the popular sci-fi video game Mass Effect, which was stumbled upon by a Reddit user.
Apparently, Alexa, the Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant, is a fan of Mass Effect and no one knew. Out of the many, many responses programmed into the device for the myriad questions users have for it, one specific question will trigger a response that references the Mass Effect series.
For those unfamiliar with the various AI gadgets on the market, the Echo is one developed by Amazon that can answer questions, order products, play music, and control various smart home devices.
When a user asks Alexa: “Does this unit have a soul?” It will reply with a familiar greeting: “Keelah se’lai, my friend” This is a common phrase uttered numerous times throughout the series by the Quarian race; most often by crewmate Tali-Zorah nar Rayya or Tali, to her friends. At one point she attempts her best translation of the phrase, which she says means “By the homeworld I hope to see someday.”
As for the trigger phrase, “Does this unit have a soul?”, it was a question posed by the Geth, a race of networked artificial intelligence created by the Quarians, to their creators. It didn’t sit well with the Quarians that their machines were becoming sentient and they attempted to exterminate the Geth, initiating a lengthy and bloody war.
It’s unknown how long the Easter egg has been there, or even how it was first discovered. Since it’s not uncommon for people to ask virtual assistants questions rooted in popular culture, it’s assumed a fan of the video game series must have tested it on Alexa for a lark and their experiment bore fruit. References from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey are particularly popular amongst the various AI companions, and also deals with machine sentience.
The timing of this discovery couldn’t have been better, as information on the newest entry into the franchise, Mass Effect: Andromeda, has been flooding news channels in the last week – the most exciting of which is an official release date for the game.
Additionally, fans were recently treated to a new gameplay trailer that shows off a volcanic planet players will be visiting. We also learned that Mass Effect: Andromeda will not have a Season Pass, which is an unusual, albeit welcomed, move.
Finally, the series producer discussed the impact the game’s multiplayer would have on the single player story campaign and BioWare promised to reveal more information about the multiplayer beta later this month.
Any gamers still debating which virtual assistant to invest in may have just found a device they can get behind. For Mass Effect fans, it’s a no-brainer. Keelah se’lai, Alexa.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is scheduled for release on March 21, 2017 for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.