Bioshock

So my bf got me Bioshock for my birthday on Friday.  I'm dumbstruck.  See how awesome his gift to me was?  He really knows how to romance a girl: flowers and a video game! πŸ˜‰

So, I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about this game, because it seriously is, in my opinion, pretty much the best game ever made.  That says a lot.  Here are some things I really like about it.

Storyline:  Arthur Ryan, living in the 1940's in America, was tired of people telling him what to do with himself.  The government told him his work belonged to the state, the Church that it belonged to God, the Communists that it belonged to everyone.  Ryan decided to go a different route, one of radical libertarianism.  He built a secret underwater city, and he invited artists and scientists and composers that were tired of their thoughts being stifled by society.  It was to be safe haven of free thought.  It was called…Rapture.

But eventually, science discovered ways of genetically enhancing people by injecting plasmids into their bodies.  These genetic enhancements were marketed and sold just like toothpaste and window cleaner were sold on the surface.  Not happy with how you look, what you can do, or how unintelligent you are?  No problem!  We've got your solution right here!

Things began to get out of control.  There were no moral boundaries in Rapture.  Plastic surgeons began taking their craft to a new level: to create living pieces of art.  To do to the human body what Picasso did to art.  Instead of patients seeking doctors for their health, doctors looked for patients to express themselves with.  Eventually, it became a dog eat dog world, with everyone taking whatever they could to survive.  Rapture fell into ruin.

You are an ordinary man on a trip to some unknown destination.  Your plane suddenly crash lands in the ocean, and your only route to safety is to crawl onto the huge castle-like structure that's within swimming distance of the wreckage.  You explore, find a submarine, and are sent down to Rapture.

Visual:  I'm not just talking graphics here, although they will blow your mind.  They had a whole team devoted entirely to the water effects in the game.  But what I'm talking about the overall visual feel of the game.  It's set in the late 1950's, and the architecture and music and feel of the game reflects this.  It's very different from what we're used to seeing, especially in video games. It's all broken down, there is vandalism everywhere, and you really get the sense that the ocean is coming in and reclaiming it's lost territory.  Water leaks from practically everywhere.  Morally grotesque slogans written on the cheerful walls in blood.  Yes, it's rated M for mature, but it is done soooo well.

Audio:  The soundtrack is amazing.  Tense, dramatic, like the score of a brilliant film.  Sometimes as you're walking around a loudspeaker will be playing music from the 50's.  If someone is near you, you'll hear them as they babble to themselves incessently.  Or you'll hear the big, clunky footsteps of a Big Daddy as he follows around the Little Sister, looking for dead bodies to suck ADAM from.  The little sister affectionately calls him "Mr. Bubbles."  The audio creates much of the overall feel of the game.

Artificial Intelligence: Long gone are the days of enemies that just come at you when you walk around corners.  No more will they just blindly shoot at you until you shoot them first.  The residents of Rapture are desperate, and will do anything to survive.  They move quickly, evading attacks while shooting you square in the face…often wearing masks to hide hideously "enhanced" faces.  But you don't have to fight them all.  Some won't even bother you unless you get in their way.  You can set enemies against each other and just watch the fight happen without ever being in danger yourself…if you play it right.  There is no set path for you to follow.  Explore at your own will, fight, or don't.  You're limited only by your supplies and your imagination, and no two people will play the game the same way.

Morality:  Honestly, the reason I love Bioshock more than any other game right now is because of this. You're in a morally bankrupt city.  Only the common people are desperate.  You'll meet characters whose view of morality is skewed and perverted to the point of horror.   Times are hard, and you're forced to make quite a few very difficult moral decisions.  Do you settle into Rapture's groove and go along with their perverse morality?  Do you remain principled and risk perishing for what you think is right?  Do you genetically enhance yourself into a monster?  It is very clear in this game that while you make your choices, it is ultimately your choices that make you.

As we get further into the game, you might see posts devoted to specific characters in the game, or moral dilemmas or how the game plays out.  I am thoroughly amazed by this game.

Now that I've talked your ear off, you probably want a more visual demonstration of what the game is all about.  Here, watch these two 7 minute videos that explain what the game is all about and give you a feel for what it's like to play:

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  1. I didnt read it all because I dont want any spoilers.
    But I did watch a co-worker playing the first part of it. And it was damned *creepy*. Not like a FEAR kinda scary, but just creepy in an "I am disturbed" kind of way.
    I think my face was falling off ™ while watching.

  2. Disturbing is pretty much the perfect word to describe it. The details in the game are crazy. When you play it, make sure you look everywhere, notice the things written on the floor and the walls, the signs and the ads for various things…it feels like the whole 50's culture has been warped and perverted. Amazing game.

  3. Yep, disturbing.
    Nose. You. BAMF! πŸ™‚

  4. Happy Birthday!! Sounds like a totally bizarre game.

  5. Thanks! And yeah, it's a masterpiece. Whoever said violent video games are just mindless entertainment that leads to the corruption of our youth never played one like this. πŸ™‚

  6. Makes me want to buy a 360…or at least rent one for a few weeks.

  7. I'm playing it on my PC. πŸ™‚

  8. did you beat the game yet ? i saved all the girls, so my ending's probably different than one if i harvested all the girls….vu

  9. Nah, I'm barely into it yet. Almost to Dr. Steinman is all. πŸ™‚

  10. Shhh, don't tell me that! My wife might miss me if I go incommunicado for a few weeks while I'm holed up at the computer!

  11. Haha, luckily I don't have that problem. Since my bf and I play it together. πŸ™‚

  12. My question is … "Is playing a game like this a moral decision that "makes you"? If so, how? Very interesting.

  13. Haha, a great question!

  14. hey, thats not the only game that has a moral system. virtualy all of the star wars games for the X box have good/bad stuff, and once you start going bad, its hard to get people to stick around long enough for you to help them. (that and its just more fun.) >;)

  15. Very true, but the way this game does it…and the context it puts you in for some reason makes you take it a bit more seriously. Besides, who doesn't want to be a Sith? πŸ˜‰

  16. Libertarianism leads to a preversion of morality? A new twist on the old Frankenstein thread? I think I'll pass on this one. Mary Shelley eat your heart out.

  17. all right, Fable then. that has even more moral stuff than what this seems, because it doesen't try to force your hand. it sounds like in Bioshock, if you try to stick with your aboveground principales, it makes the game harder, and I don't know about anyone else, but who wants to play on easy mode? maybe its just me, but every time a game trys to give me a way out of a boss fight, I take the fight every time. Fable dosent make it easyer or harder depending on which you chose, just gives you places to heal vs. better combat options. and lightstorm, just try Jedi for once. Its WAY more fun. you end up fighting all the enemys you keep letting live again and again. (and you can walk into a Hutt fortress and lay waste to the place. the good guys never gang up on a sith, but you get about two sith and forty sith followers/crimanals at once!)

  18. Radical, perverted libertarianism. Sorry. Must clarify. The whole point of the city was to allow artists and scientists free range without morality getting in the way. The only reason libertarianism came into my head was because of the way the guy framed it (not our government, not the church, not the commies…my work is my own).And yeah, shades of Frankenstein, but if for nothing else, buy this game for the visual and audio feeling. It's awesome.

  19. How did I know Fable would be brought up? ;)I guess I just like how twisted this one is, simple as that. πŸ˜‰

  20. it still sounds good. what is the control scheme? what perspective is it? what is it rated?

  21. It's an FPS, rated M. Very gruesome, but awesome.

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