I’ve been looking forward to a video game for about two years now. It’s finally (nearly!) here, and all signs are pointing to “probably gonna be awesome.”
Bioshock Infinite is the newest title in the Bioshock line. Though it’s not part of the original Bioshock timeline, it similarly explores a dystopic society held in remove from the rest of the world, explored by the player, someone from the “regular” world. The experiences are as new to the character as the player.
For non-gamers, a quick summary: Bioshock (the original) was one of the best games I have ever played. It had an interesting concept, cool weapons and powers, and, most of all, a completely immersive storyline. It was everything I wanted in not just a video game, but also a story. It was revolutionary.
In the original Bioshock, the player wandered around the ruins of an underwater city called Rapture. It was a look at what might happen if pure capitalism were allowed to run its course—long story short, it ain’t pretty.
I played that first game so much that I still associate the title screen for the production company (2K) with clutching my controller in the dark, fearful and exhilarated.
Bioshock 2 was an okay game, analyzing some socialistic dystopic ideas in the same underwater city, but it couldn’t touch the sheer power of that first story.
Fans are hoping this newest game will be a return to that original breath-snatching incredulity.
And the cinematic trailer released this month is confirming a lot of those ideas.
Hopefully even non-gamers can feel the intrigue of that trailer. That trailer doesn’t even have any game footage in it (typically a requirement to get any traction with fans) and I’m really looking forward to it. I read a lot of dystopias and I’m interested in a lot of these ideas, but the Bioshock was something different. Video games have an advantage over other media in that the reader/user can literally interact with the environment, allowing a strong story to unfold at the reader’s pace. A good game can do that with optional voiceovers (in Bioshock, you can find audio journals of lost citizens, and choose to play them or discard them), but Bioshock also went above and beyond with their perfectly on-point background music, in-game advertising jingles, and stylized art.
Yes, it was a first-person shooter, so there was a lot of gory fighting, but that wasn’t what made the game outstanding—after all, Bioshock 2 had the exact same fighting, slightly improved, and it wasn’t nearly as fun to play.
No, it’s all about the story.
I love video games, but they’re a secondary medium for me. I hope to get that same overwhelmingly scared-in-the-dark-what-might-happen-next feeling with every book I read, too. And hopefully, along the way, with every book or story I write.