Posted by Sarah L @thesplord
Film reviewer/writer. N00b gamer. Avid sock collector.
Sarah L

I am a few months into my gaming foray. Already I’ve learned a lot, specifically about myself, but more so just about how awesome video games are. Up until this point in my life I’ve merely been a spectator: watching friends or strangers on YouTube play games that I wish I could be playing. But now I’ve become one of them, entering worlds I’d only seen others be apart of, taking part in stories so fantastical it brings much excitement to my relatively mundane existence. With this newfound hobby slowly taking over my life, it’s a wonder I haven’t been deterred yet, because I am simply garbage at video games.

I have a bad habit of starting many games and then jumping back and forth between them, pretty much guaranteeing that it will take me months, possibly years to finish even just one game. But I am (stupidly) proud to say that I have overcome that formula, and in fact just recently beat my very first video game. And that game is BioShock.

This is not my first encounter with the sci-fi/fantasy game, as I have a distinct memory of watching a friend of mine play it back in the day (the day being 2007-2008, around the time of its release). Its horror element was apparent, as was the fact that it looked rather difficult (well to be fair every game looked difficult to me). Cut to a few years ago when BioShock Infinite made its way into everyone’s lives (and took up a considerable amount of it). This time I resorted to my good pal the Internet to find out why the heck people were flipping out over this game (if anyone cares, YouTube lets-player Toby Turner AKA Tobuscus is who I watched play it). Now, it’s my turn to enter the BioShock universe and see what’s so darn great about it (spoilers will abound, because it all needs to be talked about).

I assume most gamers have played or are at least aware of BioShock’s existence and of its most memorable components, the biggest one being the setting. All of it takes place in the underwater city of Rapture, which aesthetically is pretty gorgeous. As an actual inhabitable city, however, it’s not very desirable (at least when your character first arrives there and its crazy citizens are trying to kill you). Unfortunately I’m not super aware of the other games that came out around this time, but it seems to me that BioShock was on its own level of creativity and ingenuity. The world of Rapture and its mysterious founder, Andrew Ryan (clearly a version of Ayn Rand’s name with a few more letters added into it), are enough to draw the player in. But then there’s just everything that you have to go through, from injecting yourself with a variety of plasmids that provide you with special and quite convenient powers to the smaller tasks you are told to carry out by the all too helpful Atlas.

Full discretion: I may have had to start over when I was probably only a quarter into the game, just because, to reiterate yet again, I am just the worst. Starting over was extremely beneficial, since I was slightly more accustomed to the first-person shooter perspective and saw where I needed to finesse my techniques a little bit. Unfortunately that only helped until I got to where I left off, and was left floundering my way through the rest of the game for a good couple of weeks. But now that I’ve come out the other side relatively unscathed, it’s time to sum up what I’ve taken away from this experience.

Number 1: Action/Adventure Video Games Are Better With a Good Twist

I seemed to recall from when I watched my friend play BioShock years ago that Atlas wasn’t actually the helpful voice over you radio that had your best interest at heart. In fact he was Frank Fontaine, a rival of Andrew Ryan’s and someone who was thought to be dead. What I didn’t remember is the fact that the character you’re playing as was genetically grown by Fontaine for the main purpose of killing Andrew Ryan (which you end up doing). Now that you know who the real villain is and are slowly breaking away from his hold over you, you’re able to get to him for the ultimate boss battle.

The twist was fun and certainly kept me engaged in the game. Although my performance in the final boss battle was poor to say the least, I did feel accomplished after finally beating it (but that might have just been because it’s the first game I actually ever beat on my own).

Number 2: Great Video Games Deserve a Great Franchise

After finishing BioShock, I immediately wanted to start playing the second game. Now, I’ve been told repeatedly that it’s actually not worth playing and that I should just skip to BioShock Infinite. While there’s no denying that BioShock Infinite is a great game and I want to play it desperately, I’m still compelled to give the second game a shot. I refuse to believe that the sequel to a wonderful video game wouldn’t at least try to be just as good as its predecessor (being a film buff I do realize that this mindset might be a bit too optimistic).

Number 3: I Should Probably Stop Playing Video Games

Seriously, I’m pretty awful.

Thankfully that won’t stop me from playing more games (for some dumb reason). See you next time when I tell you my experiences playing Dark Souls (yeah…I do realize it’s very hard, I’m just an idiot).