Angry Robot

Thoughts on 08/19/07

So a lot was going on in the gaming world this past week for me. I played the Bioshock Demo which blew me away and then followed where I had been blasted to and proceeded to kick my ass full of awesome until I exploded into the sky in a burst of chaotic joyful and was left weeping in a huddled mass at the end of one of the best demos I’ve ever played. Am I buying that game? Hells yes.

Now, it’s pretty much safe to say that lots of people are digging on Bioshock and are advising others to pick it up and play it. So me convincing anyone to buy it is pretty much moot. And if you don’t see the merit of this title and think of it as simply “another shooter” (as a co-worker said to me after playing the demo to which I just sat aghast and appalled) then I can only pity you.

Yes, Bioshock is a shooter. But it’s the first shooter I’ve picked up and played and thought NOTHING of the multiplayer aspect in a long while. I never during playing said to myself “wow this combat would be great in multiplayer I wish I could play that instead” because Bioshock is not “just another shooter”. The story is what’s important. There is this awesome alternate world to explore and survive in and try to find out what the hell happened. And while doing so you get to use awesome powers that shoot out of your hand in insane mixtures of torturing delight. Anything that let’s me set someone on fire so that they jump into water to which I then inject with electric mayhem is awesome and I love it solely on the principal. The fact that I get to experience a unique and truly delightful approach to political and scientific freedoms of expression in the 1950’s kicks bawls.

The sound design is intense, the art design is beautiful in its decadence torn apart look, the Big Daddys are a nightmare, and the Little Sisters are the nightmare’s twisted incest skeleton in the closet (when she talks you hear both a sweet young voice AND a husky freaky rumble, it’s awesome!). The fact that I don’t have to save anything and I get revived with no level reset is so cool, I die in a fight then go jump right back in. It’s like the Sands of Time with no pesky sand collection.

I’m just really pleased with the experience and it’s totally in the vein of great games that can fit into genres and comparisons but they have a little something different, something that keeps you wanting to explore further while having a great time doing so. Bioshock does that for me. It makes me curious and gives me enough firecracker awesome fun along the way to keep me wanting more. It’s not just another shooter, it’s a cool story and the way I’m being told this story makes me very, very happy.

Now, moving onto another story that I know I’ll be obsessed with, Heavenly Sword. Last week in the podcast I spoke of my undying love for this title even though the demo was two seconds long. This week I (along with the many gaming masses) was alerted to the presence of the hilarious and ingenious Yahtzee creator of Zero Punctuation on The Escapist.

This guy tickles my fancy to a degree the likes I’ve not felt since my first foray into the Arcades of Copper Delight. I immediately went to watch his reviews of The Darkness and Fable: The Lost Chapters. I love this guy but watching his take on the HS demo made me feeling slightly sad about how giddy and gaga I get over game hype and all things “what I think will be awesome”. I mean, there are plenty of critical people out there who can wittily maim and make fun of things I want to take seriously and I am fine with that. I really just think that people like me, people who like to drift along the waves of hype til game release are a breed who just like to dream of the possibilities, to hope for them.. “I want this game to be awesome therefore it will be” type of thing. See it’s like a suspension of disbelief. Yes, Nariko looks non-Asian but has the Asian name. When I see that kind of oddity I just let it go (unless it’s really, really bad) and accept that in this new age of cross-culture pollination people with various backgrounds are getting together to make games and they all have histories and they all have personal affiliations and these things bleed down into content. That’s just the way it is and it’ll only get worse (or better) as time passes. Global Village meet Global Wok. The “twing-twang” thing: My suspension simply said to me “She either means be a look out, or use a crazy cool combat move with a silly name…or possibly some sort of song…with an instrument…that hopefully can kill with a certain note…”.

So anyway, the point here is I enjoy games and the way games speak to me. I don’t get too nit picky over game mechanics (unless they totally suck) I don’t get all huffy when a game doesn’t change the world for me. Like Fable, I didn’t like it for the longest time, then I just sat and played through it and yes it wasn’t amazing but I had fun while I played it and enjoyed it for what it was. It’s like some times you want to watch Conan The Barbarian but sometimes you have to settle for Conan The Destroyer instead. Yes, The Destroyer is mostly bawls, but seeing Grace Jones with a giant staff and metal head plate? Well, that makes it an iota above unwatchable. Grace Jones kicks tits and if you’ve got a probllem with that then you probably didn’t like the Bioshock Demo either so, again, you have my pity.

To sum up, yes I like hype and yes I get tickled because games let me imagine and adventure and have fun. Do I get excited when I think I’m going on a cool adventure? Hell yeah man. Hell frackin yeah.

I’m gonna be blabbing like this more often from now on hopefully on a daily basis. Basically, I’m only going to talk about stories and things that come up in the gaming world that interest me, not the big headlines because we all know those as soon as they happen anyway. I’m just going to point out some things here and there that I think need a closer look or that spark some sort of idea in my head.

And now, back to Thunderhorse…