Friday, March 2, 2012


I find myself hard pressed to call myself a gamer for two reasons; 1) modern consoles are bloody-well expensive and I'm too cheap to even bother owning a TV anymore, and 2) My introduction to video gaming was The Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, and Fallout. Let me explain what this means, exactly. 

For years I fell out of gaming, unaware, and disinterested. Then Infamous found me, and I was quickly learned how much fun I was been missing. But, and this a huge BUT, a really damn bit BUTT, and I cannot lie (see what I did there?), my initial leap back into gaming, borrowing my best friend's PS3, growing roots into his couch (I can name several instances he'd come home from classes to find me already there, playing), showed me that I had two problems, a) I didn't have any motor control (7 years without touching a game-controller will do that to you), and b) the storytelling I had learned to expect from Fallout, BG2, and KotOR had spoiled me for life, and there was no going back.

So, being the kind of nerd I am, I keep my eyes out for modern games that might match, in my mind, ye games of ol'. So far ... few have. I reserve this list for Heavy Rain, Silent Hill 2, and Alan Wake, but each with a certain reluctance, some more than others and for different reasons between them all.

So it's interesting how damned excited I am for BioShock Infinite, the release date for which was just announced, a simultaneous release for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on October 16 in North America. Holy frakking shit. I've said before in regards to the Avengers (and other 2012 summer blockbusters) that you cannot judge a product based on the trailers, but Jesus. Maybe I'm just on the Ken Levine bandwagon--is there a Ken Levine bandwagon?--what does it say about me that I automatically assume that there is a Ken Levine bandwagon? For those uninitiated, Ken Levine is the lead designer for the game, and he is a "huge fucking nerd" and should have his own bandwagon.

Perhaps it is kinship, perhaps it is understanding, perhaps it is grokking, but that man speaks to me, with reports of game designers taking inspiration for the story and setting from historical pieces at the turn of the 19th century as well as redesigning the game to reflect the modern day "Occupy" protests, or Levine taking the "unorthodox approach" of allowing the lead voice actors for Booker and Elizabeth, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper to develop script and details of the story alongside their voice work, allowing them to "help define the characters" and deliver "more convincing performances within the game", to the fact that the game is built on ideas of American Exceptionalism in the early 20th Century. 

I am not ashamed to admit that I had to look up what American Exceptionalism was exactly (basically its that idea that Americans are better than anyone else ... seems kind of obvious now that you mention it ....)

Promotional art for Irrational Games' BioShock Infinite.

This is what Ken Levine had to say, "If you think about the founding principles of the United States, if you think about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, what's interesting to me is how two different people can look at the same set of documents by a single group of writers and come away with entirely different opinions about what those writings mean-so different that they're willing to kill each other over them."

And this is a video game!?

In a day and age populated by Call of Duty: Battlefield (did I get that right? better yet, who the frak cares?) the simple fact that some games are turning towards more meaningful plots, drawing from history and current events to create a fanciful yet potentially deep, characterized, AND visually stunning game is cause for frakking celebration. 

That said, I'm going to go play Planescape Torment now, you damn wankers (that's the games industry I'm referring too and anyone responsible for the bloody first person shooter pandemic).

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