So I’m just going to say this up front: this is going to be a weird post to write. I’ll do my best to keep it easy for you, but even getting these first few sentences out has been a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated.
My last post here was written on Friday, March 29th; I had intended to write a more critical, spoiler-laden post about Bioshock Infinite but wasn’t quite ready to do it, and so I half-assed a post about iOS games and Tiger Woods 14 instead. Still, Bioshock Infinite was running around in my brain, and I figured I’d maybe play the opening again over the weekend and see if I could start putting my thoughts into some order.
My wife went into labor Saturday evening, and my son was born on Sunday morning, March 31st.
Since then, I’ve been in this delirious, sleep-deprived haze of feedings, diaper changes and naps. Taking care of a newborn is not unlike maintaining a very delicate plant; or, to put it another way, it’s a lot like some sort of free-to-play resource management sim where everything is on a timer – 3 hours until next feeding; prepare a 2 oz bottle; press A repeatedly to burp; change diaper; very slowly put baby back in crib for nap; race back to bed, set alarm, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I don’t mean to diminish the experience of having a baby by comparing it to Farmville, of course; there is no happier sensation in the world for me right now than in those post-feeding, post-diaper-change moments where I get to hang out with him, have him sit on my lap and hold my fingers with his tiny hands and watch him take in the world around him. It is bliss.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been.
As you might imagine, there’s been very little gaming in my life over the last few weeks. I’ve played a few more rounds of Tiger Woods 14 during naptimes – the game is still very good, and even though I’ve already run into some paywall issues the game lets me get around it relatively unscathed. I’ve also gotten back into Super Mario 3D Land, which I’d put down when I’d gotten into Etrian Odyssey 4 a few weeks back.
I’ve also started replaying Bioshock Infinite in an attempt to see if the revelations of the ending change the way I approach the beginning. You know what? It has changed – it’s kinda dumb, now. Let’s just take the very beginning as an example. That amazingly creepy lighthouse that you ascend at the beginning? It doesn’t make any sense anymore. The first time you do it, after seeing that blood-stained note on the door and then the dead body on the 2nd floor – you get creeped out, you want to know what’s going to happen next. But the second time? After you know what you know? It doesn’t make any sense. Why is that note on the lighthouse door so threatening? Who is that dead body – why was he killed, and who killed him, and since there’s a still-lit cigarette next to his corpse, where is the killer, anyway?
The world of Columbia is still the best thing about the game, but I’m finding myself very disappointed in almost everything else about it. The action still feels obligatory, lazy, and not really all that fun; the fact that nobody else uses vigors besides you feels downright nonsensical; and the fiction – the reason we get excited about the Bioshock brand in the first place – simply doesn’t hold up for me the second time around. These games really just ought to be subtitled: HUBRIS IS BAD.
At some point I’ll get around to writing this in greater detail, but it’ll have to wait until I’m a bit less sleep-deprived and a bit more level-headed and coherent. In the meantime, there’s been some outstanding writing about the game by people who do it much better than I do, and I’ll link to them below:
- Joseph Bernstein (Buzzfeed): “Why We Can’t Talk about Bioshock Infinite”
- Tom Bramwell (Eurogamer): “The Hall of Heroes: BioShock Infinite’s Fort Frolic?”
- Kirk Hamilton (Kotaku): “BioShock Infinite is Insanely, Ridiculously Violent”
- Leigh Alexander: “Now Is The Best Time”
- Alex Navarro (Giant Bomb): “Infinite Judgment”