Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Video Game Bioshock Reviewed Elsewhere

I'm here to tell you about an excellent review of the video game BioShock. I'm not a gamer, and my system couldn't run a game like this, so I haven't played it, but this review made me want to run out and buy a copy even though I couldn't do anything with it once I had it. The review in question is by Thomas L. McDonald and is available at the group blog Catholic Media Review.

The game is, so I understand, about one person (you) who has to escape an underwater city overrun with narcissistic baddies who enhance their genetic codes with weird chemicals. To get away from them, you have to enhance yourself as well and risk losing your humanity in the process. Here's a quote from the review:

As you need more and more of these drugs to progress through the game, you’re forced to make moral choices. You see, roaming throughout Rapture are a chilling pair of creatures: Big Daddy and Little Sister. Big Daddies are huge genetic mutants in heavily armed diving suits. Little Sisters are innocent looking little girls with ponytails, cute little dresses … and giant needles they use to suck the ADAM out of mutants after the Big Daddies kill them.

The Little Sisters are the work a female holocaust survivor, Dr. Tennenbaum, who creates them to produce ADAM. She thought the girls could be used without consequence, but didn’t count on them retaining their childlike characteristics. They’re still little girls, who sing, and laugh, and play. As Tennenbaum says at one point: “I look at genes all day long, and never do I see the blueprint of sin. I could blame the Germans, but in truth, I did not find tormentors in the Prison Camp, but kindred spirits. These children I brutalized have awoken something inside that for most is beautiful and natural, but in me, is an abomination... my maternal instinct.” [more...]

I have long believed video games are a legitimate and unique storytelling medium. According to this review, BioShock manages some serious action in the midst of philosophical musing, excellent writing, and tough ethical choices. Especially, the player must decide whether or not he will kill children. This looks like good sci-fi, so if you have a computer system that can handle a case of BioShock, you should consider getting it.
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