Apr 042009
 

BioShock is the rare game that really does change the way we think about video games, if for no other reason than that it has turned up as an example in almost every discussion of game style, mechanics, story, or design that has been written since its initial release in 2007. BioShock has received excessive adulation, a much-discussed backlash, and even a backlash to its backlash. Discussions of the game spawned the most popular jargon in games writing. So much has been written about BioShock that I could only put my hands on a fraction of the material without driving [Read more…]

Apr 042009
 

BioShock‘s most famous moral choice concerns the fate of young girls who are wandering through the undersea city of Rapture. The player gets to decide whether these girls live or die, and in a game that features a civilization built on the principle of laissez-faire one expects economics to play some kind of role in this decision. Many writers, however, have complained that it does not, and that the choice has too little of an effect on one’s ultimate experience of the game. Leigh Alexander and Bonnie Ruberg, among others, have suggested that something more sophisticated is going on here, [Read more…]

Jan 222009
 

During the course of play, the first-person shooter Bioshock repeatedly presents the player/character with a moral choice. Amidst the ruin of its underwater city, Rapture, a number of small girls wander, girls who possess a resource (ADAM) the player/character desperately needs. Upon defeating the girls’ monstrous guardians, the player can choose to kill (“harvest”) the child, gaining a large quantity ADAM, or he can choose to save the girl, receiving half as much ADAM and a vague promise of future help from another character. If the player saves a “little sister”, he is treated to a short scene in which [Read more…]