Apr 162013

The discussion around BioShock Infinite‘s combat doesn’t just involve the question of whether its quantity of violence is essential to the story (yes), or whether telling a story where its quantity of violence is essential is interesting or worthwhile (no). Some of the discussion has centered around the question of whether the combat mechanics are any good. Eric Schwarz has written a fantastic post that describes most of the combat mechanics, and I want to expand on it a little. Even though I think violence helps to express the kind of character Booker is, I don’t think the combat systems of [Read more…]

Apr 082013

One of the problems with stories that use the concept of multiple universes is that the word “multiple” doesn’t even begin to describe the scale of existence. Consider, for instance, the universes in which I just reached through the internet and handed you a cookie (hope you like pistachio sandies!). Now, in the context of known physical laws, this is an extremely unlikely event, so much so that if you were to try to write out the probability by putting down a 1 and writing zeroes in front of it, you could go the whole lifetime of our universe without [Read more…]

Jul 192012

Who built Dubai? Officially, the Sheik built it, and if one accepts Great Man historiography perhaps it’s even true. A person more dedicated to the facts would say that Dubai was built by slaves, men lured to the capitalist mirage by promises of good wages for hard work who found only the latter waiting for them. A city is more than steel and glass, however, and the sick, stratified society of Dubai was not constructed by the men and women who toil hopelessly in its lowest tier. That system was made by those for whom the laborers are invisible. So, [Read more…]

Feb 242010

During the initial hype cycle for BioShock 2, the game had the subtitle “Sea of Dreams”. The player can find a recording in Siren Alley that ties this name into Dr. Sofia Lamb’s view of Rapture itself. The world’s brightest and most creative minds were drawn to Ryan’s underwater would-be utopia, each trying to remodel its world to fit their own desires. BioShock drew much of its power from depicting the ways those dreams could grow out of control and become malignant obsessions. The sequel, in contrast, builds its world from the dreams that died. In many ways, the subject [Read more…]