Educating Keith – Bioshock

Bioshock

Since it was first announced that my first seminal game to broaden my horizons in the world of gaming was announced as bioshock, I must confess to feeling a little pressure. Recently returning to the world of gaming, I’m the first to admit that my skills are not great, my reactions are those of a lobotomised chimp, and to be frank I don’t have a clue what I am doing most of the time. That said, we should perhaps remind ourselves of the reason we play games, it is because we enjoy it. The pleasure gained from playing games should not be inhibited because of our ability. As I often tell my children if you don’t do something regularly you won’t get good at it.

Since fellow monkey Marc had been set a similar challenge to complete bioshock, since he never had, I perhaps rashly decided that I too would complete it as my challenge. I have not finished a game since I got my Xbox 360, though have finished a few angry birds games on my phone, so this challenge has become double edged. To experience a game that everyone should play, and to finish my first real game.

The time had arrived for my challenge to begin, and with it comes part one of my bioshock experience, the first impressions of a novice gamer. I popped in the disc, sorted the update, had the slightly humiliating option of choosing easy, the recommended setting for those new to gaming and watched as my character worked his way to an underwater city. During our nightly battlefield session Ceri asked if I had managed to get out of the water, and for anyone who has played the game, the fact that it was not purely a question of jest should give an indication of my gaming ability. The only other game of a similar vein I had played had seen me fail to get out of the first room, and dismiss it after a frustrating hour and a half.

I’m pleased to announce that I did get out of the water, and must admit to a slight feeling of pride at the ease with which I did it. Aware that I would be writing about my experience I tried to take in the feel of the game, the graphics, gameplay and so on. I have to admit that on all counts I was quite impressed by all of them. I liked the introduction, the retro styling. Of course, as I gather is the way, games with a story start quite slowly, but it did not seem unnecessarily so. With the only games I have really played being battlefield and skyrim I was expecting to be disappointed by the graphics, though this was not the case. Considering the game is five years old I was actually pleasantly surprised. Finally the gameplay seemed simple enough too. Controling the Character was a straightforward process and in no time at all I had a little friend on the radio and had battered by first splicer to death with a good old fashioned monkey wrench. Before long I was opening doors, collecting things, following a golden arrow and generally making progress. Finding the objectives and the hints is easy enough and prevented me from wondering around aimlessly for too long. After what I consider to be a productive session and I had killed the doctor without dying I felt like I had achieved something. After saving the game and switching off it was time to reflect on my first experience of the seminal title that is bioshock.

Apart from rescuing my little radio friends wife and child, I don’t really know what I am supposed to be doing. I’m guessing this is not the sole aim of the game, and in the meantime will continue to wander round not really knowing what I am doing and doing as the little man in the radio tells me. I do this with confidence that it was the same for anyone else playing the game for the first time, not knowing anything about it. At the minute I am collecting everything I see, hoping the diaries are not too important, hacking machines and generally killing everything I see, except for a little girl who I chose to rescue rather than harvest, perhaps the parent in me coming out there. The fact that I was able to get so far in my first sitting is testament to the ease of the controls, the graphics and gameplay. I am probably too early in the game to offer any insight into the story, but at the end of my session I actually looked forward to the next time I pop it on, and for me that is really saying something.

Check back next time, when hopefully I will be writing, not only about my experience of the game, but also how it feels to actually finish a game. So marc, the gauntlet has been cast to the ground with the arrogance of youth that has long since passed me by.

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