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How Bioshock Infinite Revolutionized Video Games
by Adrian Chmielarz on 04/12/13 12:14:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


It is not what you think. On the surface, Bioshock Infinite is an artistic and, it seems, a commercial success. It has a Metacritic score of 95%, and sold well over a million copies in the first week.

But this is not where the story ends.

I’ve played the game and felt the urge to write about its issues even when I was just five minutes in. Then I’ve played it to the end. The breathtaking finale helped a bit, but the game suffered from so many issues that the ending wasn’t able to wash away the bitter taste in my mouth. Let’s just say that instead of feeling like writing another blog post, I felt like writing a book.

But that’s the key here. I’ll get back to that.

I went to the Internets and read the discussions. The universal praise for the game’s visuals. The posts about Elizabeth being the best sidekick in the history of games. The standing ovation for the quality and depth of the story.

I felt like a protagonist of a Kafka’s novel. Are you familiar with the annoying “I can’t be the only one who…” that opens up a lot of online discussions? I did not need to ask myself this question. It simply felt like I was, indeed, the only one.

But when I dug a bit deeper, it turned out that no, I was not the only one. It was a silly assumption anyway, as there’s always someone on the Internet who agrees with you. Anyone who discusses anything can always find a link that supports their point of view.

But it wasn’t a question of finding some obscure, random nerd rage posts. Critical articles and posts were popping up in all kinds of high profile places: from NeoGAF through Kotaku to to Gamasutra. Hell, it was not longer just about the gaming scene: even the infamous Hulk Critic stepped in.

It was no longer a child crying out, "But the emperor isn't wearing anything at all!". It was a crowd.

Thomas Grip, the lead designer behind Amnesia performed an autopsy. Brainy Gamer has realized it's the end of an era. Daniel Goldin disagreed with the message. There are three paragraph reviews, heck, even one paragraph ones that expose the core problems with the game. There's even a short Interactive Fiction game that can teach us more game design than many books. And no, Elizabeth is not the best sidekick ever.

So… What’s the point of this here post? To prove that Bioshock Infinite is not a good game?

A side note. We have no idea if Bioshock Infinite is indeed the game that Ken Levine and the gang wanted to make, or if it’s the result of a compromise between the dream and the harsh reality of the market and deadlines. Of course, nearly every game in existence is such a compromise, but it’s also a matter of proportions.

Never mind, though. We got what we got for our sixty dollars.

But if you think this is about hating on Infinite here, then you could not be more wrong. There is not a single piece of art that everyone likes. Some people find “Mona Lisa” boring, Picasso is “pretentious”, and “Django Unchained” is the worst movie ever.

When you play Bioshock Infinite, it can be the experience of your lifetime. I don’t know that. Even though I dislike Metacritic, the game’s score is not an accident. If you played the game and loved it, great. If you haven’t played it yet, buy it.

The question of whether Infinite is good or bad is not the point.

The point is that Infinite has ignited a discussion on game design like no other game before. Bad games are unable to do that. Bad games are bad games, and we lash out at them and forget about them the next day.

The only way a game is able to ignite a deep, long lasting discussion is either when it’s a milestone in gaming, or when it’s like a passive aggressive alcoholic: a loving father and husband by day, and a monster by night. Just like Infinite.

Each time Infinite melts our hearts, it follows up with a big slap. I could write about it all day long, or I can quote this tweet:

“Bioshock Infinite: an exploration of racism, religion & American exceptionalism told through the eyes of a man who eats garbage sandwiches” - Kumail Nanjiani

So yeah, it’s not the best game ever. But Infinite has revolutionized games. We do not see it yet, but it did.

AAA world appreciates Journey, but no one is thinking how to use its lessons in their own game, really. “It’s a cute little downloadable title that commercially did okay, at best”. No one is making their own The Walking Dead. “They’re just successful because of the license”. No one is redesigning their game based on their experience with To the Moon. “Honestly, I have not played it, the RPG Maker graphics are too much”.

Not yet. All these games were not enough. The resistance is strong.

I talked to quite a few AAA developers about Infinite, and I’ve heard all kinds of insults and laughs. “Hipster designer”, “armchair critic”, “out of touch with reality”. At best, their defense of the game was based on statements like “but other games do this too”.

Bioshock Infinite

Marie Antoinette never actually said that, but the anecdote describes the situation well. On the eve of the French Revolution, the French queen uttered upon hearing peasants' complaints that there wasn't enough bread to go around: "Let them eat cake."

The studios are being closed left and right, the games are not selling, but no, it’s not because of our designs. It’s the mobile, it’s the crisis, it’s the end of the console cycle. And Bioshock Infinite is the bestest game ever.

But… Not all designers agree. Not all journalists. Not all gamers.

Two weeks after I have finished the game, I am still thinking about the game and how it affects the future. A lot of us are. I’m not sure if we – the gaming world – ever had this kind of discussion before. Of course, we did talk about games, but there was this separation of gamers and journalists, designers and critics.

Not anymore. This time it all feels different. The crowd demands more from the emperor.

This is a good thing.

There’s just something in the air, isn’t there? A change. It’s like that first day of Spring: still cold and grey, but the air smells different.

I wrote a pretentious little post half a year ago, when I was hit in the face with this side of gaming I always kind of ignored. But it was all about indie gaming. This time, it’s bigger than this. Bioshock is an AAA juggernaut, and thus even more influential.

There will be a day when an AAA title appears and does not suffer from gamisms implemented without understanding how they poison other elements of the experience, or without the ludonarrative dissonance plugged in just because game making is harder without it.

And it will owe a bit to Bioshock Infinite. Because this game gave us a taste of heaven, and now there is no turning back.


The original version of this post appeared on our studio's blog at

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Eric Schwarz
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BioShock Infinite is the Lost of videogames. By presenting a completely vacant, hole-filled, self-contradictory, rule-less story which doesn't make any sense under the slightest examination, yet every error can also be explained away using "quantum!" and other such things, Irrational Games have effectively built a game whose story cannot be understood - and therefore is doomed to eternal discussion. This is not because it is clever, or especially interesting, or even good - it's simply because every attempt to analyze it results in more questions.

When we say it is going to "change the videogames industry forever" I desperately hope that what will change is the reliance on faux-intellectualism and paper-thin portrayals of serious social and political issues without actual discussion, exceptionally boring and generic gameplay, stories which are 95% pointless filler which attempt to then fish out some semblance of depth and meaning in their remaining 5%, and game setting and world design which has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the play mechanics.

Ian Uniacke
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I did make the same comparisons. The big difference to me was: Lost came first, so Infinite is kind of derivative (and depending on your view point therefore less valuable?). Lost did cover some interesting themes well and at least tried to provide some gravitas to them. Lost had great memorable characters.

I won't get into an argument as to whether Lost is good or not but Infinite seems like a poor man's Lost to me (that you watch while you're replaying Doom 2).

Chris Nash
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BioShock is just another death-porn murder simulator. They should've named it "BioShock: Infinite Manslaughter". It just the same as a game we were all playing years ago: Half-life.

Dale Craig
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I play a lot of video game. I teach game design and so I have the luxury of "playing" games while watching the design unfold. Bioshock Infinite was one of the rare games I dreamed about after playing all day. Why?

Forced into the mechanics of a shooter with resources found, levels progressed etc, in order to capture the AAA market I understand. But I keep remembering a point in the game where Elizabeth took Booker's hands, placed them around her throat, and said "You cannot let them take me back." Out of the blue; which later linked to the larger story.

Social issues, as illustrated in Bioshock Infinite, are cheap and easy to do. Other games have also introduced the issues of racism and poverty. However, these topics only work if there is way to effectively communicate them with the reader/player. This is one of the things (I believe) attempted by Bioshock Infinite; developing a way to connect with the player.

We have a long (several hundred years) tradition behind the Novel as a way to express ideas that move people. We are still finding our way in video games. Indie games can take chances that mainstream games might envy but cannot afford to take. I agree with this article and particularly the conclusion. Bioshock Infinite, for all it's flaws, moves the genre ahead. Even a few steps is progress.

Luis Guimaraes
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I'm actually finding it to be a step backwards from the original. Too many important things have been simplified or just outright cut from the working formula.

No Stealth

Even the lesser sibling Bioshock 2 still kept the stealth action of the game intact, why on earth would you take the best part of the game away in the "super awesome" sequel? They could have given us some teleport tears to switch around the level. Would have been awesome to plan attacks from any desirable angle, plant traps everywhere, take a few enemies out with melee and then start the all-out insanity, or bait them around mid-combat and use more traps in less straight-forward ways.

But no, there's nothing of stealth anymore except for very sparse situations where sniping them or placing traps around is all the planing that can go on as trying a backstab approach is not possible in the sequel because they will notice you if you get close.

Risk vs. Reward

The simplistic "stealing things" mechanic felt like it was there to serve as fix for the lack of the passive and powerful Big Daddy that you had to decide if, when and how would it be a good move to try to engage them in combat.

No Greed

I miss the "greed" feel that came with storing health-packs, eve, strong ammo types, cameras, turrets, and the best of all, detectives. But with only two weapons, no crafting and no hacking, the player just can't acquire anything quantifiable beyond money.

Ammo is never a problem as you always have lots of coin to spend and vending machines are everywhere. You never had to decide weather you destroy that turret or hack it for when you come around, or if you keep the health station for use to harvest it to grab the health pack and go away. You also never happen to carry a recipient around with telekinesis so you can collect it's important lot latter when you make room for it. There's very little choice to make.

That's even sadder because the game had an awesome feature that could make it so much interesting to play: the Tears.


The tears could certainly bring in the existence of a super cool "the lost room" place to use as a greed fix for players like me that are always playing as if "the winter is coming". That could even make the 2 weapon limit into something good, but the arbitrary choice without good counter-balance just make the game a lot mindless.

The "sometimes I escape there" and "I'm not sure if I just open the doors or create the places" quotes from Elizabeth could be quite reinforced with the existence of a special place too, specially if the room had a window that let you see the beach, or the Eiffel Tower maybe...


Making it that you could only switch gear in the safe room would also make a lot more sense. Add custom gear to Elizabeth that affect both her visual and effect on combat, and you got a lot of awesome things.


For a while I thought the weapon variations (repeater/machinegun) were about different dimension, where in each one each weapon was slightly different in stats and functionality. So having a way to store different ones from different realities would bring another layer of coolness to the game. After a while I noticed that it wasn't the case and I was impressed with phantom features.

If hacking and detectives were still a thing, keeping different ones from different dimensions to use when needed would also be a nice thing.

Corey Cooper
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This would all be relevant stuff if Ken had decided the game to be all about the shooting mechanic. I see this game as a shooter enveloped with the most important aspect to it...the story and growth of the relationship between Dewitt and Elizabeth. The game is not meant to be the most deepest shooter in the world but merely a fun mechanic that didn't make the skill part of the game, of which Ken Levine has said to him is important, to be dull or a drag. The shooting is very fun and experimental and I believe you are perceiving the game entirely in the wrong fashion. See this game for what it is, a fantastic adventure through a world you will never be able to walk through yourself and understand the technological breakthroughs that they did with the AI of the character of Elizabeth. That, at least, is how I feel.

Luis Guimaraes
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You're making the $60 tag price sound very expensive...

David Navarro
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Gary Larson does not like to have his cartoons on the internet, and I respect that, but I can't help to be reminded of the one with just three people huddled together in a huge, empty room, under a banner that says: "Meeting of the International 'Didn't Like Dances With Wolves' Society".

Adrian Chmielarz
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Larson is a genius, but this particular example does not illustrate the discussion well, or at all. It's not a bunch of hipster designers nerdraging on Infinite. The discussion is deep, loud and wide, and the participants come from all sides: gamers, journalists, game developers, theorists. Up to you, of course, whether you want to be a part of it or not.

jin choung
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@Adrian Chmielarz " The discussion is deep, loud and wide, and the participants come from all sides"

so it was for dances with wolves. the cartoon illustrates this situation perfectly.

Robert Tsao
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Personally, I loved Infinite while playing it and I initially took the critical backlash (as well as the swiftness of its emergence) as endemic of an industry that cannot enjoy its own successes, but I'm starting to see the bigger picture.

I don't think I'm assuming too much when I say the underlying issue a lot of the game's critics have right now is the fact that it falls short of that true, sublime greatness precisely because of how polished it is in its unbridled creativity and ambition. I keep thinking back to Chris Hecker's wordless GDC rant and how appropriate that was given the context of the larger discussions around Infinite. The game desperately wants to aspire to something greater, but in the end, it's a shooter.

Your only other actions other than shooting things to death are "press [F] to move story along", and maybe "refrain from shooting things to death", if a non-mechanic can be considered a mechanic. Unlike BioShock 1, where sporadic combat and surprise encounters reinforced the paranoid setting, Infinite's version of chest-high walls take form in Elizabeth's Tear spots. And then, there's story, another facet of the game that I feel is often touched on as entirely removed from its framework. The mechanics don't reinforce the story. The mechanics just are. I would've appreciated simply having the option to hold down R to holster weapons and vigors, especially in certain spots. As a shooter, Infinite is a brilliant, responsive, and satisfying game to play, and that's the problem.

My initial knee-jerk reaction was to defend the game, but like many others, I was missing the bigger issue at hand. As it stands, BioShock Infinite is leaps and bounds above its other shooter kin intent-wise, but its form of expression is still the same. I think a problem that lots of game enthusiasts (like myself) have is an unwillingness to let go of tropes we've all grown accustomed to in defining what makes a game "good" versus "great." Not to get too autobiographical, but it's akin to us enthusiasts being embroiled in a long-term abusive relationship. We're afraid to fall in love again and disrupt the status quo, so to speak.

I agree with Adrian completely; BioShock Infinite might just be that grand gesture of this ambivalent affection entrenched in a torrent of violent and hurtful language that allows us a moment of introspection to take a step back and question this relationship. We might still love BioShock Infinite for what it is, but maybe it's best that we move on.

Ron Dippold
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For me the biggest thing about Bioshock Infinite was how it makes abundantly clear how low game makers have set the bar. Most of the complaints are about things we take for granted in other games, but here you want more. Especially after the magical opening, does this really still have to come down to shooting people?

I don't really understand the complaints about the story structure. If you read the voxaphones and pay attention it's a not very complex time travel story that anyone who's read classic sci-fi (Moorcock, Zelazny, Wolfe) should have no trouble following. There's some abuse of current science, but it seems to be done knowingly, and the whole thing holds together very well with some strong thematic echoes (Songbird) that show this was thought out in detail. You can certainly complain about the racist xenophobe theme park thing as being too facile, but it certainly works as a strong theme, just like the objectivist theme park worked in the first game. Perhaps it's because you see it still in action.

Really, the biggest pure gameplay flaw to me, once you get past structural issues like 'okay, why am I shooting this guy in the face?' is the slot machine scavenging mechanism which is rightly singled out here. It constantly, and I mean constantly, pulls you out of any immersion, and it makes no sense at all. I'm currently replaying the game with a cheat for infinite silver and ammo, and not scavenging crates or garbage cans, and it's a much better game (as a pure game). That leaves you free to concentrate on playing with the vigors.

Anyhow, it is a big deal, because it really makes us want better stories, characters, and mechanisms in mainstream games, even if you didn't think you got it here. The bar is still set too low. I think it's a positive that people are holding it to higher standards than they do for their own company's games.

Of course just recognizing the issue doesn't mean anything will change.

Vincent Hyne
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The problem with Bioshock Infinite is that it's arguably the best game of the year, and that best game of the year is a game where the "game" aspect of it is largely getting in its own way.

Forced shootouts and shooting sections with little variation or purpose, linear carousel narrative and incomplete narrative in parts because the "game" offers no way to deal with it.

The best part of Bioshock Infinite, the game, was when it wasn't a game, but really more of a movie when it was telling the story.

If you strung a youtube video of all the acting and the talking, removing the shooting and traversing bits, you'd still have the full experience.

Problem with the best game of the year is that the best parts aren't the game.

Christian Nutt
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Okay, but why, then, is it the best game of the year?

David Navarro
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Well, Christian, because it *is*. It's a conundrum that all creative directors and game designers need to look into. Perhaps just "walking around looking at interesting stuff at your own pace" is as much 'game' as "shooting folks in the face". It's not Bioshock Infinite's fault that our concept of "game" is either too limited or actually wrong.

"If you strung a youtube video of all the acting and the talking, removing the shooting and traversing bits, you'd still have the full experience."

Not even close. The experience hinges on the player being able to look at what they want, for as long as they want, and interact with such elements as are interactive at their own pace.

Vincent Hyne
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That is sort of the point Christian/Brion.

The "game" is fairly faulty, and yet it is likely going to be the best one in the year.

It speaks to what AAA titles are in general, which issues they deal with (if any), and their execution.

And David, no. The experience hinges on you picking up on every single thing that's thrown at you, which isn't really hard to do because of the intense linearity of the game. There are no interactive elements in the game, nor does the experience hinge on any such player interaction.

The only interaction the game requires from the player is to kill the group of people populating area X.

David Navarro
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I totally respect your right to be wrong, Vincent, but while valid as a useful rhetorical exaggeration to make a point, the whole "a YouTube video would be just as good" is not, by a long shot, actually true. The appeal of the setting doesn't come from the abstract idea of "a floating city, yay!", but from the "being there" experience.

And while the interactive elements aren't many or super-deep, they are certainly there: the Fairground attractions, the cinema machines (their name eludes me now), the "Duke and Dimwit" machines, the guitar, etc. I didn't specify that the interactions had to be mandatory.

I think B:I on an Oculus Rift would be mind-blowing.

David Navarro
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Fair enough; some people aren't gamers and don't get or care for interactivity (by which I include the "look around and move at your own pace" aspect). For those, Bioshock:The Movie would be good enough.

This is equally true of the original Bioshock, and of pretty much every game with a narrative, though, so it's neither here nor there.

James Margaris
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Is Infinite an ambitious, thoughtful, serious story held back by "gamisms" or is it a fairly standard video game with an obligatory but ill-fitting story layered on top of it? Everyone seems to assume the former, but based on how much gameplay DNA the game shares with predecessors and comments from Levine I'm not so sure. Are the gamisms poisoning the rest of the experience or is the rest of the experience an inappropriate match for the core game? There seems to be a judgement that the "ludonarrative dissonance" here can be blamed on gameplay decisions, but dissonance of that sort can come from the narrative just as easily. Sure, finding food in the garbage is a strange mechanic when characters in the narrative are begging for food, but it's also true that if finding food in garbage is a core mechanic then a narrative involving starving people doesn't make sense.

The core mechanics in Infinite come from at least Bioshock 1 if not SS2, far predating the narrative of Infinite. To me it seems less that the gamisms are inappropriate and more that the narrative is inappropriate.

"If you strung a youtube video of all the acting and the talking, removing the shooting and traversing bits, you'd still have the full experience."

Would you? Most video games presented in that form are dreadful. Even "experiential" games I like come off very poorly to me when presented in that format. Would your youtube video be better than a SciFi movie of the week?

Vincent Hyne
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I'll posit this argument.

Not only do I believe it would be the full experience, it would potentially be the superior experience in some aspects.

The sections where the game "became" a game, were arguably the sections where the gun comes out of the player's face and then it's time to use that gun to communicate with the world.

For myself personally, I found many of those portions tedious. The driving force for me was the story, which was told irrespective of the gameplay. The gameplay was something I had to go through in order to be able to stop and "watch" the story unfold.

Now this is subjective, let's hypothetically take someone who LOVED the action-bits, LOVED the gameplay mechanics and the shooter mechanics, LOVED the fact that they appear on cue, and are used deliberately to shake the player out of the story and have them participate to some degree in driving the narrative forward.

To that person, the game part certainly compliments the Disneyland ride that is the game, but ultimately, taken out of context, the "gameplay" sections by themselves are worthless. The only meaning that they're given is by the story which the player can't "play" but must passively experience.

Taken on their own, even if we examine them in a singular manner, the gameplay mechanics are actually inferior to what has been done in the field previously. You need only rewind a few months back and take a look at Dishonored, those gameplay mechanics, and the impact they have on the story, how the story is fed to the player, and how it affects the experience for the player both short and long term. Sure, that can be criticized too, but it is without a doubt superior to what Bioshock had to offer.

I really hope someone strings a Youtube video of Infinite with the "fighty shooty" bits excised from the reel. I'm fairly certain the game would not be poorer for it.

Max Sydow
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Every bus stop in my town has a bioshock infinite poster - THAT is why it's so talked about, not because the story is so groundbreaking... it's not. The story is weak and convoluted to the point of meaninglessness. The gameplay is dated and dull - spam desks in search of pineapple. And the only redeeming quality of this game, aside from having the biggest marketing budget of the year, is the art direction. Bioshock infinite = decent art direction + massive marketing budget. This is how I felt when I finished the game. Then I went back to play through again, just to make sure I wasn't rushing to judgment... but you know what? I couldn't. Couldn't go through the tedium again. That's when I knew. The game - is - hype.

Ian Uniacke
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Some of the level design is nice and the mechanics of the combat, such as the 'tears' and skylines, do encourage you to move around the environment a lot during combat which I did find innovative and interesting, so there are still some good innovations in the game imo.

Robert Swift
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Infinite is just a nice distraction, that's all.
- Setting with the city in the clouds is interesting
- Graphics are colorful and vibrant
- Story gives a nice background and provides enough motivation for advancing
- Elizabeth is a nice enough companion who doesn't get in the way
- Shooting/Vigor mechanics are ok but nothing special
- Scavenging is silly

Another good thing is that Infinity is not super serious unlike some discussion surrounding it seems to be.

Tom Aram
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In the year 2013 Artistic Progressive Gaming Studio X released an important, genre-defining title, a console and PC game known as Steak. Steak sold in retail stores and came on one DVD/Bluray disk, also included in the box was a large filet mignon steak. Upon inserting the disk gamers were presented with one screen, across the middle of the screen in large, anti-aliased, HD letters were the words "You may now eat the steak".

The game was a revelation, selling a million copies within the first week with a metacritic score of 95. It's success lead to elated discussion among the gaming press.

"A true innovation that pushes the entire genre forward" - IGN

"A game you can lose yourself in for hours, only looking away to wonder where the time has gone. It is one of this generations great games, as simple as that. " - Gamestyle

"Whether or not you enjoy video games is irrelevant. It is whether or not you want an experience like no other; one that will be left in the back of your mouth for days to come." - Hardcore Gaming Magazine

Big names across the industry were keen to comment that Steak was such a delicious experience that they had a hard time going back to outdated earlier titles. Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that after playing Steak, the Mario titles simply tasted dry and flavourless in comparison.

Bioshock Infinite is the steak, incase that somehow didn't register.

It seems counter productive to criticise Bioshock, as talking about it just keeps the train rolling, but it's also hard to resist saying something when the gaming press decides to discuss wether or not a title is the most important thing to happen to gaming evar. Does Bioshock's story get in the way of its game, or does its game get in the way of its story? Well it seems that Irrational had a great idea for a story, and decided to awkwardly cram a mediocre single player first person shooter from the 90's into it so that they could call it a game. If that's all the effort you're going to put into it guys why not just make a TV series instead? Ah but then you couldn't sell it for 60 dollars to a large established console base, what to do what to do.

If the merit of video games as a medium for story telling hinges on the idea that the player can be *in* the story, and the idea of being *in* the story stems from the game's interactivity - making interactivity the defining feature of the medium even if you're trying to tell a story. Then why are we so eager to strip the interactivity out of games? Does simply being able to move the camera around as you're dragged through a director's fully scripted experience make you feel as though you are part of something? Does that qualify as a good video game?

If we make a version of Citizen Kane that you can watch on the occulus rift so that the viewer can move the camera with their head and feel as if they're in the movie, is that the ultimate expression of video games as a medium? Say you throw in a FPS mini-game between scenes that is mechanically about as interesting as Unreal 1's single player was in 1998, how about now?

We shouldn't be praising Bioshock for having an interesting story, we should be criticising it for actually taking a step backwards with its wholly uninteresting gameplay. We've been telling good stories for a long time now. That's the human "We". telling good stories in a game without even trying to mesh properly with the interactive 'game' part of the title isn't revolutionary, it's a question of hardware and budget. If we want to talk about the future of the medium, there are 2 key things that need to be worked on:

- How we make the 'game' part of our games, expressed in the controls, rules and mechanics that the player interacts with more interesting and engaging.

- How we properly merge those elements of the game with a narrative or aesthetic feel without having to sacrifice either, without one getting in the way of the other.

Bioshock doesn't deliver on either front. Neither did the first one actually. Have a look at Dishonoured for an example of a game that does a good job of both integrating the story and gameplay without any narrative dissonance, and also presenting a clever take on the FPS shooter/stealth mechanic that's genuinely fun to play. Maybe its story doesn't generate the same amount of discussion as Bioshock's ambiguous plot will get, but it's certainly a better 'game'.

Sven Uilhoorn
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Haven't played it yet*, but it sounds exactly like GTA IV; linear but luring story, interesting and expansive setting, convincing and consistent art direction, average game mechanics. The praise for this game comes basically from two things: immersion and the experience of the sum of all parts. This is normally quite hard and only managed by having one thing: a big budget.

When looked at every mechanic in both games, both are executed better elsewhere, there are just very few games that manage to get away with obvious errors in gameplay because the game world (and more specifically the immersion aspect) makes up for it.

I'll probably like it though! (just like GTA IV is one of my favorite games of all time)

*:read about it though, and played parts of 1&2

Tim Haywood
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BSI is a terrible game, my reasons are written in my Gamasutra Blog post about it - I kept it short, so its not a long read :)