BioShock | The Game That Defines Git Gud at Life

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Audio

I love the uneasy feelings of this BioShock ambiance mix. 

 

The Games That Define Us features carefully chosen music and remixes from the franchise of the game represented. Music is a key component of sharing the emotions one feels about a game, so we hope you will press the play button if you’re in a position to do so. 

introduction

Just a brief summary if this is your first time here: This collaboration is a 34-day long adventure through video games. Each piece is its own unique audiovisual experience, complete with artwork, designs, music, and (most importantly) amazing works of prose by brilliant bloggers around the world. This adventure will take you through nostalgia, joy, ambition, self-discovery, regret, anxiety, frustration, mourning, and every human experience in between. Video games exist as fragments on the timeline of our lives, and each one of us have chosen the adventure we feel most defines us.

If you’ve never met Michael from Git Gud at Life, you’re going to love this guy. Not only does he have impeccable taste in games — I’m so glad to be featuring a BioShock piece in this collaboration — but he also has this quirky writing style that reminds me of those cool university professors or high school teachers you learned to connect with. GGAL explains things like a teacher would, and yet the whole experience is laced with humor. It’s an unorthodox and awesome combination I would have never expected from a blog! But enough of me describing things. After you get done here, why don’t you check out the new GGAL Post-It series, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. Additionally, check out these recent articles:

Without further delay, we hope you enjoy plunging into the next chapter of The Games That Define Us!

– Matthew, Normal Happenings

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starring

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Michael @ Git Gud at Life

Twitter: @gitgudatlife

For scarily profound concepts…

Game: BioShock
System: XBOX 360
Release Date: August 21, 2007

1P Start

BioShock proved to me that games could be something I never even dreamed of. They could be dark, scary gruesome but at the same time beautiful, sophisticated and yes… fun. So BioShock changed me — games were once little more than a way to waste some time. Now they are something more. Games are a form of art.

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To say that BioShock is my favourite game would be an understatement. By the time I had resurfaced from my first ever dive into Rapture, I can honestly say that I was a changed gamer. Now if that sounds a little over dramatic… you’d be right. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

Now to truly understand why this title was so game changing for me, I need to briefly explain what games meant to me before. I’ve been playing games since I was 4 years old and back then, these were games like Spyro the Dragon or Pokemon Crystal. Games were always one of my favourite pastimes and that part of me has never really changed. What has changed however, is the way I look at games. Back then they lived and died by one word: fun. That’s all. They were really no different, in my juvenile eyes, to Lego blocks. They were just a kid’s simple hobby and you could see that in the types of games I would play, namely family friendly platformers. The most violent game I had ever really experienced to that point was The Simpsons’ Hit and Run. Bioshock changed everything.

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I would remember seeing the game’s cover art in stores and being genuinely mesmerised. A monstrous robotic creature with a giant drill for a hand partnered by a creepy little girl holding a syringe. Spyro the Dragon this was not. Now normally cover art like that would put me off, it didn’t really fulfill my “fun looking” criteria. But for some reason I was drawn to the game, and while it would be a couple more years before I actually got my hands on it, my mind was made up; I needed to play this game.

So where does a boy go to see more of a game his parents won’t get for him? YouTube, of course! I would spend hours watching trailers, gameplay and even developer commentary vids. It was through these research sessions that I realised that BioShock was not your average dumb shooter. It had themes… complex ones! It asked questions of politics, religion and philosophy, which for a preteen kid who wanted to be an intellectual was pure gold.

And eventually, the day finally came. After what seemed like ages of begging my parents, they finally submitted… I got BioShock! So, could the game that I had waited ages to play possibly live up to my expectations. Yeah. It actually did. You see kids, back in the golden age of 2007, developers actually shipped games… finished (crazy I know).

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But anyway, back to the story at hand. I fell in love with the game from the second I picked up the controller. From the second I was lost at sea staring at that ominous lighthouse, I was completely engrossed. Then came the inflight movie… now if you haven’t played the game yet, this part won’t make total sense for you, so all I can say is play the damn game! (Or watch a walkthrough, or do whatever you want… I’m just a voice). You see once your character steps foot on the bathysphere you are plunged into the depths of the Atlantic with nothing but stone columns informing you of how many fathoms you have sunk. Then it happens. A slide show presentation featuring a voiceover from the game’s main antagonist: Andrew Ryan, the objectivist Billionaire who founded the Capitalist paradise of Rapture begins to speak (for Objectivist see meaner libertarian [for Libertarian see nicer Republican]).

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Here he explains his vision, a perfect Capitalist society where there would be no interference from Governance, religion or morality. Crazy I know… but then you see the city, an incredible feat of creativity, engineering and art. A metropolis at the bottom of the ocean. This was almost too much for my young eyes, I honestly couldn’t believe that a console had the processing power to put what I was seeing on my screen.

But then reality struck, this paradise was not all it was cracked up to be, the utopia that Andrew Ryan had promised had in fact completely fallen apart. The city was virtually in ruins. Death, drugs and destruction greeted your character on every turn. You were in hell. You were trapped, with the only help being a voice on a short-wave radio. It was the perfect game environment, both beautiful and terrifying. I mean what other game lets you see a whale and drug riddled corpse at the same time? Actually, don’t answer that, but you get my point.

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This game had so much going for it that made it perfect for me. The graphics were better than anything I had ever seen before, the combat, while a bit stiff compared with modern shooters, was creative and for lack of a better word… meaty. The themes were far more mature than any other game I had seen (granted The Simpsons Game was the most adult game I’d played up to that point). And the commentary on the tricky political themes was so incredibly nuanced (can a city as incredible as Rapture truly be a critique on Objectivism). But what really hit me hard was the game’s views on choice. “A man chooses, a slave obeys”. Throughout the game, choice is a major factor for the player. Whether it be the choice combat style, the paths you choose to explore or the infamous Little Sister choice (look it up), choice is a recurring theme. But when the game reveals its big twist (again look it up), you realise that your choices don’t really mean much. In fact, there really wasn’t much choice to begin with. This is a pretty crazy thought on its own, but when you put it in the context of all gaming, or all art or perhaps even all life. This is a scarily profound concept and it was a damn video game that let me experience it. And that was life changing.

BioShock proved to me that games could be something I never even dreamed of. They could be dark, scary gruesome but at the same time beautiful, sophisticated and yes… fun. So BioShock changed me — games were once little more than a way to waste some time. Now they are something more. Games are a form of art. Yeah that sounds a little douchey, but it’s true, they are an art form that pushes boundaries just as well as books, film or anything else. They are one where you have total ability to choose… even when you don’t. BioShock taught me this, and for this I will always be grateful.

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WordPress Reader viewers, please consider enjoying this post again on the site. While we designed with you in mind, you miss some of the nuances of the piece by not enjoying it in its original form. 

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This collaboration took an overwhelming amount of time and dedication from 34 exceptionally creative, incredible makers! Help us with the resources to make more, even better, collaborations in the future! We also have aspirations of developing a podcast called Normal Talks about optimistically appreciating everyday life! Please consider becoming a patron of Normal Happenings and help us try to make the world a better, more positive place!
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Published by

Matthew // Normal Happenings

Matthew Estes. STL-based Blogger. Graphic Designer. Happily Married. One day I'll actually complete a book I'm happy with. I love pizza, video games, and using way too many ellipses...

5 thoughts on “BioShock | The Game That Defines Git Gud at Life

  1. Wow! This is an amazing post! I guess that doesn’t surprise me after reading Michael’s representation of Frank Fontaine in Blogger Blitz this year but still. I’ve never played Bioshock but this really makes me want to (although I don’t like shooters), just to experience it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. BioShock is a game that I’ve never gotten around to playing, but I’ve heard tons of good things about it. Now I’m trying to figure out if you can ever see a drug-riddled corpse and a whale at the same time in Dishonored – if any other game has them it would probably be that one.

    Liked by 1 person

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