No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
First Person Plot

Firefilm | 25 Jun 2012 16:00
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Dan: I'm going to lay some truth on you all, so get ready to swim in it and get all prune-y. I honestly didn't expect the response to us including Half-Life as one of the contestants last week for best FPS plot to be so ... positive. I mean, sure, people are debating if it should have won or lost, but I thought we would have taken a lot more flak on even considering it a plot. I mean the first game was more concept than plot, and the second game fleshed things out very well, but the famous lack of resolution was a sore I thought disappointed more people. That being said, Half-Life and Bioshock in their entirety are my two favorite video game series.

I took the first point despite being cut off by Kyle, I guess I need to work on my pattern of debate to be as good as Chris is. My argument here is that Bioshock has a very simple reason why the plot is so twisty: It's a city full of the smartest people on the planet augmented with the reality-bending steampunk technology and McGuffin of Adam. Those three things make for a rich plot that is instantly engrossing. Kyle tried to get a point by recounting the Half-Life plot, but running away from aliens was all he got out.

Second point quickly nabbed by yours truly with the low-hanging fruit of the twists in Bioshock's plot. Weeding out the people who are jaded beyond hope, there are some pretty fantastic plot twists in Bioshock. One in particular throws into question the very nature of the player-avatar relationship and is just too fantastic not to win a point for. Half-Life has the G-man, but until Valve finally explains ... aannyytthhiinngg about him, Kyle has no chance in that category.

Plausability. Kyle has it. He comes out of his gate late, but strong with the argument that my main character is waaay too accepting of jabbing steampunk gene splicing goo into his arms. It was a very weird moment that only occurred because you are playing a videogame. Gordon Freeman basically reacts the way we all would in his situation, given some time at the range, a doctorate and a shield-suit. I remember a point where I was being shot at in Half-life 2, and I kept ducking into storage containers thinking that I was getting way off the path. Turns out I was going the right way all along. This may be arguably gameplay rather than plot, but when the plot is reacting the way normal people would, then I say it's a win.

Some people were confused as to why Kyle got this next point, but there was a reason. Kyle made the argument that Bioshock's delivery of all the answers is really cathartic, but Half-Life's abundance of questions and tightly rationed answers leave us all wanting more Half-Life games, if only to finish the story. I don't think the group of people who want another Bioshock game outnumber the number of people who want that elusive part three to exist.

Kyle said Bioshock was better than Half-Life. I gave myself a point for that. He was lucky I didn't just call a TKO.

Trying to pull a late win, Kyle used his drinking argument to compare the Half-Life plot to Die Hard. This was a smart move, and almost got him a spit-take win. Die Hard is not an overly complicated plot, yet it is rock-solid and keeps you focused without being confused. Bioshock does come a little heavy-handed with it's plot, and sometimes it is a bit overwhelming.

That being said, Kyle dug his own grave when he said Bioshock is 80% atmosphere and 20% plot. This ration would only be a bad thing if those two partitions didn't complement each other so perfectly, but they did. The audio logs, the dead bodies you find in their final positions, the music ... it was all masterfully done and made for a plot that verged on artistic.

Some day, one of these games will be made into a film. And I will go see that film. Perhaps with Goobers.

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