Interactivity

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I have frequently remarked that the opening of Bioshock is one of my favorite gaming sequences ever. But what HAPPENED? I'm flowing along in an immersive dystopia, loving the creepy atmosphere and being terrified by it in a way that Manhunt or Condemned wish they could accomplish...

...and then I get the ability to shoot lightning from my hand. And it becomes a game where you kill zombies.* And somehow I feel like someone's just pulled a bait-and-switch, and I'm like "NO wait! Where did that other game go?! The one that was about to be ground-breaking and masterful; bring it back!"

Bioshock has one of the largest disconnects between subject matter and content I've ever seen. It completely killed it for me; I just cannot take Andrew Ryan seriously at a dramatic level when I have to fling bees at crack-addicted zombies to get to him.

* (Yes. They are.)
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edit: Just read that someone mentioned the intro to Prey as being equally immersive. I completely forgot about that! And I have to agree; the first half hour or so of Prey is an amazing, insane roller coaster ride of crazy bullshit that makes no sense.

Come to think of it, Half Life 2 does the same thing. AND manages to sustain the momentum over the course of an entire game. AND manages to make the crazy bullshit semi-plausible, by the fiction's own internal logic.

...save for the hellish gauntlet that was Ravenholm, anyway. Where you throw saw-blades at zombies, and run around disoriented and annoyed. Or maybe that's just me.

Totally right about the BioShock intro. One of the best ever. But I reckon the BioShock 2 one worked really well too. I love the bit where Eleanor runs from a hallway with the corpse into the room full of socialites at a party. Really sets a great tone for what Rapture was becoming, I think. Even something so small as that speaks volumes about Ryan's city.

"So we've got our first big player in this fictional universe - a vast navy of fanatics that obsess religiously over technology."

"And then I realized that I now had a name for my technocrat baddies: Wheel"

Maybe you could call the whole game "wheel" then you would have a true Halo clone.

ooh I can't wait for your game (gee will it make its way to XBL/PSN someday? hmmm)

your book too I suppose, assuming I ever get around to reading again haha
but you have inspired me to start writing again
hmm...

Metal Gear Solid 3 had a similar scene (not the intro) where the player was given control during a cut-scene where Snake executes another character [Spoiler]. You MUST press the fire button in order for the cut-scene to resume.

I agree, Bioshock 1 does have a fantastic intro. (But I'm a Bioshock fanboy so my words don't count.

teknoarcanist:
...save for the hellish gauntlet that was Ravenholm, anyway. Where you throw saw-blades at zombies, and run around disoriented and annoyed. Or maybe that's just me.

You are joking, right? Ravenholm was easily one of the best parts of the game (as was the intro, if we get back on topic). How could you not like it? What do you have against zombies??

are you saying that humans were actually good to begin with? feh.

Hate to say this but i understood why the bioshock 2 opener was uninteractive. big daddies are mindless even the early prototypes, it was revealed in play that someone ,cough eleanor cough cough, had awakened you freewill when she had initially arranged your ressurection and as such when you were hit with the hypno plasmid it merely changed your unthinking allegiance. So all said I believed that it fitted in with the story sorry

Let's not forget about the last portion of Bioshock's opener, where you witness a splicer (who you later learn is named Rose) kill a man named Johnny, and then proceeds to attack your bathysphere.

Considering how you never see or hear about Johnny again, it's good that the game doesn't force some useless profile to his character. You have no idea who he was, which not only adds to the overall mystery of the game but also leaves the unfinished details up to the player.

When that splicer starts tearing through the layer of metal separating you from her, it's damn scary. No matter how many times you play the game, you still subconsciously fret that some way and somehow, she will break through. Even though you can aim the camera, you're rooted in place, which reinforces that in Rapture, you cannot just run away.

Lastly, it's important that you see this horror so soon after Ryan's monologue. In contrast to his boasts of a perfect society free of "parasites", you immediately see the madness and desperation that Rapture has fallen into. This is a major element of the backstory, and the game presents it so well and in such short time.

Um, for FSG:TG, how about you steal the second scene from the pilot of Firefly a little more?

You know, for a guy who doesn't like Joss Whedon, that opening story sounds a lot like the opening to the pilot of firefly, the difference being that the Serenity just tried to escape the alliance cruiser, not take it on. And it didn't make sense to me in star wars, even less so here, why would an advanced race of spacefaring peoples build a trench or tunnel or whatever the hell it is that leads to an ultimate weakness or flaw in their space ship? Further, how would someone with inferior technology know it was there or be able to exploit it in the first place? That they can indicates to me that the technology gap isn't so much a gap as it is a slight crack in the sidewalk, easily stepped over and ignored. And if the fanatics technology isn't all that advanced, why are they so fanatical about protecting it?

Hi, I recall you said something in the first Bioshock review about "boiled water make allegiances"

Recently, there's this guy named Michio Kaku on the TV series Sci-Fi science showing how to make an intelligent robot. Since artificial intelligent brains made out of chips & silicons are impossible, he suggested using quantum computing to make a brain. And he demonstrated by....boiling something in a large oversized pressure cooker...

So, Yeah. Boiled water can literally make allegiances.

Have you seen that Michio Kaku bloke on TV about making robots?

Just think twice before smacking that kettle for not making the water hot enough for your tea.

Wow, I completely agree with this. I thought Bioshock 2's opening was good, but now, comparing with the first one's interactivity....fail, 2K. The first game was all about questioning the player's amount of control, and you just give us an opening cinematic?

I don't recall you saying you liked Bioshock intro, and I agree, the mix of wonder and interaction makes it the best for me so far, and of course, I loved the second, but couldn't help but to feel something was missing.
CoD and MW specifically did a good job putting you in control of some of the events while they happen, too bad the story itself is kinda moronic, the second one at least.
We can only hope people tomorrow see through that.

Definitely very subtle the way they pulled off BioShock 1's intro, especially the water part.

Gonna have to go with the intro to HL2. It's not an exciting opinion but it's a great opening.

This is exactly the way I see games. It's about interactivity, and all that MGS shit pisses me right off. Imagine how sucky Half Life 2 would have been had it had proper cutscenes? Things like the intro to ODST just blow me away, even if the follow up was a bit dissapointing. Although, thinking about it now, it's good we have games with loads of cut scenes, makes the good ones seem that bit more awesome.

I like how you harp on games like MGS for being uninteractive, they are indeed, but on the other hand you love games like Silent Hill where although there is more gameplay, it's hideously broken and exceedingly unintuitive.

A good game, like Bioshock is a good game with a strong story.
A bad game, like ME, MGS or Silent Hill is a game where the gameplay takes a back seat to a story.

Go pick up a book, or better yet, a choose your own adventure.

I have no idea why but it really grinds my gears nwhen people use terms like "Bioshock 1", and "Ghostbusters 1", "Jaws 1" etc...they're called Bioshock, Ghostbusters and Jaws goddamnit!

Just irritates the living shit out of me...oh well

Yahtzee you are a true library of ideal ways to get through life.

I don't care how fanatic that sounds.

blackshark121:
Here's your plot for "Fun Space Game: The Game": Aliens attack, humans retaliate, aliens are actually humans from the future, now-humans turn to be evil, later-humans are good. I get a 7.6% cut on everything "Fun Space Game: The Game" earns.

Isn't that the plot of Martian Successor Nadesico, except you've used the word "future" instead of "Jupiter"?

I have to agree with a lot of people here.

The original Half-Life game, looking back, gave you a similar awe-inspiring tram ride through the environment that lay before you and it lasted like 5 minutes. After the tram ride the player could do alot more interactive stuff than Bioshock 1: blowing up casseroles, turning on alarms, talk to NPCs or stare at the G-Man forever. The game didn't really start until the player picked up the crowbar.

And keep in mind, Half-Life was really the first FPS to have an interactive intro. No Half-Life intro, no Bioshock intro.

Once again spot on. In acting we have something called CROW you do before you start speaking, CROW stand for Character, Relationship, Objective, and Where. Unlike most games BioShock practically introduces this in the first freaking cutscene! Right on Yahtzee, and good reference to Bad Dudes.

Getting to see how your creative process works was marvelous.

Rocketboy13:
Fully interactive openers get to be a bit tedious on the second or third play through. I would have liked to just be able to make moral choices on a scan-tron in place of playing through the childhood sequence in Fable 2, and Mass Effect is so huge, and I wanted to see some of the alternate endings, having to play out 6-8 different dialogue trees gets a bit taxing when the only real difference is slight inflection. Sometimes I just want a bit of story handed to me right off so I can proceed to the next bit.

A game shouldn't sacrifice narrative just because there are multiple endings to it.

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