Posted on November 2, 2012
My Top 100: #55 – Bioshock
I’m sure I might disappoint some (including my wife) that Bioshock is already making its appearance on my countdown, but I have my reasons. Too many great games to consider for my list, perhaps… I dunno.
2007 was an epic year in gaming; Halo 3, Super Mario Galaxy, Valve’s epic compilation The Orange Box, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War… the list goes on and on. It was the first full year of the new era in gaming, and it seemed like the inspiration for creating new and exciting things was at its peak.
The big franchises were already established, and these new releases were sure to sell like hotcakes. Old characters and settings we’d come to love, just on a much bigger scale and a fresh coat of paint. It was a really exciting time for gamers!
But what about the new names that entered the fray? Assassin’s Creed and Gears of War had UbiSoft and Microsoft (respectively) behind them, so they got a bunch of hype because of it. This Bioshock game, though, I wasn’t too sure of. I mean, what had 2K Games ever done for us?
A bunch of RPG’s I didn’t much care for, the 2K Sports games (that had a rough time competing with the EA Sports powerhouse), and the Family Guy Video Game!… game. Yay?
Well, if the developer didn’t get our attention with its existing catalogue, the single greatest video game trailer ever made sure did the trick.
I like the sea. It’s cool. The bottom of it is particularly fascinating. I dig the whole art deco thing, and swing tunes from the 50’s. I also like first-person shooters. So, theoretically, Bioshock was right up my alley, and I should have picked it up on release day.
When the game came out in August of ’07, critics and fans alike were sucked into a world unlike anything they had ever seen before. They hitched a ride to this vast utopian city resting at the bottom of the sea, and when they got there, nobody was there to greet them.
Well, except for that crazy hook-wielding, wall-crawling zombie lady who wants to kill you before you even open the bathysphere door.
I didn’t experience it right away. I worked in a warehouse that year, zooming around on pallet jacks and piling stuff onto them. A co-worker played games, and though we didn’t have much time to chat, we’d get a few words in here and there. I was playing through The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess at the time, and let’s just say that that’s not the manliest game name to throw around a warehouse full of men. “Pft,” the guy said. “I’m playing through Bioshock. THAT’S a game you need to play. None of that Zelda poo-poo.”
He might’ve used another word for poo-poo, though.
I was a bit weary about it, because I had heard the term “RPG” thrown around when describing the gameplay. I thought “turn-based RPG like Final Fantasy, or strategic and point-and-clicky like Diablo”, not “RPG like any other game that has levelling up”. I actually rather enjoy the latter.
In any case, RPG is usually a bad word in my gaming vocabulary, so I waited about a year before picking the game up for cheap. I was blown away by the atmosphere, story and sheer intensity of the game. The controls could’ve used some work (it was all rectified in the sequel, anyhow), but like many other games before it…… it had me at “hello”. If a game can grab my attention like Bioshock did in the first few minutes of playing it, then I’m usually hooked, right then and there. My wife Anita has even played through it five times, and she’s not into gaming like I am.
So yeah, it’s pretty great.