New School Gaming Classic: ‘BioShock’

Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist
Esteban Diaz | Editorial Cartoonist

Editor’s Note: This submission comes from Sugar Land sophomore and Baylor biology major, Huy Bui.

By Huy Bui
Guest Contributor

“A man chooses, a slave obeys.”

These are the words that echo throughout the world of “BioShock,” one of the greatest games ever made. The world is clear and vibrant, with Take-two interactive having fleshed out the city of Rapture, a place that is anything but clear. Terrible creatures called Splicers, once human, roam the area are now more like shells of their former selves who only thirst for more ADAM to sustain their magnificent powers. Your role of Jack seems meager until you realize who you truly are.

“BioShock” seems almost to be a new genre in itself, as it feels strange to classify it as a shooter, or as an adventure, or even as a visual novel.

It truly is the first game to have a story beyond “those are bad guys, go shoot them.” The decisions you make throughout the game seriously affect the world around you, and even the ending itself. The gameplay completely immerses the player into the world of Rapture, and the unique mechanics of being able to wield supernatural powers really was just being explored when “BioShock” was created.

Here you are, put into the position of Jack, thrust into a situation you have to deal with. You have to survive, find ammo when you constantly run out, make decisions about the characters around you, and even who you can trust. You aren’t superhuman, you are no Master Chief nor are you a Commander Shepherd, and that makes this game believable and great.

Of course, much of this game is possible because of technological advances in gaming. There are almost no load screens and everything blends together seamlessly. It is run on a modified “Unreal 2.5” engine, allowing realistic renderings of the environments.

The splicers that come at you seem very much real, and it is part of the reason why “BioShock” also falls into the horror category. Imagine walking down a dark hallway, with light barely filtering in through the end, and out of nowhere a splicer drops from the ceiling, throwing knives at you. It is amazing how, a few decades earlier, this same game would be boiled down to pixels and 2D side scrolling. Now each person has the ability to be completely immersed within the world presented, which was a lot of effort to do back then when your best graphics card was your imagination.

I would also have to say, the concept of the game’s story is modern as well. As Jack, you explore moral boundaries, and a complex world ruled with good intentions. You are betrayed multiple times, and you scramble through the missions as you seek to find someone you can actually trust in this cursed world.

The story expands far beyond the scope of a hero coming to a princess’s rescue. In a sense you have to make your way around an evil and untrusting environment. After the game is over, dilemmas will continue to plague your mind: thoughts of morality, trust, and the line between ambition and arrogance.