The Grumpy Old Gamer and Andrew Ryan

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10 years ago, a game was released that had a massive impact on the FPS genre. It mixed sci fi and horror elements with a compelling story and stunning graphics. I am of course, talking about Bioshock, arguably, one of the best FPS’s ever made. This is a game where the first actions you take are followed by a cinematic opening that, in my mind, hasn’t been matched yet. The journey to Rapture, narrated by Andrew Ryan himself. That speech is the stuff of legend, it is easily shortened with the phrase, “A man chooses, a slave obeys.” Don’t forget, a twist Shyamalan would be proud of.

Atmosphere was a major win for 2K. I will admit this was the first game I ever played where looking in trash cans might provide food/health. The environment was dark while at the same time so colorful with bright colors and neon/fluorescent lighting. It was very much set as a period piece with the music and style or the late 50’s early 60’s décor. The music, everything about it, from the chart toppers to the score was pitch perfect. From “Beyond the Sea” to “How Much is that Doggy in the Window,” every song was tailored for the specific location, and the score was composed to add to the feelings or dread and wonder at every point.

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This game truly was a milestone, with characters that would talk to themselves, you could literally wait around a corner, and listen to a splicer talking to him/herself. This game actually made me jump a few times, not least of which, was one instance in the dentist’s office, I turned around, and a splicer was standing right behind me, silently waiting. Let’s talk about the splicers, citizens of Rapture who had been genetically modified either by themselves or others into misshapen, deformed monsters. There were so many though! Spider, Thuggish, Leadhead, Houdini, and Nitro splicers all having different abilities and attacks. Splicers were a great and welcome change to the usual “run at you and attack” type of enemy. These guys would run at you, run away, if you set them on fire, they would find water if it were close by, the AI in this game was great. Bioshock also provided dual attacks of different methods (Plasmids and traditional guns or melee) shocking someone and following it up with a shotgun blast is ALWAYS fun. The problem is, they can do the same to you. Nitro splicers and Houdini’s would teleport and throw fireballs. The Spiders would climb the ceiling and throw hooks at you. So much fun.

I would, of course, be remiss if I didn’t talk about the Big Daddy’s (Mr Bubbles!) protectors of the little sisters who harvest the Adam (the source of a plasmid and its power) “Whoever controls the Adam, controls Rapture.” Eve would replenish your abilities and plasmids (Adam and Eve, how appropriate). The Big Daddy’s were the guys in the dice suits with the drill on one hand and a rivet gun in the other. These guys were durable. No one shot kill for these guys. While there were multiple types of splicer, there were also multiple types of Big Daddy as well: Rosie, Bouncer, Rumbler, Alpha, and Lancer (from Bioshock 2). Each was distinguished by the type of weapon they used.

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The Big Daddy’s of course, were rarely seen without a Little Sister. The sister’s harvested Adam and the Big Daddy’s would protect them from attack by Splicers or environmental dangers (although the little sisters were rarely able to be injured). The story behind the Little Sister’s would be expounded upon in Bioshock 2 (which for this blog’s purposes is sparingly referred to, as this writer considers it an inferior sequel). The little sisters were experimented on and eventually the scientists working on the project would be able to create a bond between the Big Daddy and Little Sister that was broken only by the death of the Big Daddy.

Bioshock continues to have an impact on the gaming community 10 years 2 sequels, and a heart breaking cancelation of a movie later. This is a game that many players will still speak of fondly to this day. The release of remasters of all 3 and a new 10th anniversary edition (With awesome motorized Big Daddy statue!), and the ever present rumor of a part 4, have us old timers waiting impatiently for a return to Rapture.

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Now, would you kindly leave a comment about your favorite moment in Bioshock below?

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