This is a love letter. A love letter to one of the most beautiful and engaging games I’ve ever played.
For a while I thought maybe BioShock Infinite was the best thing that ever happened to me, which is a commentary on how enamoured I was with the narrative but, I’ll admit, mostly on the fact I’m poorly adjusted.
For a long time, if someone asked me what my favourite game was I’d say Doom – arguably one of the most iconic, landmark moments in the history of gaming – or Assassin’s Creed 2, because Ezio, da Vinci and free running. But then BioShock Infinite came along and I found myself having conversations in my head: ‘Yeah, Doom, you were a childhood staple and I still hear demons grunting when I close my eyes, you were a literal game changer, buuuuuut you didn’t have an anachronistic Beach Boys barbershop quartet.’ And I think a lot of games fall foul of that same mistake. Sure, Dark Souls is great but it’s severely lacking in 60’s rock covers. There aren’t enough Good Vibrations in Civ V.
So, BioShock Infinite, I want to tell you that from the moment I entered a lighthouse until the final moments of the DLC, I was enraptured. I don’t care about the supposed plot holes because who really knows what would fucking happen: there are no rules, no real rules. Besides, I’ve seen an argument for everything, from Comstock to Burial‘s restrictions. It’s all constants and variables. And I fucking love you.
I love that the narrative was so intricately woven that I was rendered speechless as the credits rolled. That when I’ve watched other people play it, because I immediately sought to watch others experience what I had just gone through, they were equally as stunned. There are layers in BioShock Infinite that supersede the plot in a lot of movies, and this is all the more impressive because key moments aren’t found in laboured cut scenes, they’re effortlessly blended into the gameplay.
I love that BAC wasn’t a cash-grab detrimental to the main game, but instead enhanced it, undoubtedly gratifying fans of the wider series.
I love that you made me nostalgic for Columbia, a time and place that I’ve never been to, that has never existed.
I love that you gave me real characters, three-dimensional characters who grew and changed, characters I wanted to protect and characters I wanted to see suffer, who weren’t just vehicles for action.
I love you because you inevitably shit over any remaining argument that video games aren’t art.
I love that on the second play through everything is different, from the big things to the small: from the vigors you favour to the moment you linger longer on Battleship Bay, just to watch her dance… just to see her happy.
BioShock Infinite, I love you. And also fuck you because now everything else seems a bit shit in comparison…
… at least until Dishonored 2.