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Bioshock: Infinite

Critical Distance is proud to present this Critical Compilation of one of the most hotly discussed games of the last decade, Bioshock: Infinite, brought together by Dante Douglas. Dante is a writer and game designer. You can find his work at Paste Magazine, Waypoint, and Polygon, among other places online. His twitter is @videodante.

There is, quite possibly, no game in the modern games criticism sphere that has inspired as many words as Irrational Games’ 2013 Bioshock: Infinite .

It followed in the lineage of a game that was nearly universally adored (2007’s Bioshock ) which spawned a sequel that

BioShock

an apt comparison since BioShock had so many RPG elements. In fact, Richard Terrell felt the game’s mechanics tended more towards the role-playing side, in particular because the almost nonexistent cover system forced the player to behave like a bullet sponge. He compares tactics in BioShock to the attack / attack / heal approach common in RPGs. Justin Keverne comments on the oddity of this, as the Vita-Chambers actually make healing and health packs totally superfluous in all but the final battle. Writing for Eludamos, Matthew Weise connects BioShock with RPG roots originating in Ultima Underworld.

BioShock resembled RPGs in…

April 14th

…SimCity to diagnose its traffic problem. Observing the bugs in the new SimCity’s traffic modeling, he went back to SimCity 2000 to see how it handled the same problem.

On Quarter to Three, the eternally engaging Tom Chick presents us with a pretty unsettling depiction of how SimCity’s systems (inadvertently?) model contemporary malaise.

BIOSHOCK INFINITY AND BEYOND

(A general content warning, once again, for spoilers in most of the following links.)

On Gamer Theories, Ben Meakin has written a bit on how we can look at BioShock Infinite through the lens of auteur theory. Elsewhere on Terminally Incoherent, Luke Maciak…

Kill Screen archive

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  • August 27th

    …still you’ll want to stay in bed all day, still you’ll be powerless to lock the bad thoughts out.

    BioShock in Retrospect

    Ten years ago, players first ventured into the haunting, beautiful, aquatic halls of Rapture.

    • Choosing the impossible: Did BioShock define the last 10 years of videogames? | The A.V. Club A decade after players’ first jaunts into Rapture, four writers from the A.V. Club attempt to piece together what BioShock actually accomplished, and whether or not it’s been an influence over game design.
    • BioShock is Still Great, 10 Years Later. Here’s Why. | Waypoint A…

    September 17th

    …artist.

    “Whoever videogame’s Bjork is, whoever our David Lynch is, they’re making games that get sub-500 plays at best. I shouldn’t mine out my 20s for this. I shouldn’t get sick for this.”

    Private lives

    Two pieces on Bioshock, and one piece on Tacoma, explore narrative techniques that provoke players’ emotions and deepen an understanding of characters’ motivations.

    • Exploitation and Rapture, how Bioshock Represents Capitalists and Workers Dakota Joyce explores how Bioshock positions the charismatic villain of Andrew Ryan in a wider social context, seeming to reify his values rather than challenge them.
    • BioShock Infinite’s Tragic Heaven,”…

    November 27th

    nonsense, so I’ll take a pass, thank you very much. […] [BioShock‘s] Rapture truly seemed like a living, breathing, fully-realized world. Hell, even though it was clearly unraveling at the seams, if I somehow acquired a one-way ticket to that damned, underwater metropolis I would have jumped at the chance to go.

    Katy Meyers, writing for Play the Past, might have a reason for BioShock‘s lasting appeal as a compelling aesthetic and narrative experience. In “Anthropology of Social Behavior in BioShock“, Meyers outlines the audio, visual and behavioral cues that lend Rapture that “living, breathing” quality.

    And try as I…

    March 3rd

    …of Dead Space 3 are not a big deal, because they’re significant constructs in the building of the entire world, man.

    Timely right now, especially with BioShock: Infinite’s ever-nearing release, is Kaitlin Tremblay’s thoughts on the use of nostalgia in the BioShock series:

    When talking about BioShock, Levine stated that the game acted as a Rorscarch for people (one that usually ended up in negativity, infuriating gamers who chose to engage with it on that level), and this is exactly how nostalgia is operating: it’s letting us, as players and as an audience, look at the game (the mechanics, the

    April 7th

    bits of the game’s plot. Elsewhere, on Kill Screen, Yannick LeJacq interviews a terribly exhausted Ken Levine.

    Lastly, an article auf Deutsch via our German-language correspondent Johannes Köller, Marcus Dittmar of 99leben describes how his on-and-off relationship with motion sickness prevents him from playing the game.

    AFTER –SHOCK

    But wait! There’s more. On Eurogamer, Richard Cobbett paints a fond retrospective look at that other BioShock sequel, BioShock 2. Elsewhere, Daniel Weissenberger digs even deeper into some thematic roots and cousins with a retro review of System Shock 2.

    TOMB RAIDER

    The other AAA name on everyone’s fingertips these last few…

    November 1st

    Hello once again friends of games criticism. I hope that if you indulged in international cosplay-and-candy day that you had an extra special night with some extra special people, if your celebrations skewed less North American then I hope you enjoyed an extra special Saturday. Once again it is my pleasure to bring you a new edition of This Week in Videogame Blogging!

    Shocking Bios

    A number of writers remain intrigued by Bioshock Infinite and continue to write engaging pieces exploring it. Amsel von Spreckelsen pens one such piece focusing on Bioshock as “temperance fiction” like the 1956 film, Carousel