Gaming Like A Sir: All This Talk Of BioShock Infinite Could Ruin The Magic
Wait, obviously I don’t mean what it seems I mean. Although when you see what I actually mean, despite what it seems, my meaning seems to fit.
Life is good at the moment. I haven’t finished Tomb Raider, even though it’s excellent. I’ve got Heart Of The Swarm beckoning and teasing like the luscious vixen she is, while BioShock Infinte wear’s a low-cut dress, heady perfume, and an infuriating smile. I did what any man must do when faced with too much of a good thing, I played Sonic.
Maybe it’s because Sonic 1 & 2 were my first and favourite games as a kid, but that picture makes me laugh. From my belly.
I joke but it’s a serious issue, I have three awesome games to play and yet here I am with Sonic. It’s sad really. So I started thinking about it, not judgementally but academically, why am I happier playing Sonic than playing any one of the other awesome games I’ve been waiting years to play? Honestly I was a little stumped at first. I thought it might have something to do with relaxation. Something old and familiar is probably more comforting and ultimately relaxing than any new triple A extravaganza I have waiting to be played. In part it probably is that, but there is something else I’m glad I isolated. It was in my cowering stupor, half-way through Wing Fortress in Sonic 2, I understood something strange.
Talking, discussing, and popular opinion are ruining my fun. In part, a large part, the reason I was avoiding playing games was because I knew people were going to want to discuss them with me. I’m nervous about playing BioShock because after all the praise, where is the chance to form an opinion? Imagine playing StarCraft and instead of finding the dialogue cheesy maybe you find it dramatic and awesome. Maybe the way Lara adapts and emotes seems realistic. Maybe some other criticism of BioShock I honestly can’t think of. What now? Either I have to gather enough evidence to hold my own against the horde of popular opinion, or I have to smile and nod through fake, toothy smiles that High School pretty girls would be proud of.
It’s a kak situation. For the non-South African, kak = pronounced kuk = shitty. It’s a good word though, because shitty doesn’t quite encompass the specific flavour of irritation that kak seems to imply. Parking across two parking bays is shitty, stubbing your toe is shitty, forgetting how to be happy is kak. Melodrama aside, it’s strange to think that because something is popular it is harder to enjoy objectively. Then I thought about it some more and it becomes blindingly obvious.
Of course popularity implies peer pressure. It shouldn’t make you more or less likely to do or believe something just because you know others think or do the same. It really shouldn’t, but it does. I don’t want to be the only person who doesn’t appreciate something’s brilliance nor do I want to enjoy something others find idiotic. This brings some dangerous issues, objectivity is hard to maintain especially when it is so easy to agree and gain immediate acceptance.
As with most things, there is a middle ground, an appropriate intersection of keeping the magic alive and being realistic. Stop talking. Stop reading, stop looking, and stop seeking in general, anything other than the truth of your own reaction. The joy of growing must be the thrill of self-discovery. I want to react honestly, unfettered by preconception or worry of opinions I should hold.
There is value in discussion, obviously, but it comes at the price of the magic. The more a game or a world is discussed and analysed, the less mystery and magic imbues its fiction. So now I have a middle ground. I discuss some and hold personal others. I don’t mind discussing Tomb Raider or Heart of the Swarm because although they are outstanding and hold great value, they aren’t especially tarnished by discussion or rumination. In fact their fiction might be helped by sharing opinions, maybe every game is helped by sharing ideas. To me it isn’t the case. Sometimes something comes along that needs to be experienced alone. When there is a chance to do or feel something special, it must be your own welfare that comes first.
Whether I’m right or not, BioShock Infinite is one of those games. Ken Levine was responsible for the first and it gave me many feelings and experiences I hold eternally dear.
So far Infinite is doing the same. Discussion might aid my understanding of what I experience, but it will strip the magic from how I feel.
So I say again that BioShock Infinite is not worth discussing. There is nothing to be gained when the experience should be at least for now, private.
It is a personal journey through the clouds of Columbia and an adventure that will haunt me forever.
I hope the same for you.