I consider myself a gamer. I enjoy playing simple games such as Sudoku or Tetris to more involved games like Grant Theft Auto or Halo. One of my favorite games, which won many awards in 2007 for game of the year, is Bioshock. Bioshock is a first-person-shooter (FPS), horror game that has some role-playing game (RPG) elements involved. While I know that I am somewhat biased being an avid fan of FPS games, it was actually the engaging story element of the game that set it apart from other generic FPSs. The story begins in 1960 when Jack (the player controlled character), finds himself the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean. He then enters a bathysphere (an aquatic transportation device) which takes him to an underwater city named Rapture. Rapture was created in 1946 by Andrew Ryan with a vision of creating a paradise of freedom and wealth. Development of stem cells of an unknown species of sea slug created an increase in genetic engineering research in Rapture. This research created in industry where with a simple serum, users could rid themselves of genetic abnormalities or even create skills such as telekinesis. However, Rapture wasn’t the utopian society that Ryan had envisioned and a civil war in the city breaks out. The story involves the protagonist Jack working his way through the city and learning how he himself is involved heavily in the story of Rapture.
Bioshock was created by game designer Ken Levine. While Levine is a game designer, he has a
degree in liberal arts. He states that
books such as 1984 and Logan’s Run were artistic influences for
his game. When discussing the societies
in the two books, Henry states that both societies have “really interesting
ideas screwed up by the fact that we're people” . Henry also cites authors Ayn Rand and George
Orwell as well as other writings that involve utopian and dystopian societies
as inspiration for his work.
Videogames can serve as a medium to portray a story to its users. Just as a film can serve as a visual medium to communicate a novel, videogames allow game designers to express their stories by creating an engaging environment for their users to interact within. Levine created a story that told of a man’s journey through a dystopian society. Levine created a revolutionary FPS. Merging the two together, Levine created an immersive narrative that, in my opinion, is an excellent model for modern viedogames.