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Tycho / on Wed, Apr 10 2013 at 12:01 am

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Emulator, Part One

Gabriel’s son, also a Gabriel, has taken on the task of creating his own roleplaying game.  That seemed like something we should catalog, and we have begun to do so.  It’s currently six strips, and it looks to stay there.  I have a lot to say about it.

BIOSHOCK INFINITE SPOILER WARNING!!!  I have every confidence that you have played Bioshock Infinite, assuming that you wanted to; it’s the sequel to Bioshock, so it’s the sort of thing people make time for.  I’m going to talk about it a little bit, mostly talk around it, specifically having to do with the fact that Gabriel and Kiko lost their connection with it.  Like I said: you have probably played it.  But if not, go away.  I don’t think I’m doing anything outré, but people really flip wig about thpoilerth and talking about whether or not a person did or did not spoil X, particularly when you should have played it already, is the most boring shit imaginable.

Bioshock Infinite is a game about… a lot of things, and the mirror it uses to reveal them is a universe that is refracted into a potentially “infinite” number of permutations.  What this means is that nearly anything is, was, or will be possible.  When anything is possible, it becomes very difficult for some people to apply any value to a given arrangement of the board.

My friend Krast St’or’uub found himself at the helm of this predicament in his excellent Starslip, nee Starshift Crisis.  There is an engine in the series that simply finds a universe where you already are in the place you want to go, and plip, there you are.  It’s a scenario with nested complexities, but instead of being invigorated by the prospect, he began to feel like it was all a con for the reader: between various dimensionations and a squeeze of fresh time travel, he could concoct any cockamamie thing and it would be lent credence by the structure.  It wasn’t empowering to plan the story anymore.  What it did was make him feel like a fraud, preemptively.

The Doctor of Doctor Who fame has this “problem,” placed in quotes in case it’s not a problem for you personally.  It certainly isn’t for me.  There’s even a term, leveraged in an episode as a reference to the episode and most likely the entire show:  Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey.  Deus Ex Machina, with a wink.  You make your peace with it.  I don’t need to know the physics behind the roller coaster, even though it’s probably not a bad idea to know.  I just like to ride.

Which may be why I kicked the game over in a couple days, and companions whose opinions I respect might never finish it at all.  For me, even in a context of unbridled possibility, it’s about curation: what they choose to show, from the Set Of All Things.  My associates had other complaints which I didn’t really experience too much: for example, I thought the shooting was pretty solid on PC.  But a sequence of rapid-fire slides into conveniently situated, conveniently populated d-rifts perforated their investment at virtually the same time.

Long story short, if you didn’t find Bioshock Infinite to your liking - or you did, and then you didn’t - you probably aren’t alone.  In fact, you might be in very good company.

(CW)TB out.

(instrumental)


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