nichavgo / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
37 417 162

nichavgo Blog

The redefinition of a name

by on

Irrational Games has recently announced its new title: BioShock Infinite. Due to 2012, it will hit the stores around five years after its predecessor (I'm not taking 2K Marin's BioShock 2 on count). Set in a dystopian city vertically opposed to Rapture (zenith-nadir opposition), Infinite shares some aspects with the first game. Question is: how will it transcend it?

Given it's been already three years since BioShock saw the light I ask myself if warnings for spoilers have any sense. I guess they do. So I set it up: the following article is spoilerful. If you haven't played the game yet, but intend to do so, be wary that this may seriously affect your gaming experience.

Take the famous events on Rapture Central Control, when Ryan and Atlas-Fontaine reveal the protagonist's real situation. "Was a man sent to kill? Or a slave?" constitutes the last insult: the freedom of FPS gameplay turns out to be a mere illusion. Thus, Jack Ryan becomes a metaphor of the player and Frank Fontaine one of the game itself. Take the first moment of Jack's life: bought by Fontaine from a money-desperate Jasmine Jolene, Jack mind was designed by a group of scientists led by Dr. Suchong (who in turn becomes a metaphor for game developers). Modified to grow in two years to a nineteen-years-old-man constitution and conditioned to "bark like a cocker-spaniel" when hearing the cliché "would you kindly?" Jack was sent to the surface and ordered to come back to fulfill the purpose of his creation. Don't game developers conceive, in some manner, their players mind? Level and mission design implies indeed the design of the particular "would you kindly?" Hitting the shelves, players are then allured to return to the "city where they were born", that is, to get involved with the world where their minds have been previously re-created.

Would you kindly?

Jack's life's second moment (the one you play through, the narrative present) includes a new element: the active involvement of Frank Fontaine, under the alias Atlas. By means of subtle inclusion of the "would you kindly?" trigger into his discourse, Atlas leads Jack through the to-be ruins of Rapture up to the very office of Andrew Ryan, his "political" adversary, and Jack's own father. There, Ryan makes clear for Jack his slave condition: "a man chooses, a slave obeys". "KILL!" and "OBEY!" stand for the final insult: unable to stop, Jack kills his father. Meanwhile, the player can only watch, for the whole act is presented as a cutscene. How Fontaine acts as a metaphor? NPCs, missions and the whole world of a first-person shooter somehow manage to make you do what they want, as Fontaine does with Jack. Even the HUD may have something to do with you doing this instead of that. Suchong gave Fontaine the keys to Jack's mind. Similarly, game developers give the key to the players' mind to the commercial product, that is, to the game which is already on sale. Thus, I dare say FPS experience has been destroyed with BioShock.

Andrew Ryan

We can talk about a third moment in Jack's life. Starting with Dr. Tenenbaum giving the player the chance to either harvest or save the Little Sisters, this third moment really kicks in when she undoes Suchong's conditioning on Jack's mind. Though some may say that this is the way to transcend gameplay slavery, I think it's not. Don't you keep completing missions others gave you? May these others be the environment itself or the historical development? The two options that appear on your HUD when facing a Little Sister (which on the PC are by default set to the H and L keys for a hatred-love opposition) take you to do what the game wants. These and the final cutscene are just a lure to get the players to play again choosing the opposite moral direction. So, as I said, BioShock has destroyed the FPS experience.

In this sense one may ask, what else can be done? Infinite's trailer shows a reference to the original game. An underwater view moves along what seems the ocean's bottom. A Big Daddy statuette suddenly appears and is quickly left behind by the moving camera. Then the silhouette of a city rises. As the camera closes in, Rapture becomes a knick knack commemorating "1893 Chicago World Fair". Seconds later, a big metallic foot steps over the tiny Big Daddy statue.

BioShock name seems to be no longer related to Rapture. Infinite may be the redefinition of a name. What does BioShock means then? It's maybe related to destruction. The original game destroyed FPS experience. Infinite's trailer has someone crashing a Big Daddy (even though Columbia's events develop earlier than those of Rapture). Anyway, this is just speculation.

Random

by on
Can't get rid of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, play it over and over again. Dunno why, I just love that game over all others...

One more

by on

Two days ago was December 2nd. That means: one more year on GameSpot! Aye, it's two years (and two days) now from when I first joined GS. Hell they've been two good years! I know I haven't been posting recently (again)... busy again... but I'll try to keep the pace again :).

See ya, guys!

Hallowed Be The Lightning

by on

Totally random. I recently realized how similar in theme are Iron Maiden's Hallowed Be Thy Name and Metallica's Ride the Lightning. In both cases a condemned man is just about to die (in the gallows and in the electric chair) and both of the refuses to give up at first while finally they accept their fate. Anyway, both are great songs... :)

See ya guys!

Minesweeper

by on

Gaming industry has been gaining presence on the last years... maybe cause or maybe effect of this, games and gaming consoles as well have improved in every sense: graphics, gameplay (playability) and even storyline. Yet there comes a time when you feel some kind of nostalgia for the old games, the classics. No one can pretend to not miss at least one classic or the bunch of games they had for consoles like NES or Atari 2600 without lying, unless, indeed, they are too young to even know the existence of games with "crappy graphics". A lot of titles come to mind when speaking about this, but I won't cite any this time.

Furthermore, I consider a lack of interest in a very simple yet fun and competitive game: Minesweeper. The most known variant of this game was developed by Oberon Games and released as part of an entertainment pack for Microsoft Windows in 1990; ever since, it has been included in every Windows release. Included, yet mostly ignored...

Windows Minesweeper icon

The objective of the game is very clear: you have to clear a board of mines without getting killed by one. The board is full of "white" squares which you have to unveil to find out which of them are indeed mines. To do so, the "free" squares have a number written on them that show up when they are clicked. This number indicates the number of mines there are on the 8 squares around it. You must decide which of them are mines, flag them and open up the entire board to see the cool smiley 8)

A finished Minesweeper board

Good ol' Minesweeper... To make it a little bit more challenging, the game offers you three levels of difficulty and records scores for best time solving a board. Seems pretty easy, huh? It is, and that's the key for fun (I'm not trying to say new games are bad at all... indeed, complexity is also a compelling factor for casual and hardcore gamers). Why then is this little game relegated to moments of unfathomable boredom and not even taken as a "videogame"? That's a question for everyone to answer themselves... maybe is its lack of multiplayer and even of replayability (meaning, after gaining your own highscores).

Where has the cool smiley gone?

But this game is still alive, even though Windows Vista version almost killed it (check out this for further details). There's a group of players that keep Minesweeper going on with tournaments, holding world records, etc. This has made the game even more competitive, instating the creation of the 3BV and 3BV/s measures of difficulty and "ability" (read this article for more information: 3BV). So why not consider getting just a bit more serious on this game and not only use it to kill boredom?

There are also cool variations of the game, just like Minesweeper 3D, which I will not take on consideration in this article.

Huh? Floating numbers?

All said, now it's up to you to remember those good days with old gaming and join them with the fun of this simple game to click once more on that pretty yellow smiley and start a new board...

Nostalgia

by on

So I was playing Diablo II, remembering good ol' times, and a friend came up with the idea of recording the bosses's dying animations. Thus I came with this new video... Hope you enjoy it! ;)

See ya soon, hope to see your comments...


PD: sorry for the missing final letters, I don't know what happened...

Metapost [please comment]

by on

First of all... WTF is a metapost? First of all we must consider the greek word μετά, or "meta". It means: "after", "beyond", "with", "adjacent", "self". Wikipedia says about the english prefix "meta-":


In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). For example, metadata are data about data (who has produced them, when, what format the data are in and so on). Similarly, metamemory in psychology means an individual's knowledge about whether or not they would remember something if they concentrated on recalling it. Furthermore, metaemotion in psychology means an individual's emotion about his/her own basic emotion, or somebody else's basic emotion.


So, what's a metapost? A metapost is a post thath talks about itself... and that´s what I'm doing... talking about what I´m doing: writing what I'm writing.

Beyond this, this metapost is a metablog also, meaning it talks about my blog in general. This is where the part of the post's title "[please comment]" takes part on the whole of this thing: I've tried to have a blog where the posts would have titles apparently unrelated to them and have contents hopefully "experimental", so, pushing apart the fact that I post eventually (maybe now one of the reasons has been elucidated) and I have very few ones (maybe it's also time to read previous ones), what do you think of my blog? (try to be sincere lol)

Hope to see you soon guys and to read your comments...

Postponed (Long time no...)

by on

Got a new emblem! It's really been a long time since I don´t get one...

Pretty emblem, ain´t it?

Anyway, last post I left a PD where I stated that my next post would be a metapost (or a metablog)... Since this unexpected event, I had to pospone that post for this one... promise next one will be the metapost! lol

See ya soon guys...

[Trying to figure out a title]

by on

I think its been a long time since I posted about a level-up, and that's not 'cause I forgot or I realized too late that I had leveled-up:question:... nope, this' because it's taking me a lot to do so... anyway, it's my fault because of my inactivity... Nevertheless, let's cheer up! I finally leveled-up to Sheng Long (I have no idea what itmeans, anybody?)! lol That's all I have to say for today... see you ASAP guys haha


PD: next post will be a metapost or metablog... wait for it! ;) lol