Late to the Rapture

While it’s hard to believe that Irrational Games first launched their much-loved BioShock series almost nine years ago, it’s perhaps more shocking to consider that I’ve never actually played it.  Actually, strictly speaking, that’s not true.  I downloaded it as a demo on my Xbox 360 and marvelled at how realistic the water was while I avoided flames and airplane parts and made my way towards that small doorway, but, once inside, I was left a little cold as soon as I realised I had to crack some skulls with a wrench and fire off a few rounds using whatever weaponry I could lay my prune-fingered hands on.  I was mesmerised by the look and feel of it all; the retro-futuristic art-deco stylings were an immediate attraction for me, but I was never au fait with close-quarters combat, so I felt a little out of my depth.

After only twenty minutes or so, I had given up on the idea of ever getting through Rapture to discover Andrew Ryan’s secrets; there was just too much arsing around for my liking.  It was all a little vague, with not much around in the way of weaponry, and those plasmid things didn’t really sit well with me.  I decided to suck it up and keep going, but when two enemies rushed me and I couldn’t remember what the hell I was supposed to do to get the plasmids to work in my favour, I held my hands up and admitted defeat.  That was back in August of 2007, and I’ve never gone near the franchise since; I never even played any of the follow-ups at E3 or any other event.  I saw them, sure, but I walked on by while others salivated.

I did always feel like I was missing out on something, especially when so many of my friends spoke so highly of their adventures in Rapture, and having to deal with those pesky little girls and their big friends.  In fact, the first time I ever met our ex Deputy Editor, Ed, I thought he had some sort of bizarre skin condition as his sleeves were rolled up to reveal this weird red affliction covering the length of his entire forearm.  Not being one to hold back, I asked him “what’s this all about?“, to which he replied something like “oh, that’s a plasmid” and nodded nervously.  I believe his other friends had also taken magic markers to their own arms, in a bid to join him in his Rapturous celebration.  I just shrugged and rolled my eyes a bit, knowing how long it was going to take them to get that shit off their arms.

I’ve admired the BioShock 2 special edition set from afar as it sat in our back room, looking like one of those K-Tel vinyl record collector sets that grandparents used to buy in the ’70s featuring Tony Orlando and Acker Bilk classics, and appreciated the splendour of the artwork, secretly wishing that I knew as much about the universe and its lore as I do Fallout or Borderlands.  It was always just one of those games which would, year after year, fly under my radar while I immersed myself in the worlds to which I’d already become accustomed.  Regardless, the urge to scratch that BioShock itch has never left me.

A few weeks ago, however, I was clearing out some old games from my Steam collection in an attempt to free up some much-needed space when I saw that BioShock was not only in my library, but it was fully installed on my system and ready to play.  It had been for years, but the urge to double-click had never quite reached my fingertips and so it remained there, dormant and ignored, while other undoubtedly inferior titles such as Risen 3 and Pong HD 4K Ultra XL (not real; don’t get excited) practically bored me.

So here we are, almost nine years later, and I’m finally playing through the game that I’d tried the demo of and ultimately shied away from.  With considerably more experience in close-quarters combat, melée fighting, and even using guns as a primary weapon, I feel that I’m now up to the challenge that is BioShock.  After only a couple of hours, I’m already enjoying what the plasmids have to offer, I’m getting used to being rushed by gnarly and twisted beings, and I’m beginning to understand the satisfaction that the BioShock series has brought to others over the years.  It is my hope that I’ll continue to avoid spoilers until such times as I complete whatever is necessary within BioShock, before moving on to the divisive BioShock 2, and Infinite.

With two full weeks of vacation on the horizon, this is the perfect time to blitz through those 12-15 hours and put what is arguably Irrational’s finest hour behind me.  It may be too late to get caught up in the social buzz of excitement that surrounded BioShock at the time, but at least I’ll soon be able to have my say whenever anyone brings it up in conversation, rather than stare blankly as though they were speaking Klingon.  This is Andrew Ryan’s latest guest checking out for the time being, but I’ll be back with my thoughts after I complete it over the Christmas break.

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Chris Toffer says:

    Deeply envious that you have no idea what is coming in all three titles. Come for the hype, stay for the story, setting and audio logs ;)

  2. Darryl says:

    Damn, would give anything to be able to play through all 3 Bioshock games without knowing what’s about to happen.

    I will say make sure you play Minerva’s Den – Bioshock 2 as well as Burial at Sea – Bioshock Infinite – THESE ARE A MUST PLAY.

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