Let’s not delude ourselves or others into thinking that we know what we’re talking about. Tim Kreider, however, does.
Bioshock: Infinite is an extraordinary achievement. It’s more than merely stunning, graphically. In an industry where impressive graphics are now expected, where powerful CPU and GPU systems are within reach of the average enthusiast, Bioshock: Infinite easily stands above the others. Parts of it are breathtaking. Walk up a cobblestone street. A couple is sipping sarsaparilla at a cafe. Two boys in knee pants are playing in an open hydrant. The water splashes down and flows round the paving, glistening in the morning sun coming over the top of the hill. Dust motes float in the breeze, and the air is golden with reflected sunlight. Did I mention the birds flitting around, or music? This is not merely beautiful–it’s astonishing to glimpse such a scene, vibrant with light and life. And to be able to move around more-or-less freely in this environment is wonderful… during those brief intermissions walking from one shooting gallery to the next…
I was captivated, in spite of all the senseless violence, in spite of the tortured and ridiculous story, in spite of the fact that it was, in its genetic essence, a pure shooter. Maybe that was the problem.
Shooters exist purely for the challenge of vanquishing your “enemies.” If anything, these games fall over each other pandering to excess testosterone. I’ve played several of them, including Borderlands 2, Crysis and Crysis 2, and others. I’ve finished them all–and not necessarily on “easy” either.
But not this one.
I’m not from the south, in spite of the fact that I’ve lived here in North Carolina for 24 years, and my mother was born of sharecropper (i.e., white trash) stock in Macon, Georgia (and never let you forget it), and my husband was born in Davison county and has lived here all his life.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has an interesting question in response to the conundrum every southerner faces, i.e., what to say to people who ask you if you feel ashamed of the present and historical bigotry and racism and other aspects of civil war southern “heritage” that taints the south. His question:
In Birmingham we all love the governor. Watergate doesn’t bother me at all. Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth.