My first guest post, from the awesome Lee Landey!
Given the overriding concept of this blog, I rarely get to comment on games while they’re firmly in the zeitgeist. Since I started Playing the Canon last June, my life has basically been that xkcd comic where the dude plays games six years late and sings “Still Alive” to all his friends in 2013. (Note: I think xkcd is often sorta problematic in its worldview, but that one got me.)
Few games in the history of the medium have been as thoroughly zeitgeist-y as Bioshock Infinite, so my good friend Lee Landey graciously volunteered to cover the game here while I stumble my way toward the end of the Mass Effect trilogy. Lee is a great dude, a fantastic writer, and one of the most sincerely passionate game-lovers I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. You can read more of his thoughts on his own blog, Last Boss (which he should update more frequently because it’s great!).
I haven’t played Bioshock Infinite, but the discussion surrounding it has been simply incredible and fills me with hope for the future of games writing and the industry in general. At the risk of hyperbole, this feels like the games community’s first genuinely mature, nuanced conversation about a mainstream, big budget action game. (Mass Effect 3 had a shot, but unfortunately entitled whiners hijacked the discourse early on.) People who love it, like Lee, are approaching it from a philosophical angle and still questioning certain aspects of the game’s design; there is little of the IGN-esque, “10/10 OMG AMAZING STFU N00BS” one-sided nothingness that haunted past releases’ praise. On the flip side, people who were more lukewarm on Infinite are still largely praising its ambition and finding aspects of the game worthy of a real discussion. (Check out Tim Rogers’ take for a Homerically long but largely brilliant counterpoint. And the excellent blog This Cage is Worms has a pretty solid linkdump that covers all sides and angles.)
I’ll let Lee take it from here. His enthused contribution to Playing the Canon (which — full disclosure — I’ve only read in part, because spoilers) makes me incredibly excited to take Infinite for a spin. Regardless of where I fall in the debate, for once I can’t wait to take part in it. – Joel Newman
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