While waiting impatiently for something else to download over the weekend, I booted up BioShock 1 for the first time in years, curious to see how it held up a half-decade on. I’d forgotten how remarkable and how magnetic its first few minutes are: whatever else you want to accuse the game of, the work it does in so quickly and so assuredly building a world and a mountain of intrigue around it is something we see all too little of. The vast majority of mainstream games open with enough dry exposition to choke a rhino, but this grabs your total attention with a bare minimum of talk, a steady flow of unpredictable spectacle and a spinetingling cocktail of awe and anxiety. Irrational are, I think, right to leave Rapture behind – but, for no particular reason other than ‘why not?’, let’s remember just why they built it in the first place.
Now that’s how you start a videogame: subtle despite being ludicrous, sinister despite being beautiful, msyterious despite being explanatory. Watching it, I feel the sad-sweet chest-pressure of nostalgia, remembering my ignorance when I first saw that, desperate to know what this world would show me next. I know BioShock pulled an awful lot of punches as it wore on (oh, Big Blue Man, how you wound me), but this intro is precisely why I’m very keen to see what Irrational are planning for Infinite.