My Wife, the Casual Gamer, Reacts to: Bioshock Infinite
Josh Knowles | On 09, Apr 2013
My wife is a very casual gamer, with the exception of Bejeweled and The Sims 3, you would be hard-pressed to find her pick up a game controller. With that said, she does like to watch me play the occasional AAA-epic and loves to add her own quips while we play. I tend to record or write down her reactions to the games we play, sometimes it is amusing, other times it provides valuable insight into what a casual gamer sees in popular videogames.
Look out! There be spoilers below!
I started another playthrough of Bioshock: Infinite in 1999 mode because that is how I roll. My wife was quick on her guns. The entire opening sequence of Booker entering the lighthouse, climbing the tower and taking the rocket pod to Columbia, she asked one question:
“That guy you are playing as, he doesn’t like to ask questions, does he? I mean, he enters a building, ignores a man shot in the head and then willfully gets himself strapped into a chair and blasted so far into the air that the night becomes daytime. That pod could have came crashing back to Earth and he could have died. That’s really smart.”
After getting to Columbia and running around for a bit, she was slightly surprised at my looting habits. “Booker has a problem. He just ate a hotdog out of a trashcan and then a pineapple out of a toolbox!.” She also seemed slightly irked about the citizens of Columbia money management.” You just found $23 on the ground. Just lying there! Who the hell throws away $48 in silver coins into a garbage can?”
Finally, she did her best to keep me on the straight and narrow. “If you are going to go into that shop and eat all that food and the giant cake, you’d better pay for it! They have an honor system, don’t even think about taking the money out of that tray.”
I stole it of course.
Once the action started, she insisted that I throw the baseball at Fink’s face and was a little shocked when Booker skyhooks the officer’s face off. She felt that the gratuitous melee violence was a little over the top and “Gross”. Once I got to Elizabeth, she quipped “I am getting a very Disney feel to this game right now, in fact, it is kind of like Tangled except everyone is trying to murder you and there no one is breaking out into song and dance. Plus, I think your guy is trying to sell her to bad people.”
As the themes of racism became much more prevalent within the game, she had an important reaction. “It’s sad to see and hear this in a videogame, but since this takes place in 1912, I do understand the meaning of it all. It’s sad to know that people acted like this. I hope people playing actually realize how ugly and evil this was.” Personally, I hope that was what they were going for, because they did a great job of conveying the realism behind it all.
I played further into the game, but with 1999 mode, I hit a few bumps and my wife ultimately became disinterested. A few golden comments that she made, “Booker keeps running around, picking up strange potions and having all sorts of insane reactions to drinking them. He doesn’t know what these are! All the bad guys have to do is fill some bottles with poison and watch this idiot drink himself to death!.” “I like Elizabeth, but how does this girl find money, guns and health that you can’t find? Why does she try to throw money at you when you are fighting?” My personal favorite, “You know those games you play where you have to protect that stupid character that sucks at taking care of themselves? Yeah, you are that character in this game. Elizabeth is doing all the work to keep you from killing yourself and you are doing a real good job of trying to make her fail.”
I wanted to show her the ending of the game. We had played so far within Bioshock: Infinite that I was curious to get her impression on the the final scenes. Her reaction to it all? “Wait, this is one of those silly plot twist games? Doesn’t Booker still owe a debt?”
“The people who made this game thought they were really clever, didn’t they.”
It certainly seemed she really wasn’t a fan of the ending overall. I asked her about what she thought about the game itself: She told me, “The game is very pretty. The world at first really does appear to be extremely heavenly but as your interference become much more prominent, I do notice that it appears much more hellish. The game has an ok story and I liked some of the characters. I don’t understand a few things, like why didn’t Slate know who Comstock is?”
“Overall, it seemed like a nice game but I did like Tomb Raider more.”