Menu

Episode 93

The Indoor Kids

Infinite Bioshock Spoilers…

user avatar

The Indoor Kids #93: Infinite Bioshock Spoilers with Blair Butler and Film Critic Hulk!

They’ve talked around it for weeks, but now it’s time to unbutton their gaming pants and let loose. Kumail and Emily welcome old friends Blair Butler (on her second playthrough) and Film Critic Hulk (who thinks about narrative for a living) to discuss everything Bioshock: Infinite – things thry loved, things they missed, what it means for gaming, and parallels to the first Bioshock. DO NOT LISTEN UNLESS YOU HAVE BEATEN BIOSHOCK. You have been warned.

The NeoGaf they reference frequently in the conversation

SPOILERS IN THIS EPISODE THAT ARE NOT BIOSHOCK SPOILERS

(13:20 – 14:25) – Oldboy spoiler

(29:30 – 29:55) – Battlestar Galactica spoiler

GAMES DISCUSSED:

All the BioShocks, Halo 4, Far Cry 3, Spec Ops: The Line, Mass Effect, The Walking Dead

MOVIES DISCUSSED:

Lord of the Rings, Oldboy, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Primer, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Superman Returns

TV DISCUSSED:

Battlestar Galactica

Buy Indoor Kids merch!

Follow @matthewburnside on Twitter!

Follow @indoorkids, @kumailn, and @thegynomite on Twitter! And email us at theindoorkidspodcast@gmail.com!

Tags , , ,

39 comments

  • Just a quick thought on Colombia never feeling ‘in the sky’ in terms of you’re not going to fall off. One thing I loved about the game was how each battle took place in what felt like a real part of the city, rather than an an obviously designed ‘video game level’ i.e. perfectly placed crates for cover etc. If Colombia were real it wouldn’t be precarious and easy to fall off of!

    In that sense I’m really glad they didn’t do that, plus it allowed for the bigger more tactical battles, which I loved. The biggest difference was the scale of play, which I really liked that they didn’t retread the same ground – both styles are a lot of fun. Although the original Bioshock is certainly ‘scarier’, Infinite definitely felt very creepy and more subversive, a little closer to problems that exist in the real world, whereas the original was more of a fanciful look at the extreme visions of Ayn Rand style figures.

  • Regarding gameplay:
    The quality of the Carbine compared to the other weapons is a wonderful reflection of the technology of the era. Grenades and rockets and gattling guns were NOT that great in 1912.

    I would have liked the Volley Gun if the projectiles didn’t randomly explode mid-bounce before getting to the enemy.

    Regarding story:
    I felt the whole Booker=Comnstock thing could have been foreshadowed a teeny bit more so it would feel like an actual revelation. As it played “I was like, wait, so now you’re saying he’s me? Well OK.” If there had been a little more dialogue throughout the game about the pinky, or Comstock’s history before running Columbia, then it would have felt more like a puzzle piece falling into place. It’s a delicate balance between foreshadowing and giving away the ending, but I just didn’t feel the right kind of build up for this one.

  • Another game where you get additional story elements from collected audio clips is Halo ODST.. in fact, you get an entirely new sub-story that makes ODST a deeper game, that really isn’t even at all referenced in the rest of the main story except for a locked room in a frozen area in one of the final levels, that you can’t open unless you’ve collected them all..

  • I was planning on waiting to pick up Bioshock Infinite, but when I saw this podcast with spoilers go up last week, I decided to get the game and just beat it last night.

    Wow, I’m glad I did. Great podcast, and since I’ve never played Bioshock 1, Blair’s raving has convinced me to start playing that tonight.

  • I was hoping someone would mention the Batleship Bay baptism. It’s not direct, but you fall into the Bay and Elizabeth saves you. She rescues you from the water are brings you back to life. Then she drowns you.

  • Whew, Daniel…I was scrolling through this thread like “How has nobody mentioned that?”

    They can definitely make a sequel to BioShock, but it will be ___Shock; another entry in this larger series. From Levine himself: “We had worked in that darker palette, that underwater palette, that deep-space palette…” So there can totally be another -Shock game with a new setting/story/feel to it.

    It’ll of course be harder to come up with, I think. I got to go to a cosplay event thing at PAX Prime last year for BioShock Infinite (where I briefly met Adam Sessler!), and I talked to one of the art directors. I asked him if he regretted having such a different setting from the underwater Rapture, and he half-jokingly replied, “Every day.”

    There’s a rumor that Dead Space was originally supposed to be a sequel to System Shock 2, but I don’t see it. Sure, it’s horror and deep-space, but it can easily have drawn those influences from Aliens, The Thing, etc.

    Anyway, I strongly recommend people check out System Shock 2. It’s MUCH harder than BioShock/2/Inf. (and therefore the inspiration of “1999 Mode”), but it does a great job of telling a story with recordings, creating a mood, scaring you, etc. It’s dated-looking and has a good amount of inventory micromanagement but it’s still an important experience.

    I’ve never tried SS1, but the gameplay looks too antiquated for me, and it wasn’t quite the same studio.

  • Regarding the Voxophones:

    Kumail asked something like “Is there any other game where narrative has to be sought out by the player?”

    Tom Bissell was talking about Dark Souls last week. That game very much does that. There’s very little story spoonfed to you via cinematics and automatic exposition. A lot of the background story is revealed in item and equipment descriptions, through NPCs when you talk to them after making progress, even in aspects of the scenery or where/how loot is placed. There was an incredible attention to detail in that game, it’s very impressive.

  • “B”ooker “D”ewitt=”B”ig “D”addy….hmmmm

    Did anyone else notice at the beginning of Bioshock you hear the song bird in the background, or at least a very similar noise? Maybe I’m reaching a bit.

  • Blair and a discussion of BIoshock? I loved it! Great show, Indoor Kids! You had me laughing at one point so much that one of my coworkers just came by and stared at me. I think you guys won this time, this time; lol.

  • I loved the game quite abit but story aside there were a few things that disappointed me. I have to say that the fact that the story works so well and on many different levels is amazing to me considering quite a bit of the story related content was removed. There were characters and story arcs that had been shown when the game was first revealed that were cut completely and that being the case one would think the story might have suffered as a result and yet it didn’t in the least.

    Game play was where I was a bit let down. The first big game play reveal at e3 a few years ago was so much more grand and so much more exciting in what it depicted the combat being and originally Elizabeth had powers that she could use offensively instead of just using tears and finding ammo and what not. A part of me is sad the final game isn’t close to the crazy stuff we saw originally but it also kinda doesn’t matter because the story is so well done the game play doesn’t really matter as much. I mean it’s not like someone buying a Bioshock is buying it because it’s a shooter. They are getting it because they are expecting a great game with a message. Besides while the game play wasen’t as I hoped it would be(based on the first game play footage from e3 years back) it’s still pretty fun.

    Great game regardless. I plan on going back and trying to get through 1999 mode after I finish what I am currently playing.

  • Hey I know you guys have mentioned several times that Kumail had a “dark period” in NYC when he played video games all day and was depressed. Would you guys maybe consider dedicating a portion of a show to talking about how he got out of that? I have the hardest time getting motivated to do something other than video games and being on the internet, kind of cursed by the fact that I don’t “have” to do anything else. But I want to do other things with my days, and I feel like I can, I’m almost there… I just cannot seem to motivate myself to make practical decisions to do it. I think hearing someone else’s experience might help me. I’ve always been curious about what changed for you – what it looked like, the practical things. (I do not need professional help from you, just wanting to hear a real life story from someone who’s done it.) Like did you just stop playing altogether?

  • I felt so frustrated when you guys said “Where can the next Bioshock be? In space?” Because Ken Levine has ALREADY DONE THAT GAME. It was called System Shock 2, and it was AWESOME. Furthermore, it was much more of a survival horror game, a genre that Kumail has lamented the passing of. Now available on GOG, and there are user-made mods to give it better graphics.

    I would also have liked someone to ask Film Crit Hulk if he would be willing to change his definition of art in light of Bioshock Infinite. I myself don’t think it is the best example of Game As Art, but I do think his earlier definition was far too restrictive.

  • @Phil The Volley Gun really pissed me off when it was used against me, especially in 1999 mode where the computer seemed to be able to hit me from wherever on the map with the damn thing and it only took a couple to kill you.

  • It would make my day if blair butler had a comic book podcast on nerdist, also a tabletop gaming nerdist podcast would be awesome. Great episode can’t wait til Emily and kumail review injustice.

  • Oh man Kumail. I know you’ve got shit to do, but you and Emily really need to watch Battlestar Galactica. You’ve been missing out on one of the most ambitious, moving, and thematically-rich television series.

    At least watch the pilot miniseries. It’s on Netflix. I’m begging you.

  • Chalk me up as another one who loves the second Bioshock. In terms of mechanics, it’s the best of the games. Storywise, it suffers from trying to squeeze into the cracks of a complete story, but it makes up for it with the the Elena-Delta relationship. The collectivism angle isn’t as well-developed as the objectivism in the first game, btu that doesn’t bother me, because Bioshock 2 is primarily about being a parent, and it really sticks the landing on that part.

  • Weird how everyone seems to miss the little things, like, you can NOT choose anything, the african-american talking to himself about how he wishes someone would just give him a mind-challenging job, instead of just common labour, and as you walk in on him saying that, he suddenly changes his accent and goes “servant mode” etc. It’s just funny how people fail to see BI surpasses the other Bioshocks in the little aspects, details, grooming, instead of the simple “MINDFUCK” (golf club scene, etc.)

  • To Pete Russell: you hit the point right between the eyes there. I mean, I get it, guys… you aren’t racist. I know you wouldn’t throw the ball at the couple. But come on, you get close to revealing the point itself – it is a choice that people make all the time. It is meant to make you think about why ANYONE would do that, and Pete hits a big one right there… EVERYONE ELSE IN THAT CROWD WOULD. There is a reason you need to teach kids about peer pressure: because it is a powerful motivator. It also addresses the notion of conformity ion this conservative world. Was it shocking? Yes. Should it have been achoice at all? ABSOFUCKINGLUTLELY.

  • I’m going to fill this comment with spoilers so beware…

    I love hearing people’s idea’s about the ending of Bioshock Infinite. There is one thing though that keeps popping up that I can’t help but feel is incorrect. See, a lot of people say that in the end Comstock is destroyed and the Booker we know remains (often people say it’s because he rejected the baptism, which was also said in this podcast). But the Booker we know is of course destroyed, just like Comstock, since Booker never gets to make the choice of whether or not to get the baptism. Look at it like a tree, with the trunk as Booker’s conception and all the branches as all the options in his life. One of the branches is Booker going to the baptism (and either accepting it becoming Comstock, or rejecting it and becoming Booker). Because Anna drowns you right before making that choice the entire branch is cut away from the tree and the only branches that remain are branches where Booker never went to the baptism in the first place. We don’t know that Booker because we’ve only seen the alcoholic mess of a Booker that rejected the baptism. There could be Booker’s quite similar (like you get to see at the end of the credits), there could also be Booker’s that never even were part of Wounded Knee.

    I liked the little video of the voice actors recording the song during the credits by the way, since it’s without a doubt my favorite moment in the game.

  • Pretty good podcast, I wish you guys would have attempted to delve deeper into the final moments of the game. Are they killing all Bookers/Comstocks or only the Bookers that take the Baptism.

    They can’t kill them all, because than there would be no Elizabeth to come back and do the deed. I think across all realities TIme Master Elizabeth went back and saved that reality from Comstock, except one. Because there needs to be one reality with a Comstock and a Colombia to create the scenario that takes place in the game to force Elizabeth’s hand.

    I think the one reality she left with Non-baptised Booker alive is what we see, or she was able to Time Master it up so good she fixed everything but simultaneously left one reality where Booker lives and gets to raise her, but there is nothing in the gane to indicate how that would be done.

    And Bioshock 2 is over trashed on, the shooting mechanics in it are way better than Bioshock 1 (plasmid and gun out at same time, drill melee system). THe story isn’t as good for sure, but its still pretty good, and that Ryan AMusement park is amazing!

  • I don’t think the vigors are just there because it’s a bioshock game. I don’t even care that the fact that they were brought through the tears to Columbia in the first place still leaves them unconnected to Columbia itself (even though I think the desire to be the best America Columbia can be is enough of a reason for the Columbians to steal them through the tears, especially if they also caught glimpses of Rapture in its heyday). The reason why I find the vigors (and by extension the entire “shooter” aspect of Bioshock Infinite) to be thematically cohesive with the rest of the game is because it organically results in highly varied play styles. After finishing the game, my roommate watched me play, and he was astounded at how differently I used the vigors and weapons. Playing alone, neither of us were aware of Infinite’s potential for wildly diverging strategies, just as Booker is unaware of the myriad Bookers fighting in parallel worlds.

    There are far too many weapons in Bioshock Infinite, and you can only carry two of them at a time. Therefore, as more firearms are introduced, you naturally begin to favor certain firearms over others, and these favorites differ from player to player. My roommate played through the entire game with the carbine and shotgun, whereas I would keep the volley gun and switch around constantly with my other weapon slot. With vigors, unlike Bioshock 1, where you get to keep all the weapons for free but you have to pick and choose plasmids, in Infinite you get all the vigors but only two weapons. This gives you a greater range of combat options than Bioshock 1 because the vigors are MUCH more varied in their effects than guns are. During combat, I would hang back and use “possession,” then ambush distracted enemies while they fought their friends. However, in his review, Yahtzee Croshaw said he preferred using “shock jockey,” a vigor I barely touched, to chain-stun enemies. Our experiences were radically different. Other design elements contribute to this phenomenon as well. For example, gear can gently steer you towards certain tactical options, and while the boxes all spawn in the same place, the gear inside each box is random, so everybody gets different gear even if they know where every box is. Also, there’s not nearly enough money in the game to upgrade everything, so if you pay to upgrade, you further commit to that weapon/vigor. Irrational made all of these choices intentionally.

    If every player’s save file exists in parallel with every other save file in the single Bioshock universe, the Luteces will see an incredible amount of variety across these save files as far as Booker’s upgrade choices and combat tactics. This is by design. Bioshock Infinite is overloaded with fourteen different firearms (each with up to four different possible upgrades) and eight vigors, even though the story is not long enough to let the player fully experience them all without multiple play-throughs. Irrational went to the trouble of creating this much content because the game itself organically promotes radically different play styles as another thematic layer to the overall experience.

  • I, unlike everyone on the show today, chose to throw the baseball at the interracial couple. I didn’t feel good about choosing it, but here was my reasoning for doing so:

    It was mentioned earlier upon entering the fair that you should try to blend in as best you can and not do anything that would make you stand out. So when I drew the ball that I wasn’t supposed to draw, I figured that choosing not to throw it would blow my cover and I didn’t want to do so, so I made the decision to try and continue to blend in spite of the awful thing that I was about to do.

  • I loved Bioshock 2 and I don’t know why it gets so much shit. I think it’s the least memorable out of the series but it’s still an amazing game in my opinion. The Big Sisters alone made that game worth the price of admission. I still tense up when I hear that scream they make when they are about to show up to fight.

  • Jessie I love game 2. @ the first comment that said #1 was a bad game or ( worse than 3) and they didn’t like it because the shortage of ammo…lol… I don’t even want to comment more than that. YET I will. Knowing you are in a post apic type game duh …ammo shortage. If you can grasp that from the get go maybe you would just go bullets blazing so when you did actually need ammo you woukdnt have to backtrack JUST for ammo. It has nothing to do with being bad at fps like you said. If you are a gamer you should be ready for things like this and adapt. Not give up.

  • Am I the only person thought that bioshock 2 is still is a fucking great game. I feel like everyone shits on the game when it is still a good game to this day. I know bioshock 1 is a high bar to rise up to, but the bioshock 2 got close and I feel like it fleshes out the first one a bit more.

  • Blair talked a bit about how shocking some of the material in the game was, and I felt the same way after discovering a lot of the things you mentioned (the kinetoscope with the advert for kid’s cigarettes, the painting of Lincoln as Satan) as well as some you didn’t mention that were even worse.

    If you play through again, listen for a fight song called, “The Readiness is All” that I THINK plays in the Duke and Dimwit store. The lyrics in it are jaw-droppingly racist. I couldn’t find a transcription of them online, but here’s an exerpt of the first verse I transcribed by ear:

    “When the foreign hordes come marching into town
    will you be prepared to stand those buggers down?
    They’ll do their level best to take all that’s rightly yours,
    and it’s your sole duty to keep them from our shores!”

    It goes on and gets even worse. One of the lines in the second verse is:

    “or else we’ll rue the day when the races intermix”

    It’s crazy how racist some of the stuff is. And I think you guys mentioned in your other podcast with Bioshock: Infinite talk about how some poor 2D artists had to actually draw those overtly racist propaganda billboards. There was a particular one of a racist caricature of a Black, Asian, and Native American that was literally the most shocking thing I saw in the whole game. I am actually surprised there hasn’t been more backlash about the religious and racist overtones in the game. I know there is some of that going on out there, but it doesn’t seem to be as much as I’d expect from a game with so rife with these controversial themes.

    One thing only mentioned in passing was the song that Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper are singing on the video in the credits. This song merits discussion because it returns several times in the game and, for all intents and purposes, is the theme song of the game. The song is an old Christian hymn called, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and is significant for the title alone, which alludes to the title of the game (unbroken circle -> infinite loop). Also, being a Christian hymn, it fits with the Comstock religious theme. The song itself appears first when you arrive in Columbia and you’re wading through the waters prior to your baptism. In that part of the game, it is sung by a choir. Later in the game, in the adorable scene with Booker playing guitar as Elizabeth befriends a young, scared boy, she sings a verse of the song. Then, as mentioned, the entire song appears at the end sung by the two voice actors. Besides all the anachronistic music throughout the game, this song in particular deserves attention of it’s own.

  • I look forward to listening to this podcast, but I have not beaten it… I have no idea where I am at in the game completion wise. I am trying to take it slow and not swallow it whole (Like I did for the original Bioshock years ago)… I look for Voxphones everywhere but am afraid I have missed it. Also looking for the first Cypher to break the code for the Vox Popoli so that gives you an idea how long I am in the game for.

  • I’ve loved all of Bioshock games, though Infinite may be my favorite for how much of a mindscrew it was. A review I read on the ending really opened my eyes to how much work was put into the whole series in order to get to the ending in Infinite.

    The whole of the games are basically mimicks of one another in different universes, from how a lone person deals with a apparent utopia in turmoil to the little sisters/Elizabeth who are guarded by Big Daddies/Songbird to even little things like how Jack swims through the plane wreckage to how Booker walked through the church covered in water and lit candles.

    My mind was truly blown though when I realized that when the Songbird was drowning and crying in Rapture, its screams could be heard in the original Bioshock game. That level of dedication and attention to detail was something that is rare.

    Here is video of it from Bioshock, listen at the 14 second mark.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpmvkZ6TIMk

  • Would have liked more spoilers – I’m not in a position in my life where being a gamer is a priority so I’ll never play the game, but I still like to hear people talk about games. lol

  • Loved the episode.

    One thing I’ll relate that might be unique to me … I only played maybe the first 3 hours of BioShock 1 a year ago.

    THEN I played BioShock Infinite right when it came out.

    THEN I tried to go back and play BioShock 1.

    BioShock 1 is tough sledding in terms of mechanics after playing Infinite. The button configuration is different (and worse in my opinion) than Infinite.

    And while I’ll admit to being a terrible FPS gamer (skill wise), BioShock 1 was so dependent on ammo and money shortages that I found myself not even wanting to play. Each encounter with a Big Daddy or a boss would require me to back track to scrounge for ammo and money after the 5 or so deaths I would inevitably go through.

    I ended up just spoiling BioShock 1 on YouTube. The concept of playing the game out for myself was not worth the arduousness of the fetch quest of ammo and money … which seemed to be about all the game was.

    Also having to earn “slots” for more than 2 vigors adding to the fetch-questy-ness.

    I guess this all points to the idea that you should play games when they come out if you can … otherwise you’re likely to be spoiled by better game mechanics of future sequels.

    -Luke