Same game, different viewpoints
It's amazing how the same game can elicit different responses from people, especially one that has an ending that leaves plenty of questions for the player to ponder days after completion.
Take Bioshock Infinite, for example. If you've played it and finished it you'll have sat through the ending - and the post-credits sequence - and no doubt have your own opinion as to what things mean. I know that I pondered what it all meant for a couple of days afterwards.
Obviously other people do too, as yesterday, I got an email from one of my Auckland friends - Aylon - who had questions about the finale.
What followed over the next few hours was an email discussion between me, Aylon and another friend in Wellington, Reagan on our take on what we thought various aspects of the game meant, including the first few minutes as Bioshock Infinite's main character Booker DeWitt explores the lighthouse at the beginning of the game. We even touched upon the scary Boys of Sound character that players will encounter near the end of the game.
It was fascinating how each of us interpreted the same situation: we'd all played the same game, experienced the same things, watched the same finale, but on some things we had a different viewpoint. To me that's the sign of a good video game and a game that can create a variety of responses to the same situation is doing something right.
To me, a good video game should make the player contemplate and think about what they have played and if it generates reasoned discussion then it's even better. A game that makes you shrug your shoulders after you've finished it and toss it aside hasn't done its job.
Bioshock Infinite is one of those games that will generate countless articles on what it really means and how people interpret its symbolism and finale. That's pretty good for a game, when you break it down to its core, is about a man who shoots stuff and uses magic to rescue a girl.
I'd be interested in your thoughts on what you think about video games that make you think long and hard days after you've finished it. What was the most recent game like that that you've played?
Lately, I've been working my way through the PC version of Tomb Raider (I finished the Xbox 360 version some time ago) and I've become obsessed with wanting to collect every relic, document and GPS receiver dotted about the game's expansive island.
When you've conquered the tomb at each location it will cough up a map that shows the whereabouts of all the collectibles in the area so I've been trying to tackle the tombs first (if I can) then hunt down the items, one by one, before continuing the story. It's almost become obsessive.
Of course, I could just finish the game and use the fast travel to go back to the areas and do it that way - but where's the fun in that?
Other stuff you might be interested in: Game Junkie is on Twitter and you can email him here. He'll even answer your emails, not get some smart robot to do it. He also has another gaming blog here, which was actually updated recently. You should check it out.