To celebrate the release of BioShock 2, I present the Short Script of its predecessor. BioShock is an example of a very specific type of story which lends itself exceptionally well to being told through the medium of videogames: an aftermath story. This typically involves the player being thrust into a game world where many things have happened which are not immediately made clear, but are responsible for leaving said game world in its current state. The System Shock series, to which BioShock is a spiritual successor, also uses this story model. It allows for many different narrative techniques, from obvious means (audio logs, wall scrawlings, survivors) to less than obvious ones (the appearance of certain rooms, corpses). In this case, dead men do
Players can uncover an aftermath story at their own pace, or even leave it by the wayside on their way to shoot the next horribly deformed monster in the face (if it even has one). It therefore perfectly fits the concept of opt-in depth, which was elaborated upon in this post
. It doesn't even have to be spread over an entire game; one specific level can also tell a self-contained aftermath story (just think of the Ocean Lab in Deus Ex or Ravenholm in Half-Life 2). The Left 4 Dead
games tell aftermath stories in a multiplayer environment.
BioShock 2 is now on store shelves (though that expression is on its last legs, at least when it comes to PC games), and I soon hope to find the time to play it and write a Short Script for it. Currently I'm working my way through Mass Effect again. I started up its sequel recently, but since I had lost my save games in a format, I couldn't jump in with the character I had created. I think Mass Effect 2's experience can be vastly different when playing with a character that's already been invested in, especially when playing both games back-to-back. So that's what I'm doing now, also in part to make writing their Short Scripts easier.