VIDEO: BioShock (2007)

Part One:

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Part Two:

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And now, it’s time to dig into some bigger titles, because why not? A fantastic game is a fantastic game! In the second video, Sofie delves a bit further into the plot of BioShock to talk about something found in many games: The illusion of choice.

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  • Sofie Liv

    Just want to say… I know, somebody already told me, I screwed up! I screwed the fuck up.

    Bioshock is NOT a Bioware product.

    I am sorry, my bad, I fucked up.

    • Jonathan Campbell

      And you said you did your research.

      Now I can’t believe ANYTHING from you.

      • Sofie Liv

        Please, not this.
        Some else has already attacked me for this on youtube, except he was one hundred percent serious.

        I do do my research, for this video I played through all three games, even tried the first one out both on PS and on Steam on the PC, just to note the difference.

        I read about the development, i played through. “Wolf among us.” to try to understan that choice thing, read up about that to in different games, it has been many many hours of resarch and trying to process this information in a attempt to understand it and put it into words.

        I fucked up, and I am truly sorry about it… Please can’t we let this one go?

        • Jonathan Campbell

          Sofie, you did fine. Its absolutely nothing, and if someone was actually serious about this, then that’s their problem and not yours. You didn’t “fuck up”- you just made a mistake. And not even a big one- most of your review isn’t about that anyway.

          Like you planned, just make a joke about it and move on. You have nothing to be sorry about and its obvious you did your research and put thought into this.

          And its a good review; I look forward to the rest. Really, you don’t need to worry about it.

          • Sofie Liv

            Thank you :)

          • Jonathan Campbell

            You’re welcome.

            Keep up the good work.

  • danbreunig

    Let’s go step by step here.

    Interesting intro–leaving in a botched “Take 1”.

    “Would you kindly?” I don’t get the reference.
    [UPDATE: I just saw the Part 2 Illusion Of Choice video and it makes sense now. Yes, I didn’t know anything about Bioshock until today.]

    So from what I gather the winning aspect of Bioshock is that there’s a little something for nearly every gamer in here, primarily shoot-em-up meets legit storytelling. Peanut butter or chocolate? Here’s the Reese’s Peanut Buttercup of games. Even with gaming I’m sure this isn’t the only game to take this approach (or is it?) but from what you describe it’s the allure of it, if I watch this correctly.

    For storytelling, my favorite aspects of fiction hands-down are characters and dialogue, which I value far more than setting and tone. Because regardless of whatever settings you plop your characters into, or whatever emotion you want to evoke with the platform involved, as long as your characters are deep and well-developed and have meaningful relative discourse, then setting and tone are secondary, even last sometimes. My favorite stories nearly always involve characters adjusting to the situations, rather than having a world to explore with little concern about who explores it. So in regard to this review of Bioshock–there seems to be enough balance between those two angles of character versus world.

    And with all due respect Sofie, I’m really enjoying your PGW videos, not least of all because they teach me about these games I normally wouldn’t notice, but I leave satisfied–“hey, that’s what X is all about and what it’s like? Cool!” …And yet none of these have pushed me to go to a Gamestop or download Steam to check them out firsthand. (Plus I had some computer difficulties last time I had a Steam program on it.)

    “I pretty much just…gunned everything down”–
    words I wouldn’t think I’d hear coming from Sofie, I now want to hear even more from her from now on >;) I still await the day for [this should be Danish] ,,Du hast nur mit der falscher Daenin gefickt!“ [Sofie spraying bullets everywhere, laughing maniacally Brook style]
    I’m getting out the pen and scratch paper right now…

    As for the “fuck-up”, I never would have noticed if no one said anything. (I read that serious comment on YouTube too). Some take their fandoms a bit seriously; we all do sometimes with whatever we follow and enjoy. But for all the researching and playing and fan/gamer commitment you stuck into this review, I wouldn’t even call this mistake an important issue. Simple mistake, that’s it.

    Off to Part 2! [having seen it and returned:]

    I’ll get to the Patreon as soon as my work life improves, and I’m still not moved enough to get Bioshock so [imitates Sofie’s same comical pose] shame on you for thinking you can shame non-gamer me into it! :P

    Okay, I’ll make it up to you with this paraphrasing:

    “Men choose, slaves obey”–and fans make fics. See a few paragraphs above.

    • Sofie Liv

      Sorry dude… That was German not Danish.

      Well yeah, SHOOT THEM IN THE HEAD! One of those splicers just jumped right out of a closest into my face!
      What the heck else can I do than just shoot him at ones! put him out of his misery! At least I didn’t harvest the little sisters <_<

      Well, at least I am glad you are enjoying the videos, it is a bit more daunting to cast yourself over a game than it is to just watch a movie, I can admit to that fully.

      But sometimes a game can also be a bit more intriquing, I think my second video talks a bit better about that.

      Gosh that's such a powerful sentence. "A man chooses, a slave obeys." EEEEK!

      It's really hard to describe what that feels like when you are sitting there as a gamer playing the game it just throws that shit right at you! Brrr.

      • danbreunig

        Hm, interesting of all the points I brought up, that was the one you chose to respond to first.

        Of course it’s German, because I don’t know Danish (I even said “this should be Danish”), and the extreme little Dansk I do know wouldn’t work–“Jeg elsker dig” while going ballistic? As long as it’s not English and a little closer to home for the Deadly Doofy Dane–well, *I* think it’s a funny image.

        I’ve had that too, while trying out the zombie-hunting version of Call of Duty while at my brother’s house, playing with his kids and my other brother who are all much more versed in it than I was (it’s an occasion where I don’t mind being the laughing stock entertainment center for the night). There were enough surround-sound style jump scares, enough to make you forget that you’re temporarily in a fake universe apart from your own reality. Of course that also happens when a nightmare is so realistic that it’s scary even half an hour after waking up.

        And yes, that would make an intense personal motto.

        • CaptainCalvinCat

          But the german translation was almost perfect, dan. I think, you wanted the german equivalent of “You just fucked with the wrong dane”, right? Nearly perfect, just this one minor, minor, minimalistic, marginal error: “Du hast GERADE mit der falschen Dänen gefickt” – just means both “nur” (in the sense of “only”) and “gerade” (in the sense of “right now”). Plus – we don’t use “ficken” in the sense of “to annoy somebody”, “to piss somebody off”, as you could use it in the good old us of a or the rest of the civilized word – we use “ficken” in the sense of … erm… well… having sex.

          So probably the sentence should’ve been “Du hast dich gerade mit der falschen Dänin angelegt” – (you messed with the wrong dane).

          But besides that – perfect.

          Plus you know far more german, dan, than I’d know any danish.

          Or french, italian, swedish – In school I only learned german, english and a bit french. ^^

          By the way, my favourite first person shooters to this day are: Goldeneye (N64), The World is not enough (N64), Mission: Impossible (N64) (although you nearly cannot count that game AS a shooter – but the game is interesting) and Star Trek: Voyager – Elite Force (PC). And although Linkara did a good “Let’s play” of it – that could be something to review for our good Sofie, couldn’t it?

          • danbreunig

            Wow, thanks for the huge tip there, CCC. I knew in my gut I didn’t say it one hundred percent correct, but that’s the closest I had to a Danish version of the same feeling. Sofie, would you mind clarifying? (i.e. how do you say it?)

            Funny thing is, I had that as a sketch idea for well over a year, in response to Sofie’s 2013 Halloween review about Brook from One Piece. Since then I just wanted to see our own Sofie in a video go batshit insane, running around, shooting up the place, destroying things, laughing hysterically, over-the-top swearing in Danish, including the “catchphrase”. Something that would make her fellow Boothers blush, especially Mendo.

            And at first I thought it was “gerade”, then thought “nur”, so what I thought was the wrong word choice was really the right one, and vice versa. Also I guess technically it should be “Sie haben” instead of “Du hast”, but I wanted it to sound more personal. Thanks too for the compliment–although I wish I was fluent enough that I can write whole posts auf Deutsch. …someday…

            Okay, *back to gaming now*

            I don’t know any of those games you mentioned, although I’ve heard of their titles before. I’m learning about such games more from these forums than I would otherwise. Would you believe of all games discussed in this site the one I actually used to play devotedly was…Doom?

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            In this case “du hast” would’ve been the right choice of words, because that sentence would be more personal. And I’m looking forward for whole postings in German. ^^

            I never played Doom, but I can understand, why people would like to play it, so. ^^

          • danbreunig

            (Outdated) Video Game Rule #1: If it moves, kill it!

            Usually it’s regarded as the game that launched the first-person shooter into the mainstream. It’s so ancient now (Doom 1 in 1993, Doom 2 in 1995), but I’m a sucker for dated things. Cecil made a Good Bad Flicks review about the Doom movie, so you can read my long comments about the movie vs. game there if you’re interested.

            It’s definitely a very linear game and simple plot, since the levels are all based on enter, find the path to the exit, hit switches, solves puzzles (i.e. how to open locks with colored keys), shoot enemies, don’t get killed, and exit. It’s the same thing over and over, with the only real challenge being how a level is set up, what the landscape and dangers are, how many and what kind of enemies you fight–numerous extensions of just the same recipe. Ultimately you’re just running around killing literal alien monsters from hell.

            The thing that made me keep going back, though, were the monsters themselves–I see them like recurring characters in a play or tv series…that I want to frag. It’s the character element I enjoy, even these monsters who aren’t true characters, just weaker or tougher living targets. But just imagine the fanfic if they had personalities and actually conversed among themselves.

            Even so, I’m not into first-person shoot-em-ups, or long story or exploration games–basically as I say time and again I don’t really game. That doesn’t stop me from coming back here though :) If I had all the time in the world, I would give Journey a try.

            Danke schoen, wirklich hat das meinen ganze Tag gemacht.
            Ja, noch brauche ich viel mehr Uebung.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well, ones again I think Bioshock managed to do that thing in a pretty clever way to, as I said in the review.

            Instead of just giving you a giant dump of exposition either by a wall of text or some MPC character spending twenty minutes explaining to you where you are… The game just kind of drops you straight into it and let you discover it all by yourself by letting you explore the surroundings, seeing the machines around and listen to audio diaries while you are walking around.

            I think that’s neat, it’s really working towards making a world that feels like a genuine world. So it makes you curious and makes you wanna come back for more.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Aactually, there is no such translation for “You made my day” – at least not in the literal sense. I think, the closest resemblance would be “Das hat mir den Tag gerettet” (That saved my day) or “Das war klasse” (that was awesome). ^^
            But – you’re on a good way. ;-) And – I don’t wanna be Douchy MacNitpick about something as insignificant as german language. ^^

            If I had time, I’d try Star Trek Online… ^^

  • Gallen_Dugall

    Bioshock was/is worth playing if you could/can find it on deep discount… and you have a high tolerance for pretentious artsy fartsy BS.

    Bioshock was so linear that as a game it fails, crushed under the weight of its own design apathy. As an experience it’s worth a single play through. Pretentious because they made a lazy linear game and then excuse that by claiming this design decision holds some deep meaning about free will. No deep meaning, you just didn’t code anything else. I consider games without replay value to be inherently flawed and games without at least the minimal replay value of tic-tac-toe are clear failures. Bioshock is so heavily scripted that after one play through there is no point to returning to it, like watching the same movie over and over but having to grind through game play to get to the story.
    The game play is at best fair with copious concessions to console system limitations that on PC have to be painstakingly manually removed in the code to make the game playable. Autoaim ruins games. It ruins them on console systems too but console gamers don’t know any better. I tried a second play through as a “baddie” but the “powers” are a novelty that wears off quickly having been done before and better in other games. Obnoxiously the story pushes its perspective on the player in shocking in-your-face plot twists that mechanically function through the ever popular “justification through defamation” rather than logic or reason. Bashing Rand was just a cheap and fast way to get the critics to fawn over this exercise in snobbish poo flinging.
    You lost me at MMOs. MMOs are not open worlds, they’re the paper thin illusion of an open world. I’ve played MMOs, enjoyed a number of them, and they’re uniformly as linear as Bioshock. Every MMO has push back against player actions to render them irrelevant so the big shared world doesn’t capsize. Most obviously the respawning opponents, but also for everything else such as economy and even game play. Play balance to maintain this order is so sought after in MMOs that its pursuit accounts for most of the content in patches and updates. MMOs are experiences with a lot of grinding and little actual game.
    If you want to play a game in a big open world where you can make your own choices and they matter then you have to go old school. Back in the day decisions in games like Wing Commander offered you radically different experiences based on complex branching plot paths, and it did it within the constraints of floppy disks. Modern game designers generally can’t be bothered with figuring out the branching possibilities of plot paths. Mass Effect 3 is a great example of the laziness that now dominates game design, they just came out and said it was too hard to do the ending as they claimed in its marketing so they just slapped on a one size fits all screw your individual experience ending. Even the last of the branching path games (Tell Tale) are hideously shallow with your impact coming in game stopping moments presented as narrowly predefined defined choices rather than coming within any actual game play and leading you to a tiny number of scripted endings.
    Absurdly Bioshock game won a number of PC game of the year awards when it came out in spite of being completely unplayable on PC upon release and for months afterward due to DRM issues and lazy porting decisions. But as we all know only horrible misogynists would ever suggest that there might have been pay offs and collusion between game publishers and the media industry. IGN explained that it gave the award based on the console game and the assumption that the PC version would eventually meet that quality… I’m so glad we can’t talk about corruption in game journalism!
    What else can I say about Bioshock? Oh, did you know it was originally part of the System Shock franchise? It was marketed that way at first… until people got a look at it and then it became apparent that it wasn’t a scifi horror title. Then the designers said they went in another creative direction. If you’re being artsy then cashing in on name recognition is a creative decision.
    The past ten years have been increasingly terrible for gaming. Horrible “push the button to continue” not-games continue to receive accolades and reap massive profits with the only depth or innovation appearing in tiny independent titles lost in a sea of churned out market saturating crap. 2014 was an epic low and 2015 looks to be at least just as bad. A lot of us old school gamers have nothing to do these days but watch the once vibrant creative medium for cooperatively telling stories implode under the weight of corporate mandated get rich quick schemes.

    • Sofie Liv

      Erhh… You do realise most games does in fact has linear story telling… in fact, it’s pretty damn impressive when a single game doesn’t have.

      If you are not into first person shooters and the first person shooter exsperience, of course you are not going to like this.
      I mean, if you don’t wish to go through game play and do actual… gaming. Then perhaps you should be watching a movie instead of playing… a game… a first person shooter game… so it’s designed to be a first person shooter first with a story untop of it.

      But that doesn’t change that it’s a well thought out combination of gameplay and story telling.

      Linear story telling is what you are going to get out of 90 percent of all adventure/Shooter/platform and other games.

      You might feel cheated because you wish you had a freer gameplay while that is just not possible from a programmers perspective because well… That would mean more programming than any one person could do and a bigger memory than any computer have.
      But simply saying that the game doesn’t hold up due to linear story telling is not really a valid argument.
      Then nothing does, not books, not comic books, not movies….
      And this game went through the afford of designing an entirely new world for exploration instead of just sticking with the same old same old, which is always pretty admirable whether it fails or not.

      And as for replay value.. I think it has plenty of replay value, I was interested enough in the story of rapture, to go over things one more time and to find out what would have happened if I had gone with different plasmids that I wanted to play it again almost immediatly.

      It’s fine if this game isn’t for you, it’s not a game for everyone i get that.
      But that’s a pretty weak argument for calling it a downright bad game… Then you seriously havn’t played enough bad games! And definetely not enough bad first person shooters, some of them are just… *Shudders*

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        When you are right, you are right, Sofie – games are nothing else but giant “If-Then-Else”-Loops, basically “If this happens, than that happens, else something different happens”.
        If player presses fire and points at the monster, then the monster gets hit, else the monster does not get hit..

        • Sofie Liv

          Games are also not limited to be just one thing, the Zelda adventure franchise are just as valid games as the more gritty looking first person shooter games.

          That doesn’t mean you have to like ALL of it how ever, just look at my favourite game.. so many gamers would KILL me for naming this my favourite.. So why do I do it?
          Because I love the game dammit and it plays into everything I love in the fantasy genre. I LIKE that Ni Nu Kuni is so colourful and styalished, I LIKE the lighter more childish tone, I adore it, and that’s why I could play that game over and over to the end of time and still be satiesfied.
          Does that mean you have to share my opinion? … nope. Not at all, I get what I get from Ni Nu Kuni is definetely not what most hardcore gamers are looking for in their games.
          And that’s fine, that’s cool.

          But to gain a better understanding of games as a medium and as a new giant in popular culture, we would need to explore more than just one genre and be open to more than just one way of doing thing.

          Games are a world of possibilities and there are no correct ways of doing thing. Fallout Vegas is not more or less right in its way of doing things than Bioshock, just different.
          And what you prefer… is really a matter of opinion.

          Though, from a purely analytical standpoint, when you look at the structure of the story in Bioshock, the writing of dialouge, the details of the world, the afford put into the game play, the sheer devotion displayed on screen and gameplay.
          It becomes pretty apparent it’s a unique game that was a product of love and devotion to the genre, and a little piece of enlightenment of what games are capable off in this day off age.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            You’re right – I just wanted to point out, that no matter how good, how detailed the programming is, how decieving the illusion, that one would have the choice, goes – basically, behind the screen, it is nothing but a giant if-then-else-loop. ^^

          • Sofie Liv

            yeah, it is.

      • Gallen_Dugall

        Bioshock is a good “experience”. Worth a play through. Basically I recommend it. It’s not a great example of how to do a “story” in a FPS. Fallout New Vegas (for example) was a more flawed game that had much more replayability making it a better value.

        • Sofie Liv

          I like to disagree with that.

          But really this comes down to personal preferance, so there’s really very little point in pursuing this one into a never ending argument.

          Though really, one of the things I really like about this game I think is a bit of a rarity is the exstensive world building.
          I love how you feel like this is a genuine world you are walking around it, with a background story to it, people, political and ideal conflicts that lead to it.

          And I love how it’s not just an MPC telling what happened through twenty minutes of exposition, but you get to figure all of this stuff by uncovering the rooms where these things happened, picking up those audio diaries, looking at the machines, being told the story of what happened to rapture and the game uses. “Show don’t tell.”
          So well.. a phrase mostly given to movies, but here, it really does apply to a game, and I love that, that they took the visual medium, and the fact you are going to move around a world anyhow, and used it for something like that, giving you the ability to really explore and figure out. “Oh, this is where that happened. This is, oh I get it. What’s this for? Oh that’s what that was for, cool.”

          I love stuff like that, it’s so neat.

    • Arp

      There are some problems with your Wing Commander example. Some things before I get to the point: 1) I assume you are referring to the first game 2) I am writing all this from memory, so I may be wrong, please correct me, and 3) this doesn’t automatically invalidate your other comments.

      The sector you jumped to next in WC1 was determined by whether you had failed certain missions or not. I doubt anyone CHOSE to fail a mission. Each sector was also completely self contained. The missions were the same regardless of how well you fared inside the sector or what your previous sector was. You could probably rearrange every sector except the last sectors and still come out with basically the same story.

      There were also conversations with other pilots, who could die when they flew with you. If a conversation involved a dead pilot, you didn’t get a different conversation, you got nothing. Again, I doubt anyone CHOSE to lose a wingman.

      Finally, WC1 didn’t have much of an overall story. You were fighting a war and you either won or lost in the end (SPOILERS). This doesn’t make it a BAD story, just a very basic one. WC2 that did have a more intricate story was (completely?) linear. Coming back to the illusion of choice, isn’t this exactly what good games are supposed to do?

    • Gallen_Dugall

      on the bright side Grim Fandango is back and remastered!

  • Arp

    Hey, it’s almost as if negative feedback is based on the validity of the opinions expressed by a person and not unrelated factors. Who could have known?

    • Sofie Liv

      That was a great compliment.

      THANK YOU! :D

  • E-Bon

    Bioshock’s on my mental list of games to at least try out. It’s a pretty long list, but I think I’ll be able to get to it eventually.

    • Sofie Liv


      Yeah, then you should see my phyical list over games people have recommended to me… seriously… there are several pages in my notebook, just with game titles…
      Oh boy…… I don’t know what I have gotten myself into, but it’s pretty daunting @_@

      Well, i hope you’ll get to it eventually, it’s one of those games that really does deserve all the recognision it got.

  • A lovely review. a few hiccups, but nothing major. For future reference, its Irrational Games. *giggle*

  • Skylar Zenas Mullins

    of coarse saving the little girls means they will pop up from time to time to give you a helping hand in the form of supplies and power so even without the moral aspect it’s better in a long term sense to save the kids. when your surrounded by enemies having friends is much preferable to being alone. and beside their flipping little girls! I don’t care if they are just 1 and 0 on a screen I’m not killing little girls!

    by the way; liked that joke at the end. now if only someone would make a game that did time travel as well as crono trigger did that would be awesome.

    • Sofie Liv

      It’s no kidding, my sisters boyfriend just did harvest all of them without a second thought because it made most mechanical sense to him… He’s one cold motherfucker when playing video games.
      He’s a very hardcore gamer, but is much more into the mechanical side of things than story side and well, I guess it’s no surprise that he mostly spends his time playing multiplayer games over the enternet where it’s much more about thinking on your feet.
      His biggest complaint over Infinete litterately was that things had become easier, and he likes it difficult.
      Me though… I like things easy because.. I am not the worlds greatest gamer an I like exploration, story telling, moods, textures and wel, just to see what you can do in regards to story telling in this medium.

      Heh, I don’t even think it’s about making Time Travel as well, but just having new RPG’s doing story telling as well!
      There’s a ton of good things about Chrono trigger, the story is fast paced so it never becomes stall or dull, but always take you somewhere new and interesting. The characters are immediately recognisable AND likeable, you get downright attached to the characters and thusly actually care about the outcome. The choice mechanisms are also very intriquing and well, it’s just an overall well put together game.
      Unfortunately RPG gaming in the last ten years seems to have really been lacking in the story telling department which alone makes them less engaging.
      Either they are so hell bend on showing off the new possibilities in animation that story telling becomes a mere second priority… when in fact RPG is the one genre where it becomes most important because story is the main focus of the game.
      OR, they think overcomplication equals good story telling. (Recent final fantasy games are big sinners here, the stories are to messed up and overcomplicated without making any sense)

      Only recent RPG game that did it right.. but my god that one also did it righ! Amazing story, amazing bright colourful visual world, a ton of exciting things to explore in a pretty fast paced fashion. “Ni Nu Kuni.” from Level-5 and Studio Ghibli.
      Level-5 are kind of the only development studio these days going any direction with RPG that appeals me.
      Of course Bioware with their dragon age series are doing amazing things as well, especially with their choice mechanic but I personally… just don’t get as excited over a broody Dragon Age game as a happy bright colourful and yet deep felt level-5 game that looks like something out of Miyazakis private water paint collection :3

      • Skylar Zenas Mullins

        yeah I’ve always been about immersion in games as well. as such I always try to make long term decisions. like in bioware games I will always weigh the options to determine the outcome that will benefit the world best in the long term. that’s the main reason I just ignored morrigan most of the time, it’s not because she was evil but rather that all her ideas where poorly thought out and poorly justifiable. “let’s let the mages all die because the deserve it.” yeah real great plan, I see no benefit to having a legion of people who can shoot lightning from their hands on our side. or my favorite is that she wanted us to leave the village of redcliff to be destroyed by zombies. A) how exactly are we going to get the aid of a duke if we tell him we let his town burn, B) how is he going to give us an army if all his citizens are dead, and C) the villages numbers would be added to the undead horde and we would have an even more massive army of undead to deal with later on, on top of the massive army of darkspawn that we can barely deal with as is. I’m a good guy basically because evil is so dumb.

        well good point with rpg’s but there have been a few gems out there. a lot of people say xenoblade is really good, damned if the soundtrack isn’t some of the most kick-ass stuff I’ve ever heard, just youtube search for “you will know our names” and get ready for your body to begin air-guitaring uncontrollably.
        I really liked tales of graces. it also has a very bright and colorful aesthetic and uses a anime art style, plus I like its sense of humor. my favorite character has to be pascal, she is just awesome, she’s like ed from bebop but cuter and more happy-go-lucky.

        however when I brought up crono trigger I was referring more to how the mechanic of time travel was used in that game. first your put on this roller coaster through the various eras and and then you get the time machine and have free rein to travel to any era you wish. once you get that ability you find yourself able to accomplish quests by using more four dimensional thinking. I cannot think of another game where you get to travel freely both across the world and across time as well.

        • Sofie Liv

          Yeah, that’s logical thinking. Evil really is dumb in longer term thinking at least.
          Short team easy, long term dumb. I think that is pretty correct for just about every major villain out there.
          And well, they always end up being killed because people start rising against them and working together as groups so.
          Voldemort probably being the biggest example, this is more clear in the book, but one of the big themes being… He was going to loose no matter what. Why?
          Because EVERYONE was turning against him. His own closest followers, turning against him as they realise he was never going to help them only use them so well… fail.

          I have not played those two RPG games.
          Thank you for making me aware of them, I have heard of Xenoblade but havn’t gotten into it yet, Tales of Graces I have never even heard of, i’ll look them up I promise. I am really trying to gain as big a perspective as possible of recent games and the game landscape.
          And well, of course as with so many other things… It’s the main stream which is so unimaginative and well… Final Fantasy kind of HAS been setting the tone of a decade and a half. And it’s of course that specific decae and a half where Finaly Fantasy has been just… Meh..
          Sigh, am still hoping for a re-release of final fantasy 6 some day! I mean COME ON! You re-released 4 and 5 for the DS. Come on with number 6! Just, please… pretty please.. That one is the best one in the franchise.

          Yeah, it was a really cool mechanic. I did enjoy it a lot.
          Hehe.. Someone should make a Doctor Who RPG one day with the same mechanic in place <_<
          Except in Doctor who past actions never really changes the present because… You can't do that due to time locks or what ever… Wibbly Wobbly timey whimey!

          "He's going to the past, to safe the future!" … that's a tag line from a Tv show isn't it? … I for the god of me can't remember where that came from.

          • danbreunig

            ‘ “He’s going to the past, to safe the future!” … that’s a tag line from
            a Tv show isn’t it? … I for the god of me can’t remember where that
            came from. ‘

            It’s called The Terminator.

            And at least one episode from nearly every 80s-90s action-adventure cartoon series.

            I’m more partial to “Forward Into The Past!” — famous Firesign Theatre line.

          • Skylar Zenas Mullins

            yeah that’s why I think the more interesting, and certainly more dangerous villains, are the kind that speak sense or at least are really good a convincing people they make sense. not to anger any potter fans but I never thought much of Voldemort, he may come across better in the books but in the movies, meh. he is too two dimensional for the world he inhabits.
            let’s use another evil wizard as an example, saruman. he is certainly evil but in the world of middle earth evil is a tangible thing, sauron is basically that worlds devil and saruman made a deal with him. the army he commands is an army of completely corrupted monsters. no need to worry about why people would follow him when those people are simply evil incarnate. plus sauron has the ability to warp peoples minds and corrupt them.
            voldemort however leads actual human beings and their goal is… ah… world domination probably for some reason. so how did he form his army in the first place? why exactly are his followers following him? it’s certainly not because of his charisma. saruman is played by Christopher Lee, that guy could make the phone book sound dramatic. not that I’m saying Ralph Fiennes is bad but the character given in the film was not that of someone I’d be willing to fight for. I don’t see this guy winning people over to his side with his well worded speeches. every time he speaks I just think, who would anyone listen to this guy, darth sidious was more subtle. he was actually surprisingly charismatic and at least he had goals and ideals, he wants you to “give in to the dark side”.
            someone like magneto has a devout following because he is articulate, intelligent, charismatic, and more then anything a sense of righteousness. he see’s himself as a hero, a savior for the oppressed. just watch the scene at the end of the first movie with magneto and Xavier playing chess. his remark “does it ever wake you in the middle of the night that one day they will pass that foolish law and come for you and your children.” it’s chilling especially how he maintains complete composure the entire time. that is a man you can see people dying for.

            personally I think voldemort would have worked well if he had been a necromancer. aside from it fitting the name “death eater” better it would also explain why people would join his side in such numbers as to be a major threat. if someone convinced you he could bring back a loved one simply in exchange for loyalty that would be a hard deal to resist.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well, ones again this is explained far better in the books.
            Fuck that, it’s EXPLAINED in the books! Not only explained but dwelled into and explored in different aspects and try to explain it here well… urhm.

            Since it all has to do with the politics and history of a fictional world, because what the potter books are really good at is painting a well functioning world, the ministry of magic is also painted as that, a political ministry which is FAR from flawless but often quite corrupted being run by different kinds of people some of them self serving.

            And what Voldemort wants and he sells? Well, not preciesly world domination actually. More like, purification.
            It’s because some witch’s and wizards feel like they are downright a superior race to muggles (Normal folk.) and feel like it’s just plainly wrong they have to hide and have any consideration for muggles.
            So basically, they want to re-instate their role as a superior race, by destroying anyone whom gets in their way and hopefully one day being able to just kill or enslave muggles to their liking.
            And the people whom does this… basically the people whom are kind of considered “Wizard royalty.” due to the pureblood status (They are all inbreed stuck up snooty mansion people whom has been raised to think they just are the top of the crop… because.)
            So well, Voldemort was basically a guy whom understood this, took it and used it to his own advantage… there are WAY more layers to it than just that.
            But yeah, Voldemort basically tricked these purebloods or people whom wanted to be part of the group by promising them all those things, then he made them take the “Death eater mark.” which are that thing on their arm, and they HAVE to take it willingly or it wont work, so that’s first order of buisness, make them take it willingly.
            And that’s when he caught them, because ones you took the death eater mark willingly there is no turning back, Voldemort can litterately torture you OR kill you through that mark, no matter where you are on earth, no hiding.
            And thusly some actually stays merely out of fear, because they didn’t quite realise what they signed up to at first.
            Those people are though the first to die so…
            And then of course there are all the magical creatures like werewolf whom the ministry has treated like SHIT, taking away rights with them and treating them as just that, creatures.
            And then Voldemort swoops in promising these wereworlfs a new order of things where they will have rights and privilieges if they will just follow him.

            Voldemort is still not the most interesting character ever…. mostly just an self entitled psykopath. (He was though described as being very charming and good looking before he died, his snake head appearance is actually a side-effect of his ressuraction, not his original look.)
            But the people whom ended up following him for different reasons… their reasons and their slow realisation of what they signed up to is just messed up, and now they are caught.. Those are the interesting ones, each of them seem to have a personal story about it in the books and it becomes quite engaging.

            But well as you can see… This is much more enriched in the books and well.. EXPLAIN things.

            Well… even though he can’t bring people back to life himself, he did in fact return from death on his own by himself so… reverse necromancer?

            Anyway, wouldn’t fit with the overall message and theme of the book where it’s a big point that you CAN’T bring people back from the death.
            Those whom tries either fails or pays a horrible price… and Voldemort paid a horrible price by bringing himelf back.. litterately splitting up his own soul and then has to suffer for it in the afterlife being incomplete and in pieces.

            The books has a lot of stuff going on for them :3

          • Skylar Zenas Mullins

            so voldemort is basically magic Hitler… with werewolves. that sounds freaking awesome! shame he’s basically just a generic sith lord in the films but minus the lightsaber and bad-ass armor. and am I the only person who thinks he looked more intemedating in the first movie, and in that one he was just a disembodied face on the back of someones head.

            actually necromancy would go with the message rather well. in most settings really bringing back the dead is impossible and those who try will either wish they hadn’t or be so completely insane by that point as to become monsters. the theme of villains that use necromancy is usually despair and insanity. you can’t actually bring people back from the dead but they won’t accept that so they go to ever greater extremes to achieve their end. or they are just really sick madmen who like to play with corpses.

            in dragon age necromancy can be accomplished through blood magic and deals with demons, both massive mistakes. the souls of the dead can not be retrieved but a cunning demon, probably of desire, could manipulate a target by pretending to be their loved one.

            in dragon age two we see a man butcher women to take their body parts so he can use them to reconstruct his dead wife, and the end result is… just… wtf? I don’t know what even!? seriously that scene isn’t as lunch losingly disturbing as the brood mother from the first game but it’s pretty disturbing and sad.

            anyone who’s seen fullmetal alchemist knows how well it worked out for those characters, now that’s an image to give you nightmares. my point is that Voldemort could never deliver on his promise but, A.) he’s a sociopaths and only trying to manipulate people anyway, B.) he could still make use of an army of unthinking animated corpses, and C.) using really dangerous, abomination against nature, methods to become more powerful is kinda Voldemort’s thing. of course all this would only be necessary if the character doesn’t already have some dimension to them like in the film. in the book the character you describe already has enough elements to him so adding something else would start to over encumbered the character. the film version however is what desperately needs some meat, since as is he’s just a mustache away from being Snidely Whiplash.

          • Sofie Liv

            Yeah he is, we even have the hypocritical double morality of Hitler as it turns out Voldemort himself is half blood having a muggle dad.
            And of course grew up in a muggle orphanage.. which is very shortly shown in the sixth movie. Though in the book, that is just one sequence out of a long line of sequences explaining Voldemorts backstory from his childhood, to his youth, to his rise into power and eventuall fall.

            Still in the book him attempting to raise the dead makes little sense since one of the big themes about is that he litterately doesn’t care for people around him.
            He views himself as being alone, and the best of the best, and he needs no one.
            So.. there are no one he would want to see ressuracted.
            Sure, he’ll try to tempt Harry with the promise of bringing Harrys parents back, but those are obviously empty promises. It’s just Voldemort saying what he thinks he needs to say to tempt Harry.
            And in the book, it’s also this mindset which makes Voldemort weak and ensures he will ultimately loose no matter what. He cares for no one, so they’ll turn against him.
            People turn against him, not because he threatens them personally, but because he threatens or hurt the people THEY love.
            Snapes entire redemption is about how he always loved Lily, and fights in her name.
            Narcissa Malfoy betrayed Voldemort for the sake of her son, Draco.
            And the movie just skips right over Regulus Black, Sirius’s deceased younger brother, whom it turn out, he was the first one to betray voldemort, he was the one whom destroyed voldemorts horecrux, and why? Because Voldemort threatened Kreacher the house elf, Regulus’s only friend.
            And Kreacher is in fact so devoted to the old Black family, only because of Regulus, because Regulus was kind to him, and will do just about anything to honour Regulus’s memory.

            But yes… Yes… Somehow the movies managed it, taking a villain whom in fact, weren’t that interesting in the books as a person. (Again it’s all the side characters whom are interesting, not him.) And make him even more bland and just… forgetable.

            Plus all the actually interesting subtext which often ends up becoming a downright comment upon the chosen one and so on… is gone.
            That entire thing about Voldemort actually created his own doom by acting on a prohpecy that wasn’t neccesarily true, it’s gone.
            Yup, that’s a thing in the books. There was made a prophecy, Voldemort decided to act on this prophecy which lead to the death of Harrys parents and Harrys scar.
            So… really, if voldemort had NOT acted on this prophecy, there would have been no chosen one, and Harry would not have been a threat.
            A big thing about Voldemort in the books is that he keeps on creating his own paradox’s, creates his own greatest enemies and in the end, creates the very things that are going to take him down.
            Like his followers, he created Snape, he created Regulus, he created Narcissa in the ways they helped taking him down.

            … sorry for rambling but as you can see… Those books are a big part of my childhood.

            Full Metal Alchemist! Hells yes Full Metal Alchemist!
            Anime wise though, we are talking about. “Brotherhood.” right? Because the first one.. compleately screws up the message by the end, while Brotherhood following the manga, they manage to follow the message through! And the ending is just so god damn epic with everything coming together in a higher meaning of EPICNESS!
            And of course the entire thing with the Allfather searching betterment from outside forces instead of looking within becomes his ultimate doom and the reason he couldn’t ever actually win.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            “Yeah he is, we even have the hypocritical double morality of Hitler as it turns out Voldemort himself is half blood having a muggle dad. ”

            If you mean to imply that Hitler has Jewish blood in him…no, he didn’t. That’s been investigated and disproven.

            Granted he probably thought that he MIGHT have Jewish blood and tried to cover it up (by destroying his dad’s hometown with a mortar attack), but he wasn’t Jewish.

            Anyway, other difference between Voldemort and Hitler is that many of Hitler’s followers were loyal to the end (though after he was dead they were more than happy to imply that since Hitler was ultimately responsible for everything they were all “just following orders”). And while both of them threw huge temper-tantrums at times, overall Hitler was pretty good to his followers- which is why they followed him. Really once you get past the crackpot ideology, the Nazi Party acted more like the mafia than anything else; its first concern was always making sure its members had all the best jobs and houses and lifestyle’s etc. and anyone who opposed them would be killed.

            Voldemort was also based a bit on Stalin. The idea that his underlings were terrified of him and that he was as dangerous to them and their families- that comes from him. I think Rowling said once that he was based on the worst aspects of both men.


            I have a History degree. I NEED to point this stuff out.

            Ahem. Anyway….yeah, Harry Potter is awesome. Books > films.

            And Fullmetal Alchemist is also awesome (and as far as the first anime goes, the manga hadn’t actually finished by the time they made it, and that’s why the endings are different, so its not really fair to say they “screwed up the message by the end”- though, the manga story is definitely better).

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Is Fullmetal Alchemist the anime about this soldier boy, who is trying to protect a girl? Sorry, my manga-anime-knowledge starts with Ranma 1/2, goes to Conan and Inuyasha and a bit Sailor Moon, as well as “Nadia – the secret of blue water” – and ends with Kyoukai no Rinne.

            Anyway, concerning Hitler – if I would ever feel tempted to go to some of those nazi-idiots and try to challange their believe-system, I’d ask “Hey, what was the worldview that this madman had? How should the superior race look like? And how did he look like? Shouldn’t that tell you something?”

            And thanks, Johnathan, now I imagine Hitler saying “Frank – I’ll make you an offer… an offer that you cannot refuse.”

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Fullmetal Alchemist is the story of Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse, who live in an alternate fantasy universe where alchemy works and can be performed via a complex but well-conceived magical system involving the concept of Equivalent Exchange, meaning that you can change one thing to another or just create / bring back something in return for something else.

            Ed and Al tried to resurrect their dead mother (a big “no, no”) and for their troubles Ed lost his arm and Al lost his body; Ed saved Al’s life by sticking his soul into a suit of armour. And instead of their mother they got back a crime-against-nature undead abomination they had to put down.

            Ed gets fitted with a metal arm and leg (called Automail) and he and Al join the State Alchemists, which is basically a section of the military made up of soldiers who are also elite Alchemists. Ed gets the code name Fullmetal Alchemist (a pun- “fullmetal” is Japanese slang for “stubborn” as well as a reference to his arm and leg) and from then on they end up getting embroiled in government conspiracies, fighting against Homunculi (soulless artificial humans with various superpowers) and the evil machinations of an ancient malevolent entity called Father.

            Throw in a lot of daddy issues, philosophical musings on immortality, the ethics of war and the nature of God, a well-rounded and engaging cast of characters, lots and lots of well-done action and a truckload of heart-wrenching emotional drama, and you’ve got on the greatest and most epic fantasy stories to come out of Japan in recent years.

            So…no, not its not really about a soldier boy trying to protect a girl. Don’t know what manga/ anime you are referring to there.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Sorry, I confused “Fullmetal alchemist” with “Full Metal Panic!”

            (Excerpt from Wikipedia)

            The series follows Sousuke Sagara, a member of a covert anti-terrorist private military organization known as Mithril, tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori,
            a spirited Japanese high school girl. He moves to Japan to study at
            Chidori’s school, Jindai High School, with assistance from his comrades Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao.
            Having never experienced social interactions, Sousuke is found as a
            military maniac by his schoolmates as he interprets everyday situations
            from a combat perspective. He comes to relate with Chidori who realizes
            that Sousuke is protecting her, but he does not reveal the reasons due
            to orders as well as the fact he does not know why Chidori is being
            targeted by different organizations.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Oh, yeah- I’ve heard of that one.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well.. Campbell already kind of explained all the details.

            But seriously. “Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.” is one of the most awesome animes ever.
            And the english dubbing is in fact, really really good as well. If you lack something to watch I can only highly recommend it.

          • Jonathan Campbell



          • Sofie Liv

            So you are not the only one called Jonathan and I picked the last name to avoid confusion.. shesh. -_-;

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Well, you’re not the only one called Sofie, so from now on I’m just going to call you Pedersen.

            Don’t want to confused anyone.

            So tell me, “Pedersen”…how’s life? How are you?

          • Sofie Liv

            Funny thing is that Pedersen is like the most ordinary last name in Denmark, it’s like the Danish equiliant of “Smith.”

            Life is good, I had a burger, I liked it.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Campbell is a pretty ordinary name in Scotland (and much of the English speaking world) too. Though in certain parts of the country its the equivalent of “backstabbing English loving traitorous scum”.

            And you are a liar. I saw TWO burgers.

          • Sofie Liv

            That’s not lying, I had a burger. And then I had another one!

          • Jonathan Campbell


            Touché, Pedersen.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Plus, Mr. Campbell here didn’t like being called “John”.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Nor do I have to- it isn’t my name.

          • Sofie Liv

            Well… The my history teachers has been lying to me.
            And God dammit I have had A LOT of history lessons regarding Second World war and what comes after.
            And that would be because well.. We are neighbours to Germany, Germany is litterately three hours car ride away from where I am sitting right here right now in my appartment.
            And i’ve been to Germany a good number of times, been in Berlin a couple of times, seen what remains of the wall, seen the jewish museum, seen the remains of some concentration camps.
            And according to all of that, Hitler did have a bit of Jewish ancestory on his mothers side, all though she was baptized before giving birth to her first child, whom wasn’t Adolf, Adolf was the fourth child.

            All though… The more obvious hypocritical thing here is that.. Hitler wanted everybody to be blond and have blue eyes while he himself was dark haired and had brown eyes… so… well…
            Yeah allready there we can see the signs of insanity and a superiority complex showing.
            Hitler was in fact, kind of an idiot.

            …. Yes of course it’s fair saying the Full Metal Alchemist first anime screwed up the message.
            The definit message is that you cannot… EVER! Bring someone back from the death!
            The world exsist on the rule of equelliant exchange, NOTHING can be gained without giving anything in return. And as it happens, a human life is the most valuable thing there is, therefore there is nothing that can be exchanged for that and it can’t be done.
            In the first anime they kind of ends up. “Well, if you do it enough times… then just maybe you’ll succeed by the end.”

            And then by the end Edward is thrown into a paralel world, our world, doing the war..
            What the hell?! Where on earth did that come from?! There was litterately nothing hinting at the exsistence of paralel worlds in that series nor building up to that ending.. it was so obviously a tagged on ending because they had no idea where to go.

            Yes I know the Manga weren’t finished and that’s part of the problem, but that doesn’t mean they have to pull such randomn stuff out of their ass’s.

            It’s awesome though we got. “Brotherhood.” later, that series is awesome.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Well, Hitler’s mother and father were related (she was either his cousin or his niece; it depends on who Alois Hitler’s father was) and the idea that Hitler had Jewish ancestry came from the suggestion that Alois Hitler’s dad may have been a Jew- this will never be proved for definite, but most historians regard it as “unlikely” and a non-Jewish Austrian man called Johann Georg Hiedler is generally believed to have been his actual father, thus Hitler’s grandfather was not Jewish. Next candidate is his brother Johann Nepomuk Hiedler (hence the “cousin or niece” thing) who of course was also not Jewish.

            I haven’t read anything about Hitler’s mother but if she had Jewish ancestry, it was probably too distant to be relevant. The question of Hitler’s Jewish-ness mostly revolves around the fact that his grandfather was not definitely known (which for any ordinary German would be suspicious and in some cases could get you killed) and there were (probably made-up) suggestions that his actual grandfather was a Jew. But it has been investigated thoroughly by leading historians and its pretty likely that no, he wasn’t.

            Its not that those classes or museums LIED; its just, history gets dumbed down a lot when it comes to what you tell the public. When you get to really sink your teeth into it and start looking at historical documents and following academic debates, you’ll find that there is a LOT of arguing going on behind the scenes. Some of it actually quite nasty. Throw two leading historians in a room together and odds are they will find SOMETHING to argue about, even if that happens to be something everyone else thinks is true.

            As for the blond-haired blue-eyed thing…really you two, that wasn’t really the point. That was really more like the propaganda they were putting out, and besides the Nazi’s would probably just say that Hitler was trying to BREED that blond-haired blue-eyed master race, and they wouldn’t care if he wasn’t quite a perfect Aryan himself since he was more German than not.

            This isn’t getting into the debate of how much Hitler actually believed about the whole racial anti-Semitism thing (he was definitely anti-Jewish, but he did say once or twice that he thought the average person was dumb and talking in terms of race just made things easier) and how much of it was just scapegoating. There were other members of the Party who were far more hardcore True Believers than Hitler was (like Joseph Goebbels or Heinrich Himmler, who were themselves on opposite sides of Nazi ideology) and others who were almost completely cynical and opportunistic and thought all the anti-Semitic stuff was just a lie to trick people into voting for them and maintaining power (like Hermann Goring and Reinhard Heydrich).

            The real core of Nazism was just the usual bunch of self-entitled jackasses who may have been racist / sexist/ warmongering arseholes, but whose main motive was always status and power for themselves first, and Germany second. Most of Hitler conquering Europe and exterminating the Jews was less about some mad vision of a Jew-free Germanic utopia, and more because the Nazi’s messed up the Germany economy and had to keep invading other nations to rob them so they could pay the bills. Its only after they got away with that so much that Hitler decided to invade Poland (invading Austria and the Sudetenland was really all organized by Goring, so when Hitler saw how easy it was he decided he wanted a slice of the glory).

            I think you said above that evil is really bad at long-term planning- that’s pretty true here. Nazi Germany was one big ode to “make it up as you go along”.

            As for the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime…eh, agree to disagree. I saw it before I read the manga, and it was the first anime I saw straight through. I agree its inferior and it has its flaws, but it has a place in my heart.

          • Sofie Liv

            It’s alright you like it and it has a place in your heart, that you like it is AWESOME!
            It’s not a bad series per say, but it does trip by the end..

            It’s obvious why, the manga was indeed building towards a very specific ending, as can be seen in. “Brotherhood.”
            And then the anime was just kind of, left hanging at the time and had to make up an ending on their own… they tripped up and probably should have just ended the anime on a open note ones they caught up to the manga but.. it is not nearly the worst anime ever. Just not as good as could have been due to the second half.

            That though is fully made up for in “Brotherhood.” which gets it right.

            I would even say the one single thing the first anime did better was more emphasis on Hughs.
            We barely get to spend any time with him in brotherhood so his death there seems a bit more out of no where.

            How ever, after the point of his death… The first anime seems to just pretty much forgoet about it. While in Brotherhood his death ends up having more meaning as it gets followed up on a lot more, and plays a central part in Mustangs character development, and of course that entire line of events is resolved in the finaly while in the first anime… it just happens.. he just kind of dies and then.. that’s the end of it… never brought up again after the anime started to go its own way… it’s just… there.
            While in Brotherhood.. it’s god damn important!

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Never saw Brotherhood, but the manga is incredible.

            One of the best fantasy stories I’ve ever read, and it handles certain themes and characters the way Naruto SHOULD have done. Brilliant pacing and structure as well.

          • Sofie Liv

            Brotherhood is essential just faithfull to the manga.. it IS the manga, in animated form, and it’s AWESOME!
            “The full Metal waltz.” which is a running musical theme in it, is just AWESOME!

            Music, animation, fight scenes, voice acting… It’s so good!
            Just imagine, THIS music
            As they fight the all father, as the all father makes his grant master plan.

            Mustang loosing his shit in animated form when it’s revealed Envy was the one killing Huges (That’s genuinly FREAKING scary in the anime.), that entire last battle… IT’S ALL SOOO GOOOOOD!

            Just watch it, you wont regret it! It’s brilliant! It stays faithfull to the manga to the very last, updates music and animation from previous anime, has just as good voice acting and it’s just so gooood.

          • Jonathan Campbell

            Eh…I’ll think about it.

  • MalteseLizzieMcGee

    totally irrelevant, but I think I hear the music from “The Fountain” :) Really interesting review

    • Sofie Liv

      You did hear the music from “The Fountain.” because well… AWESOME MUSIC!
      Clint Mansell is the king of being able to make build up music that starts slowly, then builds and builds into this mental state of insanity. “Reqium for a dream.” wouldn’t the the same without his awesome insane score which alongside the visuals and story telling just puts the viewer into such a strange downright hypnotic state, which makes those movies just as much of an exsperience as a movie. ^^

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed.