Distraction in Bioshock – Embedded and Emergent Narrative

Posted: February 18, 2013 by jeffleblow in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

During my playthrough this week, I chose to focus on how immersed I felt in the narrative of the game. Although I realize that this video only represents a small portion of the game, and I know that without a doubt more elements of narrative would be presented to me had I played further, I felt that during this segment of play, I was often distracted by combat and hacking, and at times lost track of the story of the game. Bioshock makes very, very good use of embedded narrative, that is, narrative that is presented to players in the form of cutscenes, or essentially narrative information that the player has no control over. However, I find that Bioshock presents more narrative material in the form of emergent narrative, mainly through use of audio logs. During this section of play, I found myself taking a completionist approach by hacking anything hackable and fighting each big daddy. Although the big daddy and splicer fights did not take away from the immersion, the hacking did. I found it ridiculous that I am able to hack a sentry turret in the middle of a fire fight. During my playthrough of the first parts of Neptune’s Bounty, I was only encountered by embedded narrative when I spoke to Peach and was encountered by the spider slicer. Other than this, the only narrative I received was in the form of audio logs. Although I recognize that the narrative framework of Bioshock is deep and immersive, I attempted to focus on elements of narrative during my hour of play, and was not given much.

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