Back in the late summer of 2007, I was diagnosed with a tension-based disorder that can cause great abdominal discomfort. In the weeks leading up to the two months of work that I missed (insert Office Space joke) and ten-day stint in the hospital, I was playing BioShock quite a bit. I enjoyed it a lot, but lacked the skills to process its intensity and the resulting stress. BioShock was simply too much for me.
In the years since, I’ve grown adept at handling this disorder. Pills and dietary restrictions help, but consciously working on improving my view of life and the way in which I react to tense situations is what’s really made the difference. Looking back to four years ago and realizing how much I’d grown, I decided it was time to get back on the horse. I had been BioShock’s bitch for too long; it was time to reclaim myself, even if merely in my own eyes.
I repurchased it for the 360 at the great price of $10, then went to work. I had played it on normal difficulty before, so I chose the same route this time.
Within the first hour of gameplay I was able to tell what a different experience I was having. Whether facing the small stress of a close call in the hacking mini-game or the large stress of taking on a big daddy, everything seemed generally more manageable. Plus, I could tell when I was tensing physically and then correct the behavior. Still, long sessions of BioShock could get taxing, since I had to deal with everything in the game as well as the meta-game of managing my own levels of stress and physical reactions.
I had to remain vigilant. Just because I had the skills to relax in the face of stress didn’t mean it was automatic. Sometimes I would realize that I was tensing and had been doing so for several minutes. A few times I had to take a break because it was just too much. But I always went back.
A few weeks ago, I finally did it: I completed BioShock, and without harvesting any Little Sisters. The game that beat me down, the game that has been a nagging whisper in the back of my mind for four years… now it’s my bitch. Rarely has beating a game been so rewarding. “Rapture,” indeed.
Will I play BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite? Perhaps. If I do, maybe I’ll appreciate their merits more than I did those of the first entry in the series. I was so focused on redeeming myself that I wasn’t as blown away by BioShock as were other people I know. Yet, it holds a unique place in my personal video game history, and likely always will.
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About the Author
|Markham Asylum is a founding member of Delta Attack. His tier-1 favorite genres are role-playing, puzzle, and strategy. His tier-2 are adventure, shooter, and platformer. He strives to provide spoiler-free postings whenever possible.
Markham Asylum has written 424 posts on Delta Attack.