My first playthrough of Bioshock left something ot be desired. I wanted to play it so much that I went through the game on the Xbox 360, watching the whole thing on a tiny 14 inch TV with mono sound. The game forced widescreen resulting in a minute image. Even so I gained a sense of the game. That screen became a narrow letterbox beyond which lay an odd and broken world, a smokey damp creaking old wreck of a place in which odd and broken things would attack me. Even in dead mono the cracked tones of Billy Holliday, intermingled with the mad jabbering of Rapture’s inhabitants sent shivers down my spine.
I finished Bioshock astonished by one of the best game stories I’ve experienced in years, and for days after my head was full of the characters I had encountered, many of which I had never even seen, having grown to know only their distorted voices from the many audio logs scattered throughout the world. The thing is, despite it all, I felt slightly disappointed. I had reached the end too quickly. I had only fleeting impressions of the locations I had visited. Driven by the ever-present golden arrow at the top of my screen, I had never properly wandered off the prescribed path. The experience was flat, as though I had tasted the methodone and come to know there was something more powerful afoot. Rapture deserved better.