Mediocre Greatness Part I

You can only lavish praise on something for so long until you begin to ask yourself, “Why aren’t the other guys using this as motivation to make a better product?”

This is how I felt while playing through Bioshock and Grand Theft Auto IV, two of the only games this generation that I’d say have been worth the time I invested in them.

A mild disclaimer: I’m financially equal to a well-off hobo, so I have yet to find sufficient funds to purchase a PS3 or a Wii.  That being said, I’ve had been 360 since launch, and I stick by the fact that Bioshock and GTA are the only games to truly elicit a response out of me.

Sure I’ve had fun playing through games like Dead Rising and Rock Band, but they were either so inherently flawed (the former), or completely dependent on a group setting (the latter), that the experiences became forgettable after a while.

But Bioshock and Grand Theft Auto…those are two games which I’ve devoured and have yet to be able to shake off my mind.  I attribute my love of these two games to numerous factors, one main one being that they have, “amazingly mature storylines,” (yes, I just quoted myself).  But when I take a step back from these games, I realize that their respective plot, dialogue , pacing and conclusions are really fairly common among film.

I can name dozens of crime movies that have empathetic characters, a dense world and unexpected arcs.  Likewise for Bioshock, there are plenty of flicks that have tackled ides of past vs future, science vs religion and man vs nature.  Are video games so narratively flawed as a medium that the masses (myself included) lavish praise on something for merely telling an engaging story?