I Always Preferred Giant Haystacks, Myself

Originally Published: 15 September 2010

I’ve recently gone back to Rapture. It occurred to me, as I trolled through the massive folders filled with games that I have accumulated over the years, and started to select ones that it was time to say goodbye to, that I have never finished Bioshock or the sequel.

I realised, almost instantly, that this was not right, and so I set to putting things as they should be.

Naturally, then, I downloaded Minerva’s Den for Bioshock 2 and started there. Oh yes, amidst the vast array of DLC I need to catch up on (mainly Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 – I’m saving them for a decent blast through one quiet weekend), the new areas of Rapture are ripe for exploring. And, of course, if I’m tasking myself with finishing a game it makes obvious sense that I should start to finish those games by starting a new slice of the adventure that I haven’t played before.

I’m glad I did, though. I have no regrets as I walk the damp corridors of the Den, home to The Thinker – the computer system controlling all of Rapture. Even the messages I’m getting, saying that all my actions have been mapped out in an equation by The Thinker are not dissuading me from my path. If anything, the fact that the equation ends the moment I enter The Thinker’s chamber is driving me on. I need to know what happens. I’m fairly sure I do know what happens. But I still want to find out.

This little slice of Rapture has occupied a few hours of my evening, so far. I spent a good hour or so of it trying to work out why I recognised the voice of C M Porter, the driving force behind my mission to copy The Thinker and take it away from Rapture – allegedly to help find a cure for Adam dependency – for those in the same boat it’s the same guy who played Dixon in Alias. I’ve saved all the Little Sisters I’ve come across and, as I saved the last sister in the Den and was told that the Big Sister would come after me soon afterwards, I started to put my master plan into action.

Throughout the course of my exploration, I’d found a nice area in the Den which was easily defended. A large-ish square room, with plenty of cover and, crucially, a entrance on one side only. It also happened to have a befriended security camera and a turret all ready to go. I got to work, setting trap rivets on the entranceways and the surrounding floor – I did everything I could to take the Big Sister down with little or no effort. By this point I was sporting an Ion Laser which was tooled up to the eyeballs. I was, it’s safe to say, the most confident person in that room at that particular time.

Then the Big Sister started coming for me. I saw her swim past the windows. I heard her coming down the corridor. I never saw her alive again.

I don’t actually know what happened. I’ll be honest. I’ve pieced this together from the evidence I found afterwards.

I waited for the Big Sister. I was lurking behind cover, waiting for the sound of the trap rivets before I leapt out and, for want of a better expression, shot the shit out of her. I heard gunfire. I suspected she was coming, and firing into the room ahead of her, hoping to hit me. That may be what she intended to do. What she actually did, however, was shoot a Big Daddy.

Now, as you’ll know, shooting a Big Daddy generally brings a world of hurt to your doorstep and rings the doorbell repeatedly until you answer, when it will punch you in the face until you bleed. The Big Daddies in Minerva’s Den are Lancers – I’ve been informed by radio message that they’re the worst type of Big Daddy to face and, I’ll be honest, they’re dirty, dirty fighters. They blind you, they shoot you with lasers and make you go through First Aid Kits like there’s no tomorrow.

The Big Sister, it would appear, got the full brunt of this fury unleashed on her at close quarters, in a corridor leading to my kill zone. I heard a lot of explosions. I heard a fair amount of gun fire. And then there was nothing.

I poked my head of my strategic location (or “hiding place”). No Trap Rivets had been set off. No alarms had been triggered and the turret stood idle, having fired not one shot in anger. I collected each and every rivet back into my ammo collection, for later use. Out in the corridor, the body of the Big Sister was slumped over a console – ripe for the picking. And pick I did. A hefty amount of dollars, some Adam and a generous dose of laser ammo.

It was then that I saw the hero of the hour. A lone, and lonely, Big Daddy slowly trudging along the corridor. I couldn’t thank him. There’s no game mechanic that would allow me to wave my drill arm in silent thanks to the lumbering behemoth, my unwitting guardian. I knew, in the moment, what it was like to be a Little Sister. I knew how they felt when they were protected by this giant metal beast. I could tell, from the on-screen display, that the Big Daddy was dangerously close to death. He’d defeated the Big Sister with almost no health remaining – a tiny morsel of life the thread that was binding him to the world. My continued well-being was down to the actions of an AI character.

It was a genuinely tender moment. I did what anyone would do in a moment like that…

…I shot him and stole all his stuff.