5. Younger Sister Samantha's Essay in Gone Home
While holed up in a suburban home on a dark and stormy night, there isn't a lot to do in the traditional gaming sense in Gone Home. A lot of the time is spent rummaging over whatever was left behind in a seemingly abandoned house.
The moment that made me laugh out loud came when I found my little sister Samantha's essay on human reproduction for her class. I can see that she's been asked to define certain biological aspects of the body. What's wickedly clever is that sister has turned her drab assignment into a Mad Lib-laced one, which is why there's a red linked note from her teacher saying "See me!"
4. Every Michael Biehn Snark in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Rex is Rad.
3. Franklin's Chance Encounter with Michael in GTA V
There's a good chance I could have made an entire list out of the several moments I loved while spending over 40 hours on my first play through of Rockstar Games re-envisioned Los Angeles aka Los Santos. I've lived in LA since 2000 so I just couldn't wait to drive through Glendale, stop by the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and take a run through Runyon Canyon (something I still haven't done in real life.) The real surprise was not getting lost in GTA V's sandbox (which, I most certainly did), but in marveling at how well Dan Hauser and the rest of the Rockstar writers layered the interplay between switch-on-the-fly characters Franklin, Michael and Trevor.
Hands down, the best moment was when repo man Franklin collects a Humvee-like ride only to find a gun to his head on the way to the dealership. Turns out career criminal Michael had fallen asleep in the back of his son's six thousand a month loaner. The beginning of wonderful friendship, just like Casablanca!
2. The "Decision" in Bioshock Infinite.
As Booker DeWitt searches for "the girl" so he can wipe away the debt, he comes across a raffle. Without spoiling too much of the story's specifics, you come face to with an inter-racial couple that have been bound together, forced upon a stage to be jeered or worse. The announcer at the Columbia fair looks you straight in the eye encouraging you to throw a baseball at them to win a prize. If you hesitate, he taunts you, asking if you like your coffee black. My first time I chose to toss the ball at the announcer instead, but on my second playthrough I clenched my gut and chose the option to hit the couple. The way the scene is scripted, however, you can't ever truly toss the baseball at them. For me, I say thank goodness.
It's been a longstanding complaint by gamers that what they really want is total freedom, every option at their disposal. And in the days of early RPGs I could understand: maybe I want to be a female, maybe I want to go to the dark side, maybe I really don't care and just want to unlock all the endings.
Bioshock creator Ken Levine has always been aware of how foolish all this "do anything" bickering can be. As we learned in the original Bioshock (MAJOR SPOILER) you can't even play a videogame unless you do as you're told. Freedom really is an illusion.
Back to the lynching scene: in Bioshock Infinite, I think it is one of the most disturbing moments ever in the interactive medium. To be goaded on by a chaotic race mob left me angry, frustrated and ultimately sad. One for the ages.
Happy New Year, Fellow Topless Roboteers!
Previously by Peter Paras: