Pc Games

10 years later, the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy still haunts gaming culture

I first heard about player choice in the original BioShock. It was 2007, and I was sitting in front of the blocky family Dell and a thick CRT monitor watching 360p E3 coverage as Ken Levine seductively revealed the intricacies of the ecosystem in Rapture. We could rescue all of these little girls, he said, but we could also harvest them for their genetic resources. 

That binary is downright laughable in retrospect; here was this meditative videogame with Kubrick ambitions, and yet the only way it could introduce any ethical quandary to the narrative was through… the literal murder of children? Whatever. It didn’t matter. I was ensorcelled by BioShock’s attempt to embody the grim, philosophic future of the interactive arts. At last, a chance to leave a permanent mark on the worlds we inhabit, to negotiate freedom from the disc. The new game auteurs were going to break from the past. Ken Levine was going to make me a little bit uncomfortable, and I relished the opportunity.

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