Bioshock EP3: All in the Family

By Shamus
on May 26, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Wherein grandpa Cuftbert fights big daddies to free little sisters in order give big brother the mother of all beatings until he says “uncle”.

Spoiler warning: He never actually says uncle. He does eventually let us be his caddie, though.


Link (YouTube)

Fun fact: Mumbles got her name because she played pyro in Team Fortress 2. There’s a taunt in the game where the scout will say, “Nice move, mumbles” to the pyro when he gets a kill on the pyro. (Or several. I don’t remember how it works.) This is why her twitter name is @nicemovemumbles.

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202040 comments. (Forty is the only number whose letters are in alphabetical order.)

From the Archives:

  1. Cuthalion says:

    I take it Mumbles got killed a lot, then?

  2. ENC says:

    It’s kind of odd seeing how much Rutskarn’s voice has gone through puberty from this series to the Unrest kickstarter trailer :P

  3. X2-Eliah says:

    Huh. So *that’s* what Mumblesesesese”s’se’s’e’ses twittername actuall is about. Didn’t know (not a tf2 player, so that connection with a taunt was completely lost on me).

  4. Bropocalypse says:

    I’m tempted to point out that the bad ending ISN’T the same as a the good ending, but considering they’re both just cutscenes, it’s hard to actually care about the distinction.

  5. Astor says:

    Oh, yes. That’s probably the main problem with this game (at least for me). It’s not so much that it has a simple binary-choice morality system, but that there’s no temptation for choosing the dark side! There’s no meaningful cost/loss if you save the Little Sisters, and that renders the whole deal a rather meaningless affair.

    • Brandon says:

      Something odd to consider: In a game where the player character has basically no choice, the player is given this really odd, arbitrary moral choice.

      They could easily justify forcing you to kill every little sister. “Would you kindly harvest that little sister?” would do the trick. They don’t do that though. It’s the one thing that Fontaine doesn’t force you to do, for whatever reason. It really IS just a choice for the player, which the character has really no investment in.

      There’s no reason to kill the little sisters. This is especially true because he only knows that they give him “ADAM”, which he doesn’t actually know ANYTHING about. He has no idea the value of the stuff, so there’s no reason for him to want tons of it, at least not initially. Maybe later on if he became a power hungry maniac. This choice exists for power gamers, and has some lame moral choice tacked on so roleplayers have a carrot for the other path.

  6. MikhailBorg says:

    I must be one of the few Bioshock players who was pleased that the game didn’t feel it needed to punish me excessively for trying to make what I felt was the morally “right” choice. I am curious to see how far folks feel the player should have been penalized for not killing the Little Sisters – and if that had been implemented, whether as players they would have accepted the greater punishment or considered it encouragement for killing them.

    Part of the point of the Bioshock story was how making selfish, anti-social, often monstrous decisions brought down both Ryan and Fontaine. Why should the story reward the player for doing the same?

    • ehlijen says:

      It didn’t seem to be not punishing so much as simply occasionally asking “Are you evil, yes/no?” every now and then with no consequences till the very end.

      What it should have been is adam being findable in two forms, the rarer form that doesn’t require killing and the more common form that does. Then you wouldn’t have been punished for not killing, but killing would have clear reasons.

      To be selfish, you actually need to gain from doing something, not just be evil for evil’s sake.

      • MikhailBorg says:

        That’s what I meant. The “rarer, harder to find ADAM” is a means of making the game harder to complete, which is really the only way a video game can punish a player. So, this suggested version of the game rewards the player for killing Little Sisters, and that’s the version the everyone seems to be asking for – a version which though gameplay mechanics encourages the player to murder little girls.

        The other half of my question: in the version of the game which rewards you for harvesting the Sisters, would you personally have made the extra effort to find the “rarer, harder to find ADAM”? Not judging, just curious for data.

        • silver Harloe says:

          If the game gives you the same reward for being a selfish bastard as being good, why would you ever choose selfish bastard? Having the same reward removes the point of making a choice – you’re no longer choosing the more difficult path of righteousness over the easier path of evil.

          According to the Bioshock wiki: “If the player harvests all 21 of these Little Sisters, he or she will gain a total of 3360 ADAM throughout the game. If the player rescues all of the Little Sisters, and finds all of the gifts from Dr. Tenenbaum, he or she will earn a total of 3080 ADAM.”

          Since that 280 ADAM will not be crucial, so there’s no point in ever ever ever being selfish. Which means there’s no point in the choice at all.

          • Syal says:

            So what if people don’t do it the first time through, they’ll do it the second just to see the other cutscene.

            I’m very much against punishing morality by taking away powerups. If I have to choose between following my morals and getting the best character build, your game is suddenly less fun to play.

            • Humanoid says:

              I guess while, thematically, giving the player more power during the game for doing ‘evil’ is appropriate, I have the same reservation about it resulting in a less ‘complete’ gameplay experience. At the same time, other that psychopathy, what then is the reason to pursue that path?

              Now personally I would instead just shift the reward to the conclusion – your actions during the game have set your future up nicely and retire happily ever after as a rich, influential powerbroker. If you took the ‘good’ path, well, you’re not necessarily punished for it, but can’t really end up with more than a fairly decent, humble life, the same as how you started.

              I know that won’t sit well with both a fair proportion of players (who will feel cheated) and the moral guardians (who will be outraged that the evil dude didn’t get his comeuppance, Hays code style). But to do otherwise would undermine the motivation of taking the ‘evil’ path in the first place. Unless you’re playing a pointlessly destructive stupid evil character, the idea of playing an evil character really ought to be ensuring the best outcome for themselves – anything less would be to go against the notion of choice and consequence that we hold so dear. It becomes a case of the game moralising against you, of the dogmatic “evil never wins” fashion.

              Now I can’t remember the exact catalyst for the change, but in the original Fallout (drink) design, the ending slides for the fate of Junktown were inverted: siding with do-gooder Killian would ensure that the town would forever be an insignificant backwater, while siding with crime lord Gizmo would result in the town enjoying an economic boom, with all the riches and prosperity that brings.

              • Syal says:

                You can have different results with roughly equivalent gameplay impacts. Maybe the good path gets you a bonus to defense and the evil path gets you a bonus to attack. Maybe the good path gets you allies while the evil path gets you straight stat increases. Maybe the evil path makes you stronger but you have more/stronger enemies (maybe there’s a Brother that only attacks you if you’ve killed Little Sisters). Maybe the evil path allows you to skip certain things and the good path allows you to skip others. Maybe the paths have different enemies.

          • ENC says:

            Good side also gets a few exclusive tonics that are very useful as well, and a fully specced character who’s snug in their playstyle obviously will stop well short of that ADAM.

            For B1, that was Winter’s Grasp + melee. For Bioshock 2, that was the drill after you get reduced fuel usage as the thing just destroyed the Big Sisters with ease.

  7. Blov says:

    Well, the real problem about the reward system was that you just got so much Adam in the game that whether or not you saved them was pretty moot from a gameplay perspective.

    Similarly, I had gone through the game killing the horrifying little things (I was genuinely pretty horrified of them early on) until the orphanage bit, at which point I completely changed tack and saved every one thereafter. The game just didn’t and couldn’t recognise that sort of reactive choice at all.

    Which is part of the problem with giving you one binary choice instead of Bioshock 2’s thing where that’s mixed in with making individual reactive choices about a bunch of characters. Incidentally, I’ve been playing Alpha Protocol for about the fourth time this week and I’ve seen maybe six or so cutscene type things I haven’t seen before as well as a ton of new dialogue lines. I’m continually drawn in by just how good and reactive that game even under its load of problems.

    • Felblood says:

      I too am in the midst of replaying Alpha Protocol.

      This game got panned hard, at launch, for not having choices have more game-play altering consequences, but that was before gamers really woke up to how hard this stuff was to do.

      This was back when Mass Effect was still totally a fully-planned trilogy and our choices in game one would totally have meaning in the ending of the third one.

      We are so much wiser now, but are we better off for it?

  8. Penetty says:

    You’d think shotgunning an automatic security camera would immediately sound the alarm, not disable it.

    • Humanoid says:

      Hey it’s 60s technology CCTV, there’s probably a single grainy black and white monitor attached to each camera, which, even if there was an operator monitoring it on the other side, they’d have a task of it even trying to distinguish actual motion from white noise.

      In all seriousness though, the tropish use of security cameras in modern games with their associated extreme binary outcomes is getting a little tiresome. It’s just that it’s so difficult to come up with a viable alternative that works as a gameplay device. Time for some brainstorming perhaps.

      • Brandon says:

        Honestly, having cameras that much be avoided or hacked (from an actual security room), that will sound an alarm without fail if they are shot or damaged in any way, would be a good step in that direction.

        I definitely agree that games need more challenges that cannot be circumvented with bullets.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Alpha Protocol is the only game I know of with cameras which automatically trigger the alarm if destroyed, so you have to mostly just dodge them. Only one specific skill allows you to hack individual cameras, otherwise you have to find the computer terminal they’re tied to to turn them off, if they have one.

    • MrGuy says:

      Personally, I like the fact that the cameras are mercenary enough that they can be bribed (the mechanics of which are “no, YOU shut up”). But honest enough to keep on your side once they already have your money.

      If I were a rogue steam-powered security camera for hire, and someone offered be $20 to “be on their side,” I know I’d be like “hah! gotcha! alarm!” as soon as their back was turned. It’s the perfect crime!

  9. Coyote says:

    I miss Mumbles.

  10. My gosh, it all makes sense now! :O

    I learned something about Mumbles! :D

  11. Francis-Olivier says:

    I do have an explanation for why the the photo camera allows you fight better. I’m not saying it’s not dumb but it exist. They say it’s able to genetically analyze the enemy you are using it on.

  12. Mumbles says:

    aawww i fucking miss you guys

    man on the subject of dudes poppin up from their sleepy time naps at least in skyrim they let you shoot the fuck out of draygghryds before they even tried to scoot out of their crypts

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