Someone linked me to a forum, or blog, or something, this article a guy called ChristOnIce wrote about “philosophical” games. He writes this, about Bioshock:
Is our culture so bankrupt that something this lacking in any originality qualifies as brilliance? http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/christonice/philosophical-my-ass/30-30442/
Yeah, frankly, I think it is. There is very little brilliance in games. It’s not even subtle stuff. “Brilliance”, it seems, games like Portal, Shadow of the Colossus (my go to games for “games that aren’t utter shit”), is just not doing the awful shit that games normally do.
Bioshock’s big point of “You are a mindless killer” is a point made in Half Life 2 in a much more gradual, subtle way, as you start to realize the character you control (ha ha) is under some kind of cosmic contract, and it seems you’re helping these people you’ve grown to like out of some arbitrary reason you have no way to comprehend.
But people, gamers, I guess, see guns, and aliens, and they want to shoot those aliens with those guns and so what if there’s some creepy guy with a briefcase, or it’s all under water, as long as your gun has a chainsaw on it.
In Half Life 2, yeah, you’re shooting guys, things, because you’re been told to, but, unlike Bioshock, it doesn’t act like some 1st year art school student trying way too hard to prove it’s different. It just gets on with being brilliant. Or shit, if you hated it.
See also, please, because everything I write is brilliant and to the point: http://makehands.blogspot.com/2010/04/make-games-that-arent-shit-please.html