Video Deconstruction: This weird BBC report on Bioshock 2

16 Feb

Wow, slow news day.

It’s nice to see games covered without any reference to the likelihood of them turning babies into axe murderers, but the female presenter’s thinly veiled combination of confusion and disgust at what she’s having to report on makes it almost painful to watch. I’ve never heard the words “shooter videogame sequel” said with such fake enthusiasm that it borders on malice. Technology Reporter Daniel Emery, on the other land, has such a boyish enthusiasm for his chance to talk about games on national TV that he only makes one or two factual errors!

After a minute or so of Dan describing the original game’s backstory to an increasingly bored newsreader (and, presumably, a newsroom crew on the verge of coma), it all gets a bit weird and Zero Punctuation turns up. As Yahtzee demonstrates the ease of killing a hulking mutant wearing an armoured diving suit with a monkey wrench, and the words “DEVELOPERS SAY BIO SHOCK 2 MORE CHALLENGING” (is the BBC saving money by hiring red injuns to the production team?) flash up on screem, it becomes worryingly apparent that your license fee (not mine, I’m poor) is being used to run an expose on a videogame’s flawed respawn mechanism. I appreciate Emery giving it a jolly good go, but the only reaction this will get from non-gamers is a rapid change of channel. Gamers, on the other hand, will be too busy cringing.

That said, there’s a lot to like about this report – the way ZP is used without any irony whatsoever; the relegation of a story about child abduction by US missionaries in Haiti to the little scrolling banner at the bottom; the way the head of Take 2’s Creative Director entertainingly bobbles as you skip forward over his section- but the best bit is this exchange:

“Again it’s the underwater city, it’s the 1930’s environment, but it’s set ten years in the future”

“It looks very futuristic!”

“Very much so!”

It’s set in 1969.


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