Back before I began reading about games on great sites like Destructoid (ahem), I walked into a shop one day and saw a shiny cover for a new game that had recently come out for my new PS3. It had one of those shiny cardboard covers with some sort of hulking metal man alongside a little girl on it. I was intrigued, so with my father's assistance (I was 15 at the time) I bought it without any prior knowledge of the game's story or basic gameplay, but I'd heard my friend mention it offhandedly which was enough along with the cover to pique my interest.
It took me a week to open the case.
For perhaps the first time with a videogame, I was truly stepping into the unknown. All I knew to expect were "...powerful forces...genetically mutated citizens" and the name of the environment: "Rapture". The cover failed to mention the below sea-level positioning of this particular city, but I guess the bees streaming from your wrists made for a more interesting cover story.
The game (finally) began within the safety of an aeroplane in 1949. Not bad, I thought, until of course that same aircraft plummeted thousands of feet into the Atlantic Ocean. Now I was alone and left to swim to the only structure in sight, a creepy as heck lighthouse.
My first encounter with the Spider splicer wasn't all that terrifying, well it was, but not so much as what was about to come. First level: the medical pavillion, great. Not only was I terrified of Hospital environments, but this one was infested with insane people looking to drain my blood. My memories of this game come mainly from the stand out moments and twists within the story, but it is the medical pavillion which immediately set me on the backfoot, always cautious of what was around the next corner. To this day it remains one of the stand out moments in videogames for me, simply because of how unaware I was regarding both the tone and the themes of this game.
I finished Bioshock sometime last year, followed immediately by Bioshock 2 and Infinite. Whilst neither of the sequels managed to terrify me in the same way as the original, they both had their moments; the introduction of Bioshock 2 was reminiscient of the creepy atmosphere of the original, being slowly introduced to the Big Sister nemeses of the game. Bioshock Infinite, despite being completely opposite in tone to the two set in Rapture, brought back memories of my first moments as Jack with the 'Boys of Silence' section in the latter half, especially what I shall refer to as 'that' moment.
So there you have it, perhaps the scariest memory I have in videogames. I could have just as easily mentioned the Grims from Resistance 2, the derelict train tunnels of Fallout 3 or that time when I thought my PS3 was dying (2008-?) but none of these moments felt as fresh as stepping into Rapture for the first time. Sometimes you just have to trust the cover art.
Now, would you kindly leave any comments below, and also check out my new Twitch channel, where I'll be playing Alien: Isolation tomorrow and The Evil Within next week. Peace.
Oh yeah, and that friend who originally told me about Bioshock has yet to finish it...