Further in shock

The rain has kept falling, the wind has kept blowing, and I have kept playing Bioshock.

I have also had the luxury to reconnect with distant friends. How good all our remote ways of talking are!

But Bioshock. I may, possibly, perhaps, have got seriously into it now. During my last session tonight I noticed how I was in a much better flow than before, moving ahead and feeling decently effective in combat.

Getting into games is a strange thing. It took longer than I had hoped to get here (we will see if I have arrived completely or if there will be setbacks) and I have to admit: the initial slog was not that much fun. I felt the only thing ensuring I was moving forward was the game's very forgiving respawn system, which brings you back to life inventory intact and with enemies unchanged including damage. That means even the toughest enemies can be worn down by repeated deaths, as long as you get a hit or two in before they take you out. I did not enjoy this kind of combat, nor did I feel it helped me learn how to fight properly (properly being staying alive and avoiding hits, progress without leaning on the respawns in short). Right now, I wonder if I have learned anything, or if my weapons and other upgrades have sort of caught up with the enemies.

I have read a bit online, trying to find out if I am playing right or wrong. In the process, I have spoiled things a bit more than I intended, but I have also learned quite a few players have complained about the respawns and how they ruin the mood of the game by completely removing the fear of dying. In a way, this is another side of my coin. I do not need more fear in the game, but it is very clear the respawns affect how I have played very much.

The game does have the option to turn off the respawn stations, but I think that is not for me either.

I am curiuous if I have got into the game now. I am also curious about going back once I finish the game and finding out how the early challenges feel with more experience. It could well be that I just needed to learn the mechanics better. But could that learning have been made more fun and more efficient? How casual of a gamer can you be and still get through the process?

(Or am I just getting old and slow to pick things up?)

Perhaps I should ask some of my more game design-minded friends about it?