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Blood in the Streets: Player Choice in Bioshock Infinite

“Someone gave it to me, I promise! I ain’t never smoked one before,” an African-American servant pleas as I spot him lighting up. “Hey, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, pal,” I respond. “Thank you, sir.” This guy may have a pretty bad life in the floating city of Columbia, but at least I allowed him this one comfort. I feel like a good per- BLAM!

As this man’s brains redecorate the shop window at a county fair, I barely notice my index finger has slipped on the mouse before I’m swarmed with policemen in a firefight. Genuinely horrified at what I’ve just done, and twenty minutes from my last autosave, I’m forced to live with the experience. This may not have been one of the game’s moral choices, but it’s certainly the moment that resonated with me most so far. That this could trump all other stabs at emotion in Bioshock Infinite makes me wonder about the nature of player choice in video games.

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