Editor's note: Jordan Erica Webber is co-author with Eurogamer contributor Daniel Griliopoulos of the weighty tome Ten Things Video Games Can Teach Us: (about life, philosophy and everything), out this month. We've asked her to write a few thoughts on video games as works of philosophy. Beware: there are spoilers for Soma, the Mass Effect and Fallout series ahead.
Quite possibly the most impressive technological achievement in the console space last year was Xbox One backward compatibility, a virtual machine that somehow - miraculously - managed to run Xbox 360 titles on Microsoft's latest console. Progress has continued on this brilliant feature, to the point where we reckon it has a good shout in staking a claim as the most impressive console technological achievement of 2016 too. We've demonstrated time and again this year how Xbox One is now running Xbox 360 titles faster and more smoothly than original hardware - but this week's release of the BioShock trilogy highlights just how much faster it can be.
Editor's note: To mark the announcement of the BioShock Collection - okay, the confirmation of the BioShock Collection after more leaks than even the tattiest corner of Rapture - we're returning to Richard Cobbett's brilliant retrospective on BioShock 2, first published in April 2013.
Released a year after the Xbox 360 version, shorn of some of its visual magnificence, afflicted with an ugly blur and featuring exclusive DLC you actually had to pay for despite the long wait, it's fair to say that PlayStation 3 owners didn't fare too well at the hands of 2K Games when it came to the belated release of the original BioShock.
All the game content was there, and enough of the raw BioShock DNA was there to make it a worthwhile experience in its own right, but compared to the original Xbox 360 version of the game it was a disappointment. This time 2K has made efforts to get it right. There's no year-long delay between versions, and on first impressions it seems the development team has done well in replicating the look of the game across both platforms.
So let's kick off by pointing you gently towards a triple-format screenshot gallery, before continuing on to the console comparison vid:
Andrew Ryan, the Citizen Kane of the seabed, forever railing against conformity, against predictability, against the things that hold men back from greatness: what would he think about sequels?
Jordan Thomas is a games journalist's dream. He talks a mile a minute, hitting a dozen tangents in the process, but is consistently fascinating and entertaining - even when, as was the case with this interview, he's soundtracked by the alarming sound of a dozen dogs barking from the house next door.
It can't be easy to follow in the footsteps of Ken Levine. That sharp, manly beard, for example. I would.
Sisters are not doing it for themselves. But then, it shouldn't come as a surprise to discover the Big Sister is not the main baddy in BioShock 2 despite what we've been encouraged to think. After all, this is the series that had you take a golf club to its own illusions last time out. If even 2K Marin's press events are a festival of misdirection, surely that's another tick in the "worthy" column for the arch-nerds in the audience.
"When you think about multiplayer, the narrative a lot of times comes from the experience that you create yourself in the match," says BioShock 2 producer Melissa Miller. And while the game's not out until 30th October, Miller's already got a few stories of her own. "I was playing one match and I had a little area I was holding down, I had very distinct entries that I was guarding, and I would see people go by and I'd tag them with incinerate! If they were low on health I'd get the kill."
You're a Big Daddy, and you're right, that doesn't sound very ambitious. As Take Two admits during our tour of 2K Marin, a lot of people bought the first BioShock because they thought you were a Big Daddy anyway. He's the guy on the box. He's got eight glowing eyes, JCB hips and a drillbit the size of a fridge stuck to his arm. And the fact is, by the time you got to the end of BioShock, you were so powered up that you practically and to some extent literally were a Big Daddy as well.
After indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, fighting and strategy and action and adventure, we conclude our look at what's coming this year with two fields which tend to put refinement ahead of innovation. Can shooters and racing shake themselves up in 2009?