To be honest I don't have much in the way of time to be playing games anymore.
Full time work and school have limited the way I use my spare time to 1. Studying or 2. Trying to develop a self esteem.
The few games I do enjoy are survival horror and quirky games. Gary's Mod has to be the best and most aggravating game ever. I once spent about eight hours creating a moving human form in that game, only to have the restraints go mad and swirl about in a maddening dance of death. Bah!
I thought I'd share my newest tattoo with you good folks. It is of the "Little Sister" character design, specifically one of the "revised" designs for the new game.
Original article here: http://www.destructoid.com/see-the-little-sister-makeover-of-bioshock-2-138538.phtml
(If you look in the posts you can see my comment foreshadowing this!"
She is on my right arm, about ten inches tall, she took about 5.5 hours to complete, and the artist that applied it to my arm is one Heidi Scheck (www.myspace.com/bloodygutz) a beautiful and especially talented woman working out of "Super Genius Tattoo" of Seattle, WA.
Now I thought I'd explain why I chose to get this particular character applied, so if you'd like to read my inane rambling go ahead, I won't force you to sit through it. (Drama Warning)
While I do not think of myself as a "Bioshock-Fanboy" I suppose I might just very well be per some definitions. I loved the game for the story and the stark moral options one had in progressing. I could never harvest the Little Sisters in the game. I did once, just to see the process, and felt like a ripe bastard despite the fact it's only a series of lights on my monitor. The why behind all this is markedly more involved than a simple "Oh it's a leetle gurl I do not wants to killz it".
Since I will be touching on a number of games and personal events I should right now explain that the Little Sisters are, for me, a composite character through which I experience them and many other characters and thoughts. Some similarities are based on mostly aesthetics (Like Alice), others are in terms of a burgeoning paternal instinct (Ramona, personal development), but even under their own steam the Little Sisters design is touching to me.
Other Existing Characters
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: What first drew me to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was essentially the fantastic world it painted so well. I read the story when I was 5 or 6 and it really stuck to me. I wasn't allowed to watch Disney films growing up, so I didn't see the video take until I was 13. In terms of written work, this really captured my imagination at a young age. The version of the book I had illustrations of Alice in her traditional garb which itself is much similar to the dresses adorned by the Little Sisters. This similarity struck a sentimental cord in my heart since I am very much a visual person.
American McGee's Alice: Now I draw a difference twixt McGee's and Carrol's perception of Alice because the differences are too great to lump them together. Now when "Alice" came out I hate to admit but it mostly appealed to me for the reasons it appealed to most people, it was "Creepy Alice!!". I remember my mother purchasing it specifically because she thought it would be scary and creepy fun. To illustrate with a hypothetical example, let us say that your best friend came up to you and mentioned that they heard of a game where you play as Santa Claus and you have to slay an army of demons with your double-ended axe staff of magick and your triple-barrel shotgun in order to retrieve Ms. Claus from Turbo-Hitler. Would you want to buy this game? Damn right you would!
The novelty is what first got me interested in Alice, sadly enough, but as I actually played the bloody game I realized the levels of self reflection through which you were going. It was easy enough to say, ok I'm in a wicked-cool room of eccentric geometry slaying this weird card guy. Then you realized, albeit somewhat ham-handedly, that you were playing as Alice experiencing her guilt over her parent's death manifested through extreme imagination and a maddening psychosis! Fearful! It is a thick layer of complexity, I admit, but taken for its elements and ideals it is a pure and terrifying thing to endure.
It is the same macabre nature and grim aesthetic of McGee's Alice that appeals to me the Little Sister.
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: This might be a bit surprising to the folks here, but when I first saw the Little Sister character (Actually on Destructoid.) it drew the aforementioned parallels to Alice, but actually a bit more so to the Ramona character in Call of Cthulhu. You, being the smart folks you are, might have already picked up on this but I get emotionally invested in games. The ones I enjoy most are the ones that have characters for which I feel sympathy or interest. Halo? Yeah ok, the chief is a "space marine that kills aliens and doesn't afraid of anything". As a result, I have very little devoted interest in Halo aside from the occasional round.
Call of Cthulhu? That might have well been "Anthony McLastName: We know your Weakness!" I am huge fan of Lovecraft so I ate this game up. I love the narrative, the story, the way that your character interacted with the horrors offered to him, the cut scenes back into the sanitarium are still terrifying but beautiful at the same time. (Before anyone says, yes the game's controls sucked and the character models moved like stiff puppets. I don't care.)
What gets me about Ramona is purely personal-- she is a reflection of my pangs of paternity that have only recently been identified as such, she is a reflection of pure guilt, and a reflection of an ideal. She is a sweet girl that is doing her best to remain happy and still a child despite her town becoming absorbed into that Lovecraftian bleakness. Her mother turned into a vicious Deep One and is locked away in a closet by her father, but still Ramona remains an innocent. She still hums, she still is sweet, and she still draws in crayons pictures of her father and beastly mother.
So here I am, playing this game, just spoke with this adorable little girl that reminds me of all the good things in life and what I hope a daughter would be and BAM! Twenty seconds later she's screaming as her mother is tearing her to shreds! Where the #@#! am I? Loosing consciousness after letting the beast loose. By the time I get downstairs, Ramona, the beautiful little girl, is dead and her father weeping over her torn form. Heartbreaking!
Then what I like is how the game rubs the guilt in with the occasional glimpse of her running or Ramona's humming laughter around a corner. The only thing that threw me in the game was Jack's commentary on his state. Don't get me wrong, I liked it but I didn't like how it conflicted with itself. One second he's saying "I'm never gonna get out of here alive!" and he's cut off with "It won't open. It won't budge!" That was a break in the emotional flow of the game for me.
Granted, yes, this is purely a theatrical and somewhat "heavy" realization and articulation of both the Ramona character development and the character herself, but it still gets me. It smacks me over the head by showing me someone close to my heart and then blaming me for not saving her.
For the Little Sisters, they tap into all the reasons I have for enjoying similar characters and collects them into a perfect package. However, being the big emotional Weenie I am, they appeal to the paternal ideas in my head.
On their own merits, I think what appeals to me most about the Little Sister is how I sympathize their struggles both internal and external. Internally, how must these children feel? They were created as hosts for ADAM and to harvest the same from the dead. It's easy to laugh when you look at those posters for the "Hidey Hole" or "Best Friends" but the level of social manipulation is staggering to me. I tend to relate a lot with Tenebaum in that I was appalled by what had been done to this little girls. The reasons they were created was to support a society obsessed with progress, forced to live as an odd sort of parasite and host simultaneously, where their only friends where mentally-deficient and brutish men in diving suits that would ripe apart anyone that got too close. Anytime they travel they must be escorted or else they might be torn apart by an increasingly psychotic society.
I, of course, got the "happiness and sunshine dances" ending where you see that because of your actions you gave the girls a chance to be happy. It's silly, I know. You kill the big Fontaine, hop a ride on a bathysphere and then it's a quick show of the girls growing up, marrying, and eventually wishing you well as you pass. In the same way that Ramona would break my heart that I couldn't save her, the Little Sisters make me feel good knowing that I did save them.
It is heartbreaking... if you are a big Weenie like me, I mean.
So yes... that's why the Little Sisters appeal to me so much and that's why I got one as a tattoo.
If you actually read this dribble then thank you. A special thank you for the people that don't insult me or type tl:dr in the comments.
Post Script: I can't get the picture sized right, so just click the attached photo.