Mysteriousness The whole 'just say your story' idea does seem a counter-intuitive thing to level at media that is or evokes mystery. Monument Valley could of been just a puzzle game about Esheresc geometry but instead it adds a glaze of the unknown, a dash of world-building. I don't think the game would have been 'better' if it had simply explained the premise. Through the use of mystery and vagaries games in this category tug at my guts, evoking a unique concoction of emotion. Kentucky Route 0, Monument Valley et al produce a powerful longing to know more, tempered sadly with the knowledge that real answers rarely live up to the power of the mystery. I can completely understand if someone doesn't like this style of storytelling, just like anything people will have opinions. But calling it 'lazy' implies the authors have chosen this method simply for its lessened word-count rather than the feelings it can conjure. The realities and limitations of indie game development are sure to have a hand in this choice, but in a similar vein I would not call Gone Home 'lazy' for not having character animation. An example to the contrary would be Dust: An Elysian Tale, which I thought had far too much explanation despite being from a one man studio. I was (perhaps mistakenly) under the impression that Firewatch was to be a mystery of a similar breed, but after this episode, I am less hopeful. On Retconnery I really enjoyed Burial At Sea and found the stealth added a interesting twist to the world. The fact that Elizabeth can use the same weapons as Booker but is just less proficient was cleverly used.The guns becomes much less powerful when she has to manually pull back the hammer before each revolver shot or is slower at loading each cartridge into the shotgun. This method of power variation is much more pleasing and narratively consistent that say, if her bullets just did less damage. Many people are quick to dismiss the 'retcon' as terrible but I think like all things it is down to execution. On the whole I found the narrative bug-fixing and world entanglement in BI:BAS-E2 to be well done. I was especially surprised / impressed that they tried to address some of the more "social justice"(†) complaints about the narrative. Retcons can be dicey when they change narratives for the worse, e.g. the moral of The Force in Star Wars seemed to go from 'work hard to succeed' to 'be born chosen' over the subsequent revisions. The changes in Bioshock, while far reaching don't truly change anything about the original story other than certain new people helping the events along. This makes absorbing them into your head-cannon optional and at worst irrelevant to the enjoyment of the original game.
† I don't like using this phrase but am doing so in an attempt to avoid spoilers. p.s. dagger
On a side note did anyone notice the 'sick burn' that none of the Bioshock 2 locations were found on the map of Rapture? I did however notice a radio advert that mentions Dionysus Park but seems to erroneously indicate that the Farmers Market was to be found there.
Retcon and Thumbs
To say something on topic but largely ridiculous, part of the reason I enjoy Thumbs so much is their 'Lore'. The Thumbs metaverse is constructed of intertwined and deep reaching in-jokes, back-stories and references. Tales of the Cabal and the precognition of robot dominion are weaved live to tape each week. Sly Jeff Goldblum vocalisations hint at legends long told. Narrative threads dangle like Samuel L Jacksons arm, awaiting retconned connections, improvised simultaneously reaching between the latest news and near forgotten legend. All the while under the painterly gaze of cool uncle and rich uncle.