Video Games

The Infinite World of Bioshock

Bioshock Infinite makes a strong case that video games can be great pop art.

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Irrational Games

Bioshock Infinite may or may not be the single best game released for today's video game systems, but it is without a doubt among the greatest. Like its 2007 predecessor, Bioshock, it is a gorgeous and involving triumph of interactive narrative and world building, rich in character and knotty political and philosophical ideas. The original made for a promising opening to the next six years of big-budget, mass-market video games; now Bioshock Infinite offers a fitting capstone to the console generation set to end this year. Just as the first Bioshock became a touchstone in the ongoing arguments about whether video games can be art, Bioshock Infinite ought to close the door on any remaining debate.

The visuals alone ought to be enough. Video game art direction is consistently strong these days—even essentially mediocre games such as Hitman Absolution and Dead Space 3 are visually impressive. Even still, Bioshock Infinite stands out for its inventive and frequently gorgeous world-building.

Infinite's world offers a twist on the one found in its predecessor. The first game took players through Rapture, a mostly abandoned undersea city set in 1960. The sci-fi Art Deco vibe gave the game a mix of kitschy humor and retro grandeur—it was both amusing and awe inspiring. Bioshock Infinite once again offers a vivid retro-inspired city to play in, but this one is set in the sky: a huge, floating city called Columbia.

Like Rapture, Columbia is a city founded on a political ideal, and led by a visionary leader. Rapture was the product of an experiment in aggressive Darwinian capitalism, led by a man named Andrew Ryan—an Ayn Rand-inspired figure who throughout the game preaches the virtues of will and self-reliance. Columbia is a turn-of-the-century secessionist colony founded on an idealized vision of American exceptionalism by one Zachary Hale Comstock—a man who calls himself "The Prophet."

Bioshock Infinite's city in the clouds is flat-out gorgeous—sun-speckled and majestic, filled with strange details and breathtaking sights. Your visit to the city opens in a courtyard featuring giant-sized monuments to America's founding fathers; a few moments later, you witness a floating parade in which a barbershop quartet gently sings a Beach Boys tune (don't worry—all will be explained by the end).

But the beauty of the world isn't what makes the game truly great. Instead, it's the narrative opportunities the world offers—and the highly effective way the game capitalizes on them.

Lots of video games look great these days, but very few have characters or stories worth a damn. Bioshock Infinite's narrative is smarter and more engaging than most of the movies released so far this year, and as good or better than a lot of the genre novels it draws from.

Irrational Games

Much like the first Bioshock, which toyed with game-friendly notions of individual decision making and self-determination, the big ideas in Infinite all riff on video game conventions of choice and control. Without getting too heavily into spoiler territory, it's enough to say that, like so many contemporary video games, which offer players endless opportunities to tweak the looks and capabilities of their characters, Bioshock Infinite is built around the question of who you choose to be. But unlike so many of its peers, which superficially fetishize the idea of choice but rarely offer players much much more than a slightly different set of magic hats to wear, Infinite doesn't view its central question in a mechanistic way. Instead, it forces players to confront the potentially cruel consequences of even seemingly benign actions, beliefs, and identity choices—both for individuals and the worlds they create.

Ironically, one of the biggest complaints amongst players of the game seems to be that it offers too few meaningful choices. It's a criticism that misses the game's whole point—which is that many of the choices we think matter most don't matter much at all, and that our lives are often determined by choices we don't understand, many of which are grounded in complex social and political histories that began long before the lives they shape.

But don't worry if this sounds too dense—this is a video game, not a philosophy lesson or a history lecture. I loved playing every minute of Bioshock Infinite, and I was thoroughly gripped by both the story and the minute-to-minute challenges of gameplay at just about every moment (I especially enjoyed taking down Motorized Patriots—giant robot versions of America's Founding Fathers, complete with heavy weaponry). It is, in virtually every way, a powerful example of what video games can and arguably should be—an entertaining, involving, and even thought-provoking piece of pop art.

But what games should be, of course, is not always what they are. And if I came away with a nagging worry, it's that it took so long to produce a worthy follow-up to the mix of game and narrative ideas in the original (a quickie 2010 sequel was a fun but not particularly memorable rehash produced under a license by a different game development studio). It's been six years since the original, and Bioshock Infinite feels like a major step forward from its predecessor, but not a giant leap. It's a game that offers plenty of evidence that games can be art—but it also serves as a reminder that too few of them are.

NEXT: John Kerry Urges China to Put Pressure on North Korea

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  1. Uh, did Ebert review this?

    1. At least Suderman isn’t hawking some book.

    2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job Ive had. Last Monday I got a new Alfa Romeo from bringing in $7778. I started this 9 months ago and practically straight away started making more than $83 per hour. I work through this link, mojo50.com

  2. Aaaaand, they’re off!

  3. Little balls of ice are falling from the sky. Must be spring.

    1. I’m posting this to make your subversion of threaded comments more prominent.

    2. That God damned global warming again.

    3. In Minnesota, there’s an inch of snow on the ground with a current high of 33. I’d gotten in twenty rounds of golf by this time last year. The good news is that buying a new (used) road bike is a lower priority, which is great since the assholes on Craigslist think a five year old frame with a 105 groupset is a four figure sale. 500 miles my ass.

    4. It’s 77 today and gonna be 87 tomorrow. Spring is ending.

  4. I have never said this before in response to any previous post, but the original Bioshock was a C+/B- shooter. I do not understand the fawning praise that is heaped upon it by gamers.

    1. I don’t understand why FPS games lead to the same wall of text in the comments sections that abortion or homebrewing do.

    2. The last time I posted a comment on this article, it was removed as I was posting, and all I got was this lousy 404 error when I hit submit.

      1. You think you deserve more than a 404?

        1. Fuck yes. A customized error handling page at the very least. Call it professional courtesy between software developers. Now you non-developer “civilians”? I couldn’t care less what you get.

          1. Maybe they do that and you just are not in the club?

            1. That’s un-possible, John.

          2. You probably think you deserve subsidies like Curt Schilling, too.

          3. Stop being a griefer and send them an awesome 404 page.

            You know, like lululemon’s.

          4. Screw you Epi! You get nothing from me now!

      2. Libertarian Problems: A comment was removed while I was posting on reason and I got a 404 error.

        1. It’s a serious problem!!!

          1. Swing loooowwww sweet charrrriot.

    3. I must agree with Hugh. There was nothing wrong with the game, but it’s linear nature quickly became apparent.

      I did have a great moment playing the first game though. In the (first?) boss fight with the mad doctor, I was pretty low of ammo or something. So, I grabbed a propane tank with my telekinetic skillz and one-shotted him on top of a gas puddle. Extremely satisfying mechanic, and had me playing for another 6 hours hoping to recapture the magic.

      1. There are flammable pools of oil in Columbia, as well as pools of water (perfect for quick jolt of electricity). There’s also a perk that acts as a shield but can be upgraded to collect the bullets fired at you which you can then toss back at the mobs.

        Bioshock isn’t trying to be a sandbox game, so its linear nature doesn’t bother me. It’s a story driven game, not a world of random unassociated events (like FO, TES, etc.). Half-Life 2 is a linear game also, but that doesn’t make HL2 any less amazing.

        1. True about Hl2. The team was genius in being able to hide the linearity with false choices that did not become apparent as such on the first play through. I didn’t care for the expansion packs, sick of being lead around the nose by the tomboy mulatto, but in the main game, they schooled the entire industry.

        2. You’re right there’s nothing wrong with linear. HL2 doesn’t try to be non-linear the game just gives so many fun things to do on the path. Bioshock was a shallow FPS masquerading as a ‘deep’ RPG. FO3 was the inverse. FO3 was also awesome, music aside (any mods for that?)

          The ‘Minerva’ and ‘Research and Development’ mods for HL2/HL2 ep2 are must plays. Arguably better than the game they mod.

          1. FO3 was also awesome, music aside (any mods for that?)

            There is a mod out there that replaces the FO3 music with updated versions of the original FO1 and FO2 music.

          2. In the PC version, you can replace or add to the music simply be dropping an .mp3 into one of the Music sub-folders. It’s in (on XP, anyway) Program Files\Bethesda\Fallout 3\Data\Music

    4. It was the writing, which was better than 99% of other games.

      1. I’ll agree that the writing was better than most video games. But that’s a relative measure.

        Better than most video games still puts it way down the list beneath most novels, TV shows, movies, and Justin Timberlake songs.

      2. Then they should have made a movie and spared me the clunky lame gameplay.

    5. I think most reviewers gave it extra points because of its takedown of (a strawman version of) Objectivism.

    6. THANK YOU. Bioshock was the most absurdly overrated non military FPS ever.

  5. Isn’t Generic Brand the one doing all the tub thumping for this game?

    1. I’d say something about it, but I don’t want to kill this thread as well. Plus, I’m too busy playing Fallout 3 right now anyway.

      1. And if this thread does get killed, I hope we don’t get a bunch of yutzes infesting every other comment thread to bitch about it.

      2. Threadkiller! *suicide bombs gB’s clinic*

      3. Skyrim for me. I’m playing as a goody two shoes who never steals and always does what his jarl tells him to make it more challenging. This is a first for me in Elder Scrolls games. I usually have the entire census building and neighboring community looted in the first hour of play.

        1. You can’t even get half the Daedric artifacts if you limit yourself to being good.

          1. Sure you can Trouser:

            Player.AddItem

            1. Got me there.

    2. The post gets taken down, but it gets put up again. They’re never gonna keep it down…

  6. Subversive?

    ME?

    *bats eyes innocently*

    1. well, I’m sure it’s not on purpose.

  7. Suderman gets to play video games and scribble for money?!? Aw, HELL no. I want to be reason‘s official Strain-Reviewer/cum/Bordello-Critic.

    First column: Smoke then Fuck or Fuck then Smoke?

    1. If you’re kinky, you do both at the same time.

      1. Sexy time is sandwich time. And you don’t want sandwich taste commingling with smoking taste.

        1. You and your mate need to get a little more adventuresome.

        2. Enjoy every sandwich.

    2. Three or more and you can smoke pole and fuck at the same time. Actually a little yoga and you could do the same with two.

      1. I don’t smoke, but I can’t imagine it would be to difficult to do the missionary position, or your standard issue anal, and smoke at the same time. Or just have sex standing up.

        Blowjobs and smoking at the same time, that might be a problem.

        1. Er, that first “would” should of course be “wouldn’t”.

          1. Er, scratch that whole clause and have it read “wouldn’t be too difficult”.

            1. You’re the worst, Ted.

  8. I wondered why tLPB doesn’t reply in-thread. I didn’t realize it’s deliberate.

  9. I’ll wait for Loder’s review.

  10. The gameplay doesn’t rise to the same level as the story. Basically you fight hordes of enemies, then fight more hordes, then more. You end up using the same two weapons and the same powers. There aren’t side missions or secret areas to explore. Unfortunately, a game can’t be judged on story and setting alone.

    1. So basically it’s Halo?

      1. Except not awesome.

    2. I can usually look past shitty gameplay mechanics/systems if the narrative is strong enough; esp. in bioshock type of games, where I’m playing them for the story first. As someone posted above, the FPS mechanics of the first game were average at best, but it still was a great experience.

      Sadly in order to play it I’m going to need to update my GPU from a 5750 or get it for the PS3. And of course I think my PS3 is on it’s last legs (last time I turned it off, it sat there with a red flashing light, which CAN be a precursor to the YLOD. It still boots fine, but not sure how many more times it will).

      So I’m looking at a $200 min. investment one way or another to play it. I guess I’ll just continue playing Path Of Exile for the time being.

    3. Then again there are people like me who play games like Go that have no story or setting.

      1. And people watch movies that are all story and no gameplay. Bioshock is more a movie than a game.

      2. While KGS and Dragonserver are nice, I don’t think you’re going for the same experience.

      3. Really now?

        I haven’t played in a while, but when I did I was around 17 kyu. I’m sure I’ve taken a nosedive however.

      4. You should try Nethack. It’s brutal, has no story, and only one goal. When you do “win”… it’s not fake. 🙂 You worked for it.

    4. Sounds exactly like the massively overrated first game.

    5. Yes and the story is heavily borrowed from Fringe. And by heavily borrowed, I mean that they would be plagiarizing if it was anymore similar. What is one now left with?

  11. Do you score points for killing babies for “our side” in this game?

  12. I don’t understand why FPS games lead to the same wall of text in the comments sections that abortion or homebrewing do.

    Libertarians are all basement dwelling shut-ins.

    Duh.

  13. Holy cow is this abortion case in Philadelphia horrible. One of the readers on Instapundit made an interesting point about it and Newtown. When you think about it, the Gosnell case is to the abortion issue every bit as gruesome and emotional as Newtown is to the gun issue. That is why the media won’t talk about it. The guy was delivering live babis and mudering them and yet it is just a “local crime story” because we wouldn’t want to pro life people doing to us what we are doing to gun owners.

    My favorite part is the claim feminists are making about how Gosnell is just a sick outlier and his actions in no way justifiy further oversight over abortion clinics. Okay, but dipshit aspy’s actions in Newtown justify further oversight of gun owners then why?

    1. They have no shame, John. Modern ‘feminists’ don’t actually care about advancing women’s rights in any conceivable way, they’re just a far left political tool that uses identity politics and newspeak to push radically left-wing politics.

      They’re Marxists in pantsuits.

      1. They really are. And all or nearly all of Gosnell’s victims were black. And feminism has always been a rich white girl club.

    2. HuffPost had an article two years ago on the Gosnell story, that opened with how one patient went to Gosnell instead of Planned Parenthood because she was scared of the picketers. I’m guessing that’s the angle necessary for the MSM to pick this story up: Anti-abortion protesters lead victims to Gosnell. But if that’s what it takes to get some coverage on this mass murder, I guess I’m okay being smeared.

      1. Who ever heard of bad things happening at a Planned Parenthood?

        Note: The headline for this article is ridiculously hyperbolic. The PP in Delaware has had some really sketchy shit happen and 5 women have been rushed to the emergency room this year as a result of abortions procured there, but ‘Planned Parenthood Facility Accused of Gosnell Like Horrors’ is a bit of a stretch.

        1. No one is really sure how many women are mutliated, sterilized or otherwise adversely affected by having abortions. Oddly, even though the government studies and restudies the effects and side effects of every other medical procudure and drug, they don’t seem too interested in abortion. Funny that.

          1. But we do know it was even worse before the SCOTUS legalized abortion.

            1. naaw, man, back then abortions didn’t happen, see?

    3. Nice…

      A smooth transition from video games to abortion.

      Can you hold my beer while I go frolic on the freeway?

    4. One of the few people covering the Gosnell trial notes the absense of journalists. Be sure to check the “empty media section in the courtroom” photograph.

      “The court staff, convinced it would attract journalists from around the nation, has set aside three rows of seats to accommodate up to 40 reporters. But all Thursday morning, as Ashly Baldwin testified to horror after horror, only one reporter was in the reserved seating ? me.

      “Several local news outlets were there, scattered about the mostly empty courtroom. The Philadelphia Inquirer had a reporter there. NBC10 sent a blogger for its website. The AP stopped in, but the reporter told me that resources are thin and trial coverage is not gavel to gavel.

      “An hour into afternoon testimony, Jon Hurdle of The New York Times showed up, and a few minutes later was gone.

      “The lack of daily media coverage for the most sensational abortion trial angers pro-lifers who said there is a “media black out” on the Gosnell trial.

      “I asked one of the court staff why so few are interested.

      “”If you’re pro-choice, do you really want anybody to know about this,” he said, motioning to the filthy medical equipment set up in the courtroom.

      1. “It’s a good point. As saturation coverage of the Sandy Hook elementary school coverage has caused Americans to reconsider the limits of the Second Amendment, saturation coverage of Kermit Gosnell’s clinic would likely cause the same reconsideration of abortion rights.

        “The details are that horrifying.”

        http://www.phillyburbs.com/blo…..Qg.twitter

        1. The legacy media is on the horns of a dilemma – covering the trial would expose horrible abuses in an abortion clinic the government was supposed to inspect but didn’t.

          But failing to cover the trial – the option they chose – makes it look like a cover-up, damages what little remains of their credibility, and piques the interest of the public. With so many people going “don’t look over there!” some people are going to be tempted to look over there.

  14. OT: Southerners aren’t the fattest people in the country, they’re just less likely to lie about their weight.

    Congratulations, southerners. In addition to being thinner compared to the rest of the country than was previously thought, you’re also just honest as hell.

    1. I saw that. I never believed those statistics anyway. I have been all over the North and South and never noticed people being any thinner in either section. If anything they are thinner in the South because of the higher concentration of young, hot women.

    2. Unpossible. Two words: Paula. Deen.

      1. I see your Paul Deen and raise you one Lena Dunham.

        1. I’m not sure what the word raise means to you…

          but I don’t think you’ve topped this

          1. Fine. I raise you one Melissa McCarthy.

            1. More of a call than a raise, but I’ll allow it.

  15. Bioshock is great Big Production Art, in the same way that sweeping orchestral pieces are. But I have a greater appreciation for the creativity that comes with limited resources. Look all these platform indie games like Pid that are on release – they aren’t visually complex or realistic, but rely on a simplistic and emphasized art. To me, that movement is a better example of pop art in video games.

    1. I’ve been playing Don’t Starve a bit, pretty fun indie crafting/survival game. Art style is at least more refined than Terrerria or Minecraft.

      1. That game looks cool, I like that cel-shaded art style and arcade pace. I’ve never really been happy with the RPG/adventure balance of the genre, which either feels like a novel or a comic book, but it seems like these small production games have been doing a better job at it.

      2. I snagged that recently and have been enjoying it quite a lot. I’m a total sucker for immersive weather mechanics (rain/snow/winter/etc.) because I live in a desert and “I wonder if it’s going to rain anytime soon” is a question constantly on my mind.

        The art/music does indeed have a lot of charm, too.

  16. Tough break for Tiger Woods on the drop. I am sorry but when your game’s rules are so fucked up and obscure people who play the game professionally don’t understand them well enough to avoid honest mistakes, your rules and probably your game is fucked up.

    1. I like how Tiger would usually just drop or take relief by himself, most pros wait for a rules official to determine proper action. We can look forward to more delays and overly cautious players. The game is slow enough.

  17. I am sorry but when your game’s country’s rules are so fucked up and obscure people who play the game professionally make the laws don’t understand them well enough to avoid honest mistakes, your rules laws and probably your game country is fucked up.

  18. Shameless propaganda.

    The White House turned over the president’s weekly address to a stand-in Saturday, airing on its website gripping video of Francine Wheeler talking about the life and death of her 6-year-old son, Ben, shot in his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

    “Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home,” Wheeler says, struggling to talk without sobbing as her husband sits next to her, silent, clutching a tissue.

    “We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass common-sense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us,” Wheeler says.

    Fuck you, lady. I didn’t shoot your kid.

    1. I am sorry for your loss lady. But please do yourself and everyone else a favor and go find peace and meaning in your loss some way other than taking away other people’s freedom and safety.

    2. and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us

      Which nothing in the legislation will do. “I demand that everyone be made less free, because of what some batshit nutjob did to my kid. But, you can’t get get mad at me, mkay? I’m a grieving mother.”

      I’ll second that ‘fuck you.’

    3. I keep imagining one of those late night get rich quick informercials…

      “Dead kid? Disfiguring injury? Turn it into CASH!!! With Rufus Obama’s ‘Learn to be a Lobbyist at Home’ deeeluxe kit! Call now for a free enrollment in our ‘How to turn you tears into CASH!!’ for winners seminar in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida!!”

  19. My wife recently was proscribed a drug for a medical condition. And before starting the proscryption, we did the usual research on the internet to see what the stuff was. Here is what is interesting and seems to be true of any medical drug. Nearly all of the information available about the drug is all about the potential side effects no matter how far fetched. There is nary a word about whether the stuff actually does what it is supposed to do. Nothing. My God we are a paranoid lawsuit driven society.

    1. And before starting the
      proscryption

      You must’ve really pissed Obama off.

    2. When they do the staged tests before a drug goes to market they have to report a certain statistical amount of side effects felt by the testees.

      I think it’s 1 or 2 percent. Take a hundred people and ask them if they have a headache, nausea, or stomach pains, and you’ll probably get enough to make that nut.

      If the bottle says, “May cause dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, and euphoria”, then mail the medication to me for further testing. At once.

  20. http://online.wsj.com/article/…..n_LEADTop#

    The good news is Ray Kurzweil may live forever. The bad news is there is no way someone as smart as Kurzweil is actually human. So I am not sure his imortality bodes very well for the rest of us.

    1. Ah, it worked fine in Fallout: New Vegas . . .

  21. Surprise.

    That’s why it’s important to remember what’s in the gun package beyond universal background checks. The Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Anti-Straw Purchasing and Firearms Trafficking Act, which is also being considered, would make it a felony to purchase a gun on behalf of someone else who is prohibited from owning it. The penalties range from 15 to 25 years.

    In theory, this part of the package could be strong where the background checks are weak. The street has to get its guns from somewhere, after all. Someone with a clean record can buy 60 guns at a gun show and then begin selling them at a healthy mark-up on the street. With no records of the gun-show sales, and weak laws around private sales, the police have little ability to crack down on these suppliers.

    1. What am I missing here? It seems to me buying guns for felons probably should be a crime. I don’t see how innocent gun owners get caught up in that. Am I just being dense here?

      1. It’s actually ALREADY a crime, punishable by 5-10 in Federal PITA prison.

  22. The potential one-two punch of this package would be to create background checks and records for the gun show and internet sales and stiff penalties for the people who buy guns legally and then privately sell them to folks who commit crimes with them. The fact that there was a background check at the initial point of sale will help the police track the gun supplier. The fact that there are now strong laws against privately selling guns to people you have cause to believe shouldn’t have them will help police make those sorts of sales a very dangerous proposition for the seller.

    But we’re not trying to establish full scale federal registration which will permanently link you to any gun you ever owned.

    1. Okay. now I see. It seems what they are trying to do is make it very risky to ever sell a gun privately. Lets say you sell a gun to someone who is perfectly legal. They then sell that gun to a felon who shoots his girlfriend with it. The cops find the gun at the scene and trace it back to you, the last known purchaser. How do you prove you didn’t sell the gun to the guy?

      Of course this whole thing is pissing in the wind since guns last virtually forever and there are tens of millions of unregistered untracable weapons out there.

      1. Of course this whole thing is pissing in the wind since guns last virtually forever and there are tens of millions of unregistered untracable weapons out there.

        Surely you can’t be under the impression that the laws are supposed to prevent gun violence.

  23. I had to break that up because of the character limit.

    And, of course, if they get universal background checks, those “unregistered, untraceable” guns will over time be brought into the system. Unless you’re some sort of paranoid anti-government lunatic who’s willing to become a felon.

  24. stiff penalties for the people who buy guns legally and then privately sell them to folks who commit crimes with them.

    And, of course, you won’t have to be proven to have had foreknowledge of that person’s intent or inclination to commit a crime with the gun. If the gun passed through your hands, you’re guilty.

  25. when interviewed, their game dev, not sure if it was the head of the design team but certainly qualified enough to speak for the whole team, said people were treating the founders like some kind of immortals but in fact they were just humans with a lot of inconsistencies such as owning slaves etc so they just wanted to put their take on it aka their spin without all the worship and cultism..

    yes sure sounds like someone who had respect for drafters of the constitution. more likely just a bunch of intellectual light-weights with superficial synopsis understanding of libertarian books that self identity as some kind of ‘left-libertarian’, like we’ve all known too well of obama supporters with an identity crisis, decides to put their 3 hour understanding of libertarianism into a game. but because it is a work of imagery and not commentary, the ineptness doesn’t shine through as easily, at least not as easily to those of similar glass half fulls that play it.

    i love how libertarians are like jumpy teens going ‘yippee’ about everything rumored to be libertarian-ish, and in the end just get used like idiots.. disgusting mental image.. losers make one want to puke

    1. Look, you really need to take your meds. When you live alone, there isn’t anyone to MAKE you take them, so it’s really important that you actually take them every day, ok?

      1. I don’t see what he wrote that was so objectionable.

        1. Really? “Bioshock Infinite is anti-libertarian” doesn’t sound a bit kooky to you?

          1. Actually, he’s right. I know who he is talking about, the creative director of the Bioshock series, Levine; he is an extremely conventional liberal who drunk up the school marm version of American history like it was mother’s milk. He is not a bad guy, smart, competent, and talented, but he doesn’t have much depth in his political philosophy.

            1. What you said /=/ “Bioshock Infinite is anti-libertarian”. Just citing his political beliefs proves nothing about the game itself.

              1. He accused Levin of being a glib liberal with a shallow understanding of of librtarianism. Anti-librtarian is your take on what he wrote. I agreed with his interpertation being mostly correct, not your take on t being accurate.

                1. Sorry for the no edit. This device really sucks sometimes. Had to back space to reverse it from freezing up. A lot of letters lost their lives.

                2. His entire point is that Bioshock Infinite is an attack on libertarianism by Levine. That claiming, correctly, that our founding fathers were flawed human beings and not ideological supermen is evidence of “shallow thinking” and some ideological assault on libertarianism. That we’re being “used like idiots” for propaganda purposes.

                  This is absurd and idiotic.

                  1. You are reading too much into what he wrote. First paragraph is about the stated intent of the team. The second is about their flawed approach at a critique at libertarianism. This is straight up true for the first game, but needs to be qualified for the third. The last paragraph is about how giddy many libertarians get at any recognition in popular media. There is truth to that even if he expresses it on terms verging into asshole territory.

                    1. The second is about their flawed approach at a critique at libertarianism.

                      Yeah, the NONEXISTENT critique. Talk about paranoid.

                      The last paragraph is about how giddy many libertarians get at any recognition in popular media.

                      You act like this paragraph has nothing to do with his criticism of Bioshock Infinite. His entire comment, including this last part, is about the game. And where the hell are we getting represented in popular media, let alone being “jumpy teens” and “being used”?

                    2. You are still slicing and dicing what he said. That’s reading too much. He’s just a guy pissed off at the treatment of Objectivism in the first game, and has seen enough content in interviews and trailer material to be suspicious of the third game. If you’re point is that the third can’t be judged by the first as it is better executrd, you’re right. There is something few people know about the series. The third is actually the story Levine intended for the first. He had the ideas put together, basically a steampunk mystery caper about a Pinkerton hired to rescue a kidnapped girl. However, the project was too ambitious for the resources available to them at the time. They were stuck doing a corridor shooter because no one on the team was capable of doing shadow mapping in non portal partitioned areas. If your name wasn’t Sweeny or if you weren’t working for Crytek in 2002-3 when the project was being finalized, you did not have the resources or know how. At that time that was the specialized reserve of those who could do hardware assembly for the video accelerators of that era. A highly rarified bunch.
                      Anyhoo, stuck with doing a corridor shooter, he set the original design aside, and came up with the poorly executed ideas critiquing Objectivism as almost an after thought.

    2. Based on your use (or lack of use) of the key, I’m guessing you’re related to derpfee.

      But your sentences are HERC length. So maybe some whacked mash up of the two?

    3. My impression is that like the first Bioshock, the game looks at philosophies from the extremes – and criticizes those extremes. Being libertarian does not mean you think George Washington was some sort of god or infallible hero.

      I should also note that Founding Father worship is NOT the same as libertarianism – some of the crimes of Comstock include confiscation of property! Without adequate compensation! That’s a TAKINGS people!

      One should also note that there is another “tribe” in the game which perpetrates crimes against humanity (mass murder of civilians) in order to overthrow the government.

      The political commentary of these games is not that one perspective is better or worse, or that liberals or libertarians are good or bad, but that those that take their political positions to the extremes.

      In other words, the games are anti-fundamentalist, whether that’s libertarian or socialist.

  26. So, Peter – when will you be reviewing books about home brewing, pizza preferences across the USofA, and the cultural factors surrounding circumcision?

    1. There’s gotta be a summary of women in combat roles for him to at least skim. Maybe a gourmet mayonnaise recipe book?

      1. Combat roles are too dangerous for women lest they be Gibbs slapped and join the other side.

  27. While on the topic of games that didn’t live up to the hype, I’d like to mention that the new SimCity sucks giant syphillis-ridden donkey cock.

    1. Well, it’s SimCity…

    2. Elaborate. I enjoyed SimCity 4 all those years ago, as retarded as the actual concept of urban planning is.

    3. I heard it’s worse than the one before it. Fewer interesting features, and online-only.

    4. I voted with my dollars and skipped it. Region play sucks. Transit sucks. Map size is too small. Always online DRM. Can’t run the game without an internet connection. Too many issues for me.

  28. So all you guys saying the original Bioshock was “massively overrated”–your panties are just in a twist because it skewered Objectivism, right?

    1. No, because it was a bad game.

      1. Compared to what?

    2. And by “skewered,” you mean “merely referenced,” right?

    3. You mean it built a massive strawman version of Objectivism and set it afire?

      1. A really shitty strawman, too, and I’m not even an Objectivist.

    4. No, because Bioshock was Hexen with better graphics.

  29. Wait a minute… didn’t H&R already review Bioshock infinite?

      1. Nope, that one actually did not disappear, along with some of our posts.

  30. why does everyone hate america in here? don’t you guys know that Bioshock Infinite is a ploy by liberal atheists to get people to hate the founding fathers and the tea party?

    http://www.theblaze.com/storie…..e-worried/

    the more you know

    1. I agree with the article linked and blindly believe every word it says.

  31. All the talk of the political implications of Bioshock Infinite is just another example of how politics tries to make EVERYTHING about politics. They freaking drew on different historical influences to make an interesting story for a shooting game, that is it. Not every product is trying to spread a political message. I guess it’s just hard for some people to believe that a gaming company’s primary concern is making good games, not spreading a political message.

    1. Well, almost every single movie coming out of Hollywood for the last 10 years is just progressives propaganda, so why shouldn’t folks be concerned about the same in games?

      I can’t even hardly watch any movies anymore because of the sickening level of indoctrination propaganda in them.

      However, I can play games like Syrim, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Gothic series, etc., without putting up with that shit.

      1. “Almost every single movie”? I find that extremely hard to believe.

        1. Then you are either extremely unobservant, or full of shit.

    2. You couldn’t be more wrong. It is very self consciously political as it expands upon the concentration on moral choice that drove the story of the first game into a more socially focused take on choice that centers on group identity. Sorry, but that is politics.

      1. Having politics be part of the story /=/ propaganda. There is quite a bit of difference between using political ideas in a game, and trying to send a political message. This quite obviously does the former, but I don’t see an attempt to “convince” people of a certain political message. It’s just a story, and I am always bewildered when people jump on things like this, regardless of the source, as if they’re some sort of secret ideological attack.

        1. Where did I say it was propaganda? That is not evwn in the chain of ideas under discussion by anyone I read above. At worst I see arguments that it takes the semblance of political ideas and poorly executes them, but that is not the same as accusing it of being propaganda.

          1. Uh, my entire comment that you first responded to was making the point that we shouldn’t try to read too much into the game, and shouldn’t try to politicize the game. Yes, politics is used in the game, but it’s ultimately JUST a game, and shouldn’t be used, or seen as an attempt, to score political points. Reason has actually wrote on the subject before, in regards to sports.

            1. Spreading a political message is impossible to avoid if the subject of a game is political. Its like trying to take the theme of loyalty out of Old Yeller. That doesn’t make it propaganda with the intent of turning the players into loyal party members. The creative team does have a point of view to which they want you to give some consideration. That is what we are doing, taking them at their word. They would like their game to be not treated as just another fun game but something that engages the player at a deeper level. That is their intent, and that is what is being discussed. You are the one voicing a problem with that. Do you not respect these people enough to take them at their word?

              1. I’m the one who isn’t taking them at their word? Claiming that they’re attacking libertarianism is taking them at their word? Ignoring half of the game (Vox Populi) is taking them at their word? Taking them at their word is admitting that all of this says more about YOU than it does about their game. If you haven’t noticed, their main point of view is “extremes are bad”, evidenced by the two extreme positions taken by the game’s antagonists, one of which is oh-so-conveniently never mentioned in all these complaints of Bioshock’s content.

                1. But all extremes aren’t bad. That’s a smear with the purpose of conflating adhering to moral principle and evil.

                2. And that as I stated above is a highly conventional liberal school marm version of American history they are advancing with the ‘extremes are bad’ pov. The abolitionist were the extremist of their time, at least the first generation, and the slave owners the middle of the road accepted mainstream.

                  Plus, something, something Barry Goldwater once said.

            2. I haven’t played Infinite but Levine’s portrayal of Objectivism–and indirectly capitalism–in the original was quite hostile in tone. It was “Objectivism” devoid of the concept of individual rights, which is, hmm, shall we say, like a BLT without the bacon, lettuce, or tomatoes. Apparently the Cliff Notes themselves were too long. Maybe he spent 5 minutes glancing over a wiki article.

              Look, an artist has to have other shared values or be really talented for me to accept the points of contention. Bioshock was merely OK as a game.

              1. I never thought the original Bioshock was trying to portray actual Objectivism, just that it was drawing on some of the ideas for the plot. People get this idea that it was meant as an enactment of Objectivist philosophy, but I never felt they were interested in showing the actual philosophy, just in using some of it for Andrew Ryan’s character. Part of what I got from the game was that Andrew Ryan wasn’t really interested in people being left alone, he was interested in HIM being left alone.

                1. So, it merely alludes to Objectivism in a symbolic manner where everyone recognizes the source material for what it is, but the team did not have enough regard for it to treat it with any respect? What is your problem with people taking note of that fact, again?

        2. You were one of those people who were going on about how you were supposed to turn your brain off for Avatar and enjoy the visuals and “experience” of the movie, weren’t you?

          1. Never saw it. The plot sounds silly anyway. I mean come on, they can’t cure cripples in the future?

  32. Perhaps the greatest political movie of all time is Billy Jack Goes to Washington.

    1. I enjoyed Wag the Dog.

  33. what Marjorie answered I am stunned that some one able to earn $4029 in 1 month on the internet.go to home tab for more detail— http://goo.gl/SCtc1

  34. Sometimes man you jsut gotta smack dat ass! Thats all.

    http://www.AnonNow.tk

    1. If it’s plump and round, and the face is pretty, and it’s not a part of a feminist, then yeah, smackin dat ass! Oh, and as long as it’s part of my wifey, cause I don’t want want to be responsible for some innocent biaatch losing all of her hair, and maybe eyes.

  35. BioShock Infinite gives us a taste of American Exceptionalism and although it embraces controversial topics such as politics and religion, the story is brilliantly laid out throughout the game.

    For low video cards, you might be required to set the graphic setting to medium or low but the visuals are still excellent. And for the OCD gamers who want to get through every side quests and what not, a BioShock Infinite walkthrough might come in handy.

  36. If you think Joyce`s story is great,, three weeks-ago my moms best friend basically also got a cheque for $8552 sitting there sixteen hours a week from home and their classmate’s step-mother`s neighbour done this for 6 months and got paid over $8552 in their spare time at their labtop. applie the guidelines from this address, http://www.bic5.com

  37. just as Nicole said I am stunned that a single mom able to make $4864 in one month on the internet. have you seen this page http://www.wow92.com
    just as Nicole said I am stunned that a single mom able to make $4864 in one month on the internet. have you seen this page http://www.wow92.com

  38. If you think Josephine`s story is incredible,, a month-ago my sisters father in law basically made the small fortune of $4874 just sitting there a 10 hour week from home and the’re friend’s mother`s neighbour has been doing this for 3 months and got paid more than $4874 parttime On there laptop. follow the guidelines on this address… http://www.wow92.com

  39. upto I saw the bank draft ov $6888, I didnt believe that my friends brother woz like they say realie bringing in money parttime on their laptop.. there great aunt had bean doing this 4 only about sixteen months and a short time ago paid for the debts on their home and bourt Land Rover Range Rover. we looked here,
    http://big76.com

  40. Video games and libertarianism? Two of my favorite things in one place. Pleasure center . . . over loading . . . pants . . . creamed.

  41. Is it just me or did Bioshock Infinite borrow a lot of plot elements from Fringe?

    1. Last comment was a thought that just occurred to me. Now after thinking about it, it is very similar to Fringe.

  42. up to I saw the draft of $7893, I did not believe that…my… neighbour could realey making money in their spare time from there labtop.. there sisters roommate haz done this for under six months and just now paid the dept on there house and bought a new Ford. we looked here, http://www.wow92.com

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