Monday, June 4, 2012

An Ayn Rand Nightmare

I have talked about the concept of games before as simple entertainments. I wanted to play things like Grand Theft Auto and/or The Incredible Hulk because I wanted to blow off some steam and smash stuff. The game should be a simple fun getaway from everyday life. Fantasy.

Sometimes, some of these games take fantasy a bit too far, and a bit too seriously. In books, comics, television, and film, there are such things, so why not in videogames too? BioShock is one of those games. You will become immersed in a completely new world of wonder and horror that honestly I'm not sure why you would want to go there. It's frightening, it's disturbing, and worse than that, it lectures you.

The story of this game is that you are a plane crash survivor trapped in the underwater city of Rapture in an alternate 1960s world and you're hunted by mutants and steampunk robots. Yeah, absorb all that. Turn out the lights and add even more horror to the mix, along with lots of questions and morality issues, and you've got BioShock, the love child of Ayn Rand and Clive Barker.

BioShock is a first person shooter, where inexplicably you don't even start with anything to shoot with. You begin in the water, probably having just survived the plane crash, and you are surrounded by fire. It's very pretty. Amazing special effect, but good luck moving on from there unless you know what you're doing. .

Now I know there's more to this game, as I've seen Crystal play it, but I can't get past the fire myself. It's dark and it's scary, and so full of moral ambiguity as you explore this city built on the principles of the Objectivist movement. Oh yeah, and there's enough child endangerment to make Batman look like a good father.

I wish I understood how to play, and that said, I wish I understood why people want to play. Low marks from me, at least so far, for BioShock.


Ray Cornwall said...

I've had troubles with the mechanics of the game, too. It's supposed to be wonderful, but I haven't found the time to get immersed.

Ray Cornwall said...

I've had trouble with the mechanics myself. It's supposed to be an amaing game, but man it's hard.

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed Bioshock when I played it years ago. As you get further into the game, the story essentially points out all of the flaws of Objectivist ideas. The city is built to be a free-market utopia, which ends up being its downfall. A little preachy, yeah, but I loved it.

Andrea said...

I've played this, but haven't finished it. Part of the appeal for me, at least at first, was the old abandoned city. I'm a sucker for anything with exploring abandoned, creepy, falling apart structures: BioShock, Portal 2, Silent Hill... although that one's scary, even for me, and I never get very far. If there was ever a video game set at Eastern State, I would play the shit out of it.

tapirgal said...

If it can take apart Ayn Rand, I'm there. She almost sent me to the looney bin one summer.