Would You Kindly?
Society has a funny way of making people do things they otherwise may not have done, like beating a man to death with a golf club. We have all heard of persuasion. We have all persuaded others to do things they may not have wanted to do otherwise. However, I think it is fair to assume no one reading this has killed a man simply because someone told them to. How does the art of persuasion work? Jack, the unnaturally willing slave in Bioshock one, provides a glimpse on how powerful persuasion can be.
The term persuasion means to induce someone to believe something by appealing to reason or circumstance.… Read the rest
“A man chooses, a slave obeys.” From Rapture to Columbia, an exceptionalism ideal has been placed on display for all gamers to digest. Parellels in Columbia to America are stark. As a culture, Americans have been know to be exceptional at seeing themselves as exceptions. Bioshock 1 perpetuated this idea with Rapture, a city underwater, and again with Bioshock Infinite and Columbia, a city in the sky. (There was a Bioshock 2, but it is a dark shadowy place that should never be visited.) The parallels between Bioshock Infinite and the time period it is set in (1912 America) may be overlooked.… Read the rest
I don’t play many video games – in fact at this point I only have two games for my Playstation 3: BioShock and BioShock Infinite (the latter now making the former redundant because it contains a digital copy of the original). I use the console as a media player more than anything, so I’d hardly consider myself anything resembling a serious gamer, but when it comes to these two games – I am a fiend. I’ve played the original more times than I can count and I’m currently playing Infinite the second time through. These games are so aesthetically rich and contain so much detail that I should have some kind of diabetes equivalent for spoiling my ears and eyes rotten.… Read the rest
The eighth chapter of Tom Bissell’s Extra Lives reminded me that video games have a remarkable potential for ruthlessness. Or, rather, it reminded me what video games can force (or allow) the player to do. Of course this is something people have written about before: from the very genesis (no pun intended) of video games, moral guardians have questioned the violent nature of “the collision and disappearance of two blocky abstractions (Bissell, page 130).” This has evolved into heated arguments over the ethics of crime-related series such as Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row, or violent games such as Mortal Kombat, Gears of War, or Call of Duty.… Read the rest
We all know that not all but some (or majority) of video games are pretty violent, and that violence typically stems from the protagonist. Now, I would like to say that I do know a decent amount of games of various kinds and the characters background, but why is it that some just seem completely crazy? By crazy I mean all kinds of crazy like psychopath killer and there’s something wrong with you crazy.
I was curious to find out if there was any sort of list, large or small, of crazy protagonists and what makes them crazy. I found two lists with the top eleven and top nine most insane video game characters, along with a article discussing this topic.… Read the rest
Alice seems to be everywhere in recent movies and videogames. The themes of her adventures in Wonderland resonate still. Several popular recent videogames have referenced Carrol’s classic work. Many of the references, direct or indirect, include puzzles and other in-game interactions.
Bioshock, a game which this class will begin playing shortly, has a character who is obsessed with Alice’s world. (WARNING POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!) Orrin Oscar Lutwidge, a character who you think is an antagonist briefly, established an organization known as the International Order of Pawns. Lutwidge, the head of this organization, referred to himself as the Red Queen. This is an obvious Alice reference, but the first of many.… Read the rest
Having asked whether games lie within the realm of art, it can be said that a game is capable of “doing art” particularly if it inspires or affects the one evaluating it. But can we say that a survival horror game engenders this emotional catharsis in the same manner as other game genres? I ask this because the genre is comparably different from RPG or strategy games in that it is defined less by its set up and more by the specific effect it is meant to have on the players, i.e. its ability to make them scream.
That being said, we need to recognize what elements of a game must be “scary enough” to make it a survival horror.… Read the rest
For those of you who don’t know, I absolutely love Bioshock. It is my only favorite game. I’ve played several other games which I have enjoyed, but inevitably they all get compared to Bioshock in my mind. Even Bioshock 2 couldn’t escape this comparison. So, naturally when I saw William Gibbons article entitled: “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams: Popular Music, Narrative, and Dystopia in Bioshock” I ate that jank up. Not only am I an avid fan of the game, but even before I played it I was a fan of jazz and music from earlier generations. Bobby Darian, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford: these are all personal heros of mine.… Read the rest