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Published January 16, 2018

The Philosophy Behind the BioShock Franchise

BioShock is the rare game that changes how we think about video games, if for no other reason than that it’s turned up, for instance, in every discussion of game style, mechanics, story, or design that has been composed since its first release in the year 2007. BioShock has obtained excess adulation, a much-talked backlash, and just a backlash to its backlash. Discussions of the game spawned the most popular jargon in games writing. So much is written about it I am only able to put my hands on a small percent of the substance without driving myself as a splicer.

Thus, this represents an in progress draft of a questionnaire of critical thinking on a match that will soon be made a classic. Is a man not eligible for the sweat of his forehead? Among BioShocks most compelling features is that it describes an interesting philosophical system and after that uses it to frame a moral question. The water utopia of Rapture was set by an industrialist called Andrew Ryan on a method of fundamentals much like Randian Objectivism, so substantially so John Lanchester asserts from this London Review of Books that BioShock is this sole popular work lately to provide Rand a drubbing.

Lorenzo Wang fleshes out this case from his wealthy and intriguing essay BioShock Explained. A sprawling essay at Popular Symbolism interprets the games history and many characters as a condemnation of objectivism and transhumanism. Jay Barnson felt that the game critiqued the intrinsic short-sightedness of the market, which is regarded as all wise by the lovers of laissez-faire economics. This interpretation of the games attitude towards objectivism was not universal, however. Shamus Young interviewed an objectivist on this subject, who claimed that BioShock really aims its criticism to the idea of philosophical certainty. Ava Avane Dawn argues that the game isn’t a fair critique of objectivism because the people of Rapture actually betrayed objectivist ideals.

Justin Keverne argued that the mechanics of the game suggests that ones goal is to acquire power from order to gain this capacity to gain further power. At this point, designer Clint Hocking felt that BioShock had left the rails in a certain sense. The gameplay establishes the player must serve his own interest to advance, while the story forces the player to serve others to advance. Our attempts to deal with or ignore this tension are then mocked by the games central twist.

How may you do that? To a child? The philosophy of rational self-interest offers context for the story, and for a moral choice the participant makes. When Raptures lumbering Big Daddies are defeated, the player might choose this fate of little sisters they protect.

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