A reminder of the rules of Fridge Brilliance:
This is a personal moment for the viewer, so every example is signed by the contributor. If you start off with "This Troper", really, you have no excuse. We're going to hit you on the head.
This revelation can come from anywhere, even from this very page.
Also, this page is of a generally positive nature, and a Fridge Brilliance does not have to be Word Of God. In fact, it usually isn't, and the viewer might be putting more thought into it than the creator ever did. This is not a place for personal commentary on another's remark or arguing without adding a Fridge Brilliance comment of your own.
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Also, since this page deals with personal impressions of the game by, and mainly for, people who have already played the game, there will be uncensored spoilers. You have been warned.
The game is effectively a parody of much of Ayn Rand's work. Two characters are drawn from her work, Atlas from "Atlas Shrugged", Fontaine from "The Fountainhead." Indeed, if you take Ayn Rand's name, and switch the last two letters, you get "And Ryan," which is very close to "Andrew Ryan." The symbols and themes in the game are very much like her ideals. Rapture is a lassiez faire society, like the one she envisioned, where everyone is "free" to achieve what they want without taxation or government interference. Many of the quotes are similar to speeches from her books. - Purgus
The first words that meet you before entering Rapture. No Gods or Kings, only Man. You can say that the splicers are Gods with their superhuman powers, or that men like Fontaine or Ryan are Kings due to their power and need for control, but in the end, they are all ordinary man. Who are turned into deformed monsters fighting over more ADAM.
I wondered why Andrew Ryan ordered you to kill him, since that's exactly what you were going to do regardless. Then I realized what his last words actually meant. "A man chooses... a slave obeys." He is choosing, and you are obeying.
Okay, we've got ourselves a Fridge-Coaster here. First - starting with Brilliance. The reason why Sophia Lamb simply never fixed Rapture, she had the time and resources, but she didn't want Rapture - she wanted the collective genius of the people. All she needed to do was stabilize Rapture and make sure nobody leaves. Which leads to Logic, the population's general intelligence would surely have degraded due to twenty years of drug abuse. Furthermore, after twenty years whatever inventions they've created are ether obsolete as Technology Marches On or were only effective in Rapture, i.e gene banks and Steam Powered Turrets. However the Brilliance comes back we realize that the plan doesn't work, Gil Alexander the first subject is completely insane and the Adam she had fed to Eleanor, she ignores. In other words... Everything Sophia Lamb is doing is pointless, which led to Fridge Horror.
I was initially turned off by Fontaine's Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final form. It wasn't until I thought about it some more that I realized that Fontaine's final form bore a striking resemblance to the statues that hold up Andrew Ryan's propaganda throughout Rapture.
The statues are of a character from the Greek Mythology: the Titan who holds the heavens on his back. His name? Atlas.
The second moment I had was simply an inversion of the traditional use of Final BossDeus ex Machina. By escorting the Little Sisters to the final encounter with Fontaine, you are essentially creating your own Deus ex Machina and providing the own climactic redemption in the climactic Final Boss.
I just realized that by reading the above theory: you know how creating your own Deus ex Machina is called? It's called controlling your own fate. This... is... brilliance. The game is so much more beautiful right now.
Consider the endings, stripped of Tennenbaum's judgements. In the selfish ending, you gain control of a whole city, an army of loyal super-soldiers, and, eventually, a nuclear armada - with which to hold the world at ransom. In the selfless ending, those you have helped go on to live rewarding lives while you live humbly, grow old and die. Thus, everyone gets what they most desire - there's no bad ending if you act according to your beliefs. — Sir Frederick
Or stripped of any judgments, there's no "good" or "bad" ending — just variant endings.
I was nearly through the entire game wondering why the hell Jack had chains tattooed on his wrists. It was not until some time after Jack is revealed to have been a brainwashed slave of at least one person in Rapture that I finally got it. Those tats were actually very clever foreshadowing of The Reveal.
It always bugged me that every single time I played the Fort Frolic level, Atlas's description of Cohen would get drowned out by the rendition of "Rise, Rapture, Rise" that's playing over the loudspeakers. I always assumed it was a game bug (this game, at least the version I got, had a good number of issues with background audio making it hard to hear my shortwave). Then I realized: Cohen can hear your radio conversations. He's probably piping the music in on purpose to drown out the terrible things Atlas is saying about him. Note that the song fades out as soon as Atlas is done talking. It has served its purpose. - The Pocket
In fact, I played through the game again after making that post and realized that it's actually coming through over the radio. The one that Cohen has jammed throughout the level.
Dr Yi Suchong's proper title is Dr Yi, as Chinese people put their family names first. On the other hand, Rapture was founded in the 40s; Rapture's citizens seemed mostly European or American in origin, and back in the 40s people weren't so big on multiculturalism.
So are you postulating that Suchong is his family name and the conventions of the day compelled him to write it the Western way, or that everyone assumed that it was because he didn't?
The former. Chinese surnames are usually one syllable, while first names are generally two.
I have seen at least one person express his dislike of Gil Alexander/Alex the Great on the premise that the developers tried to make him too much like Sander Cohen and created what was essentially a bad knock-off. When I reached that part of the game and found out what had been done to Gil, I started to think that maybe the reason he acted so much like Cohen was because he probably had some of Cohen's ADAM spliced into him, giving him his thoughts and memories, and possibly even some aspects of his personality which took over. The great Sander Cohen isn't one to share the spotlight, after all...
Love this theory, though it could conflict with the timeline. According to the BioShock Wiki, Sofia Lamb met Gil and began experimenting on him around 1960; which is also, of course, the year that Jack lands in Rapture. Given that we see Sander Cohen fine and well (relatively speaking...) during the events of BioShock 1, he likely wasn't involved in the experiment. If you consider the numerous achievements you can get by killing him canonical, then that also eliminates any chance of his participation after Jack leaves Rapture. This is even assuming he'd be willing to take part in a scientific experiment at all, given how he was so devoted to his quadtych masterpieces and other, um...artistic endeavours.
Grace Holloway tells Delta that he broke her jaw when she approached Eleanor. No wonder Grace's so angry about that—she's a singer!
That, and getting your jaw broken hurts like hell.
A little Meta here. Remember how reviewers complained that the Vita Chambers harmed the game, making it far less challenging? While it was a valid point, somehow complainers didn't think that even before a patch was released it was possible for a gamer to simply choose to ignore the chambers and reload the game every time he was killed. That's right. It's a game where you can must defy some of its rules to make it more challenging, realistic and interesting. Of course, you can choose to follow the given pattern instead. To obey the rules.
I think the page for the game argues that this is probably intentional. This is a game that was previewed as being relatively open ala Deus Ex or [System Shock] and the big reveal is that you've had no freedom the entire time (and you'll continue to have no freedom, as Tennebaum has you do her will after you kill Ryan).
Only you don't 'obey' Tennenbaum. It's either you follow her instructions or you die. Once you've solved the Code Yellow problem, you are free to just explore Rapture if you desire.
It took me three or four playthroughs to figure out that Steinman was intentionally incorporating his audio diaries into little exhibits. That's why they were all propped upright or hung on walls! That's why the audio diary about symmetry was next to an asymmetrically disfigured corpse!
The most prominent figures who opposes the Objectivist ideas of Andrew Ryan and Rapture in both games? Frank and Eleanor. Who share their given names with Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, both who fought to introduce welfare to the United States. Something Ryan vehemently opposes.
Only Fontaine doesn't oppose Ryan's objectivist values. Fontaine actually embraces them, and plays the game better than Ryan. Bear in mind that the only reason Ryan starts taking any interest in Fontaine is because he's smuggling in illegal contraband to Rapture - bibles.
So, for starters, the idea (which I already put forth on the main page) that Ryan founded Rapture not to create a haven for the world's elite, but to create a haven for himself in which he could dominate virtually every industry without fear of reprisal was a Fridge Brilliance moment for me. But digging deeper into this idea, it's also a lot more consistent with his beliefs. He says that the most grievous sin of all is altruism — doing things for the benefit of others rather than oneself. And what else would you call building a huge underwater city, no doubt at great personal expense, as a haven for the world's elite? Building it for his own benefit — and the measures he took once he realized the free market no longer favors him — is more in keeping with his beliefs. Seems he's not such a hypocrite after all. — The Pocket
Brilliantly confirmed by one of the audio diaries in 2, where Ryan comfortably remarks about how he's dealt with Fontaine and Lamb, and is content at being 'alone at last'. Truthfully, he should have just built Rapture for himself.
I didn't think much about the area of Rapture that was forcibly sunken into the oceans depths at the end of BioShock 2.... until I realized what that area was called: Persephone. It became even more brilliant when I realized that it sunk into a trench. Trenches are essentially the closest we can get to the literal "underworld" of the earth.
Even more: On the surface, BioShock 2 seems like it just exchanged a Libertarian Objectivist villain for an Authoritarian Collectivist. Bit shallow, right? Especially given Levine's statement that the game's real message wasn't specifically anti-Objectivist, but that mankind's ideas of what makes a perfect society fail because we're still only human. Now think back to Sophia Lamb's philosophy and goals: "Utopia cannot precede the utopian." Her plan was to genetically reengineer everyone into "utopians", who lacked the inherent flaws of human nature. She took Levine's message, and applied it! And, guess what, that failed too. She's as much a rebuttal to the real message of the first game as the superficial one. - The Pocket
Smoking cigarettes in the game increases your EVE level but lowers your Health level. EVE is your magical energy, which you need to use your plasmids, some of which are very cool. So makes you look cool at the same time it damages your health...kinda like real life. - Anarquistador
I think the logic is much simpler - people find smoking relaxing (we tend to assume it would take some concentration to use magic and, as pointed out, plasmids are more or less magic). The reason alcohol, though relaxing, decreases EVE is that alcohol would presumably make it harder to concentrate (though I can't think of a good reason that binge drinking wouldn't damage your health).
It's more likely a reference to Ayn Rand novels, in which most characters, especially the ideals, smoke like chimneys. Smoking is even described as "fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his finger tips," in Atlas Shrugged.
When Fontaine uses "Code Yellow" in an attempt to kill you, he says "I just told your brain to tell your heart to stop beating"... but the brain doesn't control the heartbeat, that's the work of the sinoatrial node. Stimulation via the CN X: Vagus Nerve can slow the heart rate and stimulation via the T1-4, Spinal Nerves can increase both heart-rate and contraction strength, but neither will kill you. Which is probably why you don't die despite the fact he does it several times. In fact, he admits "The heart is a stubborn muscle".
What happened to Jack's body after Fontaine issued the "Code Yellow" command probably was as described above, as it was actual scientists like Suchong and Tenenbaum who worked on Jack and presumably would have known what they were doing. As far as Fontaine was concerned, however — who I don't imagine was fantastically versed in science or anatomy — he just wanted something that would stop Jack's heart. So saying it was the brain was probably just an error / lack of care on Fontaine's part. As for the sinoatrial node not being able to kill you anyway...well, given the whole mind-control dealio and everything else, we can probably chalk that up as another scientific breakthrough.
Lots of brilliance with many subpoints
Now, according to the audio logs, before Tenenbaum's work with the little sisters, they produced Adam by eating, in addition to not producing very much. Now, consider that drinking alcohol decreases Eve and increases health. Alcohol is a tranquilizer, which "slows you down". Meanwhile, drinking caffine increases eve. Caffine is a stimulant, which "speeds you up". Eve is produced based on your metabolism!
Now, When you drink, you gain health, and when you smoke, you lose health. You gain some health from snacks and a lot from First-Aid kits. Drinking moonshine isn't going to take a bullet out of your face, but what does alcohol do? It makes you feel better! If you don't feel as much pain, you're able to go longer without falling over because of that sharp pain in your knee! The health isn't a measure of your actual state of health! It's how good you feel and how much pain you think you can endure before you can't go any further. Hence why smoking decreases your health! It's unpleasant for those new to it!
Smoking decreases Jack's health because it's unpleasant for him. It's unpleasant for him because he's new to it. He's new to it... because he's never actually smoked until that point! Remember how Fontaine said none of Jack's memories were real? That means Jack was smoking on the plane because he only thought he was a smoker, though he'd never smoked before in his life, because that was part of the memories Fontaine put into him! He reacts badly because his body isn't used to smoking!
And lastly, Jack's never smoked before that day in his life. He's only smoked once, that day on he plane. That means that the reason it was so easy to ignore the cigarettes in the game... was because he wasn't subconsciously looking for them! He wasn't thinking about smoking because, since he hadn't smoked until then, he wasn't addicted to the nicotine! His body was still new to it, so he didn't have a hard time kicking the habit since he didn't have that habit to begin with!—Dragon 573
Got peeved off by the difficulty change in BioShock 2? Consider this: the only living non-spliced people were in hiding (Tenenbaum, Grace Holloway, Stanley Poole) and the rest were immediately killed by splicers. Splicers are constantly battling each other to harvest ADAM from their corpses. So between Jack's departure and Delta's resurrection, splicers have been fighting each other with the better spliced one prevailing, and the ones Delta fought were the strongest of the strong. In other words, natural selection is the reason you can only have a Big Daddy as the protagonist of BioShock 2.
The Rapture "anthem" that plays during the 2K logo goes, "Rise, Rapture, Rise! We turn our hopes up to the skies!" ...And where does Jack come from at the beginning of the game?
You can have a lot of fun re-reading the loading screens once you know the final twist...
When you go into the frozen section of Poseidon Plaza, there's a trash can with food in it... It's been in a frozen trash can for two years. you may think Ew at first but then... FROZEN Trash can..
Rapture's turrets, cameras and security bots are slightly in advance of today's technologies, let alone those of the 1960s. Even allowing for "science not bound by petty morality" it seems unusually advanced...until you find out that most of the modern advances in neuroscience came after the invention of MRI and other non-invasive ways to watch a live brain in action. Prior to this, neuroscience progressed mostly through the study of brain injuries. Petty morality meant that neuroscientists had to wait for the rare accident to happen. In Rapture, on the other hand... Neuroscience becomes much easier.
Not to mention that Rapture presumably contained the finest minds in the world. Minds that were no longer around to pursue their ideas in our world.
Emphasis on the "presumably." It seems more likely that Andrew Ryan offered Rapture to people who shared his philsophical views rather than an across-the-board "best and brightest." The scientific minds we see range from the clinically detached to the sociopathic, and that was before they even came to Rapture. And to judge by the meager hints we've gotten of the surface world, it doesn't look like their disappearances made a huge impact.
Alternatively, many people who technically were the best and brightest in their field may simply have rejected Ryan's politics — and consequently his invitation — completely out of hand. Not all — or even most — brilliant people are Objectivists, after all. The above point is still valid, however.
Giving the player bad karma for what looks like a clear act of mercy. Makes a lot more sense when you remember that Gilbert Alexander effectively is already dead. Alex the Great clearly wants to live and won't be able to hurt anyone that the player wouldn't have killed also. The player has no right to decide that his quality of life is unworthy for him.
In BioShock 2, it turns out the ADAM-producing slugs eat a type of polyp that has the effects of an Enrage plasmid when thrown at Splicers. So that's why splicing up induces a mental breakdown! Not to mention why Little Sisters become homicidal Big Sisters as their conditioning wears off... and why doing too much harvesting grants you a bad ending!
In the first BioShock, the Little Sisters were pretty creepy-looking, and pretty ugly, falling under the Uncanny Valley. In the sequel, they looked much more cuter and adorable. It could be chalked up that designers got better with models...or the fact that in Bio Shock 2, you're playing as a Big Daddy. Big Daddies see their Little Sisters as something they must protect. You're seeing them through the eyes of the Big Daddy.
Fridge Horror: Sure, the idea of unknowingly killing Mark Meltzer at some point in the game is depressing. What about all of those other Big Daddies, in either game? They are all Faceless Goons until you realize that every single one of them were, at one point in the past, normal humans, and many were likely coerced or outright forced to become mindless monsters.
Same with Subject Delta. Somewhat chilling when you find out you were made an example of by being turned into a Big Daddy...
One has to wonder what it's like for Gil Alexander, having been drafted in for experiments which have made him into a monstrous, immensely disturbing foetus-like creature through feeding him gigantic amounts of mutagenic gloop and now not even being recognisably human, let alone having friends, conversation, a love life or anything he (may have) had as a human. All after having his body contort into something vomit-makingly disturbing, which is probably not the most enjoyable process. That fucking sucks, damn near putting him on a Woobie level. Then, for extra Fridge Horror, try imagining what he'd do should he be released free into the ocean as part of him begs to be allowed. How, precisely, do you think it would end up having THAT floating around?
The Big Daddies that are armed with rivet guns are named 'Rosie', which would make them Rosie the Riveter. — 92
Well, this one came from the page... the Rosie is a Big Daddy... Rosie the Riveter is a female role model... The Daddy is named after a woman, and little sisters are conditioned to reject 'mothers'... interesting.
This could actualy hint that females were also turned into Big Daddies. After all, except for the Alpha series all Big Daddies were people fused into the suits and pumped full of plasmids. After such a treatment it wouldn't matter which sex the person had before.
Took me a while to notice and possibly not Fridge Brilliance, but one of the reasons Rapture is so flooded is possibly because a lot of the Splicers are wielding pipes, no doubt ripped straight from the walls.
Dealt with in 2, where you encounter the ones who designed and built Rapture for Andrew Ryan. Supposedly the place was leaking even before the civil war, most likely because of water pressure and the constraints of working that deep in the ocean. It literally shouldn't exist; Another of the audio diaries even states that if a Big Daddy was clumsy enough, it could have flooded the entirety of Dionysus Park; In other words, Rapture was destined to fail.
Upon reading the novel, the reason the city was named "Rapture" hit me. The chosen (smart, rich people with a lot of stick-to-itivenes) are spirited away to paradise, while the unworthy (everyone else) face the end of the world (nuclear war). The Rapture Civil War could also be an allegory for the War in Heaven (paradise becomes a battle-field).
One could consider the city a dark mirror of the word "Rapture." The aforementioned chosen (smart, rich people with a lot of dubious and questionable fields in their resume) are spirited away to a hell posing as paradise, while the "unworthy" go on living none the wiser. The Civil War could then be interpreted as Rapture's true hellish nature "revealing" itself. If anything, it's a cruel blessing of sorts in that the "unworthy" are spared from whatever ethical horrors said chosen would have unleashed upon the world had they stayed topside.
Fridge horror- Since Big Daddies are mentally conditioned to have no purpose other than to protect a Little Sister when not near one, they effectively have no reason to live and no will.
I was thinking about the ADAM making process according to the diaries involving a parasitic sea slug implanted in the little sister's stomach and then I realized they regurgitate the ADAM. I'm now realizing I've been injecting myself with children's vomit this whole time.-frozenhorror
The plasmid videos all portray caricatures of various splicer models as the victims of the demonstrations. Waders is in Electric Bolt, Mrs. Smith is in Freeze and Decoy, Breadwinner is in Enrage, Dr. Grossman is in Incinerate, Pigskin is in Insect Swarm, Ducky is in Enrage and Sonic Boom, Baby Jane is in Telekenesis, Rose is in Vortex Trap, and Toasty is in Hypnotize Big Daddy. Toasty is also arguably the thief in Security Beacon.
So Rapture is a contained city, with the Big Daddies keeping it from leaking TOO much, with enough room inside for MAYBE 5000 people. So why is it that Splicers (Who kill each other and the Big Daddies, if they can.) and the Big Daddies seem to keep showing up? Because the Big Daddies fix the Vita-Chambers first (Admit it, when was the last the last time you saw a broken, or even a damaged Vita-chamber?) and those same Vita-Chambers still have all the citizens DNA in them, so they KEEP GETTING BROUGHT BACK. Which also explains the limited amount of models for splicers in the game. And then it strays into Fridge Horror...
Except that in the first game, it clearly explains that only people with Ryan's same DNA are able to use the Vita-chambers, which is why Jack comes back after being killed.
Frank Fontaine seems to just have a normal name until you go back to System Shock 2, which has a character named Prefontaine. Once you realize what that means, it's a clever reference.
Everything gets scarier when you're casually watching a program on Discovery and a real-life geneticist by the name of Dr Andrew Ryan pops up.
There are no Little Brothers, according to the manual because they became too aggressive. Why would they be, compared to females? Because little girls are socialized to be nice, quiet and well behaved far more than boys are.
The buckles on the Big Sisters' suits make a lot more sense when you realise they resemble the straps on straightjackets, and in the little sister training facility there are restraining straps on the beds.
Fridge Brilliance/Horror moment for myself was that those mindless splicers you kill by the truckload? They were all at some point some of the most talented and gifted people on earth. All of them.
Well, not entirely. Sander Cohen is outright believed by some to be a hack (and "Rise Rapture Rise!" may give credence to that belief) who got in simply because he was close to Ryan. One of the residents happens to be a plumber who got in because Ryan liked his spirit and how he seemed to be trying to get out of the lower class that he so despised. It seems like Ryan chose his residents more because of their agreement with his ideals than their pure talent and intelligence.
Fridge Brilliance/Horror: During the "Would You Kindly" rapid-fire flashback, you hear one instance of "Would you kindly forget this". The player only knows what Jack knows - how much more did Jack do that the player never saw? What did he have to forget doing? - BentusiAvatar
Why did Eleanor have the BioShock 2 style Little Sister dress when she was a little sister in the flashback, despite all the sisters issued with the same dress as seen in the treatment facility in BioShock? She was the first Sister successfully bonded to an Alpha, so she got a pretty dress and hair bow. Factory line Little Sisters weren't as valuable, so they had cheaper dresses. Later, when Lamb brought in new little sisters, she must have had the new little sister design based on Eleanor.
Why do the Portholes of the Big Sisters grow red? Because the little sisters in the first game had red eyes.◊