"Look, Mr. Bubbles, it's an angel!"
"I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question: Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone!' I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... RAPTURE. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."BioShock
— Andrew Ryan
is a 2007 first person shooter
with survival horror
and RPG Elements
produced by Irrational Games, then known as "2K Boston" and "2K Australia". It is a spiritual successor
to the System Shock
games produced by the same company, and the first game in the BioShock
series, followed by BioShock 2
It is the year 1960. You play as Jack, a Featureless Protagonist
whose commercial flight crash-lands in the Atlantic Ocean. Beneath the surface, there lies an underwater city, Rapture, founded in The Forties
by eccentric billionaire Andrew Ryan. However, Jack immediately discovers that Rapture is overwhelmed by hordes of "splicers", i.e. the last surviving citizens of Rapture, who were driven mad from a powerful but addictive mutagen
. This, coupled with Ryan's own draconian policies and laissez-faire attitude toward the product's sale and use, has reduced Rapture to an art deco asylum
with seemingly no possible avenue of escape.
Jack's arsenal includes both traditional (and not-so-traditional
) firearms and "plasmids", special gene-modifying injections
that give the user incredible powers such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis. Jack can also hack Rapture's own security cameras, robotic drones and turrets and turn them against the splicers.
Irrational's creative lead, Ken Levine, based the story on the aesthetics and Objectivist
writings of Ayn Rand
, most notably Atlas Shrugged
. The fate which befalls Rapture — intended as haven for Earth's best and brightest — can be viewed as a logical conclusion of that book
. Levine refrains from taking a side in either debate; the Aesop
of Rapture, if it can be said to have one, is that achieving a utopian society may be unwinnable by design.
Aside from its layered story and eye-popping visuals, the player's ability to use the environment, weapons, and plasmids together made BioShock
the most inventive shooter since Half-Life 2
: you can light a splicer on fire, electrocute the poor soul after they leap into the nearest body of water, or use the grenade launcher to glue proximity mines onto an Exploding Barrel
, then lob it at a group of enemies. Verily, if torturing mooks
is an art, BioShock
is a virtuoso.
BioShock contains examples of these tropes:
A man chooses. A slave obeys.