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Jun 25th 2014 at 1:51:22 PM •••

From Scrappy Mechanic:

  • The amount of ammo is completely ludicrous; the game feeds you ammo like a broken candy machine, so it's pretty much enforced for players to constantly switch weapons. Those who like to collect things will likely fill up their coffers far too quickly, and this isn't helped at all by Elizabeth "helping" you by giving you even more ammo!

It'd been deleted once for being natter-y, and it's also pretty nonsensical and inaccurate. Firstly, "there being sufficient ammo" isn't a mechanic, it's not scrappy because most players are thankful for ammo from Elizabeth, and it's not even true, considering that one of the actual Scrappy Mechanics is that the two-weapon limit is especially bad because of ammo limitations.

May 1st 2013 at 11:13:56 AM •••

I have an issue with the What the Hell, Costuming Department? trope. As stated tons of times all over this site, saying something is YMMV doesn't automatically mean just because it's your opinion that makes it valid, and just because some players might have stared at Elizabeth's chest (side note: eww), that doesn't mean this trope is in play.

In the description for said trope Of Corsets Sexy (which is what Elizabeth's outfit is), it's stated that in examples such as hers that Male Gaze is in play. And the fact of the matter is that it just isn't. It's only Male Gaze when the game forces control away from the player to oggle over a female characters assets, which not only does the game never do, it seems to intentionally go out of its way to ensure the interpretation that Booker is entirely platonic towards Elizabeth even with her new outfit.

I'm trying not to bring up how the outfit is symbolic anyway of Elizabeth's maturation and growth towards womanhood, which is a major theme of the game, and calls back to how in the tower we see her power level spiking when she had her fist period and the event that caused her to change outfits was because she was covered in blood, and the clothes were her moms which charts that maternal aspect of the character, and blah blah blah, because you could just say that all of that was an excuse to get her in that outfit so male players could shove their faces into it, but the fact that they don't and it doesn't seems significant enough evidence to assert the trope isn't in play even as far as the boundaries of YMMV are in play.

TL;DR version: just because the player can stare at her boobs if they want doesn't mean it's WTHCD.

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May 1st 2013 at 11:43:36 AM •••

I don't know, when you have a character that's meant to be your daughter-figure, you want the player to feel as the player character does. Trying to make the player think she's hot is kind of contrary to that. I think this is a great example of What the Hell, Costuming Department?—I mean, you look at her outfit and you go "That's supposed to be my daughter", and you wonder "what made the designers think that it was a good idea to make this character run around in her undies when we're supposed to be thinking paternally about her"? The costuming department was out of sync with the development of her character.

I can see why it might get taken off, the I think this YMMV case is defensible.

Apr 13th 2013 at 2:06:42 PM •••

I've just had a thought - the names of Robert and Rosalind Lutece were chosen as a pun on the word "Ouroboros" - the symbol of the snake swallowing its own tail to create a loop of infinity.

Ou-rob-o-ros. Puntastic.

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Willbyr MOD
Apr 8th 2013 at 11:27:12 AM •••

I'm locking this for the time being due to the Edit War.

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Apr 8th 2013 at 11:46:22 AM •••

Now, I have no horse in this race but can you pull the example in question to discussion? As-is it just... seems like by locking it after he made the last edit he essentially "won," and with that edit reason I don't think that's right.

... in fairness, I do agree with him that Relationship Writing Fumble applies better than Shipping Goggles but I think he went about it the wrong way.

Apr 11th 2013 at 7:35:54 AM •••

Well, this is the YMMV page. Both examples can go on there, since they're just opinions.

Apr 12th 2013 at 1:43:46 AM •••

For what it's worth, I can see where some (including randomfox) are coming from in regards to the Shipping Goggles, the Relationship Writing Fumble entry is perfectly valid for what it is.

The prevailing belief that two people with chemistry, strong personal bonds, and prolonged contact are romantically compatible has less to do with shipping and more to do with basic narrative instinct. As with many assumptions, it's heavily flawed in any sort of practice but a logical step in a story, even a mature and intelligent one. However, the pattern exists within the audience, and conforming to it created expectations.

Some people may take to such a connection with enthusiasm, but even the majority that don't have a vested interest will still come away with the perception of the bare bones of a romantic friendship. It's that perception that is the result of the Relationship Writing Fumble, and the enthusiasm results in Shipping Goggles.

So in short, I'm of the opinion that both entries should be there. But the Shipping Goggles entry was way too hostile. Let's be mature about this.

Apr 12th 2013 at 8:27:20 PM •••

I disagree that it's valid. It is not a "fumble" if two people become close, but do not have a sexual relationship. I'm seriously at a loss for any evidence at all that the two could be read as being attracted to each other in that way - Booker collects plenty of compliments from the women of Columbia, but none from Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is a pretty girl, but Booker never makes any mention or acknowledgement of the idea. Their major emotional beats don't have romantic overtones (and I am disturbed by the idea of any believing that they did, and not due to the implied incest). Furthermore, they have an age difference of eighteen years, and Booker is a widower who lost his child while Elizabeth's parents are absent from her life. Isn't a surrogate parental relationship more logical than a romantic one in that instance? Especially knowing the series history of parent-child relationships - Delta and Sophia and Eleanor, Big Daddies and Little Sisters, Jack and his big weird science-baby family.

Another point - if it was genuinely intended at any point to be a romantic relationship, it would have come up in the advertising. Romantic subplots are a pretty big draw! Compare the advertising of the 2008 reboot of Prince of Persia (and for that matter the animations and interaction of the two principal characters) to that of Infinite.

This Shipping Goggles entry should be less hostile, but Relationship Writing Fumble doesn't belong. The idea of Booker and Elizabeth being sexually involved is one that exists purely in the mind of a viewer with preconceptions. Like someone wearing Shipping Goggles.

Apr 12th 2013 at 9:33:13 PM •••

One of the very first questions out of Elizabeth's mouth is "is there a woman in your life?" While I thought Elizabeth was Booker's daughter from the get-go, that line still set an awkward precedent since it was right at the beginning and hinted at Elizabeth having feelings for Booker. Yes, I know that the question served as foreshadowing that there was no woman in his life meaning no daughter. But still, it created a flirtatious atmosphere.

Apr 13th 2013 at 12:47:57 AM •••

Uh, no, it "hints" that Elizabeth is curious about the dude who fell into her room through the ceiling and has thus far said almost nothing about himself in surroundings where there are a lot of women with their husbands and children, thus providing inspiration for the question. And you said right there, the precedent it sets isn't for any sexual attraction, it's that Booker has lost his wife and child - thus leaving an opening for Elizabeth as surrogate daughter. If there was any attraction (and it would be purely on Elizabeth's part if there was) it's put paid to right there. Minutes before, Booker's wandering around the beach trying to find her like a dad looking for his kid. When she's dancing, he tries to get her attention without getting her upset, like a parent happy to see their kid happy, but knowing there are practicalities to consider.

It is an awkward question, but Elizabeth isn't all that socially experienced. She doesn't say it as though the flirty connotations ever occurred to her. It's just a question. She also asks what he does for a living and where he's from. Basic personal facts. Regardless, Booker persistently refers to her as 'the girl' or 'Miss' to her face - forms of address for a child, not a prospective romantic partner. One vaguely interpretable line of dialogue in the face of an entire game's worth of interaction that has no flirtatious subtext really isn't much.

Apr 14th 2013 at 9:14:37 PM •••

I completely agree with NanoMoose on this. There isn't actually any objective evidence for Booker and Elizabeth. The only evidence is that, well, some people shipped them. I wouldn't disagree that the shipping potential is there, in that they get along well and are both good-looking, but as far as any evidence? Going as far to say it fumbled? I don't buy it.

As illegalcheese mentioned, the fumble actually being mentioned is saying that most works tend to ship male and female characters in these situations. Thus the pattern of other stories somehow means the writers fumbled in this one, which I disagree with. Thing is, most works probably would have Elizabeth as a love interest. But in those cases, Booker wouldn't be a widower with a lost child, he wouldn't be two decades older than her (as in, he is old enough to be her father), and there would have been some amount of flirtation. There isn't any. There isn't any subtext, intentional or no.

It's simply the presumption of the audience on how a story usually goes rather than anything concrete and present in the work. Essentially, you might call it a subversion of Relationship Writing Fumble. Not in a literal, write-that-down sense, but still.

As far as YMMV-anything-goes: yes, there can be a certain amount of dissention, but no, we don't put up any entry anyone feels like adding because it's YMMV. There should be a logical argument behind why it's there, and if there's contention, it comes down to consensus and a good argument.

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Apr 15th 2013 at 5:34:28 PM •••

Yes, there was no flirting. If there was, it would move from a fumble to just full on weird.

The problem isn't that they flirt, it's that there's too much room for ambiguity. Yes, some of that problem may be with preconceived notions, but you're dealing with a touchy subject here. If Booker and Elizabeth hadn't been related and they would have simply remained platonic friends, everything would have been fine. The shippers could go on their merry way and other people could read the relationship another way. But because he's her dad, suddenly everyone who thought this was a romance now feels weird. I don't think Ken Levine wanted anyone to feel that way, but it doesn't change the fact that some people got the wrong idea.

I mean, go watch Let's Plays of this game. Half of the people are getting the wrong idea. It's all well and good to say these people (like me) just had preconceived notions and it's entirely our fault, but if that were the case I don't think we'd be seeing quite as many misunderstandings as we have.

There are subtle ways to make a story less romantic, some of which have been listed here. Aging Elizabeth down, aging Booker way up (maybe not having so many female NPC comment on how hot he is), things like that.

I really don't think it was Ken Levine's intent to "trick" the audience and say "ha ha, you thought this was a romance." I think he somehow wanted to make it a father/daughter story without telling anyone it was a father/daughter story and just sort of hoped it would work the way he wanted so he could preserve the "classic Bioshock twist." It worked for some of you. That's great, but I don't think that makes the rest of us delusional, or stupid or biased. I think we just misunderstood. Some of it may have been our fault, but I really don't think all of it was.

Apr 15th 2013 at 10:53:22 PM •••

But that has everything to do with the common presumption that male-female relationships are always potentially romantic in nature. Without explicit clarification, fandom is well-proven to read romance into any relationship. What was supposed to be paternal Papa Wolf protectiveness suddenly turns into Bodyguard Crush in their eyes. Not because there's actual overtones or implications, but because people automatically assume this must be the case. This is basically the definition of Shipping Goggles. People reading in a romance because they can, not because there's actually anything to go for it.

There are subtle ways to make a story less romantic

Yes, you could have taken it to its logical conclusion and made Liz a kid and Booker an old man. That's true. But I don't think that says anything regarding how fumbling it is.

but if that were the case I don't think we'd be seeing quite as many misunderstandings as we have

I think my issue with including Relationship Writing Fumble in this case is it's basically saying "every relationship that isn't romantic is a fumble". Since there is literally nothing there to go on in terms of flirtation or romance, including this trope is basically admitting that all it means is "Oh, these two people didn't become canon despite the fact they never flirted".

or biased

It's absolutely biased. You were biased towards seeing a romance not because you had evidence or they started flirting or seemed interested in each other, but because you simply expected a pretty girl and a hot guy to hook up as most stories have it. This doesn't make it your fault, and it doesn't make you stupid, but I think it doesn't qualify for a fumble.

Apr 15th 2013 at 11:52:51 PM •••

Right. There are many different ways for two people to relate to each other that have nothing to do with sexuality. If the narrative had gone out of its way to introduce and then debunk the possibility of the two becoming sexually involved, it would have been tangential to the story's primary themes, and also, weird. It just never brings up the possibility at all. To assume they must become sexually involved is...guess what...a bias towards sexual relationships between attractive men and women (and against friendship, gradual trust, non-sexual intimacy, guardian, teacher, mentor, sibling, parent, care-taker, etcetera). It's a bias nurtured by most mainstream media, but still. (And the two already have a pretty significant age difference - Booker was an adult and a veteran soldier before Elizabeth was born.)

If that sort of relationship floats your boat, that's just fine. But that doesn't make anything that goes against the bias a mistake. It is an assumption you made without evidence that turned out to be incorrect, not a fumble on the writer's part.

Apr 16th 2013 at 12:56:56 AM •••

I disagree.

I did not come in to this writing fanfiction or drawing fan art or anything of the sort. I came into it like I would any other story.

I figured Anna was Booker's dead wife and I assumed Elizabeth was an alternate universe version of her. It seemed to make far more sense to me that he would call out to her when he saw someone similar. This was only reenforced to me by their conversation about his wife.

Also, Lady Comstock's name started with "A" and I was already beginning to suspect Comstock was alternate Booker, so I thought it was also possible that Lady Comstock was another version of Elizabeth.

Yes, these assumptions ended up being wrong, but all plots with a mystery invite guessing. The problem is in the ambiguity. From ambiguity comes misunderstanding. Sure you could say there was nothing overtly romantic in their interactions, but I'd argue that there was nothing paternal in them either. It was all pretty much entirely neutral meaning you could draw any number of conclusions from it and the fact that anyone could get the idea at all is where the fumble lies.

So no, I don't buy full responsibility being on us. As I said there are multiple things they could have done to make this less awkward while still keeping their precious twist intact.

In addition, we already know this game was rewritten. Perhaps several times. Combine that fact with the What the Hell Costume Department aspect and any number of odd possibilities pop up. Comstock originally looked way different. Nothing like any of the Bookers we saw in the past. Maybe he wasn't always Booker in the story. Maybe Elizabeth wasn't always his daughter. We don't know.

This story isn't invulnerable to plot problems. Outright flirting isn't necessary for a relationship writing fumble. All it takes is enough people getting the wrong idea. I think dismissing people who misunderstood a plot as having "shipping goggles" is pretty darn petty. It writes off their opinions as not valid and has an obvious, glaring negative connotation.

I'm not a shipper. I don't care who ends up with who. I just see a lot of plots. This one felt odd to me. Like something was just off center.

I don't think it's unreasonable for a trope to be put up to mark something so many people misunderstood. It doesn't take anything away from the game. But pretending like it never happened doesn't serve anything either.

Edited by
Apr 16th 2013 at 4:19:41 AM •••

I have seen no evidence whatsoever that it was ever written with the idea in mind that Elizabeth would be a love interest. I have seen plenty of versions of Booker, and they all follow the same rough lines; all the versions of Elizabeth are similar as well, always significantly younger than him. There's plenty paternal in their interactions. His exasperated exclamation when she won't squish a bug (pretty stereotypical dad job, squishing bugs for the girls). Her running off on the beach and him having to wander around asking strangers if they've seen her (tell me you've never seen that happen). Picking a brooch for her (being unable to choose between two functionally identical things and thus asking parents who couldn't care less, seen that). Her reaction to his betrayal of her trust, slightly like a little girl throwing a tantrum ("Go away! Leave me alone!" "Elizabeth, I'm not angry!"). Knocking on her closed door, trying to get her to talk to him. His help after she's tortured - he touches her, but only when necessary, and for a wholly practical purpose (like pulling splinters, bandaging cuts and grazes, applying disinfectant, cooling burns, holding icepacks, handing out tissues, taking off bandaids...and on the clothes front, sashes, braids, buttons, socks, bows, shoelaces, pins). There are photos of her growing up around her home, toys she's played with, childish things she's been interested in. Booker calls her "kid", "girl" and "Miss".

She's characterised as a child. Booker as a widower who's lost a child. Similarly, the series itself already has an established history of faux/surrogate/weird parent and child pairs. "Vague semi-potential with no foreshadowing unfulfilled" still isn't a fumble, even if you do think your perception is totally objective. That just means that neither Shipping Goggles or Relationship Writing Fumble should be here.

Also, Lady Comstock's name started with "A" and I was already beginning to suspect Comstock was alternate Booker, so I thought it was also possible that Lady Comstock was another version of Elizabeth.

...Seriously? Uh. Where do we learn Lady Comstock's first name? Why would Comstock refer to a cross-dimensional copy of his wife as his "seed" and his "heir"? If this is to prove you made a reasonable assumption that should be recognised as a path that the story, as it is, could have taken, I don't know what to tell you. Other than that it wasn't because of a mistake on the writers' part that it didn't.

Edited by
Apr 16th 2013 at 5:53:41 AM •••

People are biased to see romance between two attractive leads. Avoiding that is very difficult. The writers have to take that into account when writing the story to avoid said (ridiculously easy to make) fumble. Do I personally think Booker was being paternal? Hell yes. The constant flashbacks to a crib helped that. Doesn't mean I don't understand people getting their wires crossed on this. One of the first things out of her mouth was "is there a woman in your life?" In hindsight the significance to that line is obvious. On a first play through, to someone with a natural bias towards seeing romance? I don't blame them.

This is largely an audience reaction trope, and it's clear that a not-insignificant portion of the audience was thrown for a loop. The first entry on Hilarious in Hindsight is about that, in fact.

Oh, and the "Lady A Comstock" comes from this poster:

Apr 16th 2013 at 6:54:30 AM •••

But they did. Significant age difference, characterisation as childlike, cribs, how little touching they actually do? The absurd proliferation and glorification of romance in media isn't a mistake on the part of Levine and co.

If it is "largely an audience reaction trope", then it needs a new name. Since Shipping Goggles genuinely is an audience reaction trope, I say that fits better.

Apr 16th 2013 at 11:44:52 AM •••

How exactly were we supposed to devine "significant age difference" from a protagonist we mostly only heard? In fact, the few times we DID see Booker (his voxaphone portrait and his posters) he looked like a fairly young, attractive man (the women of Columbia certainly seemed to think so). Certainly not old enough to have a 20 year old daughter.

And Elizabeth characterized as childlike? I NEVER got that impression. To me she seemed highly intelligent, very independent and capable. She's a little naive at times, yes, but that can easily be attributed to, you know, living her whole life in a tower. You could lock a person up until they're 30 and they would be just as "childlike." As it stood, because as a player I didn't have to take of or do anything for Elizabeth, I didn't have any paternal instinct towards her whatsoever. To me she just seemed like an equal. A fellow adult.

If they wanted her to seem more childlike, well, the solution is obvious. Look at The Last of Us, coming out later this year. No one could ever mistake that for having a romantic subplot involving the leads. Ellie is old enough to be able to take care of herself to an extent, but too young to ever be considered a love interest and also young enough for Joel to be able to impart occasional wisdom on her, another important sign of fatherhood (yes, I know he isn't her real father, but much like The Walking Dead I think that's the relationship they're trying to cultivate). Meanwhile, Joel looks young enough to be a badass, but too old and grizzled to be a typical romantic lead.

Shipping goggles doesn't fit because of people like me. I'm not a "shipper." I didn't "ship" Booker and Elizabeth, I just guessed the wrong plot outcome. As I said before, "shipping goggles" has a negative connotation, and it marginalizes and trivializes the opinions of people like me. It labels us as "shippers" so you can pretend what we say doesn't matter. As I said before, I'm not a "shipper." I didn't come in to this game thinking "Oh man this Bookerx Elizabeth romance is gonna be great!" I came in wanting to know where the story was going to go. I got the wrong idea. That doesn't make me a shipper.

The fact is, any story content specifically pointing at or even hinting at Booker being Elizabeth's dad amounts to 10 to 15 minutes of a 15 hour game...tops. I think you would be disturbed how little effort it would take to change this game from a father/daughter story to a romance. I'M disturbed by that. That's the problem. We're dealing with a very touchy subject to a lot of people here, so the writers have to be extra careful. Yes, the writers. There should have been almost no room for ambiguity. When you are dealing with people who are related, it's always best to go the safest route possible.

You can blame the preconceived notions of society all you want, but just as much as you are aware of those, Ken Levine is aware of those too. Hell, he based his entire twist in Bioshock 1 on the preconceived notions of gamers. So either he did this deliberately to trick people (which I seriously doubt) or his point didn't come across as clearly as he wanted it to.

Apr 16th 2013 at 4:53:59 PM •••

Tropes Are Tools. You're the one giving it a negative connotation. You thought they would get together; that's a ship. That you're so vehemently fighting that label says more to me about you than it does about the game.

Elizabeth wears clothes resembling a school uniform. She's naive and innocent. She wears a lot of white (and a ribbon in her hair tied into a bow). She has fantasies. She has dolls and teddy bears. They made a point of modelling her holding cotton candy and she watches Duke and Dimwit, a child's show. She's fascinated by everything, takes joy in the mundane, and asks uncomfortable questions because she's not aware of what the adults have learned not to question. She's called "the Lamb", a symbol of innocence, purity and the child (and Booker "the Shepherd"). She is characterised as child-like - indeed largely because she's lived in a tower all her life! (Yes, she's well-read, capable and highly intelligent; young people can be that too.) The game is a chart modelling her growth into maturity and full power, something that for her is a little overdue and has to come on fast. She is an equal partner, but she's steeped in symbolism for youthfulness and girlishness.

Changing the game into a romance would require a hell of a lot more work than you're suggesting. All of their interactions would have to be reframed, their ages altered, all the foreshadowing and symbolism changed (and there is a lot of it), Booker's character would have to be changed pretty significantly.

...So, in order to have anyone thinking a man and a woman could possibly have a nonsexual relationship, any male-female dual protagonists have to be men and children? Adult women have no place at all unless their sexuality is going to be highlighted?

Apr 16th 2013 at 10:04:11 PM •••

So she acts like a Disney Princess? Who cares. All of those were romances too. I figured it was a mere deconstruction of the "girl in the tower" concept. Having her start out as that classic ideal before exposing her to the harsh realities of the world, which is what seemed to be happening.

My girlfriend has "fantasies" and stuffed animals too. Is she a child, then? She's 23. There are older and stupider people who would call us childish for playing a video game. Again, any of Elizabeth's habits I would attribute to her time raised alone in a tower.

And there isn't nearly as much foreshadowing as you seem to think. As I said, almost all of their interactions are 100% relationship neutral and could serve any purpose a writer could want, and their characters would barely have to be changed. As I said, their "age difference" is in no way apparent in the game. Booker looks and sounds FAR too young to have a 20 year old daughter. So no, it's not as obvious as you seem to think. If it was, there wouldn't be people like me.

And shipping goggles isn't a regular trope. It's a YMMV trope, ergo it's...murkier. But it's very definition is a condemnation. It says a that a group of people were too obsessed with one idea to see the actual plot for what it was. There's no way you can spin that as a positive. And while you might think that describes me, my argument is that the plotline we were supposed to follow to reach the "daughter" conclusion were too vague to do so, hence the fumble. If the intentions were clearer, I would have never assumed this story was a romance. Shippers might like their pairings, I just wanted to follow the plot.

And as for your thinly veiled accusation that I was being prejudiced with my plot prediction, I say this: I make no apologies for the biases, institutions and, yeah, tropes created by storytelling as we know it. You might not like that these preconceived notions exiss, but just as there are rich and poor people, sick and healthy, these mainstays are simply a reality. We've based this entire site on these little reoccurrences in our stories. Every story has tropes. Seeing common ones attached to a certain type of story will lead someone to believe they are looking at that type of story. That doesn't make them prejudiced. It just means they seen/read/heard a lot of stories. The fact that there were enough boxes checked for me to think this was a romance, institutes a fumble in my eyes.

Apr 17th 2013 at 3:43:57 AM •••

Okay. Check Love Tropes and see how many you can apply to their relationship (hint: most of them apply rather better to the Luteces). If you want, you can check Immaturity Tropes and see how many apply to Elizabeth (hint: several. Check Tropes of Innocence too). She was kept in a tower with barely any social interaction; you keep saying that like it somehow disproves she's childish, but keeping people away from any interaction from the world or other people stops kids growing up, no how much their bodies mature. Experience and the unfamiliar makes maturity. And Disney stories are in point of fact mostly Coming-of-Age Stories (which, funnily enough, are described on that page as "[tending] to happen to a character anywhere from 13 to 20 years of age"); the romantic bits are always very very clear.

Your girlfriend is a real person, not a character. Elizabeth doesn't do one or two of those things I listed. She does all of them, because she was written to, because she is a character.

Shipping Goggles is when a viewer interprets the smallest, most ambiguous canonical evidence in favor of their ship of choice.

Here you are saying their interactions are clearly, canonically "neutral", but interpreted them as foreshadowing romance. Huh.

The ship in question can range from one that seems entirely plausible but doesn't yet have clear canon evidence, right up to a Crack Pairing between characters who are bitter enemies, or live in different universes, or whose sexuality or circumstances makes any relationship between them extremely unlikely.

A man and a woman have a close relationship. They're going to hook up. (And when they don't I will claim vehemently it's because the writers fumbled the relationship.) Huh.

Note that as with everything Tropes Are Tools ... Many shippers would admit to doing this to some extent; in fact, having your own interpretation of Canon is part of the fun of Shipping.

And it's not fundamentally a bad thing, or some sort of blindness on the part of shippers. Huh.

On the other hand, Relationship Writing Fumble is right there under "Bad Writing", and explicitly described as adding "too much" to a relationship that would otherwise be read as platonic. I can pick a hell of a lot of flaws with Infinite's story related to its confused development - but Booker and Elizabeth's relationship progression was there from the start, was always platonic, and didn't change. That you say otherwise isn't a prejudice of all people. It's not an inalienable fact I'm denying because I don't like it. It's not "simply a reality", like suffering or love of any description. It's you, and anyone who thought the same thing, and no one else, and you are biased. Clear enough?

Edited by
Apr 17th 2013 at 11:03:18 AM •••

I still say they should've gone for the incest twist.

Booker bangs Elizabeth Finds out he's her father. Out of guilt he goes back in time and becomes Comstock. This explains why Comstock was so desperate to keep the pair away from eachother and why he's obsessed with redemption.

Would've been more shocking and interesting than the lame edgy antitheistic mumble jumble about evil baptisms. All it needed was a few tweaks to ensure continuity.

Apr 17th 2013 at 11:49:47 AM •••

As I have told you time and time again, this isn't about shipping. It never was. It was about the type of story presented. I didn't want or care if Elizabeth and Booker "got together." Caring about relationships is what makes a "shipper" not a plot.

My problem was that this story has far too much in common with very classic love stories, and in fact I thought I was playing a deconstruction of one. It's all there: a girl, a tower, even a dragon. This might as well be Fairytale 101 with a Ken Levine twist. Almost every girl in these stories has all of those "innocence tropes" down to a T, and the story still ends up being a romance. Since I figured this game was a deconstruction, I also figured it would have more subtlety than those Disney films.

The problem here is that, at least in the latest iteration of the game, Ken Levine wanted to tell a father/daughter story. But he also wanted the fact that it was a father/daughter story to be a twist. That's not a good combination.

The fact is, almost none of Bioshock Infinite felt like a father/daughter story to me. The "father" was too young and the "daughter" was too old. The dialogue didn't fit right either. So, you could say that writing was "fumbled" too.

So at best, Ken Levine gets people to think of Elizabeth as...some kind of platonic friend/partner of ambiguous distinction who is no way a viable romantic choice. That or someone guesses the twist, in which case why even have it?

So tell me which scene is more emotionally charged: storming a fortified hospital to rescue your friend...or business partner or...whatever she is. -or- Storming a fortified hospital to rescue your daughter who you've just realized you failed for a second time, and yet again have allowed to be captured by sinister forces for their own purposes. I know which one would motivate ME more as a player.

You see, I'm not upset that Booker and Elizabeth didn't "hook up." I have no problem with this being a father/daughter story. My problem was that almost none of the game was written as one, at least not without the power of hindsight and by then who cares, since the first playthrough is the most emotionally impactful.

This is the problem with that neutral interaction I was talking about before. If people can get the wrong idea at all, then something has gone wrong. This is not some slice of life story rife with love triangles and all that other common shipping bait. If you want to tell a father/daughter story, the very concept that there are parts ambiguous enough to let someone believe a romance is even possible means you've done something wrong.

Apr 17th 2013 at 4:56:13 PM •••

I still say they should've gone for the incest twist.

That would have been utterly bizarre. Elizabeth is Comstock's heir. Comstock doesn't want anybody taking his heir away, because he's obsessed with his prophecy coming to pass. He loves Elizabeth, but as an object - hypocritically, as a "means to an end". The end. Booker (to him) is the sinful man he left behind in the baptismal font; he's proven it with what he did to Elizabeth. But Booker winds up caring about her as a person. Someone who deserves to have her own life and her own desires fulfilled - nothing to do with what he wants. Were he a romantic partner, he would want her to stay with him, and she would want the same, but ultimately both understand that there comes a point where they have to "let go", just like parents and children.

I didn't get any sense of antitheism (and I'm Catholic). I got a sense of terror from the misunderstanding and misuse of theism. Comstock doesn't really follows the ideals of religions that use baptism - he directs worship towards himself, he shows off his power over people, he twists ritualistic language to dress up tyranny, bigotry and genocide in pretty words, he never atones or asks forgiveness to pave the way for grace, nor does he offer it to anybody he judges unfit (when it's not supposed to be his place to judge. Judge not and all). He's all things wrong with religious movements and people, hypocrisy and self-righteousness, nothing wrong with religion itself.

It's not a deconstruction. It's a pretty damn basic girl-in-a-tower story. Girl escapes tower, symbolically matures, claims the power she was always meant to have, restoring agency to herself. The twist is that she uses her power to prevent all iterations of her story, the girl-in-the-tower, from ever happening - no girls in towers groomed to be symbols. Just girls. And she does this by destroying her warden three times - the one who kept her in the tower, the one who put her in the tower, and the one who took her from the tower, because all three furthered the story. All of them are reflections of the same individual. Not Booker DeWitt, but a Big Daddy. A twisted father figure.

The twist is that the game is not about Booker's growth, but hers.

If people can get the wrong idea at all, then something has gone wrong.

Uh...that just plain isn't true. And guessing the twist is okay. I guessed (or suspected). For that matter, not guessing the twist means you can use hindsight to recognise the moments that pointed the conclusion. Which is fun! And it leads to discussion of the game, which is also fun. Usually. How many people guessed "Would you kindly?" And how many people cared whether they did or not?

Storming a lab to rescue a person you care deeply about, someone you're connected to in a way that's hard to define but incredibly powerful? Preventing a girl from suffering under decades of torture and having her will broken? Worked for me! The daughter reveal just framed it - and their relationship - as sadder and sweeter. Just like learning that Ryan was Jack's father made the game Fontaine played all the more twisted.

If you want to tell a father/daughter story, the very concept that there are parts ambiguous enough to let someone believe a romance is even possible means you've done something wrong.

Really? That's weird, considering the number of tropes about such ambiguous relationships and reveals. And considering the complete absence of any Love Tropes in their interaction. Because I haven't seen anybody point them out - aside from one moment of hand-touching (saucy!) and one vaguely interpretable question which, in context, is not especially romantic.

Edited by
Apr 17th 2013 at 5:39:21 PM •••

This is going nowhere.

You say because there is nothing specific, then it doesn't matter. I say because there is too much ambiguity that there's a problem in the way their relationship was written.

We're going in circles.

In the end is all comes down to subjective views. I don't think shipping goggles fits for this, you don't think relationship writing fumble fits for this. I don't see either of us convincing the other.

So I guess the question is what do we do now?

Apr 17th 2013 at 9:54:02 PM •••

Delete both, leaving No Yay?

Put it to Ask the Tropers?

Stick a muzzle on that troper who keeps rewriting any shipping examples to be insulting towards shippers and demonising Daisy Fitzroy as though she's worse than Comstock?

Edited by
Apr 17th 2013 at 11:25:14 PM •••

Alright, fair enough. I'll delete it. We can put it up on Ask the Tropers, I suppose, and see what they think. Something may come of that, I don't know.

But yeah, apart from that I guess just leaving the most neutral option there is the best choice.

Apr 18th 2013 at 12:51:27 AM •••

Works for me. I thought the Shipping Goggles entry was much too vitriolic as it was anyway.

Apr 18th 2013 at 7:17:40 AM •••

I just got a death threat from some guy named wolfafu. I suspect it's due to my earlier comment in this thread.

You people need to calm the fuck down.

Apr 18th 2013 at 7:18:50 AM •••

Double post lol

Edited by
Apr 18th 2013 at 1:00:38 PM •••

Tagged the page asking people to come here, in case someone thinks to re-add those tropes later.

As Squig, please don't throw accusations around. As that particular user didn't comment here, sock though he likely is, you're pointing figures at everyone.

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