I must admit that I haven’t played all the way through Bioshock. But I have read all the way through Ayn Rands books about objectivism, a socioeconomic ideology that centers around the rights of the individual.
There has been a lot of talk on the net about the depth of the story in Bioshock and that it is so impressive that it offers critisism on something as complex as an ideology. But does it really?
This is the story of one man, a hard individual that is defining his right to live by shooting people that are trying to kill him. Now this story is set in a world that is supposed to show a ruined world created by the insane hunger for power and profit that is for some reason apparently absent when these same people work for a goverment.
But here comes the first catch, Bioshocks underwater world, rapture, is owned by one man. It is more or less a monopoly or dictatorship. Two states of affairs that Rand or objectivism has never defended or, according to some scholars, made possible.
The thorny rose of criticism is frail…
Here is the second catch, Bioshock does have a character that acts in almost every way like an objectivist. The main character.
The rose of criticism shrivels up and dies…
So not only does Bioshock actually not at all critisize objectivism, they only slapped on a similar art style and some 60’s socialist propagande, it also promotes the values of individuals very much like the objectivists do through the players own actions!
I don’t see a problem with this. I do however see a problem with the gaming press hailing Bioshock for delivering criticism – which it does not – against an ideology that apparently neither the developers nor the press actually read up on.
My problem with this is that these are the very faults that are keeping our industry continuously frowned upon by the rest of the media.
If FOX news had made this error a lot of books would be rating killed on amazon…