Where Honesty Never Ends.
*sneaking in like Santa Claus, yet making more noise than a construction company during rush hour at the peak of summer in New York City*
Mr. Controversy here on a Special Assignment (assigned by me) to discuss the video game (more specifically the video game movie) “BioShock Infinite” which can be found on YouTube.
First off, let’s show you some of the rich landscape and ambient sound of the city that is featured in this game by way of this well done video:
In regards to its core, “BioShock Infinite” is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. It was released worldwide for the Microsoft Windows, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013; an OS X port by Aspyr was later released on August 29, 2013 and a Linux port has been announced for 2015. Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock Infinite, and though it is not immediately part of the storyline of previous BioShock games, it does feature similar gameplay concepts and themes. Irrational Games and creative director Ken Levine based the game’s setting on historical events at the turn of the 20th century, such as the 1893 World’s Columbian Expedition, and based the story on the concept of American exceptionalism, while also incorporating influences from more recent events at the time such as the 2011 Occupy movement.
As far as the story goes, “BioShock Infinite:, set in 1912, takes place in Columbia, a fictional city suspended in the air through a combination of giant blimps, balloons, reactors, propellers, and mainly “quantum levitation” (yes: This IS a Quantum Physics/Steampunk video game). Named in homage to the female personification fo the United States, the city of Columbia was founded by self-proclaimed prophet Zachary Hale Comstock who used his connections in Congress to have the American government build it. The government intended Columbia to serve as a floating world’s fair and as a display to the rest of the world of the success of American exceptionalism. The city was launched to much fanfare and publicity at the World’s Columbian exposition in 1893, and was later dispatched to distant shores, travelling from continent to continent.
Initially seen as the pride of the United States, tensions eventually rose between Columbia and the American government. In 1901, against the government’s wishes, Columbia brutally and violently put an end to the Boxer Rebellion in Peking. This event revealed the floating city as a heavily armed aerial battleship, capable of unleashing devastation across the world. The American government subsequently demanded Columbia’s return to sovereign soil, and, in response, Columbia seceded from the United States and disappeared into the clouds, its location soon lost to everyone else. Free from outside influence, Comstock now had complete control over the city, transforming it from a floating world’s fair to a theocratic police state.
Father Benjamin Franklin (left), Father George Washington (center), and Father Thomas Jefferson (right)
Under Comstock’s rule, Columbia became a militant pseudo-Christian utopic society that worshiped him as a divine prophetic figure and the Founding Fathers of the United States as religious icons. Despite Columbia’s apparent utopia exteriors, it is soon revealed to be a hidden dystopia. Institutional racism and elitism are widespread in the city, with White supremacy of the upper and middle classes heavily enforced by the government as law. Despite the drive for racial purity in Columbia, people of minority races are brought in to the city as a source for cheap labor (can we say the rebirth of slavery?). They are the underclass of Columbia, and are subjugated to serve mainly as slaves or indentured servants (what did I JUST say?!). As a result of this subjugation, minorities are largely relegated to menial and hard labor with no obvious opportunity for upward mobility.Racial segregation is also heavily enforced within the city, to the point where interracial couples face the risk of a public stoning.
“BioShock Infinite” revolves around five (six, if you are counting a certain way) characters:
Prophet Zachary Hale Comstock,
Daisy Fitzroy, and
The Lutece “twins”
The story begins with Booker Dewitt on a rowboat being rowed by the Lutece”twins” Rosalind and Robert (the rower himself). Rosalind speaks on the “Thought Experiment”; an experiment in which Booker Dewitt will undertake as he have one goal: “Bring us the girl, and wipe away the Debt.”
Armed with his mission, Booker boards a hidden rocket in a lighthouse where he is dropped off in a Church -like structure in the floating city of Columbia. The ONLY WAY into Columbia is by baptism, to which he reluctantly agrees. After receiving the “cleansing dip,” he has a flashback of a voice telling/reminding him of his mission: “Bring us the girl, and wipe away the Debt!”
He awakens (due to nearly drowning in the baptism) in Columbia where he must get to Monument island to find the girl.
Just before he could reach Monument Island, he looks about the city, taking in the intriguing sites and sounds. He eventually winds up at a Raffle. He participates in the raffle by picking a baseball with the number “77” written on its surface.
Guess what was the winning number?
The Grand Prize of picking number “77”?
First Throw at the above interracial couple!
Already, this game has given us a HUGE DOSE of Historical, Religious, AND Racial overtones. Kind of late for me to say that this game and video game movie is NOT for sensitive hearts and minds. These overtones WILL BE throughout the game and game movie.
Anyhow, Booker does not take too kindly to this “Grand Prize,” for he is a tortured soul who is regretting his racist and inhuman actions at The Battle of Wounded Knee. Jeremiah Fink, the man on the right of the above picture, is about to get pelted by Booker with the “winning numbers” to be forever imprinted on his racist forehead when the police intervene and discovers that Booker Dewitt is the “False Shepard” who will lead “The Lamb” astray.
Fighting through the local authorities, Booker makes his way to Monument Island and finds the girl that he is to save in order to wipe away his Debt.
The girl’s name is Elizabeth.
*Note: Notice Elizabeth’s right pinkie finger with a thimble covering her missing digit in the introductory picture that I provided earlier? YEAH: she lost it in an accident. At the same time, said accident gave her the power to create “tears”: an ability to open up doorways to other dimensions and timelines. I call that an intriguing trade-off…*
The thing about the first time seeing Elizabeth opening tears for me is one VERY DEEP inquiry:
“Is it possible, is it FEASIBLE that there are multiple universes out there to the point where there are different versions of ourselves running around making exact, similar, or completely different decisions to where the end result of our decided path(s) make our lives better or worse?”
This is the one question about which we should think and ponder, Ladies and Gentlemen…
Here is their meeting:
I’m sure that you all noticed that big flying thing that chased the duo. I really do not know what it is exactly, yet it is Steampunk in origin and nature, and its name is Songbird.
Songbird is Elizabeth’s friend (during her early years), and ultimately her overbearing avian and winged protector (READ: W-A-R-D-E-N). He will be seen sporadically throughout the game and movie, making pertinent impacts along the way.
Booker wakes up after his upclose encounter with the massive… “bird mech,” and finds himself on a beach being revived by Elizabeth. It is worth mentioning that this is Elizabeth’s FIRST TIME outside of the tower. Elizabeth’s dream is to get to Paris so she may start seeing the beauty of the world in 1912.
Many events occurred that caused the trip to Paris to be placed on hold, causing both Booker and Elizabeth to engage in the goings on in Columbia.
I would love to write a whole lot more, yet I cannot for the simple reason that this video game and video game movie has more spoilers in it than this shirt could carry. All I can say is watch the movie, play the game and you will see what I mean. Just know that the ending is Deep, Sad, and…
Overall, the story is not only well written, it is told with such conviction that one has to imagine themselves in a floating utopian city, and wonder if they were in Booker Dewitt’s shoes would they too have taken up the duties that he undergoes. Also, would they be able to comprehend the stakes, rewards, and consequences of every decision that they make/made?
The scenery is rich in color and the textures are on point. Shadowing of buildings, items, and characters make them seem life-like; sucking you into their universe.
If anything, I would only complain that this movie COULD HAVE been a bit more longer: I truly feel that there is A LOT more story to tell. Otherwise, I LOVE IT!
Survey Says: 5 out of 5 Stars
“BioShock Infinite” has MANY Historical, Religious, and Racial overtones as I have stated earlier. It is littered with Spoilers for those who have played this game’s previous releases “BioShock” and “BioShock 2”. “BioShock Infinite” is the third installment of the BioShock series and has won “Game of the Year” accolades.
After watching this movie, it made a believer out of me.
Thanks for checking out The Corners of Controversy’s media segment of The Review Board. Feel free to like, subscribe, and share. Have a great day!