I hear all the cool kids are playing Bioshock 2 at the moment.
I’m not one of the cool kids.
And I don’t like the idea of paying top dollar for new release games.
But I had heard so much about the Bioshock series that I thought I should check it out. So I got my hands on a copy of the original Bioshock game and loaded it up.
And I didn’t regret it.
Bioshock is a first person shooter game. It’s 1960 and you play the role of a man who manages to escape from the fiery wreckage of an aircraft, only to find yourself at the doorway to an amazing underwater city called Rapture. Founded by business man Andrew Ryan, Rapture is a place where people are able to produce and create, free from political and religious restraints. You’re allowed to do whatever you like in Rapture, as long as you can find someone to pay for it.
As you explore Rapture, you begin to feel that maybe this isn’t a good thing. Because Rapture has fallen apart. Advances in genetic engineering have given everyone superpowers, but at the cost of their sanity. Crazed thugs roam the hallways looking to mug unaware victims to they can afford their next dose of EVE which grants them powers. These thugs wear masks, ashamed of what they have become.
Surgeons go beyond using cosmetic surgery to make people look better, instead using their bodies as a canvas for bizarre art projects. Little girls roam the streets, having been physically and mentally changed into ghoulish grave robbers, accompanied by their protectors, the Big Daddies – surgically altered men trapped in armoured diving suits. What began as a way of expressing the human spirit has degenerated into horrific behaviour and exploited by evil men.
I had heard a lot about this game. That it was a game about choices. And for a long time I didn’t get it. I wasn’t given much choice at all. I was told what to do in each level. I was expected to kill whoever got in my way. I had no choice about changing my genetic structure and shooting lightning from my fingertips. But as the story progressed (and yes, there is a story here. A very good one) I began to realise that it was a story about free will.
God has given us his creation. He has told us, through his Word, the Bible, how to live in it. He’s outlined his expectations and his desires. And then he steps back and says it’s up to you if you want to follow him or not. Rapture is a city built by people who don’t want to follow God. It’s a city built by people who consider the idea of God is something that stops them from being great. So they live their own way, doing their own thing. There are no rules except for the ones they want to follow. And it doesn’t matter who gets hurt along the way.
Bioshock shows that this a very dangerous philosophy. God’s rules are not there to hold you back. They’re there to show you how to live not only in this world, but how to live with the creator of the universe. Not everyone in Rapture is happy with the way things are going. The fact that there are smuggled crates of Bibles in the dock yards and regretful people singing Christian hymns in the hallways (very creepy) shows that taking God out of the picture is a bad idea.
This is a game that is both visually and aurally beautiful. The art deco style and the old-timey music make this game not just a shoot-em-up but an experience. But that can work against it, too. This is an MA rated game. I’m not used to playing MA games and I don’t think I will get used to it. There is a lot of unneccessary violence and gore in this game. And because it’s a first person shooter, I’m the one doing these things. I’d hate to see how that would affect a younger or more impressionable player. And there’s a lot of swearing here, especially later in the game, that just didn’t need to be there. It took me out of the game, which is not what you want.
Bioshock is a great game that looks and sounds good as well as having a story line that is well worth discussing. It brings up all kinds of issues about choices in life that would make great conversations that can and should be turned towards Jesus.