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libGommi
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New here, just registered to talk with you about the game.

Welcome to OO :)

I think you may have missed a few audiologs and maybe didn't fully pay attention to all the radio messages.

In the game, Fontlas tells the player that "All roads in Rapture lead to Ryan," then goes onto explain how because of the way the plasmids are made, the citizens of rapture can be controlled by pheremones in the air and that Ryan is doing just that (hence why all of the characters will attack you on sight beyond them just being "nutso") and there's an audio log in the back corner of the Farmers Market section of the Arcadia where in Ryan disuccses Suchong telling him about the ability to make the plasmids be able to be pheremone controllable and that though the idea bugs him, "In desperate times..." so Ryan has already enslaved the people of Rapture.

I did miss this one. That really changes my perspective.

Then there's also:

The idea of the first thing you see being Ryan's looming visage in the lighthouse, bearing the banner "Nor Gods or Kings, Only Man." Except, he's got this gigantic private office in Hephaestus where he literally makes people wait like supplicants for his time, along with the only way to utterly destroy the city (which he built). The first half sounds like he's set himself up as Rapture's king, and the ability to not only build the city but then utterly destroy it instead of sticking it out good or bad, implies godhood. He's again brokedn his "tenets."

I did notice this.

I really don't like how Ken Levine (the games director) is trying to make a point about being too idealistic as a negative. What he fails to realize is that Andrew Ryan was in no way a true idealist when it comes to objectivism. He shattered his ideals in many ways which led to trouble.

I wished so much for this to be the first game with a true objectivist hero.

Edited by Dorian
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I wished so much for this to be the first game with a true objectivist hero.. Maybe I'll be the first to create such a game :)

But give yourself credit for playing it and thinking about it. I've seen so many Objectivists (of which I'm not) either dismiss it altogether because of slavish devotion to Rand's ideas (when she herself said people should question everything) or people trying to pretend it's a kissing embrace of the idea when it's a bald criticism of it, under the guise of not being able to reconcile the dual thoughts of liking the game but not liking the message and thusly trying to distort it into something else. You at least gave it a chance.

Also, you can go back through radio messages to hear the one from Atlas (I believe it's when you're in the Medical Pavillion) and the

recorder is in the back part of the Farmer's Market where there's one stall that literally has a security camera in it and one across the way with a body and some electric buck and money scattered about and there's a connecting crawlspace between the two with some corpses hanging in a freezer. In the stall with the dead body and the money, the recorder can be found in the crawlspace room before you go into the freezer of bodies.

I really don't like how Ken Levine (the games director) is trying to make a point about being too idealistic as a negative. What he fails to realize is that Andrew Ryan was in no way a true idealist when it comes to objectivism. He shattered his ideals in many ways which led to trouble.

Did you read this "interview" with Levine?

:Mr Levine,I would like to ask you about some of the deeper themes contained in the story for your studio's upcoming game Bioshock. Before I begin, allow me to state that I have been most impressed with your studio's previous work, indeed I am a very enthusiastic player of System Shock 2. However, I have been reading the information about Bioshock's storyline. The information I have was acquired from the IGN interview as well as the Bioshock Wikipedia page.First, the influence of Objectivism (the philosophy of Ayn Rand, to which I generally subscribe) is quite apparrent (and applauded). However, Bioshock is not the only game of Irrational's to explore the theme of individualism versus collectivism. System Shock 2 did that as well (The Many representing collectivism). However, I must ask, I sincerely hope you are not presenting a strawman 'individualism'? Will you be treating individualism and Objectivism with more than just a scoff and dismissal? In many analyses of System Shock 2, it is claimed that SHODAN represents 'individualism', however I consider equating SHODAN with individualism to be a grave mistake. If The Many represent the sacrifice of self to the group (altruism), then SHODAN represents the sacrifice of the group to the self (predatory, Neitzschean 'selfishness'). Individualism, especially of the Randian variety, explicity opposes both alternatives. Allow me to quote Ayn Rand's introduction to "The Virtue of Selfishness,""In popular usage, the word 'selfishness' is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment" "The ethics of altruism has created the image of the brute... in order to make men accept two inhuman tenets: a) that concern with one's own interests is evil, regardless of what these interests might be, and B) that the brutes activities are in fact to one's own interest."In other words, the choice is not between The Many and SHODAN (i.e. the moral masochism of altruism or the moral sadism of the popular meaning of 'selfishness'). There is a third alternative, which is the self-supporting, independent person that neither sacrifices himself to others nor others to himself. Randian individualism supports this no-sacrifice proposition, on the grounds that the rational interests of people are in harmony. For example, its in no ones rational interests to have a massive civil war that kills almost everybody. Another example: being a lousy businessperson will destroy your reputation so over the long run, no one will trade with you. Therefore, being honest is in ones overall self-interest. What I am hoping is that BioShock treats the theory of individualism with proper respect. It would be very disheartening if BioShock were to equate individualism with an endless desire to prove oneself superior to others (this being a form of conformist parasitism Rand referred to as Second-Handing), free-market capitalism with making profit as an end-in-itself, or advocate the fallacious notion that laissez-faire is a zero-sum game. As you are obviously aware, Objectivism is often assumed to be wrong, evil, or an engine of societal collapse and disintegration, regardless of the historical evidence in favor of many Objectivist-approved principles. A glance of the plot summary on Wikipedia seems to indicate two possible angles: 1) The genetic arms race is a product of genuine individualism being changed into second-handing 'beat the other guy' (this being the more pro-individualist angle) or 2) the genetic arms race is an EXTENSION of genuine individualism (this being a strawman individualism as outlined above. If ones prime motive is to beat others, you arent being very individualist are you?). My question to you is, which angle are you going to take?

Your answer is much appreciated,

Sincerely,

Andrew Russell

:Levine's response:Andy, I saw your mail a while back and have not ignored it, just been trying to find the time to answer it. I've avoided getting too deep into Rand in interviews, because PC Gamer isn't exactly the best forum for an Objectivist discussion...But here at TTLG, well that's a horse of a different color.Let me say this first:I'm no scholar of Rand. (or much for that matter).I've read a bunch of her writing, and I find her to be a powerful and fearless thinker.My own leanings trend libertarian, though for some reason (perhaps you can explain this to me), Rand had nothing but contempt for libertarians. Perhaps it's akin to the way I feel about people who like Genesis after Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett left the band.If I had to choose between SHODAN and the Many, I'd take SHODAN any day. I think the most appealing part of Rand to me is the celebration of the self and her daring challenge to altruism. Talk about swimming upstream in a Judeo-Christian society.But SHODAN (and perhaps Ryan, but I'm not gonna talk too much about BioShock story just yet) doesn't honor or respect greatness in others. And she needs others to recognize her glory. These seem to be two pretty large sins in Rand land. SHODAN also believes in violence in cases where she is not threatened with violence. Rand would hand this a thumbs down too.Lastly, SHODAN views herself as a God. Not a God of her own work, of her own realm, but a God because others should grant her fealty. Not something you'd expect to hear from Roark.You mention that: "she was, in the strictest sense of the word, an empiricist". It is where Rand is not an empiricist is where she starts to lose me. In the book of interviews with Rand (http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-Answe...e=UTF8&s=books) , when any facts contradict her philosophy (the treatment by western expansionist of native americans, for example) she dismisses some pretty empirical facts as "leftist propaganda". It's when she abandons logic for slavish and unquestioning adherence to ideology is when I remember why Galt was a fictional character and Ayn Rand was flesh and blood.But as I witness the rise of the state and in the last five years in my country, and the burgeoning of fundamentalism both here and abroad, I become more and more of an objectivist: invidual liberties, govt. staying out of business and religion, and non-interventionist.Which, quite perversely, has become much more of the position of the left. These changes have given me the impression that it's not any philosophy that's the danger. It's the extremes. The Stalins, the Bin Ladens, the neocons, the theocons, the Leninites, the Maoists. What have they ever really offered anyone of value? Is there a Galt among there number? Is there even an Andrew Ryan?

Edited by regglebum
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But give yourself credit for playing it and thinking about it. I've seen so many Objectivists (of which I'm not) either dismiss it altogether because of slavish devotion to Rand's ideas (when she herself said people should question everything) or people trying to pretend it's a kissing embrace of the idea when it's a bald criticism of it, under the guise of not being able to reconcile the dual thoughts of liking the game but not liking the message and thusly trying to distort it into something else. You at least gave it a chance.

You basically describe the problems a lot of Objectivists, or people studying Objectivism have in every facet of judgement.

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But give yourself credit for playing it and thinking about it. I've seen so many Objectivists (of which I'm not) either dismiss it altogether because of slavish devotion to Rand's ideas (when she herself said people should question everything) or people trying to pretend it's a kissing embrace of the idea when it's a bald criticism of it, under the guise of not being able to reconcile the dual thoughts of liking the game but not liking the message and thusly trying to distort it into something else. You at least gave it a chance.

Give myself credit for playing it? The only thing I think I deserve credit for was how quickly I finished the game, lots of nights till 5 AM. I enjoyed it from start to finish. The game is beautiful, the art, music, story. Being a game developer I can truly admire the hard work that went into this, and even more so, Kens ability to convince other developers to help create it. I also knew this game could in no way be the work of a nihilist who wanted to destroy Ayn Rands ideas. Like I said earlier, a Elsworth Toohey could never create a game as great as Bioshock.

I totally agree that people should question everything. It's a problem I see here quite often. People often argue their point relying on what Ayn Rand said as gospel in the same way a christian references the bible. As an example see the thread here about "Are Video Games Art?" This is one of the major reasons I am not enjoying Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. I think since Peikoff inheritted Objectivism he should have claimed it as his own and speak with his own authority. Of course he can give credit to Ayn Rand but that doesn't mean he should rely on quotes of her as an arguement.

Still, I have yet to find any official ideas of objectivism I disagree with. I have read statements by Ayn Rand that I disagree with, but everything she said or published doesn't apply to objectivism. The core of objectivism, the axioms, I completely agree with.

In the book of interviews with Rand (http://www.amazon.com/Ayn-Rand-Answe...e=UTF8&s=books) , when any facts contradict her philosophy (the treatment by western expansionist of native americans, for example) she dismisses some pretty empirical facts as "leftist propaganda".

What facts contradicted her philosophy? How would western expansion contradict objectivism?

Also... where did you get that interview?

And how did you get to observe so many objectivists opinions of the game? (Besides just here...) And... do you have any relation to this game? Haha. I have a sneaking suspicion of many people here being successful and/or famous.

Edited by Dorian
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Give myself credit for playing it? I enjoyed it from start to finish. The game is beautiful, the art, music, story. Being a game developer I can truly admire the hard work that went into this, and even more so, Kens ability to convince other developers to help create it. I also knew this game could in no way be the work of a nihilist who wanted to destroy Ayn Rands ideas. Like I said earlier, a Elsworth Toohey could never create a game as great as Bioshock.

I totally agree that people should question everything. It's a problem I see here quite often. People often argue their point relying on what Ayn Rand said as gospel in the same way a christian references the bible. As an example see the thread here about "Are Video Games Art?" This is one of the major reasons I am not enjoying Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. I think since Peikoff inheritted Objectivism he should have claimed it as his own and speak with his own authority. Of course he can give credit to Ayn Rand but that doesn't mean he should rely on quotes of her as an arguement.

Still, I have yet to find any official ideas of objectivism I disagree with. I have read statements by Ayn Rand that I disagree with, but everything she said or published doesn't apply to objectivism. The core of objectivism, the axioms, I completely agree with.

Also... where did you get that interview?

And how did you get to observe so many objectivists opinions of the game? (Besides just here...) And... do you have any relation to this game? Haha. I have a sneaking suspicion of many people here being successful and/or famous.

http://objectivistcenter.org/cs/forums/318/ShowPost.aspx

Some opinions on the game from Objectivists (or those seeming to espouse the ideas):

"I’m still not sure what Irrational is trying to say; whether they’re for or against the philosophy that permeates BioShock."--Gameslant

Really? You still don't know whether or not the game is saying Andrew Ryan's ideals are the shizzle after

seeing how he crucified a Bible smuggler?

Really?

Various quotes from various forums:

"I don't know if the game might be fun or not, but the premise seems to be a very superficial interpretation of Ayn Rand's ideas. Seems like they used her "influence" just to catch people's attention, without giving an explanation of how an Objectivist society would turn into a violent dystopia, taking into account that one of the tenets of the philosophy is the "axiom of non violence""--http://www.whoisthequestion.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=8464

[Really? It's not really a critique but it has to be that the developer simply doesn't "get" Objectivism?]

"Finally, as for Bioshock, I have finished it, and it does not attack Objectivism (it portrays the downfall of Rapture as being due to hypocrisy, not to the content of Andrew Ryan (or Ayn Rand's) beliefs). Indeed, Objectivism provides the setting, not the plotline."--http://www.xbox360fanboy.com/2007/08/22/like-bioshock-thank-ayn-rand/2

[Not from Andrew Ryan's bastardized beliefs? Did you play the game?]

"It's going to be negative either way in my opinion because the general uninformed public who play video games will be less likely to become stimulated if ever exposed to the philosophy of Objectivism because they will use the vague associations they've made with the game as a substitute for real life evidence as to the end product of what the philosophy is.

Some of you, even though most of you disagree with parts of the philosophy, or aren't completely knowledgeable about it, were stimulated by Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, or by some part of Objectivist literature you've been exposed to and used that spark as a vehicle for further philosophical inquiry right? Speaking in percentages, isn't Objectivism very likely to be the first encounter a person has with the study of philosophy because of the fiction's popularity? I think this game could easily function as a ready made bad association between someone ignorant of the philosophy, and the philosophy.

I could just be hyper-paranoid about it too."--http://www.atheistforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=3708&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&sid=fdacbc99ed73e31de17a1a34235e5299

[Ah, yes, it can't be an honest critique--it's just stylized propaganda designed to shoot down your beliefs and to mislead the stupid, stupid regular folk.]

As for a relationship to the game--no. But I am slowly but surely inching the door into Hollywood open with my agent's help.

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What facts contradicted her philosophy? How would western expansion contradict objectivism?

That was Levine talking there. Given the propaganda taught in schools these days re: American aboriginal savages, Rand's position on western expansion is pretty hard to believe; at least for those who never questioned the schools' Party Line.

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Hi everybody

I played Bioshock while it was demo.

"There are no gods or kings - Just MAN" was this first banner I saw after your plane crashes and you make it on to this secret under water city.

Then if you play a video to leaarn about the history you see a guy talking that the government tells you your duty is to the poor, russia says it's to everybody, and all this stuff how man is free to be here..

It's pretty cool. I mean, its about the realest looking videogame ever.

I knew right away it was randian but it is so dark, that man was left to do all this scientific stuff and things got out of control and pretty much everyone turned into a splicer. This zombie. You can shoot electric bolts and you need to shoot up. You also smoke cigarettes for energy and eat junk food.

Its art deco and pretty, pretty demented, like the shining..

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  • 1 month later...
I think you may have missed a few audiologs and maybe didn't fully pay attention to all the radio messages.

In the game, Fontlas tells the player that "All roads in Rapture lead to Ryan," then goes onto explain how because of the way the plasmids are made, the citizens of rapture can be controlled by pheremones in the air and that Ryan is doing just that (hence why all of the characters will attack you on sight beyond them just being "nutso") and there's an audio log in the back corner of the Farmers Market section of the Arcadia where in Ryan disuccses Suchong telling him about the ability to make the plasmids be able to be pheremone controllable and that though the idea bugs him, "In desperate times..." so Ryan has already enslaved the people of Rapture.

The whole problem is that a significant portion of citizens of Rapture rather followed Fontaine than Ryan so the society has already broken down. The only two other options he had was either to compromise or to flee.

A very similar question is whether to draft citizens for defending the country. As a leader should you do it or should you let the enemy take your country? Again, the 'enemy' already took your country, because the citizens do not want to fight against him.

PS: Just finished the game and loved it :P

Edited by Clawg
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For those of you who don't have the game, I've put together some of Andrew Ryan's radio speeches into a little video (no spoilers) :

It begins with the speech from the intro video, followed by his speech on Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism and altruism.

It's not perfect but I like the result :)

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For those of you who don't have the game, I've put together some of Andrew Ryan's radio speeches into a little video (no spoilers) :

It begins with the speech from the intro video, followed by his speech on Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism and altruism.

It's not perfect but I like the result :huh:

Very dramatic voice. Nicely done.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I borrowed the game from a friend, played through it on easy (I don't play too many FPSs and I wanted to get through the story quickly) and to be honest, I didn't really like it.

In fact, I think I hated it.

Gameplay was nice and all, but the smear job and lets-shit-all-over-Atlas-Shrugged motif and tea party just didn't hold over very well with me. It's the quintessential, metaphorical representation of how most people in the demographic of this game would view Rands philosophy and capitalism in general.

You're taking it too far! Booooo, these people are just mean! Corporations would rule everything! Everyones shallow and superficial because of capitalism! Humans are all bad and corrupted by nature!

Yadeyada etc, ad nausem up your rational anus until your vomiting from the lack of real value behind the ZOMFG COOL EFFECTS!!!

Over all I give it a 3/10 and I think this will turn more people off to Objectivism, if it has any effect whatsoever.

Edit: Did you notice how Fountaine's final form looked like the Atlas on the covers of Atlas Shrugged... I'm willing too bet my ever increasingly worthless 2 cents that it was intentional.

Edited by Mammon
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possible spoilers, beware :D

Gameplay was nice and all, but the smear job and lets-shit-all-over-Atlas-Shrugged motif and tea party just didn't hold over very well with me. It's the quintessential, metaphorical representation of how most people in the demographic of this game would view Rands philosophy and capitalism in general.

Well, but the point is that Rapture and its inhabitants did not represent Objectivism but instead a possible of future Galt's Gulch.

Galt's Gulch wasn't a free society, people weren't allowed to travel in order to protect the Gulch. In Rapture, because of its much higher population, this was extended to a trade embargo. The trade embargo caused a black market which empowered the criminals of the city. The basic underlying question is how a free society would protect itself from the outside world without loosing its freedom and without ultimately getting destroyed.

In addition people in Rapture didn't seem to have taken a philosophy lesson, the only one who could count as an Objectivist is Andrew Ryan, all other people where probably chosen because they excelled in their profession, they got to Rapture because they liked to work without restraints from the government (which, I agree with you, is the oversimplified image of Objectivism many people have), not because they shared a common philosophy - in all audio diaries it was only Andrew Ryan who was talking about philosophy.

And the ultimate problem of 'Rapture' wasn't that Andrew Ryan had a philosophy similar to Objectivism but that the other people in Rapture didn't and that Ryan ignored that fact. Actually Rapture wasn't much different from the outside world, the only difference was that Ryan had much greater influence because he controlled vital parts of the economy. And that's why he was able to ignore the problems for a long time.

Edit: Did you notice how Fountaine's final form looked like the Atlas on the covers of Atlas Shrugged... I'm willing too bet my ever increasingly worthless 2 cents that it was intentional.

They wanted to create a better man with Adam. Physically speaking that worked well. But what counts is the philosophy.

Yes, Fountaine looked like 'Atlas' at the end, but he didn't act like 'Atlas' at all. He only changed his appearance. This is also mentioned in one of the diaries that Adam can only improve the body, not the contents of the mind.

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  • 3 months later...
There is an interview up with Yaron Brook about BioShock: http://kotaku.com/354717/no-gods-or-kings-...ism-in-bioshock

From Brook...

"I don't see a problem with the medium," he said. "I think it is potentially a very exciting medium with which to introduce people to ideas. I think video games replaces much of literature's impact. The literature today is dull and boring and video games allow kids to experience the heroism that the books don't provide them.

"Who knows where the medium is going I think that's one of the exciting things about video games and technology. I think it will be interesting to see what kind of issues they take on."

He gets a 5 in my book.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, I finally got around to upgrading to a PC that will run Bioshock. I thought it was pretty fun, if tragic.

Now...

All this talk about

And Ryan as the "good guy"

makes me think you must have missed 75% of the audio logs in the game, or at least not bothered listening to and comprehending most of them.

I can think of a few of his actions off the top of my head that would defy this characterization immediately:

-

Physically killed the "lower-class" woman he had accidentally impregnated when she told him she was with child

-

Killed his chief natural biologist/geneticist for trying to save the oxygen supply and thus the entire population of Rapture

-

Had his chief of police thug assassinate a singer who had been producing political ballads critical of his administration

-

Potentially killed the entire population of Rapture by proxy (oxygen deprivation, self-destruct at end)

-

Refused to adjust to the market demand that ADAM created, sending his law enforcement thug to kill Fontaine and take over Fontaine Futuristics by force

-

Gamed the entire system by starting himself out as an overlord/dictator of Rapture despite his rhetoric about the "sweat of your brow", without any pretense of elections as a means to "earn" that position. A completely isolated environment like Rapture with radical Objectivist rhetoric as its core and only value set would require all to start from a position of relative parity to bear fruit vis-a-vis its tenets. See also: Fontaine's audio log about everyone who came thinking they'd be captains of industry and not realizing someone still had to scrub toilets and fold laundry.

Yes and no. On the one hand,

no I don't think he is set as an unqualified good guy

. But on the other, you're a little confused about those events.

1.

He killed that woman because he thought she was literally in cahoots with Fontaine in creating the assassin - i.e., you. She pleads with him that she had no idea what Fontaine was up to in extracting Ryan's genetic material from her baby, but Ryan didn't believe her. Remember, being genetically linked to Ryan is the only reason you can use the Bathyspheres and Vita-chambers - i.e. that's how you're able to get close enough to kill him.

2.

By contract, Ryan owned the trees and the oxygen supply, and the biologist was actually stealing it from him. He was trying to destroy the city in a Wyatt's Torch-type-act because he wouldn't let it fall to Fontaine and his looters.

3.

Actually, it wasn't the chief of police who assassinated the singer - it was a totally different guy. I'm not sure who that man was working for, but I don't think it was Ryan.

4.

It wasn't that he refused to adapt to ADAM and then sent people to destroy Fontaine's Futuristics. It's that he discovered that Fontaine was actually a thug and a con man, and then sent the law in after him. Fontaine went down in a big gunfight on purpose to martyr himself and turn people against Ryan. See, Fontaine was playing this game from the beginning and set a propaganda campaign against Ryan to make him look like something he wasn't.

5.

I don't know where you got "without pretense of elections" from. The game doesn't mention this. It only mentions a council, of which Ryan is a member, and it does mention them voting.

6.

With smugglers, bear in mind that they are literally guilty of treason, as they are exposing the city to discovery by the outside world. They may have even been justified with capital punishment.

Bear in mind that Fontaine was a master con man and most of the logs you hear are from people on the streets that have no idea of what's going on; they only report about what appears to them to be happening.

That said, I do think he portrays Ryan as losing it a bit. But not to the point that it might seem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This game is quite obviously an attack on Objectivism. I just upgraded my computer so that I can play it now and I basically can't stand it any more and I've only been playing for 2 hours or so. Yeah, the entrance is all nice and shiny with a great banner and all, beautiful music... But then you actually get to play the game.

What's the first thing that you notice? Signs saying "Let us out" and a notice saying that those lifts (whatever they're called in-game) are banned from use. Obviously, Ryan Andrew (is it just me or does his name sound a lot like Ayn Rand's?) wouldn't let people out, i.e. he held them in against their will.

Then you go and shoot a couple of mutilated, bloodied mutants and soon enough you get into the medical. I don't know whether you actually listened to diary entries and the propaganda that's always on, but the messages seem to be timed so as to be heard just before certain events which then pervert that message's meaning.

Also, if you listen to what the splicers are saying, you'll see that sometimes they are just complaining about beggars being just one more mouth to feed and such.

But the thing that made me switch the game off and regret the money I paid for it was when I heard a propaganda message saying that aesthetic surgery has made so much progress that looking beautiful isn't just a thing to aspire to, but also a moral imperative. Moments later, you open the door of the surgery and on the floor you can see the message "Aesthetics is a moral imperative!" written in blood.

There probably isn't a single moment when you DON'T hear a propaganda in the game (not that I want to find out, really), and if you pay a little attention to both the propaganda and your surroundings, you'll always find that the propaganda sounds like Objectivism, but the surroundings depict something quite different. It's like Ayn Rand's words have been torn out of context and placed in this fictional world in order to fool the unwary that that kind of philosophy has those kinds of consequences.

In these two hours that I've played the game, I've heard Objectivism being criticized because its ideal society is such that it provides no social benefits for the poor, which is further incorrectly interpreted to mean that the poor shouldn't receive any help whatsoever; and because such a society's health care must be paid for (i.e. it's not free for everyone or at least for the poor). Starting off like this, I can probably imagine what the next route of attack is. Schooling? Roads and transportation? Or perhaps it "shows" that in such a society the branches of the government would become corrupt?

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What's the first thing that you notice? Signs saying "Let us out" and a notice saying that those lifts (whatever they're called in-game) are banned from use. Obviously, Ryan Andrew (is it just me or does his name sound a lot like Ayn Rand's?) wouldn't let people out, i.e. he held them in against their will.

Read my post.

It would be a lethal compromise of the security of the city if people were to be let out.

but the messages seem to be timed so as to be heard just before certain events which then pervert that message's meaning.

Do you have any specific examples of this? I think this is your imagination.

Also, if you listen to what the splicers are saying, you'll see that sometimes they are just complaining about beggars being just one more mouth to feed and such.

There's a reason for this. The splicers are at war with another faction which does fit that description. But you'd have to play the game some more to know that.

But the thing that made me switch the game off and regret the money I paid for it was when I heard a propaganda message saying that aesthetic surgery has made so much progress that looking beautiful isn't just a thing to aspire to, but also a moral imperative. Moments later, you open the door of the surgery and on the floor you can see the message "Aesthetics is a moral imperative!" written in blood.

Well the good doctor was obviously out of his mind - he was impressed with Picasso's aesthetics. That's hardly an attack on Objectivism.

the propaganda sounds like Objectivism, but the surroundings depict something quite different. It's like Ayn Rand's words have been torn out of context and placed in this fictional world in order to fool the unwary that that kind of philosophy has those kinds of consequences.

Is that the message? You haven't played far enough into the game to see what the game shows as the responsible factor for what happened.

In these two hours that I've played the game, I've heard Objectivism being criticized because its ideal society is such that it provides no social benefits for the poor

And if you'd play farther into the game, you'd see that it's the villain who is the source of that criticism. What does that tell you?

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I'll grant you that there can be a twist in the story in a sense that it gives an alternate explanation for the state of Rapture which would ultimately say that Objectivism is a good philosophy despite what happened at Rapture. If these were different circumstances, I'd probably make a wager with you at this point, assuming you'd claim that such a twist would happen whereas I'd say it wouldn't. From the two hours of gameplay I did until now, my hopes are not up and I still think that this game is yet another attack on Objectivism/Ayn Rand.

On a side note, you claimed that

letting people get out of Rapture would be a security risk for Rapture.

Am I to conclude from this that you are in favor of enslaving people in the name of their "security"?

As for an instance of Objectivist paroles being spoken while the surroundings scream the opposite,

remember that instance when you enter Rapture for the first time and you're shown a movie? After the movie, you are driven in the pod through Rapture exterior and finally you enter a tube. You can see in front of you the poster saying "Mind over Matter." The poster is an ad for Ryan's plasmids and the telekinetic abilities they give you. Granted with the abovementioned plot twist this could be shown to be Andrew Ryan's error which ultimately led to the destruction of Rapture, but "Mind over Matter" is a non-Objectivist notion to the core.

See Galt's speech, somewhere about 3.5/7 to 4/7 into it (in my edition it's 70 pages long and it's 35-40 pages into the speech that you can find the rebuttal of this).

This is just something I noted after I posted here when I started the game anew on an easy setting since the only thing I'm really interested in is the story.

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I'd probably make a wager with you at this point, assuming you'd claim that such a twist would happen whereas I'd say it wouldn't.

Heh. Well since I've played the game to its end, then you probably don't want to make any wagers with me about what is or isn't in it.

On a side note, you claimed that

letting people get out of Rapture would be a security risk for Rapture.

Am I to conclude from this that you are in favor of enslaving people in the name of their "security"?

It's a secret city, protected only by the fact that nobody knows about it! You're obviously unfamiliar with how things work during wars and are attempting to oversimplify this thing.

You can see in front of you the poster saying "Mind over Matter." The poster is an ad for Ryan's plasmids and the telekinetic abilities they give you... "Mind over Matter" is a non-Objectivist notion to the core.

You're joking, right?

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It's a secret city, protected only by the fact that nobody knows about it! You're obviously unfamiliar with how things work during wars and are attempting to oversimplify this thing.

Moreover, we are unaware of the agreements that were made upon entry. I believe it can be safely assumed that one would be aware of the "no leaving" rule before entry. Ryan didn't bring people down there at gun-point.

remember that instance when you enter Rapture for the first time and you're shown a movie? After the movie, you are driven in the pod through Rapture exterior and finally you enter a tube. You can see in front of you the poster saying "Mind over Matter." The poster is an ad for Ryan's plasmids and the telekinetic abilities they give you... but "Mind over Matter" is a non-Objectivist notion to the core.

This is context-dropping. Surely you're not confusing that advertisement (and even the ability itself within the context of the game world) to be an outright endorsement of primacy of consciousness.

The phrase "Mind over matter" doesn't mean anything unless put into context. An individual could be considered to be doing "mind over matter" just for inventing something that the body couldn't otherwise do (Airplanes).

More generally, because you've had a paltry 2 hours (which is like 10% of the game), and concluded it's message, while we're telling you that everything is not as it seems. Play the remaining 90% of the game and come and argue. Right now, you're grasping at underdeveloped straws and making conclusions based on 10% of the data available to you.

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I just finished Bioshock about 10 days ago, I actually bought it because I had heard some connections with Ayn Rand, and GameInformer (a magazine I subscribe to) gave it a really high rating (like 10/10 if I remember correctly)

From what I have heard since from interviews (some may have been linked to here) it seemed that the game was actually focused on a self contained universe. Both Bioshock and System shock had no access to the outside world (I assume this as I have never played SS)

Galt's Gulch was what the designers modeled the city after, in order to get this self contained feeling. I think that this was the main pull from A.S. (not the philosophy so much as the setting)

The developers then took some of the philosophical background.

As far as I could tell, Andew Ryan was a mix of Galt and Wynand. When things were going easy, he preferred the free market. But when he ran into trouble with Fontaine, he needed to control the city. Ryan started off as a decent guy, however his error of letting in anyone (not just those with the correct philosophy) eventually caused his insanity and downfall. He did not understand that allowing any leader in to rapture was just as bad as allowing any person off the street. He believed that any captian of industry must have the right philosophy. Instead of being as strict as Galt, Ryan allowed everyone who was a leader to enter rapture. I saw rapture as a somewhat expected outcome of Galt's Gulch, if Galt had allowed Orren Boyle to enter.

Edited by Guruite
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I saw rapture as a somewhat expected outcome of Galt's Gulch, if Galt had allowed Orren Boyle to enter.

That's about right, except even more of an eyes-open master con-man. I think that this is basically what Levine wanted to say with this - the tragedy of what happens when you have "ordinary" people attempt to live in a "Utopia" like Galt's Gulch.

I think Levine is a bit of a libertarian and doesn't understand that we Objectivists don't expect to simply impose a laissez-faire society from the top down - that we understand the need for a philosophical revolution first.

So the theme isn't really anti-Objectivist per se. Because Objectivism never said that a society could work without a philosophic base supporting it - quite the opposite in fact.

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