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libGommi
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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.

Yes, I was wondering whether I mentioned that in my post.

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 are forgetting that in this "secret city" there have been newborn children. How should they be introduced to the fact that they are forbidden to leave Rapture?

Also the absence of a contract between those who enter and the "owner" of Rapture is also noted. In my opinion, this is very important. Yet it's missing from the game. (If it's introduced later, cut me some slack. I've only just seen Neptune destroyed and saved the plants.)

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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.

Within the context of the game, the ad is for the plasmids which give you certain abilities to affect your surroundings by merely thinking about it. Now, even in the real world that kind of technology is concievable to me, but no matter what solution is eventually found, you will always have humans obeying the laws of nature in order to get something done no matter WHAT kind of technology you are using. This means that even if we one day develop the technology to enable ourselves telekinesis, that technology will be dependent on certain material things because at the very least you need to send energy by a process of thought to an object you are moving in order to move it (or it has the energy and your mind only tells the object to do the thing you want it to do). This is not "mind over matter". It never can be. This is mind working with matter, in accordance with the laws of nature, in order to produce the described effect.

Simply stating "Mind over matter" IS the primacy of consciousness. It means that the mind is somehow more powerful than matter, i.e. it has primacy over it. Well, it doesn't. For one thing, it cannot even exist without matter.

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You are forgetting that in this "secret city" there have been newborn children. How should they be introduced to the fact that they are forbidden to leave Rapture?

So? It's war. In the middle of World War II, were people who knew national secrets just allowed to decide that they wanted to go live in Germany? Now suppose that everyone who lived in the country knew national secrets and would be giving them away simply by the fact of leaving.

Simply stating "Mind over matter" IS the primacy of consciousness. It means that the mind is somehow more powerful than matter, i.e. it has primacy over it. Well, it doesn't. For one thing, it cannot even exist without matter.

You're being too literal and dropping the context. It's freaking telekinesis, not a statement of primacy.

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So? It's war. In the middle of World War II, were people who knew national secrets just allowed to decide that they wanted to go live in Germany? Now suppose that everyone who lived in the country knew national secrets and would be giving them away simply by the fact of leaving.

I'm not exactly sure how this city qualifies as war (I am not arguing.. I just don't remember how it would be considered war). Also,

the people of rapture have at least some ability to alter/wipe memories... like they did to the main character

. However, aside from these two points... I don't know how just a country could be if it insisted on quarantining each and everyone of its citizens... It just seems to be very unjust.

Maybe ill need to think on this more.

Edited by Guruite
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So? It's war. In the middle of World War II, were people who knew national secrets just allowed to decide that they wanted to go live in Germany? Now suppose that everyone who lived in the country knew national secrets and would be giving them away simply by the fact of leaving.

The point is that a society can never function if one single person is able to destroy it and the society can't do anything about it. You can't protect a country solely by secrets.

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The point is that a society can never function if one single person is able to destroy it and the society can't do anything about it. You can't protect a country solely by secrets.

If a society will be destroyed by the secret being revealed, then they have a right to defend their lives. Plus, I can't imagine that this wasn't a condition for joining in the first place. Ryan mentioned a contract at least once and he strikes me as the type that would have thought ahead. The point - to borrow your phrase - is that you can't just contextlessly condemn the situation sheerly on the fact that people are being kept against their will.

The protesters were clearly controlled and fueled by the villain of the game. The protest, like many other such scenes, are red herrings designed to fake you out for the plot twist that comes later. But you'd have to play it though to see that.

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If a society will be destroyed by the secret being revealed, then they have a right to defend their lives. Plus, I can't imagine that this wasn't a condition for joining in the first place. Ryan mentioned a contract at least once and he strikes me as the type that would have thought ahead. The point - to borrow your phrase - is that you can't just contextlessly condemn the situation sheerly on the fact that people are being kept against their will.

Sure they have the right because people agreed to the contract.

I'm just saying that it is a very bad starting point for a (large and growing) society if any single person can easily destroy it. It's like handing out atomic bombs to each citizen and then build up a huge police apparatus monitoring everyone and constantly violate property rights so that noone can use them.

A state needs to be able to retaliate (and you can't retaliate and survive attacks of individuals, otherwise it is doomed sooner or later.

If Rapture had a standing army things would have turned out quite differently.

The only exception is a small 'Gulch' where all individuals agree on principles and where each member is hand-picked. Then secrecy - i.e. an agreement - can work. Rapture seemed to me like a place where all inhabitants agreed on Capitalism, but for different reasons, they didn't share the same philosophical foundation.

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I'm just saying that it is a very bad starting point for a (large and growing) society if any single person can easily destroy it... Rapture seemed to me like a place where all inhabitants agreed on Capitalism, but for different reasons, they didn't share the same philosophical foundation.

Yes, basically that is the meat and bones of it. If anything, it's a cautionary tale of what happens to even a very great society when the Libertarian, rather than Objectivist, method is used. Really quite ironic since Levine himself asked me why Objectivists have such a problem with Libertarianism. He's kind of answered his own question.

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You are discussing things of little relevance.

First of all, who's Andrew Ryan at war with? The rest of the world? Let's say he is. So what? Rapture is by centuries more superior in technology and could destroy any force the world could send to destroy Rapture. What means does the rest of the world have to destroy the underwater city anyway? Submarines? I think that one shock plasmid would be quite sufficient do disable at least one of them. Not to mention all the rest of the weapons. Face it, the world stands no chance against Rapture even if the secret gets revealed.

Second of all, when I mentioned dr. Steinmann I wasn't just talking about how immoral or insane he is. What I was talking about is the very fact that he even exists in a free society. In a free society (and therefore on a market that is free), he would be at least imprisoned because he mutilated his own clients. And it was against their will. That he would be a complete failure on such a market is also obvious because after he does one deliberate mutilation he can no longer be trusted by his other clients. He'd go bankrupt AND go to jail, or worse (for him).

Also, what kind of business is it that the villain is into? Smuggling? SMUGGLING?! In a free society? Is this a joke? There is no such thing as "smuggling" in a free society. In a free society merchants sell what their buyers wish to buy. And if it's the Bibles and crosses then so be it. The government does not tamper with the economy, not by contract or force or any other means.

Ont he other hand, if it WAS a contract that those people signed to move into Rapture, then we aren't talking about government. We are talking about business and no businessman can act like the government. Certainly, businessmen can secure their premises and throw people out or sue them or even kill them if they pose immediate threat, but no business can claim the monopoly on force - retaliatory or otherwise. Such monopoly is to be reserved for the government, and the government does not sign business contracts. From what I've seen, Andrew Ryan acts like a bit of both - the government and the businessman - which is another non-Objectivist notion.

Just in case you're wondering what the difference is between Rapture and Galt's Gulch, then take a look at the filters they have on who to let in and who to not let in. While Rapture is open to anyone if they wish to enter (and sign a contract if there was one anyway), Galt's Gulch is closed to all except a select few. Or have you forgotten that John Galt himself interviewed everyone who was inside the Gulch before admitting them in? People in Galt's Gulch are creators; people in Rapture are just about anyone.

Another difference is when you wish to exit. Anyone can leave Galt's Gulch; nobody was allowed to leave Rapture.

Edited by source
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What means does the rest of the world have to destroy the underwater city anyway? Submarines? I think that one shock plasmid would be quite sufficient do disable at least one of them.

I don't agree with that estimate. To say the least. Submarines and electricity do not work that way. Furthermore, a mere plane crash put a very big hurt on the place. A single submarine attack would annihilate it.

Second of all, when I mentioned dr. Steinmann I wasn't just talking about how immoral or insane he is. What I was talking about is the very fact that he even exists in a free society.

I don't think that it's a reasonable assumption that he was operating in that way before the breakdown of law and order.

Also, what kind of business is it that the villain is into? Smuggling? SMUGGLING?! In a free society? Is this a joke?

No, it's not the "smuggling" as such; it's the fact that they were in contact with the outside world.

Just in case you're wondering what the difference is between Rapture and Galt's Gulch

Who are you talking to? Didn't you read my last post?

Another difference is when you wish to exit. Anyone can leave Galt's Gulch; nobody was allowed to leave Rapture.

Not true. Did you read my post where I asked if you remember when Dagny asked if she was a prisoner or a guest? What do you suppose was the meaning of the answer that was given to that question?

"The choice will be yours, Miss Taggart."

Is that answer "No, you are not a prisoner because even if you left with the intent of revealing this place to the world it would be an initiation of force to stop you."

No it wasn't, but that is the answer you have been giving. Yet that was not the answer given to Dagny. So I think you should check your premises.

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  • 7 months later...

I played BioShock before I became an Objectivist, and it's the best game I've ever played.

Ryan is the hero, but he fails for reasons already mentioned (letting any Capitalist in, not those with the same philosophy).

As far as the destruction of the city goes, in his mind it is no different than him burning down his forest when he was still on the surface to keep it from being nationalized

Oh, and I thought the voiceover work on the game was phenomenal. I was surprised to hear that Armin Shimmerman did the voice for Andrew Ryan. If they make a BioShock movie, I don't know how I can see it with anyone else's voice playing Ryan.

Edited by Sir Andrew
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I played BioShock before I became an Objectivist, and it's the best game I've ever played.

Except for the average gameplay (it's more or less a standard 3D shooter) perhaps, but the story makes the game a jewel in my collection ;)

Oh, and I thought the voiceover work on the game was phenomenal. I was surprised to hear that Armin Shimmerman did the voice for Andrew Ryan. If they make a BioShock movie, I don't know how I can see it with anyone else's voice playing Ryan.

Too bad he doesn't have the figur of Ryan ;)

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I finished this game months ago, and honestly I don't see what the big deal is. Perhaps it is just because gamers like anything that has modern graphics (even though more often than not they just make things look cheap like everything is laminated). Or maybe because first person shooters are so bereft of anything unique that the take on Rand becomes a breath of fresh air. Technically speaking the game was well done. It ran well, had more or less great graphics, an interesting story and method to show it. The highlight of the game for me was the great art-deco style all over Rapture.

However, overall I thought it was very mediocre. Above all was the constant hacking, which is just a rip-off of an old PC game "Pipe Dreams". The enemies are incredibly repetitive, only a handful in all. The difficulty is not very challenging, save for the very first Big Daddy. Once you get certain weapons or items early on, they break the game and it's extremely easy to breeze through if you like (throughout the second half I was constantly maxed out in ammo, health, and money). The game attempts to innovate by including a lot of various powers to use. Unfortunately, they are negligible at best. They can be entirely ignored until you need it to pass some incredibly cliche obstacle (fire melts ice!). The only one of real use was the Big Daddy controller. Bioshock puts a lot of emphasis on customizing your weapons and powers, but because of their gimmick only status and the relative ease, it doesn't really matter. Almost all of the hacking enhancements I never touched for example.

Normally, if it weren't for my interest in Objectivism I probably wouldn't have played Bioshock. One reason I decided to check it out was a reccomendation I read. They praised the game for putting you in situations that make the player consider moral choices. I was disappointed here as well. The only real situation the game puts you in is choosing to save the little sisters or kill them (take a wild guess which one is good and which one is bad - yeah some serious intellectual work going on there). Near the end of the game my hopes rose as

the player is encouraged to become a Big Daddy in order to continue on and pursue Fontaine.

. I was hoping this would be a perfect way to allow the player to choose whether or not to sacrifice his health for Tenenbaum's goal. It could have made a very interesting situation. Unfortunately they did not explore this, and the player simply has to follow through to continue at all. After that the games ending felt extremely blunt, and rushed. The ending was so anticlimactic it was pathetic. For all the games graphical glitz and glamor all they can muster up is some measly voice over and a few still pictures?

Bioshock rides on a wave of hype and ideas ripped off from Rand. The developers attempt to innovate but it didn't turn out quite right in the end. As I understand it the creators had to (ironically) compromise on a lot of features they wanted to put into the game, and the moral choice aspect wound up muted. If they could seize upon the idea more and vastly expand on it, the sequel could be interesting, but I won't hold my breathe. After all that's what Fable claims to do, and even that winds up uncompelling.

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I agree with a lot of what IchorFigure said. It would have been more interesting if the hacking had more to it, and if you could actually invent things (to some degree) rather than just picking up meaningless items and having the work done for you. I also agree about the game being broken. The end was very easy to beat for me (medium setting). And the final ending sequence was a joke.

Edited by brian0918
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My major disappointment was the morality factor in the game. That was a big hyping point and it ended up being a really obvious and simple choice. And there was only that one choice you had to make throughout the game. Despite that and the other criticisms, most of which I agree with, Bioshock is still one of my favorite games. The story was just completely amazing, I was constantly immersed in its incredible world. I am really excited for the sequel. Hopefully with all of this money behind them, they won't have to compromise on anything and it will be way better.

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One of my biggest objections with the game was the very much publicized 'morality' choices you had to make. Let's face it, people, these were so contrived that you couldn't really take them seriously. As my friend Charbile put it on his journal:

...Of course, the thing you harvest is a little girl. Could be a test tube, could be something you have no care about, but the artist knows he can grab your bleeding heart by using a little girl.

Do you people enjoy that? Do you get in big circles and talk about how awful it was when you played Super Little Girl Food Harvest, and how much you cried when you had to raise little girls to cut them down like wheat, how genius the artist was in making a game modeling farming--but instead of corn or carrots, there's little girls! Entirely made-up, of course. But would anyone be surprised if it wasn't?

It seems to me that Levine simply couldn't find a way to create a feasible set of moral choices in the game world he had created that had any real relevance... so he decided to stick little girls (in PINAFORES, for crying out loud) in the midst of it. This is a rather cheap iteration of The Littlest Cancer Patient (http://community.livejournal.com/m15m/2025.html?thread=94441) Trope, except that in this case you're the possible cancer.

In the end, though, I think Brook hit it on the head:

"It seems to me that he's misrepresented what Ayn Rand believes and her ideals beyond objectivism," he said. "He's setting it up to fail. He believes , based on what I've read, that any system that is absolutist is ultimately going to lead to disastrous effect. Any system of black and white, any system of ultimate morality."

So, yes... the game? The art design was marvelous. The mechanics were good. The morality implementation was infantile at it most mature, and the story itself was very much a jab that philosophy and certainty are impractical and that the best thing any of us can do is be middle-of-the-roaders because extremes are evil in all instances.

I must admit I got a lot more satisfaction out of a contrived RPG like Mass Effect than I did out of Bioshock.

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  • 1 month later...
Why wound anyone who supports Objectivism want to support this game?

In the first question/answer from the Gamespot interview the designer states that he doesn't think there are (moral) black and whites.

I'm wondering why this game, among other FPS games available, would appeal to an Objectivist?

I just started playing this the other day, so I'm not very far into the storyline yet. So far it comes off as a post-apocalyptic zombie type game, but there are some fun aspects to it. The game randomly includes banners and tape recordings you can play that have Objectivist ideas, which I find to be very neat.

It's a fun game and I like the ability to "hack" all the electronic devices. It's really an enjoyable aspect to the game and some of the puzzles can be intellectually challenging, which is a nice change of pace from the standard mindless shoot-em-up games.

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  • 1 year later...

I have played BIOSHOCk since it came out. I've played it through about 3 or 4 times now.

Just as a prelude to what I'm about to say: I suppose this will be boring and many times superfluous, but I feel that the context is important to where I'm coming from and to the purpose of honesty. I was an evangelical Christian for the majority of my life - very intellectual though. I only had one friend (who is still my only friend) for many years (since the 6th grade). In my freshman year of high school, my friend and I were almost parallel in our current studies of Biblical contradictions (which if not for that leap, I would not be here writing this). This to say that I was more "active-minded" in this point in my life, and continue one from there still. One day we were conversing about video games and he mentioned a new game (BIOSHOCK) that the next weekend I should get together with him and check it out. His reason was that I was well experienced in a variety of video game generes, and that I had an imperviance to "horror" themes, in which case, he wanted me to get throught the first level of BIOSHOCk be cause he was tacitly inexperienced and too frightened at the time. So I came over to his house that weekend and gave it a looksee. Blah blah blah, "new game", loading screen.... BAM!!!!! ANDREW RYAN!!!! "A city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small!" Such bold words struck me with an awe that changed my life forever.

What was this man's method of reasoning that he is so "arrogant", yet, deep in my rational subconscious, I agreed with it all. I was not atheist at the time, but I did in fact revere them as more intelligent than I since I agnowledged that my thread of a belief in god was illogical. After playing throught to the second level - all the propoganda, all the diaries, all the dialogue, ALL THE ACTION! I went home and devoted about a weeks worth of study to where in the HELL these developers got their fundamentals for the plot to this fascinating work. After discovering the link from Andrew Ryan to Ayn Rand - after doing a small (but sufficient) amount of research on Objectivist philosophy... I came to the conclusion, or more so the discovery that the game developers had created something grander than they knew.

BIOSHOCK is extremely close to perfection in desrcibing and expressing Objectivist premises. Now please don't misrepresent me. Of course the game designers made some flaws in the gameplay and plot, but... the presentation of human application and (ironicly) misrepresentation of correct ideal can play out.

Now, I'm am going to presuppose that bu now you have played through the game because I honestly don't care about spoilers (for they are irrelevant) - here are my annotations on why my claims above or such in my perception:

Rapture- the perfect utopia, with imperfect people. Rapture is objectively the ideal society. Based in rational thought, i.e. anti-mysticism, anti-altruism, pro-capitalism, pro-aesthetic freedom and appreciation. Andrew Ryan is obviously a man with amny ideal parallel to Objectivism. Rapture was perfect. What he created was perfect. But, by the volition of the inhabitance of the coty, that perfection was tainted.

The awsome display of human achievement and technological advancement is proof to the fact that Rapture was the epidomy of (fictional) example of how objectivism affects societies, and what effects that brings.

But just as a post script to that one point, what about Ryan's previous achievements, before Rapture. It was his philosophy that allowed him to be so successfull. yet another example of how the application is quite a rational means of survivng on earth wouldn't you say!

Now, here's the deal - If you have not read any of Rand's works on compramising values, then I understand why you do not think BIOSHOCK is a pleasant example. But, it is not merited.

I don't have much time so I'll give you my thought's in a nut shell for now and give further annotation later if nescessary.

1. Fontaine was a cynic. He was amoral. His irrational selfishness and application of such via force led to Rapture's despoil.

His diregard for the ideals that kept the city in order were what inevitably led to him destroying any fuirther posibillity of leeching off of RYAN"S creation, because he was destroying it!

2. Ryan compramised his values. He did not follow his reason for the entire time. But with pardon - Fontain created a situation so that Ryan did not have many other choices. Ryan should have planned for men like him before-hand. Secondly, Ryan should have enforced law in a more effective and swift manner. His perfect usage of the term "parasite" was an important aspect that should not be taken on face value of its supposed "derogatory" nature. His incompetance to deal with the parasites led to his downfall.

These bring me to these conclusions:

BIOSHOCK displays both why Objectivism is so great and why it is important to not compramise your values - it shows perfectly well what happens if the irrational men, i.e. the parasites, take charge of society.

Lastly, it displays a potential to analyze things in a deeper fashion - what is the effect of extremism? Is the extremism what is the actual problem? Are there different sources of a similar problem?

Even if the developers where out to get Objectivism, BIOSHOCK did not allow me to be subverted to any lesser comprehension. It did not force the player into believing anything. If gives us reason to THINK.

I learned tree things basically from it:

1. that extremism is not at all bad when you are a radical for logic and truth.

2. The demagogues of irrational collectives are a great danger that should not ever be underestimated.

3. When your values are metaphysically rational and are compramised, you get nasty results.

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Congratulations and welcome :)

Ryan invited people who shared his political views instead of inviting people who share his philosophy. That was the downfall of Rapture (well, besides Rapture having no real means to defend itself, i.e. it had to rely on secrecy and travel and trade embargos).

Concerning extremism: The most extremist 'philosophy' is math. If you make an error the bridge will collapse. If you make no errors* you can fly to the moon.

(* or if you have a good error-handler which corrects the error)

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  • 2 months later...
  • 9 months later...

They're makeing a BioShock 3 now...

And again they will try to appeal to the cool kids with their "moral grayness" and denouncing any radical ideology. And yet they'll be branded mavericks by large hordes of people imagining they themselfs are mavericks ignoring the well... other people in the horde.

Needed to get this out of my sistem :dough:

...all better now ^_^

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  • 2 weeks later...

They're makeing a BioShock 3 now...

And again they will try to appeal to the cool kids with their "moral grayness" and denouncing any radical ideology. And yet they'll be branded mavericks by large hordes of people imagining they themselfs are mavericks ignoring the well... other people in the horde.

Needed to get this out of my sistem :dough:

...all better now ^_^

It's also anti-"imperialistic", portraying the egotistical U.S. flaunting its petty "American exceptionalism".

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