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A different look at Bioshock

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While people here have had some great discussion about Bioshock, I think I've noticed something that hasn't been brought up yet (yell at me if it has).

The Big Daddy+Little Sister relationship is a perfect example of objectivism being successful. The Big Daddy does not protect the Little Sister out of altruism, he does not do it because he feels bad for the creature that can not protect itself. Rather the Big Daddy does it because the Little Sister gives him something in return. Together they form an effective team, but they do it for their own interests. Tell me if i'm stating something obvious but I just thought this was interesting.

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Thats an interesting point. I really enjoyed Bioshock but I still don't know what to think of it. It seems to cast Objectivism in a good light many times, some of the quotes by Andrew Ryan are fantastic. But in the end, Rapture was an Objectivist utopia gone wrong but the game never really raised a point as to what was wrong with Objectivism that led it to this.

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... in the end, Rapture was an Objectivist utopia gone wrong but the game never really raised a point as to what was wrong with Objectivism that led it to this.

I think that was intentional. I haven't heard of the game makers being anti-Objectivist. It's more a case of, if you travel to an Objectivist utopia done right, there's not much action. No action = no game!

I thought the creators did a good job of showing an isolated human society growing steadily more eccentric with the passage of time. It wasn't a flaw of Objectivism per se, but a flaw of a human society.

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Thats an interesting point. I really enjoyed Bioshock but I still don't know what to think of it. It seems to cast Objectivism in a good light many times, some of the quotes by Andrew Ryan are fantastic. But in the end, Rapture was an Objectivist utopia gone wrong but the game never really raised a point as to what was wrong with Objectivism that led it to this.

Wasn't it ultimately the interference of outside forces that contributed to Rapture's downfall? My memories are a bit fuzzy.

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If I remember right, Rapture failed because of Fontaine's illegal and manipulative actions, which ultimately set a chain reaction which led to the city's destruction. Seeing his city falling sent Ryan mad, which contributed to it's end. Ultimately, I think the biggest problem is that Ryan was never a fully-realized Objectivist. He was a business man with good premises, but he wasn't a philosopher in any sense, and neither were the people who lived in the city.

So the ultimate thing that led to Rapture's destruction was the fact that no one who lived there was explicitly Objectivist. Hell, Ryan was really the only implicitly Objectivist person. Combine that with the fact that the city had to be completely secret form the rest of the world - it was doomed from the beginning.

I think it was a pretty good dystopia story all together, but it's clear that the creators had some pretty mixed premises themselves, which ultimately works toward the story's detriment.

Also, about big-daddies -- weren't they brainwashed? I don't remember completely, but I never got the impression that they were volunteers in the matter (And neither were the little girls).

I don't really think the big-daddy/little sister relationship is a very good way to represent Objectivism though, especially considering what the little-sisters were and how they were used. It could deffinetely give the wrong impression to a layperson.

Edited by Sarrisan
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I think what made Rapture fall was the lack of a military/police force capable of dealing with any rights violations coming from the use of plasmids. I remember a recording in which Ryan says, "the government won't stop the use of plasmids - let the free market decide." It seems that whoever wanted to characterize Rand's philosophy, failed to do so accurately; they assumed Objectivists are in favor of anarchy.

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I think what made Rapture fall was the lack of a military/police force capable of dealing with any rights violations coming from the use of plasmids. I remember a recording in which Ryan says, "the government won't stop the use of plasmids - let the free market decide." It seems that whoever wanted to characterize Rand's philosophy, failed to do so accurately; they assumed Objectivists are in favor of anarchy.

I agree with that theory. It is, however, still one of my favorite games of all time.

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I think what made Rapture fall was the lack of a military/police force capable of dealing with any rights violations coming from the use of plasmids. I remember a recording in which Ryan says, "the government won't stop the use of plasmids - let the free market decide." It seems that whoever wanted to characterize Rand's philosophy, failed to do so accurately; they assumed Objectivists are in favor of anarchy.

I never actually considered that part of it. Excellent observation. Another example of how Ryan really wasn't an Objectivist -- he was close, but no dice.

The think the main problem (If you consider it as such) is that they (The creators) weren't interested in making an argument against or for Objectivism, or even Laissez-faire. They simply wanted an interesting setting to place their game in.

And, well, I think they succeeded. Bioshock, despite it's problems, was very immersive and had an excellent environment that really drew you in. If the game mechanics weren't so... well, that's another discussion. A good game, definitely, overall.

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The think the main problem (If you consider it as such) is that they (The creators) weren't interested in making an argument against or for Objectivism, or even Laissez-faire. They simply wanted an interesting setting to place their game in.

I recall that the person behind the whole game had a background in philosophy or literature, and specifically referenced Atlas Shrugged as the inspiration for this. Whether the negative results of Rapture imply an attack on Rand is debatable. If it is an attack, it's a straw man.

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the creator did not set out to attack Objectivism.

His stated purpose is to criticse the idea of "taking things too far". This is of course nonsense, he explicitly says that any idea practiced consistently leads to disaster due to lack of compromise etc.

That is the bad idea behind the game, not an attack on capitalism or Objectivism.

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I'm playing through this right now, and I think I might try to write up a review once I'm all done. I can't decide yet what the creator's intention is. It seemed obvious at first but the plot seems like it will be slightly more complex than that now. I'm not reading the entire thread for fear of spoilers. :D

It's definitely not a game I would have played if it weren't for the Objectivist tone.

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