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Political Ideology in BioShock

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hey-little-sister-what-have-you-done dept.

Games 62

An anonymous reader writes "Julian Murdoch at the usually-excellent Gamers With Jobs has a preview of BioShock up today. Far from being a normal piece on the game's graphics and gameplay, it delves deep into designer Ken Levine's attempts to include some extremely complex and controversial political ideologies as the baseline for the title: 'The point of BioShock, the raison d'etre, is really the story, and the messages and intellectual content that Levine tries to deliver as a payload. "Look at Lord of the Rings," he challenges. "Why is Lord of the Rings more interesting than random RPG story number 507? They're exactly the same thing. They have orcs and goblins and demons and trolls. But Lord of the Rings is a meditation on power. And it's really interesting because of that. It's what gives it it's heart." And with undenied hubris, Levine's trying to do the same thing with BioShock.'"

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Game Looks Like Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19394827)

Oh joy another Slashvertisement masquerading as some deep insight into the gaming world.

At least it wasn't another fucking attempt at doing hype or damage control for the Halo 3 fiasco.

Political gaming? (4, Funny)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19394945)

So, like. You can vote republican AND rape little girl like aliens?

Re:Political gaming? (3, Insightful)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19394991)

CAN? Hell, isn't that one of the planks of the platform?

Re:Political gaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19395487)

No, no. They are quite clear on this. They do not "rape." They practice "enhanced intercourse techniques."

Re:Political gaming? (2, Insightful)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396009)

Oh, right. Nonvoluntary Noninteractive Copulative Treatment. I forgot about that! It goes along with Discomfort Creation for Informational Access Initiatives and Voluntary Mandatory Regulatory Compliance.

Re:Political gaming? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395523)

So, like. You can vote republican AND rape little girl like aliens?

Come on, this is slashdot here. You should at least get the difference between little girl-like aliens and little girl-like mutants right.

Re:Political gaming? (1)

mink (266117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429251)

They are not mutants (as in natural occuring mutations), they are GMO.
Sorry no Bioshock for the EU.

Who will get offended (3, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19394949)

Wonder how many people will get "offended" if the games political ideology is different then theirs? For a 100% fictitious example: Someone plays GTA 37 and kills hookers and has no problems. Burns people and runs them over, again no problems. Their in game girlfriend gets an abortion, or says the like democrat / republican, or says the world is more than 6000 years old...all hell breaks loose.

Re:Who will get offended (4, Interesting)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395121)

And how many people will play the game completely oblivious to the political ideology? There's a reason why the masses love summer romantic comedies.

Re:Who will get offended (2, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395131)

ya good point. Guess I am giving too much credit to those who might play this game. I'm sure the reviews will be all about graphics vs. anything deeper.

Re:Who will get offended (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395849)

There's a reason why the masses love summer romantic comedies.
Well lets be fair. half of the masses love the summer romantic comedies, the other half love the action/sci-fi/fantasy extravaganzas. Or is saying somebody who loves Harry Potter is just like the masses not fit into your attack.

Re:Who will get offended (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396167)

I certainly was not attacking those that enjoy the fluff movies. There are times when I enjoy completely mindless movies. They have their place the same as sports or action movies. The point is, the masses enjoy the fluff pieces because they can sit down and not have to dwell on the plot. It's fed to them in little bite sized pieces to allow easy consumption.

Re:Who will get offended (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396401)

So there's no overlap?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, not everything has to have some deep political meaning just because some things do, sometimes they're just fun, and both republicans and democrats alike are allowed to have fun.

But why interject politics into a game when you risk alienating nearly 50% of the market? I guess that number is way too high - there's a lot more slashdotters who pay attention to politics than the average teenage gameplayer, who doesn't even know the name of the president.

But I think that, in this case, Objectivism is simply the background story. I don't really think it's intertwined that much with the actual shoot-em up, FPS gameplay. The little girls might as well be mutant frogs... it's all the same, it's just got a different face.

Re:Who will get offended (2, Insightful)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399247)

I think American History X did a good job of presenting controversial material in a balanced manner.

American History X overall message was put forward in an Abraham Lincoln quote, 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'

But the movie doesn't try to bullshit you that there aren't reasons for hating minorities and immigrants. It's trying to say that you shouldn't let those reasons outweigh the reasons against hating minorities and immigrants. The Neo-Nazi main character is portrayed in a positive light and as being justified in many portions of the movie. His arguments are not contradicted within the film, it's just that in the latter half of the movie they present opposing arguments.

They don't argue that black criminals don't kill whites often. Instead they showed an innocent black guy saving the nazi, and also a black guy killing his little brother.

So even if the game settles on one side of an issue, it can at least portray pros and cons from both sides fairly so that it can minimize the negative impact on audiences that disagree.

Re:Who will get offended (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396481)

And how many people will play the game completely oblivious to the political ideology?

Well, the mark of a good game - of any good piece of storytelling really - is that it can be appreciated on more than one level. Those who just want a "kick-ass shooter" will play it as such and hopefully have a good time. Those who like a bit of brain candy with their mindless violence will pick up on the politics

And yeah, some of them will probably take offence. If no-one is offended, then Levine will have had nothing to say, and I don't think that's going to be the case after reading TFA.

All in all, this is starting to remind me of Deus Ex. That had good game play and made a top notch shooter; but it was also crammed full of some wonderfully subversive politics. One of my favourite memories from the game is still standing at the bar, upstairs at the Lucky Money Club, and arguing politics with the bartender.

If Levine can get the mix right, he could be on to the best game in a decade. For my money, anyhow.

Well, let's put it this way (1, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399553)

Well, let's put it this way: it also tells you that people are looking for _entertainment_, not for a lopsided lecture in why you should vote for the republicans in the next elections.

I'll even go ahead and say that I'm one of those who _will_ choose to ignore the ideology bullshit, because the alternative would be to actually get annoyed that some idiot lectures me in his half-baked misunderstood ideology. And I'll even tell you why.

1. Because, as I was saying, I'm looking for some simple, sanitized entertainment. I use my brains enough at for other stuff, I have plenty of _real_ stuff to worry about, I don't want games too to be a stress factor and a guilt trip. When I play a game, I want my decisions to be simple no-RL-consequences stuff like "do I look for the princess in the blue castle or the red castle first", not stuff like "damn, should I vote for the left or the right in the next RL election."

And when I'm done with the game, I want to be done with it, to have no more worries following me to bed. Sure, I might still have to find that princess in another castle, or I might have chosen to join the evil empire instead of the rebels, but that's game-only stuff that doesn't carry any consequences or lessons to the real world. It's just a game, it's just a meaningless scenario invented just for that quest, it can be quickly forgotten when I turn the computer off. The _last_ thing I'd want when I turn the computer off is to be followed by some moralizing bullshit or guilt, like, "damn, the game just told me that I should be ashamed for working for this company/country/party and that people like me are to blame for the global warming."

2. There are already plenty of PR hacks and politicians and journos peddling their ideology to me. In fact, there are entirely too many.

I need some time off from all that lopsided reporting and outright PR bullshit. I _don't_ need yet another wannabe Goebbels trying to peddle his ideology to me even when I'm just playing a computer game. Fuck off already, really. If I wanted more dogma, I'd have bought a party's newspapers, not bought a computer game.

3. Just because every barber and taxi driver can talk at length about "what should the government" do, it doesn't mean that they actually have any fucking clue what they're talking about. Most of their "common sense" solutions wouldn't even work. Most are based on pure ignorance of how things really work, and/or on mis-conceptions and false assumptions. And the same applies to game designers. Unless you're an economist or have a degree in political science, don't kid yourself, chances are that you don't know jack about how it really works.

Real politics are a damn complex thing, and the economics that underpins some of those decisions and issues are even more complex and problematic. There is almost _never_ a free meal, and no real win-win scenario. To get X you pay with Y, and the best you can hope for is the least crappy compromise where the costs doesn't out-weigh the gains. There is no easy "just push this button to win" strategy, or someone would have done it already.

Some things can't even be solved at the same time (but politicians will promise to anyway), because they're interdependent and pushing one down will automatically cause the other to rise. E.g., inflation and unemployment [] .

Basically: stick to what you know, really. If you're a game designer, stick to making games, not to politics lectures. Unless you have a degree in either economics or politics, chances are you don't even know what you're talking about.

And _especially_ I don't want to see another retarded economic "solution" from someone who hasn't even heard of keynesian economics [] . (Which is how the economy of all countries has worked ever since the Great Depression, and why we don't have the crisis and bankruptcy cycles that were the _norm_ in the 19'th century.) Even you don't aggree with the views of Keynes or with the way your government implements that, I'd expect someone to at least understand what they criticize and on what basis, before they can peddle their wonder-solution as a replacement.

And speaking of which, I'd expect everyone peddling a wonder-solution to, at the very least, have a thorough understanding (or believable theory of their own, if they don't aggree with the mainstream explanations) as to why and how the Great Depression [] happened. Just so we can cut already on "let's return to the same good old conditions that made that one possible" solutions being peddled.

4. There's a reason why there's more than one side to each problem, and more than one political party: one thinks that gaining X is totally worth losing Y, while the other thinks that Y is far more important than X and not worth giving up, a third thinks we should give both X and Y up to gain Z, and a fourth runs around with pencils up its nose and thinks it's an airplane.

All these wannabe propagandists invariably miss that. They have found their One True Way (TM) and act as if all the other points of view, or the real issues at stake don't exist or shouldn't be considered. Just vote the way he tells you and stop thinking about it too much already.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't actually do anyone any service. Fighting dogma with dogma doesn't make anyone any wiser.

Re:Well, let's put it this way (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405045)

I'll even go ahead and say that I'm one of those who _will_ choose to ignore the ideology bullshit, because the alternative would be to actually get annoyed that some idiot lectures me in his half-baked misunderstood ideology.

You seem to be assuming that the political subtext will be dealt with in a one sided manner. I don't think there's really anything from TFA to support that.

Obviously, it's your choice whether to engage with the ideas behind the setting, or just to shoot stuff, and there's nothing wrong in just shooting stuff. But it seems a bit unfair to sneer at a fellow for trying to add a bit of depth to a genre; depth that, I think most would agree, is sorely lacking in most contemporary games.

Re:Well, let's put it this way (1)

staxontoplyon23 (1111985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405431)

Oh please can I live in your perfect world where entertainment is mindless and blatantly and purposefully sidesteps any issue that might be thought provoking or have anything to do with philosophy or idealism? Oh yeah, we're allready 99% there, Beavis. God, 1 or 2 games come along in a generation without the same tired and derivative storyline and rather than welcome a refreshing change of pace you go crawl under your desk. Go ahead, I just hope theres better reaction to this game as well as the concept of having some depth to the story in a game then people like you whining, "Wah! its making me think about stuff... stuff bad." And I hardly think this game is going to shove some 1 sided ideology down your throat, if its anything like the previous games its going to be an interesting tapestry of competing insane ideas, all of them just as flawed and tainted with fanatacism as the ones in real life, that place you seem so desperate to ignore. Go ahead, theres the rest of the game industry output to choose from if thats what you want.

Here's a thought for you, Beavis (0, Flamebait)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19407813)

My dear Beavis, you seem to assume that there's no middle ground between (A) apathy, and (B) being spoon fed some nerd's bullshit utopias that never worked that way. Here's a thought for you: how about getting your politics and economy information from other places than video games? Dunno, buy/rent a book, go talk to an economist (you'd be surprised how economics make or break politics), study some history (you'd be surprised how it explains some stuff, for example the middle east), etc. Just a thought.

We have entirely too many idiots who base their bullshit utopias on novels instead of reality. We don't need more of them. Adding video games to the mix isn't even doing anyone any favour.

So, you know, it's time for me to sneer right back, if you need games to get you thinking.

Re:Here's a thought for you, Beavis (1)

staxontoplyon23 (1111985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19408383)

Well having just watched a documentary on how the US spends billions on helicopters to spread herbicide on Columbia instead of treatment for addicts, a plan for the 'drug war' that even the conservative Rand corporation said was the most economically inefficient and in reality the most ineffective, (not to mention very unhealthy for the people we're spraying that crap on) but done anyway for nothing other than military contractor and chemical corporation greed, I resent that remark slightly. I also know a thing or 2 about Guatemala, Nicaragua and Chiapas, let alone the fucked up policies in the middle east and the spoon fed BS terrorism threat that the current regime is using to bamboozle the stupid with. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed with the evils of greed and power creating worldwide misery that I feel too insignificant to do anything about, but that doesn't mean that a good Utopia gone wrong story involving people and their twisted political ideals turning paradise into smoking ruins will turn me off. Its just the opposite, I think if this clues one uninformed gaming idiot into thinking about broader issues than the tired old 'fighting the alien menace with buffed out space marines' then I say there should be more of it. I'm kind of surprised that someone like you would cringe away from such a thing, but you must have not really read the article or ever played the Shock games, its not about giving you some hippy dippy notion about how we can all get along, its about giving you a thought provoking story amid the same kind of power struggles and real problems that people face in the real word, even if it is set on some spaceship or underwater facility. I do think a hell of a lot about the things going on in this word, and the absolutely brain sucking moronic state of the whole entertainment industry is not helping, and its certainly not entertaining to me.

Re:Here's a thought for you, Beavis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19412023)

Just thought I would chime in and call this guy a douche.

Re:Who will get offended (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405081)

Good question, but the analogy is not appropriate. In games like GTA, nothing is (or should be) a surprise to the player. It's a game about wanton chaos, and that's what it delivers. Any political anti-establishment subtext is only controversial insofar as the gameplay itself.

With a game that purports to be (basically) survival-horror, as a spiritual successor to System Shock, let's assume that you're spending most of your time trying to solve the mysteries of an abandoned research station while avoiding (the equivalent of) zombies. There is no clear line to draw between that, and say, a statement about the Bush administration (witty rhetoric aside). On the other hand, that kind of subject matter would go beautifully in a game like Deus Ex, which is precisely about the abuse of immense political power by small groups of manipulators, and the kind of helplessness of the citizenry, followed by the necessity for social upheaval to counter it.

If you're playing Super Mario Bros, minding your own business of turtle-stomping, and then Princess Peach tells Mario she's pregnant and doesn't want the baby, well, that goes into the realm of inappropriate pushing of political ideology, whether you agree with the sentiments or not. It's not a question of "am I offended by this?" but rather "is this the game I wanted to play?" Another example that might hit closer to home: should HL2 be used to promote gay rights via an affair between Gordon and Barney? Is that what you bought HL2 to see? The idea that only prudish, conservative shut-ins would be "offended" by this (i.e. take issue with political opinions between shoved down people's throats) is a pipe dream of the far left; Hollywood's finest did bet on that dream in 2004 and gave us 4 more years of Bush as a result of a pandemic inability for celebrities to stay on topic -- that is, to look good and make movies, and not talk about how the common people would be better served by following the instructions of the nation's elite.

Any political topic can only legitimately be discussed in a two-way context. Media, including filmmakers and game developers, should keep this in mind. Otherwise you're preaching to the choir. Nobody is going to change their mind because a one-way message in a video game told them to, and more than likely you're just going to piss them off and entrench them in their dissenting opinion.

So, how long until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19394985)

...Jack Thompson decides to say something about this game?

Obligatory (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19394987)

...welcome our new underwater overlords.

Anyway, I have been following the development of this looks like it should be quite interesting, especially if the gameplay videos that were released on LIVE are indicative of the general direction of gameplay...yes, it was just a demo and is of footage that is not nearly complete, but still....I think Bioshock will be one of "the games to play" in 2007.

I also predict that it will become another Okami. Beautiful, fantastic, unknown.

hmm (2, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395001)

does anyone feel that bioshock (for as great as the system shock games were), comparing itself to one of the great stories of the last century kind of like a high school baseball player comparing himself to babe ruth?

It may be, but Tolkien hated allegory, and any comparison of lotr to ww2, ww1 or Europe at the time of the writing would come up seriously lacking. In fact, he writes about broader, more applicable things, power, nature vs destruction, hobbits, but politics? If lotr was about politics, it wouldn't have been made into movies nearly 45 years after it was published in complete form. The crucible was about politics, but instead of movies, they read it in highschool to explain McCarthyism and to explain why paranoia is bad.

Summary Recap: LOTR was not about politics, it was not an allegory. Anyone who says different should read the introduction to the book, written by Tolkien himself.

Re:hmm (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395229)

Did not RTFA, but I don't think the summary is saying the LOTR necessarily has anything to do with politics or allegory. It is just saying that LOTR is popular because it has more interesting thematic elements. I'm not sure I buy that argument though; I think LOTR is popular because it was a well told story. I don't know if thematically it was particulary unique or interesting.

Re:hmm (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395307)

Yes, but Peter Jackson said his movies are an allegory about technology with a healthy dose of thinly veiled racism. Who is right?

Re:hmm (1)

chelanfarsight (835467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395351)

he said that LOTR was a "meditation" on power, which is actually different from a direct allegory. Reading Tolkien's comments on elves, magic, and art in his collected correspondence it becomes clear that this does reflect certain aspects of LOTR. not being allegorical does not remove themes, concepts, familiar aspects of human living. tolkien is more directly referring to the attempt by some to correlate his work to the WWII, as well as attempting to draw any allegorical, one to one relation with the real world.

Re:hmm (1)

Nitack (1046362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395439)

Actually, Tolkien himself said that LOTR was rooted in Catholicism. He was a devout Catholic and the story started to reflect those beliefs. The two most poignant examples are the three forms of Jesus and the healing done by Arragon.

Three forms:
1. Jesus the Teacher - Gandalf
2. Jesus the Kind - Arragon
3. Jesus the Sacrifice - Frodo

Remember the line from Return of the King, "The hands of the king are the hands of a healer"... think of just a couple bible stories...

I am not in any way religious so this is not a tainted point, it is just the truth.

Re:hmm (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395535)

Um...It's ARAGORN, not Arragon...

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

PixelScuba (686633) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395601)

Arragorn was his pirate cousin.

No repentence, no salvation, no Catholicism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19397829)

If Tolkien intended Lord of the Rings to be any sort of a Christian story then he bungled the ending badly. The central theme of Christianity is redemption, but the central theme of everything that happens in LotR from the last fight with Gollum at mount Doom through the scourging of the Shire is that there can be no redemption for the wicked! Gollum dies fighting to save the ring. Sauron's armies are annihlated. Gandalf shows Sauruman and Wormtongue mercy, and they promptly stab him in the back by scourging the Shire. Nobody who committed evil repents, and none of them survive to see the last page. (Frodo was only tempted, he never committed a concrete act of evil)

If you do evil, you die horribly, no exceptions or second chances; LotR's morality is obviously judged by a vengeful old testament style god, not a long-haired forgive-us-our-sins hippie like Jesus.

Re:No repentence, no salvation, no Catholicism! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19399187)

Well, they did say that Tolkien was Catholic.

"You people don't celebrate your faith; you mourn it."

Re:hmm (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395773)

A story which is intended as a meditation on power would be an example of allegory, if you go by the dictionary definition: "The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form."

I don't think many people directly take their opinions on WWII from the Lord of the Rings, nor are the books a primer for a broader understanding of the war. At the same time, it's hard not to notice a certain correlation with the World Wars, just as it's hard not to notice a racist sub-text to his writings. It's one of the many things that lead to a more intense read.

Re:hmm (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396533)

I think "one ring = power" is so explicit that I would be reluctant to call it allegory. "One ring = atomic bomb" would be an example of allegory, though not one Tolkien intended.

The "meditation on power" is more about ideas and themes than allegory, like "does power or the desire for power lead to evil?" From the story perspective, I believe that the ring was fundamentally evil to begin with (it tried to return to its master, etc...) so I am not sure how much Tolkien intended it to be a "meditation on power."

Re:hmm (1)

sfarmstrong (1106577) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395807)

LOTR was not about politics, it was not an allegory.
Neither is Bioshock, as I understand it. Politics and political ideology are two different things. Example: Politics - Democrat vs. Republican Political ideology - Anarchist vs. Fascist

Re:hmm (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396605)

Just because the author insists that his work is "just a good yarn" doesn't mean that people can't re-interpret it. Take Fahrenheit 451-- Ray Bradbury always insisted that his book was about TV's destructive effects on reading, though everyone else on the planet interprets it as a dig at state censorship.

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396925)

Summary Recap: LOTR was not about politics, it was not an allegory. Anyone who says different should read the introduction to the book, written by Tolkien himself.

First of all, you can't trust everything everyone says/writes. They can be deluding themselves. Even highly intelligent people engage in this particularly self-destructive behavior.

Second, it might not have been about a particular event, but being written when it was it seems highly likely that real-world events motivated Tolkien, and even influenced his writings, even if it was only at the subconscious level.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19397427)

I don't think that Tolkien should be the ultimate arbiter of what his books mean. To take another situation that is radically different look at Michael Richards' racist tirade. I saw his apology on Letterman and I believe that he was truly sorry and that he really doesn't think he was racist. However, he has yet to convince me that he isn't a racist.
Tolkien may not think that there is allegory in Lord of the Rings but he has yet to convince me that there isn't.

Re:hmm (1)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19406693)

any comparison of lotr to ww2, ww1 or Europe at the time of the writing would come up seriously lacking

Tolkien was a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the Battle of the Somme in WW1. He started writing some of the Middle Earth backstories (the fall of Gondolin for example) while recovering from trench fever. His experience in trench warfare in WW1 definitely had an impact on his writing - that's the sort of trauma which stays with people for life.

Highly anticipated by me at least (3, Interesting)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395115)

If you have missed is, this game is made by many of the people behind horror classics System Shock/System Shock 2. It is my most anticipated game this year. I've actually stopped reading about it though, articles contain too many spoilers these days. However, if you liked the 40s-50s vibe of Fallout artwork, check out the great art deco posters in the game [] .

Re:Highly anticipated by me at least (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#19395643)

After seeing the screen shots, I'm a little worried about how the game will perform on my system. I understand that the PC has always been about pushing the graphical envelope, but some of these games (Supreme commander, Stalker, etc)are rediculous.

Re:Highly anticipated by me at least (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396589)

They should look at the steam hardware poll results to figure out the average system, then aim lower... much lower.

Re:Highly anticipated by me at least (2, Informative)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399483)

Supreme Commander is primarily CPU-limited, due to all the projectile trajectory and unit AI calculations.

More Importantly (2, Interesting)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19396663)

. . . will it run on my computer!?!

The article mentions use of the Quake 3 graphics engine. Are there any games currently out that use this system? They might help estimate the sytem reqs for BioShock.

By the way, people keep comparing this game to System Shock. I don't know much about that, but BioShock does remind me of Deus Ex. Different background themes certainly, but Deus Ex gameplay was driven by character customization choices and those plasmids sound similar.

Re:More Importantly (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19397963)

They refer to System Shock since it's the same team behind it, but they weren't allowed to make another System Shock since they didn't own the rights to the franchise.

I for one am looking forward to this game :)

Re:More Importantly (2, Informative) (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19398889)

Think you mean Unreal 3. AFAIK the only release is the xBox360 only Gears of War which obviously doesn't help; UT3 should be about the same release dates as BioShock.

Unreal 3 supports DirectX 10, so turning everything up to 11 is likely to max out any current box. More optimistically the engine also supports Linux (any word on BioShock?) and is likely to still give great graphics on more modest hardware.

Re:More Importantly (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399403)

I believe R6:Vegas also runs on PC, but that is still a rough comparison since R6:Vegas is much less ambitious in terms of graphics and is also a crappy PC port

Re:More Importantly (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19406657)

Huzah for modest hardware!

My Intel iMac runs HL2 well with medium graphics settings, but it can't handle HD lighting. So . . . maybe BioShock might run . . . maybe? I swore I'd never touch an XBox and I cry a little every time I boot into Windows, but I may be willing to make some small sacrifice.

Politicial themes in games... (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19397635)

Frankly I'm sick and tired of shooting Germans or aliens but I'm not tired of playing FPS games. I really hope that there are more games that are more adventurous and take on more imaginative themes. For example instead of having yet another game about a group of white soldiers in WWII, why not take one step outside and make it about one of the groups of African-American soldiers? Why not make it that you are a French citizen (maybe even a woman!) in occupied France? How about making the movie Glory into a game (or maybe not the movie since it was inspired by some real events) or how about a game like Thief that relies on hiding and stealth and if you try to attack someone you get killed or attract the attention of a bunch of people. Now imagine that the main character is an escaping slave. I'd much rather play those kinds of games than yet another WWII shooter featuring white soldiers killing Germans.

Re:Politicial themes in games... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19398001)

Jesus dude why are you so obsessed with playing a black person? Just go sleep with one and get it over with.

Re:Politicial themes in games... (1)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19403339)

Why not make it that you are a French citizen (maybe even a woman!) in occupied France?
You're being ironic, right? []

Re:Politicial themes in games... (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405735)

ummmm yes... absolutely...
[either that or there are so many Medal of Honor games I never even heard of that one. I might have to hunt it down]

Lord of the Rings. . . (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19397669)

I rarely post b/c, for the last 5 yrs that I've frequented Slashdot I've been too lazy to get an account and for the most part I just enjoy what you guys say, but I've gotta add some input here. For a split second the summary made me really interested in Bioshock. Then he claimed that the Lord of the Rings was a meaningful story. I like the Lord of the Rings as much as the next geek, but I also know a bit about literature and I understand that there is no hidden message. It is NOT a mediation on power, and this is underscored by the fact that Frodo is so weak. Unlike Bilbo, Frodo rarely used the power of the ring, and when he did he just endangered himself. The most powerful characters in the series were the antagonists, and like any run of the mill adventure tale, it's about the weaker good guys standing together to take on the more powerful evil nemesis. If you think Tolkien had a point other than using writing as a primitive form of World of Warcraft then you gotta be chasing the dragon more than Tolkien himself.

My question is, if this guy so grossly misinterpreted such a well known trilogy as Lord of the Rings, what makes him capable of crafting a meaningful storyline? If these video games want to compete on an artistic level they're going to have to hire writers such as Michael Crighton, William Gibson, or Alex Garland (first rendition of the Halo movie doesn't count). Anyway, just my 2 as a college kid working on his English degree.

Oh, and after reading the article, expressing political ideas through a negative utopia was outdated when Orwell did it. . . Furthermore, I'll believe the game translates objectivist ideas when I see it. Just because the creator has this in mind while he creates the game doesn't mean that it's commnunicated within the story. To me, this guy sounds very Molyneuxish - impractical big ideas. Lets hope he proves me wrong, but considering that I'm at odds with objectivism and I don't understand how it could be coherently examined within a video game, my pessimism persists.

Re:Lord of the Rings. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19399463)


Obvious troll and attempt at thread hijack.

Re:Lord of the Rings. . . (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399519)

I like the Lord of the Rings as much as the next geek, but I also know a bit about literature and I understand that there is no hidden message.

The themes include the corrupting allure of power, the value of mercy and sacrifice, the natural but dangerous fear of death, the conflict between industry and nature, the development of maturity through struggle, the inevitability of loss and change... I'm sure there are others, but it's been years since I read the books. I don't know how many of those messages count as "hidden" (and in fact I'm pretty sure some were quite overt), but if they're standard fare in the modern "run of the mill adventure tale" that's probably because so many modern adventures (and "high fantasy" in general) borrow heavily from Tolkien.

It is NOT a mediation on power, and this is underscored by the fact that Frodo is so weak. Unlike Bilbo, Frodo rarely used the power of the ring, and when he did he just endangered himself.

Umm.. isn't that exactly what makes LotR partly a meditation on power? The heavy (although sometimes inconsistent) message that lust for power can be so powerful and so dangerous that only an innocent can be trusted with it for any length of time? Frodo was physically weak, but spiritually strong: he managed to resist completely giving in to the ring through nearly the whole journey, and when he was weak enough to succumb to power it kept creating more problems than it solved.

You say you're an English major? What do you write about classic fantasy stories? "Oedipus can't be a tragic hero; he was just some king who screwed up and got his family killed!" If you don't understand the messages that Tolkien blatantly spelled out for the readers, what makes you so confident that you're not missing any hidden themes?

The most powerful characters in the series were the antagonists, and like any run of the mill adventure tale, it's about the weaker good guys standing together to take on the more powerful evil nemesis.

Isn't that itself a moral message? That good can overcome even a more powerful evil because "good guys" are capable of uniting whereas evil characters have to constantly worry about their allies betraying them? This isn't exactly PhD-level sociology, I'll grant you, but it's more meaningful than the average World of Warcraft quest.

Re:Lord of the Rings. . . (1)

staxontoplyon23 (1111985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19406541)

Wow, what a steaming pile of intelectual douche-baggery. First you come off like your snobby ideal of what an interpretation of Tolkien 'should be' must be applied to have any credibility, and then piss away all credibility, "If these video games want to compete on an artistic level they're going to have to hire writers such as Michael Crighton" You mean like "Timeline," that all time classic? Or I guess you never heard of it since it was pure sheite. Your concept of what great story telling should be probably would stifle any game's plotline into convoluted drivel.

This is where gaming should be going (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19398111)

I dunno if I am in the minority but gaming should (and will) point to gaming's future as the initial gaming population matures and demands more than more pixels and bigger guns. As goes the audience, so goes the games.

There will always be room for a no brains but plenty of brawn archetype game but in todays world, the more intelligent gamer has moved on from Duke and Sarge and the same thing over and over to demanding in depth plot. The story makes the game or even the setting a whole lot more powerful. Mention things like 'Shalebridge Cradle' and watch gamers eyes go wide and get the shakes. The buildup with the story, the whispers on the wind, the 'so freaked you don't want to turn the corner but must'....this is the gamer experience that will make any purchase worthwhile in my book.

Now we have Bioshock, written by an almost certified genius (IMHO), Ken Levine. A man with a background in some truly historic games who gets a chance to do 'his baby'....the baby thats been stewing in the back of his mind. A utopia created to bring out the best in humanity, populated by the best minds humantiy has at the time. But one discovery brews disquiet, and among the 'ideal' comes the same baser instincts of class jealousy, rebellion, and inevitable destruction. The background described here could almost be described as a 'grand experiment'. It's believable in its baser sense and probably was debated at more than one intellectual table somewhere in the world at one time - hell I would not put it past being actually experimented with at one time or another.

But this is a grander scale...imagine Howard Hughes at the prime of his business empire funding and suddenly its a little closer to the 'whoa- this shit could have happened'. Imagine him bringing in people like Henry Ford, Tesla, Einstein, Ayn Rand, Watson, Crick, & Franklin, and B.F Skinner together to set up a 'intellectual hive' away from the perils of the world at that time. Imagine them down there, all together, when something goes wrong and suddenly those baser elements of humanity resurface in a environment they cannot escape. Ideologies that were debated across tables suddenly become battle cries....Borderline theories that would have been stopped by a public persona run rampant without regulation...Beliefs based on race have now stepped past 'ideas' to 'actions'. The most cultured, nurtured, stable minds of the bases of a great society...subjected, warped by atrocities in front of their eyes, devolved to that of a now 'extremely smart animal'

And you got dropped in the middle of it....makes my neck hairs bristle to no end....and i have not even played the effin game yet!

This is how game development should go. Develop a story, a real plot that makes me want to go there. Sure it can be cliche but bring something original to the table. Entice me with a real decision to embrace my humanity or devolve (The idea that I may have to kill something innocent in order to survive -being the little girl harvesters- will probably be one of the most important game developments since FPS) Push me to make choices I must live with. And above all, make it free will...don't make me shuttle around like a mouse in a maze, give me the idea that I must explore to survive and give me a playing field that both scares me and entices me.

If all the elements are correct....and for once, I believe the hype that this may actually happen in Bioshock.....then we are looking at a true legendary game.

I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Jury is still out... (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399577)

I'm really not sure if this is going to be awesome or awesomely overhyped.

Generally, I don't like it when games intend a 'message' with their mechanics. I understand that the settings are incredibly beautiful and detailed, but having an artist spend 4 hours texturing a model for a future-retro art deco faucet doesn't have anything, really, to do with it being a good GAME.

I'd be interested to hear less about the physics and setting (ho-hum), and more about whatever sort of faction-system architecture that would have to underpin such a non-linear, freeform game. Is it a simple matrix, some of which are zero-sum (ie go up with Faction 1, go down with Faction 2) and some are related (go up with faction 1 by 10 points, this means you also go up in Faction 2 by 2 points)? Do the faction relationships change over time? Can the player's actions move factions' opinions of each other? Does the player's actions affect everyone in the faction instantly, or is there a communication lag before 'everyone' knows? Does the character build reputation? Do the character's actions only have an effect if they are observed? I mean, if the player wastes a Little Sister and her Big Daddy instantly, and then gets away unobserved, does that impact his rep?

How will the player accomplish anything - will it be MMOG sorts of quest givers with specific tasks that the player can accomplish? Can the player develop allies, ala HL2? What can they do?

Sorry, but all I've seen are some pretty pics, and a few *VERY* setpiece combats and tactics. Set the bear on fire and toss it at the big daddy? That's only novel the first time you see it - this is the 2nd for me, which makes it seem less like an 'example of free form use of the environment' than a narrowly-scripted "thing" that the game's programmed to allow you to do.

How about something different in the demos? How about breaking a bottle from the bar, and then lighting that pool of alcohol to separate a little sister from her big daddy?

Right now I'm only allowing myself about 4 of 10 on the "hopefulness" meter for this one. I hope like hell it's going to be SS2 writ new. I'm more afraid of Daikatana or American McGee's "Alice".

Let me get this straight. (2, Interesting)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19399623)

Soooo, basically the game rants against capitalism, but in order to do so it sets artificial limits on said capitalism and than shows what in all honesty would probably be a relatively realistic portrayal of said artificially constricted capitalist system. Without room for expansion(what, they could make the original city but making multiple cities in various areas didn't occur to them?) and with the obvious limiting of resources within the unexpandable boundaries created by eventual population pressure, of course any capitalist system will go to hell, but that's true of any system that includes beings which are allowed to think for themselves. Now, a bee colony might be able to make it work in such conditions, but last time I checked, the entirety of the human race weren't a bunch of worker bees.

I found this really funny:

These plasmids let you modify and slowly build your character in a way not-dissimilar to an RPG. But don't tell Ken that. "This is not an RPG," he demands. "It's not about stats. This is about huge amounts of dynamic exciting player expression ... thousands of ways to exploit the environment, take control of things and use the world to your advantage." He's passionate about this to the point of hyperbole and hand-waving.
What exactly does he think the best RPGs aspire to acheive. Hell, what does he think any good DM with a couple of imaginative players can actually do in an actual PnP RPG?

Re:Let me get this straight. (1)

staxontoplyon23 (1111985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19406155)

RTFA and then get it straight, just because it says the word 'capitalism,' and touches on the perils of unchecked greed, this game is a big rant against capitalism? If anything its about taking social darwinism too far, but I guess since thats conservatism's most cherished concept you have to flip out into reactionary mode. And I'm sure that in your mind ranting about the evils of greed is just for commie pinko bastards. Like that bearded guy, what was his name?
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