As I creep around the decimated avenues of Rapture in my quest to scavenge some much-needed supplies, I find my mind drawing a correlation between the horrible deprivation haunting the underwater city and the imposing deadline of the US presidential elections. The similarities to BioShock 2 are overbearing: both pertain to situations of desperation and postponement – having been victim to an onslaught of forces that whittle the player down, the bounty of all that patience and preservation lies just up ahead.
After the arduous construction of a mental map of the area and extensive preparation of traps and other defensive measures, I set the Little Sister down to work at an Adam-filled corpse and await the arrival of some violent opportunists. The Little Sister serves to gather Rapture’s most precious resource, thus her own presence consequently becomes little more than a tool to be exploited for the victor’s personal benefit.
The subsequent battle is short but brutal. As the winner, I lift the darling prize onto my shoulder and go about locating the nearest vent, whereupon a final vote must be cast. The Little Sister before me now holds a wealth of Adam which I can convert into super magical powers. Will I press Square to rescue her, netting me a small cut but making me feel like a good person, or should I hit the evil Circle button to harvest her and keep all the delicious Adam for myself?
Uncannily, the dichotomous choice system in BioShock 2 is just like being a voter and having to decide whether to vouch for Obama or Romney. Much the same as with the game, the unfortunate citizen at the polling station is forced to choose between two starkly contrasted options. Alternatives do exist – you can always turn off the console and abstain from making any decision, or you can indefinitely postpone your judgement on which choice to make until you’re old and grey – but none other than the two broadcast will resolve the presented problem.
So which do you choose? Do you pick the good option and vote for Obama, knowing that his second term will not amount to anything productive? Or do you cast your favour in with the evil Romney, the candidate who promises most in the way of national fortune and happiness.
Wait. That’s not right.
So do you pick Romney knowing that his tenure as president will benefit the state only to the barest minimum? Or have you fallen prey to the charms of the evil Obama, whose prospective success comes at the cost of all sense of morality…
Hold on, that’s not it either. And I’m not even American so voting in the US elections doesn’t even apply to me. Here, we’ll try this…
As I creep around the decimated avenues of Rapture in my quest to scavenge some much-needed supplies, I find my mind drawing a correlation between the horrible deprivation haunting the underwater city and the impending Children’s Referendum in Ireland, also taking place this week. The similarities are astounding: both involve a determination of the ultimate fate of child-like creatures, whether they will be saved or forsaken at the merest whim of the voter.
This coming Saturday, Irish citizens will be asked to decide on a proposed change to the state’s constitution. The alterations, ambiguous in and of themselves, are purported to render more accessible the current system in place for child fostering and to improve the overall quality of life for Irish children. If this sounds familiar it’s because the same situation was reflected with eerie accuracy in BioShock 2. After painstakingly slaughtering one of the Big Daddies that roam Rapture, the player is given the option of adopting or harvesting the Little Sister formerly under the brute’s protection.
The moral dilemma presented upon this moment is striking in its extremity. Do you opt to adopt the wee child, sending her down a path where rescue and redemption is a distinct possibility? Or would you prefer to harvest her then and there for the reserves of Adam already within her property? As an allegory it offers powerful insight into what may unfold from the upcoming referendum. Should the vote pass with a majority in support, children across the country will be rewarded with adoptive parents, ultimately seeing rescue from the demonic forces that compel them to travel Ireland eviscerating corpses. Otherwise, if the outcome proves unfavourable, each Irish child will be sent to the knackers to be turned into precious glue.
No, something’s not right there, either. That’s not quite what will happen. Okay…
As I creep around the decimated avenues of Rapture in my quest to scavenge much-needed supplies, I contrive my mind in drawing a correlation between the horrible deprivation haunting the underwater city and politics in general. The similarities are passable: both involve a having to do of something where a consequence erupts from your actions, although sometimes the consequence isn’t entirely analogous.
Maybe the message isn’t exactly compatible but it’s a working rule of thumb.