Ex Situ: Objectivism in BioShock


Here’s the first in the previously-alluded-to series of videogame over-analyzations. For those purists out there: fret not. We don’t plan on doing these all that often. Our primary focus is and will always be Cartoon Over-Analyzations.

Unfortunately, the closest any of the staff has gotten to playing BioShock is: about five years ago, one of us got half-way through System Shock 2. Accursed monkeys! Along with rave reviews, BioShock attracted a flurry of discussion pertaining to Objectivist elements subtly and not-so-subtly within. Busy game site Kotaku presented an excellent article in early 2008 which discussed the pertinent themes primarily through interviews with the president of the Ayn Rand Institute, Yaron Brook, and the game’s designer, Ken Levine.

“It seems to me that [Levine has] misrepresented what Ayn Rand believes and her ideals beyond objectivism,” [Brook] 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. In many cases that true. But I think what lessens the game is that misinterpretation of objectivism.”

Et cetera. Would you kindly check it out.

No Gods or Kings: Objectivism in BioShock >Catena Ex Situ

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