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Published on February 8th, 2013 | by Francois Chang


BioShock Infinite: A different kind of scary

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While many other games get their shock value from over-the-top violence or from behind the back “boo’s!”, BioShock Infinite does all this and much more. Infinite has its fair share of gruesome moments, but what’s more scary are the chords it strikes to touch on some of our deepest fears: the ones that can actually be real.

What’s cool about playing through BioShock Infinite and the city of Columbia is that you get the perspective of someone living in a normal society. When you see the faux perfect lives of the inhabitants, you wish you could tell them about the corruption behind it all. Below are three of them that will surely make you uncomfortable:

Brainwashing and cults

BioShock Infinite takes place in an alternate American history in the year 1912 on a city built in the sky called Columbia. Its leader, Father Comstock has control of the city and one of the first things that happens to you while playing as Booker DeWitt is a baptism by this creepy and eerie cult. Afterwards, you see things such as church-like glass windows and bible-like verses on walls, such as “The false shepherd seeks only to lead our lambs astray.” You also hear familiar sounding rearrangements of popular hymns and the bizarrely pleasant conversations of folks in the street.

This aspect of fear really hits home when you’re battling against hostiles and then shortly after they are seen praying and continue to pray even if you’re hacking and shooting them to death. The sense of fear is similar to the feeling Resident Evil 4 evoked when the Spaniard cult members dropped everything during an intense battle as soon as they heard the church bell ringing.

Name calling propaganda

When you see propaganda that is rhyming “slanted eyes” with “wicked lies” to describe the “evil Chinese” during real-life event, the Boxer Rebellion, you not only see, but feel that something is seriously wrong. This is the kind of distorted messaging seen when exploring “The Hall of Heroes” museum in the city of Columbia. Its politically-driven slander is fed to the people of “The City in the Sky” regularly and they don’t even know it. Just another instance where you clearly see their “perfect” lives are based on layers upon layers of lies.

Alternate U.S. history

Much like graphic novel, Watchmen, the source of a the darkness surrounding BioShock Infinite is the fact that the game takes place during an alternate timeline of the United States. The country has severed ties with the floating city and now it wanders as a heavily armed airship. On the ship, there are statues of dead presidents wielding weapons and most outlandish is the presence of a John Wilkes Booth monument. How can a group of people idolize and look up to the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln? It’s a group I don’t want to ever be a part of.

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