#1 Posted by tkalsey (152 posts) -

In today's podcast, the crew talked about how bioshock infinite "not earning" the racial elements to the game and that is was trying to say something, but it didn't. I read somewhere at some point that this game was created by first creating the world and then the story of the game. In this context, it's clear that the racial elements are for showing how bad the world is and is another motivation to kill Comstock. It's not Irrational making a half assed attempt at saying something about racism, it's just a backdrop for the story to take place in. Thanks for reading and disagreements are very welcome!

P.S. as you can tell i'm not a very good writer so if you need clarification on what I said, please ask.

#2 Posted by Fredchuckdave (4471 posts) -

The racial elements are just sort of glossed over and not done very well, much like the entirety of the sideplots that consist of 85% of the game.

#3 Posted by tkalsey (152 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: I'm saying it's glossed over because it's meant to be window dressing for the world. maybe my love for that game isn't allowing me to see a blatant flaw, though.

#4 Posted by crithon (2574 posts) -

Comstock is such an ill defined villain, and even if your not interested in finding all the audiologs Columbia is pretty much a visual Grandpa Simpson joke.

But in defense of Bioshock Infinite a lot of those visual resonate without lengthy cut scenes or audio logs explaining them.

#5 Posted by dr_mantas (1689 posts) -

The game isn't about racism. It's about choice and consequences of those choices. Much like the first Bioshock it's about free will, and that exercising your free will has an impact. And how we, as humans, deal with our free will in regards to other humans, and to ourselves.

The issue of racism in that game plays both into these ideas, and as a backdrop for a specific society at a specific point in time. However racism isn't the main throughline of the game, so it is done as well as it needs to be done.

In fact, it's done better than it could have been, because it's not completely black and white - the resistance to racism turns violent and bloody, indiscriminately taking vengeance, and in the end, no one is an angel. That's probably what most people have a subconscious problem with, but they end up saying it was handled "badly", that is, not completely unilaterally.

#6 Posted by tkalsey (152 posts) -
#7 Posted by BBQBram (2164 posts) -

The game isn't about racism. It's about choice and consequences of those choices. Much like the first Bioshock it's about free will, and that exercising your free will has an impact. And how we, as humans, deal with our free will in regards to other humans, and to ourselves.

The issue of racism in that game plays both into these ideas, and as a backdrop for a specific society at a specific point in time. However racism isn't the main throughline of the game, so it is done as well as it needs to be done.

In fact, it's done better than it could have been, because it's not completely black and white - the resistance to racism turns violent and bloody, indiscriminately taking vengeance, and in the end, no one is an angel. That's probably what most people have a subconscious problem with, but they end up saying it was handled "badly", that is, not completely unilaterally.

I agree. Most people's criticisms of the Comstock twist and the underused themes are missing the point completely. It was actually the core of the whole thing that goes beyond any specific form of suppresion be it racially, sexually or culturally defined. It's about how we let those convictions arise out of the need for absolution and validation; a deconstruction of the demagogue in general as an archetype, like the entire game was a deconstruction of the original. That's infinitely more valuable than just a new flavour of absolutism.

It's funny how people scoff at this game. Often they have a very superficial notion of what it was trying to do. And I'm not even talking about the quantum physics aspect, just the thematic intent.

#8 Posted by postnothing (65 posts) -

Bioshock Infinite was not about racial issues, in the same way the first Bioshock was not about Objectivism. However, both played into some of the story elements, characters and the world. Anyway, I want to be brief, so I'll try try focus on Infinite. I have always thought that one of the main facets of a Bioshock game is having a well-established world as the backdrop of the game -- or rather, the story it's trying to tell. As it happens, the game takes place during the turn of the century when issues such as racism were relevant. This was used to bring the world to life and make it more believable, as well as, flesh out Comstock's character. The game also touched upon the labor issues of the Gilded Age; did it have to provide a clear-cut statement about this as well?

As for Comstock, the same way you could deduce a lot of Ryan's ideals from Rapture and its people, you could do the same with Comstock, as Columbia is basically a reflection of his ideals. He is also a man of his era, and a lot of his beliefs are influenced by the religious movements of the mid-to-late 19th century. I felt like Comstock was a well-defined character, his motives were reasonably clear to me. I think that even without collecting all the Voxophones, you could see that Comstock was a weak, self-loathing fraud.