The Biopolitics of BioShock: Introduction

The Geek Anthropologist

By Emma Louise Backe

I have to admit, I’ve never been the best gamer. I’ve dabbled in computer puzzles like Myst (1993) and RPG’s like Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) and Alice: Madness Returns (2011), but I have always been attracted to video games primarily because of the stories they tell. This past summer, with some extra free time on my hands, I was finally able to play 2K Games’ opus, BioShock (2007). I was utterly enraptured. I was stunned by the incredible visuals, game play, narrative and political subtext, all interwoven throughout the underwater world of Rapture, where men and monsters reign. For those unfamiliar with the game, the player (sometimes called Jack) crash-lands in the ocean by a mysterious lighthouse in 1960. After ascending the steps, the player encounters a submersible, which drops into the Bathysphere to reveal Rapture, a utopia built by Andrew Ryan that has gone horribly…

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