Bioshock Infinite was a Necessity


by Brandon Uhler

[I tried to make this spoiler-free, but, no promises]

It has been about three months since I’ve beaten Bioshock Infinite, and I’m still thinking about all the things that surrounded the game that left my brain in a pile of ooze on the floor. I’m not sure I was able to recover all of my brain ooze because I still can’t remember what this spoon thing is or if the entrance to the grocery is a push or pull door; I think that may have been a pre-existing condition though….where was I?

I’m still shuffling through the story of Bioshock Infinite and the more I do, the more I realize just how amazing that game really is. Well, because it’s not a game at all really. I mean, it is, but it isn’t. Just to be safe, I’ll say it’s a game, but not JUST a game. Bioshock Infinite, and the beautifully complex concepts that it explored, have done far more than just entertain the masses. With millions of copies of this games sold to the masses, it has accomplished one of the most important things of our time. It has made us, whether we wanted to or not, THINK.

Thinking is one of the most underrated activities of today. It doesn’t require much, just a comfy seat and consciousness really. But I believe that thinking has become less and less popular as time has gone on. This is not to say that no one thinks about anything anymore; people think all the time about difficult decisions and problem solving at work. Rather, the ‘thinking’ I’m referring to involved diving into your imagination of the absurd and thinking just for thinking’s sake. Maybe pondering would be a better word usage, but it’s all the same really. To shed some light on my ramblings, let’s have a look back in time.

In 1969, the Apollo 11 was the first manned ship to land on the moon (excluding any conspiracy theories) and 10 years before that, the Soviet’s put the first man-made machine on the moon. This time period gave birth to the space race. That’s what everyone thought about and that’s what everyone sold to one another: the future. How many times was something advertized as being part of ‘The World of Tomorrow?’ A lot. The answer to that is a lot. Or a whole lot, whichever you prefer. I’m not the boss of you, you get to pick. You look great by the way, is that a new shirt? Anyways, the point is that during this space race, everyone has their eyes fixed on the future and loved imagining what it would look like, and my goodness it was beautiful.

Now, you may be able to say, “Listen man (That’s me. I’m man), the only reason you’re spending so many brain coins on this game story is because you’re a quantum theorist.” And you’d be right, so that’s fine, but I can tell you that this game made everyone think the way I do. All you have to do is watch Bioshock Infinite ending reactions on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean. But what about this game made us think so much?

A possible explanation lies in the fact that all the quantum science in Bioshock Infinite is totally real. Now, the game itself is just a really good game. The combat is lively; Elizabeth is probably the best A.I. I have ever fought alongside of, and the story is told beautiful from start to finish with no pointless immersion side quests to make you forget what game you were playing, but that’s for another article (which you probably don’t need to read because hopefully you’ve played this game and you already know how great and fun it is). The city in the sky, Columbia, levitated by quantum particles is completely legit. Just look up flux-fixing or flux-pinning sometime, it’s awesome. Not only that, the many-worlds theory that the story is based off of, which may be confused with time-travel throughout the game (it’s not quite the same thing), is also a scientifically backed concept. Authored by Hugh Everett and made interesting by Bryce DeWitt (no the name is not a coincidence), the many-worlds theory is essentially a scientific exploration of parallel universes based from the pioneered work of great minds like Einstein, Heisenberg, and all other scientists who were trying to sort out the electron’s atomic identity crisis. A popular example that is talked about that can introduce this concept is known as ‘Schrödinger’s Cat.’ All in all, this is really just tipping my cap (that I’m not actually wearing) to Irrational games for putting in, what was probably, a ridiculous amount of time in to research these concepts. But, what if I didn’t find any of this stuff in the game relevant to me and I only liked the game because it was entertaining?

That’s perfectly fine. I can’t sit here and pretend to know every single person’s experience with this game, and the down-side is, I don’t. This is all speculation in the end but I really do believe there is some truth to all of this. That truth is this was an important game for our society. Sure there were controversial aspects in the game, like racism and religious and industrial oppression, but that’s not the point I’m getting at; this article isn’t really about Bioshock the video game.

The point I’m after, is much like the time of the space race, this game takes a look into the world of tomorrow…in 1912. Never mind that though. These ridiculous sounding concepts are rooted in real science that is going on today. This device is something that makes us think, makes us ponder about what could be and what might be. What makes Bioshock Infinite so great is the fact that it makes us do exactly what is necessary to provide for a better and brighter future; it causes us to explore a place that only you can visit: your mind.

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