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Seth Schiesel has a (pretty ambivalent) review-article on the new moral/amoral videogame BioShock in today's NY Times (url above). The article is called "Genetics Gone Haywire and Predatory Chidren in an Undersea Metropolis." the reviews of BioShock have been pretty amazing so far. The narrative is fascinating--in the 1940s scientist Andrew Ryan constructs Rapture, an underwater city. You (the game player) are in a plane that crashes into the Atlantic in the 1960s and you find Rapture. Most of Rapture's citizens are dead; the city itself is full of what Schiesel calls "gene-spliced freaks." You make your way through the city via voice recordings left by former inhabitants of the city. There are cries for help from those departed. And then there are the Little Sisters, girls who go around sucking genetic material from corpses. Do you kill the Little Girls? Do you kill them and then take the genetic material they have harvested (making you more powerful)? Do you try to redeem/reform/reprogram the Little Girls? Lots of moral dilemmas in a gorgeous environment, amazing graphics, sumptuous sound, complex and unclear moral and narrative choices. This is next-gen literature, interactive narrative making. Here's the image from the NY Times piece, published September 8, 2007. Note the sweetie pie with the semi-automatic which doesn't exactly look like an underwater speargun. Real world and underworld merge in the Objectivist dystopia of BioShock. . .

Caption from NY Times article (Sept 8, 2007): A lethal young girl surveys her domain in a screen image from BioShock, Take-Two?s hit game.


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