Bioshock is the first game in a series that contrasts exciting first-person shooting sequences with philosophical and moral questions.
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Story & Themes
You play a blank-slate character named Jack who crash-lands at a mysterious lighthouse in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1960. Jack descends into the city known as Rapture, and discovers that it has succumbed to chaos after a bloody civil war over a resource known as “ADAM.” ADAM has amazing properties—it can bond with any cell and change it, effectively curing all disease. It also has terrible addictive qualities, and the citizens of Rapture have nearly all become physically deformed and insane from repetitive use of ADAM.
Jack must try to escape from the city, which means tracking down the city’s founder, Andrew Ryan, and getting answers about his own past.
Drinking alcohol raises your health and lowers your EVE (resources that determine your secondary attack power). Smoking cigarettes lowers your health and raises your EVE. The games take place in the 1960s, when smoking was considered healthy, and tongue-in-cheek advertisements depict people (sometimes children) smoking cigarettes—the player is meant to understand that this is historical ignorance, but it is not explained.
- How does Bioshock use historical time periods to tell a story? Why is the setting important?
- In Bioshock, the use of plasmids has made people insane, to the point where they’re killing each other. Are they evil, or are they sick? What does Bioshock have to say about addiction?
- Did you choose to kill or save the Little Sisters in Bioshock? Why? Is killing for a short-term reward worth it, considering it’s just a game? Or did you feel compelled to save them?
- Many characters in Bioshock refer to the Big Daddies as smelly brutes, but the Little Sisters appear to adore them, and cry when they die. Do you think their feelings are valid, or are they being brainwashed? Do the Big Daddies genuinely care for the Little Sisters, or is it just in their programming?
- Every Bioshock game is about a city that is isolated from other cultures. Do you think it is healthy for a society to be cut off from the rest of the world? Can this ever go well?
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