The time of video games being meaningless forms of entertainment are over, video games are now visions into other worlds ripe with their own laws to abide by and visions of the human mind. Some games are born of the darkest section of the mind with the very idea and essence being drawn from the creators own experiences in some very deep fields, such as depression, substance abuse and many more. There are even occasions where the developers fall into an intentional universe where truth is spread and the knowledge of one’s own weakness can be shared. Many games share the vision of how humanity would react to certain events in recent years but I feel 2007’s Bioshock really shows the effects of humanities true darkness if left unbalanced and unchecked.
Bioshock’s Rapture is a beautiful, picturesque city on the outside at least, inside the city is a mess, a once great and idealistic city built as a utopia for humanity turned to ruin and what did this? Humanity that is what. The city of Rapture’s creator Andrew Ryan dreamed of a city free of the general plights of the world above, he dreamed of the impossible, he dreamed of Rapture. Ryan dreamed of a city where the artist would not fear the censor and the scientist would be free of the plights of petty morality, these dreams were a fool’s wish and a true path to humanities greatest folly.
Bioshock may only be a game but the lessons captured within are all too real, Rapture may be fake but the possibilities caused by such an idealistic dream as the one the city was founded upon is one that would not work in humanities favour. Science is a dangerous game, without structure and rules some of the worst things can happen, it is the morality spectrum that keeps scientists on the right track and prevent them from messing with nature.
This is proven in Bioshock, while I do have to give another mention to the fact this is a game the results are truthful. The freedom presented by Ryan’s dream for Rapture allowed scientists to meddle with the very essence of human physiology, true, the intention of the experiments were for the good of everyone, and to help humans reached that next critical stage of evolution but the results of the experiment’s prove to be something that reaches dark levels.
The scientists created a substance that bestows upon humans a variety of abilities, some to create fire in their hands, others to shoot lighting and many other abilities but what is born from this is something that our human mentality is unable to handle. Humans initially find things easier and love what they are given but like any addiction they want more, they crave more of these “gifts” (of sorts), and this is born from humanities own to desire to improve and our own addictive nature. The abilities became like a drug that humanity wanted more of and they were willing to kill for it, their minds twisted, the brains unable to comprehend the restructuring and changes they seek only power, and it is rare moments where the person they once were shines through.
The freedom presented by such idealistic dreams lead to such terrible events, humanity left unchecked and free to do what they want creates anarchy, turning a beautiful place built with good intentions into something born from our worst nightmares. This lesson also applies to real life and is not just something thrown into the game, Bioshock holds a mirror to the real world and tells it this is you should you choose to head down the wrong path. Should humanity choose to head down the path of freedom and lack of morality Bioshock paints a vision of the flaws of humanity in such actions, and shows how the world would react and be plunged into the very depths of nightmare.
Our humanity leads us to wonder about the possibilities of such things and truly that is our biggest flaw, our curiosity, our yearning to see what is possible and go beyond the limitations aloud by the general world. Our flaw is expressed in Bioshock and the possible ramifications of such actions is delivered without holding back any punches. We see it first hand, we witness how the world and its inhabitants are altered by these experiments, how Raptures scientists urged by their own freedom push forth their curiosity and mess in affairs that are not their place to mess with. It is simple to acknowledge if humans were meant to have powers or an enhancement in abilities such as creating fire from the tip of their fingers we would have been given this power at birth, Bioshock paints this picture perfectly presenting the flaw of humanity and trying to go beyond what our capabilities are.
By messing with the human structure and putting aside your humanity, your morality if you prefer, you give room for something else, something darker, the worst part of our curiosity. But sadly it is the flaw of life, if you extend a certain length of freedom to us we will fall apart, we will do something we will regret but yet won’t be able to say, we create a monster. When our humanity is removed that is actually all we are, no longer are me man and women we become something we would have deemed unthinkable, we become a monster. A monster does not care about anyone else, a monster only cares about themselves and in the strive to do what they want they don’t care who gets in their way. The flaw is these scientists is simple, when their ties to morality were removed in favour of advancement, they themselves became monsters only caring about themselves and in the process the monsters that plague Rapture are simple reflections of their desire, the scientists created themselves in other people.
In 2013's Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1 we got to see a vision of Rapture before the nightmare, we got to explore Rapture as the city filled with possibility, the place where the sky or the ocean depths were the limit. Rapture was a happy place, but in the light of Rapture also existed the darker side, Rapture’s plasmids were an obsession and this went beyond making your life better, plasmids were the downfall of Rapture as the user’s genetic code was rewritten and slowly their mind. The residents of Rapture craved their plasmids, the part of the brain that handles addiction needed the fix leading towards what became of Rapture in Bioshock. Burial at Sea never quite went so deep as to explore the obsessive nature of plasmids but it exists there, already we got to see peoples mind lost to the plasmids as they seeked only power and would follow whoever would give it to them.
Left unchecked and left to our own devices humanity could follow the example set by Bioshock, it goes without saying humans are some of the most flawed creatures in the entire world and we have some of the darkest mindsets around. Bioshock is as much a game as a cautionary tale showing what can happen if we were left to our freedom, if we were not bound by a strict moral code, the events that destroyed Rapture are very much in the grasp of us as people and Bioshock shows how our flaws could lead us to this dark path. Bioshock is a mirror and we are its reflection.