confused player

While playing BioShock, I found myself getting frustrated and distracted so much that I failed to notice a lot of key details in the game.  In the first level, somehow I didn’t realize the whole city of Rapture was underwater.  Playing BioShock reaffirmed the fact that video games are not my thing.  Although the game did not inspire me to play more, I did, however, develop an appreciation for the game and the amount of work that went into it.  The ability of the player to dictate one of three potential endings is intriguing.  I watched all three possibilities on YouTube and I think that it is interesting that if you harvest any of the little sisters (even if not all of them), the ending is the same; Tennenbaum merely narrates with a more somber tone.  If you save the little sisters and refuse the key to the city, they are allowed back into the real world and are able to live, what we know as, normal lives with a loving father-like figure (Jack).  However, if you harvest them and take the key to the city, the narrator says: “even Rapture wasn’t enough for you.”  The biospheres rise to the top of the sea around the submarine and the ending is brutal and not at all happy.

On another note, the little sisters remind me of the mutations that come out and attack at the end of The Hunger Games.  Katniss notes her recognition of Rues eyes and feels a slight pang of remorse because of the human attribute.  It makes her think twice about killing them, even though the mutations are no longer human.  In BioShock, the little sisters still appear to be human, yet they have been corrupted and are not really human on the inside anymore.

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Bioshock

Despite my inexperience and, I hate to admit it, my previous lack of respect for video games, Bioshock has really opened my eyes. Prior to playing Bioshock, the extent of my gaming has been Pokemon and Super Mario; first person games like Bioshock never really struck my interest and I actually turned down my nose at them. Despite my complete lack of skill while playing Bioshock, it was intriguing to see the amount of detail that goes into the making of video games. Contrary to popular belief, I learned that there is a coherent plot that envelopes a game like Bioshock. It resembles watching an interactive film. Even more surprisingly, the storyline also aims to send a message to players. In Bioshock, for example, the gamemakers try to send the message that Objectivism is implausible as well as criticizing the possibility of genetic mutation in the future and the emphasis put on physical beauty in today’s world. Additionally, I could not help but admire the details put into the graphics of the game. The “world” of Bioshock is wide and has many hidden corners, all of which are beautifully done and certainly took a significant amount of time to create. In conclusion, Bioshock has truly opened my mind to a new form of not only entertainment but intellectual stimulation.

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Objectivism and the fall of Rapture

In Bioshock a man materialized his wishes and invited those he deemed worthy to share it with him. However, time and time again history has shown us how Objectivism and selfishness only corrupts the soul other than advance it. Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism was used in Rapture to create a perfect society, a place where anyone and everyone could become more than what they were, but enough is never enough. Andrew Ryan’s Rapture crumbled down on the foundations that raised it in the first place. Frank Fontaine’s greed and lust for unlimited power led him to his demise, proving the fact that even in its purest form, Objectivism and the path of the selfish, is destined to fail. In the real world, a society like the one found in Rapture is an impossible dream, in today’s world, humanity houses the strong as well as the weak, and so a balance is created. In a world were only the elite, smartest and strongest exist, chaos will always ensue, for humanity has the ideal of superiority forever engrained in our history. What is the point of reaching achievement without proper recognition? Why create the impossible, when another will mirror and improve on it? Even Rapture, the city of perfection, slowly began to construct a pattern of social castes. The weak? Or the strong? And so, following the foundations of Objectivism, the strong continued to enrich themselves, and the weak, flooded with envy, rallied and rebelled.

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Family importance

I was quite shocked when I finally had to fight Atlas. his appearance was no longer man like or splicer like for that matter, it seemed as if he was made of pure bronze. It was very interesting to me that right before he died he tells Jack in an angry tone about how he was responsible for all those memories and how he had them tattooed inside his head. He ends his speech  with “if that is not family then I don’t know what is”. Quite ironic if you ask me since he later gets killed by the little girls that Jack adopts as daughters (if you did the good ending). But in the end how important was the idea of family for Fontaine and the game in general? What I mean is did Atlas really have that feeling of being family with Jack? In my own opinion I think that Fontaine did not feel a sort of bond with Jack since he tried to kill Jack on several times and used him as his personal puppet. Atlas behavior contradicts his words. It doesn’t make sense that he would be so upset about Jack trying to kill him but at the same time ordering security bots to kill Jack or having his heart stop beating through “code yellow”. In my opinion I think Fontaine was trying one last time to trick Jack into believing that Fontaine was not such a bad guy, with the intention of either using him again or stabbing him in the back. What do you think?

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Art is beauty

The appearance of Cohen really asks the question about the definition of art. What is art? What is meaningful for artists? Does art has any restrictions?

For me, the answer is quite obvious: beauty is art, and art needs to be sensed by a human. This involves two folds of meaning: first, art is only defined when it is beautiful. Second, “beautiful” has to be the feeling of a human. In other words, without a specific man, art is not defined, and only if someone feels something is beautiful then we say this person just senses art. I use the verb “sense” because this beautiful thing can be a drawing, can be music, but also can be a scent of a perfume or the soft skin of your beloved one. This is quite a wide definition, but we can understand Cohen’s behaviors by this it. When the pianist plays badly, Cohen kills him because of it is not beautiful; when you are asked to take photos of the corpses, it is because Cohen thinks the corpses are beautiful. So when Cohen thinks of something as beautiful, it is fair to call it art, but only Cohen’s art. This is why I do not enjoy the corpses of course, but I still regard Cohen as an artist.

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Johnson-Games

I found Johnson’s perspective about games to be a bit biased, although he directly states that he is not being biased (which makes me think it only proves the point that he is #justsaying). Despite this, I did find his “reversed story” very interesting. I feel that because of our nature, his description of how we would have reacted if books had come after videogames is accurate. Psychologically, we are wired to relate and accept ideas we have anchored before, what we have more readily available in our brains. Hence, I think that if the order had been changed, we would have stuck with whatever came first as “right.”

Moreover, although I agree with the theory mentioned above, I do think that in essence books and videogames are not comparable. Books could more easily be compared to e-books, for instance. We are all aware that e-books have been a controversial topic as many people who enjoy to read find more pleasure in turning an actual paper page than sliding their finger across a screen. When it comes to videogames, however, books do not have enough similarities that allow comparison.

Finally, what bothered me the most was that all these arguments against videogames come primarily from non-gamers. If this argument were compared to an essay written by a gamer who also enjoys reading, the story would be completely different. It all depends on the perspective, and on trying to understand others’ points of view.

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Games? –> Homework Heaven

I really was intrigued by Steven Johnson’s article “Games”. I agree with him and think that books have been and of course will continue to always be a source for attaining knowledge. Furthermore, I also agree with him that video games increase manual dexterity and visual intelligence. In fact, when reading this, I was reminded of an article I read a few months ago in which Dr. Bravelier, a neuroscientist at the University of Geneva, conducted studies with both gamers and non-gamers showing that gamers brains’ actually work faster and more efficient. In this study, Dr. Bravelier also argued that it helped with multitasking as gamers were introduced to multiple scenarios while having to react quickly. Of course, she goes on to say that too much gaming can do harm, but nonetheless isn’t too much of anything bad?

When playing the levels of Fort Frolic through Hephaestus I realized I’ve become a “better” gamer per se, but maybe just more intelligent since I first picked up the Xbox controller. First off, I actually care what the splicers say now, whereas in the beginning I would lay them out on sight. I also make a point to listen to each recording I find, frankly because I’m interested in how this magnificent city of Rapture failed. And finally, maybe most importantly, over the span from when I started playing to now, I save the little sisters whereas before I harvested them without blinking an eye. All in all, I care about what’s going on in the game. I’m not an outsider anymore, I feel like a person. I feel like Jack.

So yes, I do believe that games help increase knowledge, just as much as books. I think with time people will realize this, as there is definitely a technology gap that needs to be abridged.  For instance, remember the time when your Mom wasn’t your friend on Facebook? But yes, I would say Video games will be a vital option of gaining knowledge as time unfolds. Thoughts?

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Badly-Drawn Rhinoceros

Just in case you noticed the bit at the end of the Johnson piece about early drawings of rhinoceri…

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Accepting The Video Game as a Valuable Aspect of Modern Culture

Johnson’s section on video games makes many valid points which support the argument for  video games as a source of mental development and not just a waste of time. Video games improve hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and visual memorization, but on the other hand, books force the reader to concentrate and create a world using their imagination which differs from the world created by any other person reading the very same book. In addition, books do develop career skills and broaden the reader’s vocabulary. However, instead of stating that one form of entertainment is better than the other, I say we accept them as different but both very useful in their own rights.

You see, it’s much like fruits and vegetables. One who loves fruits could easily criticize vegetables to be bitter, with a displeasing texture, and only eaten when improved with another food like butter, dressings, or salt. For a vegetable lover, fruits can be seen as nuisances which bruise way too easily, spoil too quickly, and typically make your hands sticky. In reality, what we know after being exposed to both foods since the beginning of man is that both fruits and vegetables have their separate pros and cons. I feel video games and books are the same way.

With rapidly advancing technology and a booming gaming industry, we are seeing a greater influence of video games in every day life. For goodness sake, we are playing and studying a video game in a college course! This is because books are not the only way to learn and exercise the brain; video games have merit, too. They stimulate the senses, and modern video games possess the ability to tell incredible stories in a way which can certainly be described as artistic. Educational video games are readily available for download to tablets or iPads for use by infants and toddlers, who are not yet able to read. Granted, it is also very important to engage the imagination with literature, but video games are wrongly judged for their lack of novelistic properties.

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Self Destruction

What I have noticed throughout the game is Ryan’s willingness to destroy everything in Rapture. It’s odd that he would be so quick to kill everything that he worked so hard to create. Even though he did cut corners (leaky underwater city…), it was still a huge undertaking for him to make Rapture what it was. And this is all because of the civil war with Fontaine? Why didn’t the people who wanted religion just leave in the first place? It’s not very Objectivist to force people to stay in a place they don’t want to be, nor is it Objectivist to ban books, even if they are religious books. Ryan seems to be like the anti-Objectivist to me. He uses force to accomplish his goals, he controls the economy in Rapture, and he definitely doesn’t want people to think for themselves– yeah, not very Objectivist.

As I’m writing this, I’m also noticing a connection between Ryan’s destroying of Rapture and  the story of Noah in the Bible. In that story, God saw all of his creations sinning and acting against his will, so he destroyed everything on Earth in a flood that lasted 40 days and 40 nights. Ryan is seeing everyone he thought would carry out his dream turn on him, and now he wants to destroy the whole city he created. The end of Rapture would undoubtedly end in a flood, as well.

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