Bioshock Infinite and Racism.

There will be minor spoilers, I’m sorry. 

If you haven’t picked it up, you should because it’s a fantastic game. You don’t need to have played any of the other games to be able to understand the plot of Infinite. A HUGE thank you to my best friend Stuart for gifting me this after I whined on Twitter :p

According to Steam I’ve played 9.5 hours. That includes a few deaths and me exploring literally everything. Because my laptop is a toaster and overheats at the slightest thing I decided it would be best if I played it on my boyfriend’s computer. His set up is pretty much matches component for component what is listed as recommended on Steam so it was the obvious choice. The game is beautiful, I spent the first twenty minutes oo-ing and ahh-ing and going into every shop and staring at the water, like a lot. I think I even said, “My god, I want to live here!” at one point. If it wasn’t aloud I certainly thought it. All the NPCs I encountered were white, not a big deal, Western game, made by Westerners in a Western country, it’s to be expected. We ooh’d and ahh’d some more till my boyfriend left to go to work (hehehe, sucker) and I settled into the game.

AS SOON AS HE LEFT. No srsly guys, as soon as he left this happened:

interacialbioshockinfinite

 

Then I felt sick.

I’m a black woman, my boyfriend is a white man. The game gave me a baseball and asked me to either throw it at the interracial couple or at the announcer. Apparently I’d won the raffle and my prize was to be the first one to cast a stone at the couple for diluting the white race.

Then it all made sense. For the unfamiliar, Bioshock games are about someone’s idea of creating a perfect or ideal society and how that just never seems to work out. You play as someone from the outside who gets thrown into the decay. The first two games showed the world after the breakdown, Infinite shows you the world just before in all it’s idealised glory, and then you walk through it’s destruction. It’s perfect. The baseball scene didn’t make me angry at the game, it made me angry at the characters, it drew me in, I felt real rage most importantly in that instant I became invested in the game. I played for five hours straight, I was utterly blown away.

 

Now I’ve hit a wall and I’m really struggling to continue. Not because the game is too challenging, but it’s emotionally draining. The storyline is fantastic, but being bombarded with all the, “Protect our race!” rhetoric is actually taking it’s toll on me. The way they’ve done it is fantastic, you really get this sense of a disconnect between the Columbian’s ideology of racial purity and what we know to be a right and wrong way to treat diversity.

I’m not normally so sensitive to things like this, but I just feel like it’s so well done that it makes me very uncomfortable. I really want to finish it, because I think it’s great and I really really want to get to the ending. But maybe taking a break wouldn’t be the worst thing.

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