A BioShock Infinite Primer

Robert Rath

New member
Oct 8, 2010
522
0
0
A BioShock Infinite Primer

The real-life events you need to know before diving into Infinite.

Read Full Article
 
Jan 12, 2012
2,114
0
0
This is a great article. I'm always amazed when people talk about terrorism as a modern invention because they have no knowledge of the anarchist movement.
 

Albino Boo

New member
Jun 14, 2010
4,667
0
0
Robert Rath said:
British, Norwegian and Scottish settlers were welcome, while the Chinese and Russians were not
Small point, the Scotts are British. I think you meant English rather than British in that context.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
13,768
0
0
Huh. This was actually really interesting.

So thanks.

As a non-American, I was passingly familiar with some of these things, but only vaguely aware of others.
 

Robert Rath

New member
Oct 8, 2010
522
0
0
Like you could expect anything better from the 7th Cavalry after Little Bighorn. I always wondered how accurate the depiction of Wounded Knee was in Hidalgo. Can't say I was in much of a rush to look it up.
 

Robert Rath

New member
Oct 8, 2010
522
0
0
Welcome to the US of A...

Many people look at their country and say "I've never seen our government in such bad shape." Germany and the US do not have this problem.
 

LiMaSaRe

New member
Mar 6, 2012
86
0
0
The 1900's were such a formative decade for the country. The first progressive policies, the beginning of imperialism. A new nation forged by the tumult of the 1890's, full of optimism and creativity, developing the modern, technological culture we still live in today. That decade isn't just underserved, it should be getting disproportionate attention.
 

Farther than stars

New member
Jun 19, 2011
1,228
0
0
NameIsRobertPaulson said:
Welcome to the US of A...

Many people look at their country and say "I've never seen our government in such bad shape." Germany and the US do not have this problem.
Actually, Germany's doing quite well right now. Economically speaking you could say that it's in the best shape of all the Western nations.
 

LiMaSaRe

New member
Mar 6, 2012
86
0
0
NameIsRobertPaulson said:
Welcome to the US of A...

Many people look at their country and say "I've never seen our government in such bad shape." Germany and the US do not have this problem.
Every country on earth has evil in its past. You show great ignorance by only pointing to the U.S. (likely your own country) and Germany (lol nazis right?)

I bet Brits arent proud of the millions of Indians slaughtered in the 1850's. Belgium at least isn't chopping the hands off millions of slaves in the Congo. And so on until you find some disgusting government or another has occupied every foot of land on the planet. No reason to look down on anybody alive today.
 

Robert Rath

New member
Oct 8, 2010
522
0
0
albino boo said:
Robert Rath said:
British, Norwegian and Scottish settlers were welcome, while the Chinese and Russians were not
Small point, the Scotts are British. I think you meant English rather than British in that context.
Damn it!!! That's a big pet peeve of mine as well. I burn my British History degree in shame.

Thanks for pointing it out. After checking my sources it turns out this was an error in my source text that I carried over because I was tired and rushing to get the piece out before PAX East.
 

Latinidiot

New member
Feb 19, 2009
2,216
0
0
Dude, this is super interesting. Your columns are becoming my favourite thing on the escapist, mister Rath. They always shine a light on something that I didn't have the historical context to see. Thanks for that, it gives many games and other things a lot more depth.
 

PrinceOfShapeir

New member
Mar 27, 2011
1,849
0
0
NameIsRobertPaulson said:
Welcome to the US of A...

Many people look at their country and say "I've never seen our government in such bad shape." Germany and the US do not have this problem.
Yeah, countries like South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, or Japan have nothing to look back and be ashamed of.
 

Zombie_Moogle

New member
Dec 25, 2008
666
0
0
I'd like to publicly add myself to the camp of people who really enjoyed your column today

I knew & understood the historical background of the Bioshock series, but I hadn't really considered what the games are like to non-americans who might lack that context (or even just other americans that know less about history)

@Zhukov mentioned something to this affect

Zhukov said:
Huh. This was actually really interesting.

So thanks.

As a non-American, I was passingly familiar with some of these things, but only vaguely aware of others.

Any thoughts on this, gamers from other countries?
Does this information change your opinion on Bioshock or the context of the stories?
 

shiajun

New member
Jun 12, 2008
578
0
0
As always Mr. Rath, an absolute delight to read you give historical context to all things gaming.
 

Johkmil

New member
Apr 14, 2009
119
0
0
Zombie_Moogle said:
I'd like to publicly add myself to the camp of people who really enjoyed your column today

I knew & understood the historical background of the Bioshock series, but I hadn't really considered what the games are like to non-americans who might lack that context (or even just other americans that know less about history)

@Zhukov mentioned something to this affect

Zhukov said:
Huh. This was actually really interesting.

So thanks.

As a non-American, I was passingly familiar with some of these things, but only vaguely aware of others.

Any thoughts on this, gamers from other countries?
Does this information change your opinion on Bioshock or the context of the stories?
As a non-American (Norwegian, to be precise,) this was an exceptionally interesting read, as most of this was things I had barely heard of in passing (the anarchists were known, but only from a continental European perspective as Norwegians have had a history of rebelling by having some guys write a document.) The closest we get to American history of the late 19th and early 20th century is learning of the mass migration of Norwegians to the US; I did not know they were especially wanted as immigrants.
This creates a context for the world of Bioshock Infinite that could bring a greater depth to the experience. Anyone could create a flying city - creating a flying city that has a historical and ideological reasoning and which fits into the zeitgeist of an era? Brilliant.
 

MrCalypso

New member
Jul 14, 2010
75
0
0
Ahhh the Pinkerton agents have always fascinated me as a part of our history and believe it or not that agency is still around today! I really hope the agency shows up in Infinite in some way, besides Booker's history of course, cause I doubt will see it in any other game.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

Henchgoat Emperor
May 15, 2010
5,499
0
0
Every nation that has existed has committed atrocities, adopted bad policies and made huge glaring hindsight errors in its past (and future probably). We are human, we fuck up.
 

Epic Fail 1977

New member
Dec 14, 2010
686
0
0
I tried to read this, I really did, but my god this is boring shit. That's not meant as a criticism of you or your writing, Robert. It's the subject matter! Maybe it's because I'm European and we don't get those mandatory indoctrination classes that you guys over the pond have, I dunno. In any case I hope the themes in the game (assuming it has any) don't require an interest in (or knowledge of) American history to be understood. There's no reason they should - humans are the same all over the world.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
Well that's a great summary of left wing historical re-inventionism, devoid of a lot of context and comparison to what other nations were doing and how relatively "enlightned" they were on a lot of these policies in practice.

To put things into perspective for example. The Native Americans and American settlers were on relatively good terms for a long time, however being people, the Natives on the east coast decided to ally with foreign European powers, namely the French, who they felt offered them a better deal. Of course this didn't result in ALL natives going over to the other side, and some tribes like The Mohegans decided to side with the settlers. When the French and Indian war concluded, native "allies" threatened the settlers and demanded far more in the way of territory, and money in the form of tribute sensing that their white "allies" were weak. This lead to more warfare and fighting, and a rather justified point of view that the natives could not be trusted, and were functionally acting as a domestic resource that foreign powers could exploit in encroaching into The New World. This lead to a lot of natives being driven out, and forced largely westward, where they came into conflict with other tribes and fought against them for living space, hunting grounds, and the like as one tribe basically migrated into the territory of another. This lead to gradual organized backlash against the "white devil" as differant tribes unified and tried to put an end to the "problem".

The point being here is that Native Americans are not innocent victims who happened to be exploited, they kind of brought it upon themselves by simply choosing the wrong side, and starting wars and battles they just couldn't win which continued to cause more and more hatred and got to the point where the simple policy became one of exterminating them like vermin. Trust me, if you've ever been to the East Coast (and note, I've worked for TWO differant tribes of Native Americans, talked to/hung out with a lot of them, seen their museums, and met tribal members coming down here for meetings from all over the country and even up into Canada and down into Mexico) you'd get a FAR differant impression
as to these kinds of issues. There were plaques and such as places like Fort Shantok commemerating allied battles where Natives saved settlers, and vice versa. Guys like Chief Uncas still exist as local legends and have all kinds of things named after them like "Uncas' leap" where he rode his horse over the falls (and survived).

The thing to understand is when you strip away all of the BS liberalism from it, the bottom line is that Native Americans as they actually existed fully understood the idea of property ownership. They build permanant and semi-permanant dwellings, farmed the land, and knew damn well what they were doing when it came to such things. They even built entire replicas of villages made of longhouses and such by way of making the point (at the Mashantucket Museum for example).

The point is that when you start getting into American attitudes about natives, and bringing up "Wounded Knee" and such you have to consider those policies didn't come out of a vaccum, and relations were friendly for a good amount of time. Things like that were easy to do when you had tribes selling you out to foreign powers, or attacking towns and villages despite being your "friends" when your militia was weak from other battles. One might wonder how Chief Uncas went from being a big hero, to someone whose people were brutalized... with him personally STILL being viewed as a local legend. The answer is simply that it's BS that tribes had simple organization and everything stopped with the chief, there were politicians there within these tribes, and they were scumbags just like anyone else. How much blame Uncas himself gets is a matter of debate.

You cannot talk about what transpired later without understanding how it all started.

It should also be noted that things like "Manifest Destiny" were in direct response to European incursions into the US, the basic problem being that European powers wanted to colonize the new world, and figured that they could simply establish footholds starting from areas away from US territory (initially) and fence it in. Manifest Destiny was pretty much a fancy way of saying "if you set up on our border and curtail our expansion, we're going to treat you like an enemy".

When it comes to the treatment of immigrants and such, it's nice to pull out the "OMG, the US was so horrible to these people" card, but understand that we were bloody saints compared to most of the rest of the world where the navy might have put a cannonball through the hull of your ship out of hand rather than letting refugees into the country (perhaps not officially, but it would still happen). As "crappy" as we might have been by modern, liberal, standards, we pretty much became *the* destination for centuries because we treated people better than anyone else.

This is to say nothing of America's generally isolationist policies, it's nice to sit down and try and retroactively say the US was "Imperialist" with it's ideas, but honestly our big thing was that we pretty much didn't give a crap about what was going on elsewhere. This continued right up until the World Wars, heck even with Hitler rampaging through Europe and gobbling up our "allies" we pretty much didn't want to get involved in foreign wars or problems. Things like the Pearl Harbour attack did a lot to change that sentiment, however in reality things were never quite as... enthusiastic, as we sometimes like to make them out to be. Of course this was when the US still knew what it was doing and we actually started using real wartime propaganda (and it worked) so we were able to psyche people up and create an intellecual construct about the war that maintains a grip until this day.

Now post World War II, it can be argued that the US became substantially more aggressive in promoting it's ideas and idealogy. However we're not dealing with the "Cold War" here and that entire can of worms.

Don't get me wrong, Bioshock Infinite seems like a good game, and likely it will be good even if it uses the point of view from this article, devoid of context, but I hope people don't come away with the wrong impressions as a result.

I'm not going to argue these points (so don't bother to try) I'm just clarifying things to make a sort of counter statement so it's represented.

The bit about Native Americans is especially touchy because as I said, I've worked for two tribes. To be honest it seems like there is more of an attempt by non-natives to make an issue here than there is by the natives, who for the most part seem to concede that the whole situation was messed up with a lot of people doing screwed up things on all sides. A lot of it basically comes down to how the tribes down here on the East Coast have gotten into a bit of cultural revivalism and educating people on how things actually used to be. In showing that truth though your seeing a people who are a bit more advanced than the stereotype (though nowhere near as advanced as the colonists), and who learned rapidly. With that understanding it also becomes pretty obvious that they were hardly ignorant and came with their own ambitions. For example the old stereotype about "trading shiny glass beads for farmland" does have some truth to it, but when you consider that there was no way to manufacture those glass beads, and tribals could trade them to other tribals for a huge profit it became a worthwhile deal from their perspective and they understood that. For example if some tribal sells you his land, the beads you give him might be enough for him and his family to retire, trading for food and
other things (living high on the hog) without having to work. Sure the beads might have been nearly worthless by european standards but they weren't worthless to the natives. At the end of the day in most transactions everyone
wound up feeling they got a good deal, and peace reigned for decent amount of time. We didn't go from Thanksgiving "hey, Squanto saved us all!", to "Wounded Knee" overnight and for no real reason, a lot of crap happened on both sides along the way, and while the white settlers won and are easy to point fingers at retroactively, the natives overall were not always innocent victims, on the side of angels.