It was mindblowingly obvious that they had a totally white audience in mind. As a white woman, I felt uncomfortable to the point where I just stopped playing for a while, so I really cannot imagine how POC must feel.
I would like to add that Bioshock doesn’t “deal with racism” like some people argue. There is a difference between simply presenting racism and “dealing” with it. Bioshock presents. Offering the player the option to decide to attack a couple for being different races is not “dealing with racism.” I do not recall a point in the game where we are told that racism is bad. Booker really, really, really doesn’t care. The Vox, and indeed Daisy, are presented as equally as bad as the force they are fighting against. Bioshock does not “deal with racism,” it uses racism as a prop. It uses the degrading of black people, the abuse of black people, as a prop. It uses the bodies of POC as a prop. I do not believe that the amount of imagery used was necessary - but I perhaps would have felt differently if the protagonist (who is after all, the player) had any sort of opposition to it rather than the “I’m not taking sides” apathy. If our protagonist was vocally anti-racist and if the Vox were not presented the way they were, it would’ve been different.
Before I go, I’m a huge Bioshock fan. It’s my favourite franchise. But the first half of this game was a 5/10 for me purely because of this issue. Irrational should’ve handled this a lot better. I felt pretty sick during a lot of the first half, and I do not believe they thought for a minute about the feelings of POC - and if you are going to make a game with strong themes of racism, POC should be your biggest priority. It is their history and experiences you are using to make your game.
Bioshock takes place in 1912 America. So guess what? That’s what 1912 America looked like. They were just portraying times. What would you like them to do, alter history?
what, alter history like putting a floating city and portals into other dimensions into the game? that would be terrible!
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