Revisiting Rapture

Revisiting Rapture

A return trip to the beloved underwater dystopia.

It’s been a while, a long while actually, since I last stepped foot into “Bioshock’s” hauntingly beautiful art-deco dystopia. I couldn’t remember the last time I had gone toe-to-toe with the hulking Big Daddies and mentally anguished Splicers that roamed Rapture’s underwater halls, yet it felt as if I’d never put down the controller. It felt as if I had suddenly jumped back to 2007, only around 14 years old at the time, gripping the Xbox 360’s controller, not wanting to turn off the game even after hours of exploration and tense firefights. I found myself almost immediately picking up old habits from when I played as a teenager, obsessively hacking every turret, security camera, and vending machine I could find, approaching combat with uneasy caution, and allowing myself moments to simply take in the city’s gorgeous (though dilapidated) architecture. Even with all the familiarity, however, “Bioshock” feels just as creative and atmospheric as the first time I played.

There is a real sense of dread in the original “Bioshock” game, a tension that pulls you in and makes even easy encounters with enemies feel fraught with danger. This is a game world that does not want you to grow comfortable, a game where you are alone throughout, accompanied only by disembodied voices over the radio or forever entombed in audio diaries. The rest of your adventure is spent mostly in solitude, roaming dimly lit hallways and the melancholic remnants of a failed utopian city. Outside the crumbling walls of Rapture is the Atlantic, ocean water oppressively seeping through cracked walls and burst pipes, keeping you constantly aware that you are trapped in a claustrophobic ruin, crawling with twisted characters and science-fiction terrors.

Even now, years after originally completing the game, “Bioshock” still manages to enthral me. Garry Schyman’s orchestral score flourishes and sways at all the right moments, rumbling bass tones evoke nautical imagery as high strings seem to swarm in with creeping warnings of impending doom. When the orchestra is not providing the tonal punches it is the sound design of the world itself that creates these strange, dark moments. Jukeboxes flicker erratically as pleasant classics such as Bobby Darin’s “Beyond the Sea” flutter on, their casual, sunny dispositions sprinkled throughout the dank halls of Rapture, juxtaposed perfectly against the more sinister tone of the game and its world. More than just a clever opposite of the overarching tone, these songs, alongside old advertisements and other elements of the city serve as a reminder to the player of what once was, before the societal collapse.

While the smaller moments that build the game are rife with sombre reflection and muscle-tensing terror, the story and themes of “Bioshock” stand as some of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and literary in gaming. The entire city of Rapture, and its founder, Andrew Ryan, are both critiques of Ayn Rand’s works, “Atlas Shrugged” in particular. The game world is founded upon Libertarian and Objectivist ideals, leaving the player to stumble through the wreckage of a great social experiment gone awry. By the finale you are left with the ghosts of this city, and the ideologues that served as its stewards, haunting you. Moral choices throughout the game change the ending in different ways, but when it is all said and done you are still alone with the questions that Rapture’s denizens have left for you.

“Bioshock’s” questions on morality, humanity, society, and the illusions of choice are thoughtful and tragic, executed brilliantly by writer/director Ken Levine and his staff, and have stuck with me to this day. With the recent release of the remastered editions and the fairly cheap prices that old copies can be bought for there is no reason not to give Irrational Games’ masterwork a chance. If you have never delved into the waterlogged art-deco ruins of Rapture it is a journey well worth undertaking. If you, like me, have wandered its grief-stricken halls before and want to return to the city under the sea there is no better time than now.

Cover Image Credit: Bioshock WIki

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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What Happened To My Country That I Love? The Radical Left Happened

They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.

What happened to the America I loved? What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? What happened to my country? What happened?

I was terrified to enter the political world when I first began developing my own thoughts and opinions on many social and economic issues. I started to see this new side of the world that was boiling beneath the surface, ready to explode. I was unsure what to do with the information handed to me. But none-the-less, I fell in love with politics.

I found myself on the conservative side of the political spectrum. For anyone who knows me, this is not too much of a surprise. I was already incredibly pro-life and was one of the most outspoken people against the government being involved in my life. With a very conservative household, people tend to point at me and say that I have known no different. And maybe I haven’t.

What I have noticed in my time being incredibly active in politics is the increasing amount of worry and fear that has been radiating off the Right. They are afraid that they were the last generation of conservatives. They fear that free markets and our basic human rights are soon to head out the door.

But I am here to tell them, they are not the last wave of conservatism.

As I walked into the Midwest Regional Conference hosted by Turning Point USA (TPUSA) a couple weekends ago, I saw all I needed to see. One thousand college-aged conservatives, mingling around the room proud in their country and displaying their “Socialism Sucks” shirts.

One thousand does not sound like a lot, but each came from their college chapter representing another three or four students. Then, on top of that there are all the students on college campuses to afraid to say anything, and then there are those who simply are out of college or couldn’t come. This was only for the Midwest as well. There are numerous amounts of conferences hosted by TPUSA around the United States every year.

This was just one.

There is a new wave of conservatism that is coming, and I promise that we will not let our parents and grandparents down. We have already begun to speak out against the radical Left, that has left behind what our country was founded on.

We have grown tired of the ways of conservatives have always sat back and never spoken too loud. They have fought back in votes, petitions, and talk shows. This new wave is strong, and know that in order to fight back we have to be just as loud. It has begun already with organizations like Campus Reform, Lone Conservative, and Turning Point USA. All rooted in capitalism, free markets, and our civil liberties and rights.

We are here to fight for America, and to keep our lives and generations to come safe. We will not let the Left take away our defense, our speech, and the rest of what makes America, America. Because if we do, where else will we go?

What happened to the America I loved? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to the country that fought for liberties, not against them? It is still here and is here to stay.

What happened to my country? The radical Left happened.

What happened? They have made the young conservatives angry, and oh boy, will they regret that.

Cover Image Credit: aimeecustis / Flickr

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