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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He Changed Everything.

My soul is richer & my heart is fuller 

Sept 2013 I found myself writing to an evangelist Jennifer Beckham looking for more, looking for answers cause at the time I was in a dark place, and stuck no matter what I did. She wrote back! I cried as I read her respond. She sent me scriptures of who god is and what he wants for us. God says we are more than conquers and endurance develops strength and character. She encouraged me that I was on the right track. Not to give up and she would be praying for me. I saw Jennifer Beckham at a conference that year. I don't remember what she specifically talked about but I remember the feeling. The feeling of wanting to burst out crying, I could feel my eyes being filled with tears, and my heart racing but I wouldn't let out the tears. My pride was too big. I wanted to be strong so I did my best to hold it all in, and I did. At this conference they offered the audience who wanted to go up for prayer and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. Surprisingly I went up, but I went up with other people that were seeking out salvation. I wasn’t sure if I was going up to support the other people or if it was truly for me. I was confused, even though I said the prayer. I became more confused as the days went on and I wasn't feeling a difference in my life. Nothing was changing. I started reading the bible and many books, listening to sermons, and surrounding myself with positive people. I gave my life to Jesus, but I didn't feel like I was set FREE! I continued feeling empty, lost, broken, guilty, and hurt from the past. There were so many days where I just wanted to give up. Almost felt pointless to fight for my life. At this point in my life I didn't know God very much, but I had just a little bit of faith. My faith was as big as a mustard seed and God took care of the rest. Day by day, year by year I started noticing my life changing. I noticed I was changing. I started feeling happy with who I was and where I was in life. I no longer questioned God about the things that happened to me. In my heart I was ok with the wounds, the hardships, and trials from the past because I now understood those wounds and trials. I realized I was SET FREE! not perfect but set free. I started understanding who I was as a child of our heavenly father. Now it’s Jan 2018 and I’m in awe of who I am and where I am in life, all because of Jesus. His so faithful! I think of the favor, the grace, his mercy, his love, his joy and blessing that he gives me even when I’m undeserving of it, it’s overwhelming. He has never left me nor forsake me. I can say Jesus you changed everything and my heart so forever thankful. 

Today, I encourage you like Jennifer Beckham encouraged me. Keep going and don't give up. No matter what your past looks like believe in your heart that you were created for greatness. Don't let your past determine your future, be the change you want in your life. You have it in you. There is so much more to life, don't miss out on it. It's time to take back your happiness, love, joy, freedom and so much more. It's time to take back EVERYTHING the enemy has taken from you. God has made you an overcomer. I speak it right now, that you will be victorious in 2018 and the years to come. Remember, God loves you! 

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy and loving-kindness endures forever!

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Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

Golden Globe speech sparking some ideas.

As of Sunday, January 7, 2018, Oprah Winfrey made a few remarks during her Golden Globe speech, hinting to her possibly running for president in 2020. Later, two of her friends, who wish to remain anonymous confirm this speculation. One of the friends said that this idea has been looming for months now but that Winfrey did not come to a conscience yet.

The main point of Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes was the #MeToo movement. She also made a statement of, "A new day is on the horizon", which many liberal celebrities and viewers heard as a possible campaign cry.

At the moment, there is no serious talk right now about her running for president, but some of her fans have voiced their opinions through Twitter and Facebook after she had her speech. Along with her fans, her long time partner, Stedman Graham also mentioned that her running for president was a possibility

However what Winfrey does not have is political experience. When she needs political advice she looks to the Obamas and she fully endorsed Hillary Clinton. We may have our next Democratic candidate for the 2020 election. Although the race for president does not start until after the 2018 midterms, many candidates are getting a head start. Maybe this is her making her first move. What do you think? Will America choose another TV star as our president?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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