http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/new ... se-w439921
Oh and because these are always well loved, my review of the three Bioshock games.There's a good bit in Rolling Stone's interview:
I know there are people – and in some ways, you addressed this in Burial at Sea – who are bothered by what happens to Daisy Fitzroy, the African-American Vox Populi leader, in BioShock Infinite. They basically think, if I can use a 2016 metaphor, that you created a game in which Donald Trump founded a xenophobic colony in the sky, only to learn that the Mexicans really are rapists.
Here's what I'd say. BioShock 1 is about Jews. I'm a Jew. If you think about it, Andrew Ryan, Sander Cohen, Tenenbaum, they're all Jews. Suchong is Korean. During World War II, Korea was brutally occupied by Japan. He's a guy who survived.
They're all survivors of oppression. And they don't come out of it heroes. Oppression turns them into oppressors. And that's the cruelest aspect of oppression. If you look at Andrew Ryan and Daisy Fitzroy, they're not that far apart.
Maybe people wanted me to write about a hero who rose above that. Elizabeth is the character I invented who does sacrifice herself to break the cycle. But I think most people are destroyed by oppression. I could tell a fairy tale about people who are ennobled by it. But in my experience, as a student of history, that's rare.
If you pretend there are a lot of happy endings for those stories, in some ways it elevates the oppression to something it's not.
People also know or suspect that you're a liberal.
I'm not in this to make people feel good about their political beliefs. If anything, I'm there to mostly challenge my own beliefs. The reason Andrew Ryan is a better character than Comstock is I understood the appeal of Andrew Ryan. I don't get the appeal of the Donald Trumps of the world. I don't fear the things he fears.
I understood Ryan better. He was a bourgeois Jew during the Bolshevik Revolution. The Bolsheviks came and destroyed his family, destroyed everything in his life. That maps Ayn Rand. She's a refugee who came to America because her family was destroyed by the Bolsheviks. It's not really super surprising she became the person she did. Spider-Man was made by Uncle Ben being shot. Ayn Rand was made by her family being destroyed by the Bolsheviks.
I hope if anyone takes anything away from BioShock, it's about how oppression just goes on and on and on, and how ideology can get very muddy once the real world mixes with it.
John Lanchester, who wrote about BioShock for the London Review of Books, told me it was the first game he played that had the ambitions of a novel.
One thing BioShock did for people was it became that thing that people could point to and say, "See, Mom! It's serious!" I guess I always thought video games had weight and meaning, even when I was playing Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II, or System Shock. I was never ashamed to play video games. I never needed something to point to, to say, "This is why I do it." I just assumed that it was always going to be something that was out there, and outré, and never part of the mainstream.
But you did crave mainstream acceptance before the release of BioShock Infinite. Maybe you're past that now.
From a marketing perspective, I felt we had a limitation on our ability to reach a broad audience. You can't promote your game in the same way if you can't go on Colbert.
I think if anything it's worse now, the perception that gamers are some disgusting, gross little thing. The last few years haven't helped with that situation. If you look at Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they would be first in line to say, "Video games are bad." There's nobody to vote for who's going to say that what we do is valid.
Unfortunately, it's Ted Cruz. He plays.
Oh, does he? So there you go. I think you can't look to other people for validation. I just turned 50. Life's too short for pretending you're something you're not. The truth is that video games are nerdy. They're also beautiful.
If you let somebody else tell you that what you like is invalid, and you listen to them, you're sacrificing a part of yourself.
Bioshock review (9/10)
Bioshock 2 review (8/10)
Bioshock: Infinite review (9/10)