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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

 Road to the IGF: Expressive Intelligence Studio’s Prom Week 
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[Mike Treanor:] I've previously made games about Ayn Rand, marriage legislation and observing animal behavior.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

• • Ken Levine on the Storytelling Craft of BioShock Infinite 
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BioShock  | [Levine:] Andrew Ryan, because he's much larger than life, I found him very easy to write. Also, I always had Ayn Rand in my ear while I was writing him, and she is quite articulate in her viewpoints. So he was a pretty easy character to write, for me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

 Sympathy For The Devil: Irrational’s Ken Levine On Villain Design 
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BioShock  | Suggesting he’s uncomfortable with the term “villain,” Levine recalls his work developing BioShock’s distinctive Andrew Ryan, overzealous overlord of the star-crossed undersea paradise called Rapture. “When I was working on Andrew Ryan, the two things that were most formative to me were reading [Ayn] Rand, and then I watched a documentary about Joseph Goebbels,” he told Gamasutra, when we visited the studio.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

 Interview: Levine, Irrational Talk Reaching Success Through Fearless Failures 
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BioShock  | Overall, visual and tonal concepts for Infinite were too much like the starkly-Objectivist, submerged kingdom of Rapture as seen in original BioShock, [Ken] Levine and his team told us.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

 This Week In Video Game Criticism: Jack Marston And Judging Indie Games 
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Michael “Brainy Gamer” Abbott works on a reading of games as an existential expression of the nonself or as being the self of someone else and what they can achieve. Unless you like philosophical wank war by an Objectivist, I’d avoid the comments.

Friday, February 18, 2011

 Stop making sense 
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BioShock  | Bits of recorded speech from the game’s main characters provide important backstory for [BioShock’s] Objectivist dystopia.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

 Irrational Games leaves the sea for the sky with BioShock Infinite 
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“We didn’t set out in BioShock to tell a story about objectivism; we’re not setting out this time around to tell a story about turn-of-the-century jingoism,” says [lead artist Shawn] Robertson.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

 Out of my hands - Player decisions in BioShock 2 
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[In Bioshock] Ryan advocated for objectivism against fierce opposition, but [in Bioshock 2] Lamb is only talking to herself.

Friday, February 26, 2010

 On BioShock 2 and why return beats renovation 
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Where BioShock presented one character of an only loosely-known identity with an objectivist despot as adversary, BioShock 2 presents the same sort of character and an enemy adherent to a different philosophy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

 What Fallout has to say 
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In [...] Bioshock, the revelation towards the close would have far less meaning without the tasks of the game that comes with, and came before, it. Without the inseperable interplay of both narrative and game—without the actual experience of playing the game—objectivism’s thesis of the primacy of individual liberty would not emerge as forcefully as it does (if indeed, at all).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

• • • Ken Levine on studio culture: From looking glass to 2K Boston 
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The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Interview with Ken Levine, designer of BioShock.
[Q:] Obviously, I don't think anyone really expected a game to come out with Ayn Rand as the catalyst. And that became really surprising. But I think that -- and you've talked about this -- if you don't know anything about her writing, you can still understand the story that is built on those foundations. [A:] Well, you know, in reading Rand, I just thought she spoke very clearly. Generally when you read philosophy, it's very boring, and very dull. And one of the great things about Rand as a philosopher was that she was able to speak her message in a very clear and entertaining fashion. You read The Fountainhead. For all of it, it's got a fair amount of bombast, but for all its bombast, it's a great read. It's a great story, and it's got great characters. When she talks, and you read her interviews, she speaks like -- I grew up reading Fantastic Four and Spider-Man -- she speaks like The Green Goblin, or Doctor Doom. Not necessarily evil, but in terms of her vision for the world, and she's so convinced of that vision that I just, when I read her, it was like, "Oh my God, this would be a great character!" because of that certainty that she has. That moral certainty.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

 2k Marin’s Finley: ‘Deep experience’ can trump subject matter concerns 
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Interview with the executive producer of videogame BioShock 2, Alyssa Finley.
[Q:] I do wonder that the problem, very often, is that [video games] get watered down because people become worried that it's not appealing to a broad audience, or whatever. [A:] Well, I think "Art Deco Underwater Failed Objectivist Utopia" is pretty unappealing to a wide audience, and at the end of the day you can get caught up in labels, or you can try to make a deep experience and hope that if you invite the right people there, they will come.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

 G4C: In event’s sixth year, social change games make strides 
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This year [at Games For Change], discussions paid much more attention to things like the way BioShock encouraged an entire community of gamers to discuss Rand-ian objectivism; the way the Resident Evil 5 controversy encouraged plenty of debate, much of it healthy, on race and games, and the way the Six Days In Fallujah controversy really caused many people to discuss and examine what the role of games could and should be in relation to the real world.

Friday, March 20, 2009

 The case for writers as game designers 
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BioShock was both a critical and financial blockbuster and was lauded for both its dynamic use of emergent gameplay and its ambitious alternate reality narrative steeped in dystopian imagery and the philosophical underpinnings of Ayn Rand.

Monday, November 17, 2008

 Social responsibility and why games should grow up 
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People know games, and they're safe. We need to move outside the comfort zone if we're to make any impact. BioShock's reflection on Ayn Rand is a good start, and games like Civilization do a good job of simulating real-world economies and warfare, but we need more examples to point to.

Friday, August 08, 2008

 Video games are the silver bullet 
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Clearly, [video games] do not explore their political and philosophical themes -- objectivism, the war economy, the Middle East conflict -- at any level deep enough to substitute the video game for a university education or even the introductory paragraph of a Wikipedia article.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

 The rough road for independent console developers 
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When Take-Two took over Bioshock, was it because they identified the market need for an Ayn Rand inspired shooter in a distopic future?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 Ken Levine speaks: Empowering players to care about your stupid story 
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Capitalism  | [BioShock game designer Ken] Levine said, "I don't think we went into it [expecting to have such strong moral themes] ... really when the little sister came along the opportunity presented itself. It was an evolution of thinking about Ryan and Objectivism and where capitalism naturally goes."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

• • Gamasutra’s best of 2007: Top 5 most affecting characters 
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3. Andrew Ryan [....] The architect of BioShock’s Rapture serves as a cautionary example of the danger of pure philosophy. Though he’s introduced as an antagonist, Ryan quickly becomes as sympathetic as he is so bitterly wrong – despite his hard-line objectivist-influenced ideals that delineate artists from parasites, men from slaves, his greatest crime save for fatal arrogance was perhaps believing in humankind too much.