This may be the closest we get to a real-life Bioshock

“Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?”

Readers who have played Bioshock will remember Rapture, the underwater city built as a Randian utopia where its fictional residents sought freedom from society’s constraints against such things as using “plasmids” to modify one’s genetic structure in order to shoot hornets from one’s hands.

I have yet to see reports of plasmid research, but the idea of creating a new society in the ocean is reportedly a real one. The Lookout, via Details, reports Paypal founder Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to “an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters.”

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters
beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these
countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and
moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be
“a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that
libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been
unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage,
and few restrictions on weapons.”

Readers who have played Bioshock know that Rapture’s inhabitants ended up killing each other and challenging players’ notions on whether the concept of “free will” can exist, at least as it relates to the way video games can present players with the illusions of moral choice.

I can’t say whether any future seasteaders will face such grisly ends, but I will say that I’m not sure if I like the idea of looser building codes within an ocean-built city, but what do I know?

Here is the Seasteading Society’s perspective:

The vision of seasteading is an urgent one. We can already see that
existing political systems are straining to cope with the realities of
the 21st century. We need to create the next generation of
governance: banking systems to better handle the inevitable financial
crises, medical regulations that protect people without retarding
innovation, and democracies that ensure our representatives truly represent us.

Seasteaders believe that government shouldn’t be like the cell phone
carrier industry, with few choices and high customer-lock-in. Instead,
we envision a vibrant startup sector for government, with many small
groups experimenting with innovative ideas as they compete to serve
their citizens’ needs better.

Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social
systems on a small scale; countries are so enormous that it is hard for
an individual to make much difference. The world needs a place where
those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test
out their ideas. All land is already claimed — which makes the oceans
humanity’s next frontier.

You know what? Plasmids are not real. (I think). I want to see what happens. Go for it, Mr. Thiel.

Bioshock Infinite website live


Today, the wraps come off of Irrational Games’ next big project, something that has been cloaked in secrecy on the official site, with a countdown clock locking it away until now. Bioshock Infinite is on its way.

That it’s another Bioshock title wasn’t too surprising. That it takes place in 1912 in a floating city was, turning the “Bioshock” brand into more than something that takes place underwater. According to the main site, the story (set in 1912) goes something like this:

“Former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt has been sent to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned in Columbia since childhood. Booker develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and harness the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.”

But looking further ahead, what Irrational seem to be hinting at with this change of venue is that the series could be extended into other interesting historical periods where aberrations in technical know-how embrace the social strata of each in surprising extremes.

We had a taste of the 1950’s with Andrew Ryan’s Rapture. Now we’ll get to see what Ken Levine and his crew have planned for the year that the Titanic sank, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, and which stood at the beginning of a decade that would change a world where the spirit of discovery remained stronger than ever.

I’m already psyched over steampunkish take shown off in the first trailer below. Weird science and psychic powers? Irrational is such a tease. The only thing that would probably make it better is a cameo by Edgar Cayce. Or an actual release date.

Bioshock 2’s CE edition brings turntable love

The first Bioshock CE came with a Big Daddy statuette and plenty of support from developer, Irrational Games, in providing freebies such as a digital art book, soundtrack, and free replacements for the Big Daddies that didn’t survive their trip in the mail.

They wanted to do more for the fans, but at the time, no one was sure just how well the game would actually do to justify going all out with a full blown CE. Just offering what they could was a surprise in and of itself (as well as turning those Big Daddy statuettes into something of a collector’s item) to everyone anticipating it.

But Bioshock was a huge success and now it almost looks as if they’ve been given a blank check to pull out all of the stops for the sequel’s CE.

Looking at it, I could go for the hardcover art-book, but the other items are also interesting for those wanting to dress up their homes as if they were living in Rapture. Also included are three retro, 60’s-styled posters, a CD containing the orchestral score and get this…a vinyl LP with the same score with its own album sleeve. Now you can laugh at everyone else that had thrown out their turntables for little platters of overpriced, shiny plastic!

But the price is just a wee over what I had expected to spend for this fan pack. The console version is going for about $100 (the PC version is ten dollars less) on Gamestop and Amazon, and here’s what it looks like courtesy of the official site: