Art Deco in Bioshock
Bioshock takes place in the 60’s, in an alternate reality where the payer gets to explore the underwater city Rapture. Questions of values and morality arise.
“Rapture was envisioned by the Randian business magnate Andrew Ryan, who wanted to create a laissez-faire state to escape increasingly oppressive political, economic, and religious authority on land. The city was secretly built in 1946 on a mid-Atlantic seabed, utilizing submarine volcanoes to provide geothermal power. Scientific progress flourished in Rapture, leading to rapid developments in engineering and biotechnology thanks in part to the brilliant scientists that Ryan brought to the city. One such advancement was ADAM, stem cellsharvested from a previously unknown species of sea slug, which were discovered by Dr. Bridgette Tenenbaum to have the ability to regenerate damaged tissue and rewrite the human genome. Tenenbaum joined with businessman and mobster Frank Fontaine to create the plasmid industry, which offered superhuman physical enhancements to its customers. Tenenbaum found that ADAM could be mass-produced by implanting the slugs in the stomachs of young girls (“Little Sisters”), taken from orphanages founded by Fontaine.
As time passed, the gap between rich and poor increased. Frank Fontaine established charity organizations to support the underclass. His motives were far from altruistic; his ultimate goal was to use his charity organizations to manipulate the underclass. He also established a smuggling operation to supply citizens with forbidden items from the surface, such as religious material. These, along with his control of the plasmid industry, made him immensely powerful. He tried to overthrow Ryan, but the revolt was violently crushed and Fontaine was reportedly killed. Ryan seized control of Fontaine’s plasmid business. Within a few months, a new figure named Atlas rose as the leader of the disgruntled lower class. On New Year’s Eve of 1959, Atlas and his ADAM-infused followers began a new revolt against Ryan that spread throughout Rapture. Ryan in turn began splicing his own forces, and his paranoia had reached such a level he was hanging dozens of people, mostly innocent, in Rapture’s main square. In order to solve ADAM shortages, the Little Sisters were mentally conditioned to wander the city and extract ADAM from the dead, recycling it into raw ADAM in their stomachs after swallowing it. “Big Daddies”, enhanced and mentally sterilized humans in armored diving suits, were created by Dr. Suchong, the scientist behind many plasmids, to protect the Little Sisters in their work.
A drawback of ADAM is that a user must take regular infusions or suffer mental and physical degeneration. As the war disrupted production and supply, every ADAM user in the city eventually went violently insane. By the time the player arrives, only a handful of non-mutated humans survive in barricaded hideouts.“(from HERE)
Heavily decorated city of Rapture is the perfect setting for the dystopian story the game presents. Long tunnels opening up to great halls, tall buildings, big windows, gigantic sculptures representing the power and the authority and the cameras (alternate reality – tthe game’s universe has advanced technology but the visual style of such devices are art-deco, art-nouveau and somewhat steampunk) that follow wherever the player goes and the monitors where the villain speaks to the player and taunt/inform/tease make up for a great dystopian athmosphere.
The Environment has it’s own narrative here, knocked over vending machines tell of vandalism and riots, looting. Writings in blood show of violent ends, cracked glass underwater tunnels tell of fights/control.
The interactive props like casettes, journals and notebooks further delve into the story for interested parties.
narrative is enhanced by the architecture, the player