BioShock Infinite 20: Ayn Rand Everywhere

In which we meet old friends, visit the Happy, Well Adjusted And Socially Capable Children Daycare and a sex shop.

Yes, you read that right. You’ve been warned.

As you might remember, we’re standing in front of a larger piece of debris blocking our path. Let’s move it and get on with the story.
2015-01-09_00035Yes, that’s us. And we’re dead. Please note the drill sticking out of Elisabeth’s chest. A flashback tells us that the Big Daddy who finished off Comstock didn’t stop at him. How can Elisabeth be dead in this world and still be here? Her bleeding fingertips prove that she doesn’t belong here, and there’s something wrong with her finger. Or rather nothing wrong with her finger: the missing tip is back. Another flashback (the flashback will take a break soon) leaves us on a boat with the Luteces. Elisabeth feels guilty for leaving Sally to rot in Rapture after killing Comstock, she needs to go back, to fix what she’s broken. The Luteces are not happy about this decision: “when one has changed history, one often wishes one had not”. Furthermore, Elisabeth dies where she is going, she doesn’t belong there – she will forget all the doors and… well, everything she said she has forgotten. According to the Luteces, we’re walking a thin line between martyr and fool here. But we have to move on, leave the boat and get to the lighthouse…

Back in Rapture, Elisabeth pieces together what the Luteces told her would happen. The explanation is some physicsbabble about quantum superposition and the collapse of the wave function. It’s babble, but at least it’s rather good babble, compared to other games. Now that we’re just a normal girl, how will we ever return to our own universe? WILL we ever return? Oh, and Elisabeth forms working hypothesis regarding Booker on the radio: her brain uses him to give her access to memory fragments about the world and the timeline she went to. And right now, he tells us to find Suchong.

Finally leaving behind the toy store, we enter a vent.2015-01-09_00042Yes, these things there are shards of glass. This section is here to introduce the stealth-mechanics. Please note the blurred corners of the screen, these indicate that we’re sneaking. Movement over glass or water makes noise, attracting splicers. Carpets eat noise. Utilizing an air-grabber, we can knock out enemies, later on we get a crossbow with tranquilizer darts, gas trap darts, and noisemakers to attract enemies. Things will get worse, how much worse is up to us. I decided to go mostly for stealth: the mechanics are solid, it keeps me away from more mediocre gunplay and it’s a more realistic course of action for Elisabeth. I’ll go into the details of the stealth mechanics at a later point when we get the local see-through-walls-magic.
We follow the vent and come out in Rapture’s No. 1 daycare, the Ryan the Lion Preparatory Academy, where Ryan the Lion and Peter the Parasite teach children who to behave down here. Hint: it’s Randian selfishness par excellence. It’s outright scary.2015-01-09_00043Today’s art lesson is to draw a parasite we met today. The text on the blackboard in the corner of shame is “I will not share my toys”. The poster in the gym… see for yourself:2015-01-09_00049The lions of the week as well as the maker and the taker of the week are honoured (and respectively shamed). Today’s group work is about communism and empathy.
2015-01-09_00051 2015-01-09_00052The cafeteria has a sign stating that “there is NO free lunch”, so you better bring money or bully it out of someone – which would be bad, as it would make you a parasite and a taker. This whole thing is so beautifully messed up. Pop culture reference: Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare. The Ayn Rand School For Tots was the first thing coming to my mind when I saw this. But wait, things get worse: we finally get our crossbow, so now we can send splicers to sleep from afar with tranq dart (we can carry FOUR of them, with a chance to recover one from the victim hit). It was used to barricade the front door to this facility and obviously taken from a nearby weapon stand. This stand had a sign on it. “For the pacification of disruptive children.” We stealth our way past some splicers. Somewhere along the way we learn about the lockpicking mechanics, which are Bioshock II’s hacking mechanics all over. Press “F” at the right moment, press it at a righter moment to get a noisemaker dart, press it at the wrong moment and the alarm goes off. After a while, we arrive in the principal’s office.2015-01-09_00060I’m sure this facility produces well-adjusted, social members of society. Wait, no. I’m sure this facility fulfills its duty to produce selfish bastards Rand herself would be proud of. And while I’m at the Randian theme of Rapture: there a kinetoscope where Ryan condemns Fontaine for poisoning Rapture with… altruism.

We move through a vent and come out in front of Cupid’s Arrow. A billboard tells us that Suchong closed the Silver Fin, a restaurant where Elisabeth first came to Rapture, before Fontaine’s was sunk. Booker reminds us that her “first” visit to Rapture is actually in a year, when we drowned songbird. Time travel is confusing, but now we know where we have to go. The Silver Fin is at the Bathyspheres DeLuxe, a store for personal submersibles.
Also in front of the Arrow is another kinetoscope (“Need to Know Theatre”, in Rapture slang): Sex Without Compromise. It basically tells the customer that sex is egotistical, that you and you alone are responsible for your pleasure and the you should set up a written contract before any intercourse, detailing who will do what to whom. Note: written contract. Oh, the pleasures of the free market…
Elisabeth knows the Arrow: it was the place she went during her first visit here to get some more Rapture-appropriate clothing. I have no idea why she went to a sex shop for this, but apparently this is the way it is. They even have her old dress inside, and I have no idea why. Inside the store she remarks that “they didn’t have these books in my tower”. What books? These books:

Also inside here we find the Peeping Tom-plasmid. It lets us see through walls and become invisible. You got one guess what its advertised use is. One. Exactly. There is even an audiolog in here about a woman complaining about the very existence of this plasmid to the shopkeeper – but we’re in a free market, as free as it gets, so it’s up to her to invent some countermeasure.
Another vent trip brings us to Bathyspheres DeLuxe, where we will continue.

Final side note: the healthpack-inventory is back. As Elisabeth is now the player character, she can’t just hand us stuff.

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