The Video Game: A New Platform For Scientific and Speculative Fiction


Throughout this semester works of speculative and scientific fiction have been analyzed. Among these works were poems, short stories, books, comic books and movies. All of these works, regardless of their format, have been used as way to express and make people think about scientific and speculative fiction issues, with a focus on the 21st century. However there is a form of media that is, in itself, unique to the 21st century; video games. With this new possible outlet it may give people interested in the genre a chance to become even more involved in the story line, with a personal investment in the game’s story outcome.

Bioshock bursted onto the video game scene with an impact, to put it lightly. In its first year the game won over 19 awards for it’s unique storyline and gameplay . The setting for the video game is very unique and adds to gameplay in a variety of way. The game takes place in the underworld society of “Rapture”. The underworld city was meant to be a utopia in which scientific minds and successful people could live and thrive in world isolated from war. However within seconds of playing the game it is clear that the grand plans for the city have failed as it is virtually uninhabited. The player must make his way through the city by completing various tasks and avoiding dangerous situations.

Bioshock is a very interesting subject when comparing it to many of the works we have discussed throughout this course. Throughout the game there are many issues that coincide with issues discussed in class. There are several themes imbedded in the game, among them are; free will, utopia, and genetic ethics. Free will is a consistent theme throughout the game as you are constantly asked to complete tasks preceded with the phrase “would you kindly” , and after hearing that phrase you completed the task with no control given to the person playing the game. This idea of free will is also common in the novel “Fledgling”, where humans are powerless to the control of the Vampires after feeding from them.

Utopia is also an idea that is outlined in Bioshock, or rather the idea of a false utopia. The movie Snowpiercer has shades of a false utopian society as well. In both works there are a select amount of people that benefit from the utopian idea, while people that are not within that realm suffer as an expense. Lastly the idea of genetic ethics is a main part of bioshock. Young girls in Rapture were used as a experiments in which plasma from a sea slug was consumed to alter DNA . The recent issue of genetic modification is also brought up in “Fledgling”, in the form of a genetically modified vampire that is able to resist the effects of sunlight.

Clearly the overlapping themes throughout Bioshock and these other forms of speculative and scientific fiction would provide evidence of the video game’s significance as a platform for the genres. Furthermore, there are benefits to using video games as a form of expression for these genres. Video games allow for the player to become more invested in a story line, as they are actively playing and trying to progress throughout the game. This emerging media of video games provides an interesting future for speculative and scientific fiction in an era of increasing technological advances.

Works Cited:

Snowpiercer. Dir. Chun Pong. Ascot Elite, 2014. Film.

Butler, Octavia E. Fledgling. New York: Warner, 2007. Print.


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