Taken out of context, it may look like video game Bioshock Infinite is an attack on American history, patriotism and the Tea Party. In fact, for the first few hours of play the game does feel like that. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton officer who has a massive debt he can only repay by fulfilling a mission to rescue a teenage girl from a tower prison. There its resemblance to fairy tales ends and its horror story begins.
The game is set in 1912, in a city called Columbia up in the sky. It’s a city of separatists who see themselves as true patriots and their leader as a true savior. A few hours into the game, and I’ll try not to spoil anything until page two, you run into these mechanized boss characters.
If this is an attack on the American founders, it isn’t subtle. Notice the sign behind the beast. Called a Motorized Patriot, it’s a combat robot George Washington wielding a crank gun against the protagonists while he spews phrases that sound vaguely Biblical. During chapter loads, the developers offer a helpful hint for killing them: You should shoot them in the back. How nice.
So is this game, then, an attack on patriotism?
I haven’t played it all the way to the end yet (but I’m very very close), but the answer has to be no. Bioshock Infinite is first and foremost a first-person shooter’s science fiction take on the multiverse theory, with some color taken from the mess that is American politics.
I don’t want to give too much of the story away to those who have not played it yet, so if you’re playing the game and don’t want anything spoiled, don’t click on the next page.