A Lighthouse, A Man, A City

I’ve been replaying Bioshock Infinite this week on the Switch and two things stand out to me: wow is it incredible that the Switch can even play this thing. I sense my 9 year old self losing his mind thinking that such an enormous and beautiful, story-led game can run on a handheld device like this. Second, and perhaps more important though, the sound design in this game is upsettingly perfect. The way music echoes around buildings and across the skyline, the way characters talk, the sound of the wind blowing about as you stand on a towering statue made of gold overlooking Columbia, this magnificent floating city in the clouds.

The music, too! The way it combines those happy 1920s jangles against the overwhelming violence and racism, the disparity of Columbia.

On that note, I had forgotten about that part of the game—how Columbia is this false utopia, how it shows that this golden city in the sky is sustained because of the downtrodden, because of the racism that holds it all together. I don’t remember anyone talking about that stuff when the game came out. The hero you play, Booker, walks through the world and sees it all though. He sees the pain and suffering, the racism, but he doesn’t care. Perhaps this is intentional, perhaps not, but Booker is there for the treasure and not for anyone else along the way.

The world is a broken place, and you’re just passing by.