My Time In Bioshock Infinite's Columbia

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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My Time In Bioshock Infinite's Columbia

Columbia may be the gem of the ocean in old songs, but in Bioshock Infinite, it's a lot more than that. I got a chance to sit down with this game for some one on one time, and it's time I told you about my trip to Columbia.

First off, I was terribly excited to get a chance to go to Columbia with Bioshock Infinite. And why not? A Bioshock with sunlight more often than in the ending? Big guns? Steampunk? Rampant jingoism? Throw in enough zeppelins to make me want to cry with sheer joy and the end result should be more than enough for me.

Yet at the same time, I found myself homesick for Rapture. Yes, Columbia was a place of incredible wonders and joys, but there was just so much of that bad old town under the sea that had gone undone. Seeking to dull my hunger for this game, I settled in with the previous two installments to get caught up. Since Rapture has as much to do with Bioshock Infinite as a fish has to do with the stock market, this was more a sentimental journey than anything. Yet I couldn't help but wonder, what happened after Johnny Topside--later Subject Delta--went through the events of Bioshock 2.

After all, there was so much that could have been done! If he found Rapture, how long before someone else did? There was an incredible wealth down there; vending machines full of bullets! Plasmids! Big Daddy armor! A U-Invent machine that turned kerosene, distilled water and a brass tube into a heat-seeking missile! How much money would the rights to these wonders have brought in topside? For all of Andrew Ryan's screeching about "parasites" and "the man in Washington / the Vatican / Moscow", there was still plenty of capitalism shaking topside. The wealth of Rapture's incredible scientific advancements--not to mention the art generated as part of Rapture's art scene; the contents of Cohen's Collection alone probably could have bought a small island--would have beggared even the imagination.

So now, here I am, in a completely different place when there's so much unresolved from the previous. As a writer, I mourn--unresolved plots weigh the soul down like lead on a plumb bobber--but oh, the temptations of Columbia! And so I soldier on.

Immediately I note that, where Rapture was ravenously atheist, Columbia is staunchly religious, referring to itself as a "new Eden", venerating the Founding Fathers and the "prophet" who started the city. Where Rapture was often dark, Columbia is bathed in light at most every stretch. Rapture was laden with fiat money stamped with Andrew Ryan's face, Columbia tends to hard currency, silver eagles. Rapture deserted except for insane Splicers, Columbia a thriving city full of ordinary folks, its own darkness hidden away.

There was no denying that Columbia was its own world, its own city. So much so that I began to wonder why this was called "Bioshock" in the first place. It was as removed from the earlier installments, why, as far as Rapture was from Columbia.

However, even after a good while in Columbia, it was hard not to notice the similarities between it and Rapture. The little details, the posters, the way that exploration was often rewarded. I expect to have plenty of fun during my stay in Columbia, and likely, you will too.
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