A City in the Sky: A Visual Analysis on Bioshock Infinite Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 June 2017

A City in the Sky: A Visual Analysis on Bioshock Infinite

All the years one will experience, there are rare moments where our creativity and imagination can reach its peak. Where theories can become discoveries, or when one can turn something black and white into beautiful colors. We all come across a certain idea or goal to keep us moving forward. Set in 1912 in the city of Columbia, this video game tells the tale of an imaginative dystopia that can only be seen above the clouds; Bioshock Infinite’s story is based off a city that soars across the sky.

The feeling that may strike readers whom gaze at the ad of the game could present a sense of fear and confusion. As one gazes upon the ad it tends to raise more questions than answers for the viewer. This ad is portrayed as a man being attacked by a human head with the body of a robotic behemoth in the streets of the city. The first thing that one would notice is the mechanical behemoth facing off against the man as mentioned earlier. Taking a closer look at the monstrosity, shows that it’s head resembles that of a human, and in its chest a heart.

Once your eyes gaze upon it, you can see that the human body parts on the creature are functioning. That being said, the question now arises how did this come to be? Did the man volunteer his body to scientific research? Or may it be possible that this man’s body was stolen for some higher cause. In the background to the left of the brawl between the man and machine shows a burning shop. This shop could have been set ablaze from the aftermath of the battle, but further analyzation might show otherwise. There is no exterior damage to the shop which indicates that maybe the fight didn’t reach the shop.

If you look into the shop you can see a lady who appears to be dressed in a black cloak with a large, pointy, black hat sweeping her floor. Being surrounded by a building that is engulfed in flames while a fight between a man and machine is occurring would usually grasp someone else’s attention from whatever they were doing. Instead this suspicious lady carries on with sweeping her shop floors to take care of her daily chore. This raises even more questions about what in the world is wrong with that lady, and what is going on within the city of Columbia.

To analyze more of the background, one could probably notice that the city itself is abandoned excluding the three people mentioned already. A city can only thrive with people living, working, and contributing to it. Unless Columbia was a thriving and illustrious city, it would have more of the populace illustrated in the advertisement. It is possible that the citizens could have run off from the fight, but the ad looks like the fight between man and marchine had just started. One thing that seems rather odd in this specific setting is the ice cart to the far right of the ad.

The cart is as simple as it looks but it doesn’t belong in Columbia. How does one gather water for a city in the sky? This simple factor alone can question the idea of the essence of Columbia itself. What isn’t very clear about this specific ice cart is that it doesn’t elaborate where the water came from. If it was advertised as “fresh from the surface”, then it would show that the city can’t become successful without the aid of the surface of earth. To go into more detail about the entire ad, the color contrasts are almost exactly where they need to be.

Since Columbia is supposed to portray an imaginative dystopia, the balance of lightness to darkness was an excellent asset to this ad. Other than climate changes because of the altitude, Columbia can stay above the conditions of Mother Nature and always have a sunny day ahead of them. The color contrast in the ad was near perfect, what’s bothersome is the position of the sun. One can tell by the shadows of the buildings that the sun is behind the buildings to the left of the ad. Although if you direct your eyes to the end of the street, it seems that it is nearly night.

This was definitely a mistake made by the creators of this ad, but it doesn’t grasp people’s attention away from the action. Bioshock Infinite has ambitions as high as the city itself. Even though this ad raises more questions than answers, It is exactly what the creators intended on achieving. In a dystopia as messed up as this one, before exploring it yourself, you should make up your own story about it. The secrets of Columbia will eventually be revealed but as of now, we can only make a story as far as our imagination could take us.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 9 June 2017

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