The battle for Galt’s Gulch: Bioshock as critique of objectivism

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This article argues that the first-person shooter Bioshock uses the video game medium to provide a powerful critique of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. The city of Rapture, collapsing into chaos and violence, provides a dystopian vision of what the game suggests are the inevitable results of the laissez faire politics of Rand. Bioshock not only tells a compelling story about the dangers of Objectivism, but also encodes anti-Objectivist messages into the very mechanics of the game. I examine the game’s visual, narrative and procedural rhetoric, and the ways that it counters the fiction that has acted as the conduit to spread Objectivist thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-224
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


  • Ayn rand
  • Bioshock
  • Capitalism
  • First-person shooters
  • Objectivism
  • Procedural rhetoric


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