Bioshock Archetypes

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Bioshock Archetypes

Post  Stefantill on Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:01 pm

Stefan Till
English
January 26, 2011
Jungian assignment

The piece that I am reviewing using Jungians archetypes is a video game called Bioshock. Summed up, the story is about a man named Jack, whose plane crashes near a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. Being the only survivor of the crash he swims and enters it, finding an elevator in the lighthouse that takes him to an underwater city called Rapture. The destroyed city residents take Jack as a threat and Andrew Ryan (The president of the city) sees him as a government agent from the surface world and does all he can to get him killed. Jack is guided by a voice throughout the game on a walky-talky by a man with the name Atlas and tries to get Jack out of the city alive. By the end Ryan reveals that Jack was originally an experiment born in Rapture and had the memory of the plane crash inserted into his mind by Frank Fountain (Andrew Ryan’s rival, who wants to take over the city.) Not only were fake memories put in his head but a trigger word control device was put in too. Throughout the game Atlas uses the trigger word “Would you kindly…” to control what Jack does. Jack soon figures out that Atlas is really Frank Fountain using you to kill Ryan so he can become president of Rapture.

The first Symbolic imagery I was able to find was in the very beginning when the plane crashed into the water. At the same time as the plane crashes into the water, it is also pouring rain which could have been a spiritual birth for Jack. I was able to find a lot of Water vs Desert archetypes in this game. When plane crashes into the water he wakes up deep down below the surface and starts to swim up. A sense of life from the water symbolism was the plane crashing into the water was his birth, this was the day his “life” started. As he swam up towards the light of the fire from the plane crash, it was like the process of childbirth, he crawling his way out a dark tunnel and into the light to be born.

Ryan built Rapture because he believed that it would be a great way of escaping the real world. The world where the government will take away what you have earned with your hard work. Ryan thinks that world above the sea level was unfair, unforgiving and the death of everyone. Rapture will be humanities salvation. It will bring life to the people, it will allow everyone to live in peace and harmony. This is another good example of Water vs Desert. The city he built underwater being life and the cities on land being death.

The perfect Situational Archetype that describes this game is The Journey. The hero is given his journey and obeys. Atlas kindly asks him to find Andrew Ryan and kill him, which jack obeys without objection. The hero slowly finds out horrible things about himself and fights to overcome come them. Throughout the journey he slowly finds out things about himself that shock him, i.e. Jack is being controlled by Atlas, he was born in a lab. Jack becomes disgusted in himself and soon rises back onto his feet to continue his journey to complete his goal.

Although Atlas and Frank Fountain are the same person I found them both to be two different Character Archetypes. Atlas, although somewhat friendly throughout the game was The Devil Figure and Frank was the Outcast. I found Atlas to be the devil because throughout the whole game Atlas constantly asks you to do all these acts that would benefit Jack. Atlas being the Devil would lure Jack into getting spoils or false respect and only getting hurt in the end. “…It would make us rich men, would you kindly do it?” or “All you need is the respect of the people, would you kindly kill him?” In Rapture, reputation means a lot and the soul that Jack is offering his own reputation. The more Atlas asks Jack to do the bad acts the more Ryan sees Jack as a threat.

There is a large devil on right shoulder and angel on left system in this game though. You meet a lady who also speaks to you through her walky-talky by the name of Dr. Tenenbaum. She is the Mentor in this story, she constantly gives alternative options then what Atlas offers and gives helpful advice through the game, acting as a great mother figure.

Frank Fountain would be seen as the outcast because he is cast out by the rest of the city for considering the idea of overthrowing Ryan and taking over the city himself. So he hides himself and thinks of ways to overthrow Ryan so he can become president. Another example of him being the Outcast was that he had to move around a lot to avoid you so he could prepare for a fight.

The Jungian Archetypes worked well with this story and was a great of viewing a story with a different light. It’s because of people like Jungian and Frye that we are able to make amazing connection with every story.




Last edited by Stefantill on Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bioshock Archetypes

Post  Elliot Selby on Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:33 pm

Till's recognizing of the water vs. desert archetypal imagery is very useful in setting a tone for this video game. Furthermore, the commentary on 'the journey' and how it relates to hero seems very fitting and also ties the archetypes together, in the way that the game designer likely intended. The dual archetypes for Frank and Atlas was also very interesting, and it is interesting to delve into whether characters can succesfully have more than one archetype, and whether this truely does inhance the story. It would be interesting to see the journey compared side-by-side to the quest in a further evaluation of archetypes in this game.

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Re: Bioshock Archetypes

Post  Jamarlikescereal on Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:23 pm

Stefan powerful analysis buddy.

Besides being a mentor though I'd also say that Dr.Tenenbaum encompasses the earth mother archetype. She is the embodiment of love and morality in this game and it shows. The earth mother should have large breasts and hips symbolizing her childbearing capabilities, but she doesn't physically fit this description. Instead she takes care of all the children in rapture which makes for this archetypal flaw. She is constantly aiding Jack (depending on your choices) and acting motherly towards him, all while teaching him and guiding him through rapture.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:10 pm

Stefan - well done. A strong analysis. Sounds like a great game. Your observation of the water symbolism is spot on. The only thing I would comment on is your analysis of The Journey. I think the killing of Ryan would be a Quest. The Journey is both the real and psychological journey the hero goes on and discovers things about himself - which you correctly identified. However, the specific request to kill Ryan - which I assume is the overriding mission - would represent The Quest.
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