Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aesthetic Ideals

My BioShock 2 countdown continues. It's only 1 week until the release date now, so everybody better get their pre-order ready. No?

Hmm. How can I convince you...

"With genetic modifications, beauty is no longer a goal, or even a virtue, it is a moral obligation."

One of my favourite parts of the original BioShock is the way the game imagines the possible repercussions of plastic surgery in the context of genetic modification. Once absolute symmetry is achievable by all, what next? As any fashion connoisseur will tell you, conformity is the opposite of style.

"Why do we have two eyes? Is there some law that says we must? Two arms, two legs, two ears, two breasts..."

So asks the game's first major villain, Dr Steinman, a plastic surgeon whose 'Aesthetic Ideals' surgery is the setting for the first boss battle.

This video shows the main points of your encounter with Dr Steinman and gives you a taste of how storytelling occurs during gameplay. Yes, it is very spoilery, so if you are already planning to play the game you probably shouldn't watch.

In fact, this post follows rather nicely on from my last post on the 'grotesque' female body. What is beautiful? What is grotesque? And why is the female body so central to our constructions of both of these concepts?

On Steam right now you receive the original BioShock free with your pre-order of BioShock 2.

I am so excited.

[Steinman pic via BioShock Wiki > Warning: epic spoilers here]

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