BioShock 1-Revisiting the Horror.

BioShock is a first-person shooter video game series created by Irrational Games and published by 2k Games.  When it was first released in 2007, it became one of the most innovative video games to be created. You are a survivor of a plane crash in the middle of the ocean. Rising from a sea is what looks like a basic lighthouse; however, among further investigation, the protagonist discovers it is more than merely a lighthouse; inside is an elevator that descends to a city and world dominated by chaos, memories, and secrets…and some might say horror.

There has been much speculation on whether the hit science fiction action game, BioShock is a horror game or not. If people focus on genre in general, then it probably is not a horror game, but then the blood, jump scares, and creepiness factor makes this an intriguing yet frightening argument. There are what many consider, horror elements throughout the story that is sure to make players cringe and make goosebumps crawl down their spines, from the psychotics rampaging and chasing the protagonist in the abandoned, underwater world, to a Big Daddy pursuing the player with a drill, probably stained with the blood of its previous victim. There are ghosts, many ghosts haunting this world, too. There are not many games that get into my head and make me think after playing it like this one did. I felt a part of this world, which brought the fear it created closer to me. I cannot forget the Little Sister in the game with pale-sickly skin and emotionless, yellow eyes. The Big Daddy – ready to drill someone in half- stands behind a Little Sister in the image below. Don’t mess with a Little Sister, but to succeed in the game’s quest, a player will have to at some point.


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The atmosphere itself gives off a gloomy and eerie world to explore. It is sure to be a treat to play during October. Around each corner is the ruins of where life once existed- I can almost hear the whispers of the former inhabitants, both imaginatively and literally. Blood stains the wall. The silhouette of an insane woman talking to a baby in an empty baby carriage can be witnessed on a wall.

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The rampaging survivors of Rapture make it a difficult place to endure. The person below did not make it, evidently.

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The enemies consist of maniacs running around using different weapons and methods to try to kill players. Machines, such as turrets have been put in place to kill players if the maniacs and a Big Dady don’t do the job. Players are bound to die a horrifically at least twice. Some of the elements of BioShock remind me of such horror games as Amnesia and Outlast, where the player has little weapons to protect herself or himself against the hostiles. Of course, these games came out after BioShock and are strictly horror. Could these games have borrowed the horrific elements from BioShock(survival horror)? I do not conclude they did, and BioShock is on another level than these games in regards to innovation, story, and the science fiction aspect.

Surviving with limited resources in a horrific environment. Sometimes players may be low on bullets and power; sometimes they may only have a wrench in hand to crush the skull of an attacking monster or maniac. There is also the case of not having anything to defend themselves with and so they need to run and hide, and there aren’t many places to hide.

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Rapture is filled with ghosts. To learn more about the story as the game moves along, it is required to learn about its ghostly pasts listening to audio diaries and memories that appear throughout.

“Ghosts are the leftover memories caused by a crossover of genes during genetic sampling, caused by the use of recycled ADAM harvested from corpses by Little Sisters. Ghosts feature prominently in the story of BioShock, and are sometimes equally as important as audio diaries” (Wiki).

Below is a ghost I believe from the foyer of the Liberians. Eve’s Garden and Arcadia are just a few other areas with ghosts.

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Whether it is considered horror or science fiction/action, or a mix of both, I would suggest playing or watching someone play this game. The addition of ghosts along with a psycho chasing a player with a bloody wrench, or a Bigg Daddy aiming to drill a player through the chest, is enough to get under a player’s skin and raise the fear factor. It is fitting for the month of October to honor Halloween. Maybe you will dress up as a Little Sister or a Big Daddy. Treat yourself!

Work Cited

Ghosts. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2018, from

3 thoughts on “BioShock 1-Revisiting the Horror.

  1. The most frightening part of the game, for me at least, was always running out of resources because I’d wasted them fighting other enemies. This often forced me to run and try to find things to loot in the hopes I’d get some back or spend money just to buy healthpacks and bullets and the like. (I absolutely hated watching the money counter go down.) I also hated fighting the Big Daddies, owing to how many resources they forced me to waste.

    The story-based horror really took a backseat to the ever-present threat of running out of resources in a hostile environment.


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