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“Bioshock Infinite” Gameplay Trailer Traffics in Extremism

“Bioshock Infinite” Gameplay Trailer Traffics in Extremism (photo)

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One month after the reveal of their eagerly anticipated title, Irrational Games is letting folks glimpse what the gameplay experience of “BioShock Infinite” will be like. To recap, players will be controlling Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who’s contracted to go to the elusive, floating city of Columbia in search of a girl named Elizabeth.

BioShock Infinite Video DemoClick here for the most popular videos

People who’ve played any “BioShock” will recognize the overall play style-gun combat and superpowers-and a few of the attacks Booker uses resemble the electricity and telekinesis abilities in the previous games. Where “Infinite” diverges most from “BioShock” or “BioShock 2” is in the themes it’s attacking. The previous two games in the series revolved around psychological and philosophical ideas-Objectivism and Collectivism, respectively–and kept the ideas at play on the level of the individual. Not so with this new game.

This shift came up when I spoke with Irrational Games’ Tim Gerritsen but it’s far more apparent when we watch Booker prowl through Columbia’s streets. On close inspection of the gameplay trailer, “BioShock Infinite” seems even more politically themed than first guessed. When Booker comes upon the fiery orator Saltonsall, the older gentleman’s speech sounds like it could’ve been pulled from an ultra-conservative militia tract. While the environmental design of the flying city seems to exist as open and airy dollops of Americana–it might as well be the Liberty Bell falling in front of you–the people there are anything but welcoming. The plot details that have trickled out so far have Columbia disappearing into the sky after a scandalous international incident and, in their time away from the rest of the world, their communal subconscious seems to have curdled into a virulent chauvinism. You’re a stranger in these parts and that alone can get you killed. And honestly, the substance of Saltonsall’s speech would sound right at home coming from Glenn Beck or any crazy Tea Partier. The paranoiac signs in the gazebo–“They’ll Take Your Gun,” “They’ll Take Your Life,” “They’ll Take Your Business,” “They’ll Take Your Life!”–spring from the same place as the Birthers’ claims that there’s a Kenyan anti-colonialist in the White House.

It’s easy to focus on the gameplay in the trailer. Showing off the mechanics is its raison d’etre. Seeing Elizabeth and Booker use their powers together delivers a taste of the possibilities that will be on offer when the game comes out. And the world looks like a fascinating mix of steampunk and Gilded Age, with mustachioed cyborgs and roller-coaster conveyances. But, there’s some cutting commentary folded into all of that, too, and it’s the real reason that “BioShock Infinite” could stand out from the crowd when it comes out in 2012.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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