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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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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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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