The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
This past week I completed BioShock 2 via the "super good"
ending. Not a great game, not a terrible
game but overall a good and solid game. A
couple of years ago, after I completed the original BioShock my mind wandered
over its characters and ending(s) remembering moments that stood out most. Now the BioShock 2 narrative required
overlooking more than a few plot inconsistencies that kept me from an emotional
investment into the story. For BioShock
2 I remember mattresses, a lot of mattresses.
2K Marin inherited a manmade universe and arduously worked
to expand upon their heritage. Rapture
is an environment so detailed that my moments of wonder in the game was
appreciating the work required to further add to an already complicated world. 2K Marin's attention to detail further
disfigured the mutating splicers, created new ads extolling the virtues of
Rapture, and displayed a real enjoyment of creating graffiti art. The art therapy room in the therapy wing even
featured actual patient art rather than one or two images duplicated in each
The under the sea Rapture is a self-contained apocalypse, a
broken fish bowl that we can peer into. The
apocalypse has served this console generation as a faithful setting of chaos
and anarchy requiring a hero to ride into town dispensing order and whether
fairly or cruelly is the player's decision.
Such a setting takes delight in overturning social norms because in the
wake of a cataclysmic event all that is left is survival. Thus, video game universes have witnessed an
explosion in the NPC squatter population who move into abandoned properties or
make various nooks and crannies their own.
The moaning inhabitants of Rapture have abandoned the
pretense of using rooms for their designated purposes. In the video game apocalypse, a
representation of the truly lawless environment are mattresses stuffed haphazardly
into corners most often surrounded by candles because the assumption is that if
a mattress is crammed in a corner without even a bed sheet then electricity is
unavailable. Yet, inexplicably the
plumbing continues working because toilets flush and faucets squeak water
through. With splicers hiding in
bathroom stalls washing one's hands is the least of Rapture's inhabitants' many
concerns. In the world of the repurposed,
mattresses blocked doors for security and provided a place for sleepy time in
the most bizarre of locations.
The go to use of mattress in the apocalypse are makeshift
homes with a mattress tucked into a safe corner along with a few personal
items. As gamers we can pause in our mad
dash to the next objective and wonder about the story of who the small personal
space belongs to. Other times, we are
left wondering, "What in the world was the game designer thinking?" We understand the practical need for the copy
and paste tools when populating environments but sometimes an environmental
moment is so bizarre that the scene could only have been created deliberately
even if we fail to understand its story.
Dead cats on mattresses that serve as a safe haven...perfectly normal.
The above scene includes two awkwardly stacked mattresses,
candles, liquor, empty tin cans, a suitcase with carefully placed shoes and a
hat, as well as a cello case (Is there a cello inside?), and a dead cat. Where is the cello player with a pet cat and
a preference for fedoras in Rapture?
Perhaps the game designer was depicting a visual representation of a bad
joke. Presumably our cello player is
returning for his/her cello but enough time has apparently passed for a cat to
crawl onto the bed and die. Even in the
breakdown of our moral code I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I, or
others, would not remove a carcass from the resting spot before laying down to
Just like days with couch cushions and pillows in the living room except that death was not lurking around every corner.
Besides the breakdown of modern society and the insane
splicers running amuck the collapse of civilization is a fantastic time to
build a makeshift living room fort complete with sheets and pillows. Who knew that apocalypse skills include
pillow fort building? These snug homes
away from home suggest a surviving sane population with the mental fortitude to
attempt the preservation of order. None
of these mysterious people are ever seen in Rapture despite the suggestion that
the fort was only recently left due to the precise organization of the luggage
and clothing. The only remaining
inhabitants found are super villains, crazed splicers, Big Daddies running
amuck and blood drinking little girls. I
supposed anyone of those groups could have built a bed fort.
A great idea for a defense if only the mattress was not only protected the wall. How about use the mattress to hide the safe?
Makeshift forts evocative of stringing a blanket between
chairs may exist in Rapture but so do actual makeshift forts meant to
forcefully keep intruders out rather than provide privacy to a cozy corner. However, even in the mad rush to throw up
defenses before the invading horde breaks through I would imagine that as a
band of survivors we would make sure to prop the mattress and bed frame up
someplace that would actually keep intruders out such as a door frame or a
window. Leaning against a wall as if we
are spring cleaning underneath the bed does not seem like much of a defense.
A battle went awry but luckily none of that blood got on that pristine white mattress.
A mattress, a bed frame, and a whole lot of blood are much
more suggestive of the battle that required flipping over a bed. Perhaps a mattress would push over a wire bed
frame but presumably some level of defense was intended before someone bled all
over the floor. Someone never learned
how to defend against a flank attack.
Suddenly all those school lessons do not seem like much use when society
crashes. Anyone's schooling teaches
Circumstances got dire to use children's bunk beds but despite being a Big Daddy I cannot push those flimsy defenses aside.
A dark room and a flashlight only illuminates a small pocket
of the room at a time. Happening upon a
doorway blocked by bunk beds is definitely suggestive of an apocalyptic
nightmare now made more frightening that the bunk beds are suggestive of space
originally intended for children.
Something happened here, something dangerous. However, even dangerously tilted those
mattresses are not falling off the bunk bed frame. Silly mattresses defying the laws of physics,
I guess all of the rules changed with the destruction of society.
Best design scheme ever. Obviously, bathrooms are better with a mattress.
Upon the extinction of social norms my first instinct will
be to throw a mattress into the bathroom.
The only reason I have not yet gone with this decorating scheme yet is
due to the social stigma of poor decorating.
Also as this wise Rapture inhabitant did, I will remove that pesky wall
between the bathroom and the hallway. An
open bathroom with a comfy mattress alongside the sink is surely design genius. Rapture certainly has large bathrooms, a
mattress (maybe twin size) alongside a wall already holding the sink, toilet,
and tub along with enough left over floor space for yoga puts my bathroom size
A peculiar scene that is slightly more peculiar than the usual apocalyptic living room.
The "leaning against a wall mattress" was the developer's go
to for mattresses populating the environment however another mattress was
designed, the rolled up mattress. For a
mattress to fold over onto itself it must be made of rather flimsy material,
more of a cot mattress. But the change
from the usual environmental furnishes made me stop and wonder what caused the
refrigerator to wind up tipped in the living room, next to a completely rolled
up mattress, while the television is still properly set up and working? Sounds like a game of Mad Libs.
Random furniture shoved under the stairs. Why not?
Similarly, while exploring for loot I happened upon a moment
in which the raging Rapture population inexplicably took the time to shove a
few furniture items under the stairs, including an all-important mattress. How or why such prime fort building furniture
was shoved out of the way but purposefully stacked under the stairs remains a
mystery. So many questions and the
splicers refused to answer my questions.
Television...not just for Sesame Street.
Consider one word, mind control. Babies have elastic minds that are stretched
by their caretakers or by the television or when under the sea by a multitude
of televisions. We can argue the merits
of television in the bedrooms of the children but surely most would not support
multiple televisions with the express purpose of brainwashing. Or would they?
Surely beds with mind control devices for children will be all the rage this holiday season.
Those crib sleeping tykes grow and require bigger beds but
not without the mind control upgrades they are used to falling asleep with. I doubt those speakers in the bed's "hood" do
not play audio books of "Goodnight Moon" or sing "Soft Kitty." If only the survivors marketed their child rearing
expertise to the surface world featuring mind controlling beds and bottles that
double as blood sucking syringes that the kiddies can harvest themselves. I sense a revolution in child raising.
Aww, a splicer taking time out of his busy schedule attacking others for a cat nap. Hope he does not end up like that cat on a mattress.
Finally! A bed in
use, a Rapture inhabitant complying with social norms, maybe he will answer my
questions. Upon approaching the mattress
has no sheets, the room has a general lack of hygiene with puddles of "something"
on the floor and my new friend who does nothing but tosses and turn while
moaning. Not much of a conversationalist. Still, I supposed that the accommodations are
still hospitable for the few who just want to lie down. Who knows, maybe a doctor will be by soon.
Advertisements, the real reason why all of those "luxuries" become "needs."
Of course, maybe I am the crazy one seeing mattresses wherever
I look in a video game environment.
Surely, the plethora of mattresses in bizarre scenarios was nothing more
than developers fleshing out a game environment, after all, sane or crazy
everyone needs a place to sleep. Until,
I stumbled across the following Rapture advertisement, "Bad Bedding Keeping You
Up?" Bedding is a priority in
Rapture! The mattresses flung across the
city are a crazed response to advertisements advocating a good night's
Those beds are not even slept in, that is the real problem with this scene.
Somehow I do not think this is what the advertisement was
suggesting when promoting restful sleep.
Those beds are not even slept in.
Whew, glad I am not the one seeing what is not there. Rapture really is obsessed with mattresses
that are mysteriously never water logged despite the perpetual leaking in the
broken down city. My survival skills are
a fun day dream for an imagined apocalypse (personally I am making a mad dash
to a drug store for hearing aid batteries) but I sure would miss a bed, with
reading! Have a great week with plenty
of gaming during your waking hours.
Do you remember any
particularly memorable environmental pieces in a game?
Is there such a thing
as overthinking a video game environment?
Should video game
environments make more sense if we stop and consider what resulted in any given
What would you miss
most in a post apocalypse world?