Bioshock: Infinite is daring in many ways – but when it comes to politics, its appeal to the middle is a privileged statement in itself.
Of course, a video game is neither a textbook nor a piece of propaganda. It has no obligation to espouse or further any particular philosophy. But two of Infinite’s strongest themes are the danger of nostalgia eclipsing reality and the empty use of symbols without truly embracing their meaning. It’s unfortunate that the game, in its use of race and class oppression, is arguably falling prey to these behaviors. It draws on the symbols of oppression to make us uncomfortable, but refuses to provide answers for those being oppressed.
Much like Columbia’s treatment of its underclass, Infinite uses race and class concerns when convenient, but only as part of the background noise.
Obviously, spoilers are going to happen from this point on. Be warned.