If there's one thing that set BioShock apart from its peers, it's the art. With opulent architecture, sculptures that exuded power, propaganda posters putting Ryan's ideology on full display -- as well as all the other ghosts of the once-great city's vibrancy -- the visual style was among the best I've ever seen in a video game. With the next installment in the BioShock saga on its way, it's no surprise that these elements are set to make their return.
Some recently-released art from Infinite showcases the old timey charm (gone hellishly wrong, mind you) through advertisements for fictional products and companies -- but it's the last image in particular that catches my eye. Aside from being well-conceived -- never mind the aesthetic value -- I've always found something terribly interesting about propaganda. It's an odd sort of juxtaposition of the deathly, deathly serious with the unintentionally comedic. We do have some contemporary examples -- North Korea being the most striking -- but taking a gander through the archive of Soviet, Nazi, and even some World War II-era Allied propaganda cannot help but, upon second viewing, come across as at least vaguely funny. It's crude simplicity taken to its most comical extreme: A caricature of totalitarianism -- regardless of its intentions -- expressed with a deadpan straightforwardness that, in hindsight, borders on the satirical. I suppose what truly makes it all rather funny is fact that these words and images found their use as a means to whip up national pride, galvanize support toward this cause or that and, in the most extreme cases, convince the public to believe or support the most dreadful things -- all through a medium that is, by its very nature, utterly and demonstrably silly in the eyes of anyone with the capacity for independent thought, as well as a fancy for dark humor.