A Quick and Dirty BioShock Infinite Analysis

I devoured BioShock Infinite in what, for all intents and purposes, could be called one sitting. I did get up about halfway through and drive down the street for some fast food takeout that I ate while watching Archer — you know, just for a massive palate-cleansing dose of cognitive dissonance — but otherwise it was an early-morning-through-late-evening furious run of 13 hours.

There are no shortages of BioShock Infinite reviews, so I will spare the world yet another one that tells you what you already know. Infinite is phenomenal, and you should buy it and play it. What I do want to talk about, and only briefly at this point, is what the game made me think about on a higher, conceptual level as I played and finished it.

This is a land of what I call the “gray spoiler,” the sort of spoiler that isn’t an explicit recounting of key story beats, but an area where if you think hard enough on the subject you might glean the shape of the story and as a result the directions it might go during its many twists and turns. For example, knowing that Darth Vader is Luke’s father is an explicit spoiler, however knowing that the story of Star Wars is, at least in part, about a son’s fight to redeem his father, might lead you to guess in the right directions. This discussion will lean to the latter part of that example, and thus should be avoided entirely by those who have not played or do not wish to risk spoiling the terrific overall story of Bioshock Infinite.

Do we understand one another? Good.

To me, what is genuinely impressive about the nature of Infinite’s story is how wide the net is cast, and how full the bounty it ultimately catches. There is no way to encapsulate a definitive statement on what Infinite is about, certainly not in the same way that you could haphazardly reduce down many of the themes of the first BioShock to being about Objectivism, though I actually think that is overly reduced, because Objectivism itself holds so many ideas within its confines.

In fact, I’d say where BioShock is a look at the tenets of a philosophy described and encapsulated within a story (specifically Objectivism within the stories of Ayn Rand), Infinite is Irrational’s stab at creating its own philosophy within its own story. In other words, instead of trying to deconstruct what Rand did, it is trying to replicate it with its own philosophical ideas, though it's probably not as concerned as Rand was with whether you agree with those philosophies.

I say this because Infinite contains a multitude of ideas or inferences about everything from race, to religion, to the metaphysical, to free will in the multiverse.

Where a lot of people, I think, have gotten hung up on the setting and the idea that Infinite is a criticism on American exceptionalism, I actually just see that as a context to create an isolated playground to explore broader ideas. After all, the America of Atlas Shrugged is there to serve the ideas contained within the Objectivist agenda.

I feel it necessary at this point to offer a brief word on authorial intent; specifically that I don’t care much about it. It could entirely be that anyone associated with actually making the game may look at the above and the content to come, and to think, “We didn’t mean to do any of that stuff.” That’s the beauty of art to me, that authorial intent is completely isolated and separate from the way media is received. So, to me, the question of what Ken Levine and his team meant to say with their story is far less interesting than what I and other players in the narrative interpret it to say. After all, a word is irrelevant in a speaker’s mouth. It only gains value in what the listener hears.

Anyway, I’m not ready to start the Cult of Irrational and proclaim Infinitism some new philosophy to which I should subscribe. But I do think there’s a very interesting way that Infinite ends up talking about not only our place in the world, but the agency we have over that place. I’m going to tread close to the spoiler line here, so beware for a few sentences — but in the very first scene, Infinite lays out an interesting question that you only realize much later. Booker DeWitt does not row. Why? Because he doesn’t.

The language of that segment is both very simple and very complex. There is an underlying question that I think isn’t clearly answered, which is whether he does not row because he chooses, or because the universe chooses him not to.

I think this is the part where religion comes in, and there’s a very good reason that the City of Columbia is so devout. If you look at religion in Infinite, it is not specifically any one religion — though it squares with the general trends of 1912 America, which is to say Protestant leaning. Infinite almost has its own independent religion, where the Prophet is a sort of deific figurehead protecting the Lamb and his followers from evil as manifest in the form of the False Prophet, or specifically, the player.

But ultimately Infinite resolves itself in a way that removes the mystery and divinity of that religion, which is interesting, because I think that by taking that approach, Infinite’s critique of religion as an ideology is defanged. After all, you can only understand that which seems divine in the game with extraordinary knowledge that, while not explicitly unknowable, for all purposes is unattainable by almost anyone. It does not paint the followers of the Columbia mystical vision as stupid, though it does cast them as unwittingly manipulated, which still could be seen to indict the institution of religion in a way, because in the end the foundation that the religion is built on has nothing to do with any kind of god. It has to do with very, very complex science, and people who manipulated that science to make it seem mystical.

That is not to say that the game is anti-religious. In fact, I don’t know in the end whether Infinite really says anything about capital-G-God, or whether he exists or doesn’t. It speaks only to the finite construction of religion within the terms of the one created in the game, and which is a knowable, finite thing. Infinite doesn’t really say, if you believe in God then you are misled, but that these people who believe in this god have been fooled.

In the end, Irrational's creation walks the fascinatingly fine line of critiquing corrupted institutions while not blaming the often innocent or at least misled followers of those institutions. After all, the thing about The Prophet in Infinite is that, by any reasonable measure to a citizen of Columbia, he is one in what seems every legitimate way.

So in the final quick and dirty analysis, I think if I were to distill Infinite down to a few words, the most obvious would be redemption. The game oozes redemption at every corner, though I think the corollary to that is equally true, which is that Infinite is also very much about corruption. It is manifest in the very deterioration of the city around you, as well as some of the institutions that slide from one role to another. Even within the way Elizabeth discovers her own abilities, it is evident that imparting a singular will upon the world, even with seemingly pure intent, ultimately corrupts and undermines the very things she wants to preserve.

It doesn't simply leave it at that, a surface statement that sounds suspiciously like "power corrupts, and absolute power ..." yada, yada, yada. Without diving too much into the ending, I think what it really is saying is that ignorant or cynical power naturally corrupts. There is this undercurrent, in the story of redemption, in the story of corruption, in the story of the religion, that knowledge unbinds us. It does so often with unflinching and uncompromising results, but power throughout this game lies in those who "know," and the way to undermine or co-opt their power is to also know, or even know more.

Or, perhaps, that is simply me projecting my desire onto the story I've been told. There's a lot of meat to gnaw at, but in truth not a very clear message to take away without unpacking Infinite's substantial baggage. That's good, though, I think. If nothing else it warms my heart to have a game worth thinking about, even if Ken and his team ultimately do hold the trump cards, because they are the ones who know.

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Note to early readers: I added a couple of paragraphs after posting to flesh out an idea.

Elysium wrote:
Note to early readers: I added a couple of paragraphs after posting to flesh out an idea.

Note to Elysium: I had a GREAT sandwich today.

Bah, now I wish I'd written about that sandwich instead.

Gentlemen, get to your respective sides of the pillow.

Also, nice write-up, Elysium.

Elysium wrote:
Bah, now I wish I'd written about that sandwich instead.

Can't wait to read your quick and dirty analysis of Shawn's spelt bread.

Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Note to early readers: I added a couple of paragraphs after posting to flesh out an idea.

Note to Elysium: I had a GREAT sandwich today.

Did you find it in a trash can by chance?

Elysium wrote:
I’m going to tread close to the spoiler line here, so beware for a few sentences — but in the very first scene, Infinite lays out an interesting question that you only realize much later. Booker DeWitt does not row. Why? Because he doesn’t.

I didn't pick up on this statement until the second playthrough, and then the importance of this dialogue to nearly everything about the experience hit me over the head.
Spoiler:
My brain would now add: "would/did it matter if/when he did?"

ScurvyDog wrote:
Certis wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Note to early readers: I added a couple of paragraphs after posting to flesh out an idea.

Note to Elysium: I had a GREAT sandwich today.

Did you find it in a trash can by chance?

Elysium wrote:
I’m going to tread close to the spoiler line here, so beware for a few sentences — but in the very first scene, Infinite lays out an interesting question that you only realize much later. Booker DeWitt does not row. Why? Because he doesn’t.

I didn't pick up on this statement until the second playthrough, and then the importance of this dialogue to nearly everything about the experience hit me over the head.
Spoiler:
My brain would now add: "would/did it matter if/when he did?"

Dust. Wind. Dude.

Elysium wrote:
Note to early readers: I added a couple of paragraphs after posting to flesh out an idea.

Not sure if incidental, or intentional as another layer of analysis of the game.

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey, indeed.

So in the final quick and dirty analysis, I think if I were to distill Infinite down to a few words, the most obvious would be redemption. The game oozes redemption at every corner, though I think the corollary to that is equally true, which is that Infinite is also very much about corruption. It is manifest in the very deterioration of the city around you, as well as some of the institutions that slide from one role to another. Even within the way Elizabeth discovers her own abilities, it is evident that imparting a singular will upon the world, even with seemingly pure intent, ultimately corrupts and undermines the very things she wants to preserve.

I could not disagree with this analysis more. This game isn't about redemption, or corruption. It's about the lack of redemption--and the absurd notion that purity is even something that exists or can be achieved.

Spoiler:
Well, let me clarify. 75% of the game is about redemption. But the ending, in which Elizabeth kills Comstock, completely erases all that came before.

Redemption requires three elements: 1) A transgression, 2) Learning from that transgression, 3) Forgiveness for that transgression. Take away one element, and everything else falls apart, because you can't be redeemed if you haven't sinned, and nor can you be forgiven if you haven't learned from your mistake. But redemption is something that's dependent on the choices of the sinner. In order to be redeemed, you have to demonstrate that you've learned from your mistake. You have to change. You have to grow.

For the first half of the game, we're told again and again that everything Booker does ends in blood. He's committed some terrible sins, from Wounded Knee to selling his own child, for which he seeks redemption.

Naturally, then, this seems like it will be a redemption tale in which Booker chooses to NOT have it end in blood -- thus demonstrating personal growth and the ability to learn from his mistakes, thus redeeming himself. You're even given the choice of whether to kill Slate or not, as a sort of micro-redemption story. And, of course, in the alternate-verse, Booker's become the Hero of the Revolution (though that's a whole 'nother mess of screwup, tbh, a brilliant idea that devolves into white male savior nonsense and false equivalencies between Fitzroy and Comstock, but that's neither here nor there).

But ha ha, Booker can't choose that, because there is no redemption, no forgiveness for him apparently, not in this universe or any universe in which Elizabeth exists. There is only the perpetuation of sin, through his continued existence, or the cessation of that existence. There is only corruption and purity, and never the two may mingle.

Because Booker is also Comstock, because Elizabeth only exists in the universes in which Comstock too exists, he is therefore fated to be irredeemably bad, irredeemably corrupted. He has no choice BUT to have it all end in blood. Thus he is the weed that must be pulled out by the root. And his “redemption” is in submitting to the killing hand of his own daughter, who victimizes him before he can victimize her first. She doesn't forgive him for what he's done to her -- no, she kills him, thereby erasing both of them from existence forever. (Heck, she didn't even have the CHOICE to kill him, not really. Given that there's an infinity of universes in which every choice exists, both the one taken and the one not taken, that means Elizabeth kills Comstock in this universe because this is the universe in which she was always going to have succeeded in killing Comstock. UGH.)

Because of who Booker is, because of that one original sin he committed which created Comstock, everything must therefore always end in blood with him--unless it starts in blood.

That's not redemption; that's wiping away the sin before it could even happen. NOT the same thing. I don't forgive you for punching me in the face by forgetting you ever punched me in the face. To forgive you for the assault, for you to redeem yourself from it, I have to remember the assault. We have to move past it. Together.

Making matters worse is that this original "sin" Booker committed, the one that gave birth to Comstock and led to Elizabeth's existence, was his baptism after Wounded Knee, which is essentially him seeking redemption and attempting to wipe away his sins through his own actions. The sin, apparently, is that Booker tries to redeem himself for what he's done. And the message here is that redemption is not a choice you can make yourself; it has to be given to you by an outside source. You're not allowed to forgive yourself. Because no matter what choices you make, no matter how you change your behavior, you can never make up for your past mistakes, not really, unless somebody decides to redeem you, something which is entirely outside your control.

And isn't that really the story of BioShock: Infinite? Booker takes this journey through Columbia, makes so many choices and exercises so much agency, but in the end, nothing he does in Columbia can ever make up for what he did -- which, I must point out, was NOT what he did at the Wounded Knee massacre, mind you, but at the stream in which he tried to redeem himself for those actions. (So Booker trying to find forgiveness is somehow WORSE than the actual sins he committed? Yeah, tell that to the 300 people who died at Wounded Knee.)

It really pisses me off (obviously) that none of Booker's choices in the game narrative matter. The ending erases them all, resets everything to some idyllic earlier point in time where only Booker/Anna exist, the only "pure" existence that can be achieved. This is presented as a happy ending. It's not. It's a return to Eden, where nobody learned anything from their experiences, because they never had any experiences they could learn from in the first place. Essentially the only true ending to the story is one in which it never happened.

That’s a stupid story. It's nihilist and pointless and goes against the basic concepts of human justice and forgiveness and growth and quantum mechanics and anything at all and why the hell did the writers even have the first 75% of the game, if they were just going to end it like this?

And it enrages me, honestly hurts me to my core, because for so much of the game, I was sure I was playing my favorite game of all time -- seriously, while playing it, I loved it more than DA2, that should tell you something -- because it took everything I loved about BioShock and built upon it, it was a loving exploration of the power of human agency (and particularly feminine agency), a thoughtful, critical look at consent, exploitation, oppression, revolution, you name it, and then it all just went to hell because, surprise-surprise, everything was just about Daddy's man-tears all along. Except those tears didn't even exist, because they had to be wiped away before they could even be shed. RRRRRGH.

Despite my rant here, this is actually NOT my biggest problem with the game. (That would be how Booker being Elizabeth's father transforms the story from a feminist fairytale into one man's creepy reverse-Oedipal fantasy, in which he kills his wife and forces his daughter to take her place at his side. Would it really have been so bad to just have Booker be an unrelated third party? Or, heck, maybe even the alt-verse version of the man inside the Songbird?) And the worst part is, I can see the game that might have been still lurking in what it was; a game that could have offered genuine catharsis and honored its characters' agency, that could have successfully married humanism and the Christian concept of grace and redemption, and which would have been a worthy successor to the original BioShock.

I know this post won't make me many friends here, and I'm not even sure why I'm posting it, only that I needed to get it out, somewhere, because this has been eating me up for a full week now. I have been playing video games for more than 20 years, and I can honestly say, without hyperbole, that I have never been so disappointed in the ending of game before. I've never been so utterly captivated and excited by a game, only to come away feeling so hurt, betrayed, and yes, completely grossed out by the end of it. I only wish I could do as Elizabeth did, and reset my timeline to some idyllic Paradise before I'd made the choice to play it.

This game isn't about redemption, or corruption. It's about the lack of redemption--and the absurd notion that purity is even something that exists or can be achieved.
This, I take it, is part of the reason people are comparing Infinite to Dishonored.

Kat, I'm not sure I totally agree on all points, but I thought that was a fascinating analysis. Someday we must speak more on this -- if you're in the mood to do so -- over drinks and food. I'd love to square away the places where I take a different meaning. Either way, didn't lose you any friends on this count. There's a lot there for me to think further on, and that's good.

That's why I called mine a "dirty" analysis. Lots of areas I'd need to think deeper on to fully flesh out.

Edit: never mind..

KaterinLHC wrote:
I could not disagree with this analysis more.

Wonderful post.

I'm not sure there were any choices, presented to the player in the game that mattered. Of course they don't matter in comparison to the ending...but this wasn't like ME3 where we were deciding how to resolve the genophage. This was more like a (pardon the pun) rollercoaster. We were just along for the ride, essentially trapped inside Booker's head. The only real decision we made along the way is how to kill the hundreds of people we murder. We don't even get to decide whether we kill them or not.

That was first-rate, KaterinLHC. I particularly agreed with this bit:

Spoiler:
That’s a stupid story. It's nihilist and pointless and goes against the basic concepts of human justice and forgiveness and growth and quantum mechanics and anything at all and why the hell did the writers even have the first 75% of the game, if they were just going to end it like this?

My spoilered response:

Spoiler:
That's almost exactly the reaction I had at the time, but I approached it from a slightly different angle; once Levine went to infinite universes and freely selecting any 'verse you wanted, all meaning disappeared from the story. It became what Elizabeth was talking about earlier on, just wish fulfillment.

The story ended the way it did because that was Levine's wish fulfillment, not because it needed to or logically followed in any particular way. Nothing necessarily follows once you go down this path. And everything does. Stories lose all significance. There's no lesson, no growth, no aesthetic appreciation, just whatever the author happened to decide.

It would have been just as meaningful if the end had been a newly-redeemed Comstock, Lady Comstock, Booker and Elizabeth sitting down to tea. And their waiter was a purple giraffe, and the drinks were Rapture plasmids.

Nothing that happened in the story limits the possible outcome in any way, so there was no reason to have the story at all.

KaterinLHC wrote:
I could not disagree with this analysis more.

Excellent post, Katerin.

In reply to Kat's post:

Spoiler:
In order for the erasure to happen, all the events of Bioshock Infinite have to occur. The erasure can't exist without the very events that are erased. And now I've gone crosseyed. I don't know what my point is other than that maybe for the Booker we played in the game, it still happens. Just not for everyone else. And it definitely happened for me as the player. I remember all of it and will carry this experience with me forever.

This is based on my current interpretation. The sci-fi elements of the game make it difficult to discuss because plot points aren't as fixed as one thinks, though they kind of need to be in order to make a point yourself. Or in short: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnly5SvdQt8

Tell me more about this sandwich @Certis, my brain hurts.

Of course you said that you merely HAD the sandwich. Did you eat it? Did you even have the choice to eat it, or was it a forgone conclusion that you would try to eat it but never have this path come to fruition?

Seriously, a very thought provoking topic with some very insightful thoughts. I probably will never play Infinite but I have seriously enjoyed all of the conversations surrounding it!

Kezir wrote:
Tell me more about this sandwich @Certis, my brain hurts.

Of course you said that you merely HAD the sandwich. Did you eat it? Did you even have the choice to eat it, or was it a forgone conclusion that you would try to eat it but never have this path come to fruition?


Millions upon millions versions of me eat millions upon millions of sandwichs. Some have mayo. Some do not. That is the pivotal choice upon which the whole universe turns.

Thanks for getting it out here Lara. I may disagree, but you always make me think.

KaterinLHC wrote:
Spoiler:
But redemption is something that's dependent on the choices of the sinner. In order to be redeemed, you have to demonstrate that you've learned from your mistake. You have to change. You have to grow.

Spoiler:
But that is exactly what the narrative is trying to say. The main character is completely incapable of doing that. Comstock thinks he is redeemed for his past sins, but as is clear from his actions, his words and his beliefs, he clearly hasn't learned anything. In fact, if anything he has found ways to justify them.

Meanwhile, Booker wallows in his past and thinks redemption is impossible, and therefore learns nothing from his mistakes either. He obsesses over everything that has happened, which leads to him doing something drastic or trying to erase the past (his debts, his abandonment of his child) without concern for others or realizing he's making new mistakes. (Is there anything more damning than the fact that he has extreme regret over Wounded Knee and yet immediately decides to become a Pinkerton?)

That lies at the heart of exactly what the conflict is in Infinite. One side has whitewashed their past so much it has led him blind to even the notion that he has carried on doing horrible things. He literally commits murder in order to protect the image of his made-up history, because he mistakes his own hubris for wisdom. He thinks locking his daughter in a cage reverses the fact that he abandoned her. The other dwells on the past so much he continues the trend of ignoring the repurcussions of his actions on those around him, also in a futile attempt to try and reverse the mistake that has already happened.

This is what makes the first 75% so essential, because it's entire point is that the choices don't matter. Something that is hammered home throughout the campaign. Because they're all minor choices in the same endless loop. Booker can join the Vox Populi or fight against them, it doesn't matter when he still wants the same end-goal to be self-destruction. (Literally!) And Comstock on the other hand already thinks he's in the right and therefore never considers another less reckless path in his life. It's why when the confrontation between the two occurs, Booker kills Comstock while confusingly talking about how much he hates himself.

One of the first Voxophone recordings you get reads like this:

One man goes into the waters of baptism. A different man comes out, born again. But who is that man who lies submerged? Perhaps that swimmer is both sinner and saint, until he is revealed unto the eyes of man.

That is what the ending signifies: That Booker must lie submerged. This is where redemption lies. You need to accept the person you are, including the horrible mistakes you made. You can't forget about them or sweep them under the rug (i.e. act like you are "born again" with all your sins wiped clearn as if you are a new person as Comstock believes), but you also can't trap yourself into burying yourself in the past either (i.e. Booker refuses the baptism because "you can't change who you are" and then seems to live his life by that rule). To do either means you have learned nothing from your mistakes, which is why you are stuck in an infinite loop of repeating them. Letting himself be drowned was the first act Booker or Comstock performs that isn't self-serving. It is also the only choice he makes in the game that actually means anything.

Therefore, the ending isn't meant to "reset" everything that is learned, at least not figuratively. It's supposed to show there is a third path. The post-credits Booker still has all the baggage from the past. It's not even made clear if he even gets his child back. The question is if he acknowledge that he has the choice to move forward in his life, not regress through either self-pity or self-denial.

(Also, the motive of Columbia is obviously meant to point out that America also needs to find redemption for their past in the same way, but that's a whole other ballpark.)

Right, kuddles, I get that

Spoiler:
Booker's choices not mattering
is the point. I'm saying I find it to be a stupid point.

Spoiler:
What's more, it goes against the fundamental building blocks of what makes a good story: Your characters need agency. It's not enough to want something, they need to have the power to try to make it happen.

When you rob your protagonist of that agency, if you make his world one in which the freedom's made up and the choices don't matter, then why should I as the audience even give a damn whether he reaches his goals or not? Either he succeeds or he doesn't, who gives a crap? It's never in doubt either way, so I might as well not even bother getting emotionally invested.

And for the writer to reveal at the end of the story that none of the characters' choices meant anything, that the only "good" or "real" choice was to make it so that the story never happened*, that's a complete slap in the face to the audience for being stupid enough to be duped out of their time and emotional investment. It's cheating. That's what it is, cheating.

*I disagree that in the epilogue we are supposed to believe that Booker remembers anything about what occurred. What we see is a Booker, not necessarily our Booker, in the 1893-verse, opening the door to his daughter's nursery. There's no reason to believe that this Booker knows anything about what transpired. In fact, I'm pretty sure the ending implies that he can't know anything about it, because our Booker was murdered in order to wipe Comstock and Elizabeth from the infinity of existences. If he DOES remember them, then they're not wiped from existence, are they?

To me the saddest bit is that, in the end,

Spoiler:
you're still left with a man who has a daughter to raise while he is still drowning in alcoholism, gambling addiction, and self-loathing. That's no way to raise a kid.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Spoiler:

When you rob your protagonist of that agency, if you make his world one in which the freedom's made up and the choices don't matter, then why should I as the audience even give a damn whether he reaches his goals or not? Either he succeeds or he doesn't, who gives a crap? It's never in doubt either way, so I might as well not even bother getting emotionally invested.

The amusing thing about this, to me, is that this is true of every story you've ever read, or ever will read.

KaterinLHC wrote:

Spoiler:
What's more, it goes against the fundamental building blocks of what makes a good story: Your characters need agency. It's not enough to want something, they need to have the power to try to make it happen.

Spoiler:
I read it a different way. When the Luteces ask Booker to flip the coin, when they comment that "he doesn't row", that tells me that this story has been played hundreds of times, and each time the same thing happened. When I think about that, it makes me feel as if Booker has had this choice over and over again, and each time, has chosen to take a selfish path. I include dying for the Vox Populi to be a selfish path, because ultimately, it's still a choice that's all about him, his need to feel like someone who matters. In a way, I see Booker as suicidal, wanting to do anything to escape his responsibility for the actions that he's taken. But he's seeking death as an escape from what he's done, not as a true sacrifice.

When he realizes everything that's happened, it shows that everything that Booker has done in all the different worlds all has been to avoid facing the consequences of what he's done. The line at the beginning about being reborn when one emerges from baptism? No matter what, Booker understands that there are two people that can emerge from that water: A power-hungry demagogue, or an selfish alcoholic who abandoned his daughter. So he chooses not to emerge. He sacrifices himself not to escape the things he has done/will do, but to finally, ultimately accept his responsibility for those very deeds.

I get that this is my interpretation, and I don't think I'll be convincing anyone, but that's how I see it, and as such, I love the game deeply.

Spoiler:
I don't know if the Booker at the end is our Booker or another Booker. I don't know if he remembers what happened. I don't know if the top falls at the end of Inception or if that last Elizabeth disappeared too. My point was really about the paradox of the events that lead to the erasure and the erasure itself. It's a weird time travel thing where one can't exist without the other even if the point of one is to make sure that the other doesn't happen. But it did happen. I have screenshots to prove it.

Despite or perhaps in light of the debate regarding the ending and ultimate value/purpose of the game as a whole, Sean's point that it represents Irrational attempting to argue out its own philosophy is well taken.

I just want to hear more about these sandwiches and whether or not

Spoiler:
the cycle ended and there was only one, or maybe zero (I don't know), sandwiches left when rather mayo or no mayo, Certis chose Miracle Whip.

The best games need to offer one of two things:

IMAGE(http://pnmedia.gamespy.com/screenshots/phl/26075407.jpg)

or

IMAGE(http://mopies.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/portal-cake.jpg)

In which case I'd have to suggest that BI is very likely

IMAGE(http://www.thestranger.com/images/blogimages/2010/08/28/1283026782-piecake.jpg)

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