Archive for the ‘aw’ Category

Bioshock

March 21, 2008

While BioShock is a first-person shooter, the game’s two best features are its storyline and stylistic innovations. The game is set in a massive underwater city called Rapture, a utopian society where scientists, artists and other great minds work unhindered by common morality. But something goes horribly wrong, as your character — the sole survivor of a plane crash near Rapture’s entrance — discovers. Rapture is in chaos, with most of its inhabitants either dead or genetically warped by a substance called ADAM. The game provides an assortment of awesome weapons and powers to help unravel the mysteries behind Rapture.

The game has an immeasurable amount of style (it’s set in 1960, and features matching architecture and music), but also forces you to think about certain aspects of humanity and morality. The whole concept of the hidden city of intellectuals comes primarily from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, an idea that’s solidified both by references to Rand’s work and Rapture’s ties to the philosophy of Objectivism.

BioShock is an important game simply for what it means in the gaming community — it is an engaging, mature, adult work that addresses complex philosophical concepts, while remaining one of the coolest and most enjoyable games I have played all year. It blends higher art with what many consider to be the low art of video games.

While the game is an immensely fun landmark, it does have some flaws. The cut scenes at the beginning and end of the game seem underdeveloped. While the fighting is enjoyable, there isn’t much variety in the enemies, and the weapons you receive later in the game are not strong enough to deal with your foes. But despite any problems, I give my wholehearted recommendation — the choice is yours. As Andrew Ryan, founder of Rapture says, “A man chooses. A slave obeys.”

-Andrew Wright

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I Drink Your Milkshake! I Drink It Up!

February 25, 2008

One frosty Monday night, my compadre Jake and I ventured into the heart of Beaver Falls to obtain that nectar of the gods, more commonly known as ice cream.

The Corner Drug, purveyor of this sweet sugary goodness, is located across the main drag from the Rite Aid. We were immediately impressed by the ambiance of the soda bar, having everything that a classic soda bar should. We were disappointed to find that they did not make malted milkshakes, but we ordered one regular chocolate shake and a Golden Tornado sundae.

Yes, that’s right. At only $2.69, it consists of three scoops of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate, caramel, and topped with whipped cream. The milkshake was decent, but we agreed that the Golden Tornado was the real treat. We encourage you to round up some friends, head downtown and experience some classic Beaver Falls culture.

-Andrew Wright & Jake Kauffman

What Ever Happened to Handel?

February 25, 2008

Something happened to me over Christmas break. It happened shortly after I returned from a performance of selections from Handel’s “Messiah.” As I reflected on the performance at home, a question crystallized in the murky depths of my thought: “What ever happened to Handel?”

Or more accurately, what happened to the Christ-centered artist? The development of modern music owes much to the church. Most of the great composers were Christians, and found their primary outlet for artistic expression through their religion. Even when we look at theater, we see that its Greek origin, though not Christian, was overtly religious. Early plays during the middle ages were often passion plays sponsored by the church. Great artists were often commissioned by the church, which resulted in some of the most awe-inspiring masterpieces of our time.

So, where am I going with all of this? I point this out simply to show how different things are now. For better or worse, the church was once the center of culture. The expression of artists’ most essential and passionate emotions were distinctly religious. Now artists seem to avoid religion like the plague. It is almost impossible to find works with complex and compelling Christian heroes. Even when a work does have a Christian hero, it’s as if the hero must also be one of three things to maintain the integrity of the work: naive, exceptionally “open-minded,” or be against the establishment of the church at large. On the other hand, so-called “Christian works” seem largely incapable of addressing relevant issues, and a far stretch from being considered high art.

So what happened to Handel’s “Messiah,” Michelangelo’s Statue of David, the soaring poetry of Milton, Herbert and Donne? I believe that the modern Christian artist focuses too much on the unbeliever instead of Christ. They are so focused on bringing in the unbeliever that they dumb down their art. Instead, they should be focused on Christ. Art should raise people up, stretch them beyond what they were able to understand, and through that give them a glimpse of our creator. Art, as an expression of our most essential emotions, is a religious experience.

It is time for the Christ-centered artist to find new life. It is time for them to learn how to be direct and honest without being preachy, to be passionate without being schmaltzy, to be uncompromising without being ignorant. We must learn to not let any message take precedence over aesthetics, or to let the art be more important that what we are using it to express. We must allow them to come together as an expression of who we are: creatures made in the image of God, creative and religious.

-Andrew Wright