Bioshock – the most Jewish game since the Shivah?

So when I was sat reviewing Bioshock a month or more back, Ken Levine walked up behind me (it was just after that moment, so I understandably feeling charitable to this god in human form) and I asked him who he’d named Sander Cohen after, as the character was obviously Jewish (Cohen is about the most Jewish name out, for the ethnically-uninformed). Levine looked a little puzzled and said, “it’s my wife’s maiden name, why?” Sez I, “you’re Jewish?! That’s funny, you don’t look Jewish.” He didn’t get the joke, making me think he’s gone all secular, so I explain the joke at tedious length to him. I’m nice like that.

I also observe to him that there’s a substantial proportion of Jewish people in the game, more than any other game in fact, what with the concentration camp survivor Tenenbaum, Cohen and others whose audio logs you encounter. He says “he hadn’t really thought about it” and mentions how something about how it would be hard to build a utopia of the creative and talented without Jews. Odd how the Jews in Rapture are the doctors and artists, the Americans and English are the rulers, while the Irish are the workers and detectives – everyone falls into their stereotype, perhaps because it’s set in the 50s when this implicit caste system was the Western norm, perhaps because the game doesn’t quite escape the clutches of pulp fiction.

Anyway, this game has the highest kosher content of any game going, AFAIK and, like real life, that’s both associated with high levels of violence and intelligence. The concentration camp references put the game in a nice historical context, even if the accent they’re delivered in is rubbish.

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