Offended Gamer Gets A Refund For BioShock Infinite
BioShock Infinite deals with numerous themes in a mature and meaningful manner. The way it tackles the ideals of religion and racism is part of what makes the writing so darn excellent, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the capability to offend anyone.
Breen Malmberg, a gamer and a Christian, was one such person offended by BioShock’s portrayal of religious ideas, especially the game’s introductory “baptism” scene. Malmberg explains it wasn’t so much that the scene existed, but that it was completely unavoidable, with players required to undergo a digital baptism” of sorts in order to enter Columbia and ultimately progress.
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“As baptism of the Holy spirit is at the center of Christianity–of which I am a devout believer–I am basically being forced to make a choice between committing extreme blasphemy by my actions in choosing to accept this ‘choice’ or forced to quit playing the game before it even really starts.”
“Of course I cannot hold true to my beliefs and also commit this act, so I am therefor[e] forced to not play the game.”
“The difference here is that you are forced to make a decision that violates those beliefs in order to continue with the game–which is not something I have run into very often.”
Malmberg eventually wrote a lengthy letter to Valve, having purchased the game over Steam, explaining his stance on the scene, requesting a refund on the title considering he could no longer play. According to Malmberg, Valve issues him a full refund for the title, although Valve has not publically confirmed this.
This isn’t the first time BioShock Infinite has been reprimanded for it’s religious themes, with a prominent Irrational developer nearly leaving the company over a scene that offended his faith too. This scene was ultimately removed from the game before shipping after Ken Levine sat down with the developer and heard his grievances.
It’s a bit of a hard subject to comment on really. Malmberg does have a point and could be just one of many highly religious gamers that had a problem with the game’s opening scene. While he could argue that the scene should have been optional or omitted, it forms an integral part of the introduction to Columbia and serves to set the tone for the rest of the title.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments below.