(500) Days of Elizabeth, or, Unlocking the Characterization of Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is a lot of things; a great game, a fun experience, an indigestible piece of mind candy that will leave your mind dentist hooking and clawing through all the nooks and crannies of your mind teeth until your gums are chum, etc.

It’s an American steampunk fairy tale.

Bawlin.

Bawlin.

You’re cast as Booker Dewitt, who, after what I assume was an early life as a librarian or Barnes & Noble clerk, served in the military at the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre. Fast-forward twenty-some years and Dewitt is a private eye with a steep gambling debt who finds himself in a row boat on a stormy night off the coast of Maine.

Dewitt proves to be a fascinating protagonist well worth investing in. He remains interesting even amongst the fascinating world of the sky-city Columbia. The bastard love child of a Norman Rockwell painting and the World’s Fair, Columbia is ultranationalist, Americana propaganda with a zip code. Which is just an expression. It doesn’t actually have a zip code. Because it’s in the sky.

But Bioshock Infinite isn’t just the tale of a stranger in a strange land with a strange name and a strange hand – Booker finds himself tasked with finding the mysterious young lady Elizabeth, a princess in a tower guarded by an imposing beast like no other.

Upon locating his subject, DeWitt soon discovers that Elizabeth has the ability to open tears, portals between dimensions, and bring objects from other dimensions into her own. Kind of like Portal 2. In fact, if you’ve played Portal 2, don’t even bother with Bioshock because they are essentially identical. Anyway, the point is Elizabeth is quite the powerhouse companion. Also she loves you. She really, really loves you. And she wants to be your best friend and make you happy for the rest of your shared life. Why else would she look at me the way she does with those bulbous blue irises and those uncanny-valley-defying facial expressions?

We were meant to be.

Book attack! Also, I love you.

Book attack! Also, I love you.

Once, Elizabeth was all “I bet you won’t get on that merry-go-round” – and then I did and she was all “damn I can’t believe you got on that merry-go-round, you’re so fresh and so clean.” Not with her voice, but with her eyes, those bulging sapphires that make me feel so alive for the very first time. I can’t deny them. I feel so alive.

This other time, I was at a vending machine buying an upgrade to my Murder of Crows power (a power that lets you unleash flesh eating crows at your enemies, and an upgrade that turns said eaten enemies into crow traps in order to perpetuate the glorious cycle of life a.k.a. the glorious cycle of murder ) and I didn’t have enough money and then Elizabeth was all like “here, I found this” and she gave me money! She could have given it to anyone, or even just kept it herself like a sane person, but she gave it to me so that I could buy more Murder of Crows crow murderers to murder with. Needless to say it was a sublime purchase.

I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a girl who appreciates value.

Another time I was trying to get into a door and there was a really impractical, ill-conceived looking lock on it and I couldn’t get in and then Elizabeth was all “I can do that” and she picked the lock for me and then we went inside and there was all kinds of money and ammo and upgrades and clothes. It was great. I mean, she used five of my lock picks, which don’t exactly grow on trees – but hey! Beggars can’t be choosers. And whether you are a beggar or a chooser Elizabeth will siphon the shit out of your lock picks. But she’s great. Blue irises. Meant to be. America.

In a more exciting instance I was killing some d-bags to death with an RPG, working out some anger over some lock picks I no longer had, and I ran out of RPGs to murder with, much like I’d run out of lock picks to lock pick with. Luckily at that point Elizabeth turned to me and said “here, take this.” Guess what it was. RPGs! And then I was all “Boy, that’s great but I sure wish you had more lock picks. I mean you literally used five of my lock picks. Five lock picks to get into a safe with $200. That’s cool. On an unrelated note, do you know what I can’t get for $200? Five lock picks. But that’s fine. Thanks for the RPGs I guess, but maybe next time don’t bother.”

I mean, five lock picks? Really? There’s no way that harlot isn’t taking a few off the top. It’s a door with a big dumb circular lock on it. Two lock picks at most. Five though? Yeah, okay Elizabeth. No, sure whatever, it’s fine Elizabeth. No, it’s fine. I’m over it, enjoy your lock picks. Really. I hope you enjoy your lock picks. Not that I even comprehend what you’re doing with them or why you need to hurt me like this. Remember the merry-go-round? Sometimes I wish I’d died on that merry-go-round, Elizabeth. I guess, what I’m saying is you make me wish I was dead. But really, I’m over it.

But really. Elizabeth’s great. She’s a great girl. We don’t see each other as much as we used to, but we’re still really really good friends. We’re just in different places right now, you know? I appreciate a girl who appreciates value. Elizabeth appreciates taking all of my godamn lock picks and leaving me out in the cold with nothing but two fully funded weapons of mass destruction, near unending health care and fuel for psychic monster powers.

If you see Elizabeth, tell her I said “hi” and tell her “you’re going to need a lot more than all those lock picks you took from me if you ever want to pick open the lock on my godamn heart” and I guess ask how her dad is doing.

Not that I give a shit.

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