This is why I love Penny Arcade. Their latest comic is a play off the TV show–itself fascinating on way too many levels–To Catch a Predator. “What were you going to do with this little sister?” “We were just going to, you know, hang out.” “That’s not what this chat transcript says.” Classic.
I’m hoping to write a longer piece for the Voice on the excellent-ness that is Bioshock. In the meantime, let’s tease out some sex and gender themes together, shall we?
First, of course, we’ve got the Little Sisters. Seeing as how they symbolize corrupted innocence, how they can be “used” by the adult male protagonist, and how they come paired with–protective but curiously named–Big Daddies, we can agree with Penny Arcade and say they come with overtones of pedophilia. At the same time, the Little Sisters’ actual (as opposed to linguistic) relationship to the Big Daddies is far from sexual. Each of the girls refers to her protector, like a pet or a stuffed animal, as Mr. Bubbles.
There’s also the strange fact the girls seem younger when they’re possessed by sea slugs. Free them, and they turn eerily adult, looking players in the first-person eye and saying only, “Thank you.” It’s the possessed little girls that have power. (After all, they do wield super-phallic needles and shove them in and out of–albeit dead–bodies.) As for the saved little girls… Only time and x more hours of obsessive playing will tell.
More Bioshock-related sex and gender ramblings to come? You bet!