Stop Hating On My Man Booker

Infinity CoverAs some of you might already know, the new cover art for Bioshock: Infinite was released the other day. Showing us a rather stoic looking Booker DeWitt, weapon in hand, standing in front of a backdrop featuring a burning American flag and a zeppelin cruising around in the background. Yet while many of us are probably just going to take one look at the cover, nod our heads, say “niffty” and get on with our lives… it would appear that some people can’t just leave Booker alone and let him do his thing.

Now while I’d love to just shake my head and ignore the haters, to do so would be to let leave my main man Booker hang’n. And that just ain’t cool. So for his sake, I like to take a second to break some of this down for everyone…

Just because Booker is a white dude, doesn’t mean it’s OK to hate on him. In fact, that’s borderline racism. Look I understand that a great deal of games these days feature of scruffy looking, white, male protagonist on their cover holding a weapon. And yes, I’m also aware that the gaming industry is filled with white males and often has white males as its target demographic. But to stand there and say that a scruffy looking white guy is too “generic” to be cool, or that Booker should have been replaced with a woman or some monster…

Well, that’s just hurtful to my man Booker. And I won’t stand for it.

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It’s not his fault that he’s white! Or that he’s been fighting for his life and unable to shave for a while! Likewise, he’s certainly not going to put his gun down just because you think it’s “been done to death”. The guy has been through a lot, and it shows! And no, he does not have his “chin down and eyes up” that everyone seems to be so obsessed about. His eyes are looking down, grimly, as he contemplates the great weight that has recently burdened his shoulders. When was the last time you managed to rescue a kidnapped girl who could bend space/time from the clutches of an evil robot-bird? What was that? Never? Well my good pal Booker DeWitt has. So how about you just let him continue doing his job and stop harassing him for just being himself. The guy already has it rough…

And speaking of having it rough…

Booker has to save the day, kill bad guys and survive vicious robot-George Washington attacks all while remaining more or less anonymous. Yeah, you heard me! Booker has to drag himself through a city that’s out to get him all without getting any of the face time that a lot of other “cool” heroes get. In many ways he’s kinda in the same boat as that Gordon Freeman guy from the Half-Life games, who is also never given any face time in his own games. But wait… Now that I think about it, everyone knows what Gordon Freeman looks like! In fact he’s probably one of the most recognizable faces in gaming! Maybe that has something to do with that fact that his face has been plastered all over his games’ box art. But maybe I’m just crazy…

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“But Jason!” I hear you cry. “The other two Bioshock games didn’t have the main character on the cover art. Why now?”

Well first of all, the second game did have the main character on the cover; as you played as Subject Delta in that game. And secondly, I’d even argue that the first Bioshock game had its main character on its cover too. “No, there was just a generic Big Daddy and Little Sister on the cover of the first game,” you’d say. And you’d be right about that. The protagonist that you play as in the first game is nowhere to be found on the cover art for the first Bioshock. But given that the protagonist of the first game is, quite literally, a puppet for both the players and characters of Rapture to control and order around. I’d argue that the city of Rapture itself was the “main character” of the first Bioshock. Not the protagonist. And what better way to show off the ruined and fallen city of Rapture then to feature the two most important parts of its decaying ecosystem; the Big Daddy and Little Sister.

I don’t know about you, but the way I see it putting Booker on the cover of Bioshock: Infinite isn’t just in good taste, it’s in keeping with tradition.

So please stop hating on my man Booker. He’s worked long and hard to get where he is, and has done FAR more than a lot of other “main characters” out there. Heck! Mr. Freeman doesn’t even have ONE line of dialog! Yet Booker has hundreds. So put away the pitchforks and embrace the cover of Bioshock: Infinite for what it is, a tribute to Booker DeWitt. A character that we’ll come to love, despite never getting to see his face…

3 thoughts on “Stop Hating On My Man Booker

  1. I think the real problem is…well, I shouldn’t say that, because people are dumb, but my issue is about it being iconic. Now, you still get the awesome carnival motif and flag in the background, but instead of something truly iconic, we have the protagonist. Regardless of race, gender, and stature, it’s simply the hero. If you saw the covers for the Gameinformers on Infinite, they each featured a unique aspect of the game and were dripping with atmosphere. In comparison, this cover follows the sort of recent standard of gaming, featuring a fairly generic protagonist with a gun. Right or wrong (he does look undeniably bad-ass), people have a legitimate claim when they call out that many recent games are following this same standard. I think the cover is fine, but to be honest, it doesn’t really matter what’s on the box, because the game is going to be phenomenal.

    1. And you see, I totally agree with pretty much everything you said. It just saddens me that an amazing protagonist like Booker, who will probably never get anywhere near his fair share of screen time, is essentially being punished because other games have done something similar or because he’s not “iconic” enough. The way I see it, this is pretty much his only real shot at getting out there and seen by the public. And to deny him that would be doing both him, and the game, a disservice.

      1. This reminds me of DANIELCRAIGISNOTBOND.COM preceding the release of Casino Royale. If Booker’s as well-written as I think he’s going to be, he’ll not only shut up his haters, he’ll make them look like complete idiots.

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