108043 – BIEGD
DES102 Assessment 1 – Academic Essay 1
Rajat Acharya - Tutorial Group 1 Version 1
Word Count: 1067
On the 9th of February 2010, game developer 2K released their highly awaited sequel to the 2007 PC game of the year, BioShock (IGN, 2007). In its first week of release, BioShock 2 was the best-selling Xbox 360 game in both the UK and North America (Cowan, 2010), further contributing to the series’ success. Both BioShock 2 and its predecessor were praised for their artistic style and gripping story and were well received as a result. BioShock 2’s success can be attributed to the original game’s impact on the gaming scene, making BioShock 2’s commercialisation more effective as a result. In order to comprehend the connection between the two games, an analysis between each game’s respective game covers will be made. By studying the semiotic similarities and differences between both images, an understanding of BioShock 2’s critical and commercial success can be made. Before critiquing these game covers however, appropriate insight of semiotic terms and theory must be achieved. In order to grasp the semiotics behind an image one must have a proper understanding of ‘sign, ‘signified’ and ‘signifier’ (Saussure, 1916, p67). Saussure proposed that a sound image (signifier) in conjunction with the concept (signified) creates the overall sign which one can examine. Saussure further states that “the bond between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary.” This means that one cannot analyse a purely physical object as a sign without taking into account the mental concept behind it. While the connotations of certain visual stimulus vary in cultures and individuals, this essay will base its semiotic analysis of the aforementioned images from a typical structuralist viewpoint derived from western culture. According to Barthes (1972), a structuralist outlook is necessary to properly analyse a sign’s meaning, as it is...