Category Archives: Bioshock

Demented ad for cigarettes in “Bioshock: Burial At Sea”



A couple of weeks ago, I posted something about smoking in video games. One of the games mentioned in an article about smoking in video games was “Bioshock: Burial at Sea.”

Well, I’ve been playing it, and noticed an ad in the game for cigarettes … an ad featuring a pregnant woman.

Now, if any of you have ever played any of the Bioshock games, you know there’s a lot of twisted advertisements in these games … really, openly racist ads, etc. If you understand the Bioshock world, you realize there is a lot of irony and dark views of the worst instincts to be found in current U.S. politics (Libertarianism, Objectivism, white supremacy and anti-immigration bigotry … if anything, the anti-Libertarian and anti-racism messages in Bioshock are more compelling today than they’ve ever been).

Poster from Bioshock Infinite. You get to kill white supremacists in this game.

So, the ad with the pregnant woman falls right into the twisted, ironic world of Bioshock. “Bioshock: Burial at Sea” takes place in 1958. Is this ad that much different from real ads from the 1950s? It’s only slightly more extreme than this:

There is a lot of smoking in Bioshock Burial at Sea. In fact, in all of the Bioshock games, you can smoke a pack of cigarettes to gain more powers (called “Eve” or “Vigors” depending on the game), but it takes away a bit of your health. I don’t know if there’s enough cigarettes in Bioshock to actually kill yourself, but it would be an interesting experiment to try.

REAL Camel ad from the 1950s featuring an apparently pregnant woman.

So, while I singled out Bioshock in my previous post about smoking in video games, the game does take a very twisted look back at real cigarette advertising and just how insane it actually was.