So, like many, I played the unbelievable BioShock demo last night, and was floored. I've never been much of an FPS fan; I've always said it would take a lot to get me really into the genre. But few could argue with me that BioShock definitely brings it to the table, with one of the most vividly realized and physically interactive worlds I've ever seen in a game. The environment is both haunting and breathtaking -- and the architectural design eerily familiar.
I know I've a habit of superimposing videogame worlds on the places I live, but look at these pictures of Midtown New York and decide for yourself! These images are mostly taken from Rockefeller Center, the adjacent GE Building, and the Empire State building further downtown, of whose interiors Rapture put me most firmly in mind.
Granted, these are all mainly examples of 1930's Art Deco architecture and interior design; it's this period that BioShock is emulating, not New York itself. I've attached the cover image of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, done in the same style, also. The hero of that story is an architect who resents the super-popular linear design style of his time. We've heard before about how heavily Rand's objectivist ideals influenced the BioShock world, so this is likely another extention.
Still, tell me these images don't look like a real-world Rapture! Kinda creepy, right?