Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

October 6, 2009 -

Responding to a recent Bitmob piece which asked whether games can deliver a political message, a blogger has penned a resounding answer.

Yes, Video Games Are Political, written by Lee Bradley, begins by noting that independent games such as Cutthroat Capitalism, Kabul Kaboom! and Super Columbine Massacre RPG! all delivered hearty political statements, regardless of their reach or palatability.

Bradley then meanders through history, using Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Gordon Gekko in an attempt to illustrate that videogames of the 80’s reflected current politics, much as games today do.

Videogames, as cultural artifacts, are unescapably political. Even the most vacuous of games, despite their ostensible mindlessness, cannot fail to reflect the politics of the culture in which they were produced.

If the 80’s equaled “greed and me,” and resulted in a slew of games featuring lone heroes, then, Bradley argues, today’s political “notions of society and community are once again on the agenda” and are reflected in current titles like Left 4 Dead:

Even in games where the co-operative element of co-op is less pronounced, the ideology is the same; you are not on your own anymore, you are part of a team. What’s more that team is more than likely multi-cultural and/or multi-gender.


Comments

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

Yet another article on this subject that gets it half right.  He's right in saying that games are political, but he's wrong in saying that games can't be subversive.  Heck, if games followed what was politically en-vogue we'd be seeing fewer shooters right now.  I haven't noticed any developers dropping shooters in favour of pro-environmental games.  And let's not forget that Mass Effect, with some pretty politically subversive messages, including homosexuality, came out during George W. Bush's administration.

In short, yet another BS article that's trying to sell a very flawed premise.

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

The Metal Gear series in particular is a major treatise on politics and warfare.

Of course, trying to follow the storyline can be headache inducing.

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

I think he's looking too much into it, games where you get to be the lone hero are by no means abandoned. I think they only had lone hero in the 80s because that's all technology allowed for, or they figured that would be the most fun. Now we can have good AI, and lone hero games have been done so much that people might get tired of them.

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

So the 80s was the "age of greed" hense single player games?  Um Fallout 3, Oblivion, hell even the hated GTA 4 are all single player based games and fairly new.   That and I am So glad that said greed is behind us (sarcasm).   

That and modern games "is more than likely multi-cultural and/or multi-gender."  Is simply a vain attempt to keep the minorites from bitching and whining.   And as pointed out the tech as improved considerably over 20 odd years. 

Mind you I agree there are elements of politics in games, as well as books, movies, music etc.  since all these works of art are created by people who live in a world that will not let them escape said politics, but to point to that for it own sake leaves me asking the question. 

Yes?  So?

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

I have to say this was an interesting reading.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

 Um, not to be a pedant, but in the 80s most games were not capable of being playing co-op as most people weren't on the internet or even on a LAN. Hot-seat gaming is not co-op. I think the lone-hero of the 80s vs the modern L4D co-op comparison is specious at best. 

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

Except arcades whith 2-4 player co-op, and home consoles which had 2 player as standard practically from the get-go. Bubble Bobble was co-op, for example.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

games and politics ... wait that sounds familar? ... game ... politics ... ??? where have a heard that before?

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

I think the problem is still people is still convinced that games are for children. There´s also a number of people who think videogames are not the way to represent real life issues like the war on Irak and feel very offended because "warz iz not a gamez, bawwwww" retarded retoric.

That´s why producers have to use alien invasions when they want to take war themes on games. Fiction can be a good way to criticize the society, but I agree that´s not very fair if others media can use those themes more freely than games.

They will look up and shout "Give ROFLCOPTERS to us"... and I´ll whisper "NO". The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Yes Virginia, Videogames are Political

*Yawn* Yeah yeah we all said as much in the comments of GPs last article about this.

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-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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Andrew EisenIf you do, I hope you can provide some examples of people (again, other than random no-name numbnuts on Twitter) who are genuinely trying to dictate what should and should not be allowed so far as themes, topics, language, plot devices, etc. go.07/01/2015 - 9:43am
MattsworknameI'd go into why I think it's a bigger problem then most realize, but nows not the time really. I'll catch up with everyone later07/01/2015 - 9:42am
Andrew EisenThat's the thing though, rarely is anyone (again, other than random numbnuts on Twitter) attempting to dictate what can and cannot be said or done.07/01/2015 - 9:39am
Andrew Eisen"Don't write rape scenes" is being offered as advice (along with reasons for that advice) not a mandate.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
MattsworknameOh, on that last one andrew I wasn't talking about the article, I was being more general, lately it seems like all the news and media is trying to decide what is and isn't proper to say. Thats what i was refering to.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
Andrew EisenPerhaps you should consider reading the entire article. Despite quotes you can pull from the intro and conclusion, the author isn't arguing that you can't or shouldn't be allowed to cover a certain topic.07/01/2015 - 9:35am
MattsworknameOne of the things I hate right now is that people are trying to be the deciders of what is and isn't proper to be said. It's political correctness to a level that makes me angry.07/01/2015 - 9:29am
Mattsworknamemake them, i just tell peopel that I think what they did sucked. Just cause I dont like what they did, doesn't mean I can tell them "You shouldn't wrtie that" cause thats just another step on the way to telling them "YOU CANT WRITE THAT".07/01/2015 - 9:24am
MattsworknameNo, but you or I aren't the one to tell someone else what they can or cannot do beyond EXTREMELY narrow limits. Telling a person then shouldn't write something or say something. I may hate certain movies or music, doesn't mean I dont' tell peopel not to07/01/2015 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightHasbro is taking steps to fix its Dinosaur gender issues. http://io9.com/the-jurassic-world-dinosaur-toys-are-clever-girls-again-171513589607/01/2015 - 9:20am
TechnogeekImagine that level of accuracy, only applied to something that has actually caused physiological and psychological trauma in more cases than just whatever the equivalent of the CD-i Zelda games would be.07/01/2015 - 8:40am
TechnogeekThat's the issue I see as well, E. To put it in terms anyone reading this site will likely understand: you know how any time video games show up on TV, they feature absurdly outdated 3D graphics and/or audio from the Intellivison era?07/01/2015 - 8:40am
InfophileWell, you CAN go to a crowded streetcorner and tell everyone who passes by your social security number and bank account PIN, but you shouldn't. Is that censorship?07/01/2015 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
 

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