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.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.
 
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NeenekoMakes sense to me, and sounds kinda cool. One cool thing about Minecraft is the meta game, you can implement other game types within its mechanics. There are servers out there with plots, an episodic single player one sound kinda cool12/18/2014 - 11:07am
MaskedPixelantehttps://mojang.com/announcing-minecraft-story-mode/ Umm... what?12/18/2014 - 10:24am
NeenekoThat would make sense. Theaters probably can not afford the liability worry or a drop in ticket sales from worried people. Sony on the other hand can take a massive writeoff, and might even be able to bypass distribution contracts for greater profit.12/18/2014 - 10:03am
ConsterNeeneko: I thought they cancelled it because the major cinema franchises were too scared of terrorist attacks to show the film?12/18/2014 - 9:55am
Neeneko@Wonderkarp - there is still a lot of debate regarding if the movie was a motive or not. Unnamed officials say yes, the timeline says no.12/18/2014 - 9:10am
NeenekoSomething does not smell right though, Sony is no stranger to being hacked, so why cancel this film? For that matter, they are still not giving in to hacker's original demands as far as I know.12/18/2014 - 9:06am
PHX Corp@prh99 Not to mention the Dangerous Precedent that sony's hacking scandal just set http://mashable.com/2014/12/17/sony-hackers-precedent/12/18/2014 - 8:25am
Matthew WilsonI hope its released to netflix or amazon12/18/2014 - 12:11am
prh99Basically they've given every tin pot dictator and repressive regime a blue print how to conduct censorship abroad. The hecklers veto wins again. At least when it comes to Sony and the four major theater chains.12/17/2014 - 11:55pm
MaskedPixelante"It's not OUR fault that our game doesn't work, it's YOUR fault for having so many friends."12/17/2014 - 9:48pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently tetris did not work because he has a full friends list12/17/2014 - 9:21pm
WonderkarpSo Sony cancelled the release of the Interview. was it ever confirmed that the Sony hacking was done because of that specific movie?12/17/2014 - 8:54pm
MaskedPixelanteWow, Ubisoft went four for four, I didn't think it was actually possible.12/17/2014 - 8:37pm
MechaTama31Oh, ok, I was mixing up "on Greenlight" and "Greenlit".12/17/2014 - 8:23pm
Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
 

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