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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ConsterDon't 'beauty rags' already get plenty of criticism?02/27/2015 - 9:02am
ZippyDSMleeEh still rather subjective… the haters would be better off going after teen and beauty rags and magazines than fiction, fiction follows reality and going after fiction tends to turn into a bullying fest’s… plus its fiction its unrealistic to start with….02/27/2015 - 1:10am
MechaTama31That's a pretty difficult anatomy to break.02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
MechaTama31"the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy" <-- I'm sorry, but we are talking here about the woman who can roll up into a little ball and live to tell the tale, yes? ;)02/26/2015 - 11:09pm
Andrew EisenAs far as examples that could be culled from female game characters though, that one's pretty mild.02/26/2015 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenNot as much the heels or the suit in and of themselves but certainly the way her animations repeatedly break her anatomy to show off her lady bits.02/26/2015 - 9:10pm
E. Zachary KnightWell, Samus's heels are certainly impracticable, but I wouldn't really call her Zero suit objectified. I don't really feel that the new Lara Croft is objectified either, but that is my subjective opinion.02/26/2015 - 9:08pm
Andrew EisenTomb Raider: No but we haven't seen much of anything yet. Samus: Yes.02/26/2015 - 9:07pm
ZippyDSMleeWould you call the new tomb raider objectified? WOuld Samus Aran from the new Smash bros be objectified?02/26/2015 - 9:02pm
WonderkarpI'm hoping they put the rest of the comic book ghostbusters in there. Ortiz and Rookie(From GB the game)02/26/2015 - 8:38pm
Wonderkarpghostbusters board game is doing great. getting close too a 3rd extra playable Character. Ron Alexander.02/26/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenSmurfette is not subjective. If there's more than one female character, it's not Smurfette. Anyway, as with everything on the list, Smurfette is, in and of itself, not necessarily a bad thing.02/26/2015 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenI think there's 5 women (out of 15, I think) but other than one being a bit more "hippy" than the others, they pretty much all have the same body type. Especially when compaired to the huge variety of male body types.02/26/2015 - 8:31pm
Wonderkarpso I dont see Smurfette as a bad thing. Unless like all your female characters are Smurfette. remember the Smurfs also had Sassette02/26/2015 - 8:29pm
E. Zachary KnightOne good example of the larger issues is one Anita used in the presentation, Blizzard's Overwatch game. There are a dozen men in the game with a dozen body types. But there are only 4 women with 2 body types, but 3 of them have the same one.02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
Wonderkarpthe smurfette thing is subjective to how many female characters you have. Take Sonic for example. You have Amy, who is obvious smurfette, but there's several other female characters now without that. Including the original animated seriescomics with Sally02/26/2015 - 8:28pm
E. Zachary KnightAE. Very true. I think that is where I was going, but it didn't come out right. Jack Harkness is sexy but not objectified. Whereas, a women would have to be objectified in order to be "sexy" in most games.02/26/2015 - 8:26pm
E. Zachary KnightAnd as Andrew pointed out, there is a big difference between a sexualized man, and an idealized man. But for some reason, there is no distinction between women in games. For the most part.02/26/2015 - 8:25pm
Andrew EisenI think one of the issues we run into repeatedly with these conversations is the confusion over "sexy" and "sexually objectified."02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
E. Zachary KnightYet, for some reason, in orde rto have a sexualized women, she must be wearing lingerie or a bikini. Can't women be sexual and still dress for the job at hand?02/26/2015 - 8:24pm
 

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