Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

July 1, 2010 -

An article on The Game Reviews.com notes that while videogames have emerged into a “significant cultural force,” only a handful of games have been made in order to communicate political ideas.

Author Andy Johnson outlines a few games that attempted such incorporation, like America’s Army, Full Spectrum Warrior and religious games like Left Behind: Eternal Forces and The Bible Game, before describing a few games that feature a pure political bent, like the Bushgame and September 12th.

While politicians have been quick to latch on to social media tools to spread their message, Johnson says that it would be difficult for elected officials to latch on to videogames because their interactive nature breeds “unpredictability.” He continued:

Party-political communication and PR is a veritable minefield, and adding a new dimension to the process - especially one as complex and interactive as gaming - probably presents too many risks and uncertainties to politicians for us to be able to expect any party-political games for the foreseeable future.

The author thinks that games could help with one particular area of politics—policy-making:

It is conceivable that a game could be designed which could help a political party better understand the policy orientations of voters, allowing them to more accurately target their campaigns and manifestos. Such a game could act as a kind of high-concept playable survey, teasing out the policy preferences of its players and communicating them via the internet to the politicians.

As the videogame generation continues to age, Johnson believes that the “interactivity, dynamism and verve” of videogames will ensure that the genre begins to have more of an impact on political issues.

Comments

Re: Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

"After having played Deus Ex, I have revised all of our policies to the extent of directing all of our resources into nano-augmentation technology, because goddamn do I want to become a god and rule the world!"

Seriously, it's a fair point. Several games at least feature politics (Look at Shepherd's dealings with the Council, human Alliance and the alien races in the original Mass Effect) but I know of few that directly focus on modern political issues. I always thought the main campaign of Modern Warfare 2 was, in parts, a tongue-in-cheek parody of American military policy and how conflict can continually expand to all-out war, but that's hardly politics in the context Johnson is looking at.

As for religion in games, never. I think it was Eurogamer that asked several key designers about this and one (Molyneux I think) said that you will almost never see a mainstream, major developer heavily take on religion in a game because it is just too damn risky for a publisher to fund it due to the potential backlash. Like politics, plenty of games have featured religion, but very few games have completely revolved around it or looked at the subsequent issues.

Even then, games are often escapism and regular political discourse is likely something that gamers really don't want to see anyway.

Re: Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

"As for religion in games, never."

Assassin's Creed (the original - the sequel not so much) is arguably all about religion vs. atheism.

But don't tell that to the Christian Right. We seem to have gotten away with it so far, LOL.

Re: Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

I'd definitely put it down as 'arguably' - as I progressed through AC1, I thought the game was coming to Altair concluding that religion was fuelling all of the war in the Middle East and that it wasn't true, but it doesn't quite come to that. It helps that religion isn't so much of the focus and instead it's more what humans are doing with it - namely using it as an excuse to wage war and commit atrocities.

I'd say that it's less atheism and more rationality, objectivity and reason, summarised well by Altair's quote of "Nothing is true, everything is permitted." After the events of AC1, people begin to flock to Altair's order because they realise they can live like that, they don't need to zealously follow the other religious doctrines.

This could be a lengthy article in itself, so I'll leave it at that. :]

Re: Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

Most also don't want to lose the scared stupid parent vote.

Re: Why Don’t Politicians Leverage Games More?

I think they (politics religion army etc etc take your pick) should keep their filthy hands off games frankly I wish they would get their hands off everything other than what their job is supposed to be.

 
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Ivresse@MechaCrash: I'd like to refer you to the words of Stephen Fry: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CGA3QGHW8AARsax.jpg05/28/2015 - 9:43am
Wonderkarpalright Fudge05/28/2015 - 9:27am
MechaCrashWhat good is being one of the perpetually offended if you don't make sure everybody sees just how offended you are?05/28/2015 - 9:02am
james_fudgeYou two can reasonably slug it out in the article in question if you want :)05/28/2015 - 8:59am
MechaCrashI wasn't expecting you to drag it into the shoutbox, either. Just when I think I have you pegged, you prove me only MOSTLY right.05/28/2015 - 8:55am
MechaCrashWhat argument? You made a joke in bad taste. I made a response joke in similar bad taste. And you are going berserk with...okay, not the flavor of HOW DARE YOU I was expecting (I thought you'd No True Scotsman, instead you dodged it entirely).05/28/2015 - 8:52am
Wonderkarpfyi, thats a self made "REDACTED" to make Mr Fudges life a little easier.05/28/2015 - 8:50am
Wonderkarphow is calling somebody out for being a [REDACTED] throwing a Tantrum? Is it cause you cant dispute my argument?05/28/2015 - 8:46am
MechaCrash"Grow a thicker skin," says the person throwing a tantrum that's filling the shoutbox.05/28/2015 - 8:40am
Wonderkarpbeen a bombing had Sarkeesian spoke, because there would be an increase police presence and nobody is THAT STUPID to make a threat like that and follow through. This isnt the movies05/28/2015 - 8:35am
WonderkarpIts what you make of them. GamerGate in DC had a bomb threat. Police were there, but GG continued to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Bomb Threats in general, you give them to the police and continue your business. I guarantee there wouldnt have05/28/2015 - 8:34am
MechaCrashhttp://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58521856-78/sarkeesian-usu-video-feminist.html.csp Remember the talk Sarkeesian had to cancel because of death threats? Yeah. That's the thing I'm talking about.05/28/2015 - 8:30am
WonderkarpI'm not defending Bomb Threats. They are idiotic and have no place in society, but as somebody who lived through several bomb threats I can tell you they are weak05/28/2015 - 8:29am
WonderkarpSchool Shootings on the other hand are violent events that end the lives of children and come without proper warning due to mental illness and gun laws.05/28/2015 - 8:28am
Wonderkarpcause Bomb Threats are what you make of them. No successful bombing in the US has had a threat posted about it beforehand. Boston Marathon? Okahoma City? You either handle it with caution or dont handle it at all. most of the time ar done as stupid pranks05/28/2015 - 8:27am
Infophile@MechaCrash: One difference is that there's actual evidence linking GGers (or their ideological allies) to bomb threats, and no link to school shootings. For instance, we hate Jack Thompson here, but let's not accuse him of eg. committing grand theft auto05/28/2015 - 8:26am
james_fudgeGo to your corners and let the cutman do his work.05/28/2015 - 8:21am
MechaCrashHm, yes, "lol aGGs make bomb threats" is vastly different from "lol gaters threaten school shootings." Yes, I see the error of my ways! ...wait, no I don't, I see that you're still a hypocrite who can dish it out but not take it.05/28/2015 - 8:21am
WonderkarpThere is a big difference between what I said and what you said.05/28/2015 - 8:13am
MechaCrashNot that it stops you, of course.05/28/2015 - 8:11am
 

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