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Discussing politics and allowing players to interact with political themes in video games – should they be welcomed or not?

Gamingtodaynews1g - Discussing politics and allowing players to interact with political themes in video games - should they be welcomed or not?

So .. politics. Nobody really likes that word and with good reason.

Even I sometimes say the phrase "Do not shove politics in video games!" because of the fear that the messages that are going to be portrayed are one-sided, overly simplified and making the protagonists heroic and the villains as inhuman as possible.

But to my surprise, I actually did enjoy a few video games where politics was involved – Deus Ex happens to be my all-time favourite game because it delved into the whole dynamics of terrorism, espionage, media control, profiting from war and so on.

Even the sequels, Human Revolution and Mankind delved into the complicated politics of over-dependence on technology, the racial divide between the augmented and the non-augmented, the political exploits and technology and so on.

I have experienced other games that delved into the political/philosophical arguments where the player himself was able to interact with the video game world and explore the different possibilities and environments – Bioshock showed out an experimental world of objectivism, a world where altruism is exploited for one's personal gains, and a world where racism and fascism is bolstered by fanatic religious beliefs and patriotism.

All of these are very reminiscent to the many complicated issues of America – capitalism, patriotism, war profiteering and so on.

I really liked how these video game worlds delved into the intricacies of these complicated issues while not going too far about trying to overly villainize the antagonists or the philosophies of said antagonists.

Heck, even the GTA series can be a political satire of its own right as it delves into sex, crime, objectification of females, drugs and drug crimes, police corruption and so on.


Even the Red Dead Redemption can be seen as something that has a political message behind it – a govenmental authority trying to wreck the old ways of life, both that of the outlaws and the native Americans, by the promise of prosperity and the implementation of the railyway system but was done through the work of slaves and labor workers (the Irish, the Chinese and so on).

All these examples give me the feeling that using the interactivity of video games with the player can seriously be used to the developers' advantage to allow the players to fully explore the video game world and really go into the intricacies of the entire plot.

Yes, I know that people will always poke political BS in video games and they have done this with every other medium – TV, film, comics and art. People are going to say that the developers wanted to implement a "X political message" when it was not the case, or a message taken out of context (like the leaks of Last of Us Part 2); or games where the political messages are implemented poorly (like Battlefield 5 with gender and racial diversity in a WW2 game) or the developers missed the oppurtunity of making their games a little deeper if they wanted to like the Division series or the recent Far Cry entries.

And this is where I lie – I really like the idea of the developers fully taking advantage of the interactivity of video games and allowing the players in taking part of the multiple perspectives of the world, yet I also am afraid that this is either done incorrectly where the developers will try to favour only one side of the story or the players misinterpret the message entirely.

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