Keep your one sided political views out of my video games


Nobody has a problem discussing politics in games- in general. There’s plenty of ways to approach and talk about games in an interesting and deeply political way that nobody would really have a problem with. Having said that politics has always been part of video game industry even since it’s early days, be it intentionally added by the developers or not. The problem occurs when people make claims that some of the politics, scenes or stories should not be in games, because they are “harmful”. These people essentially want to pressure developers and publishers into a kind of self-censorship, and most people know that censorship is incompatible with a creative medium like video games or any other medium for that matter.

videogames_menThe point I am trying to make is that politics will always be part of video games as a medium. Any form of art inherently contains political reflections of the people and culture that made them, there is no denying that point. And if approached in the correct manner it can be interesting and educational and even entertaining, for those willing to be part and take part in the discussion. And as a gamer who has been part of the hobby for well over 20 years, I think that there are aspects of our hobby worth evaluating and inspecting more closely. But the moment it becomes dismissive and derisive and more about attacking the people who enjoy playing video games, it becomes unwanted and unneeded. And then that is when games like myself become agitated.

Especial when these people start making the baseless assertions that playing a game with themes of say racism, homophobia, somehow makes us the gamers racist or homophobic. Which is what a lot of these people who discuss games in a political manner really like to push onto us and the media. The idea that playing say games like: GTA or Bioshock or whatever new “problematic” game comes out this month somehow makes anyone who plays it a bad person. That grinds my gears. And there is a clear double standard which is prevalent in the entertainment industry today. Millions of movie buffs who watches and enjoys movies with racist, sexist and homophobic sentiments in them won’t get called out as being racist, sexist or homophobic for doing so. Why is that?

ls9jscjAnd that is where the big difference comes in and missed by most of the people who are critical towards video games. There is a massive difference between examining the context of a video games story, versus proclaiming that it is inherently good or bad due to your own political views or opinions. The one is an academic point of view while the other is some egotistical attempt at shaming gamer’s and telling them what they can and cannot enjoy. And when these people’s interpretations are eventually challenged by us the gamers then it’s instantly ascribed to immaturity, bigotry or simple hatred. And in such situations you are not opening a debate, you are imposing a narrative and preaching it to us and the media as the absolute truth…

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About larch

I am a cucumber in a fruit bowl.
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