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Are computer game reviews becoming more political?


brucoe
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I follow a bunch of computer game reviewers on Youtube, which as you may all know is it's own circle of hell once you've experienced it in all of its glory. But one thing I've started to notice is that a lot of conservative game reviewers claim that there's a certain bias to reviews that is basically pro-liberal (or the infamous term of SJW). One of the reviewers I really like is one of those, and he's been going through a huge battle with those on the opposite side of the political spectrum as he argues that they shouldn't be arguing against him because he's just reviewing about games without bias and...well, you get the idea that it leads into a whole backlash sort of things that goes kind of nuts.

 

Personally, I like the reviewer, but I'm not sure I buy his argument that game reviews are all SJW types of reviews. Am I just not seeing this?

 

Okay, sound ground rules, at least: Let's avoid arguing about the political bent of reviews (which goes down a cesspool of ridiculousness), but I'm curious if people here are actually finding reviews to be more political than just straight out reviews. I haven't really seen this, unless perhaps this is something that's mainly reflective in Youtube reviewers (and I've not seen this because I'm just not subscribing to those types of reviewers). I get most of my reviews from published sites (or magazines), so I kind of wonder if there's a political bent that only happens in interactive media. I do see a lot of that in the comments sections, but I've come to realize that you get a lot of junk in that kind of stuff, so I generally don't read too much of that.

 

Your thoughts?

 

(Keep in mind, I thought about putting this in the CEB part of the boards, but that area is mainly about actual politics and this actually involves gaming.)

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Certain media outlets such as Waypoint and Polygon absolutely do contain a left-slanted political bias in their reviews, even to the point of refusing to review titles that they perceive as having a far right-wing bias such as Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

 

The notion that a review/critique of a work of art should occur in vacuum that is absent of politics is absolute horseshit.  Every single facet of our human experience is shaped by politics and its effects in society and culture in one way or another.

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My thoughts: 

 

A lot of stuff is political whether or not you want it to be. 

 

We are trained to react strongly to media nowadays. IE: This is the best show of all time, this is the worst show of all time. This is right wing propaganda, this is left wing propaganda. Etc. 

 

The internet cannot handle nuance. People can individually when really challenged to, but on the internet, people dig in to their gut reaction whether or not its based in fact OR flawed initially and then countered with intelligent rebuttal. 

 

Games criticism has become way more diverse in the past 5-10 years. We got rid of this absurd notion that you can objectively score a game based on a conglomeration of criteria. This challenges the status quo - namely, you have people critiquing stuff about games that the groups those things cater to really like. For instance, games used to be (still are, but it used to be worse) just chock full of blatant sexuality for the sake of selling to young dudes. When that is called out for being a problem, god damn is there a backlash. And it's because those people take ownership of the medium. They think it belongs to them (it doesn't), and you have outsiders (in their view) coming in and trying to ruin their thing. You don't have to be a genius to see the parallels to other parts of society happening the same way lol.

 

From this, we jump to the narrative that it's SJW taking over. It's a cooked in narrative to essentially everything at this point. A lot of people genuinely believe this narrative. And a lot of people exploit the narrative to gain an audience. 

 

Gamer Gate is a perfect example of a narrative made up by people arguing in bad faith, that turned in to a thing that a lot of dudes actually believe is real. It's a bad combination. 

 

Personally I think the people who are knowingly misleading folks are some of the worse people in our society. I guess they've come to the conclusion in their minds that it's OK to lie and mislead if the end result is what they believe will be better for the world, but that doesn't do a whole lot for them in my mind to redeem them. 

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While video games are in no way removed from politics, they are perhaps the worst medium in the entertainment biz for making a political statement on current afairs.

 

Games just take too damn long to make.  Outlets that choose to grade tittles on their ability to draw parallels to modern trends are basically weighting their scores on the ability of developers to predict and provide commentary on the future.  

 

Unfortunately with a lot of reviews I’ve read that talk politics this context is completely lost.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good discussion to have, but it requires a degree of objectivity on the reviewer’s part that frequently doesn’t exist.

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14 minutes ago, Duderino said:

While video games are in no way removed from politics, they are perhaps the worst medium in the entertainment biz for making a political statement on current afairs.

 

Games just take too damn long to make.  Outlets that choose to grade tittles on their ability to draw parallels to modern trends are basically weighting their scores on the ability of developers to predict and provide commentary on the future. 

I don't think this is true in the slightest. Politics aren't always, or even really usually, some kind of uber-topical thing. Certainly things change on certain levels, but take a game like Papers, Please. Entirely political and yet timeless. But I think that point is relevant whether or not the game is specifically made to make a political statement (which PP certainly was). And a lot of outlets are ditching the idea of scores. 

 

Most AAA games attempt to stay away from overt political messages, mainly because they are trying to appeal to a mass audience + they have too many cooks with a role in making the stew, but many of them are still quite political, intentional or not. Reviewers shouldn't shy away from their own political leanings when critiquing them. They just need to explain their criticisms in the review, and then there's nothing to hide. The idea that you can separate your political leanings if you are going to critique something is, I think, fake anyway, so the way to go about it is to be comprehensive and honest in your review. The reader can take it or leave it, but that's the point of a review. As I said before, the idea of an objective review is silly. If that's what you're looking for, a lot of people certainly try, so I guess there's plenty of those to go around if that's what you're looking for. 

 

I think the alternative is much more interesting and useful for the industry nowadays. There's so many ways you can get a feel for the gameplay, graphics, and see if it's just generally the type of game you'd like without having someone spell it out in a 9/10 score. So let's have reviews go after the interesting stuff. 

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26 minutes ago, Duderino said:

While video games are in no way removed from politics, they are perhaps the worst medium in the entertainment biz for making a political statement on current afairs.

 

Games just take too damn long to make.  Outlets that choose to grade tittles on their ability to draw parallels to modern trends are basically weighting their scores on the ability of developers to predict and provide commentary on the future.  

 

Unfortunately with a lot of reviews I’ve read that talk politics this context is completely lost.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good discussion to have, but it requires a degree of objectivity on the reviewer’s part that frequently doesn’t exist.

Yeah, I can definitely see that. So much time goes into creating a game that I'd be shocked if someone developed something political, knowing that.

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Games are becoming more political and if reviewers want to be taken seriously they need to consider not just how a game plays but also what it says.

 

At the risk of moving too far from games and reviews and too far into politics, the concept of being "apolitical" is a political stance generally endorsing the status quo. A lot of people claim to be apolitical as though they are above everything, but it is really just an abdication of responsibility to society. Similarly, I am very skeptical of anyone who claims to be objective, unbiased, or 'rational.' They generally just don't want to acknowledge the limitations of their own perspective or the legitimacy of anyone else's perspective.  With that said, I would be very skeptical of your youtube reviewer who claims to be unbiased and objective despite the fact that you seem to know what end of the political spectrum he falls on.

 

I also think that relative to other forms of art, video games are new and audiences haven't polarized in the way that they have for music, literature, and film. We often still think of games on the perspective of good to bad, so you get a lot more people playing good games with messages that they don't necessarily agree with than you do in other forms of media. Specifically, you get a lot of well-regarded games tackling issues like mental health and inclusivity. So when a game like Celeste comes out and receives universal praise, there are going to be some people who play it and wish it would have stayed in its own lane and not had that touchy-feely stuff.

 

I thought I was going a little overboard on the Celeste example, but I just rewatched the IGN review and they literally mention how you can skip the story if you don't think it's for you. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Duderino said:

but it requires a degree of objectivity on the reviewer’s part that frequently doesn’t exist.

The notion of any semblance of or requirement for objectivity in this type of activity is a fool's errand.  Hell, I personally consider the entire philosophical notion of "objectivity" itself to be a completely false premise simply by the inherent nature of the human condition where the entirety of existence itself is filtered through our totally subjective physiological/psychological conditions.

 

Instead of pretending or paying lip service to the false notion of objectivity, we should be striving to make our inherently subjective positions as logically supportable as possible.

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Of course "SJWs" are "taking over," it's a lot easier to sell "hey these are people too" and "don't be a douche" than it is to sell "money is moral" and a title with 6 parentheses, "maybe guns are great after all" (as a message rather than as a mechanic, obviously there's plenty of gun porn in games), or truck nuts. At least when it comes to games.

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Politics has entered into reviews a lot more than before, partly because of the political climate and partly because I think that many of these sites are full of people who want to make a statement however in the end, other than getting the opposing view point in a tissy, I don't think it matters if you are a mature person who can think.  Take Kingdom Come: Deliverance, I didn't buy the game but I did read a few posts about the "controversy" surrounding the game.  My interest level in this bullshit was about zero.  I don't care if the game is a european simulator with white people, I don't care if people are offended and I don't care what certain websites wanted to say.  It makes no difference to me because it isn't important.  I couldn't care less about the political opinions expressed by some that Horizons Zero Dawn is culturally exploitive for Aboriginals in North America because I found the game to be a great game, I don't care that some people felt the same for AC:Origins or AC:Odyssey, I don't care that some people felt Resident Evil 5 or 6 or whatever it was was racist because you were shooting black people.  These are games, I play them for an escape and experience and I don't really care what some game journalist that probably has his head up his or her ass has to say about the game, be they politically left or right.  They offer nothing to me.  

 

Also, for myself, I don't really read reviews much anymore.  I know what games I am going to get well in advance, the only thing I will do is check them on release date to make sure I am not buying a broken dud of a game.  I recently purchased Ashen, so I took a look at 2 or 3 review scores to verify it wasn't getting a 3 and full of bugs before I got it.  I picked up Battlefield 5 despite the "SJW controversy" online (which I don't care about).  I later returned BF5 because I found it far too spammy and just not fun, maybe I will return to it in the future.  The fact the cast was clearly made not to offend anybody didn't bother me and I didn't stay up at night sleepless because of the lack of authenticity.  

 

For the most part, I just want to know if a game is good or not, and I can get a far better idea of that from reading posts in the community on various places than I can get from a review.

 

I didn't buy RDR2 which reviews awesome, because I know it is going to be a bore fest of a simulator that will put me to sleep, like RDR1.  

 

Either way, it isn't a big issue, and I don't see why people get too bent out of shape over it.  Ignore it, and move on.  People are way too worried about trying to "pwn" or convince the other side that they are right, than just shrug them off and do their own thing.  

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Reviews aren't any more political than they've ever been.  There are a couple of outlets that have some columnists with extreme views.  But, IMHO the vast majority of reviews aren't really impacted by this.  Particularly, because most games have virtually nothing to say on a "political level".

 

However some of the opinion pieces on some sites (Polygon in particular) are laughably bad, and seem to have the logic of a middle school essay.

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7 hours ago, Paperclyp said:

I don't think this is true in the slightest. Politics aren't always, or even really usually, some kind of uber-topical thing. Certainly things change on certain levels, but take a game like Papers, Please. Entirely political and yet timeless. But I think that point is relevant whether or not the game is specifically made to make a political statement (which PP certainly was). And a lot of outlets are ditching the idea of scores. 

 

Most AAA games attempt to stay away from overt political messages, mainly because they are trying to appeal to a mass audience + they have too many cooks with a role in making the stew, but many of them are still quite political, intentional or not. Reviewers shouldn't shy away from their own political leanings when critiquing them. They just need to explain their criticisms in the review, and then there's nothing to hide. The idea that you can separate your political leanings if you are going to critique something is, I think, fake anyway, so the way to go about it is to be comprehensive and honest in your review. The reader can take it or leave it, but that's the point of a review. As I said before, the idea of an objective review is silly. If that's what you're looking for, a lot of people certainly try, so I guess there's plenty of those to go around if that's what you're looking for. 

 

I think the alternative is much more interesting and useful for the industry nowadays. There's so many ways you can get a feel for the gameplay, graphics, and see if it's just generally the type of game you'd like without having someone spell it out in a 9/10 score. So let's have reviews go after the interesting stuff. 

 

I agree that politics in gaming don’t have to be topical, but when part of the gaming press wants to draw parallels to current affairs and starts to stir up those expectations, it clouds up the game intent dev’s are trying to communicate (locked down years in advance) and sets the stage for some really odd criticisms in reviews.

 

Politics may not be the focus of every big budget tittle, but it has been a large influence over the years.  No disagreement there.  Curious though, since you brought it up, which tittles do you think have crooks at the helm suppressing a political message?  You might not be wrong, but it is a heavy accusation so I hope you have examples.

 

4 hours ago, SFLUFAN said:

The notion of any semblance of or requirement for objectivity in this type of activity is a fool's errand.  Hell, I personally consider the entire philosophical notion of "objectivity" itself to be completely false premise simply by the inherent nature of the human condition where the entirety of existence itself is filtered through our totally subjective physiological/psychological conditions.

 

Instead of pretending or paying lip service to the false notion of objectivity, we should be striving to make our inherently subjective positions as logically supportable as possible.

I do think it is the responsibility of the reviewer to set aside articles trying the label a game prior to release and evaluate it, to the best of their ability, on their own experience.  Politics can certainly play into that, games (and reviewers) don’t exist in a bubble, but that is not what I view as the issue here.  It’s the click-bait, frequently misinformed, hot takes that are hardly grounded in game itself getting repeated in reviews and previews as a point of criticism.  Not always related to politics either.

 

Hope that clears up my view.  I really don’t care to get into a philosophical debate over what is or isn’t truly objective.

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22 minutes ago, Duderino said:

 

I agree that politics in gaming don’t have to be topical, but when part of the gaming press wants to draw parallels to current affairs and starts to stir up those expectations, it clouds up the game intent dev’s are trying to communicate (locked down years in advance) and sets the stage for some really odd criticisms in reviews.

 

Politics may not be the focus of every big budget tittle, but it has been a large influence over the years.  No disagreement there.  Curious though, since you brought it up, which tittles do you think have crooks at the helm suppressing a political message?  You might not be wrong, but it is a heavy accusation so I hope you have examples.

I see what you're saying with the first part. 

 

The second part, you may have misunderstood me. I was attempting to say that AAA titles are typically fairly sterile politically by design - but not necessarily in that there's someone going in and suppressing the message the developer wants to get across (although I'm sure that probably does happen). Like, Assassin's Creed might have 200 people writing quests (I have no idea how many), so there's not going to be a consistent political message - it might be all over the map. Which I think is fair game to critique that as well. 

 

We've seen a few cases over the past few years (seems to be a lot of Ubisoft lol) where a publisher / developer tries to downplay or outright deny that their title is political. We saw it with The Division (a game about bio terrorism, government agencies attempting to control the results of a bio terrorist attack, rouge governmental agents, controversial scientists, gangs of criminally insane, and I dunno, the Russians lol). Then Far Cry 5 looked overtly political and then hilariously did everything it could to not be. That's a game where I bet the people making it had other things in mind, but the people who wanted the thing to sell kept them on a tight leash. I would love to know. 

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1 hour ago, Paperclyp said:

This is true if you started following reviews about five years ago. Otherwise it’s demonstratively false. 

 

Perhaps people are on different pages on what “political” means?

I haven't.  I've been reading reviews since ZZap!64  The vast majority of reviews are not political.

 

Of course I'm willing to see you show my assertion is demonstrably false.

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I think there's many more games trying to say something about the nature of war, bioethics, even religion, than be intentionally political.  When politics is touched on directly, it tends to adhere to whatever fantastical ('realistic') scenario and motivations the developers dream up - typically to build up a narrative, character arc and setting.  These games aren't apolitical, but I might describe them as 'pop' political.  They're more about a finding a creative vision to sell a product, and to galvanize a team around that.  There are exceptions, but they're just that.

 

With game reviewers and politics, I think they:
- avoid talking about it (much) to prevent sharing what shouldn't be spoiled
- decide to spoil things to illustrate flaws in the game's writing
- provide commentary on the game's perceived political statements (or lack thereof)

I'm okay with any of those, when appropriate to the game.  But if the 3rd takes up too much of the review, I start to feel bad for the developer.  It can feel like the game wasn't being properly evaluated for what it is.  (I seem to remember a Far Cry 5 review that rubbed off on me that way) 

At some point, it can be like reviewing a superhero movie based on how nuanced its politics were.  It's a piece of the puzzle, sure, but may not have much bearing on whether it is an enjoyable watch.
 

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I think this boils down more to an increasingly heavy emphasis on elements outside of mechanics and playability, which used to be basically 95% the focus of game reviews at least as I remember them for the most part.

 

Games are becoming more and more story-based and therefore 'have things to say' which will lean into subjects that are politicized naturally. 

 

Especially after Red Dead Redemption 2, I'm not a fan of this increasingly heavier focus on story/emotional impact etc. over in-depth analysis of mechanics and playability, but I'm surely in the major minority of jaded dinosaurs. 

 

Is this what is being misinterpreted as SJW vs. Non-SJW reviews? I don't know, just shooting from the hip. 

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I don’t think there’s any doubt that gaming reviews have become more “political” then they were 10 years ago or so.

 

I’m not well informed enough to know for sure whether or not this is the increasing maturity of the medium, but I’m inclined to say that it isn’t. There’s more discussion about non-traditional perspectives (meaning non white, non straight, non male, generally) on most media these days than there was even recently. I don’t think this is happening to games in a vacuum but to me it feels most obvious in videogames because it’s where I’ve spent most of my time online.

 

... So now that I’m typing this, I suppose I’m also not sure that the rise of the non white, non straight, non male perspective within the review space is always deliberately POLITICAL insomuch as it is related to and an inevitable outcome of people who aren’t straight white dudes getting a seat at the table. A white American dude not having an issue with Nathan Drake going to foreign countries, robbing them of their artifacts, and killing people en route to said robbery is ALSO a political position, it’s just the default one for many people discussing games on the internet so it’s not going to be obvious. This is of course not to say that there are no white American dudes have no problems with Nathan Drake when he’s charting, it’s just that we’re super used to American dudes doing this shit being portrayed as heroes and it’s an assumed cultural default.

 

12 hours ago, crispy4000 said:

At some point, it can be like reviewing a superhero movie based on how nuanced its politics were.  It's a piece of the puzzle, sure, but may not have much bearing on whether it is an enjoyable watch.

I think this is part of it though... that puzzle piece has a lot of bearing on whether to not something is enjoyable to watch, and the yardstick moves on this all the time. When I think of some of my favorite movies, like Back to the Future or Raiders of the Lost Ark... it’s really easy for me to hand wave away the HUGELY problematic things Marty and Indy do either to achieve their goals or that are just written off as character quirks. I mean... Marty decided to set up his parents by gaslighting his mom with the threat of rape. Indiana Jones probably committed statutory rape on Marion (which is even more fucked up when you consider that George Lucas wanted that affair to have happened while Marion was ELEVEN). Now I LOVE those movies. I think they’re very well crafted and to your point, INCREDIBLY enjoyable. But I think it’s absolutely fair to point out that they came out in an era where staging a fucking fake rape scene involving your parents was a reasonable thing for our hero to do.

 

So I don’t know where the line is. Because I think that if that same movie came out today, it SHOULD be called out as ridiculous and offensive because it absolutely IS, regardless of how enjoyable the rest of the movie is. And I think we should also consider that certain parts of the population are, perhaps rightly, not going to find the entire affair enjoyable because of what the movie says is acceptable behavior. (EDIT - and it’s also probably worth pointing out that there are people who always felt that a fake rape was a horrible thing to do, but the gatekeepers of popular movie reviews at that time were overwhelmingly white, male, and straight)

 

Long story short, it might just be a piece of the puzzle but whether or not it has bearing on an individual’s ability to enjoy something is going to be highly variable and the non-popular opinion might be the more correct take.

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I think it's part of the video game media growing up. Talking purely about the mechanics and technical aspects of a game does a disservice to the experience as a whole. It would be like reviewing an album by talking about the BPM of the drums and the octave range of the vocals, or grading a film on the complexity of it's camera movements and the quality of the sound mixing. Games, as any piece of art or culture, are a product of their time. They don't need to be overtly political to have some sort of commentary, and the intent of the creators to make or not make any given cultural or political statements is largely irrelevant. That we're seeing reviewers discuss more than the simple experience of playing a game is part of the medium reckoning with itself and it's larger place in culture.

 

I'm glad that we're seeing games media willing to discuss these kinds of things, especially since it's not exactly a new thing for games to have something to say. It's almost comical to discuss a game like MGS2 or Bioshock and focus entirely on the technicalities, but that's largely what the reviews for those games did. Don't get me wrong, I think technicalities are actually important to game reviews. If you're going to commit $60 and untold hours to a game, it's best to know what you're getting into and that it works, but if you're evaluating an experience, I think it makes sense to evaluate that in a larger cultural context.

 

I think that much of the pushback from gamers that I've seen isn't necessarily that the cultural commentary is too one sided, but that there is any commentary at all. People seem to want to believe that games are empty vessels, and if there any sort of nuance that they'd rather reviewers skip over it. I also think that media's willingness to avoid those conversations are what allow game makers to avoid thinking about these kinds of things. In film we've increasingly seen discussions about representation drive the medium to try harder and consider their art more carefully, and I hope the same becomes true for games as well. I want games to reckon with the ideas they're putting forward, and I want them to be conscious of those ideas while they're making them.

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3 hours ago, Kal-El814 said:

Long story short, it might just be a piece of the puzzle but whether or not it has bearing on an individual’s ability to enjoy something is going to be highly variable and the non-popular opinion might be the more correct take.

 

There is no "more correct take" for a reviewer's opinion.  If a game's politics are the reason they didn't enjoy it, then it's totally fair for them to harp on it.  I can respect that.

But I'll be quicker to dismiss their opinions if they make it the focal point of their review when it isn't the focus of the game.  Some games like Hatred deserve that treatment, for obvious reasons.  Most don't.

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I have a problem with just straight up nit picking. Like one reviewer complaining about Lara craft being a white person robbing the indigenous people of whatever for the latest tomb raider.

 

Dont get me wrong I’m not all in favor of every protagonist in modern media to be 90% white men and 8% white females leaving the last 2% being whatever.

 

But that’s a pretty fucking stupid thing to bitch about in a review when you consider that Lara has been doing this for years why bitch about who she is and what she does?

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20 minutes ago, HGLatinBoy said:

I have a problem with just straight up nit picking. Like one reviewer complaining about Lara craft being a white person robbing the indigenous people of whatever for the latest tomb raider.

 

Dont get me wrong I’m not all in favor of every protagonist in modern media to be 90% white men and 8% white females leaving the last 2% being whatever.

 

But that’s a pretty fucking stupid thing to bitch about in a review when you consider that Lara has been doing this for years why bitch about who she is and what she does?

I think it's ok for these kinds of things to matter, and just because it's been setup that way for a long time doesn't mean it should necessarily go unexamined in a new game. I'd also make the argument that the recent Tomb Raider games do reckon with Lara's privilege and are very conscious in how they deal with their depictions of various peoples. The inter-cultural dynamics are quite central to the plots of the games, and the devs were obviously concerned with depicting an overly simplistic white savior narrative. I think there's plenty to talk about in terms of how well the games handles those issues, and if certain aspects remain problematic.

 

I  think that those are games that have evolved very much because of the concerns about how they depict Lara, her motivations, and her interactions with indigenous people. If these conversations, in reviews and otherwise, didn't exist, it's easily to see how a Tomb Raider game could be very problematic.

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1 hour ago, crispy4000 said:

 

There is no "more correct take" for a reviewer's opinion.  If a game's politics are the reason they didn't enjoy it, then it's totally fair for them to harp on it.  I can respect that.

But I'll be quicker to dismiss their opinions if they make it the focal point of their review when it isn't the focus of the game.  Some games like Hatred deserve that treatment, for obvious reasons.  Most don't.

 

Some games make their politics overt. I think many games people would claim to be “apolitical” are only that way if you think of them existing in a vacuum and divorce them from all context. Uncharted says stuff about imperialism and cultural ownership as a necessary part of what it attempts to be, even though I would wager most people dismiss it as a popcorn movie come to life... as if those popcorn movies themselves were apolitical when they were not. Uncharted games might not have “a message” but they are absolutely saying SOMETHING by generally saying little about what is actually happening.

 

I don’t know what tips the scales in terms of a game “deserving” to be discussed from a political lens. This is something that most other art forms deal with on the regular. Most “serious” artists have their work discussed with a political and social framework in mind. A disproportionate amount of gaming ink is spent on “reviews” from a commercial and not a critical perspective so when people try to frame a discussion about a game within that context there’s a lot of “didn’t read lol” or “SJW lol” that comes up.

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1 hour ago, HGLatinBoy said:

I have a problem with just straight up nit picking. Like one reviewer complaining about Lara craft being a white person robbing the indigenous people of whatever for the latest tomb raider.

 

Dont get me wrong I’m not all in favor of every protagonist in modern media to be 90% white men and 8% white females leaving the last 2% being whatever.

 

But that’s a pretty fucking stupid thing to bitch about in a review when you consider that Lara has been doing this for years why bitch about who she is and what she does?

 

By this logic it was dumb for people to start pushing back against blackface since, hey, it had been a thing for a long time already.

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1 hour ago, Kal-El814 said:

 

Some games make their politics overt. I think many games people would claim to be “apolitical” are only that way if you think of them existing in a vacuum and divorce them from all context. Uncharted says stuff about imperialism and cultural ownership as a necessary part of what it attempts to be, even though I would wager most people dismiss it as a popcorn movie come to life... as if those popcorn movies themselves were apolitical when they were not. Uncharted games might not have “a message” but they are absolutely saying SOMETHING by generally saying little about what is actually happening.

 

I don’t know what tips the scales in terms of a game “deserving” to be discussed from a political lens. This is something that most other art forms deal with on the regular. Most “serious” artists have their work discussed with a political and social framework in mind. A disproportionate amount of gaming ink is spent on “reviews” from a commercial and not a critical perspective so when people try to frame a discussion about a game within that context there’s a lot of “didn’t read lol” or “SJW lol” that comes up.

 

I’d say the marketing for the game and store description tends to be a reasonable litmus test most of the time.  At least for making it a primary focus of a review.

 

If someone wants write a bunch about what Uncharted says about imperialism, that would probably work best as an editorial article.

 

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8 minutes ago, Jason said:

 

...what, precisely, do you think game reviews are?

 

You know what I meant.  

 

Reviews are most interested in answering the question of whether something is worth playing.

 

In depth policital discussions of a popcorn action game would be better served in a different kind of article not concerned with that, IMO.  And which is free to get into spoiler territory.

 

Game lore in reviews might be a good analogy.  Like, it could be cool and all, and the reviewer might have something neat to say about it.  But there’s only so much of it that makes sense put in a review itself.

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