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General Gaming Eurogamer: Why we now talk about politics in games so much

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https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-08-14-why-we-now-talk-about-politics-in-games-so-much

 

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Politics in video games can be a contentious thing. That's no surprise, seeing as politics are contentious by nature. Many of us would much rather avoid them, and it's a sentiment that comes up when players feel their escape into a fantasy realm suddenly reminds them of a real-world issue. However, it's impossible to completely eradicate politics from our lives, even single aspects of it, and in the development of games as much as in talking about them, we've come to realise that.

 

I'd argue that this, however uncomfortable, is a good thing, even though it comes with a few caveats. Games now seem pretty intertwined with politics, but they always were. Often when we think politics, we think politicians - from discussions about game addiction, especially during the height of the WoW boom, to loot boxes and the sheer endless back-and-forth on the topic of whether or not shooters cause real-world violence, politicians have taken an interest in games whenever it became obvious that games are a large force in people's lives.

 

And that is also exactly what makes politics an important aspect of games; the general awareness that many of us play them, causing video games to grow to a billion dollar industry, and the fact that when people create stories, any kind of stories, they extrapolate from human experience. Politics as a term is multifaceted and applies to any construct that aids or governs how people live with each other. Games too, even if they're not about the French Revolution or shouting "Objection!" in a courtroom, are about the fundamental rights of and duties to people we want politics to achieve: we want to live together. What cultural products like games do is to look at why this is difficult, even if they often suggest that shooting someone in the face is a viable solution.

 

Continued

 

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"Social agenda" is typically code for "Guy is saying something I don't like please stop"

 

People typically talk about their political opinions when talking politics; you have to get used to that.

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1 hour ago, XxEvil AshxX said:

Problem is, most gaming "journalists" can't tell the difference between talking politics and pushing their social agenda.

A "social agenda" and "politics" are the same goddamned thing.

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So long as the political discussion is level headed and constructive I welcome it.  Has to be the appropriate amount as well.  For as much as politics impacts games, it is still only one, often small, aspect that defines what games are, what they can be, and how they are made.

 

I will say that I don’t care to read game reviews that bloviate about a single aspect (graphics, story, etc), and politics/social issues is no exception.

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3 hours ago, SFLUFAN said:

A "social agenda" and "politics" are the same goddamned thing.

 

Sure. But there's talking politics, and then there's preaching to me.

 

A political discussion *should* be a debate on the pro's and con's of a particular issue. Most gaming journo pieces are one sided opinions telling me i'm wrong.

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2 hours ago, Duderino said:

So long as the political discussion is level headed and constructive I welcome it.  Has to be the appropriate amount as well.  For as much as politics impacts games, it is still only one, often small, aspect that defines what games are, what they can be, and how they are made.

 

I will say that I don’t care to read game reviews that bloviate about a single aspect (graphics, story, etc), and politics/social issues is no exception.

 
Absolutely this. 

I'll add that a heightened sense political activism and projection can be extremely destructive to smaller developers.  All it takes is drawing the ire of a place that views things too monolithically.  Doesn't matter what the issue is (LGBTQ representation / 'SJW' / too much or not enough anime titties / etc), if you get noticed by a vocal corner of the internet that obsesses about it, it's going to be an uphill battle.


Big publishers can handle it fine, which is why Ubisoft always looks a little silly.  But if I was developing an indie game today, I wouldn't want to risk touching any of that.

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I don't care if you put politics in games as long as the devs aren't there saying "look at our political alignment now buy our game." Games/Devs now go out of their way to point out and market their political alignment. Like, if they just put the shit in the game and just simply didn't talk about it hardly anyone would notice or care. Instead it is "HEY look at this BIG CURRENT political issue we are tackling head on in our video game." If the Witcher 2 was marketed in the same way games are nowadays I probably wouldn't have sided with the scoia'tael. 

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6 minutes ago, Bacon said:

I don't care if you put politics in games as long as the devs aren't there saying "look at our political alignment now buy our game." Games/Devs now go out of their way to point out and market their political alignment. Like, if they just put the shit in the game and just simply didn't talk about it hardly anyone would notice or care. Instead it is "HEY look at this BIG CURRENT political issue we are tackling head on in our video game." If the Witcher 2 was marketed in the same way games are nowadays I probably wouldn't have sided with the scoia'tael. 

The Scoia'tael were on the right side of history.

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20 minutes ago, SFLUFAN said:

The Scoia'tael were on the right side of history.

And that was who I sided with when I played the game. 

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43 minutes ago, Bacon said:

I don't care if you put politics in games as long as the devs aren't there saying "look at our political alignment now buy our game." Games/Devs now go out of their way to point out and market their political alignment. Like, if they just put the shit in the game and just simply didn't talk about it hardly anyone would notice or care. Instead it is "HEY look at this BIG CURRENT political issue we are tackling head on in our video game." If the Witcher 2 was marketed in the same way games are nowadays I probably wouldn't have sided with the scoia'tael. 

Which devs are you talking about? 

 

Big studios play Simone Biles level of mental gymnastics to talk about how their game about war is not political. 

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57 minutes ago, Bacon said:

I don't care if you put politics in games as long as the devs aren't there saying "look at our political alignment now buy our game." Games/Devs now go out of their way to point out and market their political alignment. Like, if they just put the shit in the game and just simply didn't talk about it hardly anyone would notice or care. Instead it is "HEY look at this BIG CURRENT political issue we are tackling head on in our video game." If the Witcher 2 was marketed in the same way games are nowadays I probably wouldn't have sided with the scoia'tael. 

 

Not sure I buy that.  Remember that Steam game scandal about Winne the Pooh and China?

 

It doesn't even have to be that dramatic.  Sometimes a tonal shift between sequels is enough.

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2 minutes ago, crispy4000 said:

Remember that Steam game scandal about Winne the Pooh and China?

No? And steam isn't a video game

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7 minutes ago, Bacon said:

It is fucking china. I consider that different when compared to the political shit that is on going in the west. Cuz like, Americans or Europeans didn't care about that shit in the link.


I really don't think it's all that different.  I feel like there is a segment of the western gaming press (and public) that goes rabid once they 'unearth' something they see as politically charged.

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18 minutes ago, crispy4000 said:


I really don't think it's all that different.  I feel like there is a segment of the western gaming press (and public) that goes rabid once they 'unearth' something they see as politically charged.

it's fucking different when even Peppa the Pig is banned in China because Xi Jingping is a fucking triggered dictator.

 

The difference between China and Western politics is that we (Western) are aware of the political shit and have the opportunity to freely discuss about it, even if it's just a shitshow of idiots yelling at each other of why they're wrong.  Try doing that in China.  We'll see you next time with organs harvested or detained.

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1 hour ago, darkness35 said:

it's fucking different when even Peppa the Pig is banned in China because Xi Jingping is a fucking triggered dictator.

 

The difference between China and Western politics is that we (Western) are aware of the political shit and have the opportunity to freely discuss about it, even if it's just a shitshow of idiots yelling at each other of why they're wrong.  Try doing that in China.  We'll see you next time with organs harvested or detained.

 

I was speaking more to the manner the press and internet in general reacts to perceived political controversy in games.

 

That’s not to take away from what you’re saying at all.  I’m sure China was happy that their own gamers review bombed something seen as a slight against their leadership.

 

But if the press was more free in China, the texture in question (which the devs didn’t advertise the game with) still would have gotten a large reaction.  Especially given that the game was popular beforehand.

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11 minutes ago, crispy4000 said:

 

I was speaking more to the manner the press and internet in general reacts to perceived political controversy in games.

 

That’s not to take away from what you’re saying at all.  I’m sure China was happy that their own gamers review bombed something seen as a slight against their leadership.

 

But if the press was more free in China, the texture in question (which the devs didn’t advertise the game with) still would have gotten a large reaction.  Especially since the game was popular beforehand.

 

I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about with all due respect.  If you're trying to deduce the situation based on Western ideology or political semblance, then your interpretation is already incorrect as is, especially considering how you lump Taiwan with China.

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1 minute ago, darkness35 said:

 

I have no idea what the fuck you're talking about with all due respect.  If you're trying to deduce the situation based on Western ideology or political semblance, then your interpretation is already incorrect as is, especially considering how you lump Taiwan with China.

 

Where did you get this from?

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Disregard.  I reread the reply/quote.  Comprehension has been fucky as of late due to personal stress, and reading the political BS.  I interpreted it incorrectly assuming you said Chinese and Taiwanese review bombed the game, and lumping Taiwan into China.  My bad.

 

However, point still stands  about how approaching Chinese nationalism under Western ideology.  Mainland pigs get fucking pissed off when you slight their middle kingdom even in the most minor context.

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