The Exploitation Of Apolitical Politics (The Jimquisition)

Aurelian

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I don't think Sterling's touching on particularly novel ideas, but he does touch on some important points. There are so many people who cry "keep politics out of my games," but they also forget that many of the 'neutral' games they play are already political. They just don't always scream their ideologies from the rooftops. And yes, I wish developers would embrace their games' politics rather than pretend they don't exist to avoid upsetting potential buyers.

For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
 

LordRaptor

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A game with Tom Clancys name on the cover should automatically tell you what the world view portrayed within is going to be.
Same as watching a film with Michael Bay as director should tell you.
 

Ballthyrm

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Does the politics of "not giving a shit" qualify ?
That a lot of the people in the USA if i remember the last election correctly.

You could say they represent the people who choose not to engage in politics.
Do the people who don't care deserve a voice in media ? or only people who engage in politics ?

It's people like the media who go on and on about how everything is politics and then don't understand why the turnout is so low and why people disengage.
Well maybe if you gave people room where they don't have to engage, and let them engage on their own terms maybe they will be more interested, crazy i know.
 

Shifty.

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For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
I don't think that's entirely accurate. There's a difference between actively advocating for the status quo by saying "things are fine as they are!" and passively allowing it to remain by saying "shut up with the politics, I don't care."

If anything, projecting intent onto people that don't have any reeks of the bad faith "no pick a side tho" "you're with us or you're against us" mindset that politically infested this place before the meltdown, and continues to a lesser extent in the ongoing Microsoft vs Sony console warring.

Not everything is about politics, and attempting to drag people into it when they would rather not engage is obnoxious ideologue behaviour.
 
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When players state "keep politics out of games," what they mean is not that they dislike the exploration of political themes in a broad sense in gaming (revolutions; technology / dystopia / futurism; moral dilemmas; etc).

What they mean instead is that they rightly find it a bit ridiculous when political cleansing or adjustment is carried out on games, as if every medium and bit of entertainment has to apologize for: any instance of a common norm (eg. physically powerful male characters), any unaltered bit of history (soldiers who are accurate to their nation & time of origin), any catering to its base (even mildly sexualized women), or anything less than perfectly aligning with the very latest hysterical demands or fashionable trends of identity politics (relationships in game? you must include lgbt options; etc).

Personally, I greatly prefer when any medium (films, games) is driven by small teams led by highly opinionated individuals, who produce their own distinct vision and have no interest in bending over backward to make their work appealing to everyone. And I prefer when genres are driven by their niche interests, so eg. that a WWII game has a style and setting that fits its own enthusiasts and no one else, or on the other end of the spectrum a visual novel aims for its own niche audience and cares only about what is desired within that group. Nothing needs to be corrected, to have appeal to everyone, or to include anyone at all.
 

kiunchbb

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Yes, the artist political belief will certainly affect the end products, everyone understand this. If anything, the worldview and political belief make games like MGS more entertaining.

Most of us are only annoyed when they obviously trying to push that agenda in our face; or when the marketing team picked a side just to be trendy on social media, it is just so disingenuous. We are not stupid, we can see those kind of stuffs miles away.

I am a vegetation because of my belief, it certainly affect my everyday life since I avoid meats on every meal. You will certainly notice this if you eat out with me, but imagine how annoying it would be if I talk about animal cruelty every meal. It doesn't matter how good the food is, the moment is ruined.
 

Terce

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What if both/all sides are a bad decision. You're not advocating for the status quo by withholding a decision but instead saying that you vehemently oppose the policies of all choices and that you can't support any of them.

Strategic voting is terrible but it's an unfortunate byproduct of a broken electoral system. This doesn't mean that we need to force this terrible idea on situations where it isn't a necessity such as in games
 
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Aurelian

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Feb 22, 2009
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I don't think that's entirely accurate. There's a difference between actively advocating for the status quo by saying "things are fine as they are!" and passively allowing it to remain by saying "shut up with the politics, I don't care."

If anything, projecting intent onto people that don't have any reeks of the bad faith "no pick a side tho" "you're with us or you're against us" mindset that politically infested this place before the meltdown, and continues to a lesser extent in the ongoing Microsoft vs Sony console warring.

Not everything is about politics, and attempting to drag people into it when they would rather not engage is obnoxious ideologue behaviour.
But even that "passive" view is still a statement. You're saying that you're willing to be carried along by the wind, that you genuinely don't care what direction your country goes.

You don't have to take an active interest in politics at all times, including in games. You can play a rah-rah militarist shooter or a "let's all love one another" dating sim and barely think about it. My point is that you shouldn't pretend the politics don't exist in those games, or that you can achieve a truly neutral stance in games that aren't completely abstracted.
 

#Phonepunk#

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eh, it's kind of a tiring point. once again Jim has a laser sharp focus on the very people that he will never convert. the very people that are already in the minority and being over-shouted. most of games journalism is all about talking about politics in games. this is already an accepted thing in the mainstream. tbh i don't get the point he is making, beyond shitting on people that, again, already hold an opinion that is extremely unpopular in the mainstream.

yes people are going to say "i don't care i just want entertainment" because you will never have 100% of everyone who purchases a product have the same motivation for consuming. it's literally impossible. not that it stops people like Jim from endlessly complaining about that 25% or 10% or 1% or whatever. decades could pass, world peace could be achieved, and there can still be 1 guy on the planet pissed off about games or whatever, and Jim will find his blog and hype the ever-living fuck out of it.

i could really care less. maybe if Jim's channel was focused on game content rather than endless whining and bitching about having to pay an extra $15 dollars for something that entertains him for months, he may have a point. as it is he just contributes to "just give me my games and leave me alone!". this guy is just a shit stirrer who promotes toxic gamers, however ironically, and offers little of constructive thought.
 
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mcjmetroid

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I personally can't blame developers and publishers wanting to distance themselves from people viewing their games as current political messages. People outrage over everything literally. Who wants to even get into that shitstorm? Best to play it safe and I can understand that. Yes it demeans videogames to product level but ultimately that's what they are.

Games will never be art in the way that people want them to be when people overact about something they don't like on Twitter Everytime.

Art is about expressing oneself in whatever way they want, whatever political message but at the same time games are products designed to sell to the masses. That's a conflict of interest and will always be.

I get what Jim is trying to say here but I couldn't slag off publishers for not wanting to deal with any potential backlash. They're businesses first and artists far down the list.
 

Rentahamster

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The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
More like they vote a few times, see that nothing changes despite their vote, get disillusioned, and throw their hands up and consider the system fucked. When the status quo gives you two options that are both terrible, it's not hard to feel like the game is rigged.
 

Aurelian

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Feb 22, 2009
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I personally can't blame developers and publishers wanting to distance themselves from people viewing their games as current political messages. People outrage over everything literally. Who wants to even get into that shitstorm? Best to play it safe and I can understand that. Yes it demeans videogames to product level but ultimately that's what they are.

Games will never be art in the way that people want them to be when people overact about something they don't like on Twitter Everytime.

Art is about expressing oneself in whatever way they want, whatever political message but at the same time games are products designed to sell to the masses. That's a conflict of interest and will always be.

I get what Jim is trying to say here but I couldn't slag off publishers for not wanting to deal with any potential backlash. They're businesses first and artists far down the list.
His point, and I'd agree with it, boils down to "shit or get off the pot." Don't make a game with a clear political tone and then pretend that you wash your hands of politics. You can't have it both ways.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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The crucial flaw in Jim's argument is the underlying assumption that politics belong in games in the first place. He believes it's just a matter of to what degree politics are included. He focuses more on how the "people who claim they're apolitical or neutral" have behaved instead of challenging the notion that politics should be inserted into games in the manner that they are.

In other words, I do not agree with Jim's concession that politics belong in games at all. The moral outrage against people who resist politics in games is entirely out of line. This is a broader conversation that was coopted by ideologues like Anita Saarkesian and Kotaku for profit.

The 80s and 90s were full of violent, opinionated, passionate, important political events, yet it never seemed to show up in Super Mario Bros or Gradius or Sonic the Hedgehog. Politics were bound to show up eventually because the industry focused way too much on muh narrative. Why are politics so prevalent? Because it's an easy and controversial way to pad out an otherwise cookie-cutter story.

Yes, ideologues have been pushing this political narrative for their own aims, but the underlying rot is not because of identity politics ideology. The underlying rot is the constant borrowing from Hollywood to compensate for lack of creativity.
 

LordRaptor

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His point, and I'd agree with it, boils down to "shit or get off the pot." Don't make a game with a clear political tone and then pretend that you wash your hands of politics. You can't have it both ways.
A Tom Clancy game where the underlying premise is that the US Government are the good guys, people opposing the elected government are therefore bad guys, and you as an agent of that aforesaid elected government are lawfully enabled to take down the bad guys with whatever force is necessary is not overtly political to people who live under an elected US government.

Yes, it makes certain assumptions, but without undermining those assumptions - eg if it was the US government interfering in another countries duly elected government, or if the US government were not duly elected but the result of a coup - its some pretty generic setup for authorised good guys versus illegitimate bad guys. A.K.A. Cops & Robbers.
The majority of US citizens believe in the authority of their elected government. Even if and when they don't like the particular person occupying that authority.

As with any other work, you can politicise that work by viewing it through an unconventional lens, but as it stands its no more political as a setup than asking if you are a bad enough dude to save the president
 
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#Phonepunk#

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More like they vote a few times, see that nothing changes despite their vote, get disillusioned, and throw their hands up and consider the system fucked. When the status quo gives you two options that are both terrible, it's not hard to feel like the game is rigged.
exactly. it isn't that people refuse to participate in a good system. the system is shit. it is broken. you can't even run for president unless you have millions of dollars. you can't run third party. if you vote third party (ie excersize your right to democracy) you are ridiculed. it is no wonder people drop out when so much of the political system is exclusionary.

that said, i see why game devs don't want to come too hard on having a message. most of these games don't have overarching messages. yes they have "political" settings and trappings but they are made by hundreds of people, working on assets, sounds, story, dialog, etc, all for the most part separately, it only comes together at the very end. it's not like just a single person saying "I believe in this political policy", a game is a group effort. most mass products are group efforts. many people believe that companies can "have a political view" like Nike shows an ad and now it's woke even though it uses child labor in it's products. it is a fantasy IMO.

media itself can be critically analysed and the real world political parallels can certainly be discussed, but demanding that every game take a stance is a bit silly. who is supposed to define that stance? the devs? the director? the parent company? it is through advertising? the social media account? through gameplay? again it's possible & good to talk about these factors. but saying that "a game must have a political message" is a bit simplistic. it buys into the Consumer Activism idea where you just shut off your brain, listen to the PR, and buy whatever lines up with your ideology. the best consumer is a discerning one.
 
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OldGamer

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I don't think Sterling's touching on particularly novel ideas, but he does touch on some important points. There are so many people who cry "keep politics out of my games," but they also forget that many of the 'neutral' games they play are already political. They just don't always scream their ideologies from the rooftops. And yes, I wish developers would embrace their games' politics rather than pretend they don't exist to avoid upsetting potential buyers.
I generally agree, depending on the game. Some games are better off if they don't wimp out and go all the way because it simply makes it more interesting to have a firm message instead of being wishy-washy.

But, honestly, I just want an escape of the constant inundation of politics, especially all off the angry political warfare that is going on right now. Maybe focus on something more spiritual, romantic, or interpersonal? I know that almost everything including including what we eat for breakfast has political significance now, but my own interests and passions are outside Washington more often than not.

For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
In don't entirely disagree except in reation to non-voting, although that sounds and awful like like "you're either with us or against us" talk which is part of the current toxic political environment today. That's not to say I don't have strong feelings about certain issues. I'm just less likely to talk about anything remotely controversial national political-wise except with my wife and a few close friends. Makes me less likely to openly engage lest someone jumps down my throat and starts with the usual name-calling.

Also non-voting can also be a sign of voter apathy. Or perhaps a support of both candidates in a particular election for different reasons. Is a coin flip vote better than no vote? I don't agree with the whole "advotating the status quo" position because even if you do and you don't vote , the government will shift one way or another ever 2-4 years whether I like it or not and will sometimes circumvent voters entirely whether I like it or not. Even if absolutely nobody voted during an election, the governemnt would make an internal "tie-break" court decision and set a new course anyway.

Isn't political apathy or cynicism or even anarchy a stance? I personally don't mind entertainment to broaches such subject as long as they are well written and engaging or even just funny enough.
 

MrRogers

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I would be ok with politics in games if there was a wide spectrum of views portrayed... but it wouldnt turn out that way. Instead we'd get a tidal wave of robotic leftist, neoliberal, and progressive narratives/messages in all western made games (EEurope and Japan not so much). Hardly any right wing, nationalist or conservative principles or narratives would be explored. Unstandable in a way, since most developers live in the urban coastal bubbles of the world and live accordingly. Ok so it is what it is... hence why i dont want politics in my games, or as little possible, because like hollywood, its a one way street. Its ruined modern movies by and large for me, but i hope games make it through with broad themes that appeal to everyone.
 

Elfstar

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The problem with the "everything is politics" argument is not that it's not true in some way, but that it's always coming from highly malicious people, and that what they actually mean is "every game NEEDS to fall in line and push MY politics in a straight up propagandistic tone because is the only acceptable thing and otherwise you'll be lynched".
It's not that hard to understand why people are getting sick of this shit.
 
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Abriael_GN

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First of all, the "everything is politics" argument is hyperbolic and as such false. There certainly are plenty of games and other creative endeavors that don't touch politics at all. No. Not everything is politics.

On the other hand, the "keep politics out of games" argument is equally silly when applied to developers. Game development is a creative activity, and as such developers absolutely can and should be perfectly entitled to put themselves into their creations, and this includes their political ideas, regardless of colors, and regardless if others like them or not.

What I do not consider healthy or constructive is when gaming media, press, pundits (including Jim Sterling) and what not try to impose their own layer of politics on games, often misrepresenting the views expressed by developers, or straight on bashing those they are not in agreement with, at times to the point of demanding that people lose their jobs.
This is IMHO despicable, and the whole gaming landscape would be healthier without it.

His point, and I'd agree with it, boils down to "shit or get off the pot." Don't make a game with a clear political tone and then pretend that you wash your hands of politics. You can't have it both ways.
Yes, you can, because a thing called "fiction" exists.
 
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oagboghi2

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I don't think Sterling's touching on particularly novel ideas, but he does touch on some important points. There are so many people who cry "keep politics out of my games," but they also forget that many of the 'neutral' games they play are already political. They just don't always scream their ideologies from the rooftops. And yes, I wish developers would embrace their games' politics rather than pretend they don't exist to avoid upsetting potential buyers.

For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
Yes we've heard this stupid argument a thousand times.

"Everything is political so stop mocking whatever thing is pushing my brand of politics". It's a purposely disingenuous way to strawman someone, which is about what I expect from Jim "I'm terrible at analogies" Sterling
 

Abriael_GN

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I giggled bitterly at the idea expressed by Sterling that harassing a developer by continuing to repeat the same question (just worded differently) that he has already answered just because you don't like the answer is an "impressively tenacious job of trying to nail" that developer down.

This is a perfect example of what I was mentioning above, journalists not accepting that a developer may not be trying to express the political view that the journalists themselves want to promote, and trying to impose that political view unto developers and their games.

That's not "impressive" at all. It's a despicable, shameless hack job, and I'm not surprised that it was on Polygon and that Jim Sterling supports it.
 
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wutnau

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Oh lol I didn't recognize what you were saying until I saw my typo haha.
For the record I don't eat meat nowadays either (I do eat seafood every now and then, and you can pry proper cheese from my cold dead hands), but that was just such a low-hanging fruit that I couldn't resist :)
 

Aurelian

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Yes we've heard this stupid argument a thousand times.

"Everything is political so stop mocking whatever thing is pushing my brand of politics". It's a purposely disingenuous way to strawman someone, which is about what I expect from Jim "I'm terrible at analogies" Sterling
Er... what? He points out that The Division 2 starts by suggesting that gun owners stood the best chance of surviving the game's opening scenario. Tom Clancy in general leaned conservative. How is this Sterling telling people to stop mocking his brand of politics when it's distinctly against his brand of politics?

I don't think there's anything controversial about pointing out that many games have political ideology behind them, even if it's more of a subtext than a mission statement.
 

Abriael_GN

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And a lot of fiction has a political subtext. Just because it's fantasy, sci-fi or even a romance doesn't change that it can express political views.
"a lot" and "all" are two different concepts.

What you just wrote is by-the-book case of a strawman argument. No one is arguing that fiction can't express political views. It might, or it might not.

The fact that applying your personal parameters to fiction you see something that could be interpreted politically does not mean that that interpretation is correct or actually applies to that fiction.
 

oagboghi2

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Er... what? He points out that The Division 2 starts by suggesting that gun owners stood the best chance of surviving the game's opening scenario. Tom Clancy in general leaned conservative. How is this Sterling telling people to stop mocking his brand of politics when it's distinctly against his brand of politics?

I don't think there's anything controversial about pointing out that many games have political ideology behind them, even if it's more of a subtext than a mission statement.
He is being disingenuous by arguing that Ubisoft using the setting of the division 2 is a political call, when it in itself is not. It's just a stage in which they set the game. The Division 2 is not telling you to do anything or how to feel. It's as political as the legend of zelda.

It's essentially a different way of saying "everything is political, everyone is political, and you have to call it all out." When ubisoft doesn't cater to his bullshit in that interview, he whines and cries about Ubisoft dodging the question, when the reality is they gave an answer he didn't like. Not everyone is obsessed with politics as he is.

He then ends his video with a ridiculously inaccurate summary of the rape day controversy, and compares gamers to Nazi's. Yeah really intelligent shit here Aurelian. Jim Sterling is an idiot yelling at clouds
 
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renzolama

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Boy, Jim is on a roll with videos that look like they came straight from a resetera thread recently.
 
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down 2 orth

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Lol at the post-modernist subversion attempt.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes politics should just stay the fuck out of my games or else I cease to give money to companies I don't like.
 

ROMhack

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Responding more to comments here than Jim so bear with me if I'm off the mark...

The problem fI have isn't that games are political, but that too many games are abstract, political ideas. They are political but they're not good at being political.

I watch a lot of indie/foreign movies and most of them have political themes. The key difference is that there's often something to care about in them. Human characters having a tough time, real world problems, gender/race differences etc. It's all very easy to appreciate and feels like genuine expression, even when it's a lil' bit too overt as with a Ken Loach/Spike Lee movie.

Game developers on the other hand want people to care about politics but their products lack expression and it comes across as artificial. There's an immaturity to the medium that doesn't get criticised enough. Often games can be very first year college student in the way they go about things.

It's why I find a game like Nier: Automata stands out massively insofar as ditching all the political nonsense to ask broader questions about what makes us human. Games are good at that.

I'll also concede that indie games can be good at it. I really enjoy the LGBTQ+ themes of Christine Love's games for example. They're very sweet.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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I don't think Sterling's touching on particularly novel ideas, but he does touch on some important points. There are so many people who cry "keep politics out of my games," but they also forget that many of the 'neutral' games they play are already political. They just don't always scream their ideologies from the rooftops. And yes, I wish developers would embrace their games' politics rather than pretend they don't exist to avoid upsetting potential buyers.
see, i don't think game companies should be promoting politics more than they are. first off what does this mean "developers should embrace their games' politics"? if the games already have political content, then doesn't their lack of weighing in help free the gamer's experience of it? certainly if the game is written with themes in mind, talk about those, but you don't have to weigh in on every topic ffs.

if a creator is going "I mean to say THIS" with a work, i tend to tune out, because it doesn't so much allow for my own personal interpretation. if they say "I mean to say this" then that's really that and everything else is fan fiction. i like the David Lynch approach, where they aren't going to tell you what they think bc they want the audience to create as well. the true meaning is what the audience takes from it.

furthermore, in gaming, these things are made by so many people, teams of people, who gets to determine what "the political message" is? is it the social media team? we have seen how that can blow up in company's faces. is it the PR or HR departments? is it the executive producer? or the writer? or the art director?

see, this is the problem with ascribing political views to non-corporeal beings such as video games and companies. they are amalgamations of individual people with their own views. to bestow upon them the illusion of a moral conscious or political stance is IMO a danger and maybe a sign people are on computers a little too much.

i don't want to know who everyone voted for. when i was a kid that was a secret. now everyone is entitled to know everything about everyone. i kind of like a bit of mystery tbh. it is a rarity these days.
 
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zeorhymer

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Sometimes Jim is on point and other times he misses the mark entirely. It's not the developers that makes thing political, it's all the stupid critics, writers, reviewers, journalists etc that inject their worldview into something that's not there. In 2017, people were making noise with Wolfenstein and it's always been and nothing more than killing Nazi's. Or even in 2018 how Farcry 5 didn't address Christian fundamentalism (wut?). Instead of just fighting against a zealot nutbag. It really is the death of the author when people just make shit up and even worse when people blindly follow them.
 
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Aurelian

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see, i don't think game companies should be promoting politics more than they are. first off what does this mean "developers should embrace their games' politics"? if the games already have political content, then doesn't their lack of weighing in help free the gamer's experience of it? certainly if the game is written with themes in mind, talk about those, but you don't have to weigh in on every topic ffs.

if a creator is going "I mean to say THIS" with a work, i tend to tune out, because it doesn't so much allow for my own personal interpretation. if they say "I mean to say this" then that's really that and everything else is fan fiction. i like the David Lynch approach, where they aren't going to tell you what they think bc they want the audience to create as well. the true meaning is what the audience takes from it.

furthermore, in gaming, these things are made by so many people, teams of people, who gets to determine what "the political message" is? is it the social media team? we have seen how that can blow up in company's faces. is it the PR or HR departments? is it the executive producer? or the writer? or the art director?

see, this is the problem with ascribing political views to non-corporeal beings such as video games and companies. they are amalgamations of individual people with their own views. to bestow upon them the illusion of a moral conscious or political stance is IMO a danger and maybe a sign people are on computers a little too much.

i don't want to know who everyone voted for. when i was a kid that was a secret. now everyone is entitled to know everything about everyone. i kind of like a bit of mystery tbh. it is a rarity these days.
It means that if a game has a distinct political stance, the company acknowledges it. It doesn't have to club people over the head with that ideology, but it shouldn't act as if a game is neutral when it has an opinion.

Ambiguity can be good in art, but I don't think there's anything wrong with having a distinct vision for an artistic work, including if its ultimate message has a bit of ambiguity. A classic example is Fight Club: it's obviously a critique of consumerism and concepts of identity, but it's still a good book/movie (with some open-endedness in its conclusion).

And there isn't much mystery as to who dictates what the political message is: the game designers and story writers do. They're the ones establishing the plot, setting the tone, choosing who you play, the quests you undertake and the game mechanics you use. No one asks who's in charge of the political message for a major movie, even though there are hundreds or thousands of people on the production team... why do you think that's different for games?

As for how to design a game... the main priority is to really let game developers be free to espouse an opinion if they want. We keep pushing for games to be treated as art, but to do that means conveying messages and ideas. It can be everything from a purely artistic exploration (say, Rez's use of synesthesia) to overt political discussion (Detroit: Become Human, even the newer Wolfenstein games). You can have some mystery while you do that, of course -- you don't have to provide answers to everything.
 

Doom85

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Mar 3, 2018
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It's as political as the legend of zelda.
Seriously? Must have missed when Zelda talked about how those who didn't own guns were wiped out by Ganon or that the whole series was based off Tom Clancy's works (and for those oblivious to the man's writing, he DEFINITELY incorporates politics into his writing, everyone I know who's ever read even a single Clancy book knows this).
 

Paracelsus

Member
Jun 24, 2007
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They just can't stop looking silly when going for the horseshoe in any place of this landscape. You no longer have politics in videogames, you have partisan identity politics, straight up liberal progressive propaganda and that's it. They're hardly about the horrors of war like Spec Ops: The Line anymore. They're straight up democrat digital advertisements.
 
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DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Dec 3, 2013
19,741
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They just can't stop looking silly when going for the horseshoe in any place of this landscape. You no longer have politics in videogames, you have partisan identity politics, straight up liberal progressive propaganda and that's it. They're hardly about the horrors of war like Spec Ops: The Line anymore. They're straight up democrat digital advertisements.
Well if that's the case they need to amp up more drone bombing missions. ;)
 

Dacon

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Apr 24, 2011
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For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.
Pulling that old line out of the closet huh?

What a bunch of BS.
 

oagboghi2

Member
Apr 15, 2018
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Seriously? Must have missed when Zelda talked about how those who didn't own guns were wiped out by Ganon or that the whole series was based off Tom Clancy's works (and for those oblivious to the man's writing, he DEFINITELY incorporates politics into his writing, everyone I know who's ever read even a single Clancy book knows this).
Saying you own a gun in a game where literally all you do is shoot is not a political statement.
 
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I don't think Sterling's touching on particularly novel ideas, but he does touch on some important points. There are so many people who cry "keep politics out of my games," but they also forget that many of the 'neutral' games they play are already political. They just don't always scream their ideologies from the rooftops. And yes, I wish developers would embrace their games' politics rather than pretend they don't exist to avoid upsetting potential buyers.

For that matter, he has a good general observation: the people who claim they're apolitical or neutral... well, they're lying. If you refuse to take a side, you're advocating for the status quo. Don't like the status quo? Then take a stance. The US is arguably in its current political mess because there are legions of people who don't vote and then wonder why they get leaders they don't like.

I am not tolerating this bullshit. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL ME I AM LYING? WHO ARE YOU TO TELL WHAT IS IN MY FUCKING MIND? Unless you are a mind-reader, You are none to say something like this. Neither you nor Jim whatever or even my father. Enough with this crap. ENOUGH.


I will say it very clear, so that even a fucking 6-year-old could understand it: Games are meant to BE PLAYED. Games are meant to be FUN. If I want propaganda, I watch TV or I read or listen to my favorite political preachers but GAMES ARE NOT FOR THAT. I am 40 years old and I have seen this hobby evolve into true greatness. And now, that greatness is in peril because some lame, uninspired and opportunist people want to make a career making mediocre games that are given a pass for their ideological stands.

No way, dude. No fucking way.
 

joe_zazen

Member
May 2, 2017
868
352
205
They just can't stop looking silly when going for the horseshoe in any place of this landscape. You no longer have politics in videogames, you have partisan identity politics, straight up liberal progressive propaganda and that's it. They're hardly about the horrors of war like Spec Ops: The Line anymore. They're straight up democrat digital advertisements.
.

Wake me up when games start addressing things like bipartisan supported murder and theft via us military ‘intervention’, or the slow motion murder of heroes like Assange.

The US is the most sophisticated military controlled propaganda state ever created, with tentacles that reach around the globe. And the election of a corrupt Hillary Clinton (net worth 500 million+ USD) would have done more to entrench that than what did happen, the election of an incompetent boob.

Anyway, most things can be seen as political if you see politics as the expression of power, which it is. Most modern corporate games are power fantasies, as is most all of corporate pop culture.. The unrelented message is ‘might is right’, even with the addition of diversity to the equation. Yay! Now women too can solve problems with their fists, like Captain Marvel! Have an alien invasion to solve? Stop it by punching them. Fucking hairless apes and their idiotic myths, time to evolve i guess.
 
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When people say "keep politics out of my games" they're not saying "cut anything that could be interpreted to have some political meaning, subjectively." Literally anything under the sun could be interpreted through a political lens. What they're saying is they don't want their games to be didactic, moralizing, preachy political messages first and entertainment second. They want to be entertained not proselytized to.

The "everything is political" line is a dishonest argument to justify shoving that ideological messaging into every facet of life. Dishonestly blurring the definition between politics as defined by activities in relation to governance of a country and "politics" as defined by anything that impacts society, the sum total of all human interaction.

People like Jim Sterling know full well that the "keep politics out of my games" folks are using the first and more common definition of politics. Yet he will dishonestly bounce back and forth between the two when it suits his argument.

He tacitly admits this by saying "politics can be extracted from even the most unassuming games." and admitting that his examples for Mario & Sonic were "tongue in cheek" even though the politics are "still there." But that difference he has point out, to spare himself from looking like a complete ass, is the whole argument. Yes you can "extract" a political message from anything. That doesn't make everything political.

You could "extract" any kind of meaning from anything if you're creative enough. You could say that "everything is agricultural." Draw overly broad, tangential, connections on how changes in food cultivation and domestic animals massively impacted human society. Remark that those changes are reflected in various elements of gaming or anything. The only problem is that you'd be wasting everyone's time because you can play that game with anything.

That's why people don't categorize things by what can be "extracted" from them but what they explicitly are. Most people at least. The ones who aren't thirsting for any excuse to shove their ideological positions into everyone's hobbies.
 

Arkage

Gold Member
Sep 25, 2012
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A dev being "nonpolitical" usually means they think the historically established norms of society are a good fit for their game. This is itself a political stance to some degree, but really it depends upon the game. One would be hard pressed to find politics in Mario beyond the rescue-princess trope, so that's pretty minimal. But other games that attempt to tell a story of any depth will immediately run into political stances whether they want to or not, as how a dev thinks about the world and what they want to make is inevitably contextualized and informed by their life story and society they live in.

Also, "stop being political" is 99% of the time directed toward liberal messaging by upset conservatives i.e. "why did they need to make Ellie gay," "why is there a female soldier on the cover" pearl clutching. Liberal-leaning people have had the most apparent success in creating games and studios both small and large so it makes sense more games lean liberal than otherwise in their overall story arcs and diversity. Tom Clancy is really the only franchise I can think of that leans conservative. Maybe the guys who made Kingdom Come: Deliverance as well. And that PUA game. There's probably a few more. In general I think people who try to "shame" devs for political messaging are pissing in the wind. They want to make a game political, whatever, buy it or don't. It's an entertainment product that you aren't being forced to buy, and I ain't boycotting shit over politics because I don't have some weird fear or anger over being brainwashed by a Tom Clancy game into thinking war is gud.
 
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ArchaeEnkidu

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
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A dev being "nonpolitical" usually means they think the historically established norms of society are a good fit for their game. This is itself a political stance to some degree, but really it depends upon the game. One would be hard pressed to find politics in Mario beyond the rescue-princess trope, so that's pretty minimal. But other games that attempt to tell a story of any depth will immediately run into political stances whether they want to or not, as how a dev thinks about the world and what they want to make is inevitably contextualized and informed by their life story and society they live in.

Also, "stop being political" is 99% of the time directed toward liberal messaging by upset conservatives i.e. "why did they need to make Ellie gay," "why is there a female soldier on the cover" pearl clutching. Liberal-leaning people have had the most apparent success in creating games and studios both small and large so it makes sense more games lean liberal than otherwise in their overall story arcs and diversity. Tom Clancy is really the only franchise I can think of that leans conservative. Maybe the guys who made Kingdom Come: Deliverance as well. And that PUA game. There's probably a few more. In general I think people who try to "shame" devs for political messaging are pissing in the wind. They want to make a game political, whatever, buy it or don't. It's an entertainment product that you aren't being forced to buy, and I ain't boycotting shit over politics because I don't have some weird fear or anger over being brainwashed by a Tom Clancy game into thinking war is gud.
 

Closer

Member
Nov 19, 2018
150
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I am not tolerating this bullshit. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL ME I AM LYING? WHO ARE YOU TO TELL WHAT IS IN MY FUCKING MIND? Unless you are a mind-reader, You are none to say something like this. Neither you nor Jim whatever or even my father. Enough with this crap. ENOUGH.


I will say it very clear, so that even a fucking 6-year-old could understand it: Games are meant to BE PLAYED. Games are meant to be FUN. If I want propaganda, I watch TV or I read or listen to my favorite political preachers but GAMES ARE NOT FOR THAT. I am 40 years old and I have seen this hobby evolve into true greatness. And now, that greatness is in peril because some lame, uninspired and opportunist people want to make a career making mediocre games that are given a pass for their ideological stands.

No way, dude. No fucking way.
Games are really made to be played. So people should shut the fuck up and stop with the "If I want Popaganda..." bullshit. It's a game, you don't play the story.
 
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Dec 3, 2018
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When people say "keep politics out of games", they want politics that informs the fiction, not the players. The ultimate goal of creating entertainment is to make something that even people who disagree with you will enjoy. If you ever find yourself gleeful about the players you will inevitably piss off with your foundational, world changing diatribes - sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. That's not writing. That's masturbation.
 

ArchaeEnkidu

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
3,308
5,186
485
When people say "keep politics out of games", they want politics that informs the fiction, not the players. The ultimate goal of creating entertainment is to make something that even people who disagree with you will enjoy. If you ever find yourself gleeful about the players you will inevitably piss off with your foundational, world changing diatribes - sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. That's not writing. That's masturbation.
Nuh uh! It is totally conservatives that r teh problemz! /s