How do you feel about the whole "keep politics out of my escapism" Should games strive for moderate or unpolitical as possible

  • 140 results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Avatar image for topcyclist
Topcyclist

966

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

4

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Poll How do you feel about the whole "keep politics out of my escapism" Should games strive for moderate or unpolitical as possible (413 votes)

yes 5%
no 61%
not sure 0%
case by case or depends 32%
none of the above 4%

This is for story-driven games. Please no harsh or crazy comments since this is a touchy subject. After viewing some posts online and seeing the reactions to companies trying something political and calling it not political in order to placate some fans. I noticed, tons of people understand that most stories, at the least, have some political or polarizing themes when making their argument. This question isn't about agreeing or disagreeing with politics or sides that games take. This is more about, whether politics should be kept to a minimum since many state that games are their stress-free or relaxing time, and they don't want to be reminded of political landscapes, etc.

Personally, I think politics in games is good and some of my favorites have them. Thou, I also deal with fantasy games when I express this, and games like Far Cry 5 or watch dogs 3 didn't really do it for me when it came to something more on the nose. In any case, as long as the company isn't trying something sketchy, like getting one over on the customer, pushing a false narrative, etc. I think politics in games is fine, even if I'm in disagreement. Plus, even if it's exhausting or invasive on the "fun" nature of a game when it pushes some political message that I am not familiar with; It is a far cry from politics people deal with their entire life vs my 10 to 20 game lesson.

 • 
Avatar image for judaspete
judaspete

166

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#1  Edited By judaspete

I say it's the developer's call. There are games like Metal Gear where political messaging does add to the story.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4417

Forum Posts

121

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Intentionally "keeping politics out of games" is just code for maintaining the status quo. Calling something apolitical is just a way of saying that we shouldn't rock the boat. It is in and of itself political.

If you have substantial numbers of humans (or human analogs like anthropomorphic characters) in your game you can't ignore political issues like class or LGBTQ+ rights. Either your world addresses those issues or it sweeps them under the rug. If your game features thousands of NPCs but the only couples you see appear to be cis men and women then that's a political statement. If your game takes place in a monarchy where all the subjects are happy and fulfilled despite having no political rights, that's a political statement. Keeping politics out of games is totally impossible unless your games are going to only include abstract concepts or the natural world, and even then it's really frickin hard.

Not every game needs to be political, and not every game really is, but games that feel the need to claim to be non-political are almost always actually reactionary.

There's no need to shoehorn politics into every game, but denying that it exists and has implications for the characters and even the players is just playing make believe, usually for the sake of privileged people who don't want to have their little bubbles pierced.

Avatar image for permanentsigh
permanentsigh

505

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This will end well. :)

Avatar image for finaldasa
FinalDasa

3783

Forum Posts

9918

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 15

#4 FinalDasa  Moderator

Games can be whatever they want. Does a disservice to constrict the medium as only escapism.

Also, nothing is created in a vacuum. Inherently everything can and will be political given enough time.

This will end well. :)

Fingers crossed.

Avatar image for mellotronrules
mellotronrules

3267

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#5  Edited By mellotronrules

i'm on my best behaviour to not be flip with my answer- but i feel like people that complain about politics in video games are the same folks that reportedly walk out of movie theatres and demand refunds when a director makes decisions that don't truck with their personal reality.

i get the sense that- in order to believe that entertainment should be anodyne is to also experience entertainment as product before artistic expression; creator's intent be damned- the customer is owed something. and i just can't relate to that worldview. i think i'm fundamentally incapable of consuming things that way.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

848

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Games should be appraised the same way as other art. It's not about the politics or lack of politics, it's about artistic integrity. If games present a story that happens to have political framing or even an overtly political message, that's not in and of itself a good or bad thing. It's about how those concepts fit in, or don't fit in, to the story and the gameplay.

I think that's pretty much the consensus view and I agree with it. The other perspective, though, is that politics tends to take over every discussion and generally foments anger in the community. Often that anger is justified. However it is nice to have more neutral spaces where people on opposite sides of the political spectrum can relax and feel at home and treat each other decently. Like, I would be a bit sad if the next Zelda turned about to be some sort of political propaganda even if it was for a cause I believed in. There's just been so much good-will built up among the fanbase that stretches across political boundaries, and it would be a shame to smash that community in two.

So basically what I'm saying is

a) Politics in games is fine and expected, and even important, if done well.

b) I'm glad that not every game is that way.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4417

Forum Posts

121

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@wollywoo: Zelda has a lot of politics in it. They're just not emphasized.

The plot of Breath of the Wild is very slight but it touches on all kinds of political issues, including the use of autonomous war machines, alliances between various races (long a theme in Zelda stories) and gender politics (there's a whole city that won't let men in.)

The fact that Nintendo refuses to make a game with a female option for Link or Zelda as the lead character despite fan pressure is political, not just artistic, as is the way that Nintendo updates Zelda from sleeping in the first game in the series to battling Gannon while Link regenerates in a shrine in Breath of the Wild, understanding that even if you're telling a male-centered story in 2017 you needed a more active female lead.

Zelda's politics don't have to take over the narrative around the game and they clearly aren't the focus the way politics are in something like Paper's Please, but it's not an apolitical series and the politics are worth discussing when people want to.

Avatar image for bladeofcreation
BladeOfCreation

2309

Forum Posts

27

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

@bigsocrates said:

Not every game needs to be political, and not every game really is, but games that feel the need to claim to be non-political are almost always actually reactionary.

This right here is really the main point about "political" games. Add in the fact that there is a set of gamers will happily play games depicting war, but they won't cry, "politics!" until a game depicts a gay character.

Avatar image for ryno9881
ryno9881

652

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 4

I think the idea is that, the story driven games you're talking about are inherently political. Any time a game tries to be in the 'middle', it just turns out hollow. Like the division for example.

Avatar image for undeadpool
Undeadpool

8001

Forum Posts

10761

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 17

@bigsocrates: THIS.

There is room to have a frank discussion about whether a game's narrative benefits from grinding everything to a halt and have a dramatically-voiced character lecture you on nuclear disarmament and child soldiers, but as the BigSoc dude says: "apolitical" or "keep the politics out" is just coded language aimed at saying, "Don't present any harsh realities to me."

Ubisoft themselves are becoming parodies of this statement, and I'd ALMOST think they were doing it on-purpose at this point. After swearing Watchdog Legions wouldn't be political, it was hard not to think they were joking.

Avatar image for vallian88
vallian88

38

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think it does games and discourse a disservice when political statements are read into content without explicit markers. Assuming a developer thinks or believes something based on what is inside the game will lead to arguments without value. I can think of positive and negative examples:

Celeste is a lovely game with a very small political statement at the end. The two flags on Madeline's computer show support for the LGBT+ community. This combined with what the creators have publicly said gives additional insight into how you can "read" the game, about overcoming obstacles both internal and external, friendship, acceptance, etc.

The Harry Potter games/books ought not be interpreted as anti-trans, even if JKR speaks against the trans community. The fact that no trans characters appear is not a statement. I do not believe JKR had any opinions on trans rights when she was writing in the 90s because it was a relatively unknown subject. Instead, I think those books games provide children great entertainment and encouragement to do good in the world, regardless of what JKR says now.

Avatar image for sethmode
SethMode

3301

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Intentionally "keeping politics out of games" is just code for maintaining the status quo. Calling something apolitical is just a way of saying that we shouldn't rock the boat. It is in and of itself political.

If you have substantial numbers of humans (or human analogs like anthropomorphic characters) in your game you can't ignore political issues like class or LGBTQ+ rights. Either your world addresses those issues or it sweeps them under the rug. If your game features thousands of NPCs but the only couples you see appear to be cis men and women then that's a political statement. If your game takes place in a monarchy where all the subjects are happy and fulfilled despite having no political rights, that's a political statement. Keeping politics out of games is totally impossible unless your games are going to only include abstract concepts or the natural world, and even then it's really frickin hard.

Not every game needs to be political, and not every game really is, but games that feel the need to claim to be non-political are almost always actually reactionary.

There's no need to shoehorn politics into every game, but denying that it exists and has implications for the characters and even the players is just playing make believe, usually for the sake of privileged people who don't want to have their little bubbles pierced.

Good post. This bolded section in particular is what I see the most now when it comes to the whole "keep politics out of my games!" crew. Phrases like "no forced diversity" because the person doesn't want "politics in their games" is in itself an inherent political statement. "I don't want there to be a tertiary trans character in my Dragon Age game because I don't want your personal politics forced down my throat!" when this in itself is basically demanding that the developers not put something into the game because you don't like it/it makes you feel uncomfortable/etc...

It's never made any sense to me, especially with how vocal that segment is. If it bothers you so much, just don't play it, or write a thoughtful critique of why the inclusion bothers you beyond "I just don't want it there" (which is what it almost always is).

Avatar image for pezen
Pezen

2563

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I want games to run the spectrum of any other medium, that is to say all the way from fluffy sugary nonsense to a political statement that dares to rub some folks the wrong way. That being said, there are times when things in games feel distractingly political rather than artistically presented political statements. To use an example, it's the same feeling I get when I look at a stock photo with group of people and the diversity ratio is just too perfect. It's not that diversity is the distracting issue, it's that it's calculated to such a degree that it loses all sense of reality. And in games that may be that a political message feels plastered on (a charater, a plot, a place or whatever) into a context where it makes no sense other than giving you the feeling that the devs wanted to do make a statement however poorly implemented. It's shoehorned. Even so, I'm never going to argue for a develper not to do it because it's their perogative to do creatively with their gams as they please, if it doesn't work for me it doesn't. But I would rather it sometimes didn't work than never have people try to be political in their games. Also, as much as a game can be fun and a painting can be beautiful, a work that is interesting and not just consumed and forgotten about often has something to say. And why couldn't that something be political? I don't really know why people are so afraid of new ideas or ideas that run counter to their own.

Also I don't think I have entirely made up my mind yet about the whole "it's still politics because of implications" that @bigsocrates talks about. On one hand I completly agree and often (in the case of negative) find certain games tiresome because of said implications, on the other I don't necessarily feel right assuming political intent or attribute political meaning to something that may be entirely unintentional. I can certainly say it reads that way to me, whatever the actual intent is, but I am not sure I would view it as explicitly political.

Avatar image for sweep
sweep

10878

Forum Posts

3660

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 4

User Lists: 14

#14 sweep  Moderator

I feel mostly ambivalent about it right up until someone promotes a game transparently designed to provoke political controversy, like Six Days In Fallujah, and then talks about wanting to detach it from politics as soon as public opinion inevitably turns against them. What a fucking moron.

I'm happy to engage with the politics of most games, and any game that's based on humans/real places/real world events is going to be contextually political in some way or another. However I'm also incredibly weary/exhausted by sites like Waypoint, which seem to thrive on making mountains out of political molehills. Some of their arguments are legit; For example the discussions surrounding The Last Of Us 2 and how it alludes to the Israeli/Palestine conflict, written by Israeli-American Neil Druckmann, are valid and important to have. Even so it does feel incredibly joyless to constantly be rooting out reasons to be angry and upset, so I don't feel guilty about wanting to disengage from those discussions and enjoy the games for what they are every once in a while, even though I know that one can only do so from a position of privilege.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4417

Forum Posts

121

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@pezen: It's not about assuming authorial intent. Politics can (and often does) exist in the absence of authorial intent. I'm sure that Shigeru Miyamoto wasn't thinking about politics when he made a bunch of games about men saving helpless women in the 1980s. That's just the context that he was raised in, he wasn't trying to be sexist. But the politics of the time seeped into those games and they contain those politics. Does that mean we have to call Miyamoto a sexist? No. We can analyze the content of the games, that were created in a specific time and place, without assuming intent to make an explicit statement. The same way that we can't understand what Shakespeare was thinking but we can analyze the politics of his plays.

A lot of games get made about New York City, including by non-Americans. Some of those games have an NYC that lacks diversity, and a whitewashed NYC is an incredibly political artistic statement. A lot of those creators come from areas without a lot of racial diversity and they think of America as a "white" nation for various reasons and haven't really thought this through. They're not trying to be racist but their art contains racial politics.

It's not about assuming intent, which we can never know for sure anyway (people can lie about their intentions, and they do) it's about analyzing the art itself. Now if there are explicit politics that seem to reflect authorial intent, or incredible tone deafness or whatever, we can blame the creators for that (like CDPR and their very bad handling of trans issues in Cyberpunk, which are issues they clearly thought about when making the game) but that's not necessarily what I mean when I say every game is political.

The meaning of art is co-created between the art itself and the viewer/player/reader/listener/whatever. The creator(s) imbue the art with certain meaning that may or may not be transmitted to that consumer but the art exists outside the creator and their explicit intent.

Avatar image for lapsariangiraff
LapsarianGiraff

553

Forum Posts

629

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 3

I've mildly skimmed this thread, so apologies if someone else has made this joke:

People only call games "political" when NPCs other than white men are involved.

@vallian88 There's nothing specifically anti-trans in Harry Potter, but people have definitely pointed out other issues there for a long time now.

Avatar image for vallian88
vallian88

38

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@lapsariangiraff: I'm not surprised - I was just trying to think of an example where people might read something into the text when the text doesn't support the commentary.

Avatar image for nodima
Nodima

3589

Forum Posts

24

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 13

User Lists: 0

I've usually felt that looking to entertainment purely as "escapism" is a reductive and honestly infantile way of looking at entertainment. I don't watch a movie just to forget about not having any health insurance or a retirement fund, I watch a movie to see someone else's perspective on a slice of the human condition. Sure, sometimes that perspective isn't particularly illusory (ie. The Mummy is not going to change my perspective on anything in the world) but it is kind of about the dangers or ills of taking ancient artifacts of a culture other than your own as keepsakes or novelties for your own culture in its own big dumb kind of way.

Plus, I feel like at least the more critical-thinking among us have long accepted that the best art is about something, right? We didn't just come to a cultural consensus across generations and lived experiences that The Godfather is an incredible cinematic achievement solely because of its entertainment/escapist value, right?

Avatar image for kunakai
Kunakai

172

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'd argue for more politics generally. While I don't believe in such a thing as a fair and balanced view I do think many of the more interesting stories represent both sides of a debate in a sincere manner (which is something I find lacking in FC5/Watch Dogs Legion. Both could have been vastly better games if they featured discourse opposed to binary good team/bad team dynamic).


Avatar image for therealturk
TheRealTurk

1235

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@permanentsigh said:

This will end well. :)

Me, every time I see a thread like this:

Loading Video...

Avatar image for pezen
Pezen

2563

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@bigsocrates: My main point there wasn't that you argued for assuming intent because you look at political implications, if that's how it came across I chose my words poorly. That was just my own self-reflection of how it feels to me would I land on always looking at a political implication from a creator that may not at all have intended for it rather than take the work at face value, unless it's clear the work is trying to say something. And I think I feel that way in part because I'm simply not intrested at politically deconstructing things that has nothing to say to begin with. Like laughing at the 'ass' part of someone saying the word assumption, it's not the intended message and it's picking at details that isn't the point. But like I also said, I can still say something reads a certain way, intended or not. I just generally find little value in discussing it, because if there is no intent at all the only thing I am doing is nitpicking unintentional implications. And for some that may be anthropologically interesting in a bigger picture like with your examples.

I don't begrudge someone discussing a game in that way, for some that may add great value to the overall discourse. I was merely contemplating why or why not I would feel like it was anything I would do. And right now I would probably much sooner discuss intended statements than unintended implications. But that's just a gut feeling that may not be entirely accurate because those two also leave out intentional and unintentional ambiguity.

Avatar image for rebel_scum
Rebel_Scum

1608

Forum Posts

1

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 3

Depends case by case. Same with anything where politics enter the fray outside of the political arena.

Avatar image for clagnaught
clagnaught

2499

Forum Posts

413

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 19

A lot of stuff is political and trying to be unpolitical is still being political. Excluding and avoiding something like the plague can say just as much as including something.

That’s not to say that all games need to cover all themes or you can’t have a game that’s as dumb as shit. That said, plenty of arguments I hear from people wanting games to be apolitical are sometimes over very basic stuff, whether it being general themes that go with the territory (i.e. any number of political messages surrounding war that could have parallels in your modern military shooter) or representation in a story.

Avatar image for facelessvixen
FacelessVixen

3763

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

As an artist, art and politics go hand and hand like either peanut butter and jelly, or flies on shit depending on the audience. As for the mediums themselves: If the creators want to include political commentary and encourage those discussions, go for it, provided that they're willing to deal with both the positive and negative consequences that come with doing so. And as people looking at art though a political lens: I can go either way depending on what's being said and whether the work actually calls for it or not.; given the apparent fine lines between being holier than thou, out of touch with reality, and rational.

Avatar image for chaser324
chaser324

9240

Forum Posts

14897

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 14

#26 chaser324  Moderator

One distinction that I think it's important that we make here is that often when certain people complain about "politics" in games, it's just a bullshit complaint about the game having representation for some sort of minority or marginalized group - black, Asian, gay, bi, trans, etc. - basically anyone that isn't a straight white dude. That representation should absolutely never be treated as "political". People that belong to those groups have just as much of a right to see themselves in a game as anyone else.

Now, as far as games tackling actual political issues, I think it's absolutely something they should be allowed to do. That said, doing it in a thoughtful and meaningful way isn't going to be easy, so I do think that for some subjects, extra care has to be taken to make sure that the whole thing doesn't come off as tone-deaf.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

848

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@wollywoo: Zelda has a lot of politics in it. They're just not emphasized.

The plot of Breath of the Wild is very slight but it touches on all kinds of political issues, including the use of autonomous war machines, alliances between various races (long a theme in Zelda stories) and gender politics (there's a whole city that won't let men in.)

The fact that Nintendo refuses to make a game with a female option for Link or Zelda as the lead character despite fan pressure is political, not just artistic, as is the way that Nintendo updates Zelda from sleeping in the first game in the series to battling Gannon while Link regenerates in a shrine in Breath of the Wild, understanding that even if you're telling a male-centered story in 2017 you needed a more active female lead.

Zelda's politics don't have to take over the narrative around the game and they clearly aren't the focus the way politics are in something like Paper's Please, but it's not an apolitical series and the politics are worth discussing when people want to.

I take your point, but I never said that nothing at all in Zelda is political. All of those things are in-world issues and don't have an obvious intended commentary on contemporary hot-button issues. That's an interesting point regarding the war machines - I suppose you could see the guardians as a kind of metaphor for modern drone technology, but if so it's not clear that there's anything much they are saying about them other than maybe they can go wrong.

I think what you're saying is: everything is political. I mean, sure. Pretty much any story is going to involve power structures and so that's going to be political in some sense. What I mean is that it is simply that it's not the kind of story that is going to make anyone angry, at least as to its politics. And I'm saying: that's fine. Maybe they should be angry, but there are plenty of places for that already.

(For the record: I would love a female lead in a Zelda.)

Avatar image for senorsucks2suck
senorsucks2suck

163

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 9

User Lists: 1

#28  Edited By senorsucks2suck

Politics, religion, and sexuality are already an HR nightmare for a reason. I don't want political games because I feel for the people working in these organizations being forced to work in those conditions. 18 months to 3 years of listening to diatribe after diatribe about the ultimately the decision maker's (and in the hierarchy of management there is no consensus just some chowderheads vision) questionable opinion on topics. Who wants to have a weekly meeting for years of your life for the next Wolfenstein on the merits of nazism from your Porsche driving upper management. Some people just want to work, be left alone, or just make creative content while they build their resume for their next job or for their own endeavors. Certain games shouldn't be made because they are just HR violations, no matter the heart behind them. If you're a 1 man or 2 man studio have at it but be prepared to be dragged and celebrated when not intended. But just like the Mortal Kombat developer's became desensitized and victimized by all the gore research their is a cost.

Games like Far Cry 5 and ultimately 6 are the perfect example of games that I want to play without feeling like there's some underlying message designed for ultimate conversion to one political view or another. If you come to those games with an opinion you are probably going to leave unchallenged and that's okay, both-sideism. Games like Disco Elysium are full on propaganda and I'm okay with that existing but working there if you don't espouse those views is someone's personal nightmare if you are just trying to make the rent. Should it be played? Sure, I guess. Should it have been made? If it's by likeminded individuals that enjoy the process and the people. Too many likeminded individuals gets real sinister real quick, in my experience. 6 Days should exist in media, I love 13 Hours movie way more than I should considering the actual human toll but it's kind of a glimpse into something worth examining and I would have missed otherwise. I don't trust my opinion with the director/writers vision. That's Hollywood for you and I know better. I didn't always know better when I thought movies with dinosaurs or cavemen were stock footage. I built up a callous to movies. But with games and the consumption and all out factionism and warring between tribes games are different.

Unfortunately with media and movements it's possible to go down one rabbit hole followed by another and another and never come up for air. If games start going political it's going to harden people even more into their views. I can watch 13 Hours a baker's dozen amount of times and only come out the other side of it a couple ways. With the ever breathing and living games of today if Disco Elysium locks you in and never releases it's claws you are much more of a puppet than any other media machine than we've ever known. What comes of that? When CD projekt red promotes a game coming out in 5 years about Hitler's journey who is applying for that job? Don't get me wrong I want to play that game but all it takes is one higher up's vision and you've quotable content and a machine ready to leverage the first google search and twitter bread crumb trail next steps.

I hate Marvel movies because it's all rainbow and sunshine and Cinnamon Toast crunch product placement and Iron Man catching 2011 Acura RDXs all over the place. Give me some truth. But crosshairs in 6 Days is just a bit much.

Avatar image for bigsocrates
bigsocrates

4417

Forum Posts

121

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@wollywoo: I don't think that Zelda has much to say about politics and it's certainly not a focus. I've written about that game (and a lot of other games) on this site without really discussing the politics because, as you say, they're pretty anodyne and there's not much to them worth going over. However other writers have discussed the politics of Zelda and other video games as a whole, and I don't think they're wrong for doing so either, because these games do have politics, and in large numbers the games reflect a lot about the politics of the places where they're made and the people who make them, and have influence.

If you play a hundred games and 50 of them are about a man rescuing a helpless woman that's likely to influence your views on men and women, even subconsciously, and it's worth asking questions when games continue to use those tropes and others.

My point was just that you can't keep politics out of games, that the politics of games are worth talking about, and there's no point in saying things like "keep politics out of games so everyone can enjoy them." That doesn't exist.

Instead we should accept that games have politics and talk about them as much or as little as we like. If someone's prattling on about some political point you find boring, change the channel, or argue with their approach, but don't say things like "keep politics out of games."

I'm not saying that you were saying any of those things, but your wish for a non-divisive Zelda is, I think, a constraining one. You say you want a female led Zelda, but I guarantee that if a mainline Zelda had a female Link or starred Zelda rescuing Link there would be a vocal minority of fans making a huge stink about how SJWs had ruined the Zelda franchise and Zelda was traditionally about a male Link rescuing a female Zelda and how dare they! That directly conflicts with your other stated wish that Zelda avoid political controversy. So already you have two desires that are in conflict, related to Zelda's politics.

But I don't think that should stop them from making a female led mainline Zelda game. They don't have to do it; I'll still play if they don't, but if they want to they shouldn't let the political blowback stop them.

And that's what I was getting at. Zelda is already political, it contains within it the possibility of political controversy, and while they don't need to court it they shouldn't be constrained by the idea of pleasing everyone and "keeping politics out of Zelda" because all that means is kowtowing to the status quo.

Avatar image for apewins
apewins

248

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#30  Edited By apewins

I don't mind video games tackling a wide variety of issues and would never attempt to censor artists from telling the stories they want to tell. Having said that, in the question about politics in games, I have a few problems.

First off, politics in games tend to be extremely heavy-handed and very simple stuff like "racism is bad". That's not a particularly brave or progressive statement. I take issue with R-rated games telling me how to live my life like I'm 7 years old, even when I agree with the message. Nobody is changing the world by preaching to the choir. Folks on the Internet have shown time and time again that they are incapable of understanding nuance and that's why all the politics in games need to cater to the lowest common denominator, to be absolutely sure that nobody misunderstands the message.

Second, all this debate is happening strictly from a US perspective, and it includes games that are not made by Americans. Like the Polish-made Witcher series getting into hot waters over diversity issues in America. And it's not that The Witcher series pretends that racism doesn't exist (people hate Geralt wherever he goes), but the series just doesn't handle that topic the way American expect it to be handled, by presenting it black-and-white as racist being horrible nazis and liberals living some communist utopia. I think it is a real issue that developers around the world have to base their art on American values, and that severely hurts the diversity we see in games. Most people in the world didn't really care about the previous US President either way, so it is strange that they are expected to devote their career on fighting something that didn't really affect them.

Third, there are some people on the Internet who go out of their way to find politics in literally everything, and then assume the intentions of its creator. These guys will look at an episode of Teletubbies and then say that the series and its creators needs to be cancelled because the show did not take a strong stance against the death penalty, therefore it supports the status quo and is in favor of it.

Avatar image for navster15
navster15

428

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@sweep: Ugh, the “Waypoint are a bunch of joyless scolds” argument is so damn tired. I listen to them week in and week out and Waypoint Radio is one of the funniest and enthusiastic gaming podcasts out there. Of course they take a political bent to their discussions, they’re a bunch of academics from marginalized backgrounds. Just because they’re not always cheerleading doesn’t mean they are looking for things to get angry about. But when you’re Black and queer, it’s very easy to get painted as angry troublemakers in white, straight spaces.

Avatar image for buttle826
buttle826

283

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

@navster15: so glad I’m seeing someone who shares my opinion on this. Waypoint Radio is so funny and joyous, and whenever I see someone say that they’re “looking to make mountains out of molehills” or something, I have to wonder if we’re listening to the same podcast.

Avatar image for tristencarter
tristencarter

17

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@navster15 : I love the waypoint crew, their voices are some of the best in the industry imo. Hope more people give them an empathetic chance, because they are always a highlight of my week.

Avatar image for cikame
cikame

4085

Forum Posts

10

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#34  Edited By cikame

I've never understood the criticism, i don't know why people accuse games of it and i don't know why developers are so defensive about it.
I can't think of a game that forces a political idea on you to the point where it would be a problem, i guess the most recent game to receive accusations is Fallujah but being a soldier fighting terrorists is far from a new idea, and i doubt the game is interested in dissecting the legitimacy of the war on terror, though i think it would be cool if it did show you the facts to let you decide for yourself, since it is based on a real and contentious event.

Avatar image for adamalc
AdamALC

340

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think developers should be able to create their work with whatever intentions they choose without chest banging from either side of the debate. Politics are different everywhere you go and a big problem especially for massive developers is walking the fine line between representation of one group of customers or all of their customers. I am from the US and folks here tend to apply our lenses to the worlds entertainment and get bitchy whenever every little nuance doesn't match our frankly narrow world view.

Avatar image for mrgreenman
MrGreenMan

437

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

If it's a war based game, you can't keep politics out of it. War is political and any developer or publisher saying otherwise is lying or strait up is so naive about reality.

Businesses also in many cases sadly drive political messaging because of their narrative and who they donate to. Video games is a multi-billion dollar business and any business that big is just going to be involved politically, just because that how the world works. You can ignore it, and you can have no interest in it, but you can't say it isn't a thing because businesses have a inherent interest in politics that effect them, so telling people to stop making video games political is dumb, that would be telling people to ignore reality and what is happening.

Avatar image for efesell
Efesell

6947

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

You know there might be productive discussions about this but I’ll say that I 100% do not trust anyone who would say “keep politics out of games” to me.

Avatar image for mezza
MezZa

3226

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 1

Should be up to the creator. If they the consumer doesn't like the message or theme of a game then don't buy it. Someone else out there is making a politic free game that you can play instead.

Avatar image for geirr
geirr

4099

Forum Posts

717

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

#39  Edited By geirr

I feel if you're not going to touch the political aspect of war
cuz you just want to make a "shoot the bad guys" game,
then don't base your game around real wars.

Avatar image for tartyron
tartyron

497

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think it makes a game vastly more interesting to have an identity instead of simply a repetition of established tropes, and that can be political among other things. Honestly, I don’t think any narrative medium can avoid reflecting the author’s political identity to some degree, so the whole “keep politics out of my games” always seemed like a straw man argument, more just an excuse for those that were going to complain about anything they can all the time anyway, just some new words to insert into the trolling mad lib that is their hobby.

Avatar image for alistercat
alistercat

8461

Forum Posts

7490

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 23

Being "apolitical" is being political. Simply keeping to political norms is itself a statement. Avoiding challenging issues is a statement.

Avatar image for lapsariangiraff
LapsarianGiraff

553

Forum Posts

629

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 3

#42  Edited By LapsarianGiraff
@senorsucks2suck said:

With the ever breathing and living games of today if Disco Elysium locks you in and never releases it's claws you are much more of a puppet than any other media machine than we've ever known. What comes of that? When CD projekt red promotes a game coming out in 5 years about Hitler's journey who is applying for that job? Don't get me wrong I want to play that game but all it takes is one higher up's vision and you've quotable content and a machine ready to leverage the first google search and twitter bread crumb trail next steps.

I... have so many questions. Disco Elysium leads to a AAA Hitler game made by CDPR? You want to play that game?

Avatar image for swthompson
swthompson

135

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

When it's a political statement to write and cast a strong, powerful woman in your Star Wars TV show (as the outrage Youtube machine proved), and then that actor goes on to post some heinous social media activity, just saying "eh we're apolitical" isn't going to really fly. You'll attract someone's ire. You might as well say what you mean.

So what do you mean? Are women allowed to be strong and independent or not? Are trans people valid and have agency or not? Is might always right, or not? Is war and violence the obvious answer, or not?

Mind, this isn't like the "SJW mindset has gone wild" shit that people like to peddle. These are things that have pissed off people across the entire political spectrum. When the existence of a character (and them not being treated like a joke) is political, their inclusion or not is also political. There's no dodging the question.

Avatar image for chaser324
chaser324

9240

Forum Posts

14897

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 14

#44 chaser324  Moderator

Who wants to have a weekly meeting for years of your life for the next Wolfenstein on the merits of nazism from your Porsche driving upper management.

Pretty sure nobody on the Wolfenstein dev team is going to be talking about the "merits of Nazism". Those games are pretty strictly anti-Nazi.

Avatar image for judaspete
judaspete

166

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I just wanted to complement everyone here for keeping this discussion civil. There are a lot of gaming sites where this topic would have turned real ugly real fast.

Avatar image for peffy
peffy

164

Forum Posts

21

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

When I see a big controversy over "keeping politics out of video games", I feel like it's always bullshit outrage that the game has good queer/transgender/non-white/female characters. If that's the "politics" you are talking about, then I do not have a problem with it. In fact, I would want more games to have "politics".

If you're talking about "politics" in the way that the American military may have influenced stuff like Six Days in Fallujah, .. yeah, keep those politics out.

Avatar image for giant_gamer
Giant_Gamer

985

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Games should stay out of politics as much as possible and if they feel the need to get into politics they should be unbiased as much as possible.

They are form of entertainment that should bring people together, and politics as we all know it a separator.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

848

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#48  Edited By wollywoo

@bigsocrates: I didn't say that any controversy at all is automatically bad. If I had to bet, I would say that yes, there would be a vocal minority of idiots who would complain about a female-lead Zelda; roughly the same proportion of people who complain about Finn as a black character in the new Star Wars trilogy. ie, pretty small I think. (in fact I never actually heard anyone complain about Finn - I only ever heard people complaining about the complainers.) That's not the kind of divisiveness I'm talking about.

(They might complain if it was Linkle, because that's a dumb name. I really want Zelda herself to star for once.)

Plenty of people have talked about the politics in Zelda and other games, particularly Anita Sarkeesian, who I really like. But I think it's possible to address her concerns in a way that isn't particularly divisive. A female lead would be a good first step.

Avatar image for wollywoo
wollywoo

848

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I just wanted to complement everyone here for keeping this discussion civil. There are a lot of gaming sites where this topic would have turned real ugly real fast.

And that's why I'm on these forums.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

6382

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Well, no. Like any other form of media, the creative scope is broad as the people making it.