Editorial: Games should not simplify the politics of war

The Ukrainian crisis proves geopolitics are more complicated than games would have us believe, says Marcus Mac Dhonnagáin

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SteamPowered1621d ago

Soldiers are trained to follow orders. In Cod and battlefield you play soldiers. Do you think the guys in the trenches care about the pseudo-politics that may arise because of their military affiliation? Probably not.
Democracy 3 or Tropico may be more up your alley if you want the muddy politics you crave.

iceman061621d ago

Right!!! Most armies around the world are at least partially involuntary anyway. Besides, the "politics" of war change with the wind.

Cusmar3501621d ago (Edited 1621d ago )

I suppose they have regenerating health, and remote controlled attack dogs too?

Media isn't bound to replicating reality exactly, and it should raise the tougher questions.

SteamPowered1621d ago

My point is that if you want a political game without definites, then COD and Battlefield may not be the game for you. There are a few Geo-political games out there. Just have to find them.

Cusmar3501621d ago

I don't disagree, but modern military shooters should make wider strides to raise more complex questions. Shooters (Spec Ops: The Line, Bioshock) have done that and have been successful. There's no reason we can't have a great playing game, but one that is willing to explore the intricacies and complexities of war.

ITPython1620d ago

@Cusmar350 - The thing is, the thicker the political message is, the more it alienates about half the people playing it.

Cause lets face it, whoever is writing for the game are going to impart their own bias into the message, and at that point it becomes preachy. Which works fine if you agree with that message, but generally it will be a 50/50 split.

Bioshock Infinite is definitely pushing it a bit with their extremely obvious anti-Christian and anti-conservative/tea party message. The game is essentially screaming "racist patriotic nut jobs!!" at the top of it's lungs whilst pointing at white Christian conservatives.

Cusmar3501620d ago

@IPython - So which point of view is favored in The Witcher 2?

ITPython1620d ago

No idea, I don't know anything about the game.

Cusmar3501620d ago (Edited 1620d ago )

Games including showing the politics of something aren't the same as games trying to show a political message. One is merely reflecting reality, the other is trying to convey a message.

The Witcher 2, or Game of Thrones are examples of that - they're merely complex situations that characters find themselves in.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1620d ago
ITPython1621d ago

Politics needs to be left out of games IMO. We get preached to enough in life by the media and everything else, I don't want o be preached to in video games as well. It happens enough already and it can ruin the experience of some games.

The problem with politics is that no matter what, about 50% of the people playing that game will disagree with the message. Games are much better when the political messages are subtle and flexible, that way no matter what you believe in, you can find some truth in it. Or at the very least you can think "Well, it could mean this rather than that".

iceman061620d ago

You nailed it in your second paragraph. If politics is needed, it should be a subtle backdrop of the story. It shouldn't be the main goal or the theme of the story or game.

Cusmar3501620d ago

Why does the developer need to take a side, and why does it have to conform to the usual idea of what US idea of politics is? Politics is far far far more extensive than party politics, and no one wants to be preached to of course. It's merely about acknowledging that life is complex.

Bioshock is a game driven by politics, but it's widely acclaimed. House of Cards is one of the most popular TV shows on right now. As is Veep, Game of Thrones, etc.


Games should not but Nicholas Cage movies should.
Any armchair general worth his weight in bullets knows this

ruefrak1621d ago

I always felt this was the big difference between Call of Duty/Battlefield and the Killzone games. CoD/BF approach war almost from the point of view the world had on war pre-WWI. It really glorifies the battle. War is fun. There's a good guy and a bad guy and everything is very black and white.

Killzone shows war as dirty, brutal, and a little terrifying. It's not fun, and it's really hard to determine who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. Both sides have reasons to hate the other, and you understand that. Maybe the difference stems from one game being made in Europe where the ravages of the World Wars really hit hard while the others are made in the US, where we avoided the major devastation on our soil.

dcj05241620d ago

DICE is based in Sweden. Just saying. Only Call of Duty is in USA.

Potnoodle9991621d ago

lol This guy Obviously never played a metal gear game :)