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How Games Can Change Your Life: Social Commentary in Video Games

The fact that this industry has swelled to an immense size, and in such a short amount of time, doesn't remedy the fact that there is still something very important missing. Something that has and always will separate video games from other art forms such as films and music: social commentary. As it stands, there is little to no social commentary in video games.

Practically all games are made merely to entertain and make a buck, nothing more. But that same mindset is what prevents video games from ever being considered "high-art." I spoke with Suzanne Seggerman, Co-Founder and President of Games for Change, about the absence of social commentary in video games, the obstacles that prevent it from existing, and how her organization is fighting to tear them down and bring serious issues to the forefront of our industry.

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CrashSpyro1233410d ago

I could use some change if you got some to spare.

*holds out hand*

JayTee09023410d ago

A lot of us fail to see the huge impact games could have on life, this article will push some in the right direction.

Amadeo3410d ago

What I found the most interesting is that Suzanne was quick to admit that unfortunately a lot of the games that are striving to bring these issues to the forefront simply aren't as good and intuitive as the more mainstream games. But she pointed out that taking issues and simply dropping them into pre-existing modes of play are not sufficient means of bringing about the kind of social commentary she hope to achieve. I found that very interesting and I wholeheartedly agree. I played Darfur is Dying, and although I completely understand the mission of the game, it didn't do enough of a job of pulling an emotion out of me. If the experience was just a little more in-depth and compelling, then I would probably have more of a connection. For instance, if a 2K Games or a Sega had have made Darfur is Dying, they would have had a little more impact.

CrashSpyro1233410d ago

I'm fine with games that try to include important messages and such as long as they're not too serious and forget that they're games, as well, which is one of the reasons I love Kojima and the Metal Gear Solid games. I don't think I could really stand playing a completely serious game that is preaching to me about the things going on in the world for very long.

AlexQuevedo3409d ago

True. There has to be a balance in how much is being pushed. It could easily go way into trying to covey messages and be completely dilluted, thus ruining the whole point.

FilippoDinolfo3409d ago

Indeed. If a game is made specifically to throw out a message something is going to suffer. There seems to be a balancing point between fun gameplay and the underlying message that just hasn't been found yet. I think the closest I've seen so far is Braid.

JayTee09023409d ago

I agree unfortunately this trend won't catch on till the big boys (EA,2K,Etc.) jump on board.

techwizz3409d ago

That Games For Change stuff sounds quite interesting. I think games are slowly getting there with stuff like BioShock, you mentioned Halo's story, GTA even, and I think Fallout 3 will have a lot.

Amadeo3409d ago

Don't get me wrong, I think Grand Theft Auto is an amazing franchise. I love the series, but I personally believe the series to be more of a parody of society than anything else. Although I have to agree with you on Fallout. Fallout has always had inklings of criticisms of war, I think. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

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