Author Topic: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread  (Read 12327 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Art Vandelay

  • Guest
The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« on: June 24, 2016, 08:15:08 am »
As all you clever sausages no doubt figured out from the title, this thread is for discussing any sort of social and/or political issues in gaming. Being outside of Flame and Burn, I'd like to remind everyone that it is a Gamergate-free zone, and therefore any mention of it outside of this warning will be reported to our illustrious moderators by myself, and I encourage all of you to do the same. After all, being able to discuss this stuff without all that shite getting in the way is exactly why Flame and Burn is the official gamergate quarantine in the first place.

So, let's kick things off. I may be living under a rock at the moment, but things seem a tad quiet on that front right now. So, let's go back a couple of months and look at The Division, Ubisoft's latest open world dystopian shooter. The interesting thing is that you essentially play as a government agent who kills US citizens without any due process, yet you're unironically portrayed as a hero. Hell, and it's not like they're gangsters or terrorists or anyone else who's actively malicious towards the rest of the country, they're almost all just disaster survivors whose only concern is living to see another day. Extra Credits did a far better job than I ever could summing it up and the implications of it, so I'll just post their video.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jKsj345Jjw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jKsj345Jjw</a>
Anyway, the only thing I really have to add to that is perhaps it's not so unironic after all? Maybe the developers thought the player could figure out just how fucked up what your actions are without the game explicitly spelling it out? Or perhaps it's a warning or merely a demonstration as to just how easy it is for those responsible to not only rationalise but also glorify atrocities? Though yeah, in all honesty, I would agree that the devs likely just didn't consider these issues in the first place.

So yeah, discuss, and feel free to bring up any other gaming related issues you'd like to share in a fuckwitgate-free environment. Enjoy!

Offline Askold

  • Definitely not hiding a dark secret.
  • Global Moderator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8351
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2016, 08:42:01 am »
...I haven't played Division. I think I watched 10 minutes of gameplay but that's about it. Is the video really a good summary of what the player does?

I don't mind human enemies in a game but usually there is either a justification as to why they deserve to get shot (enemy soldiers for example) or the game makes it clear that the player is not a good guy (GTA, Carmageddon etc.) I find it hard to believe that a game that tries to be serious making a group of enemies be just some random refugees who are trying to survive seems odd unless they are specifically making a point about it (Spec ops: the line for example.)
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Offline RavynousHunter

  • Master Thief
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8094
  • Gender: Male
  • A man of no consequence.
    • My Twitter
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 09:34:05 am »
So, its like Fallout, except you're expected to gun down settlers?  Not surprising; from what I've heard, a lot of the Tom Clancy games outside the Splinter Cell series are ultra-jingoistic games centered almost entirely around military worship.  Kind of like Call of Duty, but with actual gameplay.

Honestly, I have more issues with that than a hundred iterations of GTA or Saint's Row.  At least they never once claim that you're any kind of hero or good guy.  America, and the rest of the world, needs to stop sucking the dicks of their militaries.  Honestly makes me wonder if games like Spec Ops are there, at least partially, to serve as some sorta anti-recruitment measure.  Like, "this is what military life is actually like; no matter who you are, you end up a killer."  If that's so, we need more of them and they need more exposure.  The fewer people we feed into the military juggernaut, the more people we have to actually do something good for society and humanity as a whole.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 09:39:35 am by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Bra'tac
Life for the sake of life means nothing.

Offline ironbite

  • Overlord of all that is good in Iacon City
  • Kakarot
  • ******
  • Posts: 10673
  • Gender: Male
  • Stuck in the middle with you.
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2016, 09:41:43 am »
Spec Ops is THE game for taking the piss out of the military.  Yeah the gameplay isn't actually good what with it being a chest high wall sight seeing tour but the story is top notch.  Which is to be expected when you're adapting Heart of Darkness.

Ironbite-and Marlon Brando's been dead for a few years

Offline Askold

  • Definitely not hiding a dark secret.
  • Global Moderator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8351
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2016, 09:46:08 am »
Reminds me of the Zero Punctuation review of Black ops 2. "Nicaraquan freedom fighter and his quest for justice for his murdered family as he is hounded at every turn by the American military..." and then goes off on a tangent wondering why we are supposed to sympathize with USA. "What's that? The terrorist took away your MASSIVE ARMY OF KILLER-ROBOTS and didn't even use it to attack USA?"

No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Offline RavynousHunter

  • Master Thief
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8094
  • Gender: Male
  • A man of no consequence.
    • My Twitter
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2016, 09:48:22 am »
Spec Ops is one of the only games to genuinely shock and horrify me.  And I'm a jaded motherfucker who can remain almost apathetically impassive whilst playing the likes of Amnesia.
Quote from: Bra'tac
Life for the sake of life means nothing.

Offline Ultimate Paragon

  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8423
  • Gender: Male
  • Tougher than diamonds, stronger than steel
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2016, 11:30:51 am »
I haven't played The Division yet, but from my understanding, society has collapsed and you're shooting violent criminals.

Offline Askold

  • Definitely not hiding a dark secret.
  • Global Moderator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8351
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2016, 11:39:45 am »
There's a problem with that logic. You see, the player represents the government. The players are agents of the government that are attempting to prevent a total collapse of the society and to return the city to it's rightful rule and thereby protect the citizens.

If they go around shooting everyone who might be a threat rather than doing things by the book that kinda gives the message that the government is now suddenly sliding towards tyranny and abandoning the laws they were supposed to uphold.

Which is something that many people in USA really fear (hence 2nd amendment fanatics and militias) but at the same time a large proportion of US citizens also actively supports it (Patriot act and Enhanced interrogation supporters and other Jack Bauer fanboys.) so this kinda makes it look like the game is pushing a rather questionable ideal.
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Art Vandelay

  • Guest
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2016, 05:01:42 pm »
There's a problem with that logic. You see, the player represents the government. The players are agents of the government that are attempting to prevent a total collapse of the society and to return the city to it's rightful rule and thereby protect the citizens.

If they go around shooting everyone who might be a threat rather than doing things by the book that kinda gives the message that the government is now suddenly sliding towards tyranny and abandoning the laws they were supposed to uphold.
Not to mention, you're part of a sleeper cell that answers only to the president and has total freedom and do and kill anything you want to achieve your objective. There's no transparency, no oversight and no due process whatsoever. Even if what you're doing is genuinely necessary in the short term, the fact that you even exist in the first place is rather concerning.

Offline Søren

  • Russian Lush
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 2484
  • Ни шагу назад
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2016, 08:32:39 pm »
I couldnt stand Spec Ops, you can have a good story all you want but if you dont make it fun to play then Im not interested.
Faisons lever l'étoile du mérite passé.  Le monde a besoin de lumière,  Le monde a besoin de la France,  La France a besoin de tous les Français.

Offline Cloud3514

  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 1761
  • Gender: Male
  • 404: Personal text not found.
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2016, 10:50:15 pm »
I haven't played The Division yet, but from my understanding, society has collapsed and you're shooting violent criminals.

Yeah, I HAVE played The Division. I traded it in three days later and I'm usually the last person to actually trade in games. Hell, I still have the copy of Final Fantasy XIII I bought on day 1 in 2010 despite it being one of my most hated games of all time, but my collecting philosophy is irrelevant here.

What is relevant is that the "violent criminals" you're shooting are, the vast majority of the time, minding their own business. Yes, they've got guns and, yes, you can see them looking for things to scavenge, but you're just as armed and you scavenge for supplies yourself. The reality is that the game, despite telling you that these are violent thugs that you need to shoot on sight (and you're expected to just shoot on sight), it looks and feels more like you're just shooting them because you personally have deemed them as criminals, ignoring due process.

Add in the fact that every single one of these enemies are denoted by the fact that they're all wearing hoodies, are portrayed as desperate disaster survivors and are flat out called "Rioters." Think about that in terms of current events. You're a government appointed authority with essentially no accountability or overhead that is expected to shoot hoodie clad "rioters" on sight without due process or even probable cause. Personally speaking, I find this kinda disconcerting.

Now, I don't have a problem with this in theory. In theory, the setting and the player's actions could have been used to explore military worship, authoritarianism and police accountability. It could have been a very relevant story with serious and interesting social commentary, but the story doesn't stop to reflect on the implications it's putting forth, which suggests two possibilities; either the developers are suggesting that the player's actions are truly noble and the game is pro-authoritarianism or that the developers were simply completely tone-deaf about the story they were putting forward. Personally, my vote is on tone-deafness for a few reasons, not the least because the story actually makes a point to show that the titular Division is a diverse group that is motivated by helping survivors.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 10:52:56 pm by Cloud3514 »
Who needs a signature?

Even Then

  • Guest
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2016, 02:30:38 pm »
I've encountered the claim "SJWs* don't play video games" more than once. And every time, the same argument is used to support it: the commercial failure of one particular game, Sunset. But assuming that the commercial failure of this one game proves that those of the social left don't play video games makes one fatal logical flaw: it assumes that people in the social left are only capable of enjoying Sunset, or games like Sunset. By that same token, one could make the argument: "Christians don't play video games, because Bayonetta sold well."

It's a fallacy, is what it is.

*here used as the most common definition: "anyone to the left of me who's too uppity about it"
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 02:33:17 pm by Even Then »

Offline suri

  • Neonate
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Gender: Female
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2016, 03:09:19 pm »
"Christians don't play video games because Bayonetta sold well" seems like a structurally different argument: "Xs don't play video games because game-that-would-be-expected-to-appeal-less-to-Xs sold well" versus "Xs don't play video games because game-that-would-be-expected-to-appeal-more-to-Xs sold poorly". They're both not very good arguments, though the latter isn't quite as bad about an observation that should provide some evidence about the video game playing tendencies of Xs (though not necessarily about whether they play at all; it could also indicate that the assumption that the game would appeal to Xs was incorrect or that Xs don't spend money on games or that Xs predominantly play old games). To be clear, I do think it's still a bad argument; the other is just pretty hard to match.

I recall seeing people make a different sort of "SJWs don't play video games" argument after Undertale's release, which can be paraphrased as: the people raving about Undertale's pacifistic options and talking about it as a critique of RPGs clearly don't play video games because most RPGs aren't nearly as murdery as they seem to think and they don't seem to be aware of previous games exploring the same themes. This paraphrase did not refer to that subset of Undertale fans as "SJWs", but I think some instances of the argument that I saw did. This argument seems much better than the ones you're talking about (although it seems to me like it overcorrects too far, but, then again, I have not played a huge number of RPGs myself and IIRC hadn't played whatever specific games they brought up), but it's also much more precisely targeted. Those two things are probably related.

Offline ironbite

  • Overlord of all that is good in Iacon City
  • Kakarot
  • ******
  • Posts: 10673
  • Gender: Male
  • Stuck in the middle with you.
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2016, 03:37:48 pm »
The Gaming Right(for lack of a better term) can't understand that video games as an industry are meant to appeal to either very broad sections of the population or very niche sections of the population.  And there is overlap between the two.  The argument that because "X game" did poorly reflects very badly on people making said argument.

Ironbite-because they haven't considered the possibility that it might've just been a bad game people didn't care for.

Offline Askold

  • Definitely not hiding a dark secret.
  • Global Moderator
  • The Beast
  • *****
  • Posts: 8351
  • Gender: Male
Re: The Social and Political Issues in Gaming Thread
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2016, 03:46:08 pm »
It's mainly entitlement syndrome and elitism. "WE" are the true gamers and games should have the stuff that we like, "THEY" are the evil usurpers who "don't even really like games" and if there is even one less game of the type that WE like then that's bad.

Or that's at least what it looks to me.
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!