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Politics in games' storyline

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I had a sudden flash of inspiration, and I came up with still very loose outline for the story-line of the game I would like to make at some point. Given that there is a crap ton of video games that have you play as some nameless/faceless military type (American mind you) going half across the world to deliver 'justice' (Battlefield 3 I am looking at you, you too Call of duty... dry.png ).


If there was a game where you are to play a man that goes to a war zone or area where war may have ended recently, as a non-combatant or someone who isn't related to military, to help someone there about something, but with dialog constantly bashing the enemy that could very well be NATO force just so no one in particular gets offended of the bat; would you give that game a benefit of the doubt? Even if political undertones and indication of the past are only hinted at the player? 


I was always of the opinion that there shouldn't be any political views imposed at the player that might just want to maw down enemies and not worry about things (kind of like doom style games, good times... biggrin.png ). Also I would like to point out that I am not trying to start a flame war or something like that I am looking for opinions of others at the subject of openly presenting, political views that might not be to the liking of NATO countries, which are almost entire video game market there is.

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There are propaganda games - games like America's Army, funded by the US Army to recruit (and begin training) younger Americans, or Special Force 2, made by Hezbollah to glorify and promote killing Jews, or China's Glorious Mission, to recruit and train younger Chinese.


I'd play games with interesting discussions about political topics - I'm interested in playing This War of Mine, for example (though I haven't gotten around to it yet). But there's a solid line being pushing propaganda and exploring a subject from a non-conventional angle. You might want to check out This War of Mine, because it sounds similar in setting to yours, and you might get some good inspiration from it. There's definitely more room for games like that in the market.


A simple rule of thumb, "Is this game/movie/book trying to push me toward a preconceived answer?" -> Probably propaganda. "Is this game/movie/book trying to make me think by forcing me to ask good questions?" -> Probably worthwhile reading/watching/playing.

But that's not to say all government-funded media is falls into the former category, nor is government the only entity to push propaganda. You as an individual may be inclined to try to convince me of your answers, instead of just trying to get me to think things through and letting me come to my own conclusions.

The media all the time pushes such blatantly biased crap on every subject matter, from every political direction, it's really cringe-worthy.


Research your subject matter well, and argue every side as best as you can, and I think you'd make a much deeper game.

Edited by Servant of the Lord

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Politics definitely has a place in games, especially in the context that games as an interactive medium allow players to explore, find information about the game world, and make choices based on that information and their own personal opinions.  Just look at the FF7 remake that's in-progress and heavily anticipated - that game's about as heavily political as you can get, and the 'bad guys' are mainly Japanese and American characters while the 'good guys' are more Native American and Chinese, but the game is hugely popular with Japanese and American audiences.

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Posted Today, 09:56 PM


It depends what you mean by "benefit of the doubt".

Do you mean:

1. playing through, experiencing the political issues anc views abd going with those train of thoughts?


2. Not questioning the validity of the political views?


3. Something else entirely?


I could see a largely story and dialogue based game in where you go to a war torn place, say as a reporter, or just a curious tourist exploring and interacting through dialog choices to learn about what is actually going on the ground.


But the issue is if you don't want the player to have combative roles or purposes, you'll need to figure story and mechanics to keep the player engaged.


Most people don't like being beat over the head with propaganda in a game, hell, we experience that every day in life, most people don't want to hear the same political views parented back at them in their down time.


The thing is, if you want to make a game about politics, you will likely have a short time in the spotlight. Because political issues change so fast. However, if you make a game with political philosophy, then you have the chance for long time success.


same with religion vs. religious philosophy.

(actually, to think of it, there aren't many games about  a specific Religion, but loads on religious philosophies.)


There also isn't any kind of "religion simulator" where people gather and pray and connect, that wouldn't really be "fun", religious exploration and fun don't really go hand in hand, but political exploration and simulation exists in games such as Democracy 3 and the like.

But philosophy doesn't just happen in a vacuum, it requires lots of history and deep thought, where politics can happen in between 2 people in any situation.   

Edited by GeneralJist

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You bring up a good point. What I had in mind is to pick one of problematic wars (meaning pick the one that looks very complex with many sides participating) and put a protagonist there. But the catch is that entire story is on the side that fights against US and NATO (these two go together it seems), but the protagonist is not doing actual fighting since he/she is a civilian. Now what I see as problematic is that propaganda bit, all games out there are very much 'US is a good guy' which is not really true if you use your brain, and is a form of propaganda against the nation that might play the game (remember: not trying to start a flame war here).


Since you would play as civilian that is on the 'enemy' side you would probably see much of the dialog that could be interpreted as anti-us/nato propaganda but it is only natural to root for your own side in every situation at least in some way. The war part in question would be either in progress or recently ended while protagonist goes around doing his thing. What I see as a big immovable obstacle with this is that no matter how the game and its story is executed if it could be shamed as anti-us propaganda game it can't sell anywhere. Stuff could be made even worse with internet/media backlash to such game.

Edited by proanim

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